William Hill Circles Back

William Hill US, one of the major players in the U.S. sports betting industry, has purchased CG Technology, a star-crossed early entry into the business that never got much traction. William Hill US CEO Joe Asher (l.) once worked for CG (then known as Cantor Gaming) and was sued when he sold his subsequent company to William Hill. The deal strengthens William Hill’s hold on Las Vegas sports books.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Japan Sets Application Deadline

The run-up to a legal integrated resort industry in Japan has included speed bumps, stop signs, and hairpin turns. The surprises continue with the emergence of Kitakyushu City (l.) as a possible location—and noises from heavyweight champ Floyd Mayweather that he wants to build a casino there. But a deadline of July 2021 extends the period even more before the first integrated resort could debut.

Who Will Get MGM Grand?

MGM Grand. It’s the last marquee name MGM Resorts wholly owns on the Las Vegas Strip. MGM Growth Properties wants it, but it’s looking for somebody else’s money to help do the deal. MGP is going to sell more than 24 million shares to help raise some money to make the deal.

Oklahoma Governor, Tribes At Impasse Over Compacts

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (l.) said tribal officials have stopped communicating with him over the state's 15-year gaming compacts, which will expire January 1, 2020. Tribes said the compacts, which grant them exclusive gaming rights, automatically will renew. Stitt disputes that and wants to raise exclusivity fee rates from the current 4 percent to 10 percent.

Resorts World Vegas Delays Opening

Resorts World Las Vegas has unveiled updated plans for the US$4.3 billion luxury resort casino. New amenities will include a 5,000-seat theater; additional luxury suites, villas and penthouses with individual lobby experiences, open balconies and a sky casino. But opening day has been pushed back from late 2020 to mid-year 2021.

Florida, Kentucky Push Sports Betting Bills

Florida State Senator Jeff Brandes (l.) has introduced bills to allow sports betting in the state, but they’re unlikely to survive opposition from the powerful Seminole Tribe. Meanwhile, Kentucky state Rep. Adam Koenig hopes a newly elected pro-gaming governor will get sports betting passed.

Researchers: Put A Cap on AC Casino Licenses

A state-commissioned report from Rutgers University in New Jersey says a cap on casino licenses in Atlantic City would help stem the cannibalization of a limited gaming revenues. The research suggests that the only thing keeping AC casinos in the black is sports betting and online gaming.

Appy Places

Smaller, nimbler casinos have embraced apps in a big way. Downloading is one thing, however, actually using them is another. But there are ways to get players more engaged by making the apps entertaining and rewarding.

Florida Greyhound Industry Demands $250M in Compensation

It’s a dogfight in Florida as greyhound racing workers demand $250 million in compensation for the pending loss of their industry. Amendment 13, approved by 69 percent of voters in November, requires that all wagers on dog racing stop by the end of 2020.

Russian Gaming Zone to Expand

A Russian official promises there will be at least 11 casino resorts occupying the Primorye Gambling Zone by 2023. While it’s a familiar refrain; the sole operating casino in the zone, in the Far East near Vladivostok, is Tigre de Cristal (l.), which opened in late 2015.

Naga’s Cambodian Monopoly Extended to 2045

Cambodian-based gaming operator NagaCorp, owner and operator of NagaWorld (l.) in Phnom Penh, has signed an amendment to its exclusivity agreement with the government that extends its monopoly on casinos operations in the vicinity for 10 more years, until 2045.

Simermeyer Approved as NIGC Chair

E. Sequoyah Simermeyer has been confirmed by U.S. Senate to chair the National Indian Gaming Commission. Simermeyer. He replaces Jonadeve Chaudhuri, who served more than four years as chairman of the agency.

Pachinko Plays

Two of the most intriguing slot games at G2E were games that recreate the Japanese arcade favorite pachinko, in both RNG video and physics-based versions. The games, like Aruze’s Jackpot Circus (l.), were seen as the first iteration of machines aimed at the Japanese market.

Shooting Par

In the ongoing debate about whether gamblers can tell if a casino has raised the older percentage on slot machines, the professors who claim they can’t explain why par may not mean what you think it means present a closer look at the research. The result is likely to be more debate.

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Philippine House Passes POGO Bill

The Ways and Means Committee of the Philippine House of Representatives has approved a new 5 percent tax on Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs). But the bill faces some pushback from lawmaker Jose Calida (l.), who says POGOs cannot be taxed at all.

