Report: Bill Miller to Head AGA

A news report names Bill Miller, a Washington, D.C. insider with more than two decades of lobbying experience, as the choice as the next CEO of the American Gaming Association. Miller will replace Geoff Freeman, who left the position in June, to lead the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Greece Moves on Airport Casino

Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos says new casino rules in the country will enable the tender for an €8 billion (US$9.1 million) Helliniko casino license to finally move forward. The mixed-use development will be located at the site of Athens’ former international airport.

Jamaica Plans First Casino for 2020

Although the island nation of Jamaica is planning to allow three casino resorts to be built in the next few years that doesn’t mean that the country is going to be a casino destination. That’s according to Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett (l.).

Osaka to Jumpstart Casino Process

Ichiro Matsui (l.), governor of Osaka Prefecture in Japan, says officials will start “early next year” to assess potential private-sector partners to vie for one of the country’s first three integrated resort licenses. The process is designed to have the facility opened by 2015 when Osaka will host a World Expo.

Aristocrat Cuts Ribbon for Summerlin Campus

Executives of Aristocrat Leisure, limited and Aristocrat Technologies cut the ribbon on a new two-building North American headquarters campus in the Las Vegas suburb of Summerlin. Cutting the ribbon are (l. to r.) Managing Director of the Americas Matt Wilson, Aristocrat Chairman Ian Blackburne. Aristocrat CEO Trevor Croker, Kevin T. Orrock, president, Summerlin, the Howard Hughes Corporation.

Leadership Changes at Wynn Las Vegas

Maurice Wooden, a longtime executive with Wynn Resorts, has stepped down as leader of the company’s two Las Vegas properties. Replacing him is Marilyn Spiegel (l.), who preceded Wooden as president of Wynn and Encore Las Vegas. The company also announced a new marketing chief and a new role for former marketing exec Michael Weaver.

Oakland Sues Raiders, NFL Over Move to Vegas

The city of Oakland is seeking triple monetary damages under U.S. antitrust law, accusing the team and the league of devising a $378 million payment, disguised as a “relocation fee,” to buy support for the move from the other team owners. The complaint claims the move also violates the NFL’s own relocation rules. The team will relocated to a new stadium (l.) in Las Vegas in 2020.

888 Acquires All American Poker Network

888 Holdings has completed a $28 million buyout of the All-American Poker Network from investment partner Avenue Capital. The company called the move an important step in achieving long-term success in the U.S. market. 888 Holdings is the only online poker site available in all three U.S. states where it is currently legal and is also gearing up to launch in Pennsylvania when play begins there.

30 Casinos Could Open In Mexican State

Legislation passed in 2017 prohibiting casinos over organized crime links recently was reversed in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. As a result, as many as 30 new casinos could open there next year, mainly near the Mexico-U.S. border. Officials said security is more stable now, and the casinos could provide significant tax revenue.

Global Gaming Business Names the ’25 People to Watch” For 2019

The 17th annual edition of GGB’s 25 People to Watch honors individuals from all walks of gaming life. The list will be published in the January edition of GGB, and on the cover is Elaine Hodgson, the president and CEO of Incredible Technologies. A record number of women (9) were named as honorees.

Isaacs Leaving Scientific Games

Gavin Isaacs has resigned his position as vice chairman of Scientific Games, and will be leaving his position at the end of the month, although he will remain a consultant to the company. Isaacs says he has every intention of getting back into the industry in some capacity.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: Questions About Macau

Gaming investors pay lots of attention to Macau and for good reason. It’s the largest gaming jurisdiction in the world and there are some important decision coming up. And with stellar gaming exec Gavin Isaacs free to join or start another company, where will he land?

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Mohegans, Paramount to Partner in Korea

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment has announced that it will partner with Paramount Pictures on a Hollywood-themed amusement park (l.) at the tribe’s multibillion-dollar Inspire resort now under way in Incheon, South Korea.

