Out With the Old…

It was an odd week in Las Vegas for the past and future of the city. On May 4, the Riviera closed for good. The property, purchased by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for $182.5 million, will be taken down this summer to serve as a link between the Convention Center at the Strip. And the next day, ground was broken on Genting’s Resorts World Las Vegas (featuring Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Genting CEO KT Lim), which is slated to begin opening in stages by mid-2018.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Sweet Home Alabama

In a rare move, Republican legislators in Alabama are supporting allowing gambling to help close the state's $280 million-plus budget gap. The bill’s sponsor, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (l.), will hold a public hearing by the Tourism and Marketing Committee on May 12 regarding his constitutional amendment to let voters decide if they want a lottery and four casinos. But what does that mean for the state’s only existing casino operators, the Poarch Creek tribe?

Numbers Down, Shares Up in Macau

The value of Macau casino shares rose on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, even as the gaming hub reaches what analysts hope is its bottom. GGR fell almost 39 percent to 19.2 billion patacas ($2.4 billion) in April. But stock values rose, as dividends continued to take a hit.

Portugal Legalizes Online Gambling

A new online gambling bill has been approved by the Portugal Council of Ministers. The bill brings online gambling in the country under the gaming regulatory agency Santa Casa de Misericordia de Lisboa.

UK Elections Could Decide FOBT Debate

Despite self-policing efforts by the U.K. gaming industry, the debate continues to rage over fixed-odds betting terminals, which now number more than 34,000 in the country. FOBTs have been called the “crack cocaine” of betting. Now that the Conservatives have won, and PM David Cameron (l.) remains in power, decisions could be made rapidly.

Penn REIT Talks to Pinnacle

Pinnacle Entertainment has confirmed it is in talks with Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. for a possible sale of its real estate assets, including the L’Auberge casino in Baton Rouge (l.), the company’s newest property.

Indiana Gaming Bill Becomes Law Without Governor's Signature

Indiana Governor Mike Pence (l.) allowed HB 1540, a bill that would permit the state's riverboat casinos to move ashore, to become law without his signature. Some casino operators are ready to start construction while others said the bill only helps a select few. The bill also moved the approval live dealers at racinos to 2021, after Pence leaves office, assuming a second term.

Marketing Legend Romero Passes

John Romero, one of the most innovative minds in casino marketing, passed away last week at the age of 85. A very accomplished author, editor and marketing executive, he developed many marketing events and campaigns that are still used in today’s casinos.

Seminoles Pursue Compact Negotiations

Following the Florida legislature's abrupt departure without renewing the Seminole compact, the tribe wrote to Governor Rick Scott (l.) and legislative leaders demanding the state resume good faith negotiations before federal courts intervene. The compact, which ends July 31, allows banked card games at Seminole casinos in exchange for $1 billion over five years.


U.S. Pushes Japan Casinos

In its campaign for new casinos in Japan, the American Gaming Association is sharing its first-ever set of Anti-Money Laundering Best Practices with representatives of the country. AGA representatives, including President & CEO Geoff Freeman (l.), met the Japanese in Washington and New York, and soon will visit Tokyo.

South Korea Woos Chinese ‘Low Rollers’

The Asian country is using a double-pronged approach to attract both “low-rollers,” or Chinese shoppers, and VIP gamblers, who have fled Macau in record numbers. The number of Chinese visitors to South Korea has skyrocketed, but revenue has not.

Galaxy Phase 2 May Add 150 Tables

Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. is expected to get 150 gaming tables for its HKD19.6 billion (US$2.5 billion) Galaxy Macau Phase 2 property on the Cotai Strip. Initial plans for the second phase of Galaxy was to contain 500 tables.

Chinese Influence Grows in Jeju

As Chinese tourists flood the island of Jeju, more and more Chinese investors are banking on the South Korean province. The provincial government is concerned that foreigners could end up with a majority ownership of the island’s casinos.

Macau to Consider Smoking Lounges

Government officials in Macau are “open” to airport-style enclosed smoking lounges on casino floors. No final decision has been made on the lounges, but lawmakers are willing to “listen to every stakeholder,” according to analysts.

Vietnam OKs Phu Quoc Casino

The government of Vietnam has approved a casino resort on the vacation island of Phu Quoc. The country hopes to be more competitive with Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Macau.

Monetary Easing Could Help Macau

A monetary easing policy in China could bring relief to the country’s sluggish economy, according to a recent study published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics.


Scotbet Joins Senet Group

The independent Scottish bookmaker has become the first new member of the Senet Group, joining Paddy Power, Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral to promote responsible gambling in the U.K.

Greeks Betting Increases in ‘14

Greek bettors spent €5.9 billion on games of chance in 2014, up 9 percent from 2013, according to by the Greek gaming commission. It was the first time since 2009 that the Greek gaming industry saw a rebound.


