I’m just gonna leave this here…

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In case you weren’t sure how ugly the new CVS at TI is…

Turns out Google Street View allows for a quick comparison. If you change the viewing angle ever so slightly, you jump from brand new monster CVS to kitschy old pirate ship, like so:

I would have made the transition smoother but I wanted it to be as jarring as possible. (Or I have no idea how to make a smooth transition in GIMP. One of the two.)

Canada’s Responsible Gambling Council wants you to practice safe gambling

One of the best things about having NHL Gamecenter Live (besides all the hockey) is getting to see TV ads from other parts of the hockey-loving world. Usually it’s random carpet cleaners or print/copy services featuring company owners with exaggerated local accents, but tonight I actually saw something relevant to this blog.

During the first intermission of the Maple Leafs-Flyers game, Canada’s SportsNet showed an oddly euphemism-filled ad with something of a twist ending:

So naturally I went directly to SafeOrSorry.ca (which I can’t help but read as Safe or Sore-y because of the Canadian accents), and they’re really going all in with this condom theme…

RGC site

I wonder if they’re actually giving these away.

It’s a little weird, but I have to commend them for trying to spread the message in an interesting and different way. I’m sure it hammers home the point more than five seconds of Caesars Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman saying, “Having trouble setting or keeping a limit? Call some 800-number” during the World Series of Poker on ESPN.

Apparently some find the site “gross,” but … c’mon … this is pretty tame when you consider that Trojan advertises vibrators on TV now.

Are the November AC Profits Explained by Sandy?

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When I saw the Atlantic City gaming numbers from 11/2011 and 11/2012 that Craig just wrote about, I thought that the slow death of Atlantic City had just as much to do with gaming profit declines as Hurricane Sandy did. To test my hypothesis I grabbed the September gaming numbers from 2011 and 2012. These should be the last numbers unaffected by Hurricane Sandy.

Here are how the profits shape up:


Gaming Profits
(in millions)
1. Borgata $55.33 -5.95%
2. Caesars $33.35 -7.24% ↑1
3. Harrah’s $32.72 -12.91% ↓1
4. Trump Taj Mahal $27.97 -8.32% ↑1
5. Bally’s $24.51 -22.60% ↓1
6. Tropicana $21.57 -28.96%
7. Showboat $19.42 -15.26%
8. Revel $16.88 NA NA
9. Resorts $11.91 -8.53%
10. Atlantic Club $11.87 -1.93%
11. Golden Nugget $11.51 7.70%
12. Trump Plaza $8.90 -18.82%

A few things stand out.

1) These numbers are brutal. Other than the completely redone Golden Nugget (which was previously the Trump Marina) and the completely rebranded Atlantic Club (now a locals casino), every casino lost at least 5% YoY from October 2011 to October 2012.
2) You can explain away the big drop for Bally’s as being due to the closure of most of the Wild Wild West property. You can explain away the big drop for Trump Plaza because it sucks. But what is going on with the Trop? Is it just too far down boardwalk?
3) You can also look at some of 2 month drops between 9/2012 and 11/2012 by comparing our posts. You can see right away that the big loser is Revel, which got it’s profits more than halved. I think that can be explained by it being more of a ‘touristy’ casino, with a relatively weak loyalty program (in my eyes anyway). I can also see why I get so many comps in the off season months in all of these hotels.

We can all agree that the November to November numbers are worse than the October to October numbers. But I don’t think the weakness in the November numbers can be fully explained away by Hurricane Sandy.

November gaming revenue posted for Atlantic City casinos

The full reports are available here: http://www.nj.gov/oag/ge/docs/Financials/MGR2012/201211revenue.pdf

Needless to say, the numbers weren’t good thanks to Hurricane Sandy. Every casino was down from November 2011 (except for Revel, which wasn’t open in November 2011), some by more than 40 percent. See the breakdown below, with revenue and ranking changes from November 2011 to November 2012.

Gaming Revenue
(in millions)
1. Borgata $42.74 -15%
2. Harrah’s $23.69 -28.5%
3. Caesars $18.93 -34.6%
4. Trump Taj Mahal $16.89 -29.8% ↑1
5. Bally’s $15.16 -46% ↓1
6. Tropicana $12.77 -45.3%
7. Showboat $11.52 -42.3%
8. Golden Nugget $9.06 -0.3% ↑1
9. Atlantic Club $7.5 -10.6% ↑2
10. Resorts $7.2 -34.6% ↓2
11. Revel $6.23 NA NA
12. Trump Plaza $4.89 -43.3% ↓2

For November 2011 stats, go to http://www.nj.gov/oag/ge/docs/Financials/MGR2011/201111revenue.pdf.

Does the passing of Question 7 in Maryland spell doom for its newest casino?

Just a few days after the election, Caesars Entertainment made an announcement that provides the first visible results of Maryland’s vote to expand the state’s gambling industry (mainly, the addition of table games and more casinos).

Back in July, Caesars won the license to build a casino in Baltimore and announced it would open a Harrah’s with 3,750 slot machines in mid-2014. But after Question 7 passed earlier this month, Caesars decided to up the ante a bit.

