Penn National, VICI Purchase Detroit’s Greektown

JACK Entertainment will sell Greektown Casino (l.) in Detroit to Penn National Gaming and VICI Properties for $1 billion. The transaction will close in 2019. JACK Chairman Dan Gilbert, who's said he wants to exit the gaming business, said he'll use the proceeds toward "strategic investments in our Detroit real estate and business initiatives."

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The UK government, faced with growing opposition in parliament and the resignation of Sport Minister Tracey Crouch (l.) has agreed to move up a cut in the maximum stake allowed on FOBTS to April. More than 100 conservative MPs revolted when the government first announced that the cuts would be made in October, rather than the widely reported date of April. The MPs had threatened to attach amendments to the government’s budget bill to force the cuts to be moved up or possibly send the bill to defeat.

Hollywood Casino Takes First Pennsylvania Sports Bets

Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood Casino last week became the first Pennsylvania casino to take legal sports bets, as the casino opened its sports book on Thursday in a driving snowstorm. Other casinos are quickly expected to follow suit.

Ho-Chunk's Beloit Casino Advances

The Ho-Chunk Nation's proposed $405 million Beloit, Wisconsin casino resort is advancing at the federal level, with a public hearing on a draft environmental impact statement on December 11. The facility, the tribe's seventh in Wisconsin, will provide 1,500 jobs and include a gaming floor, 300-room hotel, indoor water park, conference center, entertainment space and retail.

No News is Good News

A “State of the SAR” address by Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On (l.) provided no clue about how the government is going to handle the renewal of the gaming concessions and sub-concessions, which are coming due starting in 2020.

Report: Hard Rock Eyes Deal for The Cosmopolitan

A Vegas-focused blog popular with the locals reports for the second time this year that Hard Rock International is pursuing an acquisition that will land it the presence on the Strip it has long sought. The target—the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Scientific Games Mulls Social Gaming IPO

Scientific Games CEO Barry Cottle (l.) says the company is studying the possibility of spinning off its social gaming business in an initial public offering. The company offers the popular games Bingo Showdown, Monopoly and Jackpot Party Social Casino, among others.

The Importance of a Bad Example

Pennsylvania has chosen to ignore the proven taxation and regulation of online gaming and sports betting, installing fees and tax rates that—almost—scared off potential participants. Author Richard Schuetz (l.) says the Keystone State will now become the poster child for doing it your own way, a valuable tool for jurisdictions going forward.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: Continuing Consolidation

The deal to buy Greektown casino in Detroit brings together some strange bedfellows, but it once again points out that competition isn’t only limited to casino companies, it extends to the casino REITs, as well.


Osaka Could Win Big

The Osaka government is angling to host both the 2025 World Expo and one of Japan’s first three integrated resorts. One big win would be great, say analysts. Two would be greater.

Macau Looking at Sluggish 2019

Gaming analysts are increasingly downbeat in their Macau forecasts for the coming year. The city’s chief industry will likely feel the pinch due to the slowing of the mainland economy and ongoing U.S.-China trade tensions. Visitors still are amazed by the city’s tall casino towers (l.).

Duterte Reaffirms Boracay Casino Ban

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has restated his ban on casinos on the holiday island of Boracay, and says he doesn’t need an executive order to make the ban official.

Macau Junkets Want Help with Collecting Debt

Macau’s junket industry is asking the local government for help in managing its past-due debt problem. That help includes proposed changes in the tax structure, which currently is based on revenue, not profit. Paulo Martins Chan (l.), director of the Macau Gaming and Inspection Bureau, says changes are long overdue.

Indian Cruise Ships Pitch Local Gambling

The India Cruise Lines Association has asked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (l.) to permit casino cruises in local waters. Under current law, gambling is not allowed aboard ships until they have reached international waters.

IPI: Bankruptcy Talk is ‘Fake News’

Imperial Pacific International, which has struggled to complete its casino resort in Saipan and faced negative headlines about its solvency is fighting back against rumors that it could go belly-up.

VIPs Skim Melco Profits

High-roller luck in Macau has caused a dip in revenues and profits by Melco Resorts & Entertainment. In the third quarter, MRE’s net revenues were $1.22 billion, down 11 percent from the prior-year period.

Macau Court: Wynn Must Repay Junket Deposits

Macau’s Court of Second Instance has overruled a lower court to determine that Wynn Macau is responsible to refund part of the HK$6 million (US$766,440) lost by investors in junket operator Dore Entertainment.

