Ocean Resort Casino Atlantic City Launches Online Casino

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In just two weeks, New Jersey’s gambling options have seen a significant expansion that began with the relaunch and grand openings of Atlantic City’s previously closed casinos. Hard Rock and Ocean Resort went live on June 28 with Hard Rock launching its online casino offering later that day. Ocean Resort has not been left behind and on Tuesday the casino operator officially unveiled its much-anticipated online gaming platform when it removed the “under construction” banner from OceanOnlineCasino.com.

The online casino is currently in the process of a soft launch with the limited gameplay being imposed for the first few days. There are already a number of promotions available on the websites as well but the online casino is yet to begin featuring the “full offering” of its online gaming services.

Big Gain for GAN

For its online casino venture, Ocean Resort Casino partnered with GAN, a B2B internet gaming software developer, and supplier. Ocean Resort will be utilizing GAN’s technology to deliver a converged online and on-property gaming experience to the casino’s guests via its Ocean Premier loyalty program. The offering will allow the guests to trade their reward points earned from on-property gaming for cash when they switch to the online casino. Similarly, the Ocean Resort online casino customers will also be able to redeem the rewards points earned from online gaming at the brick and mortar Atlantic City casino.

“Ocean Resort Casino is a fabulous casino property, unarguably offering the best quality gaming & hotel in Atlantic City, which has now been optimized for success by the new ownership and leadership. We’re privileged to bring this immense property to life online, just as it relaunches in the traditional retail casino market. We’re excited to deliver not just another ‘me too’ Internet casino, but to also bring online for the first time the capabilities unlocked only by GAN’s convergence Patent which may give casino patrons in New Jersey a compelling economic rationale to play online with Ocean Resort Casino rather than established incumbent casino operators already online in this fast-growing market. Ocean Resort Casino is anticipated to be material to GAN’s revenue and earnings in H2 2018,” commented Dermot Smurfit, the CEO of GAN.

What to Expect

At launch, the casino began by offering over 50 slots, a decent number of table games including blackjack and roulette as well as 8 different versions of video poker. The online casino also includes a dedicated section where customers can access online games which can also be played in the land-based casino.

“GAN delivered efficiently and cost-effectively for Ocean Resort Casino and possesses a strategic patent which will give Ocean Resort Casino a competitive advantage with casino guests in Atlantic City who also choose to gamble online. Furthermore, GAN’s proven platform, ‘dual-mode’ Simulated Gaming, as well as real money Internet gaming and track record of client success in the New Jersey market, are among the many reasons we chose GAN to bring Ocean Resort Casino online in 2018,” Ocean Resort Casino CEO, Frank Leone pointed out.

Union Workers Picket in Las Vegas over New Concerns

Reading Time: 2 minutes

It has been a month since the contracts of Las Vegas union employees expired and they have decided the best way to go about the issue is to apply new pressure to casino properties. This begun last Friday when the workers ran picket lines of hundreds of workers on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas.

Apart from the issue of better wages, the union workers also wanted the new contracts to address the increased use of robots in gambling establishments as well as the issue of security which has been amplified in the past few months following last year mass shooting at a casino complex.

“We want to make sure we’re not lost to the robots,” Linda Hunt, a food server at the El Cortez Hotel & Casino said. “We want to make sure that they don’t just show up next week — that we have some time to adjust and train for new jobs over the next five years.”

Panic Buttons Coming to Two Las Vegas Casinos

MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment will be joining the increasing number of companies that have begun to provide their employees with panic buttons for use in case of emergency with more emphasis on sexual harassments or abuse. The rollout of the car-remote-sized panic buttons comes amid contract negotiations with the Culinary Union whose members have been vocal about worker protections.

“We are here to do our jobs and provide incredible, world-class customer service for our guests,” Maria Landeros, an MGM Grand housekeeper said in a press release issued by the Culinary Union. “We are not here to be abused or have people think that just because it’s Las Vegas, anything goes.”

