Revel: On Again

As if out of nowhere, a sale of Atlantic City’s shuttered Revel casino has been completed with Florida-based developer Glenn Straub (l.) getting the casino property for the bargain-basement price of $82 million, even cheaper than the $95.4 million he was initially expected to pay. Though a bankruptcy judge ruled that Revel could scrap Straub’s previous purchase plan, the two sides kept negotiating and announced a sale before the judge’s order became official. The property’s energy provider, however, has objected to the deal and asked the bankruptcy court to block it.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Movement in Mexico

The Mexican government has determined several possible locations for new casinos in the country. The sites will be chosen by a newly formulated gaming board. They include traditional tourist destinations including Acapulco (l.), Baja California, Cancun and Riviera Maya. The government also plans to curb runaway illegal betting.

Caesars Sells Ohio Interests; Seeks to Disband Creditor Panel

Caesars Entertainment last week sold its 20 percent interest in two casinos—Horseshoe Cincinnati (l.) and Horseshoe Cleveland—a racino, and several other properties in Ohio. The company is also asking a bankruptcy judge to disband a panel of second-lien bondholders opposing the operator’s restructuring plans.

Japan’s Diet Still Looking at Casinos

Japanese lawmakers may reintroduce a bill that would legalize casino gaming during the current legislative session. But gaming halls in the country are years in the future, according to reports; some experts say the first casino may not open until 2020 at the earliest. Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui (l.) wants to have his casino open by the Olympics.

Nevada Tentatively OKs IGT/GTECH

The Nevada Gaming Control Board approved the takeover of slot-maker IGT by lottery giant GTECH, with the new corporate name to remain IGT. Former Harrah’s CEO Phil Satre (l.) will remain as IGT chairman.

More Movement to Legalize Online Poker in California

Factors appear more favorable towards the passage of a bill legalizing online poker in California sometime during this legislative session. Two more bills have been filed, one in the Senate by Isadore Hall (l.) and one in the Assembly by Adam Gray.

Little River Band Presents Application

The Little River Band is a step closer to a $180 million off-reservation casino (rendering l.) in Muskegon County, Michigan. Tribal officials recently presented a land-to-trust application to the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Minneapolis regional office to develop a 60-acre tract the tribe owns at the former Great Lakes Downs racetrack.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: More Than a Show

At first it was dismissed as just a periodic crackdown, but Beijing’s war against corruption and money laundering is the real thing. With revenues dramatically down and no end it site, what’s an investor to do?

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Macau May Limit Tourism

Putting even more pressure on Macau’s casino industry, the government may limit the number of Mainland Chinese who visit the destination. At the height of the Lunar New Year festivities (l.), more than 213,000 people crossed the border in less than one day.

Crown’s Ups and Downs

Crown Resorts of Australia saw net profits decline by almost 50 percent in the last half of 2014. The slump was attributed in part to the Macau crackdown and write-downs on international investments. But there were compensations. For one thing, VIP play was way up at the Crown Casino (l.) in Melbourne.

Taking a Bite Out of PAGCOR

A bill recently submitted to the Philippine House of Representatives by Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao (l.) would reduce the authority of PAGCOR, the country’s gaming regulator. Among other adjustments, the bill would prohibit the body from issuing casino licenses.

SJM’s So: Don’t License More Casinos in Macau

Ambrose So (l.), CEO of leading Macau casino operator SJM Holdings, says more casino licenses in Macau would be superfluous and counterproductive. The industry has lost a reported $75 billion in value since a crackdown on corruption by President Xi Jinping.

Virtual Betting Rises in India

Indians love to gamble. And though online sports gambling is technically illegal in the country, that hasn’t stopped virtual sports betting sites from proliferating in the digital space. It’s due in part to the popularity of cricket among Indian consumers.

EUROPEAN GAMING More

Ladbrokes to Close Betting Shops

Ladbrokes Plc., a London-based betting company, may close up to 60 retail betting shops, foe a total of 150 closures in the past 12 months. Bookmakers in the U.K. have complained about new regulations and taxes on retail betting operations.

OPAP Forecasts Big Bucks from VLTs

OPAP, Greece’s largest betting company, projects annual net revenues from €800 million to €1 billion (US$895 billion to $1.1 trillion) from video lottery terminals when they open around the country.

Spain Wants to Curtail Gaming Ads

Lawmakers in Spain are asking the Spanish Gambling Authority to rein in online gambling advertising targeting certain consumer groups, including young people and the “vulnerable.”

GLOBAL GAMING More

Aussie Punters Are Biggest Losers

Australians lose more to gambling, particularly on “pokie” machines (l.), than players in any other industrialized nation, according to a new study. The land down under has held this distinction since the late 1990s.

