Could Covid-19 Push More Lotteries Online?

State lotteries that don’t allow online purchases are taking a pasting during the Covid-19 pandemic. Some see this as the final straw that will convince most legislatures to permit online sales. Bishop Woolsey, the director of the Arkansas Lottery and president of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL), weighs in.

iGaming Reaps Rewards of Shutdown

With casinos closed and traditional sports suspended, U.S. states that allow some form of internet gambling have welcomed the additional revenues. Opinions differ on whether the stream will continue once the crisis ends. Gaming attorney Jeff Ifrah (l.), for one, thinks the upswing will continue.

NY Casinos Could Be Closed through June

New York has been the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S., and the state’s casinos may be among the last in the nation to reopen. “We’re hanging in there,” said Lance Young (l.), general manager of del Lago Resort & Casino in Seneca County, while waiting for the state to act.

Suncity the Sole Bidder for Wakayama IR

Macau junket operator Suncity Group has taken the next step to pursue an integrated resort (IR) in Japan with the submission of its proposal for a project (l.)—and it has no competition, yet. A Japan unit of the firm has filed to take part in Wakayama’s RFP process. The local government says, however, it will accept proposals through August.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: State by State, Casinos Prepare to Reopen

After almost two months on lockdown due to Covid-19, casinos in the U.S. are making cautious plans to reopen, or have already reopened. The decisions are being made jointly by state governments, regulators, operators and health professionals, with Memorial Day a shared goal. Many changes will be imposed, such as dividers between slots and table seats (l.). Here’s a rundown.

Hard Rock Denied; Mohegans Move Forward on Greek IR

Hard Rock Internationall lost its appeal to overturn a decision to reject its bid to build a casino resort at Greece’s former Hellenikon International Airport. This leaves Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment alone to build an IR called Inspire (l.), part of a planned $8.74 billion redevelopment project.

MGM Still All-In for Japan

MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle (l.), the company’s interim head since Jim Murren left, says the company remains fully committed to pursuing an integrated resort (IR) in Japan. MGM is the sole bidder for an IR in Osaka.

Feds Begin Distributing Relief Funds to Tribes

The U.S. Treasury has begun distributing $8 billion in Covid-19 relief to Indian tribes crippled by the disease. President Donald Trump called it the country’s “single largest investment in Indian Country.” Gila River Governor Stephen Roe Lewis (l.) called it “woefully inadequate.”

MGM Hopes to Host NBA, NHL

In an investor call, MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle revealed that the company has put feelers out to host NBA, NHL and other competitions when sports return and casinos re-open. The games would be televised but with no fans. Leagues would only confirm the discussions.

Las Vegas Visitation in a Swoon

Some 1.5 million people came to the beleaguered casino mecca in March, a decline of more than 58 percent from the same month last year. In Las Vegas, the April numbers promise to be a lot worse.

OK Governor: No More ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ Compacts

Two Oklahoma tribes signed new gaming compacts with Governor Kevin Stitt (l.), providing lower exclusivity fees and allowing them to build new casinos, as well as offering sports betting. But tribal casinos located near cities or along highways out of Texas or Kansas would pay much higher fees than those in more isolated areas.

No Border Openings Yet, Macau Officials Say

The Macau government has affirmed that anything approaching a relaxation of border controls (l.) is still a ways off. In China in the meantime, the Covid epidemic is believed to be under control, and optimism is building about a gaming industry recovery.

West Virginia Eyes Summer Start for iGaming

West Virginia’s 2019 iGaming bill giving the state lottery commission more than a year to draft and implement regulations at the state's five casinos. The commission will submit them May 15, so means online gambling could start in July. The public is ready, says Lottery Director John Myers (l.).

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Get A Look at Cambodia’s Naga3

Naga3, the $3.5 billion expansion of Cambodia’s NagaWorld, will include the tallest tower in Phnom Penh. U.S. architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill just released new renderings of the complex.

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Melco Won’t Reopen Cyprus Casinos Until July

Cyprus Casinos, a group of Melco Resorts gaming properties in the Greek-controlled republic, will not resume operations until mid-July. That timetable could be modified based on the number of Covid-19 cases in the country.

U.K. Tracks Ready to Race

The British Horseracing Authority can have horses and jockeys ready to run in a week’s time when the government says the country’s racetracks are cleared to reopen.

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Russian Investor to Build Altai Casino

A Russian investor has confirmed plans to build a RUB3.5 billion (US$47.4 million) casino in the country’s Altai Territory. Construction will begin this month on the casino, which is set to open by 2024.

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Philippines to Reopen iGaming POGOs

Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), shut down since March 18, may resume operations, according to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR).

Portugal Sees Big Growth in iGaming

The Portuguese online gaming industry has posted total revenues of €131.8 million (US$143.2 million) for the first three months of 2020, a jump of 8.4 percent over 2019, and up 47.5 percent over the previous quarter.

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Churchill Downs Moves Forward and Backward

Just as Churchill Downs lays out new construction in Northern Kentucky, it puts a stop to a renovation at the storied track in Louisville. The corporation will move forward with a new gaming center as it demolishes a grandstand at Turfway Park in Florence and stops the $300 million project (l.) at Churchill Downs.

