After years of planning and some skepticism, the SLS Las Vegas has opened on the northern end of the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The $415 million hotel casino was the brainchild of noted hotelier Sam Nazarian, famed designer Philippe Starck, and their investment partners. The former Sahara hotel is expected to cater to a younger clientele with nightclubs and fabulous pools.
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The Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce has unveiled a $1.17 billion plan to build two hotels with casinos and conference facilities at the Meadowlands Sports Complex (l.) in northern New Jersey close to New York City. Proposals for casinos and other types of gambling in New Jersey have been gaining ground recently as Atlantic City—the only place casinos can legally operate in New Jersey—is facing a rash of casino closings and falling revenue. Meanwhile, another proposal would put video lottery terminals at the state’s horseracing tracks.
Tokyo’s Tsukiji district (l.) has emerged as a contender with Odaiba as the preferred location for a super-casino in the Japanese capital. James Murren is among those who’ve toured the government-owned site, which is more centrally located than Odaiba.
The Santa Ysabel tribe in San Diego County plans to introduce online poker from a tribal website, although the legality of that is open to question. The tribe contends that it has a right to offer Class II gaming without the approval of the state or the federal government.
In Alabama, "everything is on the table," even a possible gaming compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, who operate three Alabama casinos. Some Republicans who repeatedly have rejected a compact now say they're open to discussions, as Governor Robert Bentley (l.) seeks to raise revenues without raising taxes.
Golf courses and luxury jets (Crown’s Bombardier 500 at left) are the latest weapons in the war between Australian casino rivals Crown Resorts and Echo Entertainment for more Asian VIP gamblers, Chinese VIPs in particular. It’s a challenging business, given the distances involved, and an increasingly expensive one.
An Atlantic County legislator is preparing to fight Caesars Entertainment over its policy of selling former casino properties in Atlantic City with restrictions that they cannot continue to operate as a casino. Assemblyman Chris Brown says such a deed restriction could block a specific development plan for the Showboat casino.
Jay Chun (l.), the chairman of Macau’s Paradise Entertainment said the partnership between Paradise subsidiary LT Game and slot-maker IGT was brought about by Las Vegas Sands Corp.
A Newsweek cover story attacking online poker with falsehoods, scare tactics and one-sided quotes has the iGaming community up in arms. Questions about the involvement of anti-online gaming advocate Sheldon Adelson are being raised.
What’s happening in Atlantic City isn’t a surprise. Declining revenues and non-convenience gambling have been problems for the Boardwalk town, and the worst probably isn’t over.
This week, the GGB Podcast sits down with Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, who took office early this year and must now deal with the bad news hitting the city.
As Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On (l.) breezes to re-election, the priorities he’s unveiled for his second term don’t look so good for gaming. The industry’s growth needs to be curtailed, he said. The labor supply will remain protected, and labor costs are going to get more expensive for casinos.
With an eye on the booming Chinese tourist market the government of South Korea wants more large-scale resort casinos, like the planned Paradise City (l.), a partnership of Korean casino operator Paradise and Japan’s Sega Sammy. Plans call for loosening rules governing investment and licensing approvals under the auspices of a new Tourism Ministry task force.
Galaxy Entertainment has put out a big “Help Wanted” sign. In a tight labor market beset by rising staff costs the Macau casino giant says at the end of this year it will begin hiring the first of the 8,000 workers needed to staff the expansion of its Galaxy Macau flagship (l.).
Macau casino giant Sands China said net income rose 45.7 percent in the first six months of the year on the back of strong mass-market revenues. Parisian Macao, meanwhile, is on hold and awaiting government approvals, but the company said it expects to resume construction in the fall.
SJM Holdings is the latest Macau casino operator to draw outdoor protests by a labor group representing casino workers. A bigger demonstration was in the works last week with the aim of pressuring all six operators and calling government attention to their demands.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (l.) is pushing for the Crimea to be designated the country’s fifth legal gaming zone. The Kremlin needs something to revive the annexed province’s ailing economy, but experts are doubtful of the region’s gaming appeal.
