Futurecasting: Atlantic City, Post-Coronavirus

Only time will tell the full impact of Covid-19 on gaming and leisure, which may be uniquely vulnerable to its long-term effects. GGB News spoke to former Atlantic City casino executive Bob Ambrose about the future for AC and surrounding markets.

Analyst: In Macau, as in U.S.: ‘More Pain to Come’

The contagion that shut down Macau in February is now battering markets worldwide. Those markets are now looking to Macau—which is slowly reopening—for clues on how the global recovery may unfold. Macau gaming analyst Ben Lee (l.) of iGamix, weighs in.

Riding Out the Crisis, Mapping the Recovery

Canada has 115 casinos, all of them shut down by the coronavirus. Paul Burns (l.), president and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association, looks at what’s ahead when those casinos are allowed to reopen.

The New Normal

When we come back to work—and we will—what will the casino world look like? Will we pick right up from where we left off or will there be massive changes. Gaming veteran Roger Snow (l.) has some ideas.

Brazil President: No Casinos for ‘At Least’ 20 Years

In unwelcome news for supporters of legal casinos in Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro (l.) has come out four-square against the gaming halls, saying they would open the door to money laundering. Bolsonaro is said to be motivated by influential evangelicals.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Online Keeps Gaming Alive—Up to a Point

Covid-19 has temporarily closed casinos, shut down sports and banished live betting. Players have flocked to online gaming, but the shift will not compensate for losses incurred during the lockdown. Moreover, the current stressors may cause problem gamblers to chase their losses.

Site Work to Begin at Greek Airport

A multibillion-dollar integrated resort development planned for the Hellenikon International Airport (l.) near Athens shows signs of getting under way. Greece’s Central Archaeological Council has reportedly OK’d the demolition of old buildings at the site.

Another Grim Month in Macau

Largely cut off from its core mainland China market, Macau suffered a second straight monthly dive in gaming revenues. Win for March was down 79.7 percent year-on-year. So far in 2020, revenues have toppled 60 percent.

Russian Casino Closes, Along with Borders

Summit Ascent Holdings, operator of the Tigre de Cristal casino resort (l.) in Russia’s Primorye section, suspended gaming last week on news that the government would close its borders to stop the Covid-19 virus.

Maryland Sports Betting Torpedoed by Coronavirus

Senator Craig Zucker (l.), sponsor of the bill that would have put sports betting to a statewide vote in Maryland come November, says the legislation failed because of a shortened session. The culprit? Covid-19, of course.

Stars Group/Flutter Pass Merger Hurdle

The U.K. Competitions and Markets Authority approved the first step in an exhaustive review of the proposed merger between Flutter Entertainment and the Stars Group. If given final approval by all involved, the deal will create the global market leader.

AGA Objects to Gaming Carveout in CARES Act

Although early indications were that gaming was to be included in all aspects of the CARES Act, the U.S. stimulus package that aids businesses during this COVID-19 crisis, it appears that small gaming companies—one-third of the industry—could be dealt out.

Mashpee Chairman: Interior Ruling ‘A Punch in the Nose’

Cedric Cromwell (l.), chairman of Massachusetts’ Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, calls the decision by the Department of the Interior to disestablish trust lands that the tribe considers sovereign land a “hardcore blow.” He added, “It’s like the punch in the nose from a bully.”

Caesars-Eldorado Merger Still a Go

The $17.3 billion purchase of Caesars Entertainment (Caesars Palace in Las Vegas last week at left) by Eldorado Resorts is now expected to close in June. Fortunately, as one source put it, “The deal was constructed with a balance sheet to survive a crisis.”

Caesars Slapped With Largest Fine Ever in UK

Caesars Entertainment UK (the company’s Empire casino in London at left, one of 11 in the UK) last week was served a ₤13 million fine for violating a “catalogue” of social responsibility failings in its dealing with the VIP market. The fine is part of a stepped-up effort by the UK Gambling Commission to police the VIP market more strictly.


Cambodia Joins Global Shutdown

Last week, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered all casinos to close to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The kingdom in Southeast Asia had a total of 107 confirmed cases of the virus as of March 30.

Vietnam IR Opening Postponed

Suncity Group has announced that Hoiana, its integrated casino resort in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, will not open until 2021 due to the global coronavirus pandemic.


Polish Bookies Look for Tax Cut

A Polish gaming industry association is asking the government for a temporary tax cut to help bookmakers survive the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Bulgaria Suspends Eurofootball

Bulgaria’s State Gambling Commission has suspended Eurofootball’s gaming license for the next three months due to unpaid taxes. The sportsbook owes a total of US$182.4 million.


Covid-19 Sinks Cruise Ships

With travel curtailed and social distancing in full effect, the cruise ship industry has suffered a body blow. Genting Hong Kong warns that its core cruise line business, which narrowed losses in 2019, is likely to founder.


