AWARD WINNER! Maverick CEO Persson: Destined for Gaming

GGB News Reporter David Ross won first place in the Magazine: Profiles category of the annual awards program from the San Diego Press Club. Congratulations to David! Here’s his piece on Maverick CEO Eric Persson (l.), which was first published October 13, 2019.

Michigan Tribe Separates Gaming From Pot

Bay Mills Tribal Chairman Bryan Newland (l.) tells GGB News that his tribe’s two businesses are totally disconnected. One has nothing to do with the other, but is an example of the diversification that is ongoing in Indian Country.

Covid-19 Surge Closes UK Gambling Again

An increase in the number of Covid-19 infections has prompted the government to shut down betting shops and casinos in Wales, Lancashire, Merseyside and elsewhere throughout the UK. The CEO of the trade group, the Betting and Gaming Council, Michael Dugher (l.) opposed the closures, arguing that the surge did not come from the gambling sector. Irish and Scottish bookmakers have also been hard hit.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Embattled Crown Survives Shareholder Revolt

Three directors, included James Packer’s second in command, Guy Jalland (l.), were re-elected, but just barely, at a contentious annual meeting that also saw shareholders reject the board’s executive remuneration plan. New South Wales regulators, meanwhile, are continuing their probe into suspect junket dealings and AML failures, and there is now talk that the December opening of Crown’s multibillion-dollar Sydney casino could be delayed.

Vegas Loop Game Changer for Las Vegas

Elon Musk’s Vegas Loop proposal will transport visitors throughout the Strip area in underground tunnels (l.). The project will also ferry passengers to Downtown and Allegiant Stadium. But would a similar tunnel transport work is other multiple casino areas like South Florida or Atlantic City?

Tennessee Sports Betting Could Launch November 1

Sports betting in Tennessee could begin November 1 or sooner. Lottery Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Hargrove (l.) said BetMGM, DraftKings and FanDuel may even launch operations a few days earlier since November 1 is an NFL Sunday, typically the busiest betting day of the week. Officials also revised rules language and clarified collegiate sports wagering issues.

New Mexico Tribes Wary of Racino Proposal

Gaming Tribes in New Mexico are not jumping up and down with delight at a proposal by the state’s racetracks that would expand gaming in the state to Nevada levels. It would end tribal exclusivity and Sandia Pueblo Governor Stuart Paisano (l.) calls it a “reckless attempt to expand private wealth.”

Greenwood, Meglen to Receive CEA Nods

Country Artist Lee Greenwood (l.) and AEG Promoter John Meglen will join nine other casino artists and venues to be honored at the Eighth Annual Casino Entertainment Awards, in a Livestream Virtual Awards Show.

Learning to Listen

Men are poor listeners, alleges gaming observer Richard Schuetz. He urges them to take the time, sit back and actually listen to the things that mean most to women. It will change their lives, he says.

On the Mend in Macau

An increase in daily gaming revenues since the Golden Week holiday (l.), through far below last year’s levels, appears nonetheless to be holding firm. With individual tourist travel restored in mainland China, analysts see a gradual recovery beginning to take shape.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: Covid Consequences

In 2020, Covid 19 has impacted every portion of our lives and that goes for the gaming industry as well. The Covid effect will add a nuance to every issues gaming faces in 2021.

ASIAN GAMING More

Singapore, Hong Kong Agree on ‘Travel Bubble’

The details are still being worked through, but unfettered visitation between the two jurisdictions should in effect by the end of the year. Singapore (l.) is looking for similar agreements elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, and that’s good news for the city-state’s casinos.

Covid Snarls Financing in South Korea

It’s reported that a funding crunch related to the pandemic has slowed progress on the big-ticket resorts Caesars and Mohegan Gaming are developing in the Incheon special economic zone. Mohegan still plans to open its Inspire resort (l.) next year. Caesars’ new ownership isn’t saying.

Vietnam Looks to Clear Path for Resort Investment

Lawmakers are considering a government-backed plan that would allow developers to count infrastructure spending against the US$2 billion they’re required to invest to secure a gaming license. The Van Don Special Economic Zone at Ha Long Bay (l.) would be a beneficiary of such a plan.

Troubles Mount for Struggling Saipan Casino

Imperial Pacific Saipan has been hit with a second complaint by regulators for failing to make good on financial commitments and could have its license suspended. An unpaid contractor, meanwhile, is seeking permission from a U.S. court to confiscate the property’s slot machines.

