Life and Death for Atlantic City

The final session of the year for the New Jersey legislature included several items that will impact heavily on the future of Atlantic City. The percentage of taxation that would be allocated to Atlantic City, varies. There are also differences in possible ownership of the casinos. Meanwhile, a bill to financially aid the city of Atlantic City passed the Assembly but failed to get a vote in the Senate, and further complicates the dire fiscal shape of the city.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Texas-Sized Showdown

Despite government officials' appeals, including Governor Greg Abbott (l.), to repeal historical racing rules, the Texas Racing Commission voted again to publish them, following testimony from horse racing industry representatives, leaving the slot-like games operating in the state. Meanwhile Commission Chairman Rolando Pablos told staffers to prepare a plan for shutting down the agency since it's unlikely lawmakers will re-fund it.

Brazil Casino Bill Clears Senate Committee

A bill authored by Senator Ciro Nogueira (l.) that would legalize casino gaming in Brazil has cleared a senate committee and now heads to the full senate. If passed, the bill could lead to almost three dozen casinos in the country, which has banned the gaming halls since 1946.

And Then There Were Five

Five bidders are in the final race to win a casino license on the Greek island of Cyprus. They include NagaCorp; Philippine operator Bloomberry Resorts; U.S.-based Hard Rock; Bouygues of France; and Russia’s Absolute. The only U.S. company to bid was Hard Rock International, led by CEO Jim Allen (l.).

GLPI Finally Buys The Meadows

Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc., the REIT spun off by Penn National Gaming, has acquired the Meadows Racetrack and Casino outside of Pittsburgh for $440 million from Cannery Casino Resorts principals Bill Wortman and Bill Paulos (l.). The deal was held up by a lawsuit between the parties that was settled in the final buy.

Pennsylvania iGaming Pushed to Spring

The state House committee chairman sponsoring comprehensive online gaming legislation in Pennsylvania says the bill will not be voted on this session. Sponsor John Payne (l.) says he’ll bring it back next spring, and expects to gain more traction then.

Mass Market in Danger as China Eyes Bank Card Transactions

Macau casino shares took a dive earlier this month on news that Mainland China will take a closer look at the illegal use of bank debit cards, especially the ubiquitous UnionPay cards. Some gamblers access cash via transactions at pawnshops, which record the withdrawals as purchases.

New York Set to License Three Casinos

The first three casinos that were chosen by the New York Gaming Commission are likely to get their licenses next week at a meeting of the commission. Empire Resorts’ Montreign in the Catskills, Rush Street Gaming’s Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor (l.) in Schenectady, and Lago Resort and Casino in the Finger Lakes town of Tyre.

Sides Lining Up Over Seminole Compact

Since Governor Rick Scott announced the proposed compact between Florida and the Seminole Tribe, the pro and con sides have been busy solidifying their positions. The proposed compact would bring $3 billion to the state by allowing the Seminoles exclusive rights offer blackjack plus roulette and craps at all seven Florida casinos, including Seminole Coconut Creek (l.).

California Card Room Troubles Traced to One Thing

The answer is stronger regulation. Would someone please ask the question? Richard Schuetz, a former member of the California Gambling Commission, gives his views on what went wrong in the state’s card room industry and how it can be fixed.


Wynn Weighs In on Cotai

The grand new Wynn Palace (l.) on Macau’s Cotai Strip will open 90 days later than originally planned, June 25 instead of March 25. The builder lost out on a multimillion-dollar bonus due to the delay, and stands to lose more.

Tinian Dynasty Casino Reopens

The Tinian Dynasty Casino in the Northern Mariana Islands has reopened while undergoing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Parent company Hong Kong Entertainment Investments owed more than $258 million in debts, including $75 million in fines to the U.S. government, but has settled its fine via a forfeiture and will continue operating while undergoing reorganization.

Too Many Casinos in S. Korea?

Is South Korea’s casino industry growing too fast to be self-sustaining? Maybe not, says a professor of economics at Seoul National University. Two casinos are now planned for the country.


Landing Buys U.K. Club

Landing International has acquired the exclusive Les Ambassadeurs Club (l.) in London for GBP137 million (US$208 million), the company reports. The upscale gambling club in the Mayfair section currently has 45 gaming tables.

Caesars UK Fined For Anti-Money Laundering Lapses

Caesars UK has been fined $9.5 million for shoddy anti-money laundering practices at its Playboy Club London and London Clubs LSQ, including not assessing the risks of dealing with certain customers and not conducting sufficiently rigorous due diligence. Caesars UK admitted the lapses and agreed to an external investigation of its anti-money laundering practices and processes.

