Posts Tagged ‘Casino’

Atlantic City’s Ocean Resort Casino Reportedly Set to Open June 28th

 Atlantic City’s Ocean Resort Casino Reportedly Set to Open June 28th

“Looks like we’re going to New Jersey to visit an accounting firm. That’s a shitty day.” –Terry Hoitz in The Other Guys

Ok, now I readily admit that this article has nothing to do with an accounting firm, but seeing as I am about to encourage everyone to visit New Jersey on June 28th, I couldn’t help but think of that quote and laugh. Oh, how I laughed. According to a report from the Press of Atlantic City, the Ocean Resort Casino is setting its sights on a June 28th grand opening. This is not only significant because it’s the grand opening of the Ocean Resort Casino (hello SEO), but also because it is the exact date when the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will open. Methinks the Boardwalk is going to be rockin’ that day. Seriously, it might be a lot of fun.

The Press of Atlantic City was unable to officially confirm the target date, only hearing in an e-mail from Ocean CEO Frank Leone, “The Ocean Resort Casino Team is committed to opening this summer and looks forward to announcing its highly anticipated opening date soon.”

The June 28th date was taken from signed employment agreements which showed a work start date of June 11th and “anticipated” opening date of June 28th. Several employees provided the same documents to the Press.

One possible roadblock is that the Ocean Resort Casino has not actually been granted a license yet from the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. There are no hearings on the schedule and the Division of Gaming Enforcement has not issued a report. That said, the grand opening date is two months out so one would think that since the regulatory agencies have got to be in the process of reviewing the licensing application that it is fully possible a license could be coming soon. Assuming the dates on the employment agreements are valid, it would be odd if Ocean Resort Casino didn’t know that everything would be in place before June 28th.

Ocean Resort Casino is the former Revel, the gaudy $ 2.4 billion property that was supposed to rival the Borgata. It opened in April 2012 and was a spectacular failure, closing in September 2014. Shortly thereafter, it went through a screwy auction process in which Brookfield US Holdings won a bankruptcy auction for the Revel for just $ 110 million. The sale fell through in January 2015 and Glenn Straub, head of Polo North Country Club, was awarded the Revel by a bankruptcy judge for his original bid of $ 95.4 million. The Revel then cancelled that deal in February and then re-engaged in talks with Straub in April only to sell it to him for just $ 82 million.

Straub renamed the property TEN and in June 2016, Straub said he was going to reopen it with a small casino and loads of entertainment facilities, but it never reopened.

In January of this year, Bruce Deifik, the founder of Integrated Properties in Denver, bought Revel/TEN for $ 200 million with the full intention of reopening it this summer.

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Long Dormant Revel Casino in Atlantic City Sold

 Long Dormant Revel Casino in Atlantic City Sold

Atlantic City’s Revel Casino, which has been closed since September 2014, has been sold. Bruce Deifik, the founder of Integrated Properties in Denver, confirmed Monday that he purchased the ill-conceived property for $ 200 million through his business AC OCEAN WALK from Florida developer Glenn Straub.

The Revel was designed to be a luxury casino property to rival the Borgata. It cost a staggering $ 2.4 billion to build and opened in April 2012. It never made a profit and closed about two and a half years later, the third of four Atlantic City casinos to shutter its doors that year.

The casino was a failure from the start, as financial problems caused construction to be halted more than once. It bled money from the moment it opened, couldn’t pay its property taxes, couldn’t pay contractors, couldn’t repay loans, and went into bankruptcy twice.

In August 2014, Revel announced that if it did not receive any acceptable bids to purchase the casino, it would close by September 1st. It closed one day after that.

On October 1st, 2014, Brookfield US Holdings won a bankruptcy auction for the Revel, bidding $ 110 million. This angered Glenn Straub, who felt some funny business was going on when the auction was delayed from the previous week even though all parties were present. The Press of Atlantic City reported that Revel executives held closed-door meetings to discuss offers, which raised the suspicion of Straub.

Straub’s company, Polo North Country club, had bid $ 95.4 million, a bid which was used as a backup in case the sale to Brookfield fell through. As it turned out, the sale did fall through and in January 2015, a bankruptcy judge approved the sale to Straub. In February, though, Revel cancelled the Straub deal and then in April engaged in talks once again with Straub, eventually agreed to sell him the casino for only $ 82 million.

In June 2016, Straub said he was going to reopen the resort with just a small casino and lots of entertainment facilities like a water park, an e-sports lounge, and an equestrian facility. In September of that year, the property was renamed TEN, but in the end, it never reopened.

Bruce Deifik, though, has said he will re-open the property this summer with a new name, Ocean Resort Casino.

