Cosmo Sold to Real Estate Investor

The long hard road taken by Deutsche Bank is finally coming to an end. The German bank agreed last week to sell the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, on the Strip between CityCenter and Bellagio, to the real estate investor Blackstone Group for $1.73 billion in cash, which analyst consider a good price for a building that costs $4 billion when brand new.

Featured Stories More

WEEKLY FEATURE: Macau’s Credit Card Headache

More bad news for jittery Macau investors. The latest is that local authorities have given the casinos until July 1 to oust illegal hand-held card-swipe devices from their properties. The devices violate China’s strict currency controls but have been vital to getting cash into mainland gamblers’ hands.

Haddrill Reappointed Bally CEO

Two years after yielding the CEO role to Ramesh Srinivasan, board Chairman Richard Haddrill returns to the top post at the gaming supplier. Srinivasan will exit the company after nearly a 10-year career there.

Penn REIT to Buy Meadows

Gaming & Leisure Properties, the REIT spinoff created last year by Penn National Gaming, will acquire the Meadows racetrack casino south of Pittsburgh for $465 million.

Time Running Out on Gaming in Japan

With only five weeks to go in the current legislative session, supporters are hedging their bets and say the legalization of casinos in Japan may not happen this year. For U.S. companies, the time is right. Union Gaming Group’s Grant Govertson (l.) believes the Olympics play a big role in the decision.

Tribal Unity Makes Online Poker Likely in California

A once contentious debate among the various California tribes has long worked against any agreement to legalize online gaming. This year, most of the tribes are united in requesting that the state act on the legalization of online poker. The wild cards are the card rooms and the racetracks.

UK Introduces New Gambling Protections

An update of the United Kingdom’s 2005 Gambling Act aims to protect gamblers without hurting the country’s gambling market. The report partly focused on high-stakes, fixed odds betting terminals—largely located in low-income areas—setting betting limits on the machines. Critics of the rules say the reforms will not have any real effect on gamblers.


Big Tax Break for Manila Licensees

PAGCOR and its four Entertainment City licensees have concluded a deal to slash their gross gaming taxes. The agreement is designed to offset the government’s plan to impose corporate income tax on the industry.

Crown To Get Sri Lanka Casino

The government of Sri Lanka has done a complete about-face on casino expansion in the island nation. Two weeks after declaring there would be no gaming for James Packer’s Crown Resorts, or anyone else’s, officials now have cleared the $400 million project (l.) for gaming.

Pachinko Facing Regulation, Taxation

Japan’s massive pachinko industry has flourished in a legal gray area for years, but that could change once casinos are legalized. Plans already are being advanced to regulate the game as a form of gambling and tax it accordingly.

Okada May Get Subpoenaed in Philippines

A committee of the Philippines Congress wants Kazuo Okada to tell them how he plans to comply with a law limiting foreign investors’ stakes in Philippine businesses. Okada and entities he controls are under government investigation on charges they set up straw companies to evade the law.

SJM Notches $2.84B in First Quarter

Macau casino giant SJM Holdings held on to close second place behind Sands China in citywide market share during the first quarter. The company posted a 4.9 percent increase in gaming revenue to US$2.84 billion on a surge in mass-market win and strong volume in VIP play.


Cyprus: Casinos in 2015

Giorgos Lakkotrypis (l.), Cyprus’ tourism chief. says a bill to legalize casinos will be submitted to lawmakers this month, paving the way for licenses by next year. The cash-strapped government is hoping for upwards of €50 million in tax revenue and plenty of sorely needed jobs.

EU Court Comes Down on Austria

Two internet gambling cases have resulted in a ruling in the European Court of Justice that Austria’s gaming laws may be more protectionist than protective and run afoul of EU free-trade guarantees. While important in principle, it’s not certain if the decision will result in any actual change.


Sudbury Officials Want Gambling

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation's modernization plan calls for replacing racetrack slots with privately operated casinos. But the horseracing industry and others want to keep slots at racetracks. A recent report from the office of the Ontario auditor general said the modernization plan was unrealistic and could harm the horseracing industry. Sudbury Downs (l.) is challenging the ruling.

Federal Judges in Mexico Suspended

Three federal judges in Mexico accused of corruption have been suspended. The judges, based in the northern states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas near Texas, are accused of illegally ruling in favor of casino owners. Those owners have not been named.

Junket Investor Ready To Spend in Saipan

A Hong Kong-listed junket investor has big plans for the casino license it hopes to win on the Pacific island of Saipan. Plans call for four hotels, private villas and $2 billion in total spend.


