Eyes on the Prize

UNLV’s Lee School of Business is looking to foster innovative products to help casinos reopen safely, and is putting up $1 million for grants to enable quick development of those products. The funds are provided by the Ted and Doris Lee Family Foundation, whose owners endowed the business school, according to COO Andre Carrier (l.).

As Vegas Moves to Reopen, Operators Look to Macau

The stringent health and safety measures on the gaming floors of Macau appear to be keeping the Covid-19 contagion at bay. In Las Vegas and across the U.S., the industry is taking notice. Masks will likely be required for employees and customers.

U.S. Race Tracks Await State Go-Aheads

Not all U.S. sports came to a halt when the coronavirus hit. A small number of racetracks—including Oaklawn Park (l.), Tampa Bay Downs, and Los Alamitos—have continued operating, albeit to empty stands. Their success gives hope that other tracks may resume racing soon.

California Tribes Consider Reopening Plans

California has 62 gaming tribes, all with different plans for reopening their casinos once the coronavirus begins to recede. Chairman Gregory Michael Sarris, of Graton Rancheria (l.) in Sonoma County, said, “We follow the health mandates so we can reopen and stay open.”

Twin River Buys Casinos In AC, Louisiana & Nevada

Twin River Worldwide Holdings last week announced it will buy casinos in Atlantic City, Shreveport and Lake Tahoe. The acquisitions—which include Bally’s Atlantic City (l.), of Caesars Entertainment, and two Eldorado resorts—will also grease the wheels for regulatory approval of the Caesars-Eldorado megamerger.

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Oklahoma AG: New Tribal Compacts Invalid

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed new gaming compacts with the Comanche and Otoe-Missouria tribes last week, but Attorney General Mike Hunter (l.) says they’re “not authorized” since they include sports betting.

Singapore Shutdown Will Continue Until June 1

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (l.) has announced that the city-state will remain on lockdown until June 1 as an extension of “circuit-breaker” measures related to Covid-19.

SBA Opens Door to Smaller Gaming Companies

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) last week released revised regulatory guidelines that permit eligible small gaming entities to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The guidelines reverse previous ones that barred gaming companies from participating in the program.

Will Tennessee Tax Turn Off Sportsbooks?

The Tennessee Education Lottery Corp. under CEO Rebecca Hargrove (l.) has approved the state’s final sports betting rules, paving the way for operator applications. But sportsbooks may be reluctant to jump in, given the mandatory 10 percent hold and a 20 percent tax.

Idaho Casino To Be First to Reopen

The Coeur d’Alene Casino in Idaho will reopen on May 1 with a requirement for facemasks and social distancing. It will be the first casino to reopen in the U.S. Ernie Stensgar (l.), chairman of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, says local trends allowed the casino to reopen.

AC Job Losses Among Nation’s Worst

In New Jersey, a disproportionate percentage of the newly unemployed are from Atlantic County, which depends largely on the hospitality and tourism industries. Analysts predict a cruel summer should re-opening casinos and other businesses extend much beyond June 1.

iGaming Boom Could Continue, Even After Casinos Reopen

With casinos closed due to Covid-19, online gambling is enjoying a surge. With the exception of sports betting, iGaming grew 66 percent year-on-year to $65 million in New Jersey in March. Analysts believe the trend could continue after casinos reopen.


Macau’s First Quarter Off a Cliff

Gaming revenues in Macau plunged 59.9 percent year-on-year through March with the pain pretty much equally spread between VIP and mass. April isn’t expected to bring any relief either.

Genting Singapore to Bid on Japan IR

Genting Singapore Ltd. still plans to bid on an integrated resort (IR) in Japan, where the process to license and develop three such properties has stalled due to Covid-19. The Malaysian company’s target market is Yokohama.


N. Ireland Calls for Ban on Credit Card Bets

Lawmakers in Northern Ireland including MLA Kellie Armstrong (l.) are asking the country’s gaming industry to join those in England, Scotland and Wales in prohibiting betting using a credit card.

