Union Gaming reports that legal casino resorts probably will not be OK’d in Japan any time this year. Union made its prediction after the government led by Shinzo Abe (l.) opted out of a planned special legislative session. The latest disappointment in Japan is just the latest in a long line of teases that the gaming industry has endured over the years.
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The future of daily fantasy sports sites continues to get murky as more probes into the industry and calls for regulation have come to light, including an investigation by the same U.S. Attorney that shut down illegally operating online poker sites in 2011. The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (l.) in the Southern District of New York is investigating whether the business model behind daily fantasy-sports violates federal law.
Studio City (l.), Melco Crown’s lavish Hollywood-themed resort about to open on Macau’s Cotai Strip, will get 250 new-to-market table games. It needed 400 to avoid a loan default. The news could have been worse: Galaxy was allocated just 150 tables to start, but Galaxy was given another 100 games. The decision comes after Wynn Resorts Chairman Steve Wynn complained about the government’s table game restrictions.
Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson recently paid a quiet visit to Georgia legislators to pitch his $2 billion downtown Atlanta casino. MGM Resorts International has been more open about its interest in a $1 billion Atlanta resort. Following Adelson's visit, Governor Nathan Deal (l.) said he will actively work against expanded gambling.
The £150 million (US$230 million) casino complex Resorts World Birmingham has opened in the onetime UK industrial center. It is located at the National Exhibition Centre.
Australian casino giant James Packer will empty his pockets—almost—and plow $10 billion into new casino investments Down Under. Among other developments: a $1.5 billion hotel and apartment tower (l.) at Packer’s Crown Casino in Melbourne.
MMCT Venture, a joint authority of Connecticut’s two gaming tribes, is generating interest from several border towns with its request for proposals to host a satellite casino. A proposal at Hartford’s Bradley Airport (l.) could hold some serious interest.
An official document MGM Resorts International filed with the state of Massachusetts last week reveals that in additional to eliminating a 25-story hotel from the MGM Springfield, that its overall footprint has been decreased by 14 percent. Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno (l.) was very unhappy that MGM didn’t explain the size reduction.
When you evaluate companies on a quarterly basis, it’s difficult to find some separation. But each quarter, there are some hints about where each segment of the industry is heading.
GLOBAL GAMING BUSINESS PODCAST: Renato Ascoli, Chief Executive Officer, North America Gaming/Interactive, IGT
Join us for this week’s GGB Podcast with Renato Ascoli, the chief executive officer for North America gaming and interactive for IGT, who talks about how the merger with GTECH and IGT has been progressing.
The Savan Vegas Hotel and Entertainment Complex (l.), a resort in Savannakhet Province, Laos, is up for sale, according to news reports. The integrated resort with a casino and hotel opened in 2009. The winning bidder will have a 50-year monopoly in Laos.
The Macau government may help the city’s junket operators get a public makeover. Officials will soon meet the junket runners to discuss better accounting standards. The move comes in the aftermath of a multimillion-dollar theft at Dore’s VIP rooms.
Despite a brief rally during the annual Golden Week holiday, Macau’s casino revenues for the month of October have not been game-changing. VIP liquidity continues to be weak and mass play sagged after the holiday.
Travellers International Hotel Group Inc. is putting money aside from an IPO to fund the multimillion-dollar expansion of its Resorts World Manila (l.) property. It has already banked about PHP10.86 billion ($US236 million).
Genting Hong Kong has acquired the Zouk Singapore brand for an undisclosed sum. The brand includes the Zouk Club in Clarke Quay, Singapore and the annual ZoukOut music fest.
South Korean prosecutors have indicted the founder of a cosmetics firm for gambling in jurisdictions outside his homeland. Jeong Un-ho and others known to gamble in Macau and elsewhere could face years of prison time.
The casino industry in the Belarus capital of Minsk (the U Admirale at left), an eight-hour drive from Moscow, is faltering amid recession, and due to a weaker ruble. The region’s gaming industry is largely dependent on Russian visitors.
