Casino Watch - May 2004

28 April 2004
WSOP Kicks Off

The five-week long World Series of Poker kicked off last week at the Horseshoe under new management from Harrah's Entertainment.

The event, in its 35th year, is expected to be the biggest and best yet, with more than 1,200 players expected for the final event scheduled to start May 24.

Based on the expected number of participants, the total prize money in will be more than $20 million and could easily exceed $25 million.

The World Championship event alone will award more than $10 million in prize money, with 100 or more players expected to win cash.

Last year's world champion, Chris Moneymaker, qualified to play in an online satellite tournament and walked away with $2.5 million.

Ritz Club Online Adds Crypto Poker

CryptoLogic's newest poker software has made its debut at Ritz Club London Online. The Ritz Club, regarded as one of the most glamorous gambling establishments in London, has used its online site to leverage its brand among players and get new customers.

The new software, developed by CryptoLogic subsidiary WagerLogic Limited, continues a relationship between the two companies dating back to 2002.

CrytoLogic said rose to account for more than 15 percent of the global online gaming market last year.

Thailand Senate Votes against Casinos

A Senate committee yesterday expressed strong opposition to legalizing the casino business in Thailand, arguing that allowing gambling would do more harm than good to the country.

The Senate Committee on Social Development and Human Security outlined 14 reasons why casinos should not be allowed to open in Thailand. Among them was that gambling would not help economic development but would simply cause money to circulate among gamblers.

The panel also voiced concern that gambling would affect the country's productivity, as workers could become obsessed with betting.

Jersey Island Revisits Online Casinos Issue

Officials in the U.K. Jersey Islands are considering a proposal to license a new land-based casino and a commercial bingo hall, as well as set up regulations for online casinos to be hosted out of the island.

If the states agree, the Island's gambling laws would be overhauled by a package of recommendations brought by the Economic Development Committee.

They say a properly regulated casino could make between £12 million and £20 million per year for the states, which would be of "significant economic benefit" to the island. The committee also wants to see the introduction of commercial bingo, which could link to the national chains of bingo halls offering large prizes, and online gambling, which could see Internet-based bookmakers register in the island and pay more attractive tax rates.

Nevada Regulators Fine Hard Rock for Advertisements

Officials with the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and Las Vegas agreed last week to pay $300,000 to the state Gaming Control Board to settle a recent three-count complaint stemming from the Las Vegas resort's alleged indecent and inappropriate advertising.

After several weeks of negotiations, Hard Rock Hotel President Kevin Kelley said Thursday his company agreed to pay the fine so it could maintain a good relationship with state gaming officials. The company had been considering a court battle over the matter.

On Jan. 21, the three-member board said Hard Rock damaged the state's image and violated a 2002 agreement that required the often edge-pushing hotel-casino to weed out any "questionable elements" from its advertising campaigns.

Regulators stepped in after the company sponsored billboards and radio ads that referred to cheating at gaming, having sex all night and bigamists with a penchant for abusing prescription medication.

The company agreed to pay $100,000 for each violation of state gaming laws that require operators to exercise "decency, dignity, good taste, honesty and inoffensiveness" in their advertising and public relations efforts.

Wednesday's proposed settlement, which requires approval by the Nevada Gaming Commission, includes verbiage that indicates Hard Rock did not intentionally seek to promote casino cheating, drug use or other illegal activity.