Baha Mar Files for Bankruptcy

The $3.5 billion Baha Mar mega-resort project, the largest construction project in the history of the Bahamas, has filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection. CEO Sarkis Izmirlian (l.) and his company filed suit last week against China State Construction and Engineering, owned by the Chinese government, blaming the bankruptcy on their shoddy work, delays and uncooperative attitude.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: New Federal Rules Streamline Indian Recognition Process

After more than two years of talking about it, the U.S. Interior Department has officially unveiled its new rules for recognizing Indian tribes. Secretary Sally Jewell (l.) said the new rules “clarify” the process. Most tribes are happy about the rules, that streamline the process and make it more transparent. Three tribes in Connecticut are not, because the rules appear to shut them out from future recognition.

Japan IR Bill Advances

Japan is inching closer to passing an integrated resort bill that would legalize casino gaming in the country. According to analysts at CIMB Securities, Japan has a “70 percent chance” of passing the legislation during an extended parliament session.

California Supremes Equate Online Sweepstakes With Slots

The California Supreme Court has effectively shut down sweepstakes games in the state by equating them with slot machines. Since it is illegal for any other than Indian tribes to operate slots in the Golden State, which leaves out so-called sweepstakes cafes. Writing for the majority, Associate Justice Ming Chin (l.) rejected arguments that the games weren’t slots because they didn’t directly accept money.

Nevada Regulators Mull Skill Regulations

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has begun workshops with industry operators and suppliers to formulate regulation for newly legalized skill-based games. Chairman A.G. Burnett (l.) says it’s the “most important” regulation the board has worked on in his 17 years.

Ukraine PM Comes Out for Casinos

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (l.) supports the legalization of casinos in the country. Yatsenyuk declared his support at a June 26 meeting of the country’s Culture Minister Board.

As Compact Deadline Looms Seminoles Up The Ante

In addition to keeping its table games open after the July 31 expiration of a compact permitting those games, Seminole Chief James Billie (l.) has informed state government that the tribe will halt payments to the state if the compact is not renewed.

Sponsor Bails on Online Poker in California

Although the California legislature is still going through the motions of holding hearings on iPoker legalization, the intractability of several key players has capitol watchers skeptical that any legislation will be forthcoming in the current session. Because of that, Assemblyman Mike Gatto (l.) has pulled his bill and cancelled the first hearing.


Down with Macau

The bad news from Macau continues as the world’s premier gaming destination enters its second year of decline. Gaming revenue in the Chinese territory reached a near five-year low in June, with no signs of a turnaround. A planned smoking ban won’t help, which would prohibit even the smoking lounges (l.) casinos have added.

Mohegan Sun, Incheon Airport Get ‘Inspired’

The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, the Connecticut tribal gaming operator, and Incheon International Airport Corp. have finalized a concept agreement on the Inspire Integrated Resort, to be developed near the airport near Seoul, South Korea.

Vietnamese Province Seeks Casino

The Vietnamese province of Thua Thien-Hue has requested that the country’s prime minister add its Chan May-Lang Economic Zone to a list of possible casino locations. Officials of the coastal region say the location makes it an ideal tourist destination.

Philippine Airport Resort Under Way

Last week, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III attended the groundbreaking ceremony for an airport resort complex in Cebu at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (l.) that is expected to more than triple the airport’s annual passenger capacity from 4.5 million to 15 million.

Melco Crown Exits HKEx

As of last week, international casino operator Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. officially delisted from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The company applied for the voluntary withdrawal in January; shareholders approved the plan in late March.

Macau Junket Operator Accused

Macau junket operator Cheung Chi-tai (l.) has been accused of laundering US$232 million through bank accounts in Hong Kong. The operator was once a major shareholder in the Neptune Group, one of the city’s biggest junket operators.


UK Casino to Close

A chain casino in Portsmouth, U.K., will close for good in August. The closure of the Grosvenor Casino in Southsea, owned by the Rank Group, will put about 50 jobs on the block, according to reports.

Big Plans for U.K. Casino

A so-called “super-casino” is planned for West Yorkshire in the United Kingdom. Global Gaming Ventures of London is behind the plan for a 50,000-square-foot gaming hall that will employ several hundred people.

Brits Eyeing Macau Sector

Frances Moffett-Kouadio, head of British trade and investment in Macau and Hong Kong, says U.K.-based companies are looking into opportunities in the leisure and entertainment sector in Macau.

German State Pressured to Reform Sports Betting

The Hesse Ministry of Interior and Sports in Germany is under pressure to restructure and reform its online sports betting framework, according to reports. The ministry’s foot-dragging on the issue has caught the attention of the European Court of Justice, which plans to investigate.

