Former Harrah’s GM Alleges Covid Violations

In a year of firsts, add the following: a former general manager at Harrah’s Southern California (l.), owned by the Rincon Band, is suing the company, claiming he was forced out for refusing to agree that the property was Covid-free.

Manila Casinos Start to Reopen

Some Manila casinos, including those in the Entertainment City economic zone, may resume operations at 30 percent capacity. Permission to do so was granted in late August by the state-run gaming regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR). Okada Manila (l.) confirmed it had reopened as of September 9.

Why Sports Betting Exploded in Colorado

In the three months since sports betting debuted in Colorado, it’s grown into the fifth largest market in the country. What is it about the Centennial State that set sportsbooks on fire—even in the depths of the coronavirus pandemic?

Abe’s Exit: The End of Japan IRs?

The unexpected resignation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (l.) may call into question the long-planned development of a legal casino industry in the country. Abe was advocate-in-chief for integrated resorts with gaming as a way to boost tourism to Japan.What happens now is anybody’s guess.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: William Hill US Buys CG Tech, Ponders Caesars Deal

William Hill US has received approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission to complete its purchase of troubled CG Technologies. In addition to inheriting access to lots of properties in Nevada and elsewhere, William Hill US CEO Joe Asher (l.) confirmed the company is discussing a merger with Caesars Entertainment.

Michael Jordan Joins DraftKings As Advisor

Former NBA superstar Michael Jordan (l.) has joined DraftKings as a special board advisor. DraftKings said His Airness will provide “strategic and creative input to on company strategy, product development, inclusion, equity and belonging, marketing activities and other key initiatives.”

Lockdown Nightmare Ends for NY Casinos

After nearly six months, the longest gaming industry shutdown in the U.S. is finally over. The first of New York’s 12 casinos and racinos, including Rivers in Schenectady (l.), are set to reopen September 9. But there will be strict safety requirements in place, including enhanced air filtration systems and physical barriers.

Macau August Win Down 94.5 Percent

It was the fifth straight month of year-on-year declines of more than 90 percent. But with travel restrictions easing and tourist visas set to resume across China later this month, the market is looking for good things from the coming Golden Week holiday.

After Long Delays, California Casino Moving Forward

A California Supreme Court decision confirming the governor’s right to approve of an off-reservation casino opens the way for the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians to move forward with building a casino near Fresno. It’s taken 17 years for the tribe to reach this point.

NJ Regulators Face Backlash Over AC Deed Restrictions

As part of hearings on the Eldorado-Caesars merger, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission ignored a recommendation from the Division of Gaming Enforcement to lift deed restrictions on three properties once owned by Caesars. Owners of two of the properties, including the Claridge (l.), have filed appeals.

Art of the Brand: Carcamo Shares Marketing Secrets

The fine art of developing a casino brand is explained in a new book from marketing maven and industry veteran Julia Carcamo. “Reel Marketing” shares decades of top-level experience from some of the world’s premier gaming operators.

G2E to Host Industry Leaders in Pre-Show Event

The world’s largest gaming trade show is planning an online kick-off October 14 in which three of the industry’s big names will talk about pandemic recovery. The regular show will follow later in the month with an array of features promising a unique virtual experience.

What Wynn Did

Mansplaining the benefits of Wynn Resorts’ new program offering virtual-learning centers for kids who can’t go to school. This doesn’t just benefit the kids—it’s a boon to parents, especially working moms, says gaming observer Richard Schuetz (l.).


Manila Casinos Back in Business

Some Manila casinos, including those in the Entertainment City economic zone, may resume operations at 30 percent capacity. Permission to do so was reportedly granted on August 24 by the state-run gaming regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

NagaCorp Looks for Growth in Cambodia

Hong Kong-listed casino investor NagaCorp, which runs the massive integrated resort NagaWorld (l.) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is scouting further growth opportunities in the country, specifically Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. But this time, gaming may not be part of the plan.

In Manila, Landing Seeks New IR Site

Landing International Development Ltd. says it has been granted an extension by Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR to the deadline for finding new land on which to develop a planned integrated resort in Manila’s Entertainment City.

