Sports Wagering: A Vector of Death in New Jersey

Could the Covid-19 infection have been crossing from New York to New Jersey with border-crossing sports bettors? Is it still occurring? Gaming industry executive Richard Schuetz (l.) looks at the problem.

ICE Goes Digital

ICE North America Digital is gathering steam as the industry finds ways to connect, learn and network outside the physical gatherings of a normal trade conference. GGB News spoke to Rory Credland (l.) of Clarion Events about the race to reimagine the physical event for the quarantine age.

Will Sports Jumpstart the U.S. Recovery?

For Americans, cheering for sports is a rite of spring (and summer and fall), and its return would help restore a sense of normalcy to weary fans. GGB News talks to Don Logan of the Las Vegas Aviators and Atlantic City’s Steve Callender about the importance of sports to public morale.

Staying Loyal

Operators are letting their best customers know that loyalty runs both ways, freezing player’s club benefits until the industry reopens. “It’s critical that we keep communication open during these unprecedented times,” said Hard Rock Atlantic City President Joe Lupo (l.).

PA Casinos Wait for State’s OK to Reopen

Pennsylvania casinos shut down in March. Since then, lost gaming revenues have exceeded $466 million. Whether May is a bust remains to be seen, as the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board waits for cues from the state on when to reopen.

Virginia Gaming Hits a Speedbump

The Virginia General Assembly will return to Richmond this week to vote on Governor Ralph Northam's (l.) proposed amendments to gaming legislation passed last month. In a controversial move, Northam wants to regulate and tax—not ban—"gray" gambling machines.

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Tribal Groups Call for Ouster of BIA’s Sweeney

Tara Sweeney (l.) of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) came under fire from tribal groups last week for her proposal to let Alaskan Native Corporations benefit from the CARES Act. Sweeney is a former executive and shareholder of the largest such corporation, Artic Slope.

Border Controls Leave Macau All but Deserted

Visitation fell below 1,000 over the three-day Easter holiday as Macau’s Covid-19 isolation continues with strict border controls. Some analysts say that even when travel resumes, gaming revenues could take years to fully recover.

Ban On Credit Cards for Gambling Takes Effect in U.K.

The UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) ban on using credit cards to fund gambling took effect April 14. The commission’s chief executive Neil McArthur (l.) said it’s just in time, with online gambling on the rise due to the coronavirus shutdown.

In Las Vegas, Caesars, MGM Taking May 1 Reservations

It may be no more than wishful thinking on the part of the two casino giants, though as it stands Governor Steve Sisolak’s closure order expires on April 30. The governor has not indicated if that will change, but he has emphasized that his first consideration remains the risks to health and safety.

Philippines Senate: Sell Off PAGCOR Casinos

Some Philippine senators are demanding that the state-run gaming regulator sell off its own branded casinos as a way to fund the fight against Covid-19. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PACGOR) owns 47 casinos under the Casino Filipino brand.

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Osaka, Yokohama Hit Pause on IR

Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura (l.), a leading proponent of an integrated resort in the Japanese prefecture, says staff who formerly worked on the IR bid have been reassigned to the Covid-19 task force. Yokohama did the same thing last week.

Bloomberry Resorts Chief: ‘Write Off’ 2020

Enrique Razon Jr. (l.), chairman and CEO of Philippine gaming operator Bloomberry Resorts, said 2020 will probably be a total loss due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “This year, you can write it off,” Razon said, and added that the company will survive without new cash flow.

Philippine Casino Expansion to Cost US$235M

The Widus Group, owner of the Widus Hotel and Casino in the Philippines’ Clark Freeport Zone, says Phase I of the property’s expansion, costing approximately PHP12 billion (US$235.2 million), will be complete by the end of 2020.

South Korea Casinos Reopen

Paradise Co Ltd., which operates a casino on Jeju Island in South Korea, reopened the property on April 13, after a three-week closure. The company extended the shutdown of its other three casinos until April 20.

EUROPEAN GAMING More

U.K. Authority Seeks Action Against Ads

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority is seeking input from the public about gaming operators who may exploit the coronavirus pandemic to boost business. Such ads might promote gambling as a way to overcome boredom, relieve financial stress and other personal problems.

GLOBAL GAMING More

Peru Casinos On Lockdown Until August

The Peruvian casino industry will be closed until early August due to the coronavirus, according to Carlos Canales Anchorena (l.), president of the National Chamber of Tourism.

