Posts Tagged ‘Vegas’

New Fox Television Program “LA to Vegas” Borne of Vegas Poker Trips

 New Fox Television Program “LA to Vegas” Borne of Vegas Poker Trips

Everyone loves to get in the creative minds of writers, especially if they come up with something that is unique. Many in the poker world love to hear from David Levien and Brian Koppelman, the duo who wrote the seminal poker movie Rounders (and, to a lesser extent, Runner Runner). Now the creator of a new television comedy on Fox is admitting that his new program was borne of weekend trips to Las Vegas to play poker.

Writer Lon Zimmet is the creator of the new Fox Television comedy LA to Vegas, a half-hour comedy that premiered last week on the Fox network. In an interview with Christopher Lawrence of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Zimmet admitted that, as a struggling writer during the “Moneymaker Boom” in poker, he would frequently go to Las Vegas to ply his poker playing skills. From those trips, it seems, the birth of a television series came.

“I started making (the trip) a lot,” Zimmet stated to Lawrence. “(I) realized a lot of people were getting introduced to poker after I’d been playing for years and (I) could make money off it…So I used to come out one weekend a month and it would pay my rent for the month and it would pay for food for the month.” After more than a decade of fermenting in his mind, Zimmet decided, “That might be a show. (This) might be something.”

The show itself looks quite interesting and does have some outright funny moments. It focuses on the people around the low-budget airline Jackpot Airlines and one particular flight which leaves on a Friday and returns on a Sunday. Captain Dave, portrayed by former The Practice star Dylan McDermott, is more interested in entertaining his passengers than flying the plane. In fact, he is more likely to give his customers suggestions on where to get a steak (or a lap dance) rather than his real job, flying.

McDermott’s character is countered by a flight attendant who is more than his equal. Ronnie, portrayed by actor Kim Matula, is constantly looking for a new job, to be able to get away from what she calls, “People not looking to cheat on their wives and butt-smuggle molly.” They are joined by three constant passengers – an economics professor from UCLA (whom Ronnie initiates into the “Mile High Club” in the first episode), a gambler, and a stripper who makes the commute each weekend and solicits other women to be dancers on the flight. These core five (and another flight attendant, Bernard (Nathan Lee Graham) that really didn’t get a great deal of attention in the first episode) make up the cast.

Or, as Matula says to Lawrence, “It’s The Love Boat in the sky, only dirtier (and the thought of what this show might be like on cable or, even better, on HBO makes the mind wander!).”

The first episode does delve into the dancer recruiting a young lady to “working the pole” while she is on her way with her fiancé to Vegas to elope on a Friday. As the half-hour rolls along, there is other things that show up – the gambler prop betting everything that goes on and Captain Dave’s insistence on wanting to show his Muay Thai skills – and, before you know it, Sunday has rolled around and the fiancé returns sans bride. He becomes a bit agitated at the entire crew and Captain Dave must restrain him (using his Muay Thai abilities) and have him arrested once they return to Los Angeles.

Zimmet promises that there will be more of those short trips – and what went on during them – in the future. “I made sure to pack a staff full of people who are very familiar with Las Vegas, so everyone has their own stories,” he says to Lawrence. “One of my writers actually used to take trips where he’d (get money) from someone just to…place sports bets for them.” Such stories as that seem to be what will make up the gist of LA to Vegas soon.

LA to Vegas will settle into its time slot on Tuesdays at 9PM (Eastern Time) and should be well worth the time for people who know Las Vegas to get to know. It will, at the minimum, give those who know the scene well a chance to say, “Yep…I’ve seen that.”

The post New Fox Television Program “LA to Vegas” Borne of Vegas Poker Trips appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

High Stakes Sports Bettor Rob Gorodetsky Banned from Vegas Sports Books

 High Stakes Sports Bettor Rob Gorodetsky Banned from Vegas Sports Books

A life as a professional sports bettor is a difficult one. Whereas most of us get paid at the end of the day regardless of how successful that day was, sports bettors need to win to pay the bills. Even salespeople, who sometimes risk making no money at all if they don’t sell, aren’t typically looking at losing thousands because of a bad day at the office. You know what makes a sports betting professional’s life even harder? Not having anywhere to bet. This is what has happened to high roller sports bettor and former poker pro Robert Gorodetsky, according to an article in USA Today.

In late December, USA Today tailed Gorodetsky for a week to see what the hell this guy was all about. At just 25-years old, Gorodetsky has been extremely successful, wagering tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars per day and emerging as a healthy net winner for the last few years. He says he doesn’t have much of a system, that he bets on gut instinct, something that confounds casinos and other sports bettors. Those who have seen him on a regular basis, like casino hosts, say they haven’t seen any evidence of cheating, but some other sports bettors can’t believe he can win so much just flying by the seat of his pants.

Gorodetsky frequently posts winning betting tickets on Instagram, but his critics point out that on the flip side, he never posts losing tickets.

It is sharing like this that led to his recent problem. In the USA Today piece, Gorodetsky bragged about his connections and gambling discussions with a number of professional athletes and coaches.

