60 More Days For Wire Act Enforcement

The U.S. Department of Justice has delayed implementation of its revised Federal Wire Act opinion until June 14, according to a memo from outgoing Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (l.). The memo extends a window provided by the Justice Department for the gambling industry to react and adapt to the new interpretation. The DOJ has reversed a 2011 opinion that held that the 1961 law applied only to sports betting, which paved the way for online gambling in the U.S.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Aristocrat, Scientific Games Dominate First EKG Slot Awards

Aristocrat Technologies, Scientific Games and IGT each won multiple awards in the inaugural EKG Slot Awards, presented at a gala Las Vegas event presented by Eilers & Krejcik Gaming. When awarded with the “Best Overall Supplier of Slot Content,” the entire Aristocrat team took the stage to celebrate (l.). Legendary game designer Joe Kaminkow was the first inductee to Slot Hall of Fame established by EKG.

Adelson’s Cancer Eliminates Court Testimony

After a prolonged absence from his office and proposed testimony in a Las Vegas lawsuit was rejected, Las Vegas Sands Corp. revealed the Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson (l.) is suffering from cancer. As a result, he will be excused from testifying at the third trial in a suit filed by former consultant Richard Suen.

Icahn Adds to Caesars Play

A week after billionaire investor Carl Icahn (l.) ramped his courtship of Caesars Entertainment, company stock jumped. Icahn increased his ownership to over 15 percent in the company and put three directors on the operator’s board. Some analysts are reporting that Eldorado, the company that bought Icahn’s most recent company, Tropicana Resorts, could be a Caesars buyer as well.

Wynn Awaits Hearing by Massachusetts Gaming Commission

Wynn Resorts Ltd. was recently hit with a $20 million fine by the Nevada Gaming Commission as punishment for looking the other way when founder Steve Wynn was allegedly sexually harassing employments. That fine could be mild compared to what Massachusetts Gaming Commission may be about to do to the company. Encore Boston Harbor (l.) is due to open this summer.

Genting Stops Funding Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is no longer getting governmental support funds from the company that it partnered with to build the $1 billion First Light Resort and Casino. Nevertheless, the tribe is continuing to pay $500,000 a year to Taunton, its casino host city.

Wynn Promises Biggest Japan IR

Wynn Resorts wants to go big in Japan. The U.S.-based gaming company has promised it will build the “world’s largest” integrated resort if it wins its bid for one of three IR licenses up for grabs there. Wynn is targeting Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka.

The Manel

Too often, when attending conferences, the seminar panels consist entirely of men, and should be renamed “manels.” While there certainly are exceptions, it is a disturbing trend that is manifested at most conferences and in most industries. Former regulator Richard Schuetz (l.) explains why we should all be concerned.


IPI On-Track or Off?

Saipan gaming operator Imperial Pacific International says it’s on schedule to complete the Imperial Pacific Resort by December, despite a labor shortage. A crew of fewer than 300 workers is now laboring at the site.

A Banner 2018 for SJM

The Macau gaming giant boosted gaming revenue by more than 8 percent last year to US$4.28 billion, thanks to a robust showing from the company’s mass table games market. This year should prove strong as well with SJM’s debut on Cotai at Grand Lisboa Palace possible in the first half.

Silver Heritage Closes Vietnam Casino; Opens VIP Rooms in Nepal

Australia-listed Silver Heritage Group has been forced to close gaming operations at the Phoenix International Club (l.) in Vietnam for an “indefinite” period. In 2018, the casino represented almost half of company revenue. At the same time, the company has opened VIP and premium mass gaming rooms at its Tiger Resort in Nepal.

PH Resorts Changes Funding Strategy

PH Resorts Group Holdings Inc., the hospitality and casino arm of Philippine holding company Udenna Group, has announced a change in its strategy to fund two new casino resorts in the country.