Australia’s Tabcorp Seeks Rent Holiday

Australia gaming operator Tabcorp has asked its landlords to give it a six month rent holiday. The company says it is losing millions because it closed down due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

ONLINE GAMING More

SBTech Sites Still Offline Due to Cyber-Attack

The March 27 cyber-attack against SBTech has not been resolved. Several sites remain down, including BetAmerica, Golden Nugget and Resorts Atlantic City. The attack could delay the final votes on a merger with DraftKings and Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp.

Online Poker Eases Pain of Shutdown

When Las Vegas and Atlantic City ground to a halt in mid-March in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Series of Poker live games ground to a halt as well. With nothing to lose, the WSOP combined two live tournaments into one online event and were surprised by the outcome.

Could Sweden Shut Down iGaming?

Swedish Minister for Social Security Ardalan Shekarabi (l.) says the government may take “extraordinary measures” to keep iGaming operators from gouging bettors during the Covid-19 shutdown.

Everi Launches Three Games on PalaCasino.com

PalaCasino.com will launch three online titles from Everi Holdings’ interactive division for play in New Jersey, following an exclusive delivery contract in Pennsylvania. The real-money games include Atomic Meltdown (l.).

NFL Clash Mobile Game Debuts

Nifty Games raised $12 million to create NFL Clash, a mobile game sanctioned by the league. The game, which can be played in five minutes, features few plays and few rules, but could portend similar games in other sports.

TVBET Unveils New Mobile Design

TVBET has launched a newly design for mobile devices. The company says it will maximize the enjoyment of players accessing its suite of live online games.

Nevada Approves Three More Esports Events

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has added new esports betting to help boost the action at sportsbooks idled by Covid-19. Bettors now can wager on the Overwatch League and two League of Legends championships.

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Last Gasp for Missouri Sports Betting Bill

The coronavirus has put a Missouri sports betting bill in jeopardy, at least for this year. Lawmakers in face masks met April 10 to discuss the measure, but Rep. Phil Christofanelli (l.) said it’s unlikely a bill will pass.

Costa Rica: Could Sports Betting Ease the Pain?

Costa Rica is considering a return of legal sports betting as a way to generate much-needed revenues for the beleaguered sports industry. Fernando Ocampo, president of the Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, says it’s “time to be creative” in identifying new sources of income.

WSOP Debates Fate of 2020 Tourney

The World Series of Poker has yet to decide whether to keep the tournament on schedule six weeks from now, move it to a later date or hold it online.

UNITED STATES GAMING More

Massachusetts Casinos Must Keep Up Payments

Massachusetts’ three casinos, closed since March 15 by the coronavirus, must still pay what they owe to their host cities and the state. So say mayors like Springfield’s Domenic Sarno (l.) and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

Indiana Gaming Revenue Plunges By Half

Indiana casinos, ordered to close March 16, saw a revenue drop of 52 percent from February to March, and the state lost $31 million in taxes. Mayor Anthony Copeland of East Chicago (l.), home of Ameristar Casino, said, “I pray on bended knee that the industry will come back.”

Two Face Off For Arkansas Casino License

The legal battles are over, and now Mississippi's Gulfside Casino Partnership and Oklahoma's Cherokee Nation Business will compete for the Pope County, Arkansas casino license.

Missouri Gaming Commissioner Requests Audit

A member of the Missouri Gaming Commission has asked auditor Nicole Galloway (l.) to investigate allegations by departing Executive Director Dave Grothaus about pushback from state police over suggested budget cuts—such as replacing patrolmen at casinos with civilians.

Affinity Furloughs Nevada, Missouri Employees

Employees at several of Affinity Gaming casinos, closed due to the Covid-19 virus, received temporary furlough notices after previously being paid. More than 1,900 workers were laid off at four Nevada properties and 275 received notices at two Missouri locations.

Rivers Casino Announces Furloughs, Pay Cuts

Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois closed March 15, and the property has furloughed 1,442 of its 1,493 employees through June 30. The company will continue to pay health benefits.

LV Convention Center Expansion Still a Go

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said work continues on the $1.5 billion convention center expansion, which should open in time for the CES trade show in January.

Study: U.S. Hotels Nearly Empty

The first week of April saw hotel vacancies at almost 80 percent across the country, and the rest of the month could be worse, according to a new report from hospitality research firm STR. A separate study says the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to slash industry jobs by more than 40 percent.

$600 Million Bonds Approved for LA-to-Vegas Rail

The committee responsible for issuing tax exempt bonds has approved of issuing $600 million in bonds towards construction of a Virgin Trains USA project. The $4.8 billion XpressWest project would link 180 miles from Victorville to Las Vegas in 90 minutes.

