Visitation a ‘Mere Trickle’ as Macau Casinos Reopen

The 15-day closure imposed by Macau’s local government ended last week, and most casinos resumed operations. They did so with just a fraction of their table games, but, with individual and group travel from China at a virtual halt, it hardly mattered. At left, SJM’s Grand Lisboa prepared to reopen. Most employees continued to wear the face masks.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Tohono O’odham Casino Opens in Arizona

The new Desert Diamond Casino West Valley in Glendale, Arizona opened to the public February 19. A project of the Tohono O’odham Nation, the $400 million casino spans 1.2 million square feet and features more than 1,100 slot machines, 36 poker tables, and 48 blackjack tables. Tribal leaders and Glendale officials officially cut the ribbon.

‘Enough is Enough:’ Industry Targets Unregulated Machines

The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers has joined forces with the American Gaming Association in a campaign to stamp out unregulated gaming machines posing as “skill games” (l.). The effort targets games usually located in bars, restaurants, convenience stores and social clubs that are not regulated by any entity.

Singapore Offers Tax Breaks to Casinos Hit by Virus

The government of Singapore has announced it will grant a 10 percent tax break to Resorts World Sentosa (l.) and Marina Bay Sands to help offset the impact of the coronavirus on travel. Cruise and ferry lines will get a 15 percent rebate, and hotels will get twice that.

In U.K., Illegal Betting on the Rise

In the wake of government crackdowns on betting to reduce harms, black markets have increased their presence. GVC CEO Kenny Alexander warns that the black market “will only increase” in markets where gambling is severely curtailed, like the U.K. The U.K. Gambling Commission sent British gambling stocks reeling after threatening to reduce maximum allowable bets for online games to £2. The curbs amount to a ban on the machines, insist gaming companies.

Poll: Majority of Alabamans Reject Tribal Exclusivity

Alabama Republican caucuses have released the results of a survey asking if the Poarch Band of Creek Indians should get exclusive gaming rights in exchange for $1 billion. Slightly more than one-third of respondents approved the arrangement. Governor Kay Ivey (l.) has asked legislators to take no action until her own study is completed.

DeSalvio in New York: Lifting Catskills Resort Is ‘Job 1’

No sooner did Bob DeSalvio bow out as head of Encore Boston Harbor than Genting’s top brass invited him to take over their Resorts World-branded operations in New York State. Their plan: use the success of the NYC casino to buoy the flagging Catskills property.

San Manuel Band of California Gives $9M to UNLV

The University of Nevada Las Vegas last week announced a $9 million gift from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians of California to the college’s hospitality and law schools. The gift will position the university as the nation’s leading source for education and innovation related to tribal gaming operations and law. At lef, San Manuel tribal officials Audrey Martinez and Lynn Valbuena present UNLV President Marta Meana, with a ceremonial blanket.

Curtis Elected to Blackjack Hall of Fame

The super-exclusive and very secretive Blackjack Ball was held in Las Vegas last weekend, and Anthony Curtis, the publisher of Huntington Press and the Las Vegas Advisor, was elected to the Blackjack Hall of Fame. At left, Curtis is flanked by Ed Thorp (l.), the author the 1962 classic Beat the Dealer, and Max Rubin, the host of the ball. All three are now members of the BJ HOF.

Alaska Mulls Lottery Bills

For decades, Alaska’s mighty petroleum industry kept the state’s finances fat and happy. Declining prices have created a budgetary crisis. Stepping in to address the problem are two proposals for a state lottery—one from Governor Mike Dunleavy, and another from Rep. Steve Thompson (l.).

NCRG Now the International Center for Responsible Gaming

The National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) has changed its name to the International Center for Responsible Gaming (ICRG), reflecting the organization’s global footprint. ICRG Board Chairman Alan Feldman (l.) said the change will help to reduce gambling harms worldwide.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: Life After Covid-19

The Covid-19 viral epidemic is not yet behind us. But it’s not too soon to size up the impact of the crisis, and start planning for the recovery phase. While the impact may be severe the recovery could be robust.

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Philippine Police, Regulator Join to Fight Illegal Gambling

Philippine National Police will brainstorm with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) on ways to fight illegal gambling in the country. Police Chief Archie Gamboa (l.) said the goal is to “thrash out which are illegal and which are not so that the public would know.”

