Happy Thanksgiving from GGB; Newsletter Returns December 4


Small Nuggets of News

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from Lawrence DiCristina, who argued that he should not have been convicted of violating the federal Illegal Gambling Business Act by offering Texas Hold ‘em poker games. DiCristina contends that he law targets games of chance and that poker is a game of skill. The Associated Press reports his petition was aided by groups of bridge and Scrabble players worried the law could be applied to their games as well.  •  The Colorado House has given approval to a bill prohibiting the sale of lottery tickets online. The bill would forbid the Colorado Lottery Commission from approving such sales, and only in-person sales at licensed stores would be allowed. Lawmakers voted yes on the measure setting up a final vote to refer the bill to the Senate.  •  The government of Cyprus has set up two committees to oversee the award of a license it plans to issue for a resort casino on the Mediterranean island nation and has designated Deloitte to review the bids it expects from prospective operators once it completes an upcoming request for expressions of interest.  •  Macau’s Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau reported 16 hotels under construction in the fourth quarter that will add 9,600 more hotel rooms to the city’s inventory. Nine of the hotels will be on the peninsula and two on the neighboring island of Taipa. There are another 27 hotels at various stages of planning, the bureau said, totaling 15,995 rooms.  •  Junket operator Amax International Holdings has filed suit against Greek Mythology (Macau) Entertainment Group, operator of Macau’s Greek Mythology casino, for access to the property’s financial records. Hong Kong-listed Amax claims ownership of 24.8 percent of Greek Mythology but says it has been unable to see its books.  •  Kenya’s High Court has enjoined the country’s Revenue Authority from collecting a 20 percent tax on gamblers’ winnings imposed in January. The temporary order was granted in response to a petition filed by 42 casino operators challenging the legality of the tax.  •  Visitor arrivals in Macau increased 8.3 percent in January over the same month last year. Mainland Chinese visitors, the largest source of arrivals, grew 14.6 percent, with 48 percent of those originating in neighboring Guangdong province. Mainland visitors traveling under the Individual Visit Scheme rose by 35.1 percent to 832,381. Of the total of 2,503,609 arrivals, Hong Kong’s share declined 3.1 percent to 494,149, Taiwan’s improved by 1.3 percent to 77,859.  •  Hong Kong-listed casino operator Macau Legend Development has extended a cooperation agreement with Japanese pachinko operator Dynam Japan Holdings, which is interesting in running machine games in the Chinese territory. The new agreement runs through August 23.  •  Macau’s Social Welfare Bureau has issued a new report claiming that the gambling participation rate of local residents dipped from 56 percent to 49.5 percent last year.  •  “Jubilee!” at Bally’s in Las Vegas is scheduled to return on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day. The show, the last of the traditional showgirl productions in Sin City, closed for an upgrade January 30. It is directed by Frank Gatson Jr., choreographer for Beyoncé and other A-list entertainers.  ?  Nevada tourism commissioners may move the Governor’s Conference on Tourism from early December to October or November. The proposed change is in response to low attendance at recent conferences. Last December’s event, held at Red Rock Resort, attracted only 300 people.  ?  MGM Resorts International has joined with the Ultimate Fighting Championship to offer VIP experiences to members of M life, MGM’s loyalty rewards program. M life members will have premier access to UFC including parties, fighter meet-and-greets, discounted merchandise and more.  ?  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will honor Caesars Entertainment for its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at its casino properties. The EPA will give Caesars its Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management-Goal Achievement award at its 2014 Climate Leadership conference in San Diego.  ?  Monte Carlo Resort and Casino and SBE Entertainment will open the Double Barrel Roadhouse on the Las Vegas Strip Friday, March 7.  Double Barrel will be “the first authentic roadhouse experience on the Strip,” according to a statement from the companies, “with a spirit that’s both untamed and inviting.” The 12,000 square foot, indoor-outdoor venue will have live entertainment and a Southern-inspired menu.  ?   The team filling employment vacancies for the planned Horseshoe Casino Baltimore property has formed an unlikely alliance: a Baptist church. Horseshoe officials teamed up with Union Baptist Church in West Baltimore for a one-day job fair, one of 14 one-day recruitment events slated for neighborhoods around the city. The casino, under construction near the Baltimore Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium, needs to fill 1,700 positions. “We want to make sure that all 1,700 jobs go to the residents of Baltimore city,” Horseshoe Human Resources VP Joan Wilmer-Stewart told radio station WJZ, “and in doing so, we’re making sure we go across the city, into the backyards of Baltimoreans to give them access to our jobs.”  •  The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board gave each of the five applicants for the second Philadelphia casino license the chance to make one final 15-minute pitch at a meeting last week. The two groups intervening in the application process—SugarHouse Casino, which is opposing a second casino license; and a group of local schools and churches, who are supporting the Provence project—also were given the chance to make 15-minute, last-minute arguments. The board is expected to make its decision on the license within the next two months.  •  Amaya Gaming Group announced that its subsidiary Diamond Game Enterprises has been awarded a five-year contract with the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency to provide veterans’ organizations in the state with Instant Ticket Lottery Machines (ITLM) and related services. The contract, a result of a request for proposals issued in August 2013, allows for the placement of up to five ITLMs at each qualified VO meeting hall in Maryland. The lottery estimates there are currently 150 qualified organizations that may apply for the ITLMs.  •  A Northern Virginia couple has been charged with conspiracy and theft after being caught using counterfeit casino chips at the Maryland Live! casino near Baltimore. According to police, the $150,000 worth of counterfeit chips had been purchased by Rosa A. Nguyen over the internet for $12,000, and after she alt
ered them to look like $100 Maryland Live! chips, she and her husband, Vuong Q. Truong, were caught wagering them at table games by the Maryland Live! security and surveillance team.  •  The mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, says officials of the Churchill Downs racetrack have told him they prefer to open a casino in downtown Louisville rather than a racino at the track, should gaming expansion bills be passed by the state legislature. Kevin Flanery, president of the track, confirmed the plan in a written statement. The plan, however, may never come to fruition, as neither house of the legislature appears to have the votes to pass expansion legislation.  •  Lottery supplier Scientific Games announced the operational debut of Alpha P-7, its new manufacturing technology for instant lottery games, at a ribbon-cutting at the Company’s Global Lottery Center of Excellence north of Atlanta. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Debbie Alford, president and CEO of the Georgia Lottery Corporation, participated in the ceremony. “The Georgia Lottery has raised more than $15 billion for education and has become the second-highest performing lottery per capita in the United States,” said Deal. “Scientific Games plays a major role in our ability to put out a high-quality product that keeps HOPE alive. I congratulate Scientific Games on the addition of the new instant lottery game manufacturing technology, and I appreciate the company’s contribution to our state’s economic infrastructure and workforce.”