Casinos Look to China For Whales

Casinos in Las Vegas and British Columbia, Canada are appealing more and more to players from mainland China who have a penchant for high-stakes baccarat. A recent study showed Chinese tourism is set to rise 172 percent in the US by 2019.

Can Mongolia Compete Against Macau?

The Mongolia parliament is weighing legislation that would permit the country to build its first two casinos. But will people really travel to Mongolia to gamble, when casinos are cropping up elsewhere in the region?

Alberta Extends Casino Moratorium

The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission has extended a moratorium on new casino licenses, in place since 2008, for an indefinite period.

ONLINE GAMING More

Pennsylvania Lawmakers Mull iGaming

Pennsylvania Rep. John Payne (l.) has introduced legislation that would legalize and regulate online gaming to help close a projected budget deficit.

Online Gaming Back on the Table in South Africa

South Africa lawmaker Geordin Hill-Lewis (l.), a longtime advocate for more online gaming, just introduced another bill that would expand virtual games, including poker and casino games. The opposition Democratic Party MP is behind a string of similar bills; so far, all have failed.

William Hill Rebrands in Australia

William Hill will change its Sportingbet Australia website to WilliamHill.com.au as part of a consolidation of its three Australian brands.

New Jersey Puts Gambling Self Exclusion Form Online

Individuals that want to exclude themselves from New Jersey’s online casino sites can now fill out an exclusion form online at the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement website. The state’s self-exclusion list for land-based casinos must still be filled out in person, however.

Google to Test Social Casino Ads

Google has announced it will allow some social casino advertising in a beta test. The search engine has long banned gambling related ads.

Fantasy Sports in Casinos an Eventual Reality

Daily fantasy sports have become impossible to avoid. As a $3.6 billion industry, many have wondered when fantasy sports will crossover to sportsbooks. While there have been a few failed attempts in the past, the growing market suggests it is only a matter of time for another sportsbook to venture into the waters.

NetEnt Launches New Slot

Sweden’s NetEnt has launched its new Steam Tower video slot. Steam Tower is a 5-reel, 3-row and 15-bet line steampunk-theme game with Stacked Wilds and Free Spins with an increasing Multiplier.

NYX, Extreme Live Gaming Partner; Hires TMX Equicom

NYX Gaming Group has partnered with Novomatic company Extreme Live Gaming to improve the service for online gaming services. The company has also retained TMX Equicom for a one-year deal to provide strategic communication services.

UNITED STATES GAMING More

New York Casino Licensing Under Fire

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (l.) has opened an investigation into the 2014 bidding process for casino licenses in New York. It was recently revealed the Gaming Facility Location Board had legal ties to winning bidders. Meanwhile, residents of Tyre are questioning whether it is time to give up on the casino dream.

Brockton Enters Enter Bay State Casino Bid Process

Sometime this year, possibly in May, the residents of Brockton, Massachusetts, will vote on a casino host community agreement with Mass Gaming & Entertainment and its partner George Carney (l.). They hope to build a casino resort on the Brockton fairgrounds, which Carney owns.

Indiana House Approves Gaming Bill

Indiana state Rep. Tom Dermody's casino bill passed the House with controversial casino tax provisions removed. The measure allows riverboat casinos to move ashore and live dealers at racinos—an issue that could cause problems with Governor Mike Pence (l.) who opposes expanded gambling but won't explain what that means.

West Virginia Smoking Ban Exempts Casinos, Veterans

If casinos and racetracks designate at least 10 percent of their indoor space as non-smoking, they'll be exempt from a smoking ban recently passed by the West Virginia senate. The ban also exempts veterans and active duty U.S. military organizations from indoor smoking rules established by local boards of health.

Judges Named for New Jersey’s Sports Betting Appeal

Three judges have been named to hear New Jersey’s appeal of its sports betting case including Donald Trump’s sister Maryanne (together at left) and the wife of former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. The case goes to court March 17 in Philadelphia.

Hutchinson Will Sign Arkansas Lottery Measure

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (l.) said he will sign legislation to abolish the nine-member independent lottery commission and transfer administration to the Department of Finance. Hutchinson will appoint a new director. Lottery ticket sales, which support college scholarships, have been declining and recently a consultant said the lottery's image needed a "reboot."

ESPN Poll Shows Athletes Support Sports Betting

A poll taken by ESPN shows that 63 percent of professional athletes support legalized sports betting in the country. The poll of 73 pro athletes also showed that about one third said they have bet on sports in the past.