UK’s Premier League Does Not Want Betting Site Sponsor

The UK soccer Premier League will not allow a betting bookmaker to become its title sponsor, the league’s CEO recently said. The league’s current sponsor, Barclays, is reportedly considering ending its €40 million a year deal with the league.

Churchill Downs Banking on Online Gaming

Churchill Downs is best known for its famed Kentucky racetrack and majestic spires, but the company is showing signs that it expects online gambling in the U.S. to be a major source of revenue in the future. The company has already purchased an online poker site and had attempted to enter the New Jersey online gambling market.

Tropicana Launches Mobile App

Tropicana Atlantic City has launched a mobile app for its online casino that players can download for Android devices for intrastate online casino play.

Greentube Launches Social Casino

Greentube has launched a turnkey, white-label social casino marketing platform designed to increase business to land-based casino counterparts.

Online Revenue Declines in Atlantic City

Atlantic City saw a rare uptick in casino revenue in April fueled mostly by online gambling revenue. Still, online revenue was down slightly and appears to be leveling off. Atlantic City casinos made $11.4 million in online revenue, down from $11.9 million in March. The Borgata (l.) is one of the leading earners in both land-based and online revenue.

Comtrade Gaming Teams With Quickfire

Comtrade Gaming has announced a re-seller agreement with Microgaming’s Quickfire, which will enable all Comtrade Gaming’s licensed operators to add Microgaming’s Quickfire content.

AGA Again Ducks Online Gaming Debate

The American Gaming Association does not plan to get into the mix in the debate over federal legislation to ban online gaming saying the debate is too divisive within the industry. Instead the association will simply continue to promote casino gaming.


Full House Won't Buy Tunica Casino

Full House Resorts will not purchase Fitzgerald's Casino in Tunica, Mississippi from Majestic Star Casino, as announced in March. The $62 million deal is a no-go because Full House did not expect to be able to arrange financing. The company is proceeding with a $17.7 million, 142-room hotel at the Silver Star in Hancock County.

NY Casino Fees All Over the Map—Literally

Gaming regulators in the Empire State have set a range of minimum investment requirements for developers who want to build casinos in New York. The minimums range from $70 million in the Southern Tier area to more than $350 million in Orange County. Foxwoods would have to spend at least $100 million for a casino at the old Grossinger’s (l.) in the Catskills.

Caesars Continues Fast Shuffle

The Las Vegas-based gaming company is doing well in its hometown, but its assets in Atlantic City and Philadelphia are underperforming. The company has already announced it will sell off its Harrah’s Tunica (l.) casino in Mississippi later this year. But now Ohio wants to talk.

Board Hears Testimony on Lawrence Downs

Pennsylvania regulators heard testimony from local residents in support of a planned Lawrence County racino, and warnings of saturation from the GM of Presque Isle Downs.

Board Approves MGM Maryland Plan

The Prince George’s County Planning Board unanimously approved the detailed site plan for MGM National Harbor, which will break ground in July.

Failed Casino Suitor Sues Massachusetts Over License Decision

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission moved a step closure to issuing its second casino license last week, just in time to be sued by George Carney (l.), owner of Raynham Park, one of the also-rans for the slots parlor license it issued two months ago. And some members of the Supreme Court may be conflicted when it comes to deciding the legality of the original referendum.

New Jersey Official Comes Out Against Expanding Gaming in State

New Jersey Assemblymen Troy Singleton (l.), vice chairman of the New Jersey General Assembly committee charged with overseeing gaming issues in the state, has come out against expanding gaming beyond Atlantic City in an editorial in the Newark Star-Ledger. Several northern New Jersey legislators are pushing for expanding casino gaming to the Meadowlands.

IRGC Upholds Argosy Closure Decision

The Argosy Sioux City Riverboat remains headed toward a July 1 closing, since the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission recently announced it would not reconsider its decision to shutter the facility. Argosy owners Penn National said the company "will continue our efforts to remedy these matters through the courts."

Summer Committee May Study Indiana Gambling

Indiana legislators may form a summer study committee to find a way to help the state's riverboat casinos remain competitive with recently opened gambling operations in neighboring states. Casino tax revenue in the state dropped to $752 million in fiscal 2013 from a peak of $876 million in 2009.

Las Vegas Hockey Team Homeless for Now

The Las Vegas Wranglers, part of the Double AA East Coast Hockey League, have cancelled plans to build an ice-rink arena at the Plaza in Downtown Vegas. The project was too expensive, the team announced. The team’s plans for the next season are unknown.

