Thursday, July 2, 2015

Gaming Mid Year Review 2015

In case you missed it, we have hit the halfway point of 2015. If you are into gaming entertainment,this has been 6 months of speculation throughout the industry.
Here are the highlights of 2015 with my bold predictions of what happens by the end of the year.
 
 
 
 
Casinos proposed in North Jersey with tax revenue going to Atlantic City. Prediction -No.
Governor Christie supports it. New Jersey has a 30% approval rate of him. They will reject
his initiative.
Atlantic City has the Pier and Revel reopening.  Prediction - The Pier reopens while Revel
does not. Bart Blatstein's track record in Philly shows he can develop a project and make it
appealing. Nothing definitive for Revel until 2016.

 
    
Pennsylvania gets online gaming this year. Prediction - No! The interest is there but the difference on the tax rate will morass the process. The budget for fiscal year 2015-16 will take center stage with taxation and educational expenses. Gaming will take a backseat.
 
 
California and New York will have online Poker. Prediction - No! Not enough support to sustain traction. They will revisit the issue in 2016 to beat a proposed federal ban.

Sports Betting will be approved outside of Nevada. Prediction - Yes. This is the year of acquising to popular opinion. A landmark Supreme Court ruling regarding marriage. The legalization of marijuana use for recreational and medicinal purposes is a further example of giving in to public demand and making a profit. Can you spell prohibition? Sports Betting is something that is accepted by the public and some of the professional sports leagues. Fantasy Sports wagering is just the precursor to allowing gambling on a live event. Once approved in New Jersey, Pennsylvania will lobby for it as well.

                           Share a comment if you choose. Have a wonderful Fourth of July!

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Online Gaming News in Pennsylvania



The past three weeks have been similar to  Fast and Furious 7 with all the activity involving online gaming. Pennsylvania has at least two additional bills that are related to internet gambling. One takes on the logistics involving registration and the exclusion of any holders of a Category 3 license. This would deny Valley Forge the opportunity to participate.
 
The new bills are also asking for a tax rate of 54%. This is  the same level that Pa. taxes slot play. This will not work in an online environment. New Jersey is making things work with a rate of 17.5%. That rate has the operators able to market the product and turn a profit. With the rate of 54%, there would not be internet gaming in New Jersey. Delaware taxes online slots at a rate of 43.6 percent and 29.4 percent for other games, including poker. The first $3.75 million per year has a 100 percent tax rate. They are not making any money.
Mark Lipparelli

Mark Lipparelli, Former Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, told a California House Committee that he felt the proper tax rate would be the high single digits and that any amount higher than the low teens would hurt the growth of regulated online gaming. Promotions are the drivers of internet wagering. They are limited when the profit margin is minimal. A rate of 12 to 15% is suitable. It could start at the low end and increase over a 4 year span.
 
I am sure that the compromise phase will come when the bills reach the floors of the House and Senate. Here are my three bullets of what can make this happen successfully and by 2016.

  • Remove the registration at the property stipulation. That takes the convenience factor out of it. This also limits the operator to a locals only atmosphere.
  • Set up the capacity for compacting agreements with any state that has online gaming. This would increase liquidity in Poker and Slots when tournaments are held. It would also drive more revenue to the participating states.
  • Limit the amount of providers to casinos that are currently operating  in this state. They are stakeholders and would maintain the integrity of the online product. Allow at least one partner that is independent of the casino to buy into the platform of shared revenue, provided that partner can pass a review by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. This would increase marketing efforts. 


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Monday, June 8, 2015

Casinos in New Jersey

The latest proposal has casinos expanding to north New Jersey and the Meadowlands in particular. Hard Rock will be the principal operator of that project. Hard Rock’s chief executive, Jim Allen, said the $1 billion casino would feature 5,000 slot machines, more than 200 table games, and 12 to 15 restaurants, and that it could open as soon as soon as the summer or early fall of 2016. They would have the capacity to have a sports book if New Jersey receives the go ahead.
 
The go ahead include getting the citizens of New Jersey to pass a referendum to expand gaming outside of Atlantic City and a ruling from the 3rd Circuit Court concerning sports betting. The tax rate would be 55% in North Jersey compared to 8% in AC. Part of the taxes raised would go to Atlantic City. The amount is projected at 200 million. The tax rate is contingent on only two new licenses being awarded to the North Jersey region. Here is a video of the press conference with more details.
 
James Allen- CEO
 
I would like to see a group from Atlantic City pool resources and be a part of one of the sites. This would enable allow a  portion of the revenue earned to be  designated for property reinvestment in Atlantic City. This is in addition to taxes and could be matched dollar for dollar. The incentive for the reinvestment would have a cap so the city would get the brunt of the tax dollars.