UK Community: Rein In FOBTs

Borough Council members in the historic town of Hartlespool, England have joined a chorus of concern about fixed-odds betting terminals, gambling machines that allow players to bet up to £100 (US$149) a spin.

British Casino Recruiting For 100 New Jobs

One hundred people are being recruited to fill jobs at the $6 million Casino 36 (l.) in Wolverhampton, U.K. The casino will be the result of the Rubicon Casino in Temple Street expanding into the former Dorchester/Beach nightclub, which currently is empty.

RGT Commissions Online Gaming Study

The U.K.’s Responsible Gambling Trust has announced that Sophro Ltd. has been commissioned to study online gaming and its potential for harm.


Crown to Go Private?

Crown Resorts has taken a beating in recent months, in part because of the historic recession in Macau, where the Australian billionaire James Packer (l.) is heavily invested. Now Packer may be considering taking some shares private.

Federal Group Unveils $70 Million Casino Plan

Tasmania’s Federal Group showed its hand last week and how it would use $70 million to renovate the Wrest Point casino complex (l.) there. Other improvements would be added to other facilities the company owns. Now the casino wants assurances it will retain its license beyond 2018.

Elements Opens In Surrey, British Columbia

Following an $11 million renovation, the former 40-year old Fraser Downs Racetrack Casino has reopened as Elements Casino in Surrey, British Columbia. The enhanced property features additional table games, a live performance space, new dining options and special lighting effects. Director of Operations Michael Kim said the name reflects "so many new elements in here."

Adelaide to Move on $300 Million Expansion

Starting in February, SkyCity’s Adelaide Casino will begin a long-deferred major expansion. The $300 million project, which will add a hotel, restaurants and VIP suites, should be completed by the end of 2018. However, a court has ruled that SkyCity must turn over VIP information in a suit brought by a patron.

New Taxes Threaten Sri Lanka Casinos

Operators of four smaller casinos in Sri Lanka are considering closing since President Maithripala Sirisena’s (l.) government imposed a new $7 million annual fee plus, doubled the annual casino levy and charged a 25 percent surtax on profits. One operator already converted his casino to an art gallery.

Mohawk Track to Become Casino?

Woodbine Entertainment Group, owner of Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario, Canada has plans to expand the racetrack into a casino. Last summer, another Woodbine track in Toronto was approved for a similar expansion.


DraftKings, FanDuel Try to Head Off Problems in California

While their legal battle plays out in New York, representatives for the two biggest daily fantasy sports companies told California legislators they want to work with the state to pass regulations that will keep them operating and legitimize their sites. California held a public hearing on a bill to license daily fantasy sports operators and Assemblyman Adam Gray (l.) has introduced a bill to legalize and regulate the games.

Tabcorp, Murdoch Partner on iGaming

Tabcorp is partnering with billionaire Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation to launch a new online gaming business in the U.K. and Irish markets. Tabcorp CEO David Attenborough (l.) says it’s a logical and meaningful partnership.

Online Gaming Booms in Atlantic City in November

Atlantic City’s eight casinos saw a slight bump in revenue for November, fueled by a 51 percent increase in online gambling revenue over November 2014. The amount of revenue won by the casinos brick and mortar operations was actually down 1.4 percent.

Realistic Games Offers Blackjack Side Bets

Games Marketing has licensed its popular Perfect Pairs and 21+3 blackjack side bet games to Realistic Games. Both games are available in land-based and online casinos worldwide, and accessible through bet365, BetVictor, Boylesports, Stan James, NYX, Paddy Power, Bede, Pocket Fruity and Spin Genie.

Ladbrokes Australia Resumes Live Betting

Ladbrokes Australia has reactivated its in-play live betting feature, ‘LivePlay’, after a challenge to a ruling against the service by the Australian Communication Agency by bookmaker William Hill.

Electronic Arts Adds eSports Division

Electronic Arts has created an eSports division called the EA Competitive Gaming Division. The division will make classic EA Games available to global eSports competitions.

Online Gambling Sites Most at Risk of Hacker Attacks

Technology security firm Akamai released a report warning that online gambling sites are at the greatest risk of distributed denial of service attacks by computer hackers. Online gaming sites saw 50 percent of all such attacks in the third quarter of 2015.

Betcade Launches Android-based App Store

Betcade has launched early access to an Android-based online gambling app store. The company is moving into an area vacated by Google, which doesn’t allow real-money gambling apps in its Google Play store.


