Missouri buoyant; Caesars sees no evil; Saudis denied

Gambling revenues lifted Missouri‘s riverboats 2% last month, reaching $155 million. Actual visitor spend was flat but 2% more people visited casinos, which is a more-than-acceptable tradeoff. Despite a 1% dip, Ameristar St. Charles (above) was the state leader, grossing $24 million. Hollywood St. Louis picked up business lost by Ameristar and then some, leaping 12.5% to $20.5 million. It sister property, River City, was flat at $20 million, while Horseshoe St. Louis vaulted 16% to $13 million. In Kansas City, there was a major setback at Argosy Riverside, down 10% to $13.5 million. Bally’s Kansas City continues to capture market share, jumping 16% to $11 million, the only casino in town to improve on last year’s numbers. Ameristar Kansas City slipped 1.5% to $16.5 million and Harrah’s North Kansas City slid 5.5% to $13.5 million. Outstate, Century Casinos was flat in Caruthersville ($3.5 million) and 2% down in Cape Girardeau ($6 million), while Isle of Capri Boonville climbed 5% to $7 million.

Handle of $1.7 billion for sports betting in New York State boiled down to revenues of $104 million in June. $30 million was splurged on promotions, leaving operators to divide $37 million after taxes. Pre-tax revenues were led by FanDuel ($47 million) and DraftKings ($37 million), then erstwhile leader Caesars Sportsbook with $9 million. Also-rans included BetMGM ($7 million), BetRivers ($2 million) and PointsBet ($1 million). One needed a microscope to find the winnings of WynnBet, Resorts World and especially BallyBet.

Las Vegas Metro comes in for a great deal of criticism here but it deserves kudos for the successful conclusion of a hostage situation at Caesars Palace. Guests in the pool area were understandably discombobulated when a gunman started throwing furniture out of his 21st-floor Palace Tower room. The attacker began his terror spree early, around 9:15 a.m., grabbing a random woman and taking her hostage. While Metro did its job, Caesars Entertainment‘s response was supine. Only that 21st floor was evacuated or locked down and “in the casino it’s business as usual.” God forbid somebody’s gambling should be discomfited by a matter of life and death. Caesars officially minimized the standoff as “a security incident inside a guest room.” Move along, people. Nothing to see.

Being a toady for the Oakland Athletics sure pays off if you’re Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority prexy Steve Hill. The paid shill will get a 7.5% salary bump and a 40% bonus (179,000 smackeroos) for his role in flogging Las Vegas. This is despite a job that is still undone, with international visitation to Sin City only at 60% of pre-pandemic levels. Hill’s got a set of ambitious benchmarks he wants to achieve. Maybe the big payday should wait until he actually makes them.

All bets are off on Saudi Arabia‘s blood-money LIV golf tournament—at least in Massachusetts. Regulators in the Bay State nixed wagering on the tainted tourney, in a setback for supplicant DraftKings. (Trust Jason Robins to stoop to this.) Reasons for drop-kicking LIV were manifold, ranging from the antitrust implications of its PGA takeover to Saudi Arabia’s appalling human rights record. “For a lot of the reasons that are in the press in terms of the financial backing of the LIV league, to me, I’d feel uncomfortable putting this in our catalog, even as a LIV free-standing [bet], notwithstanding the DOJ investigation of the merger,” said Massachusetts Gaming Commission member Eileen O’Brien. Colleague Brad Hill had her back, saying, “I, too, am not comfortable putting this in our catalogue right now with all the controversy that surrounds it.” Good on them.

Kansas is such a marginal casino market that Wall Street analysts don’t even deign to cover it. However, there are signs of life. It’s a lead-pipe cinch that Phil Ruffin will get historical horse racing machines (read: slots) at Wichita Greyhound Park. Ruffin aced out Boyd Gaming after the latter was disqualified, due to a conflict of interest with its Kansas Star casino in Mulvane. “An individual or entity is prohibited from holding a license to manage or operate a historical horse racing facility within a gaming zone where the individual or entity is also a lottery gaming facility manager or racetrack gaming facility manager,” regulators decreed. Ruffin’s Golden Circle casino proposal was heard after lunch and a final decision is expected tomorrow. Since favorite son Ruffin is a heavy investor in the Wichita area, it would be logical to favor his bid and Kansas could do a lot worse than choose him.

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Mike McNamara

Mike McNamara

A Las Vegas Realtor since 2008. Mike has a wide range of knowledge around all things Las Vegas.

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