New York gaming regulators have lots of summer reading ahead. On June 30, the deadline for hopeful casino developers to file license applications, hundreds of boxes of documents—at least 25 tons—arrived on a caravan of trucks at the headquarters of the New York State Gaming Commission. In the end, 17 applicants reached this stage. Four casino licenses in upstate New York are available.
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David Siegel, a leading developer of timeshare properties, has been confirmed as the new owner of the LVH Las Vegas Hotel and Casino (l.), the former Las Vegas Hilton, which will now be known as the Westgate Las Vegas. And Caesars Entertainment is going all in with its new Linq brand, and will transform its Quad—formerly the Imperial Palace—into the Linq Hotel & Casino.
Aristocrat Leisure Ltd. announced that it will acquire all the assets of Illinois-based system and display manufacturer Paltronics, Inc., and confirmed talks with supplier VGT, ramping up the convergence that has been occurring in the gaming supplier industry. CEO Jamie Odell (l.) says the Paltronics purchase will return much shareholder value.
Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc., Penn National Gaming's spin-off REIT, is said to be actively pursuing Isle of Capri Casinos (the company’s newest casino in Cape Giradeau, Missouri at left), whose stock recently has soared due to speculation regarding a sale. Isle owners renewed talks with the REIT after negotiations with potential buyers failed to work out earlier in the year.
The Indian Affairs division of the Interior Department last week indicated it would approve the request of the Tohono O’odham Nation to take a plot of land into trust in Glendale, Arizona, where the tribe hopes to build a $500 million casino (l.). The Tohono O’odham Nation is based in Tucson although it claims historical roots in Glendale.
A VIP slowdown has been weighing on Macau casino revenues, and last month the World Cup took another bite. Revenue in June was down 3.7 percent year on year, the first monthly decline in five years.
Austria’s gaming monopoly is history, brought to a close by a German-Swiss consortium, which has won a license to open a resort in Vienna in the historic Palais Schwarzenberg (l.), the first to compete with Casinos Austria in 60 years. The newcomers will feature 28 table games and 290 slots and will cost €100 million.
A federal judge agrees with the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) that its lawsuit with the state of Massachusetts over its desire to build a Class II casino on Martha’s Vineyard should be moved from state court to federal court, which should give the tribe an advantage. Tribal Chairwoman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais (l.) was pleased.
GLOBAL GAMING BUSINESS PODCAST: James Maida, President and Co-Founder, Gaming Laboratories International (GLI)
This week the GGB Podcast features a discussion with James Maida, the president and co-founder of Gaming Laboratories International or GLI on the occasion of the company’s 25th anniversary.
Reports have proved unfounded that Macau’s government plans to crack down on the use of China’s popular UnionPay bank card by mainland gamblers sneaking cash out of the country to gamble. Instead, a top official said card-swipe terminals would not be removed from casino pawn shops and jewelry stores.
Japanese businessman Kazuo Okada (l.), who is head of Universal Entertainment, has filed criminal charges against a former employee for allegedly embezzling $5 million. The employee was not named, but may have been one of three employees who accused Okada of attempted bribery.
Four Chinese tourists are suing a casino on the popular Korean resort island of Jeju for refusing to pay them more than US$1 million in baccarat winnings. Casino management claims they cheated with the aid of a dealer.
Scores of new hotels are under construction or on the drawing board in Laos in preparation for a forecasted surge in foreign tourism. Chinese travel is expected to lead the way in the years ahead, thanks to a planned new rail link from the capital of Vientiane.
Chinese Insurance firms have been ordered to stop issuing novelty policies linked to the FIFA World Cup that, among other things, covered favorite soccer teams losing. Though the policies paid out nominal fees, Chinese regulators felt the policies were too closely linked to gambling.
The Las Vegas Sands Corp. has started legal proceedings against 35 website domains in a Nevada federal court charging that the Asian sites are using the Sands trademark to lure in online gamblers. The suit claims the sites are trying to link themselves to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore.
Lawmakers in Cyprus will vote on a bill that would help authorities shut down illegal gambling venues. The bill would close a venue even if a case is pending against it, as well as impose stricter fines and jail times. Currently a raided and closed establishment often quickly reopens with new equipment, officials said.
A long-running court battle between gaming operators Tatts and Tabcorp and the state of Victoria has ended in a big win for Tatts. Tabcorp was not so lucky. Both companies had sued the state for violating their exclusive rights to machine gaming in the state.
Two bidders for a casino license on the Pacific island of Saipan are at war. Marianas Stars is suing rival Imperial Pacific alleging illegal behavior and has obtained a court order suspending the license award. Imperial Pacific has taken its case to the people and is promising them cash payments.
Bermuda is turning to the internet to better get its tourism information out to the public. As much as 82 percent of the island’s tourism promotion will now be online.