“We are incredibly excited that we were able to take advantage of the opportunity to acquire this tremendous property at a time when Atlantic City is seeing great economic strides,” Deifik said in a statement. “Now the city has a number of exciting new projects with our property and the Hard Rock, as well as Stockton University’s new campus and the expansion of the medical center.”

The Hard Rock that Deifik mentioned is the former Trump Taj Mahal, which closed October 10th, 2016. In March 2017, the Seminole Tribe of Florida purchased the former east coast poker haven and announced it would rebranded the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.

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Atlanta Mayor Skeptical of Casino Legalization, Open to Discussing It

 Atlanta Mayor Skeptical of Casino Legalization, Open to Discussing It

New Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has a lot on her plate, but one of the things she would prefer not to deal with is gambling in her city. In an interview shortly after her inauguration on Tuesday, she expressed said that if it came down to it, she would rather see a casino elsewhere in Georgia.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution had the short blurb on Mayor Bottom’s thoughts:

When it comes to casinos, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has a stance similar to that of her predecessor. She’s not a fan. Shortly after her inauguration, she said she was open to the debate about legalized casino gambling, was wary of locating one in Atlanta’s city limits. “I’d prefer that my mother have to drive to casinos,” she said. Her predecessor, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, also said he was concerned that a sprawling casino in the city’s center would have a negative impact. (Greg Bluestein)

Currently, the only legalized gambling in Georgia is the lottery. There has been a push in the last few years by some lawmakers, though, to legalize casino gambling. It doesn’t have a lot of support in the state legislature, but it does have some, which is more than it used to. Polls show that residents of the state are in favor of casinos.

Bills have been introduced the last couple years to open the state up to casino gaming, but they haven’t gone much of anywhere. The idea would be to divide the state into regions, with each region authorized to have a resort-style casino. The largest region, which would contain the Atlanta metro area, would be able to have two. The bill stipulated that the operator of the “primary” casino in the Atlanta region would have to invest at least $ 1 billion and the casino would have to be within 25 miles of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The other properties would require at least a $ 250 million minimum investment.

The reason many want to legalize casino gambling is to help raise money for Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship program. The scholarship was established in 1993 and provided every Georgia high school student who earned at least a 3.0 GPA a tuition scholarship for in-state colleges and universities. It also funds public pre-K programs.

The problem is that Georgia’s Hope Scholarship has been way too popular and has been running low on funds for years. Thus, starting in 2011, the benefits of the scholarship began to be reduced. That year, the scholarship stopped paying for books and school fees. Then, starting in 2015, new “academic vigor” requirements were added, requiring high school students to take more difficult classes. Those requirements have increased each successive year.

MGM Resorts International has been going hard after Georgia. In October 2016, MGM CEO Jim Murren presented a $ 1.4 billion casino plan to the Rotary Club of Atlanta, saying the resort could create 4,000 new jobs.

As one would expect, opinions on casino gambling are mixed. Religious and conservative political groups tend to be against it. Some business leaders and business groups also don’t like it, not on moral grounds, but because they believe a casino would take away business from them.

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Poker Players Await Ruling on Stations Casino Bad Beat Jackpot Denial

 Poker Players Await Ruling on Stations Casino Bad Beat Jackpot Denial

When you think you have the goods in a poker hand and lose big, it hurts. But when you think you have the goods, lose big, but in turn hit a casino’s Bad Beat Jackpot, it feels amazing. Now take that to the next, depressing level and think you won the Bad Beat Jackpot only to have the casino say, “Not so fast, my friend.”

That is the situation facing poker players who were playing at the Station casinos on July 7th at about noon. According to a report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Len Schreter beat Avi Shamir in a poker game at Red Rock Resort with a straight flush over straight flush. As this qualified for the Bad Beat Jackpot (it looks like Aces full must be beaten and both hole cards must be used; if Aces full, one hole card must be an Ace), a sign lit up in every Station poker room, indicating that everyone playing at the moment might have just one a piece of the jackpot.

The Bad Beat Jackpot, funded with a maximum one dollar drop from every cash game hand at every Station casino, was up to about $ 120,000, so Shamir, as the loser of the hand, had won $ 60,000. Schreter, the winner, was to receive $ 30,000, and the rest of the players at the Station poker tables were to split up the rest of the prize pool evenly.

But Red Rock poker manager Forrest Caldwell, after talking it over with the top brass, invalidated the jackpot win. Surveillance footage showed that Schreter had turned over his cards out of turn after the river card was dealt. According to the Bad Beat Jackpot promotion’s rules, “discussion of hands during the play by players, at the discretion of management, may void a Jumbo Hold ‘Em Jackpot,” and management interpreted Schreter’s action as discussion of the hand.

Players asked the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) to review the case and investigator Bill Olliges determined that Schreter’s action did not affect the outcome of the hand, so the Bad Beat Jackpot should be paid out.

