Rio Sale the Latest (But Not Last) Las Vegas Deal

Caesars’ sale of the off-Strip Rio in Las Vegas to a New York developer won’t be the last in that market. Other major operators are also looking to turn undervalued real estate into cash. It’s expected that four or five more casinos could change hands in the months ahead. The Rio meanwhile will be managed by Caesars over the next two years at least. Caesars will also retain ownership of the World Series of Poker, held every year at the Rio.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Casino Operators Pitch Plans in Rockford, Illinois

About 600 people viewed presentations by the three competitors for a casino license in Rockford, Illinois. Forest City Casino, Gorman & Company and Hard Rock International (l.) each had 45 minutes to prove that their casino proposals should be selected. Rockford has until October 26 to submit applications to the Illinois Gaming Board which will make the final choice.

Macau Analysts: Less Glitter on Golden Week

The weeklong Golden Week holiday in Macau, running October 1-7, is an annual fixture on the calendar of hundreds of millions of Chinese tourists. Current trends, however, indicate the 2019 version won’t drive Macau’s casinos to the revenue heights it has in past years.

Ruffin to Buy Circus Circus in Las Vegas?

MGM and Phil Ruffin (l.), the billionaire owner of the TI, are said to have a verbal agreement on a deal for Circus Circus, the venerable North Strip resort. No terms were disclosed, but one analyst believes Circus Circus, long a cash cow for MGM, could fetch $850 million or more.

iGaming Gets a Breather: AGEM, Apple Talks Lead to 3-Month iOS Extension

Just a couple of months ago, iGaming operators and suppliers were scrambling to figure out how they would revamp their online gaming apps to conform with new requirements by Apple—and do it by September 3. With intercession from the Associated of Gaming Manufacturers (AGEM) and Executive Director Marcus Prater (l.), the industry now has until March 3 to remake the apps in Apple’s image.

New Jersey Horsemen Win Appeals Court Decision

New Jersey’s Third Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a lower court ruling that dismissed a claim by thoroughbred horsemen against sports leagues over sports betting. The decision means the horsemen may enjoy a pay day from professional and college leagues. Monmouth Park owner Dennis Drazin (l.) says the leagues should start listening to him.

Norfolk, VA Approves Tribal Land Sale

Despite citizens' pleas, the Norfolk, Virginia City Council has voted to sell waterfront acreage to the Pamunkey Indian Tribe for a $700 million casino resort. In response, a group has announced it will launch a petition drive to stop the sale. Mayor Kenny Alexander (l.) denies the process was “rushed.” The venue would offer at least 750 slots, 25 table games, a luxury hotel, upscale dining and entertainment facility.

Young Leaders to be Honored at G2E

The Innovation Group and Global Gaming Business magazine last week announced the winners of the 2019-20 “Emerging Leaders of Gaming 40 Under 40.” A reception will be held at G2E on Wednesday, October 16 to honor the recipients.

Mexican President: No New Casino Licenses

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (l.) says there will be no new casino licenses issued while he’s in office—which constitutes a ban on new activity until at least 2024. Last year, Obrador was elected to a six-year term.

Brazilian Mayor Stumps for Casinos

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Marcelo Crivella (l.) continues to lobby for legal gaming in Brazil, and especially in the coastal city. In recent years, gaming giants like the Las Vegas Sands’ Sheldon Adelson have approached lawmakers with plans for billions in new investment.

In Atlantic City, Ocean Ups the Ante

Atlantic City’s Ocean Casino Resort (l.) has revamped its player’s club in a marketing drive that’s already won the casino awards—and is turning the profit picture around. Ocean operates inside the soaring oceanfront tower once inhabited by the Revel, which operated just two years before closing.

Farewell, Barron Hilton: Vegas Founding Father Dead at 91

With his 1970 purchases of the Flamingo and the International, renamed the Las Vegas Hilton, hotel icon Barron Hilton was a driving force in making Las Vegas acceptable to Wall Street. By the early ’90s, as he neared retirement, gaming accounted for two-thirds of Hilton’s business.

Rosa Parks Would Not Stand for a Manel

Are civil rights and women’s rights connected? Undoubtedly says gaming industry veteran Richard Schuetz. Just reflect on the history of Rosa Parks (l.) during the civil rights struggle and compare it to the difficulties still encountered by women who deserve respect in today’s gaming business.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: Strip Show Will Change

Some Las Vegas gaming giants are selling off real estate for the quick highs of quick cash. Is it the best long-term approach? And how will it affect visitor numbers, visitor satisfaction and corporate health?


