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A new online poker bill was introduced last week in California by a legislator who had never before been involved with the issue. The bill crafted by California Assemblyman Mike Gatto (l.) is similar to one introduced last year, but still has some of the elements that caused last year’s bill to fail. But it’s just the start for the new legislative session.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: China Says Kick the Gambling Habit

A top Chinese official says Macau is too reliant on the casino industry and must do a better job at diversifying its economy for the benefit of the “whole nation.” The blunt reminder comes as a new gaming chief for the city, Secretary of Economy and Finance Lionel Leong (l.), takes office and the possibility of a gaming-driven recession looms larger.

AGA Sets Anti-Money Laundering Best Practices

After more than a year of extensive work, the gaming industry developed the first-of-its-kind, forward-looking guidelines, reaffirming commitment to culture of compliance and dedication to anti-money laundering efforts. American Gaming Association CEO Geoff Freeman (l.) called the guidelines a “milestone.”

Lee Prevails in Full House Proxy Fight

Former Pinnacle Entertainment CEO Dan Lee is the winner in a brief but contentious battle for control of Full House Resorts of Las Vegas. On December 1, Lee was named the new chief executive of the regional casino operator.

Walker, Potawatomi Sign Compact Amendment

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (l.) and the Forest County Potawatomi signed a compact amendment requiring the state to cover losses at the tribe's Milwaukee casino caused by the proposed Menominee Hard Rock casino in Kenosha, which Walker has yet to approve. But the governor may not have the authority to approve state spending obligations and the deal may be unconstitutional.

City of Dreams Manila Opens This Week

The second of Manila’s four new megaresorts is staging a soft opening for December 14. The $1.3 billion City of Dreams Manila, developed by Macau casino giant Melco Crown Entertainment, will hold a more elaborate formal opening in February to coincide with Chinese New Year, Melco co-Chairman Lawrence Ho said.

Santa Ysabel Tribe Blasts California Lawsuit

A California tribe attempting to offer Class II gaming online is vigorously defending itself with a publicity blast against the state of California for challenging its online bingo casino. The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel argues that the state is attempting the sovereignty of all tribes with its lawsuit to shut down the website.

Queensland Hits Back at Fung, Aquis

Hong Kong billionaire Tony Fung says Queensland regulators have jeopardized his $8 billion Barrier Reef casino plans by delaying approval of his purchase of a small casino in Cairns near the site of the proposed resort. Premier Campbell Newman (l.) has fired back, saying he won’t be intimidated and blaming Fung for failing to cooperate with its probity checks.


Ho Tram Launching VIP Phone Betting

The Grand – Ho Tram, Vietnam’s only full-scale resort casino, has struggled since opening on the South China Sea coast last July, but plans to raise its high-roller profile by offering live phone betting to select players beginning this month. Proxy betting, as it’s known, a popular alternative in a number of Asian markets, is conducted via a live video feed.

China Probes Sports Lottery Spending

China’s popular Sport Lottery is being swept up in the central government’s wide-ranging anti-corruption campaign. Government auditors are fanning out into 18 provinces to track billions in lottery proceeds amid allegations that funds are being misappropriated.

Silver Heritage Tapped for Nepal Casino

Hong Kong’s Silver Heritage has received government approval to run the Shangri-La (l.) casino in Kathmandu, Nepal, as part of a planned $100 million in phased investments in five-star facilities across Nepal.

Analysts Bearish on Genting Singapore

Analysts are bearish about Genting Singapore’s prospects after a stock performance that was second worst according to the city-state’s benchmark measurement.

Melco Acquires Entertainment Gaming Asia

Melco International Development Ltd. has acquired 26 million new shares of Entertainment Gaming Asia, Inc., which operates slots and supplies chips and plaques to Asian casinos. EGT operates the DreamWorld Club (l.) in Cambodia.

Guam Official Asks for Casino Audit

Guam Vice-Speaker B.J. Cruz is asking why the Tiyan Casino, which was supposed to have been open for business only during the annual Liberation Festival, is still operational months later. Cruz says various nonprofits are profiting from the games with little to no regulatory oversight.


