PokerStars Deal for New Jersey Casino “Dead” or Dead?

UPDATE 5/2/13: PokerStars spokesperson Eric Hollreiser has released a formal statement via Twitter. This statement – combined with yesterday’s oddly short statement from the ACC – suggests there’s possibly more to this situation than meets the eye.Note especially Hollreiser’s use of “purported” below.With that in mind, consider this excellent point from Dave Behr:Weird indeed.Original story follows: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: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” or Dead?

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

NV Licensee Profile: Boyd Gaming

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 Boyd Gaming’s Nevada License
1.1 Partnerships and role in Nevada market
2 Company Overview
2.1 Boyd Gaming Power Players
3 Potential in other US markets
4 LinksBoyd Gaming is one of the largest casino developers and operators in the world. Boyd can boast some 22 casinos under the company’s umbrella (15 of which are wholly owned by Boyd Gaming), including well-known Las Vegas properties like California Hotel, Freemont Hotel, Main Street Station, El Dorado, Gold Coast, Sun Coast, and the Orleans.Additionally, Boyd Gaming holds full and partial stakes in multiple casinos across the US, the best known of these being the Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey, widely considered the best casino on the AC Boardwalk.Details and Timeline of Boyd Gaming’s Nevada License
In February of 2012 Boyd Gaming was among the first companies to apply for an online poker license in Nevada. With the addition of Boyd Gaming the number of early applicants grew to a dozen, but with only a handful of companies seeking an operator’s license; the rest submitted applications for a service provider license.
On October 2, 2012 Boyd Gaming went before the Nevada Gaming Control Board in a preliminary licensing hearing. After a unanimous vote the NGCB recommended Boyd Gaming for an operator license. Two weeks later the Nevada Gaming Commission would put the final stamp on Boyd’s iGaming license in Nevada.
On October 18, 2012 Boyd Gaming received their online poker operator license from the Nevada Gaming Commission. Boyd gaming became just the third company to procure an operator license, following in the footsteps of Monarch Casino and ACEP.Boyd’s operator license allows the company to offer online poker games to residents of Nevada and visitors within the state’s borders.Partnerships and role in Nevada marketBoyd gaming is expected to partner with the online giant bwin.party (as will the MGM), and use Party Poker’s software for their online poker games. This would be the first time Party Poker’s software will be seen since they left the US market after UIGEA passed in late 2006. Party Poker was the #1 online poker room in the world prior to this, so it will be interesting to see if Party can reconnect with the US population, or if sites like Full Tilt and PokerStars have solidified themselves.Company OverviewBoyd Gaming was the brainchild of Sam Boyd the patriarch of the Boyd family, and his son William who was a practicing attorney at the timed the family started their gaming empire. Willaim Boyd ascended to the role of CEO of Boyd Gaming after his father’s passing in 1993, and remained CEO until his retirement in 2008, turning the reins over to the first non-Boyd CEO of the company, Keith Smith.Sam Boyd’s story is altogether amazing, but not unheard of in the early Las Vegas tales. Sam brought his family to the newly created oasis in the early 1940’s, working as everything from a dealer to a pit boss, to shift manager in the burgeoning gaming industry, all the while saving a nest egg which he eventually used to buy into the Sahara Hotel and Casino. By the mid-1970’s Sam, along with his son William had been in the casino business for going over three decades when the pair decided to get into the casino development game, which was the catalyst for the formation of Boyd Gaming on January 1, 1975.In Las Vegas, Boyd Gaming is known for its honest dealings and open books –which led the NGC to turn to Boyd Gaming when other casinos were being investigated during the mob-days of the 1980’s, which later led to the Boyd’s assuming control of the Stardust Casino’s gaming operations.Now the company is looking to start down a new path, as they have received approval to operated an online poker room in the state of Nevada.Boyd Gaming Power Players
Executive Chairman of Boyd Gaming: William S. Boyd -William S. Boyd, along with his father Sam Boyd, founded Boyd Gaming in 1974. The former attorney turned gaming mogul has developed and operated Boyd Gaming properties since 1975, opening properties in a number of US states beginning in Nevada but also in New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Vice President of Boyd Gaming: William R. Boyd – The next Boyd that entered the now-family-business was William R. Boyd. William R. serves as Boyd Gaming’s Vice President and oversees many of the company’s day-to-day functions. William R. started his tenure with Boyd Gaming in 1977, and worked his way up the corporate ladder to his current role in 1991. He also serves on the Boyd Gaming Board of Directors.
President and CEO of Boyd Gaming: Keith E. Smith – One man not in the Boyd family who plays a major role at Boyd Gaming is the company’s CEO Keith Smith. Smith has been with Boyd Gaming since 1990, and has worked in the gaming industry since the early 1980’s. Smith was promoted to Executive Vice President of Operations in 1998 and to Chief Operating Officer in 2001. In 2005,he ascended to the role of President and in 2008 took on the mantle of CEO of Boyd Gaming.Potential in other US marketsLike most Las Vegas casino operators, Boyd Gaming will likely find the goings tough in other markets where they have no presence. But with federal lawmakers introducing bills, and Nevada’s governor signing a law that would permit inter-state online poker, who knows what the future will bring for US online poker and Boyd Gaming.Links
Boyd Gaming Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/company/boyd-gaming
Boyd Gaming Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BoydGaming
Boyd Gaming Twitter: https://twitter.com/boydgaming
Boyd Gaming Corporate page: www.boydgaming.com
*Resources: www.wikipedia.org, www.boydgaming.com

