New York’s Big 3

It’s all over but the shouting in New York. Last Wednesday, the state’s casino siting panel recommended Class III casino licenses for three development teams. The choices, which surprised some, bypassed proposals from Genting, Mohegan Sun, Hard Rock and Caesars, with no casinos slated for Orange County, closer to New York City, and one license left unfilled. The rendering of the one Catskills casino, Empire Resorts’ Montreign, is above.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Bermuda OKs Casinos

Bermuda’s House and Senate voted last week to allow three casinos with hotels on the island, the first time that gaming has been allowed on this territory of the United Kingdom. One company has already submitted a proposal for the former Club Med (l.), but the ground rules have not yet been set.

Caesars To File for Bankruptcy

The main subsidiary of Caesars Entertainment will file for bankruptcy in mid-January, the company declared last week after several high-ranking Caesars Entertainment bondholders walked out on negotiations to restructure a large portion of the operator’s $25 billion in debt. It will be “business as usual,” according to CEO Gary Loveman (l.).

Trump Taj Mahal Stays Open But Its Problems Aren’t Solved

Billionaire Carl Icahn (l.) had reportedly reached a deal with Atlantic City’s biggest casino workers union that would save the resort’s bankrupt Trump Taj Mahal, but hours later the deal fell apart. Icahn, however, will reportedly keep the casino open regardless by pumping another $20 million into the property while negotiations continue.

Macau Sees Beijing’s Watchdogs Closing In

Chinese President Xi Jinping (l.) visited Macau last week, but he was expected to offer little relief to the city’s battered casino industry, which now finds itself the target of a stepped-up probe by mainland authorities into illicit capital flight. The market has suffered six straight months of declining revenues, and analysts expect December to be even worse.

Nazarian Will Not Run SLS

Sam Nazarian, who made a splash in Las Vegas with the opening of the SLS casino hotel earlier this year, will play no part in the resort’s operations. Nazarian ran afoul of Nevada gaming regulators when they learned he recently used drugs and was caught up in an extortion plot.

Barcelona’s Mega-Casino Complex in Doubt

The future of Barcelona’s $6 billion BCN World resort is looking shaky after its lead developer backed out of an option to purchase the land earmarked for the complex. The project, slated for six destination casinos, has attracted major operators such as Caesars Entertainment, Hard Rock and Melco, but financing it could prove difficult and critical government approvals are still lacking.


Is Japan Back?

An unexpectedly large victory for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (l.) in snap elections last week have revived the possibility that the country could approve casinos. The bill was tabled as Abe’s political fortunes wobbled last month.

Landing Expands Investment in S. Korea

Chinese property developer Landing International plans to buy a small casino, the Alpensia Casino (l.), near the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. The company likes the country’s gaming industry, a lot. This is its third investment in the market and its first outside the popular tourist island of Jeju.


Jury Still Out on New UK Rules

Great Britain’s top regulatory agency says the country’s new tax and licensing requirements will be the best thing for its massive online betting market. Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Priti Patel (l.) calls the system “fairer.” Many in the industry, on the other hand, are far less optimistic.

Cyprus Cabinet Fast Tracks Law Allowing for Casinos

Cyprus recently passed a law that allows for a sole operator to develop an integrated resort and up to four smaller venues. Each license will last 30 years, with exclusivity for 15 years. Under the law, each resort must hold at least 500 hotel rooms, 100 gaming tables, and 1,000 slots. The smaller venues are limited at holding only 50 slot machines apiece.


'Huge Mess' Awaits New Ontario Lottery CEO

The incoming Ontario Lottery and Gaming chief executive, Stephen Rigby (l.), faces the dual task of appeasing governmental critics while also trying to expand gaming and boost revenues. The Ontario governmental gaming operation is attempting to grow its online gambling efforts, but critics say the effort so far is a "mess."

Jamaican Licensing Fees for Casinos Established

Jamaica has recently established $150,000 as the magic number to apply for a casino license. Once approved, each applicant must also pony up a flat rate of $250,000, plus $50,000 per gaming table. Each year, the annual fee is $250,000, while each table requires a $1,000 fee. Every five years the license will be up for review, a law which was established by the Casino Gaming Act of 2010.

Crown To Keep a Closer Eye on Players

Australia’s Crown Resorts is bowing to pressure from its home state of Victoria to expand the monitoring of its customers to flag potential problem gamblers. The new measures being planned aren’t just aimed at social issues, criminal ones figure prominently too.


MGM Resorts, Perini Reach Settlement Over Construction Defect in Vegas

After 15 months of settlement talks, a deal has been reached between MGM Resorts and Perini Building Company. While more than $400 million in damage claims were sought, the final terms were confidential. The Harmon Tower was sole part of the $9 billion CityCenter never opened. After 26 floors, it was determined the materials used were not safe enough to support the remaining 22 floors.

Nightclub Wars: Hakkasan Buys Light Group

Hakkasan has extended its brand with a $36 million purchase last week, gobbling up the majority of the Light Group. The $36 million was enough for 90 percent of the company, which boasts over a dozen clubs and restaurants in Las Vegas, the vast majority being on the Strip, including 1OAK (l.) at the Mirage.

