Start Spreading the News

Many have called, but few will be chosen. The field of contenders for Class III casino licenses in New York narrowed last week to those who could afford the $1 million application fee. But even that narrow field was crowded with 22 applicants. The winning bidders ultimately will pay up to $70 million to win one of four licenses. Surprise entrant Caesars Entertainment wants to build a casino at the Woodbury Commons shopping mall (l.) at the entrance to the New York Thruway, less than an hour from New York City.

Featured Stories More

WEEKLY FEATURE: Hopes Fade in Vietnam

Investors looking for a more open market in Vietnam have found disappointment instead. New regulations have been submitted to the National Assembly, which will maintain the current ban on casino gambling by Vietnamese citizens—ensuring that the Grand Ho Tram casino hotel (l.) will continue to struggle—and if approved will require a commitment of at least $4 billion to be considered for a license.

Crown’s Packer to Buy Cosmo?

According to multiple unconfirmed reports, James Packer and his Crown Resorts may be interested in buying the Cosmopolitan resort in Las Vegas. The Aussie billionaire tried before to break into the U.S. market, and has the cash to spend thanks to investments in Macau and Manila.

Putin Wants Casinos in Crimea

The Kremlin has come up with a novel plan for bailing out Crimea’s struggling economy—casinos. President Vladimir Putin (l.) has introduced an authorization bill in the national parliament that would add the former Ukrainian region as a fifth designated gaming zone.

California Legislature Takes Up Internet Poker

Lawmakers in California have taken up the issue of Internet poker. The Assembly’s Governmental Organization Committee held hearings last week attended by many of the stakeholders in the issue. At the same time, PokerStars formally announced its alliance with the Morongo tribe and three state cardrooms. Morongo Chairman Robert Martin (l.) said the deal would bring “financial benefits” to California.

Nepal Orders Casinos Closed

Push has come to shove in the small Himalaya mountain nation of Nepal, where the government has ordered the country’s 10 foreigners-only casinos to close for non-payment of back royalties and fees. The casinos say they can’t afford a recent fee increase.

The Philippines—The Big Unknown

The Philippines’ Solaire Resort & Casino (l.) lost US$29 million in its first year of operation. The Manila property’s struggles underscore a host of uncertainties about the market’s ability to achieve the government’s hopes for Entertainment City resort district and reach its growth forecasts.

AGA Augments Executive Team

The American Gaming Association named Ron Rosenbaum (l.) as chief operating officer, added Brian Cohen to its development team and named Chris Moyer director of media development and relations.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: Jumping on Japan, Part 2

The “next big thing” in the gaming business is the legalization of gaming in Japan. This week, another analyst weighs in with similar predictions but some warnings on unexpected results.


Lawrence Ho Raises the Stakes in Russia

Lawrence Ho’s investment group in Russia is moving to take full control from its local partner of the resort it plans to build near Vladivostok. The partner, businessman Oleg Drozdov (l.), has been in prison since late last year on charges of “business malpractices.”

’15 Reopening for Galaxy’s Grand Waldo

Galaxy Entertainment plans to reopen a refurbished Grand Waldo hotel next year but isn’t saying whether its casino will return. Galaxy bought the resort, which adjoins its flagship Galaxy Macau, last year, and promptly took over its 38 table games.

Analyst Forecasts a Smaller Japan

Telsey analyst Chris Jones has issued a report that is less optimistic about Japan’s casino potential. Citing the country’s recent struggles to grow foreign tourism, Jones forecasts gaming revenues of $16 billion to $23 billion.

Japan Theme Park Eyes a Casino

Huis Ten Bosch (l.), a Dutch-themed Disneyland-style park near Nagasaki, is buying a piece of Japan’s nascent casino industry. The park’s Japanese ownership plans to a buy a nearby island for which it hopes to attract an investment of upwards of US$1 billion.


A Tough Year for Holland Casino

Holland Casino continues to bleed money ahead of the Dutch government’s plans to sell off the monopoly to a private buyer. The 14-casino group lost a record €22.3 million last year.


Two Bid for Saipan Casino

Two Chinese companies have applied for the sole casino license on Saipan. One of them counts among its investors the owners of the Pacific island group’s only operating casino, the Tinian Dynasty (l.).

Baha Mar Launches Training Academy

Baha Mar has launched a training academy to help fill more than 4,000 positions at the multibillion-dollar resort, opening in the Bahamas by the end of the year.

Ontario Looks at Historical Racing

Woodbine Entertainment Group of Ontario, Canada, could add historical racing to replace revenue from the Slots at Racetracks program, which has come to an end. The games allow players to wager on races of the past, pulled from a library of thousands.

