A Brief History of Atlantic City

In past posts, we have taken a closer look at the origins of the Las Vegas strip, how the city as evolved and its contributions to art and architecture. For this post, we are turning to America’s other famous gambling hub and diving into the history of Atlantic City. While gambling in the city wasn’t legalized until 1976, the city has a rich history that has helped shape the town we now know. Taking a look at the past may also provide some insights into the future of the city.

Prime Real Estate

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In 1853, when Las Vegas was still a desolate stretch of desert, developers were recognizing the potential of Atlantic City. The city sits along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and is surrounded by islands, making it the perfect place to build a resort town. The Belloe House was the first hotel to be built and within a year, the town had been incorporated and began receiving trains. Soon, nearly 500,000 visitors were heading to the city to escape New York City and enjoy the supposed health benefits of ocean water and clean air.

Much of the city’s PR and branding was spearheaded by Dr. Jonathan Pitney, who came to be know as the “Father of Atlantic City.” By touting the town as a health resort, he was able to boost tourism. In fact, he was responsible for the construction of the United States Hotel, which boasted 600 rooms and 14 acres of ground, making it the largest hotel in the country at the time.

By 1870, the first boardwalk was installed. While the boardwalk would eventually become a permanent feature and an iconic part of the city, these early versions were torn down at the end of the season. Their main purpose was to help keep sand out of hotel lobbies.

As the century came to an end, the city continued to gain in popularity. Eventually a toll road and second railroad were added to accommodate the influx of traffic. Smaller boarding houses began to be built. Despite all the construction, the city maintained a sense of luxury that attracted the rich and influential.

The Heyday of Atlantic City

Atlantic City has gone through several periods of revival, but the biggest boom time occurred at the turn of the century. Dozens of new hotels, including the famous Marlborough-Blenheim and Traymore Hotels were built and the 24 story Claridge hotel became known as the “Skyscraper by the Sea.”

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During Prohibition, when other cities were cracking down on alcohol, the Atlantic City police and local officials turned a blind eye as liquor was smuggled into the city. Visitors could easily visit restaurants and nightclubs and grab a drink. Organized crime became such a big part of the city that they actually held a national conference there in 1929. It was also around this time that the city served as the inspiration for the first version of Monopoly, which still features the street and railroad names of the city.

New Challenges

After Prohibition, the nightclub scene flourished, but the city as a whole began to decline. More people owned automobiles and were able to come for a few days without having to stay for a week or more at a time. This new found mobility also meant that tourists could easily explore other cities along the coast and around the country without having to rely on the railroad. Commercial airlines also made travel easier and had people flying to tropical destinations like the Bahamas instead of hopping the train to Atlantic City. Finally, the emergence of suburbia and a healthy middle class meant that more families were building luxurious homes with swimming pools. This afforded people to enjoy the summer at home rather than spending money on an ocean side resort.

By the end of the 1960s, the city was trying to find new uses for hotels that weren’t in demand. These once popular and luxurious buildings were converted into nursing homes and apartments or simply demolished. In 1974, the city voted on a referendum to legalize gambling, but it failed. By 1976, residents had changed their collective mind and decided that gambling might just be the key to breathing new life into a crumbling city. Eventually, a total of 11 casinos were built and these locations began hosting big name boxing matches that brought in national attention.

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Unfortunately, the Great Recession, which hit the US in the late 2000s, put a stop to a list of major construction projects that were already in the works and expected to bring even more business and big names like Steve Wynn into the area. Even as the rest of the country began to recover from the economic downturn, Atlantic City struggled to find funding for half finished projects and the state continued to lose revenue from gambling. Governor Chris Christie went against public sentiment in 2010 and offered Revel Entertainment Group $261 million in tax credits to finish building the revel casino. Within just ten months of opening the casino was forced to file for bankruptcy.

A New Resurgence

While Atlantic City continues to feel increased pressure as more surrounding states legalize gambling, the city has been making major strides. They were one of the first states to legalize sports gambling, giving them a leg up on the competition. Major casinos have also undergone renovations in order to cater to a new audience and revenue numbers are up almost across the board. There are more family friendly attractions, helping to revive the resort feel that once made the city a destination. With new projects on the horizon, the future is looking bright and Atlantic City could experience another historic and definitive resurgence. To stay on top of the latest casino and gambling news, be sure to keep visiting the Casino Schedule Ease blog.

August Casino News Round-Up

August has been a busy month in the casino industry. From Indiana to New Jersey and Nevada, there have been some big shake ups that have made the news. Keep reading to get caught up on what has been happening across the country and get a preview of what to expect this fall.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Closes

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In March of 2018, Sir Richard Branson, the head of Virgin, announced the purchase of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. At the time, the plan was to temporarily close the hotel so that it could be re-branded and renovated. Construction was expected to be completed by the end of 2018, but a series of delays have pushed back the project.

Virgin has finally completed construction plans and announced a timeline. The location will shut down in February after the Super Bowl and reopen some time between October 2020 and January 2021. This is quite a deviation from the original plan that was expected to take just four months. Apparently, a more thorough audit of the building revealed the need for additional changes that have significantly expanded the scope of the project. Expected changes include a larger casino floor, more spacious conference center, new restaurants and a five-acre pool deck. In addition, all 1,500 rooms will be upgraded.

While the project is exciting news for some, it has put the casino’s 1,650 workers in a precarious position. The company has offered a retention bonus and employees won’t have to re-interview if they want to return to their position once the casino opens. However, it remains to be seen how many employees will stay on board after at least eight months of closure.