Will Saipan Bring Back Poker?

Lawmakers in Saipan may lift a moratorium on poker machines to help make up for a drop in casino revenues. Gaming revenues from the Imperial Pacific Palace (l.) fell 50 percent in 2018.

Australia Approves Flutter-Stars Hookup

The merger of Flutter Entertainment and The Stars Group was approved by Australian regulators last week. The combination, which will create the world’s largest iGaming company still needs the OK from UK regulators.

Indian Gaming Group Opens Nepal Casino

Indian casino operator Deltin Group has launched its first gaming facility outside India, the Deltin Casino at the Marriot Hotel (l.) at Kathmandu Naxal Nepal.

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UKGC Hosts Meeting on Problem Gambling

The U.K. Gambling Commission, industry executives and technology experts recently met to discuss remedies for problem gambling. UKGC head Neil McArthur (l.) said they’re looking for a “single, industry-wide solution.” Meanwhile, new gambling limits have led to cascading revenues.

Norway Regulator Kicks Off RG Campaign

Norwegian regulator Lotteri-og stiftelsestilsynet has launched a new responsible gambling campaign to highlight the risks of problem gambling and encourage players to only gamble with licensed operators.

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Sports Bets Fuel French iGaming

France’s online gaming market revenue grew 18.1 percent year-on-year to €1.42 billion (US$1.5 billion) in 2019, thanks to a 27.3 percent increase in sports betting revenues.

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NBA All-Star Game’s New Format Fun for Fans

The new format for the NBA All-Star Game might be a novelty, but it proved entertaining, if not a big moneymaker for sportsbooks or bettors. Oh, and Team LeBron edged out Team Giannis in a high-scoring affair.

Missouri Sports Betting Bill Heads to House Floor

A sports betting bill in the Show Me state has jumped ahead of others to reach the floor of the House. Highlights include mobile and retail options, the former tethered to a sportsbook. A 9 percent tax on gross revenue, the bill also includes a mandate for use of official data, but Rep. Dan Shaul (l.) says no other state has mandated official data so Missouri should not.

Florida Pushes Sports Betting, Without Seminoles

Florida lawmakers are discussing a plan to legalize sports betting at tribal casinos, without input from the Seminole Tribe, which holds a monopoly on casinos in the state but will not participate, pending the outcome of a lawsuit. Senator Travis Hutson (l.) reminds residents, “We’re not there yet,” recognizing that any bill without Seminole support is likely DOA.

Questions Remain Before Ohio Sports Betting Is Law

Separate bills in the Ohio state Senate and House seek to legalize sports betting, each with a different regulatory approach. Governor Mike DeWine (l.) says questions about addiction, mobile phone wagering and bets on in-state colleges remain to be decided before legislation becomes law.

Atlanta Pro Teams Get Behind Mobile Sports Bets

Executives with the four professional teams playing in Atlanta have thrown their support behind legal online sports betting in Georgia. Opponents say mobile makes gambling too easy. But advocates like Braves CEO Derek Schiller (l.) expect the bets to go live “very soon.”

Mississippi Mobile Sports Betting Bill on the Table

Mississippi Rep. Cedric Burnett (l.) has filed HB 172, which would legalize full online and mobile sports betting in Mississippi. The bill resembles last year’s HB 1481, a proposal that died after it failed to advance out of committee. This year’s bill has yet to be heard in the Gaming Committee.

Tennessee to Revise Sports Betting Rules—Again

After a round of public comments, the Tennessee Sports Wagering Advisory Council expects to change some of the proposed rules approved after passage of enabling legislation. Among changes suggested by lobbyist Tom Lee (l.): raising the cap percentage on payouts and changing what constitutes a loss in a parlay.

Seven Colorado Casinos File for Sportbook Licenses

Colorado voters approved sports betting in 2019. In an effort to go live, state gaming commissioners have accepted license applications from seven casinos in the state, including several in Cripple Creek (l.), that want to operate retail, online and mobile sportsbooks.