New Jersey Town Wants Casino

Oceanport New Jersey, home of Monmouth Park Racetrack (l.), says it wants to be considered for a possible casino if the state moves ahead with plans to expand casino gaming. Specifically, the Jersey Shore borough’s council wants the track itself to be the site of a new gambling hall.

AGA Study Reviews Michigan Casinos

Oxford Economics recently released the results of its study of the economic impact of casinos in Michigan. The report, sponsored by the American Gaming Association, found that in 2013 Michigan's casino industry had an economic impact of $2.8 billion and created more than 17,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Cripple Creek Wants Black Hawk Audited

Cripple Creek, Colorado wants a state audit committee to look into how Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek actually spend their annual allotment of historic preservation funds. Reports indicated Black Hawk has spent its share inappropriately, including spending money on the Ameristar casino (l.), clearly not historic.

Caesars Battles with Developer Over Atlantic City Mall

A battle between Caesars Entertainment and Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein has broken out over control of Atlantic City’s Pier Shops mall (l.). Caesars is challenging Blatstein’s assertion that he has gained control of the mall’s lease, causing the developer to delay an announcement of his plans to refurbish the mall. Caesars says Blatstein a “trespasser” at the property.

Gambling Legislation in Illinois—Again

Once again, Illinois state Rep. Robert Rita (l.) has offered expanded gambling legislation in a measure allowing a casino in Chicago and another permitting five new casinos. Rita's bill also would allow slots at horseracing tracks, but the Casino Queen and the city of East St. Louis said they would suffer from slots at Fairmount Park.

Illinois Mayor Questions Video Gaming Value

Marion, Illinois Mayor Robert Butler said although his municipality collected $111,137 in video gaming receipts on $27 million played in 2014, he has doubts about the games' value. "On the balance, there has to be somebody losing for the state to be getting the money," he said.

Trump Entertainment Settles with Creditors; Hard Rock Gives Notice

Trump Entertainment, which is trying to keep Atlantic City’s troubled Taj Mahal casino open through a difficult bankruptcy fight, has reached an agreement with a panel of the casino’s unsecured creditors which could ease the implementation of a plan to save the casino in a deal with billionaire Carl Icahn. Meanwhile, Atlantic City got a scare as the Hard Rock Café (l.) located at the Taj notified workers it may close in April, but later said it will only close if the Taj closes.

Cosmopolitan Hints for Big Changes Ahead

After a 2014 which saw slight increases in gaming revenue, new owners Blackstone Real Estate Partners have decided to add a new weapon to their arsenal; longtime gaming executive William McBeath (l.). In addition, the casino looks to finally strike a union deal after years of controversy.

Iowa Smoke-Free Casino Measure Goes Nowhere

Iowa legislators listened for 15 minutes then took no action after hearing the pros and cons of requiring the Racing and Gaming Commission to grant two licenses for smoke-free casinos under legislation advanced by Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett (l.). Anti-smoking advocates also want the legislature to end casinos' exemption from the 2008 smoking ban.

Florida Casino Supporters, Opponents Debate

At a Florida Forward forum in Orlando, Geoff Freeman, president of the American Gaming Association, said "mistruths are being told" about the casino industry, while John Sowinski, president of NoCasinos.org, argued, "good reform bills are held hostage by the advocates of the big casinos."

Station Casinos on Path to IPO

After a fantastic 2014, which saw Station Casinos haul in nearly $1.3 billion in revenue, many are speculating the company may go public next June, five years after a restructuring deal, even though CFO Marc Falcone (l.) downplayed the possibility.

Escape, But Not From New York

A recent gathering of members from Westbury, New York helped to nix the building of a casino in Long Island. Now, one lawmaker is attempting to take it one step further. Meanwhile, a group who suffered a losing casino bid last year are looking to move forward with a new resort.

Revenues Rising At Mississippi Coast Casinos

Mississippi's 11 Gulf Coast casinos delivered a 7 percent increase in January 2015 over January 2014, at $87.3 million. Statewide, Mississippi casinos won $165 million January 2015, up 3.4 percent from $159 million in January 2014. It's the fifth time in 31 months that the state's casinos have delivered month-over-month increases.

Kentucky Targets Internet Cafes

Two bills in the Kentucky Senate seek to boost charity gaming by attacking internet cafes and permitting charities to sell electronic pull-tabs.

Greyhound Racing Industry May End in West Virginia

A bill has been introduced which would put an end to the declining greyhound racing industry in West Virginia. $36.5 million would be used as a buyout for owners and breeders, with a further $600,000 going to no-kill animal shelters.

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New Mexico Legislature Mulls Tribal Gaming Compact

Lawmakers in New Mexico are holding hearings on a tribal state gaming compact that is the result of three years of negotiations between Governor Susanna Martinez and the tribes. Senator Clemente Sanchez (l.) says his committee will make a recommendation by mid-March.