Victoria Councils Seek Machine Gaming Curbs

At least 20 local councils in the Australian state of Victoria are revising their planning laws to keep gaming machines out of poorer neighborhoods. Most of the councils want to see similarly tough rules at the state level, but the state’s top regulator says no changes are planned.

Niagara Falls Calls for Casino Reval

City officials in Niagara Falls, in the Canadian province of Ontario, are blasting cuts in assessed taxes on the Fallsview Casino (l.) and Casino Niagara. The cuts mean fewer revenues for the city, and more pressure for taxpayers.

Ottawa Adds Tables Games

In addition to millions in revenues from 1,200 slot machines at Rideau Carlton Raceway (l.), the province of Ottawa, Canada, will soon benefit from the addition of 21 table games. The province has yet to approve a full-scale commercial casino.


Ader Criticizes Bwin Board, Nominates New Members

Jason Ader (l.), whose Spring Owl firm has acquired 6.1 percent of online gambling company, has criticized the company’s board for failing to return shareholder value. He has also called for a new management team at the company.

Minnesota Committee Seeks to Ban Online Lottery Sales

A Minnesota House Committee approved a bill that would end internet and online scratch-off ticket sales. Legislators said Lottery Executive Ed Van Petten offered the games without their authority. But Van Petten said he acted under current law, and that online lottery games are essential for attracting younger players.

New Jersey Legislators Slam Proposed Federal Online Gambling Ban

More New Jersey lawmakers, including Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (l.), are lining up in opposition to a proposed federal ban on online gambling. New Jersey is one of three states in the country that allow internet betting and state legislators say Congress should leave the decision on online gambling to the states.

Online Poker Declines in France

The French online poker market has declined by about 15 percent over the last two years The country’s top regulator, Charles Coppolani (l.), blames the European financial crisis for the decline, but also feels the market has matured and the online poker “fad” is over.

New Jersey Attracting New Online Players

A report in outlines the findings of a new poll, which shows that 35 percent of New Jersey’s online players only started gambling online when the state began online gaming in November. The survey also found that fewer than 30 percent of respondents said they visit land-based casinos more than a “couple of times a year.” The state also seems to be creating a “poker tourism” attraction.

Online Gambling Bill Proposed for Czech Republic

Officials are preparing a new online gambling bill in the Czech Republic. The proposed bill would allow online gambling, but would increase taxes for casino operators who decide to offer online gambling services.

Gibraltar Fire Blacks Out Online Gambling Sites

An explosion and fire at a Gibraltar power station April 20 knocked out several online gambling sites as well as power to most of the British outpost. Major online gambling sites such as William Hill and Ladbrokes went dark.

Online Giants Banned in Russia

Some of the biggest names in online gambling have found their way onto Russia’s official blacklist of banned sites. About 50 were added just over the last several weeks, but some, like PokerStars owner Rational Group say they plan to stay in the Russian market.

New Jersey’s Online Gambling Revenue Continues to Grow

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.

PPA Launches Website to Fight Proposed Online Poker Ban

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.

New Banking Options from Caesars NJ Gambling Sites

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. Some believe the addition of the Neteller service will make a big difference.

GSA Reports Online Standards Progress

Gaming Standards Association officials reported substantial progress toward online gaming standards at a recent meeting of its committee dedicated to the technology.

Coral Ramps Up Social Gaming Platforms

U.K. bookmaker Coral has signed a partnership with social and mobile game developer Ruby Seven Studios to launch new social gaming apps. Also at Coral, Playtech has announced the launch of a new multi-channel solution across the UK network with the company. The Coral Connect program allows players to use one account for all platforms.

Online Gambling Reform Being Pushed in Washington State

Washington State is seen to have the strictest online gambling laws in the U.S. with playing online poker in the state a felony. But several forces are reportedly coming together to push for a reform of those laws and possibly legalizing online gaming in the state.


Boston Mayor Doubles Down on attacks on Gaming Commission

Boston has a right to unilaterally declare itself a host community vis a vis two casino proposals, in Revere and Everett, and Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby should recuse himself from any decision involving a Boston metro casino license, says Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh (l.).

MGM Maryland Project on Fast Track

Prince George’s County has streamlined the normally cumbersome process of securing construction permits to accommodate the MGM National Harbor project.

Illinois Lawmakers Consider New Casino Proposals

Illinois state Senator Bob Rita's proposed casino amendment recently was heard by the state House Executive Committee. It offers the option of a state-owned mega-casino with 10,000 positions in Chicago, with proceeds split between the city and state. Another option would allow a 4,000-position Chicago casino and 1,200-position casinos in four counties.

