In REITs MGM Trusts

After much speculation surrounding MGM Resorts International forming a Real Estate Investment Trust, a New York hedge fund has sent an in depth proposal for them to do just that. MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren (l.) said the company gets proposals to convert to the REIT structure “all the time.”

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Caesars Bankruptcy Gets Dicey

The judge in the bankruptcy case of Caesars Entertainment’s largest operating unit has ordered an independent examiner to investigate transactions related to the restructuring. He refused to dismiss a Delaware lawsuit that charged Caesars with questionable business practices.

New Mexico Compact Approved by Legislature

The New Mexico legislature last week approved a new gaming compact with the Navajo Nation (Fire Rock Casino at left), Mescalero and Jicarilla Apache tribes, and the pueblos of Jemez and Acoma. The pact allows 24-hour gaming, comping and credit.

It’s Official: Macau in Recession

The decline in Macau’s gaming industry, which began last summer, is likely to reach double-digit losses in 2015, say analysts, with no upturn in the foreseeable future. The city is now in the throes of a technical recession, according to reports. It all started when Chinese President Xi Jinping began an anti-graft campaign.

Texas Lawmakers File Gambling Bills

Texas lawmakers have filed bills to establish a gaming commission; allow gambling at resort areas, horse racetracks and cities with 675,000 or more population; open casinos in order to use the revenues for windstorm insurance; and let the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe and the Tiguas offer gaming. State Rep. Joe Deshotel (l.) wants six casinos on the Gulf Coast.

RAWA Hearing Set

The postponed hearing on the Restoration of America’s Wire Act before a U.S. Senate sub-committee has been scheduled for March 26. The bill would ban online gambling in the U.S. The planned hearing is still drawing criticism for not including proponents of online gambling on its “witness” list, while the Democratic Governors Association led by Montana Governor Steve Bullock (l.) opposes any federal bill.


The interest in real estate investment trusts has been accelerating in the casino industry. It first started with the smaller companies, but now the gaming giants are getting involved.


Casino Hopes Fading in Japan

Despite an announcement by the Innovation Group that it had been tapped to advise Japan’s nascent casino industry, government officials insist there is no imminent plan to approve casino legislation. Hopes had been high for at least one integrated resort to open for the 2020 Olympics.

Bloomberry’s Private Korean Island

Bloomberry Resorts Corp., controlled by Philippine billionaire Enrique Razon (l.), will buy a 21-hectare (52-acre) island in South Korea for a casino resort complex. The development on Silmi Island is expected to draw tourists from Mainland China.

Suncity: No Plans for Vietnam

Despite multiple reports to the contrary, junket operator Suncity denies that it plans to develop a resort casino on Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam. Detailed news stories had announced that Suncity CEO Alvin Chau Cheok Wa was in active talks with Vietnamese authorities.

Nepal OKs Foreign Gaming Operator

India’s Department of Industry has approved a partnership of Goa Costal Resorts and Nepal-based Entertainment and Recreational to build a US$3 million casino in Kathmandu. The partnership will operate under the Casino Pride brand.

Proxy Bets Up in Manila

Proxy betting, in which gamblers place their bets through intermediaries via telephone, is on the rise in Manila, according to Morgan Stanley. In fact, the practice may account for up to one half of VIP revenue in the Philippine capital.

Wave of Success for Casino Cruise Off Singapore

Leisure cruises with gambling that sail in international waters off Singapore lost some business after land-based casinos opened in the republic in 2010. But they’re packing them in again, in part because of a $100 entry fee at the casinos on land.

Big Trouble with Little China Lottery

A report has been released in Beijing tying many lottery retailers to corruption in the form of not registering bets which are likely losses. The report has led to a suspension for many retailers.


Ritz Sues High Rollers

London’s Ritz Casino (l.) in Piccadilly is operating is heading to court to claim unpaid VIP debts amounting to £12.5 million (US$18.4 million). The property has mounted a number of multi-million-pound legal cases against the wealthy high rollers.

Irish Casino Reforms Tabled for Now

A plan to develop a new regulatory framework for up to 40 casinos in Ireland apparently will not be addressed until next year. The General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill 2013 has been tabled through 2015 and likely will not be reconsidered until April 2016. But a new gaming regulator, Liam Sloyan (l.), has been named.

