Full House Rejects Z Capital Offer

Full House Resorts said Affinity Gaming owners Z Capital Partners' offer of $132.5 million or $1.79 per share “reflects a stark and fundamental disconnect from our board’s understanding of the company’s value." Z Capital CEO James Zenni (l.) said the deal that would have added Full House's five casinos in four states to its 11 Affinity properties in four states would have unlocked “unrealized potential for Full House stockholders.”

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai Bridge Opens

Last week, a 34-mile bridge connecting Macau to Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland finally opened to traffic—with some restrictions. The Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai Bridge took nine years to build and is expected to make it easier for residents of both Hong Kong and Zhuhai to reach the casinos of Macau. It’s not open to private vehicles, however, special permits are required and it will be used mainly by trucks and buses.

Reports: Caesars-Fertitta Merger a No Go

Caesars’ board is expected to reject a reverse merger offer from Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta (l.). The deal would significantly boost the combined company’s earnings, analysts say. It also would saddle the debt-scarred casino giant with a lot of new debt. Caesars hired Goldman Sachs to defend against any activist investor actions, but rumors of an MGM interest in Caesars sent shares climbing again late last week.

Is Osaka Suitable for IR?

Officials in Osaka are pushing Yumeshima Island (l.) as a prime spot for one of Japan’s first integrated resorts. But some are concerned the area is flood-prone and therefore unsuitable. Several other cities are also in the running, but since only three locations will be chosen, the process is still unclear how that decision will be made.

U.S. Operators Eye Elliniko

Three major U.S.-based gaming firms are still in the running for a license to offer gaming at the former Athens airport, Elliniko (l.). Caesars Entertainment, Hard Rock International and Mohegan Gaming are the last ones standing in the race.

Numbers Boom at Global Gaming Expo 2018

Attendance figures for this month’s Global Gaming Expo revealed significant increases for the gaming industry’s marquee event. Key buyer attendance was up more than 16 percent.

Last Word on Boracay Casinos: No

Dashing the hopes of Macau’s Galaxy Entertainment Group, the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force has asked the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. to cancel all casino licenses on the island. Five existing casino operations will also be shuttered including the Crown Regency (l.).

90-Day Wonders

Suddenly there are dozens of experts in the world of sports wagering who have never taken a bet in their life. While they opine eloquently on the subject, they really don’t understand the nuts and bolts of the activity. Ask Richard Schuetz (l.). He’s taken lots of sports bets.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: Crash and Burn?

Gaming stocks have finally come down to earth. So had they been over-valued or is this just a reaction to higher than normal values? But a recent study by Deutsche Bank gives gaming investors some comfort. And Golden Entertainment may represent a golden opportunity.


Melco Backs Off Delist Plan

The majority owner of Melco Resorts and Entertainment (Philippines) Corp., which operates City of Dreams (l.) in Manila’s Entertainment City, has withdrawn its plan to delist the company from the Manila stock exchange.

Ho Heir Behind HK$5B IR in Cotai

Arnaldo Ho (l.), son of Macau gaming legend Stanley Ho and local lawmaker Angela Leong, is the driving force behind Lisboeta, a planned integrated resort to be developed next to SJM’s Grand Lisboa Palace in Cotai.

Macau’s De Club Plans ICO

Macau-based De Club is planning a casino venue backed by blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. The company hopes to raise US$1 billion in an initial coin offering to fund the venture.

Macau Tallies YTD Gaming Taxes

The Macau government reaped almost MOP80.32 billion (US$9.95 billion) in gaming taxes during the first three quarters of 2018, according to official data. That’s up 17 percent over the same period in 2017.


Tigre COO Wants Competition

Stylianos Tsifetakis (l.), chief operating officer of Summit Ascent Holdings’ Russia unit, reports an increase in visitation and revenues at Tigre de Cristal, but says a “cluster” effect with more resorts is needed.

New UK Gambling Rules Take Effect

New Rules from the UK Gambling Commission will go into effect at the end of October. The rules are designed to bring gambling operators into better compliance with UK Advertising codes and consumer protection laws. They include improving consumer complaint procedures and restrictions on spam advertising.