Long Island Gets Head Start on New York Casinos

Long before three commercial casino resorts open in upstate New York, new slot parlors will debut in Nassau and Suffolk counties. The gaming halls are being developed by two off-track betting corporations.

Atlantic City Casino Tax Plan Advances Then Stalls

A New Jersey Assembly panel approved a series of bills designed to stabilize casino taxes in Atlantic City. The move comes as a compromise was reached with Golden Nugget Atlantic City, which challenged the bills and threatened a lawsuit. A companion bill in the state Senate has also received committee approval. However, a final vote on the bills has been delayed due to stalled negotiations over the fate of the bankrupt Taj Mahal casino.

Texan's Golden Nugget Showing Big Profits Early

Hundreds of thousands of Texans each year take the trip over the Calcasieu River Bridge and fork out millions to gamble in Louisiana. Houston Billionaire Tilman Fertitta (l.) saw this opportunity to build on his Golden Nugget brand by opening a $700 million casino and hotel in Lake Charles. This is Fertitta's fifth casino since he took over the Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nevada Golden Nugget casino and hotel nine years ago.

Vegas Hits the Jackpot with 40 Million Visitors

For several years, Southern Nevada has been this-close to an impressive benchmark: 40 million annual visitors. In mid-December, just two weeks before the New Year, Las Vegas and environs finally made the magic number, and may record 41 million guests before the New Year.

New England FBI Blasts Casino Industry

Comments by the FBI agent in charge of most of New England saying that expanded gaming in Massachusetts may lead to more corruption has prompted criticism from the gaming industry as supporters of gaming in the Bay State. Meanwhile MGM Springfield moves forward.

Another Plea for Northern New Jersey Casinos

New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak, who is usually at the forefront of gaming issues in the Garden Sate, penned an editorial calling for expanding casinos outside of Atlantic City. Lesniak wants two new casino located in northern New Jersey.

Revel Auction Appeal Dismissed

A bankruptcy judge has dismissed an appeal by a Florida-based developer challenging the sale of Atlantic City’s Revel casino as moot since the winning bidder withdrew from the sale. Glen Straub, however, says he may ask the judge to reconsider since the auction forced him to raise his bid.

Las Vegas Council Votes 4-3 for MLS Stadium

The issue effectively split Las Vegas City Council, but a controversial soccer arena proposed for Symphony Park in the city’s Downtown has been approved. In a 4-3 vote last week, council members approved the latest deal, which includes more than $200 million from taxpayers.

South Dakota Officials Weigh Gaming Expansion

South Dakota might expand its table games option in July, while the state's Lottery Commission works to gain support for expanded video lottery services. State voters in November approved allowing tribal adding craps, Keno and roulette to current offerings in Deadwood and tribal casinos, but the Legislature must approve the gaming expansion before taking effect in July.

Atlantic City Has Disappointing Tax Lien Sale

Atlantic City was only able to draw bids for about half of the $53 million in casino tax liens it put up for auction. The city had hoped to close an about $70 million budget shortfall with the sale, but only received bids of about $25 million.


New Mexico Tribe Eliminates Debt in New Deal with Lenders

A restructuring deal five years in the making allows the Pueblo of Pojoaque to alleviate the burden of over $80 million of the $240 million total owed for the building of Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino north of Santa Fe. Pojoaque Pueblo Governor George Rivera (l.) says the deal “removes a cloud” over the pueblo.

Northern Arapaho Challenge Obamacare Provisions

The Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming says its Wind River Casino employees can't buy subsidized health insurance plans and filed a federal lawsuit to change that. If its tribal member employees can't buy subsidized health insurance plans, the tribe says many will go without health care and rely on the tribe's financially strained healthcare clinic.

Positive Signs for Tribal Casino in Kenosha

Wisconsin's Menominee Tribe likely will get the go-ahead to proceed with a proposed $800 million off-reservation casino in Kenosha that would be financed by the Florida Seminole Tribe through its Hard Rock operation. Governor Scott Walker says if the Menominee Tribe can't offset losses for the nearby Potawatomi tribal casino (l.) in Milwaukee, the state will do so.

Wyandotte Casino Expansion Celebrated with Grand Opening

A large, excited crowd was on hand as Wyandotte Casino showcased a $7 million expansion on December 4. The 25,000 square foot expansion, which features a club, VIP lounge, and entertainment venue is merely part one of a multi-phase $30 million project which will also expand the gaming floor by over 13,000 square feet, allowing an additional 300 machines to be added to the 500 machines currently occupying the floor.

Nebraska Tribe Makes Casino Employees Repay Bonuses

Nebraska’s Winnebago tribal council is making staffers of the WinnaVegas Casino Resort paid overtime and bonuses to return the money until it can be determined if the method of paying them was correct. The tribal treasurer has resigned over the issue.

Troubled California Casino to Redeem Tickets and Chips

California’s Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino will open its doors for one day to make good on the commitment to pay patrons who left the casino November 9 still owed for chips and slot tickets. The casino remains closed on the order of the National Indian Gaming Commission and a federal judge.

