Maintaining Gaming Integrity is Not Optional

When the Mob controlled Las Vegas, it counted on union president Jimmy Hoffa (l.) to steer millions in Teamster dues to casino owners who had no other way to finance their operations. And only when Nevada and later New Jersey began to insist on squeaky clean operators was it able to find traditional financing sources.

Why Today’s Sportsbook Needs ‘Something for Everyone’

Obscure sports like Belarusian soccer (l.) that won new fans during the shutdowns have maintained some of their popularity, even as the major leagues return. Meanwhile, U.S. fans are demanding more from sportsbooks: more sports, and more offers.

New Lift For Vegas?

Transportation around Las Vegas offers visitors many options from a monorail, taxis, busses and soon the Tesla Tunnels. But why stop there? Ira David Sternberg (l.) has some interesting ideas.

Bally’s Continues Expansion

Rhode Island-based Bally’s Corp. has agreed to buy U.K.-based iGaming company Gamesys. It’s the latest in a flurry of mergers and acquisitions for the company, which recently bought DFS supplier Monkey Knife Fight.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Field Narrowed in Richmond

The city government of Richmond, Virginia announced three finalists for the casino that will be built somewhere in the city. Bally’s, Cordish and Peninsula Pacific will have their plans for a casino dissected before a winner is announced.

Nevada Eyes Esports Regulation

The burgeoning business of video gaming tournaments, or esports as they’re known, is expected to generate revenues in the billions of dollars. One Nevada lawmaker is looking to position his state to cash in.

Macau, China Talk Vaccine Travel Deal

Macau leader Ho Iat Seng (l.) said the casino hub hopes to reach agreement with mainland China on a policy exempting vaccinated cross-border travelers from having to produce negative Covid-19 test results.

Blackstone’s Crown Gambit

Crown Resorts’ recent troubles have made it ripe for the picking, and the U.S.-based Blackstone Group was first in line. Its AU$8 billion offer was submitted last week.

Panel Advances Connecticut Sports Gaming Bill

Several bills to legalize sports betting in Connecticut have been advanced to the House and Senate. Governor Ned Lamont (l.) recently struck a sports betting deal with the state’s two gaming tribes, the Mohegans and Pequots.

Virgin Hotel, Mohegan Casino Opens in Las Vegas

Virgin Hotel Las Vegas opened last week in the building the formerly identified as the Hard Rock. The casino is run by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment and is the first gaming operation in Las Vegas by the Connecticut tribe. At left, TV star Chrisell Stause is shown rolling the dice in the casino.

Mohegan Leadership Shakeup

Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment CEO and President Mario Kontomerkos (l.) is leaving his position at the end of March. Replacing him will be interim CEO Ray Pineault. And former CEO Bobby Soper has returned as the president of international for the Connecticut tribe.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: Reasons to Believe

It’s been a year since the market’s Pandemic Panic low, and it’s tempting to feel optimistic about the industry’s recovery. Of special interest are regional casinos, which have come back stronger than ever.


Macau Legend Forecasts Big Loss for 2020

Casino operator Macau Legend, which operates three casinos, including the Babylon (l.), says the Covid-19 pandemic battered the 2020 operations of its three Macau casinos. The company expects a net loss of upwards of HK$2 billion for the year.

Korean Operator Accused of Skewing Survey

Lotte Tour Development is accused of manipulating a poll to suggest stronger support for its planned casino at South Korea’s Jeju Dream Tower (l.). The move would massively increase the casino’s footprint.

Cambodian Casino Revenues Cut in Half

The Cambodian collected less than half of expected tax revenues from the nation’s 193 licensed casinos. The industry there was decimated by Covid-19, which caused widespread closures and reduced international tourism.

Incheon Casino Developer Gets One-Year Extension

Guangzhou R&F Properties Co. Ltd. has received yearlong extension to open a new resort (l.) in Incheon, South Korea, which it had been developing with Caesars Entertainment. It had sought three years, after Caesars dropped out.


Spain May Allow Loot Boxes

Spain is considering modifying the country’s gaming regulations to include so-called loot boxes. The move was ordered by Mikel Arana (l.), head of the General Directorate for the Regulation of Gambling.

FIFA Policy Encourages Game Integrity

Zurich-based FIFA, the International Federation of Association Football, has launched its Global Integrity Program to encourage game integrity by preventing match manipulation.

Danish Gambling Authority Blocks Illegal Websites

Denmark’s Gambling Authority will work to block illegal gaming websites in an effort to crack down. The blockage has already blocked 55 such sites. The goal is to also enable licensed websites to operate.

Football Exec Argues Against Sponsorship Ban

Anti-gambling groups in the U.K. say sponsorships of football clubs by sportsbooks lead to problem gambling. But Rick Parry (l.), chairman of the English Football League, disagrees, and says a crackdown will hurt teams.


Canadian Casinos Eager to Reopen

Casinos in Canada are considering a number of reopening plans based on the success of provincial Covid mitigation plans. The government of Alberta may be close, but British Columbia seems to be stuck in lockdown. In Ontario, Caesars Windsor (l.) has now been closed more than one year.

