Hard Rock, Meadowlands Unveil Casino Plan

North Jersey lawmakers joined Hard Rock Chairman Jim Allen and Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural to unveil the casino plan for Meadowlands racetrack. Meanwhile, a bill to authorize up to three casinos in North Jersey has been introduced into the state Assembly. The bill is short on details but long on enthusiasm.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Boston Bashes Wynn

Boston has upped the heat of its rhetoric against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and its granting of a license to build a casino in Everett at the same time that the commission has petitioned to have Boston’s lawsuit against the license thrown out. Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria (l.) told Boston leader Marty Walsh to “man up” and said Walsh should just accept the loss and move on.

AGA Marks 20th, Identifies Key Issues

AGA President Geoff Freeman (l.) marked the organization’s 20th anniversary with a press conference/conference call identifying key issues facing the industry, and explaining why the organization has been so proactive under his leadership.

New Jersey Regulators Issue Ultimatum to Affiliates

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Director David Rebuck (l.) last week issued a memo to affiliates, giving them 150 days to comply with state law, and that if any of them continue to promote illegal offshore iGaming sites they will face enforcement action. At the same time, these sites have until November to “wind down” their relationships with the illegal sites.

GAO Report Criticizes NIGC

A long-awaited report by the General Accountability Office on tribal government gaming has resulted in a suggestion to improve the oversight of the industry by the National Indian Gaming Commission.

Illinois Lawmakers Move Gambling Bill

Illinois lawmakers will address state Senator Terry Link's SB 1382 this summer, allowing a Chicago-owned casino, four others in the Chicago area and smaller "satellite" casinos. Meanwhile SB 777, awaiting the signature of Governor Bruce Rauner (l.), would let Chicago keep city-owned casino revenue for its first seven years for future pension payments.

Unhappy Anniversary

The casino industry in Macau is marking 12 straight months of revenue declines as the historic slump drags on and on. A looming full smoking ban won’t help, nor will the 3 percent annual cap on table growth. But at least the comps will be easier.

Good News, Bad News for Caesars

A U.S. bankruptcy judge has given Caesars Entertainment until November to submit a reorganization plan for its largest unit, but a District Court judge’s ruling could unravel part of the plan.

Cyprus Casino Attracts Major Firms

Up to 15 gaming companies may be preparing to bid on a license to operate a casino in Cyprus, according to news reports. Interested parties are said to include international operators including MGM, Caesars and Genting.

U.S. Treasury Given CNMI Casino Jurisdiction

In a case between the U.S. government against Hong Kong Entertainment over 158 criminal charges in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a judge has given the U.S. Department of the Treasury authority to regulate casinos on the land. The department immediately fined the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino for violating FinCEN rules.


Wynn Active in Asia

Despite some questions about when some of the Cotai projects would open, Wynn Palace will open on time. Also, Steve Wynn visited Kazakhstan to talk with President Nursultan Nazarbayev (l.) about building a casino resort in that Asian country.

Donaco Pays $360 Million for Cambodian Casino

Australia-listed gaming operator Donaco International will pay $360 million to acquire Star Vegas (l.) in Poipet, Cambodia. Star Vegas has 109 tables and more than 1,260 gaming machines, with room to add more. It also has a hotel.

Will S. Korea Open Up Locals Market?

Some analysts say South Korea has limited the country’s casino industry by limiting the opportunities for locals to play. Of the country’s 17 land-based casinos, 16 prohibit South Korean nationals to play.

NagaWorld Leases Out More Slots

Cambodian casino operator NagaCorp Ltd. will lease a 300-machine EGM business at its NagaWorld (l.) casino resort in Phnom Penh. NagaCorp will get 70 percent of the revenue, and investors will pick up the rest.


Senet Group Continues Ad Blitz

The Senet Group, an “independent gambling self-regulator” launched by a coalition of U.K. gaming operators, is rolling out a new series of ads to encourage responsible gaming.

MGA OKs First Cruise Liner Casino

A gaming cruise ship arrived in Malta this week, the first floating casino approved by the Maltese Gaming Authority. The Crystal Serenity (l.) will offer a number of table games as well as slots and video poker.

Primorye’s First Casino to Open in August

Lawrence Ho has confirmed that the first casino resort in the Primorye Integrated Entertainment Zone is expected to open as planned in August of this year. The IEZ is expected to tap into a strong Asian gambling market.


Crown, Lend Lease: It’s A Deal

Australian casino operator Crown Entertainment has signed a $1 billion agreement with developer Lend Lease to build a massive casino resort at Barangaroo South in Sydney Harbor.

Going Deutsche in Panama

An ugly battle between Deutsche Bank and the Veneto Hotel & Casino (l.) in Panama City is ongoing, in which each party has a different take on the casino's poor numbers.

