MGM National Harbor Opens with Style, Fanfare

MGM Resorts International opened its $1.4 billion casino resort, MGM National Harbor, on the shores of the Potomac in Maryland with praise from distinguished guests and a star-studded gala. It’s the first true integrated resort in Maryland, and includes the best in dining, entertainment, shopping and gaming.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: All Eyes on Japan, Brazil

Excitement is mounting among global gaming operators as Japan moves closer to a legal casino industry. Enabling legislation was passed December 2. But a second implementation bill could face big hurdles in parliament. Meanwhile, legalization efforts in Brazil had taken a turn for the worse when pro-gaming Senate President Renan Calheiros (l.) was ordered out by Supreme Court Justice Marco Aurelio Mello as he awaits a trial on corruption and embezzlement charges. But the full court reinstated Calheiros.

Lam on the Lam, Fontana Closes

Jack Lam’s Fontana Leisure Park in Pampanga, Philippines has been closed, along with the Fort Ilocandia Resort Hotel in Laoag City, pending investigations of “illegal or unlicensed gaming operations.” Lam (l.) has indicated he will return to the Philippines to face the charges, pay the taxes and re-open his casinos.

Tioga Downs: the Little Casino That Could

Two years ago, the New York harness track and racino looked down and out when state authorities initially rejected its bid for a casino. Now the property is in the midst of a $200 million expansion as the host of a full-scale Las Vegas-style gaming operation. Owner Jeff Gural (l.) calls its development a “labor of love.”

Jason Ader Opposes Baazov Amaya Bid

SpringOwl Asset Management—headed by activist investor Jason Ader (l.)—has sent a letter to Amaya Inc.’s board opposing a bid by former Amaya CEO David Baazov to acquire the company and take it private. SpringOwl owns less than 2 percent of Amaya stock, but has recently boosted its investment, according to various reports. Ader says Baazov’s bid lacks transparency.

Spring Opening Planned for Baha Mar

Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie (l.) says the stalled $3.5 billion megaresort is back on track and will open in April under prospective new owner Chow Tai Fook Enterprises. Plans call for a phased unveiling, starting with 700 hotel rooms and a casino operator whose identity has yet to be revealed.

Cordish: ‘Confident’ a Market There for $2.2 Billion Madrid Casino

Noting opportunities for U.S. gaming projects are becoming increasingly rare, Baltimore-based Cordish Companies hope to develop a $2.2 billion casino resort on 300 acres near Madrid. CEO David Cordish (l.) estimates the project would create 56,000 construction and permanent jobs, attract 675,000 visitors its first year and generate $4 billion in economic activity over five years.

Arizona Tribe Rejects Governor’s Offer

As part of its high stakes game of casino litigation with the state of Arizona, the Tohono O’odham Nation, owner of the Desert Diamond Casino West Valley (l.), has turned down Governor Doug Ducey’s offer for a settlement. The tribe doesn’t like all the details of the settlement.

Gambling and Risk Management In the Age of Trump & Twitter

Having a political opinion is usually accepted and condoned in the United States no matter what your perspective. But what happens if your political opinion may conflict with your business goals? Gaming leaders should tread lightly when endorsing candidates with risky viewpoints.


Up, Up and Away in Macau

The upward trend continues for Macau’s gaming industry, which has posted its fourth consecutive monthly revenue increase—a strong double-digit increase in November. The Chinese territory seems to have made a decisive turn after a 26-month downturn.


The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. has reportedly issued 35 offshore gaming licenses. The country’s gaming regulator initially said it would limit the number of licenses to 25 during a six-month trial period. CEO Andrea Domingo (l.) says there have been 76 applications for the licenses.

Mohegan Sun: $750 Million in Fees From Korean Project

The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority expects to reap about $750 million in fee income due to its part in a new casino in Incheon, South Korea. The project dubbed Inspire (l.), which will break ground soon at Incheon International Airport near Seoul.

Jeju to Increase Casino Oversight

The provincial government of Jeju Island in South Korea will increase its scrutiny of foreign-only casinos there in an effort to ensure transparency. Amended legislation first approved in June will take effect in January.

