New York: Thinning the Herd

Two developers have dropped out of the race to win one of the four Class III casino licenses in New York State. That still leaves a big field of contenders, all of whom must now win support from their chosen communities, and complete detailed proposals. Deadline for full applications is June 30. Governor Andrew Cuomo (l.) said that casinos should be used to help struggling regions, seemingly limiting casinos closer to New York City.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Asian Influence

Last week’s G2E Asia turned the attention of the gaming world on Macau. Keynote speaker and MGM China Co-Chairwoman Pansy Ho (l.) took the opportunity to emphasize that Macau needs to grow beyond its success as a place to gamble and become an all-around resort. AGA President Geoff Freeman echoed her remarks and offered Las Vegas as a model for diversification as a convention destination. Record numbers of attendees and exhibitors proved once again that G2E Asia is the region’s most important trade show and influential conference.

Is Vietnam Done as Chinese Destination?

Riots in several Vietnam cities targeting Chinese nationals and businesses may spell the end of plans to target Mainland VIPs as customers for junket operators, severely impacting the business plans of prospective Vietnamese casinos and integrated resorts. The situation may affect the Philippines, as well.

LV Sands’ Leven to Retire

Michael Leven (l.), the president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp., has announced he will retire at the end of the year, initiating an executive search by the company’s board. A succession plan will be critical to company’s future success.

Massachusetts Commission Set to Vote on First Casino Resort

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has set June 13 for the first date when it will award a casino license for the Western gaming zone. The only remaining applicant for the license is MGM Springfield (l.) and the city of Springfield. The more controversial decisions will be made later this year and in early 2013.

Timing Running Out on Japan Casino Bill

Pro-casino lawmakers in Japan say the window is closing on passage of a legalization bill in the current session of the Diet. The bill must pass by the end of May, they say, but is being delayed by higher-priority legislation. Supporter Sakihito Ozawa (l.) only gives the bill an even-money chance to move on. Settles With Ader After Board Shakeup announced that it had settled its dispute with activist investor Jason Ader, just days after three of its board members, including co-founder Manfred Bodner (l.), stepped down after an independent review. Ader will get at least one of his nominees on a revamped board as the company tries to halt a free-fall in its stock price.

Queensland Competition Heats Up

Proposals for multibillion-dollar resort casinos on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are causing supporters and opponents to get hot and bothered. With new casino licenses up for bid, Queensland will grapple with who gets the licenses and how they are weighed. Perhaps the Aquis (l.) is the most ambitious and controversial.

Last Gasp for Illinois Gaming Expansion

With less than two weeks remaining in the Illinois legislative session, state Rep. Bob Rita (l.) has asked his colleagues to support his expanded gambling proposals, both calling for a state-run Chicago casino. One plan calls for a single mega-casino in Chicago. The other would allow a smaller Chicago casino plus four more in the south suburbs.


Atlantic City’s woes may not be over as more competition is slated to open within the next several years. Experts believe more casinos need to close before the market bottoms out.


Macau Denies UnionPay Crackdown

A top Macau official has dismissed news reports that the government wants to curb the use of China’s state-backed UnionPay cards in the territory. The card has been in the spotlight in recent weeks as a source of billions in illegal transactions by gamblers intent on evading China’s currency controls.

Universal Wins Ruling in Philippines

Kazuo Okada’s Universal Entertainment says work on its $1 billion Manila resort (l.) is moving forward after a Philippine court ruled in its favor in a dispute with former partner Century Properties Group. The ruling could free Universal to secure new partners to comply with Philippine limits on foreign ownership.

Study: Macau Casino Workers Unhappy

A new survey of Macau casino employees finds a high number are dissatisfied with their jobs and would like to quit. The problem is that gaming is the city’s only major industry, and it also pays the best.

Smartcard Immigration Coming to Macau

Getting to Macau from Mainland China is going to get easier with the coming introduction of electronic immigration. The system could be up and running at border crossings next month and will allow visitors going both ways to use a smartcard instead of traditional passport-like booklets.

Macau Locals Gambling Less

Gambling by Macau residents is down almost 10 percent from three years ago, according to a new survey. The research suggests that local interest has declined as the industry has grown and says low unemployment and responsible gaming programs have also played a part.


Shop Closings ‘Inevitable,’ Says Gala Coral

Gala Coral says the British government’s crackdown on the spread of electronic table games in betting shops will force it to close many of its outlets, and that will cost jobs. William Hill and Ladbrokes say they’ll do the same as debate continues to rage over the proliferation of the games.


Mexico Targeting Casino Irregularities

The Mexican government is updating its 70-year-old gambling laws and cracking down on illegal gambling. As a result, 24 gambling operations were shuttered in northern Mexico, including the Playboy Club casino (l.) in Cancun, all owned by EMEX whose head is Juan Jose Rojas-Cardona, the so-called casino czar.


Willie Brown Switches Sides in Online Gambling Debate

Though he was once in favor of online poker in California, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown (l.) has joined Billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling. Brown says he changed his mind after learning of how gambling sites attempt to lure in young people. Meanwhile, the debate over online gambling continues to bring in supporters for both sides.

