Inside Gaming: Resorts World Las Vegas Moving Forward, Targeting 2020
This week's Inside Gaming starts with progress update on the construction of Resorts World Las Vegas on the north end of the Strip, shares some stories regarding FanDuel's new sportsbook in New Jersey, and notes regulators' intentions in Massachusetts to consider a third casino.
Progress Made, Resorts World Las Vegas Still Targets 2020 Opening
Just over two years ago in this space we passed along news of (another) ceremonial groundbreaking for Resorts World Las Vegas located on the site of the old Stardust on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip.
After the Genting Group purchased the 87-acre site from Boyd Gaming in 2013, various plans have been announced along with revised construction schedules, with an updated timetable presented in May 2017 pushing the opening further ahead to 2020.
Over recent months progress has been made on what will be a $4 billion integrated resort, reports 3 News Las Vegas.
John DeCree, Director and Head of North America Equity/High Yield Research at Union Gaming, told 3 News Las Vegas the delays with construction and revised plans reflect the Genting Group's intention to build the most attractive and commercially viable property they can.
"I think the pace that we've seen Resorts World approach construction is very deliberate," explained DeCree. "They are understanding the market and really calculating what they need to build and how they need to position that property to be competitive with the Las Vegas Strip, which is historically very competitive with some of the best casino companies in the world."
According to Resorts World Las Vegas, "construction of the first phase of RWLV will be done in stages and will include a hotel; multiple restaurants including a variety of authentic, regional Chinese cuisines; over 100,000 square feet of innovative gaming space; numerous retail offerings; and a top-tier nightlife venue."
This week Vital Vegas passed along a new artist's rendering of Resorts World Las Vegas (shown above) that reflects the revised plans for the property being built atop the unfinished structure for the Echelon Place abandoned by Boyd Gaming in 2008.
Officials continue to target an opening by the end of 2020, although Vital Vegas notes how some observers believe that might be optimistic. Those include one industry analyst, Bruce McGill, who earlier this month described to Focus Gaming News how international trade wars involving the United States could affect the delivery of slots, thereby introducing delays.
FanDuel Sportsbook at Meadowlands Popular Despite Early Growing Pains
Following the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May that the federal prohibition on individual states offering sports betting was unconstitutional, New Jersey passed a sports betting bill in June and soon the first sports bets were placed in the Garden State.
Among the entities getting involved early has been the daily fantasy site FanDuel, operator of a sportsbook at The Meadowlands Racetrack that opened a little under two weeks ago. Following some initial blowback from bettors regarding a higher-than-typical vig on baseball bets, the sportsbook made adjustments, though encountered some more negative publicity this week after an MLB game between Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies lasted 16 innings, ending after sportsbook's 1 a.m. closing.
As David Purdum reports for ESPN, the late finish meant some bettors holding winning tickets were unable to receive their winnings until the next morning when the sportsbook reopened at 10 a.m. The situation led to some confusion (and conflicting accounts) over whether or not the sportsbook lacked cash on hand to make the payouts.
In any case, as Purdum notes, similar issues involving late finishes and payouts "will be rectified in the coming months, when online sports betting launches in New Jersey." Meanwhile during the first nine days of operation nearly $3.5 million was wagered at the FanDuel sportsbook despite the relative down time for sports thanks to the MLB All-Star break and the World Cup having concluded.
In May a deal between Paddy Power Betfair and FanDuel saw the Dublin-based gambling firm merge its U.S. business with the DFS site, thus making FanDuel the company's sportsbook brand in America.
Massachusetts Regulators to Reconsider Request for Brockton Casino
Finally, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission yesterday chose to delay addressing a request from Mass Gaming & Entertainment to reconsider its earlier rejection of a proposed $700 million casino in Brockton in the southeastern part of the state, according to MassLive.
Citing the impending opening of MGM Springfield on August 24, regulators noted they would probably not consider the request until September.
According to Massachusetts gaming law, a maximum of three casinos are permitted including one in the southeastern region of the state. Casinos have already been approved in the state's other two designated regions in Springfield (MGM Springfield) and Boston where the Encore Boston Harbor (formerly known as Wynn Boston Harbor) is under construction with a July 2019 target for opening.
The new casino projects reflect a changing landscape with regard to gaming in the state since the earlier proposal for a Brockton casino was rejected by the commission in April 2016.
Catherine Blue, General Counsel for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, said factors to be considered when regulators look at the request in September will include a review of the gambling market in the state's other regions as well as a review of the "expected demand for gaming" in the state going forward. The commission will also consider jobs created by adding a third casino in Brockton.
Meanwhile from Mass Gaming & Entertainment's perspective, the benefits of adding a Brockton casino are obvious.
In its letter asking for the reconsideration of their request, the company noted how the property "would mean over $100 million... in the Commonwealth's coffers and thousands of jobs for Massachusetts residents during the next 2-3 years as opposed to zero jobs for at least the next 2-3 years or more if any other potential bidder is considered."