G2E Panel Shines a Light in Dark Times

It was all about strength in the face of adversity when four of the most prominent women in gaming gathered at G2E 2020 to share their experiences. Moderator Jennifer Gaynor, a gaming attorney and author of “That Broad: Women Who Broker Barriers in the Casino and Gaming Industry” offered a vital message to their peers throughout the industry: Yes, you can.

G2E Panelists Forecast Future of iGaming

When New Jersey’s online gaming taxes continued to roll in even though the Atlantic City casinos were closed, other states took notice. At a G2E session last week Chris Grove (l.), a partner with Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, says the number of states with only gaming will double by 2025.

Broadcasts on Sports Betting Emanate from Las Vegas

VSiN launched the sports betting broadcasting revolution in Las Vegas in 2017, almost 18 months before the Supreme Court overturned the ban on wagering, and recently opened a third studio in Circa (l.). Since then, they have expanded across the U.S. Last month, ESPN added its own studio in Las Vegas, capitalizing on the growth in sports betting.

New British Lockdown Shutters Casinos Again

Along with everything else in the country save essential services, the United Kingdom betting establishments are closed once again. Prime Minister Boris Johnson (l.) made the decree over the weekend, with all to remain closed until at least December.

LVS in Talks To Sell Vegas Strip Properties

The casino giant Las Vegas Sands appears to be setting a course as a pure-play Asian operator. But the $6 billion asking price for its Las Vegas casinos, The Venetian and Palazzo (l.), together with the Sands Expo Center, is a steep one in the Covid era, leading analysts to suggest a REIT deal could be in the offing.

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Voters In Seven States Face Gambling Questions

Gambling issues are on the ballots in seven states on Tuesday. In South Dakota, Louisiana and Maryland, voters will determine if they want to allow sports betting. Colorado voters could approve increasing current sports betting maximum limits. Nebraska, voters will weigh in on three initiatives that would allow casino gambling. And local referendums in Virginia will consider casinos for those areas.

Macau Lawmakers Grow Antsy Over Re-Tendering Plans

With no word to date from the government on its plans for renewing or re-bidding the gaming concessions that are set to expire in 2022, time is becoming a major issue for members of the Legislative Assembly. Ella Lei (l.) is concerned there won’t be enough of it to review and approve the plan.

Twin River, Gaming and Leisure Buy Tropicana in Indiana

As part of its requirement to shed properties in the Eldorado Resorts merger, Caesars Entertainment Inc. sold Tropicana Evansville in Indiana. The buyers included Gaming and Leisure Properties and Twin River Worldwide Holdings. The purchase price was $480 million. Meanwhile, Twin River will become the Bally’s Corporation on November 9.

Stitt Won't Appeal Compact Rulings

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (l.) said he will not appeal U.S. District Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti's ruling that tribal gaming compacts automatically renewed January 1. Stitt had sought to increase exclusivity fees tribes pay in exchange for operating Class III gaming. Under the compacts, the fees range from 4 percent to 10 percent of revenue.

AGA, NHL Partner on Responsible Gaming

The American Gaming Association is partnering with the National Hockey League to promote responsible gaming through a public service campaign called “Have A Game Plan. Bet Responsibly.”

U.S. Casinos Seeking Covid-19 Recovery Relief

The U.S. casino industry is looking for help to recover from Covid-19 lockdowns in the form of tax and regulatory relief, according to American Gaming Association President Bill Miller (l.). The industry estimates it has lost $2 billion in tax revenue during the pandemic as casinos around the country were shut down for about four months, according to the head of the gambling industry's national trade group.

Nevada Gaming Chairwoman Resigns

Less than two years in her role, Sandra Douglass Morgan stepped down as chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board. She says she’ll take another position with Fidelity National Financial, controlled by Bill Foley, who owns the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.

McMonigle, Orrick Honored with AGEM Awards

The late Robert McMonigle (far l.), a longtime executive of IGT, and David Orrick, the veteran journalist and gaming communications professional, received AGEM’s 2020 Memorial Awards honoring Jens Halle and Peter Meade.

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Philippine Casinos Await OK for Online Gaming

Government regulator PAGCOR is considering the reform to help casinos recover from a five-month Covid-related shutdown. The industry reopened in August but continues to labor under stringent limits on capacity and other health and safety restrictions.

