Japan: Local Legend

Reports that Japan’s casinos could end up off-limits to its citizens were dismissed last week. The possibility seemed to be very real as pro-gaming lawmakers, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (l.), negotiated for minority party support for a legalization bill under consideration in the Diet. If it happened it would have dramatically diminished the size of the market and its investment prospects.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Gunplay at California Casino

The National Indian Gaming Commission has threatened to close Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino in Northern California by October 27 unless the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indian produces missing or nonexistent audits. But an assault on the casino last week had the same result as a dissenting faction of the tribe tried to take over the casino, which shut down.

Singapore Outlaws Web Gambling

Lawmakers in Singapore have approved an online gambling ban that carries heavy fines and prison terms for offenders. Provisions call for ISPs to block sites and banks and financial institutions to refuse monetary transfers. Lottery operator Singapore Pools (l.) will be exempted.

Judge: Ivey’s a Cheater

A London judge has ruled that poker pro Phil Ivey (l.) was essentially cheating when he used edge-sorting to gain an advantage on a Genting casino. Ivey is facing similar challenges in the U.S.

Court Approves Revel Atlantic City Sale

The sale of Atlantic City’s bankrupt Revel casino to Brookfield Properties has been approved by a federal bankruptcy judge. Brookfield bought the $2.4 billion property for just $110 million. Another bidder, Florida-based developer Glenn Straub objected to the sale and may still appeal.

A New Casino for British Town

The debut of a £6 million Grosvenor Casino in the Palace Hotel (l.) is being greeted warmly in the English resort town of Southend. Located in a historic hotel, the venue offers a restaurant, bar and sports lounge and players don’t have to sign up to enjoy them.

Some Gaming Tribes Concerned About GAO Casino Audit

Many gaming tribe officials are apprehensive about what may result from a multi-year study of Indian gaming by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). They fear the report may lead to calls for more oversight on Indian gaming.

Feds Indict Mobsters in Wynn Massachusetts Land Deal

The Justice Department and the Massachusetts Attorney General have indicted three men who tried to deceive Wynn Resorts Ltd. about the participation of a known mafia figure in the purchase of land intended for a $1.6 billion casino resort in Everett. The state gaming commission says Wynn was not aware of the conspiracy.

Macau Smoking Ban Takes Hold

Smoking is now prohibited in the public gaming areas of the largest casino market in the world under rules that took effect last week in a much stricter manner than expected. Analysts now believe the impact on revenue and operating profit will be more severe well.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: G2E Wrap; Gaming is Back

If the events at G2E two weeks ago are any proof, gaming is healthy and coming back. From a jammed exhibit floor to new companies and renewed enthusiasm says the industry is vital and changing.


Casinos Proposed for Vietnam Islands

Investors and local officials say resort casinos have an important role to play in the development of several of Vietnam’s offshore islands, including the largest, Phu Quoc in the Mekong Delta. Reports are the government and the ruling Communist Party feel the same way.

Macau Dealers Catch Blue Flu

Labor groups in Macau turned up the volume on public protests by casino dealers and other front-line workers for better pay and benefits, calling sickouts and slowdowns during the busy Golden Week weekend. The job actions struck MGM Macau and casinos owned by SJM and Galaxy. Cloee Chao, co-founder of Macau Gaming Industry Frontline Workers' Union at left.

Royal Caribbean Wants Vietnam Casino Ban Lifted

Royal Caribbean Vice President John Tercek recently asked Vietnam's Tourism Minister Hoang Tuan Anh to ask the prime minister to end a 20-year ban on allowing casinos on foreign cruise ships to remain open in Vietnamese ports. Tercek said the ban is not actually a law.

Pachinko Operator Niraku Planning IPO

Pachinko parlor operators Niraku Corporation of Japan announced it hopes to raise $100 million in an initial public offering in Hong Kong next year. Founded in 1950, Niraku operates 54 pachinko parlors in Tokyo and surrounding areas, plus Fukushima and Miyagi.

Wynn Sues For Macau Slander

Hedge fund operator James Chanos (l), the short-seller known for foreseeing the collapse of Enron, is being sued by Steve Wynn. Chanos suggested to a journalism conference last April that the Chinese gaming enclave of Macau, where Wynn is heavily invested, is rife with corruption.


