DFS Consolidation

The giants of the daily fantasy sports world, DraftKings and FanDuel, announced last week they had agreed to merge. The deal had been rumored for months, but held up by questions about who would become CEO (it’s DraftKings’ Jason Robins, above; FanDuel’s Nigel Eccles becomes chairman) and what the revenue split would be. And what does this mean for the legalization of full sports betting?

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Baazov Makes Bid for Amaya

David Baazov, former CEO of Amaya Inc., has made a non-binding, all-cash bid to buy the company valued at about $2.56 billion. Baazov, who already owns about 17.2 percent of Amaya, including options, said he made the offer on behalf of a to-be-formed entity led by him. The entire deal including debt and transaction costs is valued at $6.7 billion, Amaya said in a regulatory filing.

Five States Join Sports-Betting SCOTUS Appeal

The attorneys general of five states have joined the state of New Jersey’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in its case challenging the federal sports-betting ban. The American Gaming Association also filed an amicus brief that focused on the trillions of dollars spent on illegal sports betting since the passage of the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

Hope for Japan Bill Fades

Investment bank Morgan Stanley says chances the Japanese parliament will consider a long-stalled gaming bill in the current Diet session are not realistic. The bill has been in the pipeline since 2013, but Japan has been in the crosshairs of the gaming industry long before that.

Nevada Begins eSports Betting

William Hill announced last week that it would accept bets on the IEM Oakland eSports event featuring the video game League of Legends held last weekend at its sports book in the Downtown Grand in Las Vegas. It is the first time legal wagering on eSports will be conducted in the United States. The announcement follows a meeting of an influential panel charged with advising Nevada lawmakers and regulators on gaming issues, including eSports. DFS operators were hoping for similar treatment but got disappointment instead.

Giving New Meaning to the Concept of the Gold Standard

The future of gaming in Nevada is apparently not much different from the past. While the industry is exploring the possibilities of eSports and daily fantasy sports, the “good old boy” network seems to be alive and well. Regulator Richard Schuetz fears the worse.

Gaming Needs a New Gender-Equality Playbook

The gaming industry is lagging way behind other industries in giving women positions of authority, even though they give lip service to the effort. Here’s how to get more involvement from the industry and produce concrete results. UNLV’s Shekinah Hoffman explains.

Tribal Immunity to Get Court Review

Sovereign tribal immunity may be under the gun if the U.S. Supreme Court takes the case of Lewis v. Clarke. It will decide if sovereign immunity protects the employee of an Indian casino from lawsuit when he is on the job.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: Triple Play + 1

Three smaller companies based in Nevada are making a name for themselves in regional markets. And slot maker AGS is coming on strong with some very interesting prospects on the horizon.


Okada Manila Nears Opening

Phase I of Kazuo Okada’s $2.4 billion integrated resort in Manila is set to open in December, the firm has announced. Okada Manila will eventually cover more than 100 acres of the Entertainment City economic zone.

Vietnam Won’t Cut Gaming Tax

Vietnam’s draft gaming decree, which would allow residents to play in some of the country’s casinos, won’t cut the country’s high gaming tax rate, according to reports. The bill is awaiting approval from the prime minister. Ben Lee (l.), managing director of iGamingX Consulting, says the country’s common border with China is a huge benefit.

Clouds Gathering at Best Sunshine?

A report claims that big cash flows at the Best Sunshine casino on Saipan have United States government officials sniffing around the island, which is part of a U.S.-controlled territory in the Western Pacific. Officials with the casino deny that they’re doing anything wrong.

Singapore Visitors Up, Gaming Revenue Down

From January through June 2016, international visitors to Singapore increased 10.3 percent to 11.3 million compared to 2015. Officials said that helped offset a 17 percent drop in earnings to $1.56 billion from gaming, sightseeing and entertainment, due to a decline in gaming revenue from the Marina Bay Sands (l.) and Resorts World Sentosa.

Recovery Continues in Macau

Gaming operators and investors may be heaving a collective sigh as the slow but steady recovery continues. The world’s top gaming destination is emerging from a downturn that lasted more than two years.