Arizona Takes Baby Steps Towards Sports Betting

A bill to legalize sports betting in Arizona would be limited to retail only in racetracks and tribal casinos. In addition to establishing rules for wagering, the Arizona Department of Gaming rules would adopt rules for historic horse racing. The bill’s lead sponsor is Rep. Steve Pierce (l.), but it faces opposition for the state’s powerful tribal gaming interests

Kansas Sports Betting Bill Gets Committee OK

Kansas got a step closer to legalizing sports betting when a Senate committee approved a bill authorizing mobile wagering and sportsbooks at the four casinos. “We’ve ridden this horse long enough,” said state Senator Bud Estes (l.). “This should bring a little more money into the treasury.”

NHL, IMG Arena Ink Deal to Provide Live Streaming of Games

IMG Arena and the NHL have signed a deal to provide live streaming of select games to sportsbooks in the U.S. The goal is to help increase engagement for fans. Such streaming of NHL games has proved popular in Europe, driving increased betting.

Michigan Casinos Could Take Bets by March Madness

Michigan could have regulations for sports betting in place in time for the NCAA basketball tournament. The states will receive 8.4 percent for in-person bets made in casinos. For online betting, the rate fluctuates between 20 percent and 28 percent, depending on the adjusted gross receipts.

Asian Football Sees Big Drop in Match-Fixing

The Asian Football Confederation, soccer’s governing body on the continent, says crooked games have declined by more than 20 over the last four years. It credits its partnership with betting data giant Sportradar for the change.

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Sifting for Clues on Murren’s Successor

Analysts were looking for some word last week on the search for a new chairman and CEO to succeed James Murren (l.) at MGM Resorts International. A special committee of directors reportedly was formed to conduct it. But the company has yet to reveal who its members are.

Chicago Mayor Continues Casino Talks

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (l.) has met with legislators to discuss revising Illinois’ expanded gambling bill. Lightfoot says the bill as it stands will discourage investors. And without a Chicago casino, she says, the state can’t fund the governor’s $45 billion Rebuild Illinois capital program.

The Trouble with Massachusetts

In a conference call with industry analysts, departing MGM Resorts International CEO and Chairman Jim Murren was candid MGM Springfield, admitting the casino is performing “below expectations.” Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbor (l.) is also underperforming.

West Virginia Bill Would Eliminate Greyhound Fund

The West Virginia Senate delayed a bill to eliminate the state's $17.4 million Greyhound Breeding Development Fund. Supporters said taxpayers should not fund greyhound racing. Opponents claim live betting is down but handle is up at the state's two dog racing tracks, Mardi Gras Casino and Resort in Kanawha County and Wheeling Island in Ohio County.

Missouri Senator Shelves Illegal Gambling Measure

Due to opposition from several lawmakers, Missouri state Senator Mike Cunningham (l.) shelved his bill that would impose harsh penalties on people or businesses offering illegal gambling machines. An estimated 14,000 games are operating in gas stations, bars and clubs throughout Missouri.

2020 Starts On a High Note for PA Casinos

Pennsylvania’s 12 operating casinos registered a 17 percent year-over-year increase in gaming revenue in January, headed up by the two casinos operated by Penn National Gaming.

Louisiana Supreme Court Redefines ‘Vessel’

A permanently moored riverboat casino is not a "vessel" under federal maritime law, according to a recent ruling of the Louisiana Supreme Court, which overturned a lower court decision. As a result, Louisiana casino employees do not might qualify as seamen and may sue their employer for negligence. Although a real boat, Boyd Gaming’s Treasure Chest (l.) in Kenner never sails and is permanently moored.

PA Bill Would End Casino Smoking Exception

A bill introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives would ban smoking on casino floors by eliminating the casino exemption to the Clean Indoor Air Act. State Rep. Dan Frankel (l.) says the state laws protecting smoking are “out of date.”

Wynn, MGM Resorts Now Five-Star Rated

Forbes Travel Guide has updated its ratings for Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Las Vegas. The two resorts have been upgraded from four to five stars. Forbes and AAA also awarded high honors to MGM resorts, spas and restaurants in Vegas and Macau.

