Caesars Wins Initial OK in South Korea

Caesars Entertainment’s Asia dreams have taken a big step closer to reality. The U.S. casino giant has won preliminary approval from the government of South Korea to include a casino in a $2 billion resort the company plans to build near the main international airport. The partnership includes the Asia-based Lippo Group and a real estate developer.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: ‘Creepy’ Showdown

Las Vegas Sands spokesman Andy Abboud (r. in photo) squared off with Caesars Interactive head Mitch Garber last week at iGaming North America in Las Vegas, moderated by World Poker Tour co-founder Steve Lipscomb. The heavily pro-iGaming crowd listened politely as Garber parried all of the Las Vegas Sands’ argument against iGaming. The iGNA conference has clearly become the most important iGaming show on the American calendar.

UK To Impose Mandatory Licensing, Tax Increase on FOBTs

The British Parliament has passed a bill that requires all gambling operators doing business in the country to be licensed, including those operating online and offshore. The government also has raised the tax on the controversial casino-style table games—fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs)—that are the top earner for the country’s betting shops.

U.S. Partner Joins Vietnam Resort Project

VinaCapital has been trying for several years to develop a resort-scale casino in Vietnam and may finally have landed the financial backing to make it happen, with Peninsula Pacific, owned by M. Brent Stevens (l.), the former owner of Peninsula Gaming. Plans call for a luxury hotel and a casino with 90 table games on the central coast near Da Nang.

Proposed Online Gambling Ban Coming to Congress

At least two bills seeking to ban online gambling are expected to be introduced in Congress. Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz (l.) is preparing a bill and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has already been linked to a pending bill. A formal announcement of the bills could come this week.

Florida Panel Holds First Gambling Hearing

At a recent meeting of the Florida House Select Committee on Gaming, Speaker Will Weatherford (l.) said no expanded gambling legislation will pass without a constitutional amendment letting voters approve future gambling laws. Gulfstream Park racetrack lost its bid, meanwhile, to use its racino license to team with Genting for a massive casino project in Miami.

Glendale Votes To Oppose Federal Law

The Glendale City Council recently voted 4-3 to oppose a federal law that would block the Tohono O’odham Nation from building a proposed $550 million West Valley Resort and Casino. The city has spent $3 million fighting the project, although the tribe has won every lawsuit to date.

Texans Support Expanded Gambling

With new leadership about to take control in the Texas legislature in more than a decade, pro-gaming supporters hope to stem the loss of more than $4 billion Texans spend gambling in neighboring states. Rep. Allen Fletcher (l.) and Let Texans Decide estimate casinos at the state’s horseracing tracks could generate $8.5 billion in economic growth and add up to 75,000 jobs.


Smoke-Free Casino in Macau—Someday

The Macau government has agreed in principle to a request from the territory’s casino operators to make all public gaming floors smoke-free. Nothing will change any time soon, though, while the plan, which calls for installing airport-style smoking rooms, clears a forest of official bureaucracy.

Strong Quarter, Strong Year for Galaxy

Galaxy Entertainment ended 2013 on a high note with a 41 percent jump in pre-tax earnings in the fourth quarter on revenue that hit US$2.4 billion. The Macau casino giant also announced plans to develop a massive non-gaming resort on nearby Hengqin Island.

China Cracks Down on Phone ‘Gambling’

China’s Ministry of Culture is zeroing in on mobile applications that entice game players to buy apps to increase their chances of winning. The government says they’re too close to gambling for comfort.

UnionPay Targets Fake Purchases in Macau

China’s UnionPay bank card says it is cracking down on the phony jewelry and watch purchases mainland visitors make with the card when they get to Macau. The “purchases” allow gamblers to get more money out of the country than Beijing allows.

Junket Stakeholder Arrested in Hong Kong

Hong Kong authorities have arrested a shareholder in one of Macau’s largest junkets in connection with a wide-ranging investigation into money-laundering and other crimes. Police also seized HK$200 million from the suspect’s home.



Could Toronto Vote on Casino?

Noah Shopsowitz (l.), a Toronto developer, wants city residents to approve a casino in Toronto, but he’ll have to act fast. Any legislative measure would have to be in place and ready to go before the deadline of April 30. One councillor says the people of Toronto are unlikely to vote yes.

