Illinois Expansion No Sure Thing

In an announcement that shocked the Illinois horseracing industry, Churchill Downs said high taxes and a “hyper-competitive" gaming market made it “untenable” for it to pursue a gaming license at Arlington Park (l.)—although the historic racetrack had been lobbying for casino gaming for years. The venue will apply for a sports betting license and possibly move its racing license to another location. Meanwhile, many cities in the state are contemplating applying for one of the new licenses.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Focus Shifts in Japan

The Las Vegas Sands Corp. has bowed out of plans to pursue an integrated resort license in Osaka, Japan, preferring to focus on Tokyo and Yokohama. That pivot seems to make MGM Resorts, with its longstanding “Osaka First” policy, the favorite for a license if the government approves the locale. MGM CEO Jim Murren (l.) said the company is “deeply committed” to Osaka. In another big change, Caesars Entertainment has pulled out of Japan altogether to focus on business at home, including its merger with Eldorado Resorts.

Hard Rock Bids on Greek Casino

U.S.-based gaming giant Hard Rock International has submitted a binding offer for a €1 billion (US$1.1 billion) casino development planned for a former airport near Athens. Chairman Jim Allen (l.) says the company would respect local culture. Hard Rock is competing with Mohegan Gaming and Genting for the right to build the integrated resort.

Gaming Looks to Macau’s New CE—and He to Them

Macau’s casino operators should find much in their favor if they forge positive relations with the city’s new leader, Ho Iat Seng (l.). But as their casino concessions near their expiration dates, they cannot rest on the legacy of their investments there.

Georgia Again Considers Expanded Gambling

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (l.) has asked state agencies to cut their budgets. In response, House and Senate committees will consider casino gambling, horseracing and sports betting as new revenue streams. Committee chairmen state Rep. Ron Stephens and state Senator Brandon Beach say voters should approve a constitutional amendment to expand gambling.

Tribal & Lottery: Two Paths to Oregon Sports Betting

For a time, there will only be one place on the West Coast of Oregon where bettors can place a sports wager: Chinook Winds Casino Resort (l.) in Lincoln City. But that monopoly will soon end as the Oregon State Lottery jumps into the game and sports betting will be available at multiple outlets.

Enter Big Brother? Casinos Testing Facial Recognition Technologies

It’s called “biometrics”—a type of artificial intelligence that maps the features of the face with such accuracy, it not only can identify that person but detect their sexual orientation and, in the most advanced versions, even gauge their emotional state. Casinos in Macau and elsewhere are now testing the technology as a way to identify card cheats, problem gamblers and more. Does this go beyond surveillance to spying?

Cordish Grows Pennsylvania Footprint

Cordish Companies’ Stadium Casino subsidiary is targeting both sides of the state of Pennsylvania with new Live! casino and hotel projects in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The Philadelphia project (l.) is well under way with opening scheduled for 2020.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: Time to Sell?

With economic uncertainty spreading across the globe—especially given the events in China—what does this mean for gaming stocks? Is it time to exit or hold on for the wild ride? The Bull and Bear debate.

ASIAN GAMING More

Bernstein: Melco Will Pass Crown Checks

Melco Resorts & Entertainment is likely to pass muster with Australian gaming regulators as it seeks to buy a 19.99 percent stake in Crown Resorts, despite recent reports that raised concerns about Melco’s probity because former SJM Chairman Stanley Ho (l.) is the father of Melco’s Lawrence Ho. The acquisition could be the first step toward full ownership of Crown by Melco, say analysts at brokerage Sanford C Bernstein.

EUROPEAN GAMING More

UK Regulators Ban Gambling Ad

The UK Advertising Standards Authority has banned an ad for a gambling app that featured young football players including Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho (l.) and Kylian Mbappé. The ad, which violates ASA rule against targeting young viewers in gambling ads, was posted on Facebook.

GLOBAL GAMING More

Kenya Leader Wants to Ban Betting

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (l.) says he wants to outlaw all betting in the African nation, which has been overcome by a “gambling craze” that particularly afflicts young men.

Codere SA, Hard Rock to Team Up in Mexico

Bolsa de Madrid-listed gaming group Codere SA has signed an agreement with Hard Rock International to jointly develop gaming properties in Mexico, including what will be Hard Rock’s second guitar-shaped hotel in Mexico City. Reports say Codere will be the minority partner.

