Could Corruption Scandal Derail Japan IRs?

At last count, six Japanese lawmakers faced allegations of bribery related to the country’s planned integrated resort (IR) industry. Seizing the opportunity, longtime opponents of legal gaming will submit legislation that would abolish the 2016 IR Promotion Act. Mikio Shimoji (l.), a member of the Diet representing a party led by Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui, was expelled from the party after bribery allegations were made public.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: New England States Jump on Sports Betting

As the new year gets under way, Vermont and New Hampshire are in various stages of offering sports betting. Vermont just introduced a bill to approve the wagers. New Hampshire’s industry just launched, with favorable numbers out of the gate. But Maine Governor Janet Mills (l.) has turned thumbs-down on the wagers, at least for now.

Responsible Gaming Group Issues Principles

The Responsible Gambling Collaborative last week released a set of “Effectiveness Principles” along with a study on state allocation of responsible gambling funding. Keith Whyte (l.), executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, says the idea is to build consensus to fight problem gambling.

Macau Analysts Look for a Rebound in 2020

Revenue-wise, the booming casino enclave of Macau took it on the chin in 2019. As the new year begins, experts say the downturn is all in the past. With the trade war between the U.S. and China winding down after an agreement was reached between the two countries, and Beijing’s support of Macau as demonstrated in a December visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping (l.), things are looking up for the SAR.

NY Senator Pushes Cuomo on Mobile Sports Betting

New York gaming supporters lack two items in their quest for a complete casino package. One is casinos in New York City. Another is mobile sports betting. Last year, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s legal counsel deemed the wagers unconstitutional. A new counsel is a little more open. Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. (at left with Cuomo) plans to press the governor to approve mobile.

Will AC’s Upward Trend Come to an End?

Atlantic City has enjoyed the fruits of sports betting. Gaming revenues, bolstered by these wagers, have rolled along to reach $3 billion in 2019. But ominous signs could be on the horizon. Are there too many casinos now that Hard Rock and Ocean Resort have opened their doors?

Alaska Wages War on Tribal Casino

For more than a decade, Alaska has opposed efforts by the tribal Village of Eklutna (l.) to open a Class II Indian casino 20 miles north of Anchorage. So it was no surprise last week when the state asked to intervene in a lawsuit filed by the Village against the Department of Interior, seeking a casino.

Tired of Wynning Yet?

The insistence of Nevada regulators to further punish Steve Wynn could cost the state millions and damage the reputation of the state agencies as the decision to hold him accountable when he no longer holds a license will now go to the courts. Observer Richard Schuetz (l.) believes that it’s time to cut bait.

Jones Blackhurst Joins UNLV Gaming Institute

Former Caesars Entertainment executive and onetime Vegas mayor Jan Jones Blackhurst (l.) will lead a new initiative at UNLV’s highly regarded management incubator. The program is aimed at increasing diversity in the executive ranks of the gaming and hospitality industries.

Harry and Meghan and Sherwood Valley

A small California tribal casino has offered development opportunities or employment for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan. The two have resigned from their official duties with the British royal family and have announced their intention to move to North America. The casino has reached out to them to discuss the possibility of working together in business and philanthropic projects in the near future.


Gamblers Take Flight As Cambodian Casinos Continue to Close

The ripple effect continues following the January 1 ban on iGaming in Cambodia. As online operations shut down, many of their land-based counterparts are following suit, and hundreds have lost their jobs. The closures are mostly centered in Sihanoukville City (l.), a former online gambling boomtown.


French Casino Firm Barrière Plans Upgrades

French gaming operator Groupe Lucien Barrière has pledged to invest €3.78 million (US$.2 million) in its Casino Barrière Dinard (l.) as a condition of receiving a new 15-year license. It is also renovating its Casino Barriere Saint-Raphael.

Finland to Reduce Slots

Finnish gaming monopoly Veikkaus plans to strengthen its responsible gambling strategy this year, starting with a cut in the number of slot machines in the country, and programs to help compulsive gamblers, says Director of Responsibility Pekka Ilmivalta (l.).

Spanish Trade Group to Back ‘Drastic’ Reforms

Spanish gaming trade association Cejuego says it supports “drastic measures” to reform the country’s gaming industry. Association members include Codere, Cirsa, Grupo Orenes and R. Franco.

Belgium to Limit ‘Ubiquitous’ Gaming Ads

Belgium is considering new restrictions on gaming advertisements following a new report about the inescapable ads that attended the 2019 Jupiler Pro League football playoffs (l.).

