Live! Hotel and Casino, the joint venture of Cordish Companies and Parx owner Greenwood Gaming, has won the license to build Philadelphia’s second casino. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board discounted arguments that another casino would saturate the market in awarding the ducat.
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Caesars Entertainment is proposing to split its largest operating unit into two entities, with all properties owned by a real-estate investment trust. The only question now is how will the bondholders respond, and which ones get preference.
After shareholder approval and completion of regulatory and financing requirements, Scientific Games completed the acquisition of Bally Technologies. CEO President and CEO Gavin Isaacs (l.) announced the execs slated to lead the various divisions.
Sheldon Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act—which would ban online gambling in the U.S.—will not be heard during the lame duck session of Congress, according to reports. Meanwhile, former Congressman Ron Paul (l.) and other powerful conservative groups have come out in opposition to the ban.
A report in the Wall Street Journal last week indicated that the federal government is targeting Wynn Resorts in a money-laundering probe. The government had previously charged Las Vegas Sands and continues an active investigation into Caesars Entertainment for similar issues. Jennifer Shasky Calvery (l.), the director of the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, put the industry on notice last year.
Macau continues to reel from political and economic headwinds out of China, and analysts see no let-up on the horizon for at least several months. Their forecasts for November call for another month of double-digit declines, led by flagging VIP play (VIP room at Galaxy at left), but most remain believers in the underlying strength of the market.
Officials at Atlantic City’s Taj Mahal have offered to restore the health benefits that a court stripped away when it nullified a union contract if the union drops the appeal of the casino. New owner Carl Icahn would then keep the property open and invest another $100 million, saving almost 3,000 jobs in the beleaguered city.
Massachusetts has weathered an initiative to try to outlaw casino gaming, and has successfully licensed two casino resorts and one slots parlor. Now the state is considering casino regulations, some of which are hard to swallow for the winning operators, including Wynn’s Robert DeSalvio (l.), as well as the final license for the state.
The changes in the gaming industry keep accelerating on both the operator and vendor sides. Whether it’s the convergence between lotteries and slot companies or the rapid move to REITs for the operator, investors must keep up.
This week, the GGB Podcast sits down with Kelcey Allison, the chief operating officer for Aruze Gaming Americas, on his company’s remarkable market share and innovative products that have been capturing imaginations of players across the U.S.
Experts say Chinese visitation to Singapore will begin to recover early next year, and that’s good news for Marina Bay Sands and Resorts Sentosa, both mired this year in a slump in VIP play that is dragging down revenue and earnings.
The government of Sri Lanka plans to double the tax on gaming revenue and charge domestic players a Singapore-style fee to enter three resort casinos planned for the capital of Colombo (Crown proposal at left). As a trade-off, the government has overcome stubborn political opposition to secure for each of the projects a 10-year moratorium on corporate income tax.
An organization representing Macau croupiers and floor staff are calling for an industry-wide smoking ban to be extended to VIP rooms, which currently are exempt. The group also is displeased with the government’s enforcement of the existing ban amid reports that some casinos are flouting it by designating certain high-limit sections of their floors as VIP.
The Ibiza Gran Hotel's new casino is expected to open in April 2015. Housed in an all-new building with a restaurant and high-tech performance space, the casino is a collaboration of the hotel and casino owners, restaurateur brothers Albert and Ferran Adrià and Ibiza resident and Cirque du Soleil owner Guy Laliberté.
Premier League football clubs could lose tens of millions in lucrative sponsorship deals with Asia-facing betting sites under new rules promulgated in the UK that require all operators taking bets from UK players to obtain UK licensing regardless of where they’re based.
Gaming regulators in the Canadian province of British Columbia are reviewing Paragon Gaming’s suitability and qualifications to develop a casino resort (l.) in downtown Vancouver. Paragon’s Edgewater Casino relocation and expansion project would cost about $535 million.
Plans for a signature floating hotel in Gold Coast could pose a threat to the local marine environment, says a community group opposed to plans to develop a massive mixed-use tourism and leisure complex in the popular Australian resort town. The group also accuses the Queensland government of violating due process in granting approval to the complex.
