Bay State Bonanza

Gaming in Massachusetts had a good week. The state gaming commission chose the defunct Plainridge racetrack as the site of the state’s only slot parlor (l.), with gaming to be managed by Penn National Gaming. And in Revere, a second bite at the apple proved the city really wants a casinos as it approved a revamped plan by Mohegan Sun for a casino at Suffolk Downs racetrack. Mohegan must now defeat Wynn Resorts’ plans in Everett for a full casino license.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Happy Together

Two of the three states offering online gambling in the U.S. have come together and signed a pact to combine online poker sites and increase their player pools. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (l.) and Delaware Governor Jack Markell announced the pact, which will be the first interstate internet gaming partnership. A date for interstate play to begin was not given, not were any details of how the differing regulations and tax rates would be handled.

Florida Senate Proposes New Casinos, Slot Machines

New bills to authorize large casinos have been introduced in the Florida Senate Gaming Committee, chaired by Senator Garrett Richter (l.). The three measures would legalize large integrated resorts, allow slots at horse and dog racetracks and a rodeo site, and set up a new gaming agency charged with regulating and controlling gaming in the Sunshine State.

Japan Shaping Up as a Battle of the Billions

Sheldon Adelson says he’ll spend $10 billion to build a resort in Japan. Rival James Murren (l.) says he’ll match it. Joining them are an A-list of global operators lining up to place big bets on a market that still doesn’t exist.

California Dreamin’

A legislative iGaming summit convened last week in Sacramento just days after two bills were introduced to legalize online poker in California. The bills have been introduced in both California’s Assembly and Senate. Attendees at the summit heard Assemblyman Isadore Hall (l.) explain how the bills would be considered.

Nevada Approves Debit-Card Play

In a unanimous decision, the Nevada Gaming Commission has approved slot wagering using prepaid debit cards directly at the machines. The decision took into account issues raised by the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling.

UK Bookies Defend FOBTs

Britain’s bookmaking giants are going on the offensive—or defensive, depending on the point of view. They’re denying opponents’ claims that electronic table games are a leading cause of problem gambling. At the same time, industry executives led by William Hill CEO Ralph Topping (l.) are promising reforms aimed at combating problem gambling.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: Quickly Rising Sun

The battle for Japan is under way. From MGM and Las Vegas Sands to small pachinko companies in downtown Tokyo, everyone wants a slice of the pie. Who is more likely to win? Who knows?


Strong Year for SJM

Macau casino giant SJM Holdings saw its market lead slip in 2013 but still managed to beat analyst profit estimates on strong play across all segments of the business. VIP revenue was up 9.4 percent for the year. Mass-market table revenue grew by 13 percent.

Singapore Stuck at No. 3

After starting with a bang back in 2010, Singapore’s two resort casinos were expected to easily overtake the Las Vegas Strip as the world’s No. 2 market. But it didn’t happen, and unless the city-state’s restrictions on junkets and locals play are loosened, it probably won’t anytime soon.

Vietnam Lawmakers Tour Ho Tram

How best to fix Vietnam’s resort gaming problems was the topic of discussion during a recent visit to The Grand – Ho Tram by members of the National Assembly. The talks raised optimism that the government will eventually rescind a ban on domestic play.

PAGCOR Closing Another Manila Casino

The Philippines government continues to downsize its role as a casino operator with plans to close another Manila venue, Airport Casino Filipino, the second in the last year. PAGCOR, the agency in charge, acknowledges that the future belongs to the country’s growing commercial industry.

Macau Wants Ban on Non-Casino Gambling

The Macau government forced the closure of five neighborhood slots parlors last year and says the day is coming when all gambling outlets outside casinos will be shuttered. More than half are slated to be gone this year.

Naga Outlines Plans for Russia

Cambodia’s leading casino operator says it will begin building its casino near Vladivostok early next year. Hong Kong-listed NagaCorp. says the local government supports the $350 million resort, which is scheduled to open in 2018.

Macau Concessions Safe, Experts Say

A recent news report out of Hong Kong claims that Macau will limit casino licenses to five to 10 years when they come up for renewal beginning in 2020. But those close to the scene say there’s nothing to it.


