iPoker Bill Moves Closer to Vote in California Assembly

Internet poker in the Golden State is reaching a crisis point in the California Assembly. The fate of AB 2863 will be decided by the Assembly within the next week or two. Rincon Chairman Bo Mazzetti (l.) says Assemblyman Adam Gray has brought together the disparate elements of the issue.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Maybe Next Year in Macau

Macau, the world’s foremost gaming destination now mired in a two-year decline, won’t bounce back anytime soon. A new financial forecast says GDP in the recession-battered market will contract through 2016. Rapid Cotai expansion, the Chinese corruption crackdown and increased regional competition have still yet to run their course.

Pennsylvania House Passes iGaming, Airport Slots

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed gaming expansion legislation that would legalize internet gaming and expand slot gaming to the state’s airports and OTB parlors. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (l.) says any gaming expansion has to be tied to a budget solution.

Melco Crown: About-Face on Studio City VIPs?

Melco Crown Entertainment, which at first eschewed VIP gaming at its new Studio City property (l.) on Macau’s Cotai Strip, is now reportedly weighing the benefits of junket operations.

Freeman, AGA Keep Up Press for Sports Betting

As the AGA held a town-hall meeting of law enforcement leaders to promote legal sports betting, its president, Geoff Freeman (l.), used the newly awarded Las Vegas NHL franchise to illustrate outdated federal policy on the subject.

NIGA Expands Washington D.C. Headquarters

The national organization representing gaming tribes, the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), last week the completion of its new headquarters located on Capitol Hill in Washington. NIGA leaders cut the ribbon (l.) on the renovated historic townhouse on Capitol Hill.

Nevada OKs License For Fantasy Sports Company

USFantasy, a fantasy sports company run by Gaming Hall of Fame member Vic Salerno (l.), was issued a license by Nevada regulators last week that will rely on the same parimutuel betting system used in horse racing.

Finland Debuts Veikkaus

Finland has consolidated its three state-owned gaming operators into a single entity to be known as Veikkaus. The new organization will debut a new logo and new branding early in 2017.


Singapore Slowdown

Like its neighbor Macau, Singapore is shifting its focus to mass-market gamblers to boost a slowing casino industry. The decline forced Resorts World Sentosa (l.) to recently lay off 400 employees.

Bloomberry May Sell Jeju Sun

Bloomberry Resorts Corp. may sell off its resort complex Jeju Sun (l.), on Jeju Island in South Korea, due to underperformance for the market. Bloomberry acquired a majority stake in the property last year.

Silver Heritage Plans IPO

Hong Kong-based gaming operator Silver Heritage Ltd. hopes to raise nearly AUD30 million (US$22.3 million) through an initial public offering, according to unconfirmed reports.

Goans Oppose Floating Casino

Villagers in Britona, Goa have demanded that the government remove a floating casino hotel from the River Mandovi. The outcry is supported by local clergy who say the community doesn’t want gaming nearby. The action is just another threat to Goa’s gaming industry.

Success Dragon Withdraws from Vietnam

Hong Kong-listed Success Dragon International Holdings has cancelled its plan to acquire 45 percent of One Opera Danang Hotel (l.), a luxury hotel in Vietnam. The company had planned to pay HKD109.65 million (US$14.13 million) for the property.

Cambodia the Big Winner in VIP Growth

Morgan Stanley predicts Cambodia will rank No. 1 in VIP gaming revenue growth for 2016. The U.S. investment bank says the country’s casinos could see a 39 percent boost in the VIP sector.


Crimea Defines Gaming Zone

Crimean officials have finally approved the boundaries of a future gaming zone, according to local media. The 16-hectare (39.5-acre) zone will be located in the village of Gaspra (l.) in Yalta.


Aquis Talks Up Canberra Upgrade

Aquis Entertainment has formally presented its proposed AUD307 million (US$229 million) upgrade of its Casino Canberra to the ACT government. Aquis bought the Australian property in 2015, and at one time planned to use the license to upgrade to a huge project near the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland.

