In Pursuit of VGTs

Novomatic Americas joins other route suppliers of video gaming terminals in a push to legalize distributed gaming in new states, as state and local governments seek to make up revenues lost to Covid-19. Rick Meitzler (l.) says his company is the world leader in VGTs.

Nevada Conventions, Trade Shows, Entertainment Vie for Comeback

Whether it’s rapid testing for Covid-19, social distancing, state of the art cleaning or a demonstration trade show, casinos in major convention destinations are bidding for a return of meetings and entertainment. Chandra Allison (l.), senior vice president of sales at the Venetian and Sands Expo, says MICE is crucial for her property.

Crown Sydney Is Built But Will They Come?

At a cost of A$2 billion the palatial resort on Sydney’s Darling Harbour will need a lot of high rollers when it opens in December. The expectation is that most of them will come from China. Beijing, however, has other plans. Former Chairman James Packer (l.) says Crown isn’t counting on Chinese visitors .

GLOBAL GAMING BUSINESS PODCAST SPECIAL EDITION: Bo Bernhard, Executive Director, International Gaming Institute and Interim Vice President of Economic Development, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Today’s special edition of the GGB Podcast features a discussion with Bo Bernhard, the executive director of UNLV’s International Gaming Institute, on the 2020 edition of the Executive Development Program, a long-running educational effort created by the late Bill Eadington, who was essentially the founder of high-level gaming education. At left, Bernhard (r.) and Eadington on the day they announced that the program would go on even without Eadington.

Caesars Buys William Hill

Caesars Entertainment submitted a bid of $3.7 billion for William Hill, which was accepted by its board even though analysts considered it undervalued. Caesars already owns a 20 percent stake in William Hill US, which has the exclusive right to offer sports betting at all Caesars properties. Caesars would likely sell William Hill’s international assets while retaining the U.S. operations.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Kentucky Supreme Court: Historical Horseracing Illegal

The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled certain historical horseracing machines do not comply with parimutuel wagering standards. The unanimous decision reverses a lower court ruling in the long-running dispute between racing interests and the conservative Family Foundation. Governor Andy Beshear said his administration will work "to find a path forward."

Crown Sydney Is Built But Will They Come?

At a cost of A$2 billion the palatial Crown resort in Sydney (l.) will need a lot of high rollers when it opens in December. The expectation is that most of them will come from China. Beijing, however, has other plans.

Macau: Casino Licenses Will Be Re-Bid on Time

Macau Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong (l.) has dismissed speculation that a re-tendering of the six gaming concessions will be pushed past their statutory expiration in June 2022. Legislators, who have been told to expect a bill in the new year that will guide the process, aren’t so sure.

U.S. House Subcommittee Debates Catawba Casino

At U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee hearing, Catawba Indian Nation Chief William Harris (l.) declared his South Carolina-based tribe considers a 17-acre tract in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, where they're constructing a $273 million casino, to be ancestral land. Richard Sneed, principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, owners of two North Carolina casinos, said the Catawbas are building their casino there because South Carolina prohibits casino gambling.

Nebraska Casino Referendum Drawing Opposition

Conservative politicians in Nebraska, including Governor Pete Ricketts (l.), are lining up against ballot measures to legalize casino gambling in the state. They claim casinos will lead to an increase in problem gambling and other social ills.

IGT/Sci Games Brazilian Lottery Venture Collapses

The joint venture between IGT and Scientific Games for the concession to supply instant scratch lottery has been terminated, after the contract failed to be approved and finalized by an imposed deadline.

Japan Delays One Year

Due to the Covid-19 lockdowns, the Japanese government has delayed the application process for up to one year. Some cities have already decided to push it back, but this decision makes it official. Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi (l.) said she may not abide by a referendum that denies support for an IR.

5Dimes Settles U.S. Charges

5Dimes, the popular Costa Rica-based sportsbook, paid more than $46 million to lay to rest accusations of money laundering and has agreed not to accept bets from U.S. customers. In exchange, it got a clean bill of health and a clear path to expand into the legal U.S. market.

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Russian Casino Begins Soft Opening

Shambala casino (l.), the second casino in Russia’s Primorye gaming zone, has begun a soft opening. Shambala casino is looking ahead at a grand opening later this year.

