Election 2018: Gaming Wins, Loses, Maybes

The mid-term 2018 elections held much drama surrounding the impacts on Congress and state houses. While the results were not as astounding as the election of Donald Trump as president two years earlier, they still had implications for gaming. In Florida, voters wrested control of gaming expansion from the legislature in a victory for Disney (l.). In Arkansas voters OK’d four casinos, DFS was approved in most Louisiana parishes, and historical racing machines were voted down in Idaho.

Featured Stories More

WEEKLY FEATURE: MGM Exploring a Deal for Caesars?

A merger between the two industry giants MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment presents an array of possibilities—and a raft of potential complications. But whether it comes to anything or not, it appears certain that some of Caesars’ largest shareholders are determined to force the company into bed with someone. But would a single company be allowed to own virtually the entire Las Vegas Strip (l.)?

Wynn Sues Wynn

Steve Wynn (l.), the former chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, last week filed suit against the company he founded for releasing information to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission that he considers “proprietary” via the attorney-client relationship. Wynn Resorts, meanwhile, had a rough week in which it released third-quarter earnings, ended plans for “Paradise Park” and announced that Phil Satre has been appointed chairman of the company.

More Bidders Line Up for Japan

It’s getting crowded in the pool of potential Japan IR license bidders. Barriere France has now joined the throng, along with Casinos Austria. The list already includes MGM, Caesars, Melco, Genting, LVS and many more. At the same time, the number of would-be host cities is also on the rise.

UK Appoints New Sports Minister

The UK Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sports has appointed Eastleigh MP Miriam ‘Mims’ Davies (l.) as new UK Sports Minister replacing Tracey Crouch. The appointment comes after Crouch resigned to protest a delay in setting a new maximum bet on fixed odds betting terminals to £2. That change has been pushed back to October 2019.

Caesars Entertainment and the Notorious RBG

By appointing the first woman to their board Caesars Entertainment is joining progressive gaming companies who have finally woken up to the distaff sex. Richard Schuetz explains why this is so important via comments by current Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (l.).

Delaware North Purchases Australian Property

Delaware North will purchase SkyCity Entertainment Group's Darwin, Australia casino (l.) for $137 million. The two companies also will launch an online casino if Australian law allows that in the next decade. SkyCity will retain the right to access VIP gaming facilities for international business customers at the casino for two years.

AGS Appoints Geoff Freeman To Board

Geoff Freeman, the former president and CEO of the American Gaming Association has been appointed to the board of AGS. The company says Freeman brings gaming, hospitality experience and a track record of success.

We Are Post-PASPA, Now What?

With PASPA a thing of the past, the gaming industry has to come to grips with sports wagers and how they work. They are not like traditional casino games, so a different perspective is necessary. Gaming veteran Bruce Merati (l.) explains.


Will U.S. Trade War Affect Macau Concessions?

New and renewed gaming concessions in Macau will be awarded from 2020 through 2022. What will matter most to U.S. companies hoping to be renewed in the special administrative region—politics or performance? UNLV researcher Brett Arbarbanel (l.) says it could impact the renewal of concessions.

HK, Macau: Bridging their Differences

The HKZM Bridge may usher in an era of cooperation by destinations that once battled each other for business. Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong Province will benefit by working together as the Greater Bay Area.

IPI Plans Bond Placement

Imperial Pacific International, operator of a namesake casino resort on the Pacific island of Saipan, is hoping to raise up to HK$300 million (US$38.2 million) through a bond placement.

Gaming Tax Hike in Store for Malaysia Ops

Malaysian’s new budget includes substantial tax hikes for casinos. And since the only casino operator in Malaysia is Genting for Resorts World Malaysia (l.), the hit is singular. The casino license fee will be raised from MYR120 million (US$28.8 million) to MYR150 million and the tax will increase from 25 percent to 35 percent.

Goa Strip Now the Goal

Officials in the Indian state of Goa are considering a land-based cluster of integrated resorts with gaming to replace offshore casinos now operating on the Mandovi River (l.).

Tak Chun Opens VIP Room at MGM Cotai

Macau junket operator Tak Chun has opened a new VIP room at MGM Cotai (l.). The facility will officially open on November 19. So far this year, the company has opened VIP rooms at Plaza Macau and the Macau Roosevelt.

Taiwan Race Could Decide IRs

The November 24 general elections in Taiwan will likely be the final hope for legal integrated resorts in the country, say experts. KMT Party candidate Han Kuo-yu (l.) is a longtime advocate of an IR in the region.

