Singapore Extends & Expands Two Casinos

Singapore has approved multibillion-dollar expansion plans for the city’s two integrated resorts, Marina Bay Sands (l.) and Resorts World Sentosa. It’s also extended the IRs’ monopoly lock through 2030. The extension and expansions come at a cost, however—higher entry fees and increased tax rates on all market segments.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Wynn Rocked in Massachusetts Hearings

The long-awaited hearing on the suitability of Wynn Resorts to hold a license for its Massachusetts casino, Encore Boston Harbor, was held last week and it wasn’t a good performance by some Wynn executives. CEO Matt Maddox (l.) in particular was not believable to many observers. The commission’s decision will be debated in private sessions and there was no timeline given for a resolution.

VICI, Hard Rock Buy JACK Cincinnati

Hard Rock International last week announced that it had purchased JACK Cincinnati (l.) and nearby Turfway Park for $780 million. The deal was completed along with VICI Properties, which will own the land and real estate assets. Hard Rock recently ran the leading property in the Cleveland area and the Ohio market until it was purchased by MGM Growth Properties and rebranded as MGM Northfield.

UK Implements FOBT Cuts

The UK has finally implemented cuts to the maximum bet allowed on fixed odds betting terminals and reports already have led to accusations that bookmakers are trying to get around the new rules by offering new styles of games. Most of the new games have been withdrawn after The UK Gambling Commission warned bookmakers that they will be watching the implementation of the new stakes carefully.

Sci Games Selling Part of Social Business

Scientific Games is planning an initial public offering of minority interest in its social gaming function, which now will be called SciPlay Corporation, and will be listed on the NASDAQ exchange under the ticker symbol SCPL.

Casino Bill Expected to Pass in Myanmar

Thailand and Myanmar are the only countries in Southeast Asia without legal casino industries. That’s about to change, according to a report that Myanmar’s parliament is set to OK a bill permitting tourist-facing, foreigners-only casinos in the main cities of Yangon and Mandalay.

Sydney Pols Slam Casino Towers

Members of Sydney’s Clover Moore Independent Team are taking swipes at two casino towers under development in the city, with one councilor calling them “a two-fingered salute” to the Australian capital. Star Entertainment’s tower (l.), an addition to its Star casino, was recently criticized by Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

New Hampshire Wire Act Challenge Could Be Decided by May

The executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery expects the state’s challenge of the U.S. Department of Justice’s new legal interpretation of the 1961 federal Wire Act could be decided as early as next month. Arguments are set to begin this week and deliberations could take between 30 to 40 days.

Sports Betting Tax Revenue Less than Expected in Most States

An analysis by the Associated Press found that many states that rushed to introduce sports betting have seen tax revenue far below what was projected. Many were hurt by a predictable outcome in the Super Bowl where the favored New England patriots won easily. New Jersey and Delaware, however, the first two states to implement sports betting, have been meeting tax projections.

Raining on the Parade

Gaming veteran Richard Schuetz (l.) delivers a reality check with respect to problem gambling in a piece that recalls his first experience with problem gamblers. He suggests the gaming industry needs to pay more attention to the issue or it will suffer the consequences.


Analyst: Slow Down on Osaka IR

Osaka is gaining ground as the preferred location for an integrated resort in Japan on Yumeshima Island (l.). Interested gaming operators include MGM Resorts International. But one analyst warns not to rush the development.

China Easing Travel Rules

Reforms are being implemented to allow mainland residents to apply in the cities where they live for permission to visit Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Previously, they had to return to their cities of birth to apply. The change is expected to significantly boost outbound travel.

Goa Casinos Trying to Sway the Vote?

Rohan Khaunte (l.), Goa’s revenue and IT minister, says casino interests in the Indian state are trying to “infiltrate and influence” Lok Sabha elections by enrolling large numbers of casino employees on voter rolls.