A review by Online Poker Report shows that PokerStars application for an online gaming license in New Jersey is well underway and the online giant could be up and running in the state by early fall when it is officially taken over by Amaya Gaming.
Online poker revenues in Nevada were up 8.8 percent in May over April. The rise is attributed to the live World Series of Poker running in Las Vegas. Revenue figures for online gaming in Delaware, meanwhile, were down sharply for May, but volume of play was up suggesting that players were simply luckier than usual.
Bloomberg News, citing unidentified sources, reports that bwin.party is considering selling off its online casino component. The company is considering several options to increase shareholder value, the report said.
The government of Poland is amending its online gaming law to remove obstacles for foreign-based internet gaming and sports betting obstacles to market their products there.
An eight-member task force has been formed in Mississippi to study how online gaming is doing in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey. The commission will review state Senator Bobby Moak's online gaming legislation, which has died in committee for three years, and consider online gaming as one answer to the state's gaming declining gaming industry.
Ultimate Gaming has announced a series of upgrades to its online platforms in New Jersey and Nevada. The company says it has improved geolocation software and boosted its Wi-Fi service.
Optimal Payments will acquire Meritus Payment Solutions and Global Merchant Advisors to accelerate its expansion into the U.S. online payment market, including iGaming.
Xpressbet has partnered with the Hong Kong Jockey Club to offer live wagering to the betting menu of U.S. sites using the Xpressbet platform.
Statistics show that Jersey City is the location of more online gamblers at Caesars Entertainment online gambling sites than any other town in New Jersey.
Figures released by the UK Gambling Commission show that land-based gambling is still dominant over online gambling in the British market. Land based gambling generated more than €3.3 billion last year compared to €1.1 billion for online gambling.
Penn National Gaming withdraws its bid for the second casino license in the city of Philadelphia, leaving the field of contenders for the license at four. Penn President Tim Wilmott (l.) says the state’s preference for a Center City location was the primary reason.
Despite the threat that Massachusetts’s voters could repeal the Bay State’s gaming law, the gaming commission is continuing with its licensing process. Last week it rejected Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s (l.) latest attempt to put a wrench in that process by refusing to postpone its work until after the election.
The Delaware House of Representatives approved a package of $10 million in aid for the state’s struggling racinos, to be implemented next year. Rep. Dennis Williams (l.) warned the casinos not to conduct layoffs they said were inevitable without the aid.
As if Atlantic City needs another blow, Stephen Sweeney (l.), New Jersey State Senate president, says there could be a referendum on permitting casino gaming outside of Atlantic City by the end of next year. North Jersey politicians have been pushing for a casino at the Meadowlands sports complex for years.
With Ohio’s racinos starting to outpace its casino resorts in performance, all eyes on the next one due to open, Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway, on August 28.
Tropicana Entertainment Inc. has sold its River Palms Casino in Laughlin, Nevada to Nevada Restaurant Services, owner of the Dotty’s chain of slot parlors. The buyer paid $6.75 million in cash for the property.
Virginia lawmakers are sure to point to Atlantic City's casino closures and gaming revenue declines when state Democratic Senator Louise Lucas (l.) reintroduces her bill to allow casino gambling in Portsmouth. She pulled the bill in the recent session due to deep divisions in the legislature and House Democrats' minority status.
Just days after the U.S. Supreme Court elected to leave a federal ban on sports betting in place and denied New Jersey’s request to overturn the law, the state legislature overwhelmingly passed a law to allow sports betting—though unregulated—in the state. It is unclear if Governor Chris Christie will sign the bill.
Two Florida racetracks—the Stronach Group's Gulfstream Park (l.) and Churchill Downs' Calder Race Course, have reached a six-year agreement ending their competitive schedules. Calder will run in October and November, and Gulfstream will run the remaining months. To retain its casino license, Calder will offer 40 days of live racing, but Gulfstream will operate those days.
A fourth state-owned casino in Kansas could become a reality, since the state legislature lowered the required initial investment of $225 million to $50 million and dropped the application fee from $25 million to $5.5 million. The Kansas Lottery will begin taking applications for a gaming license in the Southeast Gaming Zone on July 14.
After much suspense, the Rhode Island legislature put a measure on the November ballot that would allow the Newport Grand to add table games, and possibly attract a new buyer.
In a new report on the U.S. casino industry, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded its view of the industry’s near-term outlook from “stable” to “negative.”
A new bill would remove exemptions to noise regulations enjoyed by Atlantic City beach bars. Proponents say the beach bars are disturbing residents and were never meant to be completely unregulated on noise.
A federal judge in Las Vegas has given class-action status to a lawsuit accusing Boyd Gaming Corp. of failing to pay overtime wages. The case has 15,000 to 25,000 potential class members across the United State, says an attorney in the matter.
Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association, got no sympathy from Illinois Gaming Board Chairman Aaron Jaffe when Swoik said the growth of video gambling machines is hurting the state's casinos. Swoik said the casino industry underestimated the games' impact and asked regulators to draft rules that would help casinos better compete.
MGM Resorts International has filed for permits to develop land on the Las Vegas Strip into an outdoor entertainment complex, with a concert arena, pedestrian walkway and other attractions. It’s a continuance of the trend toward outdoor activities that brought Vegas the Linq.
Under pressure to increase revenues, the Arkansas Lottery Commission planned to launch keno games with draws every six minutes that players could track on monitors. But lawmakers opposed to the games have passed—and Governor Mike Beebe will sign—a law postponing the start of the games from this fall to next spring.
New Jersey is opening its fifth off-track betting site in Clementon N.J. The site is licensed to Freehold Raceway harness racing track.
Aria on the Las Vegas Strip, an MGM Resorts property, will pay fines of $100,000 for a 2013 incident in which two state gaming agents were ejected from a high-stakes roulette game. By law, all gaming activities are a matter of public record.
Candidates who support bringing expanded gaming to Florida risk the wrath of voters, according to No Casinos in Florida, a group seeking to defeat the introduction of large casinos to the state.
Police in Northern California are joining a growing number of law enforcement throughout the U.S. in clamping down on sweepstakes games and internet cafes, which many of them consider little better than illegal gambling dens.
A two-week federal restraining order banning firearms within 300 feet of the Rolling Hills Casino has done such a good job of maintaining the peace on the strife-torn reservation of the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians that California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris (l.) would like it to stay for awhile.
The Cowlitz Tribe wants to spend $30 million to develop its 152-acre tract in Clark County, Washington, which the Department of Interior has taken into federal trust. But the tribe won't proceed with its plans for a casino there unless lawsuits challenging Interior's decision are settled.
Twelve years after beginning its efforts to build a casino, the Estom Yumeka Maidu Tribe is waiting for the California legislature to act on its gaming compact with the state so it can build a casino in Yuba County.
Voters in the Golden State will vote on whether to overturn a tribal gaming compact with the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians that allows them to build an off-reservation casino.
The Silver Star Hotel and Casino will get a facelift and the Golden Moon Hotel Casino (l.) will reopen thanks to a loan package recently received by the Choctaw Tribe. The properties are part of the Pearl River Resort in Philadelphia, Mississippi.
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians are not yet revealing what they will do with the land when they demolish the Spa Resort hotel in Palm Springs. The hotel was once a playground for Hollywood’s elite.
AEG Live of Los Angeles will bring to performers to Foxwoods Resort Casino through an agreement designed to help Foxwoods stand out in an increasingly competitive market. AEG Live managers concert tours for Bruno Mars, Kanye West, Cher, Paul McCartney, Justin Bieber and other top stars, and produces Coachella and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
In anticipation of its new $97.5 million, 381-room hotel, opening August 18, "bingo" is gone from the name of the Forest County Potawatomi Community's Milwaukee facility. Now it's Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, a 19-story addition that also will offer a lobby bar, coffee shop, fitness center and meeting rooms.
A new eight-table poker room recently opened at WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan, Iowa, offering Texas Hold ‘em, 7 Card Stud and Omaha High-Low Split. Marketing Manager Travis Morgan said the poker room will be the only one available in the area.
DEQ Systems has appointed Joseph E. Bertolone, former chief operating officer of Leap Forward Gaming, as the company’s new president and CEO.
Twenty-five year casino marketing veteran Franco Pilli recently joined Foxwoods Resort Casino as senior vice president of player development and casino marketing. Previously Pilli held vice president positions at Revel, Atlantis Paradise Island, Trump Taj Mahal and Caesars Palace Las Vegas.
United Coin Machine Company, which provides vending machines to locations with restricted gaming licenses, is now Century Gaming Technologies. The new name reflects the company’s expanded focus on technology as the future of gaming.
Bally Technologies is eliminating 270 jobs as part of a corporate restructuring following the incorporation of recently acquired SHFL entertainment.
Eight ratings firms covering slot manufacturer Multimedia Games have given the company’s stock a consensus “Buy” rating.
IGT has signed an agreement to provide casino management and ticket-in/ticket-out systems at 50 slot halls of DLV Latvia, linking 1,000 machines.
GLI has become the first gaming test lab to issue certifications of games and systems in Chile, and has completed an inspection of all gaming devices in Puerto Rico.
The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers will launch a new AGEM Mexico Committee to address issues affecting suppliers specific to the Mexican gaming market.
Leap Forward Gaming is partnering with eBet Ltd. to distribute the SaffariNet Ecosystem picture-in-picture technology in the Australian gaming market.
Sweden’s Net Entertainment has signed its first partnership to provide game content to the land-based gaming sector, with British bookmaker William Hill.
Small Nuggets of News
Outrageous pronouncements, simple statements and words of wisdom