Sri Lanka’s ‘Sin Tax’ Doubles Casino Licenses

The Sri Lankan government has announced new “sin taxes” including a higher annual casino license fee and a US$50 entry fee for customers. The casino turnover tax will be charged at 15 percent at all the country’s casinos including the Star Dust (l.).


UK Reports Slight Dip in Problem Gambling

The UK Gambling Commission reports a slight decline in problem gambling for 2018. The annual report covering 2018 found that 0.5 percent of gamblers are categorized as problem gamblers, down about 0.1 percent from 2017. Problem gambling rates among 16 to 24-year-olds also dropped, down from 1 percent in 2017 to 0.9 percent in 2018.


Hard Rock Among Many Going for Oz Gold

U.S.-based Hard Rock International has joined the list of gaming operators seeking a casino license on Australia’s Gold Coast. The bidders reportedly number 12 at this point, including Cambodia’s NagaCorp and Caesars Entertainment. Star Entertainment and Chow Tai Fook are building an IR (l.) in the capital of Brisbane.

Gateway Acquires Chances British Columbia Casino

Gateway Casinos & Entertainment purchased its 27th property in Canada, Chances Signal Point casino (l.) in Williams Lake, British Columbia. The largest and most diversified gaming and entertainment company in the nation, Gateway properties employ more than 8,600 people and offer 448 table games, 13,887 slots, 85 restaurants and bars and 561 hotel rooms.

Crown Tower Up in the Air

The plan by Crown Resorts to build Australia’s tallest hotel tower has hit a roadblock. The government of Victoria has rejected an application and its partner to delay construction of the development in Melbourne.


Dutch Gaming Regulators Increasing Fines for Unlicensed Online Gambling

The Dutch gambling regulator announced it will increase fines for unlicensed online gambling operators saying that previous fines were not “terrifying” and having an effect. Operators that break the country’s gambling regulations will now face a staring fine of €200,000, up from €150,000.


888 Holdings Acquires Betbright

888 Holdings will acquire Irish sports betting operator BetBright in a deal valued at £15 million or about $19.9 million. The company will purchase certain assets of Dedsert Limited, Dedsert Ireland Limited and its affiliates, which together operate as BetBright. 888 Holdings said the deal gives the company complete ownership of technologies and development across its four online betting services—online casinos, poker, bingo and sports betting.

In New York, a Widening Rift Over Remote Betting

Sports betting’s point man in the state Assembly says Governor Andrew Cuomo (l.) has changed his mind about the need for a constitutional amendment to allow wagering online and by mobile phone. Cuomo blasted the assertion as “patently false.”

Stars Group Strengthens NBA Agreement

The Stars Group has renewed its agreement with the National Basketball Association, deepening its ties with the league through its majority-owned Australian BetEasy entity.

MLB Signs Deal with Sportradar

Major League Baseball and the Switzerland-headquartered Sportradar have signed a “wide-ranging, multi-year partnership” making Sportradar the official global data provider for MLB. Sportradar now has deals with all four major U.S. team sports leagues. The deal gives Sportradar international rights to provide MLB data to international media and sports betting operations. In the U.S., Sportradar will only exclusively provide data to the media.

California Sports Book Initiative Fizzles

An effort by a group called Californians for Sports Betting not only didn’t gather enough signatures to put sports book on the 2020 ballot, it petered out before it even began to gather signatures. The problem: no big money donors. Steve Stallings (l.), chairman of California Nations Indian Gaming Association, said tribes would have opposed any referendum.

Sports Betting Debated in Connecticut Legislature

The gaming tribes of Connecticut are adamant that if the state legalizes sports betting that they should have a monopoly on it. But other interests are contesting that claim because sports betting was not mentioned in the compacts that fueled the developments of Foxwoods (l.) and Mohegan Sun.

New Mexico Legislation Would Prevent Sports Betting Lottery Game

The New Mexico House of Representatives unanimously approved a measure preventing the state lottery from creating a game tied to sports events results. Sponsored by state Rep. Jason Harper, the legislation also would redirect $2 million - $4 million in annual unclaimed lottery prizes back to scholarships instead of lottery prizes.