Queensland Scraps ASF Resort

The government of Queensland, Australia has scuttled plans by ASF Consortium’s to develop a $7 billion-plus integrated resort on Australia’s Gold Coast. Environmentalists had worried about a cruise-ship terminal at the development.

Goa Casino Plan Causes Infighting

With almost 20 offshore and land-based casinos, Goa now plans five more gaming halls across the Indian state. That’s got some lawmakers suiting up for battle. One says casinos are already having a “bad effect” on locals.

Mexican State Bans Casinos

The Mexican state of Guanajuato has amended its constitution to ban both casinos and table dances. Governor Miguel Márquez Márquez (l.) of the National Action Party says such businesses could be used as fronts for money laundering.


California’s iPoker Bill Moves Forward With Amendments

A bill largely devoid of substance but that allows iPoker to move ahead has been passed by a key committee of the California Assembly. Bo Mazzetti (l.), chairman of the Rincon Band, has reportedly been backing this “shell” bill that will need to be filled with details before it can become law. And the devil, of course, in the details.

888 Signs On in Pennsylvania

Online casino giant 888 Holdings has signed a partnership deal with Mount Airy Casino Resort to jointly develop a for-money gaming website if iGaming is legalized.

Not Seeing I to I

With gaming operators not seeming to agree on the legalization of online gaming, Jim Murren and Steve Wynn serve as two examples of just that.

Bleacher Report: NBA Studying International Sports Betting Deal

According to a report by the sports website Bleacher Report, the NBA is looking into offering sports betting on the league’s games in international markets outside the U.S. League officials, most notably NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, have called for legal, regulated sports betting in the U.S.

MGM’s Murren: Fantasy Sports is Gambling

Speaking to reporters in Washington, MGM CEO Jim Murren reputed those who say daily fantasy sports isn’t gambling. Fantasy sports have been receiving exemptions in a number of gambling laws and proposed laws including the proposed ban on online gambling in Congress. Mullen also said MGM would be interested in pursuing building a casino in Northern New Jersey.

Bill Would Kill Interstate Horseracing Simulcasts

Two U.S. lawmakers are calling for the repeal of laws allowing for interstate simulcasting for horse racing citing the slowness of the industry to clean up doping in the sport. The bill would repeal the Interstate Horseracing Act.


KG Urban Obtains Financing for New Bedford Casino

KG Urban has teamed up with gaming veteran Scott Butera (l.), former CEO of Foxwoods, and obtained funding from Gaming and Leisure Properties for its proposed casino resort in New Bedford. The developer delivered this news to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission just before the May 4 deadline to submit a Phase I plan.

Rita Holds Chicago Casino Hearings

Illinois state Rep. Bob Rita (l.) again has proposed two measures that could bring a casino to Chicago. The legislation is similar to the bills he proposed last year, but proposed the casino be state-owned, not city-owned. He recently held the first of two House committee hearings in Chicago to review the issue.

Revel Power Struggle Still in Doubt

No settlement has been announced in the standoff between Glen Straub, the owner of the closed Revel Atlantic City casino and its energy supplier ACR Energy (power plant at left). It now seems mediation will have to end the dispute. At issue is payment of ACR’s debt agreement with the casino’s previous owner. Meanwhile, the power is on at the property temporarily.

Caesars Gets One-Month Extension on Plan

A U.S. bankruptcy judge has granted Caesars Entertainment Operating Company one additional month in which to present its restructuring plan, denying its request for six months.

Dover Downs to Cut Jobs

Dover Downs, facing continuing losses due to increased competition, will cut 24 positions and scale back table game operations. The decision is expected to put pressure on state officials to further mitigate the massive tax burden carried by the state’s three casinos.

AGA PAC Gears for 2016

The American Gaming Association is revving up its political action committee for the 2016 national election cycle, vowing to spend more than in 2012 on issues supporting the industry.

Stockton to Investigate Showboat Atlantic City Sale

Stockton University has voted to fund an investigation into the school’s recent purchase of the closed Showboat casino in Atlantic City. The controversial sale has left the university with an $18 million property that it can’t use and does not have clear title to. Meanwhile, Atlantic City officials are trying to save the sale.

Twin River Sells Plan to Move Newport Grand to Tiverton

Now that Twin River Worldwide Holdings has purchased the Newport Grand casino, it wants to move the facility to the border town of Tiverton to attract Massachusetts residents. Last week it began the soft sell to the residents and officials of the city.