Some winning bettors in the UK say that bookmakers are refusing their business and even restricting or closing their accounts, according to the BBC. What’s more, some bookies say it’s true.
The Grosvenor Casino Luton has completed a £3.5 million (US$5.4 million) renovation that added a poker room with 200 seats, plus additional gaming tables and slot machines.
The planned £6.2 billion (US$9.6 billion) merger of Paddy Power and Betfair is in the first phase of scrutiny by the Irish Competition & Consumer Protection Commission. Shareholders must sign off on the deal.
ESSA Co-Chairman Mike O’Kane told European Union lawmakers they need to adopt and promote standardized rules to combat fixing sporting contests and ensure integrity in professional sports. Player education, high-level sports governance, risk management for regulated betting operations, and investigative and enforcement procedures via prosecution to root out fraud and criminal activity.
The British Horseracing Authority and other racing bodies in the UK are on the warpath against bookmakers who do not pay levies on internet gaming. The racing organizations want a piece of the purse.
An Oregon tribe, the Grand Ronde tribal confederation has bought Multnomah Greyhound Park (l.), a defunct dog-racing park in Wood Village to keep it from ever housing a casino that could compete against its Spirit Mountain Casino. But it’s not ruling out trying to build one there itself some day.
The federal government and two Oklahoma tribes October 5 signed an historic $86 million settlement that ends over a hundred years of claims by the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations. Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby (l.) says the agreement improves relations with the United States.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs held a public hearing on an Environmental Impact Statement for the Little River Band of Ottawa Indian’s proposed Muskegon County, Michigan casino. The project has tremendous support among local officials, but the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe strongly opposes it, even though their two casinos are 100 miles away.
The liquidator designated by Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie to end the Baha Mar (l.) standoff has declared that more than 2,000 of the property’s employees are “redundant” and therefore off the payroll. Christie isn’t happy but it’s a step in the process to getting the property open.
Although the number of people who ever gambled in Cuba’s fabled casinos (the Tropicana in Havana at left) is dwindling, the romance of the place remains. Now that diplomatic relations between the communist holdout and the U.S. are thawing, gaming developers are casting covetous eyes towards the island nation.
A new study indicates nearly 3 million Australian adults played pokie machines during the past three months and more than a million during the past week, and most do so for simple entertainment. Many also return to the same gaming venues, and most plan their gaming outings before they go.
A consultant group has been hired by the Shire of Broome in Western Australia to assess the viability of a casino project in what some reports have described as a “remote area.” A report is due later this year.
A key Pennsylvania House committee has delayed a vote on a bill sponsored by its chairman to legalize online gaming and other gaming expansions. Sponsor Rep. John Payne defers to ongoing budget talks.
Around 24,000 attended the League of Legends eSports event at London’s Wembley Stadium (l.), demonstrating the growing popularity of the activity and its potential for casinos.
Romania last week added two online gaming providers to its blacklist of operators that are not permitted to offer games to Romanian residents. That action brought the number on the blacklist to 50.
New Jersey gaming regulators fined four Atlantic City casinos and online gambling company PartyPoker for rule violations. The fines totaled $33,000.
PokerStars, known for live-action online poker, has added video poker to its online casino.
At the recent 2015 G2E, Bill Pascrell III, director of the Gaming Practice of Princeton Public Affairs Group, led a talk about a trade organization for the online gaming industry. The American Gaming Association, which once favored the issue, now is split on it. The industry needs a single message to end opponents' unproven, false claims.
Philadelphia’s Joseph Procacci (l.) has finalized a deal to take over and complete the Lawrence Downs Casino and Racing Resort, representing the state’s 14th and final casino license.
The New York State Gaming Facility Location Board cited strong public support and an improved plan when it okayed the proposed $295 million Tioga Downs racino (l.) expansion into a full-sized gaming casino in Nichols. More than 50 people voiced support for the project during a public hearing last month, and state officials received more than 2,800 letters supporting the expansion.
