UK Regulators Back Off FOBT Limits

The UK Gambling Commission is recommending that a £30 maximum bet be set on fixed odds betting terminals for the most common games such as roulette. The maximum bet for FOBT slots should be set at £2, says the board. Advocates for problem gambling have been pushing for the lower max of £2 on all FOBTs, saying that higher limits allow problem gamblers to lose thousands of pounds an hour. Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Matt Hancock (l) will have the final say.

Featured Stories More

WEEKLY FEATURE: Wynn Exits; Galaxy Enters

A stormy two months for Wynn Resorts are drawing to a close on a couple of decidedly positive notes. Disgraced founder and ex-Chairman Steve Wynn (l.) is no longer a shareholder, as he was able to see his entire equity stake in the company within a few days. And a surprise partnership with Macau casino giant Galaxy Entertainment could reshape the company’s prospects worldwide.

Brazil Passes on IRs

On March 20, Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies failed to reach a consensus on the inclusion of integrated-resort language in a tourism bill. As a result, the gaming passage was dropped from the bill. It’s unlikely to put an end to the annual debate about gaming. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Paulo Azi (l.), blamed the link with tourism for the defeat.

Japan Losing Momentum?

With lawmakers dawdling over the second part of required casino legislation and a corruption scandal swirling around Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (l.), the push to bring integrated resorts to Japan is slowing down.

NBA Changes Tune for ‘Integrity Fee’

The National Basketball Association’s latest explanation for wanting an “integrity fee” on sports betting is that it would cover the additional risk from more people betting on sports. Of course, the leagues fail to mention these increased bettors would be wagering on legal, regulated sites instead of the sites operating now outside the law.

Packer Exits Crown Resorts

Billionaire casino mogul James Packer (l.) has resigned as director of his company, Crown Resorts, for what he called “personal reasons.” His investment company referred to “mental health issues.” Crown has pulled back from its international operations, and Packer endured a messy breakup with Mariah Carey.

NRT Acquires OfferCraft

NRT Technology Corp. has acquired the assets of privately held OfferCraft, an award-winning provider of artificial intelligence, gamification and digital content solutions. OfferCraft won an recognition in the 2016 GGB Gaming & Technology Awards (l.).


Las Vegas and Reno are experiencing tremendous growth according to the U.S. Census, which bodes well for the future of the “locals” casino companies. But new markets like Brazil and Japan are again disappointing industry observers.


5 Die in Manila Casino Fire

A fire last week in a Manila casino hotel killed five people and forced hundreds to evacuate. The Manila Pavilion Hotel and Casino (l.) is located in Manila’s Ermita tourism district.

Ho: Six Is Enough in Macau

Lawrence Ho (l.), chairman and CEO of Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd., says Macau’s gaming market is currently right-sized with six casino concessionaires. The current concessions will expire starting in 2020.

Naga VIP Surpasses Mass

VIP gaming has overtaken mass as the chief revenue driver for Cambodia’s NagaWorld casino (l.). Sixty-five percent of all revenue came from VIP in 2017, compared to just 42 percent in the previous year.

Kangwon Land Firing Hundreds Amid Corruption Probe

More than 200 employees of South Korea’s Kangwon Land are losing their jobs as part of an investigation into corrupt hiring practices in the public sector. Former management at the government-owned casino, the only one in the country open to Koreans, reportedly awarded jobs as political favors.

Tiger Palace in Nepal Officially Opens

Silver Heritage Group’s US$52 million Tiger Palace Resort on Nepal’s border with India celebrated its grand opening last week. The property held a soft opening last September and launched its casino in December. CEO Mike Bolsover (l.) deemed it a “wonderful success.”

Galaxy in Line for Philippine License

Macau gaming concessionaire Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. will receive a provisional license to start the development of US$500 million casino in Boracay, Philippines by the end of March.

South Korea Casinos Struggle with Visitor Limits

Foreigners-only casinos in South Korea continue to see lower visitation due to the diplomatic row between Seoul and Beijing over the installation of THAAD, a U.S.-built advanced missile defense shield in the country.

13 Hotel Rights Issue 90 Percent Subscribed

Hong Kong-listed 13 Holdings Ltd., developer of the long-delayed luxury 13 Hotel project in Macau, has announced that more than 90 percent of the shares in a recent rights issue have found subscribers.

Tak Chun Opens VIP Club at Okada Manila

Macau junket investor Tak Chun Group opened a new VIP gaming club at Okada Manila in the Philippines’ Entertainment City casino zone last week. The club will offer 18 gaming tables in five rooms.