Jeju Dream Tower Scheduled to Open Before End of 2020

The promoter of Jeju Dream Tower (l.), a resort featuring a foreigner-only casino located on the South Korean holiday island of Jeju, plans to open the facility before the end of this year. The project had been slated to open this month.

Singapore Wants Foreign Tourists Back

Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung (l.) recently concluded an agreement with Japan to readmit business travelers and is looking to negotiate more wide-ranging travel bubbles with “safe nations” elsewhere in Asia and Australia. For the city-state’s hard-pressed gaming resorts, it can’t happen soon enough.

NagaCorp Sees Full Recovery Ahead for Cambodian Flagship

The company reports that both mass-market and VIP volumes have shown sizable increases since its NagaWorld casino (l.) in Phnom Penh reopened in July. Compared to where things stood pre-Covid, Naga indicated that business is almost back to normal.

Japan, Auckland, Show Signs of Post-Covid Progress

Pachinko Halls in Japan reported signs of a recovery in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a government survey. But more needs to be done. Meanwhile in Auckland, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (l.) lifted all restrictions on casinos after vanquishing a second wave of Covid-19.

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Ukraine Plans New Agency To Oversee Gaming

The Ukraine government is moving toward a comprehensive regulatory regime, and envisions a new Gambling and Lottery Commission as a key part of it. Lawmakers have given their OK to the agency, which is slated to take up its work in the new year.

Germany Implements Transitional Period Ahead of New Gaming Law

Regional councils in Germany – called Landers – have approved a traditional tolerance period for online gaming ahead of a new German law on iGaming to go into effect in 2021. The transitional period is to help the councils prepare for implementation of the new law. Online slots will be limited to a €1 maximum stake.

Norway’s Gambling Regulator Calls for More Player Protections

Norway’s main gambling regulatory agency has again supported a new gambling law in the country that would increase player protections. The regulator was responding to the country’s Ministry of Culture’s consultation on regulatory reform of the gambling industry.

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Gateway Casinos Receive $200 Million Loan

Canada has approved a $200 million loan to help in prepare Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Limited in its reopening efforts in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The funds, from two sources, provide larger employers with bridge financing to help bring workers back.

Loto-Québec Closes Facilities as Covid-19 Cases Increase

The Canadian provincial gambling operator Loto-Québec closed some of its land-based gaming venues as the province is seeing an increase in Covid-19 cases. The closures came October 1. Casino de Montreal (l.) and the Salon de jeux de Quebec will be closed until October 28. Lottery sales, however, will continue.

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Iowa Group Anticipates Online Casino Gaming

The Iowa Casino Association is planning its strategy to educate the legislature regarding the benefits of online casino gambling. ICA President and Chief Executive Officer Wes Ehrecke (l.) said the group plans to draft proposed legislation soon and follow the same blueprint they used for legalizing sports betting, which launched in August 2019.

Sweden, Norway Online Casinos Hurt by Limits

Sweden and Norway have taken steps to combat a rise in problem gaming. In July, Sweden imposed restrictions on deposits and bonus limits. Sales declined 30 percent as a result. Norway regulator Carl Fredrik Stenstrøm (l.) has proposed legislation which in part aims at reducing problem gaming and gaming-related crime.

UK Authority Fines Foxy Games For Advertisement

The UK Advertising Standards Authority has ruled an ad used by Foxy Games was “irresponsible” saying it suggested that gambling could lead to financial security. The ad has been banned and Foxy Games called its use a mistake. The authority also dismissed a complaint against ads run by Betfair Casino.

Ainsworth Launches Online in New Jersey

Ainsworth Game Technology has launched its first online titles in the New Jersey iGaming market, with the sites of Resorts Casino, ResortsCasino.om and MoheganSunCasino.com.

Michigan Senate Passes Interstate Poker Bill

A bill sponsored by Senator Curtis Hertel Jr. (l.) authorizing interstate online poker compacts has cleared the state Senate in Michigan by a wide margin, opening the possibility of sharing player pools with Nevada and other states.

AGS Partners with BetMGM

AGS has partnered with BetMGM to provide its content for integration on the BetMGM network of online gaming sites, including BetMGM Casino, Borgata Online and PartyPoker.

