Encore Boston Harbor: Without The Human Element, Why Not Just Play Online?

encore boston harbor cuts bartender staff

Everything ties into politics these days, doesn’t it?

First, the regulatory rigmarole of the Encore Boston Harbor threatened to derail the $2.6 billion project on more than one occasion. Then, the political fallout surrounding Steve Wynn’s alleged sexual misconduct caused another delay, including the potential withholding of the venue’s gambling license even as the casino resort was nearly fully built.

Now, as forewarned by former Democratic Presidential candidate and political newcomer Andrew Yang, automation is slashing some of the jobs from the casino.

As reported by ABC’s WCVB5, the Encore Boston Harbor has replaced between 40-50 bartenders with automated drink-dispensing kiosks.

Remember, these (now former) jobs were a big part of the sales pitch from Wynn Resorts to the MA legislature when they sought to get this project off the ground in September 2014.

Now, with automation taking some of the positions over so quickly, there’s likely little confidence that every remaining job at the Encore is safe for the foreseeable future.

That’s especially true given the tenuous rationale proffered by Encore management, who says they needed machine bartenders because they didn’t staff enough human bartenders to meet their customers’ comped drink needs.

Obviously, the casino could have simply hired more bartenders, further endearing the venue to the local community. Now, the negative publicity of an employee purge just seven months into the casino’s operational existence is a reality that Wynn Resorts must face.

Management, of course, is explaining the move as a boon for the affected employees. Warren Richards, Encore’s executive director of food and beverage services, spins the issue:

“A lot of [the affected workers] actually moved into a higher hourly rate position stocking the bars with all of the product which is now automated.”

Long a regional political issue, Yang helped make automation part of the general national discourse, though it’s unclear whether or not the rank in file in Washington – and in statehouses nationwide – have paid enough attention.

Typically, when automation is mentioned, the public thinks of factories and assembly lines, as in the auto industry.

But these industries had their robot revolutions a long time ago.

No, the new automation – the automation that Yang did his best to warn everyone about (but perhaps didn’t explain in an adequately granular fashion) – is far more mundane and everyday in nature.

At the Encore Boston Harbor, automation has replaced the bartenders. At the local insurance office down the street, automation will replace the receptionist. Data entry jobs are on the outs, and content writing is on its last legs, too (gulp!). Bet on it.

Speaking of bets, casinos like the Encore Boston Harbor were – ironically – not able to take bets on Yang’s Presidential election odds, as the state legislature has been dragging its feet for nearly two years on the subject of legalizing sports betting.

However, even when the pastime is finally greenlit in the Bay State, it is unlikely that political betting will be part of the package.

But even if you can’t bet on Yang in Massachusetts, you can probably bet on some of his policies – and his warning.

When casinos become a bastion of blinking lights at the tables and slots as well as in the kitchen and bar, people are going to bail on them. Gamblers like to gamble, but the entire point of a brick-and-mortar casino is the human experience. Human service. Human touch. Without that, you might as well stay home.

Indeed, many gamblers are doing just that – staying home. Legitimate online casino sites have millions of US members playing their hundreds of casino, slot, and card games each day, and that number is simply growing.

States may do their best to limit or ban domestic online casino options in the hope that such will drive customers to retail gambling venues, but the impersonality of automation will kill that initiative in its tracks.

Online casinos are already superior in numerous appreciable – and sometimes critical – ways to their real-life counterparts, and without the human element, the giant structures may turn into giant white elephants sooner than later.

Coronavirus Spreads Renewed Interest In Legal Online Casinos

coronavirus underscores benefits of online gambling

Brick-and-mortar casinos are big business, and the recent legalization of sports betting across over a dozen US states – and the potential for dozens more – has brought the wider scope of gambling into focus legislatively.

States that formerly eschewed traditional gambling houses are revisiting the ideas with gusto, and the entire industry is growing. However, while sports betting is largely being allowed both in-person and online, online casino games and poker have largely been dismissed even in the current liberalized climate.

But that could finally be changing.

While the catalyst for embracing legitimate casinos over the Internet should be individual rights and freedom of choice and similar quaint little notions, reality is a bit more cynical:

The outbreak of the coronavirus is steering this discussion.

Though the new, deadly flu isn’t a big threat in the US just yet, it’s hit Asia hard. Just this week, the world’s biggest retail casino district – Macau – saw all its venues shuttered indefinitely, at a local economic loss of hundreds of millions of dollars per week.

Given China’s ground zero status and the fact that its online casino ban promotes high volume person-to-person contact in the gambling marketplace, critics and proponents have taken control of the narrative to push the idea that online gambling is safer, healthier, and fundamentally better for any large society.

