Caesars Out of Ohio

Caesars Entertainment will soon be pulling entirely out of Ohio. It has sold its 20 percent interest in its two Horseshoe Casinos, in Cincinnati and Cleveland (l.) and its ThistleDown Racino in North Randall to Rock Gaming. The casinos will change their names and withdraw from the Caesars’ Total Reward player program.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Taiwan County to Vote Again on Casinos?

Residents of the Taiwanese island of Penghu (Rainbow Bridge at l.) may vote again on legalizing casinos next year. Penghu defeated a gaming referendum four years ago, but may get another chance. A government committee has approved a proposal that could lead to a gaming referendum in 2016, most likely in the first half of the year.

Five Locations Bid for Connecticut Casino

Five bidders have emerged to host the third Connecticut casino that will be a partnership between the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes in an effort to stem the loss of business to the MGM casino that will open in 2018 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Meanwhile, Eric Holder (l.), former U.S. Attorney General is now part of the legal team trying to overturn the law that would allow the state’s gaming tribes open the casino. He represents MGM, which is challenging the constitutionality of the law.

MGM Officials Complete Pilgrimage to Springfield

Officials in Springfield, Massachusetts demanded and received visits from top executives with MGM Resorts, including President Bill Hornbuckle (l.), to explain why the company is downsizing its facility there. Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission gave a hint it would consider two casinos in the state’s southeastern region.

New Jersey, Other States, Considers DFS Regulations, Licensing

New Jersey could join Nevada in requiring daily fantasy sports sites to acquire a state gaming license. The two states offer legal online gaming. A state Senator Jim Whelan (l.) has announced a bill that would strictly regulate DFS sites, joining similar moves in other states. Meanwhile legislative efforts to regulate DFS continue in several states.

Baha Mar’s Izmirlian Hanging On

Baha Mar Ltd. founder Sarkis Izmirlian (l.) has offered to put up more of his own money to prevent his $3.5 billion Baha Mar Resort from full-blown government liquidation. Nonetheless, the property has been placed in receivership.

Georgia, Oh Georgia

Last week, Michael Pollock of Spectrum Gaming Group testified before a committee of the Georgia state legislature about the efficacy of legalizing casinos in the state. The following article is based on testimony he provided.

Simermeyer Named as Newest NIGC Commissioner

E. Sequoyah Simermeyer, a member of the Coharie tribe, has been named an associate commissioner of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC). He joins Chairman Jonodev O. Chaudhuri as the second member of the NIGC. A third seat remains unoccupied.

ASIAN GAMING More

The Bell Tolls Again for Macau

The world’s premier gaming destination just recorded its 17th straight month of year-on-year revenue declines. GGR for October was 28.4 percent lower than 2014. Is there an end in sight for the long recession?

Megaworld Boosts Bucks in Manila

Philippine development firm Megaworld Corp. has announced it will invest an additional $300 million in the residential portion of Travellers International’s Entertainment City resort project in Manila. Andrew Tan (l.), chairman and chief executive of Alliance Global and Megaworld, said the property will be a “showcase” for Manila.

Hooray for Hollywood (Again)

On the heels of Melco Crown’s Studio City opening, another attraction with a Hollywood theme is planned near Macau. The amusement park on Hengqin Island, adjacent to Macau, could be a plus for the gaming jurisdiction too, says an analyst.

Wynn Palace Workers Stage Protest

About 130 construction workers from Wynn Resorts’ new megaresort on Macau’s Cotai Strip walked off the job and onto the protest line recently, saying they had been forced to work overtime without a guarantee of OT wages.

EUROPEAN GAMING More

Hippodrome Acquires Crystal Rooms

The Hippodrome Casino (l.) in the UK has acquired the Crystal Rooms Adult Gaming Centre, which is located next to its facility in central London. The acquisition will help to showcase the range of entertainment provided by the Hippodrome, which is the biggest and busiest casino in England and one of the most popular entertainment venues in London.

Casinos Austria Opens on Black Sea

Casinos Austria International has opened a property, Casino International, inside the Hilton Hotel, in the Black Sea port city of Batumi in Georgia. The company hopes to attract players from Russia, Iraq and Turkey, where casinos are prohibited.

You Win, You Lose in Czech Republic

Legislators in the Czech Republic have approved a bill that could raise the taxes paid by winning bettors. The bill, which must go through two legislative houses, would raise the tax rate on lotteries, sports betting and slots will rise more than 20 percent.