‘Racing Right’ to Corral Online Operators

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has become a champion of horse racing in the U.K. with his announcement of a “racing right,” which would compel offshore firms to pass a portion of racing profits back to the sport.

‘Friendly’ Playing Field in Italy

Italy’s online sports betting market almost doubled its turnover in February in a year-over-year basis. It’s a heartening sign in a market that endured a tough 2014.

With Teeven Out, Dutch Online in Doubt

The resignation of Dutch State Secretary for Justice Fred Teeven (l.) could jeopardize the future of the Dutch Remote Gambling Act , which he established. Teeven and Netherlands Justice Minister Ivo Opselten have reportedly stepped down for returning seized money to a drug dealer.


Ho: No Marianas Deal

Melco Crown CEO Lawrence Ho has officially refuted rumors that he plans to work with Chinese Strategic Holdings on a hotel project in the Northern Mariana Islands. The talk was sparked by CSH’s announcement of an unnamed partner.

Crown Raising Millions for New Projects

Australia-based casino giant Crown Resorts Ltd. will sell subordinated notes to finance expansion projects. The company hopes to raise AUD400 million (US$305 million) with the sale. The notes will be listed on the Australian Securities Exchange starting March 25.

Dominican Republic Might Get Tamed

The Dominican Republic has recently introduced a bill that would provide a bit more oversight to a gambling industry, which, while thriving, currently operates with little to no supervision.

Would You Pay $100M for an Apartment?

A penthouse in James Packer’s new $2 billion Barangaroo hotel-casino complex in Sydney Harbor could cost almost $100 million, according to reports. Packer’s Crown Resorts has proposed that 30 of the hotel’s 69 floors be set aside for residential units.


Public Hearing Vets Pennsylvania iGaming

The subject of online gaming dominated a public hearing conducted by the main gaming oversight committee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Sponsor Rep. John Payne (l.) says the state needs to “stay progressive.”

Online Poker Continues to Lag in New Jersey

Despite strong numbers from online casino games, online poker revenue is declining in New Jersey. Online poker only brought in about $2 million of the $10.4 million won online in February through the state’s online gambling sites. And that total was depressed by a $1.5 million slots jackpot paid out by Betfair.

Two States Want Legal Fantasy Sports Wagering

Kansas and Iowa lawmakers have approved bills that would legalize wagering real money on fantasy sports leagues. Both measures consider fantasy sports to be games of skill, not gambling. Rep. Brett Hildabrand, sponsor of the Kansas bill, said 500,000 Kansans play in fantasy leagues each year with no intention of breaking the law.

Disney Interested in Draft Kings

Fortune magazine reports that the Walt Disney Co.—which owns ESPN—is exploring an investment in fantasy sports operator Draft Kings.

Bet365 Launches Cash-Out Mechanism

Bet365 will launch a partial cash-out mechanism to be integrated with its sports betting service. The mechanism will allow customers to close a portion of their active bets, while keeping the remainder open.

PokerStars Accused of Tax Fraud in Italy

PokerStars, now owned by Amaya Gaming, has been accused by the Italy’s Guardia di Finanza of “willfully eroding” Italian generated revenues to offshore jurisdictions such as the Isle of Man and Malta. The company is now being investigated for fraud in Italy.

Online Gambling Revenue Rises in Denmark

Total gross gaming revenue is rising in Denmark fueled by an increase in online gaming revenue. Regulators report Denmark brought in $1.1 billion in revenue including a 20 percent increase in online revenue.

iGame Adds Games Through NYX

Gaming operator iGame Group announced a deal with NYX Gaming Group to offer a selection of new casino titles via NYX’s Open Games Server.


New England Gaming Arms Race is Off and Running

Money and market share are the prizes in a casino “arms race” that has erupted in New England as some states built casinos and other states contemplate building casinos in self defense. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy (l.) is not necessarily a fan. Who will be the winners—or if there can even be winners, remains to be determined.

New Jersey Sports-Betting Law Goes Before Appeals Court

New Jersey argued for its latest sports betting law before a federal appeals court in a lively exchange with a three-judge panel. The state is trying to get around a federal ban on sports betting by repealing state laws against such bets and allowing for a self-regulated system at racetracks and casinos. The major professional sports leagues, including the NFL, are opposing the move.

