In Las Vegas, the comeback is real. March visitation and gaming revenues were the best since the pandemic hit, and analyst Brent Pirosch told GGB News the city could be looking at “the strongest summer in a long time.”
CASINO-OLOGY: COVID Conscious
Do we really need to worry about Covid-19 transmission through playing cards and chips and other gaming surfaces? Let’s hear what the scientists say.
Big Data for Customer Retention, Protection
Collecting, assessing and analyzing mobile gaming data can boost sportsbook profitability, convert more bettors, keep existing customers in the fold, and also pinpoint problem gambling behavior.
Losing Las Vegas?
There are many things in Las Vegas that are gone but not forgotten. Those things were often signature elements of the Las Vegas experience. Veteran observer Ira David Sternberg has thoughts about how to replace them.
European Casinos Lose 20,000 Jobs to Covid
The Covid-19 pandemic has cost European casinos 20,000 jobs so far. About 70 percent of brick-and-mortar casinos remain closed. The shutdowns have caused revenues to plunge by a median 50 percent over the last 12 months. European Casino Association President Per Jalding (l.) calls it the “deepest trough” ever for the continent’s casinos.
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WEEKLY FEATURE: Florida’s Seminole Compact Could Face Challenge
No Casinos of Florida is already preparing a legal challenge to the newly signed Seminole gaming compact, being signed here by Governor Ron DeSantis and Seminole Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr.
Tao Group Buys Hakkasan Group
The two major nightclub companies became one last week when the Tao Group bought rival Hakkasan Group (Hakkasan at MGM Grand at left). The combined company will operate more than 60 venues worldwide.
Saipan Casino License Yanked
Casino operator Imperial Pacific International, promoter of the sole casino on the island of Saipan, has confirmed that its gaming license in the jurisdiction has been suspended. And CNMI Governor Ralph Torres (l.) wants the casino to cut ties to Chinese junket operators.
Crown Melbourne Fined AU$1 Million
In the latest sanction aimed at Australian casino giant Crown Resorts, its Melbourne Casino in Victoria has been fined AU$1 million. The casino also has been temporarily barred from working with junkets.
Irish Lawmakers Seek Changes in Gambling Regulations
Members of the Irish Parliament, including Senator Mary Seery Kearney (l.), have called for a change in the way gambling is regulated. They seek ad restrictions, more emphasis on problem gambling, control over online gaming and a national regulator.
Vegas Hits the Airwaves With New Tourism Campaign
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is running a new series of 30-second TV spots. “Vegas You,” as they’re styled, will be airing on network, cable and digital and social media outlets.
Connecticut Lottery Gets 15 Sports Betting Proposals
Fifteen proposals from potential sports betting operators have been made to the Connecticut Lottery Corp. The Lottery hopes to begin accepting sportsbook wagers by September—just in time for the NFL season.
VinGroup Opens US$2.8 Billion ‘Super-Tourism’ Complex in Vietnam
Vietnam developer VinGroup has officially launched its new US$2.8 billion resort in Phu Quoc. The “super-tourism entertainment complex” includes 12,000 hotel rooms plus a casino and other attractions.
MGM Will Pass on Chicago
In the quarterly earnings call last week, MGM Resorts President and CEO Bill Hornbuckle (l.) said the company would not be on bidding on the single Chicago casino because he finds the tax rate too high and the process too convoluted.
FANTINI’S FINANCE: Despite Bullish Reports, Stocks Take a Dip
First-quarter earnings calls were stupendous, but stocks didn’t skyrocket, at least not immediately. In the race to recovery, it could be a brief pause before the next sprint.
GLOBAL GAMING BUSINESS PODCAST: John Tahsuda, Principal, Navigators Global
This week, the GGB Podcast sits down with John Tahsuda, who has returned to Navigators Global after spending the last four years working for the Interior Department in the Trump administration.
ASIAN GAMING More
Singapore-Hong Kong Travel Bubble Finally Set to Launch
This month, Singapore’s casinos will be welcoming players from Hong Kong for the first time in more than a year. The reconnection will start slowly, however, with a single flight per day in both directions.
