Hard Rock Wins First Round in Illinois

Rockford, Illinois aldermen have certified Hard Rock International's proposal to build a casino at the city’s Clock Tower Resort (l.). Gorman & Company and Forest City Partners also had submitted proposals. Hard Rock's $300 million development will create at least 1,000 jobs, officials said. Next, the Illinois Gaming Board will have one year to approve Hard Rock's Rockford gaming license application.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Vegas Resort Fees: Up, Up and Away—Again

With consumer complaints on the rise nationally over the hidden fees hotels charge their customers and a bipartisan bill now in Congress that would require their disclosure, Caesars Entertainment has decided it’s a good time to increase those fees. In Las Vegas, Caesars Palace (l.) and Nobu at Caesars Palace are exacting $45 a night, with the Rio charging $35.

For Macau’s Casinos, a Gilt-Edged Disappointment

China’s Golden Week holiday (l.) proved anything but golden for gaming operators in the Chinese territory. Despite big visitation numbers, casino revenue was down compared with last year as VIP betting continued its 2019 slide.

Kentucky Gubernatorial Candidates Debate Sports Betting

Kentucky Republican Governor Matt Bevin and Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear (l.) discussed gambling during a recent debate. Beshear wants "new dedicated revenue" derived from casinos, sports betting and online poker to keep an estimated $550 million in Kentucky. Bevin, who opposes expanded gambling, said he might approve sports betting at racetracks.

New York-Seneca Dispute Hits Host Communities Hard

With hundreds of millions of casino revenue-sharing dollars from the Seneca Nation on hold, and no end to the dispute in sight, cites and small town across western New York State are feeling the pinch. Last week, one local government weighed a motion to demand the state close the Senecas’ three casinos, including Seneca Niagara in Niagara Falls (l).

France Plans New Gaming Authority

France has announced plans to introduce a new national gaming authority, L’autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ). It will replace the current regulator, L’autorité Nationale de Régulation des Jeux en Ligne (ARJEL). The move will consolidate gambling in the country under a single body.

Baltimore Mayor Saves Pimlico, Preakness

A chance encounter between Baltimore’s mayor and the head of the Stronach Group, which owns Pimlico racetrack (l.), led to an agreement to keep the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore.

Maverick CEO Persson: Destined for Gaming

Maverick Gaming CEO Eric Persson, whose Nevada-based company burst on the scene two years ago and began buying up small to medium-size casinos—and which will soon be operating in three states—says he started small. The former slot VP for Las Vegas Sands and president of manufacturer Aruze, Persson is now full speed into owning his own operations.

Everi: Making Change for Charity

The Everi Cares charitable giving program has donated more than $700,000 to worthy causes in less than two years—all from spare change on cash-out tickets through the company’s kiosks.

Maida Compares Technology, Gaming Law and Regulation

James Maida (l.) addressed the William Boyd School of Law at UNLV last week and used his 30+ years of experience in gaming to discuss technology advances and how they affect regulations. The president and CEO of GLI outlined how technology is usually far ahead of the law and how to deal with it.

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Korean Ministry Soft on Casino Crime?

A Korean lawmaker has accused the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of being soft on illegal activities in casinos. Rep. Kim Su-min (l.) said the crimes include embezzlement, tampering with gaming machines and collusion.

More than Half of Thais Gamble

A new survey has found that more than 30 million Thais, or 57 percent of the total population, have gambled this year, despite a government ban. The data was based on a survey of more than 44,000 people in 77 provinces, many cross the border to wager in Cambodia, like the Star Vegas casino (l.) in Poipet.

Donaco Sees Improvements Under New CEO

Australia-listed casino operator Donaco International Ltd., which operates casinos in Vietnam and Cambodia, says the company continues to right its ship after the ouster of former CEO and board director Joey Lim in July. New CEO Paul Arbuckle (l.) said the company made “operational improvements” at Star Vegas in the quarter that ended September 30.

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UK Problem Gaming Effort Under Fire

A former Liberal Democrat member of the UK parliament is urging the Senet Group to stop promoting its “When the Fun Stops, Stop” campaign about responsible gaming. John Leech said the approach might be making the crisis worse. He called for further scrutiny of advertising practices.

Ireland Helps Independent Bookies Hurt by Tax

Ireland’s Finance Ministry under Paschal Donohue (l.) has added a provision in its 2020 budget for independent bookies hurt by a 2 percent sports betting tax. While the tax hasn’t hurt major bookmakers, it’s forced some independents to shut their doors. The tax will raise money to help horse and greyhound racing.

UKGC Wants Bookies: to Protect Consumers from Closures

Six months after bookmaker BetBright closed, leaving customers in limbo, the UK Gambling Commission is reminding other sports betting licensees to protect the consumers affected by a closure. The commission expects bookmakers to have sufficient financial resources to pay off outstanding bets.