Blackpool is Back

The Irish Sea resort town that was talked about a decade ago as the launching pad for a British resort gaming industry, may yet get its casino, albeit one considerably downsized from the Las Vegas scale dreamed of a decade ago.


Billionaire Goes Shopping in Oz

Tony Fung (l.), the billionaire Hong Kong investor proposing a megaresort on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, is buying up casinos in the country. Last year, he made a bid for the Reef Casino not far from his own planned development, and now he’s added Canberra’s casino to his cart.

Crown’s First Half a Mixed Bag

Good thing for James Packer (l.) that Macau exists because his home markets in Australia are struggling to overcome the effects of a down economy and intensifying competition for high rollers.

Saipan Trying for Casino—Again

The Pacific island of Saipan needs revenue badly but has been unable in three tries in the last four years to get a casino bill through the legislature to help. Undaunted, the leader of the House of Representatives is giving it another go.


Court Rules Against Kentucky in Gambling Domain Seizures

An appeals court has sided with the owners of 132 domain names that Kentucky is trying to seize to combat illegal online gambling in the state. The court put the seizure on hold by ruling that the site owners do not have to fight the seizure individually, but can be represented by the trade group the Interactive Gaming Council, a breakthrough for associations.

Borgata Partners With Online Affiliate Recruitment Firm

Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has partnered with Income Access Partners and founder Nicky Senyard (l.) to create an affiliate recruitment program for its online gambling sites in New Jersey. The casino will launch

International Poker Network to Close

The International Poker Network, one of the longest running online poker networks, has announced it will close after 10 years. Also known as Boss Media, the network is to close by the second quarter of this year.

Analyst Warns Singapore on Online Gambling

According to reports, gambling consultant Christian Kalb has advised the Singapore government to be selective in banning online gaming sites and allow three or four major operators. But he also advised the government that online gaming is hard to police and should be handled carefully.

Isle of Man Counts on iGaming

In a recent budget speech, the Isle of Man’s minister of economic development pointed to internet gaming as the principle driver of the island’s economy.

Bitcoin Future in Doubt

The sudden disappearance of major bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox—which later filed for bankruptcy—has severely damaged the virtual currency and left Mt. Gox depositors with little hope of recovering their losses. Proponents of bitcoins say the loss of Mt. Gox weeds out a bad exchange, but others worry that governments will move quickly to strictly regulate virtual currencies in the wake of the closing.

Playtech Announces ‘Exceptional’ 2013

Online gambling software company Playtech announced that its revenue increased 16 percent in 2013 and profits increased 26 percent. The company announced it will pay a special dividend to stock holders of 122 million euros.


New York Casino Sites Inch Closer to Gotham

The Cordish Companies and Penn National Gaming are looking at sites in Orange County, less than 50 miles from Times Square. One of the sites adjoins the popular Woodbury Common, an outlet shopping center. Catskill casino developers are crying foul. And in western New York, an existing racino is making waves.

Studies Indicate New Casinos Will Cannibalize Iowa Market

Two independent studies of Iowa gambling, commissioned by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, both stated new casinos in Cedar Rapids and Jefferson would cannibalize existing casinos' market share. That's bad news for the Cedar Rapids Development Group and Wild Rose Entertainment (rendering at left).

Vegas Ramps Up GOP Convention Bid

Las Vegas has qualified as a finalist, and continues to court members of the Republican National Committee, who will decide where the GOP will hold its 2016 presidential convention. It could mean a $400 million economic boost for Nevada.

More Delay in Delaware

A panel formed to study ways to provide relief to Delaware’s struggling casino industry canceled its February meeting, pushing back its recommendations to lawmakers. Chairman Tom Cook (l.) now says the report will be ready before the legislature convenes on March 18.

Pennsylvania Counting on Gambling

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s 2014-15 budget plan counts on increased revenue from gambling, including tavern games, video keno, racing and the lottery.

Illinois Town Wants To Amend Casino Agreement

As Des Plaines, Illinois councilmen wrote checks for $5.8 million to 10 needy South suburban communities and for $10 million to the state, local officials said the arrangement—which brought Rivers Casino (l.) to the city--is unfair. Des Plaines is the only casino host city that pays annual allotments.

