Atlantic City Looks to the Future, Grapples With the Present

Atlantic City’s casinos have furloughed thousands of workers due to the coronavirus, most with two weeks’ pay that’s already about to run out. Employees will be eligible for unemployment, and executives promise to bring them back once the pandemic has passed. But true recovery depends on how soon visitors return.

Acting the Part: The AGA Takes The Lead

American Gaming Association President & CEO Bill Miller talks to GGB about how the organization helped to shape the CARES Act, which will aid the gaming industry to respond to the coronavirus crisis.

Covid-19: The Financial Impact

They say it’s always darkest before the dawn. As the Covid-19 crisis drags on, casinos are in the trenches, employees are struggling to hold on, and everyone’s looking for a ray of light. Gaming analyst Frank Fantini takes the temperature of an industry rocked by an unprecedented shutdown.

Casino Magnate Kerzner Dead at 84

He was a maverick businessman, indefatigable risk-taker and one-of-a-kind innovator who revolutionized global hospitality. On March 21, industry giant Solomon (Sol) Kerzner died of cancer at his home in Cape Town, South Africa. He was 84.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Gaming Gets a Piece of $2.2 Trillion Aid Bill

The federal rescue package approved by the U.S. government last week will give gaming operators and suppliers critical loans to help them stay afloat. The plan is “an important first step to preserve the gaming industry,” said AGA Chief Executive Bill Miller (l.). And there’s some money for tribes, as well.

Nevada OKs Betting on Esports

Nevada last week became the first state to regulate esports when the state Gaming Control Board allowed betting on a league that features Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO).

Macau: Gaming Revenue Could Fall by 50 Percent in 2020

The government of Macau is forecasting that 2020 gaming revenue will decline by half compared to last year. It’s already planning to tap financial reserves to cover an expected budget deficit in the billions. As if that’s not bad enough, Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng (l.) now says the industry is failing in its civic duty.

Tribes Reject Settlement Offer From Oklahoma Governor

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (l.) proposed a settlement in the ongoing dispute between the state and tribes about whether the gaming companies that expired at the end of 2019 automatically renewed. The tribes says the offer is a massive power grab by the governor.

Penn National Sells Trop Las Vegas to GLPI

Last Friday, Penn National Gaming announced it will sell the Tropicana Las Vegas and another casino project to Gaming & Leisure Properties. Tens of thousands of employees will be let go as part of a coronavirus survival plan.

Maryland Passes Stripped Down Sports Betting Vote

Maryland lawmakers have stripped much of the detail out of a sports betting bill in an effort to get a referendum on the November ballot. If the opportunity slipped by, supporters would have to wait until 2022. If approved by Governor Larry Hogan (l.), particulars will be added.

Massachusetts Reservation ‘Disestablished’

An order from Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has withdrawn the previous decision by the department to take land into trust for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in Massachusetts. Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell (l.) calls the action “cruel and unnecessary.”

Gaming Companies Included in U.K. Relief Package

A relief effort by the U.K. government to help businesses, such as High Street bookmakers (l.), survive the coronavirus will now include the country’s gaming companies. Their inclusion was hailed last week by the British Betting and Gaming Council (BGC.)

Brazil: Casinos in Amazonas?

Brazilian lawmaker Alberto Neto (l.) is behind a new bill that would legalize casino hotels to Manaus, a city of 2 million-plus people in the state of Amazonas.

Practice Safe Poker at Online Masters Tournament

The coronavirus is shutting down casinos around the world, but it’s also made room for the Online Poker Masters Tournament in April. Traditional players and iGamers will join for a groundbreaking online event, presented by Partypoker and Poker Central.

Sold Out

Closing casinos down was the correct call, for not only the customers who would be at risk, but also employees, who would be at even greater risk.


Korea Casinos Ineligible for Virus Relief

South Korean casinos including Seven Luck (l.) have been hard-hit by the Covid-19 infection, but they’re unable to take part in a 100 billion won (US$80 million) tourism aid package.

U.S. Tribal Firm Still Interested in Japan

The development arm of Connecticut’s Mohegan Tribe says it’s still interesting in developing an integrated resort in Japan. But CEO Mario Kontomerkos (l.) is playing it coy about where in Japan that might be.


Armenia Closed Until April

Slot floors and table areas in Armenian casinos like the Shangri-La are empty these days with the shutdown of all non-essential enterprises in the former Soviet Republic. A state of emergency will last until April 14.


