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Gambling in the USA

A Sure Bet: Cruise Ship Casinos Pay Off with Jackpots, Friends and Making Guests Feel at Home

Zoltan Tundik

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With slots, low-entry table play and tournaments, cruise ship casinos are more popular than ever for their fun and friendly environment and interactions with crew members and fellow guests . Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises.
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

When Texan Glenda Ostrokol gets on a ship she has a plan: Get to the casino as soon as it opens. She does not gamble on land. But in cruise ship casinos, she’s a big player, and receives all the perks that go along with that status.

“Carnival Cruise Line just makes it so much fun,” Ostrokol says. “I do love slot machines, and I play them all. And the casino team takes really good care of me.”

David Simpson of Leesburg, Fla., says arriving at a ship casino is akin to coming home. He and fellow Carnival Cruise Line players communicate through a dedicated Casino Fan Facebook page.

“We go in there and meet other friends we cruise with from all over the U.S.,” Simpson says. “There’s always somebody we know, people from TexasIdahoNorth Carolina. And there’s not a ship that we go on that we don’t know the casino team.”

Unlike with casinos on land, cruise guests are typically on board for a week or more, time for relationships to develop.

“We offer them a warm and friendly environment where they can interact with fellow cruisers,” says Marty Goldman, senior vice president of global casino operations for Carnival Corporation. “And we have an engaging casino team that takes the time to understand guest needs. We want to ensure that we are different from a typical casino in that way.”

Since joining Carnival Corporation from Caesars Entertainment in 2012, Goldman has overseen tremendous growth in the casino realm – as the world’s largest cruise company has expanded its gaming operations around the world.

Casino play is popular on all the cruise lines under the Carnival Corporation banner. In addition to Carnival Cruise Line, this includes Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Cunard, Seabourn, German line AIDA Cruises, Italian line Costa Cruises, British line P&O Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia.

Across the fleet, the most popular gaming option is slots, with Americans and Australians particularly big fans. With more than 100 casinos, Carnival Corporation sees a guest spinning the reels on a slot machine 112 times per second, making it by far the most popular form of gaming.

Tournament play is tremendously popular on ships in North America, and Carnival Corporation has plans to expand slot tournaments elsewhere around the world.

The company paid out more than $1 million in tournaments in the past year. This includes special branded events with tie-ins to Wheel of Fortune and Monopoly, the latter being for the biggest prize money the company ever paid. With guests flocking to these events, they will be expanded across the fleet, with a marquee Spin & Sail event on Carnival Cruise Line in 2019.

Though blackjack is preferred in the United States, the casinos cater to a wide array of tastes for games offering roulette, baccarat and a variety of poker games in different markets.

Goldman says the gaming crowd appreciates innovation, so his team is always on the lookout for what’s new and what people want to play on a regional basis.

Among options trending now are arcade-style games for adults and lottery-style scratch tickets.

“We are always looking at what else may be popular,” Goldman says. “We want to appeal to as broad an audience as possible.”

For frequent players, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Players Club is “unlike anything else anywhere on land or sea,” Goldman says. Players clubs are also available on Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and expanding to some of the corporation’s international brands.

Based on play, perks for players include everything from complimentary drinks to free cabins. Special events see top players invited to participate in unique and exciting experiences, which elevates the energy in the casino for all guests.

“People like engaging with other people who play,” says Goldman.

Behind the scenes, a new casino management system will allow more customized incentives for players.

“We will be able to offer an incentive based on what you are playing in real time,” Goldman says.

As it looks to expand its audience, Carnival Corporation has strategic partnerships with casinos on land, with qualified players offered a certificate for a free cruise. This enables the cruise company to draw new-to-cruise players to its casinos.

There are some differences in cruise ship play. With a more relaxed atmosphere, game table minimums are typically lower, for instance. While they vary by ship, itinerary and even time of day, it’s rare to find a minimum over $25.

In the friendly, guest-centric environment waging limits are adjusted based on a player’s personal preferences. “We have some very high limit players, not much different than you would see with land-based casinos,” Goldman says.

With nearly 60 cruises under her belt since 2002, Ostrokol has stories to tell – like the time earlier this year when she won $14,790 on a slot machine on the Carnival Vista, a ship with more than 250 machines.

“I thought I had won $1,400, and said, ‘Okay, I can play tomorrow.’ When I realized it was more, I screamed,” she says, laughing. She used her payout for a down payment on a wheelchair accessible van.