90-Day Extension for Beijing Imperial Palace

The government of Macau has given the Beijing Imperial Palace, the home to the Greek Mythology casino (l.), three more months to remedy fire safety issues at the property, which was forced to close in July.

Saipan Racks Up More Big Numbers

Saipan’s only casino, Best Sunshine Live operated by Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd., saw rolling chip volume of about US$1.7 billion for the month of November, and more than $29 billion for the year.

Casino Jai Alai to Open in 2017

SJM Holdings’ Casino Jai Alai will not open until early 2017, the company has announced. The Macau casino, which closed for renovations in 2013, had been expected to reopen by the end of the year.

Will Macau Light Rail Go Off Track?

Macau’s Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosário, says he’s concerned that the highly anticipated Taipa section of the city’s light rail system may not open as scheduled in 2019.


Greek Airport to Become Casino?

The former Elliniko International Airport site (l.) in Greece may become a casino, according to local reports. Sources say the government has already approved a casino license.

First Casino Opening In Sochi, Russia

A soft opening of the Sochi Casino and Resort will be held on New Year's Eve in the popular Russian resort city on the Black Sea. The official opening will occur January 5. The venue was developed in the former media center for the 2014 Winter Olympics, which took place in Sochi.

Neighbors Complain About Leeds Supercasino

Residents near the new Victoria Gate "supercasino" in Leeds, England said the building is too close to their homes. For example, the rooftop terrace is just 20 feet from apartment windows and flats have been filled with dust. Owner Global Gaming Ventures has met with neighbors to discuss their issues, a spokesperson said.

UK Revises Free play Tax Changes

Following complaints from online casino and bingo operators, the UK government said it will revise free play tax changes announced in March. The changes would have ended operators' exemption from the 15 percent general betting duty on free or discounted online sports or race bets.

South Africans Close Illegal Gambling Sites

A massive sting operation at 27 locations resulted in the shutdown of 19 illegal online gambling sites in the Northern Cape and North West provinces in South Africa. Three suspects were arrested and numerous gambling machines and computers allegedly used in the illegal businesses were seized plus an undisclosed amount of cash.

UK Targets Child Gambling

Around 450,000 children age 11-15, gamble weekly, according to a UK Gambling Commission report. The study, which polled 2,411 children, found smoking, drinking and drug use have declined but the gambling rate remained the same. It said 73 per cent of children gamble online through apps, up from 64 per cent last year.


Bermuda Implements 3-Step Licensing Process

Bermuda Tourism Minister Michael Fahy said the Parliament recently amended the Casino Gaming Act of 2014 to approve a faster, three-step casino licensing process. Fahy said the Fairmont Hamilton Princess (l.) and the St. Regis hotel under development in St. George have been granted "designated site orders" and have completed the first of the three licensing steps.

Amid a Strike in Argentina―Plans for a Tax Hike

The lower house of the country’s parliament has approved a 10 percent increase in the gaming tax and a new tax on online gaming. Meanwhile, the industry is in the grip of a nationwide employee walkout, and union leaders say the new taxes will only make things worse.

Former Officials Lead Gambling Groups

Former New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell (l.) has been named chief executive at Racing Australia, the nation's main horseracing industry group that regulates the industry and also provides fields, form guides and race results for publishers nationwide. Former Victorian Labor Senator Stephen Conroy will head the new lobbying group Responsible Wagering Australia.

Most Peterborough Residents Reject Casino

A recent poll indicated 76 percent of voters in Peterborough, Ajax and Pickering in Ontario reject more gambling; 60 percent also said they don't support Peterborough Mayor Daryl Bennett. The Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation commissioned the poll to assure OLG would build or expand casinos only where they were wanted.

Ugandan District Bans Betting Machines

Officials in the Teso region of Uganda have issued an urgent call to remove sports betting machines from trading centers, stating local youth are spending the little money they have on betting rather than improving their lives. The machines already have been removed in some areas.


