It’s First Friday and time again for the always entertaining column by Ira David. This month, he talks about the serious drought under way in the Southwest and how it’s impacting Lake Mead, but how Vegas can capitalize.
A Georgia-based charity known as Little Kings and Queens has come under fire after its director was jailed on illegal gambling charges. The charity put on gambling-themed fundraisers for children’s causes, but its tax filings have alerted officials that that might not have been the case after all.
Philippine gaming regulator PAGCOR recently received a commendation from outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte (l.). Duterte praised PAGCOR for its “contributions to nation-building” and its “Covid response efforts.” But another government entity chided PAGCOR for failing to collect more than $42 million in POGO revenue.
If sports betting is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, why are operators spending wildly to acquire a customer who may or may not be loyal to that operator? Bruce Merati explains why operators need to choose carefully and conduct due diligence before choosing a technology partner.
Macau legislators passed amended gaming laws on June 21, a precursor to the concession tender that will award up to six new 10-year casino licenses. The overhaul comes at a time of unique challenge for the gaming hub, which is enduring yet another lockdown because of an increase in Covid cases.
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A new report from Las Vegas research firm C3 Gaming said the way casinos managed restrictions during the Covid pandemic showed that banning smoking will not be a major blow to gaming revenues. Will Atlantic City buy in?
In North Carolina, a two-bill strategy didn’t work out for sports betting, as one bill passed and one was defeated, both by a single vote, in the House. According to Rep. Jason Saine (l.), however, hope is not gone. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians offers sports betting at its two North Carolina casinos.
The legal battle continues for control of the Okada Manila resort (l.) in the Philippine capital. The deposed board of its majority owner has frozen the company’s bank account to keep founder Kazuo Okada from taking over.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (l.) signed legislation including a 2-year moratorium on new casinos. That means a Cedar Rapids investor group’s proposed $250 million casino will have to wait until June 2024.
The UK Gambling Commission Chief Executive Andrew Rhode (l.) wants operators to take a more active role in protecting vulnerable consumers. It’s mandating that operators use “indicators of harm” to ID those at risk. The new mandates go into effect September 12.
Sports betting will become legal in Kansas on July 1. The Kansas Lottery and Kansas Racing Commission will oversee the new industry. The state’s four casinos can offer an on-site sportsbook and two digital platforms.
Pace-O-Matic makes games that look like slots but require skill to play—or at least that’s what they say. Courts in Pennsylvania have sided with the company. Still, casinos say skill games avoid both regulation and taxes, harming consumers and taxpayers.
Fearing a potential backlash in the October elections, Brazilian officials have announced they are postponing a vote on a gaming and sports betting bill. Legislative leaders have already agreed on the outlines of the bill, but they fear approving it until after the national elections.
G2E returns to Las Vegas this year amid record industry performance, and promises to bring some interesting new elements to gaming’s largest trade show and conference.
As we head into earnings season, it’s critical to consider both long and short-term trends in a market that can feel at times like fool’s gold. The short-term boom of Las Vegas may not last forever, whereas longer-term digital investments could pay off down the road.
This week, the GGB Podcast features a discussion with Darren Simmons, the executive vice president and fintech business leader for Everi, on the how cashless payments are transforming the gaming industry.
MGM Resorts International CFO Jonathan Halkyard (l.) says the company is confident it will win a license to operate an integrated resort in the country, and expects the government to award licenses this fall.
September 2 has been announced as the start date for the trial of former Suncity CEO Alvin Chau (l.). The Macau gaming magnate is accused of illegal promotion of gambling and money laundering.
Donaco International’s Star Vegas Club (l.), which sits along the border of Cambodia and Thailand, has officially restarted gaming operations after being closed for over two years due to the pandemic.
A financial backer may have come to the rescue of Imperial Pacific International. IPI needs millions to prevent its license to operate its casino (l.) in Saipan from being yanked by the Commonwealth Casino Commission. IPI says the backer is prepared to provide $150 million to settle all its debts.
Sands China’s Londoner resort (l.) in Macau, which opened in 2021, will be home to Macau’s first hybrid MICE broadcast space—the latest innovation to keep meetings going, despite the pandemic.
Sweden’s largest opposition party is calling for the dissolution of the lottery monopoly Svenska Spel. It urges that Svenska be sold to the private sector. The call was made in response to the governing party’s gaming reform bill submitted recently.
Kindred Group is abandoning the German GlüNeuRStv regime on online gaming. It criticizes the German market: “application procedures, license conditions, and the regulatory environment need to be transparent, sustainable, and financially viable for a market to be competitive.”
Financial Action Task Force, the watchdog that keeps a close eye on jurisdiction money laundering practices, and calls them on it when they don’t measure up, has added Gibraltar to its gray list. It also removed Malta from the list after it added an acceptable action plan.
BetBull is closing up its sports betting operations. It is telling customers to settle their bets and withdraw their funds before July 3 or they will be lost forever. It is also preventing new deposits.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has asked local internet providers to take action and block access to thepokies.net, a substantial iGaming site that takes in millions per month. iGaming is prohibited in the country, and over 500 sites have been blocked in the last 5 years.
