California Screaming

Sports betting in California is a hot potato with several interested parties attempting to legalize it. The 107 tribes of the state want to control it as they control all Class III gaming, but others have different ideas. Richard Schuetz offers some context to the battle.

Crown Resorts: Now It’s A Bidding War

A proposed merger of Star Entertainment and Crown Resorts would create a gaming Goliath in Australia. Star’s bid is one of several; the Blackstone Group and Oaktree Capital have made offers, and others may be in the offing.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Wynn Resorts to Spin Off WynnBET

Wynn Resorts plans to spin off its WynnBET mobile sports betting app and merge it into a new public company with the NHL Vegas Golden Knights owner William Foley (l.). The public company will land on the Nasdaq exchange.

Las Vegas Back to Full Capacity

Add another chapter to the coronavirus comeback story on the Las Vegas Strip. Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts, the market’s largest operators, Boyd Gaming, Station Casinos and several other casinos and companies have been OK’d to return to 100 percent occupancy on their gaming floors.

Jilted Wakayama Down to One IR Suitor

Proponents of an integrated resort in Wakayama, Japan (l.) say the region will need an integrated resort more than ever in the post-Covid economy. SunCity, one of two bidders for an IR license there, has withdrawn.

Brazilian Senate Returns to Casino Debate

Brazil’s Senate will once again take up the issue of stoking tourism by legalizing casinos. The hotel industry cites a “pent-up demand for leisure offers and casinos would have a big impact on that demand.”

NJ Lawmakers Want College Sports Betting

New Jersey lawmakers are seeking approval to remove the prohibition against betting on in state college sports, including Rutgers, the state university. The change requires a constitutional amendment.

Melco Cyprus Casinos Reopen

Melco Cyprus has announced that its Cyprus casino properties will reopen at 30 percent capacity on May 17. On June 1, the four C2 satellite casinos can increase visitation to 50 percent.

Bragg Gaming to Acquire Spin Games

Spin Games and Toronto-based B2B gaming supplier Bragg Gaming Group have entered into an agreement under which Bragg will acquire Reno-based Spin. Spin CEO Kent Young (l.) says the combination will allow the company to expand more quickly.


Philippine Casino Looks to Japan Junkets

PH Resorts, which is developing the Emerald Bay casino resort (l.) on Cebu Island in the Philippines, has signed a deal with a junket operator to draw high rollers from Japan.

Korean Casinos Saw 70 Percent Drop in Traffic in 2020

Gaming turnover at South Korean casinos toppled by an average of 64.5 percent in 2020, and foot traffic was down about 70 percent for the year. That includes Kangwon Land (l.), the only casino in Korea that serves locals.

Success Universe Purchases Bitcoin

Success Universe Group Ltd bought $1.3 million in Bitcoin as a way to diversify its investment portfolio. The company, which owns 49 percent of Ponte 16 casino in Macau, sees cryptocurrency as a viable investment.


Italian Casino May Reopen in September

Casino di Campione (l.), one of the oldest casinos in Italy, hopes to reopen in September. The resumption of business at the bankrupt gaming hall hangs on payment of past-due debts and trim costs.

Uruguay Casino Developer Asks for More Time

The developer of the proposed Cipriani Ocean Resort, Club Residences & Casino (l.) in Punta del Este, Uruguay is asking for more time to start the project. He claims Covid affected his mobilization of capital.

Codere Restructuring Deal Approved by Shareholders

Spanish-based Codere, a leader in the private gaming industry, will emerge from a restructuring deal with a holding company controlling 95 percent of its assets. This will allow the company to reopen its 45 casinos, including Casino Carrasco in Uruguay.


Apollo Makes New $4 Billion Bid for Tabcorp

Equity firm Apollo Global Management has upped its bid for the wagering and media business assets of Australia’s Tabcorp. Its current offer is AU$4 billion (US$3.09 billion).


Italian iGaming Resilient in Covid Year

The Italian iGaming market has proven it can take a punch and come back swinging. A ban on advertising and a tax hike on turnover didn’t inhibit growth in the market during the past year.

