PokerStars Good, Amaya Bad?

A two-year investigation into Canada’s Amaya Inc.’s acquisition of PokerStars has resulted in charges of insider trading against three companies and three individuals by Quebec’s securities regulator including specific charges against CEO David Baazov (l.). The charges stem from the 2014 $4.9 billion acquisition of the Rational Group and the online gambling sites PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. Baazov denied the charges. Amaya Inc. itself was not charged.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Lippo May Quit Caesars

Property developer Lippo Ltd. may pull out of its joint venture with Caesars Entertainment Corp. in South Korea. The companies had planned to develop a parcel in Incheon, near Seoul (l.). But when a license for the project was not assured, Lippo started having second thoughts, probably prompted by Caesars financial difficulties.

FanDuel, DraftKings Reach Settlement In New York to Stop Taking Bets

FanDuel and DraftKings, the two largest daily fantasy sports operators, have reached a settlement with the New York Attorney General’s Office and agreed to stop taking bets in the state until court hearings scheduled for September. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (l.) had sought to close the sites in the state and sought restitution for money lost by players. The settlement allows the state Legislature to consider legalizing daily fantasy sports in the state.

Caesars Responds to Negative Examiner's Report

Caesars Entertainment responded to the report of an independent examiner in the bankruptcy case of its largest operating unit, defending disputed asset transfers. The examiner said transferring some of the company’s most valuable assets, like Caesars Palace (l.) in Las Vegas was “fraudulent.”

No Last-Minute Deal, Courts Will Decide Seminole Compact

Although lawmakers and lobbyists tried to patch together a last-minute agreement to save expanded gambling in Florida, the deal fell through before the session ended. Now rulings in the state Supreme Court and a federal court will determine the direction of gaming in the state. Some blamed Senate President Andy Gardiner (l.), who is retiring after 20 years, and didn’t want a gambling bill to be his final piece of legislation.

Is the Japan Casino Bill Completely Dead?

Japanese media are reporting that a 30-member team in charge of Japan’s casino bill is about to be dissolved. If that’s true, it could mean the legislation supported by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (l.) is going back on the shelf, at least for the near future.

Atlantic City to Shut Down Government April 8 if PILOT Fails

Atlantic City will shut down its government services—save for police, fire and sanitation—for three weeks starting April 8 unless the state gives it financial aid via a bill that allows “payments in lieu of taxes” (PILOT). With New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (l.) vowing that the state will not rescue the city, the shutdown seems imminent, though it will not affect the city’s casinos, which are regulated and policed by state agencies.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: Certainly Uncertain

Events of the past week—Amaya’s Baazov being charged with insider trading and William Hill’s responsible rules having financial repercussions—have once again demonstrated that you can’t count on anything in the gaming industry.


Volatility Continues in Macau

Gross gaming revenues for a recent week in Macau, extrapolated for the year, suggested a continuing decline in the 15 percent to 17 percent range. But asset management firm Bernstein says investors should look at the big picture, and not obsess over monthly numbers.

New Vladivostok Casino Figures Released

Opened since October 8, 2015, the Tigre de Cristal casino (l.) in Vladivostok, Siberia posted a net loss through December 31 due to pre-opening expenses. But the operation, owned by Lawrence Ho’s Summit Ascent, reported positive earnings through February. Half of the early visitors were Asian, but once the temperatures fell, mostly locals visited.

Banyan Tree Wins Support in Vietnam

Singapore resort developer Banyan Tree Holdings plans to open a casino in Laguna Lang Co integrated resort complex in Thua Thien-Hue, Vietnam. The project has the support of Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung.

Jimei Heading to Sihanoukville

Junket runner Jimei International is planning a resort in Sihanoukville on the Cambodian coast. Jimei is reportedly partnering with local developer Yeejia Tourism Development and general contractor MCC International Inc. of Mainland China.

Philippines Could Add Casinos to AML Laws

Philippine gaming regulator PAGCOR is open to adding casinos to a list of entities that are covered by anti-money laundering laws. Recent reports put the country at the top of a list of nations where money laundering may be commonplace.


OEG Casino Hotel to Be Complete in May

Construction of Olympic Entertainment Group’s new hotel and entertainment complex in Estonia will be complete by the end of May. The complex will feature the first Hilton hotel in the Baltic country, as well as a 1,600-square-meter (17,000-square-foot) casino.