High Roller Self-Excludes After Big Loss

The Ritz Club, a London casino, has told a High Court in the U.K. that it was not responsible for £2 million (US$3.1 million) in gambling losses incurred by a high roller who later added himself to a self-exclusion roster. Safa Abdulla Al-Geabury (l.) bounced a check to the casino.


Committee Approves Toronto Racetrack Expansion

Expanding the Woodbine Racetrack casino from 3,000 to 5,000 slots could add up to 1,400 new jobs and double revenue to the municipality from $15 million to $30 million. Because of those benefits and more, the executive committee of the city of Toronto voted 10-3 to support a report recommending the expansion.

New Australian Casino Tax

A new gaming tax will require Northern Territory casinos in Australia to turn over one-tenth of their poker profits to the government. The tax is supposed to increase the government’s take from $1.2 million to $8 million.


Rubio Defends Anti-Online Gambling Stance

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio defended his co-sponsorship of a Sheldon Adelson-backed bill to ban online gambling. Rubio, speaking in New Hampshire denied he was catering to Adelson—a major Republican donor—and said he has a long history of opposing the expansion of gambling in Florida.

Mark Cuban Invest in Video eSports Platform Unikrn

Dallas Mavericks owner and TV personality Mark Cuban (l.) has invested part of $7 million raised by Unikrn, an online sports betting platform for professional video games. The platform allows bets on professionally played video games.

UK Warns Bitcoin Operators

The UK Gambling Commission has sent written warning to operators of Bitcoin-only online gambling sites that the digital currency is still covered under UK gaming regulations.

Playtech Awarded Norway Contract

Playtech has been awarded a contract to supply Norwegian gaming operator Norsk Tipping with locally adapted content for more than 4,300 interactive gaming terminals.

New Look Bingo, Microgaming Form Alliance

United Kingdom-based New Look Bingo and Microgaming Network recently formed a new alliance. As a result, New Look Bingo players will have access to Microgaming’s popular games, including Game of Thrones and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, with the possibility of winning large progressive jackpots 24/7.

Betsson Acquires Europe-Bet

Betsson AB is acquiring Georgian betting operator Europe-Bet for $50 million, to become Georgia’s second-largest betting operator.


Opening of First Massachusetts Casino Attracts Visitors, Revenue

The Plainridge Park Casino (l.), the first casino to open in Massachusetts, attracted 10,000 visitors for its first night. Due to the delays faced by another casino, the MGM Springfield, the Plainville casino could have the Bay State market to itself for its first year in business.

Politicians: No Expansion Vote in NJ This Year

A possible referendum to expand gaming in New Jersey is dead for this year, according to Atlantic City state Senator James Whelan (l.). Northern New Jersey politicians want to expand gaming to that part of the state but no one can agree on the formula, so the bill will not go forward.

Cherokee County Wants Do-Over

Cherokee County, Kansas officials want the Kansas Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board to re-start the southeast gaming zone casino selection process. The officials said the board did not follow state law when it picked the $70.2 million Kansas Crossing Casino & Hotel over the proposed $145 million Castle Rock development (l.) in Cherokee County.

Maine Casino Bill Could be Revived

A bill that would authorize a casino in the southern part of Maine may be revived, after being killed by the Senate last week with a slim margin. It faces stiff opposition, including that of Governor Paul LePage, who says that two casinos in the state are enough.

Binghamton, Tioga Enter New York Casino Race

Lawmakers in Binghamton, New York, had a special meeting to support a proposal for a casino application filed by an Albany-based developer, spearheaded by Jeffrey Hyman. And Tioga Downs came forward with its expected application for a $145 million expansion of its racetrack casino, according to owner Jeff Gural (l.).

Showboat’s Shadow Continues Over Atlantic City

Developer Glenn Straub has filed a lawsuit over his planned purchase of the former Showboat casino in Atlantic City from Stockton University. The school has responded that it no longer feels Straub is serious about making the $26 million purchase and will seek a new buyer. Meanwhile, use of the property is still hampered by contradictory restrictions on its use as a casino.

Boyd Announces $45 Million Delta Downs Renovation

Construction on a $45 million expansion at Delta Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel, just west of Lake Charles, Louisiana, will begin in September, owner Boyd Gaming recently announced. The property will gain a new 167-room hotel tower, new food and beverage facilities and an expanded special events center.

May Gaming Revenue Over $1 Billion in Nevada

Gaming revenue numbers for the month of May have come in, and they were phenomenal for the state of Nevada. Tourism numbers in Las Vegas hit record highs, attributed to a few big events for the month.

Z Capital Raises the Stakes on Affinity

Illinois-based Z Capital has submitted its third offer to purchase gaming operator Affinity Gaming. Z Capital is currently the largest shareholder of the company, at 40.5 percent.

