Forging Ahead

Despite the pandemic, Twin River Worldwide Holdings continues to grow its footprint by seizing opportunities as they arise. And one of its biggest coups so far has been buying Bally’s Atlantic City (l.) for a mere $25 million, as well as casinos in Louisiana, Mississippi and Nevada.

The Swedish Secret

Sweden was one of the countries that did not close down due to Covid-19. But that didn’t mean Swedish businesses didn’t adjust to reality. In a new research study from UNLV, researchers share lessons learned from Casino Cosmopol CEO Per Jaldung (l.).

New York’s Oneida Nation: Setting A High Bar for Safety

The Oneida Indian Nation takes Covid-19 seriously, and insists their guests do likewise. The nation’s New York casinos (including Turning Stone, l., in Verona) were among the first in the U.S. to make face masks mandatory, and also limit entry by people from states where the virus is on the rise.

G2E Cancelled Due to Covid-19

With no end in sight to Covid-19, several gaming-related organizations have joined the throng who have cancelled their expos and conventions. Chief among them: the American Gaming Association, which last week announced that G2E in Las Vegas would not take place as scheduled.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: More Pain to Come, With Permanent Layoffs

It’s clear the U.S. gaming industry will not rebound quickly or easily from the Covid-19 crisis, and that means more casino workers will lose their jobs. The first wave of permanent layoffs is now under way in markets across the country.

Macau’s Q2 Losses Could Top US$1B

Macau’s casinos are expected to declare more than US$1 billion in combined EBITDA losses for the second quarter, equivalent to a decline of 56 percent compared to last year. Investment bank Morgan Stanley is calling it the market’s “worst quarter ever.”

Cracks Widen in Oklahoma Tribal Unity

The United Keetowah Band of Cherokee Indians and Kialegee Tribal Town have signed 15-year gaming compacts with the state of Oklahoma. UKB Chief Joe Bunch (l.) thanked the administration of Governor Kevin Stitt “for this monumental day and for their leadership efforts in this compact.” The tribes and the third and fourth to agree to a deal with the state.

Nevada, Indiana Gives Go-Ahead to Eldorado-Caesars Merger

The $17.3 billion mega-merger of Eldorado Resorts and Caesars Entertainment took a big step forward with a unanimous endorsement from the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the state Gaming Commission. Indiana regulators concurred the next day, but with conditions. With only New Jersey left to sign off, the merger looks set to close, as expected, this summer.

California Tribes Get OK To Pursue Sports Betting Vote

A California superior court judge has given gaming tribes and racinos 90 days gather enough signatures to qualify a sports betting measure for the ballot. The coalition now has three months to gather more than 1 million supporters. Pechanga spokesman Jacob Meija (l.) says there is great enthusiasm for the measure.

A.C. Casinos Reopen, Cautiously

Most of Atlantic City’s nine casinos reopened July 2, welcoming guests for the busy Fourth of July holiday. For the most part, the game plan worked, despite a last minute ban on inside dining from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, which caused the Borgata to remain closed.

IGT Launches PeakBarTop Cabinet

IGT has launched its PeakBarTop unit, which includes high-performing video poker, slots, keno and roulette content, in California and Nevada gaming venues.

I’m Just a Casino Guy

Casinos today depend on technology to such an extent that the human touch and common sense are often overlooked. The recent mistake made by Bellagio and BetMGM over Korean baseball (l.) is a case in point, says veteran casino guy Richard Schuetz.

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Koike Win Could Tip Scales toward Tokyo IR

Yuriko Koike (l.), called Japan's most powerful woman and a possible successor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has won her second term as Tokyo governor in a landslide decision. It may be up to her if the region pursues one of Japan’s first integrated resorts.

Cambodian Casinos OK to Reopen

Cambodia’s almost 200 casinos began to reopen last week after getting the OK from Prime Minister Hun Sen (l.). All gaming venues in the country must meet stringent Covid-19 safety measures set forth by the Ministry of Health.

U.S. Judge Rules Against Saipan Operator

A U.S. District Court judge last week ruled in favor of former workers of Imperial Pacific International, which operates a casino (l.) on the Pacific island of Saipan. Seven workers sued IPI, alleging that it recruited them under false pretenses and subjected them to sub-par working conditions.

EUROPEAN GAMING More

Problem Gambling on the Rise in France

According to a new public health survey, problem gambling is up in France, though overall participation in gambling has dropped in the past six years. Just 10 percent of players accounted for more than 82 percent of total bets made, and 1 percent was responsible for almost half.

