Ho Dynasty Extended

Macau gaming magnate Stanley Ho has 17 children. Two of them seem to have inherited his business acumen. Daughter Pansy Ho has just assumed control of Macau casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd., founded by Stanley. Brother and fellow billionaire Lawrence Ho operates Melco Entertainment and is determined to win one of the first three integrated resort licenses in Japan.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: DOJ Ruling Wires iGaming

The recent reversal of a 2011 opinion from the Department of Justice that paved the way for states to begin online lotteries and casino gambling has thrown the industry into mass confusion. The new ruling from U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (l.) could jeopardize any type of online betting where information is exchanged online across state lines. But some states are moving forward. Gaming regulators in Pennsylvania say the reinterpretation of the federal Wire Act by the U.S. Department of Justice will not affect its rollout of online gaming, which will be completely intrastate.

Hedge Funds Circling MGM

Activist investors are making their presence felt on the gaming giant MGM Resorts, which has agreed to add hedge fund boss Keith Meister (l.) to the board of directors. Meister used to work for Carl Icahn and has a history of pushing changes on his investments. A second hedge fund is also increasing its position in MGM.

Tokyo: In or Out of IR Race?

Recent news reports out of Japan speculated that Tokyo might consider an integrated resort at the site of the former Tsukiji fish market. Now the metro government is indicating it may have other plans. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike (l.) says development plans do not include a casino.

€8 Billion Resort Plan Gains Ground in Greece

The Hellinikon Project (l.) at the former Athens airport—a mixed-use complex of hotels, luxury residences and entertainment attractions, including a casino—has passed initial review before a government-sponsored oversight agency. A project insider says bidding for the casino license could be launched soon.

Company Fined for Allowing Underage Online Bets in New Jersey

Rush Street Interactive, which operates the playsugarhouse.com online gambling site in New Jersey, has been fined $30,000 by New Jersey regulators for allowing underage gamblers to bet on the site. The state identified 13 underage gamblers who were able to create accounts due to a software defect that did not accurately record their birthdates. New Jersey requires gambler to be 21 or over. It was the first incident of underage gambling since online gaming launched in New Jersey in 2013.

Everi Solidifies Executive Leadership Team

Everi Holdings announced the extension of the employment agreement for CEO Michael Rumbolz (l.) through January 2021 and the promotion of Darren Simmons to executive vice president and FinTech business leader.

Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Opens to Locals

Corona Casino Phu Quoc (l.) has become the first casino in Vietnam to open the door to local gamblers. The casino is part of a three-year trial of locals gaming in the country.


The quarterly earnings report from Las Vegas Sands revealed quite a bit about that company, but also gave investors insight into similarly sized and located casino companies and the issues they face.


Melco, MGM to Add Mass Tables

On January 1, Macau regulators granted 40 new-to-market mass gaming tables to Melco Resorts & Entertainment’s casino operations. MGM China was also awarded 25 new tables for its casino (l.) in the city’s Cotai district.

Philippines Throw Out Okada Count

The Philippine Department of Justice has dismissed one count of fraud against Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada (l.). The claim is related to a US$7 million contract to supply light fittings for the Okada Manila IR. It’s far from the end of the legal troubles facing Okada in the Philippines since an arrest warrant was also issued recently.

Wynn Wins in Malaysian Debt Case

Wynn Macau has won its case against a Malaysian gambler who owes HK$33 million (US$4.21 million) to the operator. The operator prevailed even though the country does not recognize wagering contracts.

Claim, Counter-Claim: Fox, Genting Face Off

U.S. entertainment behemoth 21st Century Fox has filed a counter-claim against Genting Malaysia regarding the latter’s planned US$1 billion theme park. The plan was deep-sixed when Fox was acquired by Disney.

Will Philippine GGR Reach $4.1B?

The Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corp. is looking for a big jackpot in 2019. The state-run regulator expects gross gaming revenues to rise 8.5 percent to PHP217 billion (US$4.1 billion) for the year.