SJM Seeks 300-Plus Tables for Palace

SJM Holdings Ltd. plans to ask the Macau government for “300 to 500” new-to-market gaming tables for its Grand Lisboa Palace (l.) in the city’s Cotai district. Vice Chairman and CEO Ambrose So says the IR will open in 2019.

Bernstein: Singapore GGR will Dip for 2018

Brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd. says gross gaming revenues in Singapore will decline by 2.4 percent for full-year 2018 due to drops in both the VIP and mass-market segments. Marina Bays Sands (l.) and Resorts World Sentosa may grow the slot market, however.

Marianas Mulls Casino Commission Bill

The Marianas legislature is holding discussions over what should be the proper wording for a bill that clarifies the powers of the Commonwealth Casino Commission. Some critics say the original bill would leave the commission with little or no oversight.

Macau’s Leong: No Non-Resident Dealers

Members of the Council for Economic Development in Macau say the high demand for dealers is a good reason to allow non-resident workers in the SAR. But Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong (l.) says no.

Melco Philippines Tender Paused

The Philippine Stock Exchange suspended trading of Melco Resorts and Entertainment Philippines shares on December 10 when the company’s public float fell below the minimum required for listing.

Fines for Abandoned Greyhounds

There are penalties in store for Macau Canidrome Co. Ltd., home of a former dog track that failed to find homes for 500 displaced greyhounds. The government will assess a fine of 50,000 patacas (US$6,200) per dog.

Service Robots Coming to Macau

Tourism officials in Macau have revealed that service robots and chatbots will soon be used to improve experiences for visitors to the SAR’s casino resorts.

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Melco Opens C2 in Cyprus

Melco International has debuted its second satellite casino in the Greek-controlled republic of Cyprus. C2 Nicosia (l.) in the capital city includes 10,440 square feet of floor area, five tables and 20 slot machines.

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Victoria, B.C. Retracts Interest in Casino

Lisa Helps (l.) , the mayor of Victoria, in British Columbia, took a look at the allegations of money laundering associated with casinos in the province and decided to withdraw the city’s request to be considered for a casino in its town core. It originally requested consideration three years ago.

Quebec Casino Defrauded of $1 million

Several months ago, the Casino du Lac-Leamy (l.), owned by Lotto Quebec was scammed out of about $1 million by two con men. Both men are still at large but it appears to be a much wider conspiracy.

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Barclays Introduces Gambling Block App

UK bank Barclays has announced a new gambling-block app for its online platforms. The feature will allow customers to turn-off transactions with all gambling-related properties including retail bookmakers, casinos, racetracks, lottery and online gambling sites. The gambling-block feature has been co-developed with citizen financial advisory the Money Advice Trust, and seeks to bring greater control and spending safeguards to Barclays customers.

Unibet Partners with Evolution for Live Online Gaming

Live dealer casino specialist Evolution Gaming announced an extended agreement with Unibet as a continuation of its moves into the U.S. market. Under the deal, Unibet will use Evolution’s live studio recently opened in Atlantic City New Jersey.

New Jersey Considers DFS Changes

New Jersey’s Division of Consumer Affairs is proposing changes to the state’s daily fantasy sports regulations, including a revamp of licensing fees. The proposed fee begins at $5,000 for operators with revenue up to $49,999 and increases to $50,000 for operators who have a gross revenue of $250,000. The state also wants to charge all operators a $500 permit fee.

More Swedish Gambling Licenses Announced

Sweden’s gambling regulator has approved more gambling licenses for operators including Betway, Betclic Everest and the Stars Group. The Stars Group, through its TSG Interactive subsidiary, has been awarded online gaming and sports betting licenses which will allow it to launch sites for its PokerStars, PokerStars Casino, Full Tilt and BetStars brands.

Microgaming Debuts Online Poker in Bulgaria

Microgaming's online poker platform will debut in Bulgaria under a new supply deal with local operator National Lottery AD. The deal sets Microgaming to power a new poker offering for the operator's 7777.bg iGaming brand. The platform will offer tournaments and cash games via the brand, supported by a number of promotional tools, the company said in a press release.

