This week, the GGB Podcast sits down with Boris Hallerbach, the director of premium content for IGT on the 25th anniversary of the legendary Wheel of Fortune slots, which broke new ground in the slot business.
UNLV Report Warns Sportsbooks, Media to Promote Responsibly
A report from the International Gaming Institute of UNLV advises sports betting operators to act responsibly when it comes to advertising and promos—before some bureaucracy tells it to. An ad by FanDuel (left) shows there’s some work to do.
Eureka Casinos $1 Million Covid Prize: ‘You Win Some, You Learn Some’
As the pandemic eases and businesses reopen, Eureka Casinos is working to ensure the industry is prepared for the next unforeseen challenge. One way, said COO Andre Carrier (l.), is through a $1 million innovation prize.
Sports Betting Passes the Halfway Mark: Three Years, 27 States
Just three years after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ban on sports betting, the wagers are legal in 27 states and producing more than $21 billion in annual bets, most of it mobile. Where is this all going?
Urban One the Winner in Richmond
Urban One, a primarily black-owned business from Washington D.C., is the winner of the Richmond casino sweepstakes, according to Mayor Levar Stoney (l.). The casino will be run by Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, the owner of the Rosie’s slot emporiums in Virginia. A November referendum will now be held to approve the decision.
Featured Stories More
WEEKLY FEATURE: Florida Lawmakers Approve Seminole Compact
Florida lawmakers have approved a new 30-year gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe. It gives the tribe three new casinos, sports betting and additional table games in exchange for $2.5 billion over five years and billions more over the life of the pact.
IR Bidders Continue to Exit Japan
Japan was once hailed as the “Holy Grail” of gaming and the world’s next major market. Covid-19 has changed that. Cautious firms are no longer willing to spend billions to enter the market, and two more just withdrew, leaving only MGM Resorts and Melco Entertainment as major competitors for Japanese licenses.
Crown Resorts Rejects Blackstone Bid
Australian gaming giant Crown Resorts has refused the Blackstone Group’s AU$8.4 billion ($6.5 billion) bid for the company. But it’s still considering a merger proposed by Star Entertainment Group.
Athens Casino On Track to Open In 2025-26
The casino that Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment is building near the former Athens, Greece international airport will take about 36 months to complete. MGE CEO Ray Pineault made the prediction May 14.
Jackson Brothers Host Gary Hard Rock Opening
Marlon and Tito Jackson hosted the grand opening of the $300 million Hard Rock Northern Indiana Casino in their former hometown of Gary. The celebration featured Hard Rock’s traditional guitar-smashing.
Maryland Sports Betting Official
Legal sports betting became official in Maryland last week when Governor Larry Hogan (l.) signed HB 940 into law, with wagering expected to be live by September. Up to 60 licenses could be issued, more than any other state.
House Bill Would Allow Texas Tribes to Offer Gaming
The U.S. House has passed a bill that would let two Texas tribes offer more gaming. The legislation would affect the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe, which runs Naskila Gaming (l.), a bingo hall near Houston.
AGA: U.S. Casinos Roaring Back Post-Pandemic
U.S. casinos saw first-quarter gaming revenue top $11 billion, matching the industry’ highest-grossing quarter ever. The American Gaming Association’s Bill Miller (l.) says the Covid comeback is ahead of schedule.
GAN Buys Ainsworth Game Rights in U.S. iGaming Deal
Ainsworth and GAN last week announced a five-year multimillion-dollar partnership to supply current and future Ainsworth real money online games within North America. Ainsworth COO Ryan Comstock (l.) says it will broaden the reach of the company’s popular games.
FANTINI’S FINANCE: Blue Skies Falling
Look out! Gaming stocks of all kinds—operators, pure plays, brick-and-mortar/digital hybrids, technology providers, affiliates—are taking a tumble in the current deflationary climate. What’s an investor to do?
GLOBAL GAMING BUSINESS PODCAST: Andrew Pascal, President & CEO, PlayStudios
This week, the GGB Podcast sits down the Andrew Pascal, the president, CEO and co-founder of PlayStudios, on the growth of social gaming and how going public will grow his company.