Second Death at Morpheus Site May Delay Further

A second construction-related death at the site of the Morpheus Hotel (l.) in Macau caused a partial shutdown of work at the property. Morpheus will be the fifth hotel at Melco Entertainment’s City of Dreams property.

Requests for Smoking Lounges Abound in Macau

The Macau Health Bureau has received applications from two casinos, Ponte 16 and the new MGM Cotai, to build 12 smoking lounges inside their properties. Officials say other casinos are also preparing to apply.

Imperial Pacific Looking for IR Extension

Saipan casino operator Imperial Pacific International may request another extension on its deadline to complete its Imperial Pacific resort, according to Commonwealth Casino Commission Director Edward Deleon Guerrero.


Paris Awaits First Casino

A government experiment in gaming in the capital city is scheduled to commence this spring with the opening of a casino by Groupe Tranchant. It’s a very modest experiment, the first of three planned venues, all with no slots and a restrictive menu of table games.

CJEU Upholds EC Online Gambling Guidelines

The Court of Justice for the European Union has upheld recommended standards for online gambling released by the European Commission. Belgium challenged the recommendations, which were seen as less thorough than Belgium’s own rules under it gambling act. The country argued that the recommendations were actually an attempt to have unified standards across the EU. The court upheld that the recommendations are just that, and not requirements.

UK Tries Out Problem Gambling Courses

The UK has completed a trail program for school education courses on the risks of problem gambling. Demos Think Tank initiated the pilot program to teach children about the risks of gambling and where to go for help and support. Lessons were taught at a number of secondary schools reaching about 650 pupils. Of those pupils, 41 percent said they had gambled in the last year.


Gateway To Manage OLG's Central Bundle

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation named Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd. as service provider for its Central Gaming Bundle. Gateway is expected to build a casino entertainment complex in Wasaga Beach or Collingwood, manage Georgian Downs' slots and manage daily operations at Casino Rama Resort (l.). Gateway will take over operations at the Central Gaming Bundle this summer.

BC Casino Revenue Decline Expected From Crackdown

The reputation and good name of British Columbia are more important than the short-term loss that may result from clamping down on large money transactions, says Attorney General David Eby (l.). Nevertheless, a study suggests the province could lose up to $47.2 million by adopting its tough new law.

Argentina Extends Casino Bidding

The government of Argentina has extended the bidding deadline for seven casinos in Buenos Aires until June 27. At the same time, other casino licenses will be cancelled in a “restructuring” of the local industry, according to Governor María Eugenia Vidal (l.).


Connecticut Lawmakers Urged to Legalize iGaming

One of Connecticut’s tribal casinos, Foxwoods, made a strong case last week for the legalization of online gaming. The testimony was made by Seth Young, Foxwoods executive director of online gaming (l.) to the legislature’s Public Safety and Security Committee.

Caesars Teams With eSports League

H1PL, the first professional eSports league, announced 15 teams that will compete in its first season, starting April 21 in Las Vegas at the Caesars Entertainment Studios (l.). The league will partner with Facebook to livestream the games. The teams will compete over the course of two 10-week “splits” leading to the H1PL Battle Royale Championship in the fall.

Millennial Esports to Incorporate Amazon GameOn

Millennial Esports Corp. has announced that its mobile racing game, Gear.Club will add Amazon GameOn. The combination will be called Eden Games, and it will enable fans to experience competitive mobile racing combined with prizing.

Georgia Committee Passes Fantasy Sports Bill

Daily fantasy sports would be legalized and regulated in Georgia if House Bill 118 moves beyond the Senate Regulated Industries Committee, which unanimously approved it. The measure requires players to be at least 18 years old, bans college athletes from participating and taxes operators at 6 percent. DFS legislation has passed in 19 states.

Spain’s Sports Betting Rising

According to figures released by Spanish regulators to Spain’s Europa Press news agency, Spaniards spent around €5.2 million on sports betting operated by the government and by the State-owned Lottery and Gambling Society in 2016. That’s up from about €4.3 million in 2015.

Stars Group Points to Potential Problems in Russian Market

In its 2017 earnings report, the Stars Group pointed to possible new regulations in the Russian market as potentially troublesome. The company—owners of PokerStars—expects that new online gaming rules in Russia could impact its ability to process payments from gamblers. The new rules, expected to go into effect in May, would mean Russian banks will no longer be able to do business with foreign payment processors or gambling operators who have been blacklisted by the government.

888 May Exit German Market

888 Holdings announced it is reviewing the status of its German business in the wake of new tax charges there that bit deeply into its 2017 profit. The cut came despite growth in revenue and adjusted earnings. The company reported its pretax profit fell 68 percent to $18.8 million.

