Atlantic City’s star-crossed Revel Casino Hotel last week sent a letter to its employees warning that if it didn’t find a buyer soon, it would cease operations, although management said the deadline was set more for legal reasons than for practical reasons. The casino will also file for the second bankruptcy within one year.
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The sale of PokerStars to Amaya Gaming for $4.9 billion could open the door for the poker giant’s entry into the fledgling U.S. online market. Amaya and its chairman, David Baazov (l.), are scheduled to enter talks with New Jersey regulators to bring the brand into the state’s online market, where the company already has a partnership with Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. Amaya’s stock surged after the acquisition was announced.
The lower house of Japan’s Diet has finally begun formal debate on a much-anticipated casino legalization bill. As late as last week the bill looked to be dead for 2014, but the move considerably improves the chances it will be passed when the legislature meets for a special session this fall. Economy Minister Akira Amari (l.) believes his boss, PM Shinzo Abe, has the votes.
Lottery and gaming giant GTECH is among those bidding to acquire leading slot manufacturer International Game Technology, which last week confirmed that its management was considering a sale.
One of the world’s best-known entertainment companies has joined the casino race in New York State. Last Thursday, Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen (l.) announced that a casino proposed for the riverfront community of Rensselaer would bear the famous brand. Meanwhile Foxwoods scuttled its casino plans for the famous Grossinger’s resort because of doubts about an Orange County casino.
A bill to allow regulated online poker in Pennsylvania has been introduced in the state Senate by Senators Edwin Erickson and Bob Mensch (l.). The bill would also allow the state to form compacts with other states to share players and may allow for online casino games.
With trust applications filed with the Department of Interior, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians hopes to build off-reservation casinos in downtown Lansing (l.) and near the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette recently withdrew his petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a lawsuit stopping the Lansing venture.
A Beijing-based investment group has signed an accord with the government of Antigua and Barbuda on development of a US$2 billion resort with a casino on the Caribbean island nation. Plans call for five hotels, private residences, a marina and golf course and other attractions.
Amaya Gaming has been active in both the online and land-based casino supplier space, buying up small to mid-sized companies over the past couple of years. But nothing compares with its bold move to buy PokerStars announced two weeks ago.
GLOBAL GAMING BUSINESS PODCAST: Mark Michalko, Director of Sales-Asia, International Game Technology
This week, the GGB Podcast features an interview with Mark Michalko, the director of sales Asia at International Game Technology, on the company’s strategies and growth prospects on the Pacific Rim.
Macau’s government has responded to widespread abuses of rules allowing Mainland Chinese tourists to visit Macau by shortening the number of days they can stay in the city while supposedly traveling to other countries. Analysts say they don’t expect the restrictions to hurt gaming revenues.
Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan (l.) is soliciting government approval for a casino to compete with Genting’s longstanding monopoly at Resorts World Genting. Vincent Tan says he’ll spend more than US$900 million to expand his Berjaya Hills resort complex if gaming is approved.
Casinos in Singapore has been a perfect storm for the city-state’s booming pawnshop industry, adding large numbers of gamblers hard up for cash to residents oppressed by a rapidly rising cost of living. The sector loaned the equivalent of US$4.4 billion last year, more than triple the volume of five years ago.
Online and mobile sales are driving China’s legal Sports Lottery toward its best World Cup ever. The first day of betting saw revenues of US$24 million, easily surpassing the first day of the 2010 tournament, and that’s just a fraction of the illegal market, which is estimated to exceed $95 billion a year.
Lawrence Ho’s (l.) Russian partner is in jail, and the Macau casino magnate is responding by buying him out of the US$700 million casino they’re building together near Vladivostok. A company controlled by Ho has upped its stake in the project, which is slated to open this year, and now holds a commanding 60 percent.
City of Dreams Manila will cost US$160 million more than forecast as it progresses toward an October opening. To pay for it the increase Macau’s Melco Crown Entertainment is selling more shares of its Philippine subsidiary developing the resort.
Germany’s interstate compact on gambling mandates strict limits on commercial competition everywhere but in Schleswig-Holstein, which has taken a more liberal approach. Digibet argued that nullified the treaty, but the European Court of Justice said no.
Two groups are bidding for Saipan’s sole casino license, and one of them, the owners of the competing Tinian Dynasty (l.) casino on neighboring Tinian island, wants Saipan to approve a license for both of them. Saipan officials say that’s out of the question.
Portugal’s Ministry of Economics has finalized a draft for new online gaming regulations. The country’s parliament could act on the bill as early as July.
Online gambling software firm Williams Interactive has launched its games on New Jersey’s online gambling sites Virgincasino.com and Tropicanacasino.com.
