Archive: Vol. 13 • No. 26 • June 29 2015
The first casino in Massachusetts, Plainridge Park Casino, opened last week, launching the casino era in the state with a slot parlor-racino. Meanwhile, New Bedford voters by three-to-one margin approved a casino resort for the waterfront in that town, which would likely be the last casino to open. And MGM Resorts has asked for a delay of a year in opening its casino resort in Springfield.
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WEEKLY FEATURE: Online Gaming Ban Back in U.S. Senate
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), shown at left with LVS Chairman Sheldon Adelson, has introduced his expected bill to ban online gaming in the U.S. in the Senate. The bill, titled the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, is seen as coming from the Adelson-backed Coalition to Stop Internet Gaming. A companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives in February. Meanwhile, Texas Congressman Joe Barton has introduced a bill to legalize online poker.
Smaller is Better in Kansas
The $70 million Kansas Crossing project was selected in a 5-2 vote by the Kansas Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board to develop a casino in the state's southeast gaming zone. Kansas Crossing, the smallest of the proposals, beat the $145 million Castle Rock and $84 million Frontenac Casino developments.
Thai Casinos: Official Support Grows
Thailand Finance Minister Sommai Phasee (l.) has joined the call for casino resorts in the country provided they are strictly regulated and located in resort areas. But almost 60 percent of people in a recent survey opposed legal gambling in Thailand.
Jamaica Approves Two Casino Projects
The Jamaican government has provisionally approved two new casinos totaling a $1.3 billion investment: Harmony Cove (l.) in Trelawny and Celebration Jamaica Development in Montego Bay. Both must start construction by mid-2016 and eventually must offer more than 2,000 hotel rooms, completing at least 1,000 before gaming licenses could be granted.
Ladbrokes, Gala Coral Mull Merger
Ladbrokes executives headed by new CEO Jim Mullen (l.) are contemplating a £3.5 billion merger with Gala Coral that would create Britain’s largest bookmaker. But Ladbrokes may have to sell many of the shops that would be owned by a combined company.
Seminoles Will Keep Blackjack Open
Even though a compact with the state that approved tables games at tribal casinos will expire on July 31, the Seminole tribe has told Governor Rick Scott that it will not close down its table games at that time because the tribe believes the state had voided the compact by allowing electronic table games at racinos.
Alabama Casino Victorious; Legislature May Ignore Gaming
VictoryLand Casino (l.), shut down after a raid by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange in 2013, recently won a victory in circuit court when Judge William Shashy ruled the state violated the principle of equal protection under the law, since other bingo operations remain open. And the gambling issue before the state legislature may not be addressed during a special session.
Hitting the Handle
Is big data coming to Nevada books? A new law allows a business to consolidate sports bets with “investors” earning money by winning more than they lose. The law may transform the state betting industry.
FANTINI’S FINANCE: Mystery at MGM
The death of Kirk Kerkorian was met with appropriate tributes to the man who transformed Las Vegas. But what will happen to his stake in MGM Resorts and how will its disposition affect the company?
GLOBAL GAMING BUSINESS PODCAST: Bobby Soper, President, Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority
This week, the GGB Podcast features Bobby Soper, the president of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, on his recent appointment and his plans for the tribe’s gaming activities.
ASIAN GAMING More
Chui: Smoking Ban Has Not Hurt Macau
Macau’s Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On (l.) says a partial smoking ban in the city’s casinos has had no impact on gaming revenues. The local government is considering a full ban, which operators say will weaken an already struggling market.
Grand Ho Tram Considers Vietnamese Gamblers
As the government of Vietnam considers opening casinos to residents, the Grand Ho Tram (l.), open since July 2013, looks forward to reaching a broader clientele. It can work with the proper regs, says a major investor.
Grand Korea, Incheon Airport Sign MOU
Casino operator Grand Korea Leisure Co. Ltd. has inked a deal with Incheon International Airport Corp. to locate its new casino resort on a land parcel adjacent to the airport (l.).
Packer Losing in Macau, Manila
James Packer has bet big on Macau and the Philippines. Those wagers may not be paying off as he planned. Studio City in Macau may not get its required 400 tables, and Manila’s City of Dreams (l.) is not meeting expectations
Vietnam OKs New Phu Quoc Casino Site
The Vietnamese government and Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng (l.) has OK’d a new casino on scenic Phu Quoc Island, off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand. The multibillion-dollar resort will be in Bai Dai Ecotourism Area in Ganh Dau Commune.
Galaxy a Non-Starter in Macau
The grand opening of Phase 2 of Galaxy Entertainment’s Cotai resorts may not move the needle in Macau. Gross gaming revenues for June are not expected to see a jump, despite the new attractions.