Talking about New York Giants star wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., Gorodetsky pointed USA Today to a May Instagram picture of the two of them with their arms around each other. He then told a quick story about how he loaned Beckham $ 10,000 to play blackjack. Beckham won and paid Gorodetsky back. He also showed the journalist a text from Beckham in which he expressed interest in laying $ 20,000 on a baseball game, but that bet never happened.

Gorodetsky also told about texting back and forth with Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach Damon Jones about baseball picks. L.A. Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma is also a friend/acquaintance who Gorodetsky will talk to before games.
“He’ll always secretly be like, ‘Who do you got?’ You know what I’m saying?”

MGM Resorts International confirmed to USA Today that it has banned Gorodetsky from sports betting at its casinos. The implication the USA Today is making is that these and other professional sports insider connections are a red flag and may have contributed to the exile.

One other warning sign was Gorodetsky’s thoughts about how easy it would be to pay college players to shave points in games:

You just pay college kids, inner-city college kids who don’t have any money. Give them 10 grand. That’s like a million dollars to them. You know what I’m saying? Have a bad game, here’s 10 grand. I don’t see how they wouldn’t do it.

I’d spread it around Vegas, 20 grand a place. They’d never notice. I wouldn’t beat one casino badly. I’d take a little piece from every single (sports) book.

Gorodetsky said he would never actually do it, but that it would be easy if he wanted to.

Cover photo credit: @bigrobstyle on Instagram

The post High Stakes Sports Bettor Rob Gorodetsky Banned from Vegas Sports Books appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

Las Vegas’ WNBA Team Has a Great New Name

 Las Vegas’ WNBA Team Has a Great New Name

When the news broke in October that the San Antonio Stars of the WNBA were purchased by MGM Resorts International and moved to Las Vegas, a few things popped into my head: a) that stinks for fans in San Antonio, b) how interesting that a gaming corporation acquired a professional sports team, c) Las Vegas really has some sports momentum right now, and d) they are TOTALLY going to flub the team’s name, if it is renamed.

To my shock and delight, though, I was proven wrong on that last point! MGM Resorts International recently announced that the new name of its WNBA team will be the “Aces.” How about that? A simple, catchy, gambling-related name for a Las Vegas sports team! And if someone doesn’t like the gambling connotations of the name, just use an excellent alternate definition of Aces, like “great” or “people who are really good at sports!” It works for everyone!

“Selecting a new name is an important and symbolic step,” said Las Vegas Aces President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Bill Laimbeer. “Las Vegas has enthusiastically embraced us, and we’re incredibly excited for this opportunity. We have a strong roster driven to succeed, which makes this name an ideal choice. ‘Las Vegas Aces’ is a nod to the excellence, confidence and competitive spirit of our new hometown.”

Excellence, yeah, when you go with one of my alternate definitions of Aces. Confidence, I guess, if you stretch it a bit. Competitive spirit? No. It’s a nod to poker and blackjack. But hey, it’s a great name, so let’s stop arguing.

As mentioned, that the league owners approved of the sale of the Stars to MGM and the subsequent move to Las Vegas is significant, as professional sports leagues in the U.S. have seemingly forever been against sports betting, or at least have tried to make the public think they are. Now, the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA were already owned by Mohegan Sun, so there is certainly precedent in the WNBA, but the sale and move is significant nonetheless. There has been a migration to Las Vegas in the past year: the NHL’s Golden Knights are in their first year, the NFL’s Oakland Raiders have already announced they are moving to Las Vegas and will be there by 2020, the Las Vegas Lights FC of the United Soccer League will begin play in 2018, and now the Las Vegas Aces are in “Sin City.”

This is the second relocation for the franchise. It began as the Utah Starzz, one of the WNBA’s original eight teams, owned by the NBA. After the 2002 season, the NBA sold all of the teams and the Starzz moved to San Antonio, to be renamed the Silver Stars (the “Silver” was eventually dropped). Good seasons have been few and far between for the franchise, which has finished with the worst record in the WNBA the past three seasons.

The post Las Vegas’ WNBA Team Has a Great New Name appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

Caesars Sells Harrah’s Las Vegas for $1.14 Billion

 Caesars Sells Harrah’s Las Vegas for $1.14 Billion

Caesars Entertainment Corporation has announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell Harrah’s Las Vegas to VICI Properties for $ 1.14 billion. If this sounds rather shocking, you may be relieved to know (or not really care, as the case may be) that it is all part of a plan.

In mid-November, Caesars announced that it will acquire Centaur Holdings, LLC for $ 1.7 billion in cash. Centaur owns Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson, Indiana and the Indiana Grand Racing and Casino in Shelbyville, Indiana. The sale of Harrah’s Las Vegas is being used to finance the Centaur deal.

It will also continue to be business as usual at Harrah’s, as Caesars will enter into a 15-year lease for the property, paying VICI an initial annual rent of $ 87.4 million, a number which will increase as the years go on. Caesars will continue to operate Harrah’s. When the lease term is up, Caesars will be able to extend the lease for up to 20 years in four five-year extensions.