New South Wales and Crown Resorts have released censored details of a report on the licensing of the company’s luxury Crown Sydney casino. The report requires that Crown guarantee it has no ties to Macau gaming tycoon Stanley Ho (l.). It’s a concern for regulators, given Ho’s alleged links to organized crime, because Crown and Ho’s son Lawrence are partners in Macau.
An anonymous tip led a newspaper reporter in British Columbia, Canada to reveal the B.C. Lottery Corporation paid a woman $100,000, more than 100 times the maximum allowed, due to a software malfunction on a Konami "Dragon Fever" slot on January 20. More than 150 slots were found to be affected by the glitch and repaired.
Pala Interactive, the online gambling company started by the Pala Band of Mission Indians in California, is conducting beta testing for its online website in New Jersey. Jim Ryan (l.), the president of Pala Interactive, denies that the software is in any way related to problems in his past companies.
Online gaming company NYX Gaming has acquired the Ongame Network, an online poker platform supplier, from Amaya Gaming Group.
The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena (l.) have joined with the Morongo Band and the Commerce Club, Hawaiian Gardens Casino and Bicycle Casino in concert with Amaya Gaming, which owns PokerStars. Many other gaming tribes oppose the involvement of PokerStars, which ran afoul of the Justice Department several years ago when it allowed American residents to play poker for money online.
Betfair has teamed up with Atlantic City’s Golden Nugget casino—owned by Landry’s Inc.—to offer online gambling in New Jersey. It’s the third casino partner for the company.
GameAccount Network has signed an agreement with Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pennsylvania to launch its Simulated Gaming social casino.
Churchill Downs announced plans to acquire Big Fish Games, a Seattle-based company that provides online game content, for up to $885 million.
White Hat Gaming has received a UK gambling license for its online bingo network. White Hat Gaming’s bingo network currently comprises four sites.
An online slots player hit a $1.3 million jackpot playing slots online. It’s the largest slot jackpot hit in New Jersey this year for both online and brick-and-mortar casinos.
Ontario’s Finance Minister says the province is considering licensing online gambling sites and exploring ways to fight offshore online gambling sites that don’t comply.
Comtrade Gaming has a new game supplier deal with Blueprint Gaming. Comtrade Gaming’s operators will offer Blueprint Gaming’s mobile and flash games portfolio through Blueprint’s Remote Game Server.
Mobile gaming platform provider Nektan has signed a joint venture agreement with gaming content supplier Spin Games. Both companies plan to introduce mobile gaming technology to the land-based US casino market.
United Kingdom-based companies OpenBet and William Hill extended their partnership for another three years. Open Bet is the sports betting software mega-firm and William Hill is the U.K.'s largest betting site.
A federal judge issued a permanent injunction last week blocking New Jersey racetracks and casinos from starting privatized sports betting under a new state law. New Jersey’s lawyer, Ted Olson (l.), says there is no “affirmative” action by the state, which permits it. But the case will likely be heard in an appellate court before the state’s sports-betting plan is pronounced completely dead.
New York’s Gaming Facility Location Board will soon announce which of 16 casino teams (the Hard Rock Casino in Rensselaer at left) will win gaming licenses in the state. Some speculate that saturation of the market in the northeast could cause the board to grant fewer than the four licenses allowed by a 2013 referendum.
Despite the constant bad news coming from Atlantic City’s casino industry, Atlantic City Mayor Donald Guardian (l.) is pointing to a number of projects on the horizon they hope will continue to transition the resort away from casino dependency. Among them is the construction of a new seaport area, a city campus for Richard Stockton College, a conference center at Resorts, and more family-friendly attractions.
A group opposed to Ohio allowing slot machines at racetracks has asked for parents of school students and gambling addicts to be granted standing to sue the state over the issue. The Ohio Roundtable wants the right to take Governor John Kasich to court over the constitutionality of the state’s seven racinos.
Atlantic City’s casinos want to end their $30 million subsidy to the Atlantic City Alliance, the city’s marketing arm that has brought major concerts and events to the city along with a major advertising campaign. When the alliance was formed, the subsidy was split among 12 casinos, but four casinos have closed—and a fifth closing is imminent—making the Alliance too expensive they say.
Most Deadwood, South Dakota casinos are excited about offering roulette, craps and keno, following approval by a majority of voters on November 4. But some smaller casinos still have reservations about the financial investment. The games could be available July 1, 2015.