Shoshone Rose Casino Hotel, Expansion Underway

Wyoming's Eastern Shoshone Tribe is adding a 65-room hotel with conference rooms and a restaurant as well as table games and hundreds of slot machines to its Shoshone Rose Casino near Lander, Wyoming. The $25 million, year-long project is scheduled to be done in early 2016 and will create 130 permanent jobs.

Tulalip Tribes Accuse Washington State of Violating Compact

Tulalip Tribes earlier this month appealed a federal court ruling that allows Washington State to give more favorable terms to another tribe seeking to expand its lottery gaming terminals. The Tulalip argue a gaming compact with the state requires it to receive the same terms as other tribes but say the state is allowing another tribe to obtain lottery terminals in a manner not available to the Tulalip.

Washington Stillaguamish Tribe Finishes Hotel Project

The Stillaguamish Tribe is opening a new hotel at its Angel of the Winds casino in Arlington, Washington, in hopes of boosting visitation among visitors from Seattle and Canada. The casino thus far has relied on day visitors, but the ability for overnight stays and to host small business meetings and private events should boost business and revenues, tribal officials say.

Foxwoods Seeks to Extend Hours For Alcohol

Foxwoods Resort Casino sees nothing but good business sense in extending the hours of alcohol sales, but its CEO Felix Rappaport says it will leave that decision up to the council of the Mashantucket Pequot tribe.


McBeath New Cosmopolitan CEO

The Cosmopolitan casino resort in Las Vegas has named William McBeath as its new president and CEO. McBeath will take the reins after the property’s $1.73 billion sale to Blackstone Group is complete, according to reports.

Haddrill Appointed Sci Games Vice Chairman

Scientific Games Corporation officially appointed former Bally Technologies CEO Richard Haddrill as executive vice chairman of the board, and elected Judge Gabrielle McDonald as a director. Haddrill previously had been CEO of Bally Technologies prior to the purchase by Sci Games.

Optimal Payments Names CFO

Brian McArthur-Muscroft has been named chief financial officer of Optimal Payments, to replace CFO Keith Butcher, who is resigning after four and a half years.


AGA Releases Regulatory, Policy Resource

As part of the AGA’s aggressive “Get to Know Gaming” campaign, the organization has released a resource for comparing commercial gaming regulations. CEO Geoff Freeman (l.) says it paves the way for “forward-thinking policy.”

UNLV Eyes Center on Gaming Regulation

UNLV has high hopes to be the global leader for education in gaming regulation. The collaborative effort from the university's law school and hotel college plans to be up and running by fall of 2015. While UNLV sporadically offers short-term courses on related subject matter, this new facility will provide consistent education on the complex world of gaming regulation to industry professionals.

Bus, Gaming Groups Team up to Push for More Safety

The American Bus Association and American Gaming Association want to promote safer bus rides for people riding coach lines to casinos. They have announced a campaign to encourage higher safety standards so that riding to a casino will be less of a gamble.

Illinois to Northstar: ‘You’re Fired’

The Illinois state lottery has cut ties with Northstar Lottery, a partnership of GTECH and Scientific Games, due to lower-than-projected revenues. Northstar has run the show since 2011, and will stay on until a new management company is installed.

IGT Launches Scholarship Program

IGT is seeking applicants for the first Jerome “Jerry” Young Public Gaming Scholarship Awards, named for the company’s former head of lottery products.

Baha Mar Selects CG Technology

CG Technology will provide sports-betting technology including a complete mobile sports wagering platform to the new Baha Mar Resort.

NetEnt Debuts ‘Invisible Man’ Slots

NetEnt has released the classic Universal Pictures film “The Invisible Man” as a branded slot machine. The slot machine is based on the 1933 film starring Claude Rains as a doctor whose serum renders him both invisible and deadly.


GTECH Releases ICE Product Lineup

GTECH will display end-to-end gaming solutions at ICE Totally Gaming, covering land-based, interactive, sports betting and lottery divisions.

Suzo-Happ to Celebrate 60th at ICE

Suzo-Happ will celebrate the 60th anniversary at the ICE Totally Gaming trade show in February, including products of the recently acquired Comestero Group.

TCSJohnHuxley Reveals ICE Lineup

TCSJohnHuxley has revealed an extensive range of products that will be on display at its stand at February’s ICE Totally Gaming trade show.

Konami Plans New Launches at ICE

Konami Gaming will feature new game titles and a demo of the Synkros casino management system at February’s ICE Totally Gaming show.

Aristocrat Unveils ICE Lineup

Aristocrat Technologies will include more than 60 new games for the EMEA market in its display at February’s ICE Totally Gaming trade show.

CPI to Launch Recycler at ICE

The new MEI SCR note recycler is among the industry’s largest portfolio of payment systems and equipment to be displayed at ICE by Crane Payment Innovations.

ECGC Slated for May 27-28

The 2015 edition of the East Coast Gaming Congress & iGaming Institute will be staged at Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa May 27-28.




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