Simpson, a blackjack player who occasionally dabbles in slots, plays a few times a year in Las Vegas, but says ships are decidedly friendlier places. His biggest shipboard win was a $25,000 blackjack hand, “on the Lucky Ladies.” He also won a slot tournament on the Carnival Breeze.

“The best way to describe what time of day you can find me in the casino, is whenever it’s open,” Simpson says with a laugh. He’s been known to play well into the night and hit a ship’s 24-hour pizzeria to watch the sunrise.

Simpson says in addition to gaming, he enjoys Carnival Cruise Line’s specialty dining, such as La Cucina for Italian and Gigi’s for pan-Asian cuisine.

And then there are all the additional virtues of cruising. In traditional gaming resorts, you are in one place with one focus. On cruise ships, gaming comes with a wealth of other fun entertainment and activities – including visiting several exciting destinations during your vacation.

Carnival Corporation offers a variety of casino experiences, whether guests want to dress up like James Bond or go completely casual. There are classic casinos on Holland America Line and P&O Cruises in the United Kingdom, and smaller, more intimate experiences on ultra-luxury line Seabourn. You can even play while crossing the Atlantic on a luxurious Cunard ocean liner.

“From a casino perspective, we can offer something for everybody, every day, all across the globe, which no one else can do,” Goldman says.

Fun facts from Carnival Corporate Global Casino Operations:

Slot machines on Carnival Corporation ships produce more than 3.5 billion hand pulls per year.

More than 56,000 slots jackpots are paid out each year, an average of more than 155 per day.

On Carnival Corporation ships, blackjack players older than 60 are twice as skillful as players younger than 30.

In the largest annual tournaments, on Carnival Cruise Line and Princess Cruises, players vie for a share of a $200,000 pot.

The 2,600-strong Carnival Corporation shipboard casino team represents 79 nationalities.

SOURCE Carnival Corporation & plc

After starting out as an affiliate in 2009 and developing some recognized review portals, I have moved deeper into journalism and media. My experience has lead me to move into the B2B sector and write about compliance updates and report around the happenings of the online and land based gaming sector.

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Gambling in the USA

AGS Demonstrates Commitment To Tribal Gaming At The Oklahoma Indian Gaming Trade Show July 22-24; Orion Upright Makes Its OIGA Premier

George Miller

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AGS Demonstrates Commitment To Tribal Gaming At The Oklahoma Indian Gaming Trade Show July 22-24; Orion Upright Makes Its OIGA Premier
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Company’s passion for the game takes center stage as AGS displays new slot and table games, and online social and real-money games

 

AGS announced that it will exhibit at the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Conference and Trade Show July 22-24 at the Cox Business Center in downtown Tulsa. AGS will spotlight the Company’s newest core slot cabinet – the Orion Upright – along with a host of new slot titles, table products, and online social and real-money gaming solutions.

AGS President and Chief Executive Officer David Lopez said, “OIGA is one of the most important trade shows we attend and an event we look forward to every year. It’s a great opportunity to spend time with our loyal Oklahoma customers, showcase our newest innovations, and reinforce our commitment to helping the Oklahoma tribal gaming market continue to thrive. AGS has deep roots in Oklahoma, and just this year, we acquired Oklahoma-based Integrity Gaming Corp. and held our GameON Customer Summit in Oklahoma. We are grateful to be one of the state’s largest game suppliers and appreciate the important role Oklahoma plays in AGS’ future.”

Taking center stage in AGS’ Booth No. 1208 will be the new Orion Upright, a core cabinet with many of the same features as the Company’s award-winning Orion Portrait℠ and Orion Slant℠ platforms, including the distinctive starwall design featuring 420 game-synchronized full-color LED lights to celebrate gameplay. The Orion Upright also offers dual 27-inch HD displays, an ergonomic LCD button deck, dual high-bright SPIN buttons, an integrated charging port, and an LCD HD topper designed to attract. The Orion Upright is launching with a library of exclusive new and proven dual-screen titles and a library of greatest hits from AGS’ ICON™ cabinet. OIGA attendees will be able to experience the Orion Upright with Imperial Luck® and Blazing Luck™ game content.

For its award-winning Orion Portrait premium cabinet, AGS will showcase two top-performing games – Crystal Magic® and Rakin’ Bacon!®  The Rakin’ Bacon! game was the top-ranked core theme in the June 2019 Eilers-Fantini game performance report at 2.28x house average.

And AGS’ Orion Slant will be showcased at OIGA with several player-engaging Asian-themed games, including, Golden Wins® and Jade Wins®.

