Atlantic City’s Ocean Resort Casino (l.)—the former $2.4 billion Revel casino which re-opened in June—was taken over by one of its investors last week. Co-owner Bruce Deifik confirmed the move, saying the new owner plans a significant investment in the property. The announcement comes after a series of signs that the casino was up for sale. Deifik led a group that purchased the casino for $229 million in January 2018.
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As legislatures return to session, there is an increasing drive in many states to consider the legalization of sports betting. Already legal in nine states, as many as 24 more could take action in 2019. Most likely candidates include West Virginia, Illinois and Connecticut but New York, Massachusetts and Virginia could also act quickly. The map above, provided by Fantini’s 2019 Legislative Report, notes the legalization possibilities this year.
The Stevens brothers last week announced the name and theme of the first new casino to be built in Downtown Las Vegas. The Circa Casino Resort (l.) will honor the pioneers of Las Vegas while embracing new technology and amenities. Meanwhile, the Downtown Grand is building a new 495-room hotel. Both projects signal a belief among investors that Las Vegas’ venerable gambling core is set for a rebirth.
A frontrunner in the race for one of Japan’s first three IR licenses, Osaka has allocated part of its 2019 budget for an operator selection committee. Small businesses in the city are launching their own pro-IR campaigns. A proposed IR by Melco Entertainment at left.
Investors have been getting restless, and the casino giant has responded with a new corporate strategy aimed at boosting EBITDA by $300 million or more a year. Promoting technology to drive revenues figures prominently in the plan. So do huge labor cuts. Former Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (l.) has been named as president of global development as part of the plan.
Governor Steve Sisolak has appointed Sandra Douglass Morgan to succeed Becky Harris as chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, making her the second woman in the agency’s history to occupy the post. Morgan also holds the distinction of being the first African American in Nevada history to have served as a city attorney.
Carl Icahn, who has made millions of dollars investing in casino companies, made a splash last week when he invested in Caesars Entertainment stock. The value of Caesars shares, which had declined almost 50 percent in the year, rallied on the Icahn news.
The 2019 National Legislative Preview is out and it contains lots of information about where and how gaming legalization will proceed. It pays particular attention to the rapidly growing historical horse racing market and how that will grow in various states.
This week the GGB Podcast sits down with Charles Cohen, the vice president of PlayDigital Sports Betting for IGT, on how the company is well positioned in the burgeoning sports betting field.
Macau officials are still being tight-lipped about details of the upcoming casino license retender, which will kick off in 2020 and continue into 2022. Uncertainty about the process is keeping some investors on edge. Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On (l.) says the government is “studying” how to conduct the process.
A Philippine court has issued an arrest warrant for Japanese casino king Kazuo Okada (l.), charging him with embezzlement. Okada denies claims that he misappropriated millions from his former company, Tiger Resort.
Lawmakers in the Indian state of Goa have drafted a tourism plan that would move offshore casinos from their present location on the Mandovi River (l.) and create a land-based casino cluster.
The gaming sector in Cambodia continues to expand, with the government handing out more than 50 licenses in 2018 alone. Casino operators must pay an annual US$40,000 license fee.
Imperial Pacific International, whose eponymous resort (l.) on Saipan is up and running after a destructive typhoon in October, is looking forward to doing big business during Chinese New Year celebrations in February.
A fire that reportedly began in the elevator of a high-rise Cambodian casino on January 7 spread through 18 floors of the property and caused several injuries. Genting Crown Casino is located in Poipet.
Macau junket operator Guangdong Group will add VIP services to Naga 2 at NagaWorld in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The high-roller operations will start sometime this month, the firm says.
A new light rail transit line will open in Macau during the first half of 2019. The 5.8-mile railway connecting Taipa with Cotai is designed to transport mass-market gamblers to the city’s new casinos.
The former CEO of South Korean casino Kangwon Land has been sentenced to three years prison for preferential hiring practices. Choi Hung-jib was immediately taken into custody after the ruling.
Michael Hotung, nephew of Macau casino titan Stanley Ho, is demanding that SJM Holdings and members of the Ho family pay him HK$2 billion he says was owed to his late mother, Winnie Ho.
Analysts say Genting Malaysia’s planned theme park, expected to open sometime in 2020, will grow visitation by as much as 10 percent, or 2.5 million people per year.
Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group has offered share options to its executive directions and director associates. The primary beneficiaries include members of the Lui family.
Hong Kong-listed Emperor Entertainment Hotel Ltd. will acquire an additional 5 percent of the British Virgin Islands (BVI)-registered company that operates Macau casino venue the Grand Emperor Hotel.
Three years after declaring that Russia’s Azov City casino zone would close, including the Oracle Casino (l.), the government has made good on that pledge. The zone closed at the end of December. A new casino will open in Sochi in 2019.
The German state of Hesse may withdraw from the much-criticized State Treaty on Gambling if the nation's 16 states can't agree on a new regulatory framework. Hesse officials said they want a system that would protect players, comply with European law and award licenses based on applicants' quality, not on the number of licenses allowed.
This is the year that comprehensive modernization of Ireland’s gaming regulations will happen. That is the pledge of the ruling party, Fine Gael, which has introduced its “Gambling Control Bill.” Minister of State for Equality & Integration David Stanton (l.) says the government has tried to accomplish changes for five years.
The UK will include increased funding for gambling addiction in its new 10-year strategy for health spending. The NHS Long Term Plan focuses on investment in mental health services, which will rise to at least £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24. That includes additional funding and resources to create more services for the treatment of problem gambling.
Four gaming operators that lost a bid to operate a casino in the tiny nation of Andorra, have sued to overturn the decision. They claim that the company that won the license, Jocs SA, is unqualified to operate a casino.
Peru’s Ministry of Economy and Finance has published new rules covering new taxes on the gaming industry. A new tax will be applied to casino games and slot machines. The taxes went into effect January 1.
According to a government report, Alberta, Canada gambling revenue rose by $4 million, after two years of declines. VLTs in 900 locations accounted for most of the growth. Combined 2018 revenue from VLTs, casino slots and electronic bingo increased from a 2017 low of $1.732 to $1.736 billion. The peak was $1.906 billion in 2015.
There’s a new legalization bill in the Senate, the third in as many years. But with a history of uncertain support, and sports betting the clear priority in the new year, the odds appear stacked against passage. State Senator Joseph Addabbo (l.) is sponsoring both bills.
The winnings of online poker players in the Netherlands on PokerStars.eu are not subject to local taxes, a Dutch court has ruled. The court ruled that Dutch tax collectors cannot tax winnings on the Malta-based site under European Union rules. The Netherlands argued that PokerStars is actually based on the Isle of Man outside of the EU.
Danish regulator Spillemyndigheden has ordered local internet service providers to block 18 sites illegal online gambling sites in violation of the Danish Act on Gambling. The move comes after the regulator conducted searches for unlicensed sites. The searches identified nearly 750 problem sites.
Red Rake Gaming has secured a remote gambling software license from the UK Gambling Commission and plans to begin introducing content in the market in the coming weeks. The supplier has already certified a group of its games and is moving to get approval on a second group of titles.
William Hill Plc has secured approval of “all necessary authorities across related jurisdictions,” to complete its €270million acquisition of Stockholm-listed MRG Group. The acquisition has been approved by MRG governance and awaits a vote by stockholders.
Parx Casino in Bensalem became the fourth casino in Pennsylvania and the second in the Philadelphia area to open a sports book, debuting its Kambi Group-powered book on January 8. Matthew Cullen, Parx senior VP of interactive gaming and sports (l.), demonstrates the casino’s Kambi kiosks.
A decision by FanDuel to pay off bets on the University of Alabama in the National Championship game against Clemson came back to haunt the former DFS site as Clemson rolled the Crimson Tide. The decision reportedly cost the site more than $400,000.
The first network broadcasts focusing on sports betting will occur in the Washington D.C. area when NBC Sports presents shows focusing on NBA’s Washington Wizards. The show will feature sports betting information for in-play wagering.
The city council in Danville, Virginia unanimously approved a resolution supporting legislation allowing casino gambling there and in Bristol and Portsmouth, where similar resolutions already passed. Referendums would be required in the three cities if state lawmakers approve legislation, expected to be introduced by state Senator Bill Carrico (l.) and state Del. Israel O’Quinn.
