Election Connection

As usual, there are several gaming issues on the ballot on the general election ballot in the U.S. this election day. From the high-profile issues in Massachusetts and California to the under-the-radar votes in South Dakota and Tennessee, the results will shape gaming in those states.

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Officials for Atlantic City’s bankrupt Trump Taj Mahal casino say the property could close as early as December 1 if New Jersey does not agree to a state aide plan and tax cuts. The casino was scheduled to close November 13, but won a court case allowing it to break its union contract. But officials say they still need the state aide to survive.

SciGames/Bally Deal Snag Not Credible

The group of banks financing the purchase of Bally Technologies by Scientific Games were reportedly delayed syndicating $3.19 billion in loans meant to support the transaction. CEO Gavin Isaacs (l.) says it was short-seller efforts to capitalize on those rumors and some investor violations that fueled those rumors.

Looking Good in the Philippines

If Asian gaming is in the throes of a boom, it could be the Philippines making the most noise. Investment bank J.P. Morgan sees demand in the island nation growing by 15 percent a year through 2018, spurred by the build-out of Manila’s Entertainment City resort district (l.).

Lawsuit Threatens Meadows Sale

A lawsuit filed by Penn National’s real-estate investment trust alleging fraud by Cannery Casino Resorts could put Penn’s deal to buy the Meadows racino in jeopardy.

Wynn to Redesign Everett Casino

Wynn Resorts has begun redesigning its 27-story casino resort and hotel that has been license by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for Everett on the Mystic River. A redesign was one of the conditions the commission required in return for granting the license.

California Tribe Sends Demanded Audits to NIGC

Although the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians in California has complied with demands from the National Indian Gaming Commission that it submit overdue audits, a federal judge has agreed with Attorney General Kamala Harris (l.) that its Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino remain closed due to safety issues created by three tribal factions that have resorted to violence several times.

‘Thunderball’ Hotel Sold to Chinese Firm

The British Colonial Hilton hotel in the Bahamas hotel has been sold to a Chinese state-run company, China State Construction Engineering Corp. The company plans to develop a deluxe hotel and condos at the site and on an adjoining lot.

Federal Online Gambling Ban ‘Ridiculous’

Steven Horsford, Nevada's fourth district congressman, responded to former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb's call for a federal ban on online gambling. Horsford said the regulated online gambling platforms used in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware protect players and children, and states are losing hundreds of millions of dollars by not allowing online gambling.


Ashes to Ashes?

Casino workers in Macau say their employers are not obeying the government’s new ban on smoking in public gaming areas. Instead, the casinos are redesignating high-limit mass-market tables as “VIP,” which is exempt from the ban, and letting players light up.

Japan, S. Korea in Berjaya’s Sights

Malaysian tycoon Vincent Tan (l.) isn’t getting the casino he wants in his home country, so he’s looking abroad, and in a big way, to possible gaming resorts on the islands of Jeju in South Korea and Okinawa in Japan, and a possible stock offering in Singapore to pay for them.

Analysts: More Casinos Coming to South Korea

A new report by investment bank Standard Chartered says South Korea will authorize as many as three more resort casinos for a special economic zone around Incheon International Airport. The result will be a critical mass of five IRs at the country’s main gateway.

Nepal Closures Rankle Hoteliers

Nepal’s leading hotel operators want the government to move fast to resolve tax disputes with the Himalayan state’s casinos. The industry was shut down earlier this year over unpaid royalties, and the hotels say it’s killing tourism.

New Tax, Entrance Fee Loom in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa (l.) likes casinos, but his political opposition and the island nation’s influential Buddhist leaders don’t. He’s pitching a higher tax rate and an entrance fee for players in hopes of getting them on board.


New Rules Drafted in Ireland

Ireland has three separate laws governing gaming and betting in the country, and the newest of them is more than 20 years old. The government plans to modernize the market for the times—and make some money for the treasury in the process.