Fung Adds Aquis Partners

Hong Kong businessman Tony Fung (l.) has formed a consortium with two Chinese developers who will reportedly finance his planned Aquis resort on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The proposal includes 7,500 hotel rooms, a convention center and a golf course, among other attractions.

Tasmania Considering Two New Casinos

The island state of Tasmania may grant two new casino licenses. One would go to the Monaco casino proposed by David Walsh (l.), operator of Mona, the Museum of Old and New Art. The announcement concerns the Federal Group, which has exclusively operated Tasmanian gambling for 30 years and owns its two existing casinos.

Echo Makes Play for ‘Boutique’ Casino

Australian gaming operator Echo Entertainment has expressed an interest in developing an offshore boutique casino on Great Keppel Island. But according to local reports, the government doesn’t want a gaming component at the planned resort.

Canadians Wait, While U.S. Wagers on Sports

Canadian sports bettors await legislative action on the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, which would legalize sports betting in Canada, but stiff opposition might make it a long wait. Meanwhile, U.S. bettors packed Nevada’s legal sportsbooks during the first week of NCAA basketball March Madness, which rivals the Super Bowl in populating and betting action.

Young Aussie Men ‘Biggest Problem Gamblers’

A report from the University of Adelaide says young males in Australia are more likely to become problem gamblers, and though Australian casinos are “much better resourced” to address the issue, the fruits of their efforts have not been quantified.


Germany Plans to Increase Sports Betting Licenses

As German ministers discuss changes to the country’s gambling laws in the face of possible EU action, it was reported that the country will consider doubling the amount of sports betting license issued to 40. However, the ministers rejected the idea of legalizing online poker and casino games, stalling passage of new regulations.

Australia to Continue In-play Betting Ban

Australia’s move to ban in-play betting will continue throughout 2016. A move to reform the country’s betting regulations will have to wait for a new Parliament to be seated sometime in 2017.

North Dakota: An International Wagering Force

North Dakota's 12 licensed online gambling sites take horseracing wagers from Sweden, Hong Kong and other international locations, making the state "an important player" in the industry, said state Racing Commission Director Gunner Lacour. He noted wagers will reach $600 million in the current fiscal year, up from $482 million in fiscal 2015.

Online ‘Free Bet’ Offers Could Face UK Tax

British Chancellor George Osborne announced that UK licensed online gambling operators will soon have to pay a new tax on ‘free bet’ offers on online casino and bingo games. If approved, the 15 percent tax would go into effect in 2017.

Oklahoma Tribe Can Offer Online Gaming

The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma could become the first gaming tribe in the U.S. to offer online gaming for money. World Casino Directory reported last year that Oklahoma has given the go-ahead for the tribe to operate

888 Holdings Sees Profits Drop

888 Holdings saw a drop in full year profit in part due to the termination of its agreement to buy Digital Entertainment. However, revenue grew, as did the number of active customers.

Inspired, SBTech Sign Virtuals Deal

SBTech has agreed to use the virtual sports platform of Inspired Gaming as part of its online gaming platform, via the Virtuals Connect system.

Pariplay Partners With BetConstruct

B2B gaming platform and game provider Pariplay Ltd. and BetConstruct, a developer and provider of online and land-based betting and gaming solutions, recently formed a gaming content partnership. BetConstruct's CEO Vahe Baloulian (l.) says it grows the company’s portfolio.


Massachusetts Lawmakers Consider Second Slots Parlor

Bay State lawmakers are holding hearings on a proposed initiative that if put on the November ballot would allow voters to authorize a second slots parlor in Massachusetts. This far, Penn National’s Plainridge casino (l.) is the only racino approved.

Delaware Bill Would Lower Gaming Taxes

The latest bill designed to ease the competitive pressures on Delaware’s slumping casinos would lower the slot revenue tax from 62 percent to 15 percent. Dover Down’s Ed Sutor (l.) says the industry will suffer even more when MGM’s National Harbor casino opens later this year.

MGM National Harbor Opening Delayed

Originally slated for a late summer opening, the MGM National Harbor casino complex in suburban Washington D.C. is now targeted to open by the end of the year.

Las Vegas Stadium Would Bring NFL Team Says Las Vegas Sands

In the public hearing on a proposed stadium for UNLV (l.) and a possible NFL team, officials with Las Vegas Sands touted the project that could “transform” Las Vegas tourism. The presentation to an ad hoc committee tasked with improving Southern Nevada’s infrastructure and economy came after two recently published polls show Nevadans support a stadium and convention center expansion, but don’t want to pay for it. The polls also indicate the convention center project would be more beneficial.

