Friday, December 26, 2014

Archive: August, 2009

POSTED: Tuesday, August 25, 2009, 2:09 PM

***If there are any people more stupid than the federal lawmakers who have championed keeping sports betting illegal in Delaware (and, by extension, everywhere), I'd love to know who they are, so I can marvel at the depths of their idiocy.

According to the Washington Post's report on yesterday's federal appeals court ruling that single-game betting proposed in Delaware violates U.S. law, "Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. urging him to enforce the federal ban on sports betting. In the letter, the lawmakers wrote that ‘sports betting threatens the integrity of the pastimes our citizens enjoy and the nature of the games they follow’” (my emphasis).
 
WTF???? Have I missed something? Hasn't betting--specifically on college and pro football games--been part of the sporting culture in this country (especially on the East Coast) for decades? What are Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber saying? Has any NFL or NCAA game in the past 40 years (let's say) been proven to have been affected by gambling? If so, how come we never heard about it?  
 
Yes, I know there have been a few instances of point-shaving in college basketball games through the decades. But as far as I know, they’ve been instigated by criminal types—exactly the element that would be eliminated (to a large degree) by legal, regulated gambling.
 
Perhaps the Senate geniuses are tacitly asking to keep state governments out of bookmaking so criminals can continue to have a huge share of the multi-multi-billion-dollar sports-betting industry? Are they saying they'd rather have the guy at the end of the bar take bets than the kind of state-created bureaucracies around the nation that have so far kept casinos free of underworld infiltration?
 
Hatch and Kyl--who obviously have too much time on their hands--aren't the only D.C. knuckleheads: The Post reported Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), a former Redskins quarterback, Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) sent a similar letter to Holder suggesting legal betting would be a much bigger scourge that what we have now everywhere but Las Vegas.
 
What morons...
 
***On a related note, I'm not sure they're popping corks in AyCee today because of yesterday's ruling. Sure, unless the First State takes its case to the Supreme Court, it means yet another assault on the Atlantic City gambling dollar has been avoided (and if the Supremes vote to uphold, it certainly will take pressure off the already beleaguered casino business). But from here, it seems Atlantic City's gambling industry would ultimately have benefited more from a ruling in Delaware's favor. If the court says no to Delaware, it says no to everybody; end of story.
 
If it had sided with Delaware, it would have given New Jersey more ammunition in its inevitable legalization battle.
 
POSTED: Wednesday, August 19, 2009, 3:36 PM

Sure, it's barely a Band-Aid on a tumor in the overall scheme of things, but everyone involved in today's Atlantic City Air Show has a right to feel pretty damned good.

A crowd whose estimates may reach upwards of 750,000 jammed the beach and Boardwalk to watch a spectacular display of military hardware and aeronautic acrobatics under a bright sun that was mercifully tempered by an occasional passing cloud or two.

Walking along the Boardwalk around noontime recalled those sepia photos from the 1910s and '20s in which the Great Wood Way is a sea of people jammed shoulder-to-shoulder. Tuesday night, all 11 casinos were reporting no vacancies, and today, gaming hall eateries (at least those in midtown) saw the kinds of lunch-hour lines that were standard in the long-gone days when AC held the East Coast gambling monopoly.

POSTED: Monday, August 17, 2009, 1:23 AM
It's being referred to as "Resorts' last resort," and no matter how you slice it, it can't bode well for AyCee's oldest legal gambling den.
 
Over the weekend, it was reported that Colony Capital LLC, owner of the beleaguered uptown property, has agreed to let the casino be taken over by Column Financial Inc., the commercial real estate lending arm of Credit Suisse. This deal was cut because Resorts, which has been hit particularly hard by the ongoing downturn in Atlantic City, hasn't made a payment on its $360 million loan since last fall.
 
I'm just sayin', but is there a worse owner for a casino than a bank? Sure, Colony will still have a management contract to run Resorts. But it will, we can assume, ultimately have to answer to the bean-counters at Column Financial--who can't be particularly well-suited to knowing what is best for a casino and its patrons. 
 
The gaming industry was forged by high-rolling mavericks like the late Bill Harrah and Benny Binion--seat-of-the-pants guys who were anathema  to the kind of tight-coloned MBAs who will have the final say. That sound you hear is bill and benny spinning in their graves. Unless the Earth begins to rotate clockwise and pigs do indeed begin to fly, it's hard to imagine the Column Financial crew will have the imagination, not to mention the willingness to spend money, that it will take to rescue Resorts.
 
Which means there's a distinct danger Resorts will ultimately be destroyed by those charged with saving it.
 
I sincerely hope I'm proved to be wrong, but I can't shake the feeling a bank running a casino is like the Taliban running a strip club.
About this blog
Philly native Chuck Darrow has literally covered Atlantic City’s casino scene since Day One: He was there on assignment the night in November 1976 when voters approved legalized casinos.

Since then, Chuck has covered the town and its gaming industry for several area newspapers -- which is why, in some circles, he’s known as “Boardwalk Charlie.”

You can reach Chuck at darrowc@phillynews.com. Reach Chuck at darrowc@phillynews.com.

Chuck Darrow