Crown Casino Claimed Exemption from Closure

The government of Victoria in Australia briefly allowed Crown Melbourne to remain open despite the widening coronavirus pandemic. Crown’s position that it should be exempt from closure caused widespread condemnation.

Bloomberry Absolved in Bangladesh Bank Heist

Bangladesh Bank, which reportedly transferred millions of dollars to New York’s Federal Reserve Bank (l.), has lost its civil claim against Bloomberry Resorts & Hotels Inc., a unit of a Bloomberry Resorts Corp., related to the 2016 theft of US$81 million by cyberthieves.

New Zealand Tracks Keep Running, Sans Fans

Thoroughbred, harness and greyhound tracks will continue to operate in New Zealand, but without spectators. The decision, in effect through April 13, minimizes the number of humans allowed on the ground to jockeys, drivers, trainers, stable staff and race-day personnel.

OTBs in Jamaica Allowed to Operate

The Jamaican Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission has rescinded an order that would have closed off-track betting parlors, which offer wagers on race meets at Caymanas Park (l.) and other tracks.


PA Online Casinos Surge Amid Crisis

Pennsylvania’s online casinos are seeing a surge in business due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, which closed retail sites. “It’s nice that we can provide another outlet for entertainment,” said Mattias Stetz, COO of Rush Street Interactive.

eSports Replace Real Ones in Viral Era

With most athletic competition curbed due to the coronavirus pandemic, sports fans have turned to eSports and video games to fill the void. The effect is not just limited to the U.S., but in the U.K. too.

Philippines Look to iGaming for Revenues

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), which regulates and also operates casinos in the country, is hoping to resume online gaming to generate fresh revenues during the Covid-19 crisis.

Online Gaming Spikes in India

Online gaming in India has seen a notable boost since the onset of the coronavirus. One online poker operator has registered a 10 percent increase in customers, and more online play during the day.


California Sportsbook Initiative Pulled Until 2022

An initiative to legalize sportsbook for gaming tribes and racetracks might not be able to get enough signatures to put it on the ballot in California this year. The effort has been hobbled by the coronavirus, and the order of Governor Gavin Newsom (l.) ordering most people to stay at home.

Colorado Hopes for May 1 Sports Betting Launch

Despite the coronavirus, Colorado hopes to have sports betting available to go by May 1. But it’s still too early to tell whether it’s doable. The state approved 16 licenses and 31 companies with some form of sports betting license.

Kentucky Sports Betting Bill Doubtful

Though the majority of residents support legalization of sports betting, lawmakers are not in a hurry to approve it. House Bill 137 went nowhere after a second reading in January. The bill went back to committee, but with the legislative adjournment looming in mid-April, the bill sponsor is not optimistic.


AC Could Face Long Climb Back

Atlantic City casinos closed March 16. The date of their reopening is uncertain, as is the fate of employees and the desire of visitors to return. The longer the shutdown, the more problems the city may have moving forward, according to Fairleigh Dickinson professor Bob Ambrose (l.).

Nevada Braces for ‘Unprecedented’ Impact

Nevada is unique in its reliance on tourism and gaming, and with both shut down by Governor Steve Sisolak (l.) for the foreseeable future, the fallout in terms of jobs, tax revenues and a functioning state economy could be uncommonly harsh.

Law Creating Wyoming Gaming Commission Beat the Odds

Although the chances of passing a bill that would create a Wyoming Gaming Commission were long, efforts this year were successful. The law first pushed by Senator Ogden Driskill (l.) will take effect July 1, 2021.

Illinois Casino Closures Extended

The Illinois Gaming Board has extended the closure of the state's casinos and video gaming terminals through April 7, in keeping with Governor J.B. Pritzker's (l.) executive order to "stay at home" due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Virus Could Stall Virginia Casinos

Virginia lawmakers recently passed legislation allowing casinos in five select cities, but the coronavirus has put those plans on hold. Governor Ralph Northam (l.) hasn’t signed the new law and voter referendums would be required in each locale.

Nebraska Casino Petition On Hold

A petition drive to put casinos on Nebraska’s November ballot has been put on hold. Organizers need to submit 121,000 signatures by July 2. Lance Morgan (l.), president and CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc., said signature-gathering will resume later this spring.

