The Gaming Commission leveled a $20 million penalty—the largest in Nevada gaming history—for Wynn Resorts’ failure to act in the face of years of allegations that Steve Wynn was sexually assaulting and harassing female employees. Commission Chairman Tony Alamo Jr. (l.) said there were “losers on both sides.” The company is still in the hot seat in Massachusetts, where it is scheduled to open Encore Boston Harbor later this year.
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Caesars Entertainment and daily fantasy sports giant DraftKings have signed a partnership deal that will give DraftKings access to Caesars’ markets in several states, though what specific markets were not identified. DraftKings in turn will promote Caesars Entertainment as its official casino-resort partner in those states and Caesars Entertainment will acquire an equity interest in DraftKings.
Caesars Entertainment reached an agreement with Carl Icahn that gave the corporate raider sizable representation on the board of directors and input on the choice of a new CEO. Icahn now has three Caesars board members and a 45-day window to appoint a CEO acceptable to him. Icahn already knows who he wants for the job: his former CEO when he owned Tropicana Resorts, Tony Rodio (l.). Only problem is, Rodio is already gainfully employed as the CEO of Affinity Gaming.
Virginia lawmakers passed a bill authorizing casinos in Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth, Richmond and Norfolk, if voters in those cities approve. First, a comprehensive casino gambling study must be completed by November 1. Licenses could begin to be issued on July 1, 2020. The bill awaits the signature of Governor Ralph Northam (l.), a casino supporter.
Connecticut’s gaming tribes say that if the state begins to take steps to entertain bidding for a commercial casino that they will cut off the 25 percent payments they give the state from slots revenue. Rodney Butler (l.), chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot tribe, says that amounted to about $273 million last year.
Daisy Ho (l.), chairman of SJM Holdings Ltd. and daughter of casino titan Stanley Ho, has spoken out in support of the recently forged shareholder alliance involving her sister, Pansy Ho, and the Henry Fok Foundation. The alliance leaves their stepmother, Angela Leong, Stanley Ho’s fourth wife and a co-chair and executive director of SJM, out in the cold.
Gaming operators interested in running a casino at Greece’s Hellinikon resort complex have until April 22 to submit their bids. The casino will be part of a larger €8 billion resort district (l.) at the former airport.
New Hampshire and several other parties are suing the U.S. Department over its recent memo indicating it was reversing its previous policy on the federal Wire Act. The lawsuits claim the new interpretation will create chaos in a newly burgeoning industry. iDEA Growth, a lobbying group founded by attorney Jeff Ifrah (l.), also joined the suit.
Despite massive amounts of data, bookmakers are still very vulnerable. Groups that want to take advantage of perceived weakness of bookmakers don’t need at that data—just a smart strategy. Gaming veteran Bruce Merati (l.) explains.
A request from Major League Baseball that casinos forego any sports betting involving 2019 Major League Baseball spring training games has met with mixed results from casinos. Nevada has rejected the suggestion saying there’s no history of any match-fixing in spring training.
Billionaire Carl Icahn has an impressive track record in the gaming industry, making money on several distressed gaming companies. Now his target is gaming giant Caesars Entertainment, and who wants to dispute that the results will not be the same.
This week, the podcast features an interview with Barry Cottle, the president and CEO of Scientific Games on the recent performance of the company and plans for the future.
Candidates for governor of Hokkaido, Japan are divided over a possible integrated resort bid on the island. The opposition candidate is against an IR; outgoing Governor Harumi Takahashi (l.) has declared herself in favor.
More than 1.2 million people traveled to Macau to celebrate the Chinese New Year last month. That has some lawmakers concerned about the impact on infrastructure, security and residents.
For the second time since November 2018, gaming magnate Lawrence Ho (l.) has upped his stake in Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd. Ho now commands 55.8 percent of Melco shares.
In a February report on Macau, the International Monetary Fund said the SAR should look at the gaming concessions retender as a natural time to expand non-VIP tourism and improve the city’s tourism infrastructure.
Bloomberry Resorts, which owns and operates the Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila, has disclosed that its gaming unit has been summoned in a U.S. civil case regarding funds stolen from Bangladesh in 2016.
Despite a ban on casinos on Boracay by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Galaxy Entertainment Vice Chairman Francis Lui is still trying to change his mind. Lui says the project is a perfect fit for the holiday island.
In a February 22 statement released on behalf of Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada (l.) said that Hong Kong’s Independent Commission against Corruption has “released him from bail unconditionally.”
Asian gaming investor Suncity Group Holdings Ltd. has signed a non-binding deal with Korean operator Paradise Co. Ltd. to create a partnership related to Paradise Casino Busan. No details are currently available.