The Netherlands is moving toward opening its state-controlled gambling industry to private competition. But until the regulated market is a reality, unlicensed operators have been warned to stay out.
Betfair has been named the official online gaming sponsor of Live Nation New Jersey, the PNC Bank Arts Center and Susquehanna Bank Center.
Just a week after the first license for a casino resort for the Massachusetts was granted by the gaming commission to MGM Resorts International for its $800 million casino proposal for Springfield, the agency announced it was considering delaying by six months the naming of the casino license holder for the southeastern region, which was supposed to be designated for a tribal casino in New Bedford (l.). Maybe not.
MGM Resorts International has released a community benefits agreement signed that guarantees millions in revenue and jobs for residents of Maryland’s Prince George’s County.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission narrowly approved a gaming license for Wild Rose Entertainment's $40 million casino in rural Jefferson. But in April the commission denied a license for a Cedar Rapids casino, saying it would cannibalize existing casinos--although the Jefferson casino will take an estimated $30 million annually from Prairie Meadows.
Dover Downs Gaming and Entertainment had a $90 million line of credit extended until August while the struggling operator of Dover Downs racino in Delaware looks to refinance its debt.
Following an $88 million tax settlement between Atlantic City and the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, city officials have said two more tax settlements with other casinos are being finalized. The settlements are with Resorts (l.) and Caesars Entertainment. Details of the settlements were not released.
A suit filed by investors in Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino seeking to stop the gaming board from approving a second casino in the city has failed.
The two slots parlors in Rhode Island would be able to offer “markers” for up to $75,000 under a proposal that was voted onto the Senate floor last week by the Senate Finance Committee. The casinos, Twin River in Lincoln and Newport Grand (l.) in Newport, would be responsible for collecting the debts, not the state.
A new poll finds that only about 12 percent of New Jersey gamblers would take their business to new casinos being built in New York. But analysts say even that small of a drop in business could seriously hurt Atlantic City. Only 57 percent of respondents said they would still travel to the resort.
A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that a class-action lawsuit against the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno may proceed. Lawyers acting on behalf of almost 5,000 people say workers were routinely forced to work off the clock.
At a recent business forum in Atlantic City, casino industry leaders proposed positioning the resort as a jumping off point for European travelers visiting the U.S. Officials for Atlantic City International Airport are already in talks with European air carriers.
Could it be possible that Illinois lawmakers are avoiding creating passable expanded gambling measures on purpose? Some observers believe state Rep. Bob Rita's bill is just another "fetcher bill," designed to help raise campaign funds and then withdrawn.
The Golden Nugget Atlantic City is not liable for $1.5 million won by 14 players who noticed an unshuffled deck of cards, which resulted in a clear pattern for the cards emerging. The deck was supposed to be pre-shuffled by the manufacturer. A judge found the unshuffled deck violated state’s casino laws.
The grand opening of the SLS Las Vegas, which will be the flagship property of SBE Entertainment of Los Angeles, has been pushed up on the calendar from Labor Day to August 23. The $214 million hotel-casino at the former Sahara will have 1,600 rooms.
New Jersey’s legislature has approved a change to its casino self-exclusion lists saying that gamblers do not have to admit to a gambling problem to apply for the lists. Advocates say the change removes the stigma of applying for self-exclusion.
A 24/7 construction schedule and brisk job recruitment efforts have officials of the Horseshoe Baltimore project predicting the casino will open early.
Atlantic City has announced this season’s LGBT-friendly events and marketing push as it continues to court the gay tourism market. The famous beach at Park Place (l.) has been designated at LGBT friendly.
The Atlantic Club, a former Atlantic City casino that closed in January, has been sold for $13.5 million to TJM Properties Inc. of Florida. The company also bought the Claridge Hotel in the resort, another former casino, and is currently refurbishing the property.
With a decision imminent on whether the U.S. Supreme Court will hear New Jersey’s challenge to overturn a federal ban on sports betting, New Jersey state Senator Raymond Lesniak—the state’s most vocal proponent for sports betting—said at least one state racetrack—Monmouth Park (l.)—will have sports betting in place by September if the court denies the case.
The economy that has been struggling toward recovery since hitting bottom in 2010 is more robust than ever. Gaming revenues are on the rise, tourism is at almost-peak levels, and employment is up. The housing market is on the mend too.
First Jerry Bauerkemper unsuccessfully sued the state of Nebraska in 2011for not granting his nonprofit group contracts to help problem gamblers. Then those services were taken from a state agency and awarded to a new commission, which awarded Bauerkemper's group two contracts for $200,000, without taking bids. State Auditor Mike Foley smells something fishy.