China Crackdown Has No Borders
The government of China has warned other countries not to woo its gambling public. It has acted on that warning, arresting 14 casino marketing employees for allegedly trying to pilfer Chinese gamblers.
‘Broken Tooth Koi’ Opens VIP Room
Former Macau crime boss Wan Kuok-koi (l.), aka “Broken Tooth Koi,” reportedly has opened a VIP gambling room in the city. He served a 14-year prison term for money laundering and loan-shark activities.
GLOBAL GAMING More
Prime Minister Questions Baha Mar Survival
Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie (l.) said the continuing impasse between the Baha Mar resort and its contractor threatens the company’s ability to pay its employees.
Woodbine Racetrack Hopes to Expand
A statement released by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation said an expansion of the gaming facility at Woodbine Racetrack could conservatively bring in nearly $11 million per year. More residents are for an expansion compared to those against.
Crackdown on Goans in Casinos
The government of India is working harder to keep citizens of the island of Goa out of the country’s casinos. Goans may work in the island’s land-based and offshore gaming halls, but are barred from playing in them.
NBA Pivots on Canadian Sports Betting Bill
Canadian Member of Parliament Joe Comartin introduced a bill three years ago to repeal Canada’s ban on single-game wagering. The bill passed unanimously with Parliament in the House of Commons, but has sat in the Canadian Senate ever since. But will it move now that the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver (l.) has changed his stance on sports betting?
Guam Casino May Get Shut Down
Fun and games at the Liberation Carnival in Guam have taken a serious turn, as businessman Jiu Sen Zheng has filed a lawsuit seeking the rights to operate the carnival casino. The Mayor’s Council is operating the casino in-house.
Casinos for Christmas?
A parliamentary committee in the Australian territory of Christmas Island says reopening a casino there will bring in more tourists and help replace revenues lost due to a slowdown in other industries.
Chile Casino to Open in March 2016
Argentine-Spanish investor group Boldt Peralada has announced that its Ovalle Casino and Resort (l.) in Chile will open next March. A soft opening is set for February 2016.
Manitoba May Allow Peguis Casino Relocation
The government of Manitoba, Canada may allow Peguis First Nation's Aseneskak Casino (l.) to move to tribal lands in Winnipeg. The position indicates a change of position by provincial officials who have long stated they would not allow a First Nations casino in or near Winnipeg that could compete with government-owned casinos.
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World Poker Tour Bought by Hong Kong Company
The World Poker Tour has announced that is has been acquired by Ourgame International Holdings Ltd. for a price of $35 million in cash. The Hong Kong company specializes in social gaming and has more than 500 million users.
iPoker Bill Still a Possibility Says California Senator
An influential California legislator, Senator Isadore Hall (l.), tells iPoker supporters that there is still time to pass a bill in the 2015 session. He has included an urgency clause in his bill that keeps that hope alive. Meanwhile, PokerStars has launched a website designed to pave the way for iPoker in the state, including the controversial company.
Pennsylvania Online Gaming Would Take a Year to Implement
Speaking at a Pennsylvania state Senate hearing, Kevin O’Toole (l.), the executive director of the Gaming Control Board of Pennsylvania, said that it would take nine months to a year for the state to launch online gambling if approved by the state legislature. Once in place, he warned that it would take time to build up play and attract players away from illegal offshore sites.
AGS Acquires PocketPlay
American Gaming Systems announced the acquisition of social games supplier PocketPlay, moving the company quickly into the growing social gaming market.
Spin Games Launches 10 HTML5 Titles
Spin Games, in conjunction with distributor KGM Gaming, has launched 10 interactive HTML5 titles on Golden Nugget’s New Jersey online gaming site.
Disney Not Investing In DraftKings After All
Despite earlier reports, Disney is not investing $250 million in daily fantasy sports site DraftKings, but the fantasy site will get an exclusive ad deal with Disney-owned ESPN.
Next Gaming Launches MMA Slot
Next Gaming has launched a new slot machine in its Oklahoma markets that carries the theme of the Mixed Martial Arts organization King of the Cage.
Columnist: High Taxes Sinking French Online Gambling Market
Writing for pokersites.com, columnist Greg Shaun warns that France’s high taxation of online gambling revenue has shrunk its market by more than 50 percent and should be a warning to U.S. states looking to legalize online gambling.
GameAccount Launches Mobile Platform
GameAccount Network has launched its new casual mobile gaming platform in the U.S., to complement its previously released Simulated Gaming solution.
Hungary Considers Ending Sports Betting Monopoly
The Hungarian Parliament is considering changes in the country’s gambling legislation that could end the state’s monopoly on online sports betting. The parliament may also reduce the number of online gaming licenses issued to two.