Indeed, as a response to the coronavirus’ spread, Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators – or POGOs – have seen a reported 90% increase in traffic over the last month.

POGOs serve Chinese residents with the Internet-based real money gambling solutions Beijing disallows domestically, and the spike in participation is proof positive that millions of users view online gaming as the better option for now.

Of course, this narrative isn’t just limited to China and other ASEAN countries.

Las Vegas, Nevada – while not quite the financial heavy hitter that Macau is in the gambling world – actually sees more tourism traffic than the Chinese city, and fears are growing stateside that Sin City venues could become a viral hotspot for the coronavirus.

While Chinese travel bans are currently being enforced, there is no guarantee that the popular Nevada gaming center won’t be affected by the strain. Like Macau (and China in toto), NV does not have online casino gaming or slots available to residents and visitors.

In fact, the coronavirus is already affecting certain aspects of the Las Vegas casino market, with mainstay entertainment brand Cirque du Soleil pulling its performers due to fear of infection.

Whether or not the virus du jour will become a serious global catastrophe remains to be seen, though similarly hyped ailments – like SARS and swine flu – eventually subsided without causing mass destruction.

Still, it shouldn’t take a literal existential threat to promote common sense policies like the legalization of online casino gaming.

In fact, such gaming isn’t even actually barred by US gambling laws, it is merely heavily restricted by the government when it comes to operators doing business inside the country.

If you’re an avid gambler – or even a beginner who’s currently scared off from the casino circuit due to the coronavirus or other group-based considerations – you can gamble safely and legally online right now.

All you have to do is join a reputable offshore casino site, make a deposit, and start playing. When you play online, you can breathe easy – in more ways than one!

Virginia Legislature Poised To Legalize Brick-And-Mortar Casinos

virginia casino legislation 2020

They say that Virginia is for Lovers™. But if you love gambling, the state definitely isn’t for you.

But that could finally be changing.

The upcoming legislative session in Virginia is poised to be a once-in-a-generation push for various partisan policies. Chief among these in the mainstream news media has been a host of gun control proposals sprouting up from the new Democratic majority in the VA House of Representatives, but there is a major casino debate shaping up, as well.

Virginia, despite its progressive bent and status as a northeast tourist destination, has been one of the most restrictive states in the US when it comes to gambling freedoms. Aside from various charitable gaming carveouts and the state lottery, Virginia has fought tooth and nail against casinos and accessible gambling in the state.

Of course, the mass adoption of legal sports betting in the post-PASPA environment has caused a renewed interest not just in sports wagering but in casino gaming across the board, and it seems like VA lawmakers are now seriously considering the good that a robust brick-and-mortar casino market could bring to the table.

In 2019, the Virginia legislature conducted a study on the impact that domestic casino venues would make in the state, basing the research on the development of five resort casino destinations in five Virginia regions: Bristol, Danville, Richmond, Norfolk, and Portsmouth.

The research – carried out by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) – indicates that these five venues would generate roughly $260 million in tax revenue and create a minimum of 5000 jobs in the state.

“It’s a no-brainer,” per Sen. Louise Lucas (D), though various conservative groups have raised concerns over increases in gambling addiction and crime that allegedly accompanies so many local casino initiatives in surrounding states. Though such a tenuous causal relationship has been difficult to prove, the argument persists.

Ironically, however, one of the primary opponents of legalized Virginia casino gaming is the ownership group of Colonial Downs, the state’s only horse racing track.

The track – and its several satellite locations – offers historical horse racing (HHR) gaming, which is a real-money amusement akin to slots that controversially bypasses most established definitions of “gambling.”

According to Colonial Downs COO Aaron Gomes, a legal casino in Richmond would be “catastrophic” to the company, resulting in a 45 percent drop in annual revenue.

Of course, some states – like New Jersey – have used expanded gambling legislation to establish grants or profit-shares for horse racing operators, and that could be a solution in Virginia, as well, particularly if this remains a sticking point in Congress.

While casino legalization is likely to finally bear fruit in the Old Dominion, the debate nevertheless promises to be a protracted one. Pro-gambling delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Gate City) sets the scope and timeline:

“We will be working with the other cities across the state who’ve been named [in the proposed legislation] to try and move Bristol and Danville, Richmond, Norfolk and Portsmouth forward. I think we’ll start meeting early next week, and the casino legislation will probably go up to the last day.”

In the meantime, it’s important to note that none of VA’s gaming proposals will address the legality of legitimate offshore casino sites, all of which remain safe and lawful to use for Virginia gamblers.

If you’ve already joined one or more such site and gamble regularly, the local options on the table in Virginia might not seem all that compelling.

However, many players who remain on the fence about offshore gaming will surely benefit from local solutions, especially if Virginia is forward-thinking enough to install online casino options as well.

