Las Vegas Gets NHL Franchise

The NHL’s Board of Governors is scheduled to meet in Las Vegas on June 22 and will announce the city will become the home of a league franchise starting as soon as the 2017-18 season, the Associated Press announced. This will be the first major sports league to enter the Las Vegas market. The Las Vegas Wranglers (l.) played in the ECHL, a hockey minor league until four years ago. The move, says the American Gaming Association, heralds a change in the way professional sports leagues view Las Vegas and legal sports betting.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: FanDuel, DraftKings Happy Together

A report by Bloomberg News says that the two largest daily fantasy sports sites FanDuel and DraftKings have begun preliminary talks about a possible merger. The two companies offer nearly identical fantasy games and both are waging legal fights across the country to see daily fantasy legalized. Bloomberg cited unnamed sources that said investors in both companies are pushing for a merger. Meanwhile, New York became the latest state to legalize DFS, and other states are considering it as well.

Packer’s Big Play

Australian casino operator Crown Resorts last week announced it would spin off its international properties into a separate company and then establish a REIT to hold its Australian hotels. And under the deal, former Chairman James Packer (l.) will have no title and get no pay, but will profit greatly.

California iPoker Legislative Hearing This Week

The California Assembly Appropriations Committee postponed taking a vote last week on Adam Gray’s AB 2863 that would legalize iPoker in the Golden State. A coalition opposed to Gray’s bill is claiming credit for slowing down the bill. California Nations Indian Gaming Association President Steve Stallings (l.) is unsure how the issue will play out.

Washington Governor Approves Spokane Tribe’s Casino

Governor Jay Inslee (l.) of Washington has approved the off-reservation casino proposed by the Spokane Indian tribe, calling the $400 million the Spokane Tribe Economic Project – STEP. The project will create thousands of jobs and generate millions in revenue for the state, he said.

Melco & Co. Oppose New Cyprus Deadline

A partnership that includes Lawrence Ho’s (l.) Melco International Development, Hard Rock International and Cyprus Phasouri Ltd. is protesting a deadline extension for a casino license on the Mediterranean island. Its rivals for the license asked for the deadline to be pushed from July to October.

9th Circuit Rules for Southern California Casino

A court of appeals has ruled that the National Indian Gaming Commission is not required to complete an environmental impact statement before granting permission for California’s Jamul Indian Village to open its Hollywood Casino Jamul (l.) in San Diego County.

Caesars Gets Bankruptcy Lifeline

The judge in the bankruptcy case of Caesars Entertainment’s largest operating unit has suspended bondholder lawsuits against Caesars until August 29. Bankruptcy Judge Benjamin Goldgar is urging the company to use the time to come to terms with its junior bondholders.

Israel Moving toward Casinos

Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (L.) is part of a government team actively developing plans for a casino complex in the port city of Eilat. Levin called a casino “the means” to an end, not the primary objective.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: Isle Transformation

Isle of Capri, a regional gaming company, has posted an impressive debt-to-EBIDTA ratio that portends great things. In Las Vegas, the introduction of an NHL franchise could encourage other teams to relocate. And keep an eye on Full House Resorts.


Gambling in Macau Not ‘Bad Behavior’

A Chinese central government agency recently included gambling on a list of “bad behaviors” to be avoided by Chinese citizens. An author of the directive points out that the warning does not refer to gambling in Macau.

Shanghai Disney Will Not Hurt Macau

Shanghai Disneyland (l.), the US$5.5 billion theme park that opened in Shanghai last week, should not have a negative impact on the Macau tourism market, according to the president of the Macau Travel Industry Council.

Coming Soon: NagaCity Walk

NagaCity Walk, a retail district incorporated into the NagaWorld casino resort (l.) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, will open sometime in the second half of 2016, according to Union Gaming analysts who visited the development site.

Mass Layoffs at RW Sentosa

Resorts World Sentosa (l.), operated by Genting Singapore Plc, is reportedly letting go of 400 employees as it seeks to remain profitable in what the company calls “a challenging market.”