Good Neighbor Policy to Link Lisboa, Wynn

Ambrose So, chairman of Macau casino concessionaire SJM Holdings Ltd., has confirmed that an overpass will be built linking SJM’s Lisboa Palace to rival resort Wynn Palace. The overpass is expected to be built in 2020.


Dutch Regulator Fines Offshore Ops

Dutch regulator Kansspelautoriteit has levied big fines against CyberRock Entertainment and Honeydew. Each must ante up €350,000 (US$400,000) for offering online gambling to local players.


Ontario Premier Pushes Casino in Toronto

Ontario Premier Doug Ford (l.) reportedly wants to throw his considerable political weight around the idea of putting a waterfront casino in Toronto. He championed this proposal five years ago but lost.

Okanagan Casino Workers Return to Work

Striking workers in four casinos in Okanagan, British Columbia, returned to work last week after accepting a deal between the B.C. Government Employees Union (BCGEU) and Gateway Casinos. The workers won a 23.5 percent wage hike over the next four years.

Casino Woodbine Worker Claims No Pay in Six Weeks

An anonymous poster on social media tells a strange story about the Casino Woodbine in Ontario. The tale involves getting six weeks of work out of part-time workers and allegedly paying them nothing.


Online Gambling to Become Legal in Switzerland

Rules taking effect in the new year will establish a regulated internet market and require operators to obtain Swiss licensing to participate or face blocking. Betting limits also will be enforced for poker tournaments and certain lottery and raffle games.

Study Finds Irish Online Gambling Sites Lax in Checking Legal Age

A recent study finds that online gambling sites serving Irish gamblers are not properly checking if players opening new accounts are of legal age. The study found that few consumer protections are in place for Irish gamblers and that most gambling companies are not conducting proper age verification. The study found that 37 of the 39 most popular gambling sites in the country do not require identity proof.

Sweden Losing Online Gaming Revenue to Unlicensed Operators

Sweden’s online gambling industry continues to be hurt by unlicensed according to the country’s gambling regulator. New online gambling regulations are scheduled to go into effect in Sweden in 2019. Gross gaming revenue was up slightly in the country for the first three quarters of 2019, but a decline was noted among licensed operators.

Stride Gaming Fined For AML Violations in UK

Stride Gaming PLC of London must pay ₤7.1 million in fines to the UK Gambling Commission over its subsidiary Daub Alderney's failure to meet rules and standards regarding money laundering and protecting vulnerable customers. The fine and other requirements are the result of an investigation into the online casino sector.


Sports Betting in N.Y.: Is 2019 the Year?

With Democrats in control of the New York legislature and the governor’s mansion, advocates believe the time is finally right for legalization in the Empire State. That doesn’t mean it will go smoothly. But longtime iGaming supporter Assemblyman Gary Pretlow (l.) will try again.

New Jersey Passes $500 Million In Sports Betting Handle

New Jersey saw its new sports betting market take in $260 million in bets for October bringing the total handle for its first four and a half months of operation to nearly $600. William Hill US CEO Joe Asher calls the totals “impressive.” Atlantic City’s casinos also saw an about 16 percent increase in revenue compared to October of last year. New Jersey's casinos and racetracks have seen $52 million in revenue from sports bets this year.

States Consider Sports Betting Legislation

Sports betting will be among the main topics in the Kansas, Kentucky and Tennessee 2019 legislative sessions. Kansas lawmakers approved a special joint committee to hold meetings on the topic. Kentucky state Senator Jim Carroll (l.) will refile sports betting legislation. And Tennessee state Senator Rick Staples prefiled a bill authorizing sports betting via county referendums.

Puerto Rico Bills Would Legalize Sports Betting

Two bills introduced into the Puerto Rican legislature would legalize sports betting, earmarking a fifth of the profits for a retirement fund. The bills’ author is Rep. Néstor Alonso Vega (l.), president of the House Commission of Tourism and Social Welfare.

South Dakota Town Could Vote on Sports Betting

Proponents of allowing casinos in Deadwood, South Dakota (l.) to offer sports betting have begun the process of putting a constitutional amendment before the voters in two years. They need to gather signatures of 10 percent of those who voted last week to qualify the measure.

NBA Finds French Partner

The deal with France’s government-sponsored betting and lottery operator is the league’s first outside the U.S. It provides FDJ with exclusive use of official NBA game data and allows the partners to cross-promote their brands on both land-based and remote platforms nationwide.