California Lawmakers to Look at Online Poker Again

California legislators are expected once again to try to pass some sort of bill that would legalize online poker. This will be the tenth year they have tried, but many of the obstacles that have stopped it in the past remain unresolved. Assemblyman Adam Gray (l.) led the effort last year, and is likely to take the point again.

States Attorneys General Tout RAWA to Pence, Trump Transition Team

Attorneys general in 10 states, including Nevada’s Alan Laxalt (l.) have sent a letter to Vice President-Elect Mike Pence in support of RAWA, which would ban online gambling in the U.S. The letters were also addressed to President-Elect Donald Trump’s entire transition team.

The Changing Face of Bitcoin

Bitcoin has two faces, apparently. One of those faces, in the United States, excites suspicion that the virtual currency may be a way for people to escape their taxes. Another face, this time in Russia, is treated just like foreign currency.

Yahoo Licensed for DFS in UK

Yahoo has received a UK license to offer daily fantasy sports in the UK and launched a DFS site. The company joins DraftKings and FanDuel in offering DFS in the UK. Yahoo offers soccer contests to UK users and offers liquidity in contests with U.S. and Canadian players.

Colorado Approves Daily Fantasy Sports

Mile High Racing & Entertainment has been approved by the Colorado Racing Commission to offer fantasy sports contests in nine locations statewide. Las Vegas-based USFantasy Sports will provide content for professional football, basketball, hockey, baseball and other DFS contests.

NetEnt Expands into Mexico

NetEnt is expanding its operations into Mexico by partnering with operator and existing customer Codere to establish a presence in the nation’s online casino market.

Playtech Co-founder Sells 12 Percent Stake

Playtech co-founder Teddy Sagi (l.) has sold 12 percent of his stake in the company, in addition to a proposed sale of ordinary shares by Brickington Trading Limited.


Georgia Ponders MGM National Harbor

MGM Resorts International officials scouted downtown Atlanta in July 2015 in hopes of developing a $1 billion-plus casino resort like the newly opened MGM National Harbor in Maryland. No casino bills have been filed in the 2017 Georgia legislature but several lawmakers feel the issue could move forward, unlike this year. Governor Nathan Deal (l.) remains opposed, however.

Caesars Creditors Vote Yes on Bankruptcy Plan

A majority of creditors have voted to approve a restructuring of Caesars Entertainment’s largest casino operating company and take it out bankruptcy protection early in the new year. But a powerful group of bank lenders aren’t completely satisfied yet, and they have the clout to sink the plan.

Nevada May Approve Account Wagering for Slots

Regulators are leaning toward allowing gamblers to fund their slots, video poker and bingo play the same way race and sports bettors do―with credit cards. Proponents say the move is needed to accommodate players in today’s “electronic payment-based society.” GCG Chairman A.G. Burnett (l.) says he wants to bring all funding options “into alignment.”

St. Joseph, Missouri Considers Downtown Casino

The St. Jo Frontier Casino in St. Joseph, Missouri would move from the riverfront to downtown under a proposal by Inner Circle Investments, owners of the Radisson hotel where the casino would be developed. Frontier owners Affinity Gaming said in 2013 the plan wasn't feasible, but they haven't rejected it.

Good Luck and Las Vegas Carry Nevada’s October

A 14 percent surge on the Las Vegas Strip boosted October’s statewide gaming win by double digits over the same month last year. The positive results are expected to continue into 2017 on the strength of Las Vegas’ popularity among tourists, conventioneers and increasing numbers of Chinese.

MGM’S Murren Touts Atlantic City

MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren said Atlantic City’s dark days are behind it and the company has faith the city’s casino market will recover. MGM just acquired complete control of the resort’s lead casino the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.

Larry Flynt Challenges California law

Hustler founder and California casino owner Larry Flynt (l.) is suing the state over its 1986 law that prevents owners of casinos in the Golden State from investing in casinos in other states. He asserts that the law is obsolescent.

PA County, Harrah's Reach Agreement

After the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared the existing casino tax-revenue law was unconstitutional, host counties and cities sought private casino deals. Delaware County and Chester City recently reached such an arrangement with Harrah's Philadelphia Casino (l.). The county will continue to receive $4.9 million and Chester City will receive $10.5 million annually.

