Saturday, November 27, 2010

Harrah's Loveman Off Base in G2E Keynote Speech

Gary Loveman, the president, chairman and CEO of Harrah's (now Caesar's) Entertainment, gave one of the keynote speeches at this month's Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas. The premise of his speech was that the casino industry is getting a bum rap and its not fair that the industry is more heavily and unfairly regulated as opposed to liquor and fast food industries. Really? I was there in person and I had a hard time not breaking out in laughter.

This wasn't the only poor reasoning expounded by the leader of the company that introduced 6-5 blackjack to Las Vegas and then whines how it's difficult to expand his business to get more people to play his chump games, but I digress...

He stated that due to regulation, casino businesses aren't that widespread. He showed a global map showing the relatively few locales around the globe that have casinos and used that to state that the industry has lots of room to grow, if not for politicians and regulators operating under unfair assumptions. Maybe there are some unfair assumptions regarding the casino industry, but the history of Las Vegas is history. Organized crime was heavily involved and therefore the casino industry due to that history will ALWAYS be heavily regulated and scrutinized. That's not going to go away.

But that's not my main criticism of this line of argument. Loveman claims that due to this regulation and restriction on casinos that people can't enjoy themselves with gambling when they want. THAT IS NOT TRUE. What these folks in the brick-and-mortar casino industry need to get through their heads is that if someone wants to play poker, a slot machine, bingo, roulette, etc., they can do that ONLINE....RIGHT NOW....FROM THEIR HOME. They don't need to come to your casino. If you have an internet connection, you can gamble - period. They don't need to travel to your facility. If your facility was someplace customers really wanted to visit, they'll come. If the games at your brick-and-mortar casino tend to nickel-and-dime your customers, regulations are the least of your worries, in my opinion.

The other off-base argument I'll mention is that he tried to equate gambling with constitutional rights such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Hey, Loveman, last I checked there's no "Lucky 7th Amendment" in the US Constitution prohibiting Congress from infringing the right of the people to bear the handle of a slot machine. This was a really stupid argument. Again I had a hard time not laughing. To be fair to the audience, they were well behaved and didn't laugh either...or they agreed with Mr. Loveman, which means the land-based casino folks are in really deep trouble when online gambling finally becomes legal in the US. When? Don't know, but it's only a matter of time.

The Las Vegas Sun has an article on Mr. Loveman's address, which you can find here if interested.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

How are the Predictions from WhatIfSports Looking Now?

I wrote a post back in September at the beginning of the NFL season relating the predictions of WhatIfSports with regard to the division winners, wild card teams and Super Bowl participants and winner. Since ten weeks have transpired, let's take a peek at how accurate WhatIfSports' predictions are appearing to be.

They claim that in the AFC the division winners would be the Jets, Ravens, Chargers and Texans, with the wild cards being Tennessee and Indianapolis. The Jets and Ravens seems like decent picks to win their divisions, but the Chargers seem to be behind the 8-ball with regard to winning the AFC West and the Houston Texans are at the bottom of their division. The prediction that New England and Pittsburgh would NOT make the playoffs in the AFC also seems off base as well as their prediction that the top 3 teams in the AFC East - New York, New England and Miami would all finish with 8-8 records. Both New York and New England already have 8 wins.

In the NFC, WhatIfSports predicted that the division winners would be Dallas, Green Bay, San Francisco and New Orleans. Of this set, Dallas is totally out and it looks tough for San Francisco. The other two teams have a good chance but have strong competition in their division races. The wild card picks, Minnesota and Carolina only have 4 wins between both teams - they're not going anywhere.

Overall, the accuracy of WhatIfSports predictions is seriously lame. If they used their typical methodologies that they use for their core business to make these preditions, I think you know all you need to know about these guys. Maybe WhatIfSports needs to be renamed WTF Sports?

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tribal Casino Lowers Gambling Age reports that the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians has lowered the minimum gambling age at its Odawa Casino from 21 to 19. The change should be implemented by the end of the year.

It is apparent that there was no restriction from the State in order for the tribe to make this operational change to the casino on its tribal lands. However, the change did have to go through the tribal council. The Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians Tribal Council passed the bill and it was signed into law by Tribal Chairman Ken Harrington.

Since legal age of adulthood is 18, it may be only a matter of time for minimum gambling ages to be lowered to 18. In several jurisdictions, you can play the state lottery at 18, but not in a casino until 21. So, the age restriction for casinos may not be as much in order to protect innocent youth as opposed to the providing the state lottery the best chance to grab as much money out of a young adult's wallet.

It would be expected that tribes that have this latitude to change the minimum age to gamble to eliminate this state advantage, but not to lower the age below 18. Generally, the minimum age to gamble is in the 18 to 21 range, although in Missouri, a person as young as 16 can play charity bingo.

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