CT Governor’s Plan Would Put an End to East Windsor Casino

In Connecticut last week, Governor Ned Lamont (l.) floated the idea of turning the aging XL Center in Hartford into a casino and bringing legal sports betting to the state. The plan is contingent on the state’s two federally recognized tribes dropping their proposal for a jointly run casino in East Windsor. And there’s another hitch: MGM has stepped in to block a second tribal casino proposed for Bridgeport.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Atlantic City Sale Possible in Caesars-Eldorado Merger

The $17 billion mega-merger of Caesars Entertainment and Eldorado Resorts has sparked a lot of talk about which of Caesars’ Las Vegas Strip casinos might be sold and who might be looking to buy them. Atlantic City, home of three Caesars casinos including Caesars and Bally’s (l.), hadn’t figured into the speculative swirl. But that’s changing. Eldorado already owns Atlantic City’s Tropicana.

It Looks Bad for Crown. The Question is, How Bad?

Once again, Australian casino giant Crown Resorts is in the hot seat, with its VIP business the target of least two government investigations at home. The company will survive the latest dustup. But it won’t survive unscathed. And to complicate matters, the New South Wales regulators plan a deep dive into the proposed sale of a nearly 20 percent stake in Crown to Melco Resorts and Entertainment and the details of the Crown’s Sydney casino (l.) in Barangaroo.

Puerto Rico: Political Storms Could Stall Sports Betting

In possibly one of the final acts of his political career, former Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello signed legislation to bring legal sports betting to the U.S. territory. But the upheaval he left behind may stall the launch of the industry, which could bring in revenues for the island devastated by Hurricane Maria. Justice Secretary Wanda Vasquez (l.) is the third governor in a week and she might be replaced herself.

5 Questions: Nick Khin, Chief Commercial Officer, IGT

At OIGA in July and continuing at international trade shows throughout the year, IGT is introducing systems innovations to streamline customer interactions, simplify bonusing and help operators compile and interpret data. GGB Editor Frank Legato sits down with IGT’s Nick Khin (l.) to talk about the company’s efforts.

New Mexico Nixes Racino, Draws Fire

Gaming operators and other businesses that hoped to be part of a sixth racino in New Mexico are fuming because the plan was rejected by the state racing commission. The companies say they were not consulted before the order that turned thumbs down on the facility. Full House Resorts had planned a racino with a moving grandstand (l.)

Churchill Downs Announces Corporate Expansion

Churchill Downs Chief Executive Officer Bill Carstanjen (l.) has announced an expansion at the Louisville facility, to be completed by the 2021 Kentucky Derby. It will include a hotel, a historical horseracing machine facility and premium seating. Also, the company will seek one of six new casino licenses allowed in Illinois’ new gambling expansion bill.

Senate Committee OKs Simermeyer for NIGC

Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, announced last week that the committee has approved the nomination of E. Sequoyah Simermeyer (l.) to serve as chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC). The nomination now must be approved by the full Senate.

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Silver Heritage Weighs Tiger Palace Offer

Australia-listed casino operator Silver Heritage Group is considering an offer to sell its Tiger Palace Resort Bhairahawa resort (l.) in Nepal. The US$34 million offer bid from a buyer identified as Indra Bahadur Thapa includes $20 million in cash.

Caesars Slashes Korea Investment

Sixty million, max. That’s the amount Caesars Entertainment Corp. is willing to invest to complete its planned integrated resort (l.) in Incheon, South Korea—if it completes it at all. The U.S.-based company announced the cap in investment last week as it seeks funding for the IR.

Macau: DICJ Restricts Player Tracking

Some of the most advanced and effective player-tracking and monitoring technologies have been declared off-limits to Macau’s casinos by the government’s gaming regulatory agency. This includes using surveillance data gathered for market analysis without players’ consent.

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Hellenikon Interest Fading?

The planned €8 billion development (l.) of Greece’s vacant Hellenikon International Airport remains on the drawing board, and interest in the site among casino developers reportedly is beginning to cool. The vast complex with gaming has been in the planning stages for more than four years, with little progress.