Macau to Consider Tourism Fee

Alexis Tam (l.), Macau’s secretary for social affairs and culture, says the jurisdiction is weighing the introduction of a tourist entry fee in order to attract a higher grade of visitor.

Macau to Move Lotus Border Checkpoint

The governments of Macau and Mainland China have agreed to relocate the Lotus Border Checkpoint from Cotai to Hengqin Island in Zhuhai. The move is expected to ease travel between Macau and Hengqin.


William Hill Closing 900 UK Betting Shops

William Hill Plc announced it will close 900 UK betting shops as part of what it called a strategic realignment focusing on international growth and digital transformation. The betting group also said it had suffered a 15 percent drop in operating profits in 2018. The closings come ahead of the UK implementing a drop in the maximum bet allowed of fixed odds betting terminals to £2 from £100, which was expected to lead to massive cuts by UK bookmakers.

Is Buryatia Russia’s Next Gaming Zone?

The Russian republic of Buryatia in eastern Siberia is lining up to host the country’s next special gaming zone. Local lawmakers want to establish the district in Baikal Haven near the Mongolian border.

Codere Announces Corporate Recovery Plan

Codere SA officials announced “Branded Horizon 2021,” a three-year corporate recovery plan following year-to-date losses of $62.5 million blamed on the collapse of the Argentine peso in 2017-2018. The program will include a digital makeover, new Mexican licenses and entry into Brazil’s gaming market. The company also may offer a public option for new shares.


Uganda Bans All Forms of Gambling

Uganda, a small nation in Africa has reportedly decided to ban sports betting and to let all other forms of gaming die on the vine as licenses come up for renewal. But some are question whether the reports are legitimate. It was discussed by Finance Minister David Bahati (l.).

First Nations Want Bigger Slice of Gaming Pie

Canada’s First Nations complain that the system for allowing casino gaming is rigged against them and in favor of the nation’s provinces. Perry Bellegarde (l.), head of the Assembly of First Nations, which represents 600 chiefs, says the group wants a larger slice of the gaming pie.

Tax Blamed For Declining Panama Revenues

In Panama, President Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez (l.) vetoed a 5 percent increase to the current 5.5 percent gambling tax, which has been blamed for the country’s 3.5 percent drop in gambling revenue from January through November 2018. The current and proposed gambling taxes were designed to help pay for pension plans.

Bermuda Spends $600,000 on Gaming Legal Fees

The Caribbean nation of Bermuda spent about $600,000 in legal services related to the regulation of gaming last year. Part of that was to shut up a former executive director, Richard Schuetz.


Alberta Moves Toward Online Gaming

Alberta is almost pulling up in the rear of Canadian provinces moving towards legalization of online gaming. The agency that governs gaming in the province has put out a request for proposals from providers.

Isaacs: Industry Future ‘Very Much Online’

Gavin Isaacs, the new non-executive chairman of SBTech, commented that the future of the industry lies with online gaming, which was one of the reasons for his taking the helm at the company.

Report: Online Betting Group Leaks Player Info

An online casino group has leaked information on 108 million bets, including player information, according to reports. The reports at several tech tracking websites say security researcher Justine Paine discovered a data leak this week from an ElasticSearch server.

Paddy Power Goes Live with SG OGS

Paddy Power Betfair has gone live with the Open Gaming System from Scientific Games across regulated markets in the U.K., Ireland and Italy.


Massachusetts Governor Proposes Sports Betting Bill

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has decided to get into the act of proposing a bill to the legislature. He has sent over a bill to legalize sports betting. But his bill has competition, as there are two other sports betting bills before the legislature.

Kentucky Lawmakers File Sports Betting Bill

HB 12, filed by Kentucky state Reps. Al Gentry and Dennis Keene (l.), would allow sports betting and authorize the Kentucky Lottery Corporation to regulate it. The bill permits betting on professional and collegiate sports, but does not address the tax rate or application fees, or whether sports wagering would be limited to in-person betting.

Minnesota Tribes Oppose Sports Betting

The chairman of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, Charles Vig, told Governor Tim Walz (l.) the group will oppose any legislation legalizing sports betting. State Senator Roger Chamberlain, who plans to sponsor a sports betting measure, said he’s disappointed in the tribes’ position but believes he can successfully negotiate a compromise on sports wagering.