The Sahara is Undergoing a Facelift

The SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino is in the middle of a major facelift that could also include some rebranding and a return to its original and recognizable name, The Sahara. The project most notably includes the addition of the “Infinity” gaming floor, which will cater to high-rollers who like to make big bets. This section of the gaming floor will feature rich decor, specialty cocktails and elite gaming opportunities. The casino’s new owners are hoping to restore some of the luster that has been such an important part of the history of The Sahara.

Tiverton Casino and Hotel Earns Community Support

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Any time a new casino opens, there is bound to be push back from the community and differing opinions about the advantages and disadvantages of building a casino. However, the Tiverton Casino and Hotel has received continuing support from local residents and government officials, which recently culminated in a permanent license to operate on a 24-hour basis.

The casino opened in September of 2018 and has performed well since then. For the first year of operation, the casino was granted a pilot license that would allow them to stay open 24-hours, but also allow the community to review this plan and make adjustments after a trial period. After 12 months, a hearing was held to evaluate the impact of the casino and decide how to move forward. Fortunately, there have been few issues. The only request for changes came from the fire and police departments who asked for better communication tools to aid first responders. The casino immediately committed to installing new equipment to make the necessary improvements.

The only local resident to speak out at the public hearing had nothing but nice things to say about the casino and how the business is fitting into the community. Hopefully, the Tiverton Casino and Hotel can continue to experience success and support. Moving forward, their biggest challenge may be increased competition from the recently opened Boston Harbor Encore Casino located just down the road.

Indiana Opens Doors to More Gambling Opportunities

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In April, Indiana Governor, Eric Holcomb signed a massive gambling expansion into law. Not only is sports betting now legal in the state, two riverboats, which have operated on Lake Michigan, now have permission to move inland and set up shop on dry land. Spectacle Entertainment, which owns the boats, has made a deal with Hard Rock to build a $400 million facility that will include a live music venue.

The move to expand is in direct response to a bill passed in Illinois that is also working to bring more casinos to the state, including one in Chicago. Indiana has already experienced a 30% drop in gambling revenue over the last ten years and they aren’t about to concede more business to Illinois without a fight. The expansion is meant to keep Indiana residents in the state and try to maintain business from Illinois customers. The upcoming Hard Rock casino will be located just 18 miles from one of the proposed Chicago casinos sites. Indiana is hoping that it’s close enough to draw in visitors.

Currently, Indiana casinos have shuttle locations in Illinois that make it easy for people across state lines to make the trip. However, it will be hard to compete once there are several casino options right in and around Chicago. Illinois Casino Gaming Association Executive Director, Tom Swoik fears that all the construction and expansion will create a market that is saturated. With so much competition in close proximity, casinos will really have to ramp up amenities to draw in customers. Based on this new law, it is clear that Indiana isn’t willing to let Illinois take over the market without making some aggressive moves.

Looking Forward

This year has seen major changes in gambling laws and regulations across the country and there is every indication that the industry will continue to move at a rapid pace. For casinos, the real challenge will be delivering the same level of service as they focus on expanding. That means taking advantage of tools and technology, including software like Casino Schedule Ease, to help streamline processes. This will ensure that quality isn’t sacrificed in the name of building bigger and better facilities.

Keep visiting our blog to stay up-to-date with the latest happenings in the world of gambling and casinos.

The History of Neon Signs and Las Vegas

It is impossible to talk about the history of Las Vegas without mentioning the city’s famous neon signs. These elaborate and eye-catching signs were works of art that help put the city on the map. When neon lights first became popular, they were a symbol of a new and modern age and there was nothing quite as modern as a city rising out of the desert and offering glitz, glamour, freedom and a whole new level of entertainment. That is why we are going to take a closer look at the history of neon signs, how they helped shaped Las Vegas and what role they play now.

The Discovery of Neon

The Scottish chemist, Sir William Ramsay, is credited with discovering neon, xenon, argon, krypton and isolating helium and radon during the 1890s. These six gases are known as the noble gases because they don’t like to bond with other atoms. Ramsay was determined to discover the rare gases that are a part of air and was able to successfully identify new gases. During his experiments, he took these invisible gases, placed them in sealed gas tubes and charged them with electricity. The result was a colorful spectrum of light that glowed in ways that had never been seen. Ramsay went on to win the Nobel Prize for his efforts and discoveries.

Over the next decade, scientists around the world toiled away trying to create an efficient and practical way to light homes and businesses. Thomas Edison’s incandescent bulbs were promising, but they didn’t last long enough. Daniel McFarlan Moore thought that gas tubes Ramsay has experimented with were the answer and opened his own lighting company. His products were more efficient than the current bulbs, but they were still prohibitively expensive and prone to leaks. In 1910, tungsten filaments were placed in bulbs, making them more efficient than ever and basically eliminating any interest in tube lamps.

However, that didn’t stop the engineer Georges Claude, from continuing to experiment with electrifying tubes filled with nobles gases. Eventually, he was able to create 20 foot tubes that would safely operate for up to 1,200 hours. Claude recognized that neon light wasn’t ideal for lighting homes, but he clearly saw the potential for neon to transform advertising. In 1912, the first neon sign was installed outside a barbershop in Paris to attract customers. It worked like a charm and neon had begun its ascent.

Neon Lights Come to the States

While neon lights are practically synonymous with Las Vegas, Los Angeles was actually the first city to be illuminated by these new lights in the 1920s. At that time, Las Vegas was still just a blip in the desert, but LA was a thriving city being fueled by modern businesses selling new technology. The first neon signs in the US were installed outside California’s first Packard dealership. The signs were an instant hit and even caused traffic jams as drivers stopped to marvel at the glowing lights.