The Solaire Resort & Casino in Manila has launched a new gaming floor attraction highlighted by a huge 360-square-meter video and sound attraction.
A report released by the UK Gambling Commission found that the amount of UK citizens who gambled in some form increased in 2018. The survey found that 46 percent of respondents said they had gambled in some form in the last year, up from 45 percent in 2017. Mobile gambling increased by four percent though the most popular form of gambling in the UK remained the national lottery.
The UK government has issued a guidance stating that it will work with racehorse owners to smooth the process of moving horses between UK and EU race sites under a “no deal” Brexit. The help will also apply to those owners who currently move their animals between the UK, Ireland and France under the Tripartite Agreement. The guidance helps spell out veterinary requirements for moving horses between the UK and EU.
England’s Ascot Racecourse (l.) has entered into a media rights deals with specialist racing broadcaster At The Races and multi-channel content supplier Sports Information Services. ATR which operates the TV broadcast network Sky Sports Racing will be able to sell live coverage of Ascot race for pari-mutuel betting internationally to markets around the world.
The slowdown in the Chinese economy is having a ripple effect on gaming jurisdictions that bank on China high rollers. That includes Australia, which has seen a drop in VIP gaming revenue. Crown Melbourne (l.) saw VIP revenue decline more than 10 percent.
The government of the Australian capital Canberra announced it is close to achieving a called-for 20 percent reduction in poker machines operating in the city. Though a voluntary reduction appears to be working, officials said further steps to protect problem gamblers will likely be needed.
A new study finds that gambling through apps on mobile phones presents a bigger risk for problem gamblers than fixed odds betting terminals in the UK. The study published in the academic journal European Addiction Research found that because users check their phones frequently throughout the day mobile gamblers tend to bet more often, even after suffering repeated losses.
Revenue from online gaming topped €152.1 million in 2018, a 24 percent increase over 2017. Sports betting accounted for €78.9 million of the figure, up from €68.1 million in 2017. Online casino gaming revenue also increased from €54.4 million in 2017 to €73.2 million up 34 percent. Portugal began regulating online gambling in 2016.
IGT PlayDigital has added the “Pixies of the Forest II” game to its content available on the PlayRGS remote gaming server for mobile and desktop.
LeoVegas has launched a new esports betting website, pixel.bet, in Sweden. The site has received a five-year license in Sweden for online gambling. LeoVegas paid €1.5 million for the eSports betting operation in 2018.
New Jersey became the first state to allow betting in the Academy Awards and early reviews say the move was a hit with bettors. However, some hiccups occurred due to rumors on potential winners leaked on social media. The winner, Green Book, paid 2-1 odds.
The Arizona sports betting bill sponsored by Senator Sonny Borelli (l.) has been somewhat catlike, in that it has had more than one life. However, due to Borelli’s skillful maneuvering, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed it onto the Senate floor.
A sports betting bill that brings in a new source of revenue has Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont in its corner. He considers such a bill one of the “building blocks for a balanced budget.”
New Hampshire, which has no casinos, could nevertheless play host to sports betting under a bill introduced by Rep. Timothy Lang. His bill would legalize sports betting for professional sports only.
A sports bill that allows wagering on both professional and college sports has been passed by a 52-38 vote in the North Dakota House. Now the bill goes to the Senate.
Powerful Ohio legislator Bill Coley (l.) doesn’t much care if sports betting is legalized or not, as long as whatever is the law is vigorously enforced. He commented last week, “One thing I hope we don’t do is leave the status quo in place.”
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (l.) said sports betting could generate $200 million in licensing fees and revenue in 2020 if lawmakers move fast to legalize it. Unlike previous gambling expansion measures that took “a Christmas tree approach,” Pritzker wants a standalone bill allowing 20 total sports betting licenses at $10 million each, with a $5,000 annual renewal.
Both chambers of the Iowa legislature are considering measures allowing sports betting at the state’s 22 casinos. The House bill would allow immediate app development and the Senate measure would allow mobile betting as well as fantasy sports. In anticipation, Prairie Meadows Casino in Altoona announced it’s partnering with William Hill to develop a sports book.
Sports betting media startup The Action Network announced it has raised $17.5 million of funding from private equity, team owners and media and esports investors. Private equity firm Fertitta Capital led the funding along with investors such as David Blitzer, of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment and the Chicago Cubs.
SB 552 recently passed the Indiana Senate in a 38-11 vote. The legislation would allow sports betting, relocate one of Majestic Star Casino’s (l.) two licenses to Terre Haute and bring live dealers to racinos this year, among other provisions. The measure faces opposition in the House where many legislators consider it an expansion of gambling.
