Online Momentum

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (l.) last week suggested that the state would soon open up its iGaming sector to full casino games in addition to the online poker it currently offers. And as a companion, he also hinted that he’s ready to work more closely with New Jersey to boost online gaming revenues via a gaming compact, as well as discussing the potential for eSports in gaming. Meanwhile, Michigan, California and Pennsylvania may be closer than experts originally thought to legalizing iGaming.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: G2E Asia Brings Quality AND Quantity

G2E Asia was the place to be last week for anyone interested in Asian gaming, with increases in attendance and exhibitors at its 10th anniversary. The timely keynotes included Paulo Martins Chan (l.), the new head of Macau’s chief regulatory agency, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.

Alabama-Coushatta Casino Re-Opens Texas Casino

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe's Naskila Entertainment Center (l.) recently opened in Livingston, Texas, in the same location where federal authorities closed the tribe's previous bingo hall 14 years ago. Texas officials dispute the new operation but haven't moved against it yet. The tribe claims it has sovereign authority to open the casino on its reservation.

Caesars Updates Restructuring Plan

Caesars Entertainment Corporation is offering disgruntled creditors a new restructuring plan that would return them around $4 billion, its projected take from a sale of Caesars Interactive, whose CEO, Mitch Garber (l.), says the company is exploring several possibilities.

AGA Membership Grows By 50 Percent

The American Gaming Association recently announced its membership has grown by 50 percent since January 2015, due to a new membership and governance structure. The organization recently added AGS, Cherokee Nation Entertainment and Delaware North to its board. Five new general members also joined the group.

S. Korea: No Imminent Lift on Locals Play

Due in part to the gaming monopoly held by Kangwon Land (l.) in South Korea, legislators may not consider lifting a ban on locals gaming throughout the land, according to an analyst at PwC Korea.

Domingo Tops at PAGCOR

Andrea Domingo (l.), the former head of the Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration, has been chosen by President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to lead the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR).

Baazov Leaving Amaya Board

David Baazov (l.), the embattled former chairman, president and CEO of Amaya, will not seek reelection to the company’s board of directors amid charges of insider trading.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: Real Time With REITs

While real estate investment trusts (REITs) and currently the craze in the gaming industry, not all REITs are created equal. The recent creation of MGM Growth Properties is different than the Penn National spinoff, Gaming & Leisure Properties.

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Macau Operators Get Mixed Grades

Macau’s casino concessionaires have been found to be in compliance with capital guidelines set forth by the government in its mid-term review of the gaming industry. Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong (l.) says the conclusions won’t impact license renewals for concessionaires, due to start in 2020. But there’s a lot to be done to satisfy requirements.

Tinian Rescinds Dynasty License

By a 5-0 vote, the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission has cancelled the gaming license held by Hong Kong Entertainment, operator of the troubled Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino. Tinian Mayor Joey Patrick San Nicolas (l.) says the company did not meet the standards set by the government.

Indian State Could Decide this Week on Casinos

A decision on land-based casinos in Maharashtra, India could be forthcoming by the end of this month. The state’s casino act was first passed in 1976, but never notified or enacted.

House Loses Its Edge in Philippines

Casinos in the Philippines took their hits in 2015, with lower revenues attributable to higher expenses. Recently, with Lady Luck on the side of the gamblers, two major Philippine casinos are facing new losses. Bloomberry Resorts, the owner of the Solaire (l.) in Manila’s Entertainment City, lost $25 million last year.

Indian Company Opening First Sikkim Casino

Indian company Golden Gaming International says it has secured a gaming license and soon will open the first gaming establishment in Sikkim. The 8,000-square-foot facility will provide online betting and sports wagering for the first time in Sikkim and will provide online wagering to customers throughout the state of Sikkim. It also serves as a model for gaming legalization in other states.

Imperial Palace under New Ownership

The operator of the Beijing Imperial Palace Hotel (l.) in Macau has transferred the title of the property to Victory Success Holdings Ltd. The transaction was made in lieu of debt payments.