Extreme Weather Caused Lower Revenue

Extreme winter weather is to blame for first quarter revenue declines, said Affinity Gaming Chief Executive Officer David Ross. Revenue fell 4.4 percent to $96.6 million in the period ending March 31. In Colorado, revenue at Affinity's Golden Gulch Casino in Black Hawk fell by 45.7 percent.

Revenue Drops At Tropicana's Lumière Place

St. Louis casino market revenue dropped about 5 percent in April compared to 2013. Part of that decline included Lumière Place, where revenue fell 15 percent, or $11.1 million, in its first month as a Tropicana Entertainment company. Tropicana purchased Lumière Place casino and two on-site hotels from Pinnacle Entertainment for $260 million.

Fontainebleau Crane Comes Down

The removal of a giant crane from the stalled Fontainebleau project on the Las Vegas Strip seems to indicate no redevelopment is planned for the 24-acre site. The planned $3 billion resort was halted in the middle of the recession.

New Retail at Vegas Forum Shops, Miracle Mile

The Forum Shops at Caesars and Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile Shops, both in Las Vegas, will add new retail to their established mix in the coming months. The Forum Shops (l.) have been open 22 years, and the Miracle Mile since 2007.

Stratosphere Owner Posts 1Q Gain

The owner of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas, American Casino & Entertainment Properties, has reported a 3 percent rise in revenues for the first quarter of 2014. Nongaming revenues are responsible for the uptick.

Voters Will Consider Games at Deadwood Casinos

A small change to the South Dakota constitution in November would allow casinos in Deadwood to offer keno, craps and roulette, in addition to the current offerings of slots and table games. If the measure passes, tribal casinos also will be able to offer the games.

Medical Marijuana Refusal Questioned at Atlantic City Casino

An Atlantic City man is asking for a clarification as to where and when he can use prescribed medical marijuana at the Revel casino hotel. Revel officials have said the man could not use marijuana on the property. No lawsuit has been filed, but the 23-year-old has hired an attorney.


Washington Approves Cowlitz Gaming Compact

The Cowlitz Tribe of Washington's Class III gaming compact recently was approved by the Washington State Gambling Commission and awaits the signature of Governor Jay Inslee (l.). The tribe plans to lease its gaming machines to other tribes, while its federal land-into-trust application is being litigated.

Texas Wants Speaking Rock Videotape

The Cowlitz Tribe of Washington's Class III gaming compact recently was approved by the Washington State Gambling Commission and awaits the signature of Governor Jay Inslee (l.). The tribe plans to lease its gaming machines to other tribes, while its federal land-into-trust application is being litigated.

Alabama Attorney General Race Heating Up

The race for Alabama Attorney General is ramping up as Republican Luther Strange, running for re-election, said his opponent, Democrat state Rep. Joe Hubbard (l.), is "bought and paid for" by the Poarch Creek Indians whose PACs gave Hubbard $750,000. Hubbard said the tribe prefers him since Strange unsuccessfully filed suit to close their bingo operations.

Interior Proposes Alaska Tribal Land Trusts

Reversing decades of federal policy, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn recently announced a proposal that would allow Alaska's 228 Native American tribes to petition to have land taken into trust. Washburn said the public will have 60 days to comment on the proposal.

Oneidas Make First Payout to New York

For the first time since the Turning Stone Casino (l.) opened in 1993, the Oneida Indian Nation has shared a portion of its revenues to the state. Albany gets one-quarter of all slot revenues, and will share it with several counties in Central New York.


George Named GM of Plainridge Park Casino

Penn National Gaming has announced that Lance George will move from Iowa to Massachusetts to take over as general manager at the company’s newest property, the Plainridge Park Casino, which is slated to open in 2015.

Marrandino Back in Vegas

Former Caesars Entertainment honcho Don Marrandino has been spotted out and about in Las Vegas, and is reportedly about to take a high-level position at the Hard Rock Hotel. Most recently, the Atlantic City native was in charge of four casinos in the Jersey shore town.


AGS to Acquire Colossal Gaming

AGS will acquire Colossal Gaming, the company founded by industry pioneer Steve Weiss, which produces giant slot machines like Hot at the Top and Colossal Diamonds.

GLI Named Exclusive NIGA Trainer

Gaming Laboratories International was named the exclusive training provider for NIGA’s Level III Commissioner Training program.

EGT Signs Distribution Deal

Euro Games Technology has signed an agreement with Indo Pacific Gaming to handle distribution of EGT products in several Asian markets.

Duetto Launches ‘GameChanger’

Duetto officially launched GameChanger, a web-based business intelligence application for integrated casino resorts, at last week’s Indian Gaming trade show.




Outrageous pronouncements, simple statements and words of wisdom