You’ll Never Guess: The Most Valuable Asset Of Caesar’s Entertainment

We spotted this gem today:

“Last year, Harrah’s parent company, Caesar’s Entertainment, declared bankruptcy as a consequence of overextension and growing competition. During proceedings, creditors appraised Caesar’s vast store of customer data as the company’s most valuable asset, worth about $1 billion.”


Where are the data scientists?

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We Bet You Never Knew This Would Be A $100 Billion Industry

We Bet You Never Knew This Would Be A $100 Billion Industry. We bet – you bet, that’s exactly what we are talking about – betting on mobile – all forms of gambling on mobile devices put together, is projected to reach revenues of 100 billion dollars in the next four years. We were definitely taken aback by the sheer size – because we knew the revenues of the whole of Las Vegas and how the revenue compares to movie screens for example. That is precisely the reason that this number surprised us – it is just huge when you look at it from an offline world perspective. Any case, this is what we spotted: “Wagers via mobile devices across all forms of gambling are expected to reach $100bn by 2017.” (Source)

When you look at this number based on the number of devices out there for example, this number is not that surprising anymore. There are more than half-a-billion android devices and about half-a-billion iOS devices on the planet, and these numbers are growing by the millions every day. Thats a billion devices right there. Now the $100bn number doesn’t look that huge any more.

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Slot Machines In Casinos: Why Do They Camouflage A Loss As A Win?

For those of us who have tried slot machines in casinos (and that would mean all of us) – we are used to seeing all the lights flashing, the sounds made when you win money, and in general, the ‘it is happening’ feel provided by all the new electronic slot machines. But here is what we missed in the chaos: most of the times, the way the machines react, it makes it difficult for you to understand that you have actually lost money. We spotted this in a NYTimes article today:

“In a typical multi-line slot setup, a player can bet on up to 20 different pay lines in a single game. If a player wins on 9 of the 20 lines, resulting in a net loss, the machine still celebrates the occasion with sound and video effects.

“It’s brilliant,” Professor Harrigan says. “I’m not a gambler myself, but I was playing ‘Money Storm’ in our lab and ‘won’ — nine lines were flashing — and it was cognitively difficult to appreciate that I had actually lost.”


The article mentions that in Australia, it is now illegal to flash a congratulatory message when the player has actually lost. That law should be universal.

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1.5 Million USD: The Impact of A Non Shuffled Deck of Cards

We had spotted several gambling stats in the past – we spotted this today:

“No one at the Nugget could decipher why the players were so lucky, though, and the casino let the game go on till 10:18 p.m. When it ended, the house had lost a little more than $1.5 million.

There was no complex scheme, but it wasn’t lady luck, either. Someone in Kansas City allegedly had forgotten to turn on the automatic shuffler before the cards got shipped out. Since the cards were never shuffled at the plant – the casino doesn’t shuffle them again – the same patterns kept repeating in game 802. The players noticed, kept on betting and upped their wagers.”

Statistics Source:

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Man Wins 57 Million USD, Casino Then Calls It A ‘Software Glitch’

We have spotted multiple casino stats and gambling stats before. We spotted this today:

“Merlaku, a 26-year-old Kosovar Albanian, was reportedly pushing the buttons on a slot machine in Bregenz, Austria, when it suddenly told him he had won a lot of money: forty-three million euros–which, at current prices, is just under $57 million.

Few on this earth would have felt anything other than numb elation at discovering that their dependence on The Man was finally over.
However, Merlaku was merely left with the numb part of that after trying to collect his prize. For, as the Daily Mail reports, he was offered around $100 for a free meal.”

Statistics Source: CNet

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‘The Equity Market Is A Rigged Casino’

We have heard this before, the fact that the market is not fair and efficient, but that there are some players with a significant edge over others – the players that can colocate servers, and can also do flash trading, for example. Our understanding of flash trading is this: you can see the order book for a second. wow.

We had spotted multiple OWS stats before. We spotted an article on Reddit today, by a person who says “I work in Wall Street and work in hedge fund analysis. I’m the only person in my office who supports OWS”. Here is the summary:

Hedge Funds are better equipped and networked to tap information faster, get beneficial transaction rates, have access to more financial products to trade in, are run with tonnes of tax and regulatory exceptions etc. The summary is this:

“The finance industry funnels money from the masses to the ultra rich, through vehicles like hedge funds which dominate all of the financial markets.”

we couldn’t agree more.

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‘Casinos Make Sense During Recessions’

We spotted these Casino stats today, from ‘The State of the States’ Report from American Gaming Association:

1. In 2010, gross gaming revenues for commercial casinos rebounded slightly to $34.60 billion, a 0.9 percent increase compared with 2009 figures.

2. Of those revenues, $7.59 billion was returned to state and local governments in the form of direct gaming taxes to pay for a wide range of goods and services that benefit the industry’s host communities

3. The gaming industry also continued to be a significant source of jobs, employing 340,564 people who earned $13.3 billion in wages, benefits and tips during 2010.

