Final Words on Philly

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board held final suitability hearings on five applicants for the second Philadelphia casino license, and heard testimony from the city’s current casino. SugarHouse owner Neil Bluhm (l.) testified that a second casino would devastate an already saturated market.

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Media reports that Caesars Entertainment is preparing an offer for Atlantic City’s troubled Revel casino hotel comes just weeks after reports that Hard Rock International was considering a bid. Caesars recently bought the Atlantic Club casino in Atlantic City and closed it down to remove gaming capacity from the market.

Foxwoods Back in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has begun the final review process of the proposals to build casinos in the state. But another player, Foxwoods, is preparing to file an application in the Southeastern gaming zone, where the deadline is later, but the Mashpee tribe has the edge. At left, Fall River Mayor William Flanagan (r.) and Foxwoods CEO Scott Butera made the announcement.

Businesses Line Up Behind Casinos in Japan

Japanese business leaders, including Takeshi Niinami (l.), head of the convenience store chain Lawson, are spearheading the formation of a group to advocate for casinos and influence the shape of the legislation that will guide their licensing and regulation. An array of stakeholders, from corporations to local governments to academics, are being invited to join.

Attorneys General Back Adelson’s Online Gambling Fight

Sheldon Adelson’s fight to make online gambling illegal in the U.S. has been endorsed by at least 10 state attorneys general that have signed a letter to Congress asking for a ban. The Las Vegas Sands CEO presented the letter last year to the Republican Attorneys General Association.

State Supreme Court Hears Catawba Arguments

Attorney William Wilkins, representing the Catawba Indian Nation, recently argued before the South Carolina Supreme Court that the state's Gambling Cruise Act allows the tribe to offer video gambling. Assistant Deputy Attorney General C. Havird Jones said the crucial phrase, "to the same extent," means "authorized by the state legislature." Catawba Chief Bill Harris (l.) thinks the court will be sympathetic.

Miodunski Leaving AGS; Lopez Named CEO

Bob Miodunski (l.) will retire as president and CEO of American Gaming Systems, and David Lopez, former president and CEO of Global Cash Access, will succeed him.

Vegas Wrangles Rodeo

Yee ha! After weeks of negotiations and number crunching, officials with the National Finals Rodeo have chosen to renew the event’s contract with Las Vegas. The NFR had originally proposed to move to Florida for the next 10 years.

Bermudians Demand Casino Referendum

The Bermuda government once planned a public vote on casinos, then opted for a legislative decision. Now thousands of Bermudians are demanding their right to be heard, and opposition leader Marc Bean (l.) is trying to help.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: Sickening Slump

After 2013’s stellar performance, casino stocks have taken a big hit to start the new year. Regional casinos are off the most, but the slump has impacted all segments of the business.


Hainan ‘Casino’ Shut Down—Again

Illegal gambling is reported to be rife in the popular South China resort of Sanya on Hainan island and authorities are cracking down. More than 16 people have been arrested at the Mangrove Tree Resort World hotel (l.), including individuals connected with a hotel bar that offered casino-style table games that paid players in points redeemable for non-cash prizes.

Crown Still Waiting for Sri Lanka Casino OK

Sri Lanka’s government has finally approved Crown Resorts’ controversial $400 million casino hotel in the capital of Colombo—but without the casino. The Australian gaming giant says it is in negotiations with officials to make the all-important gaming portion of the project a reality.

Nobu Joins Melco in Manila

Robert DeNiro’s tony Nobu hospitality chain will make its Asian debut at Melco Crown’s City of Dreams Manila (DeNiro and Chef Nobu at left). The 321-room hotel will be one of three luxury room products the $1.3 billion resort will offer when it opens later this year.

Galaxy’s Founder Eyes Global Expansion

Hong Kong billionaire Lui Che Woo (l.) didn’t become Asia’s second-richest person by standing pat. The 84-year-old founder and chairman of Galaxy Entertainment Group is determined to take the company far beyond its home base of Macau.

Investors Riding a Rollercoaster in Macau

Has all the current upside of Macau’s red-hot casino market been priced into the shares of its six operators? JP Morgan’s Kenneth Fong thinks so, and his view sent their stocks tumbling earlier this month.

