Macau Books $45 Billion in 2013

Macau’s casino boom hit a new height in 2013, posting $45 billion in gaming revenue on the strength of increased visitation from China and steadily expanding rail and air transportation. In revenue terms, the market’s value is now about seven times greater than the Las Vegas Strip. And the future continues to look bright for the Asian casino capital.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Vote Set in Revere

The convoluted procedure that resulted from the defeat of a casino referendum in East Boston, but approval in neighboring Revere has resulted in a new partner and a new location for the casino, and now a new date for a re-vote. And two casino proposals in Massachusetts got the green light for financial and ethical suitability in December from the Bay State’s gaming commission’s investigative arm. Those findings were endorsed by the panel, which will vote on individual licenses in May. All casino developers submitted their plans by the December 31 deadline.

Atlantic Club Demise to Impact Atlantic City

The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, after being sold at a bargain-basement price, will close on January 13 after 33 years of continuous operation under various owners. But one group has challenged the deal.

Adelson Eyes Major Cities for Integrated Resorts

Just weeks after walking away from plans for an integrated resort in Madrid, Sheldon Adelson (l.) is back. The Las Vegas Sands chairman said he’s interested in building integrated resorts in some of Europe’s major cities.

Matsu Casinos Possible in Five Years

Casinos are coming to Taiwan’s Matsu islands. The question is when. A top government official says five years, but even he admits his time frame is optimistic.

Feds Shut Down Oklahoma Online Tribal Casino

Efforts to legalize tribal online gaming hit a serious roadblock last week when the federal government blocked a website owned by an Oklahoma tribe, which had reached an agreement with the state government to operate it.

Massachusetts Tribe Wins BIA OK on Compact

The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe got approval from the Interior Department on its recent compact with the state of Massachusetts, freeing it to begin pursuit of a state gaming license and construction of a casino in Taunton (l.). At the same time, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), wants a lawsuit filed against it by Governor Deval Patrick switched from state to federal court.

Genting Building UK’s Biggest Casino

Resorts World Birmingham will be Britain’s largest casino when it opens in 2015. The £150 million complex will feature a hotel, retail, restaurants and convention facilities.

Analysts: National Harbor a Revenue Gem

Analysts are saying that the casino license won by MGM Resorts International for Prince George’s County, Maryland, could be the most lucrative gaming license of the decade.

Walker May Further Delay Kenosha Casino Decision

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (l.) may delay his decision on the Menominee tribe's proposed $800 million off-reservation casino in Kenosha until after the 2014 elections. Walker is running for re-election, however, his top aide said the extended time frame has nothing to do with that.

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Court Orders Seizure of Troubled Macau Hotel

Bad news continues to mount for Macau’s ailing Greek Mythology casino. The latest chapter has seen a court order the seizure of the casino’s adjoining New Century Hotel for unpaid debts.

Vietnam Casino Plan on Track, Backers Say

An investment group behind a planned gaming resort on Vietnam’s central coast say they’ve found a major gaming operator to partner up with. Genting was the original partner but the resort giant pulled out, at least in part, to the government’s ban on domestic play.

Fitch Bullish on Philippines

Fitch Ratings believes Manila’s Entertainment City (l.) will be the catalyst for 12 percent annual growth in casino revenues in the Philippines. The ratings agency also likes the country’s popularity as a tourist destination and forecasts an increase in the country’s share of the global casino market to 5 percent over the next several years.

Macau Weighs Non-Smoking Rooms in Casinos

Macau’s six casino concessions have proposed non-smoking rooms in their casinos as a solution to government-imposed smoking restrictions that don’t appear to be working for anybody. The government plans to set up a task force to study the proposal.

EUROPEAN GAMING More

Medvedev: No Casinos in Sochi

Investors are expecting massive losses from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and some are proposing casino gambling as a way to recoup them. There is talk that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (l.) favors the idea, but he strenuously denies it.

Labor Vows to Rein In FOBTs

UK Labor Party leader Ed Miliband (l.) says his party will give local governments greater powers to ban or reduce the numbers of electronic table games in betting shops. The controversial machines are viewed by many as a leading cause of gambling addiction and other social ills.

Ranks Talks Legalization in N. Ireland

The possibility of casino legalization in Northern Ireland is inching forward in the wake of talks between UK casino giant Rank Group and members of the province’s major political parties. Religious leaders are steadfast against the idea, however, and opposition is expected to be stiff.

GLOBAL GAMING More

Vancouver OKs Edgewater Casino Move

Paragon Gaming sparked backlash with a plan to move a Vancouver casino from one side of the street to the other. Regulators gave a conditional OK.

Echo Unveils Billion-Dollar Plan for Brisbane

Echo Entertainment is ready to pony up big money to secure its place as the leading casino operator in the Australian state of Queensland. The company’s plans call for a six-star hotel complex with an array of non-gaming attractions in the capital of Brisbane to replace the its Treasury Casino (l.) there.

