Small Nuggets of News

Airline start-up Bassaka Air has been granted permission from Cambodian authorities to fly Chinese visitors to the country on aircraft leased from NagaCorp, owner of Phnom Penh’s monopoly NagaWorld casino. Bassaka, which is partnered with the state-owned China International Travel Services, is to lease two Airbus A320 jets from Naga to ferry in Chinese tourists.   •  Philippine gaming regulator PAGCOR says it will penalize the local affiliate of Kazuo Okada’s Universal Entertainment if it fails to open its US$2 billion Manila Bay Resorts casino hotel next year as planned. The resort was slated to open its first phase at Manila’s Entertainment City early in 2015, but operating company Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment has since postponed it a year, and that could cost the company a $2.2 million guarantee already paid to PAGCOR. No reasons were given for the delay, but the inability to date of other Universal affiliates to secure majority Philippine ownership of the resort’s landholding is believed to be one obstacle.  •  Online gaming revenue in Spain was up 6.7 percent year on year in the second quarter to US$74.7 million. Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego, the country’s gaming regulator, said player withdrawals were up 27 percent and advertising on betting-related advertising, sponsorship and promotion campaigns increased by nearly 40 percent.  •  A federal judge has ruled that the Bay Area city of Richmond was within its rights to not support the casino proposed by the Guidiville Rancheria of California and developer Upstream Point Molate after the composition of the city council changed. The judge ruled that the city did not breach its agreement with the two parties when it decided not to support their casino proposal for Point Molate in 2011 after a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) report concluded that the casino would be detrimental to the city.  •  The Southern California Santa Ysabel tribe has put its proposed online poker casino on hold for the moment, and may instead launch an Internet bingo parlor at In July the tribe announced that it had the legal authority to offer internet poker, although the state legislature has yet to legalize it. The tribe said it had the authority to offer Class II games online, which includes poker, and also includes bingo. That authority has yet to be adjudicated. Critics say this could allow the tribe to offer an unregulated game to unsuspecting consumers.  •  Paradise Entertainment Chairman and Managing Director Jay Chun has bought HK$3.8 million ($489,600) of additional stock, raising his stake in the Hong Kong-listed machine gaming and technology provider to 59 percent. The company also announced the repurchase of 6.5 million shares at between HK$2.87 and $2.90 per share.  •  The Belgian Gaming Commission wants to introduce a blacklist of operators providing play-for-free gambling applications on mobile phones. The list would be similar to the one in force for illegal web gambling operators. The apps don’t take wagers but require players pay for certain upgrades, and the commission is concerned they are too accessible by minors.  •  Boyz II Men was named the musical artist of the year at the Casino Entertainment Awards, part of the recent Global Gaming Expo. Other winners included casino entertainer of the year Jeff Dunham and comedian of the year Carrot Top. The Show at the Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage was named showroom of the year, the Colosseum at Caesars Palace won arena of the year, and Wayne Newton and MGM’s Richard Strum were each given the Casino Entertainment Legend award.  •  CAMS, along with GameAccount Network and Betfair Interactive U.S. revealed that the CAMS “Waterfall” process for player age and I.D. verification has yielded a 20 percent increase in player approvals at Betfair gaming sites in New Jersey. The CAMS Waterfall process integrates multiple vendors into the online platform and efficiently passes players down through several vendors in an attempt to verify them.  •  The Delaware Lottery has recorded a month-on-month increase of 24 percent in online poker revenue during August. Regulators in Delaware have posted online poker revenue of $38,655, which represents the second consecutive month of growth after the state saw online poker revenue rise 22.6 percent in July. In addition to online poker, Delaware saw overall online gambling for the month total $172,855, which is up slightly from the previous month.  •  Scientific Games announced plans to launch a new multi-state lottery draw game in the U.S. “Monopoly Millionaires Club” will be launched on October 19 and will be on sale in an initial 23 participating states, accompanied by a weekly one-hour prime time television program offering players three different ways to win $1 million. Scientific Games said the new draw game, created under license from Hasbro, is expected to generate more simultaneous millionaires than any other lottery game in history, with the prize pool beginning with a $15 million top prize and 10 $1 million club prizes.  •  Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance has proposed adding online games to the list of goods subject to special consumption taxes, which currently includes tobacco and liquor products, a decision that could result in VND650 billion (US$30.59 million) in new annual taxes for online gaming operators. The excise tax must particularly be applied to online games that can cause addiction, and those with violent content, the finance ministry said in its report to the government on the amendment of the tax law.  •  Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino last week made its semi-annual payment of $2.9 million to the Sports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County (SEA) toward construction expenses for the Consol Energy Center, the arena of the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team. As a condition of being awarded the gaming license, Rivers makes two transfers annually, April 1 and October 1, totaling $7.5 million. To date, Rivers has generated $40.4 million to help fund Consol Energy Center.  •  Scientific Games announced that World Class Millions, a $30 instant game designed by the company for the Massachusetts State Lottery, has received the 2014 Best New Instant Game Award from the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL). The award was recently announced at NASPL’s Annual Conference and Trade Show in Atlantic City. World Class Millions was selected as the Best New Instant Game by a panel of judges who reviewed entries from North American lotteries, including the U.S. and Canada.  •  Las Vegas’s first country music festival, the Route 91 Harvest held October 3-5,  drew headliners Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, and Dwight Yoakam among others, who performed in the parking lot of a 15-acre plot owned by MGM Resorts near the Vegas Strip. It joins more established festivals (Electric Dai
sy Carnival, Life is Beautiful, etc.), which already bring more than $500,000 visitors to Las Vegas each year and are part of Sin City’s diversification strategy.  ?  Kampgrounds of America is moving its recreational vehicle park in Las Vegas from the Strip to the Boulder Highway. KOA and Boyd Gaming have agreed to rebrand the Sam’s Town RV park as Las Vegas KOA at Sam’s Town.  ?  Last week, Downtown Summerlin, one of the biggest retail developments under construction in the U.S., opened its long-awaited, 1.6 million-square-foot shopping, dining and entertainment complex. The project, stalled by the recession, is the biggest off-Strip project to open in nearly a decade.