Illegal Gambling Sites Hurting Legal New Jersey Sites

Online gambling in the U.S. has attracted illegal unlicensed operators who are poaching players from states like New Jersey, which has legalized online gambling. advertises legal atop of blacklisted sites like Still, panelists at a recent Atlantic City gambling conference remained optimistic about online gambling’s growth in the U.S.

iGaming in Pennsylvania Debated

A looming budget deficit is causing Pennsylvania regulators to consider legalizing internet gaming, although passage would be an uphill battle. Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati (l.) sees significant revenue at stake.

Britain Finalizes Online Gambling Laws

Online gambling operators located outside the UK, but wishing to take bets from UK gamblers must obtain a license. The change has received Royal Assent and is awaiting legislation to implement the act.

Swiss Introduce Online Gambling Bill

The Swiss government has introduced a draft of a new gaming bill, which includes online gambling. The bill allows for home poker games, but would not allow foreign companies to offer online gambling.

Minnesota Online Scratch-Off Games May End

The Minnesota legislature overwhelmingly voted to end the purchase of scratch-off lottery tickets online, at gas pumps and at ATMs. If Governor Mark Dayton signs the measure it will go into effect October 30. The move could cost the state $12 million or more.

KGM, Spin Games Launch New Jersey Titles

Spin Games and KGM Gaming announced the successful launch of six new HTML games in the New Jersey online gaming market under a previous deal with Caesars Entertainment.


Delaware Casinos May Be Out of Luck

As state lawmakers begin a budget debate by searching for ways cut spending to head off a deficit, proposed tax cuts for the Delaware’s struggling racinos, including Dover Downs (l.), take a back seat.

Analysts: Cosmo Sale a Good Deal All Around

Gaming analysts say the sale of the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas will lighten the load for outgoing owner Deutsche Bank, and could be a bonanza for the new owner Blackstone Group LP. Blackstone paid the equivalent of 50 cents on the dollar for the struggling resort.

Caesars Completes Harrah’s New Orleans Sale

On May 20, after receiving approval from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, Caesars Entertainment Corp. completed the sale of its Harrah’s New Orleans to Caesars Growth Partners. At the same time it also refinanced a loan used to buy three Las Vegas properties.

Cromwell, SLS Will Succeed with ‘Narrowcasting’

In Las Vegas, the era of supersized casinos designed to appeal to the masses could be drawing to a close. That wide-net approach is giving way to “narrowcasting,” in which smaller niche properties go after a very specific, smaller patron demographic.

Feds: New Jersey Had its Chance at Sports Betting

Federal legal filings in response to New Jersey’s attempt to overturn a federal ban on sports betting before the U.S. Supreme Court say the state missed its chance to approve sports betting when the ban was first passed. The law gave New Jersey a one-year window to approve sports betting, but the state did not act and should not get a second chance now, the filings argue.

Indiana To Study Gaming Industry

Indiana legislators will form a study committee this summer to review how the state's gaming industry—its third largest source of revenue—can hold its own against competition from new casinos in neighboring states. Proposals could include permitting casinos to move off rivers and onto land and allowing racinos.

Union Calls for Strike in Downtown Vegas

The Culinary and Bartenders unions in Las Vegas warn that they are ready, willing and able to organize a strike of hospitality workers at Downtown casinos if new contracts are not reached. Nine casinos remain unsettled.

Argosy Owner Files Chapter 11 in Iowa

Claiming it will lose $110 million if the Argosy Sioux City riverboat is forced to close by July 1 deadline, as ordered by the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission, owner Belle of Sioux City LP, a subsidiary of Penn National Gaming, recently filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Belle officials listed liabilities of $110 million to 100-199 creditors.

New Orleans Funding Awaits Jindal's Signature

The Louisiana legislature has passed a measure creating the Casino Support Services Fund, which would create a permanent source of funding for police and other support services related to Harrah's Casino in New Orleans. Governor Bobby Jindal (l.) has vetoed similar bills for four previous years, forcing city taxpayers to fund the casino services.

Downtown Vegas Arena: Undone Deal

A plan by the Cordish Companies to build a $390 million, 20,000-seat indoor arena in Downtown Las Vegas has been yanked off the drawing board, replaced by a soccer stadium (l.). But the Baltimore developer hasn’t given up on Sin City.

Atlantic City Must Close Casinos to Survive, Analysts Say

Casino industry insiders and market analysts speaking at a regional gaming conference in Atlantic City all sounded a similar note—Atlantic City needs to close its unprofitable casinos and downsize to fit new market realities. Meanwhile, Hard Rock executives speaking at the conference said the company is interested in buying the slumping Revel casino hotel, but only if the price is right.

Casino Cruise To Sail From Savannah

Florida-based Tradewinds Cruise Lines recently announced its Escapade casino ship will begin cruising from Savannah in early June. The three-deck, 425-passenger casino boat will off five-hour cruises daily except Monday, with 220 slots, 12 blackjack tables, roulette, craps and poker.

