Small Nuggets of News

Owners of the Divi Carina Bay casino in Christiansted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, are disputing government claims the property owes $1.45 million in license fees and revenue tax. USVI Acting Attorney General Claude E. Walker threatened to shut the casino down if the bill wasn’t settled. The casino made the payment, but is disputing the debt and hopes to reclaim the money. TBVI President Susan Varnes said, “We are happy that our representatives had the opportunity to meet with Acting Attorney General Walker on October 15 to share our position that although we do not believe that any amount is due, we are very willing to work with the office of the Department of Justice, and have in good faith made this payment.”  •  Club owners in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, are urging that any poker machines (slots) to be allowed at Aquis Entertainment’s new Canberra Casino be restricted to international tourists only. Clubs ACT, which represents the territory’s community clubs, say poker machines targeting locals at the new casino would devastate the region’s club industry. Jeff House of Clubs ACT told ABC Online that Hong Kong-based Aquis formerly agreed that poker machines would be included for tourist use only, citing the death of Sydney clubs when the Star City casino opened. “Quite simply, the casino with poker machines would be the death of community clubs in Canberra.”  •  Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie has given the stakeholders of the stalled Baha Mar resort project a November 2 deadline to resolve the issues between them and restart construction of the $3.5 billion resort. During a press conference, he said the government will move forward on that date with what he called the “chilling prospect” of formal liquidation proceedings, under which the government would take over the property from the family of Sarkis Izmirlian. Izmirlian halted payments to the project contractor, China State Construction Engineering Corp., over delays to the resort’s opening. Izmirlian, the contractor and financier Export-Import Bank of China have been in what have been called “constructive” talks for two weeks.  •  The managing director of Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd., Shen Yan, said the company’s “temporary casino” on the island of Saipan had received more customers than anticipated, saying the first phase of the new integrated resort could be complete by the end of 2016. The operator had a soft opening of its temporary casino in July. At a press briefing, owners said the casino has hosted 5,700 to 5,800 customers per day since the soft opening.  •  Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment has requested approval of a plan by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to expand the gaming floor at its Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, by 15 percent, to 176,596 square feet. Few details have been released about the expansion, other than the fact Parx will add 220 slot machines, a 6.7 percent increase, and 14 tables, or 8 percent, to a total of 182.  •  Design Works Gaming has launched The Great Winaldo on IGT’s social gaming mobile and desktop website, DoubleDown Casino. The game is centered on a 19th century magician act that rewards players with Second Chance Stacks and free games. “There are many games in the market today that feature stacked symbols,” said Troy Zurawski, President and CEO of Design Works Gaming. “Too often, they tease the potential of a big win, but none have provided a second chance, until now. We went a step further and gave players a second chance at triggering the free game bonus, or even improving it.”  •  Cash-handling component supplier SuzoHapp celebrated the official opening last week of its new state-of-the-art 22,000-square-foot facility in Vaughan, Canada. The facility will be dedicated to providing the latest banknote validation technology. The Bill-to-Bill Banknote Recycler and MFL Banknote Validator product lines are designed and manufactured in Canada.  •  NetEnt has signed a license agreement with gaming operator Gala Coral. After a successful integration process, a selection of NetEnt’s games is now live and available in Gala Coral’s online casino network. “I am very pleased that we are launching a selection of our world-class games with Gala Coral’s strong brands, and look forward to this important partnership,” said Enrico c Chief of European market operations.  •  Scientific Games Corporation has signed a new contract to provide an instant game cooperative services program (CSP) to Land Brandenburg Lotto GmbH in Brandenburg, Germany. The six-year contract for full-service CSP began in July and may be extended for an additional three years. Scientific Games will advise the lottery’s instant product portfolio, and provide product development, design and manufacturing instant games as well as warehousing, packaging and distribution. Scientific Games currently provides products and services to more than 150 lottery customers in 50 countries, including the 16 lotteries in Germany.  •  Almost 300 employees of the Beijing Imperial Palace Hotel have complained to China’s Labor Affairs Bureau that they are not being paid. They say members of the hotel staff have been stiffed for several months running, and the arrears include regular, overtime and holiday pay. The hotel faced similar accusations in 2013 and 2014; those cases have already been resolved, said the DSAL.  ?  The Gaming Standards Association announced its 2015 European Update Meeting is planned for November 17 at the Novomatic Forum in Vienna, Austria, and will be hosted by the NOVOMATIC Group.   •   Jackpot Mobile Casinois adding six new mobile slot games from the NYX Gaming Group and plans to add 25 more other mobile gaming providers in the coming months.  •  Penn National Gaming, owner of the M Resort and Tropicana in Las Vegas, and The D Las Vegas have joined the Nevada Resort Association, association officials announced October 15. Tropicana and M Resort President and D Las Vegas CEO Derek Stevens will become board members.  •  Rock of Ages will end its run at the Venetian on January 3, after performing more than 1,000 shows on the Las Vegas Strip since opening in December 2012.  •  Euro Games Technology has added 1,050 skilled professionals and opened a new manufacturing facility in Sofia, Bulgaria, as it continues being one of Europe’s fastest growing gaming companies.  •  Asian data services provider IP Converge Data Services announced it is expanding into Europe as the Internet data center provider for the Alderney Gambling Control Commission in the Channel Islands.  •  Ladbrokes announced Digital Director Andrew Bagguley is leaving the firm with no reason announced and just six months after taking his current role, and he will be replaced by Commercial O
perations Director Nick Zajdel.  •  Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway in New York has added electronic blackjack and three-card poker games to its electronic gaming options.   •   The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and the Professional Bull Riders Association agreed to continue holding rodeo events twice per year in Las Vegas through 2018.  •   Wyoming lawmakers say they will introduce legislation limiting the Wyoming Lottery Corporation, which recently introduced keno games without legislative approval.   •   Officials in Melbourne, Australia, are concerned local youth might be negatively influenced by advertisements appearing in public transportation stations that promote online and other gambling.  •  Although it won a federal lawsuit upholding its right to open a Class II casino in Yuba City, California, the Enterprise Rancheria has not yet announced its plans. “There really has been no movement,” Assemblyman James Gallagher told the Appeal-Democrat. “There has been no discussion that I have heard of.” The tribes who sued to stop the casino, Colusa Indian Community, and the United Auburn Indian Community, are considering an appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  •  The Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians and Black Oak Casino Resort have donated a combined $100,000 to the new Sonora Regional Medical Center’s Cancer Center, in Sonora, California. The 64,000 square foot cancer center is scheduled to open late next year or early 2017.  •  The owners of Club One Casino Inc., a card club in Fresno, California, has filed for Chapter 11. The business, which employs 280, will stay open during the bankruptcy proceedings and continue paying the city $1 million a year in table fees. The company filed bankruptcy after an unfavorable court ruling that favored creditors, including a former minority owner, who are owed almost $12 million.  •  The Mohegan Sun has been named “2015 Casino of the Year” at the International Entertainment Buyers Association Honors and Awards Ceremony in Nashville. Top entertainment executives, including ad agencies, theaters and clubs, choose the awards. The Sun operates the Mohegan Sun Arena, which is typically ranked near the top entertainment values according to several publications, including Billboard Magazine.  •  Rhode Island casino revenues are up 2.9 percent over projections despite the opening in June of the Plainridge Park slots parlor in Plainville, Massachusetts. “It appears that we may have been too pessimistic about the impact that the opening of the racino in Plainville, Mass., would have on the Twin River Casino in nearby Lincoln, but I would caution that it is still early in the fiscal year to know for sure,” said Acting Director of Revenue David M. Sullivan after the latest figures were released. The state has two casinos, Twin River and the Newport Grand. Lottery game revenues were up 7.6 percent over projections.  ?  Sociedade de Jogos de Macau SA, a unit of Macau casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd., will sponsor a Macau Grand Prix team for the third year. Suncity Group Ltd. will be the event’s title sponsor for the second year. Both firms say they are continuing their support for the event in keeping with Macau’s new emphasis on nongaming tourism activities.