AGA President: Sports Betting Expansion Faces Critical Year

Bill Miller (l.), president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, says the second year of widespread legal sports betting in the U.S. will be critical for the market. According to Miller, the AGA will push for appropriate regulation and standards in the growing industry. He also predicted that Nevada will remain the driving force in U.S. gaming even as sports betting expands. And Miller also announced some major changes on the AGA’s executive staff.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Wyoming Still Wild Wild West

Bills that would have imposed regulation on the Wild West slot machine landscape of Wyoming had a unique way of dying in this year’s legislative session. An anonymous lobbying campaign revealed to have been funded by a gaming tribe, which may have feared the state imposing fees on its slot machines. Senator Ogden Driskill (l.) believes it will only encourage more illegal slots.

Illinois Gambling Expansion Begins

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (l,) has signed expanded gaming legislation but it could take several months for the Illinois Gaming Board to issue licenses for new casinos, sportsbooks, racinos, slots at Chicago airports and more. Pritzker needs to fill two vacancies on the five-member gaming board. Expanded gaming is forecast to generate $350 million in additional annual revenue.

Massachusetts Takes Another Look at Region C

It has been three years since the Massachusetts Gaming Commission took a third casino resort license, for the southeastern part of the state, off the table. Now the commission is going to dust off the license and possibly reopen the process for awarding it. A subsidiary of Rush Street Gaming had previously proposed a casino in Brockton (l.).

California Initiative Would Legalize Sports Betting

California has one of the more complicated gaming landscapes in the country, with multiple stakeholders dominated by gaming tribes. Now it has the potential to become even more complicated with the introduction by two lawmakers, including Senator Bill Dodd (l.), of an initiative that would amend the constitution to allow sports betting.

Wilson to Join Scientific Games

Matt Wilson, who left his position as managing director of the Americas for Aristocrat Leisure, Ltd., reportedly will join rival Scientific Games next year as head of SG’s Gaming Division. He will begin his job in 2020 upon the completion of his non-compete period.

Alliance Looks to Double Growth in Manila

The head of Alliance Global Group Inc. is confident that the firm’s gaming and hospitality operations in Manila will double revenues over the next five years. Alliance CEO Kevin Tan (l.), who took the reins when his father Andrew stepped aside last year, is looking for a 15 percent increase in profits.

Novomatic Opens Casino Admiral Sevilla

On June 26, the Novomatic Group celebrated the opening of its second casino operation in Andalusia, Spain. The new Casino Admiral Sevilla was acquired by the group in 2016 and underwent a full year of renovations before opening to the public.

Seminole Hard Rock Announces Openings

The long-awaited opening of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood's iconic guitar-shaped hotel tower (l.) will take place October 24, and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa's expansion will open October 3. Representing an investment of $2.2 billion, the two massive projects will create 19,000 direct and indirect jobs. “The gaming industry will never be the same,” said Hard Rock International Chairman and Seminole Gaming CEO Jim Allen.

GLI Marks 30 Years

Gaming Laboratories International is marking the company’s 30th anniversary with a number of programs designed to give back to host communities around the world. Founders James Maida and Paul Magno celebrated the milestone at this year’s GLI North American Regulators Roundtable in Las Vegas.

The Weather

There has been lots of news lately on the new “diversity” of boards of directors and C-suite executives. But how much has really changed? Longtime gaming executive Richard Schuetz (l.) wonders whether we’ve set the bar too low.


Could Collapse Derail Cambodia Gold Rush?

The flood of casino development in Sihanoukville, Cambodia may have hit a speed bump due to the building collapse that killed 28 people. Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen (l.) has ordered a review of foreign-backed construction projects in the coastal resort city.

Luxury Macau Hotel Unloads Prized Rolls Fleet

The 13’s owners have sold most of its signature red Rolls-Royce Phantoms for cash to repay a bank loan that’s looming over the struggling Cotai luxury resort. Ownership, meanwhile, is reported to be pursuing new financing to try to deal with liabilities totaling some HK$7.9 billion.

CCC: Tell All About IPI

Casino commissioners in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands have asked the CNMI’s Superior Court to lift an embargo on information that apparently shows casino operator Imperial Pacific International owes millions of dollars to the local government.


Blackpool Considered for UK Super-Casino

According to a report in the UK Sun newspaper, Blackpool (l.) is being considered for the location of Britain’s first super-casino resort. Initial talks have begun between the national government and local council over a mega-casino and leisure complex for the seaside resort

Spelinspektionen Fines Eight Operators

Swedish gaming regulator Spelinspektionen has fined eight gaming operators for serving players under the age of 18. The operators, including Flutter Entertainment, GVC Holdings and Bet365, must pay a total of US$4.4 million in penalties.