Ships Ahoy for Genting HK

Genting Hong Kong has ordered a fleet of 10 ships from the Lloyd Werft Group. The order includes two mega-cruise ships for Star Cruises and eight vessels for Crystal Cruises.

Kuala Lumpur Blocks Phone Bets

Since January, the government of Kuala Lumpur has intercepted more than 12,000 telecommunications to curb ads for online betting. Police are working on the campaign with the Communications and Multimedia Commission.

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Genting Down in UK

The UK division of Malaysian gaming giant Genting UK has posted its 2015 results, showing a loss of £56 million (US$82 million) loss for the year. Its assets in London, including its flagship, Crockford’s (l.), took the biggest hit, according to reports.

Decision Time for Lads, Gala

A provisional decision is due any time on the proposed merger between UK bookmakers Ladbrokes and Gala Coral. If approved, the deal would require the new company to sell as many as 1,000 of its high street shops.

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Chile Opens Casino Bidding

Chile’s Superintendence for Gambling Casinos has opened the tender process for seven municipal casinos. Sites under consideration include Arica, Iquique, Coquimbo, Viña del Mar, Pucón, Puerto Varas and Natales.

Star v. Aquis on Gold Coast

Star Entertainment has announced plans for a massive expansion at its Jupiters Casino site on Australia’s Gold Coast, including a new $850 million hotel tower (l). Could Aquis Australia match that bet, or raise it?

Packer Aims High

Bigger is better for Crown Resorts honcho James Packer, who has proposed turning his Queensbridge Hotel Tower (l.) in Melbourne into the tallest building in Australia, at 90 stories.

Groundbreaking Held For BC Casino

The $19 million Cascades Casino in Penticton, British Columbia, the newest Gateway Casinos and Entertainment gaming facility will open in 2017 as part of the South Okanagan Events Centre. The project will create 400 construction and 150 full-time jobs, and offer slots, table games, an entertainment venue and dining options including a rooftop patio.

Crown Perth Gets $18 Million Tax Break

Crown Perth in Australia has been granted an $18 million tax break in hopes it can attract more high rollers. They, in turn are expected to help pour more taxes into the state government.

Taz Mayor Demands Pokie Vote

Mayor Tony Foster (l.) of Brighton, Tasmania has asked state legislators to put the controversial pokies issue to a public vote. Foster claims the poker industry is acting with impunity to expand in local clubs, hotels and pubs.

Ontario Town Raises Concerns Over Casino

The Peterborough city council in Ontario, Canada did not notify Cavan Monaghan township officials regarding a meeting about rezoning for the new Shorelines Casino. Township Mayor Scott McFadden said that "adversely affected" the township's opportunity to review supporting materials, and the township had "a number of preliminary comments and questions" about the casino project.

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Mississippi Enacts DFS Law

Mississippi has become the fourth state to enact daily fantasy sports regulations after Governor Phil Bryant (l.) signed a fantasy sports regulation bill. The bill goes into effect in July and only regulates the industry through July 2017, when the issue is to be revisited. DFS issues in Minnesota and Illinois were still unresolved.

Tribe Planning In-Flight Online Poker

Pokertribe.com, operated by the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, could become the world's first in-flight gambling website, with servers located on tribal land in Perkins. Florida tech entrepreneur Fred Khalilian, who once ran a Paris Hilton-themed nightclub in Orlando, is a consultant on the project, and Governor Mary Fallin's daughter Christina is a spokeswoman.

William Hill Doing Well in U.S.

The venerable UK gaming company, William Hill, entered the U.S. market for years ago, and it has worked out very well. The company runs sports books in several Nevada casinos (Las Vegas’ Plaza hotel at left), as well as a robust mobile sports betting platform in the state. The company posted impressive gains over the last several months.

Dutch Consider Gambling App Ban

Dutch gaming regulators are studying gambling apps with an eye towards banning their use. The regulators are concerned that the use of the apps is attracting children and could lead to developing compulsive gambling problems.