Michigan state regulators fined MGM Grand Detroit $350,000 for multiple violations. The largest fine, $150,000, was for failing to supervise an employee who allegedly embezzled nearly $700,000. Other fines were for using vendors that were not state-licensed suppliers and allowing a banned individual and minors to gamble.
Casino magnate Steve Wynn has nothing but praise for international investors planning to redevelop vacant lots on the Las Vegas Strip. Aussie James Packer of Crown Resorts and Malaysian KT Lim (l.) of the Genting Group plan to invest billions in Sin City.
Oaklawn Racing & Gaming in Hot Springs, Arkansas recently completed Phase 1 of its $20 million expansion project and launched a revamped website at www.oaklawn.com. The upgraded site offers easier navigation and more in-depth information about games, dining and events.
Ongoing differences of opinion about the definition of slot parlors in Nevada could be back on the agenda for state legislators in the new year. Also under discussion in 2015: the role of technology in gambling.
Historical racing machines would be allowed at Illinois racetracks under a bill proposed by state Rep. Dwight Kay. He said the machines would generate revenue that could help struggling racetracks. Kentucky and Arkansas allow the games.
The Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority may hire Minneapolis firm Convention Sports & Leisure to prepare a five-year plan for the resort community. Some businesspeople in the area have complained that there is no long-range plan to stoke tourism and development.
High visitation, higher room rates and strong occupancy has led to a surge in room-tax revenues in Las Vegas. That bonanza will add more than $27 million to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s budget.
The Nevada-based locals casino company has responded to sluggish growth in the sector by adding new restaurants at its properties. It will also renovate some hotel rooms. Station Casinos is taking the same approach, investing $55 million to add new restaurants.
The New York Racing Association’s board of directors is discussing reprivatizing operations. The long-term transformation will include the development of a fully sustainable, three-year business model, according to NYRA.
Sharkey’s Casino in Gardnerville, northern Nevada has closed after 43 years in business. The property may reopen with new ownership, according to reports. The casino will go up for auction in the first week of December.
Residents of Las Vegas who live near Caesars’ LINQ development are griping about excessive noise, traffic and trash from special events held in the outdoor parking lot. Some neighbors have complained about rattling windows and noise they have compared to bomb blasts.
The Maloof family, which owned the Sacramento Kings pro basketball team for 15 years, is reportedly part of a group trying to recruit a National Hockey League team to Las Vegas. The team’s home would be at a arena now under construction by MGM and AEG on the Vegas Strip.
The landmark Catfish Bend riverboat, currently vacant and docked in Fort Madison, Iowa, has been sold to a company that plans to open a restaurant in the former casino on the Mississippi or Louisiana Gulf Coast. Gary Hoyer, chief executive officer of Great River Entertainment, said the deal should close by mid-December.
Florida Governor Rick Scott (l.) almost succeeded in renegotiating the state's gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe, which gives the tribe exclusive rights to offer card games at its casinos and generated $237 million for the state in 2013-2014. But new legislative leaders say they don't want to rush into a new compact, which will expire May 1.
Connecticut, home of Foxwoods and the Mohegan Sun, could give birth to a third casino designed to help protect those two casinos from the predatory raids of casinos in nearby Massachusetts. Mohegan Chairman Kevin Brown suggests a facility close to the Massachusetts border.
Officials of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians said it's up to Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (l.) to start discussions about a gaming compact. So far the tribe has heard nothing. Bentley has said he's open to a compact to help solve the state's $200 million budget gap.
Months of wrangling between three factions of the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians near Fresno may be coming to an end. One of the factions has floated a proposal for a “caretaker” council that could run the tribe and operate the now-closed Chukchansi Gold Casino. The casino was closed by order of a federal judge in October.
The voters have spoken in California about their opposition to so-called “reservation shopping.” But that may mean next to nothing when it comes to whether the practice will continue in California—and elsewhere.
A decade ago, nearly 60 percent of Oklahoma voters approved State Question 712, which allowed Class III gaming compacts in the state. Since then Oklahoma's 34 gaming tribes have paid more than $895 in exclusivity fees, including the Choctaws, owners of an impressive casino in Durant (l.). The Cherokee Nation alone generates an annual economic impact of $1.3 billion for the state.
