Gaming & Leisure Raises Bid for Pinnacle

Gaming & Leisure Properties Inc. has sent its second bid in four months to purchase Pinnacle Entertainment Inc.’s casinos, this time up 32 percent to $47.50 a share. Pinnacle owns 15 casinos and racetracks, including the M Resort in Las Vegas (l.), in addition to the Heartland Poker tour and 450 acres of development land.

Featured Stories More

WEEKLY FEATURE: Rocky Road for Massachusetts Commission

A judge of the Superior Court last week refused to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the city of Boston against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (l.). The commission asked that the court throw out the suit, which challenges the casino license the panel issued to Wynn Resorts to build in Everett, along the Mystic River. But the judge said the verbosity of the suit makes it difficult to make a decision without further investigation.

MGM Makes Moves in Reno

Eldorado Resorts has bought MGM Resorts International’s two properties in Reno, the Circus Circus Reno, and MGM’s 50 percent stack in the Silver Legacy (l.). The purchase will cost Eldorado $72.5, which will be paid for with cash by the rapidly growing national gaming company.

Up in Smoke in Macau

A full smoking ban is expected to take yet another bite out of Macau’s struggling casino industry. But more relaxed visa rules will make it easier for players to visit, and allow them to stay longer. But the decline in the Chinese economy is a bigger worry.

GVC, Amaya Bid £900 million on Bwin

The bidding war for bwin.party got a little more heated when reports surfaced that GVC Holding with partner Amaya gaming have bid £900 million for the online betting service. 888 Holdings is the other bidder in the mix. Kenneth Alexander (l.), the GVC chief executive, says there are significant synergies between the companies.

Crown Casino a Go in NSW

The government of New South Wales has approved a plan by James Packer’s Crown Ltd. to develop a casino at Barangaroo in the city of Sydney, the second casino in the city. The casino will target high rollers from Asia.

Hopes of Online Poker in California Dimming for This Year

As the summer progresses, various stakeholders in the push to legalize iPoker in California seem just as far apart as they were at the beginning of the legislative session. Efforts are being made to bring them together are falling flat, as racetracks rejected a compromise proposed by Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro (l.).

ASIAN GAMING More

Sands Looks to Thailand

A subsidiary of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. says it’s interested in running an integrated resort in Thailand if gaming legislation is passed there with the support of Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha (l). A Sands rep made the announcement at a press junket in Singapore.

Vietnam OKs $1B Resort Complex

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has given his approval to a $1 billion complex planned for Vu Yen Island in Hai Phong. The resort complex may eventually include a casino.

Donaco Finalizes Cambodia Buy

Australia-listed gaming operator Donaco International, which paid $360 million for the Star Vegas in Poipet, Cambodia, has closed the deal. The company has signed a binding agreement for a $20 million capital facility.

NagaCorp Breaks Ground in Primorye

Leading Cambodian gaming company NagaCorp Ltd. has broken ground on its planned casino resort in the Russian Far East. The property (l.) now under development in the Primorye is expected to be complete in 2018.

Ho Tram No Longer ‘Grand’

Vietnam’s largest casino has changed its name. The former Grand Ho Tram resort is now known as Ho Tram Resort Casino. Investors have reportedly spent $700 million on the resort.

Mohegans Excited About South Korea

The Connecticut-based Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, which has submitted a bid for a casino license in South Korea, is talking up its proposed resort location near Incheon International Airport.

EUROPEAN GAMING More

FOBTs Are Biggest Moneymakers

No wonder U.K. bookmakers are defending their right to offer fixed-odds betting terminals. According to the country’s Gambling Commission, FOBTs make more money than all other forms of betting combined.

GLOBAL GAMING More

Bahamas AG: Baha Mar Case Belongs in Bahamas

The attorney general of the Bahamas, Allyson Maynard-Gibson (l.), says the resolution of Baha Mar’s troubles should be reached in the Bahamas instead of a U.S. bankruptcy court.

Growth in GTA Gaming Concerns Falls

As Toronto approves expanded gaming at the city’s Woodbine Racetrack, officials in Niagara Falls are concerned that the move will siphon off its own business. Toronto Mayor John Tory (l.) says the plan means “jobs, jobs, jobs.”

