NJ iGaming Profession History $245 Million in Takings Over 2017 for 24.9% Uptick

NJ iGaming Profession History $245 Million in Takings Over 2017 for 24.9% Uptick

New Jersey’s online gambling industry ended 2017 in style, as state-licensed iGaming sites posted monthly revenue of $ 20.75 million for a 12.9 percent increase year-on-year.

December marked the third straight month of revenue growth, capping off a record-breaking year that saw New Jersey iGaming generate $ 245.6 million in annual revenue. The figure easily surpassed last year’s annual revenue of $ 196.7 million, good for a year-on-year gain of 24.9 percent.

When net gaming wins were divided by game type, the casino segment – comprised of table games and slots – was the clear market leader. Casino games accounted for $ 221.3 million, or more than 90 percent, of the annual revenue haul. With more than $ 50.1 million in annual revenue added, the casino segment grew by 30.1 percent year-on-year.

On the other side of the coin, poker revenue dropped slightly from $ 26.5 million in 2016 to $ 24.2 million last year, down 8.5 percent on the year.

The Golden Nugget licensing group – which includes GoldenNuggetCasino.com, BetfairCasino.com, and PlaySugarHouse.com – was the overwhelming leader in December. Golden Nugget licensees posted $ 6.08 million in combined monthly revenue, well ahead of the Borgata licensing group (BorgataCasino, BorgataPoker, and PartyPoker among others) at $ 4.3 million.

The Golden Nugget has dominated New Jersey iGaming since August of 2016, all without an affiliated poker product. Instead, the group rolled out the state’s first Live Dealer table games, which connect players via live stream to human dealers operating genuine casino equipment from within a dedicated onsite studio.

Golden Nugget licensees combined for $ 68.6 million in annual revenue across 2017 – up an astounding 62.3 percent over 2016 – handily beating out Borgata at $ 48.5 million (3.2 percent increase year-on-year).

In early 2011, lawmakers in the Garden State voted to authorize regulated iGaming, but Governor Chris Christie rejected the plan as unfeasible under federal law. At the time, the Department of Justice (DOJ) interpreted the Wire Act of 1961 – a federal ban on sports betting via the telephone – loosely enough to apply the law to all forms of online gambling.

That changed in December of 2011, when the DOJ released a memorandum limiting the Wire Act to sports betting only. As a result, individual states were free to legislate iGaming on their own terms, and by 2013 a newly passed bill was signed into law.

By 2014, the industry generated $ 122.9 million in annual revenue, a figure which has grown by at least 20 percent in every year since. The market’s monthly revenue peaked at $ 21.7 million in March of 2017.

Given Attorney General Jeff Session’s previously stated opposition to online gambling legalization, and recent attempts to revive the “Restore America’s Wire Act” effort to ban iGaming on the federal level, New Jersey’s political establishment has rallied in bipartisan fashion to save the state’s cash cow.

In a letter sent to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of the DOJ, New Jersey’s senior U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and nine colleagues representing both sides of the aisle directly referenced the record-setting run of revenue growth:

“Since 2011, New Jersey has enjoyed robust revenues from online gambling.

In fact, 2017 has already shattered records with $ 200 million in revenue in the first ten months.

This has coincided with a rebirth of Atlantic City. This growth in revenue is in large part due to significant capital investments by the state in online gaming facilities, equipment, and technology that makes online gaming safe and secure.”

With gross gaming revenue taxed at a 15 percent rate, December’s totals sent $ 3.3 million straight into the state’s coffers. Since the launch of regulated iGaming in 2013, New Jersey has generated $ 126.6 million in tax revenue.

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MGM Announces Plans to Build $7 Million Sportsbook at Borgata in Atlantic City

MGM Announces Plans to Build $7 Million Sportsbook at Borgata in Atlantic City

As news trickled out of the Sports Betting USA Conference last week, bettors on the East Coast celebrated the imminent arrival of a fully functional sportsbook at the Borgata.

The crown jewel of the casino industry in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the Borgata was formerly owned and operated by Boyd Gaming, before MGM Resorts International acquired the property in August of last year.

During the Sports Betting USA Conference – held November 14-15 in New York City – MGM Resorts’ vice president of race and sportsbook operations Jay Rood spoke as part of a panel discussion on identifying “optimal routes” to legalized sports betting in the United States.