British Bookies, Horsemen Standoff on Levy

Talks have broken down between British bookmakers and the horse industry, which tried to come to terms over a race betting levy. The British Horseracing Authority wanted 10.75 percent of racing revenue from retail betting and 7.5 percent from online.

GLOBAL GAMING More

Israel Plans Casino at Former Airport

An airport in the Israeli city of Eilat (l.) could be the site of a new, Vegas-style casino resort. The plan is under consideration by the government, which has asked all departments and ministries to look at the proposal.

Bermuda Hoping for Casino in 2017

Crafting gaming regulations is the most important step toward opening gaming casinos in Bermuda, Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell (l.) said, but the Bermuda Parliament should have regulations mostly in place during its next session and a casino might be up and running in time for the 2017 America’s Cup yacht race. Bermuda plans to open three casinos that would employ about 900.

Victoria Considers $1 Billion Casino

The Victorian government may try to revive a struggling former manufacturing town by introducing a waterfront casino. But any attempt to move in on James Packer’s monopoly in the state is likely to spark a battle.

Moody’s: Nobu Not a Jewel in the Crown

Moody’s Investor Service is taking a dim view of Crown Resorts’ new $100 million stake in Nobu Hospitality LLC, saying James Packer’s firm is already overextended. The firm called the buy “credit negative” for Crown. At left, Nobu principals Chef Nobu, Robert De Niro, Meir Teper.

ONLINE GAMING More

Chaffetz to Leave DFS Out of Online Gambling Ban

U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, the main sponsor of the Restore America’s Wire Act that would ban online gaming told the Las Vegas Review Journal that he is not considering adding daily fantasy sports to the proposed ban.

South Korea Cracks Down on Online Gambling

South Korean officials have said they are intensifying their efforts to stop illegal online gambling and have warned gamblers they could face stiff fines and punishment if caught playing illegal sites.

Playtech Launches Bingo-First Strategy

The first time a supplier has offered a combined bingo software and content strategy, Playtech ONE recently launched its multi-channel games and systems across Mecca Bingo's retail, online, mobile and 12,000 in-hall bingo handheld terminals. The launch includes Playtech's popular Adventures in Wonderland and Heart of the Jungle slots.

BoyleSports Adds NYX Gaming Content

Irish bookmaker BoyleSports is now offering online slot titles from NYX Gaming Group. The bookmaker successfully integrated NYX’s Open Gaming System into its platform.

Bitcoin’s Value Surges

Virtual currency Bitcoin has seen its value surge to over $500 for the first time since August 2014. Demand from China is seen as the main catalysts.

Unibet Has Record Quarter

Scandinavian operator Unibet posted record gross winnings revenue for the third quarter of 2015 of ₤86 million. The company said its winnings would have been even higher if currency exchange rates had been more favorable.

UNITED STATES GAMING More

Kansas Casino Construction Still On Hold

Kansas Crossing Casino (l.) construction will remain on hold while a lawsuit filed by losing bidder Castle Rock Casino moves forward. Castle Rock claims Kansas officials chose the wrong developer and did not follow state law. Kansas Crossing said Castle Rock's lawsuit is "a last-ditch effort by sore losers to derail the project."

Georgia Committee Holds Gaming Hearing

Casino industry representatives testified before the Georgia legislative study committees exploring allowing six casinos and horse racing. Some gaming execs said they would pay 20 percent tax on gross revenue instead of the proposed 12 percent if allowed to operate in Georgia. Governor Nathan Deal (l.) said he might consider it with a minimum tax rate of 25 percent.

Nebraska Gambling Opponents Gear Up For New Casino Campaign

The anti-gambling group Gambling with the Good Life hopes to derail the pro-gambling group Keep the Money in Nebraska's plans to place expanded-gambling measures on the November 2016 ballot. Last year Gambling with the Good Life's efforts led the Nebraska Supreme Court to invalidate a ballot measure allowing historic racing machines at racetracks.

Maryland Casinos Seek Tighter Slots

Maryland’s casinos want to lower the state-required minimum payback percentage of 87 percent, citing lower minimum RTP numbers in neighboring states.

High Solar Power Costs Thwart Casinos in Nevada

Nevada casinos, residents, and NV Energy could benefit from changes in state laws requiring the utility to pay above-market prices for power produced by small solar power operators and sell it at a loss, an industry analyst suggests, adding that lower energy costs also would enable casinos to pursue alternative energy sources without the utility raising residential rates.