Ukraine Gaming Vote Pushed to This Week

The Ukrainian parliament, which failed to approve a sweeping draft gaming law earlier this month, will try again on July 14. If passed, the measure would legalize land-based and online casinos, sports betting, slot halls, online poker, totalizator and lotteries.

Holland Casino Venues Open Early

Holland Casino in the Netherlands reopened all 14 of its facilities on July 1, two months earlier than originally planned. A scheduled September reopening was criticized by the operator and a national gaming trade group.

GLOBAL GAMING More

B.C. Lottery Corp. Comes Clean About Fine

For nine years, CBC News fought to learn how the British Columbia Lottery Corp. ran afoul of Canada’s money laundering watchdog agency, FINTRAC. BCLC fought disclosure, but in June came clean at last. BC Attorney General David Eby (l.) said it was overdue.

Canadian Casino Sale Delayed

Leisure Acquisition Corp.’s acquisition of Canadian casino company Gateway by has been delayed again. The transaction, which began in December 2019, has been postponed twice.

In Australia, Crown Must Remain Closed for 6 More Weeks

Following a surge in coronavirus cases, the government of Victoria, Australia has ordered that Melbourne resume its Stage 3 lockdown. The measure dashed hopes that Crown Resorts’ flagship Melbourne casino (l.) would reopen soon.

ONLINE GAMING More

Michigan Invites iGaming, Sports Betting Applications

Commercial and tribal casinos in Michigan may now submit applications for online gaming and sports betting operator licenses. Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Richard Kalm (l.) hopes to see iGaming and sports betting may launch by late 2020.

West Virginia Online Casino Could Launch Soon

With emergency rules submitted and public comment duly noted, an online casino could launch in West Virginia before the end of the month, according to Lottery Director John Myers (l.). Both DraftKings and FanDuel are well-positioned to operate the state's first online casino app.

Kenya Does About-Face on iGaming Tax

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta recently signed legislation to remove the 20 percent excise tax on mobile sportsbook stakes, a levy that prompted operators Sportpesa and Betin to exit the market. One week later, it’s back.

SPORTS BETTING More

Churchill Downs Partners with Kambi, GAN

Churchill Downs will partner with GAN on a sportsbook platform and with Kambi on operation of its online sportsbook, which carries the BetAmerica brand. GAN CEO Dermot Smurfit (l.) says the platform would be deployed in several sates.

DraftKings Opens Colorado Sportsbook

DraftKings Inc. and Twin River Worldwide Holdings have opened a temporary retail sportsbook at the Mardi Gras Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado. It began accepting wagers on Friday, July 10.

Major League Soccer Goes for Sports Bets

Major League Soccer has embraced sports betting, posting gambling odds on its website, inviting gambling companies to sponsor jerseys and entertaining the idea of sportsbooks inside stadiums.

Virginia Lottery Moves on Sports Betting Rules

The Virginia Lottery planned to unveil proposed sports betting regulations July 15, and also set the rules for casinos and sportsbooks. The first bets could be placed by early next year, says Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall (l.).

UNITED STATES GAMING More

Pennsylvania to Revive Mini-Casino Auctions

Regulators in Pennsylvania say they will revive an effort to auction off 10 licenses for mini-casinos, in an effort to boost state gaming taxes in the wake of the coronavirus shutdown. Two mini-casinos are in the pipeline, including Penn National’s satellite (l.) near Reading.

Lockdown Drags On for N.Y. Casinos, Racinos

New York’s commercial gaming industry has been shuttered for more than three months and will remain so after it was excluded from the state’s latest round of statewide reopenings. There’s been no word from Governor Andrew Cuomo (l.) on when the shutdown will end.

Maryland Revenues Paltry On Reopening

Maryland’s six casinos posted revenues of $35 million for June, a measly total compared to $143 million in June 2019. Lawmakers are looking at ways close the gap, including iGaming and sports betting, said Gordon Medenica (l.), head of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.

PA Bans Smoking in Casinos Due to Mask Requirement

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has temporarily banned smoking on casino floors in keeping with a state directive requiring masks in all indoor venues. The ban was ordered July 1 from Health Department Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine (l.).

Ohio Gaming Revenues Pick Up

Three months of Covid-19 closures caused Ohio's 11 casinos and racinos to lose $487.5 million year-on-year in the first half of 2020. But business has been on the rise since venues began reopening June 18.

