The world’s leading online poker operator, PokerStars, was sold last week to the Amaya Gaming Group of Canada. The $4.9 billion price tag and the departure of key PokerStars executives, such as former Chairman Isai Sheinberg (r.) and his son, current Chairman Mark Scheinberg, should ensure that the PokerStars brand can now be brought to legal U.S. online gaming jurisdictions.
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MGM Resorts won the first casino license in Massachusetts last week for a proposed casino in Springfield (l.). But voters in the Bay State appear to have radically changed their attitudes about whether any casino resorts should be built. Since the last polls were taken in February voters have flipped from strongly pro-casino to strongly anti-casino.
The share price for International Game Technology jumped after Reuters reported that the company has hired Morgan Stanley to explore a sale of the company.
In what was gaming’s worst-kept secret, Scientific Games has named longtime gaming supply executive Gavin Isaacs as its new CEO, charged with leading the company following its acquisition of WMS Gaming.
Tokyo’s governor, Yoichi Masuzoe (l.), dealt another blow to supporters of casino legalization in Japan, saying casinos are not a priority for the country’s capital and largest city. He further questioned the economic potential and said more discussion is needed about the potential problems the industry could bring.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court declared Native American tribes are sovereign nations that can't be sued, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe applied to the Interior Department to have its downtown Lansing property taken into federal trust for a casino (l.), and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette withdrew his petition to the high court to block the tribe's proposed casino there.
Tony Fung (l.) looks across Australia’s northern tropics and sees a resort mecca with the potential to rival Macau. Plans for his massive A$8 billion Aquis Resort complex near the Great Barrier Reef include 7,500 hotel rooms, a golf course, a lagoon and water park, and more, in its first phase alone.
The American Gaming Association last week launched its “Get to Know Gaming” campaign designed to proactively point out the benefits of casino gaming to communities, individuals and customers. The goal is getting the industry treated like any other business.
From new CEOs to possible sales, the manufacturing sector of the gaming industry has been very active. What does this mean to shareholders and other interested parties?
GLOBAL GAMING BUSINESS PODCAST: Gabriel Cianchetto, President of Market Development, Greentube North America
This week the GGB Podcast features an interview with Gabriel Cianchetto, the president of market development for Greentube North America, about his company’s Greentube Pro, a new plug-and-play social gaming platform the company is marketing to smaller casinos in North America.
Analysts see declines ahead in Macau’s VIP gaming revenue and are downgrading their forecasts for the market for the rest of the year. The effect has wrought havoc with the shares of the six Hong Kong-listed operators, and sentiment could worsen if a reported UnionPay crackdown hits the mass market.
Bloomberry Resorts boss Enrique Razon (l.) envisions a fourfold increase in the size of its Solaire Resort & Casino. November will see the addition of 300 hotel rooms, more slots and VIP tables and an array of non-gaming attractions, and another 1,500 more hotel rooms, a massive entertainment arena and significant MICE space are in the works.
Macau police are working with authorities in China and Hong Kong to battle an expected surge in illegal betting during the World Cup. It’s part of a broader operation under way across East and Southeast Asia in partnership with Interpol to turn up the heat on the region’s vast betting black market.
The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip, a golf course designed by Australian golfer Greg Norman and located on Vietnam’s south-central coast has opened to positive reviews.
Macau’s Health Bureau says there will be no limitations on the size and number of the airport-style smoking rooms casinos are required to install come October, when a total ban on smoking in public gaming areas takes effect. This will provide properties with flexibility in managing the ban’s impacts.
Ireland’s betting shops have been laboring since 1931 under a law that requires them to close early for six months every year. Reforms are in the works to change that, and it could mean €20 million or more in extra tax revenue.
Licensed gambling in Greece is down 35 percent the last five years, and may now be smaller than the unregulated market, says the country’s top regulator. He estimates the legal market generated about €5.5 billion in turnover last year. Unlicensed machine games and online gambling generated around €6 billion, possibly more.
