Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) has announced that their joint venture with the Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) to build an 18,500-seat arena in Las Vegas, is on track begin this summer. The new venue, to be built behind the Venetian and Palazzo properties (on Sands Ave. between Koval Ln. & Manhattan St.), is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2020. The venue will reside less than 2 miles from T-Mobile Arena; a newly built 17,500-seat arena that opened in 2016 and the current home to the Golden Knights (NHL).
Howie Long-Short: Sands Corp. owns both the Venetian and Palazzo properties, so the location is logical. It seems excessive, but as Sands Corp. CEO Robert Goldstein explained, “the growth is returning around Las Vegas. The Golden Knights have done extraordinarily well, football is coming; why not?” Many would reason because there is no potential pro sports tenant to place in the building, but Las Vegas is unique in that shows (as opposed to teams) can anchor venues; so, despite the Oak View Group’s participation in this project, no promise exists to bring an NBA team to Sin City.
Fan Marino: Speaking of new sporting venues, the Atlanta Falcons offered the cheapest concession prices in the league ($2 hot dogs, water and pretzels) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium this past season and saw sales (not revenue, as reported elsewhere) increase 53% YOY. Fans came earlier, stayed longer and bought more (16% more per fan) to help offset the reduced markup. While the team didn’t generate as much from concessions as it did the year prior, the Falcons were at the top of the league in fan satisfaction for food and beverages. That’s enough for team owner Arthur Blank, who said “we believe that the direction we’ve taken, given all the other positive benefits, is the bigger revenue play.” No one leaves a sporting event feeling good that they paid $11 for a pretzel and a bottle of water; here’s to hoping the new arena in Vegas (and others around the country) follow Blank’s lead and begin to provide fans a better gameday experience.
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A study published by the Economic Enquiry, found that Twitter (TWTR) is a better predictor of sporting event results than odds makers. During the ’13-’14 English Premier League season, mathematicians at the University of East Anglia (U.K.) used software to analyze 13.8 million tweets (5.2/second). They compared the results with in-play betting on Betfair (PDYPY) and found that at any given second, a positive “combined tone” about one team indicated that team had a better chance of winning than the odds suggested. The software’s recommendations produced an average ROI of 2.28% on 900,000 bets; particularly astounding when you consider PDYPY gamblers lost an average of 5.41% on those same matches.
Howie Long-Short: The predictive power of social media works if you’re analyzing the right sections of the crowd. TWTR can beat the house. Unfortunately, the average gambler lacks the ability to analyze the tone or crowd worth following; and certainly, not in real time. The “wisdom of crowds” isn’t going to put casinos out of business.
Fan Marino: Speaking of gambling, casinos were illegal in Japan until parliament passed a controversial law last December allowing them to be part of larger resorts. Now American gaming companies are actively competing to gain foothold in a market that can be “bigger than Las Vegas”, according to Chairman of MGM Resorts International (MGM) James Murran. Both Las Vegas Sands (LVS) & MGM have repeatedly stated they would be willing to spend at least $10 billion in Japan, while Melco Resorts & Entertainment (MLCO) has expressed it would be willing to spend “whatever it takes” for the opportunity.
Twitter Could Be The Key to Successful In-Play Sports Betting, Says Study
As online gambling becomes closer to being legalized, Sandy Alderson, the Las Vegas casino (LVS) mogul who has made a $35 billion fortune in legalized gambling, is looking to Congress to shut down his competition. Alderson, who was influential in bringing the Raiders to Vegas, has spent both years and millions lobbying to ban online gaming; even going as far as to bankroll RAWA (an extension of the Federal Wire Act of 1961 designed to curb organized crime). Alderson’s opponents say that the law was not designed to prevent states from legalized online gambling and argue the extension of government would serve to benefit just one man. It should be noted that Alderson is only looking to prevent online gambling that competes with his casinos and not daily fantasy sports.
Casino Mogul Wants To Use Congress To Shut Down Online Gambling Competition
Howie Long-Short: Gambling companies trying to influence politics? What else is new? Casinos have generally succeeded by perpetually delaying online gambling efforts.
Fan Marino: Easier sale? Casinos as a healthy alternative to the “bad and addictive” online gaming sites or ice to an eskimo?