Deal to Sell 13 Hotel Falls Apart

The owners of The 13 Hotel (l.) in Macau thought they had a deal to unload at least 50 percent of the partially opened luxury resort, which lacks a casino and has never gotten off the ground. They say they’ll keep trying, provided their bank lender doesn’t foreclose on it first.

Centara Hotels Plans Mandalay Casino

Thai hospitality brand Centara Hotels & Resorts has signed three hotel management agreements for Myanmar. One will include a casino, the company says.


Ainsworth Cuts Jobs, Looks to iGaming for Growth

Following the release of its FY20 financial results, Ainsworth Game Technology announced the elimination 107 jobs. Despite deep losses in its land-based business, Ainsworth has seen growth in the online side.

French Sports Betting Down, iPoker Spikes

In France, online sports betting revenue toppled by more than half during the second quarter, in no small part due to the effect on live sports of Covid-19. But online poker GGR soared 126 percent, and the player base grew by 68 percent.


Illinois Names FanDuel Third Mobile Sports Operator

The Illinois Gaming Board named FanDuel Paradise Sportsbook as the third online sports betting operator in the state after BetRivers and DraftKings. The timing is important as Governor JB Pritzker gave patrons until September 19 to register for an account online.

Iowa Sports Betting Results Decent

Iowa sports betting could have produced better results one year out from its 2019 debut, but given the impact of the coronavirus, “most operators were happy” with tempered revenues, said Brian Ohorilko (l.), of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

North Carolina Tribe Ready for Sports Betting

The sportsbook is built. Caesars is ready to open for business. But the Cherokee Tribe awaits the signature of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (l.) on the completed compacts before sports betting can be activated in the state. The Cherokees operate casinos under the Harrah’s brand.

Rhode Island Sports Betting Reflects Recovery

Rhode Island saw a steep increase in sports gaming revenues—with profits up 236.9 percent from June to July—boosted by the Covid pandemic that shut down other forms of gaming. Governor Gina Raimondo (l.) is expected to sign a bill eliminating the in-person registration requirement.

Delaware North Back in Business in West Virginia

Delaware North re-opened its retail sportsbooks at Mardi Gras Casino & Resort and Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack. The company also unveiled its Betly website and mobile app, powered by International Game Technology. Patrons can bet through the app, at a Betly kiosk or at a teller window.

Michigan Moves Sports Betting Timeline

Gaming regulators in Michigan will hold a hearing September 23 to determine the rules that govern sports betting and iGaming. A number of sportsbook operators are ready to go, including BetMGM, DraftKings and FanDuel.

Circa Sports to Build Tuscany Sportsbook

Circa Sports will build a new sportsbook in the Tuscany Suites & Casino (l.), opening in March 2021. The company also has locations in the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, D Las Vegas, Circa Sports Colorado and Circa Resorts & Casino. The Colorado location is the first outside Nevada

VSiN Unveils New Program from Chicago

Rivers Casino (l.) in Des Plaines, Illinois, will be the setting for a new weeknight sports betting program, “Rush Hour.” Chicagoan Danny Burke will be the host. Burke will welcome guest experts. Numerous outlets across the cable and satellite networks will carry the one hour program.

Sports Betting Hall of Fame Inducts Five

Five new members will be inducted into the Sports Betting Hall of Fame this month at the virtual SBC Summit Barcelona. Inductees include Ralph Topping (l.), former CEO of William Hill.


Chicago Seeks Input on Downtown Casino

The city of Chicago sent out a nine-question Request for Information to gaming industry insiders, asking for recommendations "to develop and operate a world-class casino in Chicago." A downtown casino is closer to reality state legislators lowered the effective gaming tax rate.

Rush Street Wins PA Mini-Casino

Ira Lubert (l.), a principal in the Rush Street Gaming subsidiary that holds the license for Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino, submitted a winning bid of $10 million for the state’s fifth Category 4 satellite casino.