Love and Marriage, Wynn Style

The continuing saga surrounding Elaine Wynn and Wynn Resorts Ltd. has intensified, with the company releasing a proxy statement citing why she is not the best fit for the company's board. The couple is shown in happier times.

Illinois Expanded Gambling Bill Moving Forward

An expanded gambling bill that would allow five new casinos, including the city of Chicago, recently was assigned to the Illinois House Executive Committee for review. Hopes are pinned on Governor Bruce Rauner (l.) who said he's support gambling if voters and municipalities want it. Former Governor Pat Quinn twice vetoed expanded gambling legislation.

Massachusetts Casino Developer, City, Reach Agreement

It came down to the wire, however the city of New Bedford, Massachusetts and KG Urban Enterprises, that wants to build a casino resort there, have come to a host community agreement. They will soon make a presentation to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission as they seek the southeastern casino zone license.

Maryland Eyes Gaming Tax Hike

Casino operators in Maryland are protesting a bill that would raise the state’s tax on table game revenues by 10 percent in reaction to casinos removing slot machines.

Pennsylvania Casinos Oppose VLTs

A group of Pennsylvania casino operators have written a letter urging lawmakers to avoid any expansion of casino-style gambling—mainly, VLTs in bars.

Icahn Gets Approval to Take Over Taj Mahal; A.C. Unions Picket

Billionaire Carl Icahn (l.) has received approval in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to proceed with a takeover of Trump Entertainment and the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. That immediately brought out picketers from the city’s main casino union, which has opposed the plan, and Icahn, from the beginning.

Nevada Off to the Virtual Races

In an effort to revitalize the declining horse racing industry, two solutions have come about, both involving technology. The solutions are virtual races, and historical races, which would be used to compliment the current racing industry, as opposed to overtaking it.

Harrah's Protests New Orleans Smoking Ban

New Orleans' smoking ban will take effect April 22, but Harrah's New Orleans (l.) officials hope they can persuade the city council to allow it to offer special smoking areas and improved ventilation systems. The city could lose $3.8 million in casino tax revenue and a half-million dollars in sales tax revenue, officials said.

Revel Atlantic City’s Future Remains Uncertain

A major hearing—exploring various appeals and challenges—on the possible sale of Atlantic City’s closed Revel casino was postponed last week, but attorneys still managed to ask a federal bankruptcy court judge for more leeway in selling the property at a minor hearing. Judge Gloria Burns has ruled that she cannot approve a sale to Florida Developer Glenn Straub (l.) while appeals of a previous sale order are still in federal court.

Mississippi Bill Would Benefit Casino-Hosting Counties

House Bill 1630, the Gaming Control Act, recently passed the Mississippi Senate Finance Committee. It would redirect $36 million from casinos' 12 percent annual tax to counties that host casinos, to repair and rebuild crumbling bridges, fix and maintain infrastructure, improve services and attract more tourists.

Atlantic City Thinks Big For Tourist Attractions

Though no specific proposals have been made, Atlantic City officials unveiled concepts for a major waterfront entertainment complex at its closed 140-acre municipal airport Bader Field (l.). The plan may or may not include new casinos, a marked departure from past plans to build as many as three casinos at the site.

Hakkasan Has Cross Appeal

Hakkasan, once strictly an MGM Resorts partner, continues their dominance on the Las Vegas Strip, opening up yet another massive nightclub, but this time at rival property Caesars Palace, the Omnia (l.). And they’re not done…

Atlantic City Career Center Facing Blitz of Ex-Casino Workers

A career center set up to help laid-off Atlantic City casino workers has been lagging behind in its efforts to help the thousands of workers laid off in the resort last year according to officials who cite long lines and filled retraining programs.


Seminole Tribe Poll Indicates Public Support

The Seminole Tribe of Florida released the results of a recent poll of 600 Floridian voters, who said they favored renewing the Seminole compact by 61 percent to 26 percent. Meanwhile, state Rep. Dana Young (l.) is trying to rally legislators for commercial casinos in the state.

Tribal Leader Outlines Proposed Michigan Casino

Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Ogema Larry Romanelli explained the tribe's land-trust application for a casino at the former Great Lakes Downs (l.) in Fruitport Township, Michigan. Romanelli said the 69,000 square foot casino, the tribe's second, would offer 1,700 electronic games and 35 table games, plus a 220-room hotel.