Macau Analysts Expect More Bad News in November

A decline in VIP volumes estimated to be in the 30 percent range could drive down total gaming revenues in Macau by double digits. This would beat August’s 8.6 percent decline and mark November as the market’s worst month this year. Sanford C. Bernstein’s Vitaly Umansky (l.) expects revenues to dip by as much as 13 percent.

Grand Jury Looks at CNMI Governor, Saipan Operator

Few new details were available last week about the investigation into Saipan casino operator Imperial Pacific International (IPI) and Ralph Torres, governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), where the company’s casino is located.

Bloomberry Appeals GGAM Award

Philippines-based casino operator Bloomberry Resorts Corp., which operates the Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila’s Entertainment City, has appealed an arbitration decision in Singapore ordering it to pay US$296 million to Global Gaming Philippines LLC, a unit of U.S.-based Global Gaming Asset Management LLC (GGAM), controlled by Bill Weidner (l.).

EUROPEAN GAMING More

Hard Rock Spain Still On

The government of Catalonia in Spain says Hard Rock International is still negotiating the purchase of land in Vila-Seca and Salou. In 2018, the local government gave Hard Rock Entertainment World permission to build a casino and leisure complex in the region. The design will reportedly be similar to the recently opened Guitar Hotel (l.) at Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida.

Cyprus Triple-Checks Junkets

The Cyprus Gaming and Casino Supervision Authority has engaged three companies to vet international junket operators before they’re permitted to work at City of Dreams Mediterranean, the mega-resort now under construction in Limassol.

UK Libs Push Ban on Credit Cards Betting

The Liberal Democrats has proposed a ban on using credit cards to pay for betting either at both retail shops and online gambling. The effort is seen a way to reduce the incidence to problem gambling. The party would also like to see a levy to help fund research for problem gambling.

Casino Reopens in Western Spain

The renovated Orenes Gran Casino Extremadura has reopened in western Spain near Portugal. Operator Grupo Orenes says the re-launch reflects a new direction by the company, which plans to eventually remodel all its casinos.

Czech Republic to Launch Gambling Exclusion Program

Czech Republic Finance Minister Alena Schillerová says a self-exclusion registry for gamblers will launch next year. Players may self-exclude, and other individuals will be automatically excluded, such as people treated for gambling addiction.

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Aussie Tower Plan Nixed

Neighbors of the Star Casino in Sydney, Australia have turned thumbs down on the operator’s plan to build a 220-room Ritz Carlton skyscraper hotel (l.). The New South Wales Independent Planning Commission agreed the proposal was “overly intrusive.”

SkyCity Wants to Trim Blackjack, Add Slots

SkyCity Entertainment Ltd. last week appealed to the New Zealand gaming regulator to allow it to swap out three table games for 60 slot machines at its Hamilton casino. SkyCity says the tables constitute 63 player spaces compared to 60 player spaces on 60 EGMs.

NSW to Boost Gambling Research Funds

The New South Wales Office of Responsible Gambling has announced it will increase the funding of responsible gambling research in the Australian state. The effort will improve the “quality, diversity and impact” of such research in communities in NSW.

ONLINE GAMING More

Italy to Limit iGaming Licenses to 50

Italy’s 5Star-DP coalition government has announced a goal to reduce the number of online gaming licensees by 2023. There are currently 85 operating concessions in the market.

Spanish iGaming Operators Agree to Ad Rules

A Spanish online gambling trade association says its partners have agreed to adhere to new advertising and marketing “control measures” approved by the country’s gaming regulator.

Netherlands Delays iGaming Launch

Dutch gaming regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has announced that the Netherlands’ regulated online gaming market is now likely to open in June, 2021, six months later than originally planned.

Everi, Nugget Partner in New Jersey

Everi Holdings Inc. announced last week that GoldenNuggetCasino.com has exclusively launched its player-favorite Triple Threat and six other titles for online real-money play in New Jersey.

Unibet Becomes Latest Online Option in Pennsylvania

Unibet launched it online sports betting and casino option in Pennsylvania last week. The company partnered with Mohegan Sun Pocono, where it helps run a physical sportsbook. Much of what Unibet offers is available in New Jersey already. The company hopes deals with the Eagles and Devils will boost its business.

Partypoker Continues Bot Crackdown

Partypoker has continued its ongoing battle against fraudulent bot accounts, closing 57 rogue accounts across its two main European networks.

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Pennsylvania Tops Sports Betting Record

Pennsylvania sports betting handle reached a new record in October, with $241.2 million in wagers, up from the previous record set the month before. Revenues were slightly down from September. The sportsbook at Rivers Pittsburgh (l.) continued to lead the retail market.