Borgata Sued For Counterfeit Chip Poker Scandal

A class-action lawsuit representing players has been filed against the Borgata Casino Hotel & Spa charging the casino improperly supervised the opening tournament of last month’s Borgata Winter Poker Open, which was suspended after counterfeit chips were found in play. More than 4,000 players entered the tournament, but play was suspended with only 27 players left in the field. The suit seeks restitution for all players.

Vegas Union Could Vote for Strike

Contracts have been reached for the major Strip casino operators. But progress has been slow with Downtown and stand-alone properties. Culinary Union members could vote to strike this month.

Peppermill Fined for Corporate Espionage

The Peppermill in Reno was assessed a $1 million fine for corporate espionage after a slot employee used a common slot “reset” key to access information from competitors.

Kentucky Court Punts on Instant Racing

The Kentucky Supreme Court has held that the state’s Horse Racing Commission has the authority to regulate instant racing, but declined to rule on the legality of the machines.

Committee Approves New Deadwood Games

Roulette, keno and craps could be allowed in Deadwood, South Dakota casinos if the legislature approves a statewide referendum to change the state constitution that currently permits only slots, poker and blackjack. Supporters said the new games are needed so Deadwood can compete with casinos in Iowa and Colorado.

Study Finds Change in Atlantic City’s Visitors

A study by the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey finds that luxury spending is up in Atlantic City even as casino revenue shrinks. The study contends that Atlantic City’s visitors are staying longer and spending more on dining and accommodations while gambling day-trippers are declining.

Nevada Sets Sights on India

Tourism officials in the Silver State are making progress in their ongoing campaign to bring in more Asian travelers. The effort that started in China has now expanded to India.

Gaughan Buys Into Ely’s Hotel Nevada

The Las Vegas casino company Gaughan Gaming has acquired a 50 percent ownership stake in the Hotel Nevada and Gambling Hall in Ely. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Atlantic City’s Claridge Hotel Looks for May Reopening

Atlantic City’s Claridge Hotel—once a casino property—is scheduled to reopen in May with new restaurants, a lobby bar and new entertainment. TJM Atlantic City purchased the 500-room hotel from Caesars Entertainment in October.

New Vegas Hotel to Hire 900

The Cromwell, Caesars Entertainment’s new boutique hotel-casino, a mid-market property on the Las Vegas Strip, is gearing up for its grand opening in May. Its Drai’s nightclub operation (l.) will hire an additional 300 people.

Connecticut Legislature to Mull Keno Change

Lawmakers in Connecticut are mulling a bill that would repeal the recently adopted measure that would have allowed the state lottery to introduce keno to the state’s taverns and eateries.

Valley Forge Upgrades Facilities

The Valley Forge Casino Resort has begun a $1 million renovation and technology upgrade for its 55,000 square feet of convention and meeting space.

Nevada High Court: Royalty Tax Unfair

The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, which said it should not be taxed on ticket royalties. A Clark County district court had previously upheld the tax.

Nevadans Cannot Sue DEA Agent

A Nevada couple attempted to sue a Georgia DEA agent for seizing $97,000 in gambling winnings. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled they cannot file in Nevada, but must take their suit back to Georgia.


Lansing Casino On Hold Until Court Decision

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians cannot proceed with their proposed $245 million Kewadin Landing Casino, following Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's (l.) appeals court victory allowing the Sault casino case to wait until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on another controversial Michigan case involving the Bay Mills tribe.

New Mexico Rejection Stuns Navajo

When the New Mexico Senate rejected in one hour a compact with Navajo Nation that took two years to negotiate with Governor Susana Martinez' staff, the tribe was back to square one. Lawmakers and other tribal officials objected to a provision allowing the Navajos to build additional casinos over 15 years. The current compact will expire in 2016.

North Dakota City, Tribe Will Work Together

The Grand Forks, North Dakota city council will present to the state the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa's casino proposal. The tribe said the casino could generate $100 million in gaming revenue and create 1,000 jobs. The governor must approve the plan that requires changing state law.

Rhode Island Tribe Faces Probe

The Narragansett Indians of Rhode Island have been subpoenaed by a federal appeals court. No information has been revealed about the sealed case, but the tribe has a history of legal problems.