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Friday, June 5, 2015

Mike Perkins - Take Two


 
 





This is the second revisit of one of my initial posts. This is also my second interview with Mike and our 1st since he made the transition to the West Coast.  From the Casino to California. Here is Take Two!

 
 
 
 
 Mike Perkins
 
 
 
 
1) How long has it been since you left Philly? What prompted you to take the leap of faith?
 "I've been in LA now for a little over a year which is crazy how the time just flies by. I've always had the dream of moving out here and finally one day I was just like it's now or never, I can't keep putting it off. So I just made it happen, planned everything out to move, motivated myself got all pumped and really did just take the leap of faith."
 
2).Compare the challenges of going from behind the camera as a director to out front as a comedian.
  "I've always felt it was a lot easier for me to do comedy and be in front of the camera than behind it. I just feel less pressure because you do your own thing and live in that moment, it's all eyes on you. Whereas, directing and producing you're involved in so much more and have a lot more to worry about than just what you're doing. I do love producing though because you're hands on and involved with every aspect of the film from start to finish."
 
3).Tell the readers your vision and plan when you decided to go for it?
 "I've always been the funny guy all my life, constantly cracking jokes and doing everything to get a laugh, so my vision always was to pursue comedy in some fashion. My vision and where I want to be in the future though is having a full-time job just doing comedy and making movies. I aspire to be like an Adam Sandler type where you can put out movies from your own production company and make them with all your friends. And basically just make a living doing what I love to do and making people laugh."
 
4).Biggest star you met in California so far is ______
 "I've met a lot of comedians out here ranging from Dane Cook and then opening one night for Kel Mitchell, which was insane, to meeting one of my current favorites, Natasha Leggero, who called me cute. I was like blaaah blaaaaah, just speechless because she's super funny and beautiful.
 
Natasha Leggero
 
 
When I first moved out here though I had the opportunity to meet and talk to Chazz Palminteri, known from A Bronx Tale. It was surreal because he was giving me advice on my career but for me it felt like I was in the movie because he's like that in real life, doing the 3 finger talking move and all. Meeting him was a huge inspiration for me to just put myself out there and live in the moment."
 Chazz Palminteri
 
 



5).What steps did you take out there that you did not do here? (Perfecting your craft)
 
"I focused a lot more on my comedy and the art out here than I did back home. There are just so many more opportunities and avenues to take out here that just keep you motivated and focused. I've been involved and dedicated to improv comedy out here with The Upright Citizens Brigade and actually just finished the main program out here for the UCB Theatre in their training center. So now I have a certificate saying that I'm funny which is great to prove all those old girlfriends wrong right?!? I'm also part of an amazing improv comedy team named Hat-Trick and we meet once a week with our own team coach to hone those skills and practice. We also perform around the LA area consistently and get booked for different events which are incredible! Not to mention I'm getting booked for stand-up comedy shows which I love and are grateful for every opportunity I get."

 

Hat-Trick

@HatTrickImprov

www.facebook.com/HatTrickImprovComedy

 




6).How do you acquire material for your act?

"I really just come up with stuff that happens in my everyday life. I never take life seriously, so everywhere I go I find comedy in it and when something happens that I think is hilarious or great for a bit, I'll write it down and try to work it in somewhere. This works great for doing improv comedy because you bring these situations and experience out during your scenes. A lot of material comes from my love life and relationships…so ladies, if you were the girl that got away, you really just ended up in my set, so thank you for that one time where you….. come to a show and find out the rest!"

 

7).What do you miss most about Philly?

 "I miss my family and friends the most, along with all the incredible Italian food and home cooking that the West Coast will never ever have. I actually miss the whole east coast vibe in general, it's way different out here. Besides around the comedy scene no one really gets the "breaking balls" humor that we have on the East coast."


 
8). Best club you've worked to since you've been in Cali?
 
 
Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank is my home base. In my opinion it's the best and most supportive club out here and I hope everyone else that goes and performs there feels the same way. Everyone I've met from there is incredible and I've made so many amazing friends just from hanging out there and getting booked for shows. There's no other club in this city like Flappers, they're number one and always will be in my eyes, hands down!
 