UK Lords Committee to Investigate Problem Gambling

The UK House of Lords Select Committee has called for research into the “social and economic impacts of the gambling industry” and will seek input from throughout the gaming industry and groups concerned with gaming in the country.


Casino Resort Underway in Paraguay

Paraguay’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development has OK’d a mega-resort and casino on San Francisco Island (l.) on the Paraguay River. The US$150 million tourist and entertainment complex will feature a five-star hotel, a 2,000-seat convention center and an amusement park.

Woolworths to Dump Gaming Ops

Australian supermarket giant Woolworths (l.), which faces fines and worse for over-serving alcohol to patrons in its gaming shops, has announced it will spin off its pubs and pokie operations, heading off the possibility it could have its licenses revoked for the violations.

Namibia to Lift Gaming Ban

Namibia is preparing to lift a 20-year ban on gaming with the issuance of new licenses, according to Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta. The country has an estimated 3,000 illegal gaming halls.


Report: DraftKings to Acquire SBTech

DraftKings is reportedly close to acquiring online gaming and sports betting company SBTech. Details of the deal were not released but an acquisition would give the daily fantasy sports and sports-betting company its own in-house platform. The deal is likely to be worth $300 million to $500 million. DraftKings has also announced the launch of Flash Bet, a pro tennis product.

New Mexico Tribe Opens Sports Book

Mescalero Apache Tribe of New Mexico has partnered with William Hill to offer sports book at the Inn of the Mountain Gods (l.) by the beginning of the fall National Football League season. William Hill will provide betting risk services and wagering tech to the casino.

Tennessee Sports Betting Law Takes Effect

The sports betting measure that Tennessee Governor Bill Lee allowed to become law without his signature took effect July 1. The law only allows online and mobile sports betting, but that’s unlikely to be available until the first half of 2020 after a sports wagering advisory council is created, a regulatory framework is developed and testing is completed.

Iden Drafts Another Sports Betting Bill

Depending on the feedback he receives from stakeholders, Michigan state Rep. Brandt Iden (l.) could file his seventh draft of a sports betting bill soon after July 11. The bill would allow the three Detroit casinos and 20-plus tribal casinos to set up physical sportsbooks and also allow online and mobile sports betting within the state.

D.C. Council Reconsiders Intralot Contract

Some Washington, D.C. council members would like to remove the city's contract with Intralot to operate sports betting and open it up to bid. The contract was awarded without a competitive bidding process due to pressure to beat Virginia and Maryland, which considered but did not legalize sports betting. Intralot currently manages D.C.'s lottery.

Sports Betting Kicks Off In Arkansas

A sportsbook opened July 1 at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Arkansas, where a $100 million expansion is under construction. No opening date for sports betting has been announced at Southland Gaming & Racing in West Memphis.

Major League Soccer to Allow Gambling Sponsors

Major League Soccer has announced changes to its commercial sponsorship guidelines that allow its 24 clubs to sign jersey and stadium naming rights sponsorships with sports betting and liquor companies. MLS is still the only pro sports league in the U.S. that allows jersey sponsorships.

Connecticut Acts to Protect Sports Betting Revenues

Sportech, which has an exclusive license to take wagers within Connecticut at its sports bars, has a problem: out of state operators illegally taking wagers from state residents. A recent action by Governor Ned Lamont is intended to put teeth in the state law intended to prevent that abuse.

Atlantic City Casinos Unveil New Sportsbooks

Atlantic City’s Borgata Casino and Bally’s casino have both opened new permanent sportsbooks. When sports betting first went live in New Jersey a year ago, most casinos in the resort moved quickly to open temporary facilities. Borgata and Bally’s have invested a combined $20 million to cater to sports bettors and attract customers to their brick-and-mortar casinos.

MGM Stakes Claim for AAF Tech

MGM Resorts is seeking to gain control of gambling technology that was being developed by the now-defunct Alliance of American Football. The two companies have agreed to a partial settlement that would see MGM gain AAF sports-betting assets and reduce its total claim against the league from $7 million to $5 million.

Rivers Pittsburgh Unveils Sports Book Plan

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh unveiled plans and renderings of its $5 million sports book, which will open in the fall, replacing a temporary book that is one of the highest-earning in the state.

BFU, Genius Sports Make Data Deal

The Bulgarian Football Union has inked an agreement with Genius Sports meant to refine BFU’s capture, control and distribution of live data. Genius Sports will also install its Football LiveStats system to compile advanced statistics on games.


Third Rosie's Opens In Virginia

The third and largest Rosie's Gaming Emporium (l.) in Virginia recently opened in Richmond, with 700 historical racing machines. Owners Colonial Downs Group invested $41 million in the property, which also includes a restaurant, bar, gift shop and off-track betting area. Other Rosie’s locations are planned for Hampton, Danville and Dumfries.