Travellers Rebounds in 2018

The company was rocked in 2017 by a deadly armed attack at its flagship Resorts World Manila (l.). But the giant entertainment complex came back strong last year, posting a 17 percent increase in total revenues as gaming volumes surged and win from its 1,800-plus slots and nearly 300 table games surpassed US$380 million.

Summit Ascent Chair, Shareholder May Sell Stakes

Summit Ascent Holdings, lead developer of Russia’s Tigre de Cristal resort (l.), says its chief shareholder, First Steamship Co. Ltd., and Chairman Kuo Jen Hao are considering selling their stakes in the company.

Landing Status Questionable in Philippines

Last summer, Philippine gaming operator Landing International Development Ltd. broke ground on a casino resort in Manila. The project ground to a halt on the same day and remains in doubt.

Okada Perjury Case Dismissed

Prosecutors in Manila have thrown out a perjury case against gaming magnate Kazuo Okada (l.) “for lack of sufficient evidence and merit.” The charges were filed in November and dismissed in early March.


Sweden Sees 30,000 Sign Up for Gambling Self Exclusion

An estimated 30,000 people have registered with the Swedish self-exclusion register, according to the country’s gaming regulator. The self-exclusion registry went into effect in January and is now required to be offered by gambling sites licensed in the country. The service must also be offered by land-based casinos and bingo halls.

Cyprus Casinos near 500K Patrons

The three new casinos in the Greek-controlled republic of Cyprus attracted 470,000 by the end of January, generating €210 million (US$236 million) in revenues.


SkyCity Completes Darwin Sale

SkyCity Entertainment Group has completed the sale of its SkyCity Darwin casino (l.). U.S.-based Delaware North bought the property for AU$188 million (US$134 million) and announced it will rename the property Mindil Beach.

New Edmonton Racetrack, Casino Debut

Colorado-based Century Casinos' $46.6 million Century Mile Racetrack and Casino (l.) recently opened in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The 1-mile track replaces Northlands Park's 5/8-mile track, offering improved racing and safety. The 89,700 square foot casino offers 550 slots and electronic table games, 14 video lottery terminals, a REPLAY gaming stadium and OTB room.

Star Sues VIP for $41.5M

Singapore businessman Wong Yew Choy is refusing to pay more than $40 million in gambling debts because a dealer allegedly made mistakes during a baccarat game. Wong says Star Entertainment agreed to waive the debt.


Buenos Aires Approves Online Sports Betting

Provincial Governor María Eugenia Vidal has signed a regulatory decree that legalizes and regulates online sports betting in Buenos Aires in Argentina. The new law regulates casino games, eSports betting, lotteries and horse racing. It allows betting on sports and non-sporting events that are not political. The province can approve up to seven online licenses for sports betting.

Dutch Regulators Fine Malta-based Casumo

Dutch gambling regulators have fined Malta-based online gaming operator Casumo €310,000—about $347,000—for illegally targeting consumers in the Netherlands. Investigators said the company’s website had several features that appeared designed for Dutch players. That included a live chat feature which posted information in Dutch.

Pragmatic Play Granted License in Romania

Malta-based online gaming firm Pragmatic Play has been granted a license to operate its new Bucharest-based live casino studio after receiving a Class II license from the Romanian gambling regulator. The newly-built studio will be fully licensed to offer both online and land-based operators a number of fully compliant products from Pragmatic Play.


Team Owner Announces Sports Book Plan for Washington Arena

Ted Leonsis (l.) has announced that a restaurant at the Capital One Arena will be remade into a sportsbook under the District of Columbia’s new sports betting law. Leonsis, owner of the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards, said the sportsbook will be independent from his Monumental Sports company to ensure no conflict-of-interest problems with either the NBA or the NHL.

Indiana Removes Mobile Wagering from Sports Betting Bill

The Indiana House Public Policy Committee has amended a potential sports betting bill to remove language permitting mobile sports betting and a requirement for operators to use official data for in-play wagers. The bill now moves to the House Ways and Means Committee.