Jamaica Casino Could Soon Break Ground

Construction of Jamaica’s first licensed casino could begin as early as this summer. Celebration Jamaica Development Ltd. plans a vast casino complex that could hire as many as 4,000 full-time workers. The goal is to stoke the Montego Bay economy.

Could Ottawa Get a New Casino?

In 2013, the city of Ottawa voted to restrict local gaming to the Rideau Carleton Raceway (l.). But the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. is working to grow the gaming options in the provincial community, and possibly across Ontario.

Regulation Gets Costly at Crown Melbourne

Budget cuts could bring an end to the 24-hour presence of gaming inspectors at Australia’s Crown Melbourne. But Victoria’s regulatory agency has assured the state government that oversight will not suffer.


Judge Dismisses One Count in Class Action Suit Against PokerStars

A federal judge has dismissed one count of a class action suit brought against PokerStars seeking to recover gambling losses for players. U.S. District Court Judge David R. Herndon ruled that PokerStars acts as a third party in providing poker games and does not affect the outcome of games.

New Jersey Avoids More Online Gambling Budget Projections

The administration of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (l.) is holding off on making predictions about online gambling revenue in the state after getting burned on its projections for this year’s budget. Christie had projected $180 million in taxes from online gambling, So far New Jersey has taken in $3 million in taxes.

Delaware’s Dover Downs Adds Social Poker Game

Delaware’s Dover Downs Hotel & Casino has launched a free-to-play social poker game available on Facebook. The game offers players a chance to win comps at the land-based casino. The software was supplied by social casino studio Playsino. Hoping for Rebound After Tough 2013 suffered major losses in revenue—especially stemming from the company’s involvement in the Greek market—last year. But with FIFA World Cup expected to give online betting a boost and a successful launch of Party Poker in the U.S., the company is expecting to see growth in 2014.

CCOP Begins Advertising Campaign

The Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection has spent $250,000 on paid ads in favor of online gambling in the U.S. The group was formed to fight the Sheldon Adelson-backed Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.

Tribal iGaming Workshops Scheduled from BMM Testlabs

BMM Testlabs will hold two regional tribal iGaming workshops in April. Included are an event hosted by The Prairie Island Indian Community at Treasure Island Casino in Welch, Minnesota on April 3-4, and an event hosted by The Eastern Shawnee Band at Indigo Sky Casino in Wyandotte, Oklahoma on April 17-18.

Betfred Got Bargain on the Tote

A recent report says Betfred paid 32 million pounds less than originally thought when it purchased then British-owned bookmaker the Tote in 2011. The company negotiated the lower price by making an early payment of the funds.

Playtech Unveils Lobby Stream

Playtech has announced the launch of its Live Clickable Lobby Stream feature that enables players to join live games from a real-time lobby stream with a single click.

BetSoft Introduces New Games

3D slots developer BetSoftGaming has expanded its ToGo mobile portfolio with two new games. Under the Sea and 21 Burn Blackjack are optimized for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.


Massachusetts Tribal Casino in Doubt

The entry by Foxwoods into the gaming license process for a casino at the New Harbor Mall (l.) in Fall River gives the southeastern gaming zone a new face. It also complicates the efforts of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe to qualify for a license in that zone.

Kentucky Expansion Hanging by Thread

Greg Stumbo (l.), the speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives, declared bills to create a constitutional amendment expanding gambling dead unless the Senate passes it first.

Casino Issue Not Buried in New Hampshire

Despite what some would call a conclusive defeat of gaming expansion in the New Hampshire House, Senator Lou D’Allesandro (l.) and some diehard casino supporters of the Rockingham Park see the possibility of a comeback in the remaining two months.

Resistance in Delaware

In the wake of a new projection showing lower revenues for the fiscal year, members of the Delaware General Assembly are objecting to a proposed tax and fee break for casinos.

More Casino Bidders in New York

The Stockbridge Munsee tribe may be getting in on the action, and other would-be bidders are coming out with details about their New York casino plans, including Empire Resorts’ $750 million Adelaar (l.). The numbers of bidders may diminish, however, when it’s time to pay the $1 million upfront fee.