Atlantic City’s Emergency Manager Misses Update

Kevin Lavin, the emergency manager for Atlantic City appointed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie did not release a promised update on the city’s finances in June. However, a newly appointed spokesman for Lavin said negotiations with the city’s creditors are continuing.

Packer and the New Frontier

Design plans for Alon (l.), the new Las Vegas project by James Packer and Crown Resorts, were leaked over the weekend to media. The project, according to Deutsche Bank, could cost as much as $4 billion.

Trump Entertainment Plans to Restrict Casino Use at Closed Trump Plaza

In a move designed to keep it from having to pay casino-style property taxes on the closed Trump Plaza in Atlantic City under a new state plan, Trump Entertainment is attaching a deed restriction to the property blocking it from being used as a casino for at least 10 years. The property could be used for a non-gaming attraction.

Another Vegas Poker Room Bites the Dust

As the poker boom is some 10 years behind us, what was once seen as a steady source of revenue has become a liability for many rooms. Thus was the case of the Westgate, who become the latest casino to shutter its poker room.

Indiana Casino Receives $5.2 Million Tax Refund

Under the terms of an agreement with the Lake County, Indiana assessor's office, five years of litigation will come to an end as the Majestic Star Casino receives a $5.2 million refund in taxes and interest, in return for dismissing all tax appeals for years prior to 2015.

Revel Atlantic City Tenants Win Right to Access

A federal judge has ruled that the tenants of the closed Revel casino in Atlantic City have the right to access their leased businesses and attempt to resume operations. Tenants include several successful restaurants and the popular HQ Nightclub (l.). However, in another court it was disclosed that the energy provider for the closed casino is on the verge of bankruptcy itself. Meanwhile, the original owners of the property, Revel Inc., will close out their bankruptcy plan.

Deadwood Debuts Craps, Roulette, and Keno

Craps, roulette and keno debuted at 8 a.m., July 1 at casinos in Deadwood, South Dakota. Voters approved the games in the November 2014 election. Mike Rodman, executive director of the Deadwood Gaming Association, said the new games could increase annual revenues by about $2 million.

Major Non-Gaming Attraction Opens in Atlantic City

Atlantic City welcomed the opening of the Playground, a $52 million remake of the former Pier Shops at Caesars mall that has transformed the retail space into an entertainment venue. The remake is the brainchild of Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein.

24/7 Cocktails Coming To Cripple Creek

In mid-July, patrons at Cripple Creek casinos will be able to enjoy alcoholic beverages round-the-clock. Currently cocktails are not allowed to be served between 2-7 a.m. But new legislation will let cities override that ban. Cripple Creek will be the first Colorado city to do that.


Pojoaque Pueblo Casinos Remain Open

The compact between the state of New Mexico and the Pojoaque Pueblo expired June 30, but the tribe's two casinos, including Buffalo Thunder (l.), are open. U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez said preserving the status quo best serves the public interest now and could move the tribe and Governor Susana Martinez' office to make a deal.

Arizona Won’t Certify Tohono O’odham Casino

The state of Arizona is refusing to certify the casino being built by the Tohono O’odham Nation near Glendale (l.), prompting the tribe to sue in federal court. It is just the latest of many court battles the tribe has waged against its opponents.

Federal Court Upholds Tribal Sovereign Immunity in Bankruptcy

A federal court has upheld the sovereign immunity of a Michigan tribe in a bankruptcy hearing. Since other federal courts have ruled that sovereign immunity doesn’t apply in bankruptcy cases, the legal landscape as regards to tribal immunity has become very confusing.

Lawsuits by Gamblers Test Tribal Sovereignty

If players in a tribal casino are mistreated, do they have any recourse outside of a tribal court, where many doubt they will receive impartial justice? Several cases involving “advantage players,” are pushing the envelope and challenging the notion that tribal casinos should always have sovereign immunity from lawsuits.

Wyoming, Eastern Shoshones Renew Compact

The gaming compact between the state of Wyoming and the Eastern Shoshone Tribe recently was extended through 2046. Governor Matt Mead told tribal officials he hopes the renewed compact will help them “figure out your investments and projects.” The tribe owns and operates the Shoshone Rose Casino (l.) near Lander.

Washington Tribe Considers Landscaping Design

Although legal challenges are slowing down development of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe's casino, hotel and cultural center in La Center, Washington, tribal officials have met with landscape architects to discuss the overall design of the property as well as roundabouts that will handle increased traffic.