Philippines: What’s a Casino Without Smoking, Drinking?

Casino operators in the Philippines say they should not be included in proposed legislation that would outlaw smoking and drinking in all public places throughout the country. President-elect Rodrigo Duterte (l.) has supported similar limitations.

Gamers in India are Taking to Online Rummy

One of the fastest growing online gaming markets is India, where Smartphone and PC usage is growing rapidly. A game that lends itself to this rapid growth is an online version is Rummy, which is also a national game of India.


William Hill Rated ‘Sell’

William Hill earned a “sell” rating from UBS after losing significant market share in Australia to its chief rival, Ladbrokes. Lads has dominated for the last three quarters, and grew 50 percent. William Hill shrank by 8 percent.


Casino Canberra Reopens

Casino Canberra, owned by Hong Kong-based Aquis Entertainment, has reopened following a multimillion-dollar upgrade designed to bring in more global visitors. It will include up to 500 new pokie machines, plus semi-automated table games.


NY Senate Approves Poker, but Prospects Still Dim

New York lawmakers approved legalizing online poker and are working on efforts to make paid daily fantasy sports legal in the state, too. But with less than a week remaining in this year’s legislative calendar year, at least one prominent lawmaker says there’s virtually no chance online poker will be legal this year in New York. PPA Executive Director John Pappas (l.) says progress has been made because of thousands of New York players have contacted their senators.

Michigan Advances Parimutuel, Online Poker Measures

Legislation to remove the formula used to pay horse racetracks from a pool and allow them to keep money generated there to pay expenses and prize to winning horses awaits the signature of Michigan Governor Rich Snyder. Also, the state Senate is considering an online gaming bill.

GVC Approved by New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement

GVC, the new owner of entertainment, was approved last week to do business in New Jersey. This was a crucial point because Borgata uses the platform for its online casino and poker, room. But will Borgata stick with GVC? That has yet to be seen.

Ladbrokes Pulls Australia Live Play

Ladbrokes accused the Australian government of favoring incumbents Tabcorp and Tatts Group in its decision to ban “click to call” betting on live sports. UK-based Ladbrokes said as a result it will pull its Live Play product from the country by the end of June.

Bet365 Offered Fake ‘Free Bets’; Gets Fined

Aussie bookmaker Bet365, found guilty of attracting new punters with phony “free bets,” has been fine A$2.8 million for the illicit offer. In the fine print, gamblers were informed they had to spend $200 to get a $200 credit.

Russia to Issue Online Sports Betting License

Russia will issue its second online sports betting license to Stolo, a major online and land operator in the country, according to Russian media reports. The company will launch, using a BetConstruct-provided platform.


‘Let’s do Lunch’ Suggests Wynn to Somerville Mayor

Steve Wynn is willing to break bread with the man who is trying to prevent him from building his Wynn Boston Harbor. He told reporters last week that he would happily have lunch with Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone, who has appealed the issuing of a permit allowing Wynn to begin building alone the waterfront of the Mystic River.

Rhode Island Casino Plans Robust Tiverton Campaign

Residents of Rhode Island can expect to be bombarded by TV, radio and online ads from now until November as the campaign revs up for a proposed $75 million casino in Tiverton. The proposed casino, a short distance from the Massachusetts state line, is intended to prevent a hemorrhaging of gaming revenue from Rhode Island to the Bay State.

Atlantic City Union Workers Threaten July 1 Strike

Workers for Atlantic City’s largest casino union authorized a July 1 strike date for four Atlantic City casinos as negotiations for a new union contract continue. The four casinos are Bally's, Caesars, Harrah's and the Tropicana. A strike against Trump Taj Mahal has already been authorized. Union President Bob McDevitt (l.) says they are prepared to strike ahead of the busy July 4th weekend.