EUROPEAN GAMING More

Gambling Rates Down in UK

Gambling rates have fallen in the UK during the Covid-19 lockdowns according to a study by YouGov and commissioned by charity GambleAware. Only 4 percent of respondents to the survey said they gambled more during lockdown than before, while 41 percent said they gambled less and 52 percent said their gambling levels were roughly unchanged.

French Casinos, Hit by Curfews, Hope For Tax Breaks

French casinos, hard hit by yet another lockdown that could endure until the end of the year, are hoping that the government will bail them out to an extent. Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire (l.) recently announced tax exemptions that he will propose to the State Council.

Online Gaming Transition Begins in Germany

German has initiated a transition period for online gaming in which operators must adhere to strict guidelines. Online slots are subject to the cap per spin and increased intervals between spins. For all forms of gambling, monthly spending limits apply with enhanced due diligence to raise limits.

GLOBAL GAMING More

Australian Looks at Macau’s Gaming Approach

Macau operates the responsible gaming initiatives at its casinos differently than other countries operate theirs. That’s the observation of former Australian gaming regulator Peter Cohen (l.).

Casino Rama Remains Closed

Occupancy limits of 50 patrons have made the reopening of Casino Rama Resort (l.) in Orillia, Ontario unlikely in the near future, officials said. Owned by the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, the venue employed 1,660 people before it closed in mid-March due to concerns over Covid-19.

SkyCity Entertainment CEO Expects Normalcy by 2022

Talking with investors, SkyCity Entertainment Chief Executive Graeme Stephens said he expects more lockdowns from the Covid-19 pandemic. Furthermore, he doesn’t see the company returning to pre-Covid days before 2022. Meantime, remaining open is a goal for the immediate future.

ONLINE GAMING More

Optimove Extends Partnership with GVC

Optimove has extended its partnership with GVC Holdings under which it provides customer relationship management services designed to optimize customer data.

NetEnt Approved in West Virginia

NetEnt, which is partnered with DraftKings, has entered the online market in West Virginia, making it the first online content provider approved by the state. The company was approved by the West Virginia Lottery Commission.

EA Games Faces Canadian Lawsuit Over Loot Boxes

EA Games is facing another class action lawsuit over its use of loot boxes in video games. This action was filed in Canada, which has no laws or regulations on the use of loot boxes. The boxes offer randomized game items for players to purchase. Critics charge that since some game items have more value than others, the purchases are essentially gambling.

Betsson Transfers UK Brands

Betsson AB of Sweden said it has downsized its UK presence and transferred active brands and licenses to its Rizk.com domain due to regulatory changes in the UK. The company said the move will increase efficiency and allow resources to be reallocated for growth in other markets.

U.K. Gambler Sues for Large Jackpot

Andy Green, a 53 year-old from Lincolnshire, though he hit the dream jackpot playing blackjack on Betfred’s mobile site. But the company refused payment claiming the jackpot resulted from a software malfunction. Green sued before the High Court. His lawyer said malfunction has not been proven.

SPORTS BETTING More

IGT Announces Betting Partnership with the NBA

IGT has become the first B2B sports betting platform provider in U.S. to bring NBA official data, marks and logos to regional casinos and sportsbooks. Enrico Drago (l.), IGT PlayDigital senior vice president, says the company is serious about great sports betting technology.

Aristocrat Eyes Sports Betting

Trevor Croker (l.), the chief executive of slot supplier Aristocrat Leisure Limited says the company is well-positioned to enter the international sports betting market.

Turner Cuts Deal with FanDuel, DraftKings

Turner Sports has partnered with two sports betting giants, FanDuel and DraftKings. The sportsbooks will provide betting analysis and content to the “Inside the NBA” show as well as to Bleacher Report. In exchange, the sportsbooks gain access to programming and content.

D.C. to Open First Sportsbook Bar

Shane August (l.) is working hard to open the first sports bar and sportsbook in Washington D.C. near the capitol. But first he has to convince his neighbors, many of who consider it a bad idea.

IRS Says DFS is Sports Betting for Tax Purposes

The IRS has issued memos in recent months that daily fantasy sports are, from a tax standpoint, no different than gambling. So far it hasn’t started to enforce that view. DraftKings CEO Jason Robins (.) says the ruling has “no force of law.”

Golf and Gambling Now Joined

The PGA Tour and gambling, once as antipathetic to one another as oil and water, are now closely allied. The just completed CJ Cup of the PGA Tour, for the first time, listed live betting odds.

Sports Betting Podcasters Accuse William Hill US

Well-known sports betting podcasters Bill Krackomberger (l.) and Rufus Peabody said William Hill US intentionally delays accepting in-game bets in Nevada to boost its winning percentage against gamblers. William Hill US called the cheating allegations "outrageous" and said it's consulting legal counsel.

