The New Jersey legislature has approved putting a referendum on the November ballot asking voters to approve building two new casinos in the state outside of Atlantic City. The referendum does not name the sites of the new casinos (leading contenders are the Meadowlands and Jersey City, where former Reebok owner Paul Fireman wants to build a $4 billion casino, at left), but does say that at least part of the $200 million a year in taxes on the North Jersey casinos will go to help Atlantic City.
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Caesars Entertainment could be slapped with $5.1 billion in damages after a court-appointed examiner found pre-bankruptcy moves were fraudulent, when the company transferred its most valuable assets to different and separate companies. Despite the revelation, the Nevada Gaming Commission last week issued a license to new Caesars CEO Mark Frissora (l.).
PokerStars has started a test period for online play in New Jersey. The PokerStars New Jersey site went live March 16 and was required to complete a five-day test period by New Jersey regulators. The site is expected to go fully open this week. The move comes as PokerStar’s parent company Amaya Inc. reported a net loss for 2015.
Brazil is inching closer to legal gaming. A House committee has approved amendments to a Senate bill, which will now move back to the House for a full vote. If the legislation passes, Brazil could see its first casinos open in 2019. The measure is being backed by President Dilma Roussef (l.).
Wynn Resorts has rebranded its Everett casino (l.) in Massachusetts as the “Wynn Boston Harbor” even though it is nowhere near Boston Harbor. Meanwhile, the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission last week that it should not grant a commercial license to operate a casino to Mass Gaming & Entertainment and instead completely embrace the tribe’s First Light Casino and Resort. Mashpee Chairman Cedric Cromwell says Malaysia’s Genting has committed to funding the project.
Teresita Herbosa (l.), the head of the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission, supports a push to make casinos subject to the country’s anti-money laundering laws. Recent reports put the Philippines at the top of a list of nations where money laundering flourishes.
The 2016 version of the Indian Gaming trade show, the official show of the National Indian Gaming Association, ended last week with a slew of awards, plenty of new products, and some satisfied exhibitors.
A failed Cyprus casino bidder, which includes U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump (l.), says favoritism is at work as the island republic prepares to grant its sole casino license. Three companies are still in the running, down from an initial field of eight contenders.
A new study to prove that a third Indian casino is needed to prevent a loss of revenue to Connecticut’s existing casinos is not needed. That’s the very strong opinion of the Pequot and Mohegan tribes, operators of Foxwoods and the Mohegan Sun, said Pequot Chairman Rodney Butler (l.).
Investors in the gaming industry are seeing the silver lining in the dark clouds, but can you believe it? Also, will Donald Trump as president be the disaster that many political experts expect? And what about the Fed? Are interest rates going to be low forever?
This week, the GGB Podcast visits with John Connelly, the president of Interblock, on his company’s strategy to become the leader in the field of electronic table games.
Macau once was the global mecca for high-rolling gamblers, but a recession that will soon enter its third year has changed all that. Now U.S. broadcaster CNN has dubbed Macau’s economy “the worst performing in the world.” Yet Macau revenues still triple the Las Vegas Strip.
Freed from its cash-draining alliance with a Macau junket operator, Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific looks with high hopes to the opening of its new permanent casino in Garapan, on the island of Saipan. A temporary casino in a shopping mall (l.) is already in operation.
Macau’s junket businesses are working to remake their business models in response to the loss of high-roller business in the MSAR. A report from gaming promoter the Neptune Group says the old model is “no longer sustainable.”
Macau junket operator Suncity has been caught up in a scandal surrounding the Philippine presidential election. The company allegedly made donations to presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe (l.) in violation of election laws.
Casino operators in Romania are concerned a new smoking ban, which took effect March 16, could cause revenue decreases of up to 40 percent. However, casinos are exempt in Belgium, Sweden, Austria and Italy, noted Violeta Radoi of the Slot Organizers Association. "Such solutions can be implemented in Romania, too,” she said.
Designated sites applications are available for Bermuda property owners who want to build an integrated resort casino or a casino on an existing resort, according to Alan Dunch (l.), the chairman of the island’s gaming commission. Bermuda officials said new casino resorts will increase jobs and tourism since casino gambling now is "a common and expected amenity by the global tourist market.”
The Grand Lucayan Resort complex in the Bahamas, including the Treasure Bay Casino, will be sold at auction by owners Cheung Kong Property Holdings Limited of Hong Kong. Buyers may purchase the entire resort or parts and may qualify for seller-provided financing. Sealed bids will be accepted through June 20.
