The fears the gaming industry has about legalization of gaming in Japan are coming to fruition. It’s happened many times before. Efforts to pass a casino legalization bill in Japan’s Diet are stumbling amid concerns over problem gambling and other social impacts. Worse, the bill’s biggest supporter, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (l.), has political troubles.
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Professional sports leagues and the NCAA successfully sued last week to block New Jersey from permitting sports betting, which had been scheduled to begin at one state racetrack as early as October 26 at Monmouth Park racetrack (l.). The state believes that a federal ban on sports betting applies only to state regulated betting. The state’s plan would have the bookmakers regulate themselves. A full court will hear both sides at some future date, but the injunction stops the betting from starting.
Trump Entertainment Resorts—owners of Atlantic City’s Taj Mahal casino and fresh off a win in federal bankruptcy court t voiding the casino’s union contract—says it has no immediate plans to close the casino, but the man who would be owner has different thoughts. Prospective owner Carl Icahn (l.) said late last week that the lack of state assistance, as well as the continued union trouble at the property will seal its fate.
Caesars Entertainment has shaken up the Philippines with plans to invest $1 billion in a resort casino at Manila’s international airport (l.). It would mean a sixth major gaming resort for the capital city. The government is talking it over.
Aristocrat Leisure Ltd. has completed its acquisition of Class II gaming machine manufacturer Video Gaming Technologies for $1.28 billion. The company also said it was ready to consider other purchases as long as they are “accretive.”
New South Wales has censored portions of its agreement with Crown Resorts relating to VIP gaming at the company’s proposed Sydney megaresort (l.). Crown says they contain trade secrets. They also contain information about crime-related risks, and opponents say that should be made public.
A northern California casino, the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino (l.), has laid off nearly 1,300 employees after a federal judge and the National Indian Gaming Commission closed it two weeks ago. Officials can’t set a date for reopening.
Several referendums on next week’s ballots will determine the future of the gaming industry in several states. Voters in Massachusetts, Colorado and California will have a say on issues that will impact many gaming companies.
This week, the GGB Podcast sits down with Rob Oseland, the president of SLS Las Vegas, just weeks after the opening of the new property on the North Strip.
Sands China followed up a strong third-quarter performance with news that its $2.7 billion Parisian Macao on Cotai could open, in part, before the end of 2015. Good news for Sands, which dominates Macau’s mass market, and for Macau, which is mired in an epic revenue slump.
Chinese tourists love South Korea’s Jeju island—maybe too much, says the island’s governor, Won Hee-ryong (l.). Plans are to put the brakes on “reckless development,” and new casino projects could suffer.
Massive growth in the Chinese casino hub is colliding head-on with an acute labor shortage, and the result is that operators ’costs are soaring. New research by Morgan Stanley says it’s likely to get worse too.
Vietnam’s largest island, Phu Quoc, is developing rapidly, and the government says a resort-scale casino is just the thing to keep the momentum going. With upwards of 3 million tourists expected in the next five years, local officials are busy vetting prospective developers.
Myanmar’s new civilian rulers are pushing foreign tourism to help the Southeast Asian nation’s development economically, and casinos are now seen as an important tool in that effort. A bill authorizing foreigners-only venues in hotels is under review in parliament.
Gibraltar’s online gaming operators don’t want to submit to licensing in Britain or pay the country’s new “point of consumption” tax on the revenue they make there. They lost a bid in UK High Court to overturn the first. Now they’re back to try to defeat the tax.
Australian betting operator Tabcorp has paid $105 million to buy racetrack betting operator ACTTAB from the Canberra government, getting 50-year Australian racetrack license in the bargain. ACTTAB distributes through 53 retail outlets, plus phone and internet platforms.
An investigation of two casinos in British Columbia, the River Rock (l.) and the Starlight, found evidence of possible money laundering and flawed security protocols. According to CBC News, some $27 million in suspicious, small-bill cash transactions took place at the casinos over three months.
The great majority of California Senate candidates asked their views on online poker declined even to offer an opinion. This leads the website CaliforniaOnlinePoker to speculate that the issue is not a major one among Golden State politicians, and no Senate supporter since the resignation of Rod Wright (l.).