Finnish Gaming Operator Cuts Losses—to €25K

For most gamblers, losing tens of thousands of dollars a year at the slots or tables would be a blow. For high rollers, not so much. Last year, when Finnish gaming operator Paf cut the amount players could annually lose to €30,000 (US$33,000), it lost a number of VIP players. Now Paf has cut the limit again—to €25,000 (US$27,430).

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The Taj Is Not Enough: India’s Agra District Seeks Casinos

A decline in tourism in the Agra District of Utter Pradesh, India has prompted some officials to call for the development of casinos in the region made famous by the Taj Mahal (l). There’s precedent for naming a casino after the Taj—that was the name of Donald Trump’s Boardwalk casino in Atlantic City until 2014.

Could Codere Sell Off Uruguay Ops?

Bolsa Madrid-listed Codere SA is considering a deal to sell half its casino operations in Uruguay to South American casino operator Sun Dreams, according to reports. Codere recently issued a profit warning due to the devaluation of the Argentine peso. Among its assets in the country is the Casino Carrasco in Montevideo (l.)

Argentina Confident in Case v. Casinos Austria

Argentinian officials including Salta Governor Juan Manuel Urtubey (l.) say they’re confident they will prevail in their legal faceoff with Casinos Austria, which took the jurisdiction to arbitration over a dispute about licensure. The complaint was first brought in 2016 after Argentina revoked Casinos Austria’s license in the country.

IBIA Asks New Zealand to Open Online Industry

The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) has asked the New Zealand government to expand the country’s online gaming industry beyond the current operators, Lotto NZ and the Totalisator Agency Board (TAB).

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Wire Act Plays Out in Federal Suit, Online Gaming at Stake

A lawsuit filed by lottery officials against a 2018 Department of Justice ruling that makes online gambling across state lines illegal continues to wind its way through U.S. appellate courts. The ruling regarding the Wire Act of 1961 reverses a 2011 decision that limited the scope of the act to sports betting.

GAN to Provide iGaming to Parx NJ

GAN, which develops internet gaming software and online gaming content in the U.S. has signed an agreement to provide internet gaming services for Parx Casino in New Jersey. Customers of Parx Casino can also link their reward card to their counterpart gambling account, thanks to GAN’s framework.

Switzerland: Online Games Tempt Problem Gamblers

A new study commissioned by Switzerland’s Federal Gaming Commission and the Swiss Lottery and Betting Board (Comlot) shows that almost 3 percent of the population is addicted to gambling or is vulnerable to addiction. The availability of online gaming has exacerbated the problem.

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First Sportsbook Coming to a U.S. Sports Arena

Washington D.C.’s Capital One Arena (l.) has signed an agreement with British bookmaker William Hill to build and operate the first sportsbook in an arena in the U.S. The sportsbook will operate when the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals and other teams play, and also will be available when the arena is not in use.

Esportz Opens California Studio

Esportz Entertainment Corp., which claims to be world’s largest eSports news network, has expanded its operations into Orange County, California. The new Esports Center will allow the network to create high-quality professional productions while expanding other parts of its business such as media training and apparel/merchandise design.

Rush Street Debuts Indiana’s First Mobile Sportsbook

Indiana’s initial online and mobile sportsbook just went live thanks to a partnership between Rush Street Interactive and French Lick Resort (l.). RSI, which uses BetRivers platform, is part of Rush Street Gaming, which operates land-based casinos in Pennsylvania, Illinois and New York. Indiana permits wagers on pro and college sports, auto racing, boxing and more.

Montana Lottery Opens Sports Betting Comments

The Montana Lottery has opened a public comment period on proposed sports betting regulations and set October 28 for a public hearing. Lottery officials said 1,400 vendors could apply for a sports betting license, which would cost just $50 unlike other states' significantly higher fees. There will be no physical sportsbooks, just kiosks and licensed lottery retailers.

Venture Fund to Work with Sports Gaming Start-ups

The Sports Gaming Investment Fund has formed to work with casino start-up companies. The first of its kind fund plans to discover, finance and help develop gambling industry projects, including guiding the new firms through the regulatory landscape. The rush of sports betting opportunities in the U.S. should bring a wave of opportunities. Managing partners are Chris Grove (l.) of Eilers & Krejcik Gaming and David Sargeant of iGaming Ideas.

Chicago Pro Teams Outline Sports Betting Concerns

An attorney for Chicago's five major professional sports teams recently sent the Illinois Gaming Board a letter listing the teams' recommendations and concerns over sports betting. The state's comprehensive gambling law passed in June but the board still must draft hundreds of pages of regulations. A sports betting license will cost $10 million with a $250,000 application fee.

