Derek Stevens Doubles Down on Vegas

Famously upbeat about Las Vegas’ reopening in June, casino owner Derek Stevens (l.) remains unfazed by the challenges of Covid-19—and opening a new resort, Circa, during a pandemic. Though doing business is “a little more complicated” now, he has confidence in Vegas’ long-term strength.

Analyst: Crown Negligence ‘Unfathomable’

An investigation in New South Wales has determined that Crown Resorts looked the other way when it came to money laundering at its Australian casinos and possible links to organized crime among its partners. At risk is the company’s license to operate a multibillion-dollar casino (l.) in Sydney.

Appeals Court Hears Arguments Over Aquinnah Casino

The U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals held a hearing September 14 in a case between the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and the town of Aquinnah. The lawsuit concerns the town’s efforts to force the tribe to adhere to its zoning laws in building its Class II bingo hall.

Perelman Sells SG Stake; Odell Named Chairman

Scientific Games announced last week that billionaire Ronald Perelman is selling most of his stake in the company. The company’s board has been reconstituted with former Aristocrat CEO Jamie Odell (l.) as executive chairman. Australia’s Caledonia will own 34.9 percent of company.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: New Jersey Shatters Sports Betting Record

New Jersey sports betting recorded handle of almost $668 million in August, breaking a U.S. record for a single month. The return of basketball, baseball and hockey spurred the results. Online wagering accounted for 90 percent of the revenue, which bodes well for populous states.

IR Supporter Suga Now Japan’s PM

Yoshihide Suga (l.), elected September 14 as president of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, has now succeeded Shinzo Abe as prime minister. Suga is expected to fulfill Abe’s plan for integrated resorts in the country.

Texas Senator Resists Tribal Gaming Bill

Texas Senator John Cornyn (l.) has found members of his own party standing against him in his opposition to a bill that would allow two East Texas tribes to operate casinos. Cornyn is allied with Governor Greg Abbott, among other state officials, in opposing the bill.

ESPN Makes Deal with Caesars, DraftKings

In another sign that sports networks are all-in when it comes to sports betting, ESPN has signed agreements with Caesars Entertainment and DraftKings. The deal links ESPN’s digital platforms with Caesars sportsbooks and connect fans to DraftKings products and services. ESPN’s The Daily Wager television show will emanate from a studio at the Linq in Vegas.

Park MGM to Become Vegas’ First Smoke-Free Casino

Smoking has never been prohibited in Sin City, and that means Park MGM (l.) will make history when it reopens on the Strip the end of this month. Management is confident that in the new Covid-19 normal the timing couldn’t be better.

MBS Under Scrutiny Over Cash Transfers

Singapore regulators and the U.S. Justice Department continue to investigating how Marina Bay Sands (l.) handles large sums of VIP cash. The probes were initiated after a gambler sued, claiming millions of dollars were transferred to other gamblers without his knowledge.

Genting Pumps Fresh Cash into Empire Resorts

The struggling operator of New York’s Resorts World Catskills (l.) is getting a $150 million infusion, which hopefully will tide it over until a long-term refinancing of its debt can be secured. It’s the company’s second cash infusion from owner Genting Malaysia this year.

Virtual G2E Kicks Off October 14

The two-day virtual Global Gaming Expo will be held October 27-28, with a kickoff October 14 to discuss Covid-19's impact on casino employees, communities and business. Participants will include (l. to r.) Hollywood Casino Toledo General Manager Justin Carter, FireKeepers CEO Kathy George and Coeur d'Alene Casino CEO Laura Stensgar.

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Visitation on the Mend in Macau

Macau resort hotels reportedly were at 80 percent capacity in the run-up to Golden Week (l.). Will gaming revenues follow? The market is hoping it will as the normally lucrative seven-day holiday approaches.

Losses Continue for Owner of Macau Luxury Hotel

South Shore Holdings has reported a loss of HK$1.02 billion for the 2020 financial year. Most of it stemmed from the ongoing struggles of its luxury Cotai resort, the 13 (l.), which remains partially completed and lacks a casino.

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Prague Could Ban Slots

Slot machines and video lottery terminals could be banned in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Legislation was submitted earlier this month that, if approved, would ban the devices in the Czech capital starting in January. Councillor Hana Kordová Marvanová (l.) said lawmakers are seeking “a balanced solution.”

Minister Says Dutch Operator Isn’t Lax on RG

Holland Casino, which has 14 casinos in the Netherlands, says it has policies in place to prevent problem gambling, but does not keep a tally of player losses. The operator was defended by Dutch Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker (l.).