Black Friday Beginning for R.I. Sports Betting

The day after Thanksgiving, or maybe a little later, patrons at Rhode Island’s Twin River casino (l.) will be able to bet on sporting events. Lawmakers are unhappy because they hoped the system would be running by October 1.

Majority of Louisiana Parishes Pass DFS

Voters in 47 of Louisiana's 64 parishes approved daily fantasy sports betting. DraftKings and FanDuel were the major contributors to the $1 million campaign promoting the ballot measure. Lawmakers are expected to establish DFS regulations and tax rates by August 1, 2019. They're hoping DFS success will carry over to legal sports betting.

Poll: Most Maryland Voters Want Sports Betting

A new poll shows 53 percent of voters in Maryland favor legalized sports betting, although the state legislature failed to get a legalization measure on this year’s election ballot.

Woods Mickelson Match to Feature In-Play Gambling Stats

The pay-per-view broadcast of the special match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will include statistics useful for in-play sports betting. Turner Sports, the producer of the broadcast, announced he broadcast will feature “first-of-its-kind integrations centered on predictive data.”

New York’s Empire Resorts Forms Alliance With Bet365

Empire Sports Inc. has announced it is forming a “strategic alliance” with Bet365 to develop and offer sports betting and online gaming at its Resorts World Catskills (l.) in New York. The state does not currently allow sports betting, but legislation is expected in 2019. An affiliate of Bet365 will acquire up to $50 million of Empire common stock at a price of $20 per share, making the company Empire's second-largest stockholder.

MGM GVC Interactive Partners with Sportradar for Sports Data

Sportradar has announced a deal to be the exclusive betting data provider to MGM GVC Interactive LLC for certain leagues. Sportradar works directly with the NBA and NHL as a distributor of league data. MGM currently has a marketing deal with both leagues.


Kentucky Racing Acquisition Purchases Kentucky Downs

Kentucky Racing Acquisition, recently formed by Ron Winchell and Marc Falcone, will purchase Kentucky Downs thoroughbred racetrack (l.) from Kentucky Downs Partners. The track offers live turf racing in September, plus 750 historical racing machines. KRA also plans to develop a new facility in Oak Grove, Kentucky if approved by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Florida Weighs Amendments' Impact

Amendment 3, giving voters the right to determine expanded gambling, and Amendment 13, phasing out greyhound racing, both passed in Florida with more than 60 percent of voter approval. Now lawmakers and regulators are determining how to actually implement the new laws and analyzing what their economic and other impacts may be.

Biloxi Council Discusses Margaritaville Expansion

Margaritaville Resort's $200 million expansion moved forward as the Biloxi, Mississippi city council recently discussed the project, which includes a new amusement park, waterpark and two hotels. The expansion could attract a million visitors, a market study indicated. It includes a TIF district to help pay for infrastructure.

Indiana Casino Location, License Changes Opposed

The Indiana legislature's Interim Study Committee on Commerce and Economic Development recently endorsed turning Gary's Buffington Harbor into an intermodal transportation hub, which would require moving Majestic Star Casino onto land and making its second license available, perhaps to Hammond. But officials with Horseshoe (l.), which is located in Hammond, oppose the idea, saying that would "disrupt the state's gaming industry."

Atlantic City Mayor, Councilman Involved in Fight at Casino Nightclub

Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam (l.) and City Councilman Jeffree Fauntleroy are being investigated for an altercation they had at a city casino nightclub. The state Attorney General has ordered the case to be investigated by the neighboring Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office. A fight outside Haven Nightclub at Golden Nugget Atlantic City was captured on video and shows Gilliam exchanging punches with an unidentified individual and Fauntleroy tossing another man to the ground from behind.

Wynn Is Back in the Golf Business

The company’s decision to scrap the $3 billion Wynn Paradise means the Wynn Golf Club (l.) at the site will be spared demolition and will reopen for its high-end clientele, newly designed, late next year. “It’s a great amenity,” CEO Matt Maddox says.

Harrah’s AC Plans Room Reboot

Atlantic City’s Harrah’s Resort is planning a massive renovation of its Harbour Tower hotel rooms, the original tower when the hotel was built. The rooms will be aimed at business travelers, some of whom will be attending conferences at Harrah’s new meeting rooms.

MGM Springfield Makes Changes

As is normal after grand openings of new casinos, MGM Springfield is making some adjustments to its operations, including increased drink service on the casino floor and the addition of more popular slots and lower-limit table games.

