Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Casino News Daily
Non-Gambling Investment Will Be Welcome on Boracay, President Duterte Spokesperson Says

New tourism projects would be welcome on Boracay when it opens after its six-month environmental cleanup, except casino resorts, a spokesperson for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said in series of comments on the matter over the past few days.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque further told media during recent briefings that no private entities should challenge the President’s ban on developing casino gambling businesses on the popular tourist hub.

Boracay is undergoing an environmental rehabilitation after a review by environmental authorities found that multiple businesses discharged untreated water into the sea, thus polluting the surrounding environment and threatening the health of locals and visitors. It also became known that there were a number of illegal structures on the island, which President Duterte threatened to blow up.

Boracay was closed in late April and is expected to reopen for business on October 26. It has become clear from previous comments made by President Duterte and members of various government departments that the island might still look to attract international tourism. However, casino gambling would not be allowed, as repeatedly pointed out by the country’s top official.

The casino gambling comments have been made in relation to a recently announced project for the development of an integrated resort with a gaming floor. The project was introduced by Macau casino and hospitality operator Galaxy Entertainment Group and its local partner Leisure & Resorts World Corporation (LRWC). The two companies announced late last year that they planned to build a $550-million resort on the island.

They received a provisional license from PAGCOR, the Philippine gambling regulator, earlier this year and acquired a 23-hectare site where the property will be built. Commenting on Boracay’s closure and how this would affect their project, a LRWC official said over the weekend that the resort remained on track for 2021 opening, despite the island’s ongoing environment cleanup and the fact that no groundbreaking date has been decided on.

Casino Gambling a Vice

As mentioned above, President Duterte has been staunchly opposed to Galaxy and LRWC’s project and has reiterated his determination to stop that one as well as any other casino resort construction plan on the island from materialization.

The President’s spokesperson said in series of comments from the past few days that the official does not like casinos as they promote gambling, which is a vice and “contrary to good morals.”

The latest comments could mean that Boracay would still be open to business and international tourism after its cleanup is completed, despite previous statements made by President Duterte that the island could be subjected to an agricultural reform that would aim to return land to its residents.

The President has said that the government would have to decide how to determine who owns what portion of Boracay’s land and to make sure that the distribution of land would be fair.

The post Non-Gambling Investment Will Be Welcome on Boracay, President Duterte Spokesperson Says appeared first on Casino News Daily.

World Casino News
Caesars Entertainment Corporation casinos to debut sportsbooks

Caesars Entertainment Corporation is set to become the latest casino operator to expand its sportsbetting services in the United States after announcing that it intends to launch sportsbooks for its properties in New Jersey and Mississippi over the next few weeks. Launches to begin in New Jersey: Las Vegas-headquartered, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, used an official Monday press release […]
Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Caesars races to cash in on NJ, Mississippi sports betting market

Casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corp. (CEC) officially joined its rivals in the sports betting market derby, right on the heels of one Atlantic City casino that has started taking sports bets this week.

Caesars races to cash in on NJ, Mississippi sports betting marketBally’s Wild Wild West have started accepting sports bets on Monday morning, while its sister casino Harrah’s Resort will open its doors to punters on Wednesday, according to CEC. This makes the twin gambling facilities the third and fourth casinos to offer sports betting in Atlantic City.

Bally’s temporary sportsbook operation inside Wild Wild West reportedly has 30 leather chairs placed right in front of three large television screens and five smaller screens. Bally’s has converted its shuttered cashier windows to sports wagering windows. Harrah’s sports wagering space looks quite similar to Bally’s, although Harrah’s only has 28 leather chairs, six high-top tables and five screens for viewing.

CEC also plans to bring sports betting in Mississippi by mid-August through its casino properties, Horseshoe Tunica and Harrah’s Gulf Coast resorts.

The casino operator’s announcement came a day after its rival MGM declared it will create a $200 million sports betting and online gaming joint venture with UK-based GVC Holdings, one of the world’s largest bookmakers.

CEC has tapped gambling technology provider Scientific Games Corporation (Sci Games) to provide its OpenBet sportsbook platform in New Jersey and Mississippi. CEC President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Frissora described its partnership with Sci Games to be strategic since the casino operator also plans to roll out mobile sports betting throughout New Jersey and Mississippi.

Frissora pointed out that the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 allows CEC to expand its “sports betting digital and mobile offerings into new markets.”

One of the advantages that CEC have against its rivals in Atlantic City is its experience operating sportsbooks in Las Vegas, according to Frissora.

“We recognize that our customers expect exciting new experiences, which is why we will continue to offer new products through our mobile and digital platforms and inside our properties,” Frissora said in a statement.

