Crown Resorts last week suffered several setbacks in Australia surrounding media reports alleging unethical business operations and possible money laundering. The problems follow difficulties with attracting VIPs from China to the company’s casinos (the flagship, Crown Melbourne above), which resulted in the imprisonment of several Crown employees and executives for months.
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In one of his final acts as governor, Ricardo Rosselló (l.) signed legislation into law that authorizes sports betting, fantasy leagues and eSports in Puerto Rico. His victory was short-lived, due to a recent scandal that led to his exit on August 2. In North Carolina, the state will allow sports and horserace wagers at two tribal casinos. And Iowa has approved new rules for betting on professional and collegiate sports and fantasy sports.
If Donald Trump (shown with Chinese Premier Xi at a December 2018 meeting) follows through on his plan to impose a new 10 percent tax on billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese imports, the ripple effect is sure to be felt by U.S.-based gaming operators in Macau: Wynn Macau, Sands China and MGM China. Analysts say the big squeeze could put the throttle on VIP business in particular.
The UK Gambling Commission has fined GVC about £5.9 Million for failings in anti-money laundering systems and problem gambling protections at Ladbrokes Coral. The fines are one of the largest ever levied by the regulator and the company agreed to pay £5.9 Million in a settlement. Of the settlement, £4.8m will go to initiatives to prevent problem gambling and £1.1m to victims of crimes used to fund gambling.
A group of lawmakers from both parties have been working together, without the involvement of Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont (l.), on a compromise that would bring an Indian casino to Bridgeport. It would also guarantee the tribes exclusive rights to sports betting. Lamont isn’t happy about being excluded from the talks.
Tim Wilmott has announced that he will retire as CEO of Penn National Gaming, a company he joined in 2008 and has guided through many expansions. Jay Snowden, Penn’s CFO, will replace him. Wilmott’s term as chairman of the American Gaming Association is also about to expire.
Has Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte done an about-face on the casino moratorium he declared last summer? Well-known for his disapproval of gaming, Duterte may have been persuaded by the growth of the market, which analysts say outstrips Macau and Vegas.
Diversity isn’t just a platitude to be trotted out at employees rallies or shareholder meetings, says casino veteran Richard Schuetz. He points to the difficult road traveled by civil rights pioneer James Meredith (l) and why his commitment to freedom was so crucial. Why is it any different in the gaming industry of today?
The Palmetto Forum for Gambling Studies was formed earlier this year to study the possibility of casinos in South Carolina. The self-funded group held the first of several meetings to gauge grassroots attitudes, said Executive Director Scott Malyerck. In a recent poll, 68 percent of respondents supported casino gambling if revenue would be allocated to specific purposes. One of the areas being considered for casinos in Myrtle Beach (l.).
Second quarter earnings are coming out and operators and suppliers are reporting steady but impressive numbers. With casino revenue up a healthy 5 percent in June, operators are doing well, and with almost 8 percent of them saying they’re going to replace slot machines, manufacturers are happy.
GLOBAL GAMING BUSINESS PODCAST: Cynthia Hallet, President and CEO, American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation
This week, the GGB Podcast features an interview with Cynthia Hallet, the president and CEO of American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, about how her organization seeks to work with casinos to reduce and eliminate smoking in casinos.
A legal wrangle between Genting Malaysia Bhd and Twentieth Century Fox—which became 21st Century Fox on its acquisition by the Walt Disney Co.—has been settled. That means a Genting theme park is finally a go at the company flagship near Kuala Lumpur, Genting Highlands (l.).
The mayor of Chiba City, Japan, Toshihito Kumagai (l.). on Tokyo Bay is still on the fence about making a bid for one of the country’s first three integrated resorts. Locations that seem likely for selection include Osaka and Yokohama.
SJM is the only Macau operator without a presence on Cotai, and the timetable for getting there has been moved again. Grand Lisboa Palace (l.) was originally set to open in 2017. Then it was moved to 2019. Now it may not debut until late next year.
The Las Vegas Sands Corp. says its new tower (l.) at Marina Bay Sands will be open by New Year’s Day 2024. The tower is part of a planned US$3.3 billion expansion project at the property in Singapore, one of two IRs there.
International law enforcement is looking at the casino industry in Cambodia to determine if it has enticed money launderers, specifically those in the drug trade.
It’s not enough that Taipa’s defunct Beijing Imperial Palace Hotel (l.) is mired in another ownership dispute. Now 20 travel agencies are suing one of the ostensible owners, claiming they are due millions for rooms that were booked before the government closed the troubled property.
The U.K. Gambling Commission has proposing a requirement that gaming firms analyze player’s incomes and set appropriate gambling limits on their accounts. The commission said operators will be expected to “set limits on consumers spending until affordability checks have been conducted.”
Operators applying for sports-betting licenses in Germany must stop all illegal online activities. So says the Regional Council of Darmstadt, which will begin the official licensing process in 2020.