The European Union Commission has started a legal challenge to Sweden’s online gambling laws in Europe’s highest court saying the country’s laws violate EU laws of the free movement of services. The EU has also delayed approval of Ireland’s proposed online gambling tax.
Spain's gambling regulator is planning to release an undefined number of new casino licenses in the hopes that new operators will help grow online gambling in the country. The licenses will be open to both new providers and operators already in the country.
The Pennsylvania legislature is set to consider a resolution to oppose a federal attempt to ban online gambling in the U.S. The state is considering allowing online gambling and the resolution opposes a ban saying such a law infringes on state’s rights.
England’s Rank Group has deployed the Secure Payments Platform and other risk management solutions from SafeCharge International Group.
Ray Bitar, former CEO of Full Tilt Poker, has been found guilty of breaking U.S. gambling laws. He avoided jail time due to failing health, but must forfeit $40 million.
British bookmaker William Hill announced a strong quarter, buoyed by the World Cup. Revenue rose 23 percent and operating profit 89 percent for a 13-week stretch.
Caesars Entertainment Corp. will begin talks with bank creditors on restructuring more of the operator’s $24.2 billion in debt, but analysts say bankruptcy may still be necessary. The holders of first-lien notes are reportedly getting the most attention.
MGM Resorts International has agreed to sell the Gold Strike in Jean, Nevada to JETT Gaming, a company owned by members of the well-known Herbst family of gaming professionals. In September, the company sold off another smaller casino, the Railroad Pass in Henderson.
Former Atlantic City casino mogul Donald Trump made headlines last week, warning that the casino market in the Northeast is so oversaturated New York State can’t possibly sustain new commercial gaming halls. State officials will soon choose up to four new licensees.
Casino operator Full House Resorts Inc. announced last week that it the company is for sale, including Mississippi’s Silver Slipper (l.). With share values down more than half since January, Full House faced a brewing shareholder revolt; minority investors wanted to overhaul the board of directors.
With Question 3 that would repeal the Bay State’s casino law, on the November 4 ballot rapidly approaching, casino companies have increased their spending in to defeat the repeal. Arguments being made by supporters of the repeal are routinely dismissed, such as the impact of gaming on the state lottery.
Trump Entertainment has removed Donald Trump’s name from the closed Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City, but is resisting a move by Trump to have his name taken off the Trump Taj Mahal. Trump—who owns less than 10 percent of Trump Entertainment—wants the name removed saying it is hurting his brand. Trump Entertainment officials have responded in court by saying they have enough problems at the Taj without having to fight to defend their name.
The recent legalization of same-sex marriage in Nevada is earning applause from Las Vegas tourism officials and Strip-resort operators, who are welcoming gay and lesbian couples with special deals and accommodations.
Glenn Straub, who lost in a bankruptcy auction for the closed Revel casino in Atlantic City, has appealed the auction result. The property went to Brookfield Asset Management for $110 million. Straub says he wasn’t given required information about competing bids during the auction.
Flagging revenues from the Horseshoe Hammond Casino in Indiana has the city looking beyond gaming for new revenues: water. Hammond officials have hatched a plan to sell cut-rate water services to make up the budget deficit.
Local healthcare provider AtlantiCare has announced a program to help laid off casino workers in Atlantic City to get health insurance and assist with premiums.
The former Horizon Resort Casino in Stateline, Nevada will reopen under the Hard Rock brand early next year. The property has undergone a $60 million renovation, gaining an Elvis Suite in the process along with new restaurants, bars and concert venues.
A ballot measure in South Dakota will decide whether the state’s casinos can add live roulette, keno and craps to VLTs, blackjack and poker in Deadwood (l.).
The New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority has earmarked more than $100 million for upgrades to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall (l.) and convention center. Proposed improvements include maintenance, repairs and cosmetic upgrades for both buildings over the next five years.