William Hill Sells UK Racetrack Pitches

UK Bookmaker William Hill has sold 82 racetrack pitches—trackside betting stalls—and focus on its larger racetrack betting shops. The bookmaker sold the to the owner of leading racetrack operator Sid Hooper. Reports put the sale at about $2.6 million.

Rank Group Reports Earnings Decline

UK casino operator The Rank Group reported a decline in earnings at its Grosvenor Casinos chain in in the 16 weeks to October 14. Officials for the group blamed a reduction in handle and lower margins from high rollers for a year-on-year dip of 7.2 percent at its 56 casinos in the UK.


BC Casinos to be Closely Monitored

The BC Lottery Corporation, which oversees British Columbia’s casinos, has hired a third-party auditor to ensure that casinos, such as the River Rock Casino Resort (l.) obey regulations that they take detailed financial information on transactions exceeding $10,000. The action is meant to combat money laundering.

More Delays for SkyCity Convention Centre

SkyCity’s Auckland International Convention Centre is not likely to meet its planned opening date of December 2019 due to problems with the contractor. The project is already six months behind schedule.

NSW Movie Foray a Flop

In New South Wales, unclaimed pokies winnings are supposed to go to benefit the community. Officials apparently thought that included $850,000 earmarked to produce a failed kung fu movie.


Unikrn Gets Isle of Man Licensing for Cryptocurrency, Esports Betting

Esports betting operator Unikrn has been granted licenses for cryptocurrency and real-money online gambling on esports from the Isle of Man. The company says it is the only blockchain-based platform with regulated betting. The company also has an online gambling license from Malta regulators.

Louisiana Voters To Determine DFS Fate

FanDuel contributed $154,000 of the $154,135 raised by the political committee Fairness for Fantasy Sports in Louisiana, supporting a November 6 ballot issue legalizing fantasy sports apps. The measure must be approved in each parish by more than half the voters. Louisiana is one of only nine states where FanDuel and DraftKings don't operate.

PAGCOR Clarifies Playtech Licensing

The Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR has clarified its position on granting Playtech a monopoly on providing random number generating games to POGO license holders. The regulator told CalvinAyres.com that Moford Inc., a Playtech distributor was simple the first company to meet its licensing requirements and that it is still accepting applications.

IGT Signs Pennsylvania iGaming Deal

IGT last week signed a digital platform and content agreement with Penn National Gaming for online gaming in Pennsylvania. Penn will utilize IGT’s PlayCommand to control all of the company’s iGaming capabilities.

Atlantic City’s Ocean Resort Opens Esports Lounge

The Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City has opened “The Den,” an eSports facility designed to attract younger players to the resort. The opening was part of the casino hosting an eSports conference through a partnership with Fox Marketing’s Gameacon. The Den is a 5,600-square-foot facility that features PCs, arcade games, and more traditional games found in bars.


Oklahoma Tribes Explore Sports Betting

In Oklahoma, tribes are preparing to offer sports betting when lawmakers pass a bill and the governor signs it. State gaming compacts also will have to be amended. Speakers at the recent annual gathering of the United Indian Nations of Oklahoma Kansas and Texas cautioned tribal officials to take their time when considering sports betting. Osage Casinos Chief Executive Officer Byron Bighorse (l.) says 2020 might be reasonable.

Odds Looking Good For Legal Sports Betting Next Year In Indiana

Indiana moved closer to sports betting last week when a General Assembly committee unanimously cleared a discussion on sports betting for next year’s session. Committee Chairman Rep. Ben Smaltz (l.) said it was a “neutral” recommendation and that the devil was in the details.

Illinois Holds Second Sports Betting Hearing

Organized by Illinois state Rep. Bob Rita, the Joint Committee on Revenue and Finance held a second hearing about expanded gambling, focusing on sports betting. Gaming operators, government officials, major league sports and gambling opponents testified. Rita sponsored still-active gambling legislation and state Rep. Lou Lang said he'll introduce a bill in 2019.