Flappers Comedy Club - Official Website
9).Any new projects that you want to talk about?
I've mainly just been focusing on my comedy with stand-up and improv around town. I'm always ready for the next show so anyone can follow me on Twitter and all that good stuff to find out when they are! Actually the last time we talked we were just getting done our filming with our documentary I Am Santa Claus. It's a documentary following around the lives of guys that portray Santa all year long. It's now out on DVD and iTunes nationwide and it's received amazing feedback from all different types of critics and people, so if you haven't already everyone go check that out!
 
 
 
I Am Santa Claus - Official Website
www.iamsantaclausmovie.com/
 
 
10).Create your Mount Rushmore of Comedians. What 4 people are on it?
           
This is tough because there are so many great comedians that could fill up mountains all over besides just Mount Rushmore. My huge inspirations though have always been Adam Sandler, Jimmy Fallon, Will Ferrell, and Tina Fey. Basically just put Saturday Night Live on Mount Rushmore.
 

 

 

11). Do you have an agent?

 "I don't have an agent right now, but if anyone reading this knows a guy, hey I'm Mike Perkins and I'm kinda funny! I've mainly just been focusing on stand-up and improv comedy though. I've gotten auditions and callbacks myself, but for booking comedy shows it's really about your own networking rather than someone submitting you like it is for acting on all those websites."

 

12) Tell the readers about the importance of networking and how it has helped you?

"Networking is the key to anything that you do in life. To quote one of the things Chazz Palminteri gave me advice on, is that 90% of the process is just putting yourself out there and showing up, and that other 10% is living in that moment. If you don't go out to these comedy clubs, or submit yourself, or talk to people that are involved in the industry, you're robbing yourself of that one chance that you need to get seen and be in that moment. You really have to make your own path, and then follow it by being yourself."

 

13) When do you use social media and how often?

 "Besides looking at old girlfriends from Philly and Jersey on Facebook at 2am, it's all about social media. I promote every one of my shows on Facebook and Twitter and that's how you keep in touch with people you meet at events too. Whenever they're doing something it gives you the chance to know and support them and the same thing where it gives them a chance to support you after that. I think that's what a lot of people lack is that it should be a support system for everyone because we're all in this together. Support each other and in my eyes that's the key to networking and building relationships."

 

14).Close with encouragement for those who want the next level. What should they do?

 "Just live it man, just live it. You're never going to get to that place unless you just go. Damn that sounded really, really philosophical so if my old Philosophy teacher is reading this can you please change my grade to a better one for my GPA because I get it now! Honestly though, it's all about taking that chance and rolling with it because you'll never know unless you do it. Live in that moment and just have fun with it because that's what it should be all about. Don't forget why you started doing this in the first place, and that was to have fun and better yourself.."

                           Follow Mike as he shines on the West Coast!

 
 

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

NBA Finals Preview

This is the match up we wanted. Once the Spurs were eliminated, Cleveland against Golden State was the most appealing match up. Lebron James vs. Steph Curry. The best player in the game against the baby face assassin. The marquee players in the Finals.


 
                                               Let"s examine the teams and compare.



Guards - Curry and Klay Thompson vs. Irving and Shumpert .  Since Thompson has a concussion that brings the edge down due to his uncertainty. Curry is League MVP so Warriors have a distinct upside. Irving comes in questionable as well since he has leg and ankle problems. Advantage to Warriors

Center- Bogot vs. Mozgov. While Bogut is efficient as a passer and can score when utilize, Mozgov is showing superior dominance on the glass and blocking shots. Edge to Cavaliers.

Forwards- Barnes and Green vs. James and Tristan Thompson. Barnes and Green help when the defense double teams the penetration of Curry and are capable of pushing the ball on the fast break. James is playing at optimum level right now. He is averaging close to a triple double every game. Thompson is a beast on the boards and as a shot blocker.  Advantage to Cavaliers.


Bench - J.R. Smith, Dellavedova, Jones, Miller Marion and Perkins  vs. Iguodala, Lee ,Barbosa, Ezeli  and Livingston  . Scoring and energy from Smith, Jones and Dellavedova  is matched against defense and all round play from Iguodala. and Livingston.  Iguodala does not shoot fouls well and that will be critical. Lee is not used consistently so his contribution may be limited by coach's decision. Golden State is deeper. Cavs have more experience. I expect impact from both benches. Slight edge to Cavs.

Coaching- Kerr vs. Blatt. Kerr has taken a good team and made it better. They won 15 more regular season games then they did a year ago. They won 51 last year. They play great defense and take you out of what you want to do. Blatt got the Cavs to buy in at the mid way point of the season. They are 46-11 since then. Does give the impression that he acquiesces to Lebron in key moments. Kerr comes across as the more polished of the two. Advantage to Warriors.