Shawnee Tribe Builds Panhandle Casino

The Shawnee Tribe with its partner Global Gaming Solutions will build a 60,000 square foot casino-entertainment center near Guymon, Oklahoma in the Panhandle region. The project will create 175 jobs. Construction will begin in late 2016, Chief Ron Sparkman said.

Zion, Illinois Wants Menominee Casino

Located just 10 miles from the Menominee tribe's proposed $800 million casino in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the town of Zion, Illinois has made it clear it would welcome the development. The Zion Economic Development department sent the tribe a letter stating, "the project belongs in this area."

Indiana Pokagons Awaiting BIA Action

Two years ago the Bureau of Indian Affairs told the Pokagon Band of Indians the agency would issue a draft environmental impact statement on 164 acres the tribe owns in South Bend, Indiana. The Pokagons wants the land taken into federal trust so it can build a casino, housing and tribal village for its 600 members.

Southern California Casino Waiting for BIA Decision

Barstow, a Southern California city along Interstate 15 on the road to Las Vegas, is hoping for a favorable ruling by the Bureau of Indian Affairs on an application by a San Diego tribe, the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeño Indians to put land into trust near the city. The application is for an off-reservation casino since the tribe is based more than 100 miles from Barstow.

Florida Compact Or Marijuana Farm

If Florida Governor Rick Scott doesn't start serious gaming compact negotiations with the Alabama-based Poarch Creek Band of Indians, allowing them to open a casino on their one-acre Escambia County tract, tribal officials said they could grow and sell marijuana there instead.

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Florida Lawmakers Deadlocked On Lottery

Florida legislators are stuck between increasing lottery proceeds and the appearance of expanding gambling. Although it sold $5.37 billion in tickets in the last fiscal year, the lottery could offer online sales, increase the number or retailers, raise marketing funds and offer new games to increase funds for education, recent reports indicated.

PEOPLE More

Carter Leaving Mississippi Gaming Commission

The Mississippi Gaming Commission now has two vacant seats on its three-member board with Wallace "Wally" Carter's announcement he will resign effective February 28. Former Commission Chairman John Hairston resigned January 31. Governor Phil Bryant has until March 19 to replace Hairston or Carter or both, and the legislature must approve his appointments.

GTECH Names Chambrello American Lottery CEO

GTECH has appointed Michael Chambrello, former CEO of Scientific Games Corporation, as its new CEO of North America lottery, and has named James Hurley head of investor relations.

Claridge Names GM

The Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City announced the appointment of Cem Erenler to the position of hotel general manager.

Betfred Names Haddock CEO

Betfred has named John Haddock as the company’s new CEO, while Betfred Digital Managing Director announced that he is resigning.

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Grosvenor Picks TCSJohnHuxley

TCSJohnHuxley has signed a three-year contract with Grosvenor Casinos to service and maintain electronic and traditional table game products in the U.K.

Tribal Development Enterprise Launched

Marketing veteran Ben Gordon has launched Tribal Resource LLC, a consultancy assisting Native American gaming enterprises in marketing, management and development.

Schenectady College Offers Casino Management Degree

A new associates degree is being offered by Schenectady County Community College in casino and gaming management. The program requires students to take 61 credit hours, in addition to a three credit hour internship at Saratoga Casino and Raceway.

New App Helps Fight Gambling Addiction

Researchers at UCLA have developed a smart phone app which records activities and experiences for people, which can then be used to help root out the cause of the addictive behavior.

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iGaming North America 2015 Conference Outlines Program

The 2015 version of iGaming North America last week updated its conference program, revealing an impressive list of seminars and speakers. The conference will take place on April 14-16, 2015 at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

WILD CARD More

The Name Game

Donald Trump and daughter Ivanka (l.) can continue their legal challenge to have the Trump name removed from the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City a judge has ruled. Trump wants his name removed from the bankrupt casino saying that Trump Entertainment—which he no longer controls—has allowed the casino to fall into disrepair. The judge lifted a stay on the lawsuit.

No Maybes, Mayweather, Pacquiao Will Fight

The wait is finally over, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather will finally settle their differences, May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden. The line opened with Mayweather as a -240 favorite, and the pay-per-view will go for at least $100.

Chinese Government Eyes ‘Red King’

Shao Dongming, the so-called “Red King of Gambling,” is the latest high roller being scrutinized for possible illegal activities in Macau. One of Shanghai’s richest men, Shao is being investigated by the Chinese government, which has cracked down on gaming-related corruption.

NUTSHELL More

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