While addressing the panel, Rood announced that MGM Resorts is preparing to invest $ 7 million in the construction of a full-scale sportsbook at the Borgata.

Rood also told assembled industry stakeholders and media members that he would depart New York City directly for the Borgata, where he planned to “scout what we’re going to do down there” as it pertained to the sportsbook’s design and buildout.

Sports betting is currently prohibited in all but four American states (Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana) under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 – a federal law which has come under intense scrutiny in recent years.

Led by New Jersey, several states have passed legislation to create regulated sports betting industries, provided PASPA is eventually repealed or amended. New Jersey voters approved a sports betting referendum in 2011, and one year later the legislature passed the Sports Wagering Act. Governor Chris Christie eventually signed the bill into law, prompting a spate of lawsuits by sports leagues including the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the “Big Four” professional leagues in North America (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL).

The United States Supreme Court is preparing to hear oral arguments in the case of Christie vs. NCAA et al on December 4, and according to Rood, MGM Resorts is optimistic that New Jersey will prevail:

“We’re in line with thinking that there’s going to be some sort of movement on this.

We’re preparing for all the different scenarios.

Everyone is going to have to explore how it’s going to fit into (the) business model of their existing operations.”

The Court’s ruling isn’t expected to be rendered until May of next year, but with industry experts like ESPN’s David Purdum reading the tea leaves and putting the odds of a New Jersey victory at even money, MGM Resorts and its competitors aren’t wasting any time.

Major U.K.-based sportsbook operator William Hill, which is also active throughout America’s gambling hotspots like Nevada and New Jersey, announced similar plans for its Monmouth Park horseracing track.

Located in Oceanport, New Jersey, the Monmouth Park track is already home to a $ 1 million William Hill sports bar facility, built in 2013 after Christie signed the sports betting bill into law. Per William Hill US’ chief executive officer Joe Asher, the sports bar was designed to be converted into a sportsbook “within weeks” of a change in federal law:

“One day, sports betting will be legal in New Jersey. When it is, William Hill will be there.”

Dennis Drazin – who serves as an advisor to the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemens Association and Darby Development, the operator of Monmouth Park – also spoke at the Sports Betting USA Conference, where he signaled that a larger $ 5 million sports bar / sportsbook facility would soon be in the works.

These hopeful operators aren’t beholden to the Court’s ruling either.

To begin the legislative year, Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) introduced federal legislation which would fully repeal PASPA – casting the law’s future into further doubt.

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PokerStars Pays Out $39 Million to Host Highest-Volume Day in Online Poker History

PokerStars Pays Out $39 Million to Host Highest-Volume Day in Online Poker History

In a press release issued on May 21, PokerStars predicted that the day would go on to become the largest in online poker history, with more than $ 28 million in guaranteed payouts on the line.

And after 1,275 tournaments were put in the books, PokerStars proudly proclaimed the record-breaking attempt to be a success, having smashed that guarantee by paying out over $ 39 million.

To achieve those results, PokerStars expanded its schedule of standard tournaments to coincide with the site’s 2017 Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) series and its three-tiered Main Event.

Like all SCOOP tournaments, the Main Event is divided into (L)ow, (M)edium, and (H)igh categories, with buy-ins set at $ 109, $ 1,050, and $ 10,300, respectively. The guaranteed prize pools for Sunday’s trio of Main Events were tabbed at $ 1.5 million (L), $ 3 million (M), and $ 5 million (H), and the High version guaranteed a first-prize payout of $ 1 million to the eventual winner.

The previous record for combined payouts in a single day was $ 35 million, set on May 22 of 2016 – when that year’s SCOOP series concluded.

Ahead of the May 21 record rush, Severin Rasset – who serves as director of poker innovations and operations for PokerStars – commented on the undeniable allure that massive guarantees hold for recreational players and professionals alike:

“This is a really special day for us and our players, which will go down in online poker history as a record breaking moment.

The huge prize pools on offer further cement our position as the biggest and the best and on Sunday when players compete for $ 28 million we will be delivering millions of winning moments too.”