Georgia Committee Offers Gaming Report, Not Recommendations

In Georgia, instead of offering specific recommendations about expanded gambling, a joint House and Senate study committee will offer a report ahead of the January 11 session. Lawmakers will consider a measure calling for six casinos and parimutuel betting to help the beleaguered Hope Scholarship program. A voter referendum would be required. Governor Nathan Deal (l.) says a high tax rate is necessary to get his approval.

Raided California Card Rooms Want to Reopen

A raid involving hundreds of state and federal agents aimed at an operation spanning three nations but based in San Diego, California, shut down two card rooms that were at the center of the operation that combined money laundering and prostitution. The operation centered on a bookmaker known as “Fat Dave” Stroj (l.).

Reid Withdraws Caesars Bankruptcy Amendment

Retiring Senator Harry Reid has dropped his bid to attach a repeal of the Trust Indenture Act to muss-pass legislation. The rider would have helped Caesars in its bankruptcy proceedings.

Only Operating Massachusetts Casino Falling Far Short

Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville was the first Massachusetts casino to open. The slots-only facility has failed to perform up to expectations, however, as the state has cut its estimated take from the casino revenue by 40 percent. At the same time, Suffolk Downs is back looking for a racino after it failed to win the bid for the Boston-area casino.

McGregor To Reopen VictoryLand

VictoryLand Casino in Macon County, Alabama will reopen soon, announced owner Milton McGregor (l.). The casino closed after a 2013 raid in which 1,600 electronic bingo machines were seized. McGregor wants them back but the state Supreme Court ruled they are illegal. Meanwhile Governor Robert Bentley transferred gambling enforcement from the state to local authorities.

Alon Las Vegas Facing Obstacles

Decreased Asian gaming revenues and increased debt are causing the principal investor in the Alon Las Vegas project to seek new investors and lower its stake in the project, but current economic conditions might make that difficult. Australia-based Crown Resorts wants to reduce its 74 percent stake in the project by more than $400 million by selling some of its equity in the proposed casino resort. Former Wynn Resorts executive Andrew Pascal (l.) is CEO and an investor as well.

Indiana Counties Reach Riverboat Revenue Agreement

A dispute over riverboat gambling revenue has ended between Switzerland and Jefferson counties, Indiana. Switzerland County will deliver to Jefferson County $50,000 in economic development funds it has been holding. In turn, Jefferson County will dismiss a lawsuit it filed against Switzerland County in July.

Improved Cash Flow for Sands Bethlehem

The Sands Bethlehem Casino (hotel at l.) in Pennsylvania proved to be the only one to generate positive cash flow growth for Las Vegas Sands through the first three months of the 2015 fiscal year, as its overseas gambling operations saw losses of up to 37 percent. The Marina Bay Sands in Singapore generated more than $1 billion in cash flow, but its Macau casinos lost up to 37 percent of their gaming revenues.

Golden Nugget Boosts Lake Charles Results

The $700 million Golden Nugget Casino (l.) opened in Lake Charles, Louisiana a year ago, siphoning players from L'Auberge Casino and Isle of Capri, but also drawing more to the area. In the past year, the three casinos won a total of $732 million, up 46 percent over the previous year when Lake Charles only had two casinos.

Detroit Casino Workers Ratify Contract

A new 5-year contract covering nearly 6,000 union workers at Greektown Casino, MotorCity and MGM Grand Detroit recently was ratified, much to the relief of casino and Detroit officials. The new contract replaces one that expired October 16, and includes the same rates for existing health plans, raises and signing bonuses.

Borgata Atlantic City, Phil Ivey Still Battling in Court

Atlantic City’s Borgata casino is still charging that poker pro Phil Ivey cheated at the casino in a court case involving Ivey’s use of “edge-sorting” at a Borgata baccarat table. Ivey has filed for a dismissal of the case, and the casino says it will challenge that filing.

Court Of Appeals To Hear Sioux City Casino Case

The Belle of Sioux City, former parent company of the Argosy Sioux City, asked the state Supreme Court to overturn a three-judge panel's ruling upholding the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission's decision that led the Argosy to close in 2014. The high court moved the case to the state Court of Appeals.

Iowa Slots Paying One-Third Less

With an average hold of 9.37 percent, Iowa slots pay out one-third less than 10 years ago, placing them among the tightest in the nation, according to a study by the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers of 16 states with casinos. Prairie Meadows racino in Altoona offers the highest slots payouts.