Ohio Sports Betting Bill Moves Forward

A bipartisan bill that would authorize sports betting in Ohio’s 11 gaming facilities—including Hollywood Casino Columbus (l.)—online and through mobile apps has been introduced in the Senate. If it passes and is adopted in the House, the Buckeye State would become the eighth state to legalize sports betting.

Mobile Betting Dead in New York—For Now

As expected, legislative leaders and Governor Andrew Cuomo (l.) declined to include sports wagering by phone and online in the new state budget, effectively killing it for the foreseeable future. It means the state’s casinos will soon be taking bets, but the massive New York City market won’t be playing.

Tribes Hold Key to Connecticut Sports Betting

Connecticut legislators and Governor Ned Lamont (l.) would like to see legislation that would legalize sports betting. But first they most reach an agreement with the state’s gaming tribes, who claim they would have a monopoly guaranteed by their gaming compacts.

Senator Introduces Louisiana Sports Betting Bill Measure

The 2019 Louisiana Sports Wagering Control Act, sponsored by state Senator Danny Martiny, would allow sports betting at riverboat and land-based casinos and racinos. The bill requires referendums on sports betting in all 64 parishes. After registering in person, mobile wagering would be allowed on-site. Licensing and tax rates have yet to be determined.

Puerto Rico Looks at Legal Sports Bets

A bill sponsored by Rep. Néstor Alonso Vega (l.) that would legalize and regulate retail and online sports betting in Puerto Rico has been introduced to the legislature. Gaming taxes could help offset the country’s debt crisis as well as damage from Hurricane Maria.

SBTech Bringing Sports Betting to Oregon

The Oregon state lottery has selected SBTech to provide the platform. The goal is to have full-scale bookmaking, including remote wagering, available to Oregonians by the start of the 2019 NFL season.

Colorado Moves Toward Legal Sports Book

Colorado is moving closer to legalize sports betting according to House Majority Leader Alex Garnett. He said the plan includes mobile wagering, commenting “Nobody does this in person anymore. This is all done on your phone.”

Montana House Votes for Sports Book

The Montana House voted overwhelmingly last week for a bill that would authorize the state lottery to offer sports betting. If the House gives a final nod, the bill will go to the Senate.

William Hill, NHL Announce Partnership

William Hill US and the National Hockey League have announced a strategic partnership agreement that will make the bookmaker the official betting partner of the league. William Hill will be promoted in relevant NHL markets and will leverage branding opportunities in connection with the league’s calendar of marquee events.

Massachusetts Governor Pushes Sports Betting

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (l.) is chiding the legislature just about every chance he gets, lobbying lawmakers to pass a sports betting bill before summer. His most recent comments were made during a ribbon cutting for a new DraftKings headquarters.

Delaware North Breaks with Miomni in West Virginia Sports Betting Dispute

Delaware North is terminating its relationship with sports betting supplier Miomni as it hopes to reopen its sportsbooks at Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras casinos. A dispute between the company has forced the two sports books to close for nearly a month as well as sidelining the mobile app BetLucky WV.

Committee Rejects Tennessee Sports Betting Bill

A Tennessee Senate committee voted 8-1 against passing a bill legalizing mobile sports betting and allowing up to 10 licenses at $750,000 each. Sponsor state Senator Steve Dickerson (l.) said sports betting could generate $50 million in its second year. Earlier a House committee rejected an amendment banning gambling on Sundays and major holidays.

North Carolina Sports, Horseracing Betting Bill Advances

A North Carolina Senate committee advanced a bill allowing betting on professional and college sports and off-track horseraces at casinos owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The measure's sponsor, state Senator Jim Davis, said sports and horserace wagering could generate an additional $14 million for the tribe and $1 million for the state each year.


Indiana Governor Flew On Casino Executive's Jet

An Indianapolis Star report indicated Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb (l.) accepted flights Spectacle Entertainment Chief Executive Officer Rod Ratcliff's private jet while Ratcliff urged changes to state law that would benefit his company. Spectacle wants to move one of its Majestic Star Casino licenses to a land-based location in Gary and the other to Terre Haute.