British casino and bingo giant Rank Group posted a strong second half to achieve revenues topping £700 million in the latest financial year. Things are expected to get better, too, thanks to a huge reduction in the tax on bingo.
Grenada’s parliament has approved legislation that would bring land-based casinos to the island. The Casino and Gaming Act of 2014 will now go to the Senate. If the bill is approved in its current form, hotel owners with 300 or more rooms will be eligible to apply for a casino license. “God wants us” to do this, says Tourism Minister Alexandria Otway-Noel (l.).
The winning bidder for Saipan’s sole casino license has reached a development deal with the Pacific island’s government for a $3 billion-plus resort to be constructed over several years. Plans call for 800 hotel rooms in the first phase, a 10,000-square-meter casino and other attractions.
Nova Scotia casinos will stop requiring players to use the card-based My-Play System, which has been in use since April 2012. Minister Andrew Younger said most people did not use the system, which was designed to prevent non-problem gamblers from becoming VLT addicts. Installing and operating the My-Play System cost nearly $20 million.
Former Victoria, Australia Premier Jeff Kennett (l.) recently said although he had approved advertising, promotion and sponsorship by corporate bookmakers in 1994 when he was in office, it now should be banned. He said betting by privately owned bookmakers pays less to the racing industry and voluntary codes don't work.
Century Casinos Inc.'s wholly owned subsidiaries Century Resorts Alberta Inc. and Century Casino Calgary Inc. recently obtained additional credit of $10.05 million from the Bank of Montreal to develop and build Century Downs Racetrack and Casino in Balzac, in metro Calgary, Alberta.
The July 15 deadline has passed and former BC Lotteries Director Michael Graydon (l.) has not repaid the Crown Corporation $55,000, including his salary for the two months he worked for the lottery while negotiating a new job with Paragon Gaming—which has proposed a $500 million casino resort near Vancouver's BC Place.
Gibraltar’s online gambling companies have challenged Britain’s new point-of-consumption tax in a legal challenge in Britain’s High Court.
Danish regulators have released figures showing a 20 percent decline in online poker revenues for the second quarter. This is the second year in a row with a quarterly decline and the country now expects a 7.7 percent decline for the year.
The Swiss Conference of the Cantonal Directors in Charge of Gambling and Lotteries is supporting a move to regulate online gambling in Switzerland.
Greentube is launching “Greentube Pro,” a social casino marketing platform that integrates loyalty strategies with online and mobile play.
NYX Gaming Group will distribute the entire content portfolio of Reno-based Spin Games to online clients through a new distribution agreement.
The World Poker Tour has designated online payment company Skrill USA Inc. as the official payment processor of the WPT.
Amaya Inc. reported increase revenue for the second quarter coming just before its acquisition of PokerStars should give it another revenue bump. The company lost $2.9 million for the quarter, down significantly from 2013. The company also plans to launch sports betting in 2015.
India’s Supreme Court is examining if various online card sites operating in the country are gambling or games of skill. Online gambling is not allowed in the country.
Caesars Entertainment has reached a deal with the trustee of first-lien bonds that could result in delay of a potential notice of default. Meanwhile, Caesars wants to spin off its loyalty program, Total Rewards, into a separate company.
Opened just six months ago, Dania Casino and Jai-Alai in Broward County, Florida will close October 15 for one year while a $130 million renovation is completed. More than 300 people will lose their jobs, but owners, the Argentina-based Casino Club Group, said they will hire 600 when the project is completed.
Just five years ago, it looked like ill-timed investments by MGM Resorts International would hobble the company indefinitely, or even cause its demise. Now the Lion is back, and roaring. Second quarter results show that even CityCenter (l.) is turning around.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will probably decide whether to award a gaming license to Steve Wynn or the Mohegan tribe by the end of September. The license for the Boston metro license is fiercely contested. But it all may be for naught if a referendum to stop casinos is successful in November.
