Small Nuggets of News

Caesars Entertainment Corp. extended the deadline for a bond tender as it waits for regulatory approval to receive the proceeds of a $1.75 billion loan.  The operator pushed the deadline from June 16 to June 27 for $792 million of 5.625 percent notes due in 2015 and $215 million of 10 percent notes maturing next year, according to a statement. Caesars, which has closed on the loan, is awaiting approval before it can access the funds. The new loan will be used to refinance borrowings at its Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. unit coming due next year, according to a May 6 statement. The company is struggling to finance more than $23 billion in debt.  •  Ohio’s ThistleDown Racino, which reopened as a racino a year ago after adding video lottery terminals, announced last week that it will not exercise its option to move from Cuyahoga County to the Akron-Canton area. The owner, Rock Ohio Caesars, says it concluded that its location near Cleveland is best suited for expansion. Local governments have also made the racino welcome and said they want to provide infrastructure upgrades in the near future. Two local mayors issued statements welcoming the news and said it will help revitalize the area.  •  Celebrity chef Kerry Simon has opened Carson Kitchen in Downtown Las Vegas. The restaurant offers “affordable gourmet social plates and flatbreads, cocktails and microbrewed sodas,” Simon announced. He owns venues in Atlantic City, Los Angeles, and on the Las Vegas Strip.  ?  The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community of Arizona, which operates two Casino Arizonas near the Phoenix airport, last week opened Topgolf to the public, as part of its Talking Stick resort corridor. Topgolf, which was under construction for a year, includes a driving range with 102 bays. It can accommodate up to 600 players. It also offers food service. Corporate meeting facilities and venues for parties and other events are also offered at Topgolf, which is the 13th such venue to open. The accuracy of a shot is measured by microchips that are embedded in each ball.  •  Philippines-listed Sinophil Corp. is changing its name to Premium Leisure Corp. as part of an asset reorganization by Belle Corp., Melco Crown Entertainment’s partner in the US$1.26 billion City of Dreams Manila resort casino slated to open in the capital city this fall. The new company will include Belle’s wholly owned Premium Leisure and Amusement Inc., which holds Belle’s share of the resort. Belle is controlled by Philippines retail and property giant SM Group.  •  The Westin Resort Macau will be renamed the “Grand Coloane Beach Resort” effective June 22. The non-gaming hotel is located on the South China Sea coast on Macau’s island of Coloane.  •  The Norwegian government is proposing to legalize private poker games involving no more than 10 people with prize pots capped at the equivalent of US$835. The measure would not allow commercial games or professional play, and poker would still be banned in workplaces, restaurants, pubs and aboard ships.  •  Macau is one of the cheapest locations for expatriates in Asia, according to a new survey from ECA, which ranks the territory 35th in living costs among 63 cities in the Asia-Pacific region. The ranking is based on the prices of day-to-day goods and services, including food and beverage expenditures, clothing, meals out, electronic goods and tobacco. Rents, utilities, personal transportation and education were not included. Tokyo was again rated the most expensive location, while Hong Kong overtook Singapore to take eighth place.  •  About 600 workers of the Graton Resort and Casino in Rohnert Park in Northern California this week are voting on whether to join the  Unite Here Local 2850 union. Unite Here represents about 100,000 casino employees in the U.S. and Canada. The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, who own the casino, which is operated by Station Casinos, are pro-union, and the right to organize is part of the state tribal gaming compact. More than half of the employees would have to vote for the union for it to be chosen to represent them.  •  Sentencing is due soon in a scam that cost California’s Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians $20 million, and which tribal Chairman Darrell Mike calls, “the largest rip off of an Indian tribe since the Jack Abramoff scandal.” Three persons who worked at the tribe’s casino have pleaded guilty to bribery and tax evasion charges for steering nearly $3 million in contracts with the Spotlight 29 Casino to their own companies.  He added, “We rely upon highly educated professionals to be honest and to guide us through many legal and business activities. The extent and premeditation by these dishonest outside advisors was shocking and extremely disheartening.”  •  The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to rehear a dispute between the Big Lagoon Rancheria and the state of California, which the tribe accused of negotiating a gaming compact in bad faith and sued in 2009, alleging a violation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act because the state challenged the tribe’s ability to put 11 acres in Humboldt County into trust in 1994. A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit ruled that the tribe could not put land into trust due to the 2011 Supreme Court decision Carcieri v. Salazar. The tribe asked for reconsideration and the court agreed that the entire nine judges may hear the case. The case is considered a landmark case by many Indian tribes around the U.S.  •  With the final days of the Rhode Island legislature’s 2014 session approaching the Senate voted last week to require a vote of the host city residents if the Newport Grand slots parlor in Newport or Twin River casino in Lincoln seek to relocate either casino from the city where they are based. The Senate voted to put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot. The referendum is aimed at the Newport Grand, which is on the market. Those interested include the former mayor of Providence, Joseph Paolino, whose group will only buy the casino if it is allowed to add table games. Paolino’s group has no objection to keeping the casino in its current location.  •  The Capay Valley Coalition of Northern California is appealing is opposing the Bureau of Indian Affairs putting 853 acres into trust for the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation adjacent to its Cache Creek Casino Resort. The tribe wants to add to the existing resort. The Coalition opposes putting the land into trust because it will take it off the tax rolls. Currently the resort has 188 acres.  •  The board of supervisors of Siskiyou County, California, near the border between the Golden State and Oregon, voted last week to allow the voters of the county a non-binding vote on Karuk Tribe’s proposed Yreka casino. Some see the results of the vote as providing a possible negotiating tool with the tribe. Opponents of the casino cite increased traffic and crime as possible results if the casino is built.  •  As the World Cup got under way last month, French lottery La Française des Jeux launched a responsible gaming campaign aimed at preventing underage gambling on the games. The lottery has launched a national campaign with the aim to promote the fact that gambling is for adults only. This campaign targets retailers, gamblers as well as people close to minors, such as parents or teachers. The slogan: “When under 18, sport, we live it. But to bet, forget it!”  •  Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett is facing questions surrounding lawmakers’ study of online gaming—and what the eventual results of that study will be. According to the Allentown Morning Call, not long after the study was announced, Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire owner of the Bethlehem Sands casino and an ardent foe of online gambling, gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association. That day, RGA transferred nearly $1 million of Adelson’s money to its Pennsylvania political action committee, records show, and in April, the PAC gave $1.6 million to Gov. Tom Corbett’s re-election campaign. Corbett has not commented.