LVCVA Buying Strip Monorail

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority will spend up to $24 million to buy the financially troubled network whose main stop is the Las Vegas Convention Center. Plans are to keep the elevated line running, but it won’t be expanding.

Slots Boost PA Pandemic Recovery

Strong play at slot machines, despite casinos operating at 50 percent capacity, is helping Pennsylvania casinos survive the slump caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. At Mount Airy Casino (l.), for example, daily win per machine rose from about $350 to almost $490.

Indoor Dining Returns to AC But Not Smoking

MGM is sending out layoff notices at a time when New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy gave the green light to permit in-restaurant dining in Atlantic City. Eateries such as Wolfgang Puck’s American Grille at the Borgata (l.) were given the OK to open at limited capacity.

MGM Lays Off 18,000

Job cuts at MGM Resorts properties had been expected since May. What wasn’t known was that they’d total 25 percent of MGM’s workforce nationwide𑁋another stark indicator of the uphill battle confronting operators with significant exposure to Las Vegas. At left, employees at MGM’s Vdara hotel at CityCenter Las Vegas.

In Vegas, Unions, MGM, Caesars Agree to Benefits Deal

The agreements secure health coverage and other protections for around 36,000 active and furloughed members of the Culinary and Bartenders locals in Las Vegas. The unions are trying to get similar pacts for another 24,000 Strip and Downtown employees.

Kansas Casinos Down $20 Million For June, July

Kansas' four casinos, including Kansas Star (l.), lost more than $90 million in June and July compared to 2019, and the state missed out on $20 million in gaming taxes. Kansas Lottery Director of Gaming Facilities Keith Kocher said, "Our long-term goal is certainly to get back to normal, but right now that’s not in the very near future.”

Illinois City Awaits Gaming Board Decision

The Illinois Gaming Board is vetting three applicants for the casino gaming license in Waukegan. They are Full House Resorts and North Point Casino. The third applicant is Midwest Gaming (rendering of project at left), which owns Rivers Casino in Des Plaines and includes Rush Street Gaming and 35 percent-owner Churchill Downs, owner of Arlington Park Racetrack.

Casino Revenue Loss Delays Missouri Projects

City officials in La Grange, Missouri have put several municipal projects on hold due to decreased tax revenue following the temporary closure of the Mark Twain Casino (l.) and safety restrictions put in place since it reopened June 1. The casino is operating at reduced capacity and the restaurant remains closed.

Illinois Casinos Cut Hours, Capacity

Hollywood Casino Joliet (l.) and Harrah's Casino Joliet were directed by the Illinois Gaming Board to temporarily limit hours, decrease occupancy, make masks mandatory and suspend food service as a result of an uptick in Covid-19 cases. The IGB also ordered video gaming operators to limit availability since the state’s Central Communications System cut back its hours.

California Card Clubs Move to Parking Lots

San Jose, California’s two card clubs, Bay 1010 and Casino M8trix (l.), have been given permission by the city council to move outside into their parking lots and operate under big tents. The move allows them to operate under new state guidelines.

Miami-Dade Reopens Commercial Casinos—Again

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez (l.) gave commercial casinos the all-clear to reopen for the second time last Monday. Officials also permitted restaurants to bring back indoor dining. Both gaming and dining halls will operate at limited capacity.

West Virginia Posts July Results

The West Virginia Lottery Commission announced July results for its online casino, sports betting, lottery, video lottery, casinos and racinos. The lottery reported gross revenue of $93.9 million in July, surpassing July 2019 by $877,000.

Encore Boston Harbor Cracks Down on Partiers

Massachusetts’ gaming regulator has noted with approval the new rules adopted by the Encore Boston Harbor Casino (l.) after it had to deal with a hotel guest who sneaked dozens of people into a suite for a large and illegal party that violated the state’s health regulations.


Arkansas Casino Plans October 1 Soft Opening

Despite heavy rains and material delays, the $350 million Saracen Casino Resort (l.) in Pine Bluff, Arkansas is moving toward a soft opening October 1 and a grand opening October 20. Area officials recently met with recently elected Quapaw Chairman Joseph Tali Byrd to get acquainted and review the project status.