No Bang-up Exit for Harmon

It’s a Sin City tradition: imploding old resorts, and inviting everyone to the party. The Harmon Hotel tower is a different story. Condemned due to structural deficiencies, it will be deconstructed, piece by piece, once the lawyers and their investigators clear out.

Harrah’s Philly Faces Tax Decision

Harrah’s Philadelphia may challenge its property tax assessment that led to a $5 million tax bill from the city of Chester, the Chester school district and Delaware County.

MGM Brings Rock in Rio to Vegas

MGM Resorts International will spend $20 million on a new entertainment space to host the four-day Rock in Rio music festival every two years. When the festival is not in residence, the space can be used for other entertainment.

Mississippi Coastal Casinos Trump River Operations

Mississippi Gulf Coast casinos have bounced back big-time, outperforming Tunica Resorts and other Mississippi River casinos that have been on a downward trend since mid-2013. For the first quarter of 2014, the 12 Gulf Coast casinos' revenue increased 0.6 percent compared to first quarter 2013, while the 18 river casinos' revenue dropped 5 percent.

Casino Opens in Vegas

The Cromwell, the newest property on the Las Vegas Strip, has opened its 40,000-square-foot casino floor. Caesars Entertainment’s renovated resort was built at the site of the former Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall. The casino has 434 slot machines, 66 table games, and a 188-room hotel.

Kansas Lowers Southeast Casino Investment Minimum

In an effort to attract a casino developer to southeast Kansas, Governor Sam Brownback, despite his personal reservations, let a bill become law that will lower the minimum casino investment requirement from $225 million to $50 million, and drops a development fee from $25 million to $5.5 million. The bill will take effect July 1.

Indiana Legislators Seek Gaming Input

Recently opened and proposed casinos in neighboring states have Indiana casino interests concerned. State Rep. Tom Dermody, who oversees House gaming legislation, plans to meet with residents who have a stake in gaming. And state Senate President David Long said he supports a proposal to establish a gaming study commission.

Atlantic City Markets Chicago and Houston Air Service

The Atlantic City Alliance, the marketing arm for the casino resort, is launching a $1 million advertising campaign to promote new air service from Chicago and Houston to Atlantic City International Airport. Officials are hoping the new service will help bring business conventions to the resort.

Louisiana Market Flattens After 20 Years

The Shreveport-Bossier City gaming market recently celebrated 20 years. The area has six casinos, including the newest entry, Margaritaville in Bossier City, which, along with Native American operations, has had a major impact on existing casinos. The market has flattened out and is expected to remain that way for the foreseeable future.

Atlantic City Hosts World Poker Tour Championship

The World Poker Tour Championship was held in Atlantic City last week at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa (l.) after 11 years in Las Vegas. The Borgata is teamed with, which runs the WPT, to offer online gaming in New Jersey and also hosts several WPT events per year. The tournament carried a $5 million prize pool guarantee, the first time a WPT championship has had a guarantee.

Resorts Atlantic City Touts $70 Million Renovation

Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino Hotel Casino Hotel is pointing to positive signs through the early months of 2014 now that its 18-month, $70 million renovation—which included the building of its successful Margaritaville complex—is paying off.

Golden Nugget Inks Deal with Vegas Unions

The Golden Nugget in Downtown Las Vegas has signed a new five-year employee contract with the Culinary and Bartenders unions. Nine more standalone casinos are still unsettled. Both unions have authorized a strike, but continue to negotiate.

Iowa Regulator Defends Cedar Rapids Decision

Jeff Lamberti (l.), chairman of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, said the recent 4-1 vote denying a gaming license to the proposed $164 million Cedar Rapids "clearly was the right decision." The IRGC determined the casino would take away business from existing casinos. Now disappointed Cedar Rapids officials are considering options for the eight-acre tract.

Atlantic City Targets Asian Gamblers

Atlantic City casinos have long marketed towards Asian gamblers, but there is a new emphasis on the marketing efforts as the city’s casino revenue continues to fall. Casino officials say the battle for the Asian customer is more competitive than ever.

Revel Workers Rally for Union

Workers at Atlantic City’s Revel Casino staged another rally to support unionization of the casino hotel. Workers are afraid a possible sale of the struggling casino will lead to job cuts and firings.

Former Martinez Manager Wants Casino Emails

Jamie Estrada, formerly New Mexico Governor Susan Martinez's campaign manager, said he wants the emails he allegedly released regarding the state's controversial lease for the Downs Racetrack & Casino to help prove his innocence against charges he lied to FBI agents. Estrada's trial will start July 15.

