Hard Rock Makes Moves

Hard Rock International revealed its plans to transform the former Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City into the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (l.), bringing 3,000 new permanent jobs to the beleaguered city. The property will open in late 2018. And in Florida, the company plans an impressive new guitar-shaped tower at its Hollywood property, replacing the former outdoor shopping mall, the Paradise Shops.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Does Sports in Vegas Equal Sports Betting OK?

The near-unanimous vote of National Football League owners to approve the move of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas did nothing to change the opposition of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (l.) to legal sports betting. But Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is leaning toward opening up discussions about legalizing the wager, while a new AGA poll finds overwhelming support.

Japan Undertakes Second Casino Bill

The Japanese government has started working on Part II of the two-tiered legislation required to bring legal casino gaming to the country. The second bill will determine regulation, taxation, locations and number of licenses. But first, the government is mostly concerned with problem gambling and how to minimize the impact on Japanese citizens, as well as creating a highly regulated industry to produce “clean casinos,” according to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (l.).

Bermuda Hotels Seek Casino Licenses

Two hotels on the island, including the Fairmont Southampton (l.), have applied for designation as casino operators, sparking hopes for a quick boost to the local tourism economy. Current law allows for four Bermuda casinos, the first of which, officials say, could debut as early as next spring.

Supremes’ Decision Means Washington Casino Will Open

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review an appeal by opponents of the Cowlitz Tribe. That means the tribe will go forward with the opening of its $510 million casino near La Center, Washington later this month. Cowlitz Chairman William Iyall (l.) says it’s the beginning of a “new journey” for his tribe.

‘Grand Bargain’ Illinois Gaming Could Stand Alone

Proposals to add six casinos and slots at Chicago airports and racetracks are included in the so-called “grand bargain” budget resolution in Illinois, which requires all bills to pass or none will. But Illinois state Senator Dave Syverson (l.) said the gambling measure could be voted on separately if the grand bargain fails.

Ainsworth Announces Appointments

Ainsworth Game Technology last week made several appointments and updated the relationship with Novomatic, which last year bought the shares of former Chairman Len Ainsworth, giving it the majority of ownership in AGT. Harold Neumann (l.), Novomatic’s CEO and chairman, becomes non-executive board member of AGT.

Tribes Guarantee Payments to Connecticut

It’s all about the money in a contest between two competing casino bills in Connecticut’s legislature. The question is, which bill will save (or generate) the most money for the state. The Mohegan and Pequot tribes have guaranteed that their payments to the state will continue and they’ll even pay more at their proposed new casino (l.) outside of Hartford.

Bratislava Bans Gambling

On March 30, Bratislava lawmakers banned casinos in the capital city of Slovakia. But the gaming halls will not disappear overnight. The last gaming licenses will not expire until 2021. One of the largest facilities is the Olympic Casino Slovakia (l.).

Brexit Gibraltar Battle Raises Online Gambling Industry Fears

Online bookmakers in Gibraltar are nervously waiting out the Brexit battle over the territory between the UK and Spain. The European Union published negotiating guidelines that said that no Brexit agreement between the EU and UK could apply to Gibraltar without agreement between Spain and the UK. That led to statements that the UK would defend its interests in Gibraltar. The gaming industry in the UK territory employs about 3,000 people, but most live across the border in Spain.


Kinmen Considers Casino Vote

Voters in Kinmen County, Taiwan, may go to the polls this fall to vote on casino gaming on the island. A petition with more than 6,200 signatures would be required to move forward with the referendum.

Tiger Palace Casino Delayed Until November

The gaming floor at Silver Heritage’s new Nepalese casino resort will not be open until November, according to reports. Non-gaming amenities at the property are set to open in August.

Melco Soars, Drops Hard Rock

Melco International Development Ltd. has posted a net profit of HKD10.37 billion (US$1.33 billion) for 2016, compared to HKD100.9 million in 2015. It also announced a rebrand of the Hard Rock (l.) at City of Dreams Macau.

Macau GGR Up 18.1 Percent in March

Driven by strong VIP play, gross gaming revenue in Macau grew 18.1 percent to MOP 21.2 billion (US$2.7 billion) for the month of March, according to the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.