Paraguay to Host a Floating Casino

An Argentine firm, Comercial de Turismo, hopes to build an eight-level floating casino boat to anchor in the Triple Frontier region of Paraguay. A consul from Paraguay calls it an unprecedented attraction for the country.


888 to Expand in the U.S.

U.K.-based 888 Holdings had a successful year in 2020 due to the pandemic-fueled growth in online betting. It’s set its sights set on expanding into the U.S., and is considering an IPO.

Enlabs Shareholders Approve Entain Buyout

A bid by U.K. betting company Entain for Swedish sportsbook Enlab didn’t sit well with some Enlabs investors, so Entain upped the ante. Deal accepted. The $434.5 million deal could close by April 13.

Netherlands to Award 35 iGaming Licenses

Netherlands regulator Kansspelautoriteit says it expects to receive 40 iGaming license applications and select about 35 of those applicants when the new industry gets underway.

Playtech, Flutter Extend Partnership

Playtech has signed an agreement extending its partnership with Flutter Entertainment and its Paddy Power, Betfair and Sky Casino brands for an additional five years.

PlayStudios Revenues Up

PlayStudios reported that revenues were up for the quarter that ended December 31, its $64 million representing a 12.9 percent increase over the same period in 2019.

Zitro iGames Licensed in Buenos Aires

Gaming supplier Zitro has been granted a license to operate its online games in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the supplier’s latest move in a global expansion.


Penn National Gets Permit for Virginia

The Virginia Lottery has granted Penn National Gaming a temporary online sportsbook permit through its Barstool app. For Penn National, Virginia becomes the fourth state to host a Barstool app.

Wyoming Sportsbook Bill Moves to Senate

Sports betting legislation has been approved by the Wyoming House and moved by the Senate Appropriations Committee to the Senate Floor. Supporters say the state is losing tax revenues to states with sportsbook.

North Carolina’s First Sports Betting Venues Open

North Carolina’s first sportsbooks opened at the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ two casinos. Caesars Entertainment, which operates the tribe’s casinos, is employing its William Hill subsidiary to operate the book.

SD Governor Signs Sports Betting Regulation

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (l.) has signed a bill outlining the framework for sports betting in Deadwood, expected to launch by September. The law allows only retail betting or onsite mobile wagering.

Kansas Chambers Differ in Sports Betting Proposals

A sports betting bill under consideration in the Kansas House would permit wagers in casinos, tracks, shops that sell lottery tickets and online. The Senate version limits betting to casinos and their mobile apps.

Tennessee Suspends Sportsbook License over Fraud

Action 24/7 operates the only local sportsbook in Tennessee. The company has ties to a lender, Advance Financial. An investigator alleged evidence of money laundering and fraud between the two firms.

Flutter Considers FanDuel IPO

Flutter Entertainment owns U.S sportsbook giant FanDuel which is a market leader. But it also loses money when factoring in marketing and promotional expenses. To expand FanDuel, Flutter might go the IPO route.

SPAC Boom to Fund Sports Betting Firms

Special Purpose Acquisition Companies have found willing partners in the emerging sports betting industry. SPACs provide funding, like offering a blank check to a growing firm that does not have public offerings.

Superdome Could Add Caesars Brand

Caesars Entertainment is reportedly in talks to acquire naming rights to the Superdome in New Orleans. The purported deal with the New Orleans Saints would add the Caesars brand to the stadium for 20 years.


Hard Rock Gary to Open May 14

Spectacle Entertainment’s new $300 million land-based Hard Rock Northern Indiana (l.) in Gary will open May 14. Hard Rock and Spectacle also are partners on the new Lady Luck casino in Terre Haute.

New York Lifting Casino Curfew

Come April, New York’s gaming venues such as Rivers Schenectady (l.) won’t have to close at 11 p.m. anymore as the Cuomo administration pushes ahead with plans to relax Covid restrictions imposed last year on businesses across the state.

NY’s Empire Resorts In Line for Genting Bailout

Resorts World Catskills (l.), the flagship casino of Empire Resorts, has been hit hard by the Covid crisis, said Genting Malaysia, which plans to pump $20 million into its struggling New York subsidiary.

Caesars Suing Insurers for Pandemic Losses

Las Vegas-based casino giant Caesars Entertainment is taking dozens of insurance companies to court in a bid to recoup more than $2 billion in Covid-related losses the company says its policies should have covered.

Illinois Casino Resort Changes Plans

With the approval of the Illinois Gaming Board, Walker’s Bluff Casino Resort in Williamson County will be built in a single phase, including the casino, hotel, spa, dining options, event center, retail and pool.

All Louisiana Gambling Venues Report Revenue Drops

Louisiana’s 13 riverboat casinos, Harrah’s land-based New Orleans casino (l.) and four racinos altogether brought in $151.1 million during February, a drop of 28.9 percent from $212.5 million generated in February 2020.

Iowa Casinos Blame Weather for February Slump

February’s brutal cold kept players away from Dubuque, Iowa’s two casinos, officials said. February revenue at Diamond Jo (l.) and Q Casino dropped 17 percent and attendance fell 45.9 percent versus February 2020.