The Nevada Supreme Court has upheld a lower court’s ruling that Universal Entertainment chairman and former Wynn director Kazuo Okada (l.) must travel to Nevada for a lawsuit deposition.
Penn National announced $200 million, four-year upgrade of the recently renovated Tropicana in Las Vegas, which Penn National bought in August. The improvements will include adding high-quality dining and other amenities, so that guests don’t have to go to nearby competing casinos, and the first new restaurant opening planned for 2016.
One of the original hotel towers at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas got a $75 million upgrade despite the company being mired deep in bankruptcy. Meanwhile, a federal bankruptcy judge has granted a four-month extension to Caesars Entertainment Operating Company to file its reorganization plan.
Whether staying at the Palazzo in Las Vegas, dining at the Lavo restaurant, or heading to the TAO nightclub, patrons can stick around at the new Lavo Casino Club and enjoy and intimate combination of nightclub, gaming, and dining. The new casino club offers table games, a small nightclub area, and VIP bottle service on Fridays and Saturdays.
Pete Rose now is the only celebrity with a restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip after his Pete Rose Bar & Grill (l.) opened on October 14 at the Hawaiian Marketplace located across from the Aria. The new restaurant features specialty menu items referencing the three cities in which Rose played professional baseball and has 32 beers.
The Tyre Town Board approved several measures in favor of the proposed $465 million Lago Resort & Casino and might give final approval this month. The casino project also awaits final state approval and would include a six-story hotel along with 85 gaming tables, 2,000 slots, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
Officials for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority hope to bring down all of the former Riviera casino’s 13 structures, including its 23-story hotel tower, during the first quarter of 2016. Before it can do that, the company in charge of the teardown must assess potential environmental hazards and determine the best demolition method.
The transaction between Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. and Gaming & Leisure Properties Inc. recently was approved by the Mississippi Gaming Commission. Pinnacle will spin off its operating business plus the real property of Belterra Park into a separately traded public company, and GLPI will acquire the real estate assets held by the remaining company.
After selling its hotel for $11.5 million to Casino Holding Investment Partners, owners of Magnolia Bluffs Casino in Natchez, Mississippi, Isle of Capri (l.) closed its Natchez casino on October 18. Isle of Capri had owned the property since 2000. The casino's revenues have declined since Magnolia Bluffs opened in 2012.
Harrah's New Orleans asked the city to allow outdoor smoking courtyards with slot machines, to help stop declining revenue attributed to the parish-wide smoking ban. It also asked the state of Louisiana for permission to cut 400 jobs through attrition from the 2,400 mandated 15 years ago.
A measure providing guidelines for Iowa's first smoke-free casino will be reintroduced in the next legislative session by state Senator Wally Horn, co-chair of the Gambling Casino Restricted License Study Committee. Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett also has promoted building a smoke-free casino in his city.
A $6.9 million casino mismanagement suit filed by the owners of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (l.) in Stateline, Nevada, against defendants Warner Hospitality of Las Vegas and W-G Stateline, got underway October 19 in Nevada. Casino owners Jon and David Parks say they were overbilled for renovation work, and mismanagement halted progress on adjacent hotel towers.
Drivers for ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft can pick up passengers from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas after getting approval from the Clark County Commission. Uber and Lyft drivers previously were banned from making airport pickups, but new geofencing technology enables the airport to electronically charge a fee for pickup made by Uber and Lyft.
West Virginia greyhound owners and breeders recently urged members of the Joint Committee on Finance to keep the industry going, even though a recent study indicated dog racing only survives at the state's two racinos because casino profits subsidize 95 percent of purse funds.
Cirque plans an $8 million remake of its popular Love show at the Mirage in Las Vegas, and intends a gala red carpet event to celebrate the revamped show’s 10 anniversary on the Las Vegas Strip. Meanwhile, a Cirque official says the Criss Angel Believe show at the Luxor needs a “big refresh.”