Iowa Casino Officials Hold Women’s Summit

Iowa's five female casino general managers and other women in the state's gaming industry recently held their first summit, hosted by the Iowa Gaming Association. Nancy Ballenger, vice president and general manager at Isle of Capri Casino in Bettendorf, said 44 percent of casino executives and managers in Iowa are women.

Free Concert, Fireworks To Launch Re-Branded Casino

To launch Harrah’s Gulf Coast Casino, formerly Grand Biloxi Casino Hotel & Spa, the property will present a free concert by Darius Rucker on June 21, followed by fireworks over the Gulf of Mexico. The grand opening event also will introduce the facility's expansion and boardwalk addition.


Senecas Shelve Plan for 4th Casino

The Seneca Nation of Indians bought 32 acres in the town of Henrietta, New York last month, with plans to build a fourth casino in the state. Widespread opposition to the proposal has compelled the Indians to pull out. But they’re leaving the door open to a future development.

Northern California Tribe Plans $320 Million Casino

The Northern California Cloverdale Rancheria of Pomo Indians says it plans to go forward with plans for a $320 million casino in Cloverdale, poised to challenge the largest casino in the state, the Graton Resort and Casino (l.).

Winemakers Unite To Fight Casino in Napa Valley

Winemakers in California’s Napa Valley like their agricultural valley just the way it is. They are prepared to fight the Mishewal Wappo Tribe of Alexander Valley, which has sued in federal court for recognition—and the possibility of building a casino.

Michigan Petitions High Court

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette (l.) recently petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse an appellate court decision in the case of Michigan vs. Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. The tribe wants to open a $245 million casino in Lansing. Schuette said the case has implications regarding tribal sovereignty and state gaming compacts.

Menominee Begin Keshena Renovations

The Menominee Tribe in Wisconsin recently broke ground on an $8 million renovation project at its Keshena facility. Plans include centralizing the table games area, updating slots, installing a new ventilation system and building a new resort entrance. The tribe still is waiting for Governor Scott Walker's decision on its proposed $800 million Kenosha casino.

Foxwoods Announces Weekday Closures, Layoffs

As business continues to drop, Foxwoods Resort Casino announced table games and some slots will be closed at Rainmaker Casino on weekdays and a number of employees will be laid off. Chief Executive Officer Scott Butera said more changes are to be expected as new casinos open in nearby states.

Help Is Scarce For Oklahoma Problem Gamblers

Only a few hundred of Oklahoma's estimated 60,000-80,000 problem gamblers receive treatment every year, even as the number of Native American casinos continues to grow. Only 45 certified counselors work at about a dozen state-funded treatment centers, less than half of the required number, experts said.


Betfair Appoints U.S. CEO

Kip Levin has been named as the new chief executive officer of Betfair’s U.S. operations. He takes over Betfair’s U.S. businesses TVG, America’s Horseracing Network and Betfair Casino, the firm’s online casino in New Jersey.

Navajo Gaming Hires Parrish

Brian Parrish, a 26-year veteran of the gaming and hospitality industry, has been hired as chief operating officer at Navajo Gaming, operators of New Mexico and Arizona casinos. Previously Parrish was chief executive officer at Quechan Casino in California and Paradise Casino in Arizona.

Cherokees Name Garrett Executive VP

Cherokee Nation Businesses has named Cherokee Nation citizen Charles Garrett as its executive vice president. Garrett joined CNB, the Nation's holding company, as senior vice president of business development in 2013.

GTECH Names Asia Sales Manager

Michael Lim is the new casino systems sales manager for GTECH’s Asian region, responsible for accounts in Singapore, Vietnam and Taiwan


AGA Urges Patent Litigation Reform

Whitaker Askew (l.), vice president of government relations at the American Gaming Association, said the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's decision to not consider patent reform legislation is "a step backward" that will cause the U.S. gaming industry "to fall victim to the abusive, frivolous and costly litigation asserted by patent trolls."

Amaya Releases ‘The Zombies’

Amaya Gaming Group has released The Zombies, a new video slot game featuring advanced 3D graphics and a high-quality audio system.

Ortiz Sponsors Osage

Ortiz Gaming supported the Osage Foundation’s charity golf tournament by serving as the sponsor of one of the holes and fielding players.

Gala Bingo Selects OpenBet

Gala Bingo has selected OpenBet to provide the platform to power the launch of its new Flutter betting platform, in time for the 2014 World Cup.

Sega Sammy Joins GSA

Japan’s Sega Sammy Creation, a manufacturer of lot and pachinko machines, has joined the Gaming Standards Association as a Platinum member.


New Jersey Sports Betting: Bet On It!

Even as New Jersey’s challenge to a federal sports-betting ban awaits Supreme Court action, state Senator Raymond Lesniak (l.) is planning a new bill to allow sports betting in the Garden State. Lesniak argues that even under federal law, New Jersey can simply choose not to stop private sports betting operations.

No Longer Babies

As Baby Boomers age, casino operators worry about attracting younger players who prefer table games to slots and are less interested than their parents in visiting casinos. Reaching Millennials through gaming devices is possible, but the regulatory process also needs to change, experts agree.




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