As casinos across the U.S. start to reopen, they must adjust to fewer guests, lower revenues and a long-term comeback. GGB News spoke to industry expert Jeff Hartmann (l.) about realistic expectations for tribal gaming, which often are the primary source of community funding.
Health standards have been legislated and benchmarks set, but no date has been set for casinos in Atlantic City to reopen. However, two bills that codify those standards may help to ensure safe business operations, according to Senate President Steve Sweeney (l.).
How will the coronavirus affect California’s 66 card clubs? GGB News asked Kyle Kirkland (l.), president of the California Gaming Association, about the possible lasting impact of the crisis, the industry’s tangles with tribal casinos, the future of sports betting and more.
This week, the GGB Podcast sits down with John Restrepo, the principal with RGE Economics and one of the premier observers of the Nevada economy on how it has been impacted by Covid-19, including a dubious mark of the highest unemployment rate in U.S. history for any individual state.
The American Gaming Association has renewed its call to end the $1,200 federal reporting threshold for slot wins, originally set in 1977. The AGA saw its chance last week when President Trump issued an executive order for regulatory reforms to stoke the nation’s recovery. AGA chief Bill Miller says a new threshold will help ease the bureaucratic burden.
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The gradual reopening of the U.S. gaming industry accelerated last week, with more states joining the comeback, all with strict safeguards in place to prevent the transmission of Covid-19. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak (l.) finally gave the state’s gaming industry a date. Here’s a look at how the rollout continued.
Danville, Virginia and Caesars Entertainment Corp. are discussing a $400 million casino resort (l.) at a former industrial complex. The project could generate $30 million in annual gaming revenue plus $20 million upfront and create 900 construction jobs and 1,300 permanent jobs. A local referendum to approve the project could be held in November.
With no new cases of the coronavirus in more than a month, it appears the world capital of casino revenue has the contagion under control. The question now is when China will begin to let the gamblers back in.
Star Entertainment Group of Australia has acquired A$1.6 billion in financing to complete its A$3.6 billion Queen’s Wharf development (l.) in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland.
As the 2020 legislative session winds down, Louisiana lawmakers push to get a referendum on the ballot that would permit sports betting. State Senator Ronnie Johns (l.) backs the measure, and feels confident lawmakers and voters will too.
Comanche Nation Chairman William Nelson Sr. (l.) and Otoe-Missouria Tribe Chairman John Shotton sent a legal memo to U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt defending their new gaming compacts. State Attorney General Mike Hunter earlier claimed the compacts aren't legal since they approve sports betting, which isn't allowed in Oklahoma.
The Seneca Indian Nation has handed the reins of its western New York casino business to Chief Financial Officer David Sheridan. He replaces Holly Gagnon, who was already slated to depart the end of this month.
The state of Michigan has begun accepting applications from iGaming suppliers, the next step in the process of allowing online gambling and sports betting. The launch might not be doable until 2021, but “we hope it can happen sooner,” said gaming commissioner Richard S. Kalm (l.).
Some canny investors may already have made hay of seesawing casino stocks. The harvest may not be over, so keep your eyes peeled for opportunity.
This week, the GGB Podcast sits down with Josh Swissman, a partner with the Strategy Organization, and a former marketing executive with major gaming companies, about how casinos will have to shift their strategies to bring players back.
Melco Resorts & Entertainment in Macau is taking advantage of the industry slowdown to step up renovations at its Studio City integrated resort. Phase 2 of construction at the Cotai Strip property is also under way.
Suncity Group Holdings has received a license to operate its Hoiana integrated resort in central Vietnam. In a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the company said the license is valid until December 2080.
Last week, Australia-listed casino operator Silver Heritage Group Ltd. announced that it was “insolvent” or “likely to become insolvent at some time in the future.” The culprit, as usual, is the disruption of business caused by Covid-19.
The French government, which had agreed to let racetracks in the country resume operations, has since reconsidered that move, leaving track operators scrambling. France Galop hopes to run races at alternate venues.
Horse racing laid out the groundwork for resumption of the sport in Ireland and the U.K. Protocols were established to permit racing in Ireland. In the U.K. the Horserace Betting Levy Board will increase prize money to offset Covid-19 losses.
The major football league in the U.K. began training earlier this month in preparation to resume the suspended season. Strict medical safeguards will enable all players to train in the safest possible environment.
The coronavirus has delayed the start of building the Cascades Casino North Bay (l.) in Ontario. Gateway Casinos says that reopening its existing dozen casinos in the province takes priority right now.
Pennsylvania recorded a 73 percent increase in online gaming revenues for the month of April, as physical casinos remained closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Evolution Gaming and Golden Nugget Atlantic City have extended their online gaming partnership to “Live Casino” offerings beamed from the property’s Atlantic City studio.
The coronavirus pandemic brought betting on esports into focus, enabling huge spikes for companies like Luckbox.
AGS is partnering with Kindred Group to provide real-money online games in New Jersey, launching several player-favorite titles under the flagship Unibet brand.
In some countries, online gambling rates have risen since the coronavirus outbreak began. In Sweden, however, the activity has declined, according to new data from Spelinspektionen, the country’s gaming authority.
The Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation hopes to conclude its regulatory process to launch mobile sports betting in the fall.
Sportsbook giant DraftKings lost $74 million in the first quarter, but the announcement led to an increase in stock prices. Such losses won’t be repeated if major sports shut down by Covid-19 concerns return by 2021 at the latest. Sports betting efforts in a number of states create optimism for the company.
