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World Series of Poker Ratings Fall 8%

ESPN’s ratings for the World Series of Poker (WSOP) are down 8% for the first two broadcasts this year compared to 2008 according to Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily has learned that ESPN’s coverage of the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) has experienced an 8% dip in television ratings through two weeks to 0.72. Last year, the mark was 0.78.

In addition to ratings seeing an 8% slide, household impressions also fell, albeit a modest 5%. The total number of household impressions through two weeks of the 2009 WSOP was 714,904, compared with last year’s tally of 750,315. Four one-hour episodes have aired so far, with 26 more comprising coverage of the Ante Up for Africa charity tournament and the prestigious $10,000 buy-in Main Event.

Things look bad, but the news isn’t “fall off the table” bad.

Figures released after the July 28th kickoff telecast revealed that viewers were up 2% among men age 18 to 34. The number of viewers age 25 to 54 was up a commanding 16% after the first episode of the 2009 WSOP debuted on ESPN and the number of viewers age 18 to 49 was on par with the 2008 broadcast. The first telecast of the 2009 WSOP on ESPN featured the $40,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament commemorating the 40th running of the WSOP. In the end, Vitaly Lunkin dominated the 201 player field en route to a $1.9 million first place prize. He defeated Isaac Haxton heads-up in a star-studded final table that also included Greg Raymer, Ted Forrest, Justin “ZeeJustin” Bonomo, and Alec “traheho” Torelli.

I’ve been watching poker on television for about 6-7 years now.  This is the first year in that time that I haven’t watched the WSOP.  There’s a lot of competition for my attention on TV, internet and real life.  Additionally, poker is on a wide array of TV channels, which dilutes the marketplace and lowers desire for many to watch.

I’m not very different then the rest of America in that my attention span is short.  I’m not watching many TV shows that I watched 5 years ago – if any.  ESPN noticed this was coming and changed the format of the WSOP last year and added a celebrity event this year.  They’re doing what they can to hold on to their viewers.  I’m just not one of them.

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Ballys Sports Book to Open Soon

Bally’s sports book is set to open on August after being closed earlier this year.  The opening coincides with football season.

The Bally’s Race and Sports Book will reopen with an all-new roster of offerings just in time for football season. Beginning Aug. 26, the full-service sports book will celebrate the re-opening with an exclusive VIP viewing area, celebrity appearances by well-known sports figures, “text-to-win” promotions and drink specials galore.

The recently added VIP Lounge offers sports enthusiasts the ultimate opportunity to enjoy their favorite game in High Definition. Complete with comfy couches and sports memorabilia, the VIP area can accommodate up to 100 guests for an exclusive game day experience

The sports book opens on schedule after being closed for the slow sports betting period of the summer.  Now that football is back there will be demand for greater sports book capacity.

It’s nice to see that Bally’s was able to re-open the sports book.  It shows that there is a little stability in the economy.  I would be concerned if the sports book didn’t open again.  Alas, we can breath easier.  This is another sign that football season is getting closer!

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Aubrey O’Day Likes To Party All The Time

Aubrey O’Day likes to party all the time and I have proof for you.  In between appearances in “Peep Show” at Planet Hollywood O’Day decided to cover Eddie Murphy’s “Party All The Time.”

The song is catching on fast, and there are reports that Aubrey is in talks with Lil Wayne’s label Young Money.

“I’m such a fan of 80’s music, and this song has always been in my head,” Aubrey exclusively told us, “and with my reputation in the media, I figured everyone would get it when I say that I just wanna party all the time!”

I thought this was a joke, but it’s true.  I also thought the original was a joke, but it was serious.  I love Eddie Murphy and I think I now love Aubrey O’Day.  Thank you.  It will be interesting to see if O’Day can turn this into a new record deal.

Here’s the Eddie Murphy original.  Which is better?  I vote for the girl, even if I can’t see here. 🙂

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Dog Days of Summer

The dog days of summer is one of my favorite times to bet on baseball.  By this time I can get a good gauge on which teams can hit and which pitchers are having a good year.

Lately, I’ve been looking to parlay my bets when I see two or more mismatches on the same day.  If you follow me on twitter, you can see when and who I bet.  I try to check the match ups every morning, but usually get side tracked from making picks by my fantasy baseball teams.

I’m bringing this up now because football season is upon us and for many the excitement of the season gets ahead of playing the match ups.

The beast weapon a sports bettor has is data.  I like to bet with strengths and against the weak.  This is a reminder to me and those that gamble like me to go after mismatches in baseball and to keep the excitement under control for football season.

If you frequent ECG, you know I do all of my sports betting from home on Sportsbook.com.  It’s easy to start an account and easy to navigate as long as you stay away from horse betting.  I had an issue at the Preakness.  It was annoying, but I got paid what I was due.

Bet on Baseball at sportsbook.com

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Hard Rock Hotel Opens Paradise Tower Today!

