Category Archives: Las Vegas

Las Vegas Union strike is much ado about nothing


Caesars having just reached a labor deal with the Culinary Workers Union (CWU), it’s a good time to talk about labor unions and how irrelevant they have become. Unions have been a dying breed since the 1950’s, when the percentage of unionized labor in the United States reached a high of 35%. We’re now at around 10.7%. Most union workers get their salaries from taxpayers. 34.4% of unionized workers are government bureaucrats.

Las Vegas Union Strike is Much Ado About NothingOnly 6.5% of the private economy is unionized, and it’s only that high because unions are protected by the federal government. They are actually allowed to commit violence against employers on a federal level, like when they strike and threaten or engage in violence against scabs and strike breakers, damage or destroy the employer’s property or even, in some cases, actually, literally, kill people. The 1973 Supreme Court decision U.S. v Enmons established that union violence against employers, including homicide, is not punishable by federal law if committed for the sake of wages or benefits. It’s still punishable by state law, but not all states actually go after instigators because it is politically unpopular. The Freedom from Union Violence Act proposed in 2007 to criminalize union violence on a federal level failed to pass. It would have prohibited obstruction of commerce, in other words picketing. Unions did not like that idea and lobbied successfully against it.

One of the last great bastions of unionized labor in the private sector in the US is on the Las Vegas Strip. “Great bastion” though is a misnomer, because while the Culinary Workers Union is the largest private sector union in the country in a Right to Work state with 60,000 members, it doesn’t have much that much power anymore.

The strike that the CWU is threatening the strip with is largely irrelevant. It will cause minor disruptions at worst if it happens, but that’s about it. No union, at least no private sector union, has the power to raise wages above market rates. They pretend that they can because that’s their whole selling point, but just like they can’t break the laws of physics, they can’t break the laws of economics either. If their demands are too high, they will lose whatever power they have left. They’re pinned down by supply and demand just like everyone else in the private economy is.

One way to demonstrate this is to look at unionized versus nonunionized (or relatively less unionized) casino labor costs. MGM currently has 70% of its employees covered by collective bargaining agreements. Standard, general, and administrative expenses comprise 18% of top line revenues for 2017. Boyd on the other hand has 19,707 employees, 1,811 of which are unionized. That’s about 9% of its work force, slightly more than a tenth the proportion of union labor that MGM has. Boyd’s SG&A expenses are still about the same as MGM’s proportionately at 19% of top line revenues. If union labor were so much more expensive, you’d expect MGM to have higher labor costs than Boyd, but that’s not the case.

This is just one data point, but that aside, if there were any drastic differences between union and non union labor costs, MGM would not rely so heavily on the CWU for its labor. Why do they? Probably because it’s easier logistically to just hire the CWU to take care of menial labor rather than spend resources headhunting for individual workers. Whatever savings MGM has from not having to find all these culinary and janitorial workers themselves, they can spend on slightly higher salaries, but it’s not like any private sector union grants amazing benefits to workers. If that were true, more people would join unions.

In the public sector it’s different, and unions have more negotiating power because there are no market wage rates. Plus, in the public sector, unions are working for their protectors, the government itself, so they are more or less on the same page. They clamor for what they think they can extort from taxpayers and then get the rest from government borrowing or inflation. It’s no coincidence that US states with the highest percentage of unionized labor like Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California and Connecticut, also have the worst public finances and unfunded public pension liabilities.

There is something really ironic though, call it poetic justice, about this particular strike threat. That is, automation is one of the chief complaints of the CWU. To quote my hometown newspaper The Miami Herald, union workers fear they will be replaced by robots, and that’s one of the reasons why they’re striking. Why will they be replacedLas Vegas Union Strike is Much Ado About Nothing by robots? Partly because the advance of technology makes automation cheaper compared to human labor costs, but one factor that speeds this process up is minimum wage laws. Minimum wage prices low-productivity workers out of the workforce faster than otherwise in favor of cheaper automated labor. It’s happening at fast food joints in New York City where $15 minimum wage laws are going into effect, for example.