Cirsa Must Sell Bingo Halls to Buy Slot Co.

Grupo Cirsa, Spain’s biggest casino operator, must sell off two of its Barcelona bingo halls in order to acquire slot company Giga Games. The firm must also meet other requirements set down by regulators; the deal would give Cirsa 30 percent of market share for Spanish gaming machine services.

Protestors Demand that Italian Casino Reopen

It’s been more than a year since the Casino di Campione d’Italia (l.) closed its modernistic doors, and residents of the Lake Lugano area, in northern Italy near Lake Como, are demanding that it be reopened.

Spain Could Ban All Gaming Ads

Spanish media report that the country could soon prohibit all advertising of gaming activities. The minority government of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party has said it will comply with “all recommendations” from Spain’s Civic Ombudsman on the ban.

U.K. Bookmakers Form Independent Committee in Safe Gambling

An independent committee has been formed by bet365, Paddy Power, Ladbrokes Coral, Sky Betting, and William Hill to study and make recommendations for safer gambling measures in the U.K. The move comes as the gambling industry has come under intense criticism in the U.K. media and Parliament over failing to protect problem gamblers.

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888 Casino Launches New System in New Jersey

888 Holdings has revamped its online casino in the competitive New Jersey market and plans an update for its online poker platform too. 888 Poker, now the only poker platform in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware, plans to launch in Pennsylvania. The new Orbit platform in New Jersey includes substantially more slots and games as well as a new layout and user interface.

Betdaq Launches Sportsbook

Betdaq has launched a fixed-odds sportsbook to complement its 2 percent exchange and online casino. The sportsbook will be backed by a multi-channel marketing campaign that includes PR and social media activities with ex-England footballer Glen Johnson (l.). The sportsbook also offers a shared Betdaq wallet, best odds guaranteed, full and partial cash out, live streaming and in-play betting with visualizations.

Rivers Barred from DFS Court Battle in N.Y.

Rivers, the Schenectady casino, wants to join the state’s appeal of a 2018 court ruling that daily fantasy sports violates the New York Constitution. But Rivers may have too much of a private interest in the outcome to satisfy the justices hearing the appeal.

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Iowa Sports Betting Launches August 15

Fifteen of Iowa's 18 casinos are finalizing their new sportsbooks following approval of emergency rules and receiving licenses from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. IRGC Administrator Brian Ohorilko (l.) says the first bets can be taken at 12 noon on August 15. Mobile and online wagering will be offered in the near future. The IRGC also approved daily fantasy sports.

Tennessee Sets January Sports Betting Launch

Sports betting could begin in Tennessee in January in time for the Super Bowl, said state Rep. Rick Staples (l.), who sponsored the mobile/online sports wagering legislation. "Everyone thought I was an idiot for trying it," he said, and added he was pleasantly surprised when his measure passed the legislature and wasn't vetoed by anti-gambling Governor Bill Lee.

New Hampshire Invites Sports Betting Bids

The New Hampshire Lottery has sent out a request for proposals to potential sports-betting operators for the Granite State. New Hampshire legalized sports betting on July 12 and has made room for 10 retail and five mobile sportsbooks.

Indiana Casinos Gear Up for Sports Betting

Indiana casinos are working to open sportsbooks when wagering becomes legal September 1 in an effort to beat sports-betting competitors, especially in the Chicago area. Indiana Gaming Commission Executive Director Sara Gonso Tait (l.) says 10 of the state's 13 commercial casinos and its three off-track betting sites have received temporary licenses. Bettors must register and wager on-site, with mobile and online betting coming later this fall.

Oregon Lottery Preps for Sports Betting

The Oregon Lottery, which is gearing up to introduce a new sports betting program, last week debuted the name and logo of the sportsbook. Oregon Lottery Scoreboard will give players 21 and over the chance to bet on nearly every professional sport, including the NFL, NBA and MLB.

