Archive: Vol. 17 • No. 24 • June 17, 2019
The Gaming Commission has approved regulations that will allow the state’s four upstate commercial and seven tribal casinos to begin taking bets this summer. As expected, remote betting won’t be in the mix since Governor Andrew Cuomo (show at left with Senator Joseph Addabbo, who supports mobile betting) believes it requires a constitutional amendment to be approved. And with the legislature set to adjourn, that’s a battle that will have to wait until next year.
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WEEKLY FEATURE: AGA Reports Banner Year for Commercial Gaming
The annual “State of the States” report issued by the American Gaming Association was released last year and showed record revenue for the commercial sector of the gaming industry—$41.7 billion, up 3.5 percent from last year. Commercial gaming establishments also paid $9.7 billion in state and local taxes.
Questions Surround Chicago, New Casinos
Among its dozens of provisions, the new gambling law expected to be signed by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (l.) will allow a casino in Chicago and five other locations. A feasibility study required by the law will help determine the Chicago casino location. Officials in communities in the other specified areas already are working with realtors and developers.
Mohegan Gaming Takes Over Niagara Bundle
Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment of Connecticut will take over the "Niagara Bundle" in Ontario, including the Fallsview Casino Resort (l.), after beating out Hard Rock International and Caesars Entertainment. MGE will lease the bundle's two casinos from the Ontario Lottery Corporation for 21 years and pay annual tax to the province in return for casino revenue.
Caesars, Eldorado Still Talking
A merger between Caesars Entertainment and Eldorado Resorts, with Eldorado in control, could be announced this month, according to the Wall Street Journal. The New York Post, however, says the two sides are still haggling over price. Eldorado CEO Tom Reeg (l.) told New Jersey regulators that his company has been “an inquisitive company in the past.”
GMA: No Japan IRs Until 2026
Gaming operators and local governments in Japan should not aspire to develop and open any integrated resort in the country before 2026, according to new research from Global Market Advisors. Nagasaki Governor Hōdō Nakamura (l.) says the region will make an aggressive bid for an IR.
Nominations Open for Emerging Leaders of Gaming 40 Under 40
The Innovation Group and Global Gaming Business Magazine have announced that nominations for the annual “Emerging Leaders of Gaming 40 Under 40.” The program honors the next generation leaders and continues to gain momentum and industry support.
Inspired Entertainment to Acquire Novomatic U.K. B2B Group
Inspired Entertainment has entered into an agreement to acquire the Novomatic UK Ltd.’s Gaming Technology Group, a leading supplier of Category B3, C and D gaming terminals. Inspired Chairman Lorne Weil (l.) says the buy will dramatically grow his company.
FANTINI FINANCE: Regional Retreat
Regional gaming companies have taken a serious hit in their share prices in 2019. Fears of a recession and a lack of growth are major reasons for that decline. But there are exception with companies that are experiencing growth and have innovative leadership.
GLOBAL GAMING BUSINESS PODCAST: Carol O’Hare, Executive Director, Nevada Council on Problem Gambling
This week, the GGB Podcast features an interview with Carol O’Hare, the longtime director of the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling, about how her organization is faring in the expanding gaming world.
ASIAN GAMING More
Two-Way Race Shaping Up for Macau CE
It’s been 20 years since the election for chief executive of China’s self-governing casino enclave has been contested. But that could change this summer. Leong Kuok Chao (l.), a businessman, will face off against Assembly President Ho Iat Seng.
Melco Resorts Delists from PSE
Melco Resorts and Entertainment (Philippines) Corp., which operates the City of Dreams Manila, was officially delisted from the Philippine Stock Exchange on June 11. The company’s publicly held shares fell below the minimum threshold mandated by the PSE.
Former Thai PM Sentenced to Prison
A Thai court has sentenced former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra (l.) to two years behind bars for illegal handling of a state lottery program. The sentence was handed down in absentia.
Philippine Gamblers Warned of Loan Sharks, Kidnappers
The Philippine National Bureau of Investigation is warning gamblers to beware of loan sharks after three people were abducted after they were late in making payments. Six arrests were made.