Denmark Introduces Responsible Gaming Guidebook

Danish gaming authority Spillemyndigheden has published a new responsible gambling guide featuring a clock showing how long users play. The clock must be available on gaming device screens at all times.


Australia’s Crown Inquiry to Begin January 21

The New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) will soon launch a public inquiry into Crown Resorts’ sale of a 20 percent stake to Lawrence Ho (l.), head of Melco Resorts. The sale may have been a breach of Crown’s license because Ho’s father, gaming legend Stanley Ho, has been linked to organized crime.

Canadian Firm Plans Costa Rica Casino Complex

A Canadian development firm plans to build a $400 million tourism complex with three casinos near Moín, Limón in Costa Rica. Casino City Caribe (l.), in the planning stages for two years, will include three hotels, two convention and cultural centers, a marina and a helipad.


Another Twist in the Wire Act

An amicus brief filed by the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) in a suit that pits the U.S. Justice Department against the New Hampshire Lottery drills down into semantics. The CSIG is funded by Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson (l.).


Sports Betting Operators Storm Michigan

As Michigan sportsbooks prepare to introduce sports wagers, PointsBet, FOX Bet, theScoreBet and other sports betting providers are trying to get a piece of the action. Among the tribal properties gearing up for the bets is Firekeepers (l.) in Battle Creek.

Ohio Legislators Consider Competing Sports Betting Bills

Ohio lawmakers have introduced legislation to permit sports betting, but two bills differ in where the revenues will go and which state agency will run the show. The House favors the state lottery, while the Senate wants the Casino Control Commission in charge. Either way, state Rep. Dave Greenspan (l.) says there is “overwhelming support” for the new industry.

Nevada Approves Sports Betting Deal Between MGM, GVC

Nevada lawmakers have OK’d a venture between MGM Resorts and GVC Holdings to sets up digital sports betting operations in the state. MGM operates its own sportsbooks in 10 resorts in Las Vegas. The company tapped Roar Digital, led by CEO Adam Greenblatt (l.) to oversee online wagering.

Greece Submits Sports Betting Details to EU Commission

The Greek Ministry of Finance has sent draft legislation on sports betting and online games to the European Commission for review. The ministry is looking to take greater control of the country’s gaming industry.


Missouri Governor: VGMs Are Legal

Missouri Governor Mike Parsons (l). said he believes the video gambling machines in the state’s gas stations, bars and truck stops are legal. At the same time, the Missouri Highway Patrol is working to stop the spread of the unregulated, untaxed machines. Supporters claim the games are legal, since players can see the outcome before placing a bet.

California Card Room Bites the Dust

The Magnolia House Casino (l.), a small card room in Rancho Cordova, has been closed on emergency order from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. The AG says the casino has failed to meet its obligations under California law by, among other things, failing to keep sufficient reserves.

Indiana Racinos Introduce Live Dealers

In Indiana, live dealers made their appearance at blackjack, craps and roulette tables at Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Anderson and Indiana Grand Casino (l.) in Shelbyville. Previously, only electronic games were allowed. Both casinos, owned by Caesars Entertainment, hired a total of 220 dealers and more will be added in the future, officials said.

Georgia House Committee Holds Casino Meeting

An enthusiastic crowd voiced support for an on-site casino at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia at a recent meeting of a House special committee. Speedway President Ed Clark (l.) said the facility would feature a casino, hotel, convention space, theme park and water park, concert venues, and more. But Governor Brian Kemp is opposed.

Churchill Downs, Illinois Horsemen Miss Deadline

Churchill Downs, owners of Arlington International Racecourse (L.) in Illinois, and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) missed a December 31 contract deadline. The ITHA says Churchill was "threatening the future of live racing at Arlington by refusing to commit to a contract with higher purses."

Spectacle Jack Unveils Indiana Casino Plans

Spectacle Entertainment subsidiary Spectacle Jack LLC's application for the Vigo County, Indiana casino license revealed some details about the proposed Rocksino casino in Terre Haute. Plans call for a 100,000-square-foot gaming floor with 1,150 slots and 50 table games, plus a 300-seat showroom and four restaurants, including a Hard Rock Café.


Cherokees Propose Virginia Casino

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, owners of two Harrah's Cherokee casinos in North Carolina, have announced plans to build a casino on ancestral lands in Virginia—a mile from a proposed Hard Rock Casino. Last year, lawmakers approved casinos in five cities,; the property would be located at the Pinnacle commercial center (l.) in Bristol.