Health Care Costs Could Trigger Detroit Strike

Union-member casino workers at Detroit's three casinos could go on strike over rising health care costs. About 6,000 casino employees recently voted to authorize a strike in advance of negotiations, but they'll remain on the job under a contract extension that expired October 16. The next bargaining session is set for November 9.

Familiar Foes for Las Vegas Convention Center Funding

Opposition to public funding of a $2.3 billion, 10-year expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center is coming from a familiar source—Las Vegas Sands and others. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority are hoping for state funding to help with the daunting project, but privately owned Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts International, which just completed a massive convention center expansion at Mandalay Bay (l.), are wary of public funding for a direct competitor.

Caesars Can Sell Tunica Property

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge A. Benjamin Goldgar informed Caesars Entertainment Operating Company that it may sell its Harrah's Tunica Hotel & Casino in Mississippi, closed since June 2014, to TJM Properties for $3 million. Caesars cancelled an auction for the Tunica property last week after no one showed up.

Texas Racing Commission May Lose Funding—Again

Texas racetracks may have to shut down a second time as the November 30 funding deadline approaches. The Texas Racing Commission, which regulates the tracks, is functioning on a temporary budget, grudgingly bestowed by lawmakers who originally withheld operating funds as payback for commissioners approving historical racing guidelines.

Employees Buying Nevada Casino

Eureka Casino Resorts will retain its current leadership, but the employees will become the bosses as they take ownership of the 214-room resort in Mesquite through an employee stock ownership program. Eureka CEO Greg Lee said the move will boost retirement plans for workers and help to ensure the casino stays in operation for many more years.

MGM Studying Vegas Arena Parking Options

MGM Resorts International has thousands of empty parking spots located within a couple blocks of the new Las Vegas Arena (l.), which is slated to open in 2016, but company executives say they don’t have a parking plan in place, yet, and charging for parking might happen for the first time on the Las Vegas Strip.

Increased Opposition to Lago Casino

New York Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee Chairman Gary Pretlow (l.) has come out against the proposed Lago Resort & Casino in Tyre, New York, and wants the state’s Gaming Commission to deny a casino gaming license for the proposed casino. The Oneida Nation also opposes the casino project, which would compete with the tribe’s current gaming monopoly in Upstate New York.

Alon Las Vegas Work Begun

Surveying and earthmoving work has started at the site of the proposed Alon resort casino on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip, where the New Frontier Casino (l.) once stood. Alon officials have not announced specific plans, but they intend to build 26- and 17-story towers, provide more than 27,000 square feet of gaming space, and support events, restaurants, retail stores, and entertainment.

Idaho, Wyoming Review Historic Racing

Historic racing is getting renewed attention in the West. In Idaho, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter said he wants the machines reinstated but with stricter regulation. In Wyoming, a historic racing machine company will offer older, less slot-like games and reconfigure newer ones, so they can be allowed back into racetracks.

Nevada Gaming Revenue, Visitation Rise

Gaming revenues and tourism are up in Nevada and along the Las Vegas Strip, and so are passenger arrivals via McCarran International Airport. September ended a three-month decline in gaming revenues as Nevada casinos took in $916.3 million for the month, which was up 1.5 percent from a year earlier. Increased tourism and airline travel are partly responsible for the increases.

Hard Rock Hotel Coming To Atlanta

Hard Rock International announced plans for a 220-room Hard Rock Hotel in Atlanta opening in spring 2018. Located next to the future Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the hotel will offer a rooftop and lobby lounges, heated outdoor pool and Hard Rock exclusives including the Rock Spa, Rock Shop, Body Rock and Hard Rock Café.

Trump Casinos Seeking Sandy Claims

Two Trump casinos in Atlantic City are trying to recoup unpaid insurance claims stemming from Superstorm Sandy in 2012. That includes the former Trump Plaza (l.), which closed in 2014. Trump Entertainment says the storms impact significantly diminished the number of guests at the Plaza and Trump Taj Mahal immediately after the storm.

Ride-Hailing App for Las Vegas Cabs

Las Vegas locals and visitors can use a free, downloadable app called Curb to hail rides from taxis in the Las Vegas Valley. Recently bought by Verifone, Curb has been in business for some time, but its market range is greatly expanded via Verifone, and it only is used with licensed cab companies to help ensure safe rides for passengers.