NY Budget Won’t Include Mobile Betting

Advocates of mobile sports betting saw the Covid-19 crisis as a lever to persuade New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (l.) to consider the much-needed revenue potential of the wagers. They were wrong.

Rush Street, Scientific Games Partner in PA

Rush Street Interactive is partnering with Scientific Games to premier SG’s online casino games in Pennsylvania on Rush Street’s PlaySugarHouse.com and BetRivers.com sites.

Apple Extends Deadline for App Store Compliance

Apple Inc. has given mobile gaming developers a bit more time to make changes that will make their apps compliant with the tech giant’s iOS native code. In 2019, Apple required all gaming apps to meet unique terms and conditions in order to offer their products in the App Store.

GAN Files for U.S. IPO

Gaming software supplier GAN has filed for an initial public offering in the U.S. on the Nasdaq exchange, hoping to raise $35 million to capitalize on growth in iGaming due to the coronavirus shutdown.

iGaming Platform Knocked Out by Cyber-Attack

SBTech, provider of platforms for online sportsbooks and casinos, was shut down last week after a likely ransomware attack. While customer data was not breached, the system shutdown affected operations of clients including the Golden Nugget and the Oregon Lottery.

Betsoft Releases ‘Monster Pop’

Betsoft has released “Monster Pop,” a five-reel online video slot featuring a reel array that expands into a 13-by-13 grid with pays up to 1,921 times the bet.


D.C. Delays Sports Betting Launch

Washington D.C.—this-close to launching sports betting on March 31—has opted to postpone the debut with all major sports shelved. When functioning, D.C. will permit betting online, through a lottery app, in various bars and restaurants as well as the Capital One Arena (l.).

Vermont Moves On Sportsbook Study

A bill to create a committee on sportsbooks options for Vermont is moving ahead. The committee would be made up of public officials like the attorney general. Lawmakers and would issue a report by the end of the year. Governor Phil Scott (l.) is in favor of the legislation.

Report: NBA May Play Finals in Vegas

A CNBC report indicates the NBA may go to a best-of-five tournament when hoops resume. The finals could take place in Las Vegas, though Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (l.) says they may be played without fans.

Sports Betting Delayed at Iowa Casinos

The coronavirus has delayed implementation of sportsbooks at two Northwest Iowa tribal casinos, WinnaVegas (l.) and Blackbird Bend. Governor Kim Reynolds closed casinos in the state on March 17.

Colorado Sports Bets: Still On for May, With a Question Mark

There may not be much to bet on, but Colorado’s sports betting law requires operators to be ready to take bets by May 1. The hope is the NBA will resume some type of play by then. A total of 33 licenses are expected, including one for the Brass Ass Casino (l.) in Cripple Creek.

Sportsbooks Now Legal, But Unavailable, in Washington

Sports betting is now legal in Washington State, but only at Indian casinos, which are closed and most sports teams are benched. With Governor Jay Inslee’s (l.) signature, the Evergreen State became the 21st in the nation to allow such wagers.

Memo: Revamped NFL Draft to Go Forward

A memo from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (l.) said the draft will take place April 23 to 25 with a bunch of changes to accommodate the coronavirus. Neither prospects nor families will be permitted to participate and the personnel in attendance would be limited.


Virginia Gaming Bills Await Governor's Signature

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has until April 7 to sign or suggest changes to two gambling bills passed by the General Assembly. Senate Bill 36 allows one casino in each of five cities following local voter approval. House Bill 896 permits 12 online-only operators to offer statewide mobile sports betting. Colonial Downs (l.) would get to add as many as 2,000 additional HHR machines.

With Tropicana Sale, Penn Buys Breathing Room

With its 41 casinos all closed the regional gaming giant is operating in survival mode. Transferring the Las Vegas Tropicana (l.) to Gaming and Leisure Properties in exchange for a massive break on this year’s rents will go a long way to keeping it afloat.

MGM Confident In Its Cash Position

With $3.9 billion on its balance sheet, MGM Resorts says it’s “well-positioned to emerge from the current crisis.” The company will not accept money from the federal rescue package, but consider loan guarantees should the nationwide casino closure last for an extended period.

Missouri Bans Video Gaming Machines

Missouri casinos scored a victory when the government banned the estimated 14,000 unlicensed video gambling machines (l.) in the state. One compelling reason: according to Missouri Gaming Association head Mike Winter, "The cleanliness of these slot machines is questionable."

Arkansas Casino Kicks Back Application

The Arkansas Racing Commission must reconsider a casino license application from Mississippi-based Gulfside Properties. ARC rejected the application because it includes endorsements from former state officials. Judge Tim Fox (l.) ruled it must consider the application "on its merits."