Bloomberry Up 7 Percent in Q3

Philippine gaming operator Bloomberry Resorts Corp. reported net profit of PHP1.41 billion (US$28.7 million) for the third quarter, up 7 percent over the second quarter. It credits an upswing at its Korean operations at the Jeju Sun Hotel & Casino (l.).

Bangladesh Reclaims Stolen Millions

Officers of a Bangladesh central bank recently traveled to Manila to pick up $15 million of the $81 million stolen from its account in the New York Federal Reserve Bank last February.

Crown Employee Released

The first of 18 Crown Resorts employees detained in China last month for alleged “gambling crimes” has been released on bail. Executive assistant Jenny Chiang reportedly worked for Crown in Shanghai.

Studio City Announces Bond Issue

Melco Crown’s Studio City in Macau has announced it will issue a bond offering to redeem and refinance its existing US$1.4 billion credit facility. The bonds will include senior secured notes due in 2019 and 2021.


Italian PM’s War on Slots

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (l.) is no fan of slot machines, which have proliferated in the country since the industry was deregulated 15 years ago. He declares he’ll cut the number of slots in the country by a third by 2018.

G1 Plans Tigre de Cristal Expansion

Russia's largest casino, Tigre de Cristal, will undergo a $500 million expansion, said Craig Ballantyne, executive director at G1 Entertainment. The new 328,000 square foot project will include up to 500 hotel rooms, a shopping mall, food court, bars and restaurants, conference facilities and a spa, and create 2,000-plus jobs.

Ukraine May Regulate Gaming

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov (l.) is pushing for the regulation of lotteries and gaming in the country to “return shadow money to the state.” He said “backstreet casinos” flourish and are often patronized by police.

Neighborhood Group Battles Crown

It’s David versus Goliath in Sydney as a community group fights billion-dollar casino operator Crown Resorts. The residents of Millers Point have filed suit to stop development of Crown’s massive Barangaroo project (l.).


Delta To Host New Regional Casino

Delta has been selected to host the B.C. Lottery Corporations' newest casino, located south of the Fraser River. The facility will be a relocation of Newton Community Gaming Centre in Surrey, which will be expanded to offer more gambling and entertainment options. Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Ltd. will oversee daily operations.

Jamaica Considers Horseracing Legislation

Jamaican lawmakers are considering two bills to create a regulatory framework to attract and support investment in the horseracing industry, and also facilitate turning Caymanas Track into a world-class racing complex. Minister of Finance and the Public Service Audley Shaw (l.) said privatization of the racetrack is necessary since its infrastructure is deteriorating.

Theft of First Nation Casino Data Attracts Attorneys

The announcement by Casino Rama Resort in Ontario that its data has been hacked in a cyberattack—exposing customer information—has attracted attorneys interested in suing the company. Casino Rama learned of the attack on November 4. The attorneys seek to file a class action lawsuit for $50 million.

BCLC Skeptical of Money Laundering Allegations

Authorities in British Columbia aren’t necessarily buying the logic of a claim by a real estate attorney, Hong Guo, that two former employees made off with $7.5 million and laundered the money at a local casino. They say that story that the cash was laundered at Burnaby Casino is just the opposite of what is normally done to launder money.


Australia To Tighten Rules on Offshore Online Gambling Sites

The Australian government has introduced a bill that will tightens restrictions on offshore online gambling sites operating in the country. The bill would also ban live “click-to-call” wagering in the country, says Human Services Minister Alan Tudge (l.).

Araneta Expects to Take Over PhilWeb By End of Year

Businessman Gregorio Araneta III says he fully take over PhilWeb Corp. and secure a license from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. before the end of the year. He said that talks are underway with the Securities and Exchange Commission and gaming regulators, according to the Manilla Times.

UK Online Gambling Sites Facing Investigation on ‘Nuisance Texts’

UK regulators have launched an investigation into charges that some online gambling firms are sending “nuisance texts” to millions of UK residents. Regulators are concerned that the gambling firms are using private numbers and personal details illegally to encourage people to gamble.

