MGM Resorts, which is the only remaining bidder for a license in the Western casino zone in Massachusetts, last week asked the Massachusetts Gaming Commission delay granting it a license. MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis (l.) suggested that the commission issue a provisional license so MGM can avoid having to spend as much as $200 million in casino fees until a challenge to the casino law is completed.
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Baltimore-based mega developer the Cordish Companies and the Pennsylvania-based national gaming company Penn National are putting their act together and taking it to Orange County, New York, where they hope to build a $750 million casino resort. The two companies were once bitter rivals in Maryland, where David Cordish (l.) developed Maryland Live!
IGT has launched the first interstate wide-area progressive, partnering with Boyd Gaming and Caesars Entertainment to launch Powerbucks slots in New Jersey and South Dakota.
Osaka has jumped out in front of Tokyo in the race to secure a casino license in Japan’s nascent gaming market. With the national parliament set to debate a bill to legalize the industry, the city has identified a site on Odaiba Bay (l.) as its preferred location and says its ready to entertain proposals.
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians won a much-watched case when U.S. District Court Judge Keith Watkins recently ruled the state of Alabama does not have the authority to ban casinos on Indian lands. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (l.) said the state will appeal immediately.
In New South Wales James Packer had the most powerful friend a gaming developer could want. But the chief executive responsible for making Crown Sydney happen, Premier Barry O’Farrell (l.), has been forced to resign over a lobbying scandal.
The verdicts are in: The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission voted 4-1 against the proposed $164 million Cedar Crossing Casino (l.) in Cedar Rapids, claiming it would hurt existing casinos. Commissioners also unanimously rejected the Argosy Sioux City’s challenge to renew its gaming license and said the riverboat must close by July 1. Hard Rock Sioux City is slated to replace the Argosy and open in a few months.
MGM Resorts International and the Hakkasan Group have partnered to form MGM Hakkasan Hospitality, which will develop luxury hotels in nations around the world. The two companies worked together to bring the successful Hakkasan nightclub (l.) to MGM Grand last year.
The “next big thing” in the gaming business is the legalization of gaming in Japan. But when will it happen? How big will it be? Who will play there? The answers are beginning to be answered.
GLOBAL GAMING BUSINESS PODCAST: Mike Mitchell, Vice President of Game Development and Engineering, Bally Technologies
This week, the GGB Podcast features a discussion with Mike Mitchell, Bally Technologies’ VP of game development and engineering, about the convergence of games at Bally and SHFL entertainment, which recently merged.
Kazuo Okada’s Philippine partnerships have unraveled, but not his plans for a megaresort on Manila Bay. The tycoon’s Philippine subsidiary said the $2 billion complex (l.) will open on schedule in 2015.
Macau’s booming casino industry isn’t just getting bigger. It’s getting more profitable, too, as growth in the higher-margin mass market continues to outstrip VIP.
Nepal’s casinos have won another delay in their fight with the government over stricter regulations and higher taxes. They say they can’t afford the increases, and a compromise could be on the horizon.
High rollers in Macau could curb their betting as China puts more limits on borrowing, according to a Wells Fargo analyst. Wynn Resorts, which makes most of its money in the Chinese enclave, fell 3.6 percent April 15; MGM and Las Vegas Sands also slipped.
The governing body of English football wants a total prohibition on betting by any of its members anywhere in the world. The crackdown by the Football Association follows a series of scandals involving players and coaches.
The Greek government has promised the new owners of OPAP a monopoly on online betting in the country, but the plan has hit two big obstacles. Prospective competitors in the rest of the EU are suing, and the European Commission is investigating the deal.
The UK’s Enfield Council has successfully prosecuted the country’s first money laundering conviction of a suspect involved in running an illegal poker den.
The mayor of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Jim Diodati (l.), says a casino in Toronto, being pushed by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, would have “dire” results for his city’s economy.
Jamaica’s government thought it had four casino proposals to consider, but it turns out they have five. The fifth application was submitted on time but never found its way to the right officials.
The tenure of Echo Entertainment’s new CEO, Matt Bekier (l.). is off to a strong start. The Australian casino giant said an increase in gaming revenue and cuts in costs will boost earnings in the latest quarter.
Tinian Dynasty Casino’s new Chinese owners have fallen out with regulators on the U.S. Pacific island territory. They complain they’re not getting the staff approvals they need, but regulators say they’re only doing their job.
While the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is paying attention to online gaming, one commission says it is unlikely that the state would legalize it this year. Commission member James McHugh (l.) believes the legislative landscape is changing.
Jason Ader, whose Spring Owl firm has acquired 6.1 percent of online gambling company bwin.party, has criticized the company’s board for failing to return shareholder value. He has also called for a new management team at the company.