Here’s the ironic part though. Who is the greatest advocate for minimum wage laws in the United States? Labor unions. Labor unions are always in favor of higher minimum wage laws because they help price out competition from non-union labor. If an independent worker cannot by law work below a certain wage, then de facto he is unable to undercut union wage rates, keeping unions in power. This is less of a problem now than it was back in the 30’s through 50’s when unions were much more popular and powerful and helped exacerbate the unemployment epidemic of that era. Now, unions are reaping what they sow, getting a taste of their own minimum wage medicine, and fear getting replaced by automation.

So this strike threat is really much ado about nothing. It’ll create temporary disruptions at worst, but threatening or actually pulling off a strike is all part of negotiating strategy. Eventually it will be settled. Hopefully though, if there is a strike, no property will be destroyed and union instigators won’t hurt or kill anybody, despite federal level protections by the Supreme Court, which looks out for our constitutional rights.

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Over $1.7M in guarantees at Vegas’ Golden Nugget poker tourneys


Las Vegas is always a popular summer destination for gamblers, and 2018 won’t be any different. This year, the Golden Nugget is putting up over $1.7 million in guarantees in events that will be sure to draw large fields. Eighty four tournaments are on the plate, running from May 29 through July 3.

Over $1.7M in guarantees at Vegas' Golden Nugget poker tourneysThe 2018 Golden Nugget Grand Poker Series (GPS) will offer a variety of options, including NLHE, mixed-game and non-hold’em tournaments. There will also be Omaha eight-or-better, Pot-Limit Omaha, HORSE, and no-limit deuce-to-seven single draw events, all designed to offer a wide-ranging selection to appeal to virtually everyone’s tastes.

The GPS has been growing in popularity each year. In 2015, 7,525 players descended on the Downtown Vegas casino for the series and in 2016 the field almost doubled to 14,137. In 2017, 23,968 players showed up to participate in a total of 57 different events. With the prize pool being increased for this summer’s action, the turnout should be even greater.

In June, there will be a $150 buy-in event almost every day, with a $20,000 guarantee on tap for each tournament. A $150,000 guarantee tournament will run from May 31 through June 2, with a low buy-in of only $150. The same event last year drew 2,563 players, swelling the prize pool to more than $281,000.

Additional tournaments include the “Bar Poker Open Invitational” from June 11-14, four Seniors tournaments (including a $1000 buy-in high roller event), a multitude of mixed-game events and two $250,000 guaranteed events on June 7-9 and June 21-23.

The highlight of the tournament will be the $570 buy-in NLHE main event, offering a $500,000 guarantee. It will run from June 28 through July 1 and offers three starting flights. If this year sees the turnout seen in previous years, the guarantee will certainly be increased. In 2016, there were 1,520 players, resulting in the prize pool building to $760,000. Last year, the player field exploded by 33% to 2,025, more than doubling the original prize pool to a little more than $1 million.

Players can reserve rooms at the Golden Nugget for as low as $29 per night during the week and $59 on the weekend, plus resorts fees.

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The WPT guinea pig the Esports Arena LV with $25k Bellagio HR finale


The World Poker Tour is set to become the guinea pig for live action at the Esports Arena Las Vegas at the Luxor Hotel & Casino, with the final table of the $25k Bellagio High Roller taking place at the venue. Tom Marchese leads an all-star cast.

The WPT guinea pig the Esports Arena LV with $25k Bellagio HR finaleI logged onto the World Poker Tour (WPT) website to see who had won the $25,000 Bellagio High Roller and learned that the action ceased at the final table.

I knew this, of course. The WPT broadcast this decision some months ago. However, I forgot, because the World Series of Poker (WSOP) November Nine apart, you don’t stop a poker tournament mid-pomp and ask the players to come back two weeks later.

But that’s what’s happening.

Why?

It’s an interesting question and one I plan to find an answer for in the future when I speak to someone within the corridors of power at the WPT. Until then, I will have a guess.