Gary Loveman (l.), the chairman and CEO of Caesars Entertainment. was on hand to help dedicate construction of a new $125 million meeting center at Harrah’s Atlantic City, but quickly had to answer questions about Atlantic City’s future as a whole. One question he avoided; whether Caesars plans to close anymore Atlantic City casinos.
The U.S. Air Force has closed a casino-resort near Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada. The move was designed to enhance security around the military outpost, which commands overseas drone combat operations.
The first phase of construction is now under way on Genting’s massive casino resort in Las Vegas. The Asian-themed Resorts World Las Vegas, which is scheduled to open in 2015, could create as many as 11,000 jobs in Sin City.
New Jersey residents are in favor of expanding casinos in the state, favor sports betting and think online gambling won’t help Atlantic City. Overall, respondents feel casino gambling hasn’t helped the state.
The renovated Oasis boutique hotel in Downtown Las Vegas, formerly the Gold Spike (l.), which reopened in September, showed off some of its new rooms last week. The hotel was rehabbed by the Downtown Project, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s $350 million initiative to redevelop the East Fremont Street district.
Giada di Laurentiis, whose flagship restaurant is at the new Cromwell in Las Vegas, has driven plenty of traffic to the deluxe Strip hotel. According to Caesars Entertainment, the Cromwell has received 83 billion online hits since Giada joined. That’s “billion” with a “B.”
Renovations and better access to Detroit’s Greektown casino have begun, promising to deliver more and better customers to the property. The hotel is owned by Dan Gilbert, the founder of Quicken Loans, the owner of the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers, as well has being the majority owner of the two Horseshoe casinos in Ohio.
It’s been two months since Arizona’s Tohono O’odham Nation broke ground on the site of their proposed casino resort near Glendale, Arizona. Some speculate that it could be many years before they finish the project.
A tribe that once roamed the plains of Ohio but is now based in Oklahoma wants to return to its native state, via a 50 purchase near Lewistown. It has asked the federal government to put the land into trust.
Although the Mohegan Sun and the Pequots of Connecticut own rival casinos, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they might work together on regional marketing schemes, according to Mohegan Chairman Kevin Brown (l.).
Inevitably the contest between the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians, who want to build an off-reservation casino in Northern California, and the tribes who oppose it on philosophical and economic grounds, is characterized as David vs. Goliath. The funds raised by the foes of Prop. 48, which would allow the casino, would seem to bear this out.
The Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota is considering opening a third casino after a new compact with the state opened the door for expanded gaming. The tribe currently operates two casinos on its Pine Ridge reservation, including the Prairie Wind Casino (l.).
The Seminole tribe of Florida has been granted the right of self-regulation by the National Indian Gaming Commission. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act gives the NIGC the power to award this designation for regulatory excellence.
The Creek Casino Montgomery, Alabama is planning a $65 million upgrade of the property that will include a new hotel, a new event center and three new restaurants. One hundred new jobs will be added at the property.
Scott Kreeger, the COO of Revel in Atlantic City, resigned recently to accept a position with another company, according to a court filing and confirmed by GGB. Revel is closed now, but is expected to reopen soon under the new ownership of Brookfield Holdings.
DEQ Systems Chief Financial Officer François Proulx will step down effective November 14 after eight years with the Canadian company.
Amaya Gaming reports that the online poker brands it acquired have boosted year-on-year revenue and net income growth for the first half of 2014, while the company explores land-based growth with its Cadillac Jack subsidiary. CEO David Baazov (l.) says the core business of PokerStars was strong.
Officials of Scientific Games and Bally Technologies told lenders that the merger of the two companies could lead in a 21 percent reduction in the combined workforce.
Inspired Gaming has launched the Jungle Bucks slot machine on its Open VLT Platform library in Italy, and announced a new agreement in the Philippines.
BMM Testlabs has expanded its ISO 17025 scope of accreditation to include GSA protocols for game authentication and gaming device standards.
KGM has signed an agreement as the exclusive distributor in North America of electronic table games produced by Slovenia’s AlfaStreet Gaming.
Comtrade Gaming announced the launch of sCore Connect, which enables operator systems to communicate using the GSA’s G2S protocol.
Small Nuggets of News
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