LVS, MGM Favored to Win Osaka IR

Two U.S. gaming operators—the Las Vegas Sands Corp. and MGM Resorts International—are neck-and-neck to win an integrated resort license in Osaka, Japan, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley. And the interest is reciprocated by Osaka, which has recently sent out a request for concepts to interested bidders. The contest will pit MGM’s Jim Murren versus LVS’ Chairman Sheldon Adelson (l.).

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Venice in Macau … And Paris … So Why Not London?

Las Vegas Sands will invest well more than $1 billion to remake Sands Cotai Central into a “British”-themed destination called Londoner Macao featuring street shows, virtual reality attractions and a 300-foot replica of Big Ben. There will be new rooms and suites, plenty of specialty retail and dining, and a lot more gaming besides. Londoner will replace Sands Cotai Central (l.)

GVC Gets Nevada License OK

British gaming giant GVC was approved to obtain a Nevada gaming license last week, but the path was anything but smooth. The Nevada Gaming Control Board voted 2-1 to pass on the application to the Gaming Commission, which actually awards the license, but the opposition took GVC CEO Kenny Alexander (l.) to task for “gray” area operations.

Wynn Moves On From Massachusetts Decision

After being approved for a license to operation Encore Boston Harbor—albeit with a $35 million fine and other stipulations, Wynn Resorts looks toward a June opening and concentration on its Macau properties. CEO Matt Maddox (l.) also said the company isn’t closing the door on M&A activity despite the failure of the talks to buy Crown Resorts in Australia.

Casino Entry Fees Worth $1 Billion to Singapore

Steep casino entry fees haven’t kept people from patronizing Singapore’s two casino resorts. Since 2010, the city-state has reaped almost $1 billion from entry fees alone; maybe that’s why the government just raised them. Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo (l.) says local visits to the casinos have dropped by half since 2010.

Montana Legalizes Sports Betting

Montana Governor Steve Bullock (l.) was presented with two bills legalizing sports betting. He chose to sign the bill that put sports book under the state lottery, arguing that the market couldn’t support a government-run sports book and a private-run sports book.

Illinois Gaming Expansion Considered—Again

Legal sports betting was only a part of another massive expansion of gaming being considered in Illinois. In addition to sports betting, advocates want to add six more casinos, some in Chicago, a standard-bred horseracing track, and more. But the existing Illinois casinos aren’t happy about it, according to Tom Swoik, the executive director of the Illinois Gaming Association (l.).

Money Laundering Rules Blamed for Decline in Vancouver Casino Revenue

Great Canadian Gaming Corp. reported a decline in money spent on chips at its casino tables in British Columbia as new anti-money laundering rules have gone into effect. Take dropped 12 percent as the company pointed to a drop in VIP play. New rules introduced last year which require sources of funds to be identified are being blamed for the decline, and the possible financial struggles of Parq Vancouver (l.), which opened last year.

Chaudhuri Joins Law Firm, Become Ambassador For Tribe

Jonodev Chaudhuri, departing chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission, will head an Indian law and policy group at the national law firm Quarles & Brady LLP. He was also named Muscogee (Creek) Nation Ambassador, Chaudhuri’s tribe.

Danger, Danger

U.S. sports wagering is understandably the biggest issue that is driving the gaming industry today. But there are many threats still lurking that few discuss. In this important article, gaming veteran Bruce Merati gives us his “Top 10 Issue List” to watch for and prepare for.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: Stockholm Syndrome

For investors familiar with the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ and even some of the other major markets, the Swedish stock exchange in Stockholm may be a little exotic. But the opportunities with Sweden-based sports betting and wagering companies can’t be denied.

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Studio City Partner Files for Chapter 11

Studio City’s largest shareholder after Melco Resorts has sought protection under U.S. bankruptcy law after running short of funds to honor a due date for redeeming $856 million in notes. The filing will not affect the operations of Studio City (l.). It could, however, hamper financing for a planned expansion.

Landheer: Suncity Will Bring VIPs to Russia

Eric Landheer (l.) , an executive with Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group Holdings, which now owns almost 28 percent of Russian gaming investor Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd., says the company should prove a “significant positive” for VIP business in the Primorye casino zone.

Half of Sihanoukville Casinos May Close

Analyst Ben Lee (l.) of iGamiX says 50 percent of casinos in Sihanoukville may close when the country establishes a minimum capital investment of US$50 million (MOP404 million) to operate. Most of the casinos are online.

Carnival Games a Gateway to Gambling?

A new law signed by Governor Lou Leon Guerrero (l.) is allowing games of chance to return to Guam’s Liberation Carnival is being celebrated and censured. The island is marking 75 years since its liberation from Japanese occupation during World War II.