Saipan to Bring In More Junkets?

The Commonwealth Casino Commission, the gaming regulator of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, may license applications for four casino junket operators. The sole casino resort in the CNMI—the Imperial Pacific Resort (l.)—is located on the island of Saipan.


UK Gamblers Spend £14.5 Billion a Year

Data from the UK Gambling Commission shows that each year, gamblers wage bets amounting to billions of pounds. The study revealed that men ages 25 to 34 have a greater propensity to gamble than any other age group. Almost 40 percent of those bet online. But with the negative spin but on all gambling in the UK recently, critics argued the 1 percent addiction rate is too high.

Genting Makes Three for Greek Airport RFP?

Just when it seemed just two contenders would vie for a license to operate gaming at a onetime international airport (l.) near Athens, Malaysian-based Genting may be getting back in the game. The two confirmed contenders are both U.S.-based tribal operators: Hard Rock and Mohegan.

Rank Group Acquires Stride Gaming

The UK Gambling Commission has approved Rank Group Plc’s acquisition of Stride Gaming for £115 million (US$143.6 million). Rank has enlarged its digital portfolio with Stride’s bingo network. The company says it will improve performance and reduce spending with its all-cash purchase. The deal comes after less than stellar financials.

Two Gaming Clubs Open in Paris

Two more gaming clubs have opened in Paris. Belgian group Ardent opened the Circus Club Paris on September 9, followed by Lucien Barrière’s opening of Club Barrière Paris (l.) on September 13. The additions bring the total number of clubs to five.


Crusading B.C. AG Challenges Candidates to Fight Money Laundering

David Eby (l.), British Columbia Attorney General, is taking his campaign against money laundering, which he has been pursuing vigorously in BC, aiming at the province’s casinos, to a national audience. He is calling for Canada’s politicians to unite to stamp out money laundering nationwide. But in a separate case, a BC court ordered the province to release $2 million in alleged laundered money to the accused.

Bangladesh to Introduce Foreigners-Only Casinos

The tourism ministry of Bangladesh has announced plans to create “exclusive tourist zones” in the country that would include foreigners-only casinos such as Genting Highlands (l.) in Malaysia. Entry would be restricted to tourists holding international passports.

Panama Could Cut Tax to Boost Gaming Sector

Panama’s Gaming Control Board (JCJ) says it will take a fresh look at a 5.5 percent tax on gambling win with a goal of making the jurisdiction more attractive to foreign investors.


West Virginia’s iGaming Obstacles

Though West Virginia was among the first U.S. states to legalize online gaming, it’s still almost a year away from introducing it. The delay speaks to a larger issue of overcoming obstacles to sports betting. Delaware North, which operates the Wheeling Island Racino (l.), is in a legal dispute with Mionmi Gaming over the mobile app developed by the latter.

Dutch Regulator Fines PokerStars

Dutch gaming regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has fined online gaming operator PokerStars, a unit of the Stars Group, for offering illegal offshore bets to locals. PokerStars must ante up €400,000 (US$439,500) for soliciting bets through its domain.

UK’s Microgaming to Close Poker Network

UK software company Microgaming will end its poker network next year. The company will put its chips into other aspects of its business but said it will still provide world-class gaming content—including poker. Future strategies will be forthcoming.


A Quarter of Voters Seen ‘Persuadable’ on Colorado Sports Betting Prop

Colorado voters are deemed to be favorable to a sports betting referendum that would allow wagering on sports in the three Rocky Mountain towns where gaming is permitted, according to pollster Floyd Ciruli (l.). It’s unclear if the current referendum would allow mobile sports betting but the public’s appetite for expanding gaming beyond the three towns has always been lacking.

Does New NBA Rule Benefit Sports Bettors?

A seemingly minor change requiring starting lineups to be in place 30 minutes before tip-off may be of benefit to gamblers by giving them info on who’s in and who’s out. The National Basketball Association claims it’s a move towards transparency. One source said more interest could reverse falling ratings.

Michigan Pols At Odds Over Sports Betting Tax

Republican state Rep. Brandt Iden's Sports Betting Act proposes taxing sports betting revenue at 8 percent with a $200,000 licensing fee. Democratic Governor Christine Whitmer (l.) wants a tax rate of 15 percent and a $1 million fee. Although Iden's bill recently passed a key committee vote, he said the governor's office isn't communicating with him.