Philippines Warns Public of POGO Dangers
The Philippines Labor Department has warned job-seekers about illegal recruitment by Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators. Some POGOs have been known to kidnap errant employees and hold them for ransom.
EUROPEAN GAMING More
Scottish Bookies Reopen Shops After Four Months
Scotland sportsbooks reopened April 26 after four months of closure. Irish and Welsh bookies also reopened. The reopening come with restrictions on times and capacity as well as other steps taken to keep shops clean.
GLOBAL GAMING More
Former Sri Lanka PM Warns Against Port City ‘Black Money’
An economic zone being created for Chinese investors in the Sri Lanka city of Colombo could become a haven for “black money.” The warning was issued by former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe (l.) in a video address.
Russian Casino Delays Phase II
Summit Ascent Holdings, which operates the Tigre de Cristal integrated resort in Russia’s Primorye gaming zone, has announced it does not expect to open its Phase 2 expansion until 2023 due to Covid-19.
Dubai Denies Issuing Gaming Licenses
The government of Dubai media office has issued a denial of social media claims that the emirate has begun issuing gaming licenses. The United Arab Emirates largely ban gaming.
ONLINE GAMING More
BetMGM Says Company Second in Market Share
At the company’s Investor Day presentation, BetMGM painted a rosy picture of its position in the iGaming and online sports betting sphere. The company could be number two in market share in some locations.
Racing Blocked from N.Y.’s New Mobile Market
What’s the reason for keeping New York horse tracks out of the state’s mobile betting market? Racing already has a remote platform of its own. State racing officials aren’t happy about the exclusion.
Pennsylvania Adds More Online Poker Apps
BetMGM Poker and Borgata Poker joined PokerStars as online poker options in Pennsylvania. Both newcomers offer tournaments and a handful of games. But PokerStars has more options for the moment.
Stardust Casino Reborn Online
The name is a blast from the past. Its return is anything but. Stardust Casino is coming back to life not as a brick-and-mortar casino, but an online casino. Stardust takes bets under the auspices of Boyd Gaming.
In Michigan, iGaming, Helpline Calls Soar
Online gambling and sports betting have taken off in Michigan, generating $260 million in receipts from late January through March. But in February, the Michigan Problem Gambling Helpline reported a fivefold spike in calls.
Michigan Casino, Parx Partner In Online Casino
Gun Lake Casino and Parx Casino are partnering to offer the online gaming platform Play Gun Lake, available throughout Michigan. It offers online slots and table games. Live dealer tables and sports betting is next.
EGBA: Norway iGaming Hampered by State Monopoly
Norway’s two state-owned iGaming operators are losing out on much of the action because offshore providers have “better choices and prices,” says Maarten Haijer (l.) of the European Gaming and Betting Association.
Did Canada’s Atlantic Lotto Use Pandemic to Push iGaming?
As the pandemic worsened last year, Atlantic Lottery Corp. reportedly saw the chance to launch a lucrative online casino. It warned Atlantic governments not to wait until after Covid receded.
Japan’s Okada Manila Approved for Philippines Online Gaming
PAGCOR, the Philippines gaming regulator, has approved Tiger Resort, Leisure & Entertainment, Inc. to offer online gaming at Okada Manila casino resort. It is a subsidiary of Universal Entertainment Corp.
Belgium Cracks Down on Illegal Online Casinos
Belgium has begun a campaign against illegal gaming websites. Called “Always Play Legally,” it seeks to help players identify legal and illegal gaming sites. It will run until June 11, when soccer season begins.
U.K.-Based Super Group Moves into U.S. Gambling Market
Super Group, owner of Betway and Spin, merged with Sports Entertainment Acquisition Corp. in its latest push to get into the U.S. online gambling market. The company also acquired Digital Gaming Corp.
SPORTS BETTING More
Maryland Looks to Speedy Launch of Sports Betting
Maryland state Senator Craig Zucker (l.), who was behind the drive to legalize sports betting in the state, says the market could be up and running in time for the World Series and the Super Bowl.