Tropicana Atlantic City Launches New Jersey Sports Book

Tropicana Atlantic City launched a sports book in partnership with William Hill. It’s the ninth sports book to open in the state and the seventh at an Atlantic City casino. William Hill also announced it will operate a sports betting lounge at Newark’s Prudential Center, home of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.

Kentucky Lawmakers Study Sports Betting

A legislative committee in Kentucky recently held a hearing to consider several aspects of sports betting. Issues included integrity fees to major league sports, offering an online betting option and taxation. Legislators also debated whether the Kentucky Lottery Corporation or the Kentucky Horse Racing commission should regulate sports wagering.

West Virginia Sports Books Collect $10 Million

After two months of legal sports betting, West Virginia collected $10 million in wagers, earning $200,000 for the state. Forecasters project the state will earn $5.5 million in revenue in sports betting's first year. First with a sports book, Hollywood Casino collected more than $9 million in wagers and $2.3 million in revenue.

Mississippi Sports Bettors Wager $31.77 Million

Sports betting in Mississippi in September—the first full month it was allowed--generated a $31.77 handle, resulting in $4.4 million in taxable income. More than half of that amount, $22.91 million, was for football bets, with coastal casinos collecting $16.27 million of that total. Currently 22 sports books operate in Mississippi.


Sources: Greenwood, Cordish Could Sell Philly License

Reliable sources are saying that the partners in Philadelphia’s Stadium Casino project (l.) are preparing to ask permission to sell the license for the city’s second casino. The project was delayed several years by a lawsuit and has had several halting starts this year.

Property Owners Seek Casino Development

Atlanta realtor Rick Lackey (l.) is marketing large tracts of Georgia acreage to Las Vegas casino operators to raise their interest in developing destination casinos. The response has been cordial but unenthusiastic since casino gambling is illegal in the state, he said. Casino resorts would create 30,000 new jobs and generate $3.6 billion in new development.

Wynn Ending Dealer Tip-Sharing

Wynn Las Vegas dealers have won their 12-year battle against a policy instituted by Steve Wynn that forced them to share tips with supervisors the only dealers on the Strip required to do so. The practice is going by the boards next month in a move designed to boost employee morale.

Pros, Cons Of Arkansas Issue 4 Debated

Alex Gray, counsel for Driving Arkansas Forward, the political group promoting Issue 4, and Jerry Cox, president of the conservative Arkansas Family Council, recently debated Issue 4. The proposed constitutional amendment would allow gambling expansion at Hot Springs and West Memphis racetracks, plus two new casinos in Pine Bluff and Russellville.

Rhode Island Candidates Spar on Gaming

Rhode Island candidates for governor—incumbent Democrat Gina Raimondo, Republican Allan Fung and others—provided a mixed bag of answers when quizzed about their attitudes on gaming expansion. The state’s two casinos are the third largest source of state funding.

Gaming Stocks Slide This Year

Casinos rarely stop making money, but sometimes the stock of gaming corporations lose their luster. Last week Goldman Sachs removed Las Vegas Sands from its Conviction Buy list.

Amendment 3 Could Impact Florida Parimutuels

Amendment 3 in Florida would give voters—not legislators—the exclusive right to approve gambling expansion. Some horsemen oppose the proposed constitutional amendment, fearing they'd be unable to offer sports betting or historical racing. Others said the passage of the proposal would let them maintain the status quo.

Horseshoe Casino, Baltimore Ravens Announce Marketing Deal

Horseshoe Casino Baltimore and the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens announced a multi-year marketing agreement in the second-ever partnership between a casino and an NFL team. At left, Horseshoe Casino General Manager Erin Chamberlin and Ravens Senior Vice President of Corporate Sales and Business Development Kevin Rochlitz celebrate the deal.

Indiana Ferry Closes For Winterizing

After operating less than three weeks, the MS Lucky Lack ferry boat connecting Rising Sun, Indiana with Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, recently closed for winterizing, according to Rising Star Casino officials. Originally set to launch in August, the ferry's opening was delayed due to bad weather and road paving.