New Jersey’s online gambling sites took in $11.9 million in March, up from $10.3 million in February. While the growth is slow, the state added another about 45,000 new gambling accounts during the month. Meanwhile, Atlantic City-s land-based casinos—including their online operations—took in $233 million for the month, down about 2.2 percent from last year.
The Poker Players Alliance has launched a national call to action campaign to encourage Americans to oppose recently introduced federal legislation to ban online poker. The Alliance has created an interactive website to help the public contact their elected officials and oppose the ban.
Caesars Interactive has announced some major changes to its banking options and a host of new slot and casino games on its New Jersey online gambling sites.
According to reports, Denmark has moved to block five online gambling sites illegally operating in the country. They include 7red.com, 7red.dk, quasargaming.com, wintrillions.com and trillonario.com.
Multimedia Games slot content will be added to social games from Bee Cave on Facebook, as well as applications for iOS and Android.
Bitstars Entertainment Company has launched an online casino that accepts Bitcoins. The company plans to add HTML5 games for the mobile player market.
Illinois state Rep. Bob Rita (l.) has revised his expanded gambling legislation to offer two proposals. One plan would allow a Chicago-only casino with 10,000 gaming positions. The other would allow a 4,000-6,000 position Chicago casino plus smaller 1,200-terminal casinos in four counties and slots at certain racetracks. The plans are drawing both praise and outrage.
Rumors that Tropicana Entertainment is in negotiations to buy the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem have been downplayed by Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez.
Penn National Gaming CEO Timothy Wilmott (l.) recently predicted that the Ohio would eventually become a $2 billion market once it shakes out all its demons. Meanwhile, Ohio’s lawmakers previously clamped down on internet cafes, now it faces the challenges of skill game cafes that have sprung up to take their place.
The German bank that financed and completed the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas is ready to unload the property, says a source. Deutsche Bank foreclosed and took over operations after the original developer defaulted on a loan.
The New Hampshire House for the second time this year is considering a bill to authorize gaming in the state; this time two casinos, rather than the one that it voted down last month. Gaming supporters are lobbying lawmakers to pass the bill.
Three days after the first-quarter fundraising deadline, Florida Senator Garrett Richter said expanded gambling legislation was dead this session. Before that, gambling interests gave the Florida GOP $682,000 and the Democratic Party $572,000. The Seminole Tribe gave $150,000 to each party and $500,000 to Governor Rick Scott (l.), who's negotiating a new compact with them and running for re-election.
Gaming revenues will never return to pre-recession levels, but Reno has adjusted to new competition from tribal casinos in Northern California. And gaming executives there say they will continue to be competitive, because of a “more complete” destination experience. Siri’s Casino (l.) opened last week.
Caesars Entertainment has sold the 117-year-old Atlantic City Country Club in Northfield New Jersey to a southern New Jersey golf course operator. The deal still reserves special privileges at the course for Caesars Total Rewards members.
As revenue from Detroit's three casinos continues downward, experts blamed the weather, the economy and new gambling options. In 2013, combined revenue from MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino Hotel (l.) and Greektown Casino-Hotel fell 4.7 percent to $1.35 billion compared to 2012, and in March revenue dipped 7.3 percent versus 2013.
Red Rock Resort, a Station Casinos property in Las Vegas, is undergoing its most extensive and expensive renovation since it opened in April 2006. The $925 million overhaul is opening in phases and will be complete by October.
Atlantic City’s “Do Ac” marketing campaign is entering its second year with a new focus. The $20-million campaign will emphasize special events and concerts and use social media to attract a younger crowd to the gambling resort. Previously, the campaign focused on promoting the resort as a clean and safe place to visit.
A subsidiary of the Las Vegas casino company, which carries more than $23 billion in long-term debt, is selling bonds that will enable it to buy four casinos from its own parent. Analysts and some debt holders say the strategy is dubious.
The Texas Lottery Commission postponed voting on a controversial measure that would let bingo players use "video confirmation" to show if they have a winning pull-tab ticket. Opponents said the bingo machines are too similar to slots. Supporters said the proposal could raise more money for charities by attracting more people to bingo halls.
In keeping with their warning to picket Downtown Las Vegas casinos that have not yet signed new contract deals with their unionized employees, about 2,000 members of Culinary Local 226 recently walked in front of 10 casinos, carrying picket signs. They have also signed a strike authorization.
Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has been ordered by state regulators to refund the $500 buy-in to more than 2,000 players in a January poker tournament that was marred by an alleged counterfeit chip cheating plot. The state’s investigation, however, found that the casino did monitor the tournament properly and was not at fault.
A three-day party will celebrate the $100 million renovation and expansion at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, May 1-3. Upgrades include a new casino floor, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Morton's the Steakhouse and the H2o outdoor pool and Ultra Lounge.