Crown Resorts on Fitch Rating Watch Negative

Crown Resorts has been placed on Rating Watch Negative by Fitch Ratings after it announced plans to create a whole new company that will hold most of the firm’s Australian assets, including flagship Crown Melbourne (l.), and another its international properties.

Victoria, British Columbia, Considers Casinos

Victoria, British Columbia is considering gaming as a potential economic engine. The capital city’s council voted 6-3 to keep the issue alive, and the district of Saanich is also interested.

New Brunswick Venue Not A Casino

Horse Racing New Brunswick's new downtown Fredericton facility will not be a casino, HRNB Vice President Brock McEachern stressed. The venue will honor the history of horse racing in the province, and offer a restaurant and sports bar with horse race simulcasts and video lottery terminals. HRNB hopes to open several similar facilities.

Ontario Casino Site Challenged

Three separate groups in Peterborough filed formal appeals with the Ontario Municipal Board seeking to stop a proposed casino development on a parcel located on the edge of the city and away from its downtown area. City officials in May rezoned the parcel, where Great Canadian Gaming says it wants to build a casino.


Schneiderman to Continue Actions Against DFS Sites in New York

Despite a last minute passage of a bill to legalize daily fantasy sports in New York, the state’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he will continue to press suits alleging false advertising by the two largest DFS sites until the bill is signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo (l.).

FanDuel, New York OTB Group Unite

Manhattan-based FanDuel and the Western Regional OTB announced a tentative financial partnership and plan to seek a state approval for paid daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests in New York. OTB owns and operates a casino in Batavia, and if state lawmakers legalize DFS, FanDuel and OTB will seek state approval for a long-term partnership.

Online Poker Bill Stalls in New York

Though New York’s State Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill to legalize online poker, the state’s Assembly did not act before New York’s 2016 legislative session ended. Proponents of the plan, however, say the Senate’s approval bodes well for online poker passing in 2017.

Bet365 Dominates Italy’s Online Sports Betting market

Online gambling operator Bet365 continued to dominate Italy’s regulated sports betting market, according to new estimates released by the AGIMEG news agency. For May, the sports betting market took in more than 562 million pounds with Bet365 taking in 37 percent of the total.

EveryMatrix Partners With Kiron Interactive

Virtual games supplier Kiron Interactive has extended its existing partnership contract with leading iGaming provider EveryMatrix and will add its BetMan Online Remote Games Server to the EveryMatrix platform.


Vegas Gets More Than Hockey With NHL Team

The NHL’s Board of Governors on June 22 formally awarded an NHL expansion franchise to Las Vegas, give the city its first major professional sports team. Entrepreneur Bill Foley (l.) will have to pay a $500 million franchise fee to the NHL and can begin preparing for the team’s inaugural season 2017-18 at T-Mobile Arena.

Developer Slows Revel Reopening Over New Jersey Licensing Issues

Developer Glen Straub (l.) has criticized New Jersey regulators for requiring him to apply for and obtain a casino license, saying he will slow his planned re-opening of the former Revel casino hotel while the matter plays out. Straub maintains that he will lease the planned casino space to an unnamed operator and will only serve as a landlord for the casino, not run it. New Jersey officials have ruled he still needs a casino license, but did say he could be issued a lower-level license.

Positive MGM Outlook Gets Better

Its efforts to reduce costs and maximize operating efficiency has resulted in a greater revenue windfall than MGM Resorts International anticipated and boosted its anticipated profit growth by $100 million. Innovative operating approaches and efforts to draw more Millennial visitors could keep the outlook positive for MGM investors well into the future.

Two Iowa Casinos Move Ashore

More than 1,000 guests recently checked out the new $110 million land-based Rhythm City Casino in Davenport, Iowa. Owned by Dan Kehl's Elite Casino Resorts, the venue offers 800 slots and 34 table games, a 106-room hotel and event center. Also the new Isle of Capri Casino and Hotel that recently opened in Bettendorf.

Niche-Focused Market for Las Vegas’ Newest Casino

Located on Sahara Avenue near the Las Vegas Strip, niche-focused Lucky Dragon differs from other casino developments by focusing on a narrow niche market with the Asian-themed resort and its 206-room hotel. Asian-Americans in Las Vegas and other communities in the U.S. and Canada will be the casino’s primary business targets, rather than overseas travelers.