Chinese Group Plans Philippine Casino

Despite repeated declarations by President Rodrigo Duterte that no new casinos will be built in the Philippines, a Chinese conglomerate has announced plans to develop a $100 million integrated resort in Cagayan.

Lawrence Ho Cleans Up on Studio City IPO

It’s good to be Lawrence Ho. The chairman and CEO of Melco International Development Ltd. will get the lion’s share of US$2.9 million in proceeds from Studio City’s initial public offering.


Sky UK to Restrict Gambling Ads

Sky UK has announced it limit gambling advertisements to one per advertising break starting in August 2019. The limit will apply to all channels that Sky sells advertising and will include channels like Viacom’s Channel 5 as well as those Sky operates directly. Sky’s services currently allow four gambling ads per ad break.

Andorra Considers License Appeal

Four companies appealing a casino license award in Andorra have won an extension of their legal action. Genting, Grupo CIRSA, Casinos Austria and Partouche France are protesting the granting of a gaming license to Jocs SA.

Northern UK To Get New Problem Gambling Treatment Service

UK problem gambling advocate group GambleAware has announced the creation of a new National Health Service treatment service worth more than £1 million. The Leeds-based NHS Northern Gambling Clinic will open in April 2019 and operate through a partnership between Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the GamCare Network.

William Hill Warns of Lower Profit Expectations

UK bookmaker William Hill is cutting its profit expectations for the year saying tougher regulations and higher taxes in the UK will hurt previous projections. The bookmaker also warned of losses in the U.S. as it continues to expand its operations there. The announcement caused William Hill stock to initially fall by about 9 percent.


Star Gets OK to Expand Gold Coast

Star Entertainment has been approved by the Queensland government to expand its planned Gold Coast resort. The revised master plan, which adds four towers, is a “significant milestone,” says CEO Matt Bekier (l.).

Decision Pending on B.C. Casino

The British Columbia Lottery Corporation could decide soon on whether to give Gateway Casinos permission to build a proposed $70 million Delta Cascades Casino and hotel. The casino would have 500 slot machines and 24 table games. First step is the demolition of the existing Town & Country Inn (l.).

Legal Poker Possible in Israel

A Supreme Court ruling holding poker to be a game of skill could open the door to poker being legalized in the country of Israel, where the game has long been illegal.

Gateway Casinos Strike Could End

The management and union of four casinos in the Okanagan region of British Columbia have reached a tentative agreement to end a five-month-old strike. Now it’s up to the membership of the British Columbia Government and Service Employees Union to vote on whether to ratify it.

Study: More Australians Experiencing Gambling Harm

Research from The Australian National University finds that more Australians are experiencing gambling harm and suffering hardships for longer than previously thought. The Center for Gambling Research identified more than 1.4 million Australians experiencing gambling harm, much more than the previous estimates of 200,000.


MGM Resorts and Golden Nugget Apply for Pennsylvania Online Gambling Licenses

MGM Resorts and Golden Nugget, both of which have an online gambling presence in New Jersey, have applied for online licensing in Pennsylvania. Golden Nugget is seeking to gain a slots license and a table games license at a cost of $4 million each. MGM is also seeking licenses for both as well as for online poker.

Unlicensed Gambling Sites Forced to Close in Australia

New enforcement actions by the Australian Communications and Media Authority has reportedly forced 33 unlicensed gambling sites to stop accepting bets from the country. The authority and Chairwoman Nerida O’Loughlin (l.) released a report saying the “prominent” internationally licensed online gambling sites had withdrawn from the Australian market in the 12 months since the country’s amended gambling laws took effect.New enforcement actions by the Australian Communications and Media Authority has reportedly forced 33 unlicensed gambling sites to stop accepting bets from the country. The authority and Chairwoman Nerida O’Loughlin (l.) released a report saying the “prominent” internationally licensed online...

Argentine Province Suspends MissionBet

The Provincial Institute of Lotteries and Casinos of Misiones has suspended the operation of local online gambling platform MisionBet. The regulator said that it had decided to make the move in order to “guarantee transparency and security to gamblers.”

Kindred Group Reports Quarterly Online Increases

Kindred Group reported that online poker revenue increased 47 percent during the third quarter to $5.7 million. For the year, the company has taken in $16.85 million. However, the company’s online sports betting and casino sites upped its overall winnings 19 percent as the company seems poised to enter the U.S. market.

Twin Casino to Offer Greentube Games

Online casino operator Twin Casino has agreed to offer a full portfolio of games from Greentube, the iGaming subsidiary of Austria’s Novomatic Group.