Mississippi to Lose $9.4 Million Monthly

The coronavirus has closed Mississippi's casinos industry and cut off millions in revenues destined for the state's general fund. Allen Godfrey (l.), of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, said the industry has survived flooding, an oil spill and hurricanes. "This is not our first rodeo," he said.

Detroit Casinos Will Pay 19,681 Employees

Detroit’s three casinos, which shut down March 17, have pledged to pay their 19,681 employees at least through the end of the month. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan (l.) said the city is losing $600,000 daily in casino revenues and hopes FEMA will compensate the city for losses.

Missourians Can Still Gamble—on Unregulated Machines

Casinos are off limits in Missouri through March 30 due to the coronavirus, but not unregulated video gambling machines. An estimated 14,000 machines are available in the state's gas stations, clubs and bars. Operators claim they’re legal since players know the outcome of a bet in advance.

Stadium, Other Major Vegas Projects Still a Go

Construction of Allegiant Stadium (l.) continues to forge ahead toward a planned completion by August. Work is proceeding on billions of dollars’ worth of other major projects as well, including Resorts World Las Vegas and the expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

WSOP Holds Out Hope for 2020 Events

The World Series of Poker isn’t tossing in its hand just yet about the possibility that it may be able to begin its series this year on May 23 in Las Vegas. It is planning as though the tournament will begin on schedule.


N.Y. Town Thwarted in Bid to Close Indian Casino

Citing the U.S. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, a federal judge in New York has ruled that local law holds no sway over the Cayuga Nation’s slot parlor in Union Springs. Cayuga leader Clint Halftown (l.) hailed the decision as an affirmation of tribal sovereignty.

Oklahoma Tribes Sue Insurers

The Chickasaw and Choctaw nations of Oklahoma are suing several insurance companies to clarify if their business interruption policies cover losses sustained by closing their casinos due to the coronavirus.

Wyoming Tribe Taps Casino Funds

The tribe that operates the Wind River Hotel and Casino in Wyoming was forced to tap into casino funds after the collapsing economy left it with a deficit. The action was taken by the Northern Arapaho Business Council.

Foxwoods Furloughs Interrupt Union Negotiations

Labor negotiations between Foxwoods Resort Casino and the union that represents its dealers fell through after the casino was forced to close by the coronavirus. Now the union is crying foul because those workers won’t be paid during the furlough. Foxwoods CEO John James (l.) says the resort needs to be “nimble.”

Florida Tribal Casino Finally Closes

In Florida, Miccosukee Resort & Gaming (l.) was the last casino to remain open despite warnings about the coronavirus. On March 23, it finally closed up shop.

California Tribes to Pay Workers During Shutdown

Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, California, and Harrah’s Northern California in Ione will pay furloughed workers. Thunder Valley said it would pay through the end of March, while Harrah’s will extend pay to April 16.

Oregon Casino Will Pay Furloughed Workers

The Wildhorse Resort & Casino in Oregon has announced that workers affected by the closing of the casino due to the coronavirus will not lose their wages. At least for the first two weeks.


Chinese Lottery Almost At Capacity

As of March 19, China's state-run sports lottery was working its way back to business as usual, having been closed almost 50 days due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Loto-Québec Suspends Retail Sales

Loto-Québec has temporarily suspended retail sales as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. All sales terminals and kiosks are closed until further notice.


IGT Names New CFO, Board Members

International Game Technology has named Massimiliano Chiara (l.) as executive vice president and chief financial officer and has appointed Chiara and Beatrice Bassey to its board of directors.

Crystal Jack Named Jackson Rancheria CEO

Crystal Jack (l.), a 14-year veteran of the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort, has been named chief executive officer of the Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwuk Indians and the casino. She will be in charge of operations for both properties


Everi CEO Forgoes Salary

Everi Holdings announced that it is implementing targeted furloughs and across-the-board salary reductions, including CEO Mike Rumbolz (l.) cut to no salary at all, to sustain the supplier during the nationwide casino shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

TVBET Partners with GrooveGaming

In an effort to provide more content for bettors, TVBET has partnered with GrooveGaming, which has more than 2,500 casino games in its inventory.

Swedish Sports Betting Firm Lands in Central America

Spiffbet, a Stockholm-based company that specializes in live-action sports betting games, has partnered with Costa Rica-based gaming software provider Panorama Gaming to enter the Latin American sport betting market.





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