Macau Police Say Officer Spied for Loan Sharks
A veteran inspector with the city’s Judiciary Police has been arrested on suspicion of tipping off a gang of loan sharks about pending moves the police planned to make against their operations in casinos and other locations. Authorities say the officer was behind more than a dozen leaks to the gang.
Quezon City OKs Locals Entry Fee
Officials in Quezon City, Philippines have passed an ordinance that would compel residents to pay a PHP1,500 (US$30) entry fee to enter any casino inside the city limits. The fee would grant patrons 24 hours of access.
Suncity Opens StarWorld Suncity VIP Club
Suncity Group, Macau’s leading junket operator has held a soft opening of its newly expanded VIP Club at StarWorld (l.) on the Macau peninsula. The club has added seven new gaming tables.
Philippines Tighten Foreign Worker Laws
The government of the Philippines wants to stem the flood of foreigners entering the country to work in the online gaming industry. Migrant workers will now need a working visa and tax number.
EUROPEAN GAMING More
OPAP Halts VLT Roll-Out
OPAP, Europe’s fourth-largest betting firm, has suspended the roll-out of almost 5,000 video lottery terminals in Greece until the country’s government settles a “procedural” regulatory issue, says the firm’s CEO.
UK Commission to Develop RG Program in Wales
The UK Gambling Commission has joined forces with partners in Wales to develop a new national strategy to reduce gambling-related harms in the country, according to the UK government. Chief Executive Neil McArthur (l.) says the program will focus not only on the individual but also on the larger community.
Casino Admiral Planning Second Lichtenstein Casino
Casino Admiral, run by ACE Casino Holding AG, wants to open a second casino in Lichtenstein near the border with Switzerland, the company has announced.
GLOBAL GAMING More
Could Regulators Undo Crown Deal?
Regulators in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia all will have to approve the sale of almost one-fifth of James Packer’s Crown Resorts to his pal, Melco Resorts & Entertainment CEO Lawrence Ho (l).
Argentine Casino May Get a Stay
An order to close the casino (l.) in Necochea, Buenos Aires, has been delayed until next year. The gaming hall may stay open indefinitely if a local mayoral candidate is elected.
ONLINE GAMING More
JPJ Group to Acquire Gamesys Assets for £490 Million
JPJ Group has signed a conditional agreement to acquire the majority of its technology partner Gamesys’ assets for £490 million or $620.9 million. JPJ will acquire the Gamesys platform and bingo content studio. JPJ Executive Chairman Neil Goulden (l.) says the deal is “transformational.” The agreement will also see JPJ take charge of Gamesys’ New Jersey-licensed Virgin Casino site, operated in partnership with Tropicana Atlantic City.
Michigan Governor Wants Slots Removed from Online Gaming Legislation
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (l.) has made a request through the Michigan Department of the Treasury to remove slots from proposed online gambling legislation as well as raising tax rates. Proponents of the bill call the request a non-starter. Whitmer has said she believes online gaming would hurt the state’s lottery and brick-and-mortar casinos.
Alabama Governor Signs DFS Law
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (l.) has signed a bill legalizing daily fantasy sports ion the state. The bill would require fantasy sports operators with more than $10 million in national gross revenue to pay an $85,000 annual fee to the state. Other operators would pay a $1,000 annual fee.
Unibet, Gamban Add Blocking Software to Self-Exclusion
Online gaming company Unibet, part of the Kindred Group has partnered with software provider Gamban to become the first UK bookmaker to integrate blocking software into the self-exclusion process.
New ESports League Backed by New York Mets Owners
A new eSports league called Andbox has been announced by an investment fund backed by the owners of the New York Mets. The new organization will include teams in professional video-game leagues centered around two separate Activision Blizzard Inc. games: Overwatch and Call of Duty. The league plans to hold eSports events in the New York area.
GiG Launches Sportsbook for Guts.com
Gaming Innovation Group has launched a new sportsbook with Guts.com, as it seeks to position its in-house brand as a sportsbook-led operator. Both new and existing Guts.com customers will have access to the sportsbook, which GiG said offers an improved user interface and experiences, as well as faster navigation on the mobile-focused platform.