Tennessee Lawmakers Seek to Strengthen Wagering Authority
The Tennessee Senate approved a bill to strengthen the authority of the Sports Wagering Advisory Committee. The push, as revenue nears a record in March, is a response to missteps by the Tennessee Education Lottery.
Washington Tribe Concludes Sports Betting Compact
Washington’s Tulalip Tribes and the state have completed negotiations for the tribe to offer sports betting at its Tulalip Resort and Quil Ceda Creek casinos. The pact could be a template for other gaming tribes in the state.
Canada Parliament Nears Legal Single-Sports Wagering
Canada’s House of Commons has moved closer to single-sports betting with the adoption of Bill C-218, which would amend the Criminal Code to permit the wagers. Now the bill moves to the Senate.
DraftKings Accused of Marketing to Excluded Gamblers
New Jersey fined DraftKings $10,000 for sending marketing materials to self-excluded gamblers. It wasn’t the first time either. The sportsbook giant promises to do better in the future. Or face more judgments.
Louisiana Lawmakers Address Sports Betting Details
A framework for sports betting passed by Louisiana voters in most parishes in November, is the subject of a bill sponsored by state Rep. Todd Stefanski (l.). It would OK 20 land-based licenses, each with two skins.
Entain Ups Offer for Tabcorp Division
In its bid to purchase the Wagering & Media arm of Australian gaming giant Tabcorp, Entain has increased its offer from $2.3 billion to $2.7 billion. Tabcorp will evaluate the bid before responding.
Flutter Gives Up Bond in Kentucky-PokerStars Spat
Flutter Entertainment lost the latest round in its battle with Kentucky over alleged illegal activity by PokerStars. The gaming company had to surrender a $100 million in bonds posted by a previous owner.
DraftKings, LeBatard Make a Deal
Onetime ESPN talker Dan LeBatard (l.) is moving to Meadowlark Media, where he will broadcast his program, “The Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz,” across multiple media platforms.
Report: Europe Tops in Suspicious Betting Alerts
In its first-quarter report, the Global Lottery Monitoring System said Europe had the most suspicious betting alerts, with 160 of 323. Asia came in a distant second. Of the European concerns, 94 related to football.
UNITED STATES GAMING More
Progress Continues On Virginia Casinos
Virginia casinos are moving forward. In Norfolk, new details have been released about a $500 million Pamunkey tribal venue (l.). In Bristol, the debate continues about a temporary casino. Richmond is still debating operators.
Louisiana Casino Referendum Resolution Fails
Tammany Parish council members voted against a referendum on a proposed casino in Slidell. Council Member-at-Large Glynn Pichon (l.) said, “I refuse to gamble with Slidell's future and our security.” But hope still remains for Peninsula Pacific.
Missouri Lawmaker Proposes Truck Stop Slots
Missouri would add truck stop slots under a bill from Missouri state Senator Denny Hoskins (l). But Missouri Gaming Commission Chairman Mike Leara says manpower is lacking.
Nebraska Legislature Poised to Pass Gaming Bill
Nebraska is very close to adopting a gaming bill that will include casinos, sports betting and keno. The bill was inspired by the approval of a statewide initiative by the voters to expand gaming in the state.
Illinois Restaurant to Be Temporary Hard Rock
The group bringing a Hard Rock Casino to Rockford, Illinois, will convert a local restaurant into a temporary gaming hall. The owner of the restaurant, called Giovanni’s (l.), applied for a casino supplier’s license but was declined.
Esports Poised to Return to Live Action
Casinos in California and Las Vegas are preparing to welcome back live esports tournaments. The competitions went online in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. But casinos will bring them back slowly.
Indiana Racino to Build New Barn, Dorm
One month after Caesars Entertainment broke ground on a $32 million expansion at the casino at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino in Shelbyville, it announced a $7 million investment in a new barn and dorm.