Legislators in Maine are looking at expanding the number of casinos in the state. It has hired a gaming consultant to do a study on the feasibility of more casinos.
In the quarter that ended June 30, nongaming revenue was the driver of positive results for American Casino & Entertainment Properties, parent company of the Stratosphere (l.) and Arizona Charlie’s. Though gaming revenues took a dip, overall net revenue was up slightly.
The United States is pressing global banks to scrutinize transactions from casino customers. Bankers aren’t too happy with the new responsibility. The tougher stance was sparked by cases like that of the high roller who processed $45 million through Mexican currency exchanges.
Republican Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (l.) recently stated he supports the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission's decision to not issue new casino licenses for three years, to prevent cannibalization. His opponent, Democratic state Senator Jack Hutch, said government should not be concerned with protecting existing businesses.
If a rising tide lifts all boats, the sale of property where the New Frontier once stood could bode well for all the property on that end of the Las Vegas Strip. The property has been acquired by Crown Resorts CEO James Packer, in partnership with investment firm Oaktree Capital.
The multibillion-dollar resort Cosmopolitan, which has never turned a profit since it opened in 2010, now seems to be heading in the right direction. In the second quarter, Cosmo saw a 17 percent uptick. That should be great news for its new owners.
New York gaming commissioners could consider allegations of racism made against the Cordish Companies at its properties elsewhere around the U.S. Among other things, the company has been accused of hiring a white man to pick fights with black patrons so they could be ejected.
First, the city of Greenbush, New York offered $7 million to Albany in exchange for its support of a casino in the community. Then the community of Rensselaer sweetened the offer. The city in New York’s Capital Region has pledged $10 million for Albany’s support.
Atlantic City’s casino revenues are flagging, but still throws a heck of a concert. Mayor Don Guardian and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority are working with Live Nation to bring in more concerts, like the beachfront events that drew tens of thousands to the shore resort.
Illinois communities take different approaches to video gambling, which has been legal since 2011. Rockford aldermen are considering how to control the proliferation of businesses with video gambling. In Crystal Lake, a business group asked the city council to lift the ban on the games. In Batavia, aldermen recently voted 8-6 to keep its ban in place.
Mountaineer Racetrack's request to reduce the number of nightly live races in December was rejected by the West Virginia Racing Commission. Instead, Mountaineer has dropped live races from nine now through September, and 10 in October and November, to eight. Purses also have been reduced.
Ohio law enforcement is playing a game of whack-a-mole to shut down various skill game and internet café locations in the state. And authorities in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California last week raided two internet cafes and confiscated their computers.
One year ago the Bureau of Indian Affairs approved the Menominee Tribe's application to take land into trust for an off-reservation casino in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Governor Scott Walker, who has the final word, said he'll make a decision in February. A new hotel (l.) at the Potawatomi's Milwaukee casino may hurt arguments of a “mature” market.
Several residents of the Arizona town of Glendale want to overturn a decision by their city council that withdrew the city’s opposition to a casino proposed by the Tohono O'odham Nation. They are gathering signatures to put it to a vote of the people.
The Karuk Tribe’s tribal gaming compact with California was approved last week by the legislature. The tribe now has the right to operate a casino with 1,500 slots in Yreka.
Two tribes, the Navajo and the Zuni are at odds over a land deal that is currently before Congress. One tribe, the Zuni, doesn’t like a provision that would prevent it from offering gaming on a former army base in New Mexico.
The Duluth, Minnesota city council may ask lawmakers to allow the city to run a casino in the downtown convention center. Duluth is seeking a way to make up for the $6 million in annual payments it received from the Fond du Lac Ojibwe Band's Fond du Luth casino (l.) before the tribe stopped making payments in 2009.
Navajo Nation Chief Executive Officer Derrick Watchman (l.) recently said a smoking ban at the tribe's New Mexico and Arizona casinos "could be detrimental." More than 30 communities throughout the reservation have adopted smoking bans in public places. So far, the tribe's casinos have been spared.