China Lottery Sales Hit $50 Billion

New games and new outlets helped generate an 18 percent surge in sales last year for China’s two legal lotteries. Combined revenues topped $50 billion.

Macau Dealers Strike for Bigger Bonuses

A two-day job action by dealers at Macau’s Grand Emperor casino was enough to win them an annual bonus twice as big as what management originally offered. The victory highlights one of the impacts of a labor shortage in the territory that threatens to grow more acute over the next few years.


Hill CEO Backs Curbs on High Street Bookies

With electronic table games spreading like mushrooms across British towns and cities, William Hill CEO Ralph Topping (l.) sees the political writing on the wall. The head of the bookmaking giant is now advocating new rules to allow local governments to limit the number of betting shops in their jurisdictions.

Russia’s War on Illegal Gambling

Authorities in Russia have shut down tens of thousands of unlicensed gambling operations since a law went into effect four years ago banning the industry from the country’s major population centers. The crackdown has resulted in more than $17 million in fines and the seizure of more than 700,000 pieces of gaming equipment.

Dutch Court Says Poker a Game of Skill

Poker players and tournament organizers have won a major victory in the Netherlands with a ruling from a court in Amsterdam declaring the game to be a contest of skill. The ruling, while not definitive, puts poker, at least for the time being, outside the jurisdiction of Dutch gambling law.


Web Casino Built In to Belize Resort Plan

Developers in Belize are building a resort casino specifically designed to take advantage of the global internet gambling boom. The online portion, equipped with smartphone capabilities, is slated to go live by the start of summer.


Antigua Goes After U.S. Copyrights in Online Gaming Battle with U.S.

Antigua Governor General Louise Lake-Tack (l.) said the country will remove copyright protections for U.S. intellectual property as per WTO sanctions against the U.S. Antigua continues to battle over internet gaming laws in the U.S. which criminalized Antigua sites accepting U.S. bets.

Massachusetts Lottery Wants to Explore Online Gaming

Massachusetts Lottery officials have asked for legislation that would allow the lottery to experiment with online gaming technology. Officials say they don’t want to accept real-money bets, but want to be ready should the state ever pass an online gaming bill.

Merge Gaming Exits New Jersey and Delaware

Merge Gaming, one of the few online poker sites still available to U.S. players, has exited New Jersey and Delaware after those states legalized their own internet gambling sites. Merge does not have a license to operate in those states. Players on Merge, however, received no advance warning and were simply shout out of their accounts for “security reasons.”

Coinbet Bets on Bitcoin in U.S.

Coinbet has launched a U.S. online gambling site which processes the virtual currency Bitcoins rather than U.S. currency. Company officials feel this gets around U.S. laws banning interstate online gambling.

Prepaid Slot Cards Plan Raises Concerns

A plan by a Las Vegas company to change Nevada gaming regulations to allow prepaid cards at slot machines has raised concerns among advocates for problem gamblers. Many fear the plan would break down barriers between slot machines and direct access to gamblers bank accounts and credit cards.

Iowa Officials Talk Online Poker

While Iowa has no immediate plans to authorize online poker in the state, Iowa Lottery officials say they are monitoring online gambling in other states to see if the state should make the move.

Nevada Committee Looks to Combat Offshore Online Gambling Sites

A Nevada legislative committee is studying what the state can do to protect its fledgling online gaming sites from offshore competition. The committee is also studying the changing effects new technologies such as social gaming is having on the industry.

PokerStars, Betfair Vying for Bulgarian Online License

With Bulgaria changing the way it would tax online gambling sites, a slew of operators—including PokerStars and Betfair—are trying to get into the country’s regulated market. The country is preparing for a dramatic expansion of online gaming.

Online Gaming Proposed in South Africa

A bill to legalize casino gambling on the internet has been introduced in South Africa. If approved, provincial licenses will be made available, but the process could take as long as 18 months.

Playtech Launches Tablet Interface

Playtech has launched a tablet offering with Gala Interactive based on Playtech’s Mobile Hub technology, allowing fully branded versions of operators’ mobile offerings.


N.H. Senate Committee Backs Casinos

The New Hampshire Senate’s Ways and Means Committee has approved of a bill that would authorize two casinos in the Granite State, sponsored by state Senator Lou D’Allesandro (l.).

