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X(Mas) Marks The Spot

New Year’s Eve is the event of the year for Las Vegas. But why do we not give Christmas the same respect? Ira David Sternberg has some ideas.

Louisiana Sports Betting Starts With A Bang

It’s so-far, so-good for sports betting in Louisiana, which kicked off in October, just in time for the New Orleans Saints to whup the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. First-month revenue figures are pending, but reports on the ground are encouraging.

HHR King

Ainsworth has led the way for the industry to delve into a new market for slot suppliers in historical horse racing. Kentucky and Virginia lead the way and other states are also considering permitting HHR games.

Seminole Zapped in Florida

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich (l.) ruled that the gaming compact negotiated by Florida officials and the Seminole Tribe violates IGRA’s provision that state-sanctioned gambling occur on tribal land—literally. The tribe instantly appealed, and the bets continued.

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Blackstone Ups Its Crown Bid

U.S.-based investment firm the Blackstone Group has upped its bid for Crown Resorts, offering $6.2 billion for the Australian casino giant. The offer—the third from Blackstone—breaks down to AU$12.50 per share.

Macau Junket Operator Arrested

Alvin Chau (l.), the head of Macau junket operator Suncity Group, was detained last week after the Chinese government issued an arrest warrant, sending a chill through the city’s VIP sector.

Flutter Buys U.K. Online Bingo Firm Tombola

Flutter Entertainment will buy Tombola, a U.K. online bingo firm, for $535 million in an all-cash deal. The purchase should close in the first quarter of next year. Tombola is one of the first companies to require deposit limits.

Judgment: Macau Operator Liable for Junket Debts

In a potentially precedent-setting decision, a Macau appeals court has upheld a 2018 decision that found Wynn Macau liable for half a debt owed by junket operator Dore Entertainment. It all started with an embezzler.

Louisiana Mobile Sports Betting Shoots for January

Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns (l.) says online sports wagering will launch in early to mid-January 2022. Meanwhile, eight casinos and racetracks now offer onsite retail sports betting.

Satre: Maddox Made Wynn ‘Stronger, More Stable’

Wynn Resorts Chair Phil Satre (l.) says CEO Matt Maddox, who will vacate his post in January, steered Wynn through unprecedented storms and left the company “stronger and more stable than it’s ever been.”

Spanish Gaming Giants to Merge

Grupo Orenes and R. Franco, gaming manufacturers based in Spain, have agreed to merge. The combined company will be Spain’s largest gaming manufacturer. Both companies were founded in the 1960s.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: A Dose of Reality

What is gaming’s place in the metaverse, that intersection of virtual reality and artificial intelligence? It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time, so you’d better be prepared.

ASIAN GAMING More

Again, Macau Dips into Reserve Fund

The Macau government will again draw from its financial reserves due to fewer gaming taxes generated by the city’s top industry. It will address the shortfall with an additional $790 million taken from the bank.

Experts: Japan IRs Must Cater to Locals

Japan’s coming integrated resort industry must cultivate a strong base of domestic consumers in order to truly succeed. One gaming expert said the locals market is “the most important segment of all.”

Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Reopens to Tourists

The resort island of Phu Quoc in Vietnam has reopened to travelers, welcoming 200 tourists from South Korea on November 20. The visitors were not required to quarantine.

Report: AsiaPac to Lead ETG Growth

A new report indicates that the Asia Pacific region will lead the rest of the world in electronic table games. The survey calculated the patterns through 2027, with that region growing 6.8 percent.

Malaysian State Weighs Gaming Ban

As the Malaysian state of Kedah considers a ban on licensed gaming operations, Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan (l.) is warning that prohibition will simply drive the industry underground.

EUROPEAN GAMING More

Creditors Now Control Spain’s Codere

Spanish-based gaming operator Codere has been taken over by its creditors as a result of court-ordered restructuring. The restructuring includes an infusion of €225 million to help Codere recover from the pandemic.

GLOBAL GAMING More

India Mulls Crypto Ban

The government of India could join China in banning most cryptocurrencies. India is preparing to unveil its own digital currency backed by its reserve bank. It wants to discourage competitors.

ONLINE GAMING More

FansUnite Acquires American Affiliate

FansUnite has acquired American Affiliate, which will use its deep portfolio of technology to accelerate FansUnite’s entry into the U.S. online casino, sports betting and poker markets.

Wynn Dumps Plan for iGaming Spinoff, Names New President

Wynn Resorts is abandoning a plan to spin off Wynn Interactive, the operator’s online gaming branch, which would have created a $3.2 billion public company. At the same time, the company named a new president to replace Craig Billings, now CEO of Wynn Resorts.

SPORTS BETTING More

Caesars Adds Knicks, Rangers to NY Partners

Caesars sportsbook has struck a deal with Madison Square Garden for sponsorship of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers. MSG Network will also air a series featuring comedian JB Smoove.

