Penn National Gaming had let it be known they were ready to be a major player on the Las Vegas Strip for many years. With 26 hotels and casinos under their belt around the country, the company lacked a presence on the Strip. But last week, Penn purchased the Tropicana Las Vegas for $360 million. The company plans to spend $20 million in renovations in the near future.
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After several years of trying, proponents of bills to legalize online poker in California have passed a bill out of committee and into a series of hearings. Although it’s the first time any bill has been passed, it hasn’t addressed many of the issues that fuel the ongoing dispute among tribes and card rooms. For example, Pechanga Chairman Marc Macarro (l.) insists that racetracks be excluded, something Governor Jerry Brown opposes.
“If at first you don’t succeed…” Casino advocates in Japan last week submitted yet another bill to parliament that would bring legal gaming to the country. Analysts say casinos in Japan could generate as much as $40 billion a year, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (l.) agrees.
Nevada’s Attorney General Adam Laxalt (l.) and state gaming regulators have brought charges against a Las Vegas man for operating an illegal online website. It is the first time the state has filed charges in an online gaming case.
Riverboat casinos like the Tropicana in Evansville (l.) may move onto land under a bill recently passed by the Indiana legislature. However, a provision to allow live dealers at the state's two racinos was delayed until 2021, when Governor Mike Pence, who threatened to veto the bill over this provision, will be out of office if he wins a second term.
Hong Kong businessman Tony Fung Wing Cheung (l.) says he is committed to developing his planned Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort in Queensland, Australia. Rumors had circulated that a change in government may have cooled Fung’s ardor.
To help close a projected budget gap, the Poarch Band recently offered Alabama lawmakers $250 million, in exchange for exclusive gaming rights. The tribe also would pay a percentage of earnings. Some said the move is a response to Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh's (l.) proposal to allow four casinos plus a state lottery.
Numerous gambling bills have been proposed in the Texas legislature. They would allow the Kickapoo Tribe, which once operated a tribal casino (l.), to have a gaming compact; authorize nine destination casinos; permit casinos in counties where voters have approved them; allow communities to determine if they want 8-liner games; and establish a Texas Gaming Commission, among other issues.
The steady bad news emanating from Macau has now taken its toll. Investors are fleeing the companies with operations there. Reality has hit home. But what is the real reality?
This week, the GGB Podcast features a discussion with Jonodev Chaudhuri, who was recently confirmed by the U.S. Senate as chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission.
Wynn Macau Ltd., the Asian unit of Wynn Resorts, has posted a first-quarter loss, with adjusted earnings down 45 percent to $212.3 million. In response, the company has slashed dividends, and Chairman Steve Wynn is calling for “certainty” from the Macau government and is concerned about the number of tables that will be allotted for his new casino, Wynn Palace on the Cotai Strip.
The Japanese brokerage firm Nomura has downgraded Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. from “neutral” to “reduce,” and says the company is likely to derive “limited value” from Studio City (l.), the $3.2 billion resort that will open this year on Macau’s Cotai Strip.
The gaming giant is working with the Incheon International Airport Corp. to develop an integrated resort on an 800-acre parcel of land at the South Korea facility, which has been called the gateway to Seoul.
The government is talking about a cap on Mainland Chinese tourism to Macau, even as tourism overall declined in March. Unemployment is expected to grow, even as the government demands better working conditions and more promotions for local casino employees, per the directive of economy minister Lionel Leong Vai Tac (l.). In short, the turbulence continues in Macau.
The typically staid gaming research firm has declared its love for NagaCorp., which the firm contends is outperforming its peers in Macau, is doing well across the board, and will continue to prosper. In its paean to the Cambodian hospitality firm, Union urges investors to buy.
Philippine real estate company Century Properties Group is seeking an arbitrator to intercede in its legal battle with Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada (l.). The parties once planned to partner on a development in Manila’s Entertainment City.
It’s the newest in Macau’s promised array of nongaming attractions: Galaxy Entertainment’s Broadway Macau, which will open later this month. The “entertainment precinct” includes a 3,000-seat theater and hotel, according to Senior VP Gillian Murphy (l.).
Lawrence Ho’s company, Summit Ascent Holdings, is almost finished its integrated resort in Russia’s Primorye region. The casino complex is targeted at players from China and throughout East Asia, South Korea and Japan.
Thanks to the convenience of digital lottery services, U.K. national lottery provider Camelot has announced a surge in sales of £7.27 billion (US$11.1 million) for 2014-15. The lottery launched its new online lottery last September.