Atlantic City has created a non-profit agency aimed at increasing the city’s share of the convention trade. The agency, called Meet AC, will be funded by the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.
A Nashville attorney whose firm works with other states regarding casino gaming law laments that Tennessee does not allow casino gambling. Stuart Scott said a few well-placed casinos in Memphis, Nashville and Chattanooga could raise millions for education.
In Las Vegas sports books last week, the odds were with the bettors during live airings of the World Cup. Though gamblers took the money and ran, World Cup mania is great for business, said South Point sports book director Jimmy Vaccaro.
Indiana's gambling industry is reeling from new competition in Ohio, with gaming revenues dropping $242.5 million in the last 11 months. Despite renovations and marketing campaigns, the situation isn't improving. Industry officials are counting on state lawmakers to let riverboats move ashore and allow live gaming at racinos.
As competition and the recession sent Harrah's Tunica Hotel & Casino on a downward spiral, Caesars Entertainment, in debt for $23.6 billion, could not sustain keeping it open. The former Grand Casino, opened in 1996, once boasted the largest gaming floor—136,000 square feet—between New Jersey and Las Vegas.
An exhibit honoring late Las Vegas gaming pioneer Jackie Gaughan will soon be part of the El Cortez Casino. Gaughan, who died in March at 91, lived in a penthouse at the property and could be seen on the casino floor almost every day.
The New York tribal nation is on pace to open a new slots-only casino on its territory on the Fourth of July. The new casino, located less than 40 miles from the tribe’s commercial casino in Salamanca, adjoins a convenience store and gas station.
Mass grading is nearly complete and state and local agencies are preparing infrastructure at Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel near Murphy, North Carolina, scheduled to open next summer. The project will create 500 construction jobs and up to 900 permanent positions.
Two factions of California’s Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians have come perilously close to bloodshed over the operation of the Rolling Hills Casino in Northern California. Attorney General Kamala Harris’ (l.) office has asked a federal court to intervene.
Ho-Chunk Inc. may not join Penn National Gaming's lawsuit against the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, said District Court Judge Eliza Ovrom in Polk County, Iowa. Ovrom said Ho-Chunk, the economic arm of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, could have filed its own lawsuit but missed the deadline. Tribal officials are considering an appeal.
Very few issues release the floodgates of political money in California like voters initiatives involving Indian gaming. The otherwise staid list of measures on the November ballot includes one that would strike down two Indian gaming compacts, one with a tribe that proposes an off-reservation casino.
A Southern California contractor has pled guilty for defrauding a Northern California tribe, the Auburn Indian Community out of $17 million. Bart Wayne Volen admitted to federal charges for kickbacks done in the construction of several buildings for the tribe, which operates Thunder Valley Casino.
A federal judge recently ordered the Ho-Chunk tribe to remove video poker games from its casino in Madison, Wisconsin. The judge said the games defy the tribe's compact with the state. The tribe said the games are legal since players bet against each other.
Officials in California’s wine country are always on the lookout for suspicious activities by Indian tribes, who they worry might build a casino in Napa Valley. So they are suspicious about a loan the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians have made to a local winery.
Land owned by Quinault Nation member Roberta Law Ross was placed in trust in the 1920s. Now family members want to pursue a casino on the 0.79-acre site—but there's some question over which tribe actually exercises "governmental power" over the land under IGRA.
Looking ahead to a future where gambling revenue may not be as secure, the Seminole Tribe of Florida is expanding its operations to cattle, seafood, beverages, wine, construction and banking. Its Seminole Pride brand is in growing in popularity. Still, gambling provides more than 90 percent of the tribe's $2 billion in annual revenue.
Gaming Laboratories International has added four seasoned engineers to its GLI Australia labs— David Dang, Surendranath Dwarakanath, Liliana Hrncic and Ken Truc Han Truong.
Richard Roberts has been named an executive director of UK and U.S. gambling group Sportech. He will become president of digital operations in the U.S.
The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers is seeking a change to Nevada law that would explicitly permit games in which skill can attain better odds.
The Gaming Standards Association has opened a satellite office in Brussels, Belgium, that will assist the organization’s effort to establish online gaming standards.
Baum Games has obtained BMM Testlabs certification for its games in Peru, which it will sell through its exclusive distributor Legendary Distributions.
The quixotic billionaire, who is the world’s eighth richest man, has donated $2.5 million to fight a Florida constitutional amendment that would legalize medical marijuana. It’s another example of the Sands CEO’s willingness to put his money where his mouth is on social issues.
Small Nuggets of News
Outrageous pronouncements, simple statements and words of wisdom