Small Nuggets of News

Macau International Airport’s passenger throughput grew 10 percent in March to approximately 440,000, according to the airport’s operating company, which said the number of flights also increased 10 percent to more than 4,200. Through the first quarter, 1.28 million passengers used the airport, 10 percent more than a year earlier.  •  France’s Groupe Partouche says creditors have agreed to a court-ordered debt repayment plan covering a total of US$315 million. Partouche is the country’s second-largest operator with 49 casinos.  •  The Danish Gambling Authority ordered local internet services providers to block five websites taking bets in the country without a license. The blocked sites are:;;;; and  •  Barrister Paul Darling has been appointed the chairman of the Association of British Bookmakers, effective May 1, succeeding Neil Goulden. Darling’s practice is focused principally in the areas of construction, engineering and energy law. He is a former non-executive director of the Tote is a government-appointed member of the Horserace Betting Levy Board. He is also chairman of the Sports Ground Safety Authority, which is a government appointment. He will step down from the Levy Board upon taking up his appointment at the ABB.  •  China’s Sports Lottery is expanding its betting options beyond soccer and basketball to 10 other sports. The State General Administration of Sport said tennis, badminton, beach volleyball, volleyball, ice hockey, hockey, team handball, water polo, table tennis and other football codes would be included and available initially in Guangdong, Beijing and Tianjin.  •  Sweden’s government-sponsored gambling monopoly, Svenska Spel, is creating professorship at Lund University’s Faculty of Medicine to study problem and addictive gambling. The company is budgeting €280,000 over the next five years to finance the program.  •  More than 700 people were banned from entering The Star casino in Sydney over the last financial year, including 154 on the orders of New South Wales police. The figures, contained in the annual report of the Australian state’s Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority, show 231 people were excluded for disorderly conduct, 50 for theft or fraud and 29 for leaving children unattended. Another 230 were self-exclusions. The report shows The Star was fined $190,000 during the period for breaches of the Casino Control Act, including four offenses for allowing minors into the casino.  •  The government of Goa has introduced new annual license fees for casinos operating offshore and on in the coastal Indian state. The fee for onshore casinos is between 2 crore and 4 crore (US$33,109-$66,219), based on gaming floor space, and between 6 crore and 8 crore ($99,329-$132,439) for cruise ship casinos, based on passenger capacity. Goa has six waterborne casinos operating on the Mandovi River around the capital of Panaji. The 12 land-based casinos operate in tourist hotels in and around the capital.  •  The U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee officially recognized the Little Shell Band of Chippewa Indians by approving a bill, which would give the band reservation land, housing and monies for education. The band has pursued recognition for 35 years. In 2000, it was recognized as a tribe by the State of Montana. For more than 100 years, the tribe has been plagued with poverty and no place to call home. Senators Jon Tester and John Walsh sponsored and co-sponsored the bill, respectively. The bill will advance to the Senate. Tester said the approval is a big step.  •  The Horseshoe Baltimore casino in Maryland has filled about 500 of the 1,700 jobs it needs to staff by its late summer opening. The casino has hired about 500 table game dealers, which leaves 750 dealers to be hired among the remaining 1,200 employees. According to the casino, nearly all of the new dealers are Baltimore locals, as are a majority of the overall new employees. In other Horseshoe news, Caesars officials revealed to the Baltimore Business Journal that the new casino will feature three celebrity-chef restaurants. No details were revealed as to the chefs’ identities.  •  Scientists from the University of Cambridge believe they have identified the region of the brain that leads to problem gambling. The research could change the way gambling addicts are treated. The study found that brain damage affecting the insula, an area of the brain with a key role in emotions, disrupts errors of thinking linked to gambling addiction. During gambling games, people often misperceive their chances of winning due to a number of errors of thinking, one key error being the notion that a “near miss” portends a win.  •  Moon Nightclub at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas has closed. The club opened in the property’s Fantasy Tower in October 2006.According to a statement from the Palms, the closure clears the way for “a new nightlife concept,” and until then Moon will occasionally open for private and special events.  ?  The SLS Las Vegas has begun accepting room reservations in advance of its Labor Day Weekend grand opening. The property, a project of Sam Nazarian’s SBE Entertainment of Los Angeles, is the former Sahara, a staple of the Rat Pack and other mid-20th century celebrities. The Sahara closed in May 2011.  ?  The BC Lottery Corp. is laying off at least 60 people in a cost-cutting measure expected to save the organization up to $40 million.  ?  Sault Ste. Marie in the Canadian province of Ontario has created a Digital Gaming Task Force to develop the online gambling industry. The task force will “provide strategic direction to further enable the community to take advantage of its strengths to develop projects and implement an investment attraction strategy.”  •  The MGM Grand at Foxwoods is being rebranded as the Fox Tower, according to an announcement last week by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, which owns and operates that casino as well as Foxwoods, both in Connecticut. The change is part of a series of changes being made to make the casinos more competitive as more casinos come online in the New England region, especially in Massachusetts. It also reflects the fact that the tribe and MGM Resorts International ended their longtime licensing association last fall.  •  Sonoma County, California Sheriff’s deputies last week broke up a credit card crime ring that first came to light when Graton Resort & Casino blew the whistle after someone attempted to use a fraudulent credit card at one of its ATMs. Deputies arrested five people in connection with the charges. Deputies investigated the ring and were able to locate its headquarters at a Rohnert Park hotel.  •  Three have pleaded guilty in a kickback scheme to defraud the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians in a construction project of the tribe’s Spotlight 29 Casino, the U.S. Justice Department announced last week.  The three included David Alan Heslop, Gary Edward Kovall and Phillip Bardos.  They admitted to getting kickbacks from tribal officials, which is cooperating with the Justice Department. Tribal Chairman Darrell Mike said, “Unfortunately, the Tribe was extremely trusting and was taken advantage of. We are an honest company with honest gaming and we are glad to get restitution and put this behind us.”