Atlantic City Casinos See Rise in Revenues

Finally, after a decade of struggles to resuscitate revenue from gambling and online gambling activities, Atlantic City has finally seen the light at the end of the tunnel. For the first time in ten years, since 2006, the operating casinos in Atlantic City recorded a rise in the revenue. The records announced by New Jersey regulators state the figure of $2.6 billion accrued last year, which translates to an increase of 1.5%. Detailed analysis of the revenue figures shows that this result was achieved mostly thanks to online gambling activities such as their USA online casino (including online slots), online poker and live dealer casino play.

The downfall of Atlantic City began in 2006 with the opening of Pennsylvania casinos which was detrimental for Atlantic City as it watched all of their customers flow away in another direction. During the following years the situation grew even worse. The starting number of 12 casinos was reduced to eight, causing thousands of jobs to be lost. Today this number has declined even more with the closure of Trump’s Taj Mahal, which occurred on October 10, 2016 after 26 years of operation. The remaining seven casinos include Bally’s, Borgata, Caesars with online casino Caesars Interactive-NJ, Golden Nugget, Harrah’s, Resorts with online entity Resorts Digital and Tropicana.

According to the New Jersey Divisions Of Gaming Enforcement, which released the official revenue record on Thursday, land-based casinos generated $2.406 billion from gambling which is less by 0.3% than the overall gaming revenue in 2015. This is where online gaming comes to the rescue with a contribution of $196.7 which represents an increase of 32 percent in comparison to last year. With online gambling revenue the total number amounted to $2.602 billion. Compared to last year this figure records an increase of 1.5% in total gaming revenue which is the first time since 2006.

The numbers for each casino show that Golden Nugget and Tropicana marked the biggest increase compared to their revenue generated in 2015, while Bally’s barely made it through. Nevertheless all seven casinos recorded positive numbers.

One of the biggest boosts was recorded in the last month of 2016. The figures in December show significant increase in comparison to last year. Currently active seven casinos have earned $22 million more than in December last year which amounts to an increase of 13.6 percent. The Chairman of New Jersey Casino Control Commission, Matt Levinson believes that the factor of luck had its share in the situation. The fact that the New Year’s Eve was on Saturday definitely helped to boost December revenue of the casinos. He also expressed his satisfaction with the growing numbers and added:

“These are some strong numbers, especially with all the bad news about Atlantic City’s ‘demise. There’s a lot of good news here. We have some stronger casinos now, and internet gambling continues to increase. The hope is we’re entering a stable environment now.”

Video Game Gambling Machines?

Last week the history of gambling was changed when the first skill-based VGM (video game gambling machine) was launched at Harrah’s Atlantic City Hotel & Resort. The revolutionary game was developed by GameCo in cooperation with Caesars Entertainment, the owner of Harrah’s. The first skill-based gambling game is called “Danger Arena” and it represents a combination of action arcade games and gambling slot machines. It will be available across all Caesars casinos in New Jersey, while GameCo announced that it would be launched in other cities in the future.

Revolution In Gambling World

VGM or video game gambling machines are actually cabinets with controllers used for playing, featuring games similar to typical video game but with the gambling aspect of slot machines, which promise a certain return to player (RTP). GameCo was awarded the Silver Medal for VGM in the category Best Slot Product at the 16th Annual Global Gaming Business Gaming & Technology Awards.

The main aim for creating this innovative and ground-breaking concept was to meet the needs of modern players, specifically those generations who grew up on video games. Being that they are now coming of age and becoming legally allowed to gamble, there is an interest in casinos and gambling on their part but the traditional casino games such as slots simply do not suit their views of entertainment.

Slot developers are going out of their way to redesign and reinvent classic slot games in order to make them more appealing and immersive but what they lack is interaction. Precisely this is what VGM offer: active engagement of the player and the skill level which brings payouts. The first players that want to test their skills and get paid for them will have the chance to do so at Harrah’s Resort, Caesars and Bally’s Wild Wild West, all owned by Caesars Entertainment.

How exactly does VGM work?

Skill-based video game gambling machines represent video games for a single player who uses a controller similar to Xbox. The player has 45-90 seconds to demonstrate his skill and get his stake multiplied according to the level of his skill.

The financial aspect of the game employs traditional slot machine concept. The difference is that slots must completely depend on chance, that is to say, everyone has equal chances to win, whereas in VGM the winnings depend on the skill. However, there are rules on return to player which must guarantee an RTP of 83% or higher, so after careful analysis and consultation with slot experts, GameCo team have included a random selection of maps and a random bonus feature.