“I was carrying a heavy tray full of drinks on the casino floor, and a high roller at the dice game grabbed me by the neck with both of his hands and forced me to kiss him for good luck,” she recounted during the release. “I have permanent nerve damage from that incident and I live in pain every day.”

The use of panic buttons is becoming increasingly common in hotels as a way of giving their employees more assurance of protection. In fact, a number of cities including New York, Washington D.C., Chicago and Seattle have made it mandatory for hotels to provide housekeepers and all other employees who are at a risk of harassment with panic buttons.

The new contract that has been negotiated by the Culinary Union and the Bartender unions includes language that calls for greater security measures for the employees. This includes safety, protection from sexual harassment as well as issues to do with immigration, the use of technology at their workplaces and subcontracting. In addition to all these, the unions also hope to get a share of the anticipated cash flows that the hotels and casinos expect to receive in response to changes made to federal government taxes.

Legalized Sports Betting Finally Coming to the State of Iowa

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Ever since the United States Supreme Court made repealed PASPA in May, a number of states have been grappling with various sports betting legislation. A decent number of the states have been quite successful in launching their own sports betting industries with a few others opting for a rather slow approach as they fine-tune various elements of the regulations that will govern their sports betting ecosystems.

One of the states that are just now beginning to significantly advance its sports betting bids is Iowa. Gambling interests backed by the state’s legislators, the state lottery, and the casinos are gearing up for yet another push for the legalization of sports betting. It is anticipated that statewide sports betting in Iowa could go live by next year thus opening the doors for a number of economic benefits to both the state and the local community through the taxes paid by the operators.

With all the relevant parties having shown great support for sports betting in Iowa, the only thing that remains is for them to decide how best to go about it. Jake Highfill, the Iowa state representative has confirmed that both the Democrat and Republican politicians in the state are “all in” on the legislation.

Legislative Work Continues Behind the Scenes

As mentioned before, the window of introduction of the new legislation has now closed since the state session has been officially closed till January – there will, therefore, be no significant legislative moves till then. Still, when the next legislative session begins, it is likely that the sports betting legislation will move forward in the form of House File 2448, which had already been approved by Iowa’s Ways and Means and House State Government committees.

The biggest setback for the legislation this year was the failure of the Republican majority to reach a consensus, something that denied the Senate the chance to take an action. Fortunately, work on the issue will continue behind the scenes as legislators like Highfill prepare legislation that will be approved by all proponents of sports betting in the state.

Everyone Wants a Piece of the Action

It seems that there is an insanely high amount of interest when it comes to sports betting in Iowa – perhaps the highest in any state. Highfill pointed out that other than casinos, other entities such as the convenience stores, grocery stores, and retail outlets all want to in on sports betting. The state’s retailers want in specifically because they believe that the industry could lead to increased sales in their stores.

As expected, professional sports leagues have not been left far behind – they are still going after the so-called ‘integrity fees’ they have been lobbying for since earlier this year.

The casinos and the state lottery will still have a considerable portion of the sports betting market in Iowa especially considering the fact that a huge chunk of global sports betting is conducted through the lottery. Currently, the Iowa Lottery is currently in charge of games like scratch tickets and Powerball while the Racing and Gaming Commission oversees casino gambling.

Atlantic City’s Hard Rock Casino Starts Online Gambling Site

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Atlantic City’s Hard Rock Casino and Ocean Resorts Casino went live last Thursday in some of the biggest grand openings in a very long time. This takes New Jersey’s thriving gaming market to a whole new level and it is even about to get better.

Atlantic City’s Hard Rock casino on Tuesday afternoon quietly rolled out its online gambling operation just five days after its highly anticipated land-based casino opened its doors to patrons. Reportedly, this will not be the last time we are hearing of the launch of online gambling operations in the city – Ocean Resort Casino is apparently also preparing itself to offer online gambling to the New Jersey market.