The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers, a non-profit international trade organization representing regulated suppliers of casino equipment and technology, has issued a statement to reaffirm its position on unlicensed machines in Mexico.
Panama has passed a strict measure to prevent money laundering in hopes of raising trust among international monetary authorities. The country’s goal: to be removed from the Financial Action Task Force’s “gray list” of countries where suspicious cash transactions are overlooked.
Taking advantage of low interest rates, Crown Resorts raised $630 million by offering 6.3 million subordinated notes at an issue price of $100 per note. The funds will be used to finance projects in Sydney, Perth and elsewhere.
The confirmation of Loretta Lynch (l.) as U.S. Attorney General after a protracted political battle has given hope to online gaming advocates. Lynch refused to debate online gambling with Senator Lindsey Graham—a sponsor of legislation to ban online gambling—during her confirmation.
A proposal to legalize fantasy sports leagues is not unconstitutional, said Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt (l.). His opinion noted the measure stated fantasy sports outcomes “reflect the relative knowledge and skill of the participants.” Currently fantasy sports are illegal only in Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and Washington. About 27 million players participate.
A survey by iGaming software provider CAMS of industry “insiders” found that most still expect online gambling to spread to more U.S. states this year, but also found they don’t have faith that current technology can meet regulatory challenges. CEO Matt Katz (l.) says the poll surveyed a wide range of experts.
Seven Pennsylvania lawmakers have sponsored a bill to ban all online gambling in the state, the first legislation to call for an outright iGaming prohibition. Three other bills would legalize iGaming.
Ontario has decided “better late than never” when it comes to online gambling, as they now offer games of chance for real money to players. Officials hope hundreds of millions of dollars will eventually funnel into the system through online gambling.
The Isle of Man has announced it wants to be an international hub for digital currencies such as the Bitcoin. The Isle feels that—much like iGaming—it provides the perfect atmosphere for digital currencies and says it will “welcome them with open arms.”
Aristocrat’s “Heart of Vegas” Facebook app is now available for iPhone, as well as its current Facebook and iPad applications active since September.
With a federal online gambling ban pushed by Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren said Las Vegas and MGM will not be affected by such a ban, even if it were to pass.
Recent comments from the Kentucky racing group Churchill Downs CEO show that the company’s foray into social gaming through Big Fish Games has paid off.
NetEnt has tapped another hit from the Universal Studios Monsters franchise for its newest online slot release Universal Monsters Dracula Online Slot.
Sightline Payment’s Play+ payment solution will be integrated with the mobile gaming platform developed by Gamblit Gaming. The agreement will allow Gamblit players to access funds that brings a real-money gaming experience to millennials. . Gamblit CEO Eric Meyerhofer (l.) says the deal will drive liquidity.
William Hill Australia has introduced “’Click to Call” an in-play betting alternative. Gamblers can use the feature to make bets via the microphone on the electronic devices, making the bet a phone bet rather than an online bet.
Mobile gaming solutions provider Mkodo has received an online gambling license from the UK Gambling Commission. The license allows the company to continue to offer online gambling software in the UK.
Online and retail betting and gaming software provider BetConstruct announced that it has been granted a gambling software operating license by the UK Gambling Commission for its Sportsbook product.
Several gambling-related bills were left behind when the Florida House abruptly shut down, three days before the official May 1 session end. The House and Senate could not agree over health care funding. The action leaves the Seminole compact for the tribe’s Hard Rock hotels (l.) and other key gambling issues up in the air unless a special session is called.
A referendum to allow construction of casinos in Northern New Jersey may have to wait until November 2016, the state’s Senate President Steve Sweeney (l.) said. This is an off-year-election and some in the state feel the measure should wait until 2016.
New Jersey’s Stockton University has a new president as former president Herman Saatkamp (l.) has left the post in the midst of controversy over the university’s attempt to buy the former Showboat casino in Atlantic. The school has also formed three new task forces to address the school’s plans for Atlantic City and how such deals will be conducted in the future.
It was déjà vu all over again for proponents of gaming in New Hampshire, where the House last week dealt a crippling blow to their hopes with a 208-156 vote against allowing casinos in the Granite State.
The contracts of all three investor groups competing to develop a state-owned casino in Kansas' southeast gaming zone were approved by the Kansas Lottery Commission and forwarded to the member Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board, which has 60 days to select a winner. The state owns casinos in Dodge City, Mulvane and Kansas City, Kansas.