Tennessee Sports Betting Bill Advances

A Tennessee House committee passed a bill allowing mobile and in-person sports betting. Local referendums would be required. Bettors would have to sign up in person at one of the estimated 50 licensed retail sports betting locations. The state could take in $15 million in annual revenue based on a 10 percent tax rate.

Churchill Downs to Invest in New Jersey, Pennsylvania Sports Betting Markets

During an earnings call with investors, Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen (l.) said the company plans to invest in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania sports betting markets during 2019 and is looking for further expansion in the U.S. sports betting market. Churchill Downs is already partnered with Golden Nugget Atlantic City for online sports betting and is awaiting the start of online gambling in Pennsylvania. The company is also looking to expand into the Illinois market.

Sports Betting Passes Iowa House, Senate Committees

Measures legalizing sports betting and daily fantasy sports recently passed Iowa legislative committees. Both would allow betting in person at casinos and racetracks, and online after registering in person. The House proposal would tax revenue at 6.75 percent and charge annual licensing fees of $15,000 for sports betting and $5,000 for DFS operators.

South Dakota Sports Betting Referendum Bill Defeated

In a surprising turnaround, South Dakota legislators used a procedural move to advance a bill allowing a referendum on sports betting in Deadwood, following a House committee’s rejection earlier in the day. The Senate already passed the bill, so if the full House passes it, only Governor Kristi Noem’s (l.) signature would be required for a November 2020 vote.


Georgia Casino Bill Requires A Referendum

A Georgia House committee approved a constitutional amendment allowing voters to approve casino gambling. House Speaker David Ralston, Governor Brian Kemp (l.) and Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan all said they’re personally opposed to gambling but won’t block the legislation that would require two-thirds support in each chamber and approval by a majority of voters in a November 2020 referendum.

Indiana Governor Keeps Options Open

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb (l.) said he’ll “look at every word” of a bill recently passed by the Senate that that would move one of the Majestic Star Casino’s two licenses to Terre Haute and legalize sports betting. Holcomb said he understands any change in gaming operations and locations would impact all the state’s casinos.

Competing Casino Bills Move Forward in Connecticut

Lawmakers in the Connecticut legislature voted last week to move forward two bills that are diametrically opposed to each other. One would authorize an open bidding process for commercial casinos. The other would cement the existing exclusive gaming arrangement with the state’s gaming tribes that would allow them to build a third casino (l.) in East Windsor.

Texas Legislator Proposes 13 Casinos

County referendums could be held in Texas if legislation filed by state Rep. Roland Gutierrez (l.) is successful. It would approve 13 destination casino resorts. Gutierrez said the state is losing $3 billion a year to neighboring states that allow casinos, money that could be used for education, infrastructure and emergencies.

Las Vegas Strip Still a No-No for the NFL

The league isn’t moving off a longstanding policy that bans images of the famed neon way from TV commercials aired during games. Undaunted, one of the city’s top advertising executives promised, “We’ll find ways to get our points across.” And when the Super Bowl is located in Las Vegas, it could have a multi-billion-dollar impact on the city.

MGM Warns Maryland of Table Cheating

Officials of MGM Resorts International testified before a Maryland House committee that table-game cheats are targeting the MGM National Harbor property because of a flaw in the gaming law. MGM and other casino operators are asking the legislature to change the law.

New Nevada Report: Gaming and Tourism Worth $67 Billion

The Nevada Resort Association cited the number in describing the economic impact the state’s principal industries exerted in 2018. The sector accounted for more than 450,000 jobs—nearly 26 percent of the state’s total employment last year𑁋and paid more than $18 billion in wages.