AGS continues to propel its table products business with a host of new proprietary table games and table solutions. OIGA attendees will get to experience Blackjack Match Progressive™ with Buster Blackjack®, Jackpot Hold’em™, and Vega$ 3 Poker™, all with AGS’ award-winning STAX Progressive™. STAX features a must-hit-by progressive jackpot option and up to five progressive meter levels for larger and more frequently hitting rewards. From its table equipment lineup, AGS will showcase its Dex S™ single-deck poker shuffler, highlighting a streamlined design that is economical, durable, reliable, and exceptionally functional. The Dex S shuffles a single deck in less than 36 seconds.

In the Company’s Interactive display, AGS will showcase its ConnexSys Social White-Label Casino℠, which is a custom turnkey, free-to-play mobile casino app that integrates a casino brand with AGS’ proven and player-favorite land-based games to keep players engaged at home, work, and on-the-go. With live ops features and connection to casino-management systems, this turnkey solution strengthens player relationships and the casino brand, with optional in-app chip purchases to boost revenue.

And with real-money gaming at the forefront of many tribal gaming operators’ agendas, AGS will also be on hand to provide live demonstrations of its AxSys Games Marketplace℠ aggregator and content provider for real money gaming and sports betting partners.  The AxSys Games Marketplace has a large library of titles featuring AGS top-performing games as well as a host of entertaining games from third-party developers.

About AGS

AGS is a global company focused on creating a diverse mix of entertaining gaming experiences for every kind of player. Our roots are firmly planted in the Class II Native American gaming market, but our customer-centric culture and growth have helped us branch out to become a leading all-inclusive commercial gaming supplier. Powered by high-performing Class II and Class III slot products, an expansive table products portfolio, real-money gaming platforms and content, highly rated social casino solutions for operators and players, and best-in-class service, we offer an unmatched value proposition for our casino partners. Learn more at www.playags.com.

©2019 AGS LLCAll® notices signify marks registered in the United States.  All ™ and ℠ notices signify unregistered trademarks. Products referenced herein are sold by AGS LLC or other subsidiaries of PlayAGS, Inc.

Source: AGS

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Gambling in the USA

Legal Sports Betting Begins in New York Casinos

Niji Narayan

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Legal Sports Betting Begins in New York Casinos
Photo Source: sportsnet.ca
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

New York Casinos have started legal sports betting. Bettors placed their first wagers on pro sports games following the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a ban on the practice last May. Gamblers at the Rivers Casino near Schenectady plunked down bets on the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners and tennis phenom Varvara Lepchenko.

“We’re going to get mobile sports betting before the middle of next year, it just has to be, because right now New Jersey is cleaning our clock when it comes to sports betting. I think New York should always be at the forefront of everything and right now we’re a little bit behind them,” Assemblyman Gary Pretlow said.

Sports betting is expected to raise millions of dollars as tax revenue. But proponents say the state is losing out on millions more because bets can only be placed at four upstate casinos rather than online and via mobile phone as is allowed in New Jersey.

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Gambling in the USA

Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady Makes History with Opening of New Sportsbook Lounge

George Miller

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Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady Makes History with Opening of New Sportsbook Lounge
(L to R) Rush Street Gaming Co-Founder and CEO, Greg Carlin; Schenectady, New York Mayor, Gary McCarthy; Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady General Manager, Justin Moore
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

 Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady officially launched legal sports betting in New York State with the opening of its new Rivers Sportsbook lounge.

 

“We’re so proud to be the first gaming operator in New York to take legal sports bets,” said Rivers Casino & Resort Acting General Manager Justin Moore. “Many people worked very hard to make legal sports wagering a reality in New York State, and we thank all of them for their tireless efforts and dedication. Sports fans and bettors from across the Capital Region and beyond will be thrilled with our new state-of-the-art Rivers Sportsbook lounge. We look forward to having them as guests at Rivers Casino & Resort and the City of Schenectady.”

Casino representatives, guests, and area dignitaries gathered at Rivers Casino today to cut the ribbon on the state’s first legal sports betting location. Opening Day of the sportsbook also included appearances by Super Bowl Champion and former New York Giants punter, Sean Landeta; Pro-Bowl safety and former New York Jet, Erik Coleman; and World Series MVP, New York Yankee great, Bucky Dent.

“We couldn’t be happier for our great community partner Rivers Casino & Resort,” said Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy. “It is indeed an historic day not just for the state of New York, but for the City of Schenectady. As Rivers Casino grows, so does its positive impact on our community. The opening of Rivers Sportsbook will surely attract even more guests to the property and to our great city. Looking ahead, we are also hopeful that our leaders in Albany will see how hard Rivers Casino is working to keep up with growing regional competition and recognize how important it is for them to address structural tax disadvantages in the market.”