Italy Receives 80 Online Gaming License Applications

According to Italian media, the country’s gaming regulator has received about 80 online gambling license applications. The regulator, Agenzia delle dogane e dei monopoli began accepting bids in January and recently closed the application process. Regulators are set to open the bids in April.

GVC Gains Controlling Interest in Crystalbet

GVC Holdings has announced the purchase of a controlling 51 percent share in Crystalbet, a leading online gaming firm based in the Republic of Georgia. GVC will pay €51 million for the percentage and has made a commitment to purchase the remainder of the company by 2021.

Better Collective Acquires PAOU Finland

Industry publisher Better Collective announced it was strengthening its position within the Nordic betting market by acquiring Finnish affiliate, Premium Administration OU (PAOU). The company said it secured a “seven-figure” deal to expand its coverage within Finland.

Report: Blockchain Could Fuel Rise in eSports

A report released by Wall Street research firm Macquarie Research predicts that blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies could bring eSports into the mainstream and further drive its explosive growth. Macquarie expects the worldwide eSports market to grow from $892 million in 2016 to $5 billion by 2020. Blockchain could help the industry in several ways, the report said, including providing stable and transparent betting platforms.

BetConstruct Adds Apollo Games

Gaming solutions provider BetConstruct is expanding its portfolio of casino games through a deal with Czech developer Apollo Games. The partnership allows Apollo's suite of HTML5 slots to be made available to BetConstruct platform partners.


Louisiana Lawmakers Approve Gambling Changes

Louisiana gambling laws last changed in 2001 when riverboats were allowed to stop cruising. New legislation would permit the state's 15 riverboats to move ashore within 1,200 feet of their current locations, lower taxes on promotional giveaways and limit casinos to 2,635 slots. Governor John Bel Edwards (l.) said he’s open to change.

Future Florida Gambling Could Be Up To Voters

Florida lawmakers couldn't agree on a gambling bill, so any future expansion of gambling could be determined by voters if 60 percent approve a proposed constitutional amendment in November. The Seminole Tribe had hoped lawmakers would extend the compact giving it exclusive rights to blackjack (l.) in return for $300 million a year.

Gamers’ Paradise Opens on the Strip

It’s game on at the Luxor. Esports Arena Las Vegas is open for business with 30,000 square feet of state-of-the-art live gaming and streaming featuring the top competitors in the field, a touch of VR, multimedia production facilities, and a gaming-inspired F&B offering.

Lee Has Plans For Full House Resorts

Since former Pinnacle Entertainment Chairman Dan Lee (l.) became chairman at Full House Resorts in late 2014, the company's stock price has tripled. With plans for a ferry in Indiana, palms in Mississippi and investment in Colorado, Lee hopes to take Full House beyond “the most creative gaming company nobody ever heard of."

More Details From MGM Springfield

With opening date less than six months away, MGM Springfield officials unveiled some new details on its resort, but requesting an additional year to get them completed to renovate the downtown part of the city, including housing in this building (l.).

Massachusetts Gaming Commission Dreams of Sports Betting

As the U.S. Supreme Court mulls whether or not to lift the ban on sports betting that Congress imposed in 1992, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has issued a White Paper of the challenges and opportunities for the state if it decides to jump in. There are considerable profits to be made, the paper concludes.

Maryland’s Poker Market Could Pass New Jersey

Poker revenues in New Jersey have declined over the past several years, while those in Maryland have increased. Even the addition of online poker in New Jersey might not be enough to hold off the Maryland charge (popular poker room at the Live! casino outside of Baltimore at left).

Iowa Bill Would Allow Dave & Buster’s

It required an act of the Iowa legislature raising the limit on the size of prizes that can be awarded by “amusement concessions (l.)” to pave the way for the Dave & Buster’s restaurant chain to open in the state. The bill now requires the governor’s signature.

Mohegan Executive to be Witness in Cosby Trial

Tom Cantone (l.), an executive of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, could be called to testify in the sexual assault trial of disgraced comedian Bill Cosby. Apparently the executive, Thomas Canton, witnessed the meeting of Cosby and a woman who has accused him of sexual assault.

ACE Lifts Golden in Fourth Quarter

Golden Entertainment reported a doubling of EBITDA on a 75 percent surge in fourth quarter revenue to $184.4 million, boosted by last year’s acquisition of Las Vegas’ Stratosphere (l.) and Arizona Charlie’s casinos. The company believes the deal will pay off still more and is investing $140 million on upgrades to the Stratosphere.