Saipan Raid Linked to Death

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has arrested one person in connection with the death of a construction worker on the site of Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd.’s casino on the island of Saipan.

Jimei Splits with NagaCorp

Hong Kong-listed junket operator Jimei International Entertainment has announced the end of its plan to promote gaming at NagaWorld (l.) in Phnom Penh. NagaWorld is run by Cambodian casino operator NagaCorp.

Casino Licenses at the Limit in Manila

The Philippine government will not award additional casino licenses for the capital city of Manila until 2022 at the earliest, according to the state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. PAGCOR Chairwoman Andrea Domingo (l.) says the government wants to protect those who have invested “a lot of money.”


Chinese Company Looks at Primorye

Chinese investment company Zhonghe Linhai (Harbin) is looking to invest in Russia’s Primorye gaming zone, home of Summit Ascent Holdings’ Tigre de Cristal (l.), the first resort to open in the zone in October 2015.

Catalonia Planners Get Extension

Casino companies interested in the former BCN World project in Spain have won a 90-day extension to submit their designs to Catalonian officials. The massive project has been renamed the Center Recreatiu i Turístic. Salou Mayor Pere Granados (l.) says the extension will determine if the project is even viable.

Report Calls for Changes in Swedish Online Gambling Regulation

A report on online gambling regulation commissioned by the Swedish government and conducted by Hakan Hallstedt (l.) calls for an end to the monopoly on online gaming held by state-owned Svenska Spel. The report calls for the licensing of online gambling sites and an 18 percent tax on gross profits.


Baha Mar Chief Answers Critics

Graeme Davis (l.), the president of Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, the parent company of the new Baha Mar resort in the Bahamas, used a public hearing to answer critics of its planned soft opening on April 21.

Jupiters Is Now Star Gold Coast

Jupiters Hotel and Casino (l.), operated by the Star Entertainment Group of Australia, has officially been renamed the Star Gold Coast. The luxury resort, now being renovated, will add a hotel before it reopens in 2018.

New Gateway Casino in B.C.

Canadian gaming giant Gateway has expanded in British Columbia with a new Cascades-branded casino (l.) in the city of Penticton. The C$25 million property features 300 slots and 10 table games and employs 300 people.

Tentative OK for Tonga Casino?

A U.S.-backed tribal gaming firm has reportedly received approval to build a casino resort in the Polynesian kingdom of Tonga. Red Warrior Entertainment LLC first announced approval of the plan in January. Prime Minister Akilisi Pōhiva (l.) says, however, gambling is still illegal on the island.

Kenya Considers 50 Percent Gaming Tax

The Kenyan government may increase gaming taxes from a low of 7.5 percent to 50 percent, according to local media. Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo (l.) says the country should be seeing a greater return from the industry.

BC Casino Expansion Under Way

Work has begun on a 42,000 expansion at View Royal Casino (l.) in British Columbia, Canada., the British Columbia Lottery Corporation announced. At 42,000 square feet, the project will double the casino's size, adding an entertainment venue, buffet, lounge and additional slots, electronic and table games. The project cost has not been released.

Colombian Regulators Arrested

In a series of raids, police in Colombia, South America arrested 31 people and charged them with gambling crimes and corruption. The round-up included casino operators and former executives of regulator Coljuegos.


Baazov Sells More Amaya Stock

Former Amaya CEO and founder David Baazov (l.) continues to sell of his stake in the gaming giant and owner of PokerStars. Baazov has just sold about 12 million shares in the company, following his previous sale of seven million shares last month. He received about $200.9 million for his latest sell off.

Treasure Island Launches Digital Gaming

playTIcasino is the new digital gaming platform recently launched by Greentube and the Prairie Island Community, designed to engage players and entice them to visit the tribe's Treasure Island Resort & Casino in Welch, Minnesota. The social gaming platform offers slot and gaming options like those found at the brick-and-mortar casino.