Maine Legislature Mulls More Casinos

The Maine legislature appears likely to take up the issue of expanding gaming in the state. The two existing casinos Oxford Casino (l.) and Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway, are not amused.

Casino Developers in Massachusetts Sue To Stop Ballot Measure

Casino developers hoping to build in Massachusetts have joined forces to sue to prevent an initiative that would repeal the gaming expansion from making it to the ballot in November. Attorney General Martha Coakley (l.) initially ruled the measure unconstitutional.

New York Casino Bidders Get Busy

From Albany to Binghamton to Saratoga and the Catskill Mountains, would-be casino operators are getting ready to make their bids on four Class III licenses that will be awarded this year.

Illinois Gaming Hearing Gets an Earful

A town hall meeting set up by pro-gaming Rep. Robert Rita (l.) last week demonstrated the rift that still exists between those favoring gaming expansion in the state and those how are opposed. Current casino execs complained about the video poker machines in bars and restaurants, saying those games account for as many as 10 new casinos.

A New Deal for Caesars, Culinary

Employees of Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas were nearly unanimous in their approval of a five-year contract negotiated by the powerful Culinary Union. Raises will kick in next year.

Sweeping Changes in Florida Unlikely In Election Year

Florida Senate Gaming Committee Chairman Garrett Richter said although legislators are drafting expanded gambling bills, the political realities of an election year mean a modest loophole-tightening measure is most likely to get passed this year. Governor Rick Scott (l.) has been noticeably noncommittal on the issue.

Atlantic City Lagging Behind Christie Plan

More than half way through a five-year push to revitalize Atlantic City outlined by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the resort has seen little growth in two major areas—convention business and increased airport traffic. An analysis by the Press of Atlantic City shows that both remain a key factor if the city is going to reverse its declining fortunes.

Iowa Judge Hears Sioux City Arguments

Penn National Gaming recently told Polk County, Iowa District Court Judge Eliza Ovrom that Hard Rock Sioux City developers SCE Partners knew the risks involved in proceeding with their downtown casino. SCE Partners said Penn National is just angry that the gaming commission gave them the county gaming license.

Insurance Company Offers Millions for Harmon

FM Global, which covered construction at CityCenter in Las Vegas, is offering $55 million to cover losses in the Harmon Hotel case. The hotel cannot open due to structural deficiencies.

Atlantic City Changes Promotion Strategy

Initially, Atlantic City had to rebrand itself through its “Do AC” marketing push. For 2014, however, the Atlantic Alliance—the city’s marketing arm—and President Liza Cartmell (l.) wants to tell people exactly what there is to do in the resort including an emphasis on the city’s growing nightlife options.

Kansas Introduces Problem-Gambling Campaign

A new $380,000 multimedia campaign will help raise awareness of problem gambling and help gambling addicts get treatment in Kansas. Funded by dedicated tax revenue from the two state-owned casinos, the program will use billboards, radio spots, print and digital ads, a website and television public service announcements.

Hollywood Casino Completes $62 Million Revamp

After purchasing Harrah's Casino in Maryland Heights, Missouri for $610 million from Caesars Entertainment in November 2012, Penn National renamed it Hollywood Casino and invested $62 million in renovations. Today the 120,000 square foot casino offers 2,100 slots and video poker games, 70 table games, and several new dining options.

Job Fair at Horseshoe Baltimore

The Caesars Entertainment casino, now under construction in Baltimore, Maryland, will bring 1,700 new permanent jobs to the city. The Horseshoe will open later this year.

South Dakota Voters Could Approve Casino Games

If the South Dakota legislature approves, this November voters statewide could pass a constitutional amendment allowing Deadwood casinos to offer roulette, keno and craps. Supporters said the games are needed so Deadwood can compete with casinos in Colorado and Iowa.

Cuomo Budget Bans Welfare Bucks at Casinos

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget includes a measure that would prohibit welfare recipients from using benefits at casinos and strip clubs. The rule is tied to federal funds.

Coastal Casinos Revenue Lowest In 14 Years

Although Mississippi's Gulf Coast casinos brought in more than $1 billion in 2013, revenue dropped by $30 million compared to 2012—the worst performance since 1999. The situation was even worse among northern Mississippi casinos, which ended 2013 with a loss of $84 million.

