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Big Deal as Aristocrat Buys Playtech

Aristocrat Leisure Ltd. is putting up $2.9 billion in a bid to acquire online gaming content giant Playtech PLC, instantly putting the supplier in the middle of the booming U.S. iGaming market. The offer represents a 58 percent premium over the stock price as of October 15.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Gaming Front & Center in New York

New York gaming commissioners last week focused on expanded gaming—three potential casinos in the southern part of New York, and online sports betting. The commission has reportedly set a tax rate for mobile sports betting in the state, but that figure hasn’t yet been released.

New Jersey Celebrates $1 Billion Sports Betting Month

In a long-expected development, sports bettors in New Jersey handed over more than $1 billion in bets in September. The record-breaking handle eclipsed the prior record of $996 million in December. Credit the return of football.

Macau-to-Zhuhai Travel Rules Relaxed

Starting October 19, people traveling from Macau to Zhuhai were no longer required to quarantine for two weeks on arrival. Local media reported flocks of travelers at the border crossing (l.).

In Victoria, Crown Awaits Commission Verdict

Soon Crown Resorts will learn if it can continue to operate its flagship casino (l.) in Melbourne, Australia. Multiple Crown probes have affected casinos in three states, and will likely lead to an overhaul of gaming regulation across the country.

California Tribe Shares Plans for Vegas Resort

California’s San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has released details of their plans for the Palms resort (l.) in Las Vegas. The $650 million deal marked the first off-reservation acquisition for the tribe.

Brands Battle Over Cashless Patents

Sightline Payments says Everi infringed on five cashless gaming patents. Its lawsuit has observers wondering if intellectual property cases will proliferate as in the 1990s, when claims over slot features were common.

ASIAN GAMING More

Manila Casinos Now at 75 Percent Capacity

Some megaresorts in Manila’s Entertainment City casino zone (l.) have reopened their gaming floors at reduced capacities. The resorts closed in early August following a Covid-19 surge.

South Korea Considers Proxy Betting

To make up for gaming business lost to Covid-19, Korean officials are floating a plan to bring proxy betting to the country’s 17 foreigner-only casinos. Revenues at those properties fell 73 percent year-on-year in 2020.

Sands Macau Exec: Lawsuit’s Monetary Claims ‘Exaggerated’

The Las Vegas Sands Corp. continues to duke it out in a $12 billion lawsuit in Macau. Marshall Hao, the Sands’ former partner in the SAR, says he deserves a cut of the billions made by the U.S.-based gaming giant even though the relationship was dissolved prior to the opening of the Sands Macau (l.).

Opening of Philippine IR Delayed to ’23

PH Resorts Group, a unit of Philippines business conglomerate Udenna Group, has delayed the planned opening of its new Cebu integrated resort, Emerald Bay (l.), until early 2023.

Macau Operators Agree on Covid Tests for Workers

All six Macau casino concessionaires now require employees to either be vaccinated against Covid-19 or get a weekly test under new health and safety rules. Other Asia-Pac jurisdictions are taking similar precautions.

Korean Union Slams Jeju Layoffs

Jeju Shinhwa World (l.) in South Korea is taking heat from a local workers’ union for the mass layoff program that followed a year of hardship. The union accused management of “taking away workers’ rice bowls.”

EUROPEAN GAMING More

U.K. Gaming Council Rolls Out New RG Campaign

The U.K. Betting and Gaming Council has introduced a new responsible gambling campaign, “Take Time to Think.” It kicks off with a series of TV ads, encouraging gamblers to set limits.

Campione d’Italia Casino May Reopen Before 2022

The owners of Campione d’Italia Casino (l.) want to reopen the casino, which declared bankruptcy in 2018. But roadblocks remain, such as the demand by the trade union’s demand that all 490 who lost their jobs be rehired.

Portugal Sets Gambling Ad Limits

Portuguese lawmakers have adopted legislation that will put time limits on gaming advertisements, banning them from TV and radio between 7 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. The ads will be treated like ads for alcohol.