Ontario City Rejects Casino Move

In a recent election in Kingston, Ontario, 67 percent of voters said they do not want the Thousand Island Casino (l.) to move to their city. The casino will remain in its existing location in Gananoque and most likely be rezoned so new owners can build up to 15 stories plus add hotels, retail and a convention center.

Illegal Australia: Crackdown Coming

Australians are betting billions online every year with unlicensed offshore operators, and both the government and the country’s domestic operators want to rein it in. Plans are in the works for tough new measures along the lines of those in force in France and the UK.

Hard Rock Hotel Coming to Dubai Marina

Hard Rock International, the Abu Dhabi Financial Group, and Sheffield Holdings have announced plans to build a Hard Rock Hotel in Dubai Marina. At 101 floors, the hotel will be the second tallest building in the United Arab Emirates. It’s set to open in mid-2015.


South Point Online Poker Approved in Nevada

South Point’s online poker site Real Gaming has received final approval from Nevada. The site went live in February and was the third online poker platform operating in the state.

Group Formed To Repeal Online Gambling Laws

The Washington Internet Poker Initiative wants to change state law that bans online gambling and makes playing online poker a Class C felony. Founder Curtis Woodward suggests a two-tiered system that lets tribes and licensed card rooms offer full online casino gaming, and allows larger sites to operate online poker rooms within the state.

Investors Say ‘Buy’ Intertain

Since Intertain Group Ltd. went public in February at $4, its share price has risen by more than 200 percent. The company offers online games mainly for the British market but is expanding into Northern Europe, Asia, Mexico, Central and South America. Chief Executive Officer John FitzGerald said the company plans to make two acquisitions a year.

South Africa Proposes Online Gambling Ban

South Africa’s Department of Trade has proposed banning all forms of online gambling in the country saying the country should maintain tight control on gambling options in the country. The department also wants to ban other new forms of gambling, such as dog racing.


Hearing Set for New Jersey Sports Betting

A federal judge has set a November 20 date for a hearing on whether New Jersey can proceed with its plan to allow sports betting in the state. The judge has temporarily stopped a racetrack in the state from going forward with sports betting until he can rule on the plan. The professional sports leagues and NCAA oppose the state’s move.

Caesars Creditor Walks Out1

One of Caesars Entertainment Corporation’s main creditors walked out of talks on restructuring a major portion of the company’s $24.2 billion in debt.

In New York, the Wait Continues

October has come and gone with no decision on four new Class III casino licenses now up for grabs in upstate New York. The state’s casino siting board is still sifting through 16 applications, reams of data, and literal tons of paperwork. Some consider Empire Resorts’ Montreign (l.) a favorite.

‘Jackpot Fatigue’ Causing Declining Lottery Sales

Lottery sales are declining in certain states due to what Maryland Lottery director Stephen Martino (l.) called "jackpot fatigue," in which players are no longer thrilled by big prizes. New casinos also are being blamed for taking revenue from state lotteries, but industry supporters say those drops in lottery ticket sales are just temporary.

Texas Casino Cruises To Begin

Vidal Conde, a former rodeo bull and bucking bronco rider, said his new Texas Gold Nugget Casino Cruises will begin offering two daily five-hour trips to international waters for $30 per person starting January 25. He said the inaugural trip's 1,000 tickets have sold out.

SEC: Full House Investors Can Pursue Proxy Fight

The Securities and Exchange Commission has OK’d a request from Full House Resorts shareholders to continue a campaign to remake the company’s board. The shareholder group has complained about excessive CEO compensation and massive revenue losses.

Slowdown in Vegas

Gaming revenues in Vegas dropped in September, but the numbers were still up from the same period in 2013. Declines in baccarat and blackjack volumes were mainly responsible for the slide. Slot revenues also were down, but Strip casinos saw a heartening increase in wagers.

Nothing but Net

The $1.4 billion All Net Arena, planned for 27 acres near the Las Vegas Strip, has broken ground. The privately funded, 22,000-seat sports venue backed by NBA star Jackie Robinson, will also include a hotel and shopping area.