NV Licensee Profile: Boyd Gaming

PokerStars Hiring for Head of Poker, 20+ Other Positions

Online poker giant PokerStars is expanding their team, with nearly 30 positions – including several new listings – open for application on the company’s website.Company seeking “Head of Poker”While a number of the available positions sound interesting, the marquee position among the bunch has got to be “Head of Poker.” As described by PokerStars, the Head of Poker …Read more here.PokerStars is also seeking a “Head of Product,” tasked with being “the unifying force behind the PokerStars product strategy and execution.” Both positions report directly to the CEO of PokerStars.Additional positions run the gamutThe remainder of the current job listings span nearly every aspect of PokerStars’ operations, from legal to payment services to software development. View the complete list of available positions.

PokerStars Hiring for Head of Poker, 20+ Other Positions

Absolute Poker Head Serves Relatively Short Sentence

According to a report from Gambling911, former Absolute Poker principal Brent Beckley has been released from federal custody roughly 10 months into a 14-month sentence.The following video purports to show Beckley’s release:A search of the Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator suggests that Beckley is still in custody. The site claims to be updated daily. I have not seen the news confirmed by a source other than G911.A shortened sentence wouldn’t come as a complete surprise, as the DoJ argued aggressively for leniency in Beckley’s case (although the original 14-month sentence itself was generally considered lenient).

Absolute Poker Head Serves Relatively Short Sentence

PokerStars CEO Reaches $50mm Deal With DoJ

PokerStars CEO Mark Scheinberg has reached a settlement with the US Department of Justice over Scheinberg’s alleged financial connection to online poker’s Black Friday.Full text of the settlement here. The deal will see Scheinberg hand over $50mm.In exchange:The above makes it sound as if the DoJ is holding some funds or property related to PokerStars that will be released once the settlement is executed. But I am not aware of what amounts or properties – if any – are involved.Scheinberg admits no wrongdoing in connection with the settlement. Mark Scheinberg has never been criminally or civilly charged by the U.S. Government.Mark Scheinberg assumed leadership at PokerStars following a 2012 deal between the DoJ and PokerStars that forced former head Isai Scheinberg – Mark’s father – to step down.The settlement between Mark Scheinberg and the DoJ is not directly connected with PokerStars’ earlier settlement with the DoJ and does not impact the amount PokerStars is required to pay to the DoJ.Impact of the settlementJohn Brennan is speculating that the settlement could potentially improve PokerStars’ chances of breaking into the New Jersey online gambling market:I agree that the settlement certainly can’t be viewed as anything but a positive development on that front. But I’m not so sure it will have a material impact on PokerStars’ ability to gain entry to New Jersey.PokerStars statementVia PokerFuse:Full text of the settlement here.