SciPlay Reports Gains

SciPlay, the social gaming arm of Scientific Games Corp., reported rises in revenue and net income, as the social gaming market has surged since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.

Spain: iGaming Revenues up 13.7 Percent

In 2020, the online gaming market in Spain it grew 13.7 percent over the year before, for more than $1 billion in revenues. According to BtoBet, sports betting accounted for 42.92 percent of the gross.

Netherlands Investigates Illegal iGaming Sites

Dutch gaming authority Kansspelautoriteit has begun cracking down on illegal online gaming websites. It wants to discourage illegal sites as the country prepares to open a regulated legal online market in October.


Louisiana Sports Betting Bills Move Forward

The Louisiana House (l.) has approved a bill establishing regulations and tax rates for sports betting. The Senate legislation would authorize 20 licenses to sportsbooks at the state’s 16 casinos, and four horseracing tracks.

Ohio Sports Betting Bill Allows 40 Licenses

The Ohio Senate’s new sports betting bill would award dozens of licenses for retail and mobile services. According to state Senator Niraj Antani (l.), “At the end of the day the people of Ohio wanted it.”

Tennessee Sports Betting Tops $18 Million in Tax Revenue

Since launching November 1, Tennessee sports betting handle topped $1 billion and generated $18.5 million in taxes for the state, says Rebecca Hargrove (l.), CEO of the lottery. Oversight will transfer from the state lottery to a new Sports Wagering Advisory Council.

U.K. Tracks Poised to Test Crowd Handling

The U.K. is testing how venues handle growing crowds as the coronavirus pandemic abates. But racetracks have been left out of the loop until now. Easing of restrictions May 17 should pave the way for a track program.

Irish Betting Shops Consider Self-Service

The coronavirus pandemic could trigger experiments with self-service betting shops in Ireland. Such operations would lower the costs of doing business. But workplace regulations may preclude that.

Sportsbooks Favor Local TV for Advertising

FanDuel and DraftKings together have ponied up more than $100 million for local TV ads in the first quarter of this year. Far less spend went for national ads and even less on radio ads.

Betfair Wins Day in Italian Court

To create a fund to help sports teams, Italy lawmakers tacked an additional tax against Betfair and other sportsbooks. Betfair filed a suit too challenge inclusion and calculation process. They won the latter.

Oakland A’s May Move to Las Vegas

Faced with a still undecided deal for a new stadium, Major League Baseball has given the Oakland A’s permission to explore moving to another city. Las Vegas is on the short list with Portland, Vancouver and Montreal.

Sportradar Buys Cricket Sports Data Firm

In the latest acquisition move, Sportradar bought InteractSport, an Australian-based company that deals with cricket sports data. Sportradar has added several other deals since the start of the New Year.


Texas Gaming Bills Hit Quicksand

Efforts to bring legal casinos and sports betting in Texas have run aground. Advocates are in it for the long haul, including Rep. John Kuempel (l.), who said there’s not enough time to pass legislation “this season.”

Alabama Gambling Bill Going Nowhere

The Alabama Senate passed an expanded gaming bill last month but it’s as good as dead. House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (l.) pulled the bill, claiming it didn’t have the votes.

Updates On Virginia Casinos

City council in Portsmouth, Virginia has delayed a vote on zoning changes for the Rivers Casino and Hotel (l.). A Richmond attorney may sue that city on behalf of Golden Nugget, which was eliminated from bidding.

Capacity Restrictions Lifted for New Jersey, PA Casinos

Atlantic City casino resorts (l.) will be permitted to return to 100 percent capacity on May 19, while Pennsylvania casinos return to full capacity on the May 31 Memorial Day holiday. Masks, however, will still be required.

Long Shutdown Nearly Over for LV Monorail

The Las Vegas Monorail (l.), the elevated people-mover, will be shuttling passengers behind the Las Vegas Strip in time for Memorial Day weekend. Riders will still have to wear their face masks.

Indiana Commissioners Respond to Spectacle Lawsuit

Responding to a lawsuit from the parent company of Hard Rock Casino Gary (l.), the Indiana Gaming Commission said its new integrity rules will meet public demands for “transparency concerning casino ownership.”