White Hat Gaming Partners with Hello Casino
Hello Casino has partnered with White Hat Gaming and will use its market-leading casino content platform. Hello casino was launched last year and by joining with White Hat is now licensed in the UK.
UNITED STATES GAMING More
New Jersey Senate Passes Atlantic City Rescue Bills
The New Jersey State Senate has passed a package of bills designed to shore up Atlantic City’s municipal and school budgets and create a set tax payment for resort casinos. The bills previously passed the state Assembly and now go to Governor Chris Christie (l.).
Caesars Bankruptcy Trial Delayed
The judge in the bankruptcy case of Caesars Entertainment’s largest operating unit has delayed the trial that will rule on the operator’s reorganization until October.
AGA Promotes 'Gaming Votes' Initiative
American Gaming Association President and Chief Executive Officer Geoff Freeman recently met with other gaming leaders in the key electoral state of Iowa to promote the AGA's "Gaming Votes" initiative. The program is to educate presidential candidates about the industry's economic impact and to inform casino workers where candidates stand.
Illinois Strip Malls Could House Casinos
Strip malls in Crestwood and Hometown, Illinois could become "gambling malls" with mini-casinos located in the storefronts. Developer David Miltenberger of Lucky Duck Entertainment LLC of St. Louis is working on the concept, which could generate $200,000 in annual revenue, said Crestwood Mayor Lou Presta (l.).
Senate Seeks to Study Problem Gaming at Military Bases
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (l.) wants to do something about problem gambling on overseas military bases, where the Department of Defense is oftentimes the “House” operating a total of 3,000 slots around the world.
Fasy: Bill Gives Delaware Casinos ‘Fighting Chance’
Bill Fasy (l.), the president of the Delaware Park racino, used an op-ed piece to urge lawmakers to pass a bill to lower taxes and fees on the beleaguered industry.
Ohio High Court to Hear Racino Challenge
The Ohio Supreme Court will soon hear arguments in a case that challenges the right of Governor John Kasich (l.) to deploy slot machines at the state’s seven racetracks. The Ohio Roundtable has sued to reverse the practice, which it says violated the state constitution.
Atlantic City Tries Again To Attract Smaller Casinos
New Jersey legislators are trying to rework a law that allowed for two “boutique” casinos in Atlantic. Despite the bill’s passage in 2011, no smaller casinos were built. Legislators are trying to make the bills more attractive to developers.
New York Towns Consider Casino Designs
Wishing to move forward with the proposed $425 million Lago Resort & Casino in Seneca County, New York, the town of Tyre and developers Wilmorite filed a lawsuit in the state Supreme Court to dismiss a suit brought by an anti-casino group determined to block the project. And updated design plans for Rivers Casino (l.) have left some residents concerned about the design and steps the casino will take to help combat problem gambling.
Puerto Rico Could Legalize Slots Outside Casinos
Facing a debt of $72 billion, the junk-rated commonwealth of Puerto Rico is considering drastic actions—including legalizing and taxing black-market slot machines found in grocery stores and other retailers. Projected revenues from the games could reach $100 million the first year, and $300 million annually for the next three years.
Poll: Majority of New Jersey Residents Against Expanding Casinos
As New Jersey politicians debate expanding casinos outside of Atlantic City and listen to pitches for new multi-million casino projects, they may be overlooking and important fact—polls keep showing that New Jersey residents are against the idea. The latest poll has 56 percent of residents against the move.
Casinos and Players Against IRS Proposal
A recent proposal from the IRS would see players have to fill out tax reports for any slot machine win of $600 or higher, down from the current threshold of $1,200. Casino operators and players alike are against the proposal.
Deadwood Casinos Get Life
The South Dakota Commission on Gaming will see the bill they drafted to allow for keno, craps and roulette on gaming floors in action starting July 1. Currently, only blackjack, poker and slots are allowed in casinos.
Minnesota Sports Betting Bill Gets Another Chance
In Minnesota, state Rep. Phyllis Kahn (l.) again sponsored a measure legalizing sports betting in Minnesota. Kahn, who unsuccessfully proposed a similar bill in 2013, said, “To think we have a law opposing sports gambling or stopping it is terminally stupid."
Hockey in Las Vegas a Growing Possibility
The National Hockey League Board of Governors has given approval for the NHL to accept applications as part of the formal expansion process. The NHL has not yet decided whether or not is will expand, but many are hopeful Las Vegas is the number one choice if they do decide to grow. At left, the Stanley Cup on the High Roller at the Linq.
SLS Posts Dismal First Quarter
SLS Las Vegas reported losses of $35.3 million in the first quarter of 2015, according to a filing made with the Security and Exchange Commission. Total net revenue for the quarter came in at $37.3 million.