Louisiana Senators Stall Harrah’s Staff Reduction Plan

A Louisiana Senate bill amendment would allow Harrah's New Orleans to drop 400 employees. But lawmakers delayed action after learning Mayor Mitch Landrieu and others were unaware of the plan. Caesars Entertainment officials said the amendment is unrelated to the city's recent indoor smoking ban, although they claim casino revenue could drop 20 percent.

Texas Legislature Disappoints Racetracks

Texas horse racetracks attracted larger crowds despite cutting race days. But while state legislators battle over punishing the Texas Racing Commission for approving historic racing without their permission, operators of Texas' three horse racetracks, including Sam Houston Park President Andrea Young (l.). wait in vain for help that would enhance purses and attract better horses, jockeys and trainers.

Icahn, Trop Refuse Workers’ Protest Letter

Workers with Atlantic City’s main casino union tried to hand-deliver a letter to Carl Icahn (l.) protesting the loss of their health benefits at the Trump Taj Mahal—which Icahn is acquiring—but were turned away. Icahn was staying at the Tropicana casino resort in Atlantic City, which he also owns. It was the union’s sixth protest against Icahn.

Toledo has Done Well From Casino Revenues

Although Ohio cities like Toledo are not making as much money from the casino resorts (Toledo’s Hollywood Casino at left) that the voters authorized in 2009 as promised, they aren’t doing bad. And when you add revenues from racinos, they are doing very well indeed.

Bangor, Maine Mulls Abating Casino Tax

The city of Bangor, Maine, isn’t necessarily buying the claim by the Hollywood Casino that its property values have declined and its property taxes should be decreased by $37 million. The city will consider the request this week.

Atlantic City Gets Bond Upgrade

Standard & Poor’s has given an A- rating to a series of bonds Atlantic City is planning to sell, citing increased help from the state for the struggling municipality and the unlikelihood that the city will declare bankruptcy.

Boyd Thrilled with Start to Year

The numbers are in for the year's first quarter for Boyd, and the company is happy with the results. While some local market casinos dipped in revenue, both Downtown Las Vegas and Atlantic City’s Borgata (l.) did well for the company.

Mayweather-Pacquiao A Success?

Now that the “Fight of the Century” is in the books, some of the numbers have finally surfaced, from hotel room rates, to money wagered on the fight. With what people considered to be good value on Pacquiao, sports books in the state of Nevada cleaned up.

MGM Brushes Off Revenue Decline

Even with MGM Resorts International losing big in Macau, CEO Jim Murren (l.) remains confident the company is on the right track. With several properties in the works, and Murren's belief Macau will stabilize in 2016, he is looking forward to the future, which can't come fast enough.

Atlantic City Government Looks to Lay Off 200

According to local reports, Atlantic City’s municipal government has submitted a plan to lay off 200 employees to New Jersey. The plan comes as a state financial monitor continues to work on the city’s finances and had called for layoffs.

Casinos Don't Enrich Montana Cities

Since 2001, Montana has collected casino tax revenue of 15 percent annually and pooled that with other taxes and fees to distribute to host cities. The law was created to stabilize annual payments to municipalities for easier budget planning. As a result, Montana cities don't have a lot to gain by licensing more casinos.

Meeting Planners Pick Atlantic City for Conference

Meeting Professionals International has announced it will hold a major conference at Harrah’s Atlantic City’s new convention and conference Center in 2016. The MPI’s World Education Conference is a major show for the new center.

Beach Tower Opens At Coast Casino

The $58 million renovation at Island View Casino's Beach Tower in Gulfport, Mississippi recently was unveiled. The 18-story Art Deco-style building, vacant since Hurricane Katrina, offers 405 hotel rooms, two restaurants, a spa and convention space, and created 300 new jobs. A pedestrian bridge over U.S. 90 links the hotel and casino.

New Jersey Track Expects Good Year

Officials for Monmouth Park racetrack in New Jersey are optimistic of a good season, even though sports betting has still not been approved in the state. The park is seen as the first site that will offer sports betting should the courts approve the state’s sports betting plan.

Deadwood Casino Employees Receive Training

To get ready to offer craps and roulette under a new law taking effect in July, Deadwood, South Dakota casino employees are attending an intensive, six-week training program offered by the Deadwood Gaming Association and the state Commission on Gaming. Two dealers from the Casino Dealers School of Colorado are leading the program.

Louisiana Casinos Oppose Funding Rape Exams

Louisiana casinos oppose House Bill 143 which would pay for rape victims' medical exams using casinos' unclaimed gambling money, about $1.2 million annually. Sponsor state Rep. Helena Moreno said the state illegally bills rape victims for the exams. Louisiana Casino Association Director Wade Duty said casinos already pay high taxes.


Senate Moves Forward on Bill to Stop Arizona Casino

A bill, sponsored by Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake (l.), would prevent the Tohono O’odham tribe of Arizona from operating a casino in Glendale. It is moving rapidly through the U.S. Senate. The Keep the Promise Act is identical to a bill being carried in the House.