Up In Smoke: Why Online Casinos Are Burning Down Barriers

up in smoke online casinos

Smoking and gambling have always gone hand in hand.

However, even that pairing is being tested in the modern world, and gamblers may soon find themselves bereft of one of their most pleasurable pastimes.

For smokers in California, tribal gambling houses are among the last bastions of public fellowship. Smoking has largely been banned in the state, but 66 of California’s 69 Indian casinos still allow the activity on their gaming floors.

It makes sense that a house of vices would allow vices, of course. But even that is slowly changing.

Nationwide, most casinos are smoke-free. Worse, with recent bans on vaporizer products and the current campaign against vaping in general, that pastime might be on the outs, too. In other words, those who enjoy a puff of nicotine with their boozing and betting will soon have nowhere left to go.

Fortunately, online gambling is becoming more popular, and there are a number of legitimate casinos available over the Internet. Whether you live in California or any other state, you have easy access to online table games, poker, sports betting, bingo, and horse racing betting, among other gaming markets. And best of all, when you wager from your own home, you don’t have to abide by any petty regulations that limit how you can enjoy your hobby.

Indeed, one of the most overlooked aspects of online gambling is the wide berth it gives players who wish to spend their time as they see fit. Physical domestic casinos have so many guidelines and standards that there is often no real reason to patronize the venues.

Yes, many gamblers prefer the social aspects of local gaming, but outside of that, online casinos offer far more freedom, allowing you to play when you want, how you want.

You House, Your Rules – Unconsidered Advantages To Online Gambling

In a very real way, when you gamble at a top offshore casino site, you get to make your own “house rules.” You can, after all, bet from anywhere, and the majority of gamblers do most of their gaming from their own homes.

In addition to the massive game selection and betting options available from online casino services, there are other benefits to be aware of that go above and beyond the actual games themselves.

Smoke ‘Em If Ya Got ‘Em – As in CA, most businesses and public spaces now ban smoking, making it difficult to find a gambling hotspot that allows you to puff on a stogie or suck down a cigarette while cranking the slots or hitting the felts. Of course, if you gamble from home, you can smoke wherever and whenever you please, giving your favorite games the extra flavor they deserve.

BYOB – Some casinos will comp your drinks after you’ve spent enough time and money on the gaming floor. For Vegas visitors, that’s a big draw. However, if you’re gaming from home, you can bring your own beer or liquor, making a cheap evening out of boozing and betting on your own terms.

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem – Most casinos have dress codes. These might be fairly minimal or they might be super strict. But even if there’s no formal code, no brick-and-mortar casino will let you gamble in your underwear or bathrobe or birthday suit, and that’s just not fair! Fortunately, you can play poker, spin the roulette wheel, and pull the crank in comfort when you gamble online.

Comped Rooms Every Night – When you gamble online, you can play from your bedroom or bathroom or anywhere in between (like the hallway or linen closet, you freaking weirdo!). You can retire to your bed anytime, and you can even play from under the covers! Best of all, you can crash out without cashing out, because your room is already comped for the night. Treat yourself!

All jokes aside, as smokers and vapers are squeezed out of casinos, much of the magic of these old venues is being sacrificed for a new clientele that may or may not even exist.

In California, the local tribes are still empowered to offer what their customers actually want, but there’s no telling how long they’ll be able to keep doing that. Soon, one of the last big draws for brick-and-mortar casino gaming could be completely up in smoke, with little reason left for many lifelong gamblers to continue patronizing these venues.

Thankfully, smoking will always be allowed at online casinos.

Land Ho! World’s Largest Riverboat Casino Closes, Relocates

glory of rome caesars southern indiana

They say Rome didn’t fall in a day.

But in Indiana, the Glory of Rome sure did.

Early Monday morning, the world’s largest riverboat casino finally closed its doors permanently, relocating onto dry land near the riverboat’s dock in Elizabeth, Indiana.

The venue will be renamed to Caesars Southern Indiana, mostly in line with its previous Horseshoe Southern Indiana moniker. The land-based venue is set to open on Thursday, December 12, 2019, with renovations and construction finally complete as crews work overtime to move the gaming machines from The Boat to the new facility.

Of course, The Boat isn’t actually going anywhere at the moment, as it will remain docked as normal for the immediate future. While the massive four-deck, 4000-horsepower vessel is up for sale, it is unclear if any potential buyers have come forward.

So, for now, a little part of Indiana’s gambling history will stick around in the background of the state’s expanded casino gaming initiative (per HB 1015).

The Glory of Rome has been operating in the Ohio River since its construction in 1998. With a maximum capacity of 5030 guests and staff, the riverboat gambling venue – despite its designation as the biggest in the game – can’t hold a candle to the number of guests that the new Caesars property can accommodate.