MGM REIT Approved, Selling Crystals

The Nevada Gaming Commission unanimously approved regulatory moves that enable MGM Resorts International to move forward with its plan to create a real estate investment trust, which will own 10 MGM properties in Nevada and other states and lease them back to MGM. MGM says the REIT will enable it to pursue more assets. The company also confirmed the sale of the Crystals shopping mall (l.) at CityCenter.

Kansas Voters Could Allow Racetrack Slots

A Kansas House committee is reviewing a bill that would allow voters to determine if slots should be allowed at the shuttered Wichita Greyhound Park, owned by billionaire Phil Ruffin (l.), who also wants slots at his closed Woodlands horse racetrack. Allowing slots at the tracks would create an estimated 4,400 jobs.

Iowa’s Rhythm City Opening In June

Moving from the Mississippi River to land in Davenport, Iowa, Rhythm City Casino will open June 16. The $110 million property will offer 33,800 square feet of gaming space, a 143-room hotel and an events center. Memphis investors have bought the boat and the barge may be used as a Viking Cruise welcome center.

Las Vegas Continues Transformation

From the south side of the Las Vegas Strip to the north end of Downtown, Las Vegas maintains its continual pace of change with many developments either underway or recently completed. A new arena and complementary park-like mall, an expanded convention center, a Chinese-themed resort destination, and a renovated Downtown scene are among many developments that are reshaping Sin City.

New Yorkers Protest Casino, Support Online Gaming

A community group calling itself No Casino at Belmont Park (l.) plans a Saturday protest at the famous racetrack to oppose the installation of video gaming terminals in a proposed gaming parlor at Belmont Park. The group says the gaming operations would be bad for local communities. Meanwhile, New York lawmakers are expected to regulate daily fantasy sports and online poker.

Nevada Nixes Private Casino Reporting

Privately owned casinos in Nevada no longer have to compile and publish public financial earnings statements, which the Nevada Gaming Commission said is a costly and unnecessary regulatory overreach. The casinos already submit financial records to state and federal regulators, and remain subject to regulatory oversight, the commission said during its March 17 meeting.

Big Buzz for New York’s Rivers Casino & Resort

Hundreds of local business leaders in Schenectady learned more about the Galesi Group’s Rivers Casino & resort in Schenectady, work on which already began. The casino likely will open in early 2017, followed by a 163-room hotel about six months later, and the Galesi Group allocated $150 million for related development.

Las Vegas Still Awaiting NHL Expansion

The NHL still has not decided on a potential league expansion, but has proposed potential ways for teams to protect players if the league goes through with an expansion. Las Vegas and Quebec City are the only candidates for a league expansion, but NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (l.) said there is no urgency for the league to get bigger.

New Jersey CRDA Funds More Atlantic City Beach Concerts

New Jersey’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority has approved $49 million in contracts to have Live Nation promote and operate beach concerts in the resort as well as continue to bring concerts to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall venue. The beach concerts are seen as one strategy to diversify the city’s attractions.

Fire And Smoke on the Las Vegas Strip

A fire broke out near the convention area of Caesars Palace in the early morning hours of March 21, forcing the evacuation of 140 hotel rooms and part of the casino area. Firefighters put out the fire in less than 30 minutes, and three casino workers were hospitalized for smoke inhalation. Two days earlier, haze in the spa area of the Paris Las Vegas casino triggered an alarm, but no fire was found.

N.H. Senate Takes Up Casino Gaming

The perennial issue of a casino in the Granite State is once more before the New Hampshire Senate. if sponsor Senator Lou D’Allesandro succeeds in getting passage, the bill will face rocky shoals in the House.

Maine House Debates Southern Casino

Lawmakers in Maine are hotly debating a bill that would authorize a third casino in the state. In the first of several votes anticipate on the bill it was defeated 83-61.

Iowa Appeals Court Supports Commission's Decision

The Iowa Court of Appeals recently upheld lower court rulings supporting the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission's decision to reject the Belle of Sioux City's gaming application in favor of the land-based Hard Rock Casino. The IRGC denied Belle's application after the company could not renegotiate a contract with its former nonprofit partner.

Louisiana Parish Smoking Ban Could Cost Millions

Citing Harrah's New Orleans' revenue losses following a city-wide smoking ban, officials at L'Auberge Hotel & Casino (l.) fear a similar ordinance proposed for East Baton Rouge Parish could cost the city-parish $2 million and the state $12 million annually.

