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Was There Any Drought This Could Happen?

It’s First Friday and time again for the always entertaining column by Ira David. This month, he talks about the serious drought under way in the Southwest and how it’s impacting Lake Mead, but how Vegas can capitalize.

Georgia Charity Shut Down, Accused of Illegal Gambling and Tax Fraud

A Georgia-based charity known as Little Kings and Queens has come under fire after its director was jailed on illegal gambling charges. The charity put on gambling-themed fundraisers for children’s causes, but its tax filings have alerted officials that that might not have been the case after all.

PAGCOR Commended by Duterte

Philippine gaming regulator PAGCOR recently received a commendation from outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte (l.). Duterte praised PAGCOR for its “contributions to nation-building” and its “Covid response efforts.” But another government entity chided PAGCOR for failing to collect more than $42 million in POGO revenue.

From Euphoria to Reality

If sports betting is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, why are operators spending wildly to acquire a customer who may or may not be loyal to that operator? Bruce Merati explains why operators need to choose carefully and conduct due diligence before choosing a technology partner.

Done Deal: Macau Amended Gaming Law Takes Effect Amid Another Lockdown

Macau legislators passed amended gaming laws on June 21, a precursor to the concession tender that will award up to six new 10-year casino licenses. The overhaul comes at a time of unique challenge for the gaming hub, which is enduring yet another lockdown because of an increase in Covid cases.

Featured Stories More

Single Vote Defeats North Carolina Sports Betting

In North Carolina, a two-bill strategy didn’t work out for sports betting, as one bill passed and one was defeated, both by a single vote, in the House. According to Rep. Jason Saine (l.), however, hope is not gone. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians offers sports betting at its two North Carolina casinos.

Factions Struggle for Control of Okada Manila

The legal battle continues for control of the Okada Manila resort (l.) in the Philippine capital. The deposed board of its majority owner has frozen the company’s bank account to keep founder Kazuo Okada from taking over.

Iowa Enacts 2-year Casino Moratorium

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (l.) signed legislation including a 2-year moratorium on new casinos. That means a Cedar Rapids investor group’s proposed $250 million casino will have to wait until June 2024.

UKGC Wants Operators to Do More to Protect Consumers

The UK Gambling Commission Chief Executive Andrew Rhode (l.) wants operators to take a more active role in protecting vulnerable consumers. It’s mandating that operators use “indicators of harm” to ID those at risk. The new mandates go into effect September 12.

Kansas Sports Betting Takes Effect July 1

Sports betting will become legal in Kansas on July 1. The Kansas Lottery and Kansas Racing Commission will oversee the new industry. The state’s four casinos can offer an on-site sportsbook and two digital platforms.

Brazil Will Postpone Gambling Vote

Fearing a potential backlash in the October elections, Brazilian officials have announced they are postponing a vote on a gaming and sports betting bill. Legislative leaders have already agreed on the outlines of the bill, but they fear approving it until after the national elections.

PA Battles Manufacturers Over Legality of Skill Games

Pace-O-Matic makes games that look like slots but require skill to play—or at least that’s what they say. Courts in Pennsylvania have sided with the company. Still, casinos say skill games avoid both regulation and taxes, harming consumers and taxpayers.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: Trends to Consider Heading Into 2Q Earnings

As we head into earnings season, it’s critical to consider both long and short-term trends in a market that can feel at times like fool’s gold. The short-term boom of Las Vegas may not last forever, whereas longer-term digital investments could pay off down the road.

ASIAN GAMING More

MGM Expects Japan License in the Fall

MGM Resorts International CFO Jonathan Halkyard (l.) says the company is confident it will win a license to operate an integrated resort in the country, and expects the government to award licenses this fall.

IPI Close to Casino Commission Settlement

A financial backer may have come to the rescue of Imperial Pacific International. IPI needs millions to prevent its license to operate its casino (l.) in Saipan from being yanked by the Commonwealth Casino Commission. IPI says the backer is prepared to provide $150 million to settle all its debts.

EUROPEAN GAMING More

Swedish Moderates Call for Lottery Monopoly Break-up

Sweden’s largest opposition party is calling for the dissolution of the lottery monopoly Svenska Spel. It urges that Svenska be sold to the private sector. The call was made in response to the governing party’s gaming reform bill submitted recently.

Kindred Pulls Unibet From German Market

Kindred Group is abandoning the German GlüNeuRStv regime on online gaming. It criticizes the German market: “application procedures, license conditions, and the regulatory environment need to be transparent, sustainable, and financially viable for a market to be competitive.”

FATF Adds Gibraltar to Gray List, Removes Malta

Financial Action Task Force, the watchdog that keeps a close eye on jurisdiction money laundering practices, and calls them on it when they don’t measure up, has added Gibraltar to its gray list. It also removed Malta from the list after it added an acceptable action plan.

BetBull Stops Taking Bets, Will Close July 3

BetBull is closing up its sports betting operations. It is telling customers to settle their bets and withdraw their funds before July 3 or they will be lost forever. It is also preventing new deposits.

GLOBAL GAMING More

Australian Officials Call for Action Against Illegal iGaming Site

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has asked local internet providers to take action and block access to thepokies.net, a substantial iGaming site that takes in millions per month. iGaming is prohibited in the country, and over 500 sites have been blocked in the last 5 years.