The final six players will take their seats on the main stage of the Esports Arena Las Vegas at MGM’s Luxor Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip at 4 pm (local time), May 25.

The winner will pick up $432,000, and when you look at the quality of the final table incumbents, you realise this is chicken feed.

The Esports Arena Las Vegas belongs to Allied Esports who in turn is a subsidiary of Ourgame International, who in turn own the WPT. Back in October 2017, the Chinese gaming giant announced plans to raise a factory full of money, via subscription shares, of which they would invest HKD 125,000,000 in the building of ten esports arenas in the US and China.

I assume, featuring the final table of the $25k Bellagio High Roller in the Arena allows the technical and production teams of both parties to test the facilities ability to handle a live event of this nature, while remaining low key enough, that any cock-ups are accepted and quickly forgiven.

But why poker?

I can’t imagine for the life of me that Allied Esports and the WPT have plans to use the Arena for poker on a full-time basis. At the recent WPT Seminole Hard Rock event in Hollywood, Florida; WPT officials paid fans $11 per hour to be part of the audience. But it does allow the facility owners to play around with the logistics prior to a ‘paid for’ esports event.

The arena currently acts as a video gaming/VR gaming site where people can play for as little as $25 a day. People who watch don’t pay. I imagine this changes when the more significant esports events come to town.

Amongst the guinea pigs for the $25k Bellagio High Roller is Tom Marchese. The Las Vegas pro came into Day 2 as the chip leader and maintained his lead until the bitter end. Joining Marchese in the final are David Peters, Aaron Ogus, Sam Soverel, Rainer Kampe, and Jake Schindler.

Two players made money, but not the final table – Ankush Mandavia who finished eight for $54,000, and Anthony Zinno who bubbled the final table banking $67,500.

The event attracted 54-entrants.

Final Table Chip Counts

1. Tom Marchese – 2,359,000
2. David Peters – 1,575,000
3. Aaron Ogus – 857,0004
4. Sam Soverel – 391,000
5. Rainer Kempe – 175,000
6. Jake Schindler – 43,000

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Sheldon Adelson exits the $one.9B Raiders Stadium task


The relatives of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson has backed out from the $one.9 billion soccer stadium that will home the NFL’s Oakland Raiders.

Sheldon Adelson exits the $1.9B Raiders Stadium projectAdelson’s exit from the multi-billion stadium task has reportedly left a money void that even Goldman Sachs might not be ready to fill, according to the Las Vegas Critique-Journal.

The preliminary program was for Adelson to shell out $650 million toward the stadium’s development although the Raiders will commit $five hundred million. The remaining $750 million would be funded by a .88-share-stage maximize in Clark County’s lodge place tax.

“The Raiders are putting a lot of hopes in the Goldman Sachs commitments, but I do not know the extent of their commitments, and I unquestionably do not share that similar amount of hope,” Clark County Fee Chairman Steve Sisolak explained, according to the information report. “If (the Raiders) have a Program B, I’m not informed of it, and the entrepreneurs conference is coming up in two months.”

Citing a supply close to Adelson, the report explained that the on line casino mogul’s exit was brought on by the Raiders’ submission of a proposed lease arrangement to the Las Vegas Stadium Authority on Thursday.

Apparently, Raiders owner Mark Davis was in the on line casino mogul’s business office negotiating with the relatives although Raiders President Marc Badain and Government Vice President Dan Ventrelle ended up making a presentation to the authority board

“It was unquestionably shocking to the Adelson relatives,” the statement explained. “We ended up not only excluded from the proposed arrangement we weren’t even informed of its existence.”

Adelson lamented that “It’s clear the Raiders have resolved their route for transferring to Las Vegas does not consist of the Adelson relatives. So, regrettably, we will no extended be involved in any facet of the stadium dialogue.”

“While this is not the outcome my relatives was hoping for, I am pretty appreciative of the countless people who have given substantial time and electricity to this approach, specially so numerous of our elected officials who have designed this a top rated priority for Southern Nevada,” the statement additional browse.