Rank Group Looks for Turnaround in London

A decrease in tourists and office workers has caused a 60 percent downslide in revenues at the Rank Group’s London casinos. Consumer confidence remains low, according to Rank CEO John O’Reilly.

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Some Argentine Casinos Reopening

As of September 14, Argentina’s Misiones Province allowed its gaming halls, including Casino Iguazu (l.) to start reopening under health and safety guidelines that include a ban on table games and limited capacity.

Brazilian Senator Calls for Gaming Legalization

Brazil Senator Angelo Coronel (l.) is defending his proposals to legalize gaming in the country. Last week he took to social media to defend the idea and to talk up the US$3.8 billion he believes could be collected in taxes.

ONLINE GAMING More

Favorable Forecast For Michigan Interstate Poker Bill

Michigan lawmakers have held a hearing on SB 991, which would allow residents to partake in interstate online poker. State Senator Curtis Hertel (l.) said limiting the player pool “will severely limit the ability of Michiganders to actually find a game that’s interesting.”

Philippines Add New POGO Tax

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (l.) has signed a bill that will more than double the tax on iGaming operators in the country. The funds will go to a Covid-19 relief fund.

Study Finds Strong Online Gaming Growth

A study by Global Market Insights has predicted growth in all forms of online gambling, reaching total revenues of $160 billion by 2026. New technologies like virtual reality and live table games will help to augment growth.

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Virginia Approves Sports Betting Regulations

The Virginia Lottery Board has approved sports betting regulations. State law allows four to 12 permit holders. Officials expect online operators to be up and running by January. Lottery Board Executive Director Kevin Hall (l.) said the action is a “significant step forward.”

Oregon Sports Betting Up 84 Percent in August

The Oregon Lottery’s sports betting Scoreboard realized a 84.1 percent increase in August compared to the previous month. Total handle came to more than $25.8 million, compared to $14 million in July.

Indiana Sports Betting Soars in August

Coming out of the coronavirus pandemic, Indiana recorded its third highest sports betting handle in August, recording $169 million, primarily thanks to wagers on the NBA.

Louisiana Group Campaigns for Sports Betting

A pro-sports betting group in Louisiana kicked off its ad campaign during a recent game between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The sports betting question will be on the November 3 ballot on a parish by parish basis.

Iowa Sports Betting Handle on the Rise

Sports betting handle in Iowa came in at $50.3 million in August, compared to $22.8 million in July with Prairie Meadows (l.) leading the way, according to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. That was the fifth highest total since sports betting launched in the state in August 2019.

Prospects Bright for Ohio Sports Betting Bill

Ohio could legalize sports betting in the lame-duck session following the November 3 election. State Rep. Dave Greenspan (l.) and state Senator John Eklund have hammered out details of a bill that passed the House in May.

Maryland Sports Betting Campaign in Gear

Maryland voters will consider a referendum on the November ballot to legalize sports betting. At the same time, the two largest sports betting operators in the U.S., DraftKings and FanDuel, are funding an ad campaign led by former University of Maryland basketball star Marissa Coleman (l.), they hope will sway voters to say yes.

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Massachusetts Casino Numbers Fall

Reeling from Covid-19 blows, the Bay State’s three casinos, including Encore Boston Harbor (l.), all saw significant declines in gaming revenue in August over last year. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission released the data.

Rivers, del Lago Reopen in New York

More New York casinos, including del Lago (l.), have resumed business after a 200-day shutdown. They’re limited to 25 percent capacity, a requirement under the state’s strict reopening rules, and may not offer table games and other amenities. Operators hope this will change once they prove they can operate safely.

Colorado County Allows Casino Tables to Return

Gilpin County in Colorado, has obtained permission from the state for its two casino towns, Black Hawk and Central City (l.) to offer table games again. Teller County, home of Cripple Creek, is still awaiting such permission.

Judge Allows Lawsuit Challenging Miami Gaming Room

A Florida Miami-Dade County judge has allowed a lawsuit against the City of Miami and West Flagler, owner of Magic City Casino (l.), to proceed. Plaintiffs are businesses who fear they will be impacted by a settlement between the casino and the city allowing a jai-alai fronton and poker room.

AC Regulators Splits Bally’s, Wild West

Twin River will acquire Bally’s Atlantic City, but not the Wild Wild West Casino (l.) that adjoins it. That property which will become part of the Caesars Entertainment empire, including the recently completed $10 million sports book.

Mississippi Coast Casinos Reopen After Sally

Hurricane Sally was predicted to make landfall in the Biloxi, Mississippi area September 16, causing the Mississippi Gaming Commission to order the 12 coast casinos to close two days earlier. But Sally took a hard right turn eastward sparing the Mississippi Coast casinos (l.).