Slots continue to dominate gambling in Australia, accounting for almost two-thirds of total annual spend, according to recently released data for the year through March. Sports betting generated 5 percent by comparison, casino table games a mere 4 percent.
Monash University in Melbourne, Australia recently issued a report indicating Chinese immigrants are more at risk of problem gambling than Australia's general population. The study also said Chinese immigrants are more likely to bet on dice and card games while white Australians prefer sports and horses.
A draft bill to ban online gambling in the U.S. has seen little movement in Congress. The bill is backed by Sheldon Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Online Gambling, which has been picking up some support, but not enough to move the bill in Washington. But now convenience stores back to bill to prevent online lottery ticket sales.
The Morongo Band and their card club allies insist that their partner PokerStars be allowed to participate in any online poker in California. Card club spokesman Keith Sharp (l.) explains why they are preventing the legislature from passing the Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act of 2014 that would legalize the game in the Golden State.
Three more international online poker sites, including the black-listed Bovada (l.), have cut back accepting wagers from U.S. players after New Jersey sent out cease-and-desist letters to several sites in April. New Jersey is trying to stop unlicensed offshore sites from advertising online next to regulated gambling sites that operate in the state.
Online gambling revenue grew by 10 percent in Spain for the first three months of 2014. The major increase came in sports wagering while online poker revenue was down.
On May 20, officials in Connecticut sent a cease-and-desist letter to 28 out-of-state sites that reportedly were offering sports betting to residents of the state. The warning was issued by the state attorney general and the Department of Consumer Protection.
British bookmaker William Hill has set a revenue target of €245.9 million for the FIFA World Cup. The prediction follows a major advertising campaign.
IGT’s DoubleDown social casino has released “Final Goal,” a soccer-themed slot game available on Android, iOS and Kindle Fire.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has released guidelines for affiliate sites that drive traffic to the state’s online gambling sites. Affiliates must be licensed in either of two categories.
GameAccount Network will distribute the games of Novomatic Group’s iGaming arm Greentube Interactive under a new distribution agreement.
Playtech will provide its Virtue Fusion Bingo platform to the Trinity Mirror Group and its Daily Mirror and Daily Record brands under a just-announced agreement.
The isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development says it is looking to protect businesses and individuals using digital currencies that wish to operate there and will examine new regulations for digital currency use.
Player numbers for WSOP.com in Nevada show the site averages more players than PartyPoker and Borgatapoker.com in New Jersey. The site currently averages 144 cash game players at any time.
A disgruntled group of bondholders claims Caesars Entertainment was in default on second-lien notes when it sold properties to the spinoff Caesars Growth Partners. The debt-ridden company is striving to create opportunities while managing its other obligations. The bondholders are complaining about the sale of Las Vegas properties, including the new Cromwell (l.).
Communities across upstate New York continue to weigh the pros and cons of Vegas-style casino resorts in their backyards. Schenectady recently approved a casino resort backed by billionaire Neil Bluhm (l.). Full casino proposals are due to the state June 30, and community support is essential. But some operators in the Catskills are bailing because of suspected support for a casino in Orange County, which would grab most Catskills-area gamblers.
Andrea Young (l.), president of Sam Houston Race Park, and other Texas racetrack owners will make their case for historic racing terminals before the Texas Racing Commission this week. Proponents said the machines could help boost revenues, while opponents said they're just horse-themed slots, which are illegal in Texas.
Lawmakers could use money from a $26 million grant and loan fund for job creation to cover the $20 million in proposed fee and tax breaks for Delaware casinos.
The Cordish Companies’ Hanover, Maryland casino saw revenues of $59.5 million in May, a jump of more than 8 percent over 2013. But the state’s other two established casinos fell short. Maryland Live is the state’s largest gaming hall.
Ohio’s casinos, including the Horseshoe Cincinnati (l.), for the first time are drawing more customers in the Cincinnati metro area then the three riverboat casinos in Indiana. Casinos were only recently approved in the state and the first one opened two years ago.
Hoping to diversify its offerings and gain market share ahead of a planned second Philadelphia casino, SugarHouse Casino on the Philly waterfront has once again asked the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to approve a temporary poker room.
The Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas has completed a multimillion-dollar reinvention of its Strip-facing facade, debuting a lively open-air plaza with “six unique dining concepts, vibrant community spaces and dynamic live entertainment.”
Atlantic City has agreed to refund the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa $88 million in taxes. In return, Borgata agreed to drop further tax appeals from 2011 to 2014. The settlement does not cover all of the casino’s current tax appeals.
Pennsylvania lawmakers are considering one bill that makes the tavern game program more appealing to applicants, and another that would add video gaming to bars.
In New Hampshire, legislators have sent to the governor a bill that would tighten charitable gambling rules. Charities would be required to keep and report financial details, and the attorney general would have to perform more thorough background checks.
GCA Leisure, LLC has announced plans to bring back the historic Moulin Rouge to Las Vegas. To that end, the casino opened for a single day last week to keep the property’s gaming license in play. Moulin Rouge was the first integrated casino in the U.S.
A significant majority of voters in the recent South Carolina Democratic primary said states, not Congress, should decide if they want online gambling. Also, voters said they want the state's $20 billion in infrastructure improvements funded by gambling, not a tax increase. The questions were non-binding but Democrats said the results would be considered for future legislation.
New York State lottery officials say Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens realized $793 million in net revenue in the last fiscal year. That’s 14 percent more than the previous year.
Workers at Atlantic City’s Revel casino have voted to join the city’s largest casino workers union. All 11 Atlantic City casinos are now union shops, but in Revel’s case the move may complicate plan to sell the troubled casino.
Station Casinos opened its 10th casino and its seventh Wildfire property on Lake Mead Parkway in Henderson last week. The property was developed at the site of the old Lake Mead Lounge.
In St. Louis, Tropicana Entertainment's Lumière Place wants to take back the revenue it lost since River City casino opened in 2010. Lumière Place generated $17.5 million in April 2010 and $11.1 million in April 2014, compared to River City’s $13 million in 2010 and $17.5 million in 2014.
Atlantic City gave out better than 60,000 tickets each for two free summer beach concerts in just two days. Blake Shelton plays the beach July 31 and Lady Antebellum (l.) plays August 3. Officials said limits on tickets were needed to ensure public safety.
The Lucky Club Casino in Las Vegas is billing itself as “Las Vegas’s first and only” casino to offer bingo games en Espanol. Bingo Loteria is up and running at the property operated by Seth Schorr.
A Reno lawyer and the Nevada Gaming Commission are backing a proposal that would incorporate video games into slot machines. By adding the skill-based games and changing the odds, frequent players could try their luck at greater rewards.
Once the third-ranked state for casinos, Mississippi has dropped to sixth, with a decrease in gross casino revenue of 5 percent, to $2.25 billion for 2013 compared to 2012. Beau Rivage Casino in Biloxi will try to boost those numbers by offering preferred players Sunday charter flights on Sun Country Airlines from St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport to the casino.
Officials at Fairmount Park racetrack in Collinsville, Illinois said they plan to start lobbying lawmakers to pass legislation allowing slots at the state's five racetracks. However, officials in East St. Louis fear Fairmount slots will lower revenues from the Casino Queen that the city depends on.
The South Dakota Gaming Commission recently approved 12 rules changes to gambling measures that will take effect July 1. The rules make it a misdemeanor for banned players to enter casinos, allow two new casino games and let players listen to music on cell phones at table games.
A low-cost start-up airline is considering flights to Atlantic City International Airport. The airline, which is reviving the PEOPLExpress name, could start flights in the fall.
Some Florida convenience store owners and clerks are mysteriously winning an unusually high number of Florida Lottery scratch-off ticket games. One store owner in Winter Haven won four times in a single day in March—beating odds of 30,000 to one each time. The lottery is investigating potential criminal activity in at least 96 stores.
Although the North Carolina Republican platform opposes gambling ("including the state lottery"), delegates to the recently ended convention softened that language to acknowledge an individual's right to gamble. Ironically, the convention was held at Harrah's Cherokee Casino.