Although Ontario, Canada, went public with online gaming and sports betting before other provinces, Atlantic Canada still beats it in the proportion of adults registered online to wager. The statistics come from a poll conducted by Ipsos of 2,000 Canadians.
Starting July 1, New South Wales point of consumption tax will be upped from 10 percent to 15 percent. The change will increase the tax burden of international operators, which is welcomed by domestic companies.
The British Columbia Lottery Corp. has been recognized for its efforts to foster diversity and inclusion. Last week, HR Director Canada said BCLC went “above and beyond” in fostering authentic inclusivity.
Evolution gaming has acquired Nolimit City for up to €340 million ($359 million). Nolimit City will become Evolution’s fourth slots brand. This moves forward the company’s strategy of being “the world’s number one provider of online casino games.”
BetMGM has inked an agreement with Sony Pictures Television and IGT to launch Wheel of Fortune Casino, set to become the first full brand-led online casino in North America.
BetMGM and PointsBet were the first in line to apply for Ohio sports betting licenses on June 15. The Ohio Casino Control Commission expects 3,000 total applications from casinos, racinos, stadiums and retail lottery locations.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (l.) is upset that the state legislature still hasn’t approved a mobile sports betting bill. He wants the bill signed by the opening of the NFL season in September.
Effective July 1, sports betting operators in Virginia will not be able to deduct free bets for players from pre-tax revenue. This loophole resulted in the loss of millions of tax revenue dollars since wagering launched in January 2021.
Pennsylvania-based Susquehanna Investment Group has invested $65 million in Australian sports betting operator PointsBet, in what amounts to an ownership stake of 12.76 percent. PointsBet will also partner with SIG-owned data firm Nellie Analytics.
The Arizona Diamondbacks and their fans have something new to cheer about: the Caesars Sportsbook in the Chase Field complex is open for bettors. Guy Fieri also contributed a restaurant inside the two-story sportsbook.
BetMGM has partnered with Carnival Corp. to bring sports betting to around 50 U.S. ships. Passengers can wager out at sea or in the port if it’s in a state with sports betting.
As Atlantic City culinary workers are threatening to strike, city council members are urging casinos to “raise wages and negotiate in good faith” to avert a walk-out prior to the year’s busiest weekend.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (l.) received the $40 million pledged by Bally’s, which will develop a $1.7 billion casino downtown. Bally’s also will pay the city $4 million annually, invest $75 million in infrastructure and generate $200 million in yearly tax revenue.
Billionaire Tilman Fertitta (l.) has officially closed on a deal to acquire a 6-plus acre plot on the Las Vegas Strip for $270 million. The transaction was first reported last month, although initial purchase price estimates were said to be around $200 million.
Churchill Downs closed on the $291 million sale of nearly 116 acres near its Calder Casino (l.) in Florida. Officials said CDI will use the sale proceeds toward purchasing Peninsula Pacific Gaming for $2.5 billion.
The underground transit system being developed in Las Vegas by Elon Musk’s Boring Company has received approval for expansion from Las Vegas city officials. The total length of the loop is now set at 34 miles.
Covid-19 restrictions have taught casinos like Wind Creek Bethlehem (l.) one thing: They can cut back on the number of slots without affecting the bottom line. The property will take out a net of 655 games.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the $260 million Queen of Terre Haute Casino Resort (l.) in Vigo County, Indiana. It’s expected to create 1,000 construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs, and be completed in 18 months.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida was approved to purchase land in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where observers said it wants to develop a casino (l.). Area residents fear community leaders are “seeing dollar signs.”
The Star Sydney has appointed two general managers in New South Wales. Christina Grasso (l.) has been promoted to GM of hotels, events and guest experience. Jason Alcock is the new food and beverage GM.
Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has appointed Chris Rynkiewicz as its new vice president and chief financial officer. Rynkiewicz has been with Borgata since its inception.
Jeff Stoneback (l.) is stepping down as director of trading for MGM Resorts after a 30-plus year career in the gaming industry. Lamarr Mitchell has been announced as his successor.
Longtime sports betting media executive Len Mead is the new general manager of The Sports Betting Network, or VSiN. Mead had recently served as head of content for PointsBet.
Jamul Casino has appointed Ram Patrachari as its new chief information officer. His remit is building a new technology system for the casino. He comes to the casino with 25 years of IT experience.
Dozens of casinos, including expansions and new properties, are threatened by a supply chain issue. The issue centers around chips that are vital to the manufacture of bill validators, which all modern slot machines have. The chips are held up in Asia by Covid lockdowns.
Based on the popularity of the high-denomination Dragon Link slot, Aristocrat debuted the Dollar Storm slot, offering a $1 million progressive jackpot, exclusively at Seminole Gaming’s Hollywood and Tampa, Florida casinos.
J Carcamo & Associates, a gaming-focused marketing firm, has expanded its Casino Marketing Boot Camp event series to the Pacific Northwest, with a new show scheduled for October 24-26, 2023, at Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort.
Small Nuggets of News
Outrageous pronouncements, simple statements and words of wisdom.