Senate Resolution 84, sponsored by State Senator Brandon Beach (l.), would allow up to three horseracing tracks in Georgia. Recently passed 5-2 by the Senate Rules Committee, the measure would require a statewide referendum on the issue. The sponsor, state Senator Brandon Beach, said if it passes, thousands of jobs would be created at the mixed-use racetracks.
Two gambling measures are moving forward in the West Virginia House of Delegates. HB 2934, the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act, would allow the sates four racinos and Greenbrier Resort (l.) to offer online casinos and poker. HB 2901 would allow the four racinos to open a secondary site within the county they’re located in.
The Quapaw Tribe, owner of the Downstream Casino in Oklahoma, is moving forward with plans to open a $210-$240 million casino resort in Jefferson County, Arkansas. Last November voters approved a casino there and in Pope County. However, Gulfside Properties, potential developers of the Pope County casino (l.), have threatened to sue the state racing commission.
Churchill Downs will purchase majority ownership in Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois for $326 million cash. The Illinois Gaming Commission recently voted 0-0 for the transaction, expected to close by June 30. Churchill Downs pursued the deal to be “favorably positioned” at the Des Plaines casino if sports betting is legalized by state lawmakers.
A measure that would legalize sports betting, online poker and daily fantasy sports was debated on Kentucky television by state Rep. Adam Koenig (l.), the bill’s sponsor, and an anti-gambling spokesman. Koenig said the gambling revenue could generate $20 million in annual revenue, which could help fill the state’s $39 billion public pension fund shortage.
U.S. gaming companies gave $367 million to charity last year. This figure comes from a first-ever study by the American Gaming Association and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center.
Pennsylvania casinos generated $254.2 million in revenue in January, according to the figures released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, a 3.2 percent increase from January 2018. The state’s six sportsbooks took in $32 million in wagers, which generated $2.6 million in revenue. The revenue resulted in $938,000 in tax revenue from sports betting.
A plan that would allow the South Dakota town of Yankton to become a casino town has been killed in the Senate. Now the only way it could happen is if proponents gather enough signatures to put the constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot.
Pennsylvania’s Mount Airy Casino Resort (l.) previewed its $40 million expansion project, which will add 100 new hotel rooms and more ballroom and event space.
When MGM Resorts built the MGM Springfield in Massachusetts, it made extensive efforts to preserve historical buildings. Some by saving their facades, some by physically moving them. Now it wants to apply for an historic preservation award.
A bill has been introduced in Utah to make betting on horse races legal. Though all gambling is illegal in the state, the bill would ask voters by county to allow pari-mutuel betting on horse races. counties would be able to keep the sport-generated revenue and the bill’s sponsor says the move would help local ranchers.
Amended rules from the prestigious professional golf organization will allow casino and fantasy sports operators participate in matches as sponsors. Players and tournaments can also negotiate for their own sponsorships separately.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is putting 10 of the acres where the Riviera (l.) once stood up for bid. The agency is hoping to get upwards of $30 million an acre for the parcel, which includes frontage on the Las Vegas Strip.
In a first for the casino industry and Major League Baseball, MGM’s logo will appear on players’ uniforms when the Oakland Athletics play the Seattle Mariners in the season opener at the Tokyo Dome (l.) next month. The gaming giant is the series’ title sponsor.
Although they’re not legally bound, the Seminole Tribe, which operates the nation’s most profitable casino in Tampa (l.), has continued making monthly payments of $19.5 million to Florida from a share of casino gambling revenue, according to the Florida Revenue Estimating Conference. Annual projected state income from the payments is projected to hit the high $300 million range for the current and future fiscal years.
Officials from Oklahoma’s tribal casino operations recently gathered at a recent American Gaming Association “Get to Know Gaming” seminar in Tulsa. Tribal gaming generates $9.8 billion in annual revenue for the state. Tribal and commercial interests operate 141 casinos across Oklahoma, ranking it third in the U.S. for gaming operations behind Nevada and California. Cherokee Chief Bill John Baker (l.) says gaming saved his tribe.
The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), based on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts has begun construction of a small Class II casino. The casino will have 250 bingo-based machines, food, beer and wine in a 10,000-square-foot structure. Chairwoman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais (l.) says the tribe is committed to working with their neighbors.
Two Oregon tribes are clashing over the desire of one tribe, the Coquille, to build a second casino in Medford, along Interstate 5. A rival tribe, the Cow Creek Tribe, which operates the Seven Feathers casino (l.),claims the casino violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts has sued the Department of the Interior, claiming that it distorted facts in order to justify reversing its 2015 decision to put land in Taunton into trust. The Department has filed an answer denying all allegations.
Northern California’s Tule River Reservation has announced plans to relocate its Eagle Mountain Casino off of its hard-to-get-to reservation to near the Porterville airport. One thing it needs is the signature of the governor of California on a revised tribal state gaming compact.
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