Cyprus Casino Attracts Attention

Caesars Entertainment was named by local media reports in the Greek-controlled southern half of Cyprus as one of several American and Asian casino operators exploring a Cyprus casino.

UK Critics Blast Industry Report on FOBTs

Britain’s controversial betting shop e-tables are back in the spotlight following a report funded by the bookmaking industry that argues against calls for a dramatic reduction in maximum bets on the games. Critics say the machines are social poison and have led to a proliferation of betting shops nationwide.

UK Gaming Revenue Ticks Up

Gaming revenues are up 6 percent in the United Kingdom, just as offshore web casinos operators who do business with UK residents are being forced to pay taxes by the UK.


Mexico OKs New Gaming Regs

Mexico’s two political parties have agreed to an overhaul of the country’s online gaming legislation. The Party of the Democratic Revolution and the National Action Party have also approved new laws for land-based gaming. Commission head Alejandro Moreno Cárdenas (l.) claims the new laws will be “transparent.”

Casino Legislation Introduced In Bermuda

Casinos could be allowed in Bermuda for the first time under the Casino Gaming Act, recently introduced in the House of Assembly by Minister of Tourism Shawn Crockwell (l.). The legislation would allow three casinos to operate at one time, grant licenses for five years and establish a gaming commission.

Bahamas Requires Licensing for Web Casinos

The island nation of Bahamas could see the great majority of its “web shops,” close as a result of a new law requiring that the small business comply with new regulations, including paying taxes.

Packer, DeNiro Partners in Island Resort

James Packer, owner of Crown Resorts and Hollywood actor Robert DeNiro could sink some of their respective fortunes into a resort on the island of Antigua. Plans for the $205 million resort were released last month by Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne (l.).

Crown Perth Wins VIP Tax Break

The government of Western Australia is backing Crown Perth’s attempts to win back Asian high rollers lost to Singapore and other overseas competitors by cutting the casino’s tax on VIP win. Perth is battling to recoup more than A$3 billion in lost VIP spend since Singapore’s resort casinos opened four years ago.

Gaming Drops Off in New Zealand

According to a new survey from Auckland University of Technology, fewer New Zealanders are gambling as a pastime. There has been a substantial drop in the number of people who play once a week or more, reports lead researcher Professor Max Abbott.


Betfair Ends New Jersey Online Poker

Betfair has announced that it is pulling its online poker platform from New Jersey, instead opting to focus on slots and table games. The company has been making a steady profit off slots and table game play.

Fraternal Order of Police Oppose Online Gambling Ban

The Fraternal Order of Police has come out again against a proposed federal ban on online gambling in a letter sent to Congress. The organization says such a ban would simply drive online gambling further underground and increasing the chance of money laundering and other crimes.

Online Lotteries Breaking Ground

While online gambling in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware has been the focus of attention in the U.S. online gambling industry, online lotteries have been spreading much more quickly and could ultimately be the breakthrough the industry needs. A report in Bluff Magazine predicts that as many as 12 states could have online lottery sales by the end of 2015.

Netherlands Establishing Online Gambling Market

In preparation for launching online gambling, the Netherlands Gaming Authority and the Maltese Lotteries and Gaming Authority signed an agreement to cooperate on gambling issues, since numerous betting operators are Malta-based. Dutch legislators have pushed back approval of the Remote Gaming Bill by at least one year, to January 1, 2016.

Mobile Gambling Beginning To Boom

Juniper Research predicts by 2018, more than 164 million people will use their smartphones or tablets to gamble every day. Previously Juniper predicted mobile gambling revenue would hit $100 billion by 2017. The only thing stopping a mobile casino gambling boom in North America is restrictive legislation.

Microgaming Launches ‘Game of Thrones’

Microgaming has launched an online video slot based on the popular HBO series and fantasy book series Game of Thrones, available on leading Microgaming-powered iGaming sites.

Boylesports Moving to Gibraltar

Ireland’s largest independent bookmaker, Boylesports, will relocate its remote operations from the Emerald Isle to Gibraltar. The company currently offers betting sites with German, Spanish and Swedish language capabilities. Gibraltar is said to be more “online operator-friendly.”