North Dakota Mulls Sports Betting

Like its season of warm weather, North Dakota’s legislature season is brief. So Rep. Jason Docktor is acting quickly to introduce a bill that would legalize sports betting in the 80 days he has to convince fellow lawmakers.

Harrah’s Philadelphia Opens Sports Book

Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack has opened its sports book, becoming the fourth casino sports book in Pennsylvania and the fifth book overall. The opening follows the debut of the first sports book outside a casino at the South Philadelphia Turf Club a week earlier.

Maryland Weighs Sports Betting Through Lottery

Maryland lawmakers are reportedly exploring ways to approve sports betting without waiting until a constitutional amendment can be approved in November 2020. One of the options is to operate the books via the state lottery, which also has jurisdiction over the gaming machines in the state.

DraftKings Faces Lawsuit Over Tournament in New Jersey

DraftKings is facing a class-action lawsuit in New Jersey seeking refunds for players in its Sports Betting National Championship, which was marred by a timing issue that blocked many players from making bets on an NFL playoff game. The suit seeks refunds of the $10,000 entry fee and damages. The suit was filed in New Jersey Superior Court on behalf of participant Christopher Leong of New York.

NASCAR Hits Throttle on Betting Sponsorships

The giant of U.S. stock car racing is still looking for a data distribution partner. But it’s moving ahead with new rules for the 2019 season that will allow racing teams to accept sponsorships from casinos and betting operators and display their names and logos on their vehicles.


Virginia Casino Bill Passes Committee

A Virginia Senate committee passed a bill sponsored by state Senator L. Louis Lucas (l.) authorizing Portsmouth, Bristol and Danville to apply for casino licenses; Pamunkey tribal casinos also could operate in Norfolk and Richmond. All five cities would be required to hold local referendums, and casino gaming net earnings would be taxed at 10 percent. The bill moved to the Senate Finance Committee.

Two Bills Would Relocate Indiana License

Two bills in the Indiana legislature would allow the Majestic Star (l.) in Gary to move inland and its second license could be relocated, possibly to Terre Haute. State Senator Eddie Melton’s legislation also would require the second-license casino to pay 20 percent of the adjusted gross to Gary for 20 years—regardless of its location.

Empire Closing Monticello Racino

The struggling VLT operation at Monticello Raceway (l.) has been unable to withstand competition from its sister casino, Resorts World Catskills, and will shut down by the end of April. Resorts World, meanwhile, is having its own troubles, falling short, to date, of first-year revenue projections by more than $140 million.

Arkansas Regulators Receive Letters On Casino Rules

The Arkansas Racing Commission received 15 letters as of January 22 commenting on a draft rule about four casinos approved by voters in Amendment 100. The letters, all from Pope County, where one company wants to build a $254 million casino (l.), split commissioners 8-7 over whether endorsements could come from previous county and city officials, or if they must come from current officials.

Colorado Casino Town Contemplates Building Boom

The Colorado casino town of Cripple Creek is looking at a possible future as a true gaming destination. Some of the 1,500 residents are not sure they want to see the big hotel developments that they feel may hurt the town’s historic ambience.

Nebraska Delays Historic Racing Machine Vote

Although the Nebraska Racing Commission approved historical racing machines at Fonner Park (l.) in October, it rescinded that vote after the state attorney general said the commission didn’t have the authority to allow the machines. Officials from the state’s declining horseracing industry have been pleading for the machines to help it compete against casinos.

Louisiana Senate Commissions New Orleans Casino Study

The Louisiana Senate commissioned a study of the value of the Harrah’s New Orleans (l.) casino license. The information would be used to possibly move forward on a deal proposed last year by House Speaker Taylor Barras which passed in the House but failed in the Senate, despite support from Governor John Bel Edwards and Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

New Mexico Governor Requests More Information on Racino Process

The New Mexico Racing Commission has promised to provide information to newly installed Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on the process for picking a sixth racino license for the state. The process became very controversial when one of five bidders filed a petition challenging an independent review. Meanwhile, Grisham (l.) appointed Lynn Trujillo to lead the state’s Indian Affairs Department.