ASIAN GAMING More
Report: Chinese Tourists Will Stay Close to Home Post-Pandemic
A new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit indicates Chinese tourists are likely to choose destinations closer to home than in the past in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Singapore-Hong Kong Flights Delayed Due to Covid-19
The “air-travel-bubble” flights between Hong Kong and Singapore will likely not be able to start up due to a rising number of Covid-19 cases in Singapore.
HKJC to Invest in China Horse Racing
The Hong Kong Jockey Club announced a HK$4 billion investment to develop horse racing in China, including construction of a new grandstand at Guangzhou’s Conghua track (l.).
Londoner Macao Almost Complete
In a sign of Macau’s ongoing economic recovery, the 370-suite Londoner Court at Sands China’s Londoner Macao will open gradually but be at 100 percent occupancy by Golden Week in October.
Bloomberry Boss: Vaccine Center Not in Solaire Plan
Bloomberry Resorts Chairman and CEO Enrique Razon Jr. (l.) says there’s no truth to speculation that he will appropriate a planned vaccine center in Parañaque City to expand his Solaire mega-resort.
EUROPEAN GAMING More
Ohio Senate Hears Sports Betting Testimony
The Ohio Senate is looking at a bill to legalize sports betting, with 20 Class A licenses for existing racetracks and casinos and 20 Class B licenses for brick-and-mortar facilities. Some senators prefer an open bidding process.
SD Commission OKs Deadwood Sports Wagering Rules
Casino in South Dakota’s Deadwood (l.) will be able to begin offering sports betting sometime after July 1, when the new law goes into effect. On May 18 the state Commission on Gaming approved regulations for sportsbook.
U.K. Politicians: Suspend Betting Ads During Tournament
U.K. lawmakers, problem gamblers and clinicians have appealed to broadcasters to suspend sports betting during the European Championship. They say the ads are too enticing for problem gamblers.
Dutch, U.K. Gaming Authorities to Cooperate
Kansspelautoriteit, the Netherlands gaming regulator and the U.K. Gambling Commission have reached a memorandum of understanding. They will work to “better support their respective supervisory tasks.”
GLOBAL GAMING More
Is Aquis Canberra Still in the Works?
Aquis Entertainment Chairman Tony Fung (l.) has confirmed he wants to resume talks with the Australian Capital Territory over the proposed AU$330 million redevelopment of Casino Canberra.
Former B.C. Gaming Minister Retracts Casino Comment
Rich Coleman (l.), who oversaw casinos in British Columbia for most of a decade has partially walked back comments made in 2011 about “something stinky” going on at BC casinos. Coleman says he went too far.
BIG’s Tinian Casino to Open in September
Bridge Investment Group will open its Tinian Ocean View Resort & Casino (l.) in the Western Pacific in September. According to Tinian Mayor Edwin P. Aldan, BIG has paid its licensing fees to build the casino.
ONLINE GAMING More
Retail Casino Growth in Atlantic City Doesn’t Hurt iGaming
April gaming statistics in New Jersey’s brick-and-mortar casinos showed a pandemic rebound. But the rebound hasn’t had a measurable impact on online gaming, which increased 35 percent over last April.
Golden Nugget Online Gaming Boasts Strong Quarter
Golden Nugget’s online gaming spinoff reported a strong first quarter, with revenues 54 percent higher than in 2020. Continued online gaming growth along with expansion and addition of other markets played a role.
LeoVegas to Enter U.S.
Swedish company LeoVegas will enter the U.S. iGaming market in New Jersey. The online casino and sports betting firm will partner with Caesars Entertainment for a launch in the first half of 2022.
SPORTS BETTING More
Missouri House Committee Considers Sports Betting Bills
The Missouri House Emerging Issues Committee is considering four sports betting bills, including one from Rep. Cody Smith (l.), which would only legalize retail wagering. The measures tax sports wagering revenue from 6 percent to 6.75 percent and allow both online and land-based betting.
Kalispel Tribe, Washington State Reach Sports Betting Deal
Washington’s Gambling Commission and the Kalispel Tribe have reached an agreement whereby the tribe may offering sports wagering at its Northern Quest Resort (l.). The hope is to accept wagers by fall.
