New York: The Race Is On

New York has issued a request for applications from bidders for the state’s first four Class III casino licenses. The $1 million application fee should separate wishful casino owners from those with the financial means. The Nevele (l.) is just one of several former “Borscht Belt” resorts in the Catskills that hope to be chosen.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Okada’s Chiller in Manila

The $2 billion Manila resort planned by Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada (l.) is on the rocks again. His Philippine subsidiary has fired one of the partners it secured last year to comply with the country’s rules on local ownership. The other partner has quit the project. And PAGCOR seems to be getting a little anxious about the 2015 opening date.

PokerStars Defends Actions in California

PokerStars has issued a statement in response to news reports it is trying to push California to remove any “bad actor” language from proposed legislation to legalize online poker in the state. The online gambling giant has reportedly been in negotiations for an online poker room in the state with the Morongo tribe (l.) and the Bicycle Club Casino, among others.

Senator Pulls Plug On Expanded Florida Gambling

In the midst of a budget meeting, Florida State Senator Garrett Richter (l.) announced that comprehensive gambling reform legislation was dead for the year, due to extended compact negotiations between Governor Rick Scott and the Seminole tribe.

Boston Mayor Applies Casino Pressure

The mayor of Boston, Martin Walsh (l.), is upping the ante in his war of words against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which, he claims, does not have the authority to prevent him from declaring Boston a host city to two casino proposals in the neighboring cities of Revere and Everett.

Queensland Draw Flurry of Interest

Twelve investment groups have submitted bids for three new casino licenses in the Australian state of Queensland. It’s an impressive list of suitors that includes the continent’s three largest operators—Crown, SkyCity and Echo—and deep-pocketed Chinese companies Chow Tai Fook and Greenland. Golf great Greg Norman (l.) is aligned with developer Tower Holdings.

High Roller Opens in Las Vegas

The High Roller, the world’s largest observation wheel, has opened between the Quad and the Flamingo resorts near the Las Vegas Strip. The 550-foot High Roller takes 30 minutes to make one complete rotation.

Organizations, Senators Oppose National Online Gambling Ban

Several important national organizations have come out in opposition to Sheldon Adelson’s online gaming ban. In addition, two U.S. senators from New Jersey, Cory Booker (l.) and Robert Menendez, will oppose the “Restoration of America’s Wire Act” measure.

Big March for Macau

March was another blowout month for Macau gaming revenue. The haul was $4.4 billion, capping a first quarter that averaged $1 billion a week and has analysts considering raising their forecasts for 2014. The revenue performance of the SAR has once again vindicated Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson (l.).


Disappointing table-game revenue made investors jump off Macau stocks, thinking it was the end of the big run. But great results in March demonstrated it was just a hiccup, and now investors are scrambling back on the bandwagon.


No Gaming for Kinmen

The Taiwanese island of Kinmen has long been touted as a potential casino destination, but officials now say legalization is out of the question. Vice Mayor Wu Yu Chin says it would wreck the “peaceful lives” of its residents.

Nepal Casinos Play for Time

Nepal’s gaming operators are asking the government to reconsider its decision to double the industry’s effective tax rates and impose a number of new get-tough regulations. Officials say they’ll consider it, but the government’s line so far has been either comply or face closure.

MGM Likes Its Japan Chances

CEO James Murren (l.) says he expects MGM Resorts International will be up and running in Japan in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The chairman of the Las Vegas-based casino giant added that the company is prepared to take on Japanese partners to make it happen.

Wynn Macau Launches Stock Option Scheme

Wynn Macau has upped the stakes in a looming battle for Macau’s most precious resource—labor. The company is awarding each of its workers 1,000 shares of stock in a move observers say will force the competition to sweeten their compensation packages.

Chow Secures Hengqin Funding

Macau casino operator David Chow (l.) has broken ground on a 30,000-square-meter commercial and leisure complex he plans to develop on the neighboring island of Hengqin. Galaxy also plans to invest big on the island, and other operators are expected to follow.


Casinos Possible in Crimea

The Russian government is considering opening the Crimea to gaming development to help boost its troubled economy, according to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Kozak (l.). Proposals are being prepared for submission later this month for a special casino zone similar to the four the government set up back in 2009.

