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Archive for March 18th, 2019

Carl Icahn Stake in Casino Giant Caesars Keeps Growing

New York billionaire investor Carl Icahn keeps growing his stake in Las Vegas hotel and casino giant Caesars Entertainment Corp., as he is pressing the company to merge with a rival operator or sell itself

GuruFocus reported earlier this week that the activist investor has purchased 20,724,421 shares of one of the world’s largest casino and hospitality operators, upping his holding to 20.88%. News about Mr. Icahn’s interest in Caesars first emerged in January. Back then, it was still unknown how much of Caesars stock the businessman had amassed.

He confirmed that he had begun building a stake in the company last month. Mr. Icahn’s interest in Caesars represented nearly 10% in company stock at the time. The businessman has added more than 10% of Caesars shares in the following weeks.

It became known earlier this month that the New York investor has become the company’s largest shareholder. His holding in Caesars stood at 15.53% upon that announcement. Casino News Daily reported earlier this week that the billionaire businessman has increased his stake to 17.75%, adding 15 million shares.

According to GuruFocus, the latest transaction occurred on Monday and involved Mr. Icahn’s Icahn Enterprises purchasing 20.7 million shares of the casino powerhouse to increase his holding to 20.88%.

What’s Next for Caesars?

Aside from building a stake in the gaming and hospitality company, Mr. Icahn has also secured a board representation. Earlier this month, Caesars has agreed to appoint three new members of its Board of Directors who were named by its new largest stakeholder.

Under a recently penned agreement between Mr. Icahn and the Las Vegas-headquartered company, the businessman will be able to name a fourth director if Caesars fails to find a replacement of its departing CEO Mark Frissora within 45 days.

Mr. Frissora was originally expected to step down in February, but it was announced that he would stay with the company until April. Sources familiar with the matter have said that Mr. Icahn wants a person with considerable experience in the gambling industry to replace Caesars’ outgoing Chief. The company has reportedly told the businessman that it would consider his proposal to appoint Affinity Gaming CEO Anthony Rodio as its top executive.

As mentioned earlier, Mr. Icahn has been pushing Caesars to merge or sell itself as he believes this is “the best path forward for the company.”

The gaming and hospitality operator announced earlier this week plans to trim its corporate workforce to reduce annual costs by $40 million. Caesars further clarified that many of the jobs cut would be positions that are currently vacant. All affected employees would be offered severance packages, the company also said.

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The post Carl Icahn Stake in Casino Giant Caesars Keeps Growing appeared first on Casino News Daily.

New Trust to Raise Funds from Irish Bookmakers for Gambling Addiction Research

A new trust will direct funds to gambling addiction research and counseling services, as Ireland struggles to regulate its gambling industry

The Irish Bookmakers Association will pledge €1 million a year to help a newly established body to tackle problem gambling and gambling addiction in the country, local news outlet the Independent reports.

The Gambling Awareness Trust was formed just recently and aims to raise funds for research into problems caused by excessive gambling, and information campaigns. The new body will also help finance agencies that provide counseling and related services.

Former Irish Junior Agriculture Minister Tom Hayes will chair the trust. Its board will not have a representative from the Irish Bookmakers Association, it became known. An official announcement about the body is yet to be released.

News about the new Gambling Awareness Trust emerged amid growing criticism towards the Irish government, which has been delaying the adoption of a bill that aims to re-organize and regulate the local gambling market for six years now.

The Gambling Control Bill was introduced in 2013, but has seen little progress in the parliament. The piece covers areas that Ireland’s original gambling laws – the Betting Act of 1931 and the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1953 – do not include provisions for as they were both adopted way before the digital age.

Gambling Addiction Out of Control

Fianna Fail TD Jack Chambers has said that gambling addiction in the country “has spiralled completely out of control and is causing much harm, and is ruining lives and tearing apart families.” The lawmaker, along with his party, is the main sponsor of the Gambling Control Bill.

He has further pointed out that fellow lawmakers have done “absolutely nothing” to try to tackle the issue and help people affected by it, and that they have “turned their backs entirely on gambling addicts” by failing to advance his legislative piece.

According to a recent drug prevalence survey released by the Irish Department of Health, nearly 5% of all men and 2% of all women reported chasing gambling losses.

Michael Devine, clinical director of Tabor Group, a Cork-based provider of residential addiction treatment services, told the Independent he was unaware of the establishment of the new trust, but pointed out that funds for research and treatment would be welcome.

Mr. Devine went on to say that while the number of gambling addicts receiving treatment by Tabor Group is relatively small, many people with other addictions also develop gambling-related addictions. For instance, cocaine addicts can develop gambling problems, he explained, because they think gambling “could result in easy money to pay drug debts.” Gambling thus becomes a secondary addiction for these people.

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