Swedish Cherry Receives UK License

The Swedish gaming operator Cherry was granted a local gaming license from the UK Gambling Commission for casino and sports betting. Several Cherry iGaming brands will be available throughout the UK market, including CherryCasino.com and EuroSlots.com, with Sunmaker.com to follow soon.

Playtech Launches HTML5 Roulette

Playtech launched an HTML5 version of its online roulette game across its network of licensees, following extensive player-focus testing.

iSoftBet Partners with Amatic

iSoftbet is partnering with ETG and slot supplier Amatic Industries to offer Amatic content on iSoftBet’s advance GAP platform for mobile and PC distribution.

Lottomatica Offers Inspired's Rush Football 2

Inspired Gaming Group's popular Rush Football 2 is live on Lottomatica, lotto and betting operators in Italy. Lottomatica will offer Rush Football 2, plus updated versions of Rush Motor Racing and Rush Horses in high definition to 190 multichannel shops, and another 134 venues will offer the game through a new dedicated channel.


Georgia Cities Eye Casinos

Columbus and Savannah, Georgia have begun the process of considering casinos. In Columbus, Robert Wright (l.) crossed the first hurdle in bringing a $200 million casino resort to the city. Wright said he'd develop the project if the city council voted for a resolution supporting legislation that would allow a statewide referendum on casino gambling. The council approved the resolution 7-2.

Rhode Island Authorizes Tiverton Casino

Although its win of two initiatives that allow it to move its gaming operations from Newport, Rhode Island to Tiverton were by thin margins, Twin River Management Group now will begin closing the Newport Grand. Next stop is Tiverton, 400 feet from the Massachusetts state line.

Louisiana Forms Gaming Industry Task Force

Formed by the Louisiana legislature, the Riverboat Economic Development and Gaming Task Force, chaired by state Senator Ronnie Jones, will review current state gaming law and make recommendations to help Louisiana casinos compete with those in Mississippi and Texas, and Native American casinos in Oklahoma. Riverboat casinos have been operating in Louisiana for 22 years. Governor Jon Bel Edwards (l.) will sit on the panel, as well.

Residents Urge Demolition of Revere Greyhound Park

No greyhounds have run in Wonderland Park in Revere, Massachusetts, for six years. The facilities are rotting away. The mayor of Revere ran on a promise to turn the old racetrack into something nice. He is losing his patience with the owners.

Casino Chiefs to Help Plan Trump Inauguration

Steve Wynn, Sheldon Adelson (shown with their wives) and Phil Ruffin have been appointed to the committee in charge of planning and coordinating Donald Trump’s January 20 inauguration. Ruffin said the committee will mostly be involved in fund-raising for the Republican president-elect.

Christie Names Former U.S. Senator to Oversee Atlantic City

New Jersey has named former U.S. Senator Jeffrey Chiesa (l.) to oversee the state takeover of Atlantic City’s government. Chiesa has served as state Governor Chris Christie’s chief counsel and is a former Attorney General for the state. Chiesa met with Atlantic City officials last week, but has not announced any plans for the city.

Golden Nugget Hotel Nears Completion

The final pour recently occurred at the 13-story Rush Tower at the Golden Nugget in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Set to open next summer, the tower will offer 380 luxury hotel rooms and suites. The $600 million casino resort, owned by Tilman Fertitta, also will feature a championship golf course, spa, retail and restaurants.

Hard Rock Ready To Wait For New Jersey Casino

Jim Allen, the head of Hard Rock International, says his company is ready to wait for years to have a casino proposal for the New Jersey Meadowlands approved. Voters rejected a plan to allow new casino construction in the state by an overwhelming margin on Election Day, but the proposal did not specifically name the Meadowlands project. Proponents hope to return with a new referendum to put before voters, but it will take at least two years.

Ohio Panel to Crack Down on Skill Games

Ohio gaming regulators want to crack down on so-called “skill game” operators who pay out cash prizes from machines that look remarkably like slot machines. The Ohio Casino Control Commission is considering new regulations that it hopes will regulate 7,000 machines.

Sands Bethlehem to Expand

Sands Bethlehem will go ahead with a $90 million expansion plan that will add restaurants and table games, a plan that had been in question because of possible North Jersey competition.