NJ Lawmakers to Take Up Atlantic City Relief

The New Jersey Assembly Appropriations Committee plans to address two relief bills which grew out of the Covid-19 pandemic and the casino shutdown. One bill allows changes to the casino taxes and fees paid while the second offers a tax credit on sports betting revenue.

Louisiana Casinos Remain At 50 Percent Occupancy

Louisiana restaurants can open at 75 percent capacity, but casinos, including the Golden Nugget in Lake Charles (l.), must remain at 50 percent under Governor John Bel Edwards' move to Phase 3 of Covid-19 regulations. Most bars will remain closed and liquor sales must end at 10 p.m., which could cause casinos to lose revenue.

Nebraska Supreme Court Allows Casino Ballot Initiatives

On November 3, Nebraskans will vote on three ballot initiatives that would allow casino gambling at horseracing tracks in select counties. If approved, the initiatives would amend the state constitution and direct gaming revenue to offset property taxes.

Cordish Revises Florida Casino Plan

Pompano Park, Florida lawmakers will consider the Cordish Companies' request to reduce proposed office space and add a large industrial facility at its Live Resorts Pompano development, the site of Isle Casino Racing Pompano Beach (l.). Cordish said the change will add 1,200 jobs.

Kansas Casino Revenue Falls

Revenue at Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway (l.) fell 29 percent from $13.16 million in August 2019 to $9.34 million in August 2020, although that total was $800,000 higher than July, according to the Kansas Lottery Commission. Admissions were down 41 percent.

Face-Off Continues Between Two AC Casinos

Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa is pursuing legal action against two former employees who left to work at Ocean Casino Resort (l.). The issue revolves around whether one employee shared information about high rollers with colleagues at Ocean and whether another violated non-compete agreements.

Saracen Casino Urged to Go Smoke-Free

The American Lung Association is leading a coalition of health organizations in urging Arkansas’s Saracen Casino Resort (l.) to reopen as a permanent non-smoking facility. Saracen expects to reopen in October.

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After 20 Years, Tribe Can Build Casino

The California Supreme Court has ruled that North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians may build a casino near Fresno. The ruling comes after 20 years of legal challenges.

California Governor Approves Casino Relocation

California Governor Gavin Newsom has agreed to the relocation of the Eagle Mountain Casino (l.) to land the tribe owns near Porterville Airport. The Bureau of Indian Affairs must first put the land into trust.

Mohegan Sun Pennsylvania Appeals Comp Tax Ruling

Pennsylvania’s Mohegan Sun Pocono has appealed a county official’s ruling that a tax on complimentary hotel rooms was proper, and that the casino owed $1.36 million in delinquent hotel tax on comp rooms.

Oregon Casino Nears End of Expansion

Wildhorse Racing & Casino (l.) in Mission, Oregon is close to completing a year-long expansion project. The property will reopen by the end of the month.

FireKeepers Cited As Top Employer

FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan has been named one of the nation's Best-In-State Employers 2020. The award is based on an independent survey of 80,000 American workers.

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Gambling Scholar Campbell Dies at 89

Felicia Campbell (l.), who wrote her college dissertation on the positive effects of gambling, has died at age 89. Campbell was the longest-serving professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Elaine Wynn Passes Nevada Suitability Review

Elaine Wynn has emerged from the sexual misconduct scandal that drove her ex-husband out of Wynn Resorts as the company’s largest individual shareholder. The Nevada Gaming Commission is expected to reaffirm her standing.

Paysafe Appoints Dawood Group CFO

Paysafe Group has named 25-year gaming industry veteran Ismail (Izzy) Dawood group chief financial officer, reporting to CEO Philip McHugh.

Noto Named VP of Marketing for Mohegan Sun

Longtime Mohegan Sun marketing executive Kim Noto has been named vice president of marketing and chief marketing officer by the Connecticut tribal casino. She will be in charge of all aspects of marketing.

Illinois Lawmaker, Gaming Proponent Resigns

Illinois state Senator Terry Link (l.), charged with filing a false income tax return for 2016, has resigned his seat after almost a quarter century in office. Link was a frequent proponent of gambling legislation.

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GeoComply Launches PlayPause RG Tool

GeoComply has launched PlayPause, a self-exclusion tool to promote responsible gaming by allowing managers to efficiently monitor and operate the program.

Manila Casino Put Disinfecting Robots to Work

Okada Manila in the Philippine’s Entertainment City casino zone is now using robots like this one (l.) to disinfect the property. Manila’s integrated resorts continue to operate at about 30 percent of their usual capacity.

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