Goa Casinos Reopened November 1

Closed since March 14 due to Covid-19, casinos in the Indian states of Goa and Sikkim received government permission to reopen November 1 at half capacity. While the nation's largest gaming operator, Delta Corp, posted a second-quarter drop of $3.8 million, online gaming revenue rose 60 percent.

Macau Recovery Gathers Momentum

The decline in gaming revenues for October is expected to fall in the 70 percent range compared to the same month last year. That’s a vast improvement over September’s 90 percent decline and a good sign that the market is slowly but steadily digging out from the wreckage of Covid-19.

Primorye Casino is 90 Percent Complete

The NagaCorp casino (l.) in Russian’s Primorye territory is nearly completed. Its progress was halted for a time by delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

China to Legalize Digital Yuan and Outlaw Competitors

The People’s Bank of China has drafted a law to legalize the digital yuan which will also make competing digital currencies illegal. The action comes as the central bank has been cracking down on gambling sites that use the stablecoin tether.

Imperial Pacific Told to Stop Work on Hotel Casino

Imperial Pacific International has received a stop work order on its hotel casino project. Seems the company has not turned in the drawing and other info to obtain a permit to build according to safety codes. In addition, the company has an investor on its tail seeking to sell off gaming machines and equipment.

China Says Thousands Arrested in Cross-Border Gambling Crackdown

The Ministry of Public Security said more than 8,000 investigations have resulted in 60,000 arrests and the dismantling of thousands of illegal gambling and payment platforms. The ministry said the crackdown has interrupted the cross-border flow of more than 1 trillion yuan.

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UK Proposes Stricter Gambling Rules

Advertising regulators in the UK proposed stricter rules on ads targeting people under age 18 and potential problem gamblers. In particular, gambling advertisers could not feature celebrities with a "strong appeal" to that age group, such as "the England football captain.” The new rules also would ban ads using humor to downplay the risks of gambling.

Catalonia’s Shuttered Casinos Granted Rent Relief

The casinos in Catalonia, including the casino in Barcelona’s Hotel Catalonia Barcelona Plaza (l.), have been granted rent relief due to forced closings due to Covid-19, but have been denied permission from the Spanish government to reopen.

Covid-19 Hurts Swedish Online Casinos

Swedish online casinos have seen a rapid decline in sales since government restrictions were imposed in July for the Covid-19 pandemic. Online gaming companies have seen an about 30 percent decline in monthly turnover.

UK Gaming Commission Cites BGO, GAN and NetBet for Regulatory Failures

The UK Gambling Commission has taken actions against BGO Entertainment, GAN Plc and NetBet Enterprises Ltd after a review of their licenses for failing to meet standards for consumer protection and preventing money laundering. The companies must improve their policies and procedures as well as making payments to progress the work of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.

Lithuania Implements Anti-Money-Laundering Guidelines

The Lithuanian Ministry of Finance's Gambling Supervision Service issued new guidelines for gambling and lottery companies to combat risks of money laundering and terrorist financing. A 2019 risk assessment determined the Gambling Supervision Service was unprepared to deal with the threat of money laundering in casinos.

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B.C. Holds Money Laundering Hearings

Hearings have begun into alleged money laundering activities within British Columbia, Canada, focusing on River Rock Casino in Richmond, where a former surveillance manager said it wasn't uncommon to see patrons carrying cash stuffed in bags, bags, suitcases and backpacks. The inquiry was ordered by BC Attorney General David Eby (l.).

In Australia, Penalties for Dirty Money Could Get Stiffer

The fallout from the Crown money laundering scandal continues to weigh on the industry. The latest is a bill introduced in Parliament by longtime anti-gamer Andrew Wilkie (l.) that would make gaming operators responsible for compensating the victims of any illicit funds they accept.

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Google Ireland Fined For Italian Gambling Ads

Following a month-long investigation, Google Ireland has been fined $118,250 by Italy's communications regulator Agcom for violating its ban on gambling advertising by allowing paid ads for sublime-casino.com to appear in Italian search results. The action violated Italy's 2018 Dignity Decree, implemented to combat problem gambling.

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Virginia Completes Sportsbook Application Process

The Virginia Lottery has completed the application process for sportsbooks. While mobile-only to start, the Lottery has 90 days to review the submissions before making naming what could be as many as a dozen licenses. The awarding of licenses could be done by mid-January.

William Hill Profits Fall From Empty Stadiums

Without fans to cheer them on, soccer and other sports impact odds setting. As a result, bookmakers such as William Hill see a decline in profits from more unpredictable results. The sportsbook operator also faces imminent acquisition by Caesars Entertainment.