The New South Wales Planning Department has rejected a proposal by Star Entertainment Group to build a $530 million hotel tower on the waterfront. Star says it plans to appeal the decision.
The government of Brazil is pondering ways to save the country’s faltering horse betting industry. Methods under consideration include lottery games tied to horse racing, virtual horse racing and bets on historic racing.
London’s City Council will vote on zoning requests from Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd. on a proposal to locate a new casino in southwest London. The request, however, has drawn opposition on the council.
Penn National Gaming is the latest U.S. operator to join the online gaming and mobile sports betting arenas. Its new alliances with DraftKings, PointsBet, theScore and the Stars Group along with a technology deal with Kambi gives Penn an infusion of cash and equity and the potential for ongoing revenue-sharing. The deal provides the four retail brands entry into all states where Penn National operates.
The once intense interest in legalizing online poker in California has been shunted aside by a new interest: sports betting. Meanwhile one of the largest online poker markets in the world remains untapped.
New Zealand’s gaming regulator is considering a ban on credit card use for online gambling as the country prepares for a new online gaming platform from SkyCity. The Department of Internal Affairs, the industry regulator, is reviewing the country’s gambling laws to ensure they minimize harm from problem gambling.
West Virginia regulators are drafting new regulations for online gaming. It will be the fifth state to allow online gaming after the regulations are completed. Lottery Director John Myers (l.) says he wants to do it the “right way.”
A draft of secondary regulations for the Dutch iGaming market has been presented for review to industry stakeholders, who have until mid-September to submit their comments.
Rush Street Interactive’s social casino and sportsbook platform, Casino4Fun, is now live at Gun Lake Casino in Michigan. Visitors can play online slots, table games, live dealer games and place sports bets for free on the site and win prizes redeemable at Gun Lake. President and Chief Operating Officer Sal Semola (l.) says his casino will use it as a unique marketing tool.
DraftKings has announced a deal with Major League Baseball making it an authorized gaming operator. DraftKings has also made a deal with the Professional Golfers Association designating it as the official fantasy sports game of the PGA Tour.
The U.S. head of one of the top suppliers of sports betting technology in the industry predicts that Pennsylvania will soon be the king of sports betting revenue in the United States. Kambi U.S. Director Max Bischel (l.) says revenue is growing “exponentially” in the fifth-largest U.S. state.
A developer is continuing to push for a sportsbook at the closed Garden State Park in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, despite a court battle with the track’s former operator, who claims a 20-year-old agreement blocks such an attempt. The site of the racetrack is now a mixed-use mall (l.).
Three bars in the District of Columbia, including the Wet Dog Tavern (l.), have applied for new liquor licenses, seen as a first step towards sports betting. As D.C. hashes out its wagering laws, it’s unclear how many venues like bars will be able to offer sports bets.
Two regulator agencies are fighting over who would have power to regulate sports betting in Ohio. The gaming and lottery commissions say they should be the body but it’s up to Governor Mike DeWine who favors the state Casino Control Commission.
Nevada’s sportsbooks led the nation in terms of handle, taking in more than $322 million in wagers for their best June ever. And they won better than a respectable 5 percent of them for total revenues of $16.6 million.
PointsBet, an Australian sports book operator, has moved into Colorado in anticipation of that state legalizing sports wagers. It has opened an office in Denver and entered into a partnership with Double Eagle Hotel and Casino in Cripple Creek, one of the state’s casino towns.
In response to a request from the Swedish Football Association, Svenska Spel‘s Sport & Casino iGaming subsidiary has suspended all betting on the Division 2 Södra Svealand football league.
You can’t get more Spirit of the West and Spirit of Freedom than Wyoming, a land of wide-open spaces, 98,000 square miles and only 578,000 people. It’s taken years to reach a consensus that a gaming commission would encompass the disparate elements of gaming in the Cowboy State. Senator Ogden Driskill (l.) says imposing regulations will avoid “huge problems” down the road.
A proposed casino and entertainment complex in Portsmouth, Virginia could generate more than $300 million in its first year of operation, according to a study. The development would include a casino, hotel, movie theatre, concert hall, restaurants and retail. Mayor John Rowe (l.) says there’s “a long way to go” before any decisions get made.
Hard Rock International has two competitors for Rockford, Illinois’ casino license (Hard Rock’s proposal at left). Wisconsin-based Gorman & Company has proposed a riverfront resort. The Rock River West Casino Group also proposed a downtown casino in the Waterpower District.
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held in Pine Bluff, Arkansas for the Quapaw Nation of Oklahoma's $350 million Saracen Casino Resort, to be completed in spring 2020. The commercial casino will be the third casino to open in Arkansas.
There will be a brief delay in the renovation of the Monarch Casino and Resort (l.) in Blackhawk, Colorado. Completion is expected in the fourth quarter, according to Co-Chairman and CEO John Farahi.