Iowa Sports Betting Generates $8.5 Million in First Month

In the first month of legalized sports betting in Iowa, starting August 15, bettors wagered more than $8.5 million, generating $150,000 in tax revenue for the state. Thirteen casinos in the Hawkeye State offer sports betting, with the remaining six expected to follow. Wagers are accepted in-person at casinos or through mobile apps within the state.

Oregon Sports Betting Launch: Second Week of October

The Oregon Lottery is looking at releasing its Scoreboard online sports betting app the second week in October. The release will come after weeks of delays due to testing the e-commerce aspects to ensure that betting and receiving payouts happens.

Tennessee Lottery Seeks Sports Betting Overseer

Proposals were due September 26 from companies that could help the Tennessee Education Lottery "assess the financial stability" of sports betting license applicants. Tennessee is the only state that has approved a mobile-only sports wagering law; it took effect July 1 but sports betting isn't expected to launch until the second half of 2020.

North Dakota: Electronic Pulltabs Could Take In $1 Billion

North Dakota expects gamblers to spend $1 billion on electronic pulltabs during the current 2-year budget cycle, said State Gaming Director Deb McDaniel (l.). Legalized in 2017, today 183 charitable gaming organizations operate electronic pulltab machines at 524 sites in 210 cities. McDaniel has requested additional staff to properly regulate the machines.

Minnesota Lawmakers Have Look-See at Iowa Sportsbook

To gain perspective on legalized sports betting, three dozen Minnesota lawmakers, legislative staff and lobbyists bussed to the FanDuel Sportsbook at Diamond Jo Casino (l.) in Northwood, Iowa. The trip was organized by state Rep. Pat Garafalo, who criticized "Minnesota's lack of action" and said an increasing number of Minnesotans will spend their entertainment dollars in Iowa.

Kambi Partners with Ohio’s Jack Entertainment

Kambi Group Plc. has agreed to a multi-channel sportsbook partnership with Jack Entertainment that will have Kambi power the operator’s online and retail sportsbooks in Ohio. Kambi CEO Kristian Nylén (l.) says the contract would extend to other U.S. jurisdictions as opportunities arise.

Europe Has Better Handle on Sports Betting Data

The demand for data for sports bettors is increasing as wagerers seek more of an edge. Professional sports leagues want money as part of any deal should federal legislation come to the fore. But across the pond, Europe has had more than a decade to deal with similar situations.

Fox Boosts Collaborations with Sports Betting, NFL

Philadelphia-based Fox 29 has launched a pre-game program that includes sports betting talk. Fox Sports Super 6, a new free-to-play sports prediction game, also premiered this month. The app, part of the partnership between Fox Sports and The Stars Group, garnered 280,000 downloads in the first week.

New York Jets Ink Sponsorship Deal with 888casino NJ

The New York Jets football team has signed a sponsorship agreement with 888casino NJ to promote the online casino site at MetLife Stadium and the team on the company website. This marks the Jets’ second gaming deal. The team signed MGM as a gaming partner last year.

Greece Revokes OPAP Online License

The Greek Council of State has revoked the online sports betting license of OPAP—a ruling the betting operator has vowed to fight. OPAP, or the Greek Organization of Football Prognostics S.A., was once a state-run entity; it went private in 2013.

UK Sports Betting Firm Slammed for Cartoon Promos

Letou, a UK sports betting and online casino, has ruffled feathers for its use of cartoons in promoting its casino games. The Campaign for Fairer Gambling filed a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority claiming the campaign may encourage children to gamble.


Sacramento Gaming Scene to Get Hard Rocked

The new Hard Rock Sacramento is set to open on October 30 in a region that already has many gaming options. But Hard Rock will be different with a mid-sized hotel, the latest slot machines and state-of-the-art systems that will create different gaming experience.

Illinois Racing Board Reluctantly Grants Arlington Dates

Arlington International Racecourse's 68 race dates for 2020 were approved—reluctantly—by the Illinois Racing Board. Previously, owner Churchill Downs announced the 91-year old racetrack (l.) would not apply for a gambling license after years of seeking one. Churchill said the new gambling law's heavy tax load might lead it to move the racing license to another Chicago-area location.

Report Targets Former Illinois Gambling Chairman

While serving as Illinois Gaming Board Chairman, Don Tracy (l.) allegedly made loans and contributions to political committees, directly or through his wife, Wanda, in violation of state law, according to a report by the Illinois Office of Executive Inspector General. Tracy, who resigned in mid-June, said the report was politically motivated.

Elite Breaks Ground on Iowa Expansion

Grand Falls Casino and Golf Resort (l.) in Larchwood, Iowa, owned by Elite Casino Resorts, has broken ground on an $8.5 million, four-story, 66-room hotel addition and will also add a $1.5 million sportsbook. The hotel is scheduled to open by Memorial Day 2020.