According to the director of the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, David Rebuck, Hard Rock’s equipment and systems all passed the necessary tests and were thus cleared for operations. The operator’s online gambling site is now the 26th operational legal gambling site in the state. As for Ocean Resorts Casino’s supposed online offering, Rebuck confirmed that it is still in its testing phases with the New Jersey gambling regulators.

“Our online gaming team has done an amazing job launching one of the most dynamic online gaming experiences in the industry,” said Hard Rock’s Atlantic City president, Matt Harkness. “We’re excited to extend the Hard Rock brand beyond the Boardwalk and let casino players (play) across the Garden State.”

Hard Rock joins six other online casino gambling licensees including Resorts, Tropicana, Caesars interactive-NJ, Borgata and Golden Nugget. The state’s new gambling regulator also approved a number of companies that partner with the Atlantic City casinos.

New Jersey’s internet gambling begun officially in 2013 and has grown steadily since then into a very huge revenue source for both the state and the operators. In 2017, internet gambling brought in a whopping $245 million for Atlantic City casinos – this translates to about 10 percent of their total revenue.

Things are certainly looking up in this regard especially considering the fact that sports betting which kicked off in New Jersey last month will also be in the mix. This will without a doubt take the state through a quick period of recovery as these two new revenue sources – online gambling and sports betting – were lacking during the two-year period within which five of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos shut down. Already, two of them, that is, Hard Rock and Ocean Resorts casino, have been reopened and this proves that the state is indeed about to regain its former glory.

Resorts Casino Partners with SBTech for Sports Betting

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As sports betting in New Jersey and the United States as a whole continues to pick up steam, Resorts Atlantic City has been busy adding a number of partners to support its bid to offer services to the sports betting market. Just a little over a month after landing a sportsbook partnership with renowned daily fantasy sports provider DraftKings, it was announced that Resorts on Monday, July 2 had inked a deal with SBTech, an industry-leading sports betting solutions provider for the regulated online gaming industry.

The deal will see SBTech “provide its sportsbook solution across on-property, online and mobile channels” in New Jersey. It also marks the second partnership agreement that SBTech has gotten into since the United States Supreme Court ruled to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May. The first partnership deal was with Churchill Downs – both deals are quite similar since both casinos will be leveraging the SBTech platform for their full omnichannel offering across all channels. There will be a lot of focus on on-property solutions that will hopefully provide a land-based solution for the future.

Resorts, through the partnership, will now be able to launch a fully-integrated omnichannel sports betting solution with an emphasis on mobile-friendly features like bet builder solution Your Bet or SBTech’s live betting innovation Pulse Bet.

In addition to this, Resorts will also be outsourcing its risk management and trading SBTech – SBTech will implement a bespoke risk management strategy that will be enabled by proprietary trading operations. This will, in turn, allow Resorts Casino to achieve genuine differentiation and at the same time achieve control of its liabilities will avoiding the influence of the wider pool-based risk management.

“After conducting a comprehensive selection process to find the right sports betting supplier, we feel that SBTech offers the right combination of deep regulatory expertise in the world’s most dynamic and demanding markets and the scalability to support our ambitious multi-vertical plans,” Resorts Casino Hotel president and chief executive, Mark Giannantonio said.

Partnering with SBTech is going to be great for Resorts Casino not just because the solutions provider provides players with uninterrupted access to sports and casino products from a wide range of devices but also because SBTech has superbly flexible gaming solutions. Resorts will benefit immensely from the exceptional configurability of the SBTech platform that is further supported by the very best business intelligence and reporting capabilities.

“Our strategic partnership with Resorts represents the next stage of our long-planned penetration of the US market. SBTech’s renowned commitment to delivering leading-edge solutions across all channels and intelligent responsible gaming infrastructure will help us develop a sports betting offering that will benefit our partners and promote best practice and the strongest levels of consumer protection,” SBTech CEO, Richard Carter stated during the Monday announcement.