Gaming Companies Feel Greek Fallout

The financial crisis in Greece and the suspension of the country’s VLT launch are costing suppliers like IGT and Scientific Games millions.

Tsogo Sun Cancels Sun Acquisition

South African hotel casino company Tsogo Sun Holdings has pulled out of a deal to buy a minority stake in two casinos, including the GrandWest casino (l.), operated by Sun International. The deal between rivals was first announced in May 2014.

Tinian, HKE Sign Transition Deal

Tinian Entertainment has signed a deal with the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission and Hong Kong Entertainment Overseas Investments Ltd. to assume operations at the Tinian Dynasty casino complex.

Crown Under Fire Over High Roller

A high roller in Australia is not taking a $17 million loss without a fight. Yu Zhusheng claims he was deceived by the Crown Casino’s Mahogany Room (l.) when a monitor displaying baccarat hands displayed the incorrect winning hand, which affected his playing strategy.

ONLINE GAMING More

Poker Groups: Keep Pennsylvania iGaming Tax Low

The heads of the All American Poker Network and Poker Players Alliance are urging Pennsylvania lawmakers to keep the revenue tax on internet gaming low enough to encourage profits. Rep. John Payne (l.) has the most reasonable bill at a 14 percent tax rate.

New Jersey Online Gambling Sites Attacked by Hacker

A hacker shut down four New Jersey online gambling sites for 30 minutes and then demanded a ransom—to be paid in Bitcoins—to prevent future attacks. No ransom was paid and officials “mitigated” the threat, according to DGE Director Dave Rebuck (l.).

NYX Signs with Golden Nugget AC

NYX Gaming Group has signed an online gaming platform and content agreement with Golden Nugget Atlantic City to feed the casino’s New Jersey iGaming site.

Singapore Online Gambling Could Be a Year Away

Legalized online betting could be in place in Singapore by next June in time for the Euro football championships. Lottery operators Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club are seeking exemptions under Singapore’s Remote Gambling Act to offer online gambling.

Alberta Sees Gambling Revenue Spike, Spurs Debate on Online Gambling

A recently reported five percent spike in gambling revenue at Alberta’s video terminals has led to more calls to block online gambling in the province. Alberta officials are considering legalizing the online games, which opponents say will lead to more problem gambling.

Bede Gaming, High 5 Games Form Partnership

By the end of the year, the award-winning Bede Gaming will integrate into its award-winning platform the far-ranging portfolio of High 5 Games, including premium and innovative slots games such as Da Vinci Diamonds, Golden Goddess and Cats.

Cherry Group Buys Stake in Almor Holding

Cherry AB announced that it has acquired 71 percent of the shares of the Malta-based company Almor Holding Limited, an online casino business that specializes in German-speaking markets.

Evolution Launches Live Stream

Evolution Gaming has launched its new Live Casino inside Belgium’s historic Casino de Spa. The company’s live-streaming operators include bwin, Unibet, 777, Circus, Starcasino and Napoleon Games.

Danske Spil Acquires Fantasy Sports Platform

Danske Licens Spil, the online gaming subsidiary of Danish state-owned gaming operator Danske Spil, has acquired a majority stake in fantasy sports platform provider Swush.com.

UNITED STATES GAMING More

Gural Stands Alone in New York Bidding

When New York re-opened up its bidding process for a potential additional casino license, people thought a few bidders would step forward. Instead, only Jeff Gural and his Tioga Downs (l.) project were tabled.

VictoryLand Wants Machines, Cash Returned

VictoryLand Casino in Macon County, Alabama filed a motion in circuit court requesting the state give back 1,615 electronic bingo machines and $263,000 in cash seized in a 2013 raid. Owner Milton McGregor (l.) wants to reopen his casino, but the state attorney general's office appealed Judge William Shashy's decision to the Alabama Supreme Court.

Kansas Crossing Construction Commences

Within hours of the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission's vote, construction began on the Kansas Crossing Casino in Pittsburg. The $70 million state-owned development in the southeast gaming zone will offer slots, table games, a 100-room hotel, dining and a 600-seat entertainment center, and create 300 jobs.

North Jersey Casino Referendum All But Dead for 2015

More New Jersey politicians are conceding that there is almost no chance that referendum to allow casino outside of Atlantic City will be put before voters in 2015. That means any plan will have to wait until November 2016 for approval.