Pinnacle Beats Consensus in Q3

Pinnacle Entertainment overcame flooding at its Baton Rouge casino to post $595 million in net revenue in the third quarter. The result, which was better than analysts expected, got a big boost from the company’s purchase of Pennsylvania’s Meadows Racetrack and Casino.

Shared Riverboat Revenue Allows Upgrades

Officials in Elgin, Illinois know how they'll spend the $9.7 million the city will receive next year from the state's $33 million shared gambling revenue fund plus admission revenue from Grand Victoria Casino. Plans include police-car security systems, new squad cars and firefighting equipment, plus a new pedestrian bridge at a park.

Borgata Seeks $15 Million From Ivey

The Borgata casino in Atlantic City is seeking $15 million from poker pro Phil Ivey (l.) stemming from his “edge-sorting” case at the casino in 2012. The casino won a court case against Ivey and then had 20 days to set an amount it is seeking from Ivey. The $15 million includes the $9.6 million Ivey won and more than $5 million in damages.

Illinois Politicians Benefit From Video Gambling

The video gambling industry, with more than 24,000 machines in Illinois, has contributed more than $1 million to Illinois politicians in the past eight years. Most of that money has come from Blackhawk Restaurant Group and Gold Rush Gaming, the two largest video gambling companies in the state.

Atlantic City Casino Revenue Down Slightly for October

Despite the closing of the Trump Taj Mahal on October 10, Atlantic City’s casino revenue for October was down by less than one percent for the month. The city’s remaining seven casinos saw a revenue increase of 5.9 percent. Online gambling numbers remained up bringing in $16.6 million.

Affinity Posts Best Quarter of 2016

Adjusted cash flow hit $17.7 million for Affinity Gaming in the 12 weeks ended September 30, the company’s best performance this year. Affinity is best known as owner of the three casinos in the Southern Nevada border town of Primm.


Poarch Creek Band Announces $500 Million Theme Park

A $500 million tourist destination named Owa is under construction on 520 acres in Foley, Alabama. Owned by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (Tribal Chairwoman and CEO Stephanie Bryan at left), Owa will open in summer 2017 with a 150-room hotel, amusement park, 14-acre lake, retail and dining options, located adjacent to Foley’s $40 million sports tourism complex.

Indian Lands Buyback Program Will End Incomplete

A program that was supposed to buy back Indian lands that were lost to tribes between 1887 and 1934 may run out of money before it achieves its ends. That’s the conclusion of the Department of the Interior, which wants more money for the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations.

Osage Announce $150 Million Expansion

A groundbreaking recently was held at the Osage Nation's Osage Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma for phase one of a $150 million expansion, including a hotel, entertainment space and additional games. Later a brewery, retail and entertainment complex and golf course will bring the total investment to at least $500 million.

Cowlitz Case May Reach Supreme Court

Opponents of the Cowlitz Tribe’s proposed casino near La Center, Washington, have requested that their case be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court. Although many litigants vow to the take their cases “all the way to the Supreme Court,” the High Court ultimately only acts on a tiny fraction of those requests.

Saginaw Chippewas Distribute $3 Million

Twice a year, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe distributes to local schools and governments 2 percent of net slot earnings from its Saganing Eagles Landing Casino in Standish Township and Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mount Pleasant. Recently the tribe distributed more than $3 million; this spring it distributed nearly $3 million.

California Tribe to Expand Casino

San Diego-based Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Indians have announced plans for a $220 million 11-story casino expansion. The expansion is due to begin early in 2017.

Seminoles May Hold New Election

On October 31, Marcellus W. Osceola Jr. was elected chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, defeating James Billie (l.) who ran for re-election after being fired. Now the tribal council said it may hold another election because, although Osceola owns a home on a Seminole reservation, he has not been living there.

Petition Seeks to Halt Casino

Residents in Elk Grove, California opposed to a $400 million casino and 12-story hotel at a mall that has lain unfinished for years are gathering signatures on petition to try to stop it. It would be an off-reservation casino for the Wilton Rancheria.