EUROPEAN GAMING More

Mayfair Casino Acquires Clermont Club

Mayfair Casino Ltd has acquired Clermont Leisure (UK) Ltd in London, formerly known as the Clermont Club (l.). The club has been closed since March 2018 and will be refurbished and re-launched in early 2020. The Clermont will be Mayfair’s second property in London following last year’s acquisition of Napoleons Casino on Leicester Square, which re-opened as Horizons Casino in July.

Norsk Tipping Supports Ad Ban

Norwegian state-run gaming operator Norsk Tipping has come out in support of plan that would ban the advertising of gambling activities on television in the country.

UK Gambling Commission Unveils Youth Gambling Framework

As part of its National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, the UK Gambling Commission has unveiled a new framework for researching gambling harm among children and young audiences. The research will focus on data gathered through surveys to aid in understanding youth gambling.

GLOBAL GAMING More

Chilean Firm Now Owns Half of Sun Dreams

Chilean company Nueva Inversiones Pacífico Sur has acquired an additional 15 percent share in South African casino and hotel company Sun International, which owns Sun Dreams (l.),. for a total ownership stake of 50 percent.

ONLINE GAMING More

New Jersey Sues DOJ on Adelson Connection to Wire Act Opinion

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal (l.) has filed suit against the U.S. Department of Justice to acquire documents related to the department’s recent legal opinion on the 1961 Wire Act that has called into question the legality of online gaming. Grewal has charged that the recent wire act opinion from the DOJ was heavily influenced by lobbyists for Sheldon Adelson, who has been personally financing an effort to get online gambling banned in the U.S.

New Jersey Regulators Fine Gaming Innovation Group

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has fined the Malta-based gaming services provider Gaming Innovation Group for allowing an out-of-state gambler to place online wagers with a licensed operator in the state. The fine for violating geolocation guidelines was $25,000. GIG has admitted to the error.

Texas House Approves Legalizing Daily Fantasy Sports

The Texas House has given initial approval to a bill that would legalize daily fantasy sports and designate it as a game of skill. The bill is expected to receive final approval and be sent to the state Senate. Texas’ attorney general issued an opinion in 2016 that DFS contests violated the state’s gaming laws.

Spanish Group Cirsa Acquires Giga Games

Spanish gambling firm Grupo Cirsa has acquired slot machine distributor and gaming hall operator Giga Games. The acquisition is from Spanish private leisure and gambling fund Conei Corporacion. Cirsa will gain contracts for more 9,000 gaming machines servicing Spanish bars and entertainment venues.

William Hill Enters Swedish iGames Market

William Hill has launched its brand in the Swedish online gaming market, activating the WilliamHill.se domain offering a range of casino games and a Kambi-powered sports book.

SPORTS BETTING More

Colorado to Vote On Sports Betting

Colorado Governor Jared Polis (l.) has been handed a bill by the legislature that would put sports betting on the November ballot. The bill had strong bipartisan support. The bill allows mobile betting and sets a 10 percent tax on profits.

GOP Group Sues to Stop R.I. Sports Betting

Several GOP leaders of Rhode Island, including former East Providence Mayor Joe Larisa Jr. (l.), have filed a court challenge to the state’s sports betting law. They claim the legislature approved the bill even though it requires a vote of the people to offer a new form of gambling.

Report: MLB, NBA Playing ‘Hardball’ on Data Fees

The NBA and MLB are reportedly getting tough in their battle to receive royalties from sports betting operations that use their official data. MLB in particular is demanding a royalty for information from its official data feed. The baseball league said it is working hard to provide fast accurate data to sports books and that information will only be available through authorized data distributors.

NCAA Scraps Ban on Championships in Betting States

The new policy means Las Vegas and other legal sports betting jurisdictions can now vie for major post-season events like the College Football Championship and the Final Four. Bidding could commence in Vegas as early as 2022 and the events would likely be held in the new stadium (l.) being built for the NFL Raiders.

A New Deal for Mobile Betting in N.Y.?

Senator Joseph Addabbo (l.) and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow now say they want to limit remote sports betting to the commercial and tribal casinos upstate. They hope the concession will bring Governor Andrew Cuomo to the table and clear away the hurdle of a constitutional amendment.

NASCAR Makes Deals with Action Network and Genius Sports

NASCAR and the Action Network formed a partnership to share sports betting content, with information and analysis from the Action Network on NASCAR.com every week. NASCAR also has signed a deal with Genius Sports to deliver the organization’s first-ever live betting platform for use by legal sports books.

Iowa Sports Gambling Bill Still Pending

Betting on college and professional sports, plus daily fantasy sports, could be offered on January 1, 2021 if Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signs Senate File 617. The bill allows bettors age 21 or older to establish accounts at the state's 19 licensed casinos and place online bets with their deposits. Lottery chief Matt Strawn (l.) doesn’t want to get left behind.