The new Rivers Sportsbook, which was designed by DMAC Architecture of Chicago, is a luxury sports lounge and occupies just over 5,000 square feet.  Club chairs and table seating accommodate approximately 80 guests and include five private booths with TV monitors – each accommodating up to 6 people. The lounge also includes18 individual VIP seats and 32 tabletop seats.

Rivers Sportsbook has an impressive state-of-the-art 53′ x 9′ LED video wall that anchors the sportsbook viewing area, along with 22 additional TV monitors. The sportsbook also includes 14 betting kiosks and 6 staffed betting windows to accommodate guests. Rivers Sportsbook is located directly off the casino’s main gaming floor – adjacent to Van Slyck’slounge.

Rivers Sportsbook will offer betting on a wide array of sporting events including professional football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, college sports and more. Bets are expected to include, but not be limited to, straight bets, parlays, totals, and in-game betting. Wagers can be placed at the betting counter with a live sportsbook writer during Rivers Sportsbook hours of operation or at a sports betting kiosk 24 hours a day.

Rivers Casino’s sports wagering supplier is Rush Street Interactive LLC (RSI), an award-winning gaming company that develops and operates real-money in-casino and online sportsbooks. Rush Street Interactive will bring the same high quality in-casino sportsbook solution to Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady as players in the state of Pennsylvania have been enjoying since 2018. RSI provides its in-casino sportsbook service to the top two performing retail sportsbooks in the state of Pennsylvania; Rivers Casino Pittsburgh and SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia collectively account for over fifty-percent of all retail sportsbetting handle in the state since the market opened.

Recently recognized as the number one tourist destination in the Capital Region, the sportsbook lounge will complement the wonderful amenities already offered by Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady. Sports betters and fans alike will not only enjoy a world-class sports book, but they will also be able to experience top entertainment, premium dining, and  The Landing Hotel – Rivers’ luxurious riverfront hotel.

The Rivers Sportsbook hours of operation will be Monday – Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.; Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.; Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.; and Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m., but are subject to change to accommodate athletic seasons.

There is a $5 minimum wager amount and all bets are cash only. Betting sheets with odds will be printed and available at Rivers Sportsbook. Must be 21 years of age or older to access the gaming floor and wager at Rivers Sportsbook.

 

ABOUT RIVERS CASINO & RESORT SCHENECTADY:
Located at the picturesque Mohawk Harbor near the heart of downtown Schenectady, Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady features 1,150 slots, 67 live table games and a 16-table poker room and a live, in-casino luxury sportsbook lounge.

The casino offers five distinctive restaurants—among them are Dukes Chophouse, Flipt, Johnny’s To-Go and Mian. Rivers features a multipurpose Event Center space, a lively entertainment lounge—Van Slyck’s, live music performances, free parking and daily promotions and giveaways.

The Landing Hotel is a 165-room, six-story boutique hotel with riverfront views located adjacent to the Event Center. Rivers, which opened in 2017, employs approximately 1,200 team members and has been voted a great place to work in Schenectady.

Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady is owned and operated by Rush Street Gaming and its affiliates. For more information, visit riverscasinoandresort.com

ABOUT RUSH STREET INTERACTIVE:
Rush Street Interactive (RSI) was founded by pioneers in the internet gaming industry with decades of collective experience in developing, supplying and operating online gaming sites. The Chicago-based business launched its first casino site, PlaySugarHouse.com in NJ, in September 2016 and made history in August 2018 as the first online operator in the United States to offer an integrated online sportsbook and casino.  Rush Street Interactive is also the service provider of the sportsbooks at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh and SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia. RSI made history once again by next launching Pennsylvania’s first online sportsbook, PlaySugarHouse.com, and on its heels followed that with a second online sportsbook site, BetRivers.com.   

Additionally, RSI is the only U.S. gaming company to launch a regulated online sportsbook in Latin America. Rush Street Interactive is also the developer and operator of a leading social gaming platform that is currently deployed at Rush Street-affiliated casinos (Rivers Casino in PittsburghSugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia, Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois and Rivers Casino and Resort in Schenectady, New York), as well as selected third party partners.

Rush Street Interactive was named “Mobile Operator of the Year” in North America at the EGR North America Awards 2019 and “American Operator of the Year” & “Casino Operator of the Year” by Gambling.com for their inaugural American Gambling Awards in 2019.

 

Source: Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady

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