UNITED STATES GAMING More

Saracen Casino Resort Opens

The 80,000-square-foot Saracen Casino Resort in Jefferson County, Arkansas opened to the public on October 20. It features 2,300 slots, 35 table games, seven restaurants, VIP lounge and sports lounge and bar. Meanwhile, in Pope County, Cherokee Nation Businesses sued Gulfside Resorts, its rival for the county casino license, and the Arkansas Gaming Commission.

Hurricane Aside, Baton Rouge Revenues Up

Despite the damage caused by Hurricane Laura in August, Baton Rouge, Louisiana's three riverboat casinos, including L’Auberge Baton Rouge (l., led the state in September winnings compared to September 2019, up 4.6 percent from $17.9 million in to $18.8 million, according to Louisiana Gaming Control Board data. Statewide, gambling revenue fell 31.3 percent from $183.4 million in September 2019 to $126 million.

Supporters, Opposition Clash Over Norfolk Casino

The "pro-transparency" group, Informed Norfolk, is running a Vote No campaign against the Pamunkey Tribe's planned $500 million casino resort (l.). Voters will have the opportunity to approve the project in a local referendum. The venue will include a 300-room hotel with restaurants, a spa and 2,500-seat entertainment venue and create 2,500 full-time jobs.

Judge Orders Atlantic City Casino Exec’s Phone Examined

A federal judge has ruled that the personal phones of two casino executives who left the Borgata casino in Atlantic City for the Ocean Casino resort, a Boardwalk competitor, must have their phones examined to see if they copied Borgata customer data. U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro had already ordered a phone provided to William Callahan by the Borgata examined. The new ruling covers a personal phone.

Live! Pittsburgh to Open November 24

Cordish Companies’ Live! Casino Pittsburgh mini-casino, created in the former space of an anchor store at the Westmoreland Mall, will open to the public on November 24.

Borgata Atlantic City Reopens Poker Room

Borgata Atlantic City has reopened its poker room—one of the largest in the U.S. and the site of several televised poker tournaments—after being closed for seven months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The casino opened the room with 30 of its 77 tables active and with plexiglass dividers between players.

Raiders Could Host Las Vegas Super Bowl in 2024

With New Orleans stepping away from hosting the 2024 Super Bowl because of a Mardi Gras conflict, the Raiders and Las Vegas seem poised to make a pitch to host the game at Allegiant Stadium (l.). If that fails, the city will pitch for a game in 2024. Meantime, the city will have to wait until 2022 to host the Pro Bowl.

Star Acts Return to MGM Resorts Casinos

MGM Resorts casinos are the latest to bring back entertainment in Las Vegas, when some of its longest running acts return November 6. David Copperfield (l.), Brad Garrett and Carrot Top and several revues reopen albeit in a venue adhering to Covid-19 pandemic protocols.

MGM Springfield: No Increase in Problem Gaming

The MGM Springfield opened two years ago. A study commissioned by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has determined that its increase in gambling has not led to a similar rise in problem gambling.

Proposed Missouri Smoking Ban Advances

An ordinance banning smoking at the St. Jo Frontier Casino (l.) passed the first reading. It was proposed by Councilman PJ Kovac who previously voted against the mayor's mask mandate. He said the casino, which had banned smoking, now allows it in some indoor areas. The ordinance is necessary to make sure casino patrons keep their masks on, Kovac said.

Hard Rock’s Vinyl Will be Rebranded as Virgin’s 24 Oxford

Vinyl (l.), a small showroom which operated for many years as the Hard Rock Hotel’s entertainment venue, will be rebranded as 24 Oxford when it reopens as Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. That is the address in London of where Richard Branson sold his first vinyl album.

Pennsylvania Casino Poker Rooms Reopen

The poker rooms at Mount Airy Casino Resort in Monroe County and Mohegan Sun Pocono in Luzerne County in Pennsylvania were allowed by the state Gaming Control Board to reopen Friday, October 16. Meadows Racetrack & Casino's poker room will reopen Friday, October 23. The state's other six casinos have not announced when players will be allowed in their poker rooms again.

Iowa Approves Greyhound Racing for 2021

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has approved a pari-mutuel license for Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque for 2021. The commission also approved year-round simulcasting at the park and a tentative schedule that includes 112 racing days.

TRIBAL GAMING More

Wyoming Tribe Proposes Sports Betting

Wyoming’s Northern Arapaho Tribe has announced that it is creating a tribal framework to offer sports betting. Wind River Hotel and Casino CEO Brian Van Enkenvoort, said “Well-regulated sports betting is an excellent way to make the gaming experience even better for our customers at the Wind River Hotel & Casino (l.) and each of our gaming establishments.