From there, neon signs spread like wildfire. Businesses of all kinds started investing in the signs and trade schools opened so that craftsman could learn the skill of making elaborate glass tubes. Creating signs became a true art form and innovators were constantly pushing the limits of design. Over time, designers were able to achieve over 40 color combinations by playing with the gas mixture and tinting the tubes. Eventually, neon signs included moving parts for even more spectacular displays of art and engineering.

Las Vegas Embraces Neon


Neon signs had proven that they could draw in people, so when Las Vegas was looking for a way to get people to the city, neon signs seemed like the perfect solution. One of the city’s first neon signs was installed at Fremont East’s Boulder Club in 1936. As the city continued to grow and showcase experimental architecture that simply wasn’t being practiced anywhere else in the world, neon signs became their own form of decoration. They weren’t just signs, but essential parts of some of Las Vegas’s most iconic buildings, including Lady Luck, The Mint and the Golden Nugget.

Over the next few decades, competition drove casinos to build more luxurious buildings and cover them in even more creative and jaw-dropping neon signs. The neon lights served as great advertising tools and they helped to light up the streets of Las Vegas and gamblers continued well into the morning hours. The 1960s were the heyday of neon signs in Vegas and the city was practically a shrine to neon. It was home to five of the world’s tallest electric signs. By the late 60s, plastic signs were all the rage because they offered a cheaper alternative and the city was looking for new and creative ways to market itself. New developers looked at neon as a sign of the past and they were looking towards the future and more modern design aesthetics.

Preserving Vegas’s Neon History

While elaborate neon signs may no longer define the strip, these lights have played an important role in the history of the city. That is why many are working to preserve and repair iconic neon signs and put them on display for the public. In 1996, the Neon Museum was founded and it now hosts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. The collection showcases design trends and technological advances through time and allows visitors to experience famous signs. In fact, the visitor center is actually a restored version of the lobby from the La Concha Motel. From there, visitors can wander the 2.62 acres of outdoor displays or register for a guided tour. It is the perfect place to learn about the history of Las Vegas and get up close to some truly impressive signs that helped to shape the city.

Today, Las Vegas continues to push the limits of design and technology. It is truly an innovation hub where big dreams are turned into reality in order to attract and impress customers. The best in everything from architecture, software and design are on full display in the city. Casino Schedule Ease is happy to be a part of the city by providing casinos with the latest in scheduling software that simplifies even the most complex scheduling needs that involve a constant cycle of hundreds of employees.

July Casino News Round-Up

Casinos, sports betting and gambling recently entered a new era that is defined by growth and expansion. Laws that once restricted gambling are being lifted and more states are embracing casinos, increasing the number and gambling licenses and doing their best to get in on a lucrative industry. At the same time, technology is influencing the way people game and a robust economy means that more people are spending their disposable income on traveling to casinos and resorts. This month’s casino news round-up highlights all this along with the month’s biggest stories so that you can stay on top of what is happening in the industry.

Chicago Works to Build First Casino

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At the beginning of June, Illinois passed a massive bill that expands gambling in the state and opens the door for up to six new casinos across the state, including one in Chicago. This bill is unprecedented in its scope. It not only legalizes sports gambling and allows existing casinos to increase their games by 70%, it also clears the way for slot machines to be installed in airports. But perhaps most significant is that fact that the bill authorizes a casino in one of the nation’s largest cities.

Now that the legislation has passed, Chicago is faced with the challenge of finding a location. Currently, feasibility studies are being conducted and 5 potential locations have been proposed although two of these locations were rejected by the alderman who don’t want a casino in their territory. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is hoping that the construction process can be well underway in 12-18 months, but that timeline depends on being able to find a suitable location within the next few months. It remains to be seen just how smoothly this project will go, but it is now inevitable that Chicago will be home to a casino within the next couple years.

Strong Opposition to Napa Valley Casino


While cities across the country are welcoming gambling expansions, there is a battle brewing in California’s Napa Valley. The Mishewal Wappoo Tribe, who are native to the Napa Valley, are fighting to regain their federal recognition. If they succeed, they would be able to build a casino without having to get approval from the community. Local vineyards are not happy about the prospect of large scale developments in one of the nation’s most famous, fertile and lucrative agricultural areas.

As it stands, Napa Valley is zoned in a way that promotes land use for agricultural purposes and works to limit traffic and pollution in order to protect the ecosystem. However, the tribe argues that the vineyards actually cause significant water pollution, so while a casino might put additional stress on the area, the vineyards aren’t without their own problems. The potential for a casino in Napa Valley is certainly a contentious issue, but it remains a big question mark. The tribe will first have to be recognized by the federal government and their petition has been stuck in court since 2009.

Two Las Vegas Casinos Score Big with Visitors

The travel website TripAdvisor crunched their data and came up with rankings for the top 50 casinos in the United States. Encore and The Wynn Las Vegas took top honors because approximately 75% of their ratings were five-star ratings. That means that most customers give the casinos a perfect score. Customers were asked to provide feedback on cleanliness, location, value and service and these two Vegas staples performed well in all categories.

The list included other hotels and casinos from the strip and Atlantic City, but other locations and tribal casinos also fared well. The Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi came in third and the WinStar, which is operated by the Chicksaw Nation earned a fourth place spot. This is good news for gamblers across the country who are looking for a venue a little closer to home. While Las Vegas has plenty of great resorts and casinos, some of the best might also be right in your backyard.

Oklahoma Tries to Renegotiate Tribal Gaming Contracts

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt is taking on the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA), which consist of 38 tribes that run a total of 130 casinos. Under the current contract, tribes pay 4%-6% or their slot revenue and 10% of table game revenue to the state. Stitt argues that these rates, which were established 15 years ago, are way too low and don’t reflect the current market.

