Small Nuggets of News

The Iowa Senate has approved a bill that would allow for fantasy sports prizes over the current limit of $50. The new bill states that fantasy sports are not considered gambling because it is a game of skill. The bill is being sent to the Iowa House for review. If it passes, the bill would then go to Iowa Governor Terry Branstad for his signature.  •  Amaya Inc. announced that its subsidiary has entered into cross-currency swap agreements that it anticipates will result in lower interest payments on existing debt and mitigate the impact of fluctuations in the euro-to-dollar exchange rate. The swap agreements allow the subsidiary to create synthetic euro-denominated debt with fixed euro interest payments at an average rate of 4.6016 percent in place of USD interest payments.  •  The hedge fund that initially sought to move regional casino operator Pinnacle Entertainment into a real estate investment trust said it was encouraged by the recent acquisition offer from rival Penn National Gaming’s REIT, but believes the $4.1 billion price was too low. New York-based Orange Capital, which owns 5.9 percent of Las Vegas-based Pinnacle, said the offer two weeks ago from Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. to acquire the real estate associated with Pinnacle’s 15 regional casinos “dramatically undervalues” the company.  •  Genesis Gaming Solutions and Ameranth have reached a mutually acceptable resolution in two patent infringement lawsuits pending in U.S. Federal Court in the Central District of California involving three Ameranth patents and the Genesis Bravo product line. As part of the confidential settlement, Ameranth and Genesis have each agreed to dismiss their respective claims in the two lawsuits. In addition, Ameranth has granted Genesis and its casino customers a long-term license and covenant to not sue under the three patents and all pending patent applications for all current and future Bravo products.  •  Australian bookmaker BetEasy is set to re-brand to Crown Bet, as the operator sets to incorporate Crown Resorts’ brand and online betting services under a joint venture between the two firms. The move sees James Packer’s Crown Resorts enter the A$13 billion Australian online sports betting market. The online joint venture between the two companies had been agreed in December, as Crown Resorts registered the Crown Bet brand under the Australian trademark office. The Crown Bet joint venture will be split with 67 percent of the new company owned by Crown Resort and 33 percent held by BetEasy.  •  Pala Interactive, a leader in the online, real-money gaming space, has announced the launch of 27 new games on The latest games will range from new slots and table games to video poker. To coincide with the launch of the games, also launched a new website which will give online players an improved user interface and a more streamlined experience. “ entered into the New Jersey gaming market at the end of 2014, and we have been working diligently to improve our players’ experience,” said Jim Ryan, CEO of Pala Interactive. “Launching these new games on gives us the opportunity to expand and diversify our offering while also providing the players a wider variety of games to choose from.”  •  Pennsylvania’s Mount Airy Casino Resort announce the opening of Bistecca by Il Mulino. “Combining the heritage of hand-crafted pasta, local seafood and farm-fresh vegetables prepared in the classic fashion of Abruzzo’s cuisine with the comforts of a modern steakhouse, Bistecca by Il Mulino will offer diners an unforgettable meal accompanied by world-class service,” said Mount Airy Executive Vice President and General Manager John Culetso. “This restaurant is a great addition to the other restaurants at the resort, and offers a wide variety of both traditional and modern dishes that are sure to delight the palettes of our guests.”  •  The St. Regis Macao, expected to open during the third quarter of this year at Sands Cotai Central, is holding a series of job fairs to recruit 700 employees. HR Manager Rachel Chan said the resort if looking for candidates “who have the passion to deliver high-­quality services.”  ?  The northern Vietnamese province of Quang Ninh is adding a VND7.5 trillion (US$349.52 million) airport. The 288.38-hectare airport will be able to serve 2 million passengers a year, including visitors to a planned $4 billion casino resort complex in Van Don.  ?  Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. says online websites purporting to be affiliated with the Macau-based casino operator are using its brand to defraud the public. Online gambling in Macau is illegal, the firm said, and added that it will not be “liable for any losses, damages and/or any other claims in connection with illegal online gambling activities.”  ?  MGM China Holdings Ltd. has announced pay raises for its staff at MGM Macau equivalent in some cases to a percentage above the city’s rate of annual inflation for 2014. For non-management workers, that’s between 6 percent and 8 percent of monthly salary. In a statement, MGM China said the raises were “in view of the rising costs in Macau.”  ?  Sands China Ltd. has recommended a final dividend of HKD1.00 (US$0.13) per share for the year ending December 31, 2014. The payout will be made July 15.  •  The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe has been granted a license to operate Emerald Downs racetrack in Auburn, Washington. The Washington Horse Racing Commission granted the license, opening the way for the purchase of the racetrack from Northwest Racing Associates. The tribe acquired the property in 2002 and has provided subsidies for the track since 2004.  •  William Hill showed a 60-second TV commercial in Australia, its first. The commercial, part of a $7.4 million 2015 advertising campaign down under, is titled, “It’s your call.”  •  Atlantis Casino Resort Spa has been named the best casino outside of Las Vegas by USA Today Travel. The mega resort features 824 hotel rooms, an on-site spa, 60,000-square-foot casino, and restaurants such as the Atlantis Steakhouse and Bistro Napa. Other notable casinos on the list were runner up Pechanga Resort & Casino in Southern California and third place Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Florida.  •  The Riviera Hotel-Casino will officially shutter its doors on May 4. The casino will celebrate its 60th anniversary on April 20. A statement said the casino looks forward to the following weeks being fun, exciting and memorable. The sale of the casino is estimated to eliminate 1,000 jobs.  •  West Virginia Sena
has passed a bill which allows for county commissions to allow smoking at casinos, video-slot parlors, and buildings owned by veterans groups. The bill also includes a cigarette tax, which would generate an estimated $130 million in extra revenue annually.  •  Scientific Games Director William C. Thompson Jr. has been forced to step down after the company found out he could not serve on both its board and the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board. A filing to Nasdaq stated there was no disagreement between Thompson and the company.  A tourism bill was introduced in Washington last week which hopes to increase travel and tourism through provisions. The program would be renamed the Secure Travel Partnership Program and require nations to meet mandatory security standards at their airports, in addition to how travel documents are issued.