TRIBAL GAMING More

Fitch Downgrades Seminoles' Outlook

Fitch Ratings has revised its outlook rating for the Seminole Tribe of Florida from Stable to Negative, but said the tribe can weather current conditions with its conservative leverage and substantial liquidity.

Michigan Tribe Sued For Breach Of Contract

Two developers have filed a $124 million lawsuit against the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, claiming breach of contract regarding the tribe's proposed off-reservation Kewadin Lansing Casino (l.). The Bureau of Indian Affairs rejected the tribes land-trust application in 2017.

Michigan Tribal Gaming Workers Get Paid—Or Furloughed

The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians will extend full wages to employees at its three shuttered casinos in Northern Michigan, including Turtle Creek (l.). Nearly 1,500 employees at four shuttered Pokagon casinos in southwest Michigan have been furloughed.

Harrah’s Northern California Extends Wage Payments

Furloughed employees of Harrah’s Northern California will be paid through April 30. Rhonda Pope-Flores (l.), chairwoman of the Buena Vista Rancheria, said she hopes extending the payments will “alleviate our team members’ financial concerns so they can direct their focus on staying safe.”

LOTTERY More

Lottery Provider: Protect Market Share Or Lose It

The CEO of Malta-based lottery firm Spinola Gaming says the sector must stick together to “fight off the existential threat caused by the global lockdown.” Ade Repcenko shared his thoughts in a statement last week, and said Covid-19 will force lotteries to shift online sooner than planned.

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Foxwoods CEO John James Resigns

After only eight months on the job, John James (l.) has resigned as president and chief executive officer of Foxwoods Resorts Casino. According to Foxwoods, James left to “spend more time with his family and focus on his overall health and wellness.”

Ramirez Takes Oath as San Manuel Chairman

California’s San Manuel Indian Reservation has a new chairman, Kenneth Ramirez (l.). He and other members of the tribe’s Business Committee were sworn in last week.

Former UKGC Exec Joins YGAM

YGAM, a U.K. charity that works to inform, educate and safeguard young people against problem gambling, has appointed Daniel Bliss as its new head of external affairs. Bliss was formerly with the UK Gambling Commission.

Gaming Expert Dahle Joins Consultancy

Steve Dahle, a gaming and analytics expert with more than 25 years of experience in the industry, has joined Raving’s analytics and data science team. The Native-owned firm is based in Reno.

Imperial Pacific CFO Is Out

Imperial Pacific International, which operates the Imperial Pacific Palace (l.) on the Pacific island of Saipan, says Chief Financial Officer Ed Chen will step down as part of its plan to operate a “leaner finance department.”

GOODS & SERVICES More

Scientific Games Affirms ‘Strong Liquidity’

A statement from Scientific Games Corp. reassured investors that the company has a strong liquidity position that will enable it to persist beyond the coronavirus shutdown. Scientific Games has cut more than $100 million in quarterly costs.

GameCo, Etermax Team Up on Trivia Crack Game

GameCo LLC, originator of video game gambling machines (VGMs), announced this month that it has formed a licensing partnership with Etermax around the hit trivia game, Trivia Crack (l.).

Wazdan Joins BOSS. Gaming Solutions

International games designer Wazdan, which holds licenses in Malta, the U.K. Romania and Curacao, has confirmed a new partnership to provide new game content to BOSS. Gaming Solutions.

Fitch Downgrades Everi Rating

Fitch Ratings Inc. has downgraded supplier Everi Holdings’ long-term issuer default ratings, as the company moves to preserve liquidity during the industry shutdown.

KGM Supplying Coronavirus Face Shields

Casino seating manufacturer KGM Gaming has teamed with a fellow Pennsylvania manufacturer to shift to the production of face shields to protect health care workers during the coronavirus epidemic.

TRADE SHOWS & CONFERENCES More

G2E Asia Postponed For Second Time

G2E Asia will be held now on December 1-3, 2020, postponed for the second time since the advent of the coronavirus. The new dates are a change from the previous delayed late July dates.

BetConstruct Is Lead Sponsor of SBC Summit

BetConstruct has been named headline sponsor of the SBC Digital Summit, the biggest online conference and exhibition for the betting and gaming industry. The conference, with partners including GGB International, will take place April 27-May 1.

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Cheating Lawsuit: California Casino Sees No Evil

Stones Gambling Hall (l.), a Western-themed card room in Citrus Heights, California, has made an unusual defense in a lawsuit accusing it of allowing cheating in a tournament. In its motion to dismiss, the casino argues that it is not obligated to protect patrons from cheating.

NUTSHELL More

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