Genting Waits for Echo OK

The Genting Group may be nearing completion of a plan to acquire a larger stake of Echo Entertainment’s Star casino (l.). The company currently owns 6.6 percent of the Sydney property. It needs the government OK’s to buy more.

Growth Spurt for Indian Mobile

India’s mobile gaming market could grow to US$571.6 million sometime next year, according to a new research study. That’s a surge of more than 130 percent for the period between 2013 and 2016.

ASF, Queensland Reopen Casino Talks

The ASF Consortium is talking with the Queensland government in hopes of advancing its plan to build a mega-casino on Wavebreak Island along Australia’s Gold Coast. The plan was shelved in April.

IP: Six Months to Saipan Resort

Imperial Pacific International will spend up to US$7 billion on a casino resort on Saipan, and build the complex within six months. The resort will include two hotels as well as a 200,000-square meter gaming hall.

SkyCity Welcomes VIPs

SkyCity Entertainment Group has seen saw VIP revenues rise by 99 percent to NZD 118 million (US$84.2 million), in part because some Macau high rollers are patronizing its casinos in New Zealand and Australia.

Myanmar Opening New Hotels on Mergui

Myanmar, now considering legislation to legalize casinos in the country, is working to transform part of the Mergui archipelago into an eco-tourism destination. Foreigners-only casinos could legally open in luxury hotels.


Anti-PokerStars Ad Campaign Begins in California

The war of words surrounding the issue of an online poker bill in California has heated up. The Viejas Band, which is a member of a coalition that supports such legislation, but wants to lock out PokerStars, last week started airing ads attacking the online poker provider.

Louisiana Daily Fantasy Sports Bill Blocked

A bill to legalize daily fantasy sports in Louisiana has drawn some surprise opposition that threatens to derail the measure. The bill would classify fantasy sports as a game of skill, but opponents say luck is still a factor and playing fantasy sports is gambling. The bill will not be heard during the current state legislative session, which ends this week.

Playtech to Takeover Plus500

Playtech, the gambling software company founded by Israeli entrepreneur Teddy Sagi, has made a surprise takeover bid for Plus500 at a price of £460m. The troubled Israeli contracts-for-difference trading business had been forced to freeze customer accounts by the Financial Conduct Authority, which had found there were problems with Plus500's anti-money laundering identity checks.

Teufelberger Could Get €24 million for Bwin Sale

England’s Daily Telegraph has reported that bwin.party CEO Norbert Teufelberger (l.) could make about 24 million euros is the company goes through with a sale. The company is in negotiations with 888 Holdings and GVC Holding partnered with Amaya gaming to sell the company.

Isle of Man and Netherlands to Sign Gambling Agreement

The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission and the Netherlands Gaming Authority are preparing to enter into an agreement on online gambling rules once the country legalizes online gambling. The two organizations have already signed a letter of intent.

Playtech Adds Slots to Spanish Platforms

Playtech has announced it will supply its licensees in the Spanish market with access to its industry-leading slots portfolio. Spanish regulators approved the offering of casino slots games last year, but only recently allowed their online launch earlier this month.

Inspired Adds New Mobile Games to William Hill

Inspired Gaming has launched two new HTML5 mobile games on William Hill’s omni channel portfolio. The games are “Centurion” and the episodic HTML5 mobile game “Spirit of the Samurai.”

Spain Licenses 10 New Operators

The Spanish gaming regulator has awarded 10 new licenses to companies including Eurobet, Merkur Interactive, SKS365 and Net Ent. The regulator also will announce its first set of approved licenses for online slots.


No Lottery, Casinos For Alabama

A measure allowing voters decide if they wanted a lottery and racinos died in the Alabama Senate. Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh proposed the constitutional amendment to help fill the state's $200 million budget gap. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians, operators of the Wind Creek casino (l.) in Atmore, offered the state $250 million in exchange for gaming exclusivity.

Slots OK At Florida Racetrack Affects Other Counties

The First District Court of Appeals' recent ruling that slots be allowed at Gretna Racing in Gadsden County, Florida, could impact the five other counties where voters have approved slots at parimutuels. Currently only the Seminole Tribe and tracks in the southern part of the state are allowed to offer slots.

Atlantic City’s Bally's Wild Wild West Goes for Budget Conscious

Atlantic City’s Bally’s Wild Wild West casino (l.)—owned by Caesars Entertainment—has announced a new plan to target budget-conscious visitors. A $3 million renovation of part of the casino floor will include and indoor/outdoor bar area as well as low-limit table games. Casino officials say they are targeting younger guests looking for bargains.

Atlantic City Developer Gives Progress Report

Bart Blatstein (l.) invited reporters to view the progress of “The Playground,” to open July 4 at the former site of the Pier at Caesars, and to announce dining and entertainment alliances.