Station appealed and a hearing was held last week where Station presented its case. While the video footage made it obvious that Schreter had shown his cards before he was supposed to, the LVRJ report does not say whether or not the betting had occurred as such so as to make his action inconsequential.

If Shamir was already all-in (and other players had folded), Schreter showing his cards didn’t matter. If Shamir still had chips and therefore was going to need to make some sort of decision in the hand, Schreter showing he had the best straight flush definitely made a difference. Without knowledge of Schreter’s hand, there was no way Shamir was going to fold.

Since Olliges had already ruled that Schreter’s enthusiastic reveal did not affect the outcome, it seems like Shamir had no further opportunity to act in the hand, but the LVRJ report does not make that clear.

For his part, Schreter feels terrible about everything.

“I was hurt emotionally by Red Rock, but this guy [Shamir] was hurt financially,” he said in his testimony. “Red Rock kicked me in the stomach, but Red Rock kicked him in a place a lot lower than that.”

Michael Bluestein, who was playing at Santa Fe Station when the bad beat happened and would therefore be due a small portion of the jackpot, said at the hearing that the motivation for Station not to pay out was “pure greed.”

It does seem odd that Station would get so uptight about paying out a Bad Beat Jackpot that was funded by a drop the players paid in cash games. The payout is not coming from Station’s coffers. The only real reason one could think of for not paying is that the giant jackpot amount attracted more players and Station didn’t want to see its poker room traffic decrease with a reset jackpot.

Then again, by being so shitty about it, Station might lose customers, anyway.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal says the NGCB will likely consider hearing officer’s recommendation when it meets January 10th and 11th.

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Viejas Casino Customer Wins Aston Martin in Casino Promo…But Nah?

 Viejas Casino Customer Wins Aston Martin in Casino Promo…But Nah?

When I was a freshman in high school, won the botany division of my high school’s science fair and advanced to the city-wide/regional competition. I didn’t win top honors, but there were other, independent awards handed out; I was fortunate enough to win one, called (and I’m probably not being quite accurate here, as this was 25-ish years ago), the Army Achievement Medal. I walked on stage to receive my award, but they didn’t actually have it ready to go. Instead, I was to receive it in the mail. It never came. I still have the satisfaction of a job well done, but to this day, I still think about that medal once in a while and wish I had it. That’s nothing, though, compared to what Merida Manipoun has not yet received for winning a prize drawing at California’s Viejas Casino & Resort in May 2016.

Viejas held a contest called the “Dream Machine” in which patrons could earn entries into a drawing based on their play in the casino. The grand prize: a 2016 Aston Martin Vantage GT valued at $ 134,000.

Manipoun – also known previously as Anoma Sengvixay – had her name drawn and was celebrated on stage at the casino. Of course, as these things go, and as people sometimes lament when winning a big prize, Manipoun was also going to have to fill out a tax form and eventually pay taxes on the value of the car. But hey, it amounted to a relatively cheap luxury car, so let the good times roll, right?

Wrong. After winning, Manipoun – according to a lawsuit she has filed – was pressured by Viejas managers to accept a much smaller cash payment instead of the car. There was no violence involved, but the coercion was strong. The text of the lawsuit spells it out:

After receiving her public congratulations and posing for promotional materials, Ms. Manipoun was escorted into a back room, by one or more Defendants, and subjected to a high-pressure sales pitch in which she was strenuously encouraged to forego her entitlement to the Car and, instead, accept a relatively de minimis sum of cash compensation, on the apparent theory that such would afford her appreciable tax benefits.

Ms. Manipoun resisted the subject sales pitch and, instead, demanded that she be given the Car she had rightfully earned.

Oh, and Viejas still hit Manipoun with the tax form for the full value of the car, even though they wouldn’t give it to her.

Manipoun then went to the Aston Martin Dealership in San Diego that had provided the car for the promotion, but “she was informed that it was not in possession of any paperwork indicating her entitlement to the Car and, to the contrary, that she would not be receiving the Car.”

So there she was, no cash, no car, but a hefty tax bill. Lawsuit time!

What’s interesting here is that because Veijas is on tribal land and therefore has sovereign immunity protection against many lawsuits, Manipoun has gone after the casino staff. The lawsuit names casino operations manager Lou Dibela, manager of gaming activities Chris Kelly, and casino host Linda Carr, as well as twenty “John Doe” defendants and Aston Martin of San Diego. All but the car dealership are being sued for fraud, breach of unfair competition law, and twice conspiracy to defraud. The dealership is being sued for breach of unilateral contract claim.

One would think that Ms. Manipoun has an extremely strong case, especially considering that she won a very visible promotion and was “awarded” the car in front of casino customers, but the law can be an ugly thing, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

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