Boyd Suspends Dividend, Planes Online Annual Meeting

Boyd Gaming has informed shareholders it will suspend a quarterly cash dividend due to the shutdown of its properties, and hold its annual meeting online due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Boyd owns 29 casinos in seven states, including Sam’s Town (l.) in Las Vegas.

Gaming Executives Forego Salaries

Wynn Resorts will pay all its employees through May 15, and company leaders have agreed to pay cuts to help make it happen. Leading the way is CEO Matt Maddox (l.), who has agreed to forego his salary for the rest of the year; other operators, suppliers and manufacturers have done likewise.

Some Critical of Murren Parachute

Why is this man smiling? Following his “voluntary termination” from MGM Resorts International, and with the company facing critical challenges, former CEO Jim Murren (l.) left with a $32 million exit package.

Philly Live! Continues Construction

Despite a statewide shutdown of non-essential businesses in Pennsylvania, Stadium Casino LLC and its contractor obtained a waiver to continue working on the Live! Casino project.

Loss of AC Gaming Taxes Will Cost Social Services

The loss of casino revenue caused by the shutdown of land-based casinos in Atlantic City has cost more than $700,000 a day in taxes and associated fees. The losses will affect payment into the Casino Revenue Fund for senior citizens and the disabled.

Virus Ravaging Reno’s Convention Trade

More than half the events scheduled through June have been canceled or postponed. The resulting decline in room tax collections could seriously curtail operations at the Convention and Visitors Authority.

New Jersey Horseman Suit Unresolved

In 2014, the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association won their battle to allow sports betting at Monmouth Park (l.). Now they want compensation for lost revenue between 2014 and 2018.


North Carolina Band Disputes BIA Decision

In March, the Bureau of Indian Affairs announced it would take into trust land in North Carolina where the Catawba Indian Nation plans to build a casino resort. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, which owns two casinos in the state, says it will sue the federal government over the decision.

Oklahoma Compact Mediation Deadline Extended

A federal judge extended the deadline from March 31 to May 31 for mediation over gaming compacts between Oklahoma tribes and Governor Kevin Stitt. Tribes claim the compacts automatically renewed on January 1, the date the compacts expired according to Stitt. Former U.S. District Judge Layn R. Phillips (l.) is the mediator in the dispute.


New Zealand Lottery Closes Retail Outlets

Lotto New Zealand, which operates retail locations in gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores and elsewhere in the country, has suspended retail sales during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Alabama Lottery Bill Awaits Legislature's Return

The coronavirus has forced the Alabama legislature to remain out until at least mid-April. Among the bills that are unlikely to come up for a vote as a result is state Rep. Steve Clouse's (l.) lottery legislation allowing the sale of scratch-off instant tickets and multistate lottery games, with proceeds going to education.

Lottery Sales Slump, Jackpots Suffer

Lottery jackpots are expected to take a downward slide as the coronavirus hurts sales. The Powerball Product Group, which oversees the Powerball game, has announced it will cut minimum jackpots by 50 percent.


Sandoval Leaves MGM for University Post

Former two-term Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval has announced he’s leaving his job with MGM Resorts to become president of the University of Nevada, Reno. He has been with MGM for a year, leading its efforts to build an integrated resort in Japan.

Heyerdahl Joins Gaming Arts as CFO

Gaming Arts has appointed Matthew Heyerdahl (l.) as the company’s new chief accounting officer and director of finance. He previously worked as global chief accounting officer for Aruze Gaming America.

Sega Sammy Names New CEO

Sega Sammy announced last week that Scott Winzeler, former chairman and CEO of subsidiary Sega Sammy Creation USA, will lead the company as its new president and chief executive officer.

Marsh Declines William Hill Offer

Financial executive Adrian Marsh (l.) has reversed his decision to join William Hill as group chief financial officer. Instead, Marsh will stay on in the same role at DS Smith, a global packaging firm.


GeoComply Licensed in Colorado

GeoComply, a global leader in geolocation technology, announced last week that it has received its Colorado vendor license. The company currently supports regulated online casino, poker, sports betting, lottery, ADW, and DFS operators in 44 U.S. states.

Newgioco Signs African Deals

Newgioco’s virtual sports subsidiary, Virtual Generation Ltd., has signed five new distribution agreements in Africa. The Italian bookmaker said it will provide virtual sports to Kenya and other regulated markets.


ICE North America Goes Digital

After canceling its 2020 ICE North America show, London-based Clarion Gaming will move its ICE, TGA and Ampersand experiences online.

G2E Asia Sticks With July Show Dates

G2E Asia is scheduled to take place as planned July 28-30 at the Venetian Macao. The show was originally set for May, and postponed; at least one company has urged organizers to play it safe and push back the dates once again.




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