Non-Casino Margaritaville Resort Opens in Biloxi

The family friendly Margaritaville Resort Biloxi opened at 5 o'clock on June 23, featuring décor and dining spots inspired by Jimmy Buffet's lifestyle and lyrics. The property offers an indoor zip line roller coaster, a ropes course, bowling, volcano rock-climbing wall and the 55,000 square foot Escape arcade.

New Jersey AFL-CIO Backs Atlantic City Casino Union

The president of New Jersey’s federation of labor unions said the group will support a potential strike by Atlantic City’s main casino labor union, which could happen on July 1 at the start of the city’s busiest weekend. The union has authorized strikes at five of the city’s eight casinos if new labor deals are not reached by that date.

Florida Groups Vie for Legal High Ground

The group Floridians for Clarity in Gaming Control asked the state Supreme Court to let it argue against a constitutional amendment that would let voters authorize casino gambling. Another group, Voters in Charge, is behind the amendment. Also the Seminoles and the state have filed competing requests for summary judgments.

MGM National Harbor Prepares for Opening

MGM National Harbor plans to hire 3,600 across 100 positions for the November opening of the $1.3 billion casino in Prince George’s County. MGM paid $4 million to buy and remodel an abandoned elementary school to train employees and started to accept job applications on Friday. At least 40 percent of workers will be local residents.

Florida County Approves Slots Referendum

St. Lucie County, Florida commissioners unanimously voted to let voters to determine if they want slots at the proposed $100 million Fort Pierce Jai-Alai & Poker (l.). But even if the November referendum passes, the legislature needs to change state law, which only allows slots in Broward and Miami-Dade counties and on tribal land.

New New York Casino Takes Shape

The del Lago Casino and Resort (l.) in Tyre, New York, is on track for its planned February opening, and plans to start training up to 550 new table games dealers this fall. Meanwhile officials in Rochester weigh options for the city’s Midtown site, where the Seneca tribe wants to build a casino, but faces opposition.

West Virginia Governor Vetoes Greyhound Subsidy Cut

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin removed the word "Thoroughbred" from the state's budget legislation, thereby maintaining the $4.1 million subsidy for greyhound racing purses that legislators attempted to direct only to Thoroughbred racetracks. Dog and horse tracks will share the subsidy with a 25/75 percent division.

Supporters of Rhode Island Casino Kick Off Campaign

Citizens to Create Jobs and Protect Revenue, Inc. last week held a kick off rally for a campaign to convince the voters of Rhode Island to allow a casino in Tiverton, near the state’s border with Massachusetts.

Assessment Would Raise Mohegan Sun Pocono Taxes

Mohegan Sun Pocono (l.) could see an $800,000 increase in its property taxes following a recent assessment of the property in Plains Township Pennsylvania. The assessment set the property’s value at more than $152 million.

Off-Strip Venues Thriving in Las Vegas

New and old attractions alike, along with increased construction and a more diversified local economy, have off-Strip properties doing well in Las Vegas and locals-focused Boyd Gaming on pace to outperform 2015, which was a bountiful year. Binion’s and its iconic poker room remain popular, and the Smith Center (l.) is drawing shows that previously played only in casinos.

Borgata Sale Well Timed for Tax Break

MGM Resorts $900 million purchase of Boyd Gaming’s half of Atlantic City’s Borgata casino came just after the state adopted a bill that sets casino tax rates in the city for 10 years. The sale could be used to set a fair market value for the casino at $1.8 billion, but instead, the casino will pay taxes under a state payment in lieu of taxes program. Tax courts had set the casino’s assessed value at $850 million.

New York Legislature Extends NYRA Control

The New York Racing Association will remain under the control of state officials for at least another year. Governor Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers agreed to tentatively extend state control of the racing association, which many want to see returned to private ownership. They couldn’t agree on a plan returning control to the NYRA.

