Small Nuggets of News

The Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee was slated to hold its first hearing on legalizing internet gaming on Thursday. The hearing will review HB 649, a bill sponsored by Rep. John Payne that would legalize internet poker only. Last week, the panel passed a resolution urging the U.S. Congress to defeat the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, a bill backed by Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson that would ban all internet gaming.  •  International Game Technology’s DoubleDown Casino has been named in a class-action lawsuit that alleges the social casino, which is available on Facebook, is actually an unregulated gambling site. The action, initiated by consumer Margo Phillips and filed by class action specialist firm Edelson PC, alleges that DoubleDown “illegally profited from thousands of Illinois consumers” by camouflaging “unlawful games of chance.” Phillips claims she bought, wagered and lost more than $1,000 worth of chips on the DoubleDown site. She is seeking recovery of her money and a damages award for herself and other DoubleDown customers.  •  For the fourth consecutive year, Pennsylvania’s Mount Airy Casino Resort has been awarded the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Rating. Mount Airy was the first casino resort in the state to have received this prominent award, assigned to hotels that feature an extensive array of amenities combined with a high degree of hospitality, service, and attention to detail. “It is such an honor to have achieved this award for the fourth consecutive year,” stated John Culetsu, executive vice president and general manager of Mount Airy. “We are truly committed to providing the highest quality of dining, gaming and luxury accommodations to our guests, and this award highlights that commitment and the work that we have done and will continue to do.”  •  More than $783 million in slot-machine gambling revenue will be available to finance property tax cuts for Pennsylvanians this year, the administration of Governor Tom Wolf reported. State Budget Secretary Randy Albright certified the total, most of which will finance tax reductions for homeowners in the homestead exclusion program. That’s expected to translate into tax cuts of about $200 per household, the administration said.  • Rick Callahan of the Dallas, Texas, city council, wants the authorities to crack down on “eight-liner” machines that critics say look too much like slot machines. Police in the Lone Star State frequently raid establishments that have such machines, but Callahan says they ought to do raids more in his neighborhood of Pleasant Grove. “This is really in effect a scourge in my part of town because these people have got anywhere from three to 10, 11, 12 machines in convenient stores,” he complained last week.  •  The government of Victoria, Australia is soliciting public opinion on the future of gaming in the state. The information will “help inform the development of future regulatory arrangements for public lotteries in Victoria,” said the Department of Justice and Regulation. Submissions will be accepted until May 19.  ?  Melco Crown Philippines will hire nearly 430 employees throughout 2015 for City of Dreams Manila, a property it operates in the Philippines capital. By the end of 2015, the company expects to have about 5,400 employees, or 8.56 percent more than the current staff, the company said in its 2014 annual report.  ?  Hilton Tallinn Park, a 13-story hotel casino in the Republic of Estonia, will open next spring. The property is owned by Olympic Entertainment Group, which will operate the 1,600-square-meter (17,000-square-foot) casino; Hilton Hotels & Resorts will manage the hotel, which will have 202 rooms and suites, a conference hall, a spa and fitness center, a bar-restaurant, and other amenities.  ?   Lawmakers in the Republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asia Senate are reportedly considering a draft law that would amend current gaming laws. According to news reports, the draft bill prohibits remote gaming, restricts the number of gaming tables and machines at casinos, changes licensure requirements and as reevaluates existing tax rates.  ?  The Bellagio completed a $165-million remodel which began in 2011, overhauling all 3,933 rooms. The remodeled suites also changed colors, and feature dragon fruit pink and green. Wood and lacquer are also featured now to give the Bellagio Tower a more modern look.    The B.C. Lottery Corporation held its “Raising Gambling Awareness Week” in Vernon. Vernon has been involved since 2012, where participants could learn about responsible gambling programs and problem gambling resources available.  •  Las Vegas Sands has announced an agreement with its credit facility lenders which will see a $1 billion loan to Sands China Ltd. Funds from the loan will be available April 30.    Seneca Allegany Resort and Casino may feature an outdoors-related store soon, along the lines of Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops. The Seneca Nation has been considering this move for the past few years. Nearby Holiday Valley attracts more than 500,000 skiers each winter.  •  JETT Gaming has been recommended approval for the purchase of the Gold Strike in Jean, Nevada. JETT is a slot route operator owned by Terrible Herbst CEO Jerry Herbst, and his son, Tim Herbst. MGM Resorts International announced the sale in October for an undisclosed price.