Atlantic City Teams with AEG Live for Concerts
The New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority has signed a $1.9 million deal with concert promoter AEG Live to bring major concerts to Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall arena (l.).
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Tribe Sues Over Arizona's Actions
In a possible last-ditch try to block the Tohono O'odham's $400 million under-construction casino in Glendale (l.), the state of Arizona told vendors working on the property and prospective employees they could face "issues." But the tribe is fighting back with a lawsuit claiming the governor, attorney general and gaming director are violating IGRA and the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution
Rider to Immunize Tribes From Labor Law Advances
Several movements in Congress could remove Indian tribes and their enterprises from review by the National Labor Relations Board. This includes a rider to an appropriations bill, and two bills in the Senate and House of Representatives. Minnesota Rep. Betty McCollum (l.) has been attacked for supporting the bill.
Maine Senate Kills Indian Casino Bill
The Maine Senate has killed a bill previously passed by the House that would have allowed an Indian casino in a state where two commercial casinos currently operate. Rep. Henry John Bear (l.), the last tribal representative in the legislature, says the bill was meant to help the poorest region and people in the state.
Connecticut Casino Measure Approved
Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy recently signed a measure that will allow the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to jointly develop and operate a satellite casino along the Interstate 91 corridor in north central Connecticut. The property would compete with the MGM Resorts casino planned for Springfield, Massachusetts.
California Tribe to Break Ground on Class II Casino
A tribe in Northern California, whose Class III casino is tied up in the courts, plans to break ground soon on a Class II temporary facility that doesn’t require a compact from the state. The Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians plans to build a small casino in Yuba County
New Mexico Tribe Floats Racino
The Pueblo of Laguna development corporation is holding a series of events to introduce itself to Curry and Roosevelt County officials and promote the idea of a developing a racino in Clovis. But the state racing commission has yet to reopen applications for its sixth available license.
California Tribe Asserts Immunity in Lawsuit
Southern California’s Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians is asking a court of appeals to rehear a decision that the tribe believes is based on erroneous law. The tribe says the 4th District Court of Appeals mistakenly applied Public Law 280 to a suit involving the dismissal of an employee by the tribal gaming commission.
New Lottery Machines Raising Revenues
The Oregon Lottery has been replacing its 12,000 machines with newer models that allow gamblers to play more and bet lower. State officials are pleased with the 10 percent revenue increase the new machines are generating. But problem-gambling professionals believe the new games are dangerously addictive.
MGM Resorts Names Glover
Marcus G. Glover recently was named general manager at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. Previously he was senior vice president and general manager at Caesars in Northeast Ohio and served as assistant general manager and vice president of operations at Harrah's St. Louis.
NY Racing Board Gets New Chairman
Michael Del Giudice will serve as chairman for the New York Racing Association, following an announcement Anthony Bonomo, the current chairmen, is stepping down. Bonomo’s company has recently been linked to a corruption case.
Bridge Co-owner Faces Criminal Probe
Bridge Capital co-owner John K. Baldwin is being investigated for alleged corruption in the Lao PDR. According to authorities, Baldwin offered Lao officials more than $300,000 to terminate an audit related to a casino.
GOODS & SERVICES More
UNLV to Build New Hospitality Hall
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas has announced its new Hospitality Hall, a $56 million project which has received $15 million in donations from six gaming giants. Construction is expected to begin at the end of 2015.
Scarlet Pearl Picks Aristocrat
Mississippi’s Scarlet Pearl casino is deploying a system package from Aristocrat Technologies involving the Oasis 360 casino management solution.
GLI Holds Europe Roundtable, Completes WLA Certification
Gaming Laboratories International held its 10th annual European Regulators Roundtable, and has completed a World Lottery Association Certification assessment for the California Lottery.
Plainridge Park Picks IGT
IGT will provide 400 games, including the largest placements to date of the CrystalDual and S3000 cabinets, to the new Plainridge Park racino in Massachusetts.
Resorts World Genting Selects Rainmaker Group
The Rainmaker Group has been selected by Resorts World Genting in Malaysia to provide its GuestREV revenue management solution to provide accurate forecasts and optimal pricing systems. Resorts World Genting features six hotels, casinos, theme parks, shopping, dining and other amenities.
WILD CARD More
Kerkorian’s Will Mentions MGM Stock
Kirk Kerkorian’s Beverly Hills-based Tracinda Corp. is the largest shareholder of MGM Resorts International stock, at 16 percent. In his will, he calls for the “orderly disposition” of the stock, but offers nearly no other details.
NEWS & NOTES
Small Nuggets of News
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Outrageous pronouncements, simple statements and words of wisdom