The five casinos, including Ohio’s Belterra Park (l.), and slot route Boyd Gaming bought last year accounted for the lion’s share of its impressive gains in the second quarter. So will the company be buying on the Las Vegas Strip? Maybe, says CEO Keith Smith, “But we’re not going to do anything stupid.”
Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment is considering alternative locations for its mini-casino linked to the Parx license, reportedly over concerns about sinkholes in the original Shippensburg Township site.
Maine’s Scarborough Downs (l.) is undergoing a renaissance of sorts under new owners who purchased the 69-year-old harness-racing track last year. The track saw its first increased revenues since 2006.
Bloomington, Illinois Mayor Tari Renner said the city’s moratorium on video gambling machines “is giving people a monopoly who already have the machines.”
Attorneys general in all 50 states and Washington D.C. are going after hotels for what they call deceptive and misleading resort fees that hide the true amount guest pay at resorts. Nebraska filed the first suit against Hilton Hotels Corp.
With the passage of H.R. 759, the U.S. House of Representatives has given new hope to the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas that it can continue to operate its Class II casino. Whether the Senate will follow suit is up in the air, but Senator John Cornyn (l.) supports the measure.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has implied he wants to renegotiate tribal gaming compacts when they expire. He believes tribes should pay a higher percentage of gaming revenue in exchange for exclusivity. But tribal leaders believe the compacts will renew automatically. Cherokee Chief Bill John Baker (l.) says the governor is ignoring the history and contribution of state tribes.
An Indian casino in Barstow, California, long sought by one tribe, may be picked up by another. The Chemehuevi Tribe is in talks with the city to develop the casino, long pursued by the Los Coyotes of San Diego County.
The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and the town of Aquinnah have what might be called a failure to communicate. The town claims the tribe is ignoring a judge’s orders that it not continue work on a Class II casino. The tribe says it is just securing the safety of the building site, and Town Selectman Juli Vanderhoop (l.) is calling for more dialogue with the tribe.
A shakeup in the U.K. cabinet following Boris Johnson’s appointment as prime minister has led to the choice of Rebecca Pow to oversee the horseracing and gaming sectors, supplanting sports minister Nigel Adams.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker named Springfield attorney Charles Schmadeke (l.) as chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board and Boeing Senior Counsel Anthony Garcia as the fifth board member. The board will oversee six new casinos, slots and tables at three horseracing tracks, a new south suburban racino, additional video gambling machines and sports betting.
International Game Technology Plc. has appointed cybersecurity expert Dr. Samantha Ravich to its board as an independent director, and to the nominating and corporate governance committee.
SciPlay, the publicly traded company created by Scientific Games Corp., has named education technology innovator Michael Marchetti to its board.
Gaming Arts has reached 100 approved licenses and 100 units in the field, only 18 months after entering the Class III slot business. President Mike Dreitzer (l.) says the company started from scratch, so the sales and R&D are progressing at a breakneck pace.
The head of hedge fund Greenlight Capital revealed he has acquired a piece of gaming supplier Scientific Games Corp., sending the supplier’s stock up nearly 5 percent.
International Game Technology launched its full, omni-channel FanDuel Sportsbook at Pennsylvania’s Valley Forge Casino Resort, offering retail online and mobile sports wagering.
Sega Sammy Creation, Inc. has announced the deployment of its Genesis Star cabinet in Nevada, marking the Japanese supplier’s first product deployment in the United States.
Scientific Games and Jumbo Technology have signed an agreement under which SG will connect Jumbo automated sic bo dice shakers to its electronic table game terminals.
The Strat Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas has partnered with Aristocrat Technologies to create a slot machine lounge on the main floor of the resort.
The Los Angeles Rams and Pechanga have announced a one-year partnership that names Pechanga Resort Casino as the official Indian casino of the Rams. The partnership will cross-promote the two large franchises and bring new philanthropic events to Southern California.
Britain’s national trade agency is investigating the proposed acquisition by Inspired Entertainment of parts of Novomatic (UK), to gauge effects on competition.
OPAP has signed a binding memorandum of understanding to acquire the stake of Greek supplier Intralot in the Hellenic Lotteries business for €20 million.
Professional Quality Assurance Ltd. and PLATO Testing officially opened the Centre of Excellence in Lottery and Gaming Software Testing in Ontario.
The CEC Vegas trade show at the Luxor September 4-5 will feature Take-Two Interactive Director J Moses, whose company publishes the Grand Theft Auto series, as its keynote speaker.
Republican Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin (l.), now running for re-election, said suicides in casinos are a nightly occurrence. A spokesman for his challenger, Democrat State Attorney General Andy Beshear, said Bevin’s “erratic claims” are “further proof he’s unfit to lead.”
“Billion Dollar Buyer” TV celebrity Tilman Ferritta has written a book called “Shut Up and Listen” that spells out his theory for success. He talked about his casinos and his relationship to his cousins, Frank and Lorenzo Ferritta, owners of Station Casinos.
Small Nuggets of News
Outrageous pronouncements, simple statements and words of wisdom