Why Warriors will win?  Curry and Thompson are dominant from outside. Home court record is awesome. Team is capable of going on extensive offensive runs while shutting the opponent down defensively.

Why Cavaliers will win?  Lebron James is one of the few people playing that can make his team win. He impacts the game in every category. When the game enters the fourth quarter he has the ability to contain Curry. When they double he will find open shooters. More like Magic Johnson than given credit.

The Pick - Odds makers have Warriors as the favorite. Defense wins championships. Offense sells tickets.The Cavaliers are allowing just 92.6 points per game this postseason while the Warriors are allowing 96.3.  If I can get Lebron and Kyrie at a good price, I can't resist.  Cleveland in 6.


Join me and my co host https://twitter.com/KeshisCuties on Twitter for #GTLivechat. during the NBA Finals. #GTLivechat is a conversation that is conducted via Twitter with followers around the world. What makes us unique is that we make picks prior to the game and then get a poll of which team is the popular choice We will select the #NBAFinals games individually and give the consensus of what you think. Fun. Easy and Free.  This blog will be updated with the play of the night after every game.

Top plays from NBA Finals Game 1 are here.

Top plays from NBA Finals Game 2 is up and here.

The 5 top plays from +NBAFinals Game 3 are right here.

Top plays from +NBA Finals Game 4 are here.

Top 5 of Game 5 is  here.



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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

East Coast Gaming Congress and I Gaming Preview

This week, the 19th Annual East Coast Gaming Congress and I Gaming institute will be held at the Borgata Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. This is the top gaming conference on the east coast. The dates are May 27-28.   I will take the opportunity now to preview this event.

The 1st day is dedicated to IGaming. This subject is the hot topic that every gaming operator in the country should be talking about. What looked like something that was not in the foreseeable future 4 years ago is now part of the landscape in New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada. The expansion into 3 of the most populous states in the country will be part of the discussion for sure. Those states are California, Pennsylvania and New York.
There are 3 panels the 1st day. One gives the recap of what I Gaming has done so far. A second panel takes the legislative view of what may happen within the next 18 months. I have a Q&A with Senator Lesniak that will cover some of the points from this panel. I am extremely interested in the following session.

CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES*

While significant challenges remain for commercial iGaming in the United States to overcome, attractive opportunities beckon.  How are the issues encountered during the rollout being addressed?  How great is the opportunity for social games and how will they impact legalized casino and poker iGaming?  Are improvements necessary from the player’s perspective? What is the potential for US iGaming and how can it be achieved?  An expert panel of operators, vendors, and player advocates discuss the problems and potential solutions required to fulfill the promise of legalized Internet gambling.
Moderator:
Victor Rocha, Owner & Editor, Pechanga.net
Speakers:
Jon Friedberg, President & CEO, Overlay Gaming
Joe Pappano, CEO, Vantiv Gaming Solutions
Kim Little Sutherland, Director, Identity Management, Lexis Nexis
Dana Takrudtong, Vice President of Sales, GameAccount Network
 
Day Two has two panels that piqued my interest. The first is a group that deals with the Mid Atlantic Region.

THE MID-ATLANTIC: APPROACHING SATURATION?


Sponsored by eMarker
In the $8.7 billion Mid-Atlantic gaming market, as one state expands, another contracts, leaving the aggrieved state to expand its gaming offerings. And so the arms race continues in the Mid-Atlantic, where the word “saturation” is used frequently amid continuous industry and political activity over the last 10 years. Stakeholders from Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia will discuss how much growth – if any – is left in this six-state area.



Moderator:
Ken LeFevre, Managing Partner, Pathfinder Resouces, LLC
Speakers:
Yuri Cameron, Director, Market Planning, LexisNexis
Wendy Hamilton, General Manager, SugarHouse Casino
Bill Hayles, Vice President & General Manager, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course
Helene Keeley, Member, Delaware House of Representatives
Lou Kirven, Director of Corporate Development, Empire City Casino
Edward Sutor, President & Chief Executive Officer, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino.
 
The second panel is about Marketing and relating to our next and new customer. The group that is able to unlock this door will be the leader of the gaming industry.
 