Spain Gaming Poised to Lose Big

Spanish gaming expert José Antonio Gómez Yáñez (l.) says Covid-19 could wreak havoc on the country’s gaming sector, robbing of it of a quarter of its employees and 27 percent of revenues.

Holland Casinos Up 11 Percent in 2019

Last year was a year of growth for state-owned Holland Casino, with revenues up 11 per cent to €728.9 million. Though growth will likely be impossible this year, CFO Ruud Bergervoet (l.) said the enforced stoppage “is an opportunity to be even better prepared.”


Australian Operators Cut Costs, Workforce

Crown Resorts and the Star Entertainment Group, two of Australia’s largest casino operators, have furloughed most of their employees, cut executive salaries and continue the lockdown that began March 23.

New Zealand Looks at a Return to Racing

Officials in New Zealand are weighing a return of horse and dog racing. The Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) hopes to start greyhound racing and harness racing in May and thoroughbred racing in July.


Colombian Regulator OKs Live Dealer Games

Colombian gaming regulator Coljuegos has given the country’s licensed online gaming operators the go-ahead to offer live dealer casino games to generate revenues during the Covid-19 shutdown.

Philippine iGaming to Restart This Week?

Philippines’ POGO industry is set to restart at the end of April, according to Labor Undersecretary Dominique Tutay (l.). The controversial offshore gaming operations have been linked to crimes including kidnappings and murder.

BetAmerica Back Online After Cyber-Attack

BetAmerica, the online sportsbook of Churchill Downs Inc., finally was back online April 17, three full weeks after its sports-betting platform provider was downed by a cyber-attack.


California Sports Betting Petitioners Stop Effort

A coalition of 18 tribal casinos in California have all but abandoned efforts to collect nearly 1 million signatures to qualify a sports-betting measure for the November 2020 ballot. The bill pushed repeatedly by Rep. Adam Gray (l.) were defeated by the coronavirus shutdown.

Flutter Financials Better Than Expected

Its merger with the Stars Group on track to close in the second quarter, FanDuel parent, Flutter, reported an 8 percent drop in U.S. revenues over the four weeks when sports shut down. But online gaming and a launch of services in Pennsylvania propelled a 200 percent increase.

PGA Tour Set to Return June 11

The PGA Tour is set to be the first major competition to return from the coronavirus-fueled shutdown that has stopped most sports betting. The tour will resume play beginning June 11 with the Charles Schwab Cup. The return also brings the promise of a myriad number of prop bets.


Virginia Lawmakers Approve Amendments

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's (l.) signature is all that's missing to move forward legislation allowing casinos in five cities after local referendums. Lawmakers approved Northam's amendments, including one granting unregulated electronic skill games a one-year extension.

Las Vegas Operators Look to a Cautious Reopening

In Las Vegas, a partial return to business could come as soon as early May. Governor Steve Sisolak has refused to name a date. And, despite recent controversial statements from Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman (l.), most in the gaming industry agree about the need to take it slow.

PA’s Wolf Announces Reopening Plan

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has laid out a six-point phased plan that would lead to the reopening of the state, including the 12 shuttered casinos.

Mississippi Casino, Lottery Revenues Drop

Mississippi casinos, which closed March 16 due to Covid-19, saw their profits for the month drop nearly 50 percent, from $124 million in 2019 to $67 million this year. Mayor Fofo Gilich of Biloxi (l.) lamented the loss of momentum. “We were hitting our stride” when the virus hit, he said.

Rhode Island’s Casino Money Melts Away

Casinos provide the third largest source of governmental tax revenue to the state of Rhode Island. The closure of Twin River’s Lincoln and Tiverton casinos last month due to the coronavirus could be costing the state $1 million a day.

California Card Club Cities Battered by Shutdown

Some small cities in California derive a big part of their tax revenues from local card clubs. The shutdown of casinos by the coronavirus is creating a crisis in several of the host communities. Among the hardest hit gaming halls is Hawaiian Gardens (l.) in Los Angeles County.

