Online Throw Down in D.C.

A bill introduced into Congress by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (l.) and Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) would toughen the Federal Wire Act and prohibit all forms of online gambling in the U.S. The bill does not include a grandfather clause for the three states—Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware—that have already legalized online gambling, nor for states that have begun online sales of lottery tickets.

Featured Stories More

WEEKLY FEATURE: Back in the USA

The sale of PokerStars to Amaya Gaming for $4.9 billion could open the door for the poker giant’s entry into the fledgling U.S. online market. Amaya and its chairman, David Baazov (l.), are scheduled to enter talks with New Jersey regulators to bring the brand into the state’s online market, where the company already has a partnership with Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. Amaya’s stock surged after the acquisition was announced.

WEEKLY FEATURE: Tough Times In Tunica

With business dramatically down, Caesars Entertainment announced it will close its Harrah's casino in Tunica on June 2, laying off up to 1,300 workers. Still, conditions are not so dire according to Full House Resorts, which announced it will purchase the Fitzgerald's Casino (l.) for $62 million.

FinCEN Mulling New Rules for Casinos

New anti-money laundering rules being considered by the U.S. Treasury Department could require casinos to vet the source of their high rollers’ funds. Although the proposed regs sound onerous, the American Gaming Association’s Geoff Freeman (l.) says the organization is actively engaged in negotiations with Treasury’s FinCEN.

‘Bad Actors’ Cause Scene in California’s Poker Bills

Two bills have been introduced in the California legislature to legalize online poker. One prohibits the participation of the “bad actors” like PokerStars, while the other leaves it to the regulators to determine who can work in California. California Tribal Business Alliance Chairwoman Leslie Lohse (l.) says PokerStars and its ilk should be banned.

A Promised Land for Macau—in China

The head of China’s Macau liaison office supports the idea of providing the territory with land in the neighboring mainland province of Guangdong to help it diversify its economy away from gaming. Li Gang says the space can help Macau develop businesses in manufacturing, medical services and technology.

Ho-Chunk Ready To Revive Plan

Warrior Entertainment, which wants to renovate the Warrior hotel (l.) into a casino, asked to intervene in Argosy's lawsuit against the Iowa Gaming and Racing Commission. But the IRGC, Hard Rock developer SCE Partners and city of Sioux City all object. Like Argosy, owned by Penn National, the Warrior group claims the IRGC should not have awarded a gaming license to the $128.5 Hard Rock Sioux City casino.

Saipan Governor Signs Casino Bill

After several failed attempts at legalization, practical considerations finally won the day on the western Pacific island of Saipan. The cash-strapped government there has given the long-awaited go-ahead for casino development when Governor Eloy Inos (l.) signed the bill.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: A Healthy Sell Off

The boom in casino stocks for 2013 is over. The recent sell off of many gaming stocks have brought back reality to gaming investors. Is this a good thing or just a simple correction?

ASIAN GAMING More

LVS Wants To Expand in Singapore

Las Vegas Sands has asked the government of Singapore for more land to expand its hotel offering at Marina Bay Sands by 1,500 more rooms. The company says the project also will include significant new space for meetings and conventions.

Macau Lawmakers Weigh Smoking Ban

Macau’s Legislative Assembly is considering additional limits on smoking in the city’s casinos. But one lawmaker says the current restrictions are a failure and is pushing for a total ban.

Macau’s City of Dreams Reveals 5th Tower

A dramatic new tower is being planned for Macau’s City of Dreams. Melco Crown, the property owner, has contract with renowned architect Dame Zaha Hadid to design an eye-catching plan that will add another attraction to the unique property.

South Korea Gets a Qualified Thumbs Up

With South Korea’s first foreign-owned casino looking like a go, analysts like the country’s potential as a destination. They don’t like the government’s continued ban on domestic play.

Vietnam Attracting More Investment

A major expansion under way at Vietnam’s Lao Cai hotel casino is one of several big-ticket foreign investments in the country’s nascent resort industry. The government may even rescind a longstanding ban on domestic play to help move things along.

Nepal Casinos Seek Break on Fees

A trade group representing Nepal’s casinos has petitioned the government to reconsider a slew of fee increases the industry must pay to stay in business. The alternative, the group has warned, is “collapse.”

EUROPEAN GAMING More

UK Bookies Protest Tax Hike

Britain’s bookmakers are calling on Chancellor George Osborne (l.) to reconsider plans to raise the tax on revenue from electronic table game. The controversial devices are the mainstay of betting shop earnings nationwide, and operators say the increase will cost it millions and threaten thousands of jobs.

GLOBAL GAMING More

Renovations complete at InterContinental San Juan

The InterContinental San Juan Resort & Casino has completed a $22.25 million renovation project including updated guests rooms and public spaces as well as upgrades to meeting rooms and new signage at the property.

