Atlantic City Nose Dive

The summer only gets worse in Atlantic City, as officials announce that Trump Plaza (above) will close in September. The seaside town continues to see gaming revenue falter and now a discussion of breaking its New Jersey monopoly on casinos is gaining momentum. Even staunch supporters of Atlantic City—such as Governor Chris Christie—are ready to discuss the possibility of a northern New Jersey casino.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Aristocrat Steps Up

Aristocrat Leisure Ltd. wraps up a month of acquisitions and partnership deals aimed at keeping up with powerful competition with the purchase of VGT, a leading Class II manufacturer. Aristocrat is trying to keep pace in a rapidly changing gaming technology sector as consolidation is well under way.

Theme Parks Join Crowded Japan Field

Universal Studios wants a casino to complement its Osaka theme park, and Huis Ten Bosch wants one in Nagasaki, where it operates a popular Dutch-themed park. But Universal is on the outs with officials in Osaka, where MGM Resorts and Galaxy Entertainment are believed to be the front-runners. Universal operates a theme park at Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore (l.).

Casinos OK’d for Crimea, Sochi

Russian lawmakers have approved a bill to bring casinos to economically struggling Crimea and Sochi, site of the recent Winter Olympics (l.). The Crimea zone, expected to be centered on the resort city of Yalta, is attracting the most interest and will host a new industry conference in August to assess the opportunities.

New York: Hurry Up and Wait

Last month, 17 gaming partnerships formally submitted their casino proposals to the state of New York (Nevele proposal for Catskills at left). The winners will not be chosen until the fall, but the chatter continues about which development groups deserve licenses to build Class III gaming halls.

Interior Rejects Application From Kansas Tribe

The Kansas Attorney General's office said the Wyandotte Nation's application to have land in Park City taken into federal trust has been rejected by the Interior Department. Officials said the tribe did not have enough in trust funds to purchase the Park City tract plus land in Kansas City where it opened the 7th Street Casino (l.).

Crown Sydney Wins License Approval

New South Wales regulators have OK’d a license for James Packer’s multibillion-dollar Crown Sydney (l.), paving the way for the luxury resort to open in 2019. Billed as a VIP-only casino it will have no slot machines and smoking will be allowed.

Boston, Mohegan Reach $18 Million Casino Agreement

Not a “host” city, Boston is trying to outline deals with the two developers of casinos in the region, neither of them located in the city. Last week, the Mohegan Sun in Revere (l.) agreed to pay the city $1.3 million annually as a result of the adjacent site to Boston. A deal with Wynn Resorts was not reached, meaning the state gaming commission will decide.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: Growing Problem

Investors who expect the gaming industry to grow are going to be disappointed in the short term, as revenues continue to decline in almost all sectors and competitive technologies bring gambling into restaurants, bars and homes.


Lui Bullish on Macau

Galaxy Entertainment Group is having a banner 2014 and looking ahead to next year’s opening of the first big expansion at its Cotai flagship. The HK$19 billion project is expected to boost profits for the company by 40 percent - 50 percent. Vice Chairman Francis Lui (l.) likes the future.

Caesars Pays $10 Million Toward Incheon Casino

Caesars Entertainment is a step closer to its dream of a megaresort in Asia, anteing up a $10 million down payment on a site close to South Korea’s Incheon International Airport (l.). The $845 million project is awaiting final approvals and could open in 2018.

Pachinko Looks to Casinos for Legitimacy

Japan’s pachinko industry may be massive in absolute terms, but it’s a lot smaller than it used to be, and it isn’t growing. Its major players are hoping the arrival of casinos will change that.


Cigarette-Style Warnings on the Way?

The European Commission plans to urge EU Member States to require online gambling ads to carry warning labels about problem gambling. The EU executive also wants some forms of event sponsorship curtailed.

Illegal Greece: €5 Billion a Year

Black market gambling in Greece is huge and economically damaging, says at least one government agency. Volumes in the licensed market, meanwhile, have declined by more than a third over the last five years.

Monte Carlo Workers Protest 24/7

The Riviera’s illustrious Café de Paris has shut down its slot machines in the wake of a staff strike against management’s decision to go 24 hours. Talks are under way with the unhappy workers, who want more new employees hired to cover the extra shifts.

London’s The Ritz Sued Over $3.4M Gambling Debt

London’s The Ritz casino is being sued by the wife of an Omani minister who claims the casino fed her gambling addiction causing her to lose $3.4 million at cards. The suit alleges the casino extended her credit limit and encouraged her to keep gambling.


Fung’s Reef Purchase Raises Concerns

Tony Fung will dominate gaming in northern Queensland with ownership of the Reef casino in Cairns (l.) while he builds his $8 billion Aquis super-resort on the coast. The government has tentatively approved Aquis, but Australia’s consumer watchdog isn’t sure about the Reef deal.

Victoria’s Club Market Plans Electoral Assault

Slot operators in the Australian state of Victoria are furious over a tax hike imposed earlier his year and plan to make the government pay come November. They say the increase hurts charities and other community programs the clubs support through gaming revenues.

Ontario Casinos Feeling the Pressure

As new casinos are planned for nearby New York State, two gaming halls (Casino Niagara at left) in the Canadian province of Ontario are looking a little worse for wear. They’re also losing customers. The mayor of Niagara Falls is asking government officials not for upgrades.

Bahamas: The Nanny Nation?

Charges of discrimination have been leveled against the Bahamian government, which continues to uphold a ban on casino visitation by residents of the island nation. But Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe says the casinos are there for visitors, not locals.

Sun International Buys Up Chilean Casino

Sun International Ltd., the second largest casino operator in South Africa and owner of Sun City, has paid $146 million to buy the rest of the Monticello Casino (l.) in Chile. Sun previously owned more than 44 percent of the property.

SABMiller to Sell Billion-Dollar Casino Stake

U.K.-based beverage company SABMiller will sell off a non-core asset: it’s stake in a South African hotel-casino company. SABMiller’s stake in Tsogo Sun Holdings of worth in excess of $1 billion.


PokerStars Considers Listing on London Exchange

David Baazov (l.), CEO of Amaya Gaming—which is in the process of buying PokerStars—says the company is considering a dual listing on the Toronto and London stock exchanges. A New York exchange listing is also being considered.

Quickspin to Provide Slots to William Hill

Quickspin has inked a deal to provide its suite of games to British Bookmaker William Hill. The deal comes after Quickspin also signed deals with Ladbrokes and Gala interactive and continues its entry into the British online gambling market.

Unibet Adds Yggdrasil games

European online operator, Unibet has added Yggdrasil Gaming’s casino games content. Yggdrasil has also opened up 10 additional currencies for the operator.

Greentube to Acquire Bingocams

Greentube has finalized an agreement to acquire online bingo platform Bingocams and its integrated web platform linking games to social media.

GTECH to Provide Platform for Betfred

GTECH will provide its MarginMaker platform to U.K. bookmaker Betfred, for use in the launch of Betfred’s new Australian interactive sports-betting operation.

Gamblit Forms Partnerships

Gamblit Gaming has partnered with Shanda Games, Gamiker and Flexball to add real-money gaming mechanics to the mobile games produced by the companies.

Aldernay Suspends Betsoft Gaming

The Alderney Gambling Control Commission has suspended the operating license of online gambling software developer and provider BetSoft Gaming. No explanation of the suspension was given.


Affinity Braces for Default

Affinity Gaming is warning investors it expects to default on a portion of its $382.7 million in long-term debt. Affinity has 11 properties in four states, including one in Las Vegas (Silver Sevens, l.) and three in Primm, Nevada.

Experts Call New Jersey’s Sports Betting Play a Long Shot

After losing a bid to overturn a federal ban on sports betting in federal court, the New Jersey Legislature has passed a bill to allow unregulated sports betting in hopes of getting around the ban. But gaming lawyer Lloyd D. Levenson (l.) said he expects the law, if enacted, to be immediately challenged.

Iowa Supports Isle’s Land-Based Plan

The Iowa Gaming Commission supports a proposed land-based Isle of Capri casino along the waterfront in the city of Bettendorf, Scott County. The Bettendorf City Council also has thrown its support to the plan.

Florida Dog Tracks Struggling

In 1990, wagers on live dog races in Florida totaled nearly $1 billion. Last year that figure dropped to $258 million. Some greyhound tracks try to survive on casino tax subsidies, simulcasting and promotional gimmicks, while owners push to "decouple" struggling racing from profitable gambling.

Maryland Blamed For West Virginia Losses

New racetrack casinos in Maryland and Ohio are luring gamblers and taking revenue from West Virginia's four racinos, where revenue is down 11.5 percent for the fiscal year. Those numbers could take another hit when a new casino complex opens in Baltimore this summer and the $925 million MGM National Harbor casino complex opens in 2016.

Keno Divides Arkansas Legislators, Lottery Director

Arkansas lawmakers recently approved a moratorium on keno monitor games until next March. State Senator Jimmy Hickey said that allows time to review "any and every aspect" of the lottery, including moving it to a state agency. Lottery Director Bishop Woosley said he'll use the time to convince legislators keno can raise millions for college scholarships.

Is Detroit Casino Tax Revenue City Property?

Bond issuer Syncora Guarantee Inc. is appealing a bankruptcy judge's ruling that casino tax revenue--$15 million a month—is the property of the city of Detroit and protected by the city's Chapter 9 filing. An appellate court recently ruled a district court judge must decide the issue by July 14.

Siegel to Invest $300 Million in LVH

Timeshare king David Siegel (l.), the new owner of the LVH Las Vegas (now Westgate Las Vegas), promises to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade the property. The off-Strip casino resort will remain open during the renovation.

Agency to Study Atlantic City Cruise Ship Feasibility

New Jersey’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority will study the feasibility of Atlantic City becoming a stop for small cruise lines. Cruise line analysts, however, say the resort is too close to other established cruise ports in New Jersey.

Puerto Rico to Add Casino

In a bid to improve the island economy, Puerto Rico’s Department of Economic Development and Commerce and a local redeveloping authority are considering new tourist attractions, including a casino complex at former military base, Roosevelt Roads.

Gulf Coast Casino Breaks Ground July 15

Five million fewer people have visited Mississippi Gulf Coast casinos in the last two years, but building and renovation moves forward. D'Iberville's first casino, the $250 million Scarlet Pearl (l.), will break ground July 15 and be completed in early 2016. The $58 million hotel tower renovation at Island View Casino Resort in Gulfport will open next spring.

Illinois Gaming Revenue Drops—Again

Analysts forecast continued declining revenue in Illinois' regional casino markets, with a 10.8 percent year-to-year drop in June to $117 million, and a 9.7 percent decrease from May to June. Rivers Casino maintained its lead in the Chicago-are market, event revenue fell 10.3 percent to $33.9 million from May to June.

Revenue Off At Southern Indiana Riverboats

Casino industry officials in southern Indiana said Horseshoe Cincinnati, owned by Caesars Entertainment, caused riverboat casino revenue to drop 10.9 percent to $64.3 million. Only Pinnacle Gaming's legacy riverboat Belterra showed some signs of a comeback from June 2013 to last month.

Lake Las Vegas Casino Opening Delayed

The casino at Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, Nevada will not open in October, as previously announced. Without a casino operator that can pass muster with state gaming regulators, it looks like the former MonteLago (l.) could be on ice indefinitely.

Jobs Surge in Southern Nevada

The Silver State is seeing a healthy resurgence in the job market, especially in Southern Nevada. Jobs in construction and hospitality are on the rise, and statewide the jobs picture is looking good, too. According to one report, Nevada is growing at twice the national rate.

SC Lawmaker to Introduce Gaming Bill

A South Carolina lawmaker, Todd Rutherford, has introduced a measure to pay for the state’s run down road system with up to three large casino resorts.


BIA Ruling Moves Arizona Casino Closer to Reality

A just-released ruling by the Department of the Interior makes it more likely that the Tohono O'odham tribe of Arizona will be able to build its proposed casino in the middle of, but not within the city limits of, Glendale. Tribal Chairman Ned Norris (l.) says it’s time to start building.

Rival Tribal Factions to Settle Dispute With Election

The rift that threatened to tear the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians of California to pieces with potential bloodshed could be healed by an election that rival factions have agreed to hold in September. The tribe operates the Rolling Hills Casino.

Duluth Council Considers Casino Resolution

Duluth, Minnesota recently imposed a street fee to replace the $6 million in annual revenue it received from the Fond du Lac tribe's downtown casino, until the tribe stopped payments in 2009. Now City Councilor Howie Hanson has proposed a resolution changing state law to allow a city-owned casino at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

Ho-Chunk Tribe Maintains Payouts

Ho-Chunk tribal legislators recently voted not to change how trust fund money, generated by successful casino operations, is distributed to 18-year-olds who graduate high school. The payouts frequently are more than $200,000 per person pre-tax. The changes would have dramatically scaled back the initial and tied the balance to reaching certain benchmarks.

Counselor Billed For Time At Casino

Investigators used mental health counselor Annie G. King's player card at the Hard Rock Tulsa to determine she was gambling there while charging $14,000 for fake appointments at Oklahoma Counseling Services. Charged with three counts of Medicaid fraud in Oklahoma County District Court, King faces up to seven years in prison and $44,800 in fines.

Congressmen Support Catawba Application

Three U.S. Congressmen—with no North Carolina connections—and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (l.) recently asked the U.S. Interior Department to approve the land-trust application of the South Carolina-based Catawba Nation, which hopes to build a $340 million casino on 16 acres in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, which owns Harrah's Cherokee Casino, vigorously opposes the Catawba plan.

Politicians Seek Out, Scorn Tribal Donations

Some Republican candidates for national and statewide offices in Alabama seek out and happily accept donations from Native American tribes. Others refuse to accept money from tribes connected with casino gambling and paint their rivals as less than worthy for accepting tribal donations.

Choctaw Case Goes Back To State Court

The MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians wanted a federal court to hear its case regarding the Mobile County, Alabama Sheriff's Office's seizure of 50 gaming machines in 2013. The tribe said it had sovereign immunity and a state judge did not have jurisdiction. But a federal judge disagreed and sent the case back to state court.

North California Casino Ready to Pay off Loan

This could be a record: The Graton Rancheria of Northern California has positioned itself to pay off its $200-million redevelopment loan seven months after opening the Graton Resort and Casino, one of the Golden State’s largest.

Senecas Open New York Mini-Casino

Seneca Gaming Corp., based in western New York, has opened its newest gaming facility, the Oil Spring Casino in the town of Cuba. The mini-casino has 100 slot machines but no tables. Officials say it’s just the start of major development at the site.


William Hill Names New CEO

British bookmaker William Hill has named James Henderson (l.) as its new CEO replacing Ralph Topping, who is retiring. Henderson has been with the company 29 years and is currently operations director.

Taube Joins Seneca Gaming as Senior VP

New York-based Seneca Gaming Corp. has added Doni Taube to its management team. Taube will be responsible for overall brand-building and a strategic marketing plan for the tribe’s three New York casinos.

LVCVA OKs Rossi Raise

The compensation committee of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has approved an 8 percent raise and 50 percent bonus for its top executive, Rossi Ralenkotter (l.). The CEO will earn more per year than the governor of Nevada.


WMS Receives High-Achiever Award

WMS Gaming received a High Achiever award from the Manufacturing Leadership Council, one of 11 companies to earn the distinction.

Casino Estoril Picks JCM

Casino Estoril has become the second property in Portugal within a month to name JCM Global as its preferred supplier for bill validators.

JCM Golf Classic Raises $131,000

JCM Global’s AGEM/AGA Golf Classic, which hosted 136 players with support from 16 sponsors, raised $131,000 in support of responsible gaming research.

Slot-Makers Hold Public Preview

In a rare public preview, the industry’s top five slot manufacturers displayed new slot games to players at Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino.

LT Game System Approved in Nevada

LT Game has received approval for its Live Table Multi Games System, a hybrid live-dealer game, from the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Abbiati to Distribute DEQ

Abbiati Casino Equipment will become the primary distributor in Europe for several systems and table-game side bet products of DEQ Systems.

Que Pasa?

A set of "game protection" rules recently passed a South Dakota legislative committee in response to complaints of cheating at Deadwood casinos. Under the new rules, only English may be spoken at card tables, and players may not use electronic devices to communicate with others while the players are at the card tables.




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