PokerStars CEO Reaches $50mm Deal With DoJ
July 2, 2018

Bank of Timex Lasts Less Than a Week

Creativity is one of the hallmarks of a good poker player.So it came as little surprise when Canadian poker pro Mike “Timex” McDonald came up with an innovative way to leverage the current staking marketplace, which he jokingly dubbed The Bank of Timex.For anyone unfamiliar with short-selling, or the securities market in general, the Bank of Timex effectively serves two separate functions:
The first is to offer shares of players who are not selling shares (like Phil Ivey). In these instances McDonald is basically offering a price for different players that he thinks is too high, but setting them at a price he believes other people will buy due to the current overvaluation in the staking market.
The second function is to “short-sell” other players’ staking packages. In these cases McDonald is saying that the player’s markup is too high for that person to show a profit. Essentially Timex is betting that the players will not show a positive ROI, even though he is cross-booking at a lower price than they are actually selling at!The gist: McDonald believes that the staking world is in a “markup bubble” – that players are (intentionally or unintentionally) pricing themselves too high.Sounds like a great idea right? Fix the poker world while making some cash at the same time?Yeah, well – spoiler alert – McDonald has already shut it down:What McDonald is alluding to are people on 2+2 pointing out (justifiably so I suppose) concerns regarding the legality of selling what seem to be “securities” and/or being a sportsbook.In addition to legal concerns, Bank of Timex also seems like the ideal way to alienate yourself from your peers, so McDonald may very well have shut it down to avoid any potential hassles and/or future confrontations.

Bank of Timex Lasts Less Than a Week

Online Poker in New Jersey By December 2013?

Two separate comments by individuals who should know what they’re talking about suggest that online poker will be operational in New Jersey before year’s end.The first came from CIE head Mitch Garber, who told the Montreal Gazette that he believes WSOP.com “should” be live by December 2013:The “and” above is a bit confusing, but Garber clarified on Twitter:The second came from Ultimate Poker’s Director of Poker Operations Scott Yeates on TwoPlusTwo.In a response to the question “Will people in NJ be able to play any time soon?” Yeates said simply: “Yes, see you in 6 months!”Yeates’ remark is the more interesting of the two because, to the best of my knowledge, neither Ultimate Gaming nor Station Casinos is eligible to operate an online gambling site under New Jersey regulations, which essentially limit online gambling license applications to existing land-based operators.Ultimate would need to partner with a NJ entity, acquire a NJ entity (Atlantic Club Casino?) or NV and NJ would have to compact for Ultimate to operate in NJ.Obviously neither of these offhand comments sets December in stone as the launch date for online gambling in New Jersey.But both do offer some window into the working timelines of companies who are very close to the process.

Online Poker in New Jersey By December 2013?
July 2, 2018

Caesars Interactive Takes Control of Their Facebook & Mobile Apps

Caesars is pulling more and more of their online presence in-house.The latest move: Last week, Caesars Interactive Entertainment apparently reached a deal with Electronic Arts that will see CIE gain sole control of the intellectual property behind the WSOP Facebook game and the WSOP mobile app.That’s per an interview with CIE head Mitch Garber in the Montreal Gazette:The news comes only four months after the launch of the EA-developed WSOP play money game on Facebook.It was also in February that Caesars announced their plans to move away from use of the 888 Poker platform and toward a platform co-developed with Barriere des Jeux. The 888 platform will still be utilized for the launch of Caesars online poker product in Nevada.

Caesars Interactive Takes Control of Their Facebook & Mobile Apps
July 2, 2018

Zynga “Might Be in Luck” With Nevada Gambling Application, Says Burnett

While things certainly haven’t been going Zynga’s way on Wall Street, the beleaguered social gaming giant got a hint of good news from Nevada regulators.That news? Zynga’s application for a preliminary finding of suitability in Nevada may be processed at the early end of the expected 12-18 month timeline.That’s via a PandoDaily article that includes extended comments by Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett:Zynga filed their application back in December of 2012. At the time, the window for approval was estimated at 12-18 months, although Nevada regulators do not issue official timeframes.Sources close to the process suggest that Zynga’s suitability hearing is tentatively set for late 2013, probably December.A finding of suitability would not allow Zynga to immediately participate in Nevada’s regulated online gambling industry.The company would still need to form a partnership or establish some sort of presence in Nevada and also apply for a specific license related to interactive gaming.Read more about preliminary findings of suitability here.

Zynga “Might Be in Luck” With Nevada Gambling Application, Says Burnett
July 2, 2018