Betting Integrity Group Sets Standards

The International Betting Integrity Association released protocols for the collection of sports data. The standards focus on three areas: personnel vetting and training, data collation and data integrity and reporting. The group spelled out details for each avenue.

New Jersey’s Freehold Raceway Playing Catch Up on Sports Betting

New Jersey’s Freehold Raceway, the state’s third track to offer sports betting, is trying to catch up two the state’s two other tracks with its new sports betting facility. Those tracks – Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands race Track – began sports betting in 2018. Freehold officials say their sportsbook is beginning to pick up steam.

Western States Take Different Paths to Sports Betting

Sports betting in Arizona has stalled as lawmakers (sponsor Stephen Pierce l.) and tribal operators have failed to agree on the terms. It could be 2022 before something gets approved. The Northern Arapaho tribe in Wyoming has followed New Mexico's lead in bypassing the state altogether, while a North Dakota tribe has sports betting in its compact.

Esports Could Eclipse Sports Betting

If Quentin Martin proves right, esports wagering will be bigger and more lucrative than traditional sports betting sometime in the future. He points to a couple of trends: esports retained 75 percent of its players even after the coronavirus lockdown ended and the competition is more popular with those 18 to 25.

Caesars, William Hill Sign Sponsorship Agreement with Indianapolis Colts

Caesars Entertainment and William Hill US have announced a sponsorship deal with the National Football League’s Indianapolis Colts. The agreement includes introduction of a fan engagement game. The deal is the first joint venture by the companies since Caesars acquired William Hill’s parent company.

Colorado Sports Betting Exceeds Expectations

Although participation in Colorado’s sportsbook industry has risen dramatically since it debuted in May, the state’s taxes have not risen at the same rate. That’s due to promotional free betting that is designed to bring in new bettors.

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Virgin Hotels Approved in Las Vegas

The Nevada Gaming Commission licensed Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment to operate Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Mohegan becomes the first tribal company to run a casino in Las Vegas when it opens January 15.

Boyd to Delay Opening of Downtown Casinos

During a third quarter call with investors, Boyd Gaming Corporation CEO Keith Smith revealed the company will not reopen three Downtown Las Vegas casinos, including Main Street Station (l.), until 2021. The earnings report showed the company weathered the pandemic by cutting staff and promotional expenses.

Atlantic City Casino Workforce Down 17.5 Percent

Atlantic City’s casino workforce was down significantly for a third straight month after a nearly four-month shutdown for Covid-19. Atlantic City’s nine casinos reported 22,503 jobs in September 4,782 fewer jobs than reported in September 2019, a decrease of 17.5% year over year.

Casino Expansion Draws Mixed Reactions

In Maryland, the Worcester County Commission approved an overlay zone for an entertainment district that eventually could allow Ocean Downs Casino to build a hotel. Local hotel officials said the market is saturated and expressed concerns the casino hotel would steal business. Ocean Downs Casino General Manager Bobbi Sample said the potential hotel would not compete with Ocean City hotels but would attract gamblers who would stay longer and spend more.

Nevada Governor Has Plan for Bigger Conventions

Governor Steve Sisolak (l.) plans to unveil a plan soon that he hopes will help revive Nevada’s convention industry. The governor is asking that organizations that had planned to hold conventions in the state, but are reluctant because of Covid, to give it a second look.

Return of Table Games Doesn’t Cause Bay State Casinos to Rebound

The addition of table games, including roulette and craps, doesn’t appear to have significantly boosted attendance at Massachusetts’s Encore Boston Harbor (l.) and MGM Springfield casinos. Attendance is still below the capacity limits set by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

MotorCity Casino to Refinance Debt

MotorCity Casino Hotel, located in Detroit, Michigan, has gotten approval from the Michigan Gaming Control Board to refinance its debt. This will give it more liquidity in case there is another Covid shutdown this winter.

Report: Grand Sierra Resort Owner Alex Meruelo Backing Judicial Candidate

Billionaire Alex Meruelo (l.), owner of the Grand Sierra Resort and Sahara Las Vegas casinos, is the main backer of a Washoe County judicial candidate that is challenging a sitting judge who has ruled against his properties in the past, reports the Nevada Independent. Businesses associated with Meruelo have contributed $110,000 to the campaign of Kathleen Sigurdson, a private practice attorney attempting to unseat incumbent Judge Elliott Sattler.