Mississippi Casinos Mark Sports Betting Anniversary

Sports betting has been legal in Mississippi for a little over a year. Beau Rivage Casino & Resort in Biloxi celebrated by debuting its expanded its sportsbook. Mississippi Gaming Commission Executive Director Allen Godfrey (l.) said sports betting has exceeded expectations, with gaming revenue up 5 percent. "That hasn't happened in a long time," he said.

NCAA Sanctions School for Sports Bets

The NCAA has sanctioned the University of North Carolina Greensboro after determining that two school staffers placed sports bets in violation of the association’s rules. The bets involved the school’s basketball team. Under a negotiated settlement, the school will be placed on three years’ probation and pay a $15,000 fine.

Washington Redskins to Offer Preseason Telecasts with Gambling Twist

The Washington Redskins are planning gambling-focused telecasts of their pre-season games which will offer prizes to contestants that accurately predict in-game developments. The games will follow a formula shown in local telecasts of the NBA’s Washington Wizards regular season games.

SEC Targets Nevada Sports Betting Fund

Investors have been complaining for more than a year that Bettor Investments, a defunct Nevada sports betting mutual fund, took their money and never repaid it. Now, the SEC has weighed in, accusing the fund and founder Matt Stuart of a host of violations of federal securities laws.

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New York’s Empire Resorts Considering Bankruptcy

Genting Malaysia is joining with Kien Huat Realty, controlled by Genting Chairman Lim Kok Thay (l.), Empire’s majority shareholder, for a series of transactions aimed at taking Empire private. If completed, the moves will put Genting in direct operational control of Resorts World Catskills. But until that time, Empire has notified the SEC bankruptcy may be an option.

Better Days Ahead for Illinois Track

The expanded gaming bill recently signed by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker allows casino gaming and sports betting at the state's racetracks, including Fairmount Park (l.) in Collinsville. For 20 years, track officials and area lawmakers had asked for slots to increase purses and attract quality horses. Now, everything has come together for the 94-year old track.

Horseracing Returns to Virginia Track

A 15-day race schedule kicked off August 8 at Colonial Downs in New Kent County, Virginia, which had been shuttered since 2014. New owners the Colonial Downs Group said races will continue on Thursday, Friday and Saturday through September 7, including the Virginia Derby, featuring a $250,000 stakes purse on August 31. Daily purses will average at least $500,000.

Illinois Track Cancels Spring 2020 Meet

To build a casino and sportsbook, as allowed under Illinois' new expanded gaming law, Hawthorne Race Course (l.) in Stickney will close for four months next year. In the past, Hawthorne and Arlington International Racecourse coordinated their schedules. Now the 2020 schedule will have a gap from January 4 at Hawthorne to April 27, Arlington's opening day.

Nebraska Approves Historical Horseracing

The Nebraska Racing Commission has voted 3-2 to allow historical horseracing machines at the state's thoroughbred racetracks—against the opinion of the state's attorney general's office. The anti-gaming group, Gambling with the Good Life, already said it will challenge the decision in court. A Fonner Park (l.) official said he hopes to install the games this fall.

MGM Springfield Faces Blackjack Suit

Blackjack players have filed a class action lawsuit claiming MGM Springfield in Massachusetts is paying less than state regulations allow on winning hands at some tables. The claims, including in a lawsuit filed last week in Hampden Superior Court, echo those made in a similar suit filed against Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbor.

Rockford, Illinois Anticipates Casino Proposals

Proposals for a casino in Rockford, Illinois are due by August 16. Hard Rock International has proposed a casino resort along I-39/90 and the Rock River West Casino Group recommends a downtown casino and entertainment district. Meanwhile, the Ho-Chunk Nation awaits federal approval for its Beloit, Wisconsin casino (l.), 18 miles from Rockford.

Six Developers Compete For Waukegan Casino

Six developers have filed proposals for a Waukegan, Illinois casino, including the Potawatomi tribe, operators of a Milwaukee casino, and Warner Gaming, partnering with former state Senator Michael Bond. A short list will be announced August 26, followed by a public hearing in September. City council will make its final recommendations to the Illinois Gaming Board by October 25. Potawatomi CEO Rodney Ferguson (l.) says his tribe knows the market well.