Of course, that’s true for any riverboat as compared to land-based venues, as the latter operations are far larger and have enormous gaming floors and resort hotels to cater to their tens of thousands of weekly customers.

Per Horseshoe executive Jerry Finn, the new Caesars Southern Indiana should offer a massive upgrade to the gaming amusements customers are used to from the western-themed riverboat experience of yore.

“We’re very excited about the move to the land-based casino. The new casino is beautiful, there’s wonderful energy about it. I think people are going to be excited to come to it and visit, and see all the new amenities that are there that you just couldn’t have on [the] boat.”

The Caesars Southern Indiana sports a hotel with more than 500 rooms and suites, a main gaming floor with over 100,000 square feet of space, a robust selection of slots and table games, and much more. Further attractions include seven restaurants (including Jack Binion’s Steak, Smoke & Rye, JB’s Café, and the Aroma Café & Bar), as well as the following amenities:

• Concert venue
• Event hall
• Envy Bar & Lounge
• Accents gift shop
• Indulge The Spa
• Indoor pool and hot tub
• Fitness Center
• Nature preserve
• Chariot Run Golf Club

In addition to the expanded facilities, the game types on offer at the new Caesars venue should be familiar to seasoned casino gamers. You’ll be able to enjoy over 1600 slots, dozens of classic table games like blackjack, roulette, mini-bac, and craps, and have access to The Book for all kinds of national and international sports betting action.

Of course, while Indiana gambling laws allow online sports betting statewide, the same isn’t true for poker or casino gaming, which means that – for most IN residents – offshore online casinos are a better, more convenient bet.

After all, no matter how much bigger the Caesars Southern Indiana is than the erstwhile Glory of Rome, it’s still a lot smaller – in terms of gambling options – than the best offshore gambling sites.

Encore Boston Harbor Takes On Water, Looks To Right The Ship

encore boston harbor problems

The Encore Boston Harbor opened just five months ago in Everett, Massachusetts, and the venue is already beset with problems.

However, the good news for the $2.6 billion Wynn Resort development is that the current issues are fixable and align more with typical growing pains than with foundational or systemic shortcomings.

While the venue has seen declining overall GGR (gross gaming revenue) numbers with October’s $45.8 million haul representing its lowest monthly take to date, some of that can be explained away as a seasonal lull. After all, the holidays – and customers’ requisite holiday expenses – are fast approaching.

However, the Encore is also facing a decline in revenue because many area locals feel that the upscale casino is simply too expensive for casual gamers.

That criticism has been taken to heart by the Encore’s new management team.

The company’s new president, Brian Gullbrants, was installed in the position just last month after former president Robert DeSalvio stepped down, and he has been quick to address the complaint.

One of the chief deterrents for the legal casino gambling community in Massachusetts was the fact that the Encore was nickel and diming its patrons with excessive table game minimums of $50 and parking fees for all customers.

Now, those parking fees have been eliminated altogether, while the table games have seen their minimums reduced to $15. These changes, as well as other reductions to shuttle and transportation fees, should promote wider adoption among casual gamers.

Gullbrants explains the new approach, admitting that the company had made mistakes.

“The last thing we want to do is be a Vegas casino in Boston. We want to be a Boston casino in Boston. We want to be Greater Boston’s hometown casino. And we want everyone to come and feel welcome and like they can have a great time there, whether they are playing or not playing. …

We thought we could charge for parking here in Boston, and we were wrong. We have now made self-parking free for all guests, 24/7. We thought we could charge for some of the transportation like boats and premiums buses. We were wrong.”

In addition to the above, the Encore Boston Harbor is also extending its bonus options to a broader range of clientele.

In the first few months of the Encore’s operations, its reward card program was limited only to high rollers. Instead, a tiered card system rewarding all classes of players will be installed. That is scheduled for an early 2020 launch.

Whether or not these adjustments will encourage a dramatic uptick in new visitors remains to be seen, though it is undeniably a good start and should, logically, draw in more of the rank and file customers that the venue needs to thrive.

Aside from the above, the casino is also facing challenges from those in the surrounding community who claim that the venue is responsible for a measurable increase in criminal activity.

According to local law enforcement, more than 160 people have been arrested or have received court summons for criminal activity at the venue.

Police records show that cheating, larceny, assault and battery, disorderly conduct, and other charges have been meted out for unruly patrons of the Encore.

However, this is not altogether unexpected. Before the Encore was built and opened in Everett, the area was industrial and largely barren. Very little crime existed in the immediate vicinity simply because very few people were there in the first place.

But with a major casino resort now occupying the area, there is more opportunity for criminal activity in general. And unsurprisingly, most of that activity is alcohol-related.

