Inside Gaming: Nevada Lawmakers Vote for NFL Stadium; Atlantic City Monthly Revenue Down
This week's installment of Inside Gaming provides an update on Nevada legislators' efforts to pass a bill providing for the construction of an NFL stadium in Sin City, reports on the latest monthly revenue figures from New Jersey, and notes yesterday's guilty plea of a Black Friday defendant.
Nevada Senate Passes NFL Stadium Bill, Assembly Vote Next
The Oakland Raiders have gotten off on the right foot this National Football League season, with their 4-1 record thus far representing the team's best start since 2002.
The team is getting increased attention at the Las Vegas sportsbooks, too, but perhaps not only because the once storied franchise is finally winning again. Rather, the possibility of the Raiders relocating to Las Vegas has also increased sports bettors' interest in the team's fortunes, with the state's legislators' actions this week further fueling such speculation.
Back in April we reported how Raiders' owner Mark Davis had made public his desire to move the team to Las Vegas, pledging that he'd contribute $500 million toward the cost of a new stadium. Meanwhile Las Vegas Sands Corporation chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson has also pledged as much as $650 million toward such a project, though that still leaves a lot more to reach the $1.9 billion estimated cost for the 65,000-seat domed stadium being proposed. (Pictured above is an artist's rendering of the stadium, the location for which has yet to be determined.)
As part of an effort to make up the remaining cost, on Tuesday the Nevada Senate passed an amended bill that would increase room taxes in Clark County in order to provide funds both to build the stadium and improve and expand the city's convention center. The bill passed by a 16-5 vote, and moved on to the Nevada Assembly who began discussions of the bill in a special session last night.
If the Assembly votes to pass the bill, Governor Brian Sandoval has already made clear that he's in favor of the legislation and building the stadium, calling it a "great opportunity" that will ultimately provide revenue to improve education and other areas served by the state's general fund, reports 3News Las Vegas.
Not everyone is so enthused about the prospects of a Las Vegas stadium. The Reno Gazette Journal, for instance, published an op-ed this week decrying the deal, citing risks to taxpayers and economists' negative opinions regarding cities subsidizing professional sports franchises.
Even if the bill passes the Assembly and is signed into law by Sandoval, more negotiating would then follow between the Raiders and the NFL over the franchise relocating. Also, while Davis has said he'd work on moving the franchise if a stadium is built in Las Vegas, proponents of the stadium like Sandoval have noted the stadium won't be built without an assurance the Raiders are coming.
The Assembly will reconvene this morning to continue its discussion of the bill before voting.
3News Las Vegas has more on Tuesday's Nevada Senate vote and other background regarding the stadium deal.
Atlantic City Casinos Down 1.5 Percent in September
With the Trump Taj Mahal having now officially shut its doors on Monday, the last monthly revenue report for Atlantic City to include a full month's worth of operation for the embattled casino shows an overall decrease of 1.5 percent in gaming revenue year-over-year.
According to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the city's eight casinos collectively took in a total of $226.6 million for the month, down from the $230.1 million of September 2015. Four of the eight operating casinos showed increases, however — the Resorts (up 10.6 percent), the Golden Nugget (up 9.5 percent), the Tropicana (up 8.1 percent), and the Borgata (up 2.0 percent).
Excepting the Resorts, those totals include online gaming revenue, with the Golden Nugget in particular enjoying a big increase of 51.1 percent for its internet gaming win. Resorts Digital, meanwhile, was up 208.3 percent year-over-year (from $944,299 to $2.91 million).
The Borgata easily remains the biggest earner on the boardwalk with a total gaming win of almost $67.7 million for the month, well clear of both the Tropicana and Harrah's with both hovering close to $29 million.
Of the casinos showing declines for the month, the Trump Taj Mahal unsurprisingly was down 51.2 percent year-over-year as much of the month involved reduced operations amid a union strike by more than a thousand of its workers.
Matt Levinson, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, noted how unfavorable weather conditions additionally affected the September figures, reports ABC News.
During September, Levinson pointed out, there was "a threatened hurricane, a state of emergency, and two cancelled beach concerts over the long Labor Day weekend and the winding down of operations at the Trump Taj Mahal," making it that much more of a positive for half the city's casinos to report profits.
For the year to date, Atlantic City casinos are up 1.6 percent from 2015 with a total gaming win of $1.994 billion (including both casino and online revenue).
Visit nj.gov to peruse further the September figures.
Black Friday Defendant Pleads Guilty to Illegal Gambling
Finally, Paul Tate, former payments director at PokerStars and one of the original 11 defendants named in the "Black Friday" indictment in April 2011, pleaded guilty yesterday in a New York District Court to operating an illegal gambling business. Tate faces a maximum five years in prison for the charge.
Following Tate's plea, Amaya Inc., current owners of PokerStars and Full Tilt, stated it was not involved in the case and its outcome would have "no impact or legal implications on our business or operations," reports Reuters.
The indictment handed down by the U.S. Department of Justice just over five years ago rocked the online poker world when it was unsealed on April 15, 2011 along with a civil complaint targeting top executives and individuals associated with the world's largest online poker sites. For an overview of the original charges, the immediate consequences of the indictment and civil complaint, and what has happened in the years since, see "Black Friday: Reliving Poker's Darkest Day Five Years Later."
A sentencing hearing for Tate is scheduled for November 21.
Go to Fortune for more on Tate's plea.
Image: Manica Architecture
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