Small Nuggets of News

Macau casino operator SJM Holdings has renewed a master agreement to purchase products and services from its controlling shareholder, Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau. STDM will provide hotel rooms, entertainment and staff canteens, transport, hotel management and maintenance services until the end of 2016.  •  Buffalo Business First has chosen Seneca Gaming Corp. as one of its 21 “Most Admired Companies” for 2013. Since opening its first casino in 2002, the company has grown into one of the largest-private sector employers in Western New York with more than 3,900 workers with a combined annual payroll of more than $100 million at resorts in Niagara Falls, Salamanca and Buffalo.  ? LBS: A Burger Joint at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas is closing its doors after the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 3. Parent company Block 16 Hospitality says it’s closing LBS after five years to “refresh its offerings to its guests.” It may be replaced by Mexican eatery Mercadito. ?  Downtown Las Vegas may soon add to its slate of attractions with a new eight-screen movie theater. The proposed project will be considered for permitting before city planners this week.  ?  The Broadway show “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” with music by Bono and The Edge of U2,is reportedly coming to Sin City this year, possibly to Wynn Las Vegas.  ?  Name DJs Afrojack and Above & Beyond, formerly part of the Wynn Resorts lineup, have defected to Hakkasan, Angel Management’s nightclub/restaurant at MGM Grand in Vegas. They will join entertainers Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano and W&W, formerly of the Marquee at Cosmopolitan.  ?  Greece’s casino revenues have fallen by about 60 percent in the last five years, inflicting a blow on state and local revenues. Turnover in 2013 of some €300 million marked the fifth year of  successive declines from the market’s 2008 peak, when turnover reached €744.5 million.  •  MGM Resorts hosted a job fair last week to staff its Las Vegas properties for the summer pool season. The company will fill about 700 full-time and part-time poolside jobs at its 12 Strip properties.  ?  Macau casino concessionaire Sociedade de Jogos de Macau is raising workers’ salaries 5 percent and paying out new cost-of-living bonuses. The bonuses, referred to as “a living subsidy,” will equal 175 percent of one month’s salary for workers earning less than MOP17,000 (US$2,125) a month and 125 percent of salaries above that up to MOP29,750.  •  Slot and system manufacturer Bally Technologies said in a statement to Macau Business Daily that it will continue to “vigorously defend” its right to sell the hybrid electronic table games of the former SHFL entertainment in Macau to which rival manufacturer LT Game claims patent rights. LT Game parent Paradise Entertainment has twice gotten injunctions requiring SHFL to cover the games at the G2E Asia trade show in the ongoing patent dispute. Bally completed its acquisition of SHFL in November.  •  Macau’s Melco Crown Entertainment has guaranteed a US$340 million loan to ensure completion of its City of Dreams Manila resort casino in the Philippines capital. MCE Leisure, the Philippine subsidiary that is developing the project, is expected to issue the debt at the end of this month. CoD Manila, pegged at $1.3 billion, is slated to open this summer as the second of four integrated resorts licensed for the Entertainment City complex on Manila Bay.  •  The government of Mexico has decreed a 15 percent tax on the importation of slot machines. “The gambling industry is a social and economic phenomenon that is growing in our country, whose exposure increases the risk of the activity interfering at the family level, socially or on the working relationships of the people involved,” said a statement from the government accompanying the decree. The Association of Licensees, Operators and Providers of the entertainment and betting industry in Mexico (AIEJA) reported that by mid 2013, there were around 90,000 slots operating in the country, in 750 betting venues.  •  Artyzen Hospitality Group, the hotel management subsidiary of Shun Tak Holdings, will take over operation of Macau’s Grand Lapa Hotel on February 1. Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, which runs the hotel, is selling its 50 percent interest in the property to Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau, the former monopoly casino operator founded by Stanley Ho and the majority shareholder of the monopoly’s successor, SJM. Shun Tak, which is controlled by Ho’s daughter Pansy Ho, will lease the hotel from STDM.  •  GTECH has agreed to a tax settlement with Italy totaling $51.54 million. The dispute concerned a number of issues including inter-company financing transactions related to the 2006 acquisition of GTECH by the former Lottomatica, and a proceeding regarding bingo in Italy between 2002 and 2004. GTECH issued a statement saying he had “not violated any norm or principle of the Italian tax system.”  •  Spanish gaming operator Codere SA and its creditors are reportedly planning to reduce the gaming company’s debt by as much as 50 percent as part of its €1.1 billion (US$1.5 billion) restructuring. The two sides have yet to agree on how much equity will be transferred to creditors and how much the company’s founding Martinez Sampedro family will retain.  •  A company linked to Genting Hong Kong plans to build a Resorts World-branded hotel on 8,100 square meters opposite Macau’s Casino Lisboa. Treasure Island Entertainment Complex said the proposal does not currently include gaming.  •  Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc., the real estate investment trust created by Penn National Gaming, announced that its board of directors has declared a special dividend to shareholders. The special dividend of $1.05 billion, or approximately $11.85 per share, will be paid on February 18, to shareholders of record on January 13. The amount of cash to be distributed will be $210 million, or 20 percent of the total distribution, with the remainder to be paid in shares of GLPI common stock.  •  Higher payouts have led to a revival of the California Lottery, according to just released profit numbers. The percentages assigned to prizes was altered in 2010 to give lottery officials more flexibility in setting jackpots, leading to much higher jackpots, but also to lower percentages given to the schools that are the beneficiaries of the lotto monies. However, in actual money, the schools are collecting more. The record jackpot was of $324 million was awarded last year. Under the new rules the lottery’s revenue has grown 42 percent from 2010, reaching more than $4 billion last year.  •  The Paso Robles, California City Council vot
ed last week to allow the Paso Robles Central Coast Casino to expand its operations, adding 11 card tables to its current four, eliminate the $200 limit on wagering and expand the definition of what is considered a card game to include electronic games. The card room has promised to add a restaurant if it was allowed to expand.  •  The newly sworn in Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Tribal Council, whose tribe owns the Ojibwa Casinos in Michigan, voted last week to eliminate the position of CEO, which had been held by Larry Denomie, III. The newly sworn in president, Donald Shalifoe Jr., will now assume the CEO’s job, which included overseeing the casinos and running the tribal government.  Shalifoe ran on a platform of tribal government reorganization.  •  Emperor Entertainment, operator of Macau’s Grand Emperor casino hotel, is buying the Best Western Hotel Taipa for US$116 million. The Best Western used to have a Mocha Clubs slot machine parlor, but the venue closed recently in response to a government ban on slots in residential areas.  Grand Emperor, which operates as a sub-licensee of concessionaire SJM, has 67 mass-market and 10 VIP gaming tables.