Stitt Uses Gaming Fees to Fight Gaming Tribes

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (l.) is dipping into funds derived from tribal gaming to pay for his defense in a lawsuit brought by three gaming tribes. At issue is Stitt’s contention that the tribes’ gaming compacts expired on New Year’s Day and must be renegotiated; the tribes disagree.

Little Movement on Connecticut Casino Plan

2019 saw little progress on a $300 million satellite casino (l.) planned by Connecticut’s gaming tribes for the neighboring state of Massachusetts. Officials of the city of East Windsor wonder if 2020 will bring progress. The casino was supposed to compete with MGM Springfield, which is already struggling even without the competition.

California Board Approves Casino Relocation

California’s Tule River Indian tribe and the Tulare County Board of Supervisors have concluded agreements supporting the tribe’s efforts to relocate its Eagle Mountain Casino (l.). The agreement commits the tribe to providing funding for county programs, services and road improvements.

California Supreme Court to Decide Tribal Casino Appeal

The California Supreme Court will hear an appeal by a coalition of businesses fighting a plan by the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians to build a casino. The coalition members challenge the state’s decision permitting the tribe to offer gaming.

Garage Sale Precedes Michigan Casino Renovations

Televisions, furniture were sold at the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe's indoor garage sale at Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort (l.) in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. The sale was held in advance of a major renovation project, the first since the 516-room hotel opened in 1998.


German Lottery Posts Downturn

Germany lottery association Deutscher Lotto-und Totoblock (DLTB) reported a slight decline in revenues for 2019. Customers wagered €7.3 billion (US$8.1 billion) across Germany’s 16 state lotteries, for a 1.2 percent year-on-year decline.


Bluberi Names Andrew Burke CEO

Andrew Burke, longtime slot VP of gaming supplier AGS, has been named CEO of Bluberi Gaming Canada Inc., a diversified supplier of gaming machines for Class II, Class III and tribal markets.

Harris Joins Global Market Advisors

Global Market Advisors (GMA) last week announced that Becky Harris, former chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, is joining its experienced team in the gaming, entertainment, sports, integrated resort and hospitality industries. Harris has a diverse background as a lawyer, legislator, regulator and academic.

Gavin Isaacs Joins Tech Company Board

Industry veteran Gavin Isaacs (l.) has joined the board of advisors of PureSoftware, a technology company based in India looking to make a bigger impression in gaming. Isaacs most recently participated in the sale of SBTech to DraftKings.

Little River Holdings Name Magnuson CEO

Little River Holdings, the economic development arm of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, has named Eugene Magnuson (l.), former tribal treasurer of the Pokagon Band, as chief executive officer.

Bedrosian Leaves Massachusetts Gaming Commission

Ed Bedrosian (l.), executive director of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission since 2015, is returning to his former law firm, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, to work on legal issues related to sports betting.

Philweb Names New President

Philippine online gaming firm Philweb Corp. has named Brian K. Ng as its new president, effective February 1. Ng, who is currently senior vice president for gaming, will succeed Dennis Valdés (l.) in the role.

Cota Montaño Named Mexican Gaming Chief

Mexican politician Leonel Cota Montaño has been named the new director-general of Juegos y Sorteos, Mexico’s gambling authority, an appointment that will take effect in March.

Wright Joins Galaxy Gaming

Galaxy Gaming Inc., a global independent developer, manufacturer and distributor of casino table games, has announced that Gavin Wright has joined the company as sales consultant in Europe.

Hard Rock Names Japan Public Affairs Chief

Hard Rock Japan has that noted casino consultant Akira Kurita has been named the company’s chief public affairs officer in the country. The appointment signals Hard Rock’s determination to stay in the integrated resort race, though its preferred location, Hokkaido, officially bowed out.


PA Casino Launches Everi Online Games

Everi Holdings Inc. announced last week that the online arm of Pennsylvania’s Parx Casino has launched five of its popular stepper titles, including Double Jackpot, Meltdown, Smokin’ 777, Tiger 7s and Vortex.

GeWeTe's Cash Centre Deluxe to Launch at EAG

GeWeTe will debut its Cash Centre Deluxe cabinet at this week’s Entertainment, Attractions & Gaming (EAG) International Expo, to be held at London’s ExCel Centre. The high-security cabinet features a 24-inch touchscreen and illuminated side panels to stand out on any gaming floor.


Murphy to Return to East Coast Gaming Congress

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy will be the keynote speaker at the 24h annual East Coast Gaming Congress & NextGen Gaming Forum, to be held at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City April 27-28.




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