Churches Run Anti-Casino Campaign in Virginia Town

A group of churches in Bristol, Virginia is running a billboard campaign urging voters to oppose the proposed $400 million Hard Rock Hotel and Casino that would be developed at a vacant mall. The can't-miss black-on-yellow billboards state, "All that glitters is not gold,” “When casinos go up, communities go down” and “What would Jesus do? He would definitely vote no on the casino referendum.”

Tropicana Reports Interest in Sale of LV Property

The owner of the land on which the Tropicana hotel casino sits, Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc., is getting lots of inquiries about purchasing the 35 acre site. The company recently listed the property for sale. The casino which Penn National Gaming operates on the land is not for sale.

Mississippi Gaming Commission Let Casinos Decide

The Mississippi Gaming Commission did not mandate coastal casinos to shut down as Hurricane Zeta approached on October 28. The commission left the decision up to the individual casinos but urged them to discourage patrons and staff from arriving or leaving until condition were safe.

Miami Board Approves Monorail Feasibility Study

A feasibility study for a $600 million monorail linking Miami and Miami Beach, built by Genting Group, was approved by Miami-Dade county commissioners. A station would be located on a 30-acre tract Genting bought in Miami in 2011, where it hoped to develop a casino complex (l.) but meanwhile has been approved to build a 300-room hotel.

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Arizona Tribe Opens New Casino

The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation of Arizona have opened a new casino, the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort. It replaces the Fort McDowell Casino that operated since 1984.

BIA to Decide on Hard Rock Casino

The final draft of the environmental impact statement for the Tejon Indian Tribe’s proposed Hard Rock casino resort (l.) near Bakersfield, California, has been published by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The BIA will decide within 30 days whether to move forward with the application.

Planned Michigan Casino Advances

A long-standing plan for a casino in Muskegon County Michigan has taken a significant step forward according to the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. The federal government is expected to release an environmental study of the proposed sight which could then move the proposed project before state regulators.

Cowlitz Tribe, MGE, to Upgrade Ilani Casino

Washington’s Cowlitz Indian Tribe and their management firm Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment plan an upgrade and expansion of the ilani Casino Resort. Kara Fox-LaRose (l.), general manager and president of ilani, says it will provide an “unmatched experience for the guests.”

FireKeepers Casino, Nottawaseppi Receive Recognition

The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi and FireKeepers Casino Hotel (l.) were honored by the National Indian Gaming Association, which presented its Chairman's Leadership Award. Forbes Magazine also selected the casino as one of the best employers in Michigan

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Pennsylvania iLottery Achieves iCAP Certification

The Pennsylvania Lottery's iLottery platform, developed and managed primarily by Scientific Games, achieved Internet Compliance Assessment Program certification, confirming it complies with the National Council on Problem Gambling's Internet Responsible Gambling Standards. Drew Svitko (l.), executive directors, says his agency is committed to responsible gaming.

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SG’s Lai Given Digital Role

Scientific games has name Cathryn Lai senior vice president and general manager of U.S. market for SG Digital, the company’s online gaming subsidiary.

Another Icahn Caesar Board Member Resigns

A second of the three members representing billionaire Carl Icahn (l.) on the board of Caesars Entertainment has resigned. James Nelson announced the resignation, effective immediately.

Spoon Named BetMGM Chief Operating Officer

ESPN veteran Ryan Spoon has been named chief operating officer at sports-betting platform BetMGM. At ESPN, Spoon served as senior vice president of social & digital content and senior vice president of digital product and design. He commented, “The opportunity at BetMGM during these early phases was an immediate draw for me."

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RG24seven Partners with ROMBET

RG24seven has partnered with ROMBET, the association representing the gaming industry in Romania, to implement its video-based responsible gaming training program.

Caesars Palace’s Mesa Grill to Close in Favor of Italian Specialty

Bobby Flay will close his flagship Mesa Grill (l.) November 14 in Caesars Palace. He will convert the restaurant into an Italian seafood bistro known as Amalfi. The eatery will focus on fish coming from the Amalfi coast of Italy, complete with a fishmonger to customize your order.

Ainsworth Dividend Suspension Continues

Ainsworth Chairman Danny Gladstone (l.) has noted that the company will not reinstate dividends until markets become more predictable in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

IGSA, IAGR Partner

The International Gaming Standards Association and the International Association of gaming Regulators have partnered on an initiative to disseminate information on effective gaming regulation.

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