Tribe Woos Virginia Voters with Grocery Store

The Pamunkey Indians are drumming up support among Virginia voters who will approve—or deny—a proposed $500 million casino in Norfolk. To sweeten the deal, they pledged $150,000 toward a new grocery store in the area. Pamunkey Chief Robert Gray (l.) said the resort “will be part of a long recovery from one of the greatest hits to the economy of our lifetime.”

Catawba Nation Announces New Casino Name

Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort is the new name of the tribe's casino now under construction in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. The tribe received permission in March to build the venue. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians sued the agency to stop construction. As the case winds through the courts, the casino is expected to open next year.

Casino Gaming Proposal Goes to Nebraska Supreme Court

Sponsors of three ballot initiatives blocked by Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen have asked the state Supreme Court to overturn his decision. The proposals would allow casino gaming at several Nebraska racetracks. Evnen (l.) ruled that the petitions passed the voter signature threshold, but did not follow rules for a single-subject and had unclear language.

Could Wyoming Law Hurt Indian Gaming?

Recent Wyoming law that allows for commercial slot machines to operate in small retail locations across the state poses a threat to tribal gaming. A former CEO of Wind River Hotel and Casino (l.) predicts the tribe could lose $20 million a year and hundreds of jobs.

California Casino Brings Back Roulette

Southern California’s San Manuel Casino has started up its card-based roulette game that it didn’t bring back when the casino reopened in June. The rebooted game includes Plexiglas barriers between players and the dealer.


U.K. Lottery Seeks New Operator

The U.K. Gambling Commission has begun the process of seeking applicants for a 10-year license to run the National Lottery. Camelot’s license will expire in 2023.


Changes in Exec Responsibilities at Singapore’s MBS

Marina Bay Sands in Singapore has made changes to its executive leadership team, with Managing Director George Tanasijevich freer to focus on local and international expansion, while Andrew MacDonald (l.) and Paul Town will oversee operations.

Lim Leaves Genting Hong Kong Role

Lim Keong Hui, son of Genting Group Chairman Lim Kok Thay, has vacated his role as an executive director and deputy CEO of cruise ship operator Genting Hong Kong.

Bragg Gaming CEO Takes Leave

Bragg Gaming Group CEO Dominic Mansour is taking a leave of absence for personal reasons. During the first half of the year, his company’s revenues have skyrocketed 74.2 percent.

Szybilski Named Gun Lake Finance Director

Scott Szybilski has been named the new director of finance for Gun Lake Casino, operated by the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians in Michigan. His appointment is effective immediately.

Doura-Schawohl Joins Epic Risk Management

Epic Risk Management has brought on board Brianne Doura-Schawohl, who has championed the fight against problem gambling for several years. She will be vice president of U.S. policy and strategic development.

MGE Appoints Lowry AGM of Mohegan Sun

Kevin Lowry has been appointed assistant general manager of the Mohegan Sun Connecticut. He will be responsible for finance, gaming, cashiering and tenant and retail operations at the casino resort.

Paysafe Appoints Beene as Senior VP

Paysafe, a leading specialized payments platform, last week announced the appointment of Jeffry A. Beene to the position of senior vice president, merchant risk. Beene has more than 25 years of experience in risk and payments, primarily in the U.S.


TCSJohnHuxley Launches Diamond Rotor

TCSJohnHuxley has launched an innovative Diamond Rotor as part of its latest generation of the Saturn automatic roulette wheel, meant to give the roulette ball a wider bounce.

Novomatic and Ainsworth Consolidate APAC Sales

Novomatic AG and Ainsworth Game Technology have agreed to consolidate sales efforts in the Asia-Pacific region, with Ainsworth acting as Novomatic’s sales and service unit. Robert Dijkstra (l.) has been appointed Ainsworth’s vice president of business development and sales to lead the effort.


MGS Trade Show Canceled

The MGS Entertainment Show is the latest gaming trade show to be canceled in 2020. Organizers revealed on August 28 that this year’s event, originally scheduled for November 17-19 in Macau, has been tabled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.




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