The OIGA is hoping that a united front will prevent the Governor from being able to force a renegotiation. As it stands now, it is unclear whether Stitt actually has the power to prevent the current contracts from renewing as is, but the tribes aren’t going to take any chances. However, the OIGA Chairman has made it clear that the tribes may be open to talks if the state is willing to discuss sports betting and how that might play in to a larger deal that could be lucrative for the tribes.

Technology Powers Expansion of Casino Industry

There has clearly been a cultural shift in the way people and governments view gambling. This has led to new laws that lift restrictions, but the rapid expansion of gambling around the US wouldn’t be possible without the introduction of new technology based solutions. Sports betting, especially on a large scale, is a complex undertaking and new software is making it possible for casinos to quickly enter the market as soon as it becomes legal in their state. Learn more about emerging sports betting technology.

Technology is also making it possible for casinos to quickly scale up and manage large staffs that include hundreds of dealers, cashiers, bartenders and other employees and operate on a 24/7 cycle. Casino Schedule Ease is helping casinos across the country more efficiently handle complex scheduling challenges, maximize employee productivity and reduce the workload on managers. These types of tools are making it possible for casinos to take full advantage of changes in the laws and leverage them to increase revenue.

Casino News Takeaway

The momentum is steadily growing as more states change their laws regarding gambling. This will continue in the coming months and may result in some battles as communities resist development and states enter profit sharing negotiations with organizations. At the same time, these changes are opening the door for entrepreneurs and programmers to offer new solutions to meet a changing market. Keep visiting our blog to stay up-to-date on all the latest casino news.

The Status of Online and Sports Gambling in the U.S.

For decades, laws regarding gambling in the U.S. remained strict compared to other countries and few changes were made to expand the industry. However, there has been a major shift in the past few years and things are rapidly evolving as more states legalize sports betting, expand online gambling and increase the number of casino licenses. To help you stay up-to-date, we have put together a list of the latest changes and how they may affect your state and surrounding areas. 

New Hampshire Legalizes Sports Betting

Perhaps the most significant change to gambling in the U.S. has been recent legalization of sports betting by the federal government. Since the Supreme Court’s ruling, states have been scrambling to decide not only whether they want to take advantage of this opportunity, but also the best way to do so. Some states already had legislation in place so that they could be prepared for the final ruling. Others have taken a wait and watch approach so that they could perhaps learn from other states and transition more smoothly into the world of sports gambling.

On July 12th, New Hampshire officially became the 9th state to legalize sports gambling. The state joins Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Arkansas to create a largely east coast contingent of states supporting sports gambling. New Hampshire residents will be able to gamble through a select number of online companies and retail locations. The legislation also specifies that a new Division of Sports Wagering will be established and gamblers will not be able to wager on any college teams or games from within the state. Residents can expect additional adjustments as these laws and regulations are put to the test and evaluated.

The Future of Sports Betting

It looks like North Carolina may be the next state to officially legalize sports betting. Lawmakers were unable to pass a budget on time, which means that there will be more time and opportunity for gambling bills to make headway. At this point, it is practically inevitable that sports betting will be classified as a Class III game, which is permitted on Indian owned casino locations. Unless there is a drastic change, gamblers will be able to make sports wagers at NC casinos within the next year.

Pennsylvania Casinos Lost Suit Against State Lottery

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A battle between state sanctioned casinos and the state lottery has been brewing in Pennsylvania for the past few months. Seven casinos filed a lawsuit against the state claiming that the new online casino inspired games were too close to the real thing and would result in a loss of revenue. Part of the problem was that online games were available to residents 18 and over while casino games could only be played by those 21 and over. The casinos saw this as a clear and unfair advantage. Casinos also tried to make the argument that any loss in revenue would hurt the residents of PA since a portion of their profits goes directly back into tax collection and community projects.

While the judge acknowledged that the casinos had a valid argument, it turns out that the state’s gambling laws are ambiguous enough to allow for both the lottery and the casinos to operate without conflict. With so much money at stake, neither side is calling it quits and you can expect more appeals and suits to follow before the matter is finally put to rest.

Sports Betting Goes Live in NY

New York State has been proactive about not only legalizing sports gambling, but launching programs as soon as possible. On Tuesday, July 16th, the Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady had its ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open its sports betting lounge that spans 5,000 square feet and offers enough room 80 people. There is also a VIP section that can accommodate up to 18 people along with 14 kiosks and six betting windows.

In the coming year, an additional three upstate locations will open sports betting facilities. While some are happy with this rate of expansion, others have argued that the state should have also allowed mobile locations. As it stands now, NYC residents will have to travel several hours to visit New York locations or take a shorter drive and spend their money in New Jersey, which was one of the first states to adopt sports betting. New York based casinos are hoping that residents and those from neighboring states will visit their locations for the beautiful accommodations. Only time will tell whether NY gamblers opt for better proximity and spend their dollars in NJ, or stay loyal to their home state.

With advances in technology improving the security of online gambling and easing fears around issues of identity verification, it is likely that this type of gaming will continue to expand. To keep up with when laws are changing and how technology and software solutions, such as Casino Schedule Ease, are transforming the industry, be sure to keep up with our blog. You can rely on us to keep you up to date and on top of the latest trends.