4. The gaming equipment manufacturing sector reported significant revenue, supported tens of thousands of employees and paid billions of dollars in salaries and wages

5. Direct revenue sourced to the gaming equipment manufacturing industry was $11.5 billion during 2010, a 5.1 percent decline from the prior year. Despite the reduced revenue levels in 2010, a survey of global gaming suppliers indicated that 73 percent of companies within the sector think that market conditions will improve during the next 12 months

6. Direct employment declined 2.0 percent to 29,400 in 2010. Overall wages for those employees totaled $2.1 billion during the same period, which was flat when compared with 2009 figures.

7. With an average wage of approximately $70,500, the sector’s employees earned significantly more than the U.S. median income of $43,460 (Bureau of Labor Statistics). ”

Statistics Source: American Gaming Association

What is your bet: red or black?

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One Gambler’s BlackJack Streak Destroys Atlantic City’s Tropicana

Well, this is like a repeat of “Bringing Down The House” – we spotted this today:

“The Tropicana lost more than $1.86 million at its blackjack tables in April thanks mostly to a single patron who won $5.8 million at the casino’s high-stakes tables.

A spokesman for New Jersey’s Casino Control Commission told The Star Ledger that the proportion of the Tropicana’s loss was unprecedented in the state since the inception of casino gambling in 1978. “It’s extraordinarily unusual for a casino to lose money at the game of blackjack in a particular month,” he told the paper.”

Mind-blowing statistic, this one.

Statistics Source: Forbes

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Is Poker A Game Of Skill Or Chance?

[This post is a response to the paper “THE ROLE OF SKILL VERSUS LUCK IN POKER: EVIDENCE FROM THE WORLD SERIES OF POKER” by Steven D. Levitt (Freakanomics author) and Thomas J. Miles.

So is Poker a game of skill or chance?

For those of us who have tried the game, the answer seems to be clear – it is a combination of skill and chance. But here is the thing – what in life, isn’t? That helps us rephrase the question – like so many things in life, is Poker just another test of skill, with chance playing a huge role as well?

The first time we came across a convincing argument that Poker is NOT a game of chance was this:

“Yet perhaps the clearest argument in favour of poker being skill- rather than chance-dependent comes from Mr Sklansky, and it has to do with losing rather than winning. Imagine trying intentionally to lose at a game of pure chance, like roulette or baccarat. It would be impossible. At the beginning of a deal or a roll you have to bet on something. You can no more deliberately play badly than you can deliberately play well. The same is not true for poker, which offers multiple opportunities to make sure you lose.”

Source: The Economist, A special report on gambling – At war with luck – Is poker a game of skill or chance?

We were convinced with that logic – of course you cannot play Roulette to lose, and hence Poker is definitely a game of skill.

But here is the thing – You can actually play Roulette, or for that matter, Craps to lose. Thats the whole house advantage thing. The fact is,no matter how you play, for every roll of the dice or for every spin in roulette, you stand to lose.
In fact there is not a single game inside a casino that you cannot play to lose, and that includes Poker.

So that argument from the Economist went out of the window. Now we have this new working paper, that argues, based on WSOP data, that Skill plays a more important role than Chance in Poker.

The premise of the paper is very simple – skilled players (ranked before the tournament) performed better in the tournament than others. So skill has a big role to play, right? Here is the summary from the paper:

“Using newly available data, we analyze that question by examining the performance in the 2010 World Series of Poker of a group of poker players identified as being highly skilled prior to the start of the events. Those players identified a priori as being highly skilled achieved an average return on investment of over 30 percent, compared to a -15 percent for all other players. This large gap in returns is strong evidence in support of the idea that poker is a game of skill.”

What is the flaw in this argument? Remember the concluding paragraph from our post “Roulette: After 3 Reds, Do You Pick Red Or Black?“:

“A person believing in the “law of small numbers” thinks that small samples should “look like” the parent distribution, i.e. that the sample should be representative of the parent distribution. Thus, the person believes that out of, say, 6 spins 3 should be red and 3 should be black (ignoring green). If observed outcomes in the small sample differ from the 50:50 ratio, immediate reversal is expected. Thus, somebody observing 2 times red in 6 consecutive spins believes that black is “due” on the 3rd spin to restore the 50:50 ratio.”

Think about it – we all believe in the law of small numbers one way or the other. In all fields. We are just being stupid.”

That exactly is the issue here – do the analysis with, say 1000 WSOP data, and you are still talking about small numbers. For a conclusion as big as this.

Let us close with Forrest Gump then. Life, like Poker, is a box of chocolates.You never know what you’re gonna get.

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Sands Casino: “Gamblers Were Lucky So Our Profits Are Down”

For once, Gamblers are making money. We spotted this today:

“Sands posted earnings of $0.37 per share in the first three months of 2011, much lower than the $0.44 a share expected.

Revenues hit a record $2.11bn (£1.28bn), but analysts had hoped for $2.14bn.

Sands’ CEO, billionaire Sheldon Adelson, blamed bad luck at its tables in Las Vegas and Singapore for the drops in the company’s “hold percentage” – the ratio of how much it won, compared to how much customers gambled.

That means the casino paid out more to lucky gamblers than it would have done normally.

“In Las Vegas, low hold on table games play impacted our financial performance in the quarter by about $45 million in revenue,” the company said in a statement.”

Statistics Source: BBC Business News

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