Mexico Gets Tough on Casinos

Four casinos in Mexico City have had their licenses suspended, and more are expected to follow, as the government, led by Commission of Gaming President Fernando Zarate Salgado (l.), cracks down on lax enforcement of regulations. The new policy coincides Congress’ consideration of a bill that aims to clean up the industry.

Ontario Candidate: Casinos Don't Help Downtown Businesses

Mayoral candidate John Rodriguez said he emphatically opposes a casino located in downtown Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. He claims a downtown casino would not benefit other businesses in the area. He would, however, support a full casino at the current location of Slots at Sudbury Downs.


New Jersey Assembly Committee Opposes Federal Online Gaming Ban

A New Jersey state Assembly committee has approved a resolution opposing attempts in Congress to pass a federal ban on online gambling. New Jersey—which already has legalized online gambling—would be hurt by a ban and any ban would infringe on state’s rights, according to the resolution.

Betfair Finds New Online Partner in New Jersey

Betfaircasino has signed a new partnership with Caesars Entertainment to continue operating its online site in New Jersey. Betfair has previously been partnered with the now-closed Trump Plaza casino. The move has been approved by state regulators.

EU Probes Gibraltar Tax Policy

Gibraltar’s online operators claim that a new UK tax on the sector violates EU fairness rules. Now the government of Gibraltar is facing similar scrutiny from the European Commission based on tax policies that Spain and other member states say are discriminatory.

Extradition Still Sought in Bodog Case

The Maryland U.S. Attorney in the federal case against Bodog Entertainment is still seeking extradition from Canada of four Bodog officials including founder Calvin Ayre (l.). Bodog was indicted by a federal grand jury two years ago for illegal gambling and money laundering.

Playtech Launches in Mexico, Bingo in UK

Playtech has launched casino games in Mexico through the online site of Mexican gaming operator Grupo Caliente. The partnership was announced in August and has now gone live. Meanwhile, the company has signed a new four-year pact with William Hill to offer online bingo in the UK.

Bwin.party is on Facebook

The company has launched a social sports-betting game called Sportster—Bet and Win. The game allows for betting on both real sports games and virtual games.

Full Tilt Poker to Leave Italy

Full Tilt Poker may be pulling out of Italy by not entering the country’s regulated market. The sites former owners applied for an Italian licenses, but new owner Amaya Gaming have reportedly decided against operating that brand in Italy. The company will instead focus on its PokerStars brand in the country.

Paddy Power to Push for Changes in Australia

The new head of Paddy Power Andy McCue says the company will push for changes in Australia’s betting rules to allow for online in-play betting. McCue says he would like to see the changes before 2015 when Australia is hosting several major sports events.

Finnplay, BetConstruct Sign Sportsbook Partnership

Finland-based Finnplay recently formed a partnership with BetConstruct of Malta designed to reach more sportsbook customers. The agreement allows Finnplay to re-sell BetConstruct's managed sportsbook services to its own customers.

Comtrade-NetEnt Partnership Benefits Customers

Comtrade's licensed operators now can access Net Entertainment's mobile and flash casino games portfolio, thanks to their recent partnership. Comtrade's Director of Interactive, Steven Valentine, said the company hopes to expand into Scandinavia, Asia and the U.S., and predicted changes such as increased online and land-based convergence and possible industry standards for gaming software.


NY Lawmakers: Orange County Was Cuomo’s Idea

Two New York lawmakers say Orange County was not part of the state’s original 2013 casino legislation. A state senator claims the county, which is much closer to New York City than the others under consideration, was added at the last minute by Governor Andrew Cuomo (l.).

Sands Bethlehem to Expand

The Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem is launching a two-year expansion that will double the size of its hotel and add a convention center and Bass Pro Shop. Veteran casino executive Mark Juliano (l.) is leading the expansion.

Atlantic City Unions, Politicians Battle Icahn and Trump Entertainment

Members of Atlantic City’s largest casino-workers union held a protest over Trump Entertainment’s plans to cut health and pension benefits to workers to save the bankrupt casino from closing. The protest, however, was aimed squarely at billionaire Carl Icahn who is negotiating to possibly step in and save the casino. Icahn also wants to take away health benefits from workers at his Tropicana Casino Resort in Atlantic City. State Senate President Steve Sweeney (l.) stepped in on the union side.