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Hatch Bill: Same Flaws as PASPA

The bill drafted by retiring Senator Orrin Hatch could run into the same constitutional issues that led to the repeal of the U.S. ban on sports betting, according to experts. Sports betting legal expert Daniel Wallach (l.) disagrees and says Hatch’s bill, saying the bill only requires the states to comply with federal standards.

NBA Recruits Stars Group as Official Partner and Signs South American Partner

Once again, the NBA is out in front of the race to monetize brand power and official game data as legal betting spreads across the U.S. The deal, a first for the parent company of PokerStars, is the NBA’s second and similar in detail to its landmark partnership with MGM Resorts International. Also, the NBA is taking its gaming JV model south of the border with a deal naming Uruguay’s Supermatch betting monopoly as an official NBA partner.

New Jersey’s Freehold Raceway Planning Sports Betting

Freehold Raceway (l.) in New Jersey will join the state’s other two tracks in offering sports betting some time in 2019 according to the track’s owner. Freehold has been conspicuously absent in the state’s sports betting industry which launched in June and featured live sportsbooks at the Meadowlands racetrack and Monmouth Park racetrack. Freehold is partly owned by Penn National.

South Dakota Asked to Legalize Sports Betting

Deadwood, South Dakota casino owners are lobbying the state legislature to put a measure before the voters that would amend the state constitution so that the casinos could offer sports betting. Larry Eliason (l.), executive secretary of the South Dakota Commission on Gaming, believes there is much illegal betting going on that could be regulated and taxed.

Minnesota Lawmakers Consider Sports Betting

In the last legislative session, Minnesota state Rep. Pat Garofalo (l.) filed a draft sports betting bill he said was not designed to raise money but to protect bettors. However, he estimated legal sports wagers could reach $2 billion annually. A bipartisan sports betting bill is expected in the upcoming session.

Kansas Lawmakers Consider Sports Betting

A bipartisan legislative committee in Kansas scheduled two days of testimony on sports betting, although the second day's hearing was cancelled. State Senator Bud Estes, the committee chairman, said a few individuals could draft a bill behind closed doors before the next session begins. Committee member state Rep. John Carmichael said that suggestion lacked transparency.

Sports Betting Not on Idaho Horizon

Idaho has many structural roadblocks that make it the state least likely to legalize sports betting in the long-term. Its constitution specifically forbids most forms of gaming, and the most recent attempt to amend it failed to persuade the voters.

Colorado Sports Betting Comes Into Focus

Behind closed doors Colorado state officials are discussing what framework will be needed to legalize sports betting. They are also talking about taxation and who would offer the service. Their discussions came to light after reporters did a public records request. David Farahi (l.), COO of Monarch Casino and Resorts, wants the voters to decide.

Missouri, Ohio Eye Sports Betting Royalty Fees

A sports betting bill sponsored by Missouri state Rep. Cody Smith (l.) includes a 1 percent royalty—formerly called an integrity fee. Three-quarters would go to professional leagues and one-quarter to the NCAA. State Senator Denny Hoskins' sports betting bill would require sports books to pay one-half percent of handle into an Entertainment Facilities Infrastructure Fund. And an Ohio lawmaker is looking to do the same in that state.

Tennessee Considers Sports Betting

In Tennessee, Shelby County commissioners want state lawmakers to allow sports betting on Beale Street (l.) in Memphis. The Tennessee Attorney General issued an opinion that a constitutional amendment would not be required to legalize sports betting. And state Rep. Rick Staples filed a bill allowing counties and municipalities hold referendums on sports betting.

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Wynn Investigation Stalled; Mohegans Ready to Jump In

With the investigation of Wynn Resorts stalled because of a lawsuit by former Chairman Steve Wynn. There’s no timeline for resolution and construction on Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbor continues. If Wynn is denied a license, the Mohegan tribe is ready to take over, a prospect that doesn’t sit well with Everett (the actual location of the resort) Mayor Carlo DeMaria (l. with Steve Wynn in 2012).