Questions Swirl Around West Virginia Racino Subsidy

In-person wagers on greyhound racing at West Virginia's two racinos fell 13 percent from 2014 to 2018. But the tracks still received transfers of $15 million annually from casino revenue, which rose 19 percent, from $105.8 million in 2014 to $126.3 million in 2018. State Senate President Mitch Carmichael said he'll sponsor legislation to end the subsidy.

VGTs Go Live at Second PA Truck Stop

The Bald Eagle Truck Stop in McElhattan, Pennsylvania (l.) became the second in the state to open a lounge offering video gaming terminals under the state’s 2017 gaming expansion law.

Lawsuit Filed Against Eldorado

A group of shareholders have filed a lawsuit against Eldorado Resort and several of its senior executives, including CEO Tom Reeg (l.), over subpoenas they received about improper trading connected to an unnamed company. When the subpoenas were announced. Eldorado stock took a dive.

California Helps Bullet Train to Vegas Get Bonds

Assistance from California’s Treasurer Fiona Ma appears to have ensured that Richard Branson’s Virgin Trains USA will get the financial aid it needs to issue bonds to help finance a bullet train between Central California and Las Vegas. The company is looking to complete the train in about four years.


Tribal Casinos Report Best Year

Tribal gaming in the U.S. had its best year so far in 2018. According to a report released last week by the National Indian Gaming Commission, gross gaming revenue for the combined tribal casinos was $33.7 billion, a 4.1 percent increase over 2017. NIGC Vice Chairman Kathryn Isom-Clause (l.) says a partnership between regulators and the tribes accounts for the success.

California Gaming Regulators Seek More Financial Information on Utah Pair

After nearly 20 years of trying to get two Utah men who own the Lake Elsinore Casino (l.) to cough up financial information on all of the people who are investors and part owners, the California Gambling Control Commission is starting to play hardball. Prompting some people to wonder, “what took them so long?”


Gladstone Named Ainsworth Chairman

Danny Gladstone, who recently stepped down as CEO of slot manufacturer Ainsworth Game Technology, has been named chairman of the company, replacing Graeme Campbell who will become lead independent director.

Callender to Head Casino Association of New Jersey

Steve Callender (l.), an Atlantic City casino veteran and senior vice president of operations for the East Region for Eldorado Resorts Inc., owner of the city’s Tropicana, has been tapped to serve as president of the Casino Association of New Jersey (CANJ), which represents the interests of all nine AC casino properties.

Chinese Tech Exec Joins LVS Board

The Las Vegas Sands Corp. gave no details last week on its appointment of Xuan Yan (l.), a vice president of Microsoft in China, to a directorship. That said, Chinese officials appear to look warmly on Microsoft’s role in the country, so the move is unlikely to hurt Sands’ standing with Beijing.

Success Dragon Names Chairman/CEO

Hong Kong-listed Success Dragon International Holdings Ltd. recently lost and gained a chairman and CEO. After former Chief Executive Roy Kwan Chun Wai resigned from both roles as well as the firm’s board, the company appointed 29-year-old Ding Lei as his successor.


Gauselmann UK Wins Roadchef Contract

Gauselmann UK has won the contract to provide more than 500 of its “Cat-C” and “B3” gaming machines to Roadchef (l.), a major operator of British motorway service areas.

Sega Sammy Launches in Macau

Gaming supplier Sega Sammy Creation Inc. has launched its first video slot titles in Macau, the mahjong-inspired Fortune Tiles of Dragon (l.) and Moonlight Treasure.

Betsoft Announces OGaming, Spain Deals

Betsoft Gaming announced an agreement with OGaming Group to bring Betsoft content across all the operator’s brands, and an agreement with Spain’s Wanabet for R Franco sites.


GGW Pay It Forward Winners Announced

Global Gaming Women have announced winners for the Pay It Forward Awards that honor women who have prominently given back to help in the development and advancement of women, the organization and their community. The awards, named in honor of trailblazing executive Patricia Becker (l.), will be presented October 16 at the Encore Beach Club at the Wynn Las Vegas.

G2E Sports Book Panel to Host NHL Commissioner

An NHL commissioner who changed his mind about sports betting will be a featured speaker at Global Gaming Expo’s Sports Betting Symposium October 15 in Las Vegas. Commissioner Gary Bettman will talk about how his opposition to sports betting changed after the Supreme Court lifted the federal ban against it.




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