Arkansas Casino Rules Accepted

More than 300 pages of rules regarding casino gambling were adopted by an Arkansas legislative committee in less than 2 minutes. The rules must take effect by March 12 under Amendment 100, passed by voters last November. It allows one casino each in Pope and Jefferson counties, plus expanded gambling at the state’s two racinos.

Atlantic City’s Ocean Resort Sorts Out Cash Problems

Atlantic City’s Ocean Resort casino has re-stocked its cash reserves and is beginning to turn itself around financially as it awaits new owners, a trustee overseeing the property said. Trustee Eric Matejevich told the Associated Press that the property can meet state-imposed requirements to have at least $36 million on hand at all times.

Musk Pitches LV Tunnel Transit System

Billionaire entrepreneur and visionary Elon Musk (l.) could be building the first example of his underground tunnel transit systems in Las Vegas. He has proposed to provide a people-moving system to serve Las Vegas’s convention complex.

Another Attempt to Sell Atlantic City’s Former Atlantic Club Casino Falls Through

The owner of the former Atlantic Club Casino Hotel (l.) in Atlantic City has canceled a notice to sell the closed property to a Philadelphia-based company. In February, a notice of settlement was submitted between Florida-based TJM Properties and buyer Jeffrey Smolinsky of North American Acquisitions to Atlantic County. Both sides, however, denied a sale was in the works.

Santa Anita Track Suspends Racing After Horse Deaths

The Santa Anita racetrack suspended races last week to investigate the deaths of 21 horses in the last 10 weeks. Track officials said they want to be proactive and test the track’s surface after a series of heavy rains. The racetrack was scheduled to hold the Santa Anita Handicap on Saturday, a race with a $600,000 purse.

Montana Bill Allows Bar Patrons to Play Dice Games

The Montana legislature is considering a bill that would allow bar patrons to play dice games in which the bar has no financial stake without holding the bar or establishment liable. The bill was spurred by a report from Montana regulators about a game at a Butte club that was so high stakes, two investigators were unable to join. The bill is receiving opposition from the state’s gambling control board.

Fitzgerald’s Tunica Reopens After Flooding

Fitzgerald’s Casino and Hotel in Tunica recently closed due to rising waters on the Mississippi River, but reopened several days later. Although the building itself remained dry, the access road was covered in water. For the safety of patrons and employees, Tunica County deputies and casino security personnel manned a roadblock, turning people around.

Virginia Lawmakers Define Illegal Gambling

A bill unanimously passed by Virginia lawmakers and awaiting Governor Ralph Northam’s signature defines illegal gambling, making it easier to prosecute “sham sweepstakes” machines. The sweepstakes businesses sell customers a product like phone cards or internet time, in exchange for credits customers use to play online games of chance or promotional "sweepstakes."

Kentucky Legislation Changes Gambling Winnings Tax

A Kentucky Senate committee approved a bill that would allow gambling losses to be deducted from winnings reported as taxable income, fixing the 2018 tax bill’s “unintended circumstances” that taxed gross gambling winnings. State Senator Chris McDaniel said the change, which won’t apply to 2018 tax returns, would cost the state $3.2 million.


Texas Judge Rules Against Tiguas

The 20-plus-year legal battle between the Tigua Tribe and the state of Texas continued with a federal judge’s recent ruling that the games at the tribe’s Speaking Rock Entertainment Center (l.) in El Paso violate state law. The tribe said it might appeal and an injunction to close the casino wasn’t necessary since it would comply.

Illinois Tribal Casino Elicits Mixed Reactions

The Ho Chunk Nation, which operates six casinos in Wisconsin, is waiting for the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to move ahead on its Beloit casino (l.) application. The city government supports the $400 million project that would create 1,500 jobs. But opponents like Citizens Against Expanded Gambling claim casinos do more harm than good.

Tribe Requests Sports Betting Bill

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians recently asked state Senator Jim Davis to introduce a measure legalizing sports betting at the tribe’s Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort (l.) and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel, both in Davis’ district. It’s the third time Davis introduced legislation at the request of the tribe.