FanDuel Seals Sports Wagering Deal with The Greenbrier

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Renowned daily fantasy sports operator, FanDuel has recently inked the first sports betting deal in West Virginia and will, therefore, be offering sports wagering services to The Greenbrier, one of the state’s luxury resorts that also happens to be owned by Governor Jim Justice.

As per the terms of the agreement, FanDuel will be providing retail, online and mobile sports betting services to the casino which already has plans underway to launch an on-premises offering under the umbrella of The Greenbrier Casino Club brand. This deal marks FanDuel’s first sports wagering-related venture in the United States – the company is primarily recognized for its daily fantasy sports offerings and the move to sports betting is indeed a huge step for the company.

It is, however, not the company’s first stint at sports betting. Earlier this year, FanDuel merged with Paddy Power Betfair, a European bookmaker which has similar deals with Tioga Downs in New York and Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey.

“We are honored to be chosen to provide sports wagering services at the Greenbrier, an iconic resort in the US,” said FanDuel CEO, Matt King. “As we work towards building out a top sports betting product for the upcoming NFL season, we look forward to bringing West Virginia residents, sports fans, and visitors to the Greenbrier the best interactive sports experience on the market.”

The West Virginia-based Greenbrier plans to include an onsite wagering platform right inside the private casino that is being referred to as The Casino Club. It also has plans for a FanDuel-branded online site and mobile applications by fall. Unfortunately, no specific dates have been forwarded so far but they seem to be dependent on when the state finally decides to put its sports betting regulations in place.

“We’re excited to be able to offer this service to those guests who are interested,” said Dr. Jill Justice, President of The Greenbrier. “The Casino Club at The Greenbrier has been an attractive destination for our guests and members since its opening, and sports betting provides yet another element to the casino experience.”

Where Sports Betting Stands in West Virginia

The state had already made a move to legalize sports betting through an initial law that was passed shortly before the United States Supreme Court ruled to repeal PASPA. The law allows sports betting services to be offered at the state’s four racetrack casinos and The Greenbrier. The licenses also allow the participation of third parties who will be required to operate skins under the licensees – FanDuel is the first third-party operator to do so.

State officials have confirmed that all the casinos are in the process of working on their own sportsbooks. Each of the casinos is also allowed to pick whoever they want to run their sports betting services.

Ocean Resorts Gets Casino License, Confirms June 28 Launch

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Following an emotional two-day hearing, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission finally granted Ocean Resort Casino, formerly known as Revel Casino, a casino license on June 21 thus putting the new establishment’s June 28 launch back in track.

Just a little over a year ago the Revel hotel and casino was sitting empty on Atlantic city’s boardwalk, a bleak reminder of Atlantic City’s misfortunes rather than the glittering hotel and casino that many thought it would be. This was, however, only until Bruce Deifik, a Denver-based property investor decide to take control of the property towards the end of last year. By January 2018, he was already a majority owner of the property that has now been refurbished and renamed Ocean Resort Casino and is expected to go live on June 28.

Among Deifik’s intentions in regards to this venture is overcoming the history of the $2.6 billion property that was conceived over a decade ago. Revel casino was intended to offer somewhat of an antidote to the rather old-school casinos further down the boardwalk but, unfortunately, it eventually went bankrupt twice owing to a high debt loads design mishaps, and, of course, lots of competition. At the hearing, Deifik and his Ocean Resort Casino team addressed how they would handle these issues and how the business would benefit the city as a whole.

The Terms

As expected, the license came with a number of conditions – 26 to be precise – that was laid out by the state regulators at the Division of Gaming Enforcement. Among these conditions is one that addresses Ocean Resort Casino’s financial resources as well as its relationship with JPMorgan Chase, one its lenders. This was particularly meant to ensure that the refurbished property does not fall victim to the same financial struggles that plagued its predecessor leading up to the time of its closure.