Oklahoma Casino Resumes Sunday Liquor Sales

Sunday liquor sales and the Sunday champagne brunch have resumed at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation's Grand Casino in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, where voters recently passed a ballot measure allowing alcoholic drink sales on Sundays. The tribe had been cited in 2012 for illegally selling liquor on Sundays.

Downstream Presents Ma-Ko-Sha Coffee

Ma-Ko-Sha coffee now is being served at Downstream Casino in Quapaw, Oklahoma. It's a new variety of the casino's O-Gah-Pah Coffee brand, which is roasted, blended and served at Quapaw's hotels, restaurants and espresso bar. Chief Roaster Alberto Baez said high-bodied Ma-Ko-Sha is "like more chocolate aroma" with an earthy, citrus aftertaste.


GLI Names Pozo Villar To Latin America Team

Gerardo Pozo Villar has been named Latin America government relations and business development representative at Gaming Laboratories International. Based in Mexico City, Pozo Villar is experienced in coordinating certification activities and has specialized in test methods and techniques to determine the integrity of slot machines and systems

Golden Entertainment Announces Appointments

Golden Entertainment last week named Charles Protell executive vice president, chief strategy officer and chief financial officer and Gary Vecchiarelli senior vice president of finance and accounting. And PT Entertainment, a division of Golden, named Brent Edlund (l.) director of the company’s tavern operations.

Rivera Resigns From Spain’s Regulatory Agency

Carlos Hernández Rivera, director general of La Dirección General Ordenación del Juego, Spain’s gaming regulator, has resigned. Rivera presided over the introduction of online slots and cross-betting.

Metric Announces Executive Appointments

Metric Gaming announced executive appointments headed by former Betfair and William Hill executive Jim Supple (l.) becoming the company’s chief operating officer.

Oklahoma Regulators Elect Blalock

Quapaw tribal member Jean Ann Blalock was elected vice chairman of the Oklahoma Tribal Regulators Association. She supervises nine compliance agents at Downstream Casino Resort as compliance officer for the Quapaw Tribal Gaming Agency, which recruited her in 2007 when she was working at the Quapaw Casino.

CNIGA Adds to Executive Staff

CNIGA (California Nations Indian Gaming Association) has a new deputy director of operations: Ambar Mohammed, taking the place of Susan Jensen who has been promoted to executive director.

UK Bookmaker Adds Three to Board

William Hill, a bookmaker based in the United Kingdom, has added three new members to its board of directors after its chief executive resigned under intense pressure from shareholders. They opposed a proposed merge with Amaya.


AGA Predicts "Important Victories" Following Election

AGA President and Chief Executive Officer Geoff Freeman (l.) said the gaming industry is "well positioned to thrive" as it works with the Trump administration and new Congress. Freeman predicted a Trump administration" will feature more restrained federal agencies than what our industry experienced over the last eight years.”

Big Debut for Interblock’s Pulse Arena

The innovative e-table space, designed with chat and social media functionalities and featuring a 43-foot video wall, got a rousing welcome in its North American debut at New York’s Seneca Niagara. The attraction features 46 electronic play stations featuring traditional and video games.

AGS Rides Boost from G2E

AGS reports strong sales increases and much positive customer feedback as a result of its showcase of new product offerings at the recent Global Gaming Expo.

Grosvenor Introduces Kambi

Rank Group subsidiary Grosvenor Casinos has launched a new sports betting product for its online and land-based players in partnership with Kambi.


Macau Gaming Show Disappoints

The fourth edition of the Macao Gaming Show was held last week to less than stellar reviews. Several of the larger slot manufacturers failed to exhibit, and the traffic at the show was “not satisfactory,” according to Jay Chun (l.), the chairman of the Gaming Equipment Manufacturers Association, which organizes the show.

ICE Organizers Announce Transport Plan

The organizers of the ICE Totally Gaming trade show are implementing an emergency transport plan to accommodate attendees as the House Docklands railway station is closed.

EEGS Unveils Agenda

The Eastern European Gaming Summit announced the agenda for its 2016 event, to be held at the Inter Expo Center in Sofia, Bulgaria, November 22-23.




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