MGM Welcomes Competitive Bidding for Bridgeport Casino

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MGM Resorts’ long-running feud with Connecticut’s tribal gaming operators has recently shifted to the town of Bridgeport where MGM has proposed the construction of a gaming and entertainment complex worth $675 million. Amidst all this, MGM Resorts International has reasserted a bid that sought to have the state establish a competitive bidding process for a casino in Bridgeport – the Southeastern gaming tribes of Connecticut have shown interest in partaking in this process as it seems to be the best way to go about the issue.

“The Tribes’ request yesterday to be ‘part of that discussion’ is good news for the people of Connecticut,” MGM Resorts senior vice president, Uri Clinton wrote on Thursday in letters addressed to Connecticut’s Governor Dannel P. Malloy and the state’s legislative leaders. “There appears to be, for the first time, agreement that such a discussion is in the state’s best interest.”

“That the Tribes also see the tremendous potential of Bridgeport confirms our analysis that Bridgeport is by far the best-situated location in the state for a commercial casino — and the only location with the potential to actually grow the State’s gaming revenue,” he added.

Prior to this, the chairmen of the Mohegan and Mashantucket tribes who are the respective owners of the Mohegan Sun and Foxwood Resorts Casino had sent a letter to Governor Malloy as well as state legislative leaders declaring their interest in establishing a casino in Bridgeport.

“Back in 2015, our initial proposal would have authorized three new facilities, one in north-central CT, one in the Danbury area and one in Fairfield County,” the letter read. “It was the legislature’s decision to move forward with only one site in the north-central Hartford region. If circumstances have changed and there is now real interest in putting a casino in Bridgeport, we want to be a part of that discussion.”

The two tribes have had an exclusive deal with the state to operate their casinos on the Southeastern corner of Connecticut for years and the entry of MGM Resorts presented a stalemate. They, therefore, wrote to the state lawmakers asking to be partisan to any deliberations involving Bridgeport. There is, of course, no love lost between MGM Resorts International and the bill that aims to grant the tribes exclusive rights to develop a third casino in Connecticut – instead, the casino operator is pushing for an alternative bill that calls for competitive bidding on which of the two parties get to build a casino in Bridgeport.

The casino gaming agreements signed by the casinos years ago had the casinos share their slot machine revenue with the state in exchange for being granted exclusivity within the borders of Connecticut. This was however on condition that the no other entity would be given the opportunity to establish a casino business in Connecticut, otherwise, the payments to the state would stop. To clarify this further, the spokesman of the tribe, Andrew Doba had this to say:

“MGM can say whatever it wants, but the facts are simple. Their project would cost the state $1 billion or more in lost revenue. Continuing our partnership costs the state nothing and will in fact only enhance the amount of revenue the state already receives.”

Resorts World Catskills Still on Track for Launch in 2018

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The fourth, and the last, of the upstate casinos authorized under the gambling expansion in New York, Resort World Catskills, is still expected to launch within the first quarter of 2018. The Acting of Director of the state Gambling Commission, Don Ochrym, in a recent press release confirmed that the casino is expected to kick off its operations by March 1st next year. Resort World Catskills is to be opened in Monticello, Sullivan County with over 200 participants expected to join in – casino machines are already being delivered and dealer training schools have already begun training people expected to work for the new establishment.

Previously known Montreign, the Resorts World casino by the time of its completion is anticipated to have used up at least $1.2 billion – but considering the revenue that the casino is expected to rake in, the budget can be said to be worth every penny.

In September the Times Union in a report acknowledged that these new casinos (Resorts World Catskills and three others that have been opened in the last year) are the state’s economic engines though they lagged behind in the first-year revenue projections. However, these financial struggles are expected to change a bit with industry officials and local stakeholders saying that it takes time to see whether a business is going to be a success in the long term especially if it is a casino.

The 1.6-million-square-foot, five-star Resort World Catskills is further promising customers of certain key features that will set it apart from all the existing casinos. Charlie Degliomini, who is the executive vice president of Resorts World Catskills parent company, Empire Resorts says that once construction is complete and the casino is officially complete, they expect up to 4 million visitors every year. He further pointed out that the casino’s core offering will be luxury as portrayed by the personal pools, private balconies, garden suites as well as the elite-guest gyms for third-floor residents – and, of course, not forgetting the three bars and six eateries.

Guests looking to grab a quick bite will love the food court and when they are not gaming they can indulge in a bit golfing on the casino’s Rees Jones-redesigned 18-hole golf course! Alternatively, there is a salon where they can get their nails down as they unwind or prepare for the next games.

Regardless, gambling is still going to be the biggest moneymaker for Resorts World Catskills. Degliomini expects that about three-quarters of its 332 suites will be allocated to the casino section to accommodate all the 130 table games and the 2,150 slot machines.

So far, everyone seems to be happy about the resort-casino project – local union leaders are so enthused about the project’s utilization of an all-union workforce of over 680 construction workers which gets even better as the number is expected to rise to 800 as the launch date nears. The union’s representatives are also excited about the great post-launch prospects that the casino will have for the local economy – about 1,400 jobs will be created at the main hotel, the golf course, and the casino.