Per the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s Gayle Cameron, commercial casino resorts – due to their sheer size and customer volume – invariably lead to an increase in crime:

“I’m not surprised. I’m not. We anticipated there’d be some issues. Yes, there is some criminal activity, and the bigger issue is around some drunk and disorderly behavior.”

Everett police chief Steven Mazzie concurs with Cameron’s assessment and is similarly unconcerned, noting that such is par for the course when a development of this stature fills a vacuum.

“It’s right in line with our research, with what thought we’d see. … Obviously, some people are overindulging in alcohol, which leads to people getting intoxicated and maybe fighting, causing disturbances.”

While such incidents are not being dismissed, there is also no real solution to the problem. A large casino is going to attract a large customer base, and some of that base will invariably include the occasional troublemaker.

For the Encore, the bigger issue is one of public relations. If the casino gets the reputation of being a hotbed for criminal activity, that could negatively affect local attendance far more than expensive table game limits and paid parking has.

Fortunately, common sense should ultimately prevail, and the venue should see little harm from this increase in petty crime.

Further, It seems unlikely that area residents will blame the Encore for the poor decisions of a tiny subset of its tens of thousands of weekly patrons. And it is even less likely that these incidents will radiate out from the casino’s premises and impact the surrounding community.

Nevertheless, if you live in or around Everett and are concerned about gaming at the Encore, you do have other options.

While Massachusetts has not passed any gambling laws that allow domestic online gaming, you can safely access a host of offshore casino sites. There, you can play your favorite real money slots and table games without breaking the bank or otherwise running into any trouble like you might at the Encore (or any other brick-and-mortar gambling venue).

The Encore Boston Harbor may be off to a rocky start, but there is plenty of time for the facility to get its bearings and right the ship.

Brick-and-Mortar Casinos Struggle To Court Millennials

casinos for millennials

There is a major crisis slowly brewing in the Nevada desert, and it looks to have implications for the rest of the United States in the years to come:

Millennials aren’t going to casinos.

In October at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, UNLV director of hospitality Robert Rippee hosted a presentation on the subject. In it, he discussed the problems that legitimate casinos face in attracting reliable repeat business from the next generation.

Rippee contends that the industry as a whole is missing the mark, with casino operators unified in their belief that – so far – they’ve been unable to profitably gain a foothold in the Millennial milieu.

“We see [Millennials] walk through our casino floor, and the stereotype is that they’re walking across the casino floor to go to the nightclub. So they’re doing a good job of building nightclubs and chaotic types of experiences that employ some of those features, but when it comes to the other elements that traditionally have defined a casino resort, it’s been problematic.”

How Can Casinos Attract Millennials?

Per the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Rippee believes that the answer to courting Millennials effectively may lie in another (more recent) Vegas mainstay: the Electric Daisy Carnival, or EDC.

The world’s largest electronic dance music (EDM) festival, the flagship EDC event has been held in Sin City every year since 2011, attracting upwards of 400,000 attendees annually.

According to Rippee, the EDC resonates with Millennials because of its focus on loud music, varied food options, social media sharing, laser light shows, and more, all contained in a venue on a gigantic scale.

Says Rippee of the EDC:

“It’s lots of different things. So what EDC tells me as a successful effort toward a younger generation is chaos. There are lots of things happening simultaneously that they make sense out of it and interpret it as experience and fun.”

As gambling hotspots continue to struggle to attract a more youthful clientele, they have to balance the needs of their current customers, as well. Nobody, for example, is turning the Bellagio gaming floor into a circus sideshow.

And while some outfits are spending a mint on market research to solve the conundrum – Caesars is building a technological testbed (in this case, an endeavor called Black Fire Innovation) to sort out potential avenues of interest – it may all be for naught.

Why Millennials Don’t Go To Casinos

There is, perhaps, a more straightforward reality to consider, and that’s that Millennials simply aren’t interested in patronizing brick-and-mortar gambling venues, whether those are in Las Vegas or anywhere else.

There are a few key reasons why Millennials and their modern connected lifestyles don’t lend themselves well to the traditional casino experience.

Firstly, Millennials live a mobile-first lifestyle. If something can’t be done conveniently on a smartphone or tablet, it will likely fall by the wayside.

Because of the Interstate Wire Act (1961), the gambling industry is already largely handcuffed in the breadth of its online service potential, with every venue’s Internet offerings geofenced to the state in which it operates.

This defies the logic of the borderless Millennial social culture, and it makes such gambling services unattractive to them.

Indeed, to date, there are only three states that offer traditional online casino gaming (though the pastime is pending in a couple of others): Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware.