Interior Approves Two Chickasaw Nation Casinos in Oklahoma

The Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma's land-trust applications, submitted in 2016, recently were approved by the U.S. Assistant Secretary Indian Affairs Tara Katuk Sweeney (l.). The tribe plans to build a casino at Ardmore, creating 213 jobs, and at Kingston, creating 175 jobs. Combined economic impact is estimated at $160 million in the first year $783 million over five years.

San Diego County Keeps Mum on Casino Covid Stats

Around 300 Covid-19 cases are known in San Diego County and the patients visited one of the nine Indian casinos within a two-week period before testing positive. The county health department is not saying which casinos—and neither are the tribes. Sycuan safety manager Eddie Ilko (l.) says his tribe takes extraordinary precautions.

North Carolina Mayor Could Benefit From Proposed Casino

Kings Mountain, North Carolina Mayor Scott Neisler (l.) has been a strong proponent of the $273 million Catawba Two Kings Resort Casino, to be built in his community by the South Carolina-based Catawba Nation. His family owns 865 acres of land worth millions of dollars, all located within one mile of the planned casino. If the casino is successful, those holdings could become even more valuable.

LOTTERY More

Virginia Lottery Sales Take off Dramatically

Sales of the Virginia Lottery skyrocketed by 36 percent in the first three months of the fiscal year. The credit goes to the launch of online lottery tickets, according to Director Kevin Hall (l.).

PEOPLE More

Strom Appointed to Wynn Resorts Board

Wynn Resorts has announced the appointment of Darnell Strom as a new independent member of the Board of Directors. Strom previously worked in politics as Deputy Director for former President Bill Clinton, with Senator John Kerry’s Presidential Campaign and as President Barack Obama’s White House Entertainment Council.

Seneca Names Kevin Nephew CEO

The Seneca Gaming Corporation Board of Directors announced that Kevin Nephew has been named the corporation’s President & CEO. As President & CEO, Nephew will oversee the operation and performance of Seneca Gaming Corporation’s three casino properties.

JACK Entertainment Taps VP of Diversity

Kathryn M. Hall will join JACK Entertainment as its vice president of diversity and inclusion. The Cleveland native will use her extensive experience to develop a strategy to improve inclusion and diversity at the gaming company.

GOODS & SERVICES More

IGT Launches PeakSlant32 Cabinet

IGT has launched the PeakSlant32 cabinet, the first slot cabinet in the North American market to feature three 32-inch high-resolution monitors, at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun.

Scientific Games Unveils Kascada Cabinet

Scientific Games has launched its new Kascada slot cabinet, the next generation of the company’s groundbreaking TwinStar J43 premium cabinet. Matt Wilson (l.), gaming group CEO, says it meets and exceeds consumer expectations.

Ainsworth, Golden Partner on Multi-Game for Montana

Ainsworth Game Technologies is partnering with route operator Golden Entertainment to supply its Montana Gold MultiGame units to the Montana video lottery terminal market. Blake Sartini Jr. (l.) says the arrangement is a “great match.”

New Jersey CRDA Funds Human Trafficking Outreach

To help launch a pilot program to reduce human trafficking in Atlantic City, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved a grant of $233,945 for the Volunteers of America. The organization will use the funds to develop a far-reaching outreach effort to support victims.

Merkur to Live-Stream Product Demos

Merkur Gaming will conduct a live-stream product demonstration from its showroom in Luebbeke, Germany, to showcase the supplier’s new products for the year.

Spot Holder Platform May Eliminate Retail Lines

Brookfield Properties has partnered with Waitwhile to introduce Spot Holder, a program which eliminated the need to wait in lines to get into retail stores. Spot Holder works by providing phone contacts to alert shoppers when their place comes up. It will be tried in several Las Vegas retail shops.

TRADE SHOWS & CONFERENCES More

SBC Announces Betting On Sports Speakers

SBC Americas announced a distinguished lineup of speakers, including William Hill’s Joe Asher (l.) slated for Betting on Sports America-Digital, the virtual trade even scheduled for early December.

WILD CARD More

Judges Dismisses Defamation Lawsuit Against Las Vegas Blogger

A judge has thrown out a defamation suit brought by the Sahara casino against a blogger who reported the casino was about to close. District Judge Trevor Atkin dismissed a defamation by trade libel allegation in the suit. The suit initially charges that the blogger had received the information from an employee of an unnamed liquidation company and that he had called the casino to confirm the rumor.

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