Larger casino operators in Gauteng, South Africa, would pay more in casino gaming taxes, while smaller operators would pay less than the current 9 percent flat tax the province levies on casino gaming under a proposal designed to increase provincial tax revenues. The increased revenues would go toward building schools and infrastructure improvements.
On March 19, more than 10,000 people were expected in Sydney to protest the Australian government's lockout laws that exempt casinos while forcing bars and nightclubs to close early. Organizers Reclaim the Streets demanded the government refuse casino donations. Premier Mike Baird (l.) said he'd be open to including casinos in the lockout laws.
The Australian Securities Exchange is looking at an AU$200,000 (US$150,300) payment allegedly made by Tabcorp to a relative of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (l.). The payment was reportedly made as the company sought a gaming license in the country.
Delaware North has acquired top social casino developer Ruby Seven Studios, and will launch its own mobile and online social gaming platform.
DFS sites DraftKings and FanDuel objected to a law to regulate and tax DFS sites in New Jersey because the bill does not spell out whether daily fantasy sports is a game of skill or gambling. The bill, however, advanced through a state Senate committee and is sponsored by state Senator James Whelan (l.). Meanwhile, tribes in Oklahoma say if the state passes a bill legalizing DFS, they will stop making payments required under the gaming compacts.
The government of Lithuania has pledged it will take legal action to stop unlicensed operators that flourished in the pre-regulation era. A black list of unlicensed operators currently includes William Hill, Betway and Unibet.
NetEnt has signed an agreement with Amaya Inc. to expand the two companies’ partnership to offer online casino games to PokerStars New Jersey site. The site is launching this month. NetEnt already supplies desktop and mobile games to the PokerStars brand in Europe.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says offshore betting site 5Dimes illegally uses Amazon.com accounts to reward winning U.S. clients and has laundered nearly $2 million through 15 accounts over the past two years. The agency wants to seize $159,000 remaining in the 15 accounts. Meanwhile, Canadian online gaming company Intertain announced it is for sale.
Genting has selected the loyalty program platform solutions of PlayStudios for its Resorts World casinos in New York City and Bimini in the Bahamas.
Payment processor Worldpay has been selected by Paddy Power Betfair to provide the international multichannel betting and gaming group with payments expertise to increase business, improve efficiencies and support global growth.
The Real Madrid C.F. football team and the online daily fantasy football company Mondogoal have formed a partnership. Mondogoal offers major weekly cash prizes for Real Madrid C.F. and also offers players a chance to win money by building their own starting 11 to compete in head-to-head battles or multi-use tournaments.
Under a new agreement, Kiron Interactive will supply its popular virtual games on the Betinvest platform to sports betting customers in Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America via its combined Betman online and retail game servers. Officials expect the move to boost spending and retention rates.
Mediatech Solutions will supply Fairplay Online with a new online casino using its IRIS platform, to be used by the Janshen-Hahnraths Group in the Netherlands.
Inspired announced that its virtual sports games are now live online in Italy with bet365. The site will offer Inspired’s full library of 8 premium Virtual Sports including Football, Horse Racing, Greyhounds and Cars.
Contagious Gaming has received a remote UK gambling license for its subsidiary Contagious Sports Ltd. The expanded license allows the company to operate an online casinos and facilities for real and virtual event betting.
Aliante Gaming reportedly hired a Los Angeles investment bank to handle a potential sale of the Aliante Hotel in North Las Vegas, which opened in November 2008 and defaulted on $378 million in loans after the Great Recession took hold of the global economy. The Palms Casino also reportedly is for sale, but the Culinary Workers Union continues trying to organize its workers.
Led by Beijing-based Anbang Insurance Group, a coalition has made a $12.9 billion bid to purchase Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. However, last November, Starwood, which owns the Westin Las Vegas (l.), agreed to be purchased by Marriott International for $12.2 billion, making Marriott the world's largest hotel chain. Analysts say Anbang's move could trigger a bidding war.
The New Jersey Senate has approved a bill that would have the state takeover all of the remaining aspects of financial control of Atlantic City, but the bill’s passage in the state Assembly is not assured. Without a companion bill to direct casino funds to the resort, the city could run out of money by next month. The city then would likely be forced to declare bankruptcy because Governor Chris Christie (l.) says he’ll only sign the bill passed by the Senate.