SPORTS BETTING More
Iowa Casinos Announce Sportsbooks Plans
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (l.) in Sioux City, Iowa announced it will invest $895,000 to remodel the casino's current high-stakes betting and wine bar area into a 400 square foot sportsbook. And in Lyon County, Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort's $8 million expansion will include a sportsbook plus 60 new hotel rooms.
Indiana Takes Sports Betting Applications July 1
Applications for sports betting licenses at casinos, racinos and off-track betting establishments will be accepted by the Indiana Gaming Commission starting July 1. Online wagering could commence September 1 even if physical locations aren't ready. Meanwhile, Northwest Indiana casino operators are bracing for the impact of new Chicago area casinos.
Intralot Awarded D.C. Sports Betting Contract—And Political Connection Help
The City Council and Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (l.) of Washington, D.C. will award a $215 million sole-source contract to D.C. Lottery managers Intralot. City officials suspended procurement rules to avoid competitive bidding. Seven subcontractors who will share one-third of the multimillion dollar contract include politically connected individuals and executives of a company that lost a contract to run a homeless shelter.
Colleagues of Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada (l.) are urging him to resign before his announced resignation date of August 2. Casada could name three members to the new Lottery Corporation Sports Wagering Advisory Council, created as part of sports wagering legislation passed this spring. Earlier this year, Casada was found to have sent sexually explicit and racist texts.
Move in Oregon to Kill Sports Book
Oregon Senator Matt Hass (l.) has introduced a bill that would kill sports betting in the state. Senator Chuck Riley has also proposed a similar bill. This comes as the Oregon Lottery is working to introduce sports betting later this year.
Montana Sports Betting Veto Override Fails
A veto-override effort to save a bill that would have allowed private companies to offer sports book in Montana has failed to collect the two-thirds majority needed. Governor Steve Bullock (l.) vetoed the bill because he believes that sports betting offered by the lottery offers the best chance of success.
UNITED STATES GAMING More
SugarHouse To Become Rivers Philadelphia
SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia soon will be rebranded to Rivers Philadelphia, owners Rush Street Gaming announced. The change will be completed by mid-summer and unify the Rivers brand across four casinos in three states. It's not known what the PlaySugarHouse.com platform will be called or how it will interact with the Rivers product.
Wynn Outlines Plans to Attract 8 Million Annually to Encore
Encore Boston Harbor plans to attract 8 million visitors a year to the Bay State. Last week officials of Wynn Resorts told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission how they plan to do that. Encore President Robert DeSalvio (l.) says they plan to “invite the world to Boston.”
Cherokee Nation, Legends Partner In Arkansas
In its pursuit of a license to develop a casino resort in Pope County, Arkansas, Cherokee Nation Businesses announced it will partner with Legends, the hospitality company formed by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (l.) and the family of former New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Four other applicants are seeking the license., which cannot be issued until a countywide referendum is held.
California Lawmaker Wants to End Gaming Loss Deductions
Adam Gray (l.), a California lawmaker known for proposing bills that would expand gaming in the Golden State, is taking a somewhat different tack this year. Rep. Adam Gray has authored a bill that would end the ability of gamblers to deduct their gaming losses as a business expense.
Push for Casino Industry Regulations Review in Atlantic City
Casino industry and regulatory officials told a New Jersey state Senate Committee that now is the time for a review of the state’s casino regulations including possibly limiting casino construction in Atlantic City. State Senator Chris Brown (l.), who represents the city, said it will encourage new investment.
California Governor Wants to Suspend Racing at Santa Anita
California Governor Gavin Newsom (l.) asked the California Horse Racing Board to suspend horseracing activities at Santa Anita Racetrack. The track has seen 29 horses die in races and training since December.
Atlantic City Casino Revenue Up for 12th Straight Month
Atlantic City saw its 12th straight month of casino revenue increases in May with the city’s nine casinos taking in $266.76 million. However, while total revenue was up 22 percent over 2018, the addition of two new casinos in June 2018 still cannibalized revenue leaving several casinos with revenue decline.
Pennsylvania Board Approves Mini-Casino
Penn National’s proposal for a mini-casino, the Hollywood Casino Morgantown, has been approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. It is the first of ten satellite casinos that were authorized by a 2017 state law.