Connecticut Towns Watch Casino Legislation Closely

Connecticut lawmakers haven’t yet adopted a bill that would allow the state’s two gaming tribes to build up to three satellite casinos near the border with Massachusetts. Yet some border towns are starting to get excited about the possibility that they might host one of those casinos.

Idaho Tribe Seeks to go Around Governor’s Veto of Instant Racing Bill

When Governor Butch Otter (l.) of Idaho vetoed a bill that would have banned historical or “instant” racing machines at the state’s racetracks, his action was immediately challenged by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, that claimed he didn’t act soon enough to fulfill the legal requirement.

Florida Town Protests Land-Trust Application

For the third time since 2003, residents of Kendale Lakes, Florida hope to prevent the Bureau of Indian Affairs from taking into trust the Miccosukee Golf and Country Club for a casino. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has sent a formal letter of protest and area residents are circulating petitions to stop the action.

Muckleshoot Casino Celebrates 20 Years

Now two decades old, the Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn, Washington was the fourth to open in the state and the first in the world to offer ticket-in, ticket-out cashless technology, said Chief Financial Officer Eric Durban. The casino recently revamped its electronic gaming platform and will present several new promotions.

Tribe to Open Small Oregon Casino

Oregon’s newest casino, the Three Rivers Casino Coos Bay, opened last week in Coos Bay. The $15 million casino is owned and operated by the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians.

Chukchansi Casino Raiders Plead Guilty

Most of a group of men who participated in a SWAT like raid on the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino in California last fall have agreed to plead guilty to charges that carry minimal sentences. Their leader, Tex McDonald, pleaded guilty to illegal imprisonment.

Barstow Casino Project Hopes Remains Alive

Ten years the city of Barstow in Southern California has waited for the San Diego tribe the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeño Indians to be allowed to put land into trust in the city for a casino. However, the fruits of such a casino are well worth waiting for, officials say.

The Wonderful Casino of Oz

The highly-anticipated Yellow Brick Road Casino will open on June 2 in Chittenango, New York, home to “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” author L. Frank Baum.


Minnesota Lawmakers Vote To Curb Lottery

The Minnesota Senate recently voted 56-8 to approve a bill that would ban lottery ticket sales online and at gas pumps and ATMs. Lawmakers contend the lottery overstepped its authority in offering the new sales methods. Governor Mark Dayton (l.), who vetoed a similar bill last year, has not said if he will veto the bill again.

Oregon Lawmakers Push Lottery Reforms

Sweeping reform of the Oregon Lottery will probably have to wait for another day. Although significant reforms were proposed this year, lawmakers balked at doing anything that might cut profits from the lottery to the state.

Christie Administration Defends New Jersey Lottery Contract

Despite the fact that the New Jersey Lottery has lost money for two consecutive years, the administration of Governor Chris Christie (l.) is defending his move to privatize the lottery two years ago. Officials said lottery proceeds are declining around the country and said the state’s private lottery operators have lived up to their promises.


Maryland Names New Lottery Chief

Gordon Medenica a veteran of running state and private lotteries has been named director of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.

DEQ Names Benak CFO

DEQ Systems has named former Tropicana Entertainment financial executive Christopher Benak as the company’s new chief financial officer.

Betfair Names CMO

Betfair has appointed Johnny Devitt to the position of chief marketing officer. Devitt formerly worked with Paddy Power.



Officials of the American Gaming Association met with officials of the Internal Revenue Service to brief them on the industry’s position on the proposed lowering of the win report threshold.

NagaCorp Signs Up Electronic Gamer

NagaCorp Ltd. has announced a new agreement with CMC Phnom Penh Import Export Co., granting the company a designated electronic gaming business at NagaWorld (l.) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s largest casino.

GLI Details Europe Roundtable

Gaming Laboratories International’s 10th annual European Regulators Roundtable will take place on May 28 and 29 at the Crown Plaza in Rome.

Tropicana Picks Cammegh

The Tropicana Atlantic City has selected Cammegh Mercury 360 roulette wheels for 15 installations in the casino’s table-game pit.

An Apple Pay a Day

Highly touted Apple Pay will be accepted as payment in the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas beginning in June. The payment will be accepted for several resort services and retail purchases.


GGW Presents Power of the Suit Fundraising Fashion Show

Global Gaming Women will present a fashion show in Las Vegas on June 26 called “Power of the Suit.” The event will include a panel of some of the top female executives in the gaming industry, discussing how to get ahead.


Dead to Me

Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson denied allegations by former Sands China chief Steven Jacobs that he maintained a relationship with a Chinese official to press for special privileges, and denied gang allegations.




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