The reels are always spinning in the gambling industry, and “The Double Down” is here every Friday to catch you up on all of the week’s biggest news. Sports Handle’s “Get a Grip” rounds up everything on the sports betting side, and US Bets provides the best of the rest: brick-and-mortar happenings, online casino developments, poker headlines, and more. So pull up a chair, crunch the numbers, and slide forward another stack of chips.
No, not that Tropicana Field
It’s still not quite official that the Oakland A’s will be moving to Las Vegas, but … it’s happening. The questions are when exactly and, more to the point, where.
America’s gambling capital welcomed the NHL’s Golden Knights at the then-newly built T-Mobile Arena on the Strip starting in 2017, and the NFL’s Raiders moved into the brand new Allegiant Stadium just off the Strip in 2020. Where a new ballpark for the A’s will be built is a moving target, but the latest report from The Nevada Independent has it potentially headed for the Strip, pretty much across the street from T-Mobile Arena, replacing a casino-hotel that has stood there since before the first Super Bowl was played.
The Tropicana Las Vegas, which opened back in the Rat Pack days in 1957, would be razed, sources told The Independent, replaced by a $1.5 billion, 35,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof. (Yes, air conditioning is required when playing baseball in Vegas during the summer months.)
The original plan was for a stadium built just off the Strip in a deal with Red Rock Resorts that would require $500 million in public funding. This new agreement with Bally’s Corp. for the Tropicana land would reportedly reduce the public funding required to $395 million. Bally’s would also build a new hotel-casino across from the ballpark once stadium construction is complete.
As for a timeline, the new ballpark could open as soon as 2027. The A’s lease in Oakland, however, is up after 2024, meaning interim housing is likely. It’s possible the Vegas A’s would play for a couple of seasons at Las Vegas Ballpark, home of the Las Vegas Aviators, the A’s Triple-A affiliate.
That potential cohabitation with the Aviators brings up a notable point of comparison: The A’s rank dead last in MLB in home attendance this season at just 9,752 fans per game. That’s not all that far ahead of how the Aviators drew last season, averaging 6,910 fans, the ninth-highest among all minor league teams.
Whether the A’s ultimately play in a ballpark built where the Trop now stands or on some other pile of former casino rubble, it would seem reasonable to reach the conclusion that the A’s, whenever they throw their first pitch in Las Vegas, will generate much more money at the gate and draw a much bigger crowd than the Oakland version does these days.
This week on Gamble On …
Every Thursday, US Bets drops a new episode of the Gamble On podcast, and this week’s celebrated the 20th anniversary of Chris Moneymaker’s historic World Series of Poker victory by welcoming the man himself to reflect on the past and present of the game he unexpectedly altered in 2003:
"My boss came into my office and basically told me, after [I finished second in a WPT event in 2004], he said, 'If you don't quit, I'm gonna fire you.'" — @CMONEYMAKER, on a new #GambleOn podcast https://t.co/imeYk6BBVQ pic.twitter.com/1ZEooFm23K
— US Bets (@US_Bets) May 11, 2023
Where have the last five years gone?
From PASPA To Present: An Oral History Of The U.S. Sports Betting Gold Rush
Eyes on the prize
Gambling Company Executives Bullish On Future Of Online Casino
A blueprint for NYC casino plans
Roc Nation Pens Open Letter Touting Caesars Times Square Proposal
Hire and hire
Bally’s Publishes Job Postings For Downtown Chicago Casino
Misery in Missouri
Inside The Illegal Machines That Are Holding Up Missouri Sports Betting
A different kind of misery at MotorCity
MotorCity Casino Absorbs Historic Retail Sportsbook Loss In April
Bigger and bester
Underdog Blows Up Best Ball With $15 Million Flagship Tournament
First fixed-odds horse wagering app launches in NJ
On Thursday, BetMakers announced the launch of MonmouthBets, the first fixed-odds horse wagering app ever made available in the United States.
As the name indicates, the app is being launched in partnership with New Jersey’s Monmouth Park, which has been a lone trailblazer in legally offering fixed-odds horse betting in the U.S. This type of wagering — which is more akin to traditional sports betting than horse racing’s parimutuel pools, where odds can fluctuate right up until a race starts — has been seen by some as a way to attract younger bettors to the sport but has been met with wariness by horsemen’s groups and state regulators.
New Jersey is the only state where fixed-odds wagering is currently legal and operational (MonmouthBets is only available to Garden State bettors for now), although there have been rumblings of this type of horse betting eventually being offered in Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, and New York. Per a BetMakers press release, in addition to betting on Monmouth Park’s races, New Jersey horseplayers can place fixed-odds wagers on races at Tampa Bay Downs, Canterbury Park, Delaware Park, Hawthorne Race Course, Emerald Downs, and Century Mile, along with the all-turf “Monmouth at Meadowlands” meet that begins Sept. 15.
— Mike Seely
Caesars planning standalone iCasino app
Online casino customers typically access the games through a shared platform with an operator’s sportsbook, but Caesars announced plans this month to offer an alternative aimed at drawing more slots players in states where iCasino is legal.
On a quarterly earnings call, executives indicated Caesars will begin providing a standalone online casino app sometime in the third quarter. It will include “increased game content, which will include new proprietary offerings and improved marketing capabilities,” according to Eric Hession, president of Caesars Sports and Online Gaming.
Hession noted that players who enter the company’s online casino through the shared sportsbook platform are more likely to be male and younger than typical casino customers, which leads to a higher percentage of table games played online. “We like that, but what we’re missing is that core slot customer … which is our core customer from the land-based perspective,” he said.
In Pennsylvania, Caesars since April 25 has been offering Tropicana PA Casino online as a rebranded alternative for iCasino play instead of accessing its online games through the shared sportsbook-casino platform.
— Gary Rotstein
"It's never just another tournament. It's still the Main Event. … Personally, I feel blessed to be able to play it every year." Twenty years after his game-changing WSOP win, @CMONEYMAKER looks ahead to the next one on this week's episode of Gamble On: https://t.co/imeYk6BBVQ pic.twitter.com/owfTp6u0OY
— US Bets (@US_Bets) May 12, 2023
More from around the gambling biz
CLEAN YOUR ROOM!: Are hotels doing daily housekeeping? Nevada considers end to daily room cleaning mandate [USA Today]
SUNSHINE STATE STING: Illegal gambling sting takes down locations in Tampa, St. Petersburg [WFLA.com]
SERIOUS HORSE POWER: Kentucky Derby: Straight pools power wagering to another record [DRF]
FONTAINEBLEAU, FINALLY: Fontainebleau Las Vegas unveils opening, hiring details [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
SMOKE UP?: Shreveport rethinking smoking ban for casinos [KTAL News]
POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE: Cordish Companies, Caesars Entertainment combine for development deal in Pompano Beach [CDC Gaming Reports]
DARK ALLI: Alligator shows up in swimming pool at Lake Charles casino [KPEL 965]
Image: Blundell Design
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