Ohio Sports Book Bills Come Closer Together

The Ohio state legislature is moving with deliberate speed on bills that would legalize sports betting. One bill is in the Senate and another in the House. Discrepancies in the bills are slowly being ironed out.

Connecticut Governor not Optimistic on Sports Betting

It took a while, but Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont (.) eventually told reporters last week that he is unlikely to reach an agreement with the state’s Indian tribes this year in time for the legislature to approve a sports betting bill. He finally said, “I don’t think we’re going to see it happen in this session.”

NHL’s Wachtel Touts Sports Gaming Partnerships

Keith Wachtel, chief business officer and executive vice president for the NHL is touting the advantages of sports sponsorships with gaming brands. He will be a panelist at the first ICE VOX North America this month.

One Maine Sports Betting Bill Remains

One bill remains alive in the Maine legislature that would legalize sports betting. Other bills were eliminated by the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee. The single bill remaining would include mobile betting and authorize licenses for casinos, racetracks, OTB facilities and high-stakes beano operations.

Betfred Adds Metric Gaming’s Golf Service

Betfred will enhance its sports betting product after agreeing a deal to add Metric Gaming’s market-leading Golf Service, the company announced. Betfred customers will now be able to bet on hole-by-hole markets as well as 18-hole and 72-hole markets for Majors, PGA and European Tour events.

UNITED STATES GAMING More

Kentucky Derby Bettors Lose $9 Million

Kentucky Derby favorite Maximum Security's disqualification cost bettors $9 million. At 65-1, Country House had the second-longest odds of any Derby winner. Bettors wagered more than $6.2 million on Maximum Security (l.) and just $520,907 on Country House. One lucky Las Vegas bettor turned $8 into $78,000 with two identical $4 superfectas paying $51,400 each, $39,065 after taxes.

House Kills New Hampshire Casino Bill

Casino gaming appear dead for this year in New Hampshire. The House last week overwhelmingly voted to “indefinitely postpone” a bill that would have authorized two casinos in the Granite State. But sports betting has a much better chance and it’s supported by Governor Chris Sununu (l.).

Many Take Massachusetts As Model for Expanding Gaming

The Bay State has had many bumps along the way in bringing its plan of three casinos and one slots parlor to life. But despite those bumps, many see “The Massachusetts Way” of operating gaming as a model for the rest of the country. There have been many bumps in the road, however, including the resignation of form Gaming Commission Chairman Steve Crosby (l.).

Holcomb Signs Indiana Gambling Measure

With Governor Eric Holcomb's signature on H 1015, Indiana became the 10th state with legalized sports betting, via retail sportsbooks and online. On July 1, the Indiana Gaming Commission will start accepting applications from operators who will pay a $100,000 fee. Spectacle Entertainment also may move one of its two Gary licenses for a $20 million fee.

New Racing Commission in New Mexico Takes Up 6th Racino License

The newly appointed New Mexico Racing Commission has committed to taking up the issue of issuing a sixth racino license in the near future. The previous commission bogged down in the process and Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham replaced it with a new panel. New Chairwoman Beverly Bourguet (l.) says the board will review all five applications.

Michigan Gambling Legislation Hits Snag

A Michigan House committee recently held a hearing on several gambling bills. Budget office representatives warned Governor Gretchen Whitmer (l.) would veto the bill as it stood due to fears online gambling would cannibalize Michigan's online lottery—the same reason former Governor Rick Snyder vetoed similar legislation last year.

Washington Creates No-Play List for Gamblers

The state of Washington has approved of a no-play list that will provide a way for gambling addicts to ban themselves from the state’s commercial casinos. It will start with card rooms and the state lottery, but could eventually include Indian casinos.

City of Las Vegas Legalizes Pot Lounges

The 4-1 City Council vote means it’s a matter of months at most before users will be getting their high on within reasonable proximity to the Downtown casino district. It also makes Las Vegas the only city in Nevada, and one of only a handful nationwide, where venues for consuming the drug are legal.

Atlantic City’s Ocean Casino Resort May Finally Turn Profit

Atlantic City’s Ocean Casino Resort may end up in the black for May under its new leadership. The property has reduced its debt and its new management is predicting a return to profitability. The New York Hedge Fund, which is acquiring the casino spent $50 million to bring down that debt.

Missouri Lawmakers Consider Two Gambling Bills

Missouri lawmakers are considering two gambling measures. HB 119, sponsored by state Rep. Cody Smith (l.), would authorize betting on professional sports games and pay a royalty to professional sports leagues. HB 423, sponsored by state Rep. Dan Shaul, would legalize video lottery terminals statewide at establishments that have liquor licenses.

New Jersey’s Monmouth Park Racetrack Meet Benefitting from Sportsbook

Purses for the 61-day meet at Monmouth Park racetrack (l.) in Oceanport New Jersey have been bolstered by the track’s sports book and state subsidies. Purse money is expected to average $500,000 daily for the meet compared to last year’s average of around $325,000 for a 52-day meet which distributed approximately $4.3 million for stakes.