Atlantic Canada Beats Ontario for Adults Registered to Bet

Although Ontario, Canada, went public with online gaming and sports betting before other provinces, Atlantic Canada still beats it in the proportion of adults registered online to wager. The statistics come from a poll conducted by Ipsos of 2,000 Canadians.

New South Wales Ups POC Tax to 15 Percent

Starting July 1, New South Wales point of consumption tax will be upped from 10 percent to 15 percent. The change will increase the tax burden of international operators, which is welcomed by domestic companies.

BCLC Recognized for Diversity, Inclusion

The British Columbia Lottery Corp. has been recognized for its efforts to foster diversity and inclusion. Last week, HR Director Canada said BCLC went “above and beyond” in fostering authentic inclusivity.

ONLINE GAMING More

Evolution to Acquire Slot Developer Nolimit City

Evolution gaming has acquired Nolimit City for up to €340 million ($359 million). Nolimit City will become Evolution’s fourth slots brand. This moves forward the company’s strategy of being “the world’s number one provider of online casino games.”

SPORTS BETTING More

Ohio Announces First Sports Betting License Applicants

BetMGM and PointsBet were the first in line to apply for Ohio sports betting licenses on June 15. The Ohio Casino Control Commission expects 3,000 total applications from casinos, racinos, stadiums and retail lottery locations.

Virginia Closes Sports Betting Tax Loophole

Effective July 1, sports betting operators in Virginia will not be able to deduct free bets for players from pre-tax revenue. This loophole resulted in the loss of millions of tax revenue dollars since wagering launched in January 2021.

Caesars Sportsbook Opens at Diamondbacks' Field

The Arizona Diamondbacks and their fans have something new to cheer about: the Caesars Sportsbook in the Chase Field complex is open for bettors. Guy Fieri also contributed a restaurant inside the two-story sportsbook.

UNITED STATES GAMING More

Atlantic City Union Workers Threaten To Strike

As Atlantic City culinary workers are threatening to strike, city council members are urging casinos to “raise wages and negotiate in good faith” to avert a walk-out prior to the year’s busiest weekend.

Bally’s Makes Good On $40 Million Chicago Pledge

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (l.) received the $40 million pledged by Bally’s, which will develop a $1.7 billion casino downtown. Bally’s also will pay the city $4 million annually, invest $75 million in infrastructure and generate $200 million in yearly tax revenue.

Fertitta’s $270 Million Strip Purchase Now Finalized

Billionaire Tilman Fertitta (l.) has officially closed on a deal to acquire a 6-plus acre plot on the Las Vegas Strip for $270 million. The transaction was first reported last month, although initial purchase price estimates were said to be around $200 million.

Churchill Downs Sells Florida Acreage

Churchill Downs closed on the $291 million sale of nearly 116 acres near its Calder Casino (l.) in Florida. Officials said CDI will use the sale proceeds toward purchasing Peninsula Pacific Gaming for $2.5 billion.

Wind Creek Bethlehem Casino To Reduce Slots

Covid-19 restrictions have taught casinos like Wind Creek Bethlehem (l.) one thing: They can cut back on the number of slots without affecting the bottom line. The property will take out a net of 655 games.

Indiana Casino Resort Holds Groundbreaking

A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the $260 million Queen of Terre Haute Casino Resort (l.) in Vigo County, Indiana. It’s expected to create 1,000 construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs, and be completed in 18 months.

TRIBAL GAMING More

Wisconsin Community Approves Seminole Land Purchase

The Seminole Tribe of Florida was approved to purchase land in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where observers said it wants to develop a casino (l.). Area residents fear community leaders are “seeing dollar signs.”

PEOPLE More

Star Sydney Adds GMs

The Star Sydney has appointed two general managers in New South Wales. Christina Grasso (l.) has been promoted to GM of hotels, events and guest experience. Jason Alcock is the new food and beverage GM.

Borgata Names Chris Rynkiewicz as VP, CFO

Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has appointed Chris Rynkiewicz as its new vice president and chief financial officer. Rynkiewicz has been with Borgata since its inception.

VSiN Appoints Len Mead as GM

Longtime sports betting media executive Len Mead is the new general manager of The Sports Betting Network, or VSiN. Mead had recently served as head of content for PointsBet.

Jamul Casino Names Patrachari New CIO

Jamul Casino has appointed Ram Patrachari as its new chief information officer. His remit is building a new technology system for the casino. He comes to the casino with 25 years of IT experience.

GOODS & SERVICES More

Slot Machines Deliveries Hit Supply Chain Rocks

Dozens of casinos, including expansions and new properties, are threatened by a supply chain issue. The issue centers around chips that are vital to the manufacture of bill validators, which all modern slot machines have. The chips are held up in Asia by Covid lockdowns.

Seminole Casinos Debut Aristocrat Progressive Slot

Based on the popularity of the high-denomination Dragon Link slot, Aristocrat debuted the Dollar Storm slot, offering a $1 million progressive jackpot, exclusively at Seminole Gaming’s Hollywood and Tampa, Florida casinos.

TRADE SHOWS & CONFERENCES More

Casino Marketing Boot Camp Continues Expansion for 2023

J Carcamo & Associates, a gaming-focused marketing firm, has expanded its Casino Marketing Boot Camp event series to the Pacific Northwest, with a new show scheduled for October 24-26, 2023, at Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort.

NUTSHELL More

THEY SAID IT More

QUOTABLE QUOTES

Outrageous pronouncements, simple statements and words of wisdom.