Caesars Slapped With Default Notice

A group of junior bondholders has put Caesars Entertainment on notice that it is in default, in an attempt to force the operator into negotiations on $3.7 billion of debt.

MGM, AEG Secure Arena Funds

MGM Resorts International and AEG have finalized $200 million bank facility to help fund their jointly owned 20,000-seat indoor stadium. The Las Vegas Arena is currently under construction (l.) on the Strip, between the New York-New York and Monte Carlo resorts.

Existing Maine Casinos Don’t Want More

The two casinos in Maine, the Hollywood Casino in Bangor and the Oxford Casino (l.), are not happy about a study that recommends that the state could absorb two more casinos.

Will Reno Ban New Downtown Casinos?

The city of Reno, Nevada is considering a ban on new gaming halls near the University of Nevada, Reno. The city hopes to see the university campus expand beyond its current boundaries, creating a stronger link between the UNR and the rest of the community.

Golden Nugget Atlantic City GM Suspended

Golden Nugget Atlantic City has been fined $30,000 by New Jersey regulators and its general manager, Tom Pohlman (l.), was suspended for three days in a settlement with New Jersey gaming regulators. The fines and suspension stem from the casino wrongly firing the Nugget’s surveillance director.

SLS: Recession Proved a Money-Saver

The economic downturn that started in 2007 compelled SBE of Los Angeles to build its new SLS resort around the former Sahara, instead of demolishing the structure and starting from scratch. That approach may have created a new blueprint for the industry.

Indiana Casinos Seek Legislative Relief

Indiana's casinos are fighting back against decreasing revenues and admissions caused by the 2008 recession and increased competition. For example, Indiana Grand will offer mobile gaming. Above all, casino operators want legislators to allow live table games, eliminate free-play tax and let riverboats move ashore. A major obstacle is Governor Mike Pence's anti-expansion philosophy.

Chicago Racetracks Losing Dates, Revenue

Chicago's two horse racetracks, Arlington International Racecourse (l.) and Hawthorne Race Course, continue to watch owners and trainers take their horses to states with more race days and higher purses. Track officials said their best hope is for the state legislature to allow slots at the tracks—which existing casinos strongly oppose.

Margaritaville Biloxi Emptying Out

MVB Holding, former operators of Margaritaville Casino Biloxi which closed September 15, are busy clearing out the place to meet the midnight, October 27 deadline recently agreed to in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. At that point property owners Clay Point LLC will receive the property—but not the Mississippi gaming license or Margaritaville franchise.

Confusion About Soccer Stadium Funding

By a 6-1 vote, Las Vegas City Council has approved a plan to develop a $200 million professional soccer arena in the city’s Downtown. Officials have told the development partners to find their own funding. But doubt remains about whether taxpayers will pick up any of the tab.

Tahoe Casino Closer to Becoming Hard Rock

Nevada state gaming regulators have approved Warner Gaming’s request to assume control of the Horizon resort in Lake Tahoe. Warner plans to transform the hotel-casino into a Hard Rock-branded property.

Amendment 68 Rallies Supporters, Opponents

Amendment 68 would allow a casino at Arapahoe Park racetrack in Aurora, Colorado, and two future racetracks. Supporters recently released a study indicating the new casino would raise $114 in gaming taxes to benefit education. Opponents said existing mountain casinos would lose 30 percent of revenues in two years due to the Arapahoe Park casino.

Cedar Rapids To Extend Development Agreement

Although the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission denied a gaming license to Cedar Rapids Development Group, the Cedar Rapids city council plans to extend its agreement with the investors into 2019. Mayor Ron Corbett said he'll work on changing Iowa's gaming laws to allow a smoke-free casino, the state's first, in Cedar Rapids.

Harrah's Metropolis Announces Renovation Celebration

Major renovations at Harrah's Metropolis Casino & Hotel in Metropolis, Illinois will debut November 19-23. Updates at the 21-year old property include a new lobby design, new restaurant and bar and entertainment stage. The renovated casino will offer 1,145 slots including 300 new machines, plus a World Series of Poker room.

Vegas High-Speed Rail Line Back on Track?

The concept of a high-speed rail line from Southern California to Vegas never seems to run out of steam. Now the head of the California High-Speed Rail Authority is pushing for a public-private partnership to push the development down the line.