Jacksonville Poker Room Now Florida's Largest

The bestbet poker room (l.) in Jacksonville, Florida has become the state's largest and highest grossing parimutuel in less than four years, raking in $15.6 million in the 2013-14 fiscal year. With a sister poker room in Orange Park, bestbet offers 113 poker tables and hosts popular promotions and World Poker Tournament events.

Nominal Competition For Vegas High Speed Rail

The Nevada High-Speed Rail Authority on November 18 will examine several proposals for a high-speed rail system connecting Las Vegas and Southern California. Thus far, Las Vegas-based XpressWest is the only qualified candidate, but several competing proposals might prove to be more compelling and gain eventual approval from Nevada officials.

Possible Vegas Stadium Swap

UNLV and Clark County officials are working on a potential swap of Sam Boyd Stadium (l.) and its land for a 42-acre parcel and potential 55,000-seat stadium located near McCarran International Airport. Representatives for both recently met to begin work on a potential memorandum of understanding for a possible eventual property swap.

Station Casinos Lists Parcel

Station Casinos wants $40 million for an undeveloped and gaming-restricted parcel located on the Las Vegas Strip, about a mile south of the South Point casino. The 57-acre parcel is among several Station Casinos owns but has not developed and is looking to unload as it prepares for a planned initial public offering.

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Three Branches of Government Fight Over Tribal Recognition

The Supreme Court is the fly in the ointment when it comes to settled tribal gaming policy. The court has consistently reversed decisions by both Congress and the administration. Rep. Tom Cole (l.) says the court doesn’t know much about Indians or Indian law.

Florida Takes Seminoles To Court

The Seminole compact, allowing the tribe exclusive rights to blackjack in exchange for $1 billion over five years, ended October 30. The same day the state filed suit in federal court. The tribe also filed a federal lawsuit, noting the state violated the compact by allowing racetracks to offer electronic blackjack. One of the casinos owned by the tribe is the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek (l.).

Washoe Tribe Breaks Ground

The Washoe Tribe in Nevada broke ground on its planned casino on Highway 395 in Gardnerville in northern Nevada, which complements an under-construction travel plaza slated to be done in March. The tribe expects to open the casino in a year and provide 80 casino jobs along with 20 travel plaza jobs.

Arizona Casino Accepts Delivery of First Slots

The Tohono O’odham tribe of Arizona is readying for the opening of its Diamond Desert Casino near Glendale, Arizona in the Phoenix Valley. Last week it accepted its first slots machines. It plans a December 20 opening.

Cherokees Forecast $950 Million In 2016

Last year the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma earned $930 million in gross revenue, with $640 million from gaming, some coming from its newest casino, Cherokee Casino & Hotel Roland (l.). Next year it expects earnings to exceed $950 million, said Chuck Garrett, executive vice president of Cherokee Nation Businesses. He said jobs directly tied to the tribe generated $1.55 billion for Oklahoma in 2014.

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Mashantucket Pequots Re-Elect Chairman

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut, owners of Foxwoods Resort Casino, recently re-elected Rodney Butler (l.) to a fifth consecutive term on the tribal council and a third term as council chairman. Incumbent treasurer Jean Swift also was elected to the tribal council.

Minnesota Tribal Chairman to Work for President

The chairwoman of Minnesota’s Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has decided to leave her job to work for President Obama as special assistant on Native American Affairs. Karen Driver says she hopes to have a “wider impact in Indian Country,” in her new position.

Is Chan New Macau Regulator?

Macau gaming regulator Manuel Joaquim das Neves, who is leaving the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau after 18 years, reportedly will be replaced by Assistant Prosecutor-General Paulo Martins Chan.

Former Judge Joins Mass Gaming Commission

A former judge has been appointed to fill the seat that was vacated by a former judge on the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. Attorney General Maura Healey named retired Superior Court Judge Lloyd Macdonald to the seat vacated last week by James McHugh.

Interblock Names Stanton Marketing VP

Interblock has named former longtime WMS marketing executive Colleen Stanton Kakavetsis as the company’s new global vice president of marketing.

Caesars Moves Barnhill to Cincinnati

Chad Barnhill will move from his current position as senior vice president and general manager of Horseshoe Casino Baltimore to the role of general manager of Horseshoe Cincinnati.

