Small Nuggets of News

A plan to lay off 191 employees at Casino du Liban in Lebanon sparked protests at the property near Beirut last week. The company said the layoffs would be limited to employees who are “absent, undisciplined, unorganized and unproductive.”  ?  One of Macau’s biggest junket operators, Suncity Group, will increase worker wages by 7 percent despite the slump in VIP gaming. That’s not good enough, say labor leaders, pointing out that the raise, which applies to salaries and not tips, will amount to raises of MOP560 (US$70) or less.  ?  The number of employees at Macau’s casinos reached an all-time high during the 4Q 2014, with 87,000 people employed by the sector. The figure was up by 7 percent over the previous quarter. That number is expected to surge by as much as 16,000 with the opening of Galaxy Entertainment Phase 2, Broadway at Galaxy Macau, and Melco Crown’s Studio City.  ?  The Macau Government Tourist Office estimates a 5 percent growth in the number of visitors during Chinese New Year. About 1 million people are expected to visit Macau in the first week of CNY, including 800,000 Mainland Chinese.  ?  Online gaming sites that serve Russia will face payment blocks as the country prepares to launch regulated online sports betting. As the plan goes into place, all online bookmakers will be required to process payments through a central organization.  •  Hard Rock International, partnered with All-Inclusive Collections, plans to open a four hotel in Mexico, at Cancun. The partners placed a foundation stone on January 19. The hotel will be adjacent and surrounded by the Riviera Cancun golf course. Hard Rock operates a hotel in the Dominican Republic and three in Mexico, for a total of 185 in 57 nations.  •  The Ohio Casino Control Commission heard a proposal last week from Executive Director Matt Schuler to lower license fees for casino employees from $546 to $196. Licensing fees are typically collected every year. The proposal is closer to what other states charge for licensing, he said. This would affect gaming employees at the Horseshoe casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati and Columbus and Toledo’s Hollywood casinos. Each casino has more than 1,000 employees.  •  The Ohio Supreme Court will hear arguments June 23 on a lawsuit brought by the Ohio Roundtable to challenge the legality of the deployment of video lottery terminals at the state’s seven racetracks. It will hear arguments whether the Roundtable has legal standing to bring the suit. The Roundtable, which has opposed all efforts by the state to expand gaming, filed suit on behalf of a recovering gambling addict. It argues that only the voters have the right to authorize the Ohio Lottery to deploy the VLTs.  •  International cruise operator Carnival Corp & Plc is partnering with Scientific Games Corp. to offer its adult guests the ability to wager on their mobile devices throughout Carnival cruise ships while in international waters. The service is already in operation on some ships from the company’s Carnival Cruise Line brand, with additional installations pending. The mobile gaming application is available for iOS- and Android-powered mobile devices.  •  GameAccount Network, developer and supplier of enterprise-level B2B gaming software and online gaming content, has given some context to the popularity of its Simulated Gaming product with news that 135 billion virtual credits were wagered in December. The announcement came in anticipation of GameAccount’s appearance at this week’s ICE Totally Gaming trade show (stand N2-310), where the company said it is “anticipating significant interest in the social gaming product, which allows players to purchase virtual credits enabling them to play their favorite slot and table games on a website which may be connected to a land-based casino.”  •  The website reports that Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson was in Washington for a private briefing with Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee. He was drumming up support with lawmakers his millions helped to elect for his ongoing effort to move a bill through Congress to ban internet gaming. The website quoted sources close to the Adelson lobbying effort as saying the meeting was a strategy session on moving legislation to outlaw iGaming.  •  Grand Bazaar Shops Las Vegas will open on the Strip February 26. The $50 million development is set to create 1,000 jobs. The shops will be located across from the Bellagio fountains, near Bally’s and Paris. They will include 120 stores and several boutiques spread over two acres.  •  The Wynn and Encore signed 27 DJs to residencies. XS, named the number one club in the country by Nightclub and Bar, also completed a nearly $10 million production redesign. Some of the names signed include Avicii, David Guetta, Diplo, Major Lazer, and Skrillex.    The Narragansett Tribe were favored in a ruling over a $10-million dispute with Capital Gaming International LLC. CGI alleged the tribe should have began paying back the loan after profits rolled in from Twin River’s Casino, but the terms of the loan were for repayment if a casino was opened in Rhode Island and generated enough profit to pay the $119,000 monthly payments.    The Clarion off the Strip is set for an implosion on February 10. It was the only Clarion in the United States to offer gaming. The hotel changed ownership at least five times since its opening in 1970, when it was known as the Royal Inn.   The Grand Theatre in Reno’s Grand Sierra Resort and Casino is scheduled for a $5 million renovation. Seating will increase from 1,750 to 2,700 and a new lobby will be installed.. Since 2011, the casino has gone through $70 million in renovations.  •  The NFL continues to challenge Las Vegas casinos over their “Super Bowl” brand. Any property charging admission for the game, or screening the game on screens 55 inches or larger are in violation. The NFL also forbids the use of Las Vegas in Super Bowl ads.  •  A hearing for Rivers Casino in Schenectady was held recently to change zoning laws which present a challenge for the property. Most in attendance were in favor of the changes, which would allow for different parking facilities, signage and other features. The zoning change is not required for the casino to be built.    Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Lake Tahoe celebrated the opening of its $60 million renovation. The property will feature a 539-room hotel, 25,000-square-foot casino and 15,000 square feet of meeting space.