A state police task force specifically assigned to stamp out illegal internet cafes in Ohio struck again last week, targeting three businesses in Austintown and a private home in North Jackson. Forty machines were taken into custody.
The National Indian Gaming Commission did not have a good week. The recently federally recognized Fort Sill Apache Tribe has sued the in federal court for its failure, after five years, to review the tribe's appeal of a violation notice that shut down its bingo operation in southern New Mexico. And a New York state court said the NIGC has no standing in a suit attempting to close down the Seneca tribe’s Buffalo Creek casino (l.) in Buffalo.
Several cities and towns in Oneida and Madison counties in New York State have agreed to accept funding from Oneida Nation gaming revenues to compensate for income lost when the Indians claimed tax-free land.
The Constitution State is ready to fight any change to federal law that would relax the U.S. government’s requirements for recognition of Indian tribes. Under the new guidelines, three additional Connecticut tribes could be eligible for trust lands and more.
Two factions of the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians in Northern California remain locked in a power struggle that caused the newly appointed police chief, Clay Parker to quit in frustration last week. The tribe’s Rolling Hills Casino (l.) remains closed although one faction insists that it’s open.
The Oneida Indian Nation is striking back against a politician who opposed the historic 2013 settlement deal between the state of New York and the tribe that runs Turning Stone Casino. The Nation and its leader Ray Halbritter (l.) will back Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney’s primary opponent.
An ambitious wetlands restoration project of almost 1,000 acres has begun next to the Graton casino in Rohnert Park, California.
The 11,000 square foot Oasis recently opened at the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Oklahoma, featuring two swim-up bars, a grotto with a fireplace and waterfall, food service and cabana rentals.
Since Paragon Casino Resort opened in Marksville, Louisiana in 1994, its square footage has expanded more than 10 times. Today it includes a 64,000 square foot gaming floor with more than 1,600 slots, plus a 500-plus-room hotel and a simulated bayou complete with alligators. More than 40 million people have visited to date.
Bookmaker William Hill is expected to announce a new CEO in the coming weeks. James Henderson, the company’s current operations director, is expected to get the job after current leader Ralph Topping (l.) steps down.
Daniel Silvers, president of Jason Ader’s Spring Owl Asset Management, has been appointed non-executive director of bwin.party.
Vincent Turrano has been named vice president of food and beverage at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa in Florida. A 31-year casino management veteran, Turrano previously was director of food and beverage at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City where he supervised a staff of 100.
G.H.I. Solutions has added gaming and hospitality experts Pam Eversole and Sam Kim to its team of information technology services specialists.
Hard Rock Biloxi's Chief Financial Officer Todd Raziano is expected to be named general manager after the property is sold for $250 million to Twin River Worldwide Holdings in the near future. Previously Raziano was chief financial officer at Beau Rivage and general manager at Casino Magic in Bay St. Louis.
Gaming Standards Association, which has just opened a new office in Brussels, Belgium has named Phyllis Farrugia to head up operations there. Farrugia has more than 15 years of experience in EU gaming policy.
Australia’s Independent Gaming Corporation has signed Scientific Games to a 10-year deal to supply its central monitoring and control system.
Gamblit has won preliminary Nevada approval of what gaming board members called a “game-changing” combination of video computer games and slots.
BMM Testlabs has collaborated with Gaming Informatics to develop what it says is the first open standard to enable electronic exchange of certification information.
Maryland Live! Casino has partnered with LRA Worldwide on creation of a comprehensive guest experience measurement program.
Pechanga Resort & Casino, California’s largest casino, has adopted BIS² gaming business intelligence solutions. Pechanga will implement the graphically enabled data analytics tools to optimize its casino floor operations and marketing programs.
The new-to-Android app allows users to quickly locate casinos nearby, and provides information on each casino’s accommodations and games. It also gives details on discounts, and offers GPS to get players to their locations.
Small Nuggets of News
Outrageous pronouncements, simple statements and words of wisdom