Colorado Casino Announces Hotel Addition

Cripple Creek, Colorado will have a new $14 million, 104-room hotel in August 2020. Construction will start next month on the Wildwood Hotel next to American Gaming Group's Wildwood Casino (l.). Triple Crown's new $40 million hotel will open in late 2020, and Bronco Billy's $70 million hotel will open in early 2021, both with 150 rooms.

Oaklawn, Southland Racinos Renamed

Oaklawn Racing and Gaming (l.) in Hot Springs, Arkansas is now Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort and Southland Casino and Racing in West Memphis is now Southland Casino Racing. Both became full-fledged casinos on April 1, adding live table games and additional slots, approved by voters last November. Both also have announced multimillion-dollar expansions.

Former Margaritaville To Become Biloxi House

Developer Chris Taylor and his partners plan to invest $150-$200 million to transform former Margaritaville Casino (l.) in Biloxi, Mississippi, vacant since 2014, into Biloxi House casino resort. The property will include a 40,000 square foot gaming floor, 11-story, 300-room hotel and a unique amenity to build tourism, as required by the Mississippi Gaming Commission.

Racino Transitions From Hard Rock to MGM

Ohio’s Hard Rocksino will be rebranded to the MGM Northfield Park this week as the famous MGM Lion is unveiled. MGM purchased the most successful gaming facility in Ohio for $1 billion last September.

Virgin Hotel Las Vegas Remodel Will Begin Next Year

Beginning next February, the Hard Rock Las Vegas (l.) will undergo a $200 million remodel and be transformed and rebranded as Virgin Hotel Las Vegas. Completion is targeted for November 2020, right after the presidential election.

Card Rooms Proposed in Alaska

Republican lawmaker Colleen Sullivan-Leonard (l.) has introduced a bill to legalize tables-only casinos featuring both poker and house-banked games. The GOP controls both houses of the Legislature, but with the session set to end later this month, the bill’s future is uncertain.

Former LVCVA Exec Arrested in Gift Card Probe

It’s the scandal that won’t go away. More than a year has passed since it was revealed that Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority officials were taking personal trips with airline gift cards purchased with authority funds. Late last month, Las Vegas police arrested the former executive who purchased the cards. The question now is whether former CEO Rossi Ralenkotter (l.) knew about the trips.

Historical Racing Coming To Colonial Downs

Six hundred historical horseracing machines will be available at Rosie's Gaming Emporium, set to open later this month at Colonial Downs in New Kent County, Virginia. The legislature approved the games last year, paving the way for Revolutionary Racing to buy the racetrack, closed since 2014, for $20 million.

Nevada Gaming Numbers Slip Again

Casino revenues in Nevada declined for a second month in a row in February. The Gaming Control Board figures indicate a 1 percent drop from the year before.

Critics Question Michigan’s Dissociated Persons List

More than 4,600 people have signed up for Michigan's Dissociated Persons List, banning themselves from forever entering a casino. Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Rick Kalm said Detroit casinos have a hard time keeping out self-blacklisted gamblers. Many are advised not to join the voluntary blacklist, since they sign under duress, without an attorney.


Tribe Fights Texas’s Efforts to Shut Casino

Texas is close to winning its legal battle to close the Alabama-Coushatta tribe’s Naskila Gaming casino (l.) in East Texas. The tribe is fighting back by trying to drum up support for HR 759 in the U.S. House that would change federal law that allows Texas to prohibit Indian gaming.

Committee to Vote on Mashpee Bill

A House committee will bring the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act to a vote this week. The land would put land for the Massachusetts into trust, allowing the tribe to build a $1 billion casino in Taunton. Meanwhile the bill’s sponsor, Elizabeth Warren (l.) is MIA on the measure, afraid it will negatively impact her presidential campaign.