Virginia Casino Officials Form PAC

The United Company and Clyde Stacy (l.) of Bristol, Virginia both gave $50,000 to form a political action committee, Betting on Virginia Jobs, to promote the proposed Bristol Resort and Casino. In the latest legislative session, lawmakers passed a measure that eventually could lead to casinos in Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth and Richmond.

Employees Sue Isle Casino Cape Girardeau

Isle Casino in Cape Girardeau, Missouri was sued by two employees for failing to properly pay hourly employees under state and federal law. The plaintiffs allege they received less than minimum wage because of the casino's "time clock rounding policy." Their attorney said hundreds of employees could be affected.

TRIBAL GAMING More

Quapaw Nation Seeks Arkansas Casino License

Downstream Development Authority, the Quapaw Nation's business arm, became the first applicant for a new casino license in Arkansas, in Jefferson County. The first phase of the tribe's proposed $240 million Saracen Casino Resort (l.) could open within 18 months of Arkansas Gaming Commission license approval, which could come as soon as June 13.

Wampanoag Casino’s Fate Up in the air

The House of Representatives is likely to vote this week on H.R. 312, that would put lands into trust for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe to build its First Light Casino Resort (l.). However last minute opposition from President Trump means that it won’t be as much a bipartisan bill as it once was.

Catawba Chief Testifies At U.S. Capitol

The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs heard testimony from Catawba Indian Nation Chief Bill Harris regarding the tribe's proposed $300-$600 million casino resort in North Carolina. U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham has proposed legislation allowing the federal government to take land into trust for the South Carolina-based tribe, bypassing certain Bureau of Indian Affairs regulations.

Tribe Returns to Court to Defend Casino Rights

The Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe is once again in federal court. The tribe, whose right to build a Class II casino was affirmed by the Supreme Court earlier this year, is now defending itself from a claim that it must also seek permits from a local commission.

Ponca Tribe's Casino Remains Open

For the third time in 10 years, the National Indian Gaming Commission ruled the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska could legally build the Prairie Flower Casino in Carter Lake, Iowa, which opened November 1, 2018. The city of Council Bluffs plus Iowa and Nebraska sued to stop the casino, fearing it would cannibalize Council Bluffs casinos.

Appeals Court Rules County Can Tax Those Leasing Trust Lands

The Agua Caliente Reservation fought an attempt by Riverside County, California to tax non-Indians who lease land on the reservation. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed that such a tax is legal and doesn’t violate federal law against taxing reservations.

Nez Perce Mull Gaming at Golf Course

Now that the Nez Perce Tribe has purchased the Clarkston Golf and Country Club (l.) in Washington. Now the tribal executive committee is considering proposing gaming on the golf course. That would require a tribal state gaming compact with Washington.

LOTTERY More

Alabama House Wants Lottery Bill Changes

Some Alabama House members want to revise a lottery bill to change how revenue would be spent and to allow video lottery terminals. Rep. Steve Clouse (l.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, says it will be a close call. However, any changes could jeopardize support in the Senate where the bill passed with the minimum 21 required votes. Alabama is one of five states without a state lottery.

PEOPLE More

Veteran Macau Casino Exec Out 13 CEO

Walter Power has stepped down as chief executive of South Shore, the company that owns and operates Cotai luxury resort The 13. The 13 was licensed for a casino but opened last August without one and still lacks a clear path toward getting one. Power will remain with the company as a non-executive director.

Scientific Games Names Marketing SVP

Scientific Games has named marketing veteran Steven Stamstad as senior vice president of marketing and communications, reporting directly to CEO Barry Cottle.

VsiN Names Dan Mason Chairman

Vegas Stats & Information Network has named former CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason as chairman, in the wake of the network extending its deal with SiriusXM radio.

Richard Gillman, Former Bally’s Leader, Dies

Richard Gillman, the former CEO of Bally Manufacturing, died last week at the age of 87. He was most noted for operating the Bally’s casinos in Atlantic City during the early years of gaming on the Boardwalk.

Mississippi Lottery Hires Shaheen

Thomas N. "Tom" Shaheen will become president of the new Mississippi Lottery Corporation on June 1. The unanimous choice of the 5-member board, Shaheen previously worked at the North Carolina Education Lottery, the New Mexico Lottery and the Georgia, Texas and Florida lotteries. He also was president of the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs Powerball.

San Manuel Names Toni Pepper Chief IT Officer

Toni Pepper has been hired as Chief Information Technology Officer by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, who operate San Manuel Casino in Highland, California. She was previously interim CITO.

Sawada Resigns as Huis Ten Bosch President

Hideo Sawada, chairman and president of travel company H.I.S., has resigned his role as president of the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Nagasaki but will stay on as chairman.

NUTSHELL More

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