NV Licensee Profile: American Casino & Entertainment Properties

This is one of a series of profiles covering companies that hold a license to participate in Nevada’s online gambling market.Contents
1 Details and Timeline of ACEP Nevada License
1.1 Partnerships and role in Nevada market
2 ACEP: Company Overview
2.1 American Casino & Entertainment Properties: Power Players
3 Potential in other US markets
4 LinksAmerican Casino & Entertainment Properties (commonly referred to by the much simpler to remember and say acronym, ACEP) is a subsidiary company of Whitehall Streets Real Estate Funds, which purchased ACEP and its assets in 2008 from American Real Estate Partners.The best known asset of ACEP would be the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, which the ACEP Company picked-up after the original Stratosphere owners declared bankruptcy in 1996. When Whitehall entered the picture they paid $1.3 billion for land and casino assets which were valued at about $1 billion in 2007, and since the acquisition ACEP has been operating in the red.Details and Timeline of ACEP Nevada License
ACEP wasted little time in filing their application for a Nevada online poker license, formally submitting their application in February of 2012. Acep was the fourteenth company to apply for an iGaming license in the state.
On September 6, 2012 ACEP received preliminary approval for an online poker operator license from the Nevada Gaming Control Board in a formal hearing. Just a couple of weeks later ACEP’s license application was approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission.
On September 20, 2012 American Casino & Entertainment Properties saw their license application accepted by the Nevada Gaming Commission. ACEP’s license allows them to host online poker games in Nevada.As an online poker operator ACEP will be allowed to host and operate an online poker site in the state of Nevada, following the regulations set by the NGCB and the NGC.Partnerships and role in Nevada marketAs stated above, ACEP has formed a strategic partnership with Bally Technology and has already launched the OnGame powered AcePlay.com poker room. While their deal is with Bally, Bally has also entered into a strategic partnership with Amaya Gaming, which allowed Bally to lease out the OnGame software to ACEP as well as the Golden Nugget.AcePlay was launched in February of 2013 and at this time AcePlay.com is currently only available in play-money format, but it appears that ACEP and Ballys are well on their way to launching real-money online poker in Nevada.ACEP: Company OverviewWhitehall Streets Real Estate Funds is an equity firm managed by Goldman Sachs, but so far Whitehall seems to have overpaid for ACEP, apparently banking on a parcel of land around the Stratosphere Hotel to increase the valuation of ACEP’s holdings. Currently the properties controlled by ACEP are losing money, and Whitehall has sought to restructure their debt, which means the Stratosphere could very well be a massive failure twice-over.In 2009 ACEP restructured its debt with Goldman Sachs and laid-off some 600 employees, but the Stratosphere and other assets of ACEP have continued to bleed money. Online poker may very well be the tourniquet the company needs.As mentioned above, the Stratosphere is considered one of the biggest flops in Las Vegas history as its location is simply too far down the Las Vegas Strip to appeal to many tourists. When the hotel opened in 1996 it was considered one of the nicest properties on the Strip, but its poor location has failed to attract visitors and the Stratosphere has fallen into disrepair, unable to keep pace with their competitors farther south on the Strip.According to an article in Cardplayer Magazine, ACEP’s Director of Gaming Development Alec Driscoll, sees online poker as a “player acquisition tool”, bucking the conventional wisdom that online gaming will detract from land-based gaming.Here are the four properties controlled by ACEP:
Aquarius
Arizona Charlie’s Decatur
Arizona Charlie’s Boulder
Stratosphere Las VegasIn February of 2013, along with their partner Bally Technologies, ACEP launched the free-play version of their online poker site, AcePLAY.com. AcePLAY will have a familiar look and feel to online poker players as the site is using the OnGame client to host their online poker games.OnGame is currently owned by Amaya Gaming, which entered into a agreement with Bally Technologies earlier this year, with the three players making for one of the most convoluted partnerships in the market.American Casino & Entertainment Properties: Power PlayersThe head honcho at ACEP is the company’s CEO and Board of Directors member Frank V. Riolo. Riolo has been in his current position since 2008, and has been an executive in the gaming industry since 2002.Other key people in the ACEP hierarchy are:
CFO, Treasurer and Board Member: Ned Martin
Board Member: Alan Kava
Board Member: Peter WeidmanAnd here are the people at the helm of each of the four properties controlled by ACEP:
Executive Vice President, General Manager Arizona Charlie’s Decatur: Ronald P. Lurie
Senior Vice President, General Manager Arizona Charlie’s Boulder: Mark Majetich
Vice President, General Manager Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower: Paul Hobson
General Manager Aquarius Casino Resort: Sean HammondPotential in other US marketsACEP does have casino properties in other states, but at the time being their role is limited to the Nevada market. For ACEP to jump into a newly regulated market where they have no physical presence they would likely have to see new laws introduced as well as needing to comply with the imposed regulations.Links
American Casino & Entertainment Properties Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/company/american-casino-&-entertainment-properties
American Casino & Entertainment Properties Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AcePlayPoker
American Casino & Entertainment Properties Twitter: https://twitter.com/acePLAYpoker
American Casino & Entertainment Properties Corporate page: http://www.acepllc.com/
*Resources: www.wikipedia.org, www.acepllc.com