Japan Recognizes Bitcoin as Legal Payment

Japan’s legislature has passed a law allowing virtual currencies such as Bitcoin a prepaid payment instrument. The law puts in place capital requirements for Bitcoin exchanges as well as cybersecurity and operational regulations.

Georgia Postpones, Texas Eyes DFS Bill

Legislation allowing daily fantasy sports reached the Georgia Senate but wasn't voted on since passage wasn't assured. Instead, state senators will reconsider the bill when they return in January. And in Texas, a bill that would exempt daily fantasy sports sites from anti-gambling laws got its first hearing in the state’s legislature, but no action on the bill was taken.

32Red Exits Australia

32Red has withdrawn from the Australian online gambling market as the country enacts new regulations that will effectively ban online poker and casino games. Vera&John and 888 Poker have already left the market. The move comes as South Australian legislators are calling for even more stringent action against unlicensed online operators.

Bwin Seeking Polish License

Despite the changing regulatory climate in Poland, Bwin is reportedly pursuing an online gambling license in the country. The country recently implemented a 12 percent “betting turnover tax,” that has caused several major operators to leave the market.

Microgaming Poker Network to Change Hand History Tracking

In an effort to stop the exploitation of hand history features on their sites, Microgaming Poker Network intends to change its hand history features. Players can use the current histories to track weaker players and seek to join their tables. The changes will allow players to track their own histories, but make it more difficult to track other players.

Sachar Gaming Receives Provincial Indian Multi-games license

Sachar Gaming has been approved for a multi-games online license in the Indian state of Nagaland. While five other companies have been licensed for online play in the state, this is the first license allowing an operator to offer multiple games, the company said.

Zynga Poker Adds Snapchat App

Zynga Poker, the largest free-play poker app, has announced it has added a Snapchat lens. The company saw a slight revenue decline in 2016 and is looking for a boost from the new app.

Betsson Acquires NetPlay TV

Stockholm-based Betsson AB has completed its purchase of NetPlay TV, the UK-based interactive gaming operator, for $32.46. As a result, Betsson will add Jackpot247, Supercasino and Vernons to its European gaming brands portfolio. Officials said several NetPlay functions will be moved or consolidated as a result of the sale.

PhilWeb Acquires PAGCOR e-Games Parlors

PhilWeb Corp announced it has acquired a Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp e-Games parlor through a subsidiary. The company is awaiting new licensing in the Philippines.

Betsoft Gaming Partners with Intertops

Betsoft Gaming announced a partnership deal with European operator Intertops. The deal allows Intertops to offer Betsoft’s full library of video and mobile slots. Intertops said it plans to introduce the games in its English- and German-speaking markets.

Playtech Extends SSBT Contract with Paddy Power

Playtech BGT Sports announced it has extended its multi-year contract with Irish bookmaker Paddy Power to provide betting terminals. The company said the partnership comes from the industry’s ‘trend towards self-service’ products within betting shops.


New Jersey Sports Betting Case Proceeding

The U.S. Solicitor General's Office has scheduled a meeting of the parties involved with New Jersey’s Supreme Court appeal of its sports betting law. The state appealed a ruling by a federal appeals court striking down its sports betting law to the high court. The Court then took the unusual step of asking the Solicitor General to weigh in on the case. The meeting was scheduled for April 10.

Florida House, Senate Facing Negotiations

The Florida House recently passed its version of an omnibus gambling bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike La Rosa (l.), with many aspects opposed to the Senate version. A conference committee will try to negotiate legislation everyone can live with--including the Seminole Tribe, which claimed both bills demand too much money from the tribe without giving it enough in return.

Feds Raid California Card Club

State and federal officers dropped in unannounced on the Bicycle Hotel and Casino (l.) in Bell Gardens, California, shutting it down for a day. They were investigating money laundering at the casino, which has a history of such violations.

Wynn Finishes Casino Cleanup in Massachusetts

Wynn Resorts has completed seven months of moving contaminated dirt from a former chemical site (l.) along the Mystic River. It is now ready to begin dredging the shoreline to make way for the Wynn Boston Harbor, due to open in 2019.