California’s Bay Area, probably one of the most fertile untapped grounds for Indian gaming, has become a battleground for several landless tribes wanting the rights to build a casino on Mare Island, an abandoned Navy shipyard (l.), now owned by the city of Vallejo.
Ron Crockett, longtime owner of Emerald Downs racetrack in Auburn, Washington, will sell the thoroughbred track to the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe. No price was given. The tribe has owned the land the track is on since 2002. Observers believe the tribe will apply for federal trust status to bring in slots and other games.
Wisconsin residents lately have been deluged with ads both for and against the proposed Menominee Tribe's proposed Kenosha casino. But Governor Scott Walker said the ads are a waste of money because "this is not a political decision." Walker has until February 19 to decide whether or not to allow the casino.
Fire Rock, the first Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise casino, located near Gallup, New Mexico, celebrated its sixth anniversary on November 19. The casino employs 330 people—98 percent Navajo tribal members--and provides valuable training for in hospitality, gaming and management for tribal members.
An arbitrator will determine if Sunday sales of high-point alcoholic beverages are allowed at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation's Grand Casino Hotel & Resort in Shawnee, Oklahoma. The state Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission has said the sales are illegal under Potawatomi County law.
Facing the prospect of new casino competition in New York and throughout the northeastern U.S., the Oneida Nation of Indians has announced plans to develop a luxury outlet center with about 60 stores at its Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.
California’s largest Indian casino, the $800 million Graton Resort and Casino, just celebrated its first anniversary. Its effects on the surrounding area has been mixed.
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana announced in 2015 their solely owned S&K Gaming will replace the Gray Wolf Peak Casino in Missoula with a $27.4 million casino and hotel in Evaro, creating 140 new jobs. S&K also will commence a $4.6 million renovation at KwaTaqNuk Resort in Polson.
Constantinos Antonopoulos has retired from his position as chief executive officer of Greek-owned gaming and lottery provider Intralot. Antonopoulos served 22 years in the role and will continue to serve as vice-chairman of the Intralot board of directors.
Felix Rappaport, formerly an executive at MGM Resorts International, has been named chief executive officer at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe. Rappaport joined Foxwoods in February as chief operating officer.
United Kingdom Gambling Commission Chief Executive Officer Jenny Williams will leave the post next year. She's held the position for 10 years, and her term will expire in September 2015. A search for Williams' replacement has begun, and she will play a central role in finding a successor.
Leon Thomas has been named vice president and general manager of regulated online gaming at Caesars Interactive Entertainment. Thomas will develop and execute CIE's real-money online gaming strategy, focusing on its growth in the U.S. market. In addition, he will oversee marketing, casino, poker and operational functions for CIE
Gaming Laboratories International has named Phil Harrison to the position of senior manager of regulator development, compliance and quality assurance for GLI Australia. Harrison will be based in Adelaide.
Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise Chief Executive Officer Derrick Watchman recently was named one of Arizona's top CEOs by Arizona Business magazine at its annual Most Influential Leaders event. Watchman is the first Navajo top executive at the gaming enterprise, which owns and operates Twin Arrows Casino in Flagstaff.
Gerry Nailon, a long-time casino industry veteran, and his wife Kathleen Innaurato, have opened the gaming and hospitality industry consulting firm PeopleChamps. Nailon has worked at casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Kansas City, Iowa and Connecticut. The company will offer executive recruitment, placement and other services, focusing on smaller, tribal operations.
Suzo-Happ has named Ronald Partridge as president of the company’s business units operating in North, Central and South America.
International Game Technology and American Vending Sales have renewed an exclusive distribution agreement under which AVS will sell IGT games in the Illinois VLT market.
Ainsworth Game Technology announced that it has shipped more than 400 slot machines to leading casinos in the Argentina market.
Foreign tourists tend to plan longer vacations. To bring more foreign tourists to Las Vegas, McCarran International Airport and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority are campaigning for more nonstop routes by foreign air carriers.
The iGaming Super Show, to be held once again in Amsterdam, June 23-26, will be sponsored at the platinum level by GAMING 1, an online full-service provider of high-performance online gaming platforms and games. More than 3,500 delegates are expected to attend the show, featuring 100-plus speakers and booths and eight conferences.
Small Nuggets of News
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