ONLINE GAMING More

Analysis: PartyPoker Takes Early Lead in New Jersey

According to figures released by PokerScout, which tracks online poker play, PartyPoker and BorgataPoker.com have grabbed 50 percent of New Jersey’s online poker market. WSOP.com has 30 percent. As a whole, the state’s online poker sites average 480 players online at any given time.

New Jersey Online Gambling Gets Big Marketing Push

Many Atlantic City casinos and their online gambling partners waited for online gaming to go live in the state before launching advertising campaigns. Now, more than a month into online gaming, the state is seeing a massive marketing blitz on radio, TV and billboards.

Poll Finds Americans Support Online Gambling

A new poll finds that 65 percent of U.S. residents have a positive view of online gambling while 32 percent think online gambling should be banned. The poll found that respondents with lower incomes were more likely to support a ban.

Bitcoin Values Plunge

The virtual currency Bitcoin saw its values drop after a series of international moves that hurt the currency’s viability. China’s largest online market stopped accepting Bitcoins, Denmark announced it will set Bitcoin regulations and India’s largest Bitcoin exchange shut down operations.

Skrill CEO Talks New Jersey Online Gambling

Neil Steinhardt, CEO of online payment system Skrill, gave a recent e-mail interview to Online Poker Report where he discusses his company’s involvement with New Jersey online gambling sites.

UNITED STATES GAMING More

Atlantic City Swears In New Mayor

It’s been no secret that the relationship between the Atlantic City government and the casino industry has been rocky for more than a dozen years. But an upset winner in November’s mayoral election promises better times for the city, with the winner, Don Guardian (l.), sworn in on New Year’s Day.

Third Arena for Vegas?

Former NBA player Jackie Robinson plans to develop a multimillion-dollar sports stadium on 27 acres in Vegas. It could be the city’s third, but MGM’s arena is ready to break ground.

Judge Allows Iowa Hard Rock To Proceed

With an emergency stay granted by Iowa Supreme Court Justice Brent Appel on December 19, construction continues on the $128.5 million Hard Rock in Sioux City, Iowa. Earlier, a Polk County District judge suspended Hard Rock's gaming license pending litigation between Penn National and the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

Atlantic City Challenges Borgata Tax Judgment

An expected challenge to a $48 million tax judgment for the Borgata Casino Hotel & Spa has been filed by Atlantic City. The resort maintains that the original tax court considered erroneous evidence and “acted arbitrarily and abused its discretion” in its ruling.

Las Vegas Makes Bid to Keep Rodeo

After 30 years, the popular National Finals Rodeo may saddle up and leave Las Vegas. But Sin City is making an 11th hour effort to keep the event from fleeing to Orlando, Florida.

New York Counties to Add VLTs

Two counties on Long Island, New York hope to realize millions in new revenues from 1,000-machine slot parlors in their communities, which won’t be counted as one of the casinos approved for the state in last year’s law.

Vegas Vies for 2016 GOP Convention

Could red-staters bring the party to Nevada, home of gambling and legal prostitution? Las Vegas will make a big pitch to win the lucrative GOP event.

Strip Gaming Up in November

Gaming revenues on the Las Vegas Strip were up almost 23 percent in November, but Downtown and the locals market saw declines. Baccarat again leads the increase.

Smaller Halls Attract Vegas Performers

Bigger is not always better, even in Las Vegas, which has seen a recent trend toward more intimate concert halls. The Cosmopolitan’s Chelsea (l.) is just the latest to join the trend.

Deadwood Casinos Seek to Add Games

Casinos in South Dakota’s casino town Deadwood want to be able to operate with the same games that their competitors offer in neighboring states. They are petitioning the legislature for an amendment to the constitution.

Detroit Casino To Renovate

Greektown Casino, the Detroit gaming hall recently bought by Rock Gaming, will get a makeover in a bid to increase profitability and compete more strongly with MGM Detroit and MotorCity, along with Caesars Windsor.

Mississippi Moves

Several developments at Mississippi’s commercial casinos show there is still some life in the market, particularly in Biloxi where new construction is ready to commence. Margaritaville (l.) will add a 250-room hotel.

Centaur Refinancing Covers Indiana Track Improvements

Centaur Gaming recently received the approval of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission for a slots-revenue distribution agreement. The agreement will allow Centaur to refinance and cover $36.5 million in improvements at its Indiana Downs and Hoosier Park Racing & Casino over the seven-year term of the agreement.

Casinos Spelled Doom for Hollywood Park

Ultimately, the proliferation of casinos in the Golden State helped bring about the demise of Hollywood Park. The Inglewood casino, started by movie stars, held its last race on the last weekend of 2013.

Harmon Hotel Decision Due This Month

The Harmon, the flawed high-rise on the Las Vegas Strip, is a total loss due to structural defects, claims MGM. The insurance company wants more time to study it to determine who is responsible.

Video Gaming Impacting Illinois Revenue

Licensed restaurants, bars, truck stops and fraternal and veterans organizations in Illinois currently host 11,105 video gambling machines that generated $8.4 million for the state and $1.7 for cities. Meanwhile in November revenue was down at 9 out of the state's 10 casinos. Are video games cannibalizing the casinos?