All Clear at Encore Boston Harbor

The long-awaited opening of Encore Boston Harbor went as smoothly as could be expected, although traffic was an issue, as expected. But a $1 million communication campaign that encouraged visitors to take alternative routes seem to have worked, including a passenger ferry (l.) on the Mystic River.

Arkansas Kicks All Five Pope County Casino Applications

The Arkansas Racing Commission has rejected all five applications for a Pope County casino. It seems that none of the applications satisfied the requirement that they receive support from local politicians. While a Mississippi group claimed to have that support to build a casino (l.), officials are now out of office.

Judge Rules Harrah’s Owes New Orleans Back Taxes

A Louisiana judge has ruled that Harrah’s New Orleans (l.) must pay an estimated $30 million to $50 million in back taxes on comped and discounted rooms at its own and third-party hotels. A separate trial will determine the precise amount. Harrah’s says it’s exempt from the state taxes, though it does pay local hotel taxes on discounted and comped rooms to Orleans Parish.

Ho-Chunk Launches Nebraska Casino Petition Drive

Lance Morgan (l.), the chairman of Ho-Chunk, the economic development arm of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, is financing a petition drive to place casino gaming on the 2020 ballot. A previous effort failed to gather enough signatures. Internal polling shows voters approving the issue in a statewide referendum—even opponents admit defeating it will more challenging than in the past.

Last Race Run at Suffolk Downs

Fans of Suffolk Downs (l.) thanked the 84-year-olf track for the memories on June 30. The Massachusetts racetrack held its last race on June 30. Soon it will make way for apartments and condominiums.

Maverick Closes on Two More Washington Purchase

Maverick Gaming has closed on its acquisition of the shares and assets of Great American Gaming Corp., which includes three properties in the greater Seattle area. A few days later, Washington native Eric Persson (l.), the majority owner of Maverick, completed a deal to buy another Seattle-area card room, Roman casino.

The Sahara Is Back

The SLS Las Vegas is going back to the name of the famed Strip resort it replaced four years ago. Its return as the “Sahara Las Vegas” is slated to take full effect later this year, accompanied by $150 million in improvements launched by the resort’s new owners.

California Racing Board Given New Powers

The California Horse Racing Board has broad new powers given to it by SB 469. Including the ability to suspend a race meet to protect the safety of horses or riders. Governor Gavin Newsom, who signed the bill, called for CHRB to have the power to prevent the large number of deaths that happened this year at Santa Anita.

Seabrook Bets New Hampshire Will Legalize Casinos

Seabrook Park (l.) is building a 40,000 square foot charitable casino floor. The owners of the former greyhound track also hope that the Granite State will someday legalize casinos, which would position it perfectly to apply for such a license. But it’s not holding its corporate breath.

Prime Strip Site Fetches $172 Million

The owners of the Strip’s Showcase Mall are buying the location between the MGM Grand and Planet Hollywood, the Hawaiian Marketplace (l.), with plans to liven it up with all-new attractions. Observers lauded the acquisition as another enhancement to Las Vegas’ growing appeal for non-gamers.

Bad Luck Pummels May at Strip Casinos

Hold percentage at baccarat came in under 8 percent for the month, a result that was blamed for an 11 percent drop in Strip gaming revenue compared to last May. Nevada win fell a corresponding 6 percent, the worst drop in a string of five year-on-year declines.

Rhode Island Casino Seeks 24-Hour Operating License

The city council of Tiverton, Rhode Island, is saying “no so fast,” to the request by Tiverton Casino Hotel (l.) for a permanent license to operate 24 hours a day. Some council members want to wait until the casino has been open a full year first.

Station’s Union Fight Reaches Capitol Hill

The Las Vegas locals giant refuses to enter contract negotiations with workers represented by the Culinary Union at its Palms Casino Resort. Station’s stand could cost the company a massive tax break tied to its $690 million remodeling of the off-Strip casino hotel.

West Virginia Lottery Renews Casino Licenses

License renewals for West Virginia's five casinos recently were approved by the state Lottery Commission. Lottery Director John Myers said all paid their fees. He added Wheeling Island, Mardi Gras and Hollywood Casino are moving forward with sports betting apps, probably launching this fall. Sports betting is available on-site at Charles Town, the Greenbrier and Mountaineer.


California Tribe Ejects 60 members

Central California’s Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians last week removed 60 members from the rolls of the tribe. This is the latest in such upheavals by the tribe that operates Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino (L.) near Coarsegold.

House Bill Would Help Texas Casino

The Alabama Coushatta is hoping that the U.S. House of Representatives will come to its rescue in its battle with the state of Texas to operate its Class II casino (the Naskila at left) in the Lone Star State. House Resolution 759 would clear up legal issues that have allowed a state lawsuit to reach the point of shutting down the tribe’s Naskila casino.