Bitcoin Casino Operators Need Gambling Licenses Spain Says

Bitcoin casino operators in Spain need to obtain licensing as an online casino and should be treated as any real-money site, according to Spanish regulators. Since virtual currencies can be exchanged for real currency, it must be regulated as real money, the country’s State Secretary of Treasury said.

Bulgaria, Latvia Add to Online Gambling Blacklists

Latvia has expanded it blacklist of online gambling sites unlicensed in the country to 336 operators. Meanwhile, Bulgaria expanded its blacklist to 323 domains. Polish officials have also announced they will crack down on online players using illegal sites.

William Hill Suspends Netherlands Play

William Hill has blocked itself in the Dutch market citing regulatory reasons. The UK-based operator has instructed partners and affiliates it will no longer take bets from the Netherlands. The move is seen as a precursor to the company seeking a Dutch online gaming license.

76ers Partner with DraftKings

The Philadelphia 76ers have signed a marketing agreement with DraftKings Inc., a major competitor to the National Basketball Association’s official one-day fantasy sports partner, FanDuel Inc.


Casinos Cry Foul Over Iowa Legislation

Iowa casino operators are furious over state Senator Wally Horn and Dan Zumbach's gaming reform legislation allowing the state's first smoke-free casino in Cedar Rapids, among other provisions. Casino officials see the move as an end-run around the Iowa Gaming and Racing Commission, which grants licenses and earlier this year rejected one for Cedar Rapids, where Mayor Ron Corbett (l.) has supported this legislation.

Analysts: Second Philly Casino Bad Move

Several analysts are calling the Pennsylvania gaming board’s decision to grant a second Philadelphia casino license a move that will harm other regional casinos. Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Andrew Zarnett (l.) calls it a “significant negative” to existing operators.

Springfield, Everett Casino Projects Move Forward in Massachusetts

The MGM Resorts casino in Springfield, and the Wynn Everett resort along the Mystic River are moving forward now that the initiative challenging the state’s gaming expansion has been defeated. However, an alleged investigation by the federal government hangs over the Wynn proposal, which jilted suitor, Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo (l.), wants probed.

Plan to Stabilize Atlantic City Casino Taxes Offered

Legislation designed to stabilize taxes for Atlantic City casinos has been proposed by two state lawmakers. The plan is intended to shore up the city’s finances, which have been hurt by numerous casino tax appeals and lost ratables. The plan would tie casino tax payments to gambling revenue.

Fertitta's Lake Charles Casino Opens Soon

Tilman Fertitta's $700 million Golden Nugget Lake Charles in Louisiana is near completion. Fertitta expects to attract players from Houston, just a two-hour drive away, with Las Vegas-style amenities including 1,600 state-of-the-art slots, 70 table games, luxury suites, retail, bars, golf, a private beach and giant buffet and more.

Dotty’s in the Crosshairs (Again)

The popular chain of Nevada slot taverns must once again change its business model to conform with revised regulations. Clark County commissioners voted 6-1 last week to compel Dotty’s to operate full kitchens and embed slot machines into bar tops.

Waiting Game in New York

New York’s casino siting panel is due to announce up to four new licensees this month. Even after the winners are chosen, they’ll face many more hurdles before shovels get in the ground. Gaming commissioners must sign off on the choices, and legal challenges are almost certain.

Cosmo Buyer Recommended for License

Blackstone Real Estate Partners, which wants to buy the Cosmopolitan in Vegas, is one step closer to owning the property, which opened in 2010 and has never turned an annual profit. Nevada’s Gaming Control Board says the firm should get a gaming license.

Atlantic City’s Trump Taj Mahal Closes Hotel Tower

Trump Entertainment Resorts is closing its newest hotel tower (r.) at Atlantic City’s Taj Mahal casino and is no longer issuing credit. The company also announced it was pushing back its closing date to December 20 to give more time for negotiations with the culinary union that would keep the property open.

Legislator Introduces Texas Gaming Bill

Texas state Rep. Carol Alvarado (l.) has introduced HJR47 which would extend state horseracing laws which protecting the interests of the Kickapoo Nation, which operates the state's only tribal casino, the Lucky Eagle. The previous five efforts to bring casino gambling to Texas were unsuccessful, despite promises of revenues and jobs.