Regulations Expand Illinois Video Gambling, Protect Casino

The Aurora, Illinois city council has passed new regulations that would allow more video gambling terminals and also protect the Hollywood Casino downtown. The city recently completed a six-month moratorium to study the impact of video gambling on riverboat casinos. The new regulations would set a total limit of 200 terminals in the city.


Connecticut Legislature Moves Casino Bill

A bill that could allow the tribal satellite casino of the Mohegan and Pequot tribes to co-exist with a $675 million casino (l.) proposed for Bridgeport by MGM Resorts has been moved into both houses of the Connecticut legislature. The bill would preserve the tribes’ East Windsor casino but allow MGM to bid on a commercial license.

Virginia Tribe Seek Casino-Resort Land

Chief Robert Gray (l.), the leader of the tribe of Pocahontas, the Pamunkey Tribe, announced the tribe will build a $700 million off-reservation casino resort in eastern Virginia. Officials of the state's first federally recognized tribe said the development would include a hotel, spa and performance venue, generate $1 billion in annual indirect economic impact and create 5,000 construction jobs and 4,000 full-time jobs.

Oklahoma Senate OKs Craps, Roulette

Despite concerns over problem gambling, the Oklahoma Senate voted 30-16 to allow craps and roulette at tribal casinos. The games will bring the state an estimated $22 million next year and $49 million in following years for public education. Last year, the Senate rejected a similar measure which also would have allowed sports betting.

Gun Lake Seeks Federal Land-Trust

The Gun Lake Tribe of Michigan applied to the U.S. Department of Interior to place 130 acres of land in trust. Currently the property is leased for agriculture but a tribal spokesman said its final purpose hasn't been determined. If the parcel becomes trust land, Hopkins Township and Allegan County would lose property tax revenue.

Idaho Casino Celebrates 25th Anniversary

A bingo parlor that started on a windblown field in northern Idaho a quarter century ago has grown into an economic engine for the Coeur d’Alene tribe. The success story of the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel is caught in its symbol of a horse and rider looking toward the sky.

Kiowa Tribe Opens Carnegie, Oklahoma Casino

The Kiowa Tribe based in Oklahoma opened the Kiowa Casino in Carnegie. The tribe's third Oklahoma casino, it offers 117 slot machines and café, and created 45 jobs. The tribe also operates casinos in Red River and Verden.


Fourth Female Exec Joins MGM Board

Jan Swartz, a top Carnival Corp. executive, brings to the gaming giant a wealth of knowledge in leisure travel globally with an especially strong background in the East Asia markets. Her arrival further complements one of the most diverse boards in the industry.

New Jersey CRDA Names New Director

Christopher Howard, executive director of the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, will step down from the post and be replaced by the authority’s Deputy Director Matt Doherty (l.). The move comes shortly after Doherty was appointed deputy director earlier this month.

Changes on Naga Board

NagaCorp has announced a number of board changes, including the promotion of Executive Director and CFO Philip Lee Wai Tuck, who assumed the role of executive deputy chairman on March 15.

Johnny Church to Upgrade Stratosphere’s Food

Las Vegas top chef Johnny Church has been hired by Golden Entertainment Inc. as its new corporate executive chef. One of his first jobs will be to up the game of the restaurant atop the Stratosphere Hotel, Casino & Tower.

Gun Lake Casino Promotes Althaus

Gun Lake Casino in Wayland, Michigan recently named Eric Althaus general manager and vice president. Althaus previously served as director of table games and assistant and interim general manager at the property, owned by the Match-E-Be-Nash-She Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians. He also worked at Station Casinos, MGM Resorts International and Pinnacle Entertainment.


Scientific Games Wins Social Responsibility Awards

Scientific Games has won two international awards recognizing excellence in the field of corporate social responsibility, for ethical and environmental sustainability and for community service. Kevin Sheehan (l.), president and chief executive officer, said the award demonstrates the company’s commitment to sustainability.

Women's Gaming Awards Seeks Nominations

Nominations are being sought for the 2018 Great Women of Gaming Awards, sponsored by Global Gaming Women. The awards recognize and encourage outstanding achievements by women in the gaming industry. Nominations for the five award categories will be accepted through July 31. Award recipients will be announced at G2E in Las Vegas, October 9-11.


World Game Protection Shifts Focus

The annual World Game Protection Conference in Las Vegas shifted focus this year from its traditional concentration on protecting the games to protecting the lives of employees and patrons. Show producer Willy Allison (l.) said the role of security is asset protection as much as game protection.




Outrageous pronouncements, simple statements and words of wisdom