First N.H. City Approves Sports Betting

The city of Franklin, New Hampshire has become the first municipality in the Granite State to vote to allow sports betting within city limits. The vote in favor of the bets was 527 to 354.

Sportradar, Dish Network Sign Data Deal

Data provider Sportradar signed an agreement with Dish Network to furnish the data such as box scores and updates of live games. The contract includes data from the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, and National Hockey League. For Sportradar, the deal continues a hot streak.

Prop DD Could Legalize Colorado Sports Betting

The voters of Colorado on November 5 will vote on Proposition DD, a measure that would legalize sports betting in the state’s three casino cities. Polls show that supporters favor the measure.

Wisconsin Legislator Promotes Sports Betting

Wisconsin state Rep. Tyler Vorpagel (l.) believes if voters had the opportunity, they'd approve legislation amending the state constitution to allow sports betting. A sports wagering measure would have to pass two consecutive sessions followed by a statewide referendum. Also, the state's 11 tribes that operate 26 casinos would have to renegotiate their state gaming compacts.

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Resorts AC Debuts New Branding Campaign

Resorts Casino Hotel, Atlantic City’s first gaming hall, has launched a new branding campaign, “One of a Kind.” CEO Mark Giannantonio (l.) believes the marketing effort projects a new image of the property. The campaign plays off of $140 million in renovations. Resorts has also joined forces with neighbors, Hard Rock and Ocean Casino to promote North Beach Atlantic City.

Casino Proposals Presented in Arkansas

Three casino developers—Warner Gaming, the Choctaw Nation and Kehl Management—presented their proposals for a Pope County casino to the selection committee in Russellville (l.) at a recent confab attended by about 100 area residents. Each company highlighted the financial benefits the city and county would receive, including up-front payments. The committee was due to recommend one applicant to City Council by October 14.

Rhode Island’s Raimondo Fights to Preserve IGT Contract

Governor Gina Raimondo (l.) of Rhode Island is encountering vigorous pushback from her proposal to grant a 20-year contract to run the state lottery to International Game Technology (IGT). She appeared before a subcommittee of lawmakers last week to defend her proposal.

Missouri Looks at Illegal Gambling Machines

An estimated 14,000 unregulated gambling machines operate in Missouri, and that number is growing, a special House committee heard at a recent hearing. Missouri Lottery officials said illegal gambling already has diverted at least $50 million from lottery profits, which means less money for public schools. A distributor of the machines, who didn’t show up at the hearing, is known as a donor to Governor Mike Parsons (l.).

Lawsuit Charges Fraud at New York Casino

One partner in the lucrative Jake’s 58 Hotel & Casino (l.) on Long Island has fallen out with another. Suffolk County OTB, which holds the VLT license, is suing Delaware North, which developed the facility and operates it, claiming the Buffalo, New York-based hospitality giant has been enriching itself at Suffolk’s expense.

Birmingham Race Course Offers Historical Racing

More than 300 historical horseracing machines were installed at Birmingham Race Course (l.) in Alabama. State Attorney General Steve Marshall said they're legal under opinions issued by his office. The track offers daily greyhound races, simulcast around the world. The late Milton McGregor bought the facility in 1992 and his family continues to operate it.

Wyoming Lawmakers May Widen Pari-Mutuel Commission’s Sway

The responsibilities of Wyoming’s Pari-Mutuel Commission could be expanded to include skill games and other forms of gaming. A committee of the legislature voted last week to advance a bill that would expand the commission’s remit, where currently is overseeing horse racing.

Biden Joins Culinary in Battle with Station Casinos

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden (l.) has written Station CEO Frank Fertitta III calling on the company to end its standoff with the Culinary Union in Las Vegas and negotiate labor contracts. The union has won federally supervised elections at seven Station properties. The company refuses to recognize any of them.

Hard Rock Details Cincinnati Plans

Hard Rock International has announced plans for the JACK Cincinnati Casino (l.), purchased by VICI Properties for $745 million and leased to the tribal gaming giant. Upgrades will include a Hard Rock Café, converting a ballroom to a Hard Rock Live concert hall, rebranding restaurants and displaying rock memorabilia. Phase II will include a hotel.

PA Court Upholds Ban of Pizza Vendor

A Pennsylvania court has upheld the decision of regulators to ban Sonic Services from doing business with state casinos due to an alleged mob connection of the supplier’s owner.

Appeals Court Helps Revive Larry Flynt Lawsuit

Hustler founder and owner Larry Flynt (l.) and two of his business partners in casinos in California will have another chance to challenge the state law that prevents them from owning significant gaming interests outside of the state. A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that their lawsuit is not barred by a statute of limitations.

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Poarch Band Proposes Illinois Casino

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is pursuing a $400 million casino on a 24-acre tract covering portions of Homewood and East Hazel Crest, Illinois. The completed project would include a 64,000-square-foot casino with 1,300 slots and 56 table games, an entertainment venue, bars and restaurants, and a 251-room hotel with an indoor pool and spa.