Reacting to the Adelson’s departure from the task, the Raiders crew certain that the task will proceed as planned.

“The Raiders deeply take pleasure in the initiatives of the Adelson relatives to deliver the Raiders to Las Vegas,” the team’s statement explained. “We know this task could not have advanced to this stage without them. The Raiders remain steadfast in honoring Mark Davis’ dedication to Gov. (Brian) Sandoval and the state of Nevada to pursue relocation to Las Vegas.”

Meanwhile, Stadium Authority chairman Steve Hill thanked the Adelsons for its assistance to deliver the NFL to Las Vegas as effectively as develop a new dwelling for the UNLV soccer crew.

“The authority will proceed to perform with the Raiders firm to fulfill the authority’s tasks as established forth in the Southern Nevada Tourism Advancements Act,” Hill explained in a statement. “In undertaking so, the authority will proceed to ensure the stadium task is produced in a method constant with the clear route of Nevada lawmakers.”

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NHL’s Las Vegas growth has Canadian athletics betting backer dropping the gloves


June 23, 2016

nhl-las-vegas-sports-betting-thumb

nhl-las-vegas-sports-bettingLas Vegas popped its important league athletics cherry on Wednesday soon after the Nationwide Hockey League verified it would be expanding to the Nevada city in time for the 2017-18 year.

The NHL experienced only two contenders for its very first growth given that the calendar year 2000 – Vegas and Quebec Metropolis. The former city has been hungering for some important league attention for many years although the latter city has under no circumstances seriously gotten more than dropping their Nordiques to Colorado in 1995.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Vegas acquired the nod in element owing to “fluctuation of the Canadian greenback,” the value of which experienced at periods this calendar year sunk as lower as 68¢ on the US greenback. Due to the fact participant salaries are paid out in US pounds, Quebec’s Canuck-buck ticket price ranges would have to be established sky-significant to balance the guides.

Vegas experienced its personal hurdles to crystal clear, in individual, the perception that a pro athletics team experienced no organization taking part in in the only US condition in which athletics betting is legal simply because, er, well, it is not rather crystal clear why, given that betting goes on everywhere you go irrespective of its legality.

Bettman said that he did not perspective the Vegas growth as a “bellwether day” for US athletics betting and the league wasn’t going to “make it all that easy for you to select up a ticket, a gambling ticket, on your way into the [T-Mobile] arena.”

There are no recent options to set betting kiosks in the arena but admirers can effortlessly obtain any variety of Nevada-certified cell sportsbooks from the ease and comfort of their arena seats. The NHL has the alternative of inquiring Nevada gaming regulators to ban betting on the as-nevertheless unnamed franchise, but Bettman supplied no sign as to whether or not the league would exercise this alternative.

1 calendar year ago, Bettman told Rogers Sportsnet that the league did not want the admirers at its game titles to be “rooting for something other than the team that they adore … to acquire. We really do not want there to be another agenda.”

CANADIAN MP SLAMS NHL’S “COMPLETE HYPOCRISY”
When the NHL has embraced day-to-day fantasy athletics, it sided with the other a few important pro athletics leagues in opposing New Jersey’s lengthy-managing quest for legal athletics betting. The NHL has also opposed numerous attempts by Canadian politicians to go one-sport athletics betting legislation.

On Thursday, Brian Masse, the Canadian MP who introduced the most latest of individuals legislative attempts, tore a strip off Bettman and the NHL for “moving into the lion’s den of athletics betting across the globe” although continuing to oppose his C-221 betting bill.

Masse told the CBC that the Vegas growth was “a complete betrayal of Canadians,” given that the NHL experienced beforehand recommended it would withhold growth franchises from Canadian metropolitan areas if parliament approved one-sport athletics betting legislation.

Masse said the NHL experienced “turned their backs, thumbed their nose and stuck out a finger at legislators below in Canada, simply because they are executing this in Vegas and perpetuating their personal revenue at the expense of Canadian hockey.”



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