In states that have legal sports betting, those without an online component are universally failing to meet revenue expectations, while those that offer online betting see more than 80 percent of their business derive from that market.

The second issue that brick-and-mortar casinos face in attracting Millennials is that – outside of “events” – these folks live in a virtual world. While this ties into the mobile-first lifestyle mentioned above, it goes further than that.

For example, the most popular casino on the planet is the Diamond Casino & Resort. Millennials patronize the Diamond Casino in droves, to the tune of millions of players per day!

But the Diamond Casino & Resort isn’t a real place – it’s part of a video game. And the money users spend, while real, doesn’t pay out in real-world currency.

How a physical casino can hope to compete with Grand Theft Auto or NBA 2K or countless other mobile apps and the overarching “loot box” culture seems to be an insoluble puzzle.

Perhaps if the Wire Act is overturned, casino brands can bring compelling, real-money virtual experiences into the home via mobile, computer, console, or VR.

That will eventually happen.

In fact, legitimate offshore casinos – unbound by the archaic and counterproductive Wire Act and other federal laws like the UIGEA – will likely lead the industry to that point.

But even that, of course, won’t solve the biggest problem of all:

Millennials just don’t have any money.

Atlanta Motor Speedway Unveils Vision For Legal Georgia Gambling

Atlanta Motor Speedway Casino Resort Concept

There are some big ideas in store for legalized Georgia casinos.

Currently, however, Georgia is one of the few states that features no form of traditional commercial gambling. It has the Georgia Lottery, but outside of that, there are no casinos, tribal casinos, racetracks, or cardrooms to speak of.

Historically, Georgia has been opposed to legal gambling, driving residents to offshore legitimate casinos accessible over the Internet. However, in the wake of 2018’s overturn of PASPA (the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992), nearly 20 states have already legalized local domestic sports betting operations.

More importantly, considering the low margins associated with sports wagering, several of these states have taken the opportunity to either legalize much more profitable homegrown casino gaming endeavors or further expand their lucrative existing casino markets.

In order for Georgia to install legal casino gaming, sports betting, and horseplaying in the state, the issue would have to be passed by both chambers of the state legislature, after which it would move to a statewide voter referendum.

Such a process, at its most efficient, would take at least another year to bear fruit before construction could even start on Georgia’s latest proposed casino venue.

And is that proposal ever a doozy!

Unveiled on Wednesday, a rendering of a planned casino resort complex shows just how big some pro-gambling hopefuls are dreaming.

Ed Clark, president of the famed Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS), has released his spectacular vision for the future of the venue, which you can see in the header above.

The AMS, which hosts a variety of NASCAR league events and drag races, was opened in July 1960, and its 1.54-mile track is considered one of the fastest on the NASCAR circuit. With seating for over 71,000 spectators, the venue remains successful and profitable.

But with the potential for Georgia gambling, Clark and his team are speeding toward a future that’s more than just racing.

Should the plan be allowed to go through, the development would offer a hotel, condominiums, timeshares, shopping malls, restaurants, a go-kart track, a concert arena, a theme park, and a waterpark.

Atlanta Motor Speedway Casino Resort Sketch

Most interestingly, the development would be in partnership with the Connecticut-based Foxwoods Resort Casino owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Nation. As a result, the gaming and entertainment bona fides of the project would be undeniable.

Indeed, it’s the Foxwoods design team that brought Clark’s new vision to life in the released renderings and conceptual work. That synergy makes sense, as Foxwoods is one of the sponsors of NASCAR events at AMS’ sister facility, the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Says Clark about the pairing with Foxwoods:

“They’ve expressed interest in doing business with us. They’re a great partner at New Hampshire, and they’ve got a resort in Connecticut that does very well.”

But despite the apparent casino focus of the proposal, that’s not the foundational commercial purpose of the development. In fact, according to Clark, the casino would merely be an ancillary attraction in a much larger family-focused experience.

“We’re talking a full destination that caters to the entire family, and not just for people to come and gamble. As a matter of fact, the casino footprint would probably be 10 percent or less of the square footage of the entire operation…We would have no interest in [the project] if it was just a casino.”

While the associated cost of the AMS project has not been itemized specifically, it is expected that the entire facility would call for a construction budget of at least $1 billion.

Statistics on direct and down-market economic impacts have not been released, though hundreds – if not thousands – of jobs would likely be created in the immediate region.

Here’s hoping the Georgia legislature and resident voters get this show on the road!

Zelle Lets Online Casino Players Purchase Bitcoin Quickly And Easily

zelle online casino funding

At most legitimate offshore gambling sites, players are given a variety of options for funding their accounts. And while credit and debit transactions remain in popular use, Bitcoin (BTC) is now the gold standard.