Eureka Casino Employee Stock Approved

The Nevada Gaming Commission in November approved an employee stock ownership program for the Eureka Casino in Mesquite, which the Lee family says gives casino employees a partial stake in the casino, while acting as a retirement plan that doesn’t require workers to invest their own money each paycheck. It also reduces the casino’s annual tax bill, thereby freeing up more capital for casino improvements.

Atlantic City Council OKs Bader Field Lease

The Atlantic City Council has approved a lease agreement which would see the city’s former municipal airport, Bader Field, used for a sports complex. However, the owner of the city’s former Revel Casino may try to block the move.

$1 Billion Electric Car Plant Heads for North Las Vegas

California electric automaker Faraday Future announced it will open a $1 billion automotive plant in North Las Vegas, Nevada, after the city won over bids from locations in Georgia and Illinois. Faraday Future said North Las Vegas offered the best business environment, and state lawmakers provided more than $200 million in tax incentives to secure the factory and its 4,500 direct and 9,000 indirect full-time jobs.

Atlantic City Boardwalk to Get Video Surveillance System

The New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority will fund an $11 million project to install 230 surveillance cameras on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. The project is being called the first of its kind for a New Jersey boardwalk.

Downtown Las Vegas Hotel Proving Robust

The historic Plaza Las Vegas casino’s renewed emphasis on details and improving the customer experience has proven successful, its CEO says. The casino was the only Downtown Las Vegas operation to post an increase in revenues in October, and it’s the only downtown casino that offers bingo as well as traditional gaming, and a redesigned layout and gaming options have made it a more inviting casino for visitors to the Fremont Street Experience.

Pennsylvania Senate Mulls Racing Subsidy

A bill in the Pennsylvania Senate would channel money from casino revenues to a nearly empty fund that supports drug-testing and other compliance costs for horse racing.

NCAA Might Rethink Las Vegas Ban

Las Vegas could find itself able to host NCAA regional tournament events once again, with NCAA President Mark Emmert saying the organization’s current ban is hypocritical and should be rethought. Emmert said lifting the ban on NCAA-sanctioned events in Las Vegas might be discussed during the January NCAA Convention, which could lead to Las Vegas hosting its first NCAA regional since the 1991 women’s basketball tournament.


Washington Tribe Closes Casino Over Financial Problems

A Washington tribe that had fallen behind in payments to lenders who financed its casino renovation has now closed the facility. The Nooksack Tribe of Washington last week shut down the Nooksack River Casino (l.) in Deming.

Texas Opposes Tigua Gaming

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (l.) on December 9 filed a federal complaint to stop the Tigua Tribe of El Paso from reopening its Speaking Rock casino, which is located on reservation land but offers some types of gaming Texas officials say are illegal. Paxton says a 1987 act gives the state the authority to regulate some types of tribal gaming, but federal regulators disagree.

Connecticut Tribes Delay Deadline for Selecting Casino Site

MMCT, the entity created by Connecticut’s gaming tribes, the Pequot and Mohegan tribes to determine a site for a satellite casino, has postponed the decision. The original deadline was December 15. The final deadline has not been announced.

Many Changes for Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians recently voted for sweeping changes to tribal leadership and opened a second tribal casino and an $82 million hospital to promote wellness and tribal self-determination. New Principal Chief Patrick Lambert (l.) made changes to improve the tribe’s service to its members, while also dealing with financial matters remaining from the prior administration.

Off-Reservation Residents Want To Vote

The 2,660 Santee Sioux members who live off the Knox County, Nebraska reservation want the same voting rights as the 800 who live there. Petitions are circulating to hold an election to change the tribe's constitution and let all members vote. The tribe operates the Ohiya Casino & Resort in Nibrara.

Salish, Kootenai Casino Work Underway

A new Gray Wolf Casino near Evaro, Montana, will open by the end of 2016, but without a 70-room hotel, RV park, and convenience store, officials for the Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribes announced. Tribal officials scaled back their construction plans after elders cited concerns that the 5.2-acre site is culturally significant.

Massachusetts Tribe Appeals Casino Ruling

A Massachusetts tribe that wants to open a Class II casino on Martha Vineyard is not taking no for an answer from a federal judge. The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) is taking steps to appeal the decision.

Oklahoma Tribal Casinos Lure Arkansans

Along the Oklahoma border, five tribal casinos lure Arkansas gamblers with Las Vegas-style properties and attractive hotels. One of the newest tribal-casino hotels, located just minutes from Fort Smith, Arkansas, is the 170,000 square foot, six-story Cherokee Casino & Hotel Roland, featuring 120 rooms and Cherokee artwork.