Illinois Video Gambling Cafes File Lawsuit

Laredo Hospitality Ventures and Illinois Cafe & Services, owners of more than 100 Illinois video gambling parlors, including Suzi’s Video Poker and Slots (l.) in Streator, recently sued the state over profit-sharing rules. The lawsuit contends since parlor owners must evenly split profits with terminal-operating companies, they have no incentive to upgrade operations, hire staff, expand or promote their businesses.

Ohio Casino Saturation Hurts All

Some gaming experts say that Ohio has too many casinos, four casino resorts and seven racinos, including the Hard Rock (l.) in Northfield, and that this saturation is hurting them. For the 10th month in a row the four casino resorts have seen revenues fall.

Las Vegas Growing Younger by the Year

The LVCVA’s latest tourism survey shows millennials now account for a full one-third of Las Vegas visitors. And first-time visitation is spiking on the youth surge, accounting for more than 25 percent of all arrivals.

Arkansas Governor Vetoes Bill That Changes Gambling Enforcement

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson recently vetoed a bill that would have prevented Alcoholic Beverage Control officers from enforcing laws regarding video slot machines. The measure was designed to help owners of Mom-and-Pop gas stations where the games have proliferated. Hutchinson said the bill "would require law enforcement officers to ignore illegal conduct.”

Developers Appeal Biloxi Rejection

RW Development and Diamondhead Real Estate, both seeking to develop casinos in Biloxi, Mississippi, filed appeals in circuit court over the state gaming commission’s rejection of their site approval requests. Both said commissioners simply accepted Executive Director Allen Godfrey’s recommendation to deny site approval without evidence or explanation.

Local Indiana Governments Receive Revenue Assurance

Recently passed House Bill 1350 ensures Indiana casino-host communities will keep receiving $48 million in casino admission tax distributions and non-casino communities will receive $33 million annually until 2021. Otherwise their annual distribution would have been reduced by the same rate as the yearly decline in total state gaming revenue compared to 2016.

Court Reverses Florida Ruling, Allowing Jai Alai Permit

An appeals court recently reversed a decision by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which had denied Magic City Casino's application for a summer jai-alai permit. The as-yet unnamed venue will be located in Miami and will be allowed to open a cardroom and offer simulcast betting.

Vegas Bus System Mulls More Security

A fatal shooting on a Las Vegas bus is prompting transportation officials and the police to see how they might make buses easier to monitor using cameras, and less opaque to officers trying to see inside them.

Nevada Lawmaker Wants Tax on AirBnb

Legislation introduced in the state Assembly would tax guests using the online home-sharing service the same as if they were staying in a hotel. A favorite among millennial vacationers, AirBnb generated more than $47 million in revenue in Nevada last year. The number of stays soared more than 150 percent.

West Virginia Ends Greyhound Subsidies

In West Virginia, home of two greyhound racetracks, lawmakers voted to end $14 million in subsidies to the greyhound industry and use the money toward the state's $500 million budget deficit. If Governor Jim Justice (l.) signs the measure, many fear the racing industry fear it will collapse and hundreds of jobs will be lost.

Strong Economy Impacts Casinos

South Florida casinos, like others in the U.S., have been stagnant the strong economy has given people more spending money. In fact, gaming revenue grew nearly 1 percent in 2016, said Daniel Holmes at RubinBrown's Gaming Services, noting online betting helped New Jersey post gaming revenue increases for the first time in a decade.

Wynn Sues Elaine Wynn Over Computer Files

Wynn Resorts is suing Elaine Wynn (with Steve in happier times) the ex-wife of Chairman Steve Wynn for letting her lawyers remove information stored on the company’s computers. The files were taken as part of her legal battle to nullify an agreement that locks up her $1 billion worth of Wynn shares.


Oneidas Plan Third N.Y. Casino

Construction is set to start in May on the Point Palace Casino in central Madison County about a mile from the tribe’s Yellow Brick Road Casino. The $40 million-plus facility will feature 500 slots and 20 live table games and is expected to support 200 permanent jobs.