Digital Gaming Makes U.S. Debut

Digital Gaming Corporation has debuted its online gaming content in the U.S. through a partnership with BetMGM that will make titles such as 9 Masks of Fire and Ancient Fortunes: Zeus available in New Jersey.

GAN, Wynn Resorts Sign iGaming Agreement

GAN Limited and Wynn Resorts have signed a 10-year agreement to partner on the software platform for internet sports betting and online gaming products in Michigan.

EveryMatrix Acquires TOTOIT

EveryMatrix has announced that acquisition of Thailand-based TOTOIT, a company specializing in front-end solutions, bespoke website, and custom programming.

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BtoBet Partners with Betfair in Colombia

BtoBet has signed an agreement with Betfair to provide its sportsbook platform to operators in Colombia, with the option to expand to other regulated markets.

Colorado Proves a Major Market for Sports Betting

Colorado almost hit $130 million in handle in August, a 117 percent gain over July. The success came without football. The ease of online registration was a factor, as was the return of baseball, hockey and basketball. The success has also attracted interest from foreign firms.

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Virgin Will Open Casino Hotel in January

Delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas (l.) will get to receive patrons on January 15, 2021. The former Hard Rock underwent a $200 million renovation and will open in phases. Also, Governor Sisolak will reduce restrictions on capacity at concerts, religious services, and other events.

Atlanta Speedway Hopes Race Boosts Casino Prospects

The Atlanta Motor Speedway (l.) in Hampton, Georgia will get a second NASCAR Cup Series race, which officials hope will improve the chances for a $1 billion casino resort adjacent to the racetrack. Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Brandon Hutchison said if the issue went to the Senate floor, "we would already have the votes."

Indiana Casino Partner Indicted In Campaign Contributions Scandal

A federal indictment charged Spectacle Entertainment Vice President John Keeler (l.) with participating in a scheme to direct illegal corporate contributions through straw donors to the unsuccessful 2016 congressional campaign of former Republican state Senator Brent Waltz, who also was indicted. Keeler's casino license was suspended by the Indiana Gaming Commission and Spectacle placed him on administrative leave.

Virginia Casino Campaigns Ramp Up

In Danville, Virginia, the anti-casino group Defend Danville said Caesars Entertainment, is guilty of "emotional blackmail" by pledging $17 million for a new police station if residents pass a casino gambling referendum. A campaign in Norfolk pledges to hire local and a majority of minorities.

Amendment 77 Would Grant Local Control to Colorado Casino Towns

On November 3, Colorado voters will have their say on Amendment 77, which would allow voters in the three cities where gambling is permitted—Black Hawk, Cripple Creek and Central City (l.)—to raise or remove current bet limits, approve any new casino games and use casino tax revenue for community colleges. Currently a statewide vote is required to change any of the state's gambling laws.

Atlantic City Deed Restrictions Don’t Boost Competition

The Eldorado-Caesars merger offered a chance to lift deed restrictions against three properties, including the former Atlantic Club (l.), in Atlantic City. But it didn’t happen. Lifting restrictions offered developers a chance to get into the casino business at a time when financials of existing properties are tenuous.

LA County Cardrooms to Open Outdoors

Los Angeles County cardrooms have been allowed to reopen in the great outdoors. The seven casinos will operate under large tents and without food and beverage.

Delaware North Sells Jumer’s To Twin River

Delaware North will sell Jumer's Casino & Hotel (l.) in Rock Island, Illinois for $120 million to Twin River Worldwide Holdings Inc. Jumer's opened in 1992 and was acquired in 2011 by Delaware North, which has invested more than $14 million in it. In the meantime, Twin River has borrowed $125 million to fund future acquisitions.

Violence Plagues Las Vegas Strip

Casinos are reacting to increased violence on the Las Vegas Strip. Marilyn Spiegel (l.), president of Wynn Resorts, says she is expanding security protocols at the Wynn and Encore properties in Las Vegas, but a fatal shooting at South Point Casino only made matters worse.

LVS to Stop Paying Dividends for Time Being

Las Vegas Sands Corp. will stop paying dividends to the end of its loan term in 2021. In return one of its lenders, the Bank of Nova Scotia, has agreed to relax requirements for maintaining liquidity.

Atlantic City Employment Falls in August

August employment in Atlantic City’s nine casinos declined nearly 22 percent year over year. But the numbers also decreased between July and August. Since in-restaurant dining returned September 4, however, the number employed could rise for September, according to Local 54 President, Bob McDevitt.