Officials Claim Conflict With BIA Agency

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has hired Analytical Environmental Services to conduct an environmental impact study regarding the Coquille Indian Tribe's proposed casino in Medford, Oregon. But Medford officials said a conflict of interest is possible since the BIA is an AES client and its analysis could be weighted to favor the tribe.

California Casino Remains Closed

Greed and politics appear to be the core reasons why a casino owned by the Chuckchansi tribe of Central California remains closed. The casino was closed when tribal infighting over membership led to violence.

Pokagon Study Prefers South Bend Casino

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians' proposed $480 million casino would generate $620 million annually in South Bend, Indiana, compared to $414 million in Elkhart County, the BIA's draft environmental impact statement reported. The development would have a casino with 3,000 slots, plus a 500-room, 18-story hotel, and create 2,000 new jobs. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (l.) is considering the plan.

Kenosha Casino Site To Be Sold

The Dairyland Greyhound Park in Kenosha, Wisconsin soon will be listed for sale, its owners recently announced. The site was the location of the Menominee Tribe's proposed $800 million casino complex that Governor Scott Walker rejected in January. The most recent assessment on the 220-acre property was for $18.8 million.

Tribe Debuts Expansion at Seminole Casino Imokalee

A multimillion dollar expansion has been completed at the Seminole Casino Hotel Imokalee in Florida, owned by the Seminole Tribe and operated by Seminole Gaming. The expansion features an 80-room, 19-suite hotel, new dining options, a new high-limit area and the Seminole Center ballroom.

Creeks Vote To Ask Tiger To Resign

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation tribal council recently unanimously voted to ask Chief George Tiger to resign, following revelations that he took money on behalf of promoting a potentially competitive casino. Tiger said that happened before he was elected chief, and eventually opposed the Kialegee Tribal Town casino.

Tribes Will See if Gaming and Marijuana Mix

Dozens and perhaps hundreds of gaming tribes in the United States will soon decide if gaming and growing marijuana are compatible activities. What do they have in common? Both are activities that sovereign tribes can engage in.

Wildhorse Casino Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Opened in 1995 with 78 workers and now employing more than 800, the Wildhorse Casino and Resort in Pendleton, Oregon recently celebrated 20 years of growth with a spectacular fireworks show. It's giving away $20,000 every Saturday in March.


Bryant Names Gaming Commission Members

Three new members of the Mississippi Gaming Commission recently were nominated by Governor Phil Bryant: Thomas Gresham, replacing Chairman Nolen Canon whose term will expire in September, plus Jerry Lester Griffith and Alben “Al” Hopkins Sr., replacing John Hairston and Wally Carter, who both resigned for business reasons.

Pinnacle Names Atwood to Board

Pinnacle Entertainment has elected former longtime Harrah’s Entertainment executive Charles Atwood to the company’s board of directors.

Pontinen Named Bois Forte Finance Director

Jennifer Pontinen has been named director of finance and business development at the Bois Forte Development Corporation. The firm manages Fortune Bay Resort Casino and other ventures of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa. Pontinen replaces Gary Gotchnik who resigned after allegations of credit card misuse.

DEQ Appoints Bertolone to Board

DEQ Systems named Joseph R. Bertolone, the company’s president and CEO, to its board of directors after a director resigned.


Rainmaker Acquires Revcaster

The Rainmaker Group has acquired Revcaster LLC, a leading supplier of market intelligence, rate shopping and analytics software.

Baha Mar Picks IGT

The new Baha Mar casino resort in the Bahamas has selected 500 slot machines and the sbX Floor Manager server-based system from IGT.

Suzo Happ Acquires Scan Coin

Suzo Happ has completed the acquisition of Swedish cash-handling technology supplier Scan Coin in the fourth technology acquisition of the past 15 months.

Intralot Wins in Greece

Intralot, a supplier of integrated gaming systems for the casino industry, won the Extroversion Award during the 2015 Active Greece Awards. The distinction is awarded for business excellence and effective international expansion strategies.



Ivey Covered

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa’s lawsuit against poker pro Phil Ivey accusing him of cheating at baccarat can move forward into the discovery phase, a judge has ruled.




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