California’s Sycuan Casino celebrates major expansion milestone

May 27, 2018

In southern California, Tuesday saw the federally-recognized Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation hold a ‘topping-off ceremony’ as the final beam was lifted into position as part of the $226 million expansion of its Sycuan Casino. Began in March 2017, the redevelopment is set to see the San Diego County facility add a twelve-story hotel complete with 300 rooms, seven restaurants and a 12,000 sq ft ballroom. The scheme is part of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation’s attempt to transform the 34-year-old venue into a Las Vegas-style casino resort and will also include the addition of a spa and fitness center, more gaming space, an adjacent 1.5-acre garden and a pair of pools. The Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation explained that the new hotel and resort is due to open from March 2019, while it intends to host several job fairs later in the year in order to fill the estimated 700 new positions the expansion will create. The May 22 ceremony saw Cody Martinez, Chairman for the Sycuan Tribal Council, join with the venue’s General Manager, John Dinius, in thanking all those that had helped bring the expansion project this far including the Swinerton Project Management Team and the tribe’s own Sycuan Casino Executive Team. “Without the support of our people, we would have never been able to get this project off the ground,” read a statement from Martinez. “I want to thank the members of our tribal council, the Sycuan Casino Executive Team, the Swinerton Project Management Team and everyone that is here bringing together the vision that is going to take Sycuan Casino to the next level.” Located approximately 24 miles east of downtown San Diego, Sycuan Casino began life as a modest bingo hall in 1983 but has since grown to encompass a large casino offering some 2,000 slots and over 40 gaming tables. The enterprise moreover already hosts the GameDay Sports Bar and Grill as well as its 452-seat Sycuan Live and Up Close entertainments venue. “Seeing this project go from two-dimensional paper drawings to what we have now is truly inspiring,” read a statement from Dinius. “It’s been a monumental task but with the collaboration of every aspect of our organization it’s a very rewarding process.” Retrieved from

Read more

Tommy Hyland – Hall of Fame

May 15, 2018

Tommy Hyland is one of the most famous professional blackjack players of all time. Having initiated the longest-running—and immensely successful—blackjack card counting team in the history of the game, Hyland was among the very first inductees of the Blackjack Hall of Fame in its debut year, 2002. Pitching Pennies to Tossing Chips Tommy Hyland, from Pitching Pennies to Bankrolling Thousands in BlackjackBorn in 1956, Tommy Hyland grew up in New Jersey where, like many professional bettors, he learned to gamble at a very young age. While in the fifth grade, he and his friends played a game known as Pitching Pennies. Each player would toss a coin against a wall, and the player whose coin landed closest to the wall would collect all of the coins in play. It wasn’t long before Hyland began sports betting, but not on other teams – on himself. Tommy was a fantastic athlete who participated in multiple sports growing up, including baseball, basketball and golf, among others. He was betting a dollar, or a soda, on rounds of golf before he became a teenager; a wagering activity he learned from his father, a recreational gambler who only bet small amounts on rare occasions. Once Tommy reached high school, his sports betting had become so widespread that he actually backed his own pool cards for awhile, becoming the house rather than the player; an activity he’s not so proud of in his mature years. It wasn’t until Hyland attended college in Ohio that he really became diluted with gambling activities. He was still betting on golf—for much more money than before—but also began playing poker. Tommy once described himself during his college years as a “bum”, neglecting studies to read up on gambling strategies. Tommy’s life would take a whole new path when he picked up a copy of the 1971 book, ‘Playing Blackjack As A Business’, by Lawrence Revere. With the help of his roommate, Hyland began studying strategies in-depth in 1978, and living fairly close to Atlantic gave him plenty of opportunities to test his new skills. Hyland admitted that it took him a long time to master the art of card counting. Although many of the books he read taught the practice, he said it was never explained properly. In order master the skill, he and another friend would spend hours dealing cards and keeping counts until they finally became good enough at it, but only when working as a team. While playing at Resorts Casino, Hyland met another future Hall of Famer, Stanford Wong, author of ‘Professional Blackjack’, who immediately recognized the two were trying to count cards. Wong gave them some tips that Tommy utilized to perfect their strategy, and before long, they met several other card counting experts. Under the guidance of Ken Uston’s book, ‘Million Dollar Blackjack’, which spoke about forming teams, Hyland established what would become the longest running blackjack team in history. Hyland Blackjack Team In 1979, Hyland’s blackjack team was four-men strong. Each contributed $4k to the bankroll, giving them $16,000 to work with. By the end of the year, they had built that to […]

Read more

Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment going it alone in South Korea

May 10, 2018

The federally-recognized Mohegan Tribe has reportedly announced that its casino-operating Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment vehicle has inked a deal that will see it become the sole owner of an integrated casino resort it is hopeful of building in South Korea. According to a Monday report from The Day newspaper, Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, which was known as the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority until a 2017 name-change, signed an ‘amicable’ agreement last quarter to acquire the 24.5% stake in the coming $1.6 billion project that had been held by local chemicals firm KCC Corporation. Reportedly christened Project Inspire, the giant development is due to be located near Incheon International Airport and will feature multiple hotel towers alongside an amusement park and 15,000-seat arena. The newspaper detailed that the project will moreover come complete with a 20,000 sq ft foreigner-only casino offering approximately 1,500 slots as well as some 250 gaming tables. The Day cited Mario Kontomerkos, the recently-appointed Chief Executive Officer for Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, as revealing that his firm hopes to break ground on Project Inspire during the second half of this year before opening the venue in 2021. He additionally purportedly detailed that the operator is planning to invest no more than $300 million of its own money in the project with the remainder coming from private finance initiatives. Kontomerkos reportedly declared that Project Inspire is due to be ‘highly advantageous’ to his company as it will be ‘the only true integrated entertainment resort in northern Asia’ and sit in close proximity to the giant cities of Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing and Shanghai. “In aggregate they carry some of the most affluent, mobile and fastest-growing populations on the planet,” reportedly read a statement from Kontomerkos. The Day furthermore reported that Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, which is already responsible for Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun venue as well as the Mohegan Sun Pocono property near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, stated that its net revenues for the first three months of 2018 had decreased by 1.8% year-on-year to $260.4 million thanks to a 1.6% dip in takings from gaming alongside a 1.4% decline in non-gaming revenues. Retrieved from

Read more