NBA Expands Deal With Sportradar

The NBA has expanded its agreement with Sportradar to eight years. The firm has exclusive rights to distribute league data to sportsbooks in and out of the U.S. The NBA will also acquire 3 percent of Sportradar.

Jersey Devils Add Betway as Official Partner

The New Jersey Devils signed a partnership with Betway in which brand exposure and media coverage benefits team and operator. The deal comes on the heels of a similar arrangement with PlayUp.

Oversight of Tennessee sports betting will transition from the state lottery to the Sports Wagering Advisory Council on January 1. SWAC Executive Director Mary Beth Thomas (l.), promises a smooth transition.

UNITED STATES GAMING More

Nevada Considering Remote Cashless Signup

Nevada regulators are considering whether to allow players to sign up for cashless wagering accounts remotely to reduce a bottleneck of customers waiting to enroll in casinos.

PA Mini-Casino to Open December 22

Penn National Gaming announced that it plans to open its fourth casino in Pennsylvania, the Category 4 Hollywood Casino Morgantown, on December 22.

Florida Casino Closes Jai-Alai Fronton

When the Florida legislature voted to allow parimutuels to decouple jai-alai from casino gambling, the Casino at Dania Beach’s fate was sealed. Its jai-alai front closed November 28 after 69 years of operations.

Judge Must Hear Louisiana Casino Lawsuit

A Louisiana appeals court rejected District Judge John Keller’s ruling that a Slidell casino referendum be held. Keller subsequently set two dates to consider a way forward for the proposed Camellia Bay resort (l.).

NJ Officials Noncommittal About Smoking Ban

When smoking was banned as part of Covid-19 restrictions, the financial results weren’t as punitive as expected. But New Jersey lawmakers have yet to make the ban permanent, and it probably won’t under lame duck Senate President Steve Sweeney (l.).

New York Lawmakers Want to Axe Racing Subsidies

The New York Racing Association objects to a bill in the state legislature that would redirect VLT money. Funding that now goes to horse racing would instead go to education, agricultural grants and more.

Workers Sue Penn National Over Smoking Surcharge

At least 1,500 workers at Missouri and Kansas casinos will file a class action lawsuit against Penn National. The workers allege the company illegally charged them a monthly surcharge because they are smokers.

Mask Mandates Return to Detroit Casinos

Effective November 23, employees and guests at Detroit’s three casinos, regardless of their vaccination status, are required to wear face masks. The mask mandates are in response to a surge in Covid-19 cases in the city.

Caesars Signs Charter Air Service Agreement

Under a new five-year agreement, Caesars Entertainment will offer Caesars Rewards members Sun Country Airlines charter service at Gulfport, Mississippi and Laughlin, Nevada, starting March 2022.

TRIBAL GAMING More

Potawatomi Require Covid-19 Vaccinations

People who work at Citizen Potawatomi Nation businesses must be vaccinated against Covid-19 by December 31 or “face termination.” The rule applies “without exceptions,” said Chairman John “Rocky” Barrett (l.).

PEOPLE More

Victoria Recruits Thorn as Lead Regulator

The government of Victoria, Australia has appointed former Department of Health Secretary Fran Thorn as the first head of the state’s new Gambling and Casino Control Commission.

Daniel Li to Head IGamiX in Cambodia

Macau-based IGamiX Management and Consulting has established a Cambodian unit to be headed by Regional Director Daniel Li (l.). The new office will be based in Phnom Penh.

Casinos Austria Adds Van Lambaart to Board

Casinos Austria AG has appointed Holland Casino CEO Erwin Van Lambaart (l.) as its new general director. He will officially join the board next March and become general director on April 1.

Shields Joins Aquis as Chairman

Aquis Entertainment Ltd., which operates Casino Canberra in Australia, has appointed Russell Shields as chairman of the board, pending regulatory approval.

FSB Promotes Van Ermen

Global sports betting and iGaming supplier FSB has appointed Mike Van Ermen to the position of vice president of business development for North America.

Cook Appointed SkyCity Chairman

New Zealand’s SkyCity Entertainment Group has named current director Julian Cook as its chairman-elect. He will assume the role in January, when current Chairman Rob Campbell retires.

GOODS & SERVICES More

Lady Luck Games Purchases Revolver

Lady Luck Games has committed to buy Revolver Gaming for €750,000 in cash and shares. The U.K.-based company develops games in HTML 5 and distributes 15 distinct games in Europe, Asia and South America.

Ezugi Releases Blackjack Salon Privé

Live-dealer game provider Ezugi has released Blackjack Salon Privé, a live casino title for high rollers. The new product allows customers to play one to a table, at their own pace and in complete privacy.

TRADE SHOWS & CONFERENCES More

Sibella to Keynote at ICE VOX

Scott Sibella (l.), president of Resorts World Las Vegas, will open the International Casino Conference, ICE VOX, to be held in London on January 31, 2022.

NUTSHELL More

THEY SAID IT More

QUOTABLE QUOTES

Outrageous pronouncements, simple statements and words of wisdom.