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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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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
GLOBAL GAMING BUSINESS PODCAST: Paul Pellizzari, Vice President of Global Social Responsibility, Hard Rock International
This week, the GGB Podcast sits down with Paul Pellizzari, the vice president of global social responsibility for Hard Rock International on the company’s new Player’s Edge program and how it will impact Hard Rock stakeholders and the entire industry.
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.”
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.
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 casino operator Deltin Group has launched its first gaming facility outside India, the Deltin Casino at the Marriot Hotel (l.) at Kathmandu Naxal Nepal.
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.
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.
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.
In the fourth quarter of 2019, online gaming revenue in Portugal came to €65.4 million (US$70.9 million), an increase of 55 percent. The national gaming regulator noted there was growth across the industry.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.”
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
A bill approved by the Maryland Senate would remove the requirement that any gaming expansion be subject to a constitutional referendum approved by the state’s voters.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Scientific Games and William Hill will extend their partnership, under which William Hill uses SG’s OpenSports solutions in the U.K. and Europe, through 2024.
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.
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.
Lloyds Banking Group of the U.K. and security tech firm Gamban have joined forces to provide a gambling protection program that will work across several platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows and macOS.
For the third year in a row, gaming supplier AGS was named one of the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in the U.S. for 2019. AGS is the only gaming company named to the list.
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.
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.)
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.
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.).
Small Nuggets of News
Outrageous pronouncements, simple statements and words of wisdom