New Bill Torches Greek Smoking Ban

Greece has more smokers relative to its population than any country in the EU. Their numbers won’t be shrinking if lawmakers sign off on a new bill to scrap the existing ban on indoor smoking, which will include casinos and other gaming venues.

Codere Fights To Keep Control

The board of Spanish gaming and betting operator Codere has dismissed a plan by bondholders to invest more money in the company in exchange for taking it over. Codere is struggling under €1.1 billion of debt and could file for bankruptcy protection.


Alberta Casinos Begin Extended Hours

With hours recently extended from 14 to 17 a day, and until 3:00 a.m., casinos in Alberta expect to generate more revenue for charities. On the down side, charities already have problems finding enough volunteers to staff the facilities.


Bill to Legalize Online Poker Introduced in New York

New York would legalize and tax internet poker games under a bill introduced by Republican Senator John Bonacic (l.). The bill would set a tax rate of 15 percent of overall gaming revenue and operators would pay a $10 million licensing fee under the bill. The proposal, however, is not expected to pass this year.

Amaya Partners with Ultimate in New Jersey

Amaya Gaming Group has entered into a licensing agreement with Ultimate Gaming to provide online casino content to Ultimate and Trump Taj Mahal in New Jersey. David Baazov (l.), CEO of Amaya, says his company has a firm foothold in the early days of U.S. online gaming.

Online Poker Brings in $8.5 Million in Nevada

Nevada regulators have released the first revenue results for the state’s online poker sites. After 10 months of at least one site in operation, online poker has taken in $8.5 million in revenue. The results were not broken down among the three sites currently operating, but the results are seen as disappointing.

New Jersey Nearing First Online Gambling Jobs Deadline

Online gambling providers face a May 1 deadline for locating jobs in the state. State regulators require that all online platform providers move their customer service, fraud detection and accounting teams to the state by the deadline.

Delaware/Nevada Online Gambling Pact Shoots for Summer Start

Delaware and Nevada hope to begin sharing online poker-player pools as early as this summer, a few months sooner than expected, under their online gambling pact. Meanwhile Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (l.) is pushing to have more states join the gambling pact—including New Jersey where preliminary talks have started.

GSA Crafting Online Standard

Gaming Standards Association President Peter DeRaedt (l.) says the organization is making quick progress toward establishment of an online gaming standard for the industry.

New Jersey Vastly Overestimated Online Gambling Revenue

The administration of New Jersey Governor Christie administration had projected $180 million in tax revenue from online gambling for the current fiscal year ending in June. The actual figure through February is $4.2 million. That contributed to a shortfall in the current budget and has led the administration to not make a prediction on online gaming this year by lumping it in with all casino taxes.

KGM, Spin Games Launch in New Jersey

KGM Gaming and Spin Games have successfully launched in the New Jersey iGaming market under a previously announced deal with Caesars Interactive Entertainment.

Northern Nevada CEO Snubs Online Gaming

John Farahi, CEO of the company that owns the Atlantis in Reno, agrees with Sands Corp. chief Sheldon Adelson that online gaming is a potential social scourge and could also hurt the bricks-and-mortar industry.

Gaming Researcher Calls for Federal Online Gambling Study

David G. Schwartz (l.), director of UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research, has penned an editorial for calling for a federal study of gambling before Congress acts on a bill to ban online gaming under the 1961 Wire Act. Schwartz points to several such studies in the past as precedent.

Atari Partners With Social Casino Company FlowPlay

Once noted video game innovator Atari hopes to rebound from bankruptcy by entering the social casino games market with partner FlowPlay. The deal will lead to a multi-platform product titled Atari Casino.

Busy Week for Playtech

Genting UK has selected Playtech’s Neon Retail Casino Management System; Mecca Bingo has extended its partnership with Playtech subsidiary Virtue Fusion and Ladbrokes has launched the full range of products from the online gaming software supplier.

Study Finds Online Role-playing Gamers Not Loners

A study observing the behavior of thousands of online multiplayer games players has concluded that gamers are very social and not stereotypical loners. Researchers at North Carolina State University, York University, and the University Of Ontario Institute of Technology conducted the study.


