Small Nuggets of News

The government of Lithuania has submitted a draft of its new online gambling law to the European Commission for approval. The law covers licensing requirements and conditions for commercial poker, betting and totalizators and limited machine and table gaming, advertising restrictions, software and technical requirements and enforcement measures against illegal operators.  •  A new Fitch Ratings report projects that a resort casino in Tokyo and one in Osaka could generate roughly US$7 billion in combined gross gaming revenue a year, rivaling Singapore as the second-largest market in Asia. The country’s national parliament, the Diet, is expected to pass a bill this year legalizing casinos. Japan already is home to a $30 billion machine gaming industry.  •  Codere Brazil has concluded an exclusive agreement with Jockey Club Parana to share its signal with other racing jurisdictions, including the United States, Australia, Asia and other Latin countries. The move is designed to expand the distribution of Brazilian racing globally. Jockey Club Parana is located in Curitiba, a city of 2 million located between Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre.  •  The Banyan Tree group has appointed Jerry John as the new general manager of the Banyan Tree Macau. John previously was general manager of Banyan Tree’s Angsana Laguna Phuket in Thailand. He succeeds Rudy Oretti, who resigned in October to accept the position of senior vice president of resort operations for Cotai resort developer Louis XIII Holdings.  •  Intralot’s subsidiaries in the Netherlands and Cyprus have received ISAE 3402 certification, endorsing the integrity of their systems and operations. In the Netherlands, Intralot BV’s certification, first obtained in 2011, was renewed for the operations and systems it provides to the two Dutch Lotteries, Staatsloterij and De Lotto. Royal Highgate’s covers compliance with the rules and requirements set by the National Betting Authority of Cyprus. The ISAE 3402 audits were conducted by a major international auditing firm.  • Maine’s Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Human Services and the Maine Gambling Control Board are partnering to offer more places where people who have a gambling can seek help and sign up to “exclude” themselves from casinos. Currently there are two such sites in the state; both of them in casinos, but soon that number will be 14. Maine operates two casinos, the Hollywood Casino in Bangor and the Oxford Casino in Oxford. In Maine if a gambler excludes himself, he or she can be arrested if caught in a casino later.  •  The Bureau of Indian Affairs has approved of the application by the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria in Central California to put 626 acres in Butte County into trust. The 400-member tribe plans to use 91 acres for a small Class III casino that would employ about 214. The casino would be located near Highway 99 and Highway 149. The BIA first approved an application to put land into trust in 2008, but that was challenged in federal court, which ordered the decision to be reconsidered. After reconsideration the BIA reached the same conclusion.  •  The Ohio Casino Control Commission last week fined Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati $75,000 for providing credit to patrons improperly. This is the first fine for the casino, which opened about a year ago. The commission said the casino failed to do a thorough application and credit check on some patrons. A routine audit uncovered the violations. Manager Kevin Kline said that casino is revising its procedures to prevent future violations.  •  The city council of Spokane, Washington may revisit a 4-3 vote it took two years ago opposing the Spokane Tribe of Indians’ proposed Airway Heights casino. Since that vote the council’s make-up has changed following an election. The new council president, Ben Stuckart, is asking that the panel vote again and mend fences with the tribe. Supporters say the city could benefit from the economic activity created by the proposed casino while opponents say the casino would threaten the airspace of the Fairchild Air Force Base and might cause the Air Force to close the base.  •  Cripple Creek, one of Colorado three gambling towns, is preparing to remake its main street gaming zone to try to rise up out of an economic slump that has gripped it after two years of wildfires and flash floods. The rebuilding project for the small town will begin this spring and will be funded in part by a $2.6 million grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation. The rest of the total of $4.75 million come from the town’s historic preservation fund. The renovation is expected to take two seasons of construction due to the town’s 9,400 elevation.  •  The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority recently launched a clever campaign telling visitors they could act up as much as they wanted on Presidents Day and enjoy a full “presidential pardon.” The social media campaign urged visitors to tweet about their bad behavior.  ?  Caesars Palace is now opening its high roller suites to the general public. The three-bedroom Marcus Aurelius Villa at Caesars Palace; the six­bedroom Palazzo Suite at the Rio; and Caesars Palace’s Emperor’s Suite are now available for anyone willing to part with $1,000-plus a night.  ?  MGM Resorts is installing 27 car charging stations at nine Las Vegas casinos. The stations will be free for resort patrons with electric cars.  ?  SLS Las Vegas, formerly the Sahara, will begin hiringin advance of its Labor Day opening. The $415 million resort will first fill 300 management positions. SLS was overhauled by its new owner, SBE Entertainment of Los Angeles.  ?  The first big event at the Linq, Caesars Entertainment’s $550 million entertainment corridor in Las Vegas, is planned for April 4-5. Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban will headline. Caesars expects 25,000 people to attend. The Brooklyn Bowl, a bowling alley-concert arena, will host its first show March 6.  ?  Akwesasne Mohawk Casino in New York State recently hosted hospitality students from Paul Smith’s College. They took a tour and met with casino management.  •  Problem gambling treatment advocates in the U.K. are up in arms over a plan by bookmaker Betfred to offer incentive pay based on profits from controversial fixed-odds betting terminals, which gaming opponents call the “crack cocaine of gambling.” Betfred is offering performance pay based on increased take from FOBTs, which opponents say can swallow up to £100 in 20 seconds. “This shows a total disregard for the public concern about fixed-odds terminals,” said Adrian Parkinson of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling. “It incentivizes staff to get more people on to these addictive machines.”  •  Leading U.K. bookmaker Wil
liam Hill
has denied reports that CEO Ralph Topping will be replaced in 2014. The company said the chief executive’s previously announced retirement date at the end of 2015 still stands, and that it will look in the interim at both internal and external candidates to replace him. Topping, 62, has spent more than 40 years with the bookmaker. He became CEO in 2008.