In the upcoming legislative session, Indiana lawmakers will revisit allowing one of Majestic Star Casino’s (l.) two licenses to leave Gary if the city moves forward with plans for a transportation hub where the casinos currently are docked. Terre Haute, Indianapolis and Steuben County have been mentioned as possible locations.
Penn National Gaming has entered into an agreement with the Rutter’s convenience store chain to provide up to five video gaming terminals to each of 20 Rutter’s stores in the state.
In Pope County, Arkansas, controversy continues over the former county judge and Russellville mayor’s letters endorsing Mississippi-based Gulfside Properties’ proposal for a $254 million casino (l.). The new county judge and mayor oppose a casino and could block it for the foreseeable future since the Arkansas Racing Commission recently changed the rules regarding endorsement letters.
A hearing in a Nevada court over the suitability of Wynn Resorts following the scandal that ousted founder and former Chairman Steve Wynn (l.) was held last week. The judge maintained a restraining order that prevents evidence gathered by Massachusetts regulators from being aired.
VICI Properties recently announced it has acquired the land and real estate assets of Margaritaville Resort Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana for $261 million in cash. With Penn National Gaming buying the operational assets of the property for $115 million in cash, the total purchase price was $376 million. VICI leased the property to Penn National.
The Michigan Gaming Board reported Detroit's three casinos posted combined revenue of $1.44 billion for 2018, an increase of $20 million over the previous record of $1.42 billion in 2011. The three casinos (MotorCity at left) also reported an overall 3.1 percent increase over 2017, with slots posting $1.17 billion and table games posting $272 million.
Triple Crown Casinos (l.) has proposed a $30 million - $40 million casino-hotel in Cripple Creek, Colorado, the second major casino resort project submitted for review by the town’s historic preservation commission within six months. The plan includes a 5-story, 150-room hotel. Full House Resorts previously proposed a $70 million expansion at Bronco Billy’s.
Carl Icahn has cleaned up some deed issues on his last remaining Atlantic City casino property that could be a precursor to the sale of the former Trump Plaza casino (l.). Icahn has reportedly purchased the deed for the property and settled a longstanding lease agreement. The Plaza closed in 2014 but Icahn has so far been unable to sell or demolish parts of the former casino.
In Waco, Texas, the seat of McLennan County, 8-liner gaming machines are allowed if they pay out in prizes or tickets, not cash. Now county commissioners may soon decide if they’ll support state Rep. Richard Raymond’s measure allowing voters to determine locally if they want 8-liner machines to be regulated or banned.
The campaign of newly installed governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham (l.), was the recipient of $25,000 from a group hoping to win a racino license. The state has one license left to award.
Several cities in North Texas are grasping for what they believe may be the next brass ring: esports. Stadiums hosting the games are starting to crop up so that one stadium manager argues that the region is turning into an esports hub.
Atlantic City will see an Arena Football League Franchise call the resort home in the spring, according to reports. An official announcement of the move is scheduled for later this month, but the league’s chairman, Ron Jaworski, confirmed the move. The franchise would play its games at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall (l.).
A bill to smooth the process of creating a third tribal-owned casino in Connecticut was introduced by state Senator Catherine A. Osten last week. The bill would remove the requirement that the federal Department of Interior approve the casino and state it isn’t a violation of the tribe’s compact with the state.
Two years ago, the tribe stopped paying New York a percentage of its casino slot revenues. That’s a violation of its compact, according to an arbitration panel appointed to settle the dispute. But whether the tribe pays what it owes—around $200 million—that’s another matter.
After seven years of gaming tribes threatening to hold the California state government accountable for allowing card clubs to operate “banked” card games, three tribes went to federal court last week. They are the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and the Viejas and Sycuan Bands of Kumeyaay Indians.
The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe of Massachusetts is hailing a bill that has been reintroduced in the U.S. Congress to put 321 acres it owns into trust. It would undo an action by the Department of the Interior that reversed its earlier decision to put the land into trust. The bill would allow the tribe to build its $1 billion First Light Casino (l.).
A tribe hoping to build a $500 casino in the site of an uncompleted outlet mall in Elk Grove, California, says it plans to open sometime in 2020. “There’s no definitive date yet, but we’re looking at early 2019 to begin this process,” Wilton Rancheria Chairman Raymond Hitchcock (l.) said last week.