Workers at New Atlantic City Casinos Looking to Unionize

Workers at the newly opened Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resort casino are exploring unionizing with UNITE Here Local 54, Atlantic City’s largest casino workers union. The union has been recognized as the bargaining agent for workers at the Hard Rock property (l.). Ocean Resort workers are still in the process of authorizing a bargaining agent. Both casinos opened in June on the city’s Boardwalk.

Wynn, MGM, LVS Make Fortune’s ‘Most Admired’ List

Three Las Vegas-based gaming giants joined more than 600 companies worldwide honored for excellence in their respective industries. Among hotels, casinos and resorts, Wynn was voted No. 1 for quality of products and services. LVS ranked high for global competitiveness, MGM for social responsibility.

Arena Football League Approves Atlantic City Franchise

The Arena Football League has officially approved locating a new franchise in Atlantic City to play at the resort’s Boardwalk Hall. The introduction of sports betting in Atlantic City has been cited as a major reason for the league’s move. Fans will be asked to help name the new franchise.

Forgotten Tax Appear Resurfaces in Atlantic City

Just when they thought they were done with casino tax appeals, a final settlement was revealed with the owners of the Hard Rock casino, saddling both Atlantic City and Atlantic City with a $4.8 million judgment.


Arizona Governor Wants More Casino Money From Tribes

Although the tribal state gaming compacts that most Arizona tribes operate under don’t expire for several years, Governor Steve Ducey (l.) doesn’t want to wait. He has hired a gaming compact negotiator with the stated goal of getting a larger share of Indian gaming profits.

Connecticut Lawmakers Renew Casino Push

The debate whether Connecticut’s gaming tribes will maintain their monopoly of gaming or commercial developers like MGM will be allowed a place at the table is heating up. One legislator has introduced a bill to authorize a commercial casino in Bridgeport like MGM has proposed (l.), while the new governor is talking to the tribes about building one there.

Rain Doesn’t Delay Northern California Casino

Neither rain nor sleet, nor . . . rain, will stop the progress of an Indian casino in Northern California. Seasonal rains have so far not put the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino at Fire Mountain (l.) behind schedule for a 2019 opening, says the Estom Yumeka Maidu Tribe of the Enterprise Rancheria.


Belle Corp.’s Sy Dies at 95

Henry Sy, who has long topped Forbes magazine’s list of the richest people in the Philippines, died January 19 at the age of 94. Sy founded Belle Corp., which partnered with Melco Resorts on City of Dreams Manila.

IPI Chair Resigns after 5 Months

Saipan casino operator Imperial Pacific International has announced that its latest chairman, Xia Yuki Yu, has resigned after only five months on the job. She has been replaced by executive director Cui Li Jie.

Interblock Names Product Manager

Interblock has named Andrea McCurry product manager, a role in which she will oversee product requirements and provide transitional support between R&D and operations.

Regulatory Expert André Wilsenach Joins BMM

Testing lab BMM has named Andre Wilsenach senior vice president of government relations. Wilsenach was most recently executive director of the International Center for Gaming Regulation at UNLV.


Aristocrat Tops Eilers-Fantini Report

Aristocrat Leisure Limited was the top supplier for video reel, leased and wide-area progressive slots in the latest monthly Eilers-Fantini game report. The company’s Lightning Link products topped several categories.

Eclipse Launches Appendix X2 in Washington

Eclipse Gaming announce the initial placement of its Appendix X2 Class III games into the gaming market in the state of Washington, at the Point Casino & Hotel in Kingston.

GSL Gaming Announces Expansion

GSL Gaming Group has announced a major business expansion, including the opening of a new logistics office in Las Vegas and an increase in staff.


AGS to Emphasize Digital Games at ICE

AGS has released a preview of its lineup of products and scheduled product demonstrations at the ICE London trade show in February at London’s ExCeL Centre, with an emphasis on online product.




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