Despite protests from the local levee board, Caesars Entertainment can proceed with demolishing the former Harrah's Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, a U.S. Bankruptcy Judged recently ruled as part of Caesars' request to restructure or eliminate $20 million in debt. The resort opened in 1996 as Grand Casino Tunica.
Two southeastern Bay State towns are gearing up for host community agreement elections in May and June: Brockton and New Bedford. Both are in competition for the region’s one casino resort license.
Ten bills have been introduced in the Maine legislature, signaling an end to the laissez-faire expansion of gaming in the state. One of the bills would require that new casinos pass a licensing process. However, Maine Governor Paul LePage (l.) says he opposes any gaming expansion.
After nearly three weeks, Glen Straub—owner of the former Revel casino in Atlantic City—reached a deal to restore power to the 47-story building. But that deal is only for two weeks of power and the future of the property—as well as when it will re-open—remains in doubt, as well as Straub’s application for a gaming license.
In the wake of a county smoking ban that will require its West Virginia casino to go smoke-free, Eldorado Resorts is taking action to accommodate nonsmokers at Presque Isle Downs (l.).
Ohio State Senator Bill Coley claims that only casino interests are criticizing his proposal for taxing casino promotional credits. He may be right, but casino operators in the state are pretty nearly unanimous in their criticism of his bill.
New Orleans' smoking ban took effect April 22 at the city's 500-plus bars and gambling venues, including Harrah's New Orleans. The casino lost a lawsuit to stop the ban but continues to push for some exceptions, while corporate lobbyists are working with legislators to try to weaken the ordinance.
Creditors of Caesars Entertainment Corporation’s largest operating unit filed objections to the request by Caesars to extend the filing deadline.
The sale of the Gold Strike in Jean, Nevada has been approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission. The property has been purchased by JETT Gaming, the former owners of Herbst Gaming.
The organizers of an outdoor music festival titled Electric Adventure Bloom will move their August festival to Atlantic City from Seaside Heights this summer.
The Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Isle Hotel Casino in Waterloo, Iowa does not have to pay 87-year old Pauline McKee $41,797,550.16. A computer glitch caused a screen with that bonus award to appear on the penny slot McKee was playing in 2011.
A recent City Council meeting saw members of the council discuss how to spend a $10 million surplus, and the idea of spending $200,000 to update the city's arch came to light. Most seem to be in favor, however, some feel any change may mess with history.
On Monday, May 1, health insurance provided by the UNITE HERE Local 1 union has been replaced by Ameristar Casino's plan, which members claim will cost more. The casino and the union have been unable to agree on a contract since the latest one expired in 2012.
Going retro seems to be the theme at the new Westgate, which looks to bring back the old days of the International. A 30,000 square-foot Elvis exhibit, a new Elvis show and Suzanne Somers show are new attractions.
A very poor month of March on the Las Vegas Strip has brought down number for the state as a whole. However, local markets and Reno showed spikes in revenue.
Atlantic City has long been plagued by a statistical anomaly when calculating the resort’s crime rate. While New Jersey does consider seasonal residents in shore resort communities for the rate, there’s no method to count Atlantic City’s millions of daily and short-term visitors, thereby skewing the crime rate.
Horseshoe Casino Baltimore will become the first Maryland casino to offer wagering on horse races, with equipment to be installed in time for the Kentucky Derby.
A bill has been approved by the Nevada Senate, which would see tighter regulations in the hiring process of nightclub employees. The bill, if enacted will kick employees out of the system.
Despite 16 court and administrative decisions in favor of the Tohono O'odham Nation, the U.S. House of Representatives is considering legislation to stop its $550 million West Valley Resort and Casino, now under construction near Glendale, Arizona. If that happens, taxpayers could owe the tribe up to $1 billion.
Shake-ups at the Pueblo of Pojoaque business enterprises in New Mexico have observers wondering if a political struggle is going on, as stated by Allen Mosley who recently resigned as chief executive officer after nine years. In addition, Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino General Manager Mark Schrecengost was placed on administrative leave. Former Governor George Rivera (l.) is again smack in the middle.
Now that it appears that the Connecticut legislature is serious about allowing the state’s two gaming tribes to add new casinos, towns and potential developers are stepping forward with proposals. The former Showcase Cinemas (l.) in East Hartford would be transformed into a casino under the plan.