Experts: NSW’s Gambling Problem Will Worsen

Addiction specialists had sharp words for New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell and his defense of the Crown Sydney project during testimony before a parliamentary hearing on problem gambling. Contrary to O’Farrell’s assurances, they maintain the project is a threat to Sydney residents.

A Monte Carlo on the Black Sea?

Russia has taken on an extremely poor relative with its annexation of the Crimea. The Black Sea enclave will require billions in central government subsidies to stay afloat, and the Kremlin is now considering legalizing casinos to help foot the bill.

ONLINE GAMING More

Murren to AGA: Dial Back iGaming Rhetoric

MGM Resorts Chairman Jim Murren, chairman of the American Gaming Association, says the organization should de-emphasize its rhetoric on legalizing internet poker on a federal level.

New Jersey Foreign Operator Online Gambling Bill Advances

A New Jersey Senate Committee has approved a bill, sponsored by state Senator Raymond Lesniak (l.) that would allow international online gambling sites to house their operations in Atlantic City. Proponents hope the bill will attract operators looking for the legitimacy of meeting New Jersey’s regulatory approvals. International players would not be able to gamble on New Jersey online sites, however.

Minnesota Could End Online Lottery Sales

Scratch-off lottery tickets only have been sold online for just a few weeks in Minnesota, but a state Senate committee recently passed a bill to end the program. Lawmakers said the state lottery needed legislative approval to offer the games, but Lottery Executive Director Ed Van Petten said his agency was the ultimate authority.

Station Casino Exec Talks New Jersey Online Gambling

Marc Falcone (l.), chief financial officer of Station Casinos, which runs Ultimate Poker, talked recently about the problems the online casino and poker site have faced in their launch in New Jersey’s online gambling market in a recent press call with reporters. He pointed to four areas that have hurt Ultimate Poker in the state.

Morgan Stanley Lowers Online Gambling Estimate

Morgan Stanley has revised its projections on the U.S. internet gambling market, projecting the industry will be worth $3.5 billion by 2017. That represents a 30 percent drop from the firm’s previous estimate of $5 billion. The firm, however, remains optimistic about online gambling in the U.S.

New Jersey’s Online Gambling Marketing ‘Amateurish’?

New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak, speaking remotely at the iGNA conference in Las Vegas, said New Jersey’s online gambling sites have been “amateurish” in their marketing efforts and have dropped the ball in the first four months on internet gaming in the state.

Where Are New Jersey’s Online Gamblers Coming From?

With New Jersey about four months into online gambling, some casinos are releasing information on where their online gamblers are playing from. But exactly why some towns—such as Jersey City—have more online gamblers than other towns isn’t clear and presents a marketing challenge to Atlantic City casinos.

Betfair Launches New Jersey Affiliate Program

Betfair and Income Access have launched an affiliate program in New Jersey to complement the Betfair’s online casino in the state. The two companies will now work together to help affiliates promote the sites and drive traffic to it.

Google Penalizes BetOnline

BetOnline has confirmed that it has suffered a search engine penalty from Google for unspecified violations of Google’s SEO rules.

Belgium May Go After Illegal Online Gamblers

The Belgian Gaming Commission has been beefing up its enforcement and has brought its first charges against players gambling illegally. The move has led to speculation that the commission may target gamblers using illegal online gambling sites.

Microgaming Launches Dark Knight Rises, High Society

Microgaming has released a new slots game, Dark Knight Rises that gives players the chance to win 1.5 million coins. The company will also launch the new casino slot game “High Society across multiple channels, in versions to suit every type of end-user device.

Yahoo Launches Games Network

Yahoo has launched Yahoo Games Network, a new social gaming network. The network will serve as a platform for third-party game developers that want distribution on the Yahoo network.

UNITED STATES GAMING More

New Hampshire Senate Tries Again

New Hampshire Senator Lou D’Allesandro (l.) indefatigable champion of expanded gaming in the Granite State has risen after another bruising defeat in the House to try once more before this year’s legislative season ends. The Senate sent a revised bill to the recalcitrant House.

Boston Mayor Challenges Commission’s Authority

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh (l.) has challenged the authority of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to decide whether his city is a host community under the definition of the 2011 gaming expansion law. He has decided that Boston can so designate itself without the commission. Not surprisingly, the commission disagrees.

Gaming Proposals Dead in Maine

The Maine House last week drove the final nail into any gaming expansion in the state, whether commercial, Indian or racino, ignoring a request by the Senate to take up the issue again.

Scott Asks Florida Senate To Slow Down

Florida Governor Rick Scott asked state Senator Garrett Richter (l.), chair of the state Senate Gaming Committee, to slow down on a bill to authorize destination casinos in Miami-Dade and Broward counties while he negotiates the Seminole compact. Richter said he believes Scott is seeking more than the $1 billion over five years the tribe currently pays the state for table-games exclusivity.