Pennsylvania Sports Betting to Launch

Penn National Gaming is poised to open Pennsylvania’s first commercial sports-betting operation at its Hollywood Casino (l.) outside of Harrisburg within weeks or even days, after the gaming board approved William Hill as its partner last week.

Betting Boon Ahead for U.S. Sports, Study Says

New research conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers indicates that as legal betting spreads to more states it will bring a windfall of cash to the business of sports. Revenues from media rights, gate receipts, sponsorships and merchandising could jump by $11 billion over the next five years.

New Mexico Sports Betting Stirs Controversy

Two weeks ago, the New Mexico Lottery Authority voted unanimously to authorize a new sports lottery game. Critics claim this violates state law. State Rep. Jason Harper (l.) says bets are illegal in an Indian casino as well as the state lottery.

Kansas Legislator Reintroducing Sports Betting

Kansas state Rep. Jan Kessinger will reintroduce his sports betting bill, but the new version would allow it at bars that offer Keno through the Kansas Lottery, as well as mobile bets, in addition to the state's four casinos. He said legal sports betting could begin July 1, 2019, generating $75 million annually.

Scientific Games Completes Don Best Buyout

Scientific Games Corporation has completed its acquisition of Don Best Sports Corporation and DBS Canada Corporation, solidifying the supplier’s sport bet operations.

DraftKings Readies Massachusetts PR Campaign

DraftKings, the Boston-based daily fantasy sports giant, would like to offer sports betting in the Bay State. So, it is gearing up a campaign anchored in social media to urge the legislature to legalize sportsbook.

Pearl River Resort Sports Book Recognized

The information technology department at Pearl River Resort in Choctaw, Mississippi recently was recognized by Adobe in the Gaming and Enterprise Category at the 19th annual TribalNet conference in Las Vegas. Operated by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, the resort's IT team developed, installed and opened a sports book in just 30 days.


Churchill Downs Purchasing Rivers Majority in Illinois

Churchill Downs Inc. announced it will purchase a majority interest in Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois for at least $326 million or a maximum of $500 million. Rivers is located about 20 miles from Churchill's Arlington Park racetrack. The transaction requires several approvals and would close in the first quarter of 2019.

Casino REITs Go in Opposite Directions

VICE and MGM Growth proved last week that even supposedly “safe” REITs have risks. Revenue and funds from operations both were down in the three months ended September 30 for the Caesars’ spinoff REIT, while MGM Growth Properties’ portfolio of 13 MGM resorts, including MGM Grand (l.), beat analysts’ forecasts with $154.8 million in funds from operations on total revenues of $282.2 million.

Indiana City Bids for Second Casino License

Gary, Indiana wants to move its casino boat the Majestic Star (l.) from Buffington Harbor to another location to make way for harbor redevelopment. This will free up a casino license. Cities in the state’s northeast are lining up for the license.

Virginia Developers Present Conceptual Drawings

Developers of the proposed $50 million, 550,000-square-foot Bristol Resort and Casino in Bristol, Virginia recently issued conceptual drawings showing how the former mall would be transformed. The destination resort would include a gaming area, family amusement area, convention center, spa, hotel tower, performance space and dining options.

Christmas Casino Opens In Cripple Creek

Following a $1 million renovation, Christmas Casino & Inn recently opened in Cripple Creek, Colorado. Full House Resorts purchased the property, formerly the Imperial Hotel, which housed Big Jim's Gambling Hall and Saloon, in 2016. Featuring a year-round Christmas theme, the property is the city's first new casino in more than a decade and is an expansion of the existing Bronco Billy’s casino (l.).

Analysts Consider Penn’s Acquisitions the Real Story

Stock analysts are advising that Penn National Gaming is a very strong company, despite its somewhat weak numbers during the third quarter. They point to its just concluded merger with Pinnacle Entertainment that will greatly increase its cash flow. And the company’s two Las Vegas properties, the Tropicana (l.) and M Resort, are performing well.

Biloxi Council Approves Waterfront Project

The Biloxi city council approved a resolution to proceed with a feasibility study for a $150 million "world class, waterfront, mixed use convention center and retail project" in East Biloxi. It could include the historic Tullis Manor site, which has remained empty since it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. BBR Biloxi is listed as the developer.

Hard Rock Atlantic City Fined by New Jersey Regulators

New Jersey gaming regulators have fined Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City $5,000 for failing to follow state rules in its appointment of a new marketing director. The state Division of Gaming Enforcement issued the fine after Hard Rock did not properly petition for qualification or notify regulators of the appointment of Mann Lien as the property’s vice president of Asian marketing, as required by the Casino Control Act.