NV Energy Repels Casinos

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway paid $5.6 billion to buy Nevada Power, which does business as NV Energy, three years ago. Since then its profits and utility rates have gone up, and MGM Resorts International says it will pay nearly $87 million to stop buying power from NV Energy. Meanwhile, Las Vegas Sands is hoping a November ballot initiative will deregulate the state’s energy market, freeing it from NV Energy.

Anti-North Jersey Casino Group Launches Campaign

Little more than a week after proponents of building two new casinos in the northern part of New Jersey launched their campaign to persuade the state’s voters to approve the plan, the opposition group No North Jersey Casinos announced they were launching their campaign. The coalition is comprised of about 300 businesses, public officials, labor leaders and citizens who feel casino expansion in the state will cause casino closings and job losses in Atlantic City.

Fiery End for Riviera Casino

A perfectly executed implosion marked the end of the former Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, as its 24-story Monaco tower came down early in the morning on June 14. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is razing the casino to make room for an expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

eSports, Topgolf Popular Among Millennials in Vegas

Two new attractions in Las Vegas are proving popular among millennial-age visitors and others at the Downtown Grand’s recently opened eSports arena, where contestants can win cash and prizes, and at the new Topgolf Las Vegas (l.), which opened a month ago and already is a hit among golfers and non-golfers of all ages.

Legislation Would License North Carolina ‘Beach Bingo’

“Beach bingo” operators in North Carolina would have to pay $300 for an annual license under legislation recently passed by a Senate committee. Not limited to beaches, the small-scale games offer prizes of $10 or less. Bill sponsor state Rep. Pat B. Hurley said the law offers a way to track and regulate the games.

New York Casino Prevails in Court

The proposed del Lago Resort & Casino in Tyre overcame two significant court challenges as a local tribe and citizens group lost their respective efforts to stop its construction. New York Supreme Court Justice Vincent Reilly on June 10 ruled the Oneida Indian Nation has no valid damage claim, while the state appellate court denied a citizens group’s challenge.

Former Revel Casino Misses Opening Date

Despite owner Glen Straub saying part of the former Revel Atlantic City would open June 15, the property still has not been inspected for a certificate of occupancy, and no application has been made. Straub also is questioning a DGE opinion that he must be granted a full casino license. Straub says he would simply be a landlord for a casino management company.

Diversified Nevada Economy is Booming

Nevada has all but wiped out its job losses from the Great Recession, replacing them with mostly full-time jobs in a more diversified economy. The state’s chief economist said the state has added 30,000 jobs through April this year and 170,000 since 2010, and will add another 100,000 by 2018.

Atlantic City Casino Revenue Down Less than 1 Percent for May

Atlantic City’s eight casinos saw a slight 0.6 decline in casino revenue for May compared to 2015. Officials, however, pointed to a difference in the calendar, which had one last Friday and Saturday than last year. Online gaming revenue was also down from last month’s record pace, but was still up 32 percent over last year.

Telsey Recommends ‘Hold’ On Isle Casinos

Telsey Advisory Group issued a “hold” on Isle of Capri Casinos following their recent quarterly earnings report. Telsey said Isle “remains on a consistent path” and that it “benefits from the regional gaming markets' stable operating environment and a positive balance sheet.” As a result, Telsey raised its price target for Isle by $1 to $19.

Atlantic City Waiting for State Loan

Though a plan to pump money into Atlantic City’s municipal budget has been approved in Trenton, the city still has not received a needed state loan to keep it operating. Officials said they expect the money will arrive before the city runs out of cash.

Arkansas Signature Gatherers Race Against Time; Nebraska There

With the wording of their proposed constitutional amendment only recently approved, Arkansas Wins has less than a month to gather the 85,000 signatures required to place the measure on the November ballot. Meanwhile, a petition drive to legalize racinos in Nebraska already has surpassed its signature requirements.