Pinnacle Entertainment shareholders during a special meeting approved the $4.1 billion sale of 14 properties in Nevada, Louisiana (L’Auberge Baton Rouge at left), and Missouri, to Gaming and Leisure Properties, which will own the real estate assets, but lease the casino operations back to Pinnacle Entertainment for $377 million per year in rent. The deal awaits regulatory approval.
An amendment to end dog racing by the end of 2016 but allow Tucson Greyhound Park, Arizona's only greyhound racetrack, to offer televised off-track horserace wagering, recently reached the full state Senate. Supporters said it offers track owners a "soft landing" but opponents said it "essentially kills greyhound racing in the future Arizona."
The American Gaming Association used the coming NCAA tournament to illustrate the extent of illegal betting, predicting more completed brackets than votes for president. AGA President Geoff Freeman (l.) says it’s time for a “a fresh, rational approach to sports betting.”
Northwest Indiana's five casinos posted $84.1 million in revenue for February, a 5.6 percent increase over $79.3 million in February 2015--the third consecutive month in which the casinos have posted monthly year-over-year revenue gains. All five also had higher attendance in February 2015 versus February 2014, led by Horseshow Hammond (l.)
Although gaming remains the top activity for visitors to Las Vegas, more people are coming to Sin City for shopping, shows, and general fun and recreation, rather than gambling, and that is helping to make the city’s economy more diverse. So is an emphasis on providing non-gaming activities and maintaining the city as the world’s top trade show destination. Next month, MGM will open the non-gaming Park and the T-Mobile Arena (l.).
Golden Entertainment announced its plan to add six new properties in Southern Nevada, after reporting much-improved fourth-quarter results to end 2015. After posting a $38,000 loss a year earlier, Golden Entertainment reported $23.4 million in earnings and $90.8 million in revenues during the last quarter of the year, for $1.06 per share.
Actor Kevin Costner (l.) has sold a 103-acre tract of the 1,000 acres he owns in historic Deadwood, South Dakota to hotel owners and operators Ramkota Companies Inc. The acreage includes the site of Costner's proposed $100 million Dunbar Casino Resort, named for his character in the Academy Award-winning film, "Dances With Wolves."
Construction is a common site in Biloxi, with new building and renovations in progress. Casinos are contributing to the growth with a new country nightclub opening soon at IP Casino, which also is updating its hotel suites, and at Harrah's Gulf Coast Casino, where every hotel room is being updated.
Wynn Resort’s share price surged over the past month after opening the Wynn Palace Macau, but a ratings analysts says large debt and vulnerability to VIP bettors causes concern, and downgraded the stock. Meanwhile, an improved debt situation at Boyd Gaming earned it an upgraded rating by Fitch, moving from “stable” to positive.
Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlop invalidated more than half of the signatures turned in by a group wanting to qualify a measure for the November ballot. The proponents of a casino in York County have sued the Secretary of State over the matter.
Pleased with public reaction to recent improvements to its race and sports book at the Red Rock Resort, Station Casinos announced it will make similar changes to race and sports books at five other properties as part of up-to $125 million in capital improvements Station Casinos has planned for 2016.
In a week when much of Atlantic City’s future was being decided in Trenton, the city’s casino industry saw one of its best months in years with a 14.7 percent increase in revenue for February over last year. The state’s online gaming revenue was up 42 percent over February 2015.
In revised SEC filings, Penn National credited leaseback deals enabling it to continue running the Tropicana and M Resort in Las Vegas but releasing it from the burden of property ownership, helped the casino operator to net a $686,000 profit in 2015, after losing nearly $189 million a year earlier.
The Seminole Tribe and the state of Florida asked a federal judge to reschedule a trial determining if the tribe can keep offering blackjack at all its casinos, including Hard Rock Casino Tampa (l.). The state sued to force the tribe to stop offering the games after that compact provision expired, and the tribe also sued, claiming the state violated the compact and negotiated in bad faith.
The Seminole Nation's three Oklahoma casinos could temporarily close due to National Indian Gaming Commission compliance issues. The tribe owes the NIGC $1.4 million in fines for gaming without a compact. Employee turnover and lack of training also could have contributed to the fines, said Seminole Nation Gaming Commission Chairman Willis Deatherage.
The gaming licenses of two directors at Black Bear Casino (l.) in Fond du Lac, Minnesota were suspended under an investigation into the misuse of Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa tribal funds. Chairman Wally Dupuis also was accused of using a contract the casino has with a printing company for his campaign literature.