Former Florida Lt. Governor Received Sweepstakes Payments

Former Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll recently admitted she received $100,000 from the Allied Veterans of the World charity in 2009 and 2010, but due to an "oversight" did not report the payments on financial disclosure forms or tax returns. Allied Veterans was found to be an illegal gambling operation.


Ex-Shinnecock Leaders Challenge Vote

Two former trustees of New York’s Shinnecock Indian Nation have appealed to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs to mediate a longstanding dispute about what they call an illegal constitutional vote. Lance Gumbs (l.) and Gordell Wright were ousted after the vote—wrongly so, they claim.

Southern California Casinos Given Environmental Pass

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has issued Final Environmental Impact Statements (FEIS) for two California tribes, the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeño Indians and the Cloverdale Rancheria of Pomo Indians.

Federal Judge Doesn’t Support BIA’s Chukchansi Ruling

The solution the Bureau of Indian Affairs imposed on the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians of California to resolve their governmental leadership crisis has been tossed out by a federal administrative law judge, throwing the future of the tribe’s Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino (l.) into doubt.

Potawatomi Hotel Moving Forward

A fall opening is expected for the new $150 million, 18-story, 381-room hotel at the Forest County Potawatomi Community's Potawatomi Bingo Casino in Milwaukee. A 1,300-vehicle parking structure also is being built to accommodate hotel guests.

Still Awaiting Bay Mills Ruling

Although the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community on December 2, 2013, no opinion has been issued. Observers say that could mean the justices are deeply divided on the issue which could affect the doctrine of sovereign immunity.

Idaho Tribe Opens Questionable Poker Room

A six-table poker room will open May 2 at the Coeur d'Alene Tribe's casino (l.) in Worley, Idaho, even though the state constitution bans poker. The tribe claims its games are exempt under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, and that it needs the poker room to compete with Washington casinos and commercial card rooms.

Cherokees Replacing East Oklahoma Casino

Cherokee Nation Businesses will replace the Cherokee Casino Roland (l.) near the Arkansas border with a new facility including an 87,000 square foot gaming floor with 850 games, plus a 125-room hotel and convention area. Cherokee Nation Business Chief Executive Shawn Slaton added the tribe is considering expanding its flagship Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tulsa.

Alabama Tribe Claims Florida Rights

Despite an opinion that it is not recognized in Florida, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians says it has every right to develop a casino in the state. The Alabama-based tribe says it meets the same criteria as those tribes based in the Sunshine State.

Jamul Tribe Denies Desecration of Graves

Southern California’s Jamul Tribe of Southern California denies accusations that it is desecrating the graves of tribal members with the Hollywood Casino Jamul that it is building in San Diego County.


Betfair Names Brooker COO

Betfair has promoted Mark Brooker from director of sports betting to chief operating officer of the bookmaker.


IGT to Produce Tokidoki-themed Slots

IGT has secured a license to produce a series of slots based on tokidoki, a Japanese lifestyle brand with characters used in several media, for slots to be launched in Asia.

Arkansas Allows Monitor Games

In an effort to boost declining sales, the Arkansas Lottery Commission voted to allow monitor-style games that let players watch drawings every four minutes. The monitors will be installed at restaurants and taverns and at retail outlets. Lottery sales dropped 12.2 percent, or $7.7 million, for the fiscal year ending June 30.

WMS Tops Sweden Suppliers

WMS Gaming has won 30 percent of the total order of slot machines for the four casinos of Swedish operator Svenska Spel.

GTECH Signs with Trinidad and Tobago

GTECH has signed a seven-year continuation of its contract to provide lottery technology and marketing services to the lottery of Trinidad and Tobago.

Inspired Opens Rome Office

Inspired Gaming Group has opened a new corporate office in Rome to service the company’s growing business in the Italian VLT market.

Drexel University and Bally Technologies Partner

Drexel University in Pennsylvania has joined with Bally Technologies to create a authentic learning experience that will provide students with hands-on training in a casino training lab with equipment donated by Bally.


JCM Announces G2E Asia Lineup

JCM Global has announced the lineup of validators, printers and technologies it will bring to the upcoming G2E Asia trade show in Macau.


Murren: Promoter Arum a “Bully”

MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren took exception to below-the-belt volleys from boxing promoter Bob Arum (l.). Arum, who has had a long relationship with MGM, called out the company for its debt problems, and asked Filipinos to boycott MGM fights.




Outrageous pronouncements, simple statements and words of wisdom