Las Vegas Union Workers Hold Rally

The Save Our Jobs union coalition in Las Vegas held a rally in support of a Right to Return ordinance it's pressuring the Clark County Commission to pass. The ordinance would require employers to offer all workers the right to return to their jobs after being laid off or furloughed due to Covid-19 as soon as the business reopens.

Two Iconic Atlantic City Restaurants Fold

Uber restauranteur Stephen Starr cashed in his chips on two iconic restaurants in Atlantic City located in the former Pier at Caesars (l.). The Continental and Buddakan will not reopen after being shuttered since March due to Covid-19. While the pandemic losses make be the immediate cause, the lack of foot traffic contributed.

Poker in Atlantic City May Return. Or Not.

While the casinos have reopened and table games are back—with capacity limitations—poker has not returned, including the popular room at Borgata (l.). Las Vegas has provided safeguards and brought poker back, but in Atlantic City it becomes a question of whether the effort is worth the rewards of low profitability.

Georgia Cracking Down On Gaming Machine Payoffs

Currently about 25,000 electronic gambling machines operate throughout Georgia. They pay out winnings in credits to be redeemed for lottery tickets, fuel and store merchandise. But some illegally pay winners in cash. A study committee recently met to review state Senator Larry Walker's (l.) bill limiting the games and to make recommendations for the upcoming session.

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Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods Consider Next Moves

Although Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont (l.) has allowed venues to move from 50 percent to 75 percent capacity, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods officials are considering ways to safely expand occupancy and reopen venues. Foxwoods, Interim Chief Executive Officer Jason Guyot said, “In response to the increased Covid-19 infection rate across eastern Connecticut, Foxwoods will continue to operate at 25 percent capacity, as it has since reopening in June."

Feds Subpoenas Mashpee Tribe Again

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Gaming Authority has been issued subpoenas by a federal grand jury for information relating to its unsuccessful efforts to build a casino, the First Light (l.). This is the third time in four months the Authority has been subpoenaed.

Mono Lake Tribe Seeks Federal Recognition

A bill has been introduced in Congress that would recognize the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Paiute Tribe of California. The bill has been introduced by Rep. Paul Cook (l.).

Barstow Council Amends Casino Agreement

The city council of Barstow, California, has amended an agreement with the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeño Indians. The agreement covers infrastructure the tribe will build as part of its planned Barstow Casino & Resort (l.).

New Mexico Racino Seeks Gaming Expansion

Sunland Park, a commercial racetrack and casino in New Mexico, has prepared a proposal for the legislature calling for an expansion of gaming in the state, in part the result of the financial devastation brought by the Covid-19 pandemic. The plan calls for iGaming, 24-hour casinos and table games.

EPA Says Oklahoma has the Right to Regulate Environmental Issues on Tribal Lands

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved a request from Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt for the state to maintain regulatory control over environmental issues on tribal lands. The ruling only pertains to lands already being regulated before a recent state court decision that upheld tribe’s rights to regulate their own lands.

Morongo Travel Center to Expand

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians has begun work on an expansion of its Morongo Travel Center along Interstate 10. It will include a 32-pump gas station, dark park, car wash, slot machines and convenience store.

ASU Law School Launches Tribal Masters Program

The law school at Arizona State University offers Masters Programs in tribal gaming and self-governance, a first in the U.S. Candidates who complete the degree programs increase their chances of a career that makes an impact on tribal communities, both in and out of gaming.

Expansion Planned for ilani Casino in Washington State

An expansion of the ilani casino, a casino operated by the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and located near La Center, Washington State, will add a 14-story hotel to the resort and increase gaming space. A six-story parking garage is also scheduled to be built.

FireKeepers Extends Speedway Partnership

FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan will extend its partnership with Michigan International Speedway for three more years. The casino has sponsored the FireKeepers Casino 400, a NASCAR Cup Series Race at the racetrack since 2016. It's set for August 22, 2021.

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Mowad Named Harrah's New Orleans General Manager

Samir Mowad has been named general manager at Harrah's New Orleans. He previously worked there in 2005, eventually rising to assistant general manager. He left to run Harrah's operations in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Mowad will oversee Caesars Entertainment's $325 million expansion plan at the New Orleans venue, including a new 340-room hotel tower.