Lithuania May Tax Casinos by GGR

The government of Lithuania is proposing to change the way it taxes casinos. It proposes to switch from a fee per machine and table to an 18 percent tax of gross gaming revenue.

Ukraine Adopts Unlicensed Casino Policy

Ukraine’s Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries has published guidelines for dealing with unlicensed casino operators. The first step is blacklist, followed by bringing in police.

GLOBAL GAMING More

B.C.’s Cullen Commission Nears Conclusion

The Cullen Commission, named for Commissioner Austin Cullen (l.), has concluded its investigation of money laundering and corruption in British Columbia casinos. Recommendations are due in the next few months.

ONLINE GAMING More

Sony to Sell GSN Games Studio to Scopely

Sony Pictures Entertainment will sell its video game studio GSN Games to mobile gaming firm Scopely in a deal valued at $1 billion in a 50-50 combination of cash and stock.

Study: More Australians Gambling Online

Research into Australian gambling activity has found that gambling overall is down, but gambling online has doubled. The most popularity gambling activity was lottery, drawing 10 percent of survey respondents.

SPORTS BETTING More

Wisconsin Tribal Sports Betting Stalls

Supply chain issues prevented Wisconsin’s Oneida Nation from launching legal sports betting at the start of the NFL season, according to Vice Chairman Brandon Yellowbird Stevens (l.). But officials of the state’s first tribe to offer sports wagering expect it to be available by Week 11.

Florida Judge Rejects Seminole Lawsuit

A Florida District Court judge says West Flagler Associates, owner of Magic City Casino (l.) in Miami, had no standing to sue the Seminole Tribe and Governor Ron DeSantis over the new compact’s sports betting provision. But other legal battles await.

Connecticut’s ‘Historic’ Sports Betting Debut

Thousands of wagers were place online October 19, the launch of sports betting and online casino games in Connecticut. Mashantucket Pequot Chairman Rodney Butler (l.) called it “nothing short of historic.”

California Mayors Support Sports Betting Measure

Four California mayors, including Oakland’s Libby Schaaf (l.), have endorsed a measure to combat homelessness with revenues from legal sports betting. Eighty-five percent of taxes would go to fund permanent shelter, addiction treatment and mental services.

Penn National Completes Score Media Buy

Penn National Gaming announced that it has completed its acquisition of Canadian media and sports betting technology company Score Media for $2 billion in cash and stock.

DraftKings SPAC to Take Vivid Seats Public

DraftKings has purchased a stake in Horizon Acquisition Corp, a SPAC that was created to take Vivid Seat public. The goal is to raise more than $769 million in cash and stock.

Sportradar: 655 Suspicious Matches Since January

Sportradar Integrity Services has uncovered 1,100 suspicious matches since April 2020, shortly after the Covid-19 pandemic began. Some 655 of those occurred since January, with football the usual suspect.

Entain Gets into Esports with Unikrn Acquisition

U.K.-based sportsbook Entain has completed its purchase of esports company Unikrn. The acquisition gives Entain its first entry into the esports market. The company expects to return to play in 2022.

UNITED STATES GAMING More

Study: Tahoe Economy Needs More Than Tourism

The Lake Tahoe economy needs more than tourism to flourish, says a new report from the Tahoe Prosperity Center. Tourism now accounts for more than 60 percent of the regional economy, up from 40 percent in 2010.

Not Leaving Las Vegas: Sands to Build New HQ

Despite its plan to focus on Asian operations, the Las Vegas Sands Corp. just acquired two office buildings in Las Vegas where it will open new headquarters. The $21.55 million deal closed in September. The company’s previous headquarters was located inside the Venetian (l.) in Las Vegas.

Indiana Commissioners, Hard Rock Sign Agreement

Vigo County, Indiana commissioners and Hard Rock have signed a local development agreement that would let the operator break ground on a casino (l.) in Terre Haute the day after it’s selected to receive a gaming license.

PA Board Issues Fine, Exclusions

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has fined the owner of Parx Casino (l.) for allowing underage gambling. It also banned parents who left children in the car while gambling from entering state casinos.