Support in Rhode Island House for Transferring Casino License

Support is building for approving of the license transfer from New Grand slots parlor in Newport to Twin River, which purchased the rival casino several months ago. The transfer would also make it easier for Twin River to move the casino from Newport to Tiverton, near the Massachusetts border.

Straub Talks Revel, Might Sell

Developer Glen Straub (l.), who bought Atlantic City’s Revel casino, talked about a number of plans for the casino recently that in his usual cryptic way contradicted previous statements and continues to leave the future of the property in doubt. Straub, for example, said he has no plans to sell the property, but might if offered $200 million for the $2.4 billion site.

Las Vegas Casinos Promote Sustainability

Las Vegas casinos have continued to partake in business practices that help the environment and promote sustainability. Some anti-gambling parties, however, feel this is not enough.

Showboat Deal Leads to Call for Tighter Oversight of Atlantic City Casinos

The bungled sale of Atlantic City’s Showboat casino has led to a call for tighter oversight of casinos in New Jersey. In the sale, Caesars Entertainment knew the property had a legal requirement in place that it always be used as a casino, but sold it with a deed restriction that it cannot be used as a casino. Officials want the state Casino Control Commission to monitor such sales in the future.

Kansas Developers Make Their Case

The three developers competing to build a state-owned casino in Kansas' Southeast Gaming Zone recently made presentations to the Kansas Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board, the panel that will make its choice known on June 23. Following a background check the state gaming commission will have 10 days to announce its final decision. Las Vegas casino owner Phil Ruffin (l.) is one of the bidders.

April Showers Cash in Nevada

The numbers are in for Nevada in April, and overall, they look quite positive, particularly in Downtown Las Vegas (l.). Some areas showed dips in gaming revenue, but overall, tourism grew.

Iowa Commissioners Review Hard Rock

Although the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Sioux City, Iowa opened last August, Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission Chairman Jeff Lamberti only recently visited the $128 million facility. In November 2013, following a heated competition, the commission granted the Hard Rock group a license to develop a land-based operation in Woodbury County.

Las Vegas May Go Underground

A 15-point plan for transportation improvements has been unveiled by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. The improvements would take anywhere from one to 20 years to be fully implemented.

Authorities Crack Down on Underground Casinos in South Texas

In the little border town of Falfurrias, Texas, hundreds of law enforcement officials recently raided a dozen illegal casinos that attracted hundreds of daily visitors. The casinos' gambling machines are legal but under Texas law, it's illegal to award cash prizes or prizes above a certain value. In a related move, the American Gaming Association and AGEM have joined forces to battle illegal gambling in Texas.

Big Changes Upstream For Rivers Casino

Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh has proposed a plan to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board which would see the addition of a $50 million hotel to the property. Meanwhile, workers inside are demanding better working conditions.

Tunica Gaming Strong Despite Harrah's Closure

Although Harrah's Casino Hotel (l.) in Tunica closed last year the gaming industry there is "vibrant," said Tunica County Administrator Michael Thompson. Most of the 1,300 Harrah's employees found jobs in other casinos. But the barges and buildings will be dismantled soon, leaving a $15 million hole in property taxes.

Utah Machines to Face Gambling Probe

Machines which can be found inside gas stations and convenience stores in parts of Utah are under investigation for which some feel cross the lines into gambling.

Deadwood Anticipating New Games

With overall gaming revenue up nearly 5 percent for January-April 2015 compared to 2014, casinos in Deadwood, South Dakota are anticipating even better results once keno, craps and roulette make their July 1 debut. Dealers are attending special training to get set for the games.

Saratoga Starts $34 Million Hotel Expansion

Saratoga Casino and Raceway in Saratoga Springs, New York recently broke ground on its $34 million, 108-room hotel expansion, expected to open next summer and compete with the future $300 million Rivers Casino Schenectady. The 123,000 square foot expansion will include a 4-star style hotel, providing 500 construction and 300 permanent jobs.

WSOP Event Draws 22,000, Sets Record

A new event for the 46th annual World Series of Poker, dubbed the “Colossus,” drew 22,374 official entries setting a new record for a live poker tournament event. The WSOP launched 50 days of tournaments culminating with the main event championship at the Rio casino in Las Vegas in July.

Major Rollercoaster, Entertainment Venue Proposed in Atlantic City

A proposed “vertical” rollercoaster for the Atlantic City Boardwalk has caused a stir as it comes just as the resort is trying to diversify its attractions. The news also came as Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein announced that his plans for a major entertainment venue at the city’s former Ocean One Pier Mall are still on track for a July 4 opening.

Florida Casino Sails To South Carolina

The Big M I casino cruise ship is sailing from Fort Myers Beach to assist the Big M II, based on the Little River in Horry County, South Carolina, for the summer. Big M Casinos bought the SunCruz Casino last year after SunCruz and the county reached a settlement over boarding fees.