NHL Taps Into Sports Betting Opportunities

As sports betting spreads across the U.S., National Hockey League teams have created a host of wagers for bettors, such as whether a goalie’s save percentage will be over or under compared to a prior game. The league, despite early opposition to sports betting, was one of the earliest supporters.

New Jersey Set Another Sports Betting Record

With all four major sports leagues playing at some point, New Jersey broke the September record for sports wagering. Coupled with online gaming revenue, sports betting helped propel overall casino gaming closer to the $3 billion mark for the first time in a long while.

Genius, Dutch Basketball Sign Data Deal

Genius Sports has signed a deal to provide the Dutch Basketball League (DBL) with the company’s live streaming and data services. The partnership will be in place at all DBL venues effective immediately.

PGA Plans Expanded Bets for 2020

The PGA Tour plans to add an expanded roster of proposition bets for the 2020 tour season. Bettors will be able to wager on a shot-by-shot basis, with such bets as whether a golfer will birdie a certain hole. The roll out comes on the heels of an agreement naming IMG Arena as official data provider.

FanDuel Enters DFS in Iowa

Iowa has welcomed FanDuel to its daily fantasy sports (DFS) market. The company, which operates sportsbooks at two Iowa casinos, passed the testing phase administered by the state Racing and Gaming Commission, ending a five-year quest. DraftKings received DFS approval October 25.

California College Athlete Law Has Many Imitators

California recently passed the “Fair Pay to Play” law to allow college athletes to profit from endorsements and the use of their images. Several states have gotten in line to follow suit and the NCAA says it’s rethinking its opposition to student athletes making money.

UNITED STATES GAMING More

Rhode Island, Twin River in Negotiations

Twin River Worldwide Holdings in Rhode Island continues its negotiations with the state over a regulatory agreement that governs its ownership of casinos in Lincoln (l.) and Tiverton. A November 13 deadline came and went without an agreement.

South Dakota Casinos Sees September Boost

Gaming revenues in Deadwood, South Dakota (l.) bounced back in September after a slight dip in August, rising 11 percent to $114.4 million compared to September 2018. Slot handle rose 11.8 percent to $108.4 million and table games handle was down slightly. Hotel occupancy fell 1.89 percent.

How Mega-Merger Will Affect Missouri

The $17.3 billion merger of Caesars Entertainment and Eldorado Resorts, recently approved by shareholders on both sides, will result in sales of casinos across the country including in Missouri, where the combined company would have owned six of 13 licensed casinos, including Lumiere Place (l.) in St. Louis.

Rush Street to Partner On Virginia Casino—If Voters Approve

Portsmouth, Virginia City Council members have unanimously approved a deal with Rush Street Gaming to develop a casino resort. Officials said they were impressed with Chicago-based Rush Street's focus on employees and community engagement, plus its commitment to diversity and inclusion. Chairman Neil Bluhm (l.) says the casino could spur additional development.

Illinois City Approves More Video Games

Licensed gaming establishments in Champaign, Illinois can add more video gambling machines following City Council's recent vote raising the limit from five to six machines. Currently 61 businesses offer 281 machines and all but 12 have five.

Georgia Lawmakers Hold ‘Listening Sessions’

Georgia lawmakers are on a "listening sessions" tour related to expanded gaming in the state. Legislators are considering a constitutional amendment allowing casinos, horseracing and sports betting. Analysts say they would create thousands of jobs. Brett Harrell (l.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, says the legislators want to hear the opinions of the public.

Another Casino for Biloxi?

Biloxi Capital is seeking site approval for a $600 million Biloxi casino resort on a 30-acre tract it bought in 2005-2006. The site is the location of the former Tivoli (l.) hotel that was demolished several years ago after damage suffered during Hurricane Katrina. The land has been zoned for gaming since 2007. Also, Special Circuit Court Judge Christopher Schmidt recently ruled on Biloxi and Bay St. Louis casino-related appeals.

PA Board Denies Mount Airy Mini-Casino

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board denied Mount Airy Casino’s application for a mini-casino in Big Beaver, on the basis of a lack of evidence of financing for the project.

Vegas Raiders Will Sleep at M Resort

The Las Vegas Raiders and M Resort Spa Casino (l.) have made a sponsorship deal that designates the Henderson, Nevada property as the team’s official residence. The team chose the M for its proximity to its new $2 billion stadium and practice facilities, also being built in Henderson.

Advocates Promote Smoke-Free Indiana Casino

Ground hasn't been broken yet, but anti-smoking groups already are calling for a smoke-free casino in Vigo County, Indiana. The state, county and city of Terre Haute have laws against indoor smoking, although the state law exempts casinos. A Spectacle Entertainment official said the debate "puts the horse before the cart."