WSOP Postponed Until Fall

Following weeks of speculation, the World Series of Poker canceled its annual tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic. WSOP Director Ty Stewart (l.) said it’s important to “prioritize guest and staff well-being.” Organizers hope to reschedule in the fall, but online tourneys go on.

GLPI Completes Las Vegas Trop Acquisition

Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. (GLPI) has completed its acquisition of the Tropicana Las Vegas from Penn National for $307.5 million; Penn will continue to operate the resort after reopening.

Illinois City Hopes Insurance Payout Can Cover C-19 Losses

The city of Joliet, Illinois purchased business loss insurance when the then-Empress Casino burned down in 2009. Now officials hope that policy will cover monthly losses of $1.3 million in tax revenue due to the closures of Hollywood (l.) and Harrah's Casinos because of the Covid-19 pandemic.


Tribes Line Up to Sue Over Covid-19 Relief

Several Indian tribes have filed suit to prevent any of the $8 billion in CARES Act funds set aside for tribes from going to Alaska’s Native corporations. They have sued the U.S. Treasury Department.

Feds Approve Ho-Chunk Beloit Casino

The Ho-Chunk Nation got the go-ahead from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to build a $400 million casino resort in Beloit, Wisconsin—if Governor Tony Evers (l.) approves it after an 11-year effort.

Connecticut’s Tribal Casinos See ‘Sharp Declines’

Connecticut’s two tribal casinos have suffered “sharp declines” since they closed up shop more than a month ago. Right now, there’s no end in sight to the shutdown at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville and Foxwoods in Ledyard.

Pacific Northwest Casinos Battered by Covid-19

The coronavirus shutdowns that forced many tribal casinos in the Pacific Northwest to close are also harming the non-tribal economies that depend on them. In March, Oregon’s Wild Horse Resort & Casino (l.) closed its doors for the first time in 25 years.

Alabama Tribe Marks 35 Years of Hospitality

Wind Creek Hospitality, the gaming arm of the Alabama-based Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI), opened its first gaming facility in 1985. Today it owns 10 resorts around the world, including Wind Creek Bethlehem (l.), which it acquired from the Las Vegas Sands Corp. in 2019.

Tribal Subsidiary Manufactures PPE

Muskogee Technology, a business subsidiary of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, has started turning out a line of personal protective equipment (PPE) including sterile gowns to assist in the fight against Covid-19.


UAE Introduces iLottery

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is now in the lottery business. Emirates Loto, which launched April 18, is described as "the region’s first fatwa-approved, fully digital collectable scheme with an optional entry to a weekly live draw."


Schneider to Join Scientific Games

Gaming supply veteran Rich Schneider (l.), who has held executive positions at IGT, Aristocrat and elsewhere, will join Scientific Games as chief product officer.


IGT Partners with Circa Sports

International Game Technology Plc (IGT) is partnering with Circa Sports LLC to power the mobile sports betting app in Colorado, where the supplier is providing its IGT PlaySports platform.

Everi Boosts Balance Sheet with Loan

Everi Holdings has secured $125 million in financing and altered credit agreements to prop up its balance sheet during the Covid-19 shutdown. CEO Michael Rumbolz (l.) said the “prudent actions” will position Everi “to withstand this period of minimal or reduced gaming industry activity.”

Tote Group Strikes Deal With Sportech

The U.K.-based Tote Group has expanded its international horseracing capacity as part of a new agreement with Sportech. The deal will enable Tote to feature global racing content throughout its schedule.

Chippendales: From Your Lap to Your Laptop

The Chippendales male dance troupe (l., in a more social time) is out of touch for now, but those muscles continue to ripple online. Virtual strip shows “bring Chippendales to the consumer,” says Managing Partner Kevin Denberg.


G2E Asia Delayed Again—Until December

G2E Asia, the major gaming trade show in Macau, has been rescheduled a second time due to concerns about the Covid-19 outbreak. The show is now set to be held December 1-3 at the Venetian Macao.




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