NV Licensee Profile: American Casino & Entertainment Properties

PokerStars Deal for New Jersey Casino Dead

After reports yesterday that PokerStars missed a key conditional deadline in its pending deal to purchase the Atlantic Club Casino, word today from the ACC indicates the deal is dead – at least for now.The story was first reported by John Brennan:Excerpt from a statement by Atlantic Club Casino COO Michael Frawley:There has been no confirmation or statement from PokerStars.Timeline of PokerStars’ attempt to purchase the ACCThe timeline of PokerStars’ (apparently failed) attempt to purchase the ACC is a strange one:
Dec 2012 – Reports emerge that PokerStars is in negotiations to purchase the ACC.
Jan 2013 – PokerStars confirms they have reached a conditional agreement to purchase the ACC.
Jan 2013 – Reports from several sources indicate that PokerStars filed their application for an Interim Casino Authorization license with NJ state officials at the end of December. The filing of the application would trigger a 90-day review window.
March 2013 – AGA files a brief opposing PokerStars’ interim application. PokerStars files a brief in response.
March 2013 – PokerStars asserts that Caesars had offered to sell them the Rio and the WSOP.
March 2013 – Reports reveal that PokerStars’ Interim Authorization application – thought to be already filed – is actually not complete.
April 2013 – PokerStars actually completes the Interim Authorization application. No word on what caused the delay.
April 2013 – The WSJ reports that PokerStars’ deal for the ACC has “expired without a new contract in place, according to people familiar with the matter”. The expiration was due to a condition in the contract that required PokerStars to have secured the Interim Authorization by April 24th.
April 2013 – The ACC announces the contract to purchase has been terminated.Deal “really” dead? PokerStars done in NJ?While certainly not a positive development for those who wish to see PokerStars operating in New Jersey, the news is hardly a death knell for the site’s chances to be a part of regulated online gambling in the state.For example, this news could simply be part of a negotiating ploy on the part of the Atlantic Club Casino. It’s also possible that PokerStars could participate in the state as a software provider in partnership with a licensed operator, a role that does not require ownership of a land-based casino. Finally, PokerStars could always seek to purchase another NJ property, although the list of bargain-priced gambling halls looks pretty thin after the ACC.Not everyone is certain that the deal has completely fallen through. Howard Stutz of the LVRJ tweeted these responses to the news:… and in a story on NJ.com that preceded Brennan’s, online gambling proponent State Sen. Raymond Lesniack said:Again, note that Lesniack’s comments were in response to the WSJ story about the missed deadline, not Brennan’s report that the deal is dead.I will update this story as events warrant.