Wisconsin Tribal President Avoids Discord In Speech

The Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe threatened to withhold $923,000 in gaming payments due June 30 to the state of Wisconsin. But in the State of the Tribes speech, tribal President Shannon Holsey (l.) avoided mentioning the dispute and instead discussed unity. The tribe fears the Ho-Chunk's Wittenberg expansion will steal business from its own casino.

Cherokee Nation Studies New Oklahoma Casino

Moving forward on plans to build a new Cherokee Casino Tahlequah (l.) in Oklahoma, Cherokee Nation Businesses recently voted to spend $1.5 million on preliminary infrastructure and design studies. The current casino will be converted into a language immersion school for the tribe when the new venue is operational.

County, Tribe Extend Historic Agreement

A county in California and the tribe that operates the of Cache Creek Casino Resort (l.), have extended a long history of amity by approving the extension of a 20-yearlong intergovernmental agreement. The pact between Yolo County and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation is considered the first of its kind in the nation.

Tribes Support Bill to Exempt Them from NLRA

Tribal leaders are urging Congress to pass a law that would exempt tribally-owned business from federal labor laws. They say this would put them on a level playing field with other governments, like states.


Mississippi To Study Possible Lottery

A lottery study group to be formed by Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn (l.) would examine the costs of setting up a lottery, how much the state could make in ticket sales and how sales tax revenue would be affected. Mississippi is one of six states that doesn’t have a lottery.

Jamaicans Face U.S. Lottery Scam Charges

Eight residents of the Caribbean island nation have been remanded to U.S. custody―a police constable among them―to face charges in connection with a massive lottery scam that preyed on elderly Americans. Lottery scams are big, big business in Jamaica, worth an estimated US$1 billion a year.


New President at Resorts World NYC

Genting Americas has named industry veteran Scott Molina to head the company’s U.S. flagship. A member of the giant racino’s management since its 2011 opening, Molina will oversee all gaming and non-gaming operations.

Wynn Macau Appoints Sinatra

Wynn Macau Ltd. has appointed Kim Marie Sinatra as a non-executive director of the company for a period of three years effective April 1, the U.S.-based gaming operator has informed the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

JACK Entertainment Names Martinelli, Hays

Alyse Martinelli was named vice president of human resources and Cynthia Hays was named vice president of compliance at JACK Entertainment in Detroit. Previously Martinelli was senior vice president and general counsel at medical technology start-up Reel Health Network and Hays was executive director of global technical operations services at Scientific Games Corporation.

Prior Joins William Hill Leadership

Ruth Prior, chief operating officer at Worldpay, will join British bookmaker William Hill later this year. Prior also was deputy chief financial officer at Worldpay and led the implementation of its multichannel payment platform. As part of William Hill's leadership team, she's charged with helping William Hill grow and become more competitive.

Two New Directors at Mohegan Sun

Two new directors have joined the ranks of the Mohegan Sun. They are Don Sikorski, promoted to director of shops and Lynn Agnello (l.), promoted to director of sponsorships.


IGT, Aruze Sign Cross-Licensing Agreement

Aruze Gaming becomes the latest rival of slot leader International Game Technology to sign a cross-licensing agreement allowing it to use patented IGT game features.

Casino Technology Expands in Colombia

Casino Technology has installed its multi-game Gamopolis product, with its Aurora upright cabinet, in three new locations of the Victoria Casinos Group in Colombia.

VisuaLimits Announces Contracts

VisuaLimits announced that it has completed eight new transactions to supply its “intelligent limit signs” in casinos across the U.S. and the Bahamas.

MGM National Harbor Uses TWG Sound System

The new MGM National Harbor is operating a unique audio system installed by Technology West Group that allows flexible control of sound across a wide range of audio zones.

Las Vegas Advisor Re-launches Site

The Las Vegas Advisor has re-launched its website, which offers players special deals, casino coupons and tips on how to increase their chances of winning in the casinos.

NBC Sports Group to Televise Poker

The NBCUniversal sports media division has signed an agreement with Poker Central to present poker programming on its TV and digital platforms. Poker Central recently abandoned its efforts to create its own network, which only achieved limited distribution. The programming will air on NBCSN as well as NBCSports.com.





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