Four Operators Vie for CT Sports Betting Partner
The Connecticut Lottery started out with 15 possible sportsbook operators and has narrowed that number down to four, according to board President Rob Simmelkjaer (l.). The lottery expects to announce its choice by June 10.
Massachusetts Senators Try Again on Sports Betting
State Senator Bruce Tarr (l.) is trying to slip in a sports betting bill into the Massachusetts state budget for FY 2022. The House did not include a sports betting element in the budget it adopted.
Ohio Sports Betting Bill Inches Forward
The latest change to the legislation permits casinos to submit an application for a retail sportsbook. Each licensee can have any number of sportsbook partners. The bill also permits non-gaming companies to have a license.
Nebraska Lawmakers Compromise on College Bets
As a compromise to get the legislation approved, Nebraska lawmakers will prohibit wagers on in-state colleges at home, but not for away games. The change should help get the bill passed.
Baffert Faces Suits Over Drug Test for Derby Horse
Bettors in Kentucky and California have filed suit against Hall of Fame horse trainer Bob Baffert (l.). His horse Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby but failed a post-race drug test, and bettors want compensation.
Lottery Dismisses Suspension of Tennessee Action 24/7
Tennessee’s only local sportsbook, Action 24/7, does not face suspension for suspected fraud. The Tennessee Lottery dismissed all charges involving clients of the sportsbook now that new controls are in place.
SIS Signs Deal to Broadcast Races at Hipódromo
Sports Information Services has signed an agreement to broadcast horse races from Hipódromo de las Americas racetrack (l.) in Mexico City, one of the most historic and popular tracks in Latin America.
PointsBet, WNBA Announce Sports Betting Partnership
Global sportsbook PointsBet and the Women’s National Basketball Association have announced a new partnership making PointsBet one of the WNBA’s authorized gaming operators.
Baltimore Ravens Name BetMGM as Gaming Partner
The Baltimore Ravens and BetMGM signed a multi-year agreement under which BetMGM will be the team’s first official gaming partner, featured on in-stadium signage and fan promotions.
Raiders Home Games Most Sought After Ticket
Of the 10 most in-demand NFL games this coming season, six involve the Las Vegas Raiders playing in Allegiant Stadium. Four of the Top 5 fall into the same category.
FanDuel to Open Facility in Atlanta
FanDuel will invest more than $15 million in an office in Atlanta, even though Georgia still has no legal sports betting. The venue will employ 900 to handle product development and technology operations.
Tennis Fails to Find Betting Audience
Tennis remains popular among tennis fans, less so for sports fans overall—and sports bettors. Blame the lack of superstars beyond Serena Williams, as well as long matches and concerns over match-fixing.
Genius Sports Partners with NBA’s Africa League
Genius Sports has added to its growing portfolio of data partnerships with the NBA’s Africa League. The deal will provide real-time data and new technology for the games in the inaugural season which just began.
UNITED STATES GAMING More
Vegas Is Back, Conventions & All
With the lifting of mandatory mask rules, a return to 100 percent hotel occupancy and the resumption of conventions at the city’s many meetings facilities, including the new addition to the Las Vegas Convention Center (l.), it’s starting to seem like old times in Las Vegas.
Louisiana House Passes Slidell Casino Measure
In a 63-28 vote, the Louisiana House passed a bill for a public referendum on a $250 million casino-hotel near Slidell in St. Tammany Parish. If the Senate approves the measure, the vote could be held in October.
Three Still Down, One Going Up for Station Casinos in Las Vegas
Station Casinos has asked North Las Vegas officials for a second yearlong suspension of non-restricted gaming and liquor licenses at Texas Station (l.) and Fiesta Rancho—a clear indication the properties will not reopen. Fiesta Henderson also remains closed, but the company will begin construction on the Durango Station in south Las Vegas.
Portsmouth Delays Vote on Rivers Casino
Although the city council of Portsmouth, Virginia, is supportive of the proposed $300 million Rivers Casino & Hotel (l.) it doesn’t want the rush things. Some council members May 11 voted to delay a vote on rezoning.
