Small Nuggets of News

The Singapore government will lift its ban on indoor masks starting Monday, August 19. Masks will only be worn in medical facilities and on public transportation. It also announced that from the same day visitors will no longer be required to be vaccinated when entering the country. ● Asia’s annual Global Gaming Expo (G2E Asia) returned last week to Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. The show, coordinated by the American Gaming Association and Reed Exhibitions, was held in Macau from 2007 to 2019; the 2020 and 2021 in-person editions were canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year’s theme was “Smart Integrated Resort and Innovation.” ● The Macau Government Tourist Office said a total of 81,798 visitors came to Macau in the week from 12 August to 18 August, with almost 17,000 visitors arriving last Saturday 20 August – the highest number of visitors in a single day since dropping isolation measures for mainland Chinese visitors earlier this month. In July, during a major Covid outbreak, the daily visitor average was just 316 people. It’s a stark difference compared to 2019, when the average daily visitor intake was 108,000. ● Ocean Prime, the award-winning chain of luxury steakhouses, is set to open its new flagship location in Las Vegas sometime in early 2023, on top of the new 63 Las Vegas retail complex currently being developed on the corner of Harmon Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. According to restaurateur Cameron Mitchell, the venue will cost a whopping $20 million when finished, which is substantially more than the company’s Los Angeles and New York City locations. Mitchell called it his “most expensive, biggest restaurant to date.” ● Clark County officials have approved a proposal from New York-based Gindi Capital to develop a sprawling, 300,00+ square-foot retail complex near the corner of Harmon Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. The proposal was submitted last week, after the company announced plans to demolish the longstanding Hawaiian Marketplace complex as well as other buildings currently located at the site. Gindi’s development is said to feature retail shops, dining options and outdoor gathering spaces, but a previous letter to the county indicated that the company may also have plans to build a hotel at the site “at a later time to be located at the rear of the building.”• Veikkaus, the lottery monopoly of Finland, will limit the operating hours of its slot machines and their prominence in markets beginning September 1. They will only be operational from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and will be turned off the rest of the time. Machines not located in grocery stores will not be affected. However, the visibility of the machine menus will be reduced in stores, service stations, kiosks and restaurants. Veikkaus Vice President of sustainability Susanna Saikkonen said, “Veikkaus wants to offer people the option of shopping without the slot machines being open for playing.” • Serviços de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos (SRIJ), the regulator of gaming in Portugal, has announced a tender process for exclusive casino operating rights in Estoril and Figueira da Foz. The regions are the only places where gaming is permitted in Portugal. Existing licenses will expire at the end of 2022. The public tenders are open for 30 days. • Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) of Cambodia has renewed 47 casino licenses and seven game of chance licenses to help the gaming sector recover from lingering effects of the pandemic. This brings the number of casinos licenses renewed so far in 2022 to 63—16 in June alone. They are mainly in Sihanoukville, Poipet and Bavet, on the border. Many will require renovation to bring them up to standard. MEF Secretary of State Mey Vann said more casinos will help revive tourism. “They actually have existing licenses and so we do not grant any new licenses, but we have renewed those existing ones so that they can reopen their business operations,” he said. • Talpa, a Netherlands-based media conglomerate is considering a legal challenge to the Dutch ban on “untargeted” advertising of games considered “high risk” such as online wagering and casino games. The ban goes into effect at the beginning of 2023. Talpa said it is “investigating,” a possible court challenge. The ban applies to television, radio and public spaces indoor and outdoor. The ban came after demands from members of parliament for limits on gaming ads. Digital ads will also be affected. Advertisers will be required to prove that the ads may not be seen by anyone under the age of 24.