Monday, April 4, 2016

Sunday Globe Special: Hitting Bottom

That would put me in the basement, and speaking of such means time to close it out.

Good thing they aren't opening at home:

"Up to 4 inches of snow expected in Boston area by Monday" by Nicole Fleming and Astead W. Herndon Globe Correspondent | Globe Staff April 03, 2016. Another spring storm will hit Massachusetts during Monday's ... Though the team will avoid the Boston weather with an away game in Cleveland, the forecast there is not much cheerier for the afternoon: Highs in the 30s and a chance of flurries."

If you take a look at the replay you can see the strike zone change on the call as the storm came from the outside, dropped down, then up, before blowing through here.  

It must be real because “I saw it on TV,” even if they are $crewing you so many ways (going to hook you right up to the data dragnet even as you starve). 

And it isn't just the endless lies regarding the weather or the wars, either:

"Plainridge’s recent revenue surge may be a mirage" by Sean P. Murphy Globe Staff  April 04, 2016

After a strong opening last summer, Plainridge Park Casino saw its revenue drop for five consecutive months, a downward spiral that raised questions about its competitive viability. But business at the Plainville slot parlor surged in January and February, stirring hopes for a spring rebound.

The Sox are also gamble at best, and not one of their reporters picked them to win the division.

One could also say the same about the newspaper biz.

That turnaround, however, might have been something of a mirage. A close look at the casino’s monthly revenue reports shows the increase was fueled by a hefty dose of promotional giveaways, millions of dollars in “free play” credits handed out to entice gamblers.

Where they get 'em, online?

In February, the casino spent $2.4 million in free credits, an 85 percent increase from December. In an advertising campaign splashed on television and highway billboards, the casino invites patrons to “Play up to $500 on us” if they sign up for a rewards card.

The marketing push lifted the casino’s free play spending to 20 percent of revenue, almost twice the level of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, their much larger Connecticut competitors.

While the aggressive strategy has clearly produced short-term gains, some marketing specialists say it carries a tinge of desperation and is unlikely to prove sustainable. 

Casinos haven't even come here yet and they are already failing. 

Massachusetts waited way too long to get in, and eight years of Depression hasn't helped. 

And yet they are still a savior in the state!

“Heavy spending on free play can only do so much,” said Stephen M. Simon, a slot operations specialist from Albuquerque with more than 35 years’ experience in the casino industry. “Pretty quickly the impact of free play diminishes. And then they’ll need a new strategy.”

Free play is designed to drum up business by bankrolling gamblers for a while, giving them extra motivation to play. Some players will quit when they’ve run through their free allotment, but in many cases, the casino will quickly recoup its investment and then some.

That was the case in January, when Plainridge’s revenue jumped an impressive 11 percent. While many factors were at play, that meant the casino brought in $2 in new revenue for every $1 in giveaways.

But in February, the campaign was far less effective. Every new $1 spent on free play brought in just 30 cents in extra revenue, according to a Globe analysis.

“That’s the law of diminishing returns,” Simon said. “Plainridge is trying to buy business, and that’s not likely to work in the long run.”

That is what is happening at this blog.

Penn National, the company that owns Plainridge and 16 other casinos, said the increase in revenue so far this year “indicates that our strategy is working.”

“These are common industry practices that are imperative in a competitive market,” the company said in a statement.

Gamblers in denial. What a $ickening sight.

The company said it had planned to ramp up marketing efforts as more patrons enrolled in its loyalty program and that its strategy was helping stop the “decades-long flow of dollars being spent at out-of-state casinos.”

“Just as a typical retail outlet offers coupons to attract new and repeat business, we utilize promotional credits to compete with gaming facilities in Rhode Island and Connecticut that are years ahead of us in developing patron loyalty,” the company said.

Free play is nearly universal in the casino industry, where competition for market share is fierce. At Plainridge, the current promotion reimburses gamblers who lose between $50 and $500 at the slot machines over two return trips to the casino. The initial free credits can’t be redeemed for cash, but any winnings belong to the gambler.

I folded long ago.

Such promotions seem like safe bets, but too much free play can be costly, specialists say.

Is there ever such a thing as a safe bet (setting aside tax loot given to going concerns)?

Many players spend about the same amount of time at the machines whether they have free credits or not and might get their fill without dipping into their own pocket.

“Too much free play risks customers playing without taking out cash of his own,” said Steven M. Gallaway, a partner in Global Marketing Advisors, based in Las Vegas.

They used to call it playing with house money.

Players also quickly get used to playing for free and might lose interest when the offer expires, Gallaway said. 

Like me in this issue and just about whatever swill the Globe is spewing on a daily basis these days?

The state’s first foray into the world of Las Vegas-style gambling, Plainridge opened in late June to promising results. But business fell sharply after that.

The state Gaming Commission, in its monthly release of the casino’s financial data, had listed the amount Plainridge spent on free play until last month, when it omitted the figure at Plainridge’s request. The casino argued the disclosure placed it at a strategic disadvantage.

We all knew the Gaming Commission was working for them.

The Globe was able to calculate how much the casino spent on free play by using other financial information, and the Gaming Commission confirmed its accuracy.

Twin River Casino, only 11 miles away from Plainridge in Lincoln, R.I., also keeps its free play information confidential. Under state law, however, the casino can spend no more than 10 percent of the previous year’s revenue, plus $750,000. That means that Plainridge’s current level of free play, 19 percent of revenue, is almost twice as high as its chief rival.

Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun, two tribal casinos in Connecticut, are mandated under state law to release their amounts of free play. Connecticut taxes any amount of free play that exceeds 11 percent of revenue....


Great journalism, except the Globe was out there cheering for them the whole time.

I mean, how much more proof do you need that government serves only itself these days as we are told funding cuts and neglect are responsible for so many social service ills?

As this blog crashes down and I bypass so many things I no longer have the heart for, I look back on the good times with silence and nothing but bald anger. 

I had intended to do more blogging today, but it is now looking like I will have to get out the snow shovel after having put it away for the season. It's nearly a white-out out there right now and its accumulating so it looks like I'm going to be busy removing snow this afternoon before settling in for the Sox game and then heading over to play hoop this evening.


Aveo Pharmaceuticals Inc. has agreed to pay $4 million to settle allegations that it mislead investors

In deciding what to spit out to you today I didn't even bother tasting some of the stuff. Each morning I Steele myself when I begin my reading regarding the front page and try to whale through page after page while watching where I'm stepping. It's tough for me to read peace talk in a war paper, and I think I'll just bike past the parade.

Now I'm going to have to rush out of here to do some personal things I couldn't and didn't do yesterday thanks to the weather and I'm not Scher I'll be back before settling in for the 1 p.m. start. 

Btw, the coup attempt in Brazil has been confirmed; that's why he avoided the place (or places, as the case may be).

Related: 1 in 3 Americans think you can catch Zika from a sneeze

That is not going to clear up the facts for you, sorry.

Feel like I'm fishing off the wrong pier; that's why I'm not taking that close a look.

"The festive ceremony marked a breakthrough for the $1 billion resort casino, which tribe leaders say will be one of the flashiest in the world. The tribe plans to open a gambling hall, which will feature thousands of slot machines and table games like roulette, blackjack, and craps."

The government could call Steve Wynn to the stand

Here is what he had to say:

‘Nobody likes being around poor people,’ Wynn reportedly says

And it's all funny, HA-HA-HA-HA!