Small Nuggets of News

Food and drink lovers from around the world gathered last month for the “Culinary Event of the Year,” the Vegas Uncork’d food festival by Bon Appétit. Some of the finest chefs in the world put their talents on display at the Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis at Caesars Palace for The Grand Tasting, the signature event of the festival. The 2,500 guests enjoyed a variety of signature dishes prepared by more than 60 of the most celebrated chefs and over 40 Vintner selections. Renowned chefs Gordon Ramsay, François Payard, Guy Savoy, Nobu Matsuhisa, Kerry Simon, Frankie Pellegrino Jr., Greg and Marc Sherr, and Giada De Laurentiis showcased their culinary talents by presenting signature sampling dishes.  •  The death of a gambling expert who assisted the Alabama attorney general’s office for the last decade could delay a trial over the state’s raid of VictoryLand Casino. A judge had scheduled a trial June 23 on whether the state could keep more than $223,000 in cash and destroy 1,615 machines seized in the raid in Shorter in February 2013. The attorney general’s office is asking for a three-month delay because its gambling expert, Robert “Bob” Sertell of Vineland, N.J., died May 6 from cardiac problems, and the office needs time to find a new expert to evaluate the seized machines.  •  A long-awaited bill meant to relieve some of the tax burden of Delaware racinos has been introduced in the state Senate. Sponsored by state Senator Brian Bushweller, the bill mimics the recommendations of the state Lottery and Gaming Study Commission with a total of $20 million in annual tax breaks to the industry, which has struggled to meet new competition from Maryland and elsewhere. The bill provides that the state cover nearly $10 million in vendor fees paid by casinos, starting next fiscal year; and that table-game revenue taxes and license fees be reduced.  It also calls for a $100,000 study of the impact of horse racing on the state economy.  •  Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism reported March visitation to the country increased 4.7 percent year on year to 400,076. Year-to-date visitor arrivals (through March) are up 8.2 percent to 1,267,922, the ministry said. Vietnam has accounted for the largest share, 15 percent through March, followed by Korea and China. The government is projecting 500,000 Chinese visitors by 2015 and 1 million by 2020, representing growth of approximately 10 percent and 110 percent, respectively, over 2013.  •  Crown Resorts’ flagship Crown Melbourne has filed suit in Australia’s Supreme Court to recover A$7 million in gambling debts the casino claims it is owed by a Chinese gambler named Zhao Li. Crown says the markers date back to a 13-day gambling spree by Zhao in the fall of 2011. Crown is also seeking $1 million in interest and costs.   •  Philippine property developer Ayala Land is partnering with Bloomberry Resorts on the operation of a retail mall at Bloomberry’s Solaire Resort & Casino in Manila. The deal calls for PSX-listed Ayala to lease and market more than 5,000 square meters of shopping planned for the casino hotel, which opened last March as the first of four resort casinos licensed for a specially zoned tract on Manila Bay called Entertainment City.  •  Four new casinos are expected to open in Hungary by the end of this year, according to concession contracts signed by the National Economy Ministry. The contracts call for two casinos in the capital of Budapest and one each in Debrecen and Nyiregyhaza. The country currently is home to two casinos in Budapest and a third in Sopron near the border with Austria.  •  A New York State judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by residents of Tyre who claimed a zoning amendment was pushed through because of a developer’s plan to bring a $350 million casino to the town in Seneca County. Wilmorite is bidding to build the casino with 2,000 slot machines, 100 gambling tables and a 200-room hotel.  •  Britney Spears’ successful residency at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas has prompted Caesars Entertainment to add a number of performances. The pop star will earn $12 million to continue “Britney” Pieces of Me” through February 2015.  •  Parking is no longer free at several Downtown Las Vegas properties. Main Street Station and the California, both owned by  Boyd Gaming Corp., will charge daily rates of $3 and $5 to park.  •  Pure nightclub at Caesars Palace will close May 26 for extensive renovations. Pure, which opened in 2004, was acquired by London-based Hakkasan in February when the company purchased Angel Management Group. The 36,000-square-foot club will reopen in early 2015.  •  Pinnacle Entertainment recently announced an exchange offer of up to $850 million aggregate principal amount of 6.375 percent Senior Notes due 2021, for an equal principal amount of its outstanding 6.375 percent Senior Notes due 2021, upon the terms and subject to the conditions set forth in the prospectus, dated May 9, 2014, and the related letter of transmittal, including any amendments or supplements.  •