If there’s a problem with Bitcoin, however, it’s in the initial acquisition of the stuff. As opposed to other banking methods, Bitcoin takes a bit of setup before you can actually use it, and that setup takes time.

Most mainstream BTC buy-ins – sites like Coinbase or major exchanges that accept USD for conversion to the cryptocurrency – require customers to wait up to 10 days before they can get their hands on their Bitcoin. For Internet gambling, such a wait is far from ideal, and that wait can push online gamers away from embracing this superior monetary medium.

But there’s finally a solution: Zelle.

What Is Zelle?

Zelle is an instant-pay platform developed and owned by a consortium of the largest US banks and financial institutions. In fact, the chances are good that you already have access to Zelle through your bank or online banking app.

Al Ko, CEO of the service, breaks down Zelle’s current adoption rate:

“More than 64% of U.S. demand deposit accounts…have access to Zelle through the 480 financial institutions contracted to join the Zelle Network. We continue to see double-digit increases in new customer [gains] each month, demonstrating continued demand for Zelle from national and regional banks and credit unions.”

At heart, Zelle is a competitor in the space previously dominated by PayPal and PayPal’s Venmo service. And though the latter has more mindshare in the marketplace, Zelle transactions account for far more volume. In the last quarter alone, US customers undertook 171 million Zelle transfers for over $44 billion.

The key difference between Zelle vs. Paypal/Venmo is that Zelle is a US-only product, good for transactions exclusively between US bank account holders. PayPal is a global brand, and many non-US casino sites offer PayPal support, which has been a point of significant annoyance for US-based gamblers.

Zelle fixes that.

There is one caveat, however: You can’t use Zelle to transfer funds to your favorite casino sites directly. Instead, Zelle is a quick, easy entry point to Bitcoin, which you then use to load up your gambling account.

How To Buy Bitcoin With Zelle

Several casino sites – like Bovada and Ignition Casino, among others – offer primers on their cashier pages for how to use Zelle to fund member accounts. That said, you aren’t limited to these operators if you want to go the Zelle-to-Bitcoin route.

No matter which offshore gambling site you prefer, they all support Bitcoin as a matter of course. In effect, then, all these venues are essentially Zelle casinos – you just have to do a little legwork at the outset. Namely, that legwork involves setting up a free account at a site called LocalBitcoins.

The process is outlined in detail at the previous link, but in a nutshell, here’s how you can use Zelle to fund your online gambling hobby:

  1. Sign up at a legitimate online casino that offers BTC deposit options. (All of the most reputable sites fall into this category, so you have several good providers at your disposal.)
  2. Make sure your bank already offers Zelle support. Alternatively, you can download the official Zelle app for iPhone or Android and link it to your Visa or Mastercard account, as these companies are Zelle partners.
  3. Sign up at LocalBitcoins.com.
  4. Use Zelle to purchase BTC from any private seller on LocalBitcoins. You will receive your BTC at the crypto wallet of your choice in just a few minutes.
  5. Bitcoin in hand, simply log on to your casino site, choose the BTC deposit method, and transfer your gambling funds to the site’s provided BTC address.

That’s the entire process, start to finish. Instead of having to wait a week or two to gamble with Bitcoin, Zelle lets players buy that BTC – and transfer it to their chosen gaming sites – in under an hour.

And that means you never have to miss out on a good hand of poker, a progressive slots payout, a sure-thing pony in this afternoon’s race, or an attractive betting line on tonight’s ballgame.

What Is LocalBitcoins?

LocalBitcoins.com is the gateway that makes Zelle work for offshore gamblers. The site is a major global BTC marketplace serving more than 240 countries around the world, and it was founded in Finland in 2012. Because LocalBitcoins links private BTC buyers with private BTC sellers, you can bypass the typical red-tape rigmarole associated with purchasing cryptocurrency through FDIC-insured frontends.

Despite a lack of government licensing and regulation, however, LocalBitcoins is inherently safe to use. This is because the site employs an encrypted escrow system.

In other words, when you use Zelle to buy Bitcoin at LocalBitcoins, the site takes immediate custody of the seller’s BTC as your payment is processed. Once your Zelle payment clears, LocalBitcoins releases the agreed-upon quantity of Bitcoin into your possession, eliminating any opportunity for bait-and-switch scams on the network.

LocalBitcoins is a proven, trusted platform that has processed billions of dollars in BTC over the years, and you can feel safe using the site any time you want to purchase Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Is Even Better With Zelle

Bitcoin is the preferred way to deposit into your betting account for a number of reasons. You can get better welcome bonuses and deposit perks, for one thing. For another, your deposit will never be declined by the likes of the UIGEA, which guarantees success for every banking transaction.