Habanero Announces Content Deals

Habanero Systems announced deals to supply its online slot, video poker and table-gam content to BetConstruct and to Opus Gaming.

NYX Launches with Eurobet

NYX Gaming Group has launched its digital content in the regulated Italian gaming market through the Game360 platform with Eurobet.it.

DoubleDown Class Action Lawsuit Dismissed

A class-action lawsuit against DoubleDown social casino was dismissed in March. The suit charged that the social casino—by selling virtual chips for social casino games—was conducting illegal gambling under Illinois law by a player in that state. The court ruled that since the purchased chips can never be cashed in, DoubleDown had no stake in the outcome the player received on her play.

Online Casinos Accused of Using Stolen NetEnt Games

Warnings are popping up on online gaming information sites such as Casinomeister and on Youtube that several online casino brands are using stolen NetEnt content. The sites accused are Affpower, Conan Gaming Limited and Game Tech Group N.V.

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Genting Lawsuit Seeks Miami-Dade Slots

Genting Group is suing Miami-Dade County, seeking permission to operate slots at its Omni Mall property (l.). In 2014 state regulators denied Gulfstream Park's request to move a parimutuel permit to the Omni, since slots are limited to Broward County. Gulfstream leased casino space at the Omni, which Genting cited as grounds for the lawsuit.

Nevada Says CG Technology Shorted Winners

CG Technology, doing business as Cantor Gaming, for years knew a software glitch was stiffing tens of thousands of bettors on parlay wagers but took no steps to correct it, other than paying the difference to bettors who noticed and complained, the Nevada Gaming Control Board says in a complaint. CG Technology operates several sports books in Las Vegas, including one in the Palms casino (l.), a property recently purchased by Red Rock Resorts (formerly Station Casinos).

Wynn Shoots For 2019 Opening Massachusetts

Wynn Resorts is anxious to begin work on its Everett casino in Massachusetts so it can schedule a 2019 opening. But Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone (l.) may have something to say about that. And after years of preparation MGM Resorts is ready to begin laying the foundation for the parking structure that will serve the $950 million MGM Springfield.

Atlantic City Financial Rescue Plan Still Being Negotiated

Though lawmakers say they are close to a compromise to bail out financially strapped Atlantic City, no clear and agreed upon plan was announced for another week. A compromise is being sought between a plan to have the state takeover the city’s finances approved by the state Senate, and an alternate plan proposed in the state Assembly to give the city two years to make its own financial cuts before the state takes over. The compromise would give the city 150 days to devise an economic recovery plan.

MGM: Parking D-Day is June 6

MGM Resorts International announced a June 6 start for its parking fees at its Las Vegas Strip resorts, including Bellagio (l.), but Nevadans will have through December 30 to continue receiving free parking. The parking D-Day represents the first fees charged for parking on the Las Vegas Strip, but MGM says the first hour will be free.

IRS: Prairie Meadows Not A Nonprofit

Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona, Iowa, could lose its status as a nonprofit social welfare agency, according to the IRS. With $2 billion in annual gross receipts, the IRS said the casino was “one of the top 10 revenue-generating organizations operating as nonprofit social welfare agencies in the country."

Straub Still Promising June Opening for Atlantic City’s Former Revel Casino

Developer Glenn Straub (l.) says he still hopes he can get Atlantic City’s former Revel casino at least partially reopened by June 15, but he faces a host of regulatory and casino approvals. The developer hopes to name a casino operator already licensed in New Jersey and also open rope course attraction being built at the Boardwalk property.

Arkansas Casino Proposal's Wording Rejected

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (l.) rejected the wording of a proposed ballot measure that would allow casinos in Boone, Miller and Washington counties, due to vagueness and lack of a complete summary in the title. The group Arkansas Wins in 2016 hopes to collect enough signatures to place the issue on the November ballot.