Macon Mayor Promotes Georgia Mall Casino

In Georgia, Macon-Bibb County Mayor Lester Miller (l.) is talking with operators about developing a casino in the former Macon Mall. He predicts lawmakers will call for a referendum next year on casino gambling.

Voting in Progress for Richmond, Virginia Casino

Voting has begun for Urban One’s proposed casino in Richmond, Virginia. Al Sharpton, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe and others support the project, but the ONE Casino Resort (l.) isn’t a sure thing.

Plans for ‘Vegas Loop’ Approved

Clark County, Nevada commissioners have unanimously approved plans by Elon Musk’s Boring Company to build an underground transportation network through the Las Vegas resort corridor.

Army Lieutenant Sues Harrah’s New Orleans

U.S. Army 2nd Lieutenant Deja Harrison says she was denied entry into Harrah’s New Orleans (l.) using her driver’s license and military ID. Harrison filed a complaint with the Department of Justice and a civil rights lawsuit.

Florida Sets Up New Gaming Regulatory Agency

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation has asked the state to allocate nearly $24 million for the new Florida Gaming Control Commission, approved by Governor Ron DeSantis (l.) in May.

Oracle Founder Buys Hyatt in Lake Tahoe

Oracle founder Larry Ellison has acquired the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Space and Casino (l.). Ellison frequently visits Incline Village, which is known as “Billionaires row.” He acquired the Hyatt for $345 million.

TRIBAL GAMING More

Supreme Court Takes Up Legality of Texas Tribal Casinos

The U.S. Supreme Court is stepping in to decide a long-simmering legal dispute between the state of Texas and the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and the Alabama-Coushatta tribes of East Texas. At issue is whether they can offer gaming.

Navajo Tribe to Consider Smoking Ban

The Navajo Nation Council was set to consider a ban on smoking in all public areas and workplaces on its reservation land, which would include the tribe’s casinos.

LOTTERY More

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Former Nevada Regulator Joins Allegiant, Caesars Boards

Ex-Nevada regulator Sandra Douglass Morgan (l.) has joined the board of directors of Allegiant Travel and Caesars Entertainment. Allegiant CEO Maurice Gallagher called her “a dynamic leader” who can “navigate today’s most complex industry issues.”

SIS Names Non-Exec Directors

Laila Mintas, CEO of Play Up USA, is a new non-executive director for Sports Information Services, a multi-channel supplier of 24/7 live betting services. Mintas is joined by Uber General Manager Giovanna D’Esposito.

Alpha Esports Names President

Vancouver-based Alpha Esports has announced the appointment of Adam Morrison to the position of president. Morrison brings more than a decade of experience in esports, gaming and digital media.

Wipfli Names Hofstetter to Head Tribal Practice

Wipfli has named 27-year tribal gaming veteran Andrew Hofstetter as director of its national tribal gaming consulting practice, where he will be in charge of performance and development of the practice.

Australia’s Tabcorp Announces Appointments

Australia-based Tabcorp, has announced executives for its two divisions, which will demerge next summer. The two divisions will include its Lotteries & Keno and Wagering & Gaming businesses. Sue van der Merwe (l.) will become CEO of the Wagering & Gaming division.

GOODS & SERVICES More

OLG Adds Everi Games

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission announced the addition of 12 games from Everi Digital to its platform, to be released over the next few months.

PayPerHead Offers Access to Reseller Tools

PayPerHead, a leading bookmaker software company, is a specialist in reseller tools. The products are designed to boost agents’ bottom lines by providing their brand and expertise to agents with fewer clients.

TRADE SHOWS & CONFERENCES More

G2E Asia 2021 In-Person Event Canceled

Due to ongoing travel restrictions, Reed Exhibitions and the American Gaming Association have again canceled the in-person version of the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia.

ICE London to Return After Two-Year Hiatus

With the theme, “Together never felt so good,” ICE London will return February 1-3, 2022, following a two-year break. The largest international gaming event, ICE London attracts industry professionals at all levels.

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