California Casino Celebrates 20 Years

Soboba Casino (l.), which started off as a modest bingo hall, and now prospers near San Jacinto, California by appealing to the locals market, is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Choctaw Casino Expansion Completed

A sold-out crowd of 3,000 recently watched the rock band Aerosmith inaugurate the new Grand Theater at the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Oklahoma. The theater is part of the first phase of a multi-million dollar expansion that also included a new 14-story hotel tower and created 400 new jobs.

County Officials Participate In Impact Study

Members of the board of commissioners in Jackson County, Oregon will have input as an environmental impact statement is prepared regarding the Coquille Indian Tribe's proposed casino in Medford. The tribe wants to convert a former restaurant and a bowling alley into a casino, creating 200 local jobs, officials said.

Pechanga is Number One in Readers Poll

The readers of USA Today, voting in an online poll, have picked Pechanga Resort & Casino in Southern California as the best casino in the U.S. Nine other casinos are named as tops, but only two of them are in Las Vegas.


West Virginia Lottery Delivers $1 Billion For 13th Year

Despite revenue decreases, the West Virginia Lottery generated more than $1 billion in revenue for the first 11 months of the fiscal year, according to Lottery Commission figures. However, that's about $48 million less than last year's results. And Lottery Director John Musgrave (l.) wants to end charitable “casino nights” in the state because they are illegal.


FireKeepers President McKee Retiring

Bruce McKee, since 2009 the first and only top manager at FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan, will retire at the end of the year. Also, Brian Decorah, who recently was named chief operating officer, will succeed McKee. At left, Homer A. Mandoka, chairman, Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, R. Bruce McKee, Brian Decorah

Cordish Names Executives in Gaming Division

The Cordish Companies last week announced that Robert J. Norton (l.) has been elevated to president of Cordish Global Gaming Group, and that Douglas Shipley has been named executive vice president and general manager of Maryland Live! Casino

JCM Global Names Izawa President

JCM Global has named longtime executive Hikaru “Terry” Izawa as the company’s new president, based in the company’s Las Vegas headquarters.

Peter Mead Dies

Peter Mead, the publisher of gaming trade magazine Casino Enterprise Management, has died at the age of 54.

Chelle Adams in as Cosmopolitan CFO

The Cosmopolitan has tagged finance veteran Chelle Adams as the new Chief Financial Officer for the property. Adams joined the Cosmopolitan in 2012 as vice president and chief internal auditor.

Cherokee Chief Bill John Baker Re-Elected

Cherokee Nation Chief Bill John Baker won a second term, defeating former Chief Chad Smith with 53 percent versus 28 percent of the votes counted. Smith charged Baker with favoritism and mismanagement at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, but his criticisms never caught on.

Gauselmann Group Names Meacher

Brian Meacher is the new managing director for Merkur Gaming in South Africa, where he will be responsible for consolidating the Gauselmann Group's market position and develop new sales prospects. Previously Meacher was business manager at Africa's largest tourism and gaming group and most recently worked for a South African casino chain.


SeleXion Expands in Sweden

Konami’s SeleXion multi-game slot has expanded its base of installations in Sweden with a second round of additions at Casino Cosmopol properties.

Rainbow Picks Scientific Games WAP

Rainbow Casino in the U.K. has installed its Operator Wide Area Progressive Systems to add progressive jackpots to table games in all of its U.K. casinos.

Sphinx 3D Launched in Peru

IGT has launched its popular Sphinx 3D video slot at four Masaris Corporation casinos in Peru, marking the 3D game’s debut in the country.

Northern Marianas Adopt GLI Standards

The Northern Mariana Islands have adopted Gaming Laboratories International’s technical standards and recognized GLI as an independent test lab.

Interblock Announces New Installations

Interblock has announced major installations of electronic table games at the new Plainridge Park Casino in Massachusetts and London’s Aspers Casino.

VGT Launches Class II WAP

Video Gaming Technologies is launching Easy Money Jackpot, a wide-area progressive linked to VGT Class II titles with a reset value of $250,000.

BMM Trains Regulators in Hungary

BMM Testlabs provided training to 90 members of the Hungarian Testing Board, in a presentation called “QA in the Gaming World.”


Monografie Launches ‘SAGSE One’

Monografie is launching a series of meetings designed to strengthen the ties among gaming suppliers, manufacturers and operators in Latin America.


$129K for a Hotel Room?

The new Louis XIII Casino Hotel in Macau could charge as much as HK$1 million per night (US$129,000) for its top-tier hotel rooms, even though the company says VIP trade is not its primary focus.

Wynn Not Ready For Loss to Okada

Steve Wynn has found himself in court recently in two separate lawsuits. One lawsuit against former board member Kazuo Okada (l. with Wynn) surrounds over $3.4 billion in damages, while another revolves around a defamation lawsuit to the tune of over $400,000.




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