Nebraska Group Pushes for Casino Referendum

The pro-casino organization Keep the Money in Nebraska hopes to get gaming measures on the November ballot, despite past failures. To that end, it’s collected hundreds of thousands of signatures on three petitions.

Churchill Downs Closes Florida Casino—Again

Churchill Downs Inc. shuttered its Calder Casino in Miami in March and reopened it in mid-June. Now it’s "temporarily suspended" operations again in response to a spike in Covid-19 cases in Florida.

Peninsula Pacific Has ‘Backup Plan’ for Virginia

Caesars Entertainment has been tapped to develop a casino in Danville, Virginia if voters approve, but Pacific Peninsula—which owns Colonial Downs—has proposed an OTB facility if that plans falls through. COO Aaron Gomes (l.) says Pacific Peninsula has "the only viable backup.”

Arkansas Pro-Casino Group Presents Signatures

An Arkansas pro-casino group has gathered 97,000-plus signatures hoping to get a casino measure on the November ballot. In 2018, voters approved an amendment expanding gambling at Hot Springs and West Memphis racetracks and allowing two new casinos in Jefferson and Pope counties.

Illinois Casinos Reopen Under Tough New Rules

Illinois' 10 casinos have reopened with new health protocols and an assurance from the Illinois Gaming Board that it will revoke the license of properties that don’t follow them. Board Administrator Marcus Fruchter (l.) said the measures are vital to prevent a Covid surge—and another shutdown.

California Card Rooms Forced to Close Again

Three weeks after reopening, California’s commercial card rooms have closed their doors again, the result of a pandemic surge in the Golden State. Governor Gavin Newsom (l.) said the disease has spread at “an alarming rate.”

Massachusetts Casinos Reopen

Massachusetts’ three casinos are all scheduled to be back in business this week. The first to open was Plainridge Park Casino on July 8; the last will be the MGM Springfield on July 13.

Coronavirus Spike: Bars Close in Vegas

With the nationwide surge in new Covid-19 infections, travel fears are on the rise. That can’t be good for the Las Vegas gaming industry, which is trying to put the pandemic behind it. Governor Steve Sisolak (l.) last week ordered bars to close but allowed restaurants to remain open.

Caesars Indiana Workers Demand Smoking Ban

Hundreds of casino workers have signed a petition demanding a smoking ban or designated smoking area at Caesars Southern Indiana. The workers earlier protested that guests did not have to wear masks at the casino; Caesars Entertainment then announced that face coverings are mandatory.

TRIBAL GAMING More

Navajo Casinos Closed Until July 27

The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise has extended the closing of its casinos, including Twin Arrows (l.) near Flagstaff, Arizona, until July 27 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The four properties in New Mexico and Arizona first closed in mid-March.

Arizona’s Gila River Casinos to Reopen

Gila River Gaming Enterprises Inc. has reopened its three Arizona casinos for the second time. The properties first reopened in mid-May, then closed again on June 18 after a worker died of the coronavirus. Since then, the tribal firm has been beefing up its sanitation protocols.

California Casino to Open This Year

The coronavirus has put a halt to many things, but hasn’t slowed down the planned grand opening of the Agua Caliente Casino in Cathedral City, California, expected at the end of the year.

Michigan Tribes Release Non-Gaming Business Report

Michigan's nine federally recognized tribes have released a study indicating that 38 tribally-owned non-gaming businesses had an economic impact of $288.8 million and created 1,847 jobs in 2019. The results will be used as "a baseline" for growing non-gaming tribal business activity.

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Michigan Tribe Names New Casino CEO

Allen M. Kerridge has been named CEO of Kewadin Casinos in Michigan. He is a member of the tribe and has served in the role in an interim capacity for the past year.

Scientific Games Names Long as VP, Asia

Scientific Games has announced that industry veteran Clinton Long, formerly sales director for the company’s Asian gaming division, has been promoted to the position of vice president of Asia.

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Gulfstream Park Launch Konami Synkros

On July 7, Konami Gaming, Inc. announced that its award-winning Synkros casino management system had been selected by Gulfstream Park & Casino in Hallandale Beach, Florida.

Empire Licensed in Multiple Jurisdictions

Empire Technological Group Ltd. has announced that it has been licensed to operate by the Arkansas Racing Commission, the Choctaw Gaming Commission, the Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company and the California Gambling Control Commission.

AGEM Index Up Slightly

The AGEM stock index rose slightly in June, logging a 1.1 percent gain as casinos around the U.S. began to reopen following the Covid-19 shutdown.

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