Texas Tribe Appeals to Supremes in Sovereignty Case

A Texas tribe is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in a case where it says its sovereignty is at stake. The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe seeks to be able to continue to operate its Class II Naskila Gaming property (l.) in Texas.

Federal Judge Reaffirms California Trust Action

A federal judge has upheld the right of the Wilton Rancheria of California to put a $500 million casino (l.) on 36 acres on an unfinished mall in Elk Grove. It ruled that the Bureau of Indian Affairs acted correctly when it put that land into trust for the 800-member tribe.

California Board Opposes Indian Casino Relocation

The Redding Rancheria in California is encountering local governmental opposition to its proposal to relocate its Win-River Casino and Resort. It’s fighting back by asking local residents to sign a petition of support. Tribal Chairman Jack Potter (l.) says he’s been “inundated” with calls of support.

Virginians Sign Petition on Pamunkey Casino Referendum

About 100 volunteers in Norfolk, Virginia say they have collected more than half the signatures needed for a referendum on the Pamunkey Tribe's proposed $700 million casino resort at Harbor Park (l.) in the city. Norfolk City Council approved selling land to the tribe for the casino resort, but petitioners hope a referendum to slow down the process.

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Celebrates Expansion

The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (l.) celebrated the completion of its $720 million expansion with a guitar-smashing, high-wire walks and a Keith Urban concert. The expansion took two and a half years and includes a 245,000 square foot gaming floor with 5,000 slots and 200 tables, a new 14-story, 562-room hotel, three pools, spa and salon, new restaurants and retail and 1,800-seat concert hall.

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Florida Lottery Deal to Boost Education Funding

The Florida Lottery recently renewed its contract with Scientific Games for scratch-off games. The contract will provide an estimated $135 million for education through 2027, with extension options up to an additional seven years.

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AGA Hires Four Senior-Level Staff

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has added four new senior-level staff members, furthering the association’s service to its members in a rapidly evolving gaming industry. “There’s never been a been a more exciting time to be a part of the gaming industry,” said Bill Miller (l.), AGA president and CEO.

Coeur d'Alene CEO SiJohn Resigns

Francis SiJohn recently resigned as chief executive officer at the Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort Hotel for "personal reasons." SiJohn, who led the property for three years, recently received a 2019 Power 50 Award for his efforts on behalf of the property.

Gary Platt Promotes Corrick, Petrilak to CCO, CFO

Gary Platt Manufacturing has announced the promotions of Joshua Corrick to chief commercial officer and Marek Petrilak to chief financial officer. The men assume their new roles at a time of rapid growth for the seating manufacturer, based in Reno, Nevada.

Newgioco Signs Slicker for U.S. Efforts

Newgioco Group Inc., a gaming tech company providing software for sports betting, has signed bookmaker Kevin Slicker to head efforts in U.S. sports betting development. Slicker has more than 30 years in the industry and will oversee the American design and infrastructure of the ELYS betting platform.

Former Mississippi Tribal Leader Indicted

Kevin Edwards, a former vice chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, and his wife have been indicted on a number of federal charges related to fraud. He is accused of submitting false travel invoices to his tribe, bank fraud and money laundering.

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AGEM Adds Seven New Members

The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) has announced that its board has approved membership applications from seven new companies, bringing the trade group to a total of 170 members.

IGT Joins NSI Diversity Project

International Game Technology (IGT) has joined BSI, the UK national standards body, and the All-in Diversity Project (AIDP) as a member of the Workplace Code of Practice Steering Group. IGT will be represented in the group by Senior Global Program Manager for Diversity and Inclusion Stephanie Huckel (l.)

Gary Platt Gets New Tesla Patent

Gary Platt Manufacturing of Reno, Nevada has been issued a U.S. patent for its Tesla chair design (l.). It’s the third patent the company has received for one of its innovative seating solutions. Gary Platt chairs are in use in hundreds of casinos around the world.

Fortuna Adds Slovakian Sportsbook to Playtech Platform

The Fortuna Entertainment Group has migrated its Slovakia-facing sportsbook onto the Playtech IMS platform, the company has announced. Fortuna customers can now access sportsbook funds across retail and online channels, and Fortuna will be able to utilize Playtech’s Engagement Center and responsible gambling tools across its omni-channel offering.

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BMM Testlabs Sponsors Responsible Gaming Conference at G2E

BMM Testlabs is among the sponsors of the 20th annual National Center for Responsible Gaming Conference (NCRG) on Gambling and Addiction, to be held Sunday and Monday, October 13-14. The panel discussion will feature Frank Fahrenkopf (l.), BMM non-executive director and former head of the American Gaming Association (AGA).

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