According to the Press of Atlantic City, the commissioner also had a number of “very serious concerns” that were shared by the Division of Gaming Enhancement that had given several recommendations on the pressing issues. However, as stated by Commissioner Alisa Cooper, “After listening to the very extensive, and personal, testimony of the past two days, my concerns have been eased.”

Deifik’s and the chief financial officer, Alan Greenstein’s, testimonies came on the first day of the hearing – they expounded on their vision for the casino hotel, the changes they had to the property as well as the group’s finances. On the second day of the hearing, Ocean Resort’s chief executive officer, Frank Leone gave a testimony in regards to the property’s marketing strategies.

“I can assure you that we’re going to speak loudly and clearly to the core casino audience,” Leone said. “Our promise is to have an unwavering commitment to exceeding guests’ expectations.”

Ocean Resort Gets License Hearing Ahead of Grand Opening

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Atlantic City’s Ocean Resort Casino is set to have its gaming license hearing on June 20, just eight days before its grand opening ceremony. The New Jersey Casino Control Commission which made the announcement requires the new owners of the former Revel Casino to obtain a casino license in order to offer gambling services at the renovated property.

Also set to open its doors on June 28 is Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City that was formerly known as the Trump Taj Mahal and just sits just a few paces away from Ocean Resort. Unlike Hard Rock which managed to acquire the gaming license in May, Ocean Resorts is yet to be heard. During the June 20 hearing, the state regulators will meet with Ocean’s management to make sure that they are aware of the burden of operating a gambling establishment.

The hearing will begin at 1 pm local time with the gambling regulator adding that in case some issues remain unhandled by the end of the session then one more hearing will be held the following morning. On the other hand, if everything goes well Ocean Resorts will be granted the gambling license. This will be followed by a building inspection and operations tests, both of which have to be completed before the June 28 official launch date.

What’s In Store?

The Ocean Resort management team welcomed media representatives earlier this week to give the public a sneak peek of the renovated property. The casino will be operating a 138,000-square-foot casino with 2,000 slot machines and a decent number of table games, a spa, nightclubs, six pools and some other family-friendly entertainment facilities. Also on the menu will be over 20 dining facilities, 16 of which will begin operating as soon as the casino launched on June 28.

The gaming floor will further include a sportsbook that will be operating in conjunction with William Hill, a British bookmaker. This comes just in time after the United States Supreme Court ruling that paved the way for sports betting.

“This is the heart of our casino. This will create amazing energy. There’s nothing better than seeing a lively group cheering on their favorite team. The casino is supposed to be a fun, vibrant, exciting environment and often times the sportsbook is the heart of that excitement. I think that Atlantic City will benefit greatly from having that added experience to all of its casino resorts,” Ocean Resort advisor Seth Schorr commented on the casino’s sports betting offering.

As part of the grand opening, the casino will be throwing a huge celebration on the opening weekend. This will feature performances from Jermaine Dupri, Diplo, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, Kaskade and many other high profile artists. With Hard Rock’s opening weekend scheduled for the same time, Atlantic City is bound to light up with festivities that you cannot afford to miss.

Switzerland Votes to Block Foreign-Based Gambling Operators

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Switzerland’s referendum had two main highlights – first, they voted in favor of allowing the local casino operators to offer online gambling and second, the voted to block the domains of the international gambling operators licensed to operate in the country. The international operators’ only option will then be to secure partnerships with local casinos.

The new Gambling Act which won the support of 72.9 percent of the voters was previously approved last fall but the student wing of the Free Democratic Party moved to challenge it and succeeded by gathering enough petition signatures to force a referendum under Swiss law. Now that it has been passed yet again, the new gambling law will take effect at the beginning of next year.

The Swiss government says that that the law is designed to tackle gambling addiction by enforcing strict rules such as the blocking of known addicts among other things. In addition to providing a solution to the issue of problem gambling, the law is also expected to allow the government to effectively tax gambling revenue which will be channeled towards these anti-gambling measures and initiatives.