New Casino Hotel Opens in Argentina

A new four-star hotel and casino has opened in the city of Charata in Chaco Province, Argentina. The US$2.7 million Casino Platinum is part of the firm Casinos del Chaco, a unit of Casinos del Litoral.

ONLINE GAMING More

Philippine Regulator Denies Offshore Targets Chinese Players

An official of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) has denied that any of the country’s offshore gaming operators are owned by Chinese companies or serve customers on the Chinese mainland, where gambling is illegal. Recently, Beijing called for the Duterte administration to ban all online gaming.

EGBA: Norway Wants to Protect Gaming Monopoly

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) says it is confident it will prevail in its legal case against the Norwegian Ministry of Culture in an Oslo court. The EGBA is challenging the ministry’s attempts to block iGaming payments to offshore operators, and says the government wants to maintain the monopoly held by Norsk Tipping.

SPORTS BETTING More

Sports Betting: The Talk of Oklahoma

Sports betting was the main topic at the recent Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association Conference and Trade Show in Tulsa. Oklahoma has the third most casinos in the U.S. but no bill has been introduced allowing it. State Rep. Terry O'Donnell (l.) says it’s just a matter of time before the legislature approves sports betting.

New York Tribe Hints It Will Open Sportsbook

The Seneca Indian Nation of New York doesn’t have any sports betting operations yet, but the search is on for someone to oversee them at the tribe’s casinos in Buffalo, Niagara Falls (l.) and Salamanca. The qualifications include interactive gaming experience, an indication the Senecas are looking ahead to the legalization of remote betting.

Sri Lanka Works to Curb Match-Fixing

The Sri Lankan sports ministry is introducing gaming regulations meant to prevent match-fixing in cricket games. Among the safeguards is a measure that bans people who are involved with gambling firms or any of their relatives from holding administrative roles relating to the sport.

Illinois Gaming Board Requests Sports-Betting Comments

Now through September 27, sports-betting insiders and "other stakeholders" are invited to comment on sports-wagering rules and regulations during the Illinois Gaming Board's public comment period. Meanwhile, the Illinois Lottery is putting together rules and regulations for the lottery sports pilot program, which will allow parlay-only bets at 5,000 electronic kiosks in lottery retailer locations.

Indiana Commission Approves Sports Betting Rules

Indiana became the 12th state to offer sports betting, as Penn National's sportsbooks at Hollywood and Ameristar opened September 1, the first day legalized sports betting was allowed to be offered in Indiana. Caesars Entertainment's Horseshoe Hammond's sportsbook is set to open September 4, and Boyd Gaming’s Belterra and Blue Chip casinos will launch September 5.

Mississippi Sports Betting's First Year "Very Positive"

Mississippi Gaming Commission Director Allen Godfrey (l.) said the first year of legalized sports betting has "been a very positive experience." Commission figures show sports betting netted the state $4 million in revenue on $300 million handle in 12 months. Three casinos already have remodeled their sportsbooks. But the lack of mobile wagering continues to be an issue.

Rhode Island Nears Launch of Mobile Sports App

This week or next Rhode Island could launch a mobile sports book app that will allow residents anywhere in the state to make wagers. Currently it is the only state in New England to offer sports books.

MLB Reaches Data Deal With Swish Analytics

Major League Baseball struck a deal last month designating Swish Analytics as an authorized data distributor for sports betting operators in the U.S. The multi-year agreement allows Swish to supply MLB with a real-time betting data feed.

UNITED STATES GAMING More

Missouri House Committee Discusses Adding VLTs

The Missouri House Special Interim Committee on Gaming held the first of several planned meetings to review gaming in the state. The topic was illegal slot machines, which Missouri Gaming Commission Executive Director David Grothaus (l.) said were affecting casino revenue and as a result lowering state tax revenue used education and veterans services.

Atlantic City YTD Profits Tumble

Second-quarter profits for Atlantic City’s casinos painted a less than rosy picture for six of the seven properties in operation prior to Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Casino Resort. Only Borgata (l.) saw an increase in gross operating profit for the quarter ending June 30.

Colorado Casino Town Pins Hopes on Sports Betting, Hotels

Owners of casinos and hotels in Cripple Creek, Colorado (l.), hope the infusion of 400 new hotel rooms combined with the hoped-for passage of a referendum to legalize sports betting will cause a revival of fortunes. For a dozen years Cripple Creek has tried various strategies to jump start its revenues.