Rhythm City Moves Ashore In Davenport

The $110 million Rhythm City Casino Resort has left the Mississippi River and opened on land in Davenport, Iowa. The new facility created 1,000 construction and 300 permanent jobs, and offers a 106-room hotel, full-service spa, retail outlets, buffet, Draft Day sports lounge, fine dining restaurant and a 1,500-seat event center.

Florida Parimutuels Challenge Amendment

Six Florida parimutuels filed a brief challenging the legality of the wording of a proposed constitutional amendment that would require future statewide votes on casino gambling. The Supreme Court is reviewing the wording of the proposal, which is backed by the Orlando-based group No Casinos Inc.

Casinos’ Two Decades Benefit Indiana

Casinos in Gary and Hammond (Horseshoe at left), Indiana have created jobs, spurred economic development and helped nonprofits over the past 20 years. The four casinos in Lake County, including Ameristar in East Chicago, brought 4,000-6,000 jobs to the area—about 1.6 percent of all jobs in Northwest Indiana.


Measure Exempting Tribes from Labor Laws Might be Defense Bill Rider

Supporters of a bill that would exempt Indian tribes from federal labor laws hope to slip it past a possible veto by President Obama (l.) by making a rider to the National Defense Authorization Act. The bill is supported by tribes and Republicans but opposed by unions and most Democrats.

Northern California Tribe Chooses Alternative Site for Casino

The Wilton Rancheria in Northern California has chosen to build its proposed casino on 35.9 acres in Elk Grove, passing up on nearby Galt because it faced $30 million extra in spending due to the need to add infrastructure. The site was called a “no brainer” by tribal Chairman Raymond C. Hitchcock.

Connecticut Tribe Tries Again for Federal Recognition

The Schaghticoke Indian Tribe based in Kent, Connecticut has applied for a second time to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to grant it federal status. It has done so even though newly adopted rules for federal recognition would seem to prevent it from ever happening.

Pojoaque Pueblo Awaits Legal Outcomes

The Pueblo of Pojoaque in New Mexico operates two casinos, including Buffalo Thunder (l.) outside of Santa Fe, although its state gaming compact expired last year. Unlike other pueblos, the tribe declined to sign a new compact with New Mexico, which raised its gaming tax from 8 percent to 10 percent. The Pojoaques want to bypass New Mexico and negotiate a compact with the Interior Department.

Yreka, California Casino Could Cost Neighbors 22 percent

The casino that the Karuk Tribe of Yreka is building in Northern California could lose 22 percent or more of its revenues if the Coquille Indian Tribe is allowed to build its casino resort in Medford, across the state line in Oregon. The figures come from a report being done by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Minnesota Tribal Casinos Lure Millennials

Casinos need to “rethink their casino floor” to attract younger players who favor table games over slots, said author Dave Palermo. At Mystic Lake (l.) in Minnesota, “cosmic blackjack,” pop-up lounges, free shuttles to nearby Canterbury Park racino, special events and non-gambling amenities are successfully luring millennials.

Group Protests Proposed White Earth Casino

The White Earth Nation wants to build a casino on trust land it owns on Star Lake in Minnesota. But the Star Lake Concerned Citizens Group recently met to review ways to stop it. Speaker Ty Dayton said the casino threatens the environment and urged residents to contact county, state and federal agencies to express their concerns.



Merkur Gaming Grows in Russia

Merkur Gaming reports continued progress in the Russian gaming market, with placement of Avantgarde SLT slot machines at Shambala Casino.

MGM Offers Mlife Rewards MasterCard

MGM Resorts International has partnered with First Bankcard to offer the Mlife Rewards MasterCard as part of its revised member loyalty rewards program. The card provides triple points at M life properties and double points at supermarkets and gas stations. New cardholders who charge $1,000 during their initial three billing cycles get a 10,000-point bonus.

Proposed Amaya Board Nominee Withdraws

A man who had been proposed as a board member of Canadian online gaming provider Amaya Inc. has withdrawn his candidacy. Paul McFeeters cited personal resigns for pulling from the race.





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