Golden Gaming, Lakes Entertainment Finalize Merger

Nevada Gaming Board approval will be the final step in the merger of Golden Gaming and Lakes Entertainment. The new Golden Entertainment will operate Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Cumberland, Maryland, along with Golden's three casinos in Pahrump, Nevada, plus dozens of taverns under various brands and Nevada's largest slot route.

Maryland Casinos Offer Smoking Terraces

In response to customers' requests and to compete with casinos in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, two of Maryland's five casinos--Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore (l.) and soon Rocky Gap Casino in Cumberland—offer smoking terraces, where patrons can smoke and play slots. The concept may spread to other casinos in Maryland, which bans indoor smoking.

MGM Resorts Researching Atlanta Casino

MGM Resorts International reportedly is researching developing a $1 billion casino resort in downtown Atlanta, one of the few major metro areas in the U.S. without Las Vegas-style gambling. Last March, state Rep. Ron Stephens introduced a constitutional amendment allowing local votes on gambling, too late for the 2015 legislative session.

Court Affirms Borgata Atlantic City Tax Win

A New Jersey Appeals Court has affirmed a ruling that will net the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City about $63 million in overpaid taxes and interest. The ruling affirms a $48 million tax refund, and about $15 million in interest for the tax years 2009 and 2010.

Trying to Connect the Dotty’s In Vegas

The local tavern gaming chain Dotty’s (l.) was denied a permanent gaming license at a new facility, but instead received a four-month temporary license. City Council has debated about what changes, if any, need to be made to the tavern gaming industry.

Casino at Hialeah Park Gets Big Loan

Wells Fargo Gaming Capital has agreed to provide a $30 million load to the legendary Florida racetrack, Hialeah Park (l.). The quarterhorse racetrack is adding a casino after years of negotiations.

Southern Nevada Tourism Committee Formed

A committee has been formed by Governor Brian Sandoval (l.) to oversee projects related to tourism in Southern Nevada. The committee consists of eleven members and will submit a file by July 2016 with recommendations.

Taj Mahal Atlantic City Workers Go Without Health Coverage

A survey by Atlantic City’s largest casino workers union found that hundreds of workers at the Taj Mahal casino are without health insurance. A bankruptcy judge allowed Trump Entertainment to cancel employee health insurance last year.

Mississippi Choctaws To Add Table Games

Recently re-elected Mississippi Choctaw Chief Phyllis Anderson (l.) has big plans for the tribe's casino operations, including bringing table games to the Bok Homa Casino in Heidelberg, opening a bingo room at the Pearl River Resort in Philadelphia, starting a dealer training program and raising the minimum wage for non-tipped employees.

TRIBAL GAMING More

Pocahontas' Tribe Federally Recognized

The Pamunkey Indian Tribe, which greeted the first English settlers 400 years ago and claims Pocahontas (l.) as an ancestor, recently received federal recognition. Assistant Chief Bob Gray said, “We’re looking at all economic opportunities, but we have nothing on the table right now” regarding opening a casino.

Seminoles Await Scott Response

Florida Governor Rick Scott (l.) has yet to respond to a June 24 letter from the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The tribe wants Scott to reopen gaming compact negotiations granting the tribe exclusive rights to offer banked card games in exchange for giving the state $1 billion over five years.

Additional Tribes Sign New Mexico Compact

In New Mexico, the pueblos Taos, Isleta, Zuni and Ohkay Owningeh recently signed gambling compacts allowing them to operate casinos for 20 more years. The Navajo Nation, Mescalero and Jicarilla Apache nations and Acoma and Jemez pueblos already agreed to the new compact. The U.S. Interior Department approved those agreements last month.

Margaritaville 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar Opens in Oklahoma

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville casino complex won't fully be open until late 2016, but its famous 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar recently debuted at the RiverSpirit Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma, owned by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. The two casinos will operate under one roof.

85,000 Credit Cards Hacked at Michigan Casino

An investigation into a data-security incident at FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan revealed about 85,000 credit and debit cards were hacked between September and April. The incident was discovered April 16. Stolen information could include the card number, cardholder's name, verification code and/or expiration date.