Louisiana's May Casino Winnings Decline

In May, for the fifth straight month, revenue at Louisiana's state-licensed casinos dropped over the prior year, from $237.1 million in May 2015 to $207.4 million—a 12.6 percent decline. Video poker revenue also fell 7.3 percent. Analysts blame the calendar and Mississippi Gulf Coast competition.

Illinois Town Adopts Stricter Gambling Rules

Under a recently adopted ordinance, a business in Tinley Park, Illinois that wants to offer video gambling must be at least 500 feet from a church, school, day care center or another gambling hall. State law only requires a distance of 100 feet from a church or school.

Commercial, Tribal Casino File Kansas Tax Appeal

Although Kansas Crossing casino is under construction, the developers of the proposed Castle Rock Casino and Cherokee County are appealing a district court judge's ruling against them. The plaintiffs claim the state gaming commission did not follow proper procedures when it awarded Kansas' final casino license.

Iowa Casino Appeals IRS Audit

Prairie Meadows racino in Altoona, Iowa appealed an IRS ruling revoking its tax-exempt status and demanding $60 million in back taxes and penalties. Even if the racino wins, the IRS may claim the tax exemption only applies to horse racing. Either way, local governments and charities could lose tens of millions of annually.


BIA's EIS Positive For Pokagons’ Indiana Development

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, which operates the Four Winds Casino (l.) in Michigan, received good news from the Bureau of Indian Affairs' environmental impact study for the tribe's proposed $400 million tribal village and casino in South Bend, Indiana. The study's main concern was traffic congestion, which tribe pledged to address. It noted employment and health care would benefit from the project.

Washington Tribe Names Casino ilani

A word that means “to sing” in the native tongue of Washington’s Cowlitz Indian Tribe will be applied to the casino the tribe hopes to build in La Center. The casino will be called ilani, and was announced by members of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, which will manage the casino, and the Cowlitz tribe.

Arizona Tribe Ordered to Produce Records in Trial

It is perhaps the first legal setback since the Tohono O'Odham Nation began its long journey to build the Desert Diamond West casino (l.) in Glendale, Arizona. Last week a federal judge ordered the tribe to produce records from 2002, when its leaders were negotiating the tribal state gaming compact that voters later approved. The tribe is appealing the order.

California Desert City Agrees to Host Casino

The city council of Barstow, California, approved an agreement last week with a tribe based in San Diego County that wants to build a casino. The municipal services agreement is with the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeño Indians, who propose a $160 million casino in this desert city.

Cherokee Construction Ahead Of Schedule in Oklahoma

Construction of the $23 million Cherokee Casino Grove in Delaware County, Oklahoma is "outpacing construction goals," said Cherokee Nation Businesses Chief Executive Officer Shawn Slaton. A topping-off ceremony recently was held and the project, designed to resemble a rustic lodge, will open in late 2016 or early 2017.

Tiguas' Sweepstakes Games Ruled Illegal

The sweepstakes games offered by the Tigua Indians in their two Texas entertainment centers are illegal and must be removed by July 31, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone ruled in May. Tribal officials are considering their options, which include appealing the ruling, asking the judge to reconsider or offering bingo.

Harrah’s Murphy Casino Delivers Economic Benefits

The $110 million Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Casino (l.) opened last September but already is having a positive impact on Western North Carolina. The property offers 1,000 slots and 70 table games plus a 300- room hotel. It employs 1,007 people and attracts 3,000-6,000 visitors daily.

Southern California Casinos Expand With Amenities

In Southern California snowbirds and RVer’s look down on simple casinos. They want casinos with amenities like RV parks. And casinos are listening. The Pala Casino Spa & Resort (l.) recently opened an RV park.

Eastern Cherokees Study Diversification

An outlet mall at Harrah's Cherokee Casino in North Carolina is being considered by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians as it seeks to diversify beyond its lucrative gaming operation. Tribal officials have been in talks with the Cordish Company regarding expanding retail, food and entertainment venues to serve tourists and locals.

Osage Casino Gives $1 Million For Giraffe Barn at Tulsa Zoo

The Tulsa Zoo will expand its giraffe barn thanks to a $1 million donation from Osage Casino. Construction will start early next year on the 2,000 square foot facility featuring three new individual stalls, a large community stall, wider doors and adjustable feeders. The zoo currently houses three giraffes.