Mobile Keno Removed From Nebraska Casino Bill

Nebraska legislators removed from Legislative Bill 561 a provision allowing people to play keno on their cellphones. Governor Pete Ricketts said he wouldn’t sign the measure if the keno language wasn’t removed.

Bally’s Touts Year of Acquisitions

Bally’s Corp. has made quite the splash during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. In the first quarter alone, the company closed or purchased or leased a number of businesses aimed at upping their financial picture.

Century Casinos Positions for Growth

U.S.-based global operator Century Casinos is positioning itself for growth, though the pandemic kept its Canadian casinos closed for the first quarter, and it still hasn’t reopened its gaming halls in Poland.

Bay State Casinos Get Along Without Poker

The MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor in Massachusetts are awaiting word from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission that they can reopen poker rooms. But they need to have enough players.

MGM National Harbor Opens Gaming Terrace

MGM National Harbor recently opened an outdoor gaming terrace featuring 41 slot machines and several table games. Social distancing and other Covid-19 related rules still are in effect.

MGM REIT to Acquire Springfield Land

MGM Growth Properties has purchased the MGM Springfield (l.) property in Massachusetts for $400 million. MGM will rent the property from the REIT and operate the resort.

Caesars Palace to Reopen Bacchanal Buffet

Here’s one sign that life is returning to near-normal on the Las Vegas Strip. The famous Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace will reopen starting May 20. The buffet underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation during the closure.


Minnesota Tribes Battle Electronic Pull-Tabs

Minnesota tribes want stricter regulation of electronic pull-tab machines in bars. They support legislation that would change the definition of the games, but also could lead to revenue losses for bars and charities.

Other Tribal Casinos Watching Sycuan Unionization Effort

An attempt to unionize workers at Sycuan Resort & Casino (l.) in San Diego County has, at the least, attracted the attention of other Indian casinos. Sycuan is resisting the effort and hired a company famous for fighting unionization.

Red Rock Resorts Groundbreaking Pending

North Fork Rancheria expects to break ground in June on a $350 million casino near Madera, in Central California. The tribe is partnering with Las Vegas-based Red Rock Resorts to build the off-reservation project.

California Tribal Casino Pushed Back to 2032

A second Dry Creek Band of Pomo Indians casino in California won’t happen before 2031. Those are the terms of an updated agreement between the county and the tribe, which now runs the Red Rock Casino.

U.S. Tribal Rights in Canada Recognized

Canada’s Supreme Court has ruled that U.S. Indians with ancestral lands in Canada have rights to visit without regards to the international border. The case was brought by a man who crossed the border to hunt elk.


Gamenet Finishes Acquisition of Lottomatica

Gamenet Group in Italy has completed the acquisition of Lottomatica’s Scommesse, a sports betting operation, and Videolot Rete gaming machine. It bought them from IGT for €1.1 billion.


Crown Recruits Lendlease CEO McCann

Crown Resorts last week named Steve McCann (l.) as the company’s new CEO and managing director. McCann comes to the Australian casino operator from real estate investment group Lendlease.

FanDuel CEO Matt King Steps Down

For Flutter Entertainment, the timing could have been better. As the U.K. company prepared for an IPO, the CEO of its FanDuel subsidiary, Matt King (l.), announced his decision to retire.

Lo, Chua Join Suntrust Board

Suncity Group executive Andrew Lo (l.) and Summit Ascent CEO David Chua have joined the board of Suntrust Home Developers, which is developing a US$1 billion casino hotel in Manila.

Engaged Nation Names New Sales Director

Marketing firm Engaged Nation last week announced that it has added gaming industry professional Heather Lee Lommori (l.) as sales director. Lommori was previously with Everi Holdings in Las Vegas.


Everi Logs Record Q1 Earnings

Everi Holdings reported net income of $20.5 million on record first-quarter revenue of $139 million, reversing the loss recorded last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

IGT Q1 Earnings Crush Estimates

International Game Technology’s first-quarter earnings smashed Wall Street estimates with 25 percent revenue growth and EBITDA of $450 million, among the highest levels in company history.





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