American Casino & Entertainment Properties Ends Year Well

Improved hotel occupancy rates and higher average room rates at its Las Vegas properties, particularly the Stratosphere, helped American Casino & Entertainment Properties post revenue gains for an eighth straight quarter, and improved its cash flow seven of the past eight quarters. Only its Aquarius casino in Laughlin reported declining revenues for the quarter.

Gulf Coast Revenues Enhance Mississippi Results

Thanks to February reports from Mississippi's 12 coastal casinos, revenue rose 10 percent compared to February 2015. Statewide, February marked the seventh of 12 months in which revenue increased, up 5 percent to $190 million compared to $181 million a year ago. Mississippi River operations remained about the same.

Culinary Workers Union Pickets Palms

Saying Palms Casino management harasses pro-union workers and refuses to remain neutral during union organizing efforts, hundreds of members of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 during a March 18 protest promised the casino would get no peace if the workers get no justice. The protest comes amid reports of the Palms being up for sale.


Tribe and Commercial Company Face Off in Massachusetts

Will there be two casinos in the southeast region of Massachusetts? The Mashpee Wampanoag have qualified for their First Light Resort (l.) in Taunton, but since the state Gaming Commission has allowed the commercial casino process to go forward, what will be the resolution?

Connecticut Casino Study Bill Rejected

Another study, proposed by Rep. Chris Perone (l.), won’t be conducted before the Connecticut legislature allows the state’s two gaming tribes to move forward in identifying a border town to locate a satellite casino. A bill that would have required the study was defeated in committee last week.

Pokagon Band, South Bend Reach Agreements

While the Bureau of Indian Affairs considers the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians' land-trust application, the Michigan-based tribe and the city of South Bend, Indiana recently signed agreements regarding a new Four Winds Casino (l.) and a tribal village to be built on a 166-acre, tribal-owned site in South Bend.

Appeals Court Hearts Arguments in Washington Casino Case

Opponents of the Cowlitz Tribe of Washington State, who argue that the Bureau of Indian Affairs improperly put 152 acres for the tribe into trust in La Center, argued their case before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals last week.

California Seeks Supreme Court Review of Pauma Band Compact Case

California Attorney General Kamala Harris (l.) is heading the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court that seeks to overturn a decision that awarded $36.2 million to the Pauma Band. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that the state violated its compact with the tribe when it limited how many slot machines it could have.

Off-Reservation Casinos Remain Sault Priority

Seeking re-election, Aaron Payment, chair of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, said getting approval for two off-reservation casinos remains a top priority. The tribe claims the Bureau of Indian Affairs must approve the land-trust applications since the properties were acquired under the Michigan Indian Land Claims Settlement Act.

Little River Casino Expansion Nearly Complete

The $18 million gambling-floor expansion at the Little River Casino in Manistee, Michigan will be completed in June, officials said. Owned by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, a new spa and pool plus several new restaurants also are being added. At least 45 new jobs will be created, said General Manager Ron Pete.

Eastern Cherokees Want Bidding Changes

Members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, owners of Harrah's Cherokee Casino in North Carolina, want the Tribal Employee Rights Office to improve bidding opportunities for tribal members. Currently only 4 percent of Harrah’s 530 vendors are TERO certified, but a casino official said that's because the casino has a wide range of needs.

California Casino Doesn’t Need Management Contract to Open

A management contract is not required by a gaming tribe before it can open a casino the National Indian Gaming Commission ruled last week. This would allow the Jamul Indian Village to operate its casino in San Diego County if the NIGC rules that its management agreement with Penn National Gaming is invalid.

Tribal Leaders Feel the Bern in Washington

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (l.), speaking in Washington state, moved the issues important to tribal leaders up to the front of his agenda. He met with several tribal leaders during his swing through the state.

Indian Reservation Lands Grow

At the beginning of the Obama Administration the president’s goal was to put half a million acres into trust for Indian tribes. Now, with less than a year left in his final term, the push is on to add the final 100,000 acres that would achieve that goal.

Washoe-Poarch Creek Casino Progressing

A 150-slot casino, a joint project of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California and the Poarch Creeks of Alabama, will open in July at the Wa She Shu Travel Plaza in Gardnerville, Nevada. The Poarch Creeks will manage the casino and pay rent and taxes to the Washoes.