TRIBAL GAMING More
N.Y.’s Seneca Tribe Takes Rev-Share Battle to DOI
The Seneca Indian Nation has gone to the U.S. Interior Department in what is likely its last shot at overturning an arbitration ruling requiring the tribe to resume millions of dollars in casino payments to the state of New York.
Arizona Tribe Plans Major Gaming Development
Following successful gaming compact negotiations with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, the San Carlos Apache Reservation hopes to expand gaming, possibly with a new casino. The compact is good for 20 years.
California Tribe Breaks Ground on New Casino
California’s Tule River Reservation recently broke ground on the new Eagle Mountain Casino in Porterville. The project will have 1,759 slots, gaming tables and a 2,000-seat event center. A 2022 opening is planned.
Washington’s ilani Casino to Build Hotel
The Cowlitz tribe of Washington April 23 broke ground for a hotel adjacent to the $510 million ilani casino. The hotel will be part of the Cowlitz tribe’s development master plan.
Arizona Casinos Continue Reopening
Arizona’s Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort have begun their second phase of post-Covid reopening. The casinos are operated by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
Connecticut Lawmakers Mull Casino Smoking Ban
Connecticut legislators are considering requiring that the two Indian casinos permanently ban smoking. The problem, say tribal leaders, is that reservations are not bound by state law—they are sovereign.
Biden Names Newland Interior Assistant Secretary
Native American leaders are praising President Joe Biden’s nomination of former Bay Mills Indian Community Chairman Bryan Newland (l.) as assistant secretary of the Interior−Indian Affairs.
GLI Elevates Three to Director Positions
GLI has promoted three technology officers. Joe Carlon (l.) is now senior director of engineering for North America; John Owen is director of IT, EMEA, and Jesse Peterson is director of IT Security, North America.
Galgiani Appointed to California Gaming Commission
California Governor Gavin Newsom has appointed former state Senator Cathleen Galgiani to the Gambling Control Commission. Galgiani, and Newsom’s first commission appointment, Eric C. Heins, are both gay.
Ryan Pace Named Chair of Malta Gaming Authority
The government of Malta tapped an inexperienced lawyer to chair the Malta Gaming Authority. Ryan Pace, who was deputy chairman, succeeds scandal-plagued Heathcliff Farrugia. Critics say Pace has no experience.
Bassey to Depart IGT Board
International Game Technology has announced the imminent departure of board member Beatrice Bassey (l.). Her exit will reduce IGT’s board of directors to 10 members.
GOODS & SERVICES More
Colorado Casinos Successfully Block Lottery Expansion
Black Hawk (l.), Central City and Cripple Creek, Colorado’s gaming cities, have successfully lobbied to keep the state’s bars and restaurants from offering instant win drawings, like Keno. But the battle may not be over.
R.I. Speaker Seeks More Lottery Revenues
Rhode Island House Speaker Joe Shekarchi (l.) wants a more lucrative arrangement with IGT and Bally, providers that run the state’s lottery. “I’d like a better deal,” says the speaker.
Aristocrat, Las Vegas Aviators Team Up for Promotion
Aristocrat Gaming and the Las Vegas Aviators ball club are teaming up for an unusual promotion, with sound effects from the manufacturer’s Buffalo slot game sounding every time the team scores a run.
GAN Technology Now Powering RMG for Churchill Downs
AN Ltd., a full-service internet gaming SaaS provider to the gaming industry, has announced a successful multi-state transition onto its platform for Churchill Downs Inc.’s TwinSpires iGaming brand.
SuzoHapp Blames Price Spike on Covid Economy
Global gaming products supplier SuzoHapp Group has released a statement saying higher fuel costs and shipping charges caused by Covid-19 have caused a spike in some prices.
Zitro 88 Link Debuts at Florida Casino
Zitro’s award-winning 88 Link Wild Duels progressive multigame on the ultra-slim Allure cabinet has arrived at Calder Casino in Miami Gardens, Florida.
NEWS & NOTES
Small Nuggets of News
THEY SAID IT More
Outrageous pronouncements, simple statements and words of wisdom.