Connecticut, Tribes Try Again in Federal Court

The gaming tribes of Connecticut and the state have filed an amended lawsuit to try to force the Department of the Interior to issue a ruling on an amended gaming compact for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe. The action is necessary before the tribe can build a casino in East Windsor. The lawsuit claims that Nevada Senator Dean Heller (l.) “unduly” influenced Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in favor of MGM Resorts.

Bill to Rescue Massachusetts Tribe Subject of Battle

Lobbyists in the nation’s capital are playing a large part this year as Congress mulls the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act. The act would allow the tribe to build a casino in Taunton. Large amounts of money are being spent on both sides of this issue, with Massachusetts Senator and presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren (l.) as the main proponent.

Mohegan Gaming To Manage Paragon

A subsidiary of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment signed a 5-year contract with the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana to manage gaming, entertainment and hospitality services at Paragon Casino Resort (l.) in Marksville, Louisiana. The tribe hired MGE in 2016 to provide consulting services as Paragon overhauled its brand and facilities.

Yuba County Casino May Generate Economic Activity

When the Hard Rock Fire Mountain Casino and Hotel is completed in 15 months in Northern California’s Yuba County, it is expected to generate economic activity. The casino is a partnership between the Estom Yumeka Maidu Tribe of the Enterprise Rancheria and Hard Rock International.

Aquinnah Tribe Still Working on Casino

The Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe has once again assured local residents that it intends to build a Class II casino in the town of Aquinnah, on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The tribe has partnered with the Chickasaw Nation’s Global Gaming Solutions.


Rodio Named CEO of Affinity Gaming

Tony Rodio, former CEO of the Tropicana Atlantic City and president of Tropicana Entertainment, has been named CEO of Las Vegas-based casino operator Affinity Gaming.

Hard Rock Appoints Japan Prez

Former Trump transition team member Ado Machida is now president of Hard Rock Japan. He will lead Hard Rock in its bid to win one of the first three integrated resort licenses in the country.

Greenblatt Named CEO of MGM-GVC’s Joint Venture

Adam Greenblatt has been named CEO of MGM Resorts International’s partnership with UK gaming giant GVC Holdings. Greenblatt will oversee the partnership’s entrance into U.S. sports betting and online gaming. The MGM-GVC partnership was announced in July with the companies investing $100 million into the business.

Caesars Names First Woman to Board

The Las Vegas-based gaming giant Caesars Entertainment has appointed Denise Clark as its 11th director. The former Estée Lauder executive and U.S. Navy veteran brings to the company more than two decades of experience with multinationals including Hasbro, Mattel and Apple.

Paraguay Names New Top Gaming Regulator

A new gaming regulator, to head the National Gaming Commission (Conajzar) has been named by the president of Paraguay. President Mario Abdo Benítez has appointed José Antonio Ortiz Báez to the post.


Aruze Names German Distributor

Independent German distributor Spirit Gaming has agreed with Aruze Gaming to serve as the slot manufacturer’s exclusive distributor in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Lichtenstein.

Hard Rock Biloxi Opening Sugar Factory

Opening early next year, the Sugar Factory American Brasserie at Hard Rock Biloxi will feature a floor-to-ceiling candy wall with 500 different novelty and bulk candies. The world's 24th Sugar Factory, it also will offer a full-service café, confectionary, retail store and full-service bar where smoking cocktails are a specialty.


GSA Stages Technology Summit: Focus on Blockchain

Sponsored by Novomatic, the Gaming Standards Association is holding a technology summit in Reno on November 8-9 that focuses on blockchain and its application in the gaming industry. A keynote address will be delivered by Nevada state Senator Ben Kieckhefer (l.), who has supported technology in the state.

Merkur Gaming Ready For BEGE

Merkur Gaming will demonstrate its latest innovations at the Balkan Entertainment & Gaming Expo (BEGE). New cabinets and games will be featured at the show in Sofia, Bulgaria.

UNLV Sponsoring Sports Betting Forum

The group is the brainchild of the university’s International Center for Gaming Regulation. The aim is to bring together state and tribal gaming authorities, law enforcement, sports leagues and betting operators to discuss their mutual interests and share advice and guidance.




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