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Archive for April 12th, 2019

Casino Giant Caesars to Go on the Market This Week

Caesars is expected to confirm that its board has approved its potential sale by the end of this week amid pressure from its largest stockholder

Las Vegas casino and hospitality powerhouse Caesars Entertainment Corp. is reportedly putting itself on the market as soon as this week, the New York Post reported Wednesday citing unnamed sources familiar with the latest developments inside the company.

It is believed that the casino operator, which owns 55 properties across four continents, has finally succumbed to pressure from New York activist investor Carl Icahn. The businessman recently became Caesars’ largest shareholder. He first announced that he has begun building a stake in the company early this year. His interest has grown to 28.5% since then.

Mr. Icahn has previously said that he believes that a sale or a merger would be the best path forward for Caesars, which emerged from a long and complex bankruptcy in the fall of 2017 and has embarked on a mission to reduce a hefty $18 billion debt while expanding across multiple verticals.

According to sources, the company will announce this week that its board has approved a sale process. Caesars recently appointed three new members to its board who were named by Mr. Icahn. A fourth member picked by the businessman is likely to join the company’s board in just a few days.

Under an agreement between Mr. Icahn and Caesars, the activist investor would be allowed to increase his board representation by a fourth member if the company fails to name a replacement to its outgoing CEO Mark Frissora by April 15.

Tilman Fertitta Renews Takeover Bid

It is also understood that another potential buyer of Caesars has been given access to the company’s financials. According to sources, Texas businessman Tilman Fertitta was recently allowed to conduct due diligence. Mr. Fertitta is the owner of the Golden Nugget casino chain.

Last fall, the billionaire made an offer to merge his gambling empire with Caesars, but the latter rebuffed his bid. It emerged earlier this year that Mr. Fertitta was still interested in a tie-up and was preparing to make another offer.

Another suitor was offered a peek into Caesars’ financial records last month. News broke in March that the company was in early merger talks with rival Eldorado Resorts. The latter operator manages 26 properties in multiple states around the US.

Aside from a sale, Mr. Icahn is also believed to be pressuring Caesars to cut corporate costs. The company announced not long ago that it would trim its corporate workforce to reduce annual expenses.

Its plan involves eliminating currently vacant positions and laying off employees mostly based at its Las Vegas headquarters. The move is expected to reduce the company’s costs by $40 million.

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The post Casino Giant Caesars to Go on the Market This Week appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Rich Alati Tops SHRP Showdown Event #9 for $107,740

Action at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood is in full throttle with this year’s Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown currently taking place at the popular gambling venue

Rich Alati was declared the champion of the ninth event on the schedule of the poker festival last night after dominating performance at the final table and a two-way deal with poker pro Sam Panzica. Alati claimed the trophy and $107,740 in prize money.

It was a busy day for the hopefuls that made it into the final day of the $1,100 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry) tournament. Action kicked off with 107 players down from the overall field of 689 entrants. It was Ofer Peleg who led the remaining survivors into the final day of action. The player eventually busted in 22nd place.

The first important task before the competitors was to burst the money bubble. The tournament featured a guaranteed prize pool of $250,000, but that guarantee was crushed and smashed. The top 87 entries split the overall prize pool of $668,330, with min-cashes starting from $1,644. The money bubble burst in the second level of the day.

Alati had gained some momentum by the time the tournament’s field was reduced to just the final three tables. Down to the final table, the soon-to-be-champion went on a spree of eliminations that helped him built a massive stack and come atop his fellow runners for the title.

Alati and Panzica Chop It Up

Three-handed play was quite a spectacle. Alati held the chip lead at that point with Panzica and Ryan Olisar trailing not far behind. Olisar doubled through Alati to get some of his momentum. Stacks were nearly even at that point in action. The eventual champion then sent Olisar to the rail to set the heads-up match.

The two remaining players decided to chop what had left of the prize pool, with Alati, being the chip leader at the time, taking home the trophy. Panzica’s share of the money totaled $100,836, while Alati collected $107,740.

A few months ago, Alati won a prop bet that, as the player noted, really changed the way he approached the game. The player had to stay in a blacked-out and sound proof bathroom for 20 days.

Commenting on winning the challenge, Alati said that it definitely helped him get himself centered. The prop bet gave the player “time to reflect” and helped him become “more patient at the table, more calm, and to think logically.” Bearing in mind his performance last night, his recent isolation has clearly been a game-changing experience.

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The post Rich Alati Tops SHRP Showdown Event #9 for $107,740 appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Wynn Resorts to Ban Founding Father Steve Wynn from Its Casinos

Wynn presented MassGaming with a set of measures it intends to deploy to prove it has severed ties with its founder and is suitable to keep its casino license

Wynn Resorts plans to ban its founder and former boss Steve Wynn from all its properties as part of the company’s efforts to keep its gaming license in the Massachusetts gaming market, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

The Las Vegas gaming and hospitality giant filed this past Monday a 49-page legal brief with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission that contained 13 measures the company plans to introduce in a bid to prove its suitability to operate the $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor. The property is slated to open doors on June 23 near Boston.