Las Vegas Casino Charges Union Organizers

Two members of the Culinary Workers Union in December entered a private and restricted area of the Red Rock Resort’s hotel in Summerlin and distributed fliers accusing the casino’s owner of being the worst violator of labor laws in Nevada. The two are charged with trespassing, but the union says the district attorney is intervening in a labor dispute.

Atlantic City Seeking Non-Casino Attractions

Seeking to diversify its attractions away from casino gambling, several moves are underway in Atlantic City to increase the appeal of its Boardwalk. They include two proposed Boardwalk amusement centers (one at a city-owned volleyball courts next to the Showboat at left) and a move to allow open alcohol containers—ala Bourbon Street—on the wooden way.

Red Rock, Boyd Gaming Bet on Down Market

The recent purchases of locals casinos by the two leaders in the market, Boyd Gaming and Red Rock Resorts (formerly Station Casinos) is an attempt to buy in a declining market, betting on the come.

Tennessee To Study Horse Racing Revival

A Horse Racing Advisory Committee soon will be named by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to study horse racing, which is legal—betting on races is not. The state was a major horse breeding and racing center in the 19th century. Betting was outlawed in 1906, legalized in 1987 and banned again last year.

St. Louis Net Gaming Revenues Grow

Three St. Louis-area casinos reported net revenue gains in April, while three posted losses in gaming revenues, the Missouri Gaming Commission and Illinois Gaming Board reported. Lumière Place, Hollywood, and Casino Queen all reported net gains from a year ago, while Argosy Alton, River City, and Ameristar reported declining revenues.

Land-based Iowa Casino Hiring 300 Employees

The new land-based $110 million Rhythm City Casino Resort (l.) in Davenport, Iowa held interviews to fill 300 positions before its June 16 opening. More than 100 positions already have been filled and more than 250 current casino employees will move to the new facility.

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Arizona Tribe Fights Bill to Shut Down Casino

Arizona Congressman Trent Franks (l.) wants to review his Keep the Promise Act in the House to try to close the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino and Resort in the Phoenix Valley. A vote on the bill failed in December. The Tohono O'odham Nation is fighting its revival with massive injections of lobbying cash.

Interior Department to Expand Tribal Land Buy-Back

The federal government proposes to expand the program whereby it buys back land from private owners and transfers it to tribal governments that previously lost their lands. The Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary Mike Connor (l.) says his department has added 63 new locations it hopes to purchase, bringing the total to 105.

Cracks Appear in Opposition to Washington’s Cowlitz Casino

Facing the almost certain inevitability of a Cowlitz Casino (l.) near La Center in Washington, opponents of the casino are beginning to make their peace with the tribe. The first to drop out of an anti-Cowlitz coalition was the Vancouver City Council, which voted to withdraw from a federal lawsuit opposing the casino.

New Mexico Tribe Allows Membership to Expand

A New Mexico tribe, the Pueblo of Isleta, which operates the Isleta Resort & Casino near Albuquerque, has voted to allow people who have one quarter Isleta blood to become tribal members. This move will nearly double the number of tribal members.

California Group Sues to Stop Water for Casino Expansion

A group opposed to the expansion that the Chumash Casino Resort in Southern California plans to open later this month has sued to stop it from using water resources during a water emergency. All of the state is under a mandate to use less water during the current drought.

Snoqualmie Tribe Plans Multi-Service Store

The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe recently broke ground near its Snoqualmie Casino in Washington for a convenience store featuring 12 gas pumps, a deli, market, beer cave and drive-up window for tobacco. The Snoqualmie Tobacco Company and Liquor Store, next to the casino, will operate until the new store opens later this year.

California Tribe May Downsize Casino Project

Northern California’s Cloverdale Rancheria of Pomo Indians has been forced by the proximity of the Graton Resort & Casino in Rohnert Park to scale back its original plans. The plans, which in 2008 called for a $320 million casino resort with 244 rooms, now looks like it will be closer to $230 million.