Kansas Lowers Casino Fees To Attract New Casino

A bill designed to bring a casino developer to southeast Kansas awaits the signature of Governor Sam Brownback (l.). The measure would lower the investment required from a casino developer from $225 million to $50 million, and also drop the additional developer fee charged by the state from $25 million to $5.5 million.

Pinnacle Closes $260 Million Lumiere Purchase

Pinnacle Entertainment's all-cash, $260 million purchase of Lumière Place Casino, HoteLumiere and the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis closed on April 1. Also in Missouri, the state legislature is considering a bill that would allow state casinos to attract more high rollers by offering large lines of credit.

New Hampshire Senate Approves Casino Bill

The last act of a desperate attempt to expand gaming in New Hampshire is playing out in the legislature, where the Senate has approved of a bill that would authorize two casinos, but which has little chance of passage in the House. Senator Martha Fuller Clark (l.) calls the bill a “false promise.”

Two Mississippi Developers Miss Deadlines

The developers of the $250 million Scarlet Pearl Casino (l.) in D'Iberville and Rotate Black, developers of the $112 million Hemingway Resort and Casino in Gulfport, both missed Mississippi Gaming Commission financing deadlines. Now both projects must start at the beginning of the review process and meet the commission's more stringent requirements.

New Raids At Alabama Casinos

Agents from Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange's office and state troopers from the Department of Public Safety recently raided four casinos in Greene County, including the Greenetrack dog track (l.). The raids resulted in the seizure of more than 1,000 illegal bingo machines and an undisclosed amount of cash.

Caesars Shares Fall on Sale News

Caesars Entertainment will try to raise $148 million with a sale of common stock, the Vegas-based company has announced. It is yet another strategy to help the debt-laden company balance the books. But existing investors are not happy with the plan.

Atlantic City Airport Celebrates First United Flight

The first United Airlines flight arriving from Chicago to touch down at Atlantic City International Airport was met with major hoopla and an Atlantic City-themed celebration. Atlantic City hopes the new United service will spur passenger travel at the airport and tourism in the resort.

Study: Iowa Casino Will Cannibalize Isle

The Isle of Capri Casinos recently released a study that showed a new $150 million Cedar Rapids casino would steal $9.3 million, or 10.8 percent, in annual gaming revenue from its Waterloo operation. The Riverside casino (l.) would take a hit as large as 42 percent. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission will announce on April 17 if it will approve the Cedar Rapids project.

Reno-Tahoe Casinos Spruce Up

Casinos in the regional Nevada gaming markets of Reno and Lake Tahoe are planning significant upgrades to take advantage of new vitality in the industry.

Illinois Senator Wants More Truck Stop Games

A bill that would allow Illinois truck stops to have 10 video gaming machines instead of the currently approved five recently was approved by a Senate committee. Sponsoring Senator Dave Syverson (l.) said the bill would encourage out-of-state truckers to play the games in Illinois.

Could Nevada Cut Tavern Slots?

A Clark County commissioner says the state could end the ongoing debate about tavern slots by limiting the number of machines. Current law allows the taverns to have up to 15 machines.

Arizona Fantasy Sports Bill Dies

Arizona is one of just a few states where fantasy sports are illegal and players are unable to collect prizes. State Senate Majority Whip Adam Driggs recently sponsored a measure to change that but Native American gambling interests killed the bill.

Las Vegas Union Members OK Strike

According to Local 226 of the Culinary Union, almost all of its voting members voted to authorize a strike if the union cannot attain new five-year contracts with 10 stand-alone casinos.

Klondike Short on Cash

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has filed an eight-count complaint against the Klondike Sunset Casino in Henderson, Nevada, saying it did not keep enough cash on hand to pay winning gamblers.


Menominee Casino Study Price Triples

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's administration hired the law firm Dykema Gossett last year for $500,000 to study the impact of the proposed $800 million Menominee casino in Kenosha. Now a recently released amended contract shows the firm receiving $1.5 million for the report.

South Carolina Tribe Loses Video Poker Argument

The Catawba Indian Nation cannot offer video poker on its reservation under the same law that allows gambling cruises, said the South Carolina Supreme Court. Under a 1993 agreement, the tribe can open two bingo halls plus any additional gambling "to the same extent allowed under state law."