Massachusetts Mulls Online Lottery Sales

Lawmakers in the Bay State are considering allowing the state lottery to sell lottery tickets online. The idea is to appeal to a younger generation that rarely buys lottery tickets but loves to use its mobile platforms.


Dall Named MotorCity Casino President

Bruce Dall has been named president at MotorCity Casino Hotel, Detroit. Dall served as president since February, as well as chief financial officer and senior vice president of finance and administration. MotorCity did not renew former President Gregg Solomon's contract and former Senior Vice President for Operations Jenny Holady, also under consideration, resigned.

MGM National Harbor Announces Staff Appointments

The new casino resort that will open in Maryland later this year, MGM National Harbor, announced staff appointments last week in hotel operations, brand management and communications, where Dasha Ross-Smith (l.) will be the director.

Kansas Crossing Names Fisher GM

Doug Fisher, a 20-year casino industry veteran, was named general manager at Kansas Crossing Casino and Hotel, the final state-owned casino set to open in March 2017 in Cherokee County. Fisher helped open the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane in 2011 and served as its marketing and entertainment director.

William Hill Announces Management Changes

UK-based William Hill announced management changes at William Hill Online. Former Special Projects Director Steven Reid was named interim chief operating officer; Juergen Reutte was named chief experience officer; Commercial and Business Development Director Matthew Gerard's responsibilities were extended; and Chief Financial Officer James Davies will oversee compliance and procurement.

Chitimacha Chairman Arrested For Felony Theft

O'Neil Darden Jr., tribal council chairman of the Chitimacha tribe, recently was arrested and charged with a count of felony theft for conspiring with senior casino employees to receive an annual bonus, although he no longer was employed at the tribe's Cypress Bayou Casino in Charenton, Louisiana.


IGT Announces Peru, Mississippi System Deals

International Game Technology is deploying its System2go casino management system for several casino operators throughout Peru, and will have its Universal Game Adapter available in Mississippi.

Norwegian Picks Konami Synkros

Norwegian Cruise Lines has selected Konami Gaming’s Synkros casino management system for its 18 cruise ship casino operations.

Tropicana AC Launches ‘Shaq Jack’

The Atlantic City Tropicana is launching “Shaq Jack,” a hybrid blackjack game produced by Dynamic Gaming Systems with a theme featuring NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal.

GAN Begins Partnership with Gaming Tribe

The creator of social gaming solutions has launched Simulated Gaming with an undisclosed gaming tribe based on the east coast. Game Account Network (GAN), announced the partnership last week.

NYX Gaming Expands Operations

Las Vegas-based NYX Gaming Group obtained a Class 2 gaming license in Romania, which allows it to market its Open Gaming System to the East European nation’s gaming operators. NYX also inked deals with Portugal-based Solverde S.A. and Spain’s Luckia Gaming Group, expanding its global operations to 14 nations and five continents.

Connecticut Casinos Embrace Online Social Casino Platform

Online social casino platforms are the wave of the future for two Connecticut Indian casinos that want to grow their businesses and build brand loyalty. Both Foxwoods and the Mohegan Sun recently launched programs that have expanded dramatically.

Tropicana Atlantic City Completes $40 Million Renovation

Tropicana Atlantic City announced the completion of $40 million in renovations, which included renovations to some hotel rooms, a new high-limit slot area and a new nightclub. Tropicana Entertainment also announced it will re-open the Sultan’s Buffet at its recently acquired Trump Taj Mahal.

Casino Miami's Crystal Card Room Shuttered

South Florida cardrooms continue to dwindle with the April shuttering of Casino Miami's Crystal Card Room, which only opened three days a week with tables rarely available before 6 p.m. Magic City and Hialeah Park, with lucrative cardrooms, are located less than three miles away.


Legislators From Gaming States To Discuss Casino Saturation

A gathering of lawmakers from gaming states will be meeting in July at Boston’s Marriot Newton. On the agenda of the Meeting of National Council Of Legislators From Gaming States will be whether gaming in the U.S. is nearing saturation.




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