NV Energy CEO Paul Cadill says he understands why Wynn Las Vegas, Las Vegas Sands, and MGM Resorts International want to leave the utility, but the process to do so makes it very difficult due to potential impacts on local residential customers. In the meantime, he says the utility is working to become more cost-competitive.
While Nevada recently banned fantasy sports wagering within state borders, the popularity of fantasy sports beyond Nevada’s borders and its support in other states ensures it will remain a potent competitor for state sports books. With new threats growing, the sports betting industry needs to get proactive, a Nevada gaming expert says.
Atlantic City’s eight casinos saw a revenue jump of 11 percent, thanks in part to a trick of the calendar that landed Labor Day weekend in September, but also because revenues are no longer being counted against when 11 casinos were operating in 2014. Four casinos closed in Atlantic City last year, but all were closed by mid-September.
Improved amenities, increased handicapper access and seating, and a new observation deck are among many improvements underway at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. The $72.5 million upgrade will make the center more fan-friendly and make it more competitive with other arena projects planned and underway in Las Vegas.
The security guards at Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem overwhelmingly voted in favor of becoming the first group of unionized employees of Las Vegas Sands Corporation.
Two of the most competitive state assembly races in New Jersey involve Atlantic City, but an Associated Press report found that numerous ads about city casinos have a second purpose. The ads are being paid for by the state’s teacher’s union to support candidates that will vote to fund state pensions.
Seminole tribal officials recently flew to Tallahassee on their private jet to secretly meet with Florida Governor Rick Scott (l.) about the Seminole Compact set to expire October 31. Current compact provisions grant the tribe exclusive rights to banked card games in exchange for $1 billion over five years.
At the Choctaw Casino Resort (l.) in Durant, Oklahoma, guests can gamble at the casino's 3,500 slots, table games and racebook. But now they also can play laser tag or go bowling, or relax at the sports bar, movie theater or luxury spa, all part of the property's recently completed expansion.
The Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians will build a Class II casino in Mackinaw City, Michigan, following the village council's rejection of the tribe's proposed Class III facility. The village would have received 2 percent of the Class III casino's revenue, but it's not required to share revenue from a Class II operation.
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community will add a second, 9-story, 180-room hotel at its Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake, Minnesota, plus a new 70,000 square foot convention center. Construction will start next April and conclude by the end of 2017.
Hip thrusts performed by an eight-member dancing troupe cost the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel in Idaho its liquor license for 10 days and a $25,000 fine. State regulators punished the casino after a touring group of dancers performed last month , but unknowingly violated Idaho liquor control laws governing lewd conduct in drinking establishments.
Arizona’s Tohono O’odham Nation last week held a job fair and ordered slot machines for its Desert Diamond West Valley Casino in Glendale. The tribe plans to open the Class II casino in December.
The Santee Sioux in South Dakota plans a New Year’s Eve opening of a marijuana dispensary and smoking lounge, but faces opposition from the state’s governor. In New York, the Seneca Nation Council approved going forward with a November vote in which members will decide whether or not to explore opening a medical marijuana operation.
New Mexico’s Nambe Pueblo plans to open the Nambe Falls Casino in mid-December with 180 slot machines. The new casino will be a few miles south of Santa Fe.
A Cornell University study showed Maine’s poorest residents spend up to 200 times more per person on lottery tickets than those in wealthier areas, helping to boost ticket sales to $230 million annually. Also, since 2003, the lottery has tripled its advertising budget and installed flat-screen TVs in stores to encourage impulse buys.
The state of New Mexico recently signed a second contract with gambling industry and payments solutions supplier Intralot Inc. to oversee the New Mexico Lottery's central system and software platforms, terminal network and communications. The agency hired Intralot for similar responsibilities in 2006.
More Illinois Lottery winners are expected to sign on to a class action lawsuit since the state recently dropped its no-pay limit from $25,000 to $600. Lottery officials said their checking account is empty and can't be refilled until the state passes a budget. Prizes less than $600 can be claimed at retail locations.
