COVID-19 Causes Extended Casino Closures And Inspires Mixed-Use For Facilities

Man Sleeping At Poker Table

With all land-based casinos inside of the USA closed because of the Coronavirus pandemic, some big-time industry leaders have stepped up to assist with quarantine and sanitization efforts. With Arkansas declaring that casino closures will extend through at least April 30, gaming facilities and hotels could become rescue centers and first aid shelters.

With US gaming laws providing for legitimate mobile casinos to become the top option for the gambling crowd, empty facilities and deep-pocketed casino owners have an opportunity to make a difference in the fight to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Sheldon Adelson Donates Two Million Masks To Trump, New York, Nevada

CEO and founder of Las Vegas Sands, Sheldon Adelson, has acquired two million surgical masks and will be donating them to a variety of efforts that are being hardest hit by the spread of the Coronavirus.

Two hundred fifty thousand masks will be given to the Trump administration and their COVID-19 task force. The rest of the 1.75 million masks will be split between Adelson’s home state of Nevada and New York state, which has become an epicenter for the virus.

The masks were soured from China, oddly enough, the same country where the first case of the virus appeared months ago. Adelson is a long time supporter of the Republican Party and was eager to support President Trump and Vice President Pence in their efforts to keep America safe.

Adelson has a net worth of just under $30 billion and is ranked 17th on the Forbes list of wealthiest Americans. His donation to fight the spread of the Coronavirus is considerable and has inspired other industry entities to join the cause.

Other area Las Vegas casinos have donated to local food banks and have given cash donations to local charities. Many entities have extended pay and benefits to employees who are out of work due to the closures, but not all are on board with staff support.

Just like with the US economy, and it’s expected record upturn in unemployment requests, Nevada and the gaming industry is expected to experience significant loss. Legitimate casinos and sportsbooks will undoubtedly open up for business again, but what’s not so certain is the effect the collateral damage will have on casino employees and vacationers planning on visiting the region.

Casino Hotels In Detroit Open For First Responders

The Greektown Casino and Hotel in Detroit has been closed for weeks but has recently opened it’s forty rooms to house firefighters, police officers, and medical professionals who do not want to travel home and risk exposing their family members to COVID-19.

Detroit has been hit particularly hard, and the Detroit News is reporting that 21 fire department members have come down with the Coronavirus. With infections so rampant in the inner-city, isolation is critical. The otherwise closed casino offers plenty of that.

The temporary residents of the hotel are under constant medical surveillance, and no quarantined or currently ill first responders are allowed to stay there. Other USA casinos will be required to donate their floor and hotel space before this epidemic has concluded.

Florida Casino Closures Prompt Bettors To Venture Offshore During Coronavirus Quarantine

Florida Casino Closures

Although many non-essential businesses have decided to shut down operations until the Coronavirus virus epidemic subsides, some casinos have defied the potential dangers and kept their doors open. The Seminole Casino Hotel in Immokalee, Florida, decided to remain open despite the Coronavirus claiming the life of a recent visitor.

Earlier this afternoon, NBC Miami reported that all Seminole Casino properties in the state of Florida will close at 6 PM today, triggering the closure of the Immokalee location.

“This decision was not taken lightly as Seminole Gaming employs nearly 14,000 Seminole Gaming team members in the state. The goal has been to protect their livelihood without jeopardizing public safety. We have now reached a point where we do not feel comfortable taking that risk.” – The Seminole Tribe of Florida

While attempting to stay open, in an effort to contain the spread of the virus, the Seminole Casino sanitized all playing surfaces, powered down slot machines to allow for several feet of space between customers, and imposed table limits to curtail potential COVID-19 exposure.

Do these brick-and-mortar casinos have the best interest of the visiting gambler in mind?

Ensuring clean playing surfaces is a great preventative measure to contain the spread of a virus, but all it takes is one infected person to come in contact with said surface to endanger everyone else. With 500 coronavirus cases and 10 deaths so far in Florida, it’s about time the Seminole Tribe of Florida followed the lead of other land-based casinos and shut their doors.

Are in-person casino games worth the risk of exposure to a potentially deadly virus? Although some still think so, the best option is staying at home and placing a bet with a legitimate online casino. They offer all the excitement of the real thing with the same level of accuracy and fair play found at similar machines in land-based casinos.

The Seminole is located just north of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, home to many retirees and snow-birds, most of whom fall into the highest risk factor demographic of 60+ years of age. Many advanced aged citizens in the region frequent the Seminole as a pastime and have been doing so during the contagion.

No timeline has been given for reopening the Seminole casinos in Florida, leaving many gamblers seeking an alternative to physical casinos. With many legitimate mobile casino options available to US citizens who are stuck at home, perhaps its time that the older generation adapts to newer technology and embraces the use of online casinos.

Although Florida has not passed legislation allowing for the regulation of online in-state gambling, the lack of specific US online wagering laws on the books allows for legal wagering online at a top-rated offshore casino operating online.

If you are currently practicing social distancing and imposing a self-quarantine like all US citizens should be doing at this time, offshore casinos are the perfect solution for gamblers with extra time on their hands. Try a hand or two of online video poker to hold you over until this quarantine is over.

KISS Shout It Out Loud For Their New Rock Themed Casino In Biloxi, MS

KISS Casino

You wanted the best casino. You got the best casino. The hottest band in the land’s casino? KISS! That’s right. The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame band KISS, who has famously lent their names to just about anything commercially producible, is building a new casino in Biloxi, MS.

Of course, it’s not the original four members of the group. Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons are the only original members that remain, and together they helm the massive KISS empire that has produced everything from Hollywood motion pictures to KISS themed caskets.

The new casino is an extension of KISS’s Rock & Brews brand. They currently own 21 restaurants under that title. The proposed casino will be built on the location where Margaritaville Casino sits presently. It has been closed since 2014, and the city of Biloxi is looking forward to revitalizing that section of its gaming strip.

KISS and their empire are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, but they are not entering this venture alone. The $200 million Rock & Brews Casino is being co-financed by RAM Development. Construction will not begin until the group receives approval from the State Gaming Commission and the Biloxi Planning Commission. Gambling Laws have allowed for casinos in Biloxi since 1992.

Despite regulation hurdles not being cleared just yet, WLOX is reporting that construction is expected to begin in 2020.

So what will the new casino include? Casinos in the USA are nothing new, so how will this one differ? What we do know is that the casino will contain a concert venue that can seat 3,000 people, at least one massive restaurant, a 200-room hotel, and of course, a large casino floor. But what about Rock & Roll memorabilia?

There’ll be plenty of historical items from the extensive timeline of rock music decorating the halls of the new casino. If it is anything like the décor of their restaurants, then the focus will not be on KISS at all. Instead, artifacts from many of the artists featured on classic rock radio will adorn the walls of the entire building.

KISS has been on their “The End is Near…” tour for over a year now, and they have declared that it will be their final tour before putting away their makeup and guitars for good. Even though they are on the road, Simmons and Stanley have kept their eye on the ball regarding their financial interests.

Rock & Brews Restaurants debuted in 2012, and their 21 locations range from large metropolitan areas of the United States to popular airports. It is an odd pairing if you know the history of Gene Simons, who has never had a drink of alcohol in his life.

That’s never stopped KISS from benefiting from an economic opportunity. Cash is king in KISS’s world, and they’ve got a full line of products to prove it. Adding a legitimate casino to their portfolio should surprise no one.

The casino is preparing for a ribbon-cutting ceremony that will take place on March 15th. KISS performs a concert in Biloxi on that date, and Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, and other investors involved in the project are expected to be on hand for the ribbon-cutting.

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.