Sports Betting Bill On the Docket; Facebook Poised for Gambling Boom; Obama in Vegas
By Caitlin Dineen – pressofatlanticcity.com
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-6th, is scheduled to announce legislation Monday in Trenton that seeks to change federal law to allow sports betting in New Jersey.
Pallone will unveil the legislation with state Sens. Raymond Lesniak, D-Union, and Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, at 1 p.m. at the Statehouse.
“The existing federal law is unconstitutional and arbitrary, giving four states access to this billion-dollar industry while shutting out the rest,” Pallone said Friday in a news release.
The bill would exclude New Jersey from a federal ban on sports betting. Currently, sports betting is allowed only in Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. Those states had existing betting laws when the 1992 federal law that bans sports betting was created.
During the November elections, New Jersey residents showed overwhelming support — in a nearly 2-1 vote — for state legislation allowing sports betting. Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation Tuesday that legalizes betting on professional and college games, but New Jersey must be excluded from the federal ban — or the ban must be overturned altogether — for that legislation to be enacted.
U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, had said in December that he had prepared similar legislation, pending New Jersey’s adoption of a sports-betting law.
“The citizens of New Jersey have made it clear they want the opportunity to share in the profits from professional sports betting,” Pallone said. “This legislation will help even the playing field and uphold our state’s wishes on what is clearly a state issue.”
This is a reprint from pressofatlanticcity.com
By Henry Blodget – businessinsider.com
At a party this evening in Munich, an industry insider close to Facebook made the following prediction:”When online gambling is legalized, Facebook will be a $100 billion company.”
That’s $100 billion of revenue, not $100 billion in market value (Facebook’s already close to the latter.)
For context, Google is a $40 billion company. And Facebook did about $4 billion of revenue last year.
The insider’s theory?
Given the popularity of social gaming on Facebook’s platform already, the insider figures that legalized online gambling (poker, etc.) will drive Facebook’s revenue to the moon.
Facebook currently gets a 30% cut of all virtual goods purchased using Facebook Credits through companies like Zynga. With Zynga netting about $1 billion of revenue per year, this suggests that Facebook is currently generating about $400 million of gaming revenue through Zynga alone. (Most of Facebook’s revenue is ad revenue, but the “Credits” business is meaningful.)
There would have to be a LOT of gambling done through Facebook for the company to generate $100 billion in revenue. But given how nuts people are about gambling, and how powerful Facebook’s social platform could be for this, gambling would likely be a big opportunity.
Toward the end of last year, Facebook was rumored to be looking into hosting gambling in the U.K., where online gambling is already legal.
The big opportunity, though, will come in the United States, if and when online gambling is legalized.
According to a Wall Street Journal article earlier this week about Zynga potentially getting into gambling, many U.S. states are now pushing for online gambling to be legalized. Some of the big casino companies are trying to get Federal laws changed, and Indian tribes and lottery groups are lobbying for changes at the state level. With states desperate for new sources of revenue, changes to these laws could actually be on the way.
So could online gambling make Facebook a $100 billion company?
$100 billion is a lot.
But it seems safe to say it could make Facebook a much, much bigger company
This is a reprint from businessinsider.com
by Gregan Wingert
Article courtesy of www.lasvegassun.com
If you’re the president of the United States and are in Las Vegas, where do you spend the night?
If you’re Barack Obama, you stay at the Element — an eco-chic, environmentally friendly hotel some 13 miles from the Strip that features such green amenities as in-room recycling bins for paper, plastic and glass, carpets made from recycled materials and energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs.
While Obama could have slept at one of the Strip megaresort’s over-the-top suites during his one-night stay, the LEED-certified Element by Westin seems a good fit for a president giving a speech focused heavily on energy policy.
David Smith, the hotel’s general manager, said he doesn’t know why Obama chose his hotel, but he suspects it was because of its environmental stance. “I believe the topic of his time here was along those lines,” he said.
Element — 10555 Discovery Drive, next to the Nevada Cancer Institute in Summerlin — also features charging stations for electric vehicles and designated hybrid-only parking spaces. Never mind that when Obama stayed there Wednesday night the lot was filled with heavy, black Chevy Suburbans driven by the president’s entourage.
Smith, who had a chance to meet the president, said Obama “has a very impressive presence.”
Smith and the hotel staff had 12 hours notice that Obama, his Secret Service security detail and White House traveling staff would be booking the entire second floor — 47 rooms — of the modern, four-story hotel that caters mostly to corporate visitors and families.
A team that travels ahead of Air Force One secured the perimeter of the hotel and did a sweep of the building prior to Obama’s arrival.
“They really do button it down real tight,” Smith said. “When the motorcade came up, it was just extremely impressive.”
The last time Obama spent the night in Las Vegas, in May 2009, he stayed on the Strip at Caesars Palace.
The Element staff readied a one-bedroom suite with a king bed — a step above the deluxe room and studio suite, but smaller than the hotel’s two-bedroom and executive suites.
You, too, can sleep like a president for about $170, although Obama received a discounted government rate of $99.
A tour of a room identical to the one Obama stayed in revealed a comfortable living room with a sitting area and queen sofa bed, a desk and a kitchenette with stainless steel appliances.
The bedroom has a king-size bed with bright white linens, and the bathroom features a glass shower with a water-saving rain showerhead and modern appointments.
“He said that he had a good night’s sleep,” said Smith, who noted that the president also worked out at the hotel’s gym.
A workout might have been in order considering what the president and his entourage ordered for dinner — 20 cannolis and 12 pizzas: six cheese, two sausage, two pepperoni and two with sausage, mushroom and pepperoni.
Albert Scalleat, co-owner and general manager of nearby Dom DeMarco’s pizzeria, said he had no idea when he set out to make the delivery that the order was for the president and his staff.
“It was almost like being in a movie,” said Scalleat, 67.
Dom DeMarco’s doesn’t usually make deliveries, but when Scalleat heard the order was for a VIP, he decided to make the run himself, assuming he might get to meet a movie star.
“I had no idea who it was,” he said.
When he arrived about 8 p.m., he noticed about 50 black Suburbans parked outside the hotel and heard helicopters, he said. He saw snipers positioned on the rooftops of surrounding buildings.
Three men who appeared to be Secret Service agents helped Scalleat carry the pizzas inside the hotel, he said. A while later, the president’s chef came to the lobby to pay for the order, he said.
“The president wanted me to tell you he loved the pizza and the cannolis,” said Scalleat, repeating the chef’s words.
“I’ll remember it for the rest of my life,” he said.