Connecticut Town Updated on Tribal Casino

MMCT Venture, the joint authority of Connecticut’s two gaming tribes, are looking at various options for getting the casino they would like to build in East Windsor back on track. A representative of MMCT updated the city council last week on the project, and its challenges.

Moody’s Contemplates Mohegan Rating Downgrade

Moody’s could soon downgrade Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) the development arm of the Mohegan tribe of Connecticut, which owns and operates the Mohegan Sun casino. Moody’s says it is considering the downgrade because of the tribe’s inability to reduce debt.

California Management Compact Approved by NIGC

The National Indian Gaming Commission October 31 gave the stamp of approval of the management contract by Boyd Gaming for the Wilton Rancheria. The tribe plans to build a $400 million casino resort in Elk Grove, about 20 miles from Sacramento, California.

North Carolina Tribe Announces Largest Per Capita Distribution

Each of the 15,779 members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina will receive $7,007 next month, the largest single-period per capita distribution in the tribe's history from its two casinos, including Harrah’s Cherokee (l.). The sum, $615 more than the December 2017 distribution, brings the calendar-year total to more than $12,000 per tribal member—also a first.

Lawsuit Dims Carter Lake Casino Celebration

The Prairie Flower Casino opened recently in Carter Lake, Iowa. But a lawsuit against the National Indian Gaming Commission and the U.S. Interior Department by the city of Council Bluffs and states of Iowa and Nebraska dimmed the celebrations. "There's a very real legal challenge pending," said the Nebraska Attorney General's office.

So Cal Tribes Contributed $160 Million to Campaigns

Tribes based in San Bernardino and Riverside counties in California contributed about $160 million to a variety of state and federal campaigns in the last decade. The figures were unearthed by an investigative team of the Desert Sun.


R.I. Sportsbooks Delayed Again

While once Rhode Island’s lottery had hoped to offer sports book in the state in time for the World Series, now they are aiming at the Thanksgiving holiday. The wagers would, at first only be offered at Twin River Casino (l.).

Chinese Lottery CEO: China Should Regulate Online Lotteries

John Sun, CEO of AGTech Holdings, a lottery technology and services company said in a recent interview that China could tap into a billion-dollar industry by regulating online lotteries. The unregulated online lottery market brings in an estimated $288.9 billion.


Pequot Chairman Butler Reelected to Fourth Term

Rodney Butler shrugged off two challengers last week to be reelected to a fourth three-year term as chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council. The tribe owns Foxwoods Resort Casino. Butler is also interim CEO of the resort.

Olympic Names Plummer CEO

Olympic Gaming Group has named Cory Plummer, previously part of the company’s supervisory board, as the Estonia-based casino operator’s new CEO.

Seminole Gaming Announces Management Promotions

James F. Allen, chief executive officer at Seminole Gaming, recently announced David Hoenemeyer was named chief operating officer. Additionally, Steve Bonner (l. to r.) was named president at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa; Larry Buck promoted to president at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek; and Edward Aguilar appointed general manager at Seminole Classic Casino Hollywood.

Two Strip Veterans Join SLS

The North Strip casino hotel has tapped Derek Amundson (l.) and Anthony Olheiser to head casino operations and food and beverage, respectively. Amundson brings years of experience at the Excalibur to his new job. Olheiser has been a leader on the nightclub side for both MGM and Las Vegas Sands.


Gaming Standards Association Announces Agreement with BlockRe

The Gaming Standards Association has reached an agreement with BlockRe to examine how the company’s risk assessment framework could work for gaming companies. The announcement was made at GSA’s Technology Conference: Blockchain in Reno last week.

IGT Riding High

Increased game shipments and growth in the lottery division has driven rises in earnings per share for International Game Technology, plc.


BMM Hosts Certification Master Class

BMM Testlabs hosted the NIGA Commissioner Certification Masters Class at its Las Vegas headquarters as part or the NIGA Seminar Series. Jodi DiLascio (l.), head of the tribal division for BMM, believes the sessions will secure gaming assets of tribes.


Murren to Testify in Lawsuit Against Schaeffer

MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren traveled to New Zealand last week to testify in a lawsuit he and Full House Resorts President Daniel Lee filed against former friend and casino executive Glenn Schaeffer (l.).

Rapper Claims Profiling by Parq Casino

Rapper and songwriter Drake (l.) claims that the Parq Casino in Vancouver, British Columbia racially profiled him. Possibly he was caught up in the province’s new restrictive law that requires several layers of determining the source of funds of more than $10,000.




Outrageous pronouncements, simple statements and words of wisdom