New Belterra Racino Hiring 700

The $300 million Belterra Park Gaming & Entertainment Center near Cincinnati, Ohio, will hire employees for 700 jobs. Formerly known as River Downs, the facility, owned by Pinnacle Entertainment, will open in May with six new restaurants, a VIP lounge, 1,600 video lottery games and live parimutuel betting.

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Choctaws Refinancing Pearl River Upgrades

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indian will borrow $145 million and spend $88.1 million to reopen the Golden Moon Hotel & Casino (l.), renovate the Silver Star Hotel & Casino, both in the Pearl River Resort in Choctaw. The tribe also is considering building an $18.8 million casino in Carthage.

Californians to Vote on ‘Reservation Shopping’

The battle over off-reservation casinos, a practice called “reservation shopping” by critics, will be brought to the center stage of the Golden State when California voters are asked to decide whether a casino proposed the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians should be allowed.

New Mexico Legislature Gets Navajo Compact

The New Mexico legislature will have 30 days beginning January 21 to decide whether to approve of a gaming compact with the Navajo Nation submitted last year by Governor Susana Martinez (l.).

Catawbas To Open Bingo Hall

The Catawba Indian Nation, which has applied for off-reservation status for a North Carolina tract, will open a second high-stakes bingo hall in Rock Hill, South Carolina by early March. The tribe is allowed to operate up to two bingo halls under its 1993 settlement agreement with the state.

Elections Board Questions Stockman Donations

After U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman (l.) of Texas introduced a bill allowing the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe to open a casino, he received $40,000 in donations. Now the Federal Election Commission is looking into those allegedly "excessive donations." Stockman is challenging U.S. Senator John Cornyn in the Republican Senate primary.

House Asked To Investigate Poarch Band

Former U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo said he'll ask a House committee to investigate the Poarch Band of Creek Indians for tax fraud. The Poarch built the recently reopened Wind Creek Casino in Wetumpka, Alabama, on the sacred Hickory Ground, which it bought with taxpayer funds and promised to preserve forever.

Stockbridge-Munsee Join Cayuga Complaint

Two tribes have joined forces to oppose the Oneida Indian Nation’s 10-county monopoly on gaming in central New York State. The Stockbridge-Munsee and the Cayugas are opposing the deal.

Duluth May Reclaim Casino Revenue

A U.S. District Court judge denied the U.S. Department of Justice's motion to dismiss Duluth's lawsuit against the Fond du Lac tribe. The city sued the tribe—and could reclaim millions of dollars—over the tribe's termination of its agreement to share revenue from its Fond du Luth Casino (l.).

Mohegans Invest Heavily in Catskills

The Mohegan tribe is partnering with Westchester developer Louis Cappelli to pursue a possible casino expansion in New York state at the former Concord site (l.).

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Murren Named to U.S. Panel

President Barack Obama has appointed MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO James Murren to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, which provides the president with advice on critical infrastructure sections and their IT systems.

Trump CFO Resigns

Trump Entertainment CFO David R. Hughes is leaving his post effective January 13 to assume the CFO position at Shore Medical Center in Somers Point, New Jersey.

Star Crossed

The previous president of Star Casino in Sydney created a national scandal. His replacement, Frederic Luvisutto (l.), stabilized the property, but has just announced his resignation.

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Inspired Launches ‘White Knight’

Inspired Gaming Group has launched “White Knight,” a new game in its “Freespins+” to live gaming venues in the U.K., and soon to international VLT markets.

Bally Faces Fines in Registration Case

According to a complaint by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the slot company Bally Technologies has a history of not registering employees who work in gaming.

Ohio Hard Rock Taps NEWave

The new Hard Rock Rocksino in Ohio opened with the NEWave myCompliance Manager software suite in place to protect compliance issues in several areas.

Big Increases on Tap for Paradise

An analyst predicts that Hong Kong-listed supplier Paradise Entertainment, parent company of Macau’s LT Game, predict that the company’s sales will quintuple in 2014.

West Virginia Approves Touch Screen Betting

A new hybrid gambling system will allow players at West Virginia's four racinos to bet on live table games with touch screens located next to the tables. Lottery Director John Musgrave hopes Rapid Fusion will boost table-games revenue, which dropped 36 percent in the first five months of fiscal 2013-14.

TRADE SHOWS & CONFERENCES More

Japan Trade Show Eyed by AGA and Reed Exhibitions

With one eye on possible legalization of gaming in Japan, the major trade show and conference operator in the gaming industry, Global Gaming Expo, is ready to launch an event there, demonstrating the importance of the nation to the industry.

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Freeman: Welcome to the 2014 AGA

Geoff Freeman, the president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, issued a new-year proclamation that is poised to reposition and strengthen the industry’s major trade association in 2014.

Casino on Prison Site?

Officials in Saratoga County, New York, have proposed turning a medium-security corrections facility into one of New York State’s glitzy new gambling halls.

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