Following a three-day critical hearing last week during which Massachusetts gaming regulators heard Wynn executives, among others, on why the company should keep its license in the state, MassGaming is now assessing all the information it has collected to make a final decision.

An investigation into Wynn’s suitability to operate the luxury resort in the city of Everett near Boston commenced just days after the publication of a Wall Street Journal report outlining a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Wynn. The embattled casino mogul faced multiple allegations from former and current employees at the company he co-founded in the early 2000s.

Banished

Wynn Resorts said that it would ban Mr. Wynn from all its properties, including its flagship resorts Wynn Las Vegas and Encore as well as the soon-to-be-opened Encore Boston Harbor. The casino mogul stepped down as CEO and Chairman of the casino company in February in the wake of the WSJ article.

Mr. Wynn was an instrumental figure in Wynn Resorts’ development and cementing as a leader in the global casino market. He was involved in many aspects of the company’s operations and was even the mastermind behind the iconic design of its properties.

In its 49-page brief, Wynn Resorts said that other measures it would take to prove its suitability to be one of the few companies authorized to conduct casino gambling in Massachusetts would include thorough review of any sexual harassment and assault reports filed; annual review of discrimination and harassment policies by an outside expert; harassment and discrimination training of all employees.

In addition, the company will make sure that its compliance committee is always composed of independent board members, that none of its executives and board members seek legal counsel that had previously represented Mr. Wynn, and that any civil case against the company is reported to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission within a ten-day period.

Wynn Resorts has had an eventful week as the company initiated and then called off talks over the potential acquisition of Australian casino operator Crown Resorts for $7.1 billion.

In addition, the company issued a statement earlier this week that its current CEO Matt Maddox was “found suitable as an officer of Wynn Resorts” by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The Nevada regulator slapped a record $20 million fine on the casino operator earlier this year for failing to address properly the sexual harassment allegations leveled against its former boss.

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The post Wynn Resorts to Ban Founding Father Steve Wynn from Its Casinos appeared first on Casino News Daily.

NJ Casino Workers Union Demands Regulatory Action against Greedy Investors

Atlantic City casino workers union demands speedy action against New York investors who want to “squeeze” money out of the local gambling industry

The labor union representing more than a third of Atlantic City’s casino workers urged Wednesday state gaming regulators to take quick actions to protect the industry and those employed in it from the disastrous impact Wall Street investors could unleash in their pursuit of quick profit, The Press of Atlantic City writes.

A number of New York hedge funds have recently bought stock in companies that operate casino resorts in Atlantic City, most prominently MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Corp.

UNITE HERE! Local 54, which represents more than 10,000 casino workers, told the New Jersey Casino Control Commission during a Wednesday public meeting that the regulator needs to take measures in order to protect employees at Boardwalk properties from “potentially hostile actions” of company investors.

Local 54 President Bob McDevitt told regulators that they are “uniquely positioned” to interfere if investors’ “only interest is to squeeze money out of the company and it’s going to hurt the industry” in Atlantic City.

According to Mr. McDevitt, in their pursuit of quick profit, hedge funds could hurt the city’s casino businesses and market, and by default, those employed at the gambling venues.

Local 54’s History with a Particular New York Investor

As mentioned earlier, Local 54’s concerns were particularly focused on the recently intensified interest of Wall Street hedge funds in MGM and Caesars, two of the world’s biggest casino companies and major players in Atlantic City’s gaming market.

Mr. McDevitt told casino commissioners that private equity proved to be a disaster for Caesars after its nightmare 2008 Apollo Global Management/TPG Capital buyout. The Local 54 President went on that Caesars’ employees “witnessed years of cuts to jobs and maintenance.”

The company also moved to close its Showboat property in 2014 in a bid to protect its other Boardwalk casinos. It currently operates Caesars Atlantic City, Bally’s, and Harrah’s.

New York activist investor Carl Icahn has recently become Caesars’ largest shareholder after amassing a 28.5% stake in the casino powerhouse. Mr. Icahn has secured board representation and will also have a say in the selection of the company’s new Chief Executive who will succeed its outgoing CEO Mark Frissora.

Mr. Icahn previously owned several Atlantic City casinos, including the former Trump Taj Mahal (now Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City). In the summer of 2016, the businessman and Local 54 locked horns over Trump Taj Mahal workers’ contracts. The dispute escalated in a 102-day workers strike that prompted the property’s closure in October 2016.

Asked Wednesday whether Mr. McDevitt’s concerns were related to the labor union’s bitter row with the New York businessman, the Local 54 President said that the focus was not solely on Mr. Icahn and pointed to the fact that several Wall Street hedge funds have also recently bought MGM stock.

Mr. McDevitt further elaborated that investors that only want to “pull money out of people’s pockets in Atlantic City just because they are in a minority position of owning a casino” should not be granted licenses by state regulators.

Casino Control Commission Chairman James Plousis said Wednesday that state regulators would “do [their] due diligence on all [gaming license] applications as they come forward.”

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The post NJ Casino Workers Union Demands Regulatory Action against Greedy Investors appeared first on Casino News Daily.


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