Keel Named GM At Akwesasne Mohawk

Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort in Hogansburg, New York, has hired Shannon Keel as general manager. Previously she was general manager at the Reserve Casino Hotel in Central City, Colorado, and also served as vice president and general manager at the Golden Mardi Gras, Gates and Gulch Casinos in Black Hawk, Colorado.

Dahl Joins Foundation Gaming Group

Jeff Dahl has been named principal and co-chief executive officer at Foundation Gaming & Entertainment LLC, an affiliate of Foundation Gaming Group based in Gulfport, Mississippi. The company also announced the completion of its purchase of DiamondJacks Casino & Hotel in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

AGI Argentina Names Managing Director

The Novomatic Group has named Fabian Grous, head of its Argentina system subsidiary, as the new managing director of its South American subsidiary, AGI Argentina.

GOODS & SERVICES More

Aristocrat Launches New Batman Slot

Aristocrat has released Batman Rogues Gallery, the latest video slot based on the 1966 Batman TV series, focusing on the famous villains of the series.

Shaq, DGS Launch Hybrid Blackjack

Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, launched the first live-dealer hybrid electronic blackjack system in the U.S., “ShaqJack,” in October, along with Shaquille O’Neal.

GLI Relocating Sydney Lab

Gaming Laboratories International will relocate its laboratory in Sydney, Australia to be closer to manufacturers who have moved west of the central business district. The new space will offer 25 percent more lab floor, allowing GLI to increase its engineering staff by 30 percent.

Caesars Expands Fifth Third Bank CPS

Caesars Entertainment will expand its use of Currency Processing Solutions from Fifth Third Bank, which has allowed Caesars to lower labor costs and paperwork, minimize theft and increase capital access. Caesars first applied CPS in January 2014 and now utilizes the services at eight properties across the franchise.

Big Fish Sets Churchill Downs Records

Churchill Downs Inc. posted record net revenues for third quarter of $279.8 million, up 61 percent over the same period in 2014, due to the success of Big Fish Gaming, a Seattle-based online gaming company acquired last December. Big Fish's free-to-play casual division posted an increase of 158 percent in average paying users.

Panama Licenses Novomatic Subsidiary

Novo Panamá, a subsidiary of Novomatic, has been officially licensed to provide slot machines and systems to the Panamanian market, which currently includes about 15,000 slot machines and 200 gaming tables. In 2014, gaming in Panama brought in $515.24 million with gaming tax revenue of $96.1 million.

New App Lets Bowlers Compete

The new Rolltech Action Bowling app allows bowlers to use verified league scores to compete in daily bowling contests for instant cash prizes. Rolltech Chief Executive Officer Rich Belsky said, " If you’ve ever thought you could bowl better than other league bowlers around the country, this is your chance to prove it."

TRADE SHOWS & CONFERENCES More

IAGR Meets In Lima, Peru

The International Association of Gaming Regulators conference, held in Lima, Peru, attracted more than 160 delegates from 35 nations. Bheki Mlambo of South Africa, chief executive officer at the Mpumalanga Gambling Board, was inducted as president, and Dale Fuga, chief operating officer of the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba, Canada, as vice president.

SAGSE to Feature GGW Event

The SAGSE Latin America trade show and conference will host the sixth annual Global Gaming Women Luncheon this week in Buenos Aires.

IGT at SAGSE

IGT will showcase games, hardware and systems solutions at this week’s SAGSE Latin America @ Buenos Aires 2015 trade show.

JCM Announces SAGSE Lineup

JCM Global has announced its lineup of bill validators, printers and related equipment to be displayed at this week’s SAGSE Latin America trade show.

WILD CARD More

Adelson Under Microscope?

Campaign for Accountability, a liberal political watchdog group, is calling for a federal probe of Las Vegas Sands chief Sheldon Adelson to investigate for links to organized crime triads.

It’s a Wrap

The vacant Fontainebleau in Las Vegas will become less of an eyesore after owner Carl Icahn agreed to spruce up the outside of the 3,900-room property, which was shuttered in 1999. One of the options is to wrap the 63-story building in a covering.

Money Back Guarantee

The British government has agreed to return some £28.71 million (MOP350 million, or US$44 million) stolen from Macau by onetime Public Works Secretary Ao Man Long. The disgraced public official is serving a 29-year prison sentence for corruption.

Regulatory Capture

New South Wales Deputy Premier Troy Grant wants full-time casino inspectors removed from Sydney’s Star Casino. Grant said the compliance corps is at risk of “regulatory capture,” or being too entrenched in the business they are meant to oversee.

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