Warner Gaming Joins Biloxi Boardwalk

William Warner’s Warner Hospitality has signed on to develop and manage Chris Ferrara’s Biloxi Boardwalk Resort and Casino in East Biloxi, Mississippi (l.). The property will feature a casino, 300-room hotel and conference center. Warner’s company also is developing the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City, Iowa.

Illinois May Expand Gaming

Illinois could add a mega-casino in Chicago and several smaller casinos in the suburbs if a lawmaker has his way. Legislation being considered could empower a Windy City casino with 10,000 gaming stations. But “boutique” video gaming parlors (l.) are exploding.

Is Boyd Gaming REIT-Ready?

The hedge fund Elliott Associates has acquired a 5 percent stake in Las Vegas-based Boy Gaming. That’s led analysts to speculate Boyd will attempt to form a real estate investment trust, or REIT, to boost the value of its business.

Tropicana Atlantic City Announces Major Renovations

Tropicana Atlantic City has announced plans for a $35 million renovation, which would create a massive light show at the casino, refurbish Tropicana’s north tower and add new retail and dining space. The expansion plan has not yet received state approval.

Iowa Casinos Like Competition, Says Expert

Learn to stop worrying and love competition is the message that a veteran of Iowa gaming, and a proponent of the proposed Cedar Crossing Casino, in Cedar Rapids, has for existing casinos in that market.

New Jersey Lawmakers Decry Lack of Sports Betting

With the NCAA basketball tournament under way, several New Jersey lawmakers held a press conference in Atlantic City pointing out that while Las Vegas casinos are packed with bettors, Atlantic City is nearly empty. The difference—sports betting is legal in Vegas and not in Atlantic City.

LVH, Stratosphere OK Union Deals

The Culinary and Bartenders unions in Las Vegas have reached tentative agreements with the Stratosphere and LVH for new five-year employee contracts. Hundreds of employees at the new Quad have also voted to join the union. Ten casinos remain unsettled.

Best-Ever March in Vegas?

A combination of big sporting events and big conventions could break last year’s record-setting tourism numbers for the month of March. Last year, 3.5 million visitors came to town. That record should be easy to beat, with the ConExpo-ConAgg convention in town.

Revel Atlantic City Workers Explore Unionizing

A group of Revel casino workers recently presented the Atlantic City casino’s management with a petition asking that they be allowed to explore unionizing the casino. The Revel Union Committee wants the casino to allow a union organizing drive, and the situation may affect a potential investor in the property.

McCarran Plans Bond Issue

With airport revenues on the rise, officials at McCarran International outside Las Vegas plans to sell $316 million in bonds. County officials are confident the second-largest U.S. airport will continue to be profitable.

Will New York Put VLTs at JFK?

New York senators have backed a resolution that would allow video lottery terminals at JFK and LaGuardia airports in New York City. The nonbinding resolution doesn’t have much traction, and Governor Andrew Cuomo is not likely to back it.

Atlantic City Seeks Nonprofit Convention Sales Arm

The New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority is looking to create a nonprofit organization to attract conventions to Atlantic City. The move is designed to make the city more competitive in the convention business, but creating the organization has taken longer than expected.

Clark County Again Looks at Dotty’s Model

Clark County, Nevada lawmakers may do battle again with the operators of so-called slot taverns. According to regulations, the taverns must make most of their money from food and beverage sales, not slots. Some of the taverns have failed to conform.

HOB Fires Staffers Caught in Sting

The Foundation Room at the House of Blues in Las Vegas has fired 10 employees implicated in a sting operation that uncovered drug activity and prostitution. MGM Resorts, the property’s landlord, was slapped with a $500,000 fine.


Margaritaville Revitalizing Creeks’ Property

As the Muscogee (Creek) Nation's RiverSpirit Casino near Tulsa transforms into a Margaritaville complex, the tribe's RiverWalk Crossing shopping center is starting to benefit. The tribe purchased the center two years ago for $11.5 million and plans to connect it to the casino, possibly with a low-water dam.

Walker Defends Kenosha Delay Request

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (l.) brushed off criticism of his request to the federal government for a six-month delay on his Kenosha casino decision. Walker said he wants to be “deliberative” to make sure the new casino won’t result in job cuts elsewhere in the state. The request moves the decision past the November elections in which Walker is seeking a second term.