A small tribe on a tiny reservation in the desert in the backcountry of San Diego County awaits a decision by the National Indian Gaming Commission that it can open its casino. Once the NIGC approves of a management contract with Penn National Gaming, Jamul Indian Village will be able to open Hollywood Casino Jamul (l.).
Operating without a full panel since 2015, the National Indian Gaming Commission now has all three positions filled with the arrival last week of Kathryn Isom-Clause of the Taos Pueblo. The NIGC oversees Indian gaming in the U.S. She is shown at last week’s NIGA trade show with NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens Jr. (far right) and Vice Chairman Kevin Leecy (2nd from left) NIGC Chairman Jonodev Chaudhuri and Commissioner E. Sequoyah Simermeyer (far left).
A UNLV graduate and longtime Nevada Gaming Control Board accountant Kelly Colvin replaces Shirley Springer as chief of the board’s audit division, Gaming Control Chairman A.G. Burnett announced. Colvin has been a CPA since 1994, joined the Gaming Control Board 26 years ago, and will help modernize the unit. Springer retired in February.
The Gaming Standards Association announced the elected officers and new board of directors for 2016, led by returning Chairman Adrian Marcu of IGT.
Gaming veteran Michael Feldman has been named as corporate vice president of marketing for Gila River Casinos, which operates three casino in Arizona. Promoted from within the enterprise, Feldman previous held positions with casinos in Indiana and New Mexico.
Mesquite Gaming, owner of Virgin River Hotel/Casino/Bingo and Casablanca Resort-Casino-Golf-Spa, announced today the promotion of Chris Lazzara from slot systems analyst to vice president of marketing and advertising.
An executive of NetEnt, Åsa Bredin, has been named one of “Sweden’s Most Powerful Women” by the financial magazine Veckans Affarer. Breden recently joined the casino software development as chief development officer.
Paul Barclay brings decades of experience in the payments and gambling sectors to his new role as general manager of Betcade Europe. Barclay will open the London office of Betcade, the first dedicated Android app store for the gaming market, and lead payments and operations.
Online gaming industry veteran Gavin Grimes, formerly head of casino at Gala Coral Interactive, recently was named vice president of gaming at Lottoland, a world-class bingo and casino gaming service founded in 2013. Grimes also was social gaming head at Gala Coral, McBroom managing director and Cantor Index marketing head.
The 18th annual AGEM/AGA Golf Classic, to be presented by JCM Global in April 26 in Boulder City, Nevada, will benefit problem gambling research.
International Game Technology donated $25,000 to the National Indian Gaming Association Building Fund in a ceremony at the NIGA trade show. Meanwhile, IGT will provide a complete system solution to the Little Creek Casino Resort in Washington, after a competitive bid to replace the casino’s current system.
MGM Resorts International is the only Nevada job provider and only company involved in the resorts and hospitality industry that earned recognition for its efforts on behalf of women-owned businesses and to diversify its supplier base. The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council named MGM among 62 award recipients for supporting women-owned businesses.
The interactive social casino website, www.LiveCasino.social, available through the Maryland Live! website and mobile apps, combines free online gaming, including a wide selection of slots and table games, plus a social casino with multi-player games, tournaments and leader boards, said casino President Rob Norton.
J.P. Morgan Securities Australia has predicted that Australian slot suppliers Aristocrat Leisure Ltd. and Ainsworth Game Technology Ltd. are primed for growth in the U.S.
Voyager Kibris Ltd. has signed an agreement with Scientific Games to purchase 50 Shuffle Master DeckMate2 shufflers for its five Merit casinos in North Cyprus.
The Senator Group Macedonia has selected JCM Global as its exclusive supplier of bill validation solutions in the operator’s 2,000-plus slot machines.
IGT’s results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2015 generated positive reports from analysts after the company beat earnings projections.
Everi Holdings has become the first casino industry supplier to achieve full compliance on all products for EMV-chip credit and debit cards.
Ortiz Gaming will launch an increase in its product lineup with new library of bingo, video reel slots and keno games at the Global Gaming Expo in September.
Operator Enjoy has installed a casino management system supplied by Win Systems at its Enjoy San Andres casino in Colombia.
GameCo, Inc., which develops skill-based video gambling machines, is applying for a license in New Jersey to sell skill-based games to Atlantic City casinos.
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