South Carolinians Split On Casino

A recent Winthrop Poll of 1,082 likely South Carolina voters indicated 47.3 percent both support and oppose allowing gambling casinos in the state, with 5 percent unsure. Nearly 64 percent opposed allowing a limited number of casinos to operate in Myrtle Beach.

How Did Connecticut Casinos Affect Crime Rate?

According to new research from Western Connecticut State University, crime in the communities near Uncasville and Ledyard, home of the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos, saw a distinct change after those resorts opened. Call it a “good news-bad news” scenario.

Rosemont Defendants Face $45.3 Million Judgment—Each

In a 281-page ruling, a federal district court judge recently declared each of the six defendants in the case of Emerald Casino must pay $45.3 million for their role in the loss of the property's gambling license in 2001. Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer noted a statute limitations prevented her from adding punitive damages.


Gun Lake Breathes Easier

A looming court decision that could have closed the Gun Lake casino in Michigan was negated last week as President Barack Obama signed a bill that ends the litigation and any future claim against the tribe’s trust land.

Three At Osage Casinos Lose Licenses

As part of an ongoing investigation into alleged gaming violations, the Osage Nation Gaming Commission suspended the gaming licenses of interim Chief Executive Officer Joseph Olujic, Chief Financial Officer Richard Lobdell and Executive Chef Jesus Lorenzo.

Griffith Would Negotiate Tribal Compact

The Democratic candidate for governor of Alabama, Parker Griffith (l.), recently said he would negotiate a compact with the Poarch Creek Indians if he's elected. He said the tribe should be allowed to offer more than just electronic games at its casinos in Atmore, Wetumpka and Montgomery.

Judge Hears Tiguas Contempt Arguments

U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone said she will issue a written ruling whether she will grant the state of Texas' request to shut down two entertainment centers operated by the Tigua Tribe, where the state said illegal gambling occurs. The Tiguas said its third-party sweepstakes games raise money for the tribe.

Public Meeting Set For Michigan Casino

The public will have a chance to comment on a proposed off-reservation casino Wakefield Township, Michigan on October 22 at the Indianhead Mountain Ski Resort, which the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians wants to purchase and partially convert to a casino-hotel.


Aristocrat Names Asia Director

Aristocrat Leisure Ltd. has named Vincent Kelly as its managing director for Asia, charged with building on the manufacturer’s success in the region.

Grimes Takes New Role at Gala

Gala Interactive has promoted Gavin Grimes from head of social gaming to head of casino. Grimes joined Gala Interactive, a division of the Gala Coral Group, in 2013. He was previously employed by the online advertising and marketing company McBoom.


Bally Schedules Merger Vote

Bally Technologies has called a stockholder meeting at which the company’s shareholders will vote on the planned merger with Scientific Games.

Grand Casinos Upgrades IGT Systems

Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures has elected to upgrade its IGT Advantage casino management system at Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Grand Casino Hinckley in Minnesota.

GLI Link Installed in Mexico

Mexico’s NYCE gaming authority has installed the award-winning GLI Link, allowing remote testing of equipment at Gaming Laboratories International facilities.

Innovative Technology HQ Nears Completion

Due to a 71 percent increase in its United Kingdom staff, cash-handling equipment providers Innovative Technology soon will move into new state-of-the-art headquarters. The company also recently expanded a factory in China and added office in Australia and Italy.

Wind Creek Forms Social iGaming Partnership

The Poarch Creek Indians in Alabama recently acquired majority interest in C2Rewards social gaming platform and will partner with the company to launch Engage Innovation. With WCH as its first customer, Engage Innovation will offer a new integrated gaming platform that allows operators to maintain full control of their customer database.

GCG Taps FutureLogic

FutureLogic has signed a preferred supplier agreement with Gaming Capital Group, which provides equipment financing to gaming manufacturers.

Gamblit Launches Platform

Gamblit Gaming launched a proprietary platform at G2E that enhances mobile games and provides content for either land-based or online casinos.


G2E: Millennials the Next Big Target

Speakers at G2E said the casino industry needs to court this consumer demographic, which is growing in size, influence and buying power. Millennials, or members of “Generation Y,” need a gaming experience that mirrors social media: lively, instantaneous and shareable.




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