The biggest benefit of going the Bitcoin route, of course, is that BTC is the only way to get same-day payouts at offshore betting and gambling sites. However, to get these same-day payouts via BTC, you have to deposit with BTC to begin with.

There’s also another thing to consider about legitimate Bitcoin casinos, and that’s that no domestic online casino site or brick-and-mortar gambling venue in the US currently supports BTC. If you want to enjoy the anonymity and security of using decentralized currency to keep your gambling activities private, Bitcoin is the answer, and it’s only supported by offshore gaming sites.

To maximize the convenience of online and mobile casino gaming, Bitcoin is the way to go.

And since Zelle makes Bitcoin more accessible for gamblers than ever, this new funding model is just one more way that the offshore providers continue to one-up domestic operators.

If you’ve been waiting for a quick, convenient way to buy into Bitcoin for your gambling needs, Zelle is the answer.

California Cardroom Scandal Proves Online Poker Is Safer?

postle poker cheat

While online casinos and poker rooms have long had a comparatively undeserved reputation for being a bastion of frauds and cheaters, one of the biggest scandals in the industry is unfolding at a major California-regulated cardroom.

Stones Gambling Hall, located in Citrus Heights, CA, is currently the setting of a major poker scandal, as a joint $30 million lawsuit has been filed by 24 players.

According to the suit, professional poker player Mike Postle was the main benefactor of the scheme, which saw the player receive information about his competitors’ hole cards during several different Stone Live Poker events.

The allegations further accuse a heretofore unnamed accomplice of Postle working in the cardroom’s employ. The task of this individual, according to the suit, was to use the livestream’s RFID card-identifying system to effectively tell Postle what cards his opponents had.

As a result, Postle was able to string together a series of improbable wins over several tournaments.

Per the lawsuit, the wins themselves have been analyzed, and they defy rational probability. The text of the suit lays out the boldness of the scheme, with analysis showing

“statistics not only unfathomable in the world of professional poker, but, too, situation decision-making in which almost every so-called guess to be made by Mr. Postle is done so in a manner that optimally benefits his monetary interest.

In short, Mr. Postle’s poker winnings – considered in the prism of both metrics and hand-for-hand decision making – on Stones Live Poker have been not merely outliers but, in fact, exponential outliers, representing a quality of play multiple degrees higher than that achieved by the best poker players in the world.”

Postle’s suspected accomplice has not been named, but according to Casino.org, those bringing the suit have a good idea of who the defendant – currently referred to as John Doe 1 – actually is.

The plaintiffs are holding off on publicly naming the suspect, “cognizantly refraining from making such an allegation…until further information can be gleaned through the discovery process.”

In addition to the case against Postle, the lawsuit is also taking a position against Stones Gambling Hall on the grounds that John Doe 1 was employed by the venue and was instrumental in the scheme.

Even more damning for the card room, the plaintiffs have accused the California venue of systematically rejecting player complaints about Postle’s potential cheating while at the same time promoting the player in question – and his ill-gotten “skills” – in various marketing materials.

Consequently, the suit alleges fraud on the part of Justin Kuraitis, the Stones Gambling Hall poker room manager, as well as gross negligence on the part of the cardroom itself.

While Postle is alleged to have earned roughly $250,000 through the scheme, the plaintiffs in the case are seeking damages of $10 million apiece from Postle, the Stones Gambling Hall, and Kuraitis.

One of the bloggers who covered (or rather, uncovered) this story is Doug Polk, who runs a YouTube channel and website dedicated to poker tips and strategies. Polk offers a compelling play-by-play breakdown of Postle’s difficulties when he wasn’t privy to all of his opponents’ hole cards.

In the grand scheme, poker cheats are not unusual. As long as there has been gambling, there has been fraud. In the early days of online poker, a few notable scandals event threatened to break the industry.

In 2007, Absolute Poker’s POTRIPPER scandal made waves, as did another scandal at a site called UltimateBet, care of disgraced poker pro Russ Hamilton. And, of course, such fraud isn’t limited to poker.

In 2004, Realtime Gaming (RTG), one of the most respected fair play software designers on the Internet, were allegedly cheated out of $1.3 million by a Caribbean 21 player using an outlawed automated playing program.

However, it’s been over a solid decade since there’s been a major scandal – or even the hint of a major scandal – at any legitimate offshore casino site, while domestic operators seem to have found no real reprieve.

While this alone won’t necessarily convince potential players that the online model is better (or sway purists who insist on the live human element when it comes to poker), it’s certainly worth considering that just because a system is online-only, that doesn’t mean it’s inherently more susceptible to fraud.

In fact, given the pace of technological development and the cottage market of watchdogs that have sprung up to police offshore sites for fair play compliance, it’s possible that – going forward – you’ll always get the fairest shake online.