And when the once lofty benchmark was surpassed by over $ 11 million, or more than 39 percent, Rasset was quick to thank PokerStars’ player base for turning out in record numbers:

“Thank you to all our players who participated in our tournaments making it possible for us to break these records. Being able to offer the biggest day in the online poker history is a victory for everyone in poker and we’re delighted that so many of our players joined us to make this a reality.

We are proud to have been able to provide so many winning moments to so many of our players and we’re looking forward to providing even more for a long time to come.”

Per the most recent press release, the 2017 SCOOP schedule generated $ 29.5 million of the $ 39 million in payouts distributed across the entire platform.

Those figures included the aforementioned Main Events and their $ 9.5 million in combined guarantees, along with the conclusion of three SCOOP-01 opening events.

Buy-ins for the (L), (M), and (H) tiers of SCOOP-1 were set at $ 11, $ 109, and $ 1,050, respectively, and each event was played out under PokerStars’ popular “Phase” format – allowing for multiple reentries over a series of starting flights spread throughout the schedule. The guaranteed prize pools for these three events were also in the seven-figures, set at $ 1 million (L), $ 1.5 million (M), and $ 5 million (H) to pump up SCOOP’s contribution to the new record.

The largest of these SCOOP-01 Phase tournaments was designed with a $ 1 million guarantee for the winner. In a rare show of cooperation, however, the last five players at the final table agreed to chop the remaining prize pool after surviving a massive field of 5,821 entrants.

Holding twice as many chips as his nearest competitor, Germany’s “girafganger7” claimed the lion’s share at $ 745,000, while none other than Gordon “holla@yoboy” Vayo actually won the tournament to take home $ 692,460. Playing from Canada to access PokerStars legally, the American-born Vayo is best known for his runner-up finish in last year’s World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.

As for the grand finale, the Main Event (H) final table concludes on May 23, and in an interesting twist for poker fans, decorated pros Harrison “gibler321” Gimble and Connor “blanconegro” Drinan are sitting in first and third on the chip leaderboard, respectively.

Gimble and Drinan are linked as prior winners of the Florida State Poker Championship, and both have recorded live cashes larger than the $ 1.35 million guaranteed prize for winning the SCOOP Main Event (H).

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**JACKPOT HANDPAY** – Celebrating 30 MILLION Views – MEGA HUGE SLOT WIN! – Slot Machine Bonus

**JACKPOT HANDPAY** – Celebrating 30 MILLION Views – MEGA HUGE SLOT WIN! – Slot Machine Bonus

**JACKPOT HANDPAY** - Celebrating 30 MILLION Views - MEGA HUGE SLOT WIN! - Slot Machine Bonus

**JACKPOT HANDPAY** – Celebrating 30 MILLION Views – MEGA HUGE SLOT WIN! – Slot Machine Bonus

Wow! I am so happy for this milestone of **30 Million** YouTube Views. It has been a fun journey thus far…many peaks and valleys but good in the end. I want to share this special video for my “true” subscribers/followers. The ones that support me on a regular basis. I dedicate this video to you! I hope you enjoy it. Please remember to thumbs up, favorite, and share the video. I really appreciate it. I want this one to really do good. Thanks for everything. I appreciate it.

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There are many different types of online slot machine games available to the public nowadays. Since Charles Fey invented the first slot machine in 1895 everything imaginable has been done to this popular sport to improve the excitement, especially at online casinos. Besides the simple 3 reel slots you have 20 to 50 betline slots. There are interactive slot games with bonus game features embedded within the spin modes. But there is nothing like the jackpot slots to keep a player coming back for more.

With the popularity of online gaming growing year by year there are more people playing jackpot slot machine games online. The more people that play, the more money is available to increase the amount of the jackpot. The most popular jackpot slot games on the market are Progressive Jackpots. Progressive jackpots grow more the more players are using them. Normally a progressive jackpot is operated and promoted by the online software provider in conjunction with the software provider’s partner online casinos. The software providers might have as many as 50 casinos using there online slot games. Every time any one of the players at any one of the online casinos, spins the reels 3 to 4% of the wager will be accumulated in a special account of the software provider. This is the money that will eventually be paid out to the winner. So there could be thousands of players every day adding to the winning sum of the jackpot. Sometimes you can see directly on the slot machine game board the amount of the current jackpot. The amount normally has the last two figures going higher and higher every second. You can actually see the jackpot in real time grow and grow. It is impressive really. I have seen progressive jackpots of $ 5,000,000 and up. These are truly “Life Changing Jackpots”. I would imagine it would be quit a shock to win one.