Video Gambling: Curse And Blessing in Illinois

As of last month, about 18,000 video gambling terminals were projected to generate more than $180 million in revenue for Illinois. Tom Swoik, director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association, said the games cannibalize casinos. Michael Gelatka, president of the Illinois Gaming Machine Operators Association, said they're "a blessing for most everybody.”

Bowling Trumps Bets at South Point

South Point’s new championship-caliber bowling arena rolled a strike over the weekend, welcoming the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling to mark its grand opening. The $35 million venue is already booked for 100 dates in 2015.

Atlantic City and Revel Casino Fight Over Taxes

Atlantic City is seeking to collect $30 million in taxes from the closed Revel casino and has asked a bankruptcy judge to allow a tax lien auction. Revel says any sale should be postponed until a tax assessment challenge by the casino is resolved. A bankruptcy judge has urged the two parties to settle out of court, but could rule on the matter this week.

Cripple Creek Launches Ad Campaign

City officials and casino operators in Cripple Creek, Colorado recently agreed to a partner in a $240,000 advertising campaign claiming the city is a great place to play and win. Casino operators said without this year's ad campaign, the industry—hit with bad weather and a poor economy—would be in even worse condition.

New Jersey’s Stockton College Looking to Buy Closed Atlantic City Casinos

Atlantic City’s mayor has confirmed that the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey—located just minutes from Atlantic City—is negotiating to buy one of two closed casinos in the city—probably the former Atlantic Club (l.)—to launch a new city campus. The new campus could serve 10,000 students.

Pennsylvania Group Targets Casino Smoking

A nonprofit anti-smoking group urging elimination of the casino exemption to Pennsylvania’s indoor smoking ban drove its point home with an experiment at Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino.

Linq Cuts the Ribbon in Las Vegas

Caesars Entertainment has officially opened its all-new Linq Hotel. The former Imperial Palace, which briefly bore the name the Quad, is at the center of the Linq Promenade, with its mighty High Roller observation wheel. Caesars spent $230 million to upgrade more than 2,200 rooms.

Davenport Aldermen Approve Iowa Casino Rezoning

Just one more vote, to be held Wednesday, is required to rezone acreage at I-80 and I-74 in Scott County, Iowa for a complex that would include a $110 million casino and complementary businesses, including an indoor-outdoor waterpark. Developers Scott County Casino LLC hope to build a casino, 143-room hotel and event center on the tract near Davenport.

New Jersey Schedules Second Summit on Atlantic City’s Future

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (l.) has called for a series of summit meetings to outline a new plan for Atlantic City’s future in the face of a steadily declining casino business. A second summit is scheduled for November to consider a number of proposals for the resort.

Fifth Vicksburg Casino Moving Forward

Portofino Resort in Vicksburg, Mississippi hopes to open the city's fifth casino at the near-downtown site of the former Grand Station Casino barge. City officials are seeking U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approvals on behalf of the proposal as part of the gaming license application process.

Churchill Downs Makes Forbes List

Churchill Downs Inc. of Louisville, Kentucky recently debuted at number 67 on Forbes' new list of the 100 Best Small Companies in America. Also, the company announced it will increase shareholder dividend for the fourth consecutive year, doubling the 2011 dividend rate.

‘Eco-Campus’ Planned Near Illinois Casino

If rezoning is approved, a 52-acre site could be developed for an "eco-campus" of office buildings, residential towers, hotels and retail stores across the Tri-State Tollway from Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois.

Majority Opposes Expansion, Florida Poll Indicates

The University of Southern Florida-College of Arts and Sciences recently released results of a study showing 43 percent oppose and 27 support expanded gambling in the state; 27 percent had no opinion. Other indicators suggest gambling may have reached capacity in Florida for the time being.

Proposed Atlantic City Wheel Gets More Funding

The New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority has approved a $4 million loan to a local amusement pier operator to build a 220-foot observation wheel. Officials touted the project as exactly the type of non-gaming attraction the struggling resort needs to encourage.