Winn Hoping to Storm New York

No, not that Wynn. This is Luther Winn, of the Alabama gaming company Greenetrack. The pal of Al Sharpton has launched a campaign to win a casino license in New York State.

Reno On the Way Back

Last year, the Reno-Tahoe area in Nevada enjoyed its best year for tourism since 2008.

Racino, Commission Battle of Number of Stalls

Penn National Gaming Inc., building a racino in Ohio, claims that it won’t build the number of horse stalls for the facility required by the Ohio State Racing Commission without an agreement with the state’s horsemen. The commission insists that it won’t be allowed to open without the 988 stalls that it requires.

Feds Investigate Oklahoma Man's Illegal Slots

An affidavit states Adlai S. Brinkley of El Reno, Oklahoma placed numerous illegal electronic gambling machines in bars, lodges and veterans' posts throughout Oklahoma. He deposited $40,000-$80,000 monthly for a total of $4 million over more than two decades. Brinkley also may have used his connections to avoid prosecution.


Tribes Protest Proposed Navajo Compact

The Laguna Pueblo and eight other New Mexico tribes signed compacts in 2007 limiting them to two casinos each. Now they're protesting a provision in the proposed Navajo Nation compact that would allow the Navajos to build three more casinos, including one near the Laguna Pueblo's Route 66 Casino Hotel (l.).

Nebraska Lawmaker Proposes Casino Gambling

Nebraska state Senator Russ Karpisek proposed a constitutional amendment to let voters decide if they want casino gambling. If the bill is approved, half of the casino tax revenue collected would help lower property taxes statewide, and it also would advance Ho-Chunk's proposed $30 million casino in South Sioux City.

New York Counties Nix Seneca Plan

Niagara County, New York, has joined Orleans and Wyoming counties to oppose a planned $150 million Seneca casino near Rochester. County officials say it would harm the local OTB.

N.M. Tribe Still Seeks to do Gaming

The Fort Sill Apache have tried for years without success to operate a casino in the southern part of New Mexico. It isn’t giving up its quest.


Carruthers Joins Sands China

Ciarán Carruthers has been appointed a senior VP by Sands China in charge of operations at the Venetian Macau and the Plaza Macao.

GCA Names Ram Chary CEO

Global Cash Access has appointed Ray Chery as the company’s new chief executive officer, replacing David Lopez, who resigned effective this month, to take over at AGS.

River City Hires Shaw As GM

Ward Shaw, general manager at Tropicana Casino in Evansville, Indiana since 2010, recently was named vice president and general manager at River City Casino in south St. Louis, Missouri. Shaw has held several executive positions with Harrah's Entertainment, and began his casino career as slots director at Harrah's St. Louis.

Lambert Named Cherokee General Manager

Lumpy Lambert has been named general manager at the $110 million Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel in Cherokee County, North Carolina, currently is under construction. Lambert has spent his gaming career at Harrah's Cherokee, most recently serving as assistant general manager of casino operations.

DoubleDown Founders Leave IGT

Greg Enell and Cooper DuBois, founders of social gaming producer DoubleDown Casino, have left International Game Technology, which bought the social casino.

Firth Named GM of Genting’s Blackpool

Former hotel valet Jim Firth, a 25-year veteran of the hospitality industry, has been named general manager of Genting’s Blackpool casino and restaurant in London.

Luke Clark to Head UBC Gaming Research

Luke Clark has led gambling addiction studies in the U.K. He says neurological studies may help experts understand the psychology of disordered gambling.


NEWave to Market ancoraDocs

NEWave has signed an agreement with Ancora Software to market the ancoraDocs automated invoice processing solution to casinos. The company has also expanded its relationship with Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in California.

FutureLogic Signs Distribution Deal

FutureLogic, Inc. has enlisted HMS Gaming as its exclusive sales and service provider in Florida, the Caribbean, cruise ship operators, and several Latin American countries.

Cosmo, Marriott Boost Rewards

Members of the Las Vegas Cosmopolitan’s Identity program and Marriott International’s Marriott Rewards can now transfer points between both programs.


Bally Plans Major ICE Display

Bally Technologies’ first trade show since acquiring SHFL entertainment will provide a single view of equipment for customers in all channels at ICE Totally Gaming.




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