Not all Jackpots are progressive. Some Jackpots have a set amount and do not changing. These can be equally attractive. One of the big advantages of these set prize jackpots is that you have a better chance of wining. True the amount could be less than a million euros but it would be more realistic to think that you could walk away with the prize. Many of these type jackpots are won by matching 5 symbols up on an active beltline. Or too, they could be won inside an interactive bonus game feature. Interactive bonus game features are more and more the fashion. I see more and more interactive slots being released everyday. There was a time when they were unfamiliar to the public. But nowadays more than half of the newly released slot games are interactive.

The last type of jackpot you will find online is a type where you do not leave the bonus game mode until you claim it. These of coarse are of a smaller scale. You can see these jackpots ranging from a few hundred dollars to one or two thousand. Lucky frog by NetEnt is an example. When you hit three frogs on an active betline you enter the bonus round. In the bonus game round you spin the jackpot wheel. The wheel must land on one of the 3 jackpot sizes. Depending on the amount of your wager you will have a better or worse chance of landing on the larger jackpot amount.

When Fey was alive the jackpot amount had to be very small. There was only 3 reels with 10 symbols on each reel. So there was not enough combinations to grant a large jackpot. Now there are 5 reels with more than 50 symbols per reel. This alone let the jackpot amount out of the box. Now for a jackpot amount the designers could program a 15,000,000 to one chance of winning a jackpot with a five reel slot containing 50 symbols each.

If you are serious about wining a large progressive jackpot then it would be best to focus on one that you can play away from home. Many avid jackpot chasers try their luck between lunch breaks and on vacation. So a no download slot game offered by flash casinos is what you need. These are also Mac compatible. A no download casino can be played on a computer that is not yours. It would not be recommendable to download a program into a computer you do not own. The information privy to you and the casino could be compromised once you leave the play. So take this under consideration while choosing a progressive jackpot to play on.

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Poker Rooms Across Nevada Collect $8.9 Million in Rake During November

Poker Rooms Across Nevada Collect $8.9 Million in Rake During November

Per the latest revenue report released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB), the Silver State collected $ 8.92 million in rake from poker tables in November of 2016.

That number represented a slight dip from the $ 8.97 million raked by Nevada poker rooms in September of 2015.

This particular set of NGCB data concerns cash game poker tables only, as tournament tables are tracked using a different accounting method. Cash game rake constitutes a small percentage of every pot generated, which is removed from the pot and added to the casino’s coffers. For tournament play, on the other hand, casinos add entry fees to the total buy-in figure.

On a regional level, nearly 64 percent of the total poker room revenue was generated in the city of Las Vegas – representing another small decrease from last November’s 65 percent mark. Poker rooms located on The Strip or in outlying areas of Sin City hauled in $ 5.68 million in rake altogether.

The Strip area is by far Nevada’s most productive poker room locality, serving as the venue for 20 poker rooms which spread 275 tables. With 65 poker rooms scattered throughout Nevada, covering 625 poker tables, The Strip is home to just over 30 percent of the state’s poker rooms, and 44 percent of its tables.

On a year-to-year basis, Nevada’s poker economy generated $ 117.7 million in rake between November of 2015 and November of 2016. This figure is nearly identical to the yearly rake collected over the same 12-month span between 2014 and 2015.

Over the course of 2016, every month produced a poker rake between $ 8 million and $ 10 million – except for June and July. The summer months are when the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and other annual tournament series transform Las Vegas into a poker paradise, as thousands upon thousands of recreational players and professionals arrive en masse to compete in the game’s world championships.

Accordingly, the influx of poker players during those months results in monthly poker room rake rates doubling on average in June, while increasing by 50 percent in July as the WSOP schedule winds down.

Overall, the comprehensive gambling win posted by Nevada’s casinos totaled $ 930.4 million this past November, representing a drop of 1.47 percent from the previous November’s $ 944.3 million win rate.