Suffolk OTB Dusts off Medford Casino Proposal

Suffolk OTB is looking at 32 acres in Suffolk County, New York that it has been trying to sell for two years in a new light. It is proposing to build a 1,000 terminal video lottery casino in the city of Medford.

Golden Loses $3 Million in Third Quarter

Construction disruption at the Stratosphere in Las Vegas was the main cause of the red ink, the company said. But with a completely renovated hotel slated to debut at the property early next year and the addition of two more casinos in Laughlin, management is bullish on the future.


Wind Creek Mulls Pensacola Future

The Poarch Band’s Wind Creek Hospitality is not revealing plans for its Pensacola dog track in the wake of the phase-out or dog racing in the state under a ballot decision in the recent election.

AGA Lauds Impact of Tribal Gaming

Thirty years of phenomenal growth after passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act have turbo-charged tribal casinos into an industry of $105 billion, nearly as large as commercial gaming. National Indian Gaming Commission Chairman Jonedev Chaudhuri (l.) celebrated this milestone last week.

Choctaw Nation Expands Durant Casino Resort

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma will expand its Choctaw Casino Resort (l.) in Durant, opened in 2006. The tribe will break ground in the spring and open in 2021. The project will create 1,000 new jobs and add gaming space, hotel rooms, parking, entertainment, dining options, a swimming pool and lazy river and conference center.

Senator Warren Criticized Over Massachusetts Casino Support

Observers of the Massachusetts political scene are wondering why U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (l.), talked about seriously as a presidential candidate in 2020, and a longtime critic of gambling is supporting a proposal to put land into trust for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. The tribe wants to build a casino in Taunton.

New Mexico Tribe Closes Casino, Will Open New One

An old casino closes. A new casino opens, half again as large eight miles away. New Mexico’s Tesuque Pueblo is moving forward with the pending opening of Tesuque Casino next to the Santa Fe Opera while saying goodbye to the Camel Rock casino (l.).

Foxwoods Revenues Dip 10 Percent

Three months of falling slots revenues seem to signal that what the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos have warned would happen when the MGM Springfield casino opened in August has come true. This fall comes even though Indian gaming as a whole is at an all-time high of profitability.

Complexity Gaming Partners With WinStar World

The esports club Complexity Gaming, associated with Dallas Cowboys, named WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma its exclusive casino sponsor. Last month, the Cowboys became the first NFL team to name an official casino with WinStar World. Complexity players now will have access to the casino resort, which will host special events for them.

Oklahoma Casino Construction Won't Harm Wetlands

Cherokee Nation officials said construction of its new casino in Tahlequah, Oklahoma is not harming culturally significant sites nor wetlands, according to environmental studies submitted to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. A local artist has accused the tribe of acting in a "non-Indian" way in its pursuit of the casino.


Chinese Lottery Losses Spark Evasion, Outrage

Chinese authorities are dodging questions about a reported RMB136 billion (US$19.5 billion) in losses to corrupt lottery officials. Officials deny the figures, but haven’t specified actual amounts.


Affinity Names A.C. Veteran to Top Marketing Post

The Las Vegas-based operator has hired Eric Fiocco to oversee marketing across the company’s portfolio of 11 casinos in four states. A protégé of CEO Tony Rodio’s from his Atlantic City days, Fiocco most recently was CMO for Tropicana Entertainment.


AGS Revenue Jumps 34 Percent

Quarterly game sales and expansion into new markets such as Canada has fueled a 34 percent increase in revenue for gaming supplier AGS. CEO David Lopez (l.) credits strong business in Canada for part of the increase.

IGT Enters Canadian Bingo Market

IGT’s new electronic bingo content will be deployed by Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation in the supplier’s first entry into the Canadian bingo market.

Alfastreet Chooses CPI Bill Acceptor

Slovenia’s Alfastreet has committed to using the SC Advance bill validator from Crane Payment Innovations as the preferred bill acceptor in its electronic table game products.

Clarion Partners with All-In Diversity

Clarion Gaming has agreed to a strategic partnership with the All-In Diversity Project, under which it will provide a platform for the organization to disseminate news. Tina Thakor-Rankin (l.), founder of All-In, says Clarion is the “ideal partner.”


LT Game Targets Slot Sales at MGS

Electronic table game supplier LT Game, Ltd. displayed its first single-player slot game titles at last week’s MGS Entertainment Show trade event in Macau.




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