Illegal Gambling Shut Down In Georgia Stores
In Gwinnett County, Georgia, police raided a video store where the most recent movies were from 2007--but where illegal sports betting was occurring. The owner was arrested. And in Macon, a muti-jurisdictional investigation led to the shutdown off 650 illegal electronic gambling machines in 130 businesses, plus a $14 million settlement.
Casino Owner Alex Meruelo Said To Be Buying Arizona Coyotes
Billionaire and casino owner Alex Meruelo (l.) is interested in buying the Arizona Coyotes hockey team. He owns the SLS Las Vegas and Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, but up until now never ventured into purchasing a sports franchise.
Pennsylvania Considers Ban on ‘Skill’ and Lottery Games
A Pennsylvania House Committee heard testimony on a bill that would ban “skill” games from the state, the games—which play like slot machines but require a manipulation by players—are being found in convenience stores, gas stations, and malls. Representatives from the state’s casinos and state lottery said the games are costing their industries revenue.
Tax on Sands Bethlehem Sale Less Than Expected
City officials of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania were disappointed when the realty transfer tax for the sale of Sands Bethlehem to Wind Creek Hospitality was a fraction of what they had anticipated.
PA Gaming Board Releases Annual Racing Impact Report
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has released its annual report on the impact of casino gaming on the state’s horse racing industry, finding that $242 million in revenue tax went to racing last year.
Dover Downs Closes Poker Room
Dover Downs in Delaware has closed its poker room and moved its poker tables to the main floor, with the loss of only one position reported.
TRIBAL GAMING More
Bridgeport Casino Must Include Tribes, Says Connecticut Governor
However the city of Bridgeport gets a casino, Connecticut’s gaming tribes must have a piece of the action. Governor Ned Lamont (l.) once again made that assertion last week after the legislative session ended with an unsuccessful effort to bring a commercial casino to the state’s largest city.
Down 2-0, Senecas Turn to the Courts
First, an arbitration panel ruled that the tribe owes the state of New York hundreds of millions of dollars in casino revenue-sharing payments, including from Seneca Niagara (l.). The U.S. Interior Department has declined to review the ruling. Now the tribe is asking a federal judge to void it.
Tribe Sues Over Burial Ground Desecration
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma renewed its lawsuit against the Poarch Creek Band of Indians and the federal government, claiming the Poarch Band desecrated sacred burial grounds when it built the $246 million Wind Creek Casino (l.) near Wetumpka, Alabama. The suit seeks to return the land to its pre-casino condition, plus monetary damages.
BIA Responds To Beloit Public Comments
A final Environmental Impact Statement regarding the Ho-Chunk Nation's proposed Beloit, Wisconsin casino (l.) recently was posted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, including responses to 32 verbal and 35 written comments about the casino. Following a new 30-day public comment period, a record of decision on the plan is expected "on or after" July 1.
California Tribe, Hard Rock, Building Casino Resort
California’s Tejon Indian Tribe and Hard Rock International last week announced a partnership to build a $600 million casino for the tribe. The casino and hotel would be built near Bakersfield in the Central Valley.
California Casino Wants to Relocate
The Redding Rancheria continues to move forward in its efforts to relocate its Win-River Resort and Casino (l.) several miles from the reservation to land that it has purchased called Strawberry Fields. The application is being processed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Tribes Announce Revenue Sharing
In Michigan, the Gun Lake Tribe announced a revenue sharing payment of $8.2 million from revenue from its Gun Lake Casino in Wayland. The Saginaw Chippewa Tribe distributed $2.91 million in revenue from its Mount Pleasant and Standish casinos. And the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana distributed $95,008 from its Paragon Casino revenue—the first time since 2016.
Washington Tribes See Growing Role for Women
Tribes, which have traditionally been bastions of male supremacy, are starting to see the value of diversity and encouraging leadership by women. That is certainly true of several tribes in the Spokane, Washington, area.
