Small Nuggets of News

MGM China Holdings Ltd says the exhibition entitled “Botticelli’s Venus: The Life and Times of a Goddess”, held in its MGM Macau casino resort attracted more than 42,000 visitor. The exhibition ran for three months in the new MGM Art Space, a month longer than originally planned. The exhibition revisited the Italian Renaissance, focusing on Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli’s famous painting of Venus.  •  Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo said he will make a gambling expansion bill his top legislative priority in 2015 if, as expected, there is no movement in the state legislature on bills in the House and Senate to legalize casinos. Stumbo, the sponsor of one of two House bills to create a constitutional amendment to legalize casinos, has declared the issue dead for this year’s session after Senate and House leaders each refused to bring measures up for a vote unless the other chamber acted first. “We’ll put their feet to the fire come ’15 if we all get back here,” Stumbo said, referencing November’s elections.  •  The New York Mets and Caesars Entertainment Corporation announced a two-year extension of their marketing and promotional agreement through 2018, becoming the first Signature Partners at Citi Field to renew their relationship with the team. Caesars Entertainment will continue to utilize a comprehensive set of rights and benefits across multiple platforms including presence at Citi Field and advertising on and SNY. The partnership has expanded to include exclusive, experiential hospitality opportunities at the ballpark that Caesars Entertainment can offer to its customers through the Total Rewards player’s club.  •  Pennsylvania-based Money Centers of America, a firm that manages electronic payments for casinos, has filed for Chapter 11 protection in federal bankruptcy court as it fights cash awards to two former clients, both of which are Indian tribes, which operate casinos. The company has appealed a $5.6 million court order that it repay a client, the Corporate Commission of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians, and is fighting a sovereign-immunity claim he says the Ho-Chunk Nation has used in an attempt to prevent Money Centers’ appeal from prevailing in a dispute over $4.8 million. Company officials say the firm will stay in business as its legal fights continue.  •  The poker operation at Maryland Live! casino outside Baltimore is getting national exposure on a new television show called Poker Night in America. The show, set to debut soon on a major cable network yet to be announced, has been filming invitation-only cash poker games inside the casino. The coming broadcasts will mark the first time a poker event has ever been filmed for TV in Maryland.  •  The Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, recently acquired by an investment group called TJM Atlantic City, is officially accepting room reservations for Memorial Day weekend. The 500-room Boardwalk hotel once included a casino.  ?  New York’s Albany Law School today has added a concentration in equine, racing and gaming law at the Saratoga Institute for Equine, Racing, and Gaming Law. Classes start in September 2014 for the incoming class of 2017.   ?  Victor Drai’s nightclub After Hours, which moved from Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall to Bally’s Las Vegas when Bill’s closed for remodeling, will move back into its original basement location in May. Bill’s will reopen as the Cromwell.  ?  “Hell’s Kitchen” winner Christina Wilson will join Gordon Ramsay BurGR at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas as the new executive chef. The former head chef at Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas, she will be one of three female executive chefs working for Ramsay in the U.S.  ?  The New York Gaming Commission’s Gaming Facility Location Board has hired a Cincinnati law firm, Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, to help it vet applications and decide four commercial casino licenses that are to be awarded this fall. The firm will be paid a fixed fee of $375,000, plus $367,170 for each application it reviews, and billed hourly work that is expected to total almost $109,000.  •  The city council of Glendale, Arizona has instructed its staff to begin negotiations with the with the Tohono O’Odham Nation, whose casino the council has fought tooth and nail in the courts for several years, although it has always lost. The council also indicated its opposition to a bill in Congress that would stop the casino. The tribe has been asking for negotiations since it announced the casino project five years ago.   •  Due to opposition from some legislators, the Michigan Gaming Control Board recently withdrew new rules it had proposed in regard to so-called “millionaire parties.” The events raise money for charities, but have been criticized as being “de facto casinos” that bring significant profits to bars and poker rooms. Through the proposed new rules, Governor Rick Snyder’s administration hoped to restrict the practice, by allowing poker rooms operate 208 days a year instead of 365 and giving charities a larger cut of the profits. The Snyder administration may resubmit rules.  •  The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that Harrah’s can receive a refund on taxes paid on two of its four corporate jets. According to the Nevada Appeal, the difference centers on whether the jets were first used in interstate commerce or in flights that either started or ended in Nevada. Under state law, a plane first used in a flight outside the state is not subject to the use tax. Two of the jets were not first used in interstate commerce because their first flights ended in Las Vegas. “Accordingly, the presumption of nontaxability does not apply to these two planes,” the ruling said. The other two jets were first used in flights that “occurred wholly outside the state of Nevada.”  •  February visitation to Macau increased 7.7 percent year on year to 2.56 million. Mainland China visitation accounted for about 67 percent of the  total and was up 13.7 percent over February 2013. Year-to-date visitation was up 8 percent over the first two months of last year. Mainland visitation was up 14.1 percent. Visitation from Hong Kong and Taiwan was down 6 percent and 4.4 percent through February.  •  A new gaming bill under consideration in Kenya will require casinos in Nairobi county to pay 12.5 percent of monthly earnings to the local government. Currently, the casinos pay the money to the national government. The bill also provides for the establishment of a County Betting Licensing and Control Board to be chaired by a local resident appointed by the governor.  •  Macau junket investor Amax Holdings said it plans to purchase a controlling interest in an online gaming business in the South Pacific island nation o
f Vanuatu. The Hong Kong-listed company said in a filing that it had entered into a “non-legally binding letter of intent” to buy a 60 percent stake in Forenzia Ltd. Amax also plans to pursue an operating agreement for a casino in Turkish-held northern Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean.  •  More than 200 workers from more than 60 stores at Sands China casinos have completed a 12-hour training program known as the Sands Retail Academy designed to improve service levels and sales techniques.