South Dakota Casino Launches Re-branding Campaign

In an effort to boost recognition in Rapid City and improve its reputation as an unsafe environment, the Prairie Wind Casino (l.) recently launched a major re-branding campaign. The Pine Ridge, South Dakota casino also will give away a golf cart, a Harley-Davidson and fully furnished modular home.

Arizona City Softens Casino Opposition

The city of Glendale, Arizona once fought to keep the Tohono O’odham tribe from developing a casino in the community. Some members of City Council are now seeing the possible benefits. They now oppose a bill by Congressman Trent Franks (l.) that would prevent a casino from being developed.

Snoqualmie Tribe Aids Landslide Relief

In connection with the March 22 landslide in Oso, Washington, the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe recently gave $275,000 to area fire departments, the Red Cross and K-9 relief. Tribal members participated in search operations. The tribe operates the Snoqualmie Casino Resort, located 25 miles outside Seattle.

California Casino Opens in High Desert

A casino aimed at the locals of Coachella Valley, Tortoise Rock Casino, opened last week in Southern California. The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians owns it.

Washington Tribe Plans Casino Resort

The Colville Confederated Tribes of Washington State will break ground in May on a $43 million casino resort and hotel on its reservation. The casino will open a year later.

Connecticut Tribes Near Agreement to Offer Keno

The two tribes that operate casinos in Connecticut, the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequots, are negotiating to offer keno at the same time that the legislature is debating whether to repeal the games that it authorized for the lottery last year.

Arizona Tribe Plans New Casino

The Yavapai-Prescott tribe plans to break ground on a new casino in Arizona in the fall. The $80 million casino is expected to take 12 months to complete.

Tribe Proceeding With Illegal Poker Plans

The poker room will open this spring at the Coeur d'Alene Casino (l.) in Worley, Idaho, even though tribal officials have been warned doing so would violate the tribe's 1992 state compact and federal regulations. Tribal Legislative Director Helo Hancock said offering poker would allow the tribe to compete with Washington casinos.

California Tribe to Expand Casino

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, which operates the Chumash Casino Resort in California’s Santa Barbara County, says it plans to expand its ten-year-old facility.


Zender Joins Galaxy Board

Galaxy Gaming has named former regulator, longtime casino executive and gaming legend William Zender to its board of directors. Zender recently received a lifetime achievement award at Willy Allison’s World Gaming Protection Conference in February (l.).

California Casino Names New Executives

Two gaming veterans have been named the newest executives at Cache Creek Casino Resort in California, Mark Pirruccello as Vice President of Finance and Brian Epps as Vice President of Hotel Operations.


Bally Pro Wave to Debut in Aruba

The new Pro Wave concave slot cabinet from Bally Technologies will make its Latin American debut at the Aruba Marriott Hotel and Casino.

GLI Link Awarded Patent

Gaming Laboratories International’s GLI Link technology for interoperability testing on games and systems has been awarded a U.S. patent.

BMM Approved in Colombia

BMM Testlabs announced that it is in the final stages of receiving accreditation from the gambling administrator in Colombia, and will soon begin testing in that market.

VGT to Expand Headquarters

Video Game Technologies is planning a major expansion of its headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee, along with a substantial addition to its staff.

Drexel to Stage Spring Lecture Series

The Drexel University Center for Hospitality and Sport Management will stage a Hospitality and Tourism Lecture Series featuring several gaming industry speakers.

Station Casinos Launches Mobile App

Nevada-based Station Casinos has launched a mobile application that will allow patrons to make reservations or take advantage of special deals at its 18 casinos. The app is linked to Stations’ Boarding Pass program.


Sands Has Nebulous Plans for Unfinished Tower

Construction on a $600 million St. Regis condominium tower at the Venetian in Las Vegas halted in 2008, when the Las Vegas Sands Corp. faced dire financial straits. Now that the company is flush again, it expects to resume development.

Sands Ups House Edge on Most Blackjack

The Las Vegas Sands Corp. has made changes to its blackjack payouts that give the house a substantially higher advantage, a poker website says. The change makes the Venetian and Palazzo “among the worst” places to bet.




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