The Specifics

According to advance polling, the ‘No’ side appealed mostly to youngsters who feared that the law in many ways provides a precedent that would allow the Swiss government to block other domains it found objectionable.

Older voters, on the other hand, tended to lean towards to the ‘Yes’ side since they believed that allowing foreign or international gambling sites to operate in the country would impede the Swiss government’s ability to fund social programs such as pension funds.

A Win for Local Casinos

The local casinos stand to benefit the most from the new gambling law and they could not wait to celebrate the news of this huge win. Marc Baumann, the chief executive officer of Swiss Casino Group issued a statement shortly after the results of the vote urging the government to put the new gambling law into effect as soon as possible.

Swiss Casinos Group currently runs a free-play online casino and has been planning to venture out and cooperate with a foreign company for a real-money gambling site. So far, so good. This might actually happen.

Will It Work?

Domain-blocking has proven to be rather ineffective in forcing online gamblers to stick to the locally authorized gambling sites. This has been true in other markets including Belgium and as such, Switzerland will have quite a tough time ensuring the law is adhered to. But this does not mean that it cannot be done.

Then, there is the issue of tax. The local gambling operators are looking at between 20 percent and 80 percent in revenue taxes. The president of the Swiss Federation of Casinos, Beat Vonlanthen, however, said that the government will do its best to cushion the tax blow by offering the local casino operators tax breaks of up to 50 percent for the first four years. This grace period will allow the casinos to lure in a sufficient number of steady customers before the ‘un-cushioned’ tax-rate kicks in.

DraftKings and Resorts Casino Strike Sports Betting Deal

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Boston-based daily fantasy sports leader DraftKings has recently announced a new partnership deal with Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino Hotel to offer sports betting services in New Jersey. The partnership agreement will see DraftKing enter the New Jersey market under Resorts Casino Hotel’s license.

The move marks the first of the likely string of state-level ventures that DraftKings has is reported to be considering in a bid to get a foothold in the brand new legal market that is set to grow rapidly after the recent Supreme Court ruling that struck down the federal ban on sports betting.

As for New Jersey, the daily fantasy sports operator has hinted its entry into that particular market for quite some time – the company had already begun hiring sportsbook staff even before the United States Supreme Court ruling was made. In addition to that, the company opened an office in Hoboken that currently houses the sportsbook staff as well as other employees who were hired in the past couple of weeks.

“Everybody knows there’s a big opportunity out there. It’s a new thing, so people are trying to see how they want to go about it, who they want to partner with. Anytime you’ve got a big market about to be created, there’s so much opportunity out there that everyone should benefit, as long as you do it the right way,” said Jason Robins, the DraftKings chief executive. “We are excited to work with Resorts Hotel Casino to bring our new DraftKings sportsbook to New Jersey. As a tech savvy and a long-term growth-oriented organization, Resorts Hotel Casino aligns perfectly with our customer-focused, innovation culture.”

This pairing reflects the scramble that is beginning to materialize among gambling operators, bookmakers, and technology companies as they try to position themselves well enough to get a share of the nascent sports betting market. A similar deal was made a few weeks ago when Paddy Power Betfair, a European bookmaker merged with FanDuel, one of the other popular United States-based daily fantasy sports providers and DraftKings’ biggest rival.

During the press release where the announcement was made, Drafkings mentioned that it be offering both mobile and web-based sports betting services. However, there was no mention of the technology that the company will be using to achieve this.

Still, Resorts Casino Hotel has welcomed the partnership as it presents a new revenue stream and will probably give the casino a foothold in the sports betting market as well.

“We are at a pivotal moment in the development of sports betting in the U.S.,” said Morris Bailey, the owner of Resorts Casino Hotel in the press release. “We are delighted to be able to have DraftKings utilize our gaming license in New Jersey. DraftKings continues to be at the forefront of sports entertainment innovation, and today’s announcement is the first step in being able to offer customers in New Jersey the most dynamic sports betting platform.”