PokerStars Deal for New Jersey Casino Dead

NV Licensee Profile: Central Account Management System

This is one of a series of profiles covering companies that hold a license to participate in Nevada’s online gambling market.Contents
1 Details and Timeline of CAMS Nevada License
1.1 Partnerships and role in Nevada market
2 Central Account Management System- Company Overview
2.1 CAMS Power Players
3 CAMS: Potential in other US markets
4 Additional CAMS-related LinksCentral Account Management System (commonly shortened to CAMS LLC) is a Los Angeles-based id verification and payment processing company is a subsidiary of the massive Verifi umbrella. CAMS duties in the newly regulated Nevada market will be payment connectivity and regulatory compliance. Verifi was formed in 2005 and since then the company has been at the forefront of the verification industry, and has numerous subsidiary companies similar to CAMS under its sway.Details and Timeline of CAMS Nevada License
In November of 2012 CAMS LLC received preliminary approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board (The NGC is a three person panel) to receive a Class 2 Service Provider license in Nevada. With the NGCB’s approval CAMS would simply need to receive approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission, which occurred two weeks later.
On November 15, 2012 CAMS was rewarded with a Service Provider license after passing the scrutiny of the Nevada Gaming Commission. At the time they received their license CAMS was the first company to receive a license that allowed them to process payments for the Nevada market.As detailed above, CAMS will play a very specific role in the Nevada market, focusing on player verification checks and payment processing. This role will allow CAMS to partner with as many casinos as they wish.Partnerships and role in Nevada marketCAMS has already partnered with Fertitta Interactive’s Ultimate Poker website to provide ID and geo-location verifications. As more and more online poker rooms come online CAMS will likely form many strategic partnerships, performing either “Know Your Customer” checks, or to process deposits and withdrawals for online poker sites.Central Account Management System- Company OverviewCAMS itself was only created in 2012 by Matthew Katz, and according to the site’s Linkedin page the company now boasts from 51-200 employees –not too shabby for a company that has only been around for about a year.The simplest way to describe what CAMS does is through their mission statement that can be found on their website: “Offering lottery and online wagering operators the ability to collect and manage player information, assist merchants and operators to monitor and comply with internal and external regulation policy, facilitate payment deposit and withdrawals, and enforce operator business rules.”In addition to their usual role, CAMS will be tasked with the all-important “Know Your Customer” checks that must be run on every player that registers at a Nevada online poker site, as well as being the first payment processor to receive a license from the Nevada Gaming Commission.CAMS is one of the numerous niche companies that has applied for and received an online poker service provider license in Nevada. Unlike all-encompassing service providers like 888 or Bally Technologies, CAMS has two specific, and extremely important, roles in the Nevada market; to provide verification systems for online poker operators and to process payments.The lists of services CAMS will provide to the online poker industry in Nevada include:
Know Your Customer ID checks: including age verification
Geo-Location and Device ID verification
Payment Processing
Payment processing fraud detection and security
Problem Gambler self-exclusion lists
Player deposit limit checksUnfortunately, CAMS got off to a bad start in Nevada when they contracted work related to verification to Iovation, the company founded by former Ultimate Bet executive and partial owner Greg Pierson.When news of Iovation’s involvement in the new Nevada market came to light CAMS was forced to drop the company, but a bad precedent had been set, as poker players wondered if the new “regulated” market was simply the same as the old unregulated market that oversaw the Super-User scandals. Thankfully, Ultimate Poker and CAMS quickly severed their relationship with Iovation.CAMS Power Players
Matthew Katz, CEOMatthew Katz, the CEO of CAMS was also the founder of the company and sees a bright future his company, especially as he makes major inroads into the burgeoning online gaming market in the US. Katz started his first business while he was still enrolled at Washington University in St Louis, where he later graduated with a degree in Economics. CAMS is simply the latest endeavor in a long line of successes for this young entrepreneur.CAMS: Potential in other US marketsWith their ability to process payments and take on the very difficult process of player verifications, CAMS has a future in virtually every market in the country. This can be seen by the simple fact that CAMS is not even located in Nevada, yet still received a Nevada online poker license to act as a verification company and payment processor.Additional CAMS-related LinksCAMS Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/company/cams-llcCAMS Corporate page: http://www.centralams.com/*Resources: www.centralams.com

NV Licensee Profile: Central Account Management System

PokerStars Drops the Drop

The PLO drop, that is.This week PokerStars announced a rake reduction – scheduled to kick in July 1st – for a handful of PL / NL Omaha limits.New Omaha rake schedule at PokerStarsThe change impacts four limits. Before is a chart from PokerStars comparing the previous and new rake schedule:While four limits might not seem like much, those stakes account for more than half of the Omaha played at PokerStars in terms of number of hands & active tables.According to PokerStars, these new levels represent “lower rake than any major competitor.”The reasoning behind the switchYou can read the complete explanation for the change here. Short version:
PLO rakes more often than NLHE.
As a result, rewards are more important to a typical PLO player’s bottom line.
But rewards at PokerStars skew heavily toward the most active players.
The rational solution as viewed by PokerStars was to reduce both rake and VPP multipliers.
But PokerStars feared a backlash if they paired a positive change (lower rake) with a negative one (less perceived rewards).
So they decided to simply lower rake.Impact of player feedback on the decisionPlayer feedback was apparently instrumental to this change, especially the direct meetings PokerStars regularly holds with player representatives.So does that suggest players at other games (or at different PL / NL Omaha limits) should lobby PokerStars for lower rake in their corner of the lobby?You might try – there isn’t a lot to lose by doing so – but it sounds as if PokerStars is determined to make this the exception, not the rule, with their rep on TwoPlusTwo stating that “this is not an indication that we will be changing rake for other stakes of PLO.”Other games were not mentioned.