Louisiana Sports Betting Faces Uphill Battle

Louisiana lawmakers are deciding on which sports betting bill to approve, according to the bill’s sponsor Senator Barrow Peacock (l.).. The ones getting approved seem destined to be subject to a referendum, and if approved, the legislators must approve the details like framework and taxes levied by the state. It’s a grueling process.

Pennsylvania Casino Applies for Sports Betting License

Wind Creek Bethlehem, owned and operated by a unit of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, has applied for a license to offer a casino sportsbook, a mobile sportsbook and internet betting. Sports betting would be run by Betfred.

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N.J. Approves Luxor to Run Ocean Casino

Luxor Capital Group, owner of Atlantic City’s Ocean Casino Resort (l.), has been approved to own the property. The hedge fund turned the property around by reducing debt, changing management and renovating the building to promote the casino.

PA Casino May Offer Gambling by Appointment

The Wind Creek Bethlehem casino hotel (l.) in Pennsylvania has revealed plans for a phased reopening of the property that would include gambling by appointment as a measure to control gathering sizes.

Maryland Takes $60 Million Hit Due to Closure

Maryland’s casinos were closed all of April, for zero revenue compared to $145.2 million in April 2019, and $60 million allotted for the state down the drain. Lottery and Gaming Director Gordon Medenica (l.) said the state is focused on “the health and safety of casino patrons and employees.”

Pennsylvania, Maryland Push for Racing

Racing fans and industry officials are looking forward to the resumption of live racing, conducted to empty grandstands with only essential personnel.

Oregon Collects Taxes for Shut Down VLTs

Hundreds of bars and restaurants in Oregon are shuttered because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The ones that have video lottery terminals (l.) are being ordered to pay taxes on the machines. The Oregon Lottery says it has no other legal option.

GLPI Moves Protect Quarterly Results

Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. (GLPI), through proactive moves such as buying the Las Vegas Tropicana property from Penn National Gaming, has achieved first quarter results that hold up year-on-year.

New Mexico Horse Racing Hopes for Quick Return

Horse racing in New Mexico faces an uphill battle to come back to life after the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the state tracks. The state also closed the casinos, which provided money for the purses that helped boost the racing at the tracks (Ruidoso Down at left). Optimistically, officials hope to get the green light in mid-May.

NJ Bills Promise Help for Casinos

New Jersey lawmakers have introduced two bills to help Atlantic City casinos. One lets them borrow interest-free loans. The other grants tax and fee breaks. “It was heartbreaking to see so many of our casino families with no money,” said Senator Chris Brown (l.), “waiting in food lines.”

Thousands Face Layoffs in Las Vegas

Since March, nearly 63,000 MGM Resorts workers have been furloughed at the company’s two dozen U.S. resorts, all of which are currently closed. The Las Vegas gaming giant now says many of those workers won’t be coming back.

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California Casino Furloughs Employees

The San Francisco Bay Area’s dominant gaming hall, Graton Resort & Casino, has announced it will furlough three-quarters of its employees to conserve funds. The resort may reopen next month.

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UK Gambling Commission Adds Four Members

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has appointed four new members, all OK’d by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The new commissioners include Brian Bannister (l.), of the Law Society of England and Wales.

Espinosa Out, Arana In as Spanish Regulator

The May 5 issue of Spain’s Ministerial Gazette included the announcement that Mikel Arana (l.) had been appointed as the new director-general of the DGOJ, Spain’s gaming regulator. He replaced Juan Espinosa in the role.

Vegas Superstar Roy Horn Dies at 75

Longtime Las Vegas entertainer Roy Horn died last week due to complications from the Covid-19 virus. He was 75. Horn and Siegfried Fischbacher starred in a stage show featuring lions, tigers and other big cats.

888 Cofounder Dies in Plane Crash

Shay Ben-Yitzhak (l.), one of four cofounders of online gaming provider 888 Holdings, perished in the crash of a small plane on May 2. The accident took place shortly after takeoff from an airfield in in Sharon, Israel.

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GeoComply Goes Live in Montana

GeoComply’s PinPoint on-premise geolocation solution has gone live in Montana. The initial rollout will include up to 145 taverns in the state, with an expected 2000 licensed premises going live in 2020.

AGEM Index Rebounds

The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers reported that the AGEM Index, following a decline of 156 points in March, rebounded in April with an increase of 63.5 points.

KGM Developing Safety Barriers for Slots

Casino equipment supplier KGM Gaming, which had already retooled part of its plant to manufacturer face shields for health workers, is producing transparent social protection panels for the slot floor.

Golden Race, Betway Partner in Africa

Golden Race has expanded its presence in Africa, signing a partnership deal with Headsquare, the exclusive licensee in the country for the Betway brand.

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ICE N/A Happening This Week

North America’s gaming leaders will discuss ways the industry will reemerge after the Covid-19 shutdown during this week’s digital version of ICE North America, starting Monday, May 11.

SBC to Host July Summit

The organizer of the Betting on Sports America (BOSA) trade show, which launched in 2019, has announced that it will bring its SBC Digital Summit template to the North American market on July 14-15.

Gaming in Crisis Webinar Series to Focus on iGaming

The fourth edition of the Gaming in Crisis webinar series on May 14 will feature a discussion of iGaming and why it has grown so quickly during the lockdown. Sue Schneider, Dermot Smurfit and Kresimir Spajic will discuss what the future of iGaming holds following the crisis.

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