June Casino News Round-Up

Grand-Opening of the Encore Boston Harbor Resort

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Earlier this month, we took a closer look at the long history of the location of Encore Boston Harbor resort and casino and the extensive work that went into turning an environmental wasteland into one of the city’s most luxurious destinations. On June 23rd, the Encore Boston Harbor officially opened for business and thousands of people lined up to watch the opening ceremonies and be one of the first to get a glimpse of the interior. The first day of business appears to have gone off without a hitch. While many local residents have expressed concerns about increased traffic and congestion, there weren’t any major problems or delays as around 50,000 people visited the area to check out the resort. (Click here to see some photos of opening day)

Looking forward, developers are banking on the success of the Encore Boston Harbor casino and already making plans to expand the area with additional hotels, apartments, convention centers and other amenities that will help draw people from all over the world. They are also preparing for the possibility that sports gambling will soon become legal in Massachusetts and they have their eyes on new locations that will accommodate sports bettors. Finally, they are looking at ways to improve transportation access with road projects, a potential footbridge across the Mystic River and other solutions to help people easily travel to the area. If the Encore Boston Harbor is a success, the area is in store for some more major changes that could put it on the global map.

50th Anniversary of the World Series of Poker

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The very first World Series of Poker (WSOP) featured just 30 players and mostly happened behind closed doors. In the end, Johnny Moss became the first world champion and the only real record of the event is a photo someone snapped to document the occasion. Since these humble beginnings, the WSOP has become a major event that isn’t just played out in the open on the main floor, but is featured on ESPN. Fifty years later, the 2019 WSOP championship began in late May and a champion won’t be crowned until July 13th. The final ten days of the tournament will begin with around 8,000 players, most of whom will have paid a $10,000 entry fee, and culminate with a single winner who will take home millions.

While the pioneers of the first tournament couldn’t have possibly predicted how the sport would explode, but it didn’t all happen by chance. A lot of work has been put into building the sport. The leadership behind the WSOP has been innovative when it comes to making the sport more inclusive so that relative unknowns can have the chance to make it to the final table. They have also been savvy in cultivating poker stars, building relationships with TV networks and turning poker into a spectator sport that millions of people tune into watch. Finally, they have continued to evolve as tastes have changed in order to keep the sport fresh. This includes moving the tournament from the original Binion’s Horseshoe location to more modern casino facilities. With this forward-thinking approach to the sport, it seems likely that the WSOP will be just as popular in another 50 years.

Gambling Addiction Clinics for Minors

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The National Health Service in the UK recently announced that it will open 14 clinics to help minors deal with addiction to gambling. While this is happening across the pond, the US may want to take notice. According to recent studies conducted by England’s Gambling Commission, the country has 450,000 underage gamblers, which is more than those who have reported smoking, drinking or taking drugs. The Commission also found that kids are mostly being enticed into gambling by advertisements and their peers.

However, these kids aren’t visiting the casinos and playing the slots. Instead, they are engaging in a more high-tech and deceptive form of gambling tied to video games. In certain games and apps, players can purchase “loot boxes”, which include rewards that will help with the game. The player doesn’t know what is in the box until they make the purchase, so they end up gambling real-world money on digital prizes that vary in usefulness. These kinds of gambling opportunities for kids has caused the number of underage gamblers to quadruple in two years and prompted the UK government to take action to treat gambling addiction in minors.

While the United States has strict laws governing online gaming, the trend seems to be going towards easing restrictions. More states are legalizing sports betting and online gambling. As state governments continue to debate new laws, it might be worth taking a look at the UK to better understand potential problems and take action early on to prevent similar consequences.

Casinos Go High-Tech

You might not think of the hospitality industry as one that would be influenced by new technology. After all, hotels, resorts, restaurants and casinos are all about customer service and going above and beyond to make the customer happy and that often comes down to human interactions. However, new technology is actually making it easier to provide a better customer experience so casinos and resorts can earn customer loyalty.

Casino Schedule Ease is one software solution that is helping casinos harness the power of technology to streamline process and free employees from more mundane tasks so that they can focus on the customer. This tool makes it easy for scheduling managers to visualize the casino floor and manage employee preferences and requests for time off and place the best people in positions where they will thrive. Employees also benefit from clear communication with management so that they can get their preferred time slots and locations. Ultimately, this leads to better employee job satisfaction and morale, which directly translates to better customer service. In this way, technology is helping casinos improve the customer experience, attract new visitors and ensure repeat customers.

The Unique Story of the Encore Boston Harbor

History of the Encore Boston Harbor Casino Site

The Encore Boston Harbor resort and casino has an unlikely backstory. In January 2015, when Wynn Resorts first purchased the 33 acres of land along the Mystic River that is now home to the resort, it seemed like the least attractive spot to build any sort of large public or private gathering space. The land had been zoned for industrial use and hadn’t been accessible for over 100 years. During that time, the area had been home to a variety of plants that relied heavily on chemicals, which inevitably contaminated both the surrounding land and water.

In fact, a large portion of the land used to be White Island, but backfill was used to connect the island to the mainland and create more shoreline. Over the years, the site was used by a long list of industrial companies. As far back as 1804, a dye house operated there and was followed by Cochrane Chemical Company, Merrimac Chemical Company and Monsanto. In 1983, Boston Edison bought the land and was the last industrial owner before it was bought up by Rose Construction Ventures with the goal of making it ready for development.


Around the same time that Rose Construction Ventures acquired the land, the state of Massachusetts passed the Expanded Gaming Act, which meant that Las Vegas style casinos were allowed to operate in three different designated territories. Once the Act was passed, casinos went to work creating proposals and trying to win one of these lucrative contracts. Eventually, Wynn Resorts was awarded the contract in large part because they had agreed to massive cleanup efforts along with long-term investments to address new traffic that would be coming into the city.