A bill in Congress introduced by Kansas Senator Jerry Moran (l.) would amend the Wagner Act to make it clear that the National Labor Relations Board has no authority over tribal businesses. The NLRB has been asserting its authority in this area since 2004.
Some members of Congress are unhappy that the Department of the Interior won’t slow down the process of introducing new regulations from recognizing Indian tribes to give Congress more of a say. The regulations were first put out for pubic review less than a year ago.
The Tulalip Tribes have been denied a motion for additional video-gambling terminals in the state of Washington. The initial ruling was on December 11, 2014, while the Court of Appeals held up the decision on April 17.
California’s Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians is halfway to completion of the second hotel for the Viejas Casino and Resort. The second tower will add 104 rooms.
Following strong opposition to—and ultimately approval of-- a Lucky Lil's casino attached at a gas station, the city council in Kalispell, Montana has embarked on a thorough review of casino policies. Currently the city has nine requirements, including rules for signage, size, location and licensing.
A bill requiring a report on lottery terminals' locations in regard to the neighborhood's socioeconomic status now is under consideration in the Oregon Senate, having passed the House 55-3. The measure is a response to critics who said the lottery preys on problem gamblers.
The head of the Iowa lottery told state legislators that the lottery is monitoring how online lottery sales are going for other states and may propose online sales in Iowa.
The National Indian Gaming Commission has named Shannon O’Loughlin (l.) as chief of staff to Chairman Jonodev Chaudhuri, and Eric Shepard as general counsel.
The Nevada Gaming Commission recently faced a shakeup with attorney Joe Brown vacating his position for personal reasons. The spot will be filled by Michonne Ascuaga (l.).
Stephen L. Martino, the former top regulator for the Maryland casino and lottery industries, has joined the Baltimore office of the Duane Morris law firm.
Tropicana Entertainment has turned to a former executive of Revel Atlantic City to fill its chief financial officer post. Terry Glebocki will take the post after approval by New Jersey regulators.
Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has appointed Gav Thompson, former CMO for Thunderhead, as its new chief marketing officer.
John "Bomber" Clark recently was promoted to human resources director and Gary Litzau was named marketing director at Shooting Star Casino, Hotel and Event Center in Mahnomen, Minnesota. Both are lifelong members of the White Earth Nation, which owns the facility.
With a number of high-profile exits of Zynga executives—including its CEO—Zynga has confirmed it has moved to retain two of its major executives.
The Remote Gambling Association—the largest trade association for online gambling operators—has made two new appointments. The group has named a new director of regulatory affairs and a director of government relations.
A new chief executive officer, Brian Hinchley, has taken the helm at Table Trac Inc.
Scientific Games will provide a complete suite of Bally systems solutions, games and table products to the new Baha Mar Casino & Hotel (l.) in Nassau, The Bahamas.
Big sendoffs were given to the TournEvent of Champions teams in Austin, Texas, and Las Vegas last week from Multimedia Games and new owner, GCA. The caravans will travel to more than 100 casinos to conduct tournaments leading up to the big showdown at the Encore in Las Vegas in September.
The Pojoaque Tribe has selected Bally system solutions including the Bally SDS slot management system for its casinos in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Visitors to Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Pennsylvania can vote on their favorite of two mystery beers, crafted by local Snitz Creek Brewery, now through June 6. The winning brew will be offered exclusively at the property along with more than 50 other draft and bottle choices.
Atlantic City casinos and racetracks now can negotiate the rates for simulcasting, thanks to a measure recently signed into law by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Previously, simulcasting fees were capped.
A keynote by MGM Resorts Chairman James Murren (l.) and a panel by a high-level executive of Inspired Gaming Group are among the G2E Asia events announced.
Although Elaine Wynn (shown with former husband Steve Wynn in happier days) will not retain her spot on the board of Wynn Resorts Ltd., she feels no regrets in her last ditch effort to hold onto the seat from which she was removed.
Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson testified in the lawsuit against him and his company over the alleged wrongful firing of former Sands China chief Steven Jacobs (l.).
American Gaming Association President and Chief Executive Officer Geoff Freeman invited new U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to join the AGA's initiative, “Stop Illegal Gambling–Play it Safe.” Lynch prosecuted illegal gambling cases as a U.S. Attorney and said during confirmation hearings she would work with Congress to address illegal gambling.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s pledge to track down corrupt public officials, from high-ranking “tigers” to lower-level “flies,” has netted its first big cat. Former Communist Party official Li Chuncheng did not dispute the charges in a one-day trial held last month.
Small Nuggets of News
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