Arizona Tribes Report Revenue Gains

Arizona tribal gaming revenue reached $1.82 billion in 2014, an increase of $11 million or 0.6 percent from 2013, ranking the state fifth in tribal casino revenue according to Casino City’s recently released Indian Gaming Report. California ranked first with $7.31 billion. Nationwide tribal gaming revenue reached a record high of $28.9 billion.

Oneida Nation Wins FOIL

New York Supreme Court Justice Vincent Reilly in mid-March ordered the state’s Gaming Commission to release to the Oneida Nation documents containing factual and statistical data on a proposed casino project in Tyre. Reilly allowed the commission to omit opinions and recommendations made by experts. The tribe says the Gaming Commission erred in approving the casino license.


Online Lottery Sales, Expiration Dates Rejected

A Connecticut legislative committee let a bill die that would have let third-party companies sell online lottery tickets. Lawmakers also declined to vote on a bill removing lottery ticket's 180-day expiration. Citizens testified the bills would cause internet fraud, lost convenience store business and increased risks of underage gambling and addiction.


Funke Kupper Out at ASX

Elmer Funke Kupper, former CEO of betting firm Tabcorp, has resigned his post as head of the Australian Securities Exchange. The exit comes amid allegations that Tabcorp bribed a relative of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen when it was pursuing a betting license in the country.

Scudiero Takes Helm at Diamond Jacks

Tony Scudiero is the new vice president and general manager of the Diamond Jacks Casino & Hotel in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and will oversee its transformation into the WaterView Casino and Hotel. Scudiero previously occupied the same positions at the St. Jo Frontier Casino in St. Joseph, Missouri, which now seeks Scudiero’s replacement.

Inspired Names New Executives

Inspired Gaming has named Kris Ellis as account director for virtuals and Dan Graham as a platform architect in key additions to its senior staff.

Ryan Paulos Named Cannery GM

Cannery Casino Resorts has named Ryan Paulos vice president and general manager of Cannery Casino & Hotel in North Las Vegas.

Northern California Tribal Chairman Resigns

The chairman of the tribe that operates the Redwood Hotel Casino in Northern California has resigned. James Dunlap had just been elected when facts about an alleged criminal past surfaced.


Fort Randall Casino Installs CasinoTrac

CasinoTrac's TableTrac casino management system will replace the current management system at the Fort Randall Casino and Hotel in South Dakota. CasinoTrac delivers reporting, slot auditing, accounting, patron management, dispatching and marketing solutions designed to build player loyalty and revenue.

Core, Storm Develop Launch Pharaoh's Wild

Already ranked among the top five games on Sky Vegas, Pharaohs' Wild is a team effort by Core Gaming and Storm Gaming, both based in the UK. The five-reel Egyptian-themed slot offers 20 fixed-win lines, three bonus features and free-spin rewards delivered by wolf icons and an ancient mummy.

Caesars Adds More Self-Check In

After a successful pilot program at three of its Strip properties, Caesars Entertainment will add self-check-in kiosks to its other five Las Vegas casino hotels.

Casino Mediterráneo Picks JCM

JCM Global has been named the preferred supplier of bill validators and printers in the three properties of Spain’s Casino Mediterráneo.

Grand Casinos Select Agilysys

Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Grand Casino Hinckley in Minnesota have selected service optimization solutions from Agilysys to enhance guest service.

Intralot, Gamenet Partner in Italy

Intralot and Gamenet announced they will merge their businesses in the Italian gaming market to become one of its largest operators.Intralot and Gamenet announced they will merge their businesses in the Italian gaming market to become one of its largest operators.



Gross-Out Stunt in Sydney

An estimated 1,000 protestors hit the streets of Sydney last week to oppose the city’s lockout laws, and an exemption that was carved out for casinos. The laws restrict alcohol sales and are designed to limit rowdy behavior. Protestors responded by dumping feces at the Star Casino.

Kid’s Game

Parents would be able to join their children in a game of bingo if a bill before the New Hampshire Senate becomes law. Currently only children are allowed to play bingo for prizes.

Meth Dealer Gambled Millions At Downstream

Recently arrested methamphetamine heroin dealer Patrick Brigaudin of Springfield, Missouri gambled $10.1 million on slots and withdrew more than $8.4 million at Downstream Casino in Quapaw, Oklahoma, federal prosecutors said. Brigaudin is being held without bond after agents found more than 50 pounds of meth in his garage.




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