While the Gaming Commission approved the deal and there seemed to be support from the public, not everyone was happy about the outcome. The major of Boston, Martin J. Walsh, though the final deal was “unacceptable” and several neighboring cities filed lawsuits. These early legal challenges would be the first of many to come through the construction process.

The Site Cleanup

Wynn Resorts first estimated that the clean up of the Encore Harbor site would cost $30 million. When it was all said and done, the company had spent $68 million to make the site safe to host hotels and restaurants. Much of the resources went to removing polluted soil. Once the operation was in full swing, around 5,600 tons of soil was being removed on a daily basis. Ultimately, it took about 5 months to remove all the soil and ship it to various landfills around the country.


For the final phase of the remediation project, the company went to work creating a living shoreline and dredging the Mystic River to make it safe for large ships to dock at the casino. The portion of the river along the site was one of the most polluted, with sediment that contained arsenic, lead and a whole host of other toxic chemicals. Ultimately, the dredging process revealed that the pollution was much worse than anyone had anticipated. As the sediment was removed, many of the chemicals were released back into the water, further complicating the clean-up process. However, Wynn Resorts was committed to taking all the necessary steps to thoroughly clean the local environment, even if that meant doubling their spending.

Once the final clean-up had been completed, the next step was to try and restore some of the habitat. For almost two centuries, the area had been totally devoid of any ecosystem. Casino development will actually restore plant and wildlife to the area and mark the first time in the area’s long history that the environment can return to a natural state.

Will the Casino Be a Success?

While there is no doubt that the construction of the Encore Boston Harbor casino has had a positive impact on the environment and helped to clean up a highly toxic swath of land, there is still some skepticism about whether the casino will ultimately succeed. The area surrounding the resort is still an industrial hub that is home to a subway train repair depot, water and sewer plants and other industrial buildings. The presence of the shining 27 story tall resort and surrounding park that now allows access to the waterfront, doesn’t exactly fit in with the rest of the neighborhood. This contrast begs the question: Will customers visit this location and spend $650 a night on a room?



The casino is offering free shuttles, buses and luxurious water ferries to try and make it easier to get to the location, but that doesn’t guarantee that the resort will be a sought after destination. In part, the developers are banking on the hope that the large population that makes up Boston will help to feed customers into the casino. It also helps that the resort is really the only game in town with the nearest competition a full two hours drive away. While the location is a little unconventional, it also offers strategic advantages that may just lead to its success.

From the beginning, the casino has made lofty predictions of earnings, including $800 million in revenue in the first year. However, many experts put that number closer to $600 million. Either way, the resort will need to perform well in order to justify the expense of cleaning up the site, paying out millions in fines and legal proceedings and building a hotel that caters to an affluent audience who can afford to stay at a luxury hotel. With the opening scheduled for June 23, it won’t be long before we get a closer look at the interior and see how visitors react to the new resort. If nothing else, this project has led to the restoration of the harbor and created a place where residents and guests can enjoy the shoreline for the first time in over 200 years.

If you would like to learn more about the casino industry, rapidly evolving changes concerning gambling laws, how technology is changing gaming and much more, be sure to visit Casino Schedule Ease. As the industry’s premier provider of scheduling and management software, we have stay up-to-date on all the latest news and pass it on to you.

Plan Your Summer Vacation

Planning a summer vacation that the whole family will enjoy can be quite a challenge. Everyone has different interests and it can feel nearly impossible to please the kids while also allowing the adults to have some fun. Fortunately, there are plenty of family-friendly casino resorts in beautiful locales that will provide opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, try new activities and spend some time playing your favorite games. Here is a list of the best family- friendly casino resorts that will keep the entire family busy and happy.

Atlantis Paradise Island Resort

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It doesn’t get much better than the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas. This luxurious casino and hotel provides five miles of beaches, a world famous water park, a marine habitat and dolphin cay where you can swim with the dolphins and even shadow a trainer for a day. You can also enjoy a day at the golf course, charter a fishing boat, spend the day shopping on the island and much more. There is truly something for everyone.

During the day, you can sign your kids up for a themed adventure that is hosted by the staff and includes a meal. You can even hire a kid concierge to organize activities and make your life a little less stressful. While the kids are off swimming or taking a cooking lesson, you can enjoy the black jack tables or relax in your personal cabana.

While all this might sound like an expensive vacation, you might be surprised to see just how affordable this resort can be. The resort is only 30 minutes from the airport, which makes transportation easy and you can save when you combine flight and hotel deals. Also, be on the lookout for promotional offers, such as a complimentary night free when you book five nights in a row. Finally, keep in mind that the resort fees include access to a movie theater, water park, casino and other free activities that you would have to pay for at other locations.

Courtyard Isla Verde Beach Resort

Take the family to Puerto Rico to experience the local culture and enjoy miles of one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines. There is no shortage of things to do in San Juan. From rain forest excursions and snorkeling to golfing and deep sea fishing, it won’t be a problem for everyone to find an activity that fits their interests.

Black Oak Casino

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The Black Oak Casino in Tuolumne, CA, is located right outside Yosemite National Park. This resort provides the perfect way to enjoy one of the country’s most beautiful and popular destinations while also getting your fill of gaming and activities. Spend your days hiking and taking in the natural wonders of the area and indulge in a gourmet meal and world-class entertainment in the evening. Kids can take advantage of the underground arcade and spend some time at the bowling alley. If you would like to experience this stunning part of the country, but you aren’t the type of family that likes to pitch a tent and spend a week in the woods, this resort will allow you to enjoy nature without compromising comfort.

Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino

The name alone should speak to your sense of adventure. This beautiful resort is located in Mescalero, New Mexico, and sits on the shores of a beautiful lake and is surrounded by a world class golf course. It provides the perfect summer getaway for families who want to get out and enjoy the warm weather. The resort features a ZipRider, a dock for fishing, plenty of watersports and opportunities to go horseback riding and hiking and enjoy the mountainous landscape that defines this area of the state. If you want to experience a trip that allows you to enjoy the rustic outdoors and return in the evening to a gourmet meal, spa treatment and a night of gambling, the Inn can deliver.

The Pechanga Resort and Hotel

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The Pechanga Resort and Hotel has long been known as California’s largest resort, but recent expansions have made it one of the largest on the west coast. The extensive grounds offer a wide variety of activities for the whole family. Kids will love the 4.5 acre pool complex that includes two waterslides and a family lagoon. Adults can catch a live show at one of the many onsite venues and play their luck at the many tables and games throughout the casino. There is also beautiful golf courses and delicious restaurants that offer both casual and fine dining experiences. Every day can be full of new activities and you can’t beat the prices. This location is a more affordable and family-friendly alternative to options located right on the Las Vegas Strip.

Planning a family vacation doesn’t mean that everything has to be kid-centric. There are options that will allow you to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, the comfort of a luxurious hotel and the entertainment choices of a full-scale casino while still providing plenty of family activities. You can spend your days playing with the kids or you can take advantage of concierge services and other hosted events to get some much needed alone time with your spouse. You won’t have to worry about keeping the kids entertained and they will be off having their own adventures.

The right casino and resort will allow everyone experience an enjoyable and rejuvenating vacation. Take a closer look at different destinations and choose among the beauty of the islands, the mountains and some of the country’s most celebrated national parks. To learn more about different vacation options and how Casino Schedule Ease is helping casinos around the world improve their businesses and offer families better experiences contact us today. Our experts will be happy to answer all your questions.

The Latest Gambling News

The 2019 Kentucky Derby Breaks Records

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It was just a couple weeks ago when Tiger Woods staged an amazing career comeback that cost sports books big money and left a few lucky gamblers with major wins. On Saturday, the world watched as another upset took place at the Kentucky Derby. This event broke both sports and betting records and produced some significant payouts for people who made relatively small bets.

If you missed the action, here is a recap. While the 2019 Kentucky Derby was essentially a wide-open race, there were a few favorites. Based on point standings and previous wins, Roadster, Game Winner and Improbably were slated as the top three contenders. These horses were expected to see the most betting action although their favorable odds also meant a lower payout.

As the 1.25 mile race came to a close, Maximum Security was the first to cross the finish line, but the results were immediately challenged and after 22 minutes of deliberation, the winner was disqualified. This decision marked the first time in the 145 year history of the Kentucky Derby that a horse was disqualified because of a foul. After reviewing the tape, the race stewards found that Maximum Security veered out of his lane, causing contact that then forced other horses to change their course. The argument is that this brief moment of contact ultimately affected the outcome of the race.

Small Bets Make Big Winners

When all was said and done, the $3 million purse was awarded to Country House, gamblers lost $9 million that was bet on Maximum Security and those who took a chance on the race’s longshot won big. According to the sport book TwinSpires, the largest bet made on Maximum Security was $8,000, which would have meant a $36,000 prize. The biggest bet made on Country House to win was $2,500, which ended up netting the bettor $162,500. One gambler in Las Vegas bet a total of $8 on the superfecta and ended up with a $78,000 win. These numbers also mean that Country House has the second biggest payout in the history of the race.

The extraordinary race also set overall betting records for sports books around the world. This year, $165.5 million was bet on site, which is a full 10% increase over last year. Once you add in wagers that were made through legal online sources, including TwinSpires, which is the official mobile betting platform of the Derby, a total of $250 million was bet on race day. A significant portion of this money came from Japan, where horse racing is a popular sport.

The recent longshot wins in major sporting events has more people putting down their money and hoping to win big. It is easy to imagine that sports betting will also become more popular as it is legalized in more states in the coming years. Next year’s Derby may not be quite as exciting or controversial, but it is sure to bring in new bettors.

Indiana Legalizes Sports Betting

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Indiana is the latest state to officially sign legislation into law and make sports betting legal. While the debate over the morality and impact of gambling continues, Governor Eric Holcomb is arguing that sports betting is highly regulated and will bring much needed jobs and revenue to the state. He is also making the case that it is important to be an early adopter so that money isn’t lost to competing states.

The bill was surrounded by even more controversy than usual because of close ties between the Governor and other top officials and Spectacle Entertainment, which has been lobbying for the bill. Despite several potential conflicts of interest, the bill was widely supported by legislators. The next big challenge for the state is making sure that Spectacle Entertainment isn’t allowed to build a monopoly around gambling in the state. They are already slated to control a large portion of the business and this could present problems down the line.

MGM is Cutting Jobs

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MGM Resorts International has been struggling to keep up even as gambling markets expand and many competitors continue to experience growth. Shares in the company have dropped 12% since last August and the company started making moves in January to cut labor costs. The goal is to boost operating cash flow by a full $200 million in the coming year. Unfortunately, that means making major cuts to labor costs.

While the company has been clear that jobs are on the line, that did little to ease the blow as 254 people lost their jobs. Only management positions were affected and experts estimate that the cuts will save the company $13 million per year. Ultimately, MGM is looking to cut $100 million from labor costs, so more layoffs are expected in the coming months. We will keep watching over the next year to see whether these cuts have a positive impact on profits without affecting the daily operations and quality of the customer experience.