Casino License ‘Warehousing’ Bill Advances in New Jersey

A bill to prevent casino owners from closing casinos in Atlantic City and then sitting on their casino license for a later re-opening has advanced in the New Jersey Assembly. The bill was written in response to the closing of the Trump Taj Mahal casino in October. The bill, aimed at billionaire Carl Icahn (l.), would block casino license holders from closing a casino and then later re-opening for five years. It would be retroactive to January 2016.

Bar Owners In Illinois Town Ask To Lift Ban

Bar owners and employees in Palatine, Illinois asked council members to remove a 2012 ban on video gambling. In April 2015, 60 percent of voters supported keeping the ban. Council members were split on the issue, and Mayor Jim Schwantz said the council would decide later whether to take up the issue again.

Harrah’s Atlantic City Announces Nightclub Upgrade

Harrah’s Atlantic City will begin a major upgrade of its popular Pool After Dark nightspot, the casino announced. The club will be closed in January until March. The improvements are part of $180 million in capital investments and improvements in the Atlantic City market.

Iowa Nonprofit Sues Former Argosy Operator

Community Action Agency of Sioux City in Iowa recently sued the Belle of Sioux City, a Penn National Gaming subsidiary that operated the former Argosy Sioux City riverboat casino. The agency wants $2 million in unpaid revenue-sharing payments for itself and more than 50 other nonprofits.

Atlantic City’s State Fiscal Chief Meets Public

The state appointed head of Atlantic City’s finances, Jeffrey Chiesa (l.), held his first public meeting, but still offered few specifics on what steps he will take to right the city’s money problems. He did promise to listen to resident’s concerns as he moves forward.

Report: Feds Seize Gambling Assets In Washington State

A report in the Seattle Post Intelligencer outlines instances when authorities have seized alleged gambling revenue with little opposition. The cases revolve around money processors that allegedly pay winners at illegal online gambling sites.

Atlantic City at Odds With Jared Kushner Over Development Site

While President-elect Donald Trump is better associated with Atlantic City, the resort is trying to release seven acres of waterfront land controlled by Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner. The land sits in the city’s inlet section across from the Gardner’s Basin maritime park. Kushner initially promised a major condominium project, but has not built on the land since acquiring it in 2004.


Construction Started At South Bend Casino

Construction has begun on the $400 million, 166-acre Four Winds South Bend Casino in Indiana, owned by the 5,200-member Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. The project, announced last week with tribal, casino and national Indian leaders attending, also will include tribal village with housing, a community center and health facilities. The tribe operates three Four Winds Casinos in Michigan.

California Casino Enemies Go To Court

There are now two extant lawsuits whose purpose is to prevent the Wilton Rancheria from building an off-reservation casino in a moribund mall (l.) in Elk Grove, near Sacramento, California. One was filed by a casino watchdog group, the other by a company that provides services to area cardrooms.

Scott Meets With Seminole Officials

Seminole Gaming Chief Executive Officer Jim Allen and other officials recently met with Florida Governor Rick Scott (l.). Last year he negotiated a new compact with the tribe, only to see it die in the legislature. A 2010 provision, granting the tribe exclusive rights to blackjack in exchange for $200 million annually, expired last year.

California Tribal Gaming: $7.8 Billion Economic Engine

California Indian Gaming two years ago generated nearly $8 billion in economic activity, according to a report paid for by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. The report was produced by Beacon Economics. Steve Stallings (l.), chairman of CNIGA, pointed out that 90 percent of Indian casino employees are not tribal members.

Nine Sue Over Chukchansi Prosecutions

Nine men who took part in an evening raid of the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino (l.) in Madera County, California on October 9, 2014 are suing the County, claiming that law enforcement officials acted maliciously against them, arresting them for an act that they had been informed of in advance. The incident later led to the casino being closed for 14 months.

Gaming Tribes Use Free-Play Sites to Lure Customers

Gaming tribes are with increasing frequency jumping into offering free-play social gaming sites. The purpose is to increase traffic to their brick and mortar casinos—and to pave the way for what they hope is the eventual legalization of online gaming.