The first game is Danger Arena, an action video game in which the players must shoot the robots in order to win the prize. GameCo have announced that the upcoming games will cover different themes: adventure, puzzles, sports etc.

If you cant get to Harrahs to try this type of machine, play online video poker, slots or table games at any of the many reputable online casinos. Browse our Gambling Directory for the best places to do anything online gaming related. From online casinos, to poker rooms to fantasy sports you can find it all here. See our Casino Portals for websites which list the best online casinos, many of them open to USA players. And of course check back here often for more directory updates.

Columbia Regulates Online Gaming

The new EGaming Act was recently approved by the Colombian Government after several drafts have been put forward for discussion by the Colombian regulating agency Coljuegos. The new act is supposed to regulate the activity of online gaming operators in terms of licensing, taxation and technical requirements. According to the new law the operators will be able to provide a wide range of gambling content including online casino games, online poker, sports betting, fantasy sports and promotional games.

Internet gaming in Colombia was not properly regulated in the past, that is, the law did not explicitly cover this field of gambling activity. Some rules regarding online gambling were included in the Government National plan but the government realized that online gambling was a reality and that by not defining it within the confines of the state, a huge market was left unexploited. Therefore, in the last few years the agency which regulates gambling activity in Colombia, Coljuegos started drafting bill proposals for legalization of online gambling.

This finally resulted in putting forth the new EGaming Act according to which the Online Gaming Operators are obliged to open a bank account in Colombia and also own a Columbian domain. The tax levy imposed on Operators’ net income is 15% which was reduced from 17% as it was previously implied in the National Plan. Furthermore the fee for the acquired license will be a fixed amount calculated as 811 minimum wages as determined by the state which amounts to around $160,000.

The license will be pretty flexible in terms of the games allowed, as Operators can offer anything from online casino games such as baccarat, roulette, poker, etc. to sports betting and promotional games. Promotional games are one interesting aspect of the online gaming as their purpose is to advertise the products and services while at the same time promoting gambling and attracting new players. Practically, these games provide the players with the opportunity to gamble for free if they purchase a certain product or a service.

The new Act definitely represents a breakthrough for Colombian Online Gambling market; however, certain challenges are already in sight. First of all, according to the Colombian law “a game operates through the Internet when both the bet and the prize are paid exclusively through the internet.” This implies that the players should own a bank account, which, you may think, should not be a problem but the situation is slightly different with the Colombians.

In Colombia there is a majority of people who do not possess a bank account or internet access. Gamblers are skeptical about online payments and prefer to process their payments in cash. Now the logical course of action would be building trust of the gamblers and working hard on promotion of the online gambling, which takes a lot of time and effort. Mentality change takes much more than bringing a law.

Another major concern for Colombians is that the local entrepreneurs possibly will not be able to contend with the foreign operators due to the high licensing fees.

The theory and reality of the new online gambling law encounter some contradictions, which is another issue for Coljuegos and the government to deal with. A step forward has been made but obviously there are many other things to consider and amend in the future.

Nevada Has Done It

This is rather old news but still worth posting. Nevada has become the first US state to open and allow online poker completely legally. Ultimate Poker, the first 100% USA legal poker site, dealt their first hand of poker online earlier this month. This is a huge milestone for online poker in the United States as we now have a working and legal model for online poker.

You have to be a resident of Nevada to play at Ultimate Poker (not to be confused with the old Ultimate Bet) because that is how the law was passed. Other US states have similar legislation currently open within their respective legislative bodies which will also allow legal poker within their state borders. All the other states also have the stipulation that you must be a resident of that state to play at the online poker sites that will operate within their borders.

While this is not the optimal solution, it is a great start to what will hopefully be 100% legal online poker throughout the United States. As more states eventually pass legal online poker and start to open online poker sites the federal government will surely want to get in on the tax advantages and revenue online poker will bring. Hopefully within the next 2 to 3 years we will see online poker sites that can operate across state borders.

If you do not live in Nevada and want to play online poker it is pretty much business as usual. There are still several great offshore poker sites that still allow US residents where residents from states other than Nevada can enjoy one of their favorite pastimes.

Stay tuned to our website and other online poker news sources as when more states pass and open online poker rooms we will share that information. In the meantime good luck to Nevada residents that are currently enjoying playing 100% legal poker at Ultimate Poker.