Arkansas Regulators Draft Casino Rules

Arkansas Racing Commissioners soon will draft regulations regarding expanded casinos at existing racetracks, like Southland Park (l.) in West Memphis, and new casinos in Jefferson and Pope counties. Following a public comment period, lawmakers and the governor must approve the rules. Commissioners could enact emergency rules so casinos could start construction, and begin generating tax revenue, sooner.

Historical Racing Progresses In Illinois

A 45-day comment period has begun on the Illinois Racing Board's draft rules allowing Illinois racetracks to offer historical racing machines. The Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association said the rules are vague regarding splitting revenue between purses and track owners, specifically, language defining what races can be used in the terminals. The state’s largest racetrack, Arlington Park (l.), is taking a wait-and-see approach.

Bay State’s Casinos Aren’t Promoting Addiction, Says Study

A study funded by casino tax dollars and conducted by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and led by Rachel Volberg (l.) has found that new casinos in the Bay State are not leading to more addiction. There are also not indications that it has caused a rise in crime or other social ills.

Full House Revises Terre Haute Plan

Last year, Full House Chief Executive Officer Dan Lee’s (l.) proposal to install authorized but unused gaming equipment in a new Terre Haute casino failed as lawmakers were concerned the plan was unfair. Now Full House is back with a similar proposal, but it gives competitors the opportunity to also apply for a Terre Haute gaming license.

Pennsylvania Gaming Law Has Brought $385 Million to State

A new report shows that expanded gaming in Pennsylvania approved by Governor Tom Wolf (l.) has already injected $385 million of incremental revenue into the state’s coffers. Mini-casino auctions and iGaming licensing requests lead the field.

N.M. Racing Commission Delays License Decision

The New Mexico Racing Commission has postponed issuing the state’s sixth and final racino license. The commission voted to postpone after one of the applicants for the license sued over the integrity of a feasibility study of its proposed Lordsburg casino. The delay means that the administration of Governor-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham (l.) will probably decide the issue.

Texas Voters Could Vote on a Casino

Texas state Rep. Joe Deshotel (l.) wants to promote allowing some coastal counties to allow casinos. Tax money raised would be used to fund insurance for hurricane prone areas.

Wynn vs. Dealers Back in Federal Court

Wynn Resorts has filed for dismissal of a long-running suit by its dealers at Wynn and Encore Las Vegas over tip sharing. Ironically, the company scrapped the policy earlier this year. The dealers, however, want compensation for the tips they lost, a claim that amounts to millions of dollars.

Atlantic City Casino Revenue Up Again

Atlantic City’s nine casinos saw another strong month in November with total gaming revenue up about 20 percent to more than $247 million over November 2017. That included another big increase in online gaming revenue and about $11.5 million in sports betting revenue for the state’s nascent sportsbooks. Again, however, the recently opened Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resort seemed to take revenue away from the city’s other seven casinos, with only Resorts Atlantic City (l.) reporting a revenue increase.

Wyoming AG: Skill Games Illegal

Video “skill games” such as “Nudge” and “Hot Swap” are illegal gaming games according to Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael. The AG issued the opinion after local law enforcement asked for guidance in dealing with the games.

Cordish Reports Mini-Casino Details

Officials of Cordish Companies outlined details of the Category 4 mini-casino (l.) planned for Westmoreland Mall in a hearing held by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The facility will include a two-story 100,000-square-foot casino with 750 slots and 30 table games.

Virginia Poll Indicates Casino, Sports Betting Support

In a recent poll, 64 percent of Virginia voters said they support the proposed $700 million Pamunkey Tribe casino, which could be located near Richmond. In addition, 58 percent of voters said casino gambling should be allowed in other Virginia locations. Sportsbetting was supported by 63 percent of poll respondents. Senator Chap Petersen (l.) is preparing to introduce a bill to legalize it.