Pennsylvania Highlights Gambling Complaint Process

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board released a public notice that highlights the state’s process of resolving complaints and disputes between gamblers and online casinos. The state recently launched online casinos. The notice highlights online forms and distinguishes between complaints and disputes between gamblers and online sites.

Rivers Celebrates 10 Years

Rivers Casino (l.) in Pittsburgh is celebrating 10 years of operation, along with 10 years of progressive workplace initiatives that have won the property “Best Place to Work” awards and other accolades.

MGM Detroit Disputes Tax Bill

MGM Grand Detroit has filed two lawsuits claiming it should not have to pay taxes on the unpaid portion of loans made to customers. The casino wants refunds on $41,000 and $14,000 in the cases. Casino attorneys say Michigan law lets a casino deduct uncollectible losses against gross receipts.

Raiders’ New Home Has a Name—Allegiant Stadium

The Las Vegas Raiders football team joined last week with Vegas-based air carrier Allegiant to celebrate the topping off of the team’s $1.8 billion domed stadium (l.). The 65,000-seat venue, to be known as Allegiant Stadium, is reported to be more than half completed and on track to open near the southern end of the Strip in time for the 2020 NFL season.

Florida Kennel Owner Sues Over Ban

A greyhound kennel owner in St. Petersburg, Florida sued the state, claiming it is unconstitutionally "taking" his property with the ban on dog racing approved by voters last November. The kennel owner wants the state to pay damages due to decreasing property values, including racing dogs he could have sold for up to $50,000.

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Oklahoma Tribe Rejects Governor's Stance

The Sac and Fox Nation has joined the growing number of Oklahoma tribes claiming the tribal-state gaming compact will automatically renew on January 1, 2020. Principal Chief Justin F. Wood declared, "any other interpretation is legally inadequate." Governor Kevin Stitt (l.) has proposed renegotiating the compact to possibly increase the exclusivity fee.

Vineyard Tribe Pursues Bingo Hall Site

Last Monday, the town of Aquinnah in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts met with the Wampanoag tribe in the presence of Judge Dennis Saylor IV, who told the warring sides to work together on a “good faith” solution to safely secure the site of a proposed bingo hall (l.) in the town.

Leech Lake Band Opens Minnesota Casino

The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe’s’ new $50 million Cedar Lakes Casino and Hotel (l.) recently opened in Cass Lake, Minnesota. The blue-themed property honors the area's many lakes, and features a gaming floor, 100-room hotel, food court, brew pub, arcade, gift shop, indoor pool and event center. It will employ 400 people.

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PCSO Official Names Names in Lotto Scandal

Recently a spokesman for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office would be “named and shamed” in connection with corruption in the organization, which operates the national lottery. Now a PCSO official has named names, including the Duterte-appointed current chairman, Anselmo Simeon Patrol Pinili (l.).

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Aristocrat Releases MarsX Cabinet

Aristocrat Technologies has debuted a new cabinet, MarsX, featuring the game Buffalo Gold Revolution, at the Graton Resort & Casino in California.

Debit Card for Casino Chips to Debut in Nevada

A new system to allow players to purchase casino chips at tables using a debit card is set to debut in Nevada. The PlayOn automated cashless system has been in use in five Native American casinos in California for more than three years. The Nevada Gaming Control Board recently approved PlayOn use after ACS completed a field trial on two tables at Red Rock Casino Resort.

New Apple Credit Card to Ban Gambling Transactions

Reports have surfaced that the new Apple Card will have restrictions on use for gambling and also for use with cryptocurrency transactions. Also, the new card will not work on altered or “jailbroken” devices.

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Marketing Expert to Give G2E Keynote

The producers of the Global Gaming Expo have announced that Scott Stratten (l.), president of UnMarketing and a top marketing influencer, will give the keynote address at this year’s show.

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U.K. Problem Gambling Slogan Found Ineffective

A new study has found that a slogan used to warn gamblers about addiction attached to gambling ads has not been as effective as hoped. The slogan “When the fun stops, stop” was found to have no real effect on gambling habits. The study was made by the University of Warwick.

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