Flaum Hedges Bets in New York

Rochester developer David Flaum (l.) has not one, not two, but four casino sites in the works as New York prepares to award the first of seven Class III licenses in the state. Perhaps the longest shot is in Orange County, about 50 miles from New York City.

Will Lone Star State Go for Gambling?

Some states have turned to casino gaming to prop up their horse racing industries. Speculation abounds that the Lone Star State could take that tack as well. It worked for Oklahoma, which realized some $3.6 billion in industry-related revenues in 2012.

MGM Resorts: Out of the Woods

During the depths of the recession, Las Vegas’s largest casino owner faced a precarious financial future. Now, under the leadership of Chairman and CEO Jim Murren, the outlook for MGM Resorts is a lot more positive. Share prices are up more than 100 percent in the past year.

Casino Issues On Colorado Ballot

This November, Colorado voters in Kiowa, Pueblo and Mesa counties, plus Aurora and De Beque may see casino initiatives on the ballot. Currently commercial casinos are authorized Black Hawk (l.), Central City and Cripple Creek, and the Ute tribes operate two casinos on reservation land.

Kansas Senate Says No Vote 'Til 2032

Kansans in Sedgwick County may not get to vote on a casino or slots at Wichita Greyhound Park until 2032, if a Senate-passed measure passes the House. County voters narrowly rejected expanded gambling in 2007. Opponents of the measure said it is retaliation against billionaire greyhound park owner Phil Ruffin (l.).

Revel Officials Say Potential Buyers Would Not Close Casino

The president of Atlantic City’s Revel Casino Hotel says potential buyers for the casino have all showed interest in continuing to run the property as a casino. Casino workers at the hotel have expressed fears that the casino could be shut in a sale and a large amount of jobs lost. A unionizing effort has begun at the casino.

Nebraska Horseracing Machines One Step Closer

Nebraska legislators defeated a filibuster to kill a measure allowing voters to decide if they want historic horseracing at the state's racetracks. The constitutional amendment would not require the governor's signature. Two years ago Governor Dave Heineman vetoed a similar measure.

Regulators Maintain DeNaples Ban

Pennsylvania regulators have denied a request by Mount Airy Casino Resort (l.) founder Louis DeNaples to lift a ban on him doing business with the property.

Nevada Regulators OK Caesars Sale

Gaming regulators in the Silver State have approved Caesars Entertainment’s plan to sell off four of its casino properties—including Bally’s Las Vegas (l.)—to a company-owned subsidiary. The deal frees $1.8 billion in cash to help the parent company pay off a record-setting level of long-term debt.

Craps, Roulette, Keno Possible In Deadwood

South Dakota voters will decide in November if craps, roulette and keno should be allowed in Deadwood casinos. The state Senate killed a bill allowing 24-hour alcohol sales in Deadwood casinos, and the House defeated bills raising the video lottery bet limit and the number of machines per establishment.

Several States Go After Internet Cafes

Many states are looking at banning or severely curtailing internet or sweepstakes cafes. Among the states taking the most extreme action are California and Ohio, which have both recently raided cafes as illegal gambling establishments.

Hefty Casino Fines Signal Zero Tolerance

In the past few years, Nevada gaming regulators have levied three separate seven-figure fines against casino companies. Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett says it’s “sending a message to the industry.”

Kentuckians Gambling In Neighboring States

The judge-executive of Kenton County, Kentucky, Steve Arlinghaus, urges voters to contact legislators and ask them to support casino gaming in the state. He said, "500 feet is all that separates Kentucky from several hundred million dollars a year."

Hsieh Buys Downtown Casino

Downtown Las Vegas entrepreneur Tony Hsieh has acquired the old Western hotel-casino for $14 million. It’s the latest Fremont Street acquisition by the Zappos CEO, who has been gobbling up Sin City real estate.

New Jersey Tourism Revenue Sets Record

New Jersey’s tourism revenue climbed to $40 billion in 2013, setting a new record for the state. The 1.3 percent increase came despite the damage Hurricane Sandy had on shore areas, though tourism did decline in Atlantic County due to Atlantic City’s continuing slide in casino revenue.

Cosmo Sees Jump In Net Revenues

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas reported a net loss in excess of $25 million for the final quarter of 2013. But its net revenues were up more than $10 million for the same period, and other segments, including nightlife and food and beverage, also did well.

MGM Opposes Nevada Education Tax

MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren says the gaming company with 56,000 employees in Nevada will work to defeat a 2 percent margins tax that would fund education in the state. MGM CEO Jim Murren says the tax would be an “unfair burden.”