Casino's Award Inspires Second Location

The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians' Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan was named "Casino of the Year" by the International Entertainment Buyers Association. General Manager Wendell Long (l.) said the tribe hopes to use that momentum to open a second casino in Fruitport Township.

Chickasaw Nation Opens Improved Ramps

Two new highway ramps, designed to ease traffic congestion, recently opened at the Chickasaw Nation's WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma. The $14 million project, mostly financed by the tribe, features one ramp connecting southbound lanes of I-35 to Winstar Boulevard and another that leads drivers from Winstar Boulevard onto the interstate.

Interior Sets Cowlitz Land-Trust Date

The Cowlitz Indian Tribe received official word from the Interior Department that a date has been set when 152 acres near La Center, Washington will be placed in trust. A federal court battle against the action by La Center card rooms, Clark County and Vancouver could further delay the tribe's casino plans.

Nisqually Tribe Opens Red Wind Garage

A new 600-vehicle parking garage will open this week at the Nisqually Tribe's Red Wind Casino in Olympia, Washington. It's part of an expansion plan that will double the casino to 95,000 square feet, raise gaming machines to 975, increase the smoke-free environment and renovate three restaurants—plus crate 70 new jobs.


Oseland Leaves SLS

Rob Oseland, who opened the new SLS Las Vegas as president, will join Andrew Pascal and James Packer to redevelop the New Frontier casino hotel on the Vegas Strip. Scott Kreeger, former COO of Revel in Atlantic City, will take over at SLS. Revel closed in September.

GameAccount's Smurfit Honored

The 2014 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards recently honored Dermot Smurfit, chief executive officer at New Jersey-based GameAccount Network, as a runner-up in the International category. The awards recognize the achievements of Irish entrepreneurs stationed around the world.


North Star Picks Bally

North Star Mohican Casino is installing a suite of systems from Bally Technologies, including the iVIEW Display Manager and Elite Bonusing Suite.

Pearl River Picks Konami Synkros

Mississippi’s Pearl River Resort is r-lacing its existing casino management systems in its two signature properties with Konami’s Synkros system.

Interblock to Release Video Poker

Interblock is releasing several video poker games as part of its multi-player table game series, and as single-game units, including all popular games.

GTECH Calls Shareholder Meeting on Notes

GTECH announced that holders of a series of guaranteed shares are called to a meeting on November 24 to exercise options connected to its acquisition of slot-maker IGT.

Harmon Trial Could Last a Year

The Harmon Hotel at CityCenter on the Las Vegas Strip is being demolished due to structural flaws that made it subject to collapse in an earthquake. The doomed 26-story structure, which never opened, is at the center of an upcoming trial between CityCenter and the hotel’s builders.

Loyalty Cards a Goldmine of Customer Data

Station Casinos undertook a comprehensive data-mining project to help it better understand customer trends and preferences. A leader in the Nevada locals market, the company derived much of its information from its Boarding Pass loyalty card.

Atlantic City Resorts Flapper Costume Lawsuit Settled

Resorts Atlantic City has apparently settled a lawsuit with 40 female workers that objected to revealing “flapper” costumes they were required to wear when the casino adopted a Roaring 20s theme in 2011. Some of the workers charged they lost their jobs after having to go through an audition in the costumes designed to purge older workers.

Station Casinos Increases Outreach

Station Casinos is growing its Smart Start charitable program, which offers breakfast to needy kids and also gives scholarship grants to elementary schools. The program was launched by majority owners Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta.

Man Charged In Indiana Machine Manipulation

Joshua Stipes is being held without bond in an Indiana jail on four counts of theft, gaming offense and failure to appear in court. Stipes allegedly collected more than $100,000 for manipulating electronic roulette games at the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City since 2011.


GLI to Play Major SAGSE Role

Gaming Laboratories International announced that it will play a major role at the upcoming SAGSE trade show in Argentina.




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