The New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority is planning $5 million in airline subsidies to help draw new carriers to Atlantic City International Airport. Airlines will be able to compete for grants. Meanwhile, Caesars Atlantic City has launched charter flights from Montreal.
Members of the Arkansas Legislative Lottery Oversight Committee approved a motion of "non-support" for a bill that would let players watch monitors in stores, restaurants and bars and bet on numbers drawn every four minutes. Lottery Director Bishop Woolsey said commissioners are seeking ways to boost declining sales and award more college scholarships.
Although thousands of horseracing fans attended the Dogwood Classic at Colonial Downs, the New Kent County, Virginia racetrack does not have an agreement with a horsemen's association, making a horseless season a real possibility. Racetrack officials said they're willing to pass on this season to offer a better one next year.
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez (l.) has insisted for years that the Fort Sill Apache tribe is indigenous to Oklahoma, not New Mexico. Now the state Supreme Court has ordered Martinez to formally recognize the tribe, which received federal acknowledgement and a 30-acre reservation in 2011.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (l.) has an extra six months to make a decision about the Menominee Tribe's $800 million off-reservation casino in Kenosha. The new deadline, February 19, 2015, takes some pressure off Walker who's running for re-election in November. The federal government approved the Menominee's application last August.
The three tribes of Maine demanded and got a place at the table of gaming expansion in the state. They have been included by name in a study of the feasibility of adding to the state’s two casinos authorized by a bill that has passed the House and now goes to the Senate.
An amendment recently passed by the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council in Tahlequah, Oklahoma limits the Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission to regulating only gaming activities. The council also voted to comply with National Indian Gaming Commission minimum internal control standards and established an advisory board.
The Cowlitz tribe, which hopes to build two casinos in La Center, Oregon, has concluded a tribal state gaming compact that would allow it to operate gaming on 152 acres.
Reacting to information recently uncovered by a Freedom of Information request, Spokane County, Washington, has requested that the Bureau of Indian Affairs reopen studies on the safety of a casino being proposed near the flight path of Fairchild Air Force Base in Airway Heights. The Spokane Tribe proposes the casino.
Penn National Gaming has promoted Ameet Patel from GM of its Columbus casino to the position of senior vice president of regional operations.
Zynga has appointed former Best Buy executive David Lee to the position of chief financial officer, replacing outgoing CFO Mark Varnish.
A 20-year veteran of interactive gaming and social gaming has been hired as chief operating officer by San Manuel Digital, a subsidiary of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in Southern California. He will be in charge of interactive and mobile initiatives for the tribe’s casino operations.
GameAccount has appointed Seamus McGill as an independent, non-executive director. The company says McGill’s experience will help them enter the U.S. market.
Following the lead of major casino companies, Golden Gaming has entered a marketing partnership with the Hard Rock in Las Vegas. Now customers of Golden’s 49 Southern Nevada taverns can use their rewards points at the rock-and-roll themed casino-hotel.
The Prairie Meadows casino in Iowa will be the state’s first property to install Aristocrat’s Oasis 360 Speed Solutions suite of bonusing modules.
The Redwood Hotel Casino in northern California has chosen a casino management system by Table Trac for slot accounting and player tracking functions.
Duetto has launched “GameChanger,” a cloud software module with a web-based revenue management application developed for casino hotels.
The Novomatic subsidiary Astra Gaming Group has acquired a majority stake in Manila-based Extreme Live Gaming, a supplier of live-dealer gaming solutions.
Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa will open a new bake shop, the Borgata Baking Company, under the direction of Executive Pastry Chef Thaddeus DuBois. The shop will be located in the casino’s retail plaza and offer “accessible sweets and eats.”
Tropicana Atlantic City Casino Online has partnered with Carnival Cruise Lines to give away more than 50 luxury cruises in the month of April.
TransAct Technologies has signed an agreement to install the Epicentral promotion and bonusing system on 900 slot machines of a multi-site operator.
Traffic Generation and Evolution Gaming International announced a joint-venture product that allows casinos to communicate with customers during play.
June’s iGaming Super Show in Amsterdam has added four extra events to its program, bring the total events to nine for the June conference.
GTECH will showcase a new jackpot solution and new products from its Spielo systems division at the G2E Asia show next month in Macau
The Borgata in Atlantic City is suing professional poker player Phil Ivey (l.), alleging that he cheated the casino in a baccarat game with an edge-sorting technique, a claim that a London casino owned by Genting has used to keep him from collecting.
The administration of Governor Susana Martinez and the New Mexico Human Services Department have made it illegal for people who receive welfare benefits to use their cash assistance cards at gaming halls, strip clubs or at liquor stores.
Small Nuggets of News
Outrageous pronouncements, simple statements and words of wisdom