Atlantic City Alliance Takes New Approach

Atlantic City Alliance, the nonprofit group led by Liza Cartmell (l.) and formed to market Atlantic City to tourists plans to augment communications efforts by focusing on specific events to promote tourism.

TRIBAL GAMING More

North Dakota Casino Planning Renovations

A "significant" renovation will start in 2015 at Dakota Magic Casino in Hankinson, North Dakota. Without naming a dollar amount, Chief Financial Officer Weston Quinn said the project will include additional gaming space with a circular bar, expanded nonsmoking gaming areas, a new casino entrance and a restaurant.

Mohegan Tribe Backs More State Aid for Host City

As tax revenue from the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut falls, the chairman of the Mohegan Sun casino is calling for more state aid to go to Montville, the casino’s host city. Montville’s share of Mohegan Sun revenues has fallen from $2.9 million in 2008 to $1.5 million last year and could go lower.

Critics: Seneca Buffalo Hasn’t Delivered

The recession forced the Seneca Nation of Indians to scale back on its casino plans for the city of Buffalo, New York. As a result, say critics, the Buffalo Creek Casino has fallen well short of its promise to bring new tourism to the community.

PEOPLE More

GTECH Reorganizes Americas Team

GTECH has reorganized its management team for the Americas under GTECH Americas President and CEO Jaymin Patel, reflecting changes in the Americas gaming landscape. Alan Eland (l.) has been promoted to COO.

Rank Group Names New CEO

The Rank Group last week announced that former William Hill executive Henry Birch (l.) has been named CEO to replace Ian Burke, who will become non-executive chairman.

NIGC Names Director of Compliance

The National Indian Gaming Commission has named a director of compliance from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Douglas Hatfield will be in charge of compliance operations among the many gaming tribes of the U.S.

Las Vegas Sands Hires Lobbyist Blanche Lincoln

Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands has hired the government consulting firm of former Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas) to lobby for the casino and for a bill outlawing online gambling in the U.S.

New Maine GM Faces Challenges

Jose Flores, the new general manager at Hollywood Casino in Bangor, Maine faces several challenges. Among them are Churchill Downs' Oxford Casino, the desire of Maine tribes and other groups to open their own casinos and competition coming up in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Choctaw Construction Chief Charged

The former head of construction at the Choctaw Casino in Durant, Oklahoma has been charged with embezzlement. Jason Brett Merida allegedly used the ill-gotten gains for his wife’s new breasts and a Cadillac.

GOODS & SERVICES More

Macau Clears SHFL of Infringement

Macau prosecutors have cleared SHFL entertainment (Asia) Ltd., now a part of Bally Technologies, of allegations of copyright infringement brought by Paradise Entertainment concerning LT Game patents. The company was forced to cover its games at G2E Asia 2012 (l.) as a result of the charges.

IGT Announces Layoffs, Realignment

IGT announced that it will trim 7 percent of its global workforce in response to declining North American revenues and other industry challenges.

Casino Kursaal Picks JCM

Spain’s Casino Kursaal has named JCM Global its preferred bill validator supplier, after a four-week test of JCM’s iVizion bill validator.

IGT Renews Wheel of Fortune Agreement

IGT has signed a new agreement with Sony Pictures Consumer Products to continue providing games based on the Wheel of Fortune game show in multiple channels. Stars Pat Sajak and Vanna White pose in front of an original version of the game.

Casino Technology Enters Colombia

The first “Gamopolis Highway” multi-game units, including 40-game libraries, have been introduced in Colombia by operator Camelotcol.

Program Screens Indian Casino Employees

Tribal Trac recently launched at the Hard Rock Tulsa in Green County, Oklahoma and in California. The company performs background screenings to help Native American casinos detect potential employee risks.

WILD CARD More

Wynn: Pay Up

A new compensation structure at Wynn Resorts will no longer be directly tied to company profits. Head honcho Steve Wynn will have to pay for his own villa (l.), and also take a pay cut from $4 million to $2.5 million.

Nevada Regulators Eye Rolling Lounges

Silver State regulators are taking a closer look at the rules governing out-of-state “rolling ultra-lounges,” which can be outfitted with stripper poles and other nightclub-style amenities. Some of the vehicles are unlicensed and could be unsafe.

Strip Sign for Sale

This space for rent: a giant sign at the Harmon Center in Las Vegas is up for lease. It will cost millions for a company to buy the naming rights for the 60-foot tall sign, which is just one part of a larger branding package.

South Carolina Senator Challenges Canasta Ban

South Caroline Senator Tom Davis says he’ll seek to have a state gaming law declared unconstitutional if it does not exclude poker and canasta games played at retirement communities.

NUTSHELL More

THEY SAID IT More

QUOTABLE QUOTES

Outrageous pronouncements, simple statements and words of wisdom