Small Nuggets of News

A December 9 ribbon-cutting is scheduled for the new Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort in D’Iberville, Mississippi. The $290 million venue, located on the Gulf Coast’s Back Bay just north of Biloxi, features 300 rooms and suites, three restaurants, a buffet, a pool, and a 36-hole miniature golf course built around an exploding mechanical volcano.  •  Online betting operator Betway has become a sponsor of the Davis Cup and Fed Cup tennis competitions, according to the International Tennis Federation, which said the company will sponsor the men’s and women’s team events through 2018.  •  Machine gaming has returned to Wyoming after the state’s Pari-Mutuel Commission approved an initial series of 65 new gaming terminals for bars and off-track betting locations. The games, which allow players to bet on the outcomes of past horse races, were shut down by the commission on October 2. The closure was ordered to comply with a ruling by the state Attorney General’s Office that the old terminals’ software allowed for a component of luck or randomness, rendering them too close to casino-style slot machines, which are illegal in Wyoming. State law requires that payouts be determined by player skill.   •  West Virginia Lottery revenue totaled $381 million for the current fiscal year through October 31, a decline of 4 percent, more than $14 million, from the same period in 2014. Lottery officials attribute the bulk of the decline to ongoing softness in video lottery machine play at the state’s four racetrack casinos. Revenue from the games is down about $8.5 million from the July-October period last year. Revenue at the state’s casinos has been declining for years, mostly due to increased competition from casinos in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Lottery revenue last year was already down more than 20 percent—about $314 million—from 2012.  •  The UK’s industry-backed Responsible Gambling Trust plans to provide £580,000 (US$875,000) in grants to fund five problem gambling education, counseling and outreach programs. The funding will build on a trial run of several programs in England, Scotland and Wales that concluded earlier this year. The trust said it plans to expand the grants to include the military and criminal justice system and will request bids for those programs in 2016.  •  Michigan’s Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe distributed more than $2.9 million this month to local education and government services as part of a semi-annual allocation of funds derived from its Soaring Eagle and Saganing Eagles Landing casinos.   •  The riverboat that housed Davenport, Iowa’s shuttered Rhythm City Casino has been sold to a Memphis group for an unreported sum. The Mississippi River vessel, purchased by RC Casino from Isle of Capri in 2014, is being replaced by a $110 million land-based casino expected to open in May. RC also owns the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort in Riverside near Iowa City.  •  With a new €20 note in circulation as of November 25, bill validator supplier SuzoHapp announced it is providing its customers with the necessary software and hardware solutions to easily update their machines and devices to be able to accept the new note, representing one of the most used of the euro banknote denominations. The bill-to-bill recyclers and MFL bill validators, by design, are ready to accept the new €20 banknote and only require a simple software update, according to the company.  •  MGM Resorts International has signed a deal to buy three Lineage 1000E large-cabin business jets and three Legacy 500 mid-sized jets from Embraer, for use flying high-rollers to its properties. The deal, signed at the Las Vegas trade show of the National Business Aviation Association, was sealed with letters of intent from MGM for more than $200 million. The new Lineage has a range of 4,600 nautical miles with eight passengers, giving it the ability to fly nonstop from Las Vegas to Dublin. It is equipped with fly-by-wire flight controls and can be fitted with optional autoland and an enhanced vision system. The Legacy 500 has a range of 3,125 nautical miles with four passengers.  •  A Pennsylvania woman has been cited for criminal trespass, and forced to surrender a $3,041 slot jackpot, because she had previously placed her self on the state’s five-year self-exclusion list for problem gamblers. The forfeited winnings, lodged at Mount Airy Casino, go to the state’s Compulsive and Problem Gambling Treatment Fund.  •  Bensalem, Pennsylvania’s Parx Casino opened the first stage of its multi-phase expansion project. The first phase adds new slot machines and live table games, a lounge, gift shop and new restrooms. Pending final approval from regulatory authorities, more than 200 slot machines were expected to be added, bringing the casino’s total to more than 3,500, as well as more than 100 live table games for a total of more than 200. The entire approved expansion plan will increase the property’s size to 176,592 square feet of gaming space, up from about 160,000.  •  The Florida Gaming Congress, sponsored by Spectrum Gaming Group, is set for January 6-7 in Orlando. The event, now in its 10th year, provides viewpoints and expertise on the gaming issues facing Florida. Speakers this year include Maureen Adams, president and general manager of Calder Race Course, Inc.; Marc Dunbar, a partner in Jones Walker legal firm; Steve Geller, former president of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States; Izzy Havenick, vice president of political affairs for Magic City Casino, Naples Fort Myers Greyhound Racing and Poker, and Dania Jai-Alai; Dave Jonas, CEO, Casino Miami and Donn Mitchell, chief administrative officer for Isle of Capri Casinos Inc.  •  New York lifted its 1973 ban on Palm Sunday horse racing, making Christmas and Easter the only days the state does not allow racing.  •  The Las Vegas Country Club announced it is listing its 18-hole golf course for sale and anticipate getting at least $20 million for the historic golf course.  •  The Nevada Taxicab Authority approved 30 more cabs per company in Las Vegas, bringing the total number of taxicab medallions to 480, which is the most ever in Sin City.  •  The New York Gaming Commission did not include a vote on four pending gaming licenses for four proposed casinos during its November 20 monthly meeting.  •  McCarran International Airport reported 4.1 million passengers during October due to an increase in domestic passenger travel, while international travel declined slightly.  •  The 38.5-acre site of the stalled SkyVue Observation Wheel project on the east side of the Las Vegas Strip and across from the Mandalay Bay Casino is for sale for an estimated $385 million.  •  Canadian tech firm Amaya ranked third on the Deloitte Technology Fast 50TM and 23rd on the Technology Fast 500TM, which is the first time Amaya appeared on either list, which recognizes leadership, innovation, and excellence in the tech sector.  •  The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved fines totaling $22,500 against Chester Downs and Marina, LLC, operator of the Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack. The fines were for two separate matters and the result of the approvals of consent agreements between the PGCB’s Office of Enforcement Counsel and Chester Downs and Marina, LLC—a$15,000 fine for failing to properly address automatic shuffler error lights and failing to count the cards of a deck in use at a blackjack table following a jam of that shuffler on March 7, 2015; and a $7,500 fine for allowing an employee to work at the casino between March and May 2015 even though the employee did not have a valid gaming license from the PGCB.  •  Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino announced that it is bringing two legendary local eateries to the casino as part of its $164 million expansion. Local companies Geno’s Steaks, Saxbys and Tacconelli’s Pizzeria will be opening shops at the casino’s upcoming food-and-beverage area called the Marketplace on the expanded casino floor, SugarHouse General Manager Wendy Hamilton told the Philadelphia Business Journal. Saxbys and Geno’s will be adjacent to each other; Tacconelli’s will be located across Saxbys and Geno’s, with an eating area with tables and seating in between.  •  Caesars Entertainment has received a 100 percent score on the 2016 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) for the ninth year in a row. The company was the first gaming company to achieve this score and it is among 391 U.S. businesses that received a similar high score. The score is given by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, which promotes the rights of the LGBT) lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community.  •  Angel of the Winds Casino-Hotel, an enterprise of the Stillaguamish Tribe of Washington state located in Arlington, has opened the state’s first tribally owned microbrewery, Angel’s Tap House Brewery. The brewery, which is about 1,200 square feet, is opening with eight custom-brewed bees. It will also serve artisan pizzas baked in front of guests as well as smoked meats such as brisket and pulled pork.