Catskills Prove No Panacea For Casinos

Catkills Resorts World new york state gaming commission

For those people who believe that legalizing and regulating casino gambling is a cure for the financial ills of a particular state, or who are fully convinced that there is an automatic windfall to found in blackjack, dice games and slot machines, a study of the experiences they’re having in the Catskills is worth a long look.

The problems endured by Empire Resorts, which operates the Resort World Catskills Casino in Monticello, NY indicate that a different perspective is definitely needed.

The New York State Gaming Commission Wants To Reduce Slot Machines?

When you have a casino in New York, it’s supposed to be a license to print money, right? Well, for the last two quarters, Empire has filed a total of $73 million in losses. In what might even be considered an artificial maneuver, they have actually petitioned the New York State Gaming Commission to be able to reduce the number of slot machines that casinos are required to have on the floor, which would increase the “win per unit” and offer the impression – the illusion, if you will – that the casino is doing better.

So what has happened to cause all this trouble? Well, much of it can be attributed to the mad rush on the part of most states to gobble up their share of the gambling market – something that has gotten even bigger because of the Supreme Court decision that overturned a federal law and enabled sports betting.

What has been established is an atmosphere where, especially in the Northeast, casinos in one state are invariably close to those in another. And there is a certain cannibalization that takes place because of the saturation of the market. The bottom line is that it’s not so easy anymore.

It’s Not Just New York, It’s New Jersey & Pennsylvania?

On top of that, if states don’t act quickly, they run the risk of being at a disadvantage. That’s what happened in New York, where they were late to the table in legalizing casinos. And a bill to legalize sports betting through mobile devices has still not been passed, which means that neighboring states – like New Jersey and Pennsylvania – are benefiting from the action.

Disadvantages that Resorts World Catskills Have Against The Tribal Casinos?

There is also an embedded disadvantage that casinos like the Resorts World Catskills have against the tribal casinos in the state of New York – they are paying higher taxes on their games. So they have naturally been lobbying to get lower rates.

And depending on where one is in the state, customers could get siphoned off by any number of places. Of course, there are the two major tribal casinos in Connecticut – the Foxwoods Casino and Mohegan Sun Casino – not to mention a new Wynn casino in Boston and MGM’s casino in Springfield, MA. And the tribal interests of the Mohegans and Pequots are set to expand in Connecticut.

There is a campaign to induce lawmakers to approve mobile sports betting in the next session, so some of the New York casinos can start catching up. And there is talk of having at least one, and possibly three casinos in New York City or right outside of it.

And that is another subject of widespread discussion – location, location, location. The Catskills were once a very popular destination for tourists, particularly in the summer. And it was hoped that the casinos could help revive the area. That has not been the case.

Industry analysts point out that casinos that hope to be successful in the future have to be built in close proximity to a major population center, simply because they would be so accessible to potential customers who could commute, and where being a “resort destination” wasn’t so critical.

So now Empire Resorts is seeking a solution that is “the best alternative available to Empire’s stockholders,” partnering with Genting Malaysia to buy the shareholders out, effectively making themselves a private company. But that doesn’t the “geography” of things, which has now served to work against them.

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Casinos In Chicago May Damage Indiana But Suffer From Saturation

casino in chicago

Could a casino in Chicago succeed? And if so, to what extent? That is what has been explored in a feasibility study in advance of plans actually going into effect.

Union Gaming Analytics came back with mixed results. Their conclusion was that any casino that existed within the Windy City was going to be inundated with taxes, to the extent that it could not be wildly profitable.

Can A Casino In Chicago Succeed?

At the same time, however, there was practically no way to avoid becoming the dominant facility in the market.

Over the long haul, that is going to affect the Indiana casinos that are located in Northwest, which borders Chicago. These are cities such as Hammond, Gary, Michigan City, and East Chicago, all of which currently draw from the Chicago area. It was projected that about $260 million in gross revenues would, in effect, be transferred from those Indiana areas to Chicago.

And it doesn’t necessarily stop there. Illinois Senate Bill 690 is also going to authorize both a casino and a “racino” (a horse track with slot games) in the south suburbs of Chicago, in addition to slots at other tracks like Arlington and Hawthorne.

Concerns About Saturation

So one can imagine the concern on the part of the Indiana operators. But there is a “saturation” factor as well, in that all of the gaming options that would be found in Chicago and its surrounding areas would perhaps make all of them weaker, since they would all be competing for the same customers and the same dollars.

And the placement of the casino in the city itself is going to be very important. The feasibility study points out that all of the sites that have been suggested by Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot would not optimize the effectiveness of the casino, simply because they are not convenient for enough gamblers to get to.

There are other factors that have to be taken into consideration. One of them is that customers who visit a casino in the city of Chicago itself would probably want to have some access to downtown. There are is also the very real concern of the casino being in an area that is unsafe. And let’s face it; Chicago’s violent crime rate is alarming to many people.