Oklahoma Tribe Posts $866 Million Impact

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation has released a report indicating an economic impact of $866 million in Oklahoma in 2017, including $12 million to state and local governments and school districts. The tribe supports 8,700 jobs and pays $303 million in wages and benefits. The fourth-largest federally recognized tribe, the 87,000-member MCN serves 11 counties in east-central Oklahoma.

Pearl River Resort Marks 25th Anniversary

The Pearl River Resort, owned by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, will hold a month-long celebration of its 25th anniversary. Opened in 1994 with the Silver Star Casino, the resort now includes the Golden Moon Hotel and Casino (l.), Dancing Rabbit Golf Club, Geyser Falls and Bok Homa Casino, employing more than 2,000 people.

San Diego Casino Completes $50 Million Expansion

Valley View Casino & Hotel (l.) in Southern California has become the latest tribal casino to complete an expansion. The $50 million, 18-month project included added 43,000 square feet of casino, restaurant and public space.


Mexico Confirms Lottery Merger

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (l.) has announced the merger of two of the country’s lotteries, a move that will create one of the largest lotteries in the region. La Lotería Nacional para la Asistencia Pública will merge with Pronósticos para la Asistencia Pública.

Mississippi Lottery Tickets On Sale December 1

December 1 is the target date for scratch-off ticket sales for the new Mississippi Lottery. Statewide drawings could start in the first quarter of 2020 with multi-state drawings to follow in the second quarter. Officials have sent out requests for proposals to vendors and are working with a software company on applications. First-year net revenue estimates are $40 million.

Florida Governor Vetoes Lottery Ticket Warnings

Florida Lottery tickets will not have to display warning messages. Governor Ron DeSantis (l.) vetoed a measure that would have required all tickets to include: “Warning” Lottery Tickets May be Addictive” or “Play Responsibly.” An analysis showed the messages could lead to a $79.4 million loss in revenue for education. DeSantis said the lottery already urges customers to play responsibly.

Massachusetts, Indiana to Hold Hearings on Online Lottery

The joint legislative committee that is responsible for lottery, horse racing and keno will begin holding hearings on whether the Massachusetts lottery can sell tickets online. State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg has been lobbying for such an ability for several years. And in Indiana, the Hoosier Lottery will study whether lottery players in Indiana should be allowed to purchase tickets online for Powerball, Mega Millions and instant games.

R.I. Extends Contract for Lottery Provider IGT

Rhode Island has extended the contract with IGT for operating its lottery and sports betting for another 20 years. Under the agreement IGT will get a share of profits and commit to make $150 million in capital investments and pay the state $25 million.


Former Mohegan Chairman to Leave Council

Former Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown, who had retained his seat on the tribal council after resigning in February, has left the council seat under an ethical cloud. He left after an independent outside firm gave the tribe a report on alleged violations of the tribe’s code of ethics.

Poitra, LaPointe Named BIA Regional Directors

Tammie Poitra has been named Midwest Bureau of Indian Affairs regional director and Timothy LaPointe director of the Great Plains Region, according to Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney. Poitra brings more than 33 years of federal service to her position. LaPointe was previously Midwest regional director.

Guidry Named Hard Rock Hollywood President

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood has named Bo Guidry as president. On October 24 the property will debut a $1.5 billion expansion that includes a guitar-shaped hotel tower. Previously Guidry was senior vice president and general manager at Horseshoe Council Bluffs and Harrah’s Council Bluffs Hotel & Casino in Iowa, both owned by Caesars Entertainment.

Sportech Names McGuire Permanent CEO

Sportech Plc. announced that Richard Maguire has been elevated from interim executive chairman to the group’s permanent chief executive officer, and Giles Vardy has been named non-executive chairman.


Aristocrat Rolls Out Edge X Cabinet, Games

Aristocrat Technologies has rolled out its new Edge X cabinet, officially launched at the Indian Gaming Tradeshow, across U.S. casinos featuring two main titles, FarmVille and Madonna (l.).

Connectivity to Explode India Skill-Based

India’s skill-based gaming market is expected to triple between now and 2023 due to increased smartphone connectivity. By one estimate, the market will grow from $600 million a year to $2 billion.


‘Warrior Spirit’ Author to Star at G2E

Acclaimed author and motivational speaker D.J. Vanas will deliver the opening keynote when G2E comes to Las Vegas in October. His appearance highlights an enhanced focus at this year’s show on issues vital to the future of tribal gaming.

Registration Live for ICE Africa

Registration is now open for ICE Africa 2019, October 2-3 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Sandton, South Africa. The sophomore edition of the show developed by Clarion Gaming will address the needs of the pan-African industry.




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