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Connecticut Tribes Slash Casino Investment

The Tribal Winds Casino, which Connecticut’s two gaming tribes propose to build through their joint authority MMCT Venture, will be downsized due to a saturated gaming market. The $300 million casino could cost $100 million less, says Mashantucket Pequot Chairman Rodney Butler (l.).

Tribal Casinos Could Come to Maine

For 40 years, the four federally-recognized tribes of Maine have been hobbled by the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act, which has prevented them from exercising their sovereignty in a number of ways, including participating in Indian gaming. That could be about to change.

OK Tribes Say Stitt Renewed Tribal Compacts

By signing compact extensions with two tribes, Oklahoma claim Governor Kevin Stitt may have acknowledged the state's tribal gaming compacts automatically renewed. Stitt begs to differ. Meanwhile, former U.S. District Judge Layn R. Phillips (l.) was chosen to mediate the dispute.

Two Tribes Propose Virginia Casinos

Virginia lawmakers have re-passed legislation allowing casino gambling in five cities. Two bills give the Pamunkey Tribe "preferred consideration" for proposed casinos in Richmond and Norfolk. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, led by Chief Richard Sneed (l.) want to build a casino just outside Bristol, where developers proposed a Hard Rock casino resort.

Arkansas Tribe Holds Topping-Out Ceremony

Heavy rain didn’t keep more than 150 people away from the topping-out ceremony at the Quapaw Nation's Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The $350 million, 80,000-square-foot venue will feature a casino with 2,000 slots and 32 table games and a 300-room hotel. The project is expected to create 1,100 permanent jobs.

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Mississippi Lottery Generates $16M In Two Months

Since debuting last November, the Mississippi Lottery has exceeded expectations, producing $16 million in revenue, according to Mississippi Lottery Corp. President Thomas Shaheen. He predicted the lottery could generate $81 million for road improvements in its first year. Meanwhile, observers said sports betting revenue could increase if lawmakers would approve online betting.

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Coke Attorney Joins REIT VICI Board

Monica Howard Douglas, general counsel for the Coca-Cola Company’s North America division, had been appointed to the board of VICI Properties, a gaming-focused real estate investment trust.

Klebanow Re-Launches Consulting Firm

Gaming industry consultant Andrew Klebanow has re-launched the casino advisory firm he first established in 2001. Las Vegas-based Klebanow Consulting engages a number of independent specialists in a variety of disciplines, including revenue management, market analysis, slot floor optimization, market research and international operations.

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Aristocrat Launches First ‘Buffalo Bar’

Aristocrat Technologies has launched its first-ever “Buffalo Bar,” featuring mega-hit video slots like Buffalo for the first time in the company’s new Winner’s World Multi-Game bar-top unit.

Everi Introduces Cabinets, Next-Gen TournEvent Platform

Everi Holdings Inc., provider of gaming products, financial technology and loyalty solutions to the gaming industry, announced last week that three leading tribal casinos are the first to deploy its latest gaming hardware platforms and entertainment experiences.

RW Las Vegas Names Konami Management Partner

Konami Gaming’s award-winning Synkros casino management system has been chosen to power gaming operations at the $4.3 billion Resorts World Las Vegas, now under construction on the Las Vegas Strip. The Genting property is due to open in 2021.

APE Holdings Leases Games in Philippines

Asia Pioneer Entertainment Holdings (APE) will lease gaming equipment to the Palace Casino in the Philippines (l.) through distributor Glimex Inc., for a term of two years.

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World Game Protection Conference Coming to Las Vegas

The 15th World Game Protection Conference will be held March 23-26 at the Tropicana Las Vegas. The event will feature casino security, surveillance and public-safety experts to talk about “money laundering, slot scams and the digitization of our games that brings in hackers,” says conference founder Willy Allison (l.)

Molly Bloom in the Lineup at CasinoBeats 2020

Poker entrepreneur Molly Bloom (l.). will be among the featured speakers at the second CasinoBeats Malta, March 24-26 at the InterContinental Hotel. The conference and exhibition will bring together 1,500 senior-level operators, suppliers and regulators.

Coronavirus Should Not Affect G2E Asia

Reed Exhibitions China, organizer of this year’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia, says the current coronavirus contagion should not have any impact on the trade fair and conference, to be held May 19-21 at the Venetian Macao (l.).

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