New York Town Nixes Seneca Casino

The town board of Henrietta, New York, near Rochester, has unanimously voted against the development of a casino in the town. The Seneca Nation of Indians just bought 32 acres of vacant land in hopes of building there.

California Tribe Challenges Referendum’s Legality

A northern California gaming tribe, the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians, has filed a challenge to the constitutionality of a referendum that, if passed, would repeal its gaming compact with the state.

Tribe Proposes Grand Forks Casino Partnerships

The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa asked the city of Grand Forks, North Dakota to form a partnership to develop a destination entertainment complex featuring a casino and hotel. Tribal chair Richard McCloud said the proposal addresses concerns expressed by the city when it defeated a casino plan in 2006.

Two Pueblos Request Compact Talks

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez' deputy of staff and lead gambling compact negotiator Jessica Hernandez confirmed she has started gambling compact talks with Zuni Pueblo and Jemez Pueblo. Last month lawmakers rejected a compact that would have let the Navajo Nation open three more casinos over 15 years. Currently 14 tribes own casinos.

High Court Sends Duluth Case To Feds

The Minnesota Supreme Court recently sent the legal battle between the city of Duluth and the Fond du Lac Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa to federal court. Duluth had sued to block the tribe from expanding its trust holdings to include an old hotel next to its downtown casino (l.).

New California Casino to Open March 31

A new casino will open March 31 in California Coachella Valley, Tortoise Rock Casino, the second casino operated by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians.

Maine Senate ‘Pauses’ Gaming Expansion

The Maine Senate last week voted not to go forward with bills that would have allowed Scarborough Downs racetrack to become a racino, and empowered two tribes to build casinos.

Lawmaker Opposes Poarch Beer Sales

Alabama state Senator Bryan Taylor (l.) has sponsored a measure that would exclude the Poarch Band of Creek Indians from selling draft beer and offering Sunday beer sales. State Rep. Paul Beckmann and local officials said Taylor's bill is unfair. Millbrook Mayor Al Kelley wondered why the state legislature even has to get involved.

Ho-Chunk Asks To Intervene In Iowa

Ho-Chunk Inc. has requested to intervene in Penn National Gaming's lawsuit against the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. Last year the IRGC chose to award a gaming license to the developers of the Hard Rock Sioux City over Ho-Chunk and Penn National. Ho-Chunk alleges, like Penn National, that the IRGC violated its own selection procedures.

Northern Winz General Manager Suspended

Officials of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation recently suspended the general manager at its Northern Winz Casino in Box Elder, Montana. Tribal spokesman Larry Denny refused to name the manager but said investigators are looking into possible gaming violations.


Primm Valley Names VP/GM

Stuart Richey, a 20-year veteran of the casino industry, has been promoted from assistant general manager to vice president and general manager of Primm Valley Casino Resorts. Richey has previously worked at the President in St. Louis, and a number of casinos in Vegas.


MGM, Pinnacle: Marketing Partners

MGM Resorts International and Pinnacle Entertainment have announced a joint marketing partnership that will link the companies’ rewards programs, MGM’s M Life and Pinnacle’s MyChoice.

GPI to Acquire GemGroup

Gaming Partners International will acquire the assets of GemGroup, a privately held manufacturer of casino currency and the Gemaco brand of playing cards. GPI CEO Greg Gronau says the buy makes his company the dominant force in playing cards.

IGT Signs Oregon VLT Deal

IGT will provide 850 new video lottery terminals to the Oregon State Lottery, which augments more than 1,500 games the company agreed last year to provide the lottery.

Aristocrat Places VLTs, System in Spain

Aristocrat Leisure Ltd.’s lottery division has placed its TruServ SBG system and a bank of its Viridian terminals in a VLT operation in Saragoza, Spain.

G&D System Wins Award

The BPX X9 single-note inspection system has won the iF Design Award in the product design category from a panel of international experts.


GLI Welcomes 300 to Roundtable

GLI’s North American Roundtable, part of the GLI University program, drew nearly 300 regulators from North America and the Caribbean to Las Vegas. Bo Bernhard (l.), the executive director of UNLV’s International Gaming Institute, offered the keynote address.




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