PokerStars Drops the Drop

Scott Seiver Takes Down 10k Limit Bracelet

Two big developments for online poker documentary Bet Raise Fold.The first: An official opening date for the film, which is set for June 30th. The premiere will be on June 12th in Las Vegas at the Palms.The second: If you’d like to attend that premiere, you can get a package that includes premiere tickets (but not travel) by chipping in for Bet Raise Fold’s official Kickstarter campaign.Support levels start at $15 (gets you a digital copy of the movie) and run all the way up into the many-thousands of dollars.There are some neat rewards, but my favorite has to be:Visit the Kickstarter campaign here. Teaser video for BRF below:

Scott Seiver Takes Down 10k Limit Bracelet

Does the UIGEA Apply to Online Gambling Transactions in Bitcoin?

Interesting Twitter back and forth between gaming attorneys Stuart Hoegner and David Gzesh regarding the applicability of the UIGEA to online gambling transactions in Bitcoin.Cliffs: The UIGEA might not apply if there’s no financial nexus in the US, but bitcoin gambling transactions could still easily run afoul of state laws and other federal laws.The discussion started at Bitcoin 2013, where Gzesh was presenting on the issue:

Does the UIGEA Apply to Online Gambling Transactions in Bitcoin?

Bet Raise Fold Opens and Raises

Two big developments for online poker documentary Bet Raise Fold.The first: An official opening date for the film, which is set for June 30th. The premiere will be on June 12th in Las Vegas at the Palms.The second: If you’d like to attend that premiere, you can get a package that includes premiere tickets (but not travel) by chipping in for Bet Raise Fold’s official Kickstarter campaign.Support levels start at $15 (gets you a digital copy of the movie) and run all the way up into the many-thousands of dollars.There are some neat rewards, but my favorite has to be:Visit the Kickstarter campaign here. Teaser video for BRF below:

Bet Raise Fold Opens and Raises

Ultimate Poker: To HUD or Not to HUD?

Ultimate Poker launched in late April without hand histories, a decision likely driven by both technical necessities and a cautious approach toward the potential by-products of hand histories such as data mining and heads-up-displays.Now it appears that (limited) hand histories are on the horizon at Ultimate. And support for HUDs seems to be on the table as well.That’s per tweets from Chris Danek, Ultimate’s Poker Product Manager:Danek also suggested that the issue of supporting HUDs was in play at Ultimate HQ:Would HUDs be legal in Nevada?Even if Ultimate does eventually offer support for HUDs, it’s quite possible that current Nevada law outlaws their use:Nos. 2 and 4 seem particularly problematic for HUDs and tracking software in general. Obviously NV regulators could tweak regulations for online gambling to clarify the situation.Head to Danek’s Twitter to see the whole debate.

Ultimate Poker: To HUD or Not to HUD?

“Runner, Runner” Trailer Released

The official trailer for Runner, Runner was released today. Set in the world of overseas online gambling and starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake, the movie is the highest-profile Hollywood take on Internet gambling to date.The current release date for Runner, Runner is September 27th.Watch the trailer:
Below is a screenshot from the trailer featuring some pretty-familiar-looking online poker tables. I believe that’s the UNO deck mod.

“Runner, Runner” Trailer Released

Delaware Targeting Sept 30th For Online Gambling Launch, Poker Not in Immediate Plans

Delaware is on track to launch casino-style online gambling by the end of September.But online poker does not appear to be part of the launch plan.That’s per GamblingCompliance’s Jennifer Webb at the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS):Not a terribly big surprise given Delaware’s population, but I could have seen 888 pushing for some small-scale poker product at launch just to plant a flag in the ground. Webb also semi-implies that Delaware hasn’t made any serious progress on compact talks to date.Follow Brad Polizzano for good ongoing coverage of the NCLGS.

Delaware Targeting Sept 30th For Online Gambling Launch, Poker Not in Immediate Plans