NY Gaming Commission: Casinos Owe $14.7 Million
Four casinos owe $14.7 million to the New York State Gaming Commission. So says the Comptroller’s Office, which says the commission failed to tap casinos for past-due amounts for several years.
Alabama Gaming Expansion Bill Dies
The Alabama House allowed an expanded gaming bill to die on the final day of the session. State Senator Jim McClendon (l.) was disappointed. “It was a lot of work, but so much for that this session,” he said.
Hospital Buys Shuttered Tahoe Casino
Barton Healthcare System has purchased the defunct Lakeside Inn & Casino, closed since the early days of the pandemic. It plans to replace the casino and expand its health services in South Lake Tahoe.
Nevada Workers, Union Demand to Rehire Requirement
In Nevada, laid-off hospitality workers are demanding that the state require casinos and hotels to rehire them and pay them pre-pandemic wages, rather than hire new employees for less.
Plaza Receives Nevada Preservation Foundation Award
The Plaza in Downtown Las Vegas became the first commercial venue to receive the Nevada Preservation Foundation honor in a ceremony awarding the NPF’s bronze plaque.
TRIBAL GAMING More
Eastern Band Forms New Leadership Group
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians said it expects the Indiana Gaming Commission to approve its new leadership group, EBCI Holdings LLC, as owners of the $250 million Caesars Southern Indiana (l.) in Elizabeth.
Intralot to Sell Stake in Brazil Lottery Operation
Intralot has agreed to sell its entire 80 percent stake in Intralot do Brasil, which runs the Brazilian lottery, to Saga Business & Gaming Intelligence SA.
Lithuanian Lottery Fined for AML Failures
Lithuanian regulators have fined lottery operator UAB New Miracle for failing to effectively prevent money laundering and terrorist funding between 2019 and 2020.
Gambling Research Center Seeks New Executive Director
The International Center for Responsible Gaming has announced it is searching for a new executive director. The current director, Russell Sanna (l.), will retire in June.
Williams to Lead Michigan Gaming Control Board
Henry Williams has been appointed executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Formerly he was deputy director of the agency’s Casino Operations division.
Scientific Games Names Ross to Head Asia Sales
Scientific Games has named Trevor Ross, formerly regional account manager for Asia for three years, as the company’s new sales director for Asia.
Sporting Group Names Andy Wright CEO
FDJ Group has named Andy Wright, a veteran of the sports gambling sector, as the new CEO of the Sporting Group, to succeed Simon Tri, who will continue as an adviser.
Pac-12 Picks MGM’s Kliavkoff as Commissioner
The NCAA’s Pacific-12 sports conference has named George Kliavkoff, president of entertainment and sports for MGM Resorts International, as the new conference commissioner.
GOODS & SERVICES More
Konami, Bet.Works Partner on Loyalty System
Konami Gaming and Bet.Works have launched a casino loyalty system that interlaces player sports betting activity with core casino management system for seamless, real-time patron interaction.
RG24seven Launches Responsible Gaming for Military
The RG24seven responsible gaming training platform announced, “Operation Responsible Gaming,” an effort to assist members of the military to gamble responsibly.
TCSJohnHuxley Chairman Addresses Post-Pandemic Business
In blog statements published on the company’s website, TCSJohnHuxley Executive Chairman Tristan Sjöberg (l.) addressed what he feels will be key to business post-pandemic.
Crucial Compliance Debuts BI Platform
Crucial Compliance is launching a business intelligence solution that allows casino operators to dispense with the need for expensive data teams.
TRADE SHOWS & CONFERENCES More
G2E Asia Moved Again
The leading gaming trade show on the Pacific Rim, G2E Asia, was delayed for the second time and now will be held in Macau’s Venetian in November.
IAGR, IMGL Announce September Conference Dates
The International Association of Gaming Regulators and International Masters Gaming Law will meet in Boston for their annual conference, September 12-17. This year’s show is entitled “Disrupting the Regulator.”
NEWS & NOTES
Small Nuggets of News
THEY SAID IT More
Outrageous pronouncements, simple statements and words of wisdom.