Tribes Win Decision in New Mexico

New Mexico lost a lawsuit in which it claimed six tribes owed more than $60 million for "free play" at their casinos. U.S. Judge Kirtan Khalsa ruled the state lacked authorization under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to demand the payments, which "constituted an impermissible attempt to impose a tax, fee, charge or other assessment."

California Coastal Commission Could Object to Tribal Proposal

The California Coast Commission appears on a collision course with the Bureau of Indian Affairs over a proposed hotel by the Trinidad Rancheria. The hotel would be built near the Cher-Ae-Heights Casino, and would impact one of the most famous views along the state’s coastal highway, Route 101 (l.).

Harrah's Cherokee Wants Arena Naming Right

U.S. Cellular's name could be coming off the downtown arena (l.) in Asheville, North Carolina, if high bidder Harrah's Cherokee Casino wins the contract. Harrah's Cherokee offered a 5-year, $3.25 million deal versus U.S. Cellular's 3-year, $543,000 deal. Despite the large sums, some officials are concerned about the casino connection.

South Dakota Tribe Adds Slots

Under an amended Class III gaming compact between the state of South Dakota and the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, the tribe can increase slot-machine offerings from 750 to 1,000 at its Dakota Sioux Casino in Watertown. The Bureau of Indian Affairs recently approved the change. Most South Dakota gaming compacts cap slots at 250 slot machines.

Gaming Tribes Warm to Social Games

Long very cool toward social gaming, gaming tribes are now warming to the trend that commercial casinos have been embracing. Once they do they are happy they did it, says Richard Schwartz (l.), who spoke at the National Indian Gaming Association last week.


Sci Games Instant Tickets Set Record

Scientific Games scratch-off instant lottery games set a U.S. record for weekly sales in Florida, where the sales will contribute more than $23 million to education in the state.


Schneider Named SBC Community Director

Internet gaming industry veteran Sue Schneider, who has been serving as a consultant to SBC America, has been named the organization’s community director on a permanent basis.

Frissora Sued in Hertz Accounting Scandal

Rental car giant Hertz claims its former chairman and CEO Mark Frissora pushed fraudulent accounting practices on management to inflate the company’s earnings. Hertz was forced to restate three years of financials at enormous cost and has now gone to court to demand Frissora return millions in incentive pay.

Sega Sammy Names U.S. Chairman

Sega Sammy Creation has appointed Scott Winzeler as chairman of Sammy Sega Creation USA, the wholly owned subsidiary of the Japan-based game supplier.

Lim Named Genting Deputy CEO

Lim Keong Hui, son of Genting Group Chairman and CEO Lim Kok Thay, has been named deputy CEO of Genting Hong Kong, the company’s casino cruise unit.

Jeju Execs Leave Landing

Landing International Development Ltd. has confirmed the departure of three senior executives associated with its Jeju Shinhwa World on Jeju Island in South Korea.


Mohegan Sun Implements Duetto Solutions

Duetto’s cloud-based revenue enhancement solutions have been implemented at the flagship Mohegan Sun property in Connecticut and Mohegan Sun Pocono in Pennsylvania.

Synergy Blue Approved for Nevada License

The Nevada Gaming Commission gave final approval for licensing to skill-game manufacturer Synergy Blue, which plans to launch several new games in the state. CEO Georg Washington (l.) called skill games a “daunting” landscape.

Galaxy Gaming Reverses Loss

Galaxy Gaming reported net income for the fourth quarter of 2018 that reverses a loss a year earlier, as the company grooms itself for a possible sale.

Live! Casino Releases Mobile App

Maryland’s Live! Casino & Hotel has partnered with Venuetize to release the My Live! Rewards mobile app, which allows guests to customize their visit to the casino and hotel.


Responsible Gambling Zone Planned at ICE North America

When the 2019 ICE North America opens in Boston it will have a Responsible Gambling Zone built and paid for by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. It will highlight responsible gaming programs now being used at the Bay State’s two casinos.




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