Renovation, Expansion At Ojibwa Casinos

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Michigan will spend $6.5 million to renovate its Ojibwa Casino in Baraga and $33.5 million to expand the Ojibwa Casino (l.) in Marquette. The expansion project will double the gaming floor and add a 1,200-seat entertainment venue, hotel rooms and restaurants. Construction will be completed in September 2018.

California Tribe Submits New Casino Plans

Redding Rancheria in Northern California has offered plans for a new casino that would replace its old Win-River Casino. The tribe’s original plans were rejected by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which was then ordered by the courts to take a second look.


Lottery Directors Advise Alabama Legislators

The Louisiana and New Hampshire lottery directors recently told members of the lottery advisory council set up by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (l.) to avoid defining a lottery too narrowly. Not allowing for future lottery games--like online play-- helped sink a proposed measure this summer. Alabama is one of six states without a lottery.


Jeb Bush Joins DraftKing’s Law Firm

Jeb Bush, former Florida governor and recent presidential candidate, has joined the law firm Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney as a strategic consultant. The firm represents fantasy sports giant DraftKing, as well as pharmaceutical and energy companies and sugar advocacy groups. Bush will aid the firm’s Tallahassee efforts.

GameCo Names Comella to Head Compliance Committee

Skill-game manufacturer GameCo has named former Scientific Games executive Marc Comella as chairman of its compliance committee. Comella has had a long career with Bally/Scientific Games, serving in a variety of positions.

SuzoHapp Names New GM for Americasv

SuzoHapp has named Eben Esterhuyse general manger, solutions for the Americas, responsible for directing sales of the company’s CashComplete Solutions portfolio.

Rockets Hire eSports Executive

By hiring esports executive Sebastian Park, the Houston Rockets have become the first NBA team to have a front-office position dedicated to esports. Park, the former chief executive at Team Archon, will help the Rockets and owner Les Alexander navigate the $500 million industry, which attracts 292 million international participants.


Interblock Stadium Opens in Greektown

Jack Entertainment has partnered with Interblock to bring the Pulse Arena stadium-style electronic table game setup to Greektown Casino-Hotel in Detroit.

Cantor, FanDuel Continue Court Battle

DFS company FanDuel has moved for dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the former Cantor Gaming claiming patent infringement in technology used by FanDuel and other fantasy sports companies.

Inspired Announces Virtual Grand National

Leading virtual sports provider Inspired Gaming has teamed with Carm Productions and the Jockey Club to offer virtual racing featuring the legendary Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England, home of the Grand National steeplechase. The track will appear in daily streamed races, the Virtual Grand National and Virtual Grand National Race of Champions.

BGT, Racing Post Offer Racing Product

Best Gaming Technology and Racing Post recently debuted an exclusive new horse and greyhound racing product available on 12,000-plus betting terminals at Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and independent operators, as well as online and mobile platforms. The product also includes a Bet Filter tool and Signposts stats and tips.

GVC, Blueprint Reach Content Agreement

GVC Holdings and Gauselmann Group subsidiary Blueprint Gaming recently announced an agreement under which Blueprint will provide more than 40 slots to GVC. The content include Top Cat, Casper and Worms Reloaded, three of the most popular online casino games. They will be offered via Gauselmann’s bwin, PartyPoker, PartyCasino and Gamebookers sites.

MotoGP Hires Sportradar Integrity Services

Sportradar's Integrity Services will provide a range of services for the MotoGP, the Moto2 and the Moto3 as part of a multi-year partnership—a first for the motorsport industry. Services will include monitoring and analyzing betting movements and patterns, and offering education and prevention workshops and an eLearning program.


NCLGS Announces Speakers for Winter Meeting

The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States announced a slate of speakers for its Winter Meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, headed by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (l).

ICE to Feature Expanded Bingo Area

February’s ICE Totally Gaming trade show will feature an expanded area dedicated to suppliers of the land-based bingo center with a 220-square-meter Bingo Pavilion.




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