THE NEXT GENERATION OF GAMBLING

Sponsored by BMM Test Labs

Casino companies, iGaming operators, and game developers are seeking to tap into the fast-growing online segments of social and skill games, where games once played for fun are intersecting with bona fide gambling. Millennials glued to their mobile devices are driving this trend, which leads to critical questions: What will the casino of 2025 look like as gaming, gambling, and mobile intersect on the floor? Are these games a threat or an opportunity for traditional land-based casino operators? Are regulators in current i-gaming states equipped to test and control these new games? Experts from five different perspectives lead the discussion in this engaging panel.
Moderator:
William J. Pascrell, III, Partner, Princeton Public Affairs Group
Speakers:
David Chang, Chief Marketing Officer, Gamblit Gaming
Jeff Connors, President, Traffic Generation Limited
Kurt Freedlund, President, Lotto Interactive
Travis Foley, Executive Vice President, Operations – Americas, BMM Test Labs
Peter Yesawich, Vice Chairman, MMGY Global

I'll give my mini forecast of what I see coming from the 3 aforementioned panels.

I Gaming is the way to game in the future. Less emphasis on the personal social interaction and more connectivity through mobile and broadband. The opportunities for job creation and expansion are tremendous.

The Mid Atlantic Market is at slightly above saturation point. There is no growth in West Virginia and Delaware. Pennsylvania and New Jersey will rely on new games and innovations to grow the market.

The Next Generation customer is not a slot player. He or she is a social game player. The skill based component must be part of what appeals to a millinial customer. By 2025, there could conceivably be a casino within every major city in the United States.
Geoff Freeman



The  Keynote Luncheon Address will be given by Geoff Freeman, President & CEO, American Gaming Association.

Three of the 2015 sponsors of the 19th East Coast Gaming Congress include Drexel University,Stockton University and Fairleigh Dickinson University.

I will provide tweets from the active participants thru out the conference. For the entire lineup of  #ECGCiGI ,go here.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

2015 Jersey Shore Cast

I attended the Jersey Shore cast last Friday at Stockton University Carnegie Building in Atlantic City. There were two panel discussions. I found them both interesting. The following are excerpts from a press release from Stockton's News and Media Relations Director Maryjane Briant.
                          .

The way forward for Atlantic City is to diversify its economy, agreed panelists at the Carnegie Center event, sponsored by the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism (LIGHT).
 
 
The first panel was an academic one with Busler, Tyrrell and Cooke, and moderated by Dr. Israel Posner, executive director of LIGHT.
 
The second, with industry experts Wieland, Pepenella and Joseph Kelly, president of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, was moderated by LIGHT’s new associate director, Felicia Grondin.
 
“This is a transition period and this is a good thing,” said Kelly. “”Starting to diversity is the key.”
He noted that the 85,000-square-foot Bass Pro shop just opened in Atlantic City and that Harrah’s is investing in a major new convention facility, showing confidence that the area will rebound.
 
Beyond that, Kelly said existing properties in Atlantic City should be repurposed as higher education facilities with a “renewable” customer base, as new students start their educations each year.
 
Busler said the city should attract or expand health care facilities, which along with the cultural and educational attractions of a university, would lead more Baby Boomers to retire here.
 
“Meds and Eds,” said Busler, summing up that redevelopment strategy.
 
Kelly said casinos, conventions and tourism events will always have a place in Atlantic City’s diversified economy. The Chamber sponsors the Atlantic City Air Show, which provides $42 million in economic impact in the region, he said. This year, it will be held in September, extending the season.
 
If Revel reopens this summer that would change the picture, but it is unclear whether that will happen, both Tyrrell and Busler said. “The hope is that Revel reopening would grow the market, but the reality is, it may take away from some of the other casinos,” Busler said.
 
Tyrrell also noted that LIGHT issued its quarterly report on Atlantic City Tourism Performance Indicators today, which found that despite the closing of casinos in the last year, much of the gaming-related business remained “captured” in the Atlantic City market.
 
“Per property performance for the remaining casinos in the Atlantic City market increased,” the 2014 year-end report found. Click to read the full report.
 

Stockton University acquisition of  Showboat
 
I want to take the balance of this post to address the elephant in the room. Stockton is involved an acquisition of Showboat Casino. This would immediately revitalize Atlantic City with the "Eds" part of the redevelopment. Add the appeal of staying near the beach to a college student versus inland. The chance to do an internship that is catered to the theoretical perspective and real world application. There should be a way to accommodate education in a gaming environment. UNLV is embraced by Las Vegas.  Atlantic City could open up some of the restrictions that presently stifled development and diversity. The old model does not work anymore.
 
Here are some of the latest events planned for the shore. They include Summer Festivals and New Places to Eat at the Beach. I want to thank Dr. Posner for inviting me to this event. Stockton is known for providing the metrics of projecting trends that are relevant to Atlantic City and New Jersey. Expect more innovation from the East Coast Gaming Congress in Atlantic City from Borgata Casino on May 27-28.
                                            
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