A Chicago Casino Can Realize Appreciable Revenue?

The study offers the opinion that a Chicago casino could realize appreciable revenues if it is located in an area where, in their words, “that is less penetrated with existing and future casino venues than the areas to the south of Chicago.”

Mayor Lightfoot has shown interest in fielding public input as to the best sites to place a casino in the city. Her office issued an eleven-question survey toward that end, which is designed to be answered by Chicago residents but does not have any built-in safeguards to prevent, say, residents from Northwest Indiana from giving a Chicago zip code and offering feedback.

Still, the mayor wants such a process to be transparent to, as she put it, assure the public that “all voices can be heard as the city moves forward on this historic project.”


Casino Gambling In Kentucky Heats Up Race

casino gambling in kentucky

Casino gambling is an issue that has become central to the gubernatorial campaign in the state of Kentucky. The Commonwealth, which is closely associated with thoroughbred racing and institutions such as Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby, knows that neighboring states have been experiencing some success as they venture into casinos in Kentucky and sports betting.

Casino Gambling In Kentucky Becomes A Hot Topic

And the two candidates for the governor’s office could not be more opposed to each other when it comes to how to address this emerging issue. And it has led to some outrageous statements, which might lead a casual observer to the conclusion that the strategy of “scare tactics” is very much in effect.

The incumbent, Governor Matt Bevin, isn’t merely opposed to legalizing casino gambling in Kentucky, he takes the position that it is a severe social and moral ill, and dangerous aside from that.

During a radio interview, Bevin said, “Every night somewhere in America somebody takes their life in a casino because they’ve wasted the last semblance of dignity and hope that they had.” Wherever he found his basis for that comment, well, he never indicated it.

American Gaming Association Says “patently false and irresponsible”?

And of course, it came with resistance from the gaming community. Bill Miller, who serves as the president of the American Gaming Association, labeled the comments as “patently false and irresponsible.”

Andy Beshear is Bevin’s opponent, and he is a staunch advocate for expanded gambling in the state. His proposal involves dedicates the taxes on gambling to fund the state’s pension system, which has been experiencing some difficulties.

Bevin’s answer is to have more people in Kentucky paying taxes.

Beshear’s father, Steve Beshear, who was a two-term governor, also favored casinos, and went so far as to try to eliminate competition from online casinos by seizing a number of domain names in 2009. Full Tilt Poker, Ultimate Bet, Cake Poker, and PokerStars were some of the sites he took action against.

In Kentucky, it’s fair to say that there are a lot of interests that are immersed in the gambling culture. Take the racetrack industry, for example. Churchill Downs Incorporated is well-positioned for gambling, if an when it is approved. They already full gaming locations in other states. And last year they opened up Derby City Gaming, a $65 million, 85,000-square foot facility that has over a thousand “historical racing machines,” which are based on past results of races. And they are partnering with Keeneland, another race track, to build a $125 million gaming house that will include a hotel.

Also, the Seminole Hard Rock group has recently completed a purchase of Turfway Park (pending approval), and they intend to be very aggressive in their pursuit of both casino gambling and sports betting.

Those proponents of gambling contend that it would bring in anywhere between $250 million and $1 billion in the first year of operations. And Beshear’s proposal would also include online sports betting.

Like other states that have contemplated similar legislation, Kentucky is feeling the squeeze from the states around it. Whether it’s Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana , there are states with casinos doing healthy business right across the river.

In terms of the rhetoric, this is going to get very ugly. Sam Newton, who is a campaign spokesperson for Beshear, lashed out at Bevin after the radio interview in question.

“Matt Bevin’s erratic claims today do nothing to solve any problems and are further proof he’s unfit to lead.”

Yggdrasil Enhances Their Table Games Gameplay Experience With A BOOST

user experience Yggdrasil table games

For just about every gaming software development company in business today, innovation is a driving force. This can take on many forms, from the games themselves to gamification tools. The latter is specific add-ons to help promote gameplay. As one of the top gaming development companies, Yggdrasil was recently in the news for its latest gamification tools. Known in the industry as BOOST, this tool can be used for existing games as well as for future offerings. This was highlighted on the company website, which you can find on the bottom of this article.

The main gist is allowing operators to create highly attractive game campaigns with instant player rewards. The company’s operating partners can instantaneously bring new marketing campaigns to life. There are Prize Drops that trigger instant cash prizes. They can be random and unpredictable. Operators can offer a Mystery Prize Drop. This enables players to score rewards by uncovering hidden treasures.

These new tools are available across Yggdrasil’s blackjack suite of games. This includes:

  1. Sonya
  2. Lucky
  3. Dr. Fortuno

Taking things to a whole new level, BOOST will be part of a new portfolio of roulette gaming products. Planne