Horseshoe Hammond Names Jenkins General Manager

Kathryn Jenkins has been named senior vice president and general manager at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana. She replaces Dan Nita who managed the property for 11 years and now will focus on his new role regional president for Caesars Entertainment, formerly Eldorado Resorts, which acquired Horseshoe in July as part of its $17.3 billion Caesars purchase.

NCPG Renews Advisory Board For 2020-2021

The advisory board of the National Council on Problem Gambling has been renewed for the 2020-2021 term. Board members are internationally recognized experts and leaders in problem gambling and responsible gambling. New to the board is gaming industry attorney Nanette L. Horner J.D. (l.), who recently completed two terms on the NCPG board of directors.

Harrah’s SoCal Resort has new GM

Robert Livingston has been named general manager and senior vice president of tribal development at Harrah’s Resort Southern California. He is returning to a casino he worked as for eight years as assistant GM.

Penn Names new GM to Plainridge Park

North Grounsell has been named general manager of Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, Massachusetts. He will replace Lance George, who opened the casino in 2015.

Lawyer-Lobbyist Sean Higgins Passes

Gaming attorney and lobbyist, Sean Higgins died of cancer on September 24. He was 56. He had a positive impact on everyone from the Nevada Governor to chairman of the gaming board to colleagues. “What you saw was what you got,” said John Leleu about Higgins.

Dan Webster Becomes New Senior VP At Mohegan Sun

Dan Webster, who began in Mohegan Sun career as a mechanic on day one, has been named senior vice president of resort operations. Webster was instrumental in implementing the resort’s post-Covid-19 plan for reopening.

NTGCR Reelects Hummingbird Chairman

Jamie Hummingbird of the Cherokee Nation has been reelected to an eighth two-year term as chairman of the National Tribal Gaming Commissioners & Regulators (NTGCR). Cori Blaschke was reelected as treasurer.

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RG24seven, NIGA Partner For Responsible Gaming

The National Indian Gaming Association and RG24seven are partnering to provide NIGA members with compliance-grade virtual training, including sports wagering, mobile gaming and cashless wagering. Jodi DiLascio, BMM Testlabs’ tribal gaming director for 10 years, will serve as tribal gaming director at RG24seven.

Gagnon Opens Consulting Business

Holly Gagnon, former chief executive officer at Seneca Gaming, has opened a consulting business and joined the University of Nevada-Las Vegas' International Gaming Institute as a distinguished fellow. She is helping IGI Executive Director Bo Bernhard plan the Executive Development Program, which will be presented virtually.

Fantini Research Launches New Indices

Fantini Research has launched a new set of stock indices that will allow investors to track gaming stocks and compare them to the overall performance of the markets.

GPT Beats Pre-Launch Forecasts

Game Payment Technology’s (GPT) early adopter program for AWP has been racking up better than expected success after it was rolled out in the U.K. This is partially attributable to the acceptable of this technology by those over 40 years old.

TRADE SHOWS & CONFERENCES More

Cortez Masto, Chopra Present Virtual G2E 2020 Keynotes

The Global Gaming Expo 2020, presented by the American Gaming Association, will be virtual this year due to Covid-19 concerns. The event will kick off on October 14, followed by keynote addresses from U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (l.) of Nevada and MGM Resorts International Senior Vice President Jyoti Chopra. Panel discussions, networking and business opportunities, exhibits, meetings and more will be offered.

ICE London Moved To June 2021

Clarion Gaming announced ICE London has been rescheduled for June 29 through July 1 and iGB Affiliate London has been rescheduled for July 1 and 2 at ExCel London. IGB Live 2021 will take place September 28 through October 1 in Amsterdam. The dates were changed due to Covid-19, giving attendees and stakeholders additional time to assure the industry and world economy have stabilized.

Sports Betting Community Going Live In 2021

Sports Betting Community will resume live conferences and trade shows in 2021. The line-up of events will start in March in Malta, followed by New Jersey in June, Barcelona in September, Colombia in October and London in November. SBC Chief Executive Officer and Founder Rasmus Sojmark (l.) said, "After what has been a challenging year, our sponsors and delegates are enthusiastic about the return of live trade shows and the additional business opportunities they lead to.”

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