Yellow Brick Road's Curtain Opens

The highly anticipated Yellow Brick Road Casino has opened in Chittenango, New York. At a cost of $20 million, the investment was small for what should be a bread and butter operation for the Oneida Nation.

Governor to Sign Connecticut Casino Bill

The Connecticut legislature has passed a bill that creates a process for the state’s gaming tribes to seek interested communities that might host a satellite casino. The legislation will be signed by Governor Dannel P. Malloy (l.), according to a spokesman.

Congressman, BIA Tussle Over Authority to Put Land Into Trust

The chairman of the House Subcommittee on Indian Affairs, Don Young, has put the process by which the Bureau of Indian Affairs recognizes tribes under the microscope. This criticism prompted a spirited defense of the process recently by Kevin Washburn, who heads the BIA.

Oklahoma, Louisiana Floods Impact Casinos

Severe flooding in Oklahoma led the Comanche Nation to close its Comanche Nation Casino in Lawton for a day on May 24. In addition, the Apache Nation rescheduled its Memorial Day Truck Giveaway at the Apache Casino Hotel to Sunday, May 31. And Louisiana State Police are monitoring Mississippi River conditions to determine if casinos should close.

California Tribe Aims For Casino

The 792-member Tejon Tribe recently confirmed that it hopes to open a casino in Kern County, California. County supervisors unanimously voted to draft a Memorandum of Understanding with the tribe, and tribal officials said they plan to apply to have land in the area taken into federal trust.

Kansas, NIGC Battle Over Quapaws

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt recently amended a lawsuit aimed at preventing the Quapaw tribe from extending gaming at its Downstream Casino in Oklahoma to the parking lot in Kansas. The National Indian Gaming Commission filed a brief in federal court stating the tribe can do whatever it wants with its Kansas trust land.

St. Croix Allows 18-Year Old Gamblers

St. Croix Casinos, an enterprise of the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin, announced effective June 8, Danbury, Hertel and Turtle Lake dropped the legal gambling age from 21 to 18. Leva "Dino" Oustigoff Jr., Turtle Lake general manager, said the decision was made to better compete with Minnesota casinos.

IRS Demands Tribal Chair's Documents

Miccosukee Tribal Chairman Colley Billie (l.) lost a round in appeals court, which ordered him to give the IRS documents regarding $300 million in annual gaming distributions, about $100,000 paid to each of the tribe's 600 members between 2000 and 2005. Besides claiming sovereign immunity, Billie said the distributions are "general welfare payments" and not taxable.


Casino CEO Moves to Tourism

Mike Bowman, current chief executive officer and president of Valley Forge Casino Resort in Pennsylvania, is leaving that post to head the region’s tourism board.

Aristocrat Announces Systems, Sales Promotions

Aristocrat Technologies has named Clark Warren vice president of system sales, Ron Rivera as vice president of strategic accounts and Pat Schmidt as director of system solutions sales.

Soccer Star Ronaldo Joins PokerStars

Real Madrid and Portugal soccer star Christiano Ronaldo has signed on as a spokesman for PokerStars. Ronaldo will be promoting PokerStars in advertising campaigns and is slated to make special appearances at major live poker events and online poker tournaments.

New York Rivers Casino Gets GM

Rush Street Gaming did not need to look far for their Rivers Casino & Resort at Mohawk Harbor General Manager, naming in-house Mary Cheeks to the position.

Silfverberg Leaves Betsson

Betsson CEO and President Magnus Silfverberg has resigned. The company will conduct a search for a successor.


Amaya Completes Sale of Cadillac Jack, Cooperating in Investigation

Amaya, Inc. competed the sale of its Cadillac Jack slot manufacturing subsidiary to AGS for an aggregate price of $476 million. Meanwhile, Amaya has come under scrutiny from Canada—where it is based—and now must deal with an investigation of its CEO David Baazov (l.) and CFO over the $4.9 billion acquisition.

Scientific Games Gets More NYX Poker; NYX Gets ORYX

NYX Gaming Group announced an extension of its agreement with Scientific Games that allows the company to distribute NYX Poker in a “free-to-play” mode to its customers. Meanwhile, Sportech has sold its 50 percent stake in Sportech-NYX Gaming to joint venture partner NYX Social Gaming for $18.3 million.

Slot Manufacturers Push For Millennials

With the passage of Senate Bill 9, which allows for video game-esque elements of skill to be incorporated into slot machines, slot manufacturers are working quickly to bring millennials into casinos.

Table Trac Chosen for Two New Locations

Table Trac Inc., which manufactures table games management systems, was recently contracted to provide the system to a casino in Colorado and one in California.

Dynam Pushes Mass Market Games in Macau

Pachinko operator Dynam Japan Holdings Ltd. is waiting for Macau to approve its plan to bring “next generation” slots and pachinko machines to the city. Dynam’s CEO says the games could help boost the mass market.




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