TRIBAL GAMING More

Alabama Governor Considers Poarch Band Proposal

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (l.) says she would consider talking with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians about their offer to acquire exclusive gaming rights in the state. The plan includes a constitutional amendment allowing Class III gaming and two new casino resorts in north Alabama.

Washington Tribe Contemplates Casino, Water Park

Washington’s Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation have signed an agreement with the city of Pasco, the first step to developing a casino and possibly a water park on 184 acres. The next step is to petition the federal government to put the land into trust.

Arizona Tribal Casino to Open in February

The Tohono O'odham Nation will open its $400 million Desert Diamond West Valley Casino (l.) on February 19 near Glendale, Arizona. The new casino will be twice the size of the old one.

California Watchdog Appeals Tribal Casino Ruling

Stand Up for California, a watchdog casino group, has appealed the ruling by a federal judge that upheld putting land into trust for the Wilton Rancheria casino in Elk Grove. The organization claims that the federal government acted wrongly when it put the land into trust in 2017.

Lake Havasu Casino Debuts

California’s Chemehuevi Tribe last week celebrated the grand opening of the Havasu Landing Resort and Casino, a quarter-mile away from the original casino. The resort includes a 48-room hotel, sports bar, ferry dock and marina slips and store.

Tachi Palace High Limit Room Reopens

Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino (l.), near Lamoore, California, has reopened its expanded and improved High-Limit Gaming Room. The room includes more VIP slots.

Bus Line that Served Mohegan Sun Discontinued

A bus line that for many years brought patrons from western Massachusetts to Mohegan Sun in Connecticut has announced the service will cease. It discontinued the service due to declining ridership.

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Ex-UN Official To Head MGM Sustainability Initiative

Jyoti Chopra, who served five years in global media and advocacy for UNICEF, has been recruited from the private sector in Britain to lead a drive launched by MGM Resorts International targeting a set of ambitious goals for boosting diversity and positive social and environmental impacts.

Kremer Joins Konami as VP, Studio Operations

Konami Gaming Inc. last week announced that Jason Kremer has been named the company’s vice president of studio operations. He brings more than 20 years of industry expertise with a demonstrated track record of business growth and entertainment innovation.

Sycuan Casino Appoints Cinelli GM

Robert Cinelli, a veteran executive at the Las Vegas Sands, has been hired by Sycuan Casino Resort as general manager. He takes up his duties January 1.

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TCSJohnHuxley to Buy GPI Assets

TCSJohnHuxley has agreed to acquire all operating assets of furniture, layouts and table game accessories in North America from rival supplier Gaming Partners International (GPI).

Synergy Blue To Test With Caesars Entertainment

Synergy Blue’s skill-influenced, arcade-style casino games will soon be at The Linq now that a deal has been struck for Caesars Entertainment to set up trials of the innovative company’s games.

California Tribe Rolls Out New Mobile App

Pechanga Resort Casino of Temecula, California has introduced its MyPechanga app to enable guests to book hotel rooms, view Club Dollar balances and contact hosts with ease.

AI Forces Bettors to Take a Break

AI Technology introduced by a new gaming industry council can shut down gambling devices for a brief time if it detects certain thresholds that indicate addictive behavior. The council calls it a cooling off period.

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PAGCOR’s Domingo to Deliver G2E Asia Keynote

Andrea Domingo (l.), chairwoman of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) will deliver the keynote address at the inaugural G2E Asia @ the Philippines, to be held in Manila on December 3-4, 2019.

Aruze’s Top Cabinets, Games at SAGSE

Aruze Gaming America Inc. in partnership with Techno Gaming exhibited an exceptional lineup of games and cabinets November 20-22 at SAGSE Buenos Aires 2019.

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RICO Suit Against Wynn Resorts Tossed

Sterling Suffolk Racecourse (SSR), former owner of a racetrack near Boston, lost a court battle when a federal judge threw out its RICO lawsuit against Wynn Resorts. The judge advised SSR to try its luck in a state court.

Fake News: Roof Collapse at African Casino a Hoax

Social media provides an instantaneous way to spread the “news,” fake or otherwise. Last week police and rescue personnel in Durban, South Africa assured residents that, contrary to a rumor that caught fire on the internet, the roof of the Sun Coast Casino (l.) did not collapse.

Massachusetts Mayor Suspends Disorderly Spokeswoman

The mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts, Domenic Sarno, has suspended his director of communications after she was arrested at the MGM Springfield casino. Marian Sullivan was charged with malicious destruction of property.

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