CME Announces Bitcoin Futures for December!

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In somewhat of an unexpected twist, CME has released its Bitcoin Futures market specifications with the date being officially announced on November 19. The launch date is, however, still awaiting relevant regulatory approval, a situation that the CME Group elaborated in a recent update that read, “Effective Sunday 10 December 2017 for trade date Monday 11 December 2017, and pending all relevant regulatory review periods, please be advised that CME will launch Bitcoin Futures.” Thus, the market will certainly need to wait a little longer even though most of the relevant information has been dispensed – the contract unit for the futures is $25 or 5 index points to be quoted in Bitcoin per US dollar and will be listed on CME, CME’s Globex central standard time and Clearport.

With this year’s planned Bitcoin Futures product, CME, which is currently the largest Futures exchange in the world, intends to prevent extreme Bitcoin volatility. In a CNBC interview, CME Chairman and CEO Terry Duffy expressed his confidence in CME’s self-certification process and the application process. He further confirmed the launch dates by hinting at the possibility of trading beginning by the second week of December 2017. This comes after CME’s huge revelation in October that it had been seeking approval from regulators to launch a Bitcoin-related product. During the reveal, CME expected to keep the futures to be settled through cash and be dependent on existing of 2016’s prevailing price indices – this has since changed and will be based on the Bitcoin Reference Rate. CME’s Bitcoin futures will be capped at price limits of 20% above or below the settlement price. Similarly, there is going to be a spot position limit of 1,000 contracts.

CME has been preparing for the launch for quite a while now as portrayed by Duffy’s sentiments during the CNBC interview where he went ahead to explain;

“I’m going to implement something. If the market drops precipitously, we’ll stop trading, and if we think a product is going away, we have the longs, we have the shorts, we’ll match them up at a price and that’s the way our rules read today.”

This has drawn a lot of attention from the Bitcoin community and everyone is looking forward to seeing how CME’s involvement will impact Bitcoin’s ecosystem.

While some Bitcoin users are speculating that Bitcoin spot markets will be less volatile with CME’s Futures products, stabilizing the weighty fluctuations in the price of Bitcoin with Futures markets is more theoretical than practical. Bitcoin’s price has already transcended the $8000 mark – an upward momentum that is expected to lead the cryptocurrency to all-time highs by the end of the year. To be more specific, Bitcoin’s price is likely to extrapolate towards the $10,000 mark in December if investors from various institutions and hedge funds buy into it.

Phil Ivey Nabs New Deal as Virtue Poker Adviser

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Just days after Tony G, renowned poker player, declared his support for CoinPoker, Virtue Poker which is also an online cryptocurrency-based online poker startup has signed another poker superstar to be its adviser. Phil Ivey is considered to be one of the best poker players of all time and his inclusion in Virtue Poker’s attempt at revolutionizing cryptocurrency-based online poker is a massive step forward. The Virtue Poker team has been busy fine-tuning their site and software ahead of their scheduled 2018 launch with Ivey’s signing coming just a couple of months after fellow poker bigwigs, Brian Rast and Dan Colman were signed by the Ethereum–based startup as its ambassadors. Joining the Virtue Poker team makes Phil Ivey one of the latest pro poker players to show support and advocate for the involvement of cryptocurrencies in online casino gaming, a trend that while is still in its baby steps is expected to take the entire casino industry by storm.

With cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Bitcoin constantly showing an upward trend in their value, Ivey expressed his faith in the initiative pointing out that the peer-to-peer nature of Virtue Poker’s take on cryptocurrency-based online poker will definitely ramp up the value of every poker player’s online gaming experience.

“I’m looking forward to serving as a strategic adviser to the Virtue Poker team. I believe their new peer-to-peer solution built using blockchain technology can add significant value to the online poker experience,” Phil Ivey said during the announcement of his signing.

In essence, the peer-to-peer blockchain technology the startup uses makes data processing more transparent and safer – the system is decentralized thus making it less prone to fraud. Poker players will, therefore, have to worry less about safety and transparency as the blocks of data will be processed right on their computers. To put this into perspective, Virtue Poker co-founder Ryan Gittleson assures players that, “Instead of trusting a random number generator from an operator stored in some offshore server, every single player has an RNG built into the machine that they utilize and they shuffle the deck for each hand played on the platform.”

Virtue Poker also uses a peer-to-peer card shuffling protocol called Mental Poker where each and every player at the poker tables takes part in the shuffling of the cards making it impossible for poker operators to see players’ cards. These solutions are aimed at some of the biggest and most persistent detrimental issues in the online poker industry such as the unauthorized access to and misuse of players’ money as well as the illegal access to players’ cards by employees of online poker operators.

Phil Ivey and his fellow Virtue Poker Colleagues, Dan Colman and Brain Rast are going to work together alongside the Virtue Poker team to revamp online poker. These poker superstars were probably the best decisions the startup has made since each of them has quite a lot to bring to the table. Ivey, for instance, has several contacts within the casino industry as well as in-depth knowledge about branding and the dynamics of the poker industry, all of which will strengthen Virtue Poker’s foundation and reputation ahead of its 2018 launch date.