From The Baltimore Sun:

Caesars now will build a higher-end Horseshoe-brand casino rather than a Harrah’s on the Baltimore site near M&T Bank Stadium that will focus on table games such as poker and black jack.

My first comment to Kyle when I heard this was, “I think the idea that they need to rename it Horseshoe to focus on some demo is stupid, especially from a company that obviously cared enough about brand awareness to rename itself Caesars.” (Seriously, does the name Horseshoe mean anything to anyone on the East Coast?)

But my second comment was, “If done right this thing is going to destroy Maryland Live.”

This new Horseshoe will be an easy 10-mile trip up the Baltimore-Washington Parkway from Maryland Live, the half-billion-dollar casino complex that opened this past June in the parking lot of Arundel Mills Mall. But that’s not it for new competition, as Question 7 also included approval of a new MGM Resorts-run complex in southern Prince George’s County, 33 miles southwest of Maryland Live and much closer to Washington, D.C.

Doesn’t this make Maryland Live the odd man out — a stop that gamblers no longer need to make on the way from Baltimore to D.C.?

The Cordish Companies, owners of Maryland Live, expressed concern about the potential market saturation just three months ago. And while the statements have been fairly general, allow me to get more specific.

Maryland Live won’t be far enough away from either the Horseshoe in Baltimore or the MGM project at National Harbor to pull from different markets, and the competitors are both far closer to the larger population hubs in the area. Meanwhile, the casinos won’t be close enough together to be mutually beneficial, as Maryland isn’t creating a new Atlantic City where people will go for weekends at a time to gamble and do other “resort” activities.

In Baltimore and at National Harbor, the casinos are close enough to places that are destinations in their own right (at least that’s what Caesars and MGM are hoping, I’m sure). Maryland Live is going to have to hope that there’s a big market of local gamblers who stop off to lose a couple hundred bucks after work or between errands.

Ignoring the societal ills that I think that creates, ask any casino player about the connotation attached to “locals casino” and they’ll tell you it’s not big money.

Uhh … The Quad?

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The Pulse of Vegas blog is reporting that Imperial Palace will be rebranded as “The Quad” as part of the whole LINQ/High Roller center strip construction project. And since Pulse of Vegas is the official blog of Caesars Entertainment, I’m going to go ahead and say this is pretty reliable info. (Tip of a chip to vegaschatter.com.)

You know how I can tell that Pulse of Vegas is the official corporate blog of Caesars?

In a much-anticipated announcement, Caesars Entertainment (whose blog this is) has confirmed the popular, mid-Strip resort, the Imperial Palace, will soon be rebranded as “The Quad Resort and Casino.”

Ignoring their admirable transparency (which I bolded for emphasis), there are a couple of adjectives in there that no one would ever use to describe either IP or this announcement.

But anyways … The Quad, eh?

More from Pulse of Vegas:

“Basically, the concept of a “quad” brings to mind good times for many. A quad is a gathering place, a place to meet and make new friends.”

To me it brings to mind hacky sack and frisbees and college students who have no money to gamble with. Don’t get me wrong, I loved tossing the football around on the quad (we called it “the mall”) as much as anyone, but I would never associate that with gambling or having money. Then again, I wouldn’t necessarily associate the Imperial Palace casino with having money, either.

But more importantly, you know you have a problem when the artist’s rendering looks like shit:

Quad Exterior rendering

I can tell by the pixels…
(Image from Vegas Chatter, which says it is from Pulse of Vegas. To be fair, I can’t find it anywhere on PoV.)

Oh my, pig, what fancy lipstick you have there.

I really do hope the Linq/High Roller/Quad project goes well, but Caesars makes itself a hard company to root for sometimes, doesn’t it?

This is what happens when you’re due for a win that never comes

I strongly dislike slot parlors.

To be fair, I’ve never actually been to one. But I don’t like the idea that we’re moving closer and closer to a society where states offer gambling as a recreational activity that’s as readily available as bowling and miniature golf. I’m not sure everyone in the United States needs to live within a 30-mile radius of a casino.

But still, I have to admit that every now and again I’m tempted to take the subway over to Queens and hit up Resorts World, the somewhat new slot parlor near JFK airport that’s owned by Malaysian conglomerate Genting Group.

But then I read about it, and I’m reminded that slot parlors are terrible places.

Need proof? The New York Times reported that, in the first nine months of the racino’s existence, 41 people were arrested for getting pissed off and going all “HULK SMASH” on stingy slot machines.

That’s more than one per week!

The best part of the article is the quote from a Brooklyn man who was sentenced to 90 days in jail for duking it out with a one-armed bandit:

“I lost $300 without a bonus, so yes, I broke the machine. … And I’d do it again.”

After publishing the article, The Times then offered up an assignment to youngsters to “Draw the News,” I’m guessing in an effort to prove that you don’t learn anything in journalism school that you haven’t learned by the time you’re 6 years old.

The results are amazing. Be sure to read the descriptions.

Oh Page-a-Day calendar, you know me so well

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Takes Money to Make Money

Or, as the gentleman who sat next to me amongst the Jacks or Better machines at Bally’s Atlantic City put it: “Takes money to make money. Scared money don’t make no money.”

Sage-like advice.