The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana said it will not renew its contract with Exceptional Gaming, which has operated Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville for 14 years. Tunica-Biloxi Tribal Council Chairman Joey Barbry blamed the recession plus more statewide competition. Assistant General Manager Chris Barbry will take over daily operations.
Changes proposed by the Department of the Interior for recognizing tribes have some vine growers in California’s Napa County worried—about casinos.
Since the 1990s, shortly after the Legends Casino in Washington State opened to the public, the Yakama Nation has had plans to one day add a hotel. That day is at hand: construction will soon begin on a $90 million expansion that includes a 200-unit hotel.
A report on the effects of Indian gaming in the U.S. shows that communities often benefit economically from having a casino in their midst.
A year after restructuring its debt with Bank of America, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut, owners of Foxwoods, have fallen out of compliance with loan payments.
A Democratic congresswoman from the state of Oregon has introduced a bill that would restore previously granted federal recognition to the Clatsop-Nehalem Confederated Tribes. The Indians signed a treaty with the U.S. government that was never ratified, and later was terminated.
Under its Class III gaming compact, the annual percentage rate received by the Pokagon Fund from the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians' Michigan casinos has dropped from 2 percent, or $6 million, to 0.75 percent, or $2 million. The TPF board has instituted several changes to avoid running out of grant money in June 2015.
Under Cherokee Nation law, 1 percent of the cost of any renovation or new construction project exceeding $500,000 must be set aside to purchase Cherokee artwork. As a result, tribal artwork and artifacts will be displayed in guest rooms at the newly renovated hotel tower at the Cherokee Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.
Konami Gaming has announced the promotion of executives in four key leadership areas in an ongoing effort to strengthen and expand its slot business.
Wendy Reeve has been dismissed as chief executive officer for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe's Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort and Saganing Eagles Landing Casino in Michigan, sources said. Casino officials would not confirm the information. Reeve was hired in May 2013.
Duetto Research is partnering with Konami Gaming to link its hospitality profit optimization software with Konami’s casino management systems. Duetto co-founder Marco Benvenuti (l.) says the JV will mean better insights and more revenue for casino resorts.
Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino has launched a mobile customer app for iPhone and Android devices that will allow the casino to send mobile offers and promotions to customers.
Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut will utilize the mobile concierge platform from Bally Technologies to improve customer service and increase efficiencies.
Colorado’s Canyon Casino has selected the Konami Synkros casino management system to replace a competitor’s system, in the first Synkros installation in the state.
GTECH France, headquartered in Paris, will provide sales and service to French casino operators in one of Europe’s largest gaming markets.
Nine limousine service in Southern Nevada will now be allowed to charge customers additional fees when they use the new Ride Genie smartphone application. But some criticize the charges as being too high.
Global Market Advisors has opened a regional Asian office in Bangkok, Thailand to serve its customers in the region. GMA’s casino consulting division has clients in South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, and eastern Russia as well as the U.S.
Atlanta-based Rainmaker Group placed at number 2745 on the Inc. 5000 list of the nation's fastest growing private companies. A world leader in automated price optimization software and services for the gaming/hospitality industry, this is Rainmaker's fourth consecutive year on the list.
Merkur Gaming, the casino division of German AWP giant Gauselmann Group, will participate in the Global Gaming Expo, launching new cabinets and games.
APEX gaming will use the Global Gaming Expo to launch eDROP, a solution to permit slot cashout tickets to be used at live table games.
Las Vegas legend Benny Binion became an FBI informant after serving time in prison for tax evasion, according to a new book by investigative reporter Doug J. Swanson. Friends of the late Horseshoe Casino owner, including former Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, say it isn’t so.
An armored truck lost $21,000 in cash from Atlantic City’s Revel Casino. A bag of currency was left on top of the truck and managed to stay there for a drive around the city before falling off at an unknown spot. Officials are investigating.
A Pennsylvania roulette dealer is being charged for conspiracy and illegal bet-fixing after banter with a player about the player’s “lucky number.”
Small Nuggets of News
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