Shoshone-Bannock Proceed with Casino Planning

The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes are moving forward with construction of a proposed 70,000-square-foot casino in Fort Hall, Idaho, and are meeting with three architectural firms to choose a design and begin work on the casino as soon as possible. An ad-hoc committee of tribal members will choose an architectural firm in January for the casino that will expand the Shoshone-Bannock Hotel & Events Center.

Snoqualmie Tribe Claims City Discriminated

The long-simmering battle between the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe and the city of Snoqualmie, Washington has boiled over to a discrimination lawsuit filed in federal court by the tribe against the city. The lawsuit follows the city council's move to discontinue sewer, police and fire services to the tribe’s Snoqualmie Casino (l.).

Ho-Chunk Unveils Development Plans

Four development projects totaling $107 million recently were announced by Ho-Chunk Incorporated, the economic development arm of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. Plans include the $75 million Flatwater Crossing mixed-use planned community; the $24 million Virginia Square historic rehab; the $7.5 million 303 Dakota master planned community; and the $1.2 million Pearl Street historic rehab.

Washington Tribe Buys Country Club

Washington’s Kalispel Tribe recently closed the purchase of the state’s oldest golf course, the Spokane Country Club (l.) for $3 million. It has renamed it the Kalispel Golf and Country Club and promises millions of dollars of upgrades.

Event Center Coming To Apache Casino

The Fort Sill Apache Tribe broke ground on a new event center at its Apache Casino Hotel in Lawton, Oklahoma. The $27 million, 50,000 square foot center, opening in 2017, will hold 1,200 concert guests and 500 for banquets, and include a remodeled cashier's cage, a new café and room for 100 additional slots.

California Tribe Plans Casino Expansion, Hotel

Southern California’s Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is beginning to hint at its plans for a new hotel and expansion of its Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs. But details won’t be available until a draft environmental report is released next spring.


CNIGA Names New Chairman

California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) announced the election of Steve Stallings (l.) as chairman and Damon Sandoval as vice chairman. Stallings and Sandoval are council members of the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians and Morongo Band of Mission Indians respectively. Dennis Hendricks, council member of the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians, was reelected as treasurer.

Ladbrokes Names Snow CFO

U.K. bookmaker Ladbrokes has named Richard Snow to the role of acting chief financial officer, though he will not step into the position until February 2016. That’s when current CFO Ian Bull leaves the company.


Wynn Encore Players Club Open

Wynn Encore in Las Vegas opened its millennials-targeted Encore Players Club on December 19 as part of its effort to attract younger bettors and appeal to their specialized needs. The 5,000-square-foot club offers and interactive gaming environment as well as a place to relax and interact with others during the day or evening, as the casino works to develop more gaming options for younger adults.

TCSJohnHuxley Provides Equipment for Croc's and Casino Cosmopol

TCSJohnHuxley recently provided the new 5-star Croc's Resort & Casino in Jaco, Costa Rica with live table games equipment, including roulette, blackjack and baccarat tables, plus custom pit podiums and custom Italian-made seating. Casino Cosmopol is implementing 30 of the company’s e-FX Portrait winning-number displays on roulette tables in the operator’s casinos across Sweden.

Joseph Eve CPAs Wins New Contracts

Joseph Eve CPAs announced a new contract for a large, multi-site tribal casino operator in Oklahoma, where the firm has several casino clients.

Kiron Partners with BGT

Kiron Interactive will supply its popular virtual sports products to the retail customers of supplier Best Gaming Technology.

Paradise Launching Robot Dealer

Paradise Entertainment is introducing a human-like electronic croupier, aimed at opening new markets and cutting costs for casinos.

Success Dragon Seals Vietnam Slot Deals

Success Dragon International (formerly CY Foundation Group) announced deals to manage electronic gaming machines at casinos in two five-star hotels in Vietnam.

GameCo Partners with SuzoHapp

GameCo has partnered with SuzoHapp to develop controllers for its skill-based video gaming machine, which is slated to debut in 2016.

Sky Racing World Partners with Codere

Tabcorp subsidiary Sky Racing World has partnered with Codere to bring its horse-racing content to Brazil via the advance deposit wagering brand Suaposta.


ICE App to Help Navigate Show

The producers of the ICE Totally Gaming trade show in February have made an app available to help attendees navigate the show.




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