Small Nuggets of News

U.K.-based bookmaker Betfair has signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Olympic Committee to help keep all future Olympic Games free of betting corruption. The MoU covers all future Summer and Winter Olympic Games, as well certain other competitions organized by IOC-affiliated international federations. “The interests of sports governing bodies, like the IOC, and Betfair are completely aligned in wanting to ensure customers can bet in fair, transparent and secure markets on exciting sporting events,” said James Midmer, of Betfair corporate communications. “Today’s agreement is another sign that sports and the betting industry are continuing to cooperate in this area.”  •  As the Maryland gaming industry prepares to add new capacity, the earnings report for 2013 shows big gains by the four casinos already up and running. Excluding Rocky Gap Casino Resort, which opened in May 2013, January 2014 state casino revenue increased $18.9 million from January 2013—a gain of 43 percent. Maryland Live! Casino at Arundel Mills Mall is the driving force behind those gains. It produced $53.7 million in revenue in January, the ninth straight month with a take of $50 million or more.  •  Patricia Becker, first woman to serve on the Nevada Gaming Control Board, will take part in the “Women in Gaming” panel discussion at 7 p.m. February 19 at the Mob Museum in Downtown Las Vegas. She will be joined by former Las Vegas Mayor and current Caesars Entertainment Corp. executive Jan Jones and Wynn Resorts Ltd. director Elaine Wynn. ?  Green Valley Ranch, a Stations Casino resort in Henderson, Nevada, has opened a live Keno Lounge. The lounge has 16 seats, and keno boards are also placed throughout the casino for remote play. ?  Las Vegas has been named the No. 1 destination for singles in a recent TripAdvisor survey. Las Vegas also came in as the second most popular domestic destination for couples. First in that category was the city by the bay, San Francisco.  ?  If you win big in Las Vegas, you can lose it all in a few nights at the Palms. The resort’s two-story Sky Villa, once known as the Hugh Hefner Sky Villa, is the most expensive suite in the city at $40,000 a night. The 9,000-square-foot Sky Villa has its own glass elevator to the second floor, plus an infinity pool, a fitness center, three bedrooms, and a media room with revolving bed.  ?  Baltimore’s Horseshoe Casino will fill 1,700 positions as it prepares to open this summer. Those hired as dealers will begin a 12-week course in April. Between now and late April, the casino will host 14 one-day job recruitment centers in neighborhoods scattered around the city.  •  The National Indian Gaming Commission is holding a series of meetings with tribes all over the country in the next few months to ask whether it should continue a protracted review process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) before approving management contracts between tribes and outside entities. NIGC is required to approve management contracts for tribal casinos.  •  Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, the largest casino in North America, has partnered with GameAccount Network (GAN), a developer of gaming software and online gaming content, to launch the first ever online gaming experience on platforms, computers and Smartphones. The technology will operate while customers are within the resort, but will otherwise be indistinguishable from playing online. According to Foxwoods CEO Scott Butera, the “cutting edge technology will enhance the overall guest experience and allow them to bring the excitement of Foxwoods with them wherever they go.” The online casino will feature more than 50 games from the GAN library.  •  The November 5 opening of the Graton Resort and Casino near Rohnert Park, California has not caused an increase in crime, new statistics disclose. Critics of the Indian casino had predicted a crime spurt once the casino opened. City officials say there aren’t enough data to reach any conclusions yet, however crime in several categories are at a five-year low. According to one city council member, “At first blush, it would seem to me that in fact the opening of the casino has not materially altered our picture of crime in Rohnert Park. I don’t think any of the dire forecasts have been borne out at all.”  •  New Macau government data suggest that about 84 percent of tourist spending occurs in the city’s casinos. An initial analysis compiled for 2010 show tourists spent MOP220.4 billion (US$27.6 billion) in total that year, MOP184.5 billion of it in the casinos. The value added by the tourism industry was MOP51.8 billion, or 35 percent of gross domestic product.  •  The management company in charge of The Grand – Ho Tram in southern Vietnam announced the resort’s Greg Norman-designed golf course will open in March. Ho Tram Project Company pegged the cost of the 18-hole course—constructed on sand dunes surrounding the beachfront hotel and casino on the South China Sea about 70 miles from Ho Chi Minh City—at US$22 million.  •  Italy’s Senate has approved an amendment to a fiscal bill calling for restrictions on gambling advertising on television and radio. Introduced by Socialist Party Senator Ricardo Nencini, the amendment requires that the bill return to the House of Representatives for another reading. The House approved the original bill in September.