On top of that, Caesars is acquiring an 18.4 acre plot of land adjacent to Harrah’s from VICI on which it plans to build a 300,000 square foot convention center. The development “is expected to feature the largest column-free ballroom in the United States and to be outfitted with state-of-the-art technology.”

“The transactions we are announcing today demonstrate our commitment to pursuing growth opportunities while maintaining balance-sheet discipline,” said Mark Frissora, President and Chief Executive Officer of Caesars Entertainment, in a press release. “We expect the sale and leaseback of Harrah’s Las Vegas will allow us to acquire Centaur and develop the convention center without increasing leverage. The sale and leaseback transaction is our first post-emergence transaction with VICI and maintains Harrah’s Las Vegas’ connectivity to our network, which will create value and provide benefits to our guests. The acquisition of the adjacent land and development of the convention center allows us to develop another important destination right in the middle of our center-Strip footprint.”

That center-strip footprint includes, from north to south on the east side of the Las Vegas Strip: Harrah’s, Linq, Flamingo, Cromwell, Bally’s, Paris, and Planet Hollywood. Caesars Palace is across the street from Harrah’s. The company also owns the Rio just off the Strip, which is the home of the World Series of Poker.

The deal stipulates that once the convention center is completed, Caesars can actually require VICI buy the property and lease it back to Caesars, like it is doing with Harrah’s. If Caesars does not exercise that option, VICI can decide for itself if it wants to do it, anyway.

The post Caesars Sells Harrah’s Las Vegas for $ 1.14 Billion appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

Vegas Casinos and Government Officials Meet Over Marijuana Guidelines

 Vegas Casinos and Government Officials Meet Over Marijuana Guidelines

After initially stating that there would be a ban on any marijuana usage in casinos and on casino grounds in Las Vegas, a meeting between government officials and Las Vegas casino honchos under the auspices of a resurrected committee on Wednesday examined the problems that are confronting the issue.

With the passage of laws in the Silver State that opened Nevada’s recreational marijuana industry in late 2016, there was one place that wasn’t open to marijuana – the casinos. In September, the Nevada Gaming Control Board issues a directive that firmly spelled out that, even though it was legal to purchase and consume marijuana in the state, doing so on casino grounds was still verboten. Citing the current legal status of marijuana (it is still considered a Schedule I drug by the U. S. Department of Justice and current Attorney General Jeff Sessions has looked to toughening laws rather than softening them), the NGCB didn’t flinch in making their decision to ban pot on casino grounds.

It wasn’t just the consumption of marijuana that the NGCB ruled on in September. The NGCB also ruled that there could be no marijuana dispensaries or “smoking zones” on casino grounds nor could a casino promote the product. Furthermore, the casino industry could not host any cannabis-related conventions nor could someone in the casino industry invest in the marijuana industry or vice versa.

The one thing that the NGCB didn’t do was codify any of their above directives into any concrete law that could be enforced. That’s where Sandoval stepped in, bringing back a long-defunct government group that would be able to hammer out some firm direction for the casino industry and the marijuana industry to coexist.

Sandoval has revived the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee, a 12-member group that was defunct prior to the Governor’s call to action. The NGPC had not met regarding any casino issues since November of 2016, but Sandoval felt that this was an issue that required the Committee to come together. On Wednesday, that committee met for the first time to discuss the issue and, after many voices were heard from, it became apparent the difficulties of resolving the marijuana issue for the casinos.

In the five-hour meeting featuring several prominent members of the casino industry and government officials from the Nevada General Assembly, it was constantly expressed that it was important to protect the licenses of the individual casinos. In trying to improve the marijuana industry, Sandoval himself stated that he “(didn’t) want to make a decision that puts (our) licenses at risk.” For marijuana advocates, the testimony given during the hearing wasn’t exactly helping their cause.

Several attorneys testified that, if the federal government considers marijuana a Schedule 1 drug, then the casino industry in no manner could cohabitate with the marijuana industry. Attorney Brian Barnes stated that, under “virtually every aspect of federal law,” any marijuana business is illegal. Barnes said that any marijuana business in a casino “would be considered racketeering or money laundering.” Furthermore, any marijuana advocacy conference or convention – even if there wasn’t any product present – would fall under the same viewpoint.

This committee isn’t meeting to allow for usage of marijuana in a casino. What this committee seems more interested in would be allowing for either conventions regarding the industry or even dispensary sales on casino grounds. Nevada has 47 licensed marijuana dispensaries across the state, which drew in $ 27.1 million in sales in July 2017, the first month that those dispensaries were opened, and those types of earnings are something that everyone wants to get into. Also, the lifeblood of Vegas isn’t in its gaming, it’s in conventions across the myriad of halls that every casino has. By maintaining a ban on marijuana-related conventions, the Nevada convention industry is putting itself at a significant disadvantage and, once again, losing money.

The resurrected Nevada Gaming Policy Committee will be having several hearings regarding this issue. By July 2018, Sandoval is hoping to have guidelines set in place to regulate marijuana in the state’s casinos. While it isn’t expected to allow for partaking of the legal (in Nevada) product, it will probably allow for conventions and, perhaps, sales when the committee’s work is done.

The post Vegas Casinos and Government Officials Meet Over Marijuana Guidelines appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily