The Deals Keep Coming

Consolidation continues in the supply sector as Scientific Games agrees to buy Bally Technologies in a deal valued at $5.1 billion. Gavin Isaacs (above), who once was a Bally and SHFL entertainment executive, will head the merged company.

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A combination of action by the Department of the Interior and fewer declared enemies may be moving the stars into the right place for Arizona’s Tohono O’odham tribe and the casino it wants to build near Glendale. But a proposed bill in Congress, sponsored by Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake (l.) would block all the progress that has been made up until now.

Japan Looks to Singapore

Japanese officials discussing the shape of the country’s planned casino market are focusing on the Singapore regulatory model, according to reports, which could involve entry fees on domestic players. Talks center on three licenses initially, with Tokyo’s bayfront Odaiba district (l.) a favorite, according to a recent opinion poll.

Caesars, Hard Rock Join Barcelona Bidding

Caesars Entertainment, Hard Rock International and Macau’s Lawrence Ho have submitted bids to develop resort casinos for Barcelona’s planned BCN World (l.). News reports said “several” bids were received in all, and there was talk, unconfirmed, that Genting might be behind one of them.

Macau VIP on the Downslide as Revenues Dip for Second Straight Month

IP’s share of Macau gaming revenues declined to 60 percent in the second quarter, its lowest level in almost a decade. Theories abound as to why, but what’s clear is that operators have been shifting their marketing, and more of their tables, to higher-margin mass-market play (VIP room at Galaxy Macau at left). And with revenues dropping again in July, what’s happening?

Packer Eyes Strip Casino

Australian casino magnate James Packer and his Crown Resorts company are reportedly eyeing the former Frontier casino site (l.) across the Las Vegas Strip from Wynn Las Vegas for its first U.S. operation. But Packer has been here many times. What makes this different?

Congress Once Again Considers IGRA Reform

It has been many years since Congress looked seriously at reforming the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, but now several factors are at work to possibly make that happen. Minnesota Senator Al Franken (l.) wants to protect tribal gaming.


Wynn’s Cotai Land Deal Under Investigation

The Cotai land Wynn Resorts bought for its planned new resort is the subject of an investigation by Macau authorities. Wynn paid a reported US$50 million to mainland Chinese interests for the site, but the government says it knows nothing of their involvement.

More Obstacles for Okada in Philippines

Kazuo Okada needs Philippine partners to move ahead with his Manila megaresort (l.), but a new court order is preventing him from pursuing them. The order was obtained by former partner Century Properties, which is contesting Okada’s decision to terminate their joint development deal.

Report: Asian Gaming To Hit $98 Billion

UBS forecasts that Asia’s major casino markets will grow an average of 11 percent a year over the next five years, reaching $98 billion by 2018. New resort development will drive the growth, the report says, and with market penetration so low, cannibalization will not be an issue.

Workers Group Stages Galaxy Protest

Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment has been targeted by a local labor group, which staged a rally outside the company’s offices to protest alleged pay inequalities. The group, Forefront of Macau Gaming, recently staged a similar demonstration at The Venetian and is demanding salary and bonus increases.

Some in China Bet on Future of Gambling

Beijing businessman Ren Ningning and many others in China are confident that the government will one day legalize gambling on the mainland. A number of forces are quietly building the infrastructure to support that industry.


Labour Proposes UK Betting Levy

With online gambling in Britain facing a regulatory overhaul and tax increase, the opposition Labour Party shadow Culture Secretary Harriet Harman (l.) is calling for a levy on all sports betting similar to the levy on horseracing. Bookies argue they’re already taxed enough.


Tatts, Tabcorp Appeal Slots Levy

The fight between Tatts and Tabcorp and the state of Victoria rages on. The betting giants have lost two court rulings in the state over millions in slots levies the state says they owe, and they’re now taking their case to Australia’s highest court.

Crown Sydney’s Penthouse Could Fetch $100 Million

Plans for Crown Sydney’s 69-story hotel tower include a penthouse at the top that could be the first property in Australia to sell for $100 million. Crown may not sell it, however, reserving it instead for the ultra-high rollers the resort will target.

Two Casinos Coming To Samoa

Following the devastating 2009 tsunami, the South Pacific island of Samoa hopes to boost tourism with two new casinos. One will open in August at Aggie Grey's Lagoon Beach Resort & Spa (l.). The second will open in early 2015 at Aggie Grey's Hotel and Bungalows. Both will cater to foreigners since locals are not permitted to gamble.

Guyana President Wants Law Changed

In Guyana, only three gaming licenses are allowed in each administrative region. President Donald Ramotar (l.) wants that law amended to allow any hotel that meets certain requirements to receive a casino license.

Bahamas Businessman: Don’t Waive VAT for Web Shops

A Bahamas business leader is urging the government to rethink its decision to make legalized web shop gaming exempt from a value-added tax. Edison Sumner of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce said the policy amounts to favoritism for the shops.

Turks and Caicos Move Closer to Casinos

A bill to legalize casinos is moving forward in Turks and Caicos. The island government is working to develop an appropriate regulatory framework, and three resort chains planning to develop there have casinos as part of their plans.


California Tribe Explains why it Launched Online Poker Room

California’s Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel says that its decision to open an online poker room on the tribe’s sovereign land is entirely legal and fits within the definition of Class II gaming. This is true, despite the fact that the legislature has yet to act on legalizing online gaming.

Betfair Looks to Stay Online in New Jersey

With Trump Plaza announcing it may close in September, Betfair is suddenly faced with losing its online casino partner in New Jersey. The company, however, will likely to continue to operate under the Trump Entertainment license, which still operates the Trump Taj Mahal (l.) in Atlantic City.

Spain OKs Online Casino Games

Online casinos in Spain will be allowed to offer machine games and exchange betting beginning next year. The tax on slots will be steep at 25 percent, but the expansion should provide a boost to the country’s flagging casino sites.

Online Gambling Ban Proposal Pays the Lobbyists

Though a bill proposing a federal ban on online gambling has showed little traction in Congress, Casino companies for and against the bill have been spending a fortune on lobbying. Sheldon Adelson, the principle opponent of online gaming, has spent $450,000 lobbying for the bill so far this year through the Las Vegas Sands.

Global Online Poker Continues Fall

The global online poker market has seen a 13 percent fall since 2013 according to PokerScout. A predicted bounce back for online poker after the World Cup has not materialized and some statistics show online poker play at its lowest in years.

888 Exits Facebook

888 Holdings has pulled its real-money Magic888 app from Facebook to avoid a 15 percent point of consumption tax proposed in the UK.

Philippines Considers Online Gambling Regulations

The Philippines will consider regulating online gambling under a bill introduced to the country’s House of Representative. The sponsor of the bill says rules to guard against underage gambling are needed.

Parx to Use Play4Fun iGaming Platform

Parx Casino will use the Play4Fun Network iGaming and marketing platform to offer free-play games online, including a number of top WMS Gaming titles.

NYX and H5G Sign Distribution Deal

NYX Interactive and High 5 Games have signed an agreement to distribute H5G's slots through NYX's OGS platform. Players will be able to play 80 different games.

Harrah’s Offers New Mobile App

New Jersey’s has released a new version of its casino game software, available for free on the iPhone and iPad. The app was designed to increase the company’s online gaming revenue.


Argosy Closes, Hard Rock Sioux City Opens

"Attention! The Argosy Casino is closed. Please exit the facility at this time." Thus with that announcement the Argosy Sioux City riverboat unceremoniously shut its doors for good. Two nights later celebrations and fanfare greeted the opening of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City (l.) downtown. Argosy owner Penn National still has two lawsuits pending.

Is Atlantic City’s Decline Just Starting?

A report by a Stockton College economist warns that Atlantic City’s casino industry may be at the start of a long period of retraction that would devastate the southern New Jersey economy. Still, New Jersey officials are talking about building more casinos in the northern part of the state. Meanwhile, more than 60,000 fans turned out for a Blake Shelton concert on the beach last week.

Colorado Racino Measure Makes November Ballot

A citizen petition to place on the November ballot an amendment to allow casino gambling at Arapahoe Park racetrack in Colorado has been approved by Secretary of State Scott Gessler (l.). The controversial measure has been promoted by Arapahoe Park owner, Rhode Island-based Twin River Casino.

Churchill Downs, Saratoga Create 5-year Partnership

Churchill Downs Inc., and Saratoga Harness Racing Inc. have agreed on a five-year deal that will allow CDI to take over management of the Saratoga Casino and Raceway (l.) in Saratoga Springs, New York, and the Saratoga Casino Black Hawk in Black Hawk, Colorado.

Kentucky Pushes Ahead

Faced with repeated failures by the legislature to legalize casino gaming, state officials in Kentucky look to online lottery games and Instant Racing at racetracks.

Delaware Casinos Seek Long-Term Fix

Delaware casinos are asking the state panel slated to convene in the fall to address the long-term drag on profits resulting from high state revenue cuts. Dover Downs President and CEO Ed Sutor (l.) says tax rates need to be cut for the industry to remain competitive.

Massachusetts Commission Tells Boston to Talk to Wynn

The mayor of Boston, Martin J. Walsh (l.), is not doing the citizens of Charlestown any favors by refusing to talk to the casino operator who wants to build in neighboring Everett, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission said last week. It demanded that Walsh sit down with Wynn Resorts, or it may appoint someone to represent the city’s interests.

SLS Las Vegas True to Rat Pack Roots

In its inaugural ad campaign with the tag line “Be Legendary,” the new SLS Las Vegas conjures up memories of Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and others who performed at the former Sahara during the 1950s and 60s.

Most NY Voters Support Casinos

A majority of New Yorkers polled about new commercial casinos say they’re a good idea for certain regions. The Catskills and the Southern Tier regions would be the best sites for new gaming, said people who were surveyed. Not so much the Capitol Region.

Foxwoods Philly Liquidation Approved

A bankruptcy judge has approved the liquidation plan of the Foxwoods Philadelphia partnership, which was stripped of the second casino license in the city.

Affinity Gaming Resolves Debt, Restructures Board

Las Vegas-based casino operator Affinity Gaming, which has casinos in four states including Nevada, has restructured its board of directors to include two members from primary shareholder Z Capital. It also has resolved default concerns surrounding more than $380 million in debt.

South Carolina Casino Cruise Ceases Operations

Without explanation, SunCruz Casino gambling boat cease operations out of Little River, South Carolina. The vessel had been involved in an dispute with Horry County for two years over a county-imposed fee of $7 per passenger. Customers were directed to the Big M, the other gambling boat operating out of Little River.

Group Declares Nebraska Horseracing Measure Unlawful

Gambling with the Good Life filed a lawsuit with the Nebraska Supreme Court to keep a historic horseracing measure off the November ballot. The group said the ballot is invalid because it asks voters to decide two questions in just one vote: approving betting on the historic races and where tax revenues would be directed.

Aria Fine Raises Questions about Access to Games

According to Nevada law, all gaming areas must be open to the public and viewable by state gaming agents. A $100,000 fine levied on Aria resorts has sparked questions about how close the agents can get to a game in progress.

Nixon Calls For Missouri Lottery Review

Although it raised record sales of $1.16 billion in fiscal 2014, the Missouri Lottery directed $267 million to education, $21 million less than in 2013. Governor Jay Nixon (l.) asked the Office of Administration to review Lottery operations and find out why it's not providing a stable funding source for education.

Texas Reconsiders Lottery, Historic Racing

Texas lawmakers voted to end the lottery but re-voted due to concerns about filling the $2 billion budget gap that would cause. And a legislator wants the state attorney general to decide if the Texas Racing Commission has the authority to allow historic racing machines at the state's horse and dog racetracks.

Plug Pulled On Electronic Pull-tabs

Express Games, Minnesota's major distributor of electronic pull-tab games, recently announced it was ceasing operations. Founder Jon Weaver has started a new company, Pilot Games. Lawmakers approved the electronic pulltabs for charitable gambling and to help fund a new Vikings stadium. Meanwhile, paper pull-tabs delivered more than $1 billion in sales in 2013.

Reports Bring Bad News For Iowa

Three recent reports from the American Gaming Association, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission and the National Indian Gaming Commission brought bad news for Iowa's gaming industry, including 18 state-licensed riverboats and racinos and three Indian casinos. All three indicated losses in gambling revenues, as well as declines in jobs, wages and tax revenues.

Ameristar East Chicago Opens Poker Room

Just in time to greet players and guests for the Heartland Poker Tour, August 7-18, the new $400,000 poker room recently opened at Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago. The newly designed room offers 12 tables and 108 seats with a variety of stakes available for Texas Hold ‘Em and other no-limit games.

Louisiana Casino Job Fair Attracts Crowds

Job-seekers by the hundreds attended a recent job fair in advance of the December opening of the Golden Nugget Casino and Hotel in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Richard Neal said the casino has hired about 50 employees and has received more than 4,000 online applications.


BIA Extends Comment for Tribal Recognition

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has extended by 60 days the public comment period for its proposed regulations that would make it easier for the federal government to recognize Indian tribes. Some of the biggest pressure for a delay came from Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy (l.).

Tribes Battle Over Trust Land

In District Court, the Cherokee Nation said the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians' casino should remain closed. The UKB said that would interfere with its sovereign rights. Judge Gregory Frizzell will sort it out later this year.

New York County Exec: Nix to Casinos

In a letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the U.S. Interior Department, Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks vowed to fight any future attempt by the Seneca Nation of Indians to claim sovereign land in the region.

Oklahoma Indian Casinos Add Amenities

The Wyandotte, Choctaw and Muscogee (Creek) tribes in Oklahoma are spending millions of dollars to expand their casinos and transform the properties into family-friendly destinations within the next year. The properties will offer bowling alleys, name-brand restaurants (Gilley’s at the Choctaw Durant casino at left) and other resort-style amenities.

Developers Pray For Casino Success

An empty megachurch building near Detroit Metro Airport could become a casino. Backers include the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, which opened and lost Greektown Casino in 2008 owing $875 million, and Jerry Campbell, developer of the failed Pinnacle Race Course that abruptly closed in 2010 owing back taxes.

Protesters Decry Kings Mountain Casino

At a recent meeting of the Kings Mountain, North Carolina city council, dozens of members of the anti-gambling Kings Mountain Awareness Group recently made their feelings known about the South Carolina-based Catawba tribe's proposed casino in their town. The protestors spoke out about "predatory gambling" that "sucks up every last penny from a community."

Grand Ronde Disenrolls 86 Family Members

In an action she described as "morally and ethically reprehensible," Mia Pickett said although an ancestor was a tribal chief, 86 members of her family were disenrolled by the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde in Oregon. The members could lose housing and healthcare benefits and $3,000 in annual casino profits.


SOSH Architects’ Tom O’Connor Retires

One of the founding principals of SOSH Architects is taking down his shingle after more than 34 years in the business. Tom O’Connor has retired, but he will transition into a consulting role over the next few months, SOSH announced.

Boyd Gaming Shakes Up Executive Tier

Boyd Gaming Corp. has announced several senior executive appointments designed to “refine the company’s operations and drive future growth,” according to a statement from the company. Boyd veteran Chris Gibase (l.) has been named the chief marketing officer.

Chochon Joins WSOP

Gregory Chochon, former head of poker for in France, has joined the Las Vegas office of Caesars Interactive’s World Series of Poker. The role of director for the WSOP is newly created.

Downtown Grand Appoints New Execs

The Downtown Grand in Las Vegas, owned by CIM Group, a Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm and operated by Las Vegas’ Fifth Street Gaming, has installed a slate of new executives.

NY Chooses Siting Board Chief

The president of the Long Island Association has been named to head up the New York Gaming Facility Location Board. The siting board is in charge of awarding four Class III casino licenses this fall; 17 development partnerships have submitted bids.

Young Named Arena Poker Room Director

Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona recently named Thomas Young, a 20-year gaming industry veteran, as director of poker for the Arena Poker Room. The famed room will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Arizona State Poker Championship, August 11-14.


Casinos Dumping Nugent

The Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington became the latest Indian casino to cancel concerts by rocker Ted Nugent due to alleged past racist remarks. Nugent fired back with charges of his own.

Ivey and Robl Bail Out Paul and Darren Phua

Paul Phua and his son Darren have been released on bail stemming from their arrest for allegedly operating an international gambling syndicate. The bail was posted by poker pro Phil Ivey and Andrew Robl, both regulars with Phua at high stakes games in Macau.

The Lawmaker and the Rabbi

An orthodox Jewish leader’s opposition to a casino in the town of Thompson, New York has sparked an over-the-top response from the community’s supervisor. Bill Rieber has demanded that other rabbis join him in speaking out against Nachman Caller.




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