Baccarat’s Big Vegas Drop

Baccarat revenues on the Las Vegas Strip plunged 36 percent to $97 million in October as high rollers from China beat a hasty retreat. The decline, which led to an overall drop in gaming revenues, mirrored losses in Macau, where the government has cracked down on corruption.

Rotate Black Revives Gulfport Casino Plan

Rotate Black seemingly wants to try again to make its $130 million Hemingway Resort and Casino in Gulfport, Mississippi a reality. The company filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission, indicating it will update its development plan and review financing options. Previously Rotate Black missed Mississippi Gaming Commission deadlines for developing the casino.

Video Gambling Concerns Towns, Casinos

Although video gambling terminals have raised more than $210 million in tax revenue for the state and $42 million for local governments, officials are concerned that the terminals are showing up in unintended locations. City governments are trying to curb the games' growth, while casino officials are alarmed they're losing customers to the games.

Oklahoma Challenged Over Welfare Spending

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services is working to enforce a 2013 law blocking welfare recipients from spending funds at casinos, strip clubs, liquor and tobacco stores. The DHS depends on an honor system in these establishments and tries to educate recipients about penalties for using welfare funds unlawfully.


Navajo Nation Buys Land Near Casino

The Navajo Nation will purchase for $980,000 about 67 acres located less than one mile east from its Northern Edge Navajo Casino near Farmington, New Mexico. President Ben Shelly said the tribe's trust fund will pay for the land, which will be used for commercial development.

Supreme Court Upholds California Tribe’s Compact

The U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal of a challenge to the legal status of the gaming compact of the Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California. This moves the tribe one step closer to being able to open a casino resort in Amador County.

Montana Tribes Announce Gaming Expansion

A $27.4 million expansion project will begin next year at a new facility that will replace the Gray Wolf Peak Casino (l.) in Evaro, Montana, owned by the Confederated Salish and Kootanai Tribes' S&K Gaming. The new 40,000 square foot facility will offer an expanded gaming floor, 70-room hotel, spa, RV park and an outlet shopping center.

MGM, Legislators Against Tribe’s Recognition

The Pamunkeys want to be Virginia's first federally recognized tribe—not to open a casino, but to protect fishing rights. But a now-repealed tribal law banning intermarriage with blacks has the Congressional Black Caucus fighting against Pamunkey recognition. Not surprisingly, MGM National Harbor, just 120 miles away from the Pamunkey reservation, also wants to deny tribal recognition.

Pulltab Revenue, Gambling Commission Staff Decreasing

Pulltabs, the game of choice a decade ago in Washington, today make up only 2 percent of gambling operators' net income. The state gaming commission has shrunk too, by more than 20 percent, and recently announced more layoffs. Meanwhile receipts at tribal casinos has risen more than 400 percent since opening in 1996.

Foxwoods Seeks Alcohol Service Exemption

Officials at the Mashantucket Pequot's Foxwoods Resort Casino want Governor Dannel Malloy to allow it to serve alcohol beverages beyond the state time limits, to better compete with casinos in Atlantic City and New York. But that's just one issue facing Foxwoods, which is $1.7 billion in debt and recently missed another payment.


Burak to Head SAGSE Organizer

SAGSE organizer Monografie has promoted Alan Burak from business manager to general manager of the trade show producer.

Playtech Appoints New Deputy Chairwoman

U.K.-based Playtech has named Hilary Stewart-Jones as its new deputy chairwoman. The appointment is effective immediately. She previously served as a non-executive director of the company and was first appointed to the Playtech board in October 2013.

UK bookmaker Ladbrokes CEO to Retire

Richard Glynn, who has run Ladbrokes, the UK bookmaking firm since 2010, has announced his retirement when his five-year contract ends in April.


GTECH/IGT Merger Makes Progress

GTECH has announced the period in which GTECH shareholders can sell back their holdings in advance of the company’s acquisition of IGT.

Konami Partners With Drexel

Konami Gaming has donated three slot machines to Drexel University for placement in the university’s new Dennis Gomes Memorial Casino Training Lab.

GLI Relocates, Expands Colorado Lab

Gaming Laboratories International has relocated its Colorado laboratory to a larger facility because of increased demand for testing and related services.




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