Atlantic City’s Ocean Resort Banks on Concert Upgrade

The recently opened Ocean Resort in Atlantic City has announced a new deal to bring big name concerts, including the Monkees (l.), to the casino’s Ovation Hall. The casino that opened in June has lagged behind the neighboring Hard Rock Atlantic City, which has also promoted an ambitious live concert strategy. Ocean Resorts has now partnered with Bowery Presents/AEG.

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Mohegan Sun Feels Hit From MGM Springfield

The opening of the $970 million MGM Springfield has been a blow to the profits of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment. The MGE is the tribal authority that operates the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut (l.) and other gaming properties.

Hard Rock Tampa Tops Off Tower

The highest beam recently topped off the new $700 million, 15-story hotel tower at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa. The project includes 564 rooms, top-floor VIP area, renovated casino with 5,000 slots and 200 table games, expanded deck with three pools, dining, retail and 700 parking spaces.

BIA Holds Wisconsin, Michigan, Oregon Hearings

The Bureau of Indian Affairs recently held public hearings on the Ho-Chunk Nation's proposed $405 million casino-resort in Beloit, Wisconsin; the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians' proposed $180 million casino in Fruitville Township, Michigan; and in Oregon where the Coquille tribe wants to build a second Indian casino in what used to be a bowling alley in Medford. At two of hearings, the vast majority of speakers supported the casino projects. The Oregon project isn’t so lucky.

Michigan, Minnesota Tribes Share Millions

Two Native American tribes recently announced multi-million-dollar donations. The Gun Lake Tribe in Michigan contributed nearly $9 million to the state and other entities from casino revenue. Chairman Bob Peters (l.) said it validates the decisions made by the tribe. In Minnesota, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community donated more than $5 million to 11 other tribes and 13 nonprofits.

Tesuque Casino has Successful Opening

The Pueblo of Tesuque just opened its Tesuque Casino next to the Santa Fe Opera, just outside of the New Mexico state capital. Pueblo of Tesuque Development Corp., Chairman John Kubiak pronounced his tribe “absolutely pleased” with the opening.

Oregon’s Wildhorse Trims Expansion Budget

The Wildhorse Resort & Casino in Oregon has tweaked its budget for the $85 million expansion. The planning team of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation prioritized items in the project. For example, it cut the number of lanes in the bowling alley from 32 to 24.

Massachusetts Tribe Not Giving Up on Casino

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, which wants to build the First Light Resort and Casino (l.) in Taunton, Massachusetts, is running out of options for putting land into trust in that town that would allow the casino. But the tribe is not giving up.

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Broderick Named GM of Sherwood Valley Casino

Michael J. Broderick has been named general manager of Sherwood Valley Casino. The new GM comes to the Northern California casino after a quarter century in gaming and resort management.

Novomatic Appoints System Chief

Novomatic AG has named Bartholomäus Czapkiewicz as chief systems officer, and as a member of the executive board of the Austria-based supplier.

Chow to Serve as Alternate Director

Macau Legend Development Ltd. has announced that CEO David Chow will serve as alternate director on behalf of his mother, Lam Fong Ngo, an executive director and vice chairman of the company.

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Scientific Games Settles Shuffler Lawsuit

While admitting no wrongdoing, Scientific Games last week settled a lawsuit filed by Shuffle Tech, including others. A judge had stuck the company with a $335 million bill that would have been awarded to the plaintiffs, but Scientific Games negotiated a $151.5 million settlement.

Konami Launches Concerto Opus

Konami Gaming launched its new large-format Concerto Opus cabinet at properties across the country after completion successful field trials.

Resorts World Genting Debuts VR Attraction

Genting Malaysia is calling The VOID, its new 7,000-square-foot virtual reality entertainment center, the “first in Asia” and the “biggest”. Developed by a U.S. company, the venue features a “Star Wars” experience and a Disney collaboration titled “Ralph Breaks VR”.

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Racing Symposium Addresses Sports Betting

Panelists at the Global Symposium on Racing in Arizona said sports betting has the potential to boost or sink the business of horse racing in the U.S. But attorney Kate Lowenhar-Fisher (l.) says it is not the “golden goose.”

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