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Ladbrokes bets on virtual Playboy

LADBROKES, the betting and gaming arm of Hilton Group, has signed a deal with Playboy Enterprises to operate a new online casino under the famous Playboy banner.

The deal, which analysts believe could be announced with Hilton’s interim results on Thursday, will see the launch of, offering more than 50 different online casino games, including poker, blackjack, roulette, craps and an array of slot machines The move comes six months since the two companies joined forces to launch, a betting site offering odds on everything from soccer and baseball to election results and even the identity of the next Playboy Playmate of the Year.

The two companies had originally planned to launch a bricks-and-mortar Playboy casino in the West End of London. However, the plan, announced last year, was cancelled after Hilton sold its casino division to Gala Group in December for £235 million.


The online casino project is expected to mirror the betting website, with Ladbrokes providing the hardware, software, management and customer support systems, while Playboy handles the marketing, branding and design. Its sports book includes “interactive Playboy betting bunnies” that act as the site’s “interactive hostesses”.


Atlantic City News Round-Up


For three years now Aztar Corp. chairman and CEO Paul Rubeli has been pleading with Atlantic City casino executives to slash the costly cash incentives they give to gamblers. During the second quarter this year, they finally followed his advice Pengeluaran HK .


Unfortunately for the industry, the cost-cutting measure coincided with a softening economy that caused players to restrict their gambling dollars. As a result, the Atlantic City gaming industry reported second-quarter declines in revenue, gross operating profit and net income, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission reported.


“As the second-quarter results would indicate, the slowing economy is clearly having an effect on the Atlantic City market, although we believe operators continue to be very focused on controlling costs, which has helped preserve margins in this difficult operating environment,” Bear, Stearns & Co. analyst Jason Ader said.


The industry reported gross operating profit, or cash flow, of $285.2 million, down 3.2 percent, on net revenue of $1.2 billion, down 2.1 percent. Its net income decreased 11.5 percent to $37.6 million, although that figure can be misleading due to corporate fees and strategies that have nothing to do with a casino’s performance.


Casinos gave gamblers $156.8 million, down 7.3 percent, in such incentives as cash coupons and bus-passenger coins. Overall operating expenses declined 1.7 percent to $875.2 million.


Casinos did raise their level of “comping,” giving gamblers complimentary rooms, food, drinks, show tickets and other items with a stated retail value of $143.2 million, up 3.9 percent.


Harrah’s, in many respects, was the industry’s second-quarter leader. It was the only casino to report gains in both revenue ($109 million, up 0.2 percent) and cash flow ($40.5 million, up 4.7 percent). It led the city in operating margin at 37.1 percent.


Bally’s reported the highest cash …