Turning Stone Gets New Slots

The New York tribe Oneida Indian Nation is spending $15 million to install thousands of new slot machines. Some of the new machines will be linked to other casinos, which could lead to bigger jackpots for Turning Stone patrons.

Quapaw Arkansas Casino Possible

The Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma recently purchased 160 acres in Little Rock, Arkansas, where it owned land before being removed to Indian Territory in 1850. The tribe operates the Downstream Casino Resort (l.) in Quapaw, Oklahoma, and may be considering building one in Arkansas. Chairman John Berrey said, "I would never say never."

Fire Temporarily Closes Coushatta

A small fire in an electrical box led to the evacuation and 12-hour closing of the Coushatta Casino Resort in Kinder, Louisiana on February 15. No patrons were injured and damage was minimal, said spokesman Bryan Williams.

Sheriff's Office Will Support Navajo Police

Although Navajo Nation police will provide primary law enforcement when a crime is committed on the 405-acre Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort near Flagstaff, Arizona, Coconino County sheriff's deputies now will be able to legally intervene. The officers will be required to complete 16 hours of training on Navajo laws.

Per Capita Payments, Philosophies Differ for Wisconsin Tribes

The Forest County Potawatomi's two Wisconsin casinos generated $226 million in profit in 2012, allowing the tribe to make per capita payments of $80,000. The Menominee tribe paid each member $75. The tribe believes Governor Scott Walker's approval of its proposed Kenosha casino could change that.

Court Authorizes Sheriff to Enforce BIA Decision in California

A federal judge has authorized the newly constituted tribal council of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians to seek protection from the Madera County Sheriff’s office to protect itself from death threats from an illegal faction that claims to run the tribe.

Massachusetts Tribe Goes Forward With Casino Plans

The Massachusetts tribe on the outside looking in has reaffirmed its desire to build a small casino on its reservation in swanky Martha’s Vineyard. Even with new chairman, Tobias Vanderhoop (l.), the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) narrowly voted to continue the process to turn a community center into a Class II casino.


DeSalvio Exits Sands Bethlehem

Robert DeSalvio, the first president of Sands Bethlehem in Pennsylvania, resigned last week. DeSalvio failed to give a reason for his departure, but the company said it was not related to the recent hacking incident, in which Sands Bethlehem was a focal point.

Harrison Named Hollywood, Boomtown GM

Chett Harrison has been named general manager at Boomtown Biloxi Casino and Casino Bay St. Louis, Mississippi Gulf Coast properties owned by Penn National Gaming. Harrison replaces Boomtown Manager Kees Eder who is retiring. Also, Steve Lambert has been named general manager at Hollywood Casino Tunica.

Pedroza, Vilsant Join Downtown Grand Las Vegas

Two veterans of the hospitality industry have joined the team at the Downtown Grand Las Vegas. Cinthia Pedroza is coming from the Four Seasons, and Max Vilsaint from the Westin Lake Las Vegas.

Galaxy Adds Sales Manager

Galaxy Gaming has named 30-year gaming industry veteran Steve Venuto as the company’s Northeast regional sales manager.


IGT, Action Renew Partnership

IGT has reached an exclusive agreement with partner Anchor Gaming to extend the arrangement under which the two companies jointly produce multi-hand video poker products.

FutureLogic Signs Distribution Deal

FutureLogic has signed an extension of its distribution and service agreement with Modern Gaming, which distributes the company’s printer products in the U.S. Gulf Coast region.

Interblock Installs in Pennsylvania, Manila

Interblock USA has installed its first product in the Pennsylvania market, a six-station G4 Organic roulette unit at the Mount Airy Casino Resort, and the company has upgraded its installation in Manila.

BMM Accepting Colorado Submissions

BMM Testlabs is accepting submissions for testing of gaming equipment and systems in Colorado, with its approval as a Certified Vendor in the state.

New Mexico Extends Intralot Contract

The New Mexico Lottery has extended the contract for the lottery gaming system supplied by Intralot USA, extending the contract three years to 2018.

Comar Group Picks JCM

Spain’s Comar Group has named JCM Global as its preferred supplier of bill validators, and has named the iVIZION validator as its preferred product.




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