A Washington state tribe has been ordered by a superior court in Clark County to turn over a surveillance video showing a man being beaten up on the property of the ilani Casino, which it owns. The tribe unsuccessfully claimed that sovereignty protected it from the state’s open records act.
Gapi is the Potawatomi word for coffee and also the name of the new coffee shop at FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan. The new establishment offers coffee drinks plus soups, sandwiches, pastries, bread and ice cream. The fresh-roasted coffee is provided by a partnership with Five Lakes Coffee.
Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in California’s Riverside County has begun an expansion that will expand the gaming area by 30 percent. It will add 800 slot machines and makeover all the restaurants at that level.
If you ask the Connecticut Lottery, it has a rosy future, after completing a very successful 2018. But it would like to improve the odds by being given a slice of sports betting if it is legalized.
The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers announced the results of its officer election, with IGT’s Luke Orchard becoming the trade organization’s president for a two-year term.
The Mashantucket Pequots, the tribe that owns and operates Foxwoods Resort Casino, has sworn in three new council members for three-year terms. That includes Chairman Rodney Butler, who began his sixth consecutive term.
Alisa Cooper, a member of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, was elevated to vice chair last week. She’s been a member of the commission since 2012.
Uri Clinton, the face of MGM Resorts during its battle to block a third tribal casino in Connecticut, has ben named the president and COO of Empire City, in Yonkers, New York.
Bet.Works, a U.S. based iGaming and Sportsbook technology platform supplier, announced today the appointment of Dr. Laila Mintas as Chairwoman of the company’s advisory board. Mintas most recently served as Deputy President for Sportradar U.S.
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades started the new year by swearing in the country’s first dedicated tourism minister. On January 2, Savvas Perdios (l.) assumed the new role, overseeing the island’s chief industry.
The state House committee that oversees gaming in Pennsylvania has named Rep. Jim Marshall (l.) as its chairman and Rep. Scott Conklin as the committee’s Democratic minority leader.
Evolution Gaming announced it will provide live online casino offerings—including six tables with French-speaking dealers—for Loto-Quebec, via desktop, tablet and smartphone platforms. Evolution already provides live online casino streaming for the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. Evolution officials said they will expand their Vancouver- based studio to accommodate anticipated growth.
New York’s Oneida Nation has selected Scientific Games to power sports books at its three New York casinos, using the supplier’s OpenBet technology.
Aristocrat Technologies delivered its first four games to casinos in the state of Washington’s Tribal Lottery System, at the Tulalip Resort and the Quil Ceda Creek Casino.
Caesars Entertainment demonstrated its continuing commitment to eliminating human trafficking by signing the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conducts of the international organization End Child Prostitution and Trafficking. Caesars is the first global gaming entertainment firm to sign the code, a joint venture of the tourism and hospitality sectors and ECPAT-USA.
For the second year in a row, AGS has been named to the list of “America’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For by the National Association for Business Resources.
GSL Gaming Group has announced a major expansion of the company’s logistics team, a new service division, and the opening of a new logistics office.
Fantini Research has published the National Legislative Preview, including a policy overview and recommendations to policymakers from Spectrum Gaming.
Startup sports betting platform supplier Bet.Works has received hardware and software certifications from Gaming Laboratories International.
Eilers & Krejcik Gaming will host the first annual EKG Slot Awards Show at the Bellagio in Las Vegas on February 28, recognizing excellence in slot machine development.
Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs at the American Gaming Association, will be a keynote speaker at the 2019 Southern Gaming Conference. Slane managed the AGA's successful campaign to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, leading to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to overturn the federal sports betting ban.
The World Game Protection Conference has announced the presenters for this year’s event, to be held March 3-6 at the Tropicana Las Vegas.
The International Association of Gaming Regulators is issuing an official call for speakers to participate in its 2019 Annual Conference, to be held in Jamaica next fall.
A retired couple (l.) hatched a plan to raffle off their £500,000 North Yorkshire home. For £10 each, contestants could enter a drawing, with a winner picked at random. Only it was all too random for the Gambling Commission. They shut it down, saying it amounted to an illegal lottery.
Macau’s new smoking rules, which took effect January 1, have already led to a confrontation between smokers and police. On January 3, an officer fired a warning shot after smokers lit up in a no-smoking zone.
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