Shoshone Casino May Reduce Staff, Hours
Declining revenue at the Shoshone Rose Casino and Hotel (l.) in Lander, Wyoming may lead to layoffs of up to 20 employees and cutbacks in working hours. Operated by the Eastern Shoshone Tribe of the Wind River Reservation, the tribe hired RTC Gaming Consultants to study its operations and make recommendations regarding increasing revenue and lowering costs.
Robocall Campaign Targets Mashpee Chairman
Longtime Mashpee Wampanoag tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell (l.) has been targeted by an anonymous robocall. Opponents want the recall the chairman for his role in the tribe’s huge debt in connection to its efforts to bring a casino to Taunton, Massachusetts.
Arizona Tribe Celebrates Casino Topping Off Ceremony
A topping-out ceremony to celebrate the midway point in construction of the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort last week was also the opportunity to unveil the new name and logo for what was formerly the Fort McDowell Casino. The tribe is looking at opening the casino next summer.
Faranca Takes The Helm At Live! Casino Maryland
Anthony Faranca was named executive vice president and general manager at Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover, Maryland. Previously he was vice president and general manager at Station Casinos, Las Vegas. Faranca also served as vice president and general manager at Parx Casino in Pennsylvania, and vice president of national casino marketing for Caesars Entertainment in Atlantic City.
Arbuckle Named Donaco CEO
Australia-based gaming operator Donaco International Ltd. has named Paul Arbuckle as the company’s new CEO, an appointment that was effective on June 12.
Golden Names First Woman to Board of Directors
With the appointment of veteran food and beverage industry executive Ann Dozier to Golden Entertainment’s board, the Las Vegas-based casino and tavern operator joins a growing list of gaming companies that are moving energetically to increase female representation at the top.
JCM Announces Key Promotions
JCM Global has named Dave Kubajak (l.) senior vice president of sales, marketing and operations, and has promoted Cliff Buckley to director of business development.
Galaxy Gaming Names New Finance, Marketing Heads
Industry veterans Gabrielle Houston and John Strickland have joined the Las Vegas-based table games and systems provider as vice president of finance and director of marketing. The company also has gone in-house to promote Ann Huysman to the position of gaming compliance manager.
Sherwood Valley Casino Names Barry Weiss Spokesman
Barry Weiss, a colorful personality known to viewers of “Storage Wars” and “Barry’d Treasure,” has been hired by Sherwood Valley Casino to be its spokesman and official “face.” The casino is located in Northern California.
Riot Names New League of Legends Esports Chief
Riot Games has named John Needham as global head of League of Legends esports, with oversight of the world’s most popular competitive video game.
GOODS & SERVICES More
Caesars Creates Tech Hub at UNLV
Caesars Entertainment has partnered with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to create a technology hub where new gaming and hospitality concepts will be developed and tested. The new facility, called the Black Fire Innovation space, will include mock hotel rooms, a casino floor with slots and table games, presentation and exhibit areas, an e-sports arena, and virtual reality facilities.
Analyst: Investor Fears about IGT ‘Overblown’
An analyst from SunTrust Bank noted that fears concerning the Italian government’s budget problems that drove down the stock of IGT by 6.72 percent were “overblown.”
Encore Boston Harbor Names GPI Table Supplier of Choice
Wynn Resorts has named Gaming Partners International Corporation as the supplier of choice for all of the new casino’s table game equipment and supplies.
Topgolf Simulators Coming to Potawatomi Milwaukee
Two Topgolf simulators will be installed at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee this fall, the area's first. Blending golf with technology, Topgolf offers simulated target games for up to eight players per bay, along with lounge seating, HD television and food and beverage service.
Rampart Casino Launches Engaged Nation Platform
Rampart Casino at the Resort at Summerlin, Nevada recently partnered with Engaged Nation digital engagement providers in a year-long program to enhance active customers' daily experience and benefits and to bring back dormant customers. The platform's online component offers customized games and activities that let players earn awards for daily engagement.
TRADE SHOWS & CONFERENCES More
First Korea Gaming Congress July 17-18
Incheon, South Korea will host the first Korea Gaming Congress, to be held July 17 and 18. More than 100 leaders from gaming, entertainment, hospitality and government will be on hand to confer about the industry.
NEWS & NOTES
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