Penn Mini-Casino Gets Local Nod; Another Town Opts In

Officials of Pennsylvania’s Springettsbury Township have given approval to Penn National Gaming’s planned mini-casino (l.) at the York Galleria mall. Sandy Township, meanwhile, reversed its decision to ban mini-casinos and is now open to hosting one.

Western PA Truck Stop Opens VGTs

The Emlenton Truck Plaza has become the first truck stop in Western Pennsylvania to go live with five video gaming terminals under the state’s gaming expansion law.

Two Iowa Casinos Fined For Violations

Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino was fined $20,000 by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission for allowing a 19-year old to gamble and drink alcohol. It was the casino's second incident in a year. William Hill, which manages simulcast operations at Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, paid a $5,000 penalty for two violations this spring.

TRIBAL GAMING More

New York Tribe Resurrects Casino Plans

In New York, Shinnecock tribal members have voted to authorize the drafting of a gaming ordinance and the pursuit of a development partner for a casino somewhere in the tribe’s home area of Long Island. News reports indicate that exploratory talks may have started already, with a view to a possible partnership with the Seminoles. Jack Morris (l.), a partner with the Seminoles in Hard Rock Atlantic City, is also involved.

Oklahoma Tribes Impose Condition on Negotiations

While Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt was less confrontational in his second letter to state tribes regarding reopening the gaming compacts to negotiations, the tribes have responded that they will not being talking until the governor stipulates to one thing: The compacts automatically renew, according to Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association Chairman Matthew Morgan (l.).

Ojibwa Michigan Casino Expansion On Track

The $40 million expansion at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community's Ojibwa Casino in Marquette, Michigan is scheduled for completion by the end of the year, said General Manager Larry Denomie. The project will feature an event center, convention facilities and 500-plus new slots. The tribe's $7 million upgrade at its Baraga casino was completed in April.

California Tribe Won’t Budge on Casino Move

Northern California’s Redding Rancheria Tribe is standing firm on plans to move the Win-River Casino from its reservation to land purchased in Redding. Tribal Chairman Jack Potter Jr. told critics: “We are the original people and we have suffered enough.”

LOTTERY More

Philippines: Small-Town Lotteries Back in Business

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has lifted the suspension on small town lotteries (STLs)—with conditions. Among them is the requirement that each authorized agent deposit a cash bond equal to three months of government receipts. The deposit may be forfeited if the STLs fail to render to Caesar on time.

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Jack Execs Bail From Shrinking Company

Four top executives at Jack Entertainment, which owns two Ohio casinos, but has sold others, have left the company. Jack owner Dan Gilbert has reassigned them to his real estate company, Bedrock. CEO Matt Cullen (l.) leads the departing group.

Jacobs to Leave LVS

Lawrence Jacobs will step down from his position as executive vice president, global general counsel and secretary of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., effective September 29.

Protell Named Golden President

Golden Entertainment CFO Charles Protell, credited with engineering the Nevada gaming tavern giant’s recent casino expansion, has been promoted to president of the company.

Landing Appoints Independent Directors

Hong Kong-listed Landing International has announced the appointment of three independent non-executive directors. The new appointees are Wang Yuying, Li Mingfa and Bao Jingqiao.

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Full House Resorts Picks Konami Synkros

Full House Resorts has selected Konami’s Synkros casino management system for its Bronco Billie’s Casino in Colorado and Rising Star Casino (l.) in Indiana.

Third Konami ‘Fortune Cup’ Live in Macau

The third Konami Fortune Cup unit in Macau has been installed at the MGM Cotai, joining two Wynn properties in hosting the 10-player electronic and electromechanical horse-racing game.

TRADE SHOWS & CONFERENCES More

G2E Asia Plans Philippines Expo

G2E Asia will present the inaugural G2E Asia @ the Philippines trade show, to be held at the Marriott Manila December 3-4, 2019. The all-new show is expected to attract 3,500 land-based and online gaming operators, sports betting companies, manufacturers and others. Andrea Domingo, chairwoman of PAGCOR (l.), called it an honor for her country.

WILD CARD More

Borgata Grabs Phil Ivey’s Poker Winnings

In June, poker champ Phil Ivey forfeited his winnings from the World Series of Poker Players Championship to the Borgata. According to one report, Borgata effectively “garnished Ivey’s wages” to help repay millions he owes to the Atlantic City casino for an alleged cheating incident.

NUTSHELL More

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