How Casinos are Using Technology

A lot has been said lately about the changing demographics of gamblers and how casinos need to leverage technology to create more social games that attract millenials. What isn’t always at the forefront of the conversation about technology and casinos is how new tools are going to work behind the scenes. Ultimately, casinos are a part of the hospitality industry, which means their success relies on providing an excellent customer experience that creates repeat business. This requires a skilled workforce, but it also means being able to effectively manage and motivate that workforce.

Casino Schedule Ease is one software solution that is being used by casinos to improve the employee experience, which ultimately creates a better customer experience. This software streamlines the scheduling process so that managers can match employees up with the best shifts and table assignments to fit their needs and take full advantage of their skills. The dashboard makes it easy to visualize the casino floor, view time-off requests, complete complicated schedules and much more. For casinos looking to reduce labor costs and improve every aspect of performance, Casino Schedule Ease offers an effective, versatile and customizable solution.

The past couple of weeks have been full of major events in the world of gambling and casinos. Be sure to check back in with our blog to stay on top of all the latest news and learn how it might affect you and your business.

Las Vegas on a Budget

Las Vegas has a reputation for being an extravagant city that is full of luxurious attractions and accommodations. With so much glitz and glamour, it may seem like a trip to Las Vegas is beyond your budget; however, there are plenty of affordable things to see and do that will allow you to experience everything the city has to offer without emptying your wallet. Here are just a few budget-friendly destinations and tips that will help you get the most out of our Las Vegas trip.

Visit the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat

It doesn’t get much better than a free attraction. There is no charge at the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat and you can spend the afternoon walking through the beautifully landscaped grounds and get up close and personal with exotic animals. The 15-acre park is home to Chilean flamingos, pelicans, turtles, koi fish, parrots and much more. Be sure to schedule your visit around the morning and afternoon pelican feedings and get your picture taken with one of the park’s parrots. The Flamingo Wildlife Habitat provides a family friendly destination and a peaceful alternative to the typical hustle and bustle of Las Vegas.

Fall of Atlantis Show

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There is no shortage of great shows to watch in Las Vegas, but $100+ per ticket might be more than you want to spend. The Fall of Atlantis show located inside the Caesars Palace Forum Shops features all the special effects, explosions and professional production value you would expect from a Las Vegas show but without the price tag. This free show plays every hour on the hour and tells the story of Atlantis with the help of animatronic figures. While you are there, you can also do some shopping and check out the salt water aquarium.

Fremont Street

Freemont Street was specifically designed to provide a walkable downtown area where visitors can enjoy local restaurants, shopping, bars and other businesses. This area covers 6 blocks and provides the perfect place to spend an evening strolling and taking in the sites. Throughout the year, you can find free concerts and other events and take in the Famous Viva Vision Light show that plays every hour. The show is projected on a video screen that measures 1,500 long and 90 feet wide and is suspended above the street. Once the show starts, the lights totally transform the street and provide a one-of-a-kind experience.

O’Sheas Lucky Hour

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For some affordable adult fun, check out O’Sheas Lucky Hour, which runs from 10 a.m – 2 p.m. and 2 a.m. – 6 a.m. During these hours, you can get great deals on drinks, including $ 4 Guinness drafts and $5 Jameson shots. You can enjoy some drinks, listen to live music, play beer pong or try your luck at the gaming tables. This large venue also offers outdoor space and a fun atmosphere without the cover charge and pricey drinks. The casual, yet energetic atmosphere may be just the right place to blow off some steam and have some fun.

High Roller Observation Wheel

From zip lines to roller coasters, Las Vegas is full of plenty of rides for those who love a big thrill, but if you like things a little more low-key, the Higher Roller is a great option. The observation wheel will take you up 550 feet and provide great views of the city and the valley. One rotation takes 30 minutes and you can enjoy the ride in a comfortable and spacious cabin. There is even a happy hour cabin option that comes complete with a bartender. Daytime tickets start at $22 and you can save money by purchasing them online.

The Neon Museum

Over the years, the Vegas strip has been home to iconic architecture and neon signs. While some of the signs have been retired, you can still visit them at the Neon Museum where they are working to restore many signs and use them to tell the story of Las Vegas’s history. Currently, there are nine fully restored signs that are located throughout the city and can be viewed on your own walking tour. You can also choose among self-guided tours, guided tours and a multimedia experience that brings the old signs to life with photos, lights and music. Tickets start at $23 and you can get a discount if you buy them online.

The Mob Museum

The Mob Museum explores the history of the mob and law enforcement. It begins with a look at how the mob shaped Las Vegas and eventually went on to have international reach. There are plenty of interactive displays and exhibits, including the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Wall complete with bullet holes from the assassination of seven members of the Bugs Moran gang. General admission for non-residents $26.95 although you might want to spend a little more to take advantage of the audio tour.

Golden Nugget Shark Tank

This feat of engineering is designed to make you feel like you are swimming with the sharks without all the danger. The pool cost $30 million to construct and features a 200,000 gallon shark tank. You can swim up to the glass and watch the sharks or you can take a ride on the water slide, which runs directly through the tank. It is a unique experience and a great way to escape the steamy Vegas weather. Hotel guests have free access to the pool or you can swim there for $25.

Enjoying the extravagance of Las Vegas doesn’t mean that you have to spend extravagantly. There are plenty of affordable attractions that will allow you to get to know the past and present of this truly unique city. Many of the hotels are open to visitors and local museums provide fun and affordable places to spend the day. In most cases, you can save money on admission fees by purchasing tickets online. For more information on the best Vegas attractions and how our software solutions are helping casinos across the world operate more efficiently, contact Casino Schedule Ease.