$32.5 Million Expansion Planned At Indiana Grand

Work will start April 1 on a $32.5 million expansion and renovation project at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino in Shelbyville. The project will add 25,000 square feet to the casino floor and create 100 jobs.

Rio Las Vegas to Become Hyatt Regency

The Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas will become a Hyatt Regency resort. The property opened in 1990 with a Brazilian theme; its all-suite hotel model will end under the new owners.

AC, Vegas Bring Back Headliners

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (l.) in Atlantic City will bring back headliner entertainment next month with standup comedian and TV star Bob Saget. In Vegas, artists reportedly are lining up to perform at the Virgin Hotel.


North Carolina Approves Second Tribal Gaming Enterprise

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has signed a compact with the Catawba Indian Nation, based in South Carolina, to build a casino within a short drive of Charlotte. A former county commissioner Eddie Holbrook (l.) is accused of using his knowledge to buy land near the proposed casino.

BIA Approves Michigan Casino

The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians’ proposed $180 million casino (l.) in Muskegon County, Michigan has met with approval from the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. The project is expected to create 3,000 jobs.

Maine Tribes Petition Lawmakers About Gaming

The tribes of Maine, who have tried for decades to persuade the state to let them open casinos are trying a new route. They have directly petitioned the legislature to operate casinos, according to Kirk Francis (l.), chief of the Penobscot Nation.

Evers Approves Wisconsin Casino

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (l.) approved the Ho-Chunk Nation’s proposed off-reservation casino in Beloit. Next, the Interior Department must issue a final determination on taking the land into trust.

Wild Horse Pass to Open Hotel Expansion

Arizona’s Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino plans to build a $143 million expansion that will include an 11-story, 205 room hotel tower. Also added will be a rooftop restaurant and 12,000 square feet of meeting space.

Navajo Gaming Enterprise to Reopen Two Casinos

The Navajo Nation will reopen two of four casinos on a preliminary basis to assess safety measures before openings its other two reservation casinos. Only residents of the sprawling three state reservation will be able to visit the Northern Edge (l.) and Fire Rock in New Mexico.


Intralot Trims Moroccan Lottery Term

Greek lottery and gaming supplier Intralot has cut short its contract with Morocco’s La Marocaine Des Jeux et des Sports, ending the term at the end of 2022 instead of 2028. Intralot cited Covid-19 concerns as a driver.


Blackjack Groundbreaker Baldwin Dies

Roger Baldwin (l.) and three Army buddies—the “Four Horsemen of Aberdeen”—were the first to use math to gain an edge over casinos in blackjack. Baldwin has died at the age of 91.

Ferguson Leaves Potawatomi, Joins Pamunkey

Rodney Ferguson (l.) has resigned as CEO and general manager of the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee to assist the Pamunkey Tribe develop its Norfolk, Virginia casino.

Longtime GLI Executive Bill Treger Dies

Well-regarded gaming executive Bill Treger passed away on March 16. He spent the bulk of his gaming career with GLI, operating the company’s business development.

Las Vegas Monorail Exec Joins LVCVA

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has hired Ingrid Reisman (l.) to head up marketing for her former employer, the Las Vegas Monorail. The LVCVA purchased the Las Vegas Strip rail line last year.

Scarlet Pearl Mississippi Adds VPs

Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort in D’Iberville, Mississippi has added three new vice presidents. Gretchen Holzhauser (l.) and Dennis Pearse were promoted from within. Karl Bulot is joining the team.

California’s Cache Creek Adds VP, CFO

Cache Creek Casino Resort in Northern California announced Friday that Stephen Bailey has been named vice president of information technology and Mark Pirruccello promoted to chief financial officer.


GeoComply Draws New Investors

GeoComply announced that Blackstone Growth and Atairos will each invest in the company, representing the geolocation service provider’s first institutional capital.

GameCo Announces New Financing

GameCo has announced a new round of financing to expand its skill-based gaming company from a hedge fund headed by SpringOwl Asset Management, run by gaming mainstay Jason Ader (l.), and iGaming supplier Playtech.

BetMGM Poker App Debuts in New Jersey, Michigan

BetMGM Poker has launched a mobile app in both New Jersey and Michigan. Mr-Gamble received an affiliate license in New Jersey where it will offer hundreds of gambling sites, similar to a clearinghouse.

Element, Allied Reach Deal Over WPT

Element Partners would purchase Allied Esports Entertainment’s poker business, including the World Poker Tour (WPT) under an agreement reach for an “increased takeover.” The offer was for $90.5 million up front.

Sportradar Acquires Synergy Sports

Sports data provider Sportradar announced March 22 that it will acquire Synergy Sports, which analyzes, distributes and commercializes sports content for sports leagues and federation.

Paysafe’s Skrill Expands Crypto Offering

Paysafe, a leading specialized payments platform, announced last week that that its Skrill digital wallet has expanded its cryptocurrency offering to the U.S. in partnership with Coinbase.





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