California Town Has Multiple Meetings About Casino

The issue of whether the California community of Ridgecrest City should welcome the attempts by the Timbisha Shoshone tribe of Death Valley to apply for an off-reservation casino threatens to split the desert community in town.

Gaming Tribe Makes New Profits With Gourmet Olive Oil

The wages of gaming is more than simple profits for the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. It is also gourmet class olive oil grown in the fertile Mediterranean soil and climate of lands that the tribe has purchased with profits from its Cache Creek casino.

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Bean Leaving Mohegan Sun

Mike Bean, president and general manager at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania since 2005 announced he will leave by the end of the month to take a job at another company, which he did not disclose. Under Bean's tenure the casino has seen significant growth and expansion, as well as employee theft scandals.

Rosin Named Betsson Communications VP

Betsson, the Swedish-owned, Malta-based operators of online gaming products, recently named Pia Rosin as vice president of corporate communication to oversee the firm's financial communications and investor relations. Rosin has held similar positions at the Swedish aerospace and defense company Saab Group as well as at Rosinius and Entraction.

Impeachment Charges Filed Against UKB Chief

Impeachment charges have been filed against Principal Chief of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians George Wickliffe. He's accused of restricting access to records and the tribe's closed casino, mishandling more than $1 million in tribal contracts and funds and failing to provide for citizens' general welfare.

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Australian Securities Panel Probes Ainsworth Deal

The Australian securities watchdog panel could place conditions on a shareholder vote on the takeover of Ainsworth Game Technology by Novomatic AG. Ainsworth founder Len Ainsworth (l.) sold his majority interest to Novomatic.

Everi Expands Presence in Alberta

Everi Holdings will place 200 of its TournEvent instant-tournament units and 50 premium games across 28 casinos of the Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission.

Inspired Expands with Lottomatica

Inspired Gaming has begun installations of new VLTs across the entire estate of Italian operator Lottomatica, with additional games to be in place by the end of June.

GSA Releases G2S Update

The Gaming Standards Association has released an update to its Game-to-System standard, designed to make the standard easier to implement.

Treasure Island Launches Online Poker

A Las Vegas casino announced last week it would hold daily online poker tournaments that would qualify winners for fee stays at the hotel. The Treasure Island casino program is not online gaming, just a promotion to win prizes.

Sportsbet Extends NRL Sponsorship

Sportsbet, Paddy Power Betfair's Australian online betting subsidiary, finalized the most lucrative sports sponsorship in the nation's history, extending its partnership with the National Rugby League until 2020 for $43 million. The Sportsbet brand will be displayed at all NRL matches and events and promoted on Network Nine and Fox Sports.

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First Asian Gaming Awards Recognize Excellence

The first Asian Gaming Awards made its debut at G2E Asia 2016 last week in Macau. Winners were announced from all facets of the industry, sponsored by Asia Gamin Brief, G2E Asia and the Innovation Group.

Casinos, Banks Face Similar Scrutiny

Casinos and banks must work more closely with one another and with federal regulators to prevent money laundering, attendees at the Bank Secrecy Conference Act in Las Vegas were told. FBI Deputy Assistant Director Chris Warrener (l.) told the audience at the South Point Casino on May 17 that closer collaboration among bankers and casino operators could prove mutually beneficial, while helping to prevent crime and costly penalties.

Gaming-State Legislators Meeting Announced

The summer meeting of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States will be held July 29-31 in Boston. Besides legislators, attendees will include regulators, gaming operators, equipment manufacturers, attorneys, analysts, public officials, investors and other industry professionals. NCLGS is the only non-partisan organization of state lawmakers that regularly meets to discuss gaming issues.

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Wagering Concerns Impact Raiders’ Move

If Las Vegas wants to land the NFL Oakland Raiders, it likely will have to address whether or not sports books take action on the Raiders NFL games. Several local sports books already curb betting action on some professional sports due to business ties, but some sports book operators oppose a wagering moratorium on a Las Vegas NFL team, which still would need funding for a stadium.

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