Northwest Minnesota Tribe Trying to Recoup Casino Losses

The White Earth tribe of Minnesota last week began an investigation that would return up to $1 million of the nearly $6 million the tribe lost on its now-defunct Star Lake casino project. One hiccup would be the requirement to waive tribal sovereignty in this case.

Palm Springs Casinos to Undergo Name Changes

The two casinos that the Agua Caliente Band in Palm Springs (Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa Rancho Mirage at left) operates will now have the same name: Agua Caliente. The goal was to bring the sister casinos closer together.


More Changes at MGM

Just a week after CFO Dan D’Arrigo announced his retirement, MGM Grand President Scott Sibella (l.) announced he is also departing. Each of the executives say their retirements are connected to a $100 million salary dump MGM is to complete by 2020. And in China, William Scott has resigned his position as a non-executive director of MGM China in a termination that was “mutually agreed” upon by Scott and the company.

Nevada Problem Gambling Committee Elects Feldman

The Nevada State Advisory Committee on Problem Gambling elected MGM Resorts International Executive Vice President of Global Industry Affairs Alan Feldman chairman. Feldman, chairman of the National Center for Responsible Gaming, directed the launch of MGM’s GameSense program which encourages players to adopt behaviors that will help lower the risk of developing gambling disorders.

BMM Names Tribal Services Manager

BMM Testlabs has named Tiger Taylor as its new tribal services manager, responsible for driving service and consultation to tribal gaming partners.

Duterte Names Nayong Pilipino Board Member

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Paolo Sotero Laurel to the board of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation. He replaces an executive fired over the “grossly disadvantageous” Nayon Landing casino deal.


AGA Study: Regulatory Modernization

The American Gaming Association released a white paper citing modernization of regulations in Nevada, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Mississippi.

GameCo Approved for Nevada License

Skill-based game manufacturer GameCo has cleared the final hurdle to achieve Nevada licensing, after a 3-0 vote of the Nevada Gaming Commission. “Nothin’ But Net 2” (l.) will be released on the casino floors of Nevada shortly.

Study Shows Demand for Skill Games

Synergy Blue has released a survey of casino executives showing that a sizable majority plan to install or are at least considering adding skill-based games.

Grupo Vid Extends Aristocrat Distributorship

Grupo Vid has renewed its contract with Aristocrat Leisure Limited as distributor of Aristocrat’s salon games in the Spanish Market to an area comprising 35 percent of total Spanish territory.

SG Wins Turkish Sports Betting Contract

Scientific Games Corporation has been awarded an exclusive sports-betting contract in Turkey, the largest regulated sports betting market in Europe. Sci Games beat out the previous contract holder, Intralot.

Konami’s Fortune Cup Debuts in Macau

Konami’s multi-station horse-racing game Fortune Cup has debuted in two prominent Macau casinos, according to the supplier’s Macau distributor, the APE Group.

Merkur Halle Goes 100 Percent Interblock

The Merkur Casino Halle has implemented 100 percent Interblock products in all automated roulette and automated blackjack offerings, through distributor Spirit Gaming.

New Jersey Launches Gambling Awareness Plan

The New Jersey Lottery and the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey have come together to launch a new campaign to increase problem gambling awareness. The “Awareness + Action” campaign is designed to educate the public on gambling addiction and its treatment.


G2E Asia Adds Art, Bi-Level Exhibits

G2E Asia 2019 will introduce a special exhibit featuring art for sale or lease to casinos as interior design elements, as well as bi-level exhibit space.

Clarion Forms eSports Partnership for ICE North America

Clarion Gaming has partnered with the Casino eSports Conference on a series of conference offerings at the upcoming ICE North America trade show in Boston. Ben Fox (l.), the co-founder of Casino eSports Conference parent company Fox Marketing, says the collaboration will lead to more understanding of the esports market.




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