Overcoming losses for William Hill is tied to the return of major sports on both sides of the Atlantic. Company revenues fell 57 percent in recent months.
Saratoga Harness Racing, Inc., which owns and operates the Wildwood Casino in Cripple Creek, Colorado, has announced the termination of a deal to sell the casino to American Gaming Group. Both parties blamed the decision on the impact of Covid-19.
Spectacle Entertainment has been granted a gambling license for Vigo County, Indiana by the state gaming commission. The company plans to develop a $125 million casino in Terre Haute. The vote was delayed while federal investigators looked into campaign finance irregularities; two executives including Rod Ratcliff (l.) were compelled to surrender their ownership stake.
A Louisiana Senate committee has rejected a measure to cut taxes on free-play casino promotions. State Senator Barrow Peacock (l.) claimed the promotion would bring customers back to reopening casinos. But ending the tax would take $29.3 million from the already strained state budget.
Unregulated slot-like “skill games” are still operating in many convenience stores, laundromats and other locations in Pennsylvania, despite the casino industry shutdown.
The first full month of lockdown for the casinos in Atlantic City set a record in futility with revenues falling 69 percent. What revenues that did come in almost all resulted from online gambling, the lone bright spot. Internet revenues increased 119 percent compared to April a year ago.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (l.) has quashed the efforts of state horse racing stakeholders to resume races without spectators before the general Covid-19 shutdown ends.
MGM Resorts International has added $700 million in cash to its balance sheet after selling off part of its stake in real-estate investment trust MGM Growth Properties.
Tiverton, Rhode Island is asking the state lottery for money it’s owed for hosting the Twin River Tiverton Casino Hotel. The casino was closed by executive order, but the town says its agreement with the state requires it to be paid $3.1 million even if the casino has no profits to share.
The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association prevailed when the Supreme Court declined to take on a dispute over whether the association is entitled to money from pro leagues and the NCAA. The suit involved sports betting and the high court ruling to overturn the betting ban.
It started with Las Vegas Sands and Station Casinos. Now, with the industry counting down to an expected June reopening, MGM, Caesars and Boyd have joined forces with local health officials and the Culinary Union to provide free Covid-19 testing for the 90,000 Southern Nevadans they employ.
The Study Group on Gambling Policy, appointed by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (l.) in February, recently met. The 12-member group is tasked with reviewing expanding gambling in the state, including a state lottery, which is estimated to generate $1 billion in sales and $280 million for the state annually. They also discussed compacts with Native American tribes.
With access to $600 million in financing, Penn National Gaming plans to speed up the launch of its "omnichannel growth strategy." That includes its partnership with Barstool Sports. Penn National paid $163 million for a 36 percent ownership stake in the company and hopes the Barstool brand on its retail and online sports betting platforms will attract younger players.
Because of byzantine data requirements of the Department of the Treasury, about $3.2 billion intended for Indian tribes as part of the CARES Act has been delayed six weeks. They should begin getting the money on June 5.
In June, the California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case where the Mono Indians want to build a casino near Madera off Highway 99. Neighboring tribes sued to prevent the state from signing a gaming compact with the tribe.
A federal court ruling seems to spell the end for the casino that the Fort Sill Apache Tribe of Oklahoma wants to build in neighboring New Mexico. The tribe owns land in Akela Flags.
Walt Power (l.), former CEO of South Shore Holdings, has been named CEO of Vietnamese integrated resort Ho Tram. Power pledged to turn around the property with “the proper team and an aggressive execution.”
Willard “Bucky” Howard, one of the most respected gaming executives who helped launch Atlantic City casinos, died last week. He inspired and motivated a generation of casino executives.
Michael Eklund will (l.) become CFO of Scientific Games on June 1, 2020; current CFO Michael Quartieri will remain full time until June 30 and in consulting role through December 31.
Adriano Marques Ho, a former police investigator, will formally take charge of Macau’s casino regulatory agency next month. With the territory’s casino concessions about to expire, Ho’s appointment comes at a key moment.
MoneyMatrix last week announced the appointment of Samoil Dolejan (l.) as the company’s new chief executive officer. Dolejan says he plans to strengthen operations, expand the client base and increase the company’s line of payment solution products.
BMM Testlabs has named Isabelle Claret, a veteran program management professional with more than 20 years’ experience, as senior vice president of operations for Europe and South America.
The Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (AAFAF) has chosen Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) to provide consulting and advisory services to the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission.
Jamul Casino in San Diego has selected Konami’s award-winning Synkros Casino Management System to power enduring opportunities for its guests and employees.
International Game Technology, Plc. reported a net loss of nearly $248.3 million for the first quarter of 2020, but noted cost savings measures as revenues topped forecasts.
Las Vegas-based GameCo and Vancouver-based OneComply Inc. have entered into a service agreement that will see the launch of OneComply, a web-based compliance and licensing solution.
Century Casinos, which operates casinos in Colorado, struck an agreement with bet365 to run one of its sportsbooks. The company which calls itself the world’s largest online sportsbook, must seek a license from the state. Century took a beating in the first quarter thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.
GVC Holdings confirmed that it has completed the migration of operator Ladbrokes onto its proprietary technology platform, after acquiring the brand in 2018.
Malta-based Oryx Gaming has added Australia-based CandleBets as one of its exclusive remote gaming server content providers, for an evolutionary approach to traditional casino gaming.
Small Nuggets of News
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