Former California Tribal Chairman Sentenced, Released

Tex McDonald, former chairman of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians in Northern California, was sentenced and released for time served after pleading guilty last week to a number of charges associated with a raid that he led at the tribe’s Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino last October.

BIA Denies Recognition to Washington Tribe

Although members of the Duwarmish tribe greeted settlers to Washington, and its chief, Seattle, gave his name to the largest city in the state, the federal government last week rejected the tribe’s bid for federal recognition.

Sixth Circuit Extends NLRA to Tribal Casinos

Two panels of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals have approached the question of whether the National Labor Relations Act applies to tribal operations somewhat differently. An “en banc” meeting of the full court may be required to settle the issue.

Casino Plans Leaked Before Council Meeting

The Soboba Casino in San Jacinto, southern California, will soon begin a major upgrade, including a 300-room hotel, country club and golf course. Officials of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians say it will make the casino more competitive with other Southern California casino resorts.

California Casino Begins Upgrade

The Soboba Casino in San Jacinto, southern California, will soon begin a major upgrade, including a 300-room hotel, country club and golf course. Officials of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians say it will make the casino more competitive with other Southern California casino resorts.

Hotel to be Added to Washington Casino

A hotel with an exterior and interior reflecting the cultural heritage of one of Washington’s earliest recognized tribes will be built by the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe. The new facility will be adjacent to Point Casino, with a planned opening of the fall of 2016.

LOTTERY More

Powerball to Change Jackpot Odds

Changes to the multi-state Powerball lottery will greatly reduce the chances for hitting to main jackpot, but increase to amount of overall winners in the long run, lottery officials have announced. The change also means that Powerball could see a $1 billion jackpot in the future.

PEOPLE More

Salat Leaves Scientific Games

Sebastian Salat, who was responsible for the explosive international growth of WMS Gaming, left the company that bought WMS, Scientific Games last week. His tenure was praised by Sci Games CEO Gavin Isaacs.

Valley Forge Casino Names CEO

The Valley Forge Casino Resort has named Atlantic City and Connecticut casino operations veteran James A. Rigot as the new president and CEO.

IGT Names System Sales Director

IGT has named Angela Houslay as director of international system sales, commercial gaming, to work with customers outside of North America.

Gomes to Consult on Aquis Bid

Aquis has added Aaron Gomes, former CEO of Gold Coast’s Jupiters Casino, to its consultant team as it bids to develop a casino resort at Yorkeys Knob in Queensland, Australia.

DEQ Appoints Whipple to Board

DEQ Systems has appointed Jon L. Whipple, CEO of Gaming Technology Group, to its board of directors as Audit Committee chairman.

Paddy Power Names McGann Chairman

Gary McGann is the new chairman at Irish bookmakers Paddy Power, replacing Nigel Northridge. McGann joined the company as a non-executive director last November. Northridge also joined Paddy Power as a non-executive director, in 2003, and served as chairman since January2009.

Reher Named Interblock Chief Operating Officer

Slovenia-based Interblock, manufacturers of luxury gaming products, recently named Danilo Reher chief operating officer. Most recently Reher was assistant director and plant manager at the country's largest home appliances manufacturer, and also held numerous operations positions at a major thermostat manufacturer.

GOODS & SERVICES More

IGT Launches Cabinets in Argentina

IGT will introduce its CrystalDual and S3000 cabinets in Argentina with installations in locations of the country’s largest casino operator.

Inspired Announces Contracts

Inspired Gaming announced contracts to supply VLT games to Norway’s Norsk Tipping and Virtual Sports to Italian gaming operator SNAI.

BMM Develops Testing Curriculums

BMM Testlabs has partnered with two colleges in New Brunswick, Canada, to create software testing and quality assurance curriculums.

Affinity Partners with Carnival

Affinity Gaming and Carnival Cruise Line have formed a partnership which will allow VIP player’s club members an opportunity to earn complimentary cruises. Mid-tier players can earn discounts on cruises through their play.

WILD CARD More

‘Family-Friendly’ Backfires

The introduction of a “Family Entrance” at Melbourne’s Crown Casino is under attack by anti-gambling activists. They say it is a ploy to lure children into an environment that is exclusively for adults.

NUTSHELL More

THEY SAID IT More

QUOTABLE QUOTES

Outrageous pronouncements, simple statements and words of wisdom