Today is a very special day in Las Vegas as the Hard Rock hotel and casino opens their new tower today – the Paradise Tower.  Looking at the website it looks as if the new tower will be non-themed, clean and modern.  Here’s the room description from the HRC website:

The trendsetting Paradise Tower combines rock ‘n’ roll decadence with style and sophistication to create an energetic vibe that can only be found in the Hard Rock Las Vegas. All rooms will include high speed internet access via TV or wireless, 42” plasma TV with first run movies on demand, Bose CD stereo, minibar, top-of-the-line exclusive bath amenities and ultra luxurious top of the line bedding.

Doesn’t read like anything special to me.  The opening continues the Hard Rock’s expansion which has included a new location for The Joint and some new clubs.  These improvments haven’t done much for me, but I’m guessing I’m not their target client.

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Catching Up With Casino Stocks

Casinos that are publicly owned and traded on the stock market reported earnings from the second quarter this week.  Here’s a rundown of who did what.  I’ll let you decifer for yourself.

Pinnacle has a profitable quarter.

Penn National reports a fall in profit.

Wynn net income falls 90%.

Las Vegas Sands reports 2nd quarter loss.

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Station Casinos files for Chapter 11

Station Casinos Logo

Station Casinos filed for Chapter 11 yesterday.  This day has seemingly been around the corner for a while now and it was only a matter of time for this to happen.  Chapter 11 doesn’t mean that a company will shut down.  Rather, it gives a business time to recover from their economic struggles with government protection.

Bill Lerner, an analyst for Union Gaming in Las Vegas, said the bankruptcy filing will give Station more time to negotiate with lenders. Under bankruptcy law, Station likely will have several months to exclusively propose a plan of reorganization.

The real question is what Station Casinos will look like if it makes it through chapter 11.  Odds are that it will become a little more streamlined as they sell off some assets to pay off debt.

Lerner said he is sure Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming Corp. will seek some of the assets during the bankruptcy process, and said he wouldn’t be surprised if Penn National Gaming — which is interested in expanding to Las Vegas — also takes a look at the assets.

I’m obviously not a Las Vegas local but I have a soft spot for the locals casinos.  I like the option they provide for the local consumer and for me when I travel in.  The Gold Coast is almost always a stop for me when I visit Las Vegas.  Competition is always good for the customer.  Whether Station keeps all of their casinos or they sell some to Boyd I hope the competition lives with good management and good service for all.

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Front Desk Tip Dot Com

I was looking at some of my favorite websites this evening and notice that Front Desk Tip dot com had a make over and thought it was worth sharing.

Frontdesktip.com was one of the first sites I wrote about for ECG.  Front Desk Tip is the home for how to get room upgrades in Las Vegas.  Does the trick work anywhere else?  That’s debatable.  I’ve heard yes and no.  The “How To” section has been expanded since I last looked so take a look at the instructions if you need a starter.

I’ve never tried this for an upgrade because I am usually travelling on comps, but my next trip to Las Vegas will likely be paid for and I will certainly try this.

Which hotel has the best odds for a room upgrade?  In order they are:

  1. Palazzo
  2. Mirage
  3. Planet Hollywood

The good news is that these are all places that I would consider staying where I wouldn’t receive comps yet.  I will likely be staying at the Palazzo on my next trip so I’m looking forward to the experiment.

Overall, I really like the new design of Front Desk Tip and found the site easy on the eyes and will probably visit more.  I encourage you to take a whirl if you are planning a trip.  Who doesn’t like a cheap upgrade in Las Vegas!?

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The Government Wants You To Gamble

Legalized gambling has exploded over the past few years and there’s more on the way.  Various members of the government have discussed why they’re approving more gambling in their states with Bloomberg.  The simple reason is that there is less tax revenue coming into the states and gambling is a way to help.

Three U.S. states are pushing plans for video poker and slot machines as their legislators hope gambling income will compensate for declines in taxes.

Ohio lawmakers passed a budget last week that includes $933 million in projected revenue from 17,500 slot machines to be installed by May at horse-racing tracks statewide. Illinois legalized video poker in taverns to raise $300 million annually to support $31 billion in infrastructure improvements.

Pennsylvania would get a projected $550 million a year by legalizing video poker in bars, according to a bill awaiting consideration in the state’s House of Representatives.

I love to gamble, but for me part of the allure was that it wasn’t something I could just do anywhere.  I’m sure I’m different than most people that gamble and I don’t see myself changing, but at some point enough is enough.

This opens up quite a few questions.  What will payouts be for these casinos?  When will marijuana become legal?  When will prostitution become legal?  Where will it end?

Budgets never seem to get smaller and there will always be a need for revenue.  I’m not the moral compass for anyone but myself, but these are questions that can be asked.  I’ll just stick to gambling because that’s more fun for me.

Copyright © 2017 Marc Meltzer & EDGe Vegas