Former U.S. Ambassador to China Clark Randt Jr. and former Nevada Gaming Commission member Patricia Mulroy have joined the Wynn Resorts Board of Directors with terms that started October 15. Randt brings expertise in the Chinese market to the board, while Mulroy (l.), a former water district general manager, has some baggage.
Sands China CFO and Executive Vice President Ben Toh Hup Hock has announced that he will step down in April. He plans to pursue “other business interests.”
IGT Senior Vice President, North America Jay Gendron was inducted into the Lottery Industry Hall of Fame at the recent NASPL annual conference.
House Advantage has named relationship marketing expert Brett Kline as the company’s new chief marketing officer.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts has appointed Janet McNab as managing director of the Sheraton Macao Hotel and the St. Regis Macao. McNab began her career with the company in Brisbane in 1990.
Wendell Long recently was fired as president and chief executive officer at Snoqualmie Casino in Snoqualmie, Washington after serving only five months. The Snoqualmie Tribal Council rehired Jon Jenkins to replace Long.
Desert Diamond Casinos will place a range of slots and payment solutions from Everi Holdings Inc. in the new West Valley Resort and Casino.
Scientific Games, through local distributor CY Management, has placed the first installation of the Bally Super 88 Fortunes game in Macau.
IGT has signed a distribution agreement with LUDI S.F.M., a French gaming distributor, involving legacy GTECH gaming machines and systems.
Gaming Laboratories International Australia recently received accreditation as an online gaming testing facility by the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission. The approval extends the global reach of GLI, which has operated in Australia for more than 20 years, serving customers in Australia, New Zealand and the Western Pacific.
American Casino & Entertainment Properties and GameAccount Network have formed a partnership that will allow ACEP to expand its online virtual gaming website via GAN technology. The collaboration will offer ACEP online visitors access to a larger game library and provide an enhanced mobile app.
High 5 Games will supply premium slot games to cruise ships of Carnival Corporation as part or Carnival’s on-property mobile gaming solution.
For the third consecutive year, TransAct Technologies Inc. won the Konami Supplier Performance Award, presented during last month’s Global Gaming Expo.
The Tao Asian Bistro won top honors for a second straight year as the top-grossing food and beverage sales among restaurants in the United States, as reported by Restaurant Business Online. Las Vegas has 15 restaurants named among the nation’s top 100, including nine steakhouses and several restaurants affiliated with celebrity chefs.
Red Rock Resort has installed three NanoLumens LED visual solutions, including displays that are the largest of their kind in North America.
A new partnership between Maverick Helicopters and PLAYSTUDIOS allows myVEGAS loyalty rewards program members to redeem their rewards points for Maverick Helicopters flying tours of Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and Maui, Hawaii. Players earn points by playing free blackjack and slots games for their mobile devices.
BetStone has signed an agreement with Caliente, one of the leaders of the Mexican gaming market, to provide BetStone gaming machines to 20 Caliente casinos.
The Azumi Group intends to open a Zuma luxury Japanese dining restaurant inside the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas sometime in 2016. The 9,000-square-foot restaurant will feature a sushi bar, robata grill, and a main kitchen and feature many Japanese delicacies. The restaurant will open in the resort’s former third-floor art studio, which has been vacant for more than four years.
Clarion Events and Urban Expositions launch the first Juegos Miami, May 31 to June 3, 2016 at the Biltmore in Coral Gables, Florida, targeting the Pan-Latin American and Caribbean gaming industry. The concept will offer multi-stream conferencing, social and networking events, training, golf and more.
National tribal leaders join the Arizona Indian Gaming Association for its annual expo this week at the Talking Stick Resort.
Alexandre Dreyfus (l.) plans to create a team-based professional poker league which would operate the game as a sport with salaried players.
Small Nuggets of News
Outrageous pronouncements, simple statements and words of wisdom