But as Michael Lawton, who serves as senior research analyst for the NGCB, told the Las Vegas Sun in a December 29 interview, using month-to-month trends can be deceiving:

“The state was facing a difficult comparison. Last November, the state was up 7.8 percent. But the state has only recorded two decreases in the last six months. For the calendar year, the state is up 1.7 percent.”

The table below contains a full review of Nevada’s poker room rake figures on a monthly basis over the last year:

Nevada Poker Room Rake by Month
Month – Rake – Year-to-Year Movement
January – $ 9.5 million – Down 2.85 percent
February – $ 8.98 million – Up 5.44 percent
March – $ 9.68 million – Down 0.01 percent
April – $ 8.57 million – Up 0.86 percent
May – $ 8.88 million – Down 13.92 percent
June – $ 16.14 million – Up 1.88 percent
July – $ 12.33 million – Up 7.63 percent
August – $ 8.24 million – Down 3.23 percent
September – $ 8.44 million – Up 1.47 percent
October – $ 8.71 million – Down 0.23 percent
November – $ 8.92 million – Down 0.65 percent

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Borgata Slams Phil Ivey with Demand for $15.5 Million in Edge-Sorting Damages

Borgata Slams Phil Ivey with Demand for $15.5 Million in Edge-Sorting Damages

As one of the world’s preeminent high-stakes gamblers, poker pro Phil Ivey has experienced massive wins and losses worth millions of dollars – part and parcel of a successful career spent crushing casino games all over the planet.

But even for Ivey, the possibility of suffering a swing valued at more than $ 25.5 million in just over two weeks’ time must be concerning to say the least.

That possibility became quite probable on November 11th, when lawyers for the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey submitted a supplementary filing to US District Court Judge Noel J. Hillman, in which the casino requests damages from Ivey in excess of $ 15.5 million.

For Ivey, the damages demand from Borgata represents his second setback related to his now infamous 2012 “edge-sorting” scandal involving high-stakes sessions of baccarat at two major casinos. Along with Borgata, Ivey practiced edge-sorting – a controversial method of “advantage” play in which players scan the backs of cards to detect imperfections in the printing which can give away the card’s rank – at Crockford’s casino in London back in 2012.

At the time, Ivey managed to win £7.7 million ($ 9.7 million) from Crockford’s over the course of a two-day session in which he alternated between $ 50,000 and $ 150,000 bets on single hands of the baccarat variant punto banco.

Crockford’s management later detected abnormalities in the cards, however, and coupled with behavior by Ivey and his companion Cheung Yin Sun that was deemed suspicious in hindsight, Crockford’s refused to pay out the winnings.

Ivey sued the casino shortly thereafter seeking to release the enormous sum, and lost an initial ruling in 2014 before lodging an appeal. That appeal was denied on November 3rd of this year – effectively ending Ivey’s chances at claiming nearly $ 10 million in funds.

Eight days later, Ivey received notice from the Borgata demanding $ 15.5 million in damages relating to the casino’s own edge-sorting case.

Before heading to Crockford’s to apply his edge-sorting techniques – which involved inside knowledge of the Gemaco brand playing cards carrying a printing defect that allowed informed, sharp-eyed players to differentiate low and high cards – Ivey and Sun used the same process to beat Borgata out of $ 9.6 million over the course of four high-stakes sessions of mini-baccarat in 2012.

In this case, however, Borgata was unable to detect any irregularities in the game before paying Ivey the full balance of his winnings. In April of 2014, with the full extent of Ivey’s edge-sorting scheme exposed by his own filings in the Crockford’s case, Borgata sued the poker pro to recoup its losses.

On October 21st, Judge Hillman issued a “split decision” in the case, siding with Ivey in rejecting Borgata’s assertion that he willfully cheated to defraud the game, while also ruling in the casino’s favor by holding that Ivey violated his inherent contract to abide by the tenets of the New Jersey Casino Control Act (NJCCA).

The judge then gave Borgata’s lawyers 20 days to determine a justifiable figure to represent damages, and the casino replied by requesting $ 15.5 million from Ivey.

The amount constitutes the original $ 9.626 million in winnings, $ 5.418 million in “expectation damages” based on Ivey’s bet sizing and the true house edge of a baccarat game in which edge-sorting is not present, $ 504,000 in craps winnings that occurred during the same period, and $ 249,199 in comps issued throughout 2012.

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