The post Caesars races to cash in on NJ, Mississippi sports betting market appeared first on CalvinAyre.com.

World Casino News
First sports bets in Mississippi at two MGM Resorts properties Aug. 1

In Mississippi, the brand-new sports books at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi and Gold Strike Casino in Tunica will reportedly be where the first sports bets in the state will be placed at about noon on Wednesday, August 1. No other state in the South will have sports betting this season. According to […]

Monday, July 30, 2018

World Casino News
Choctaw Casino & Resort to host WPT

The World Poker Tour is back in Oklahoma in just a few days, as the Choctaw Casino & Resort will be hosting the WPT Choctaw event. Running from the 3rd to the 7th of August, the stop will mark the fourth year running that the WPT has traveled to Oklahoma for the main leg of […]
Bally’s, Harrah’s Launch Sportsbooks This Week In Atlantic City; Online To Follow Soon

NJ sports betting begins at Bally's and Harrah's in Atlantic City this week. Caesars is rolling out sports betting at its properties in New Jersey and Mississippi with online sports betting next up.

The post Bally’s, Harrah’s Launch Sportsbooks This Week In Atlantic City; Online To Follow Soon appeared first on .

Casino News Daily
Poker Buddies Antonio Esfandiari and Kevin Hart to Meet in the Boxing Ring

After some clashes at the poker table, poker pro Antonio Esfandiari and popular comedian turned avid poker player Kevin Hart are set to storm the boxing ring, Esfandiari himself told a TMZ Sports reporter over the weekend.

Delighted to be recognized by paps and asked about “some real juice”, Esfandiari said that he and Hart played poker the other day and “somehow boxing [came] up.” The two made a bet and agreed to step into the boxing ring to test their strength and will. The boxing match will take place “in March, around March,” Esfandiari told the TMZ reporter.

The poker pro refused to unveil how much money was on the line, but given both his and Hart’s estimated net worth, it should be expected that they have made quite a hefty bet.

Esfandiari further said that he is getting 35-1 odds in the upcoming bout, because his opponent is “in much better shape, he’s an athlete, he’s fast as hell”. However, at nearly 6 feet tall, the Magician, as Esfandiari is also known in the poker community, he has an important height/reach advantage. Hart stands at around 5’4″.

Esfandiari and Hart’s Careers

With three gold bracelets from the World Series of Poker and two WPT Main Tour titles, Esfandiari is one of the big stars of global poker. The player boasts live tournament earnings of over $27.6 million. That amount includes his first-place prize of $18,346,673 for taking down the 2012 $1,000,000 BIG One for ONE DROP and outlasting some of the world’s most seasoned pros, including heads-up opponent England’s Sam Trickett.

It is also interesting to note that he had been a professional magician before he started playing poker for a living, hence his nickname The Magician.

As for Kevin Hart, while he cannot boast with as many poker accomplishments as Esfandiari, he is one of the world’s most successful and praised comedians in the world. With estimated net worth of around $58 million, Hart ranks 39th in the Forbes 2018 Celebrity 100 Earnings list. His The Irresponsible Tour has been the biggest comedy tour so far this year with 1 million tickets sold, from which Hart grossed over $30 million.

Earlier this year, Hart became a brand ambassador for online poker room PokerStars, following his multiple appearances in different poker tournaments in 2017 and this year. The comedian and the globally popular poker brand said that they hope their partnership will change the face of poker.

Esfandiari and Hart excel in their respective fields, but it is to be seen who will emerge victorious in their upcoming boxing match. This will not be the first time poker players are clashing in the ring. Bouts have taken place between Bertrand Grospellier and Lex Veldhuis as well as between Brian Rast and Sorel Mizzi in the past few years.

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Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Galaxy’s $500M Boracay casino on track for 2021 opening

Not even the six-month closure of the idyllic, Philippine island holiday destination of Boracay has stopped Macau-based casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group (GEG) from proceeding with its $500 million integrated resort project.

GMA News Online reported that the controversial multi-million dollar casino resort in Boracay is on track for a 2021 opening despite recent reiterations from the Philippine government that the popular island getaway will remain casino-free.

Galaxy’s $500M Boracay casino on track for 2021 openingGEG’s local partner, Philippine-listed gambling operator Leisure and Resorts World Corp. (LRWC), pointed out that the six-month rehabilitation of Boracay has not affected its casino project in the island since they were able to finish what they needed to do prior to the closure of the island.

This included the purchase of 23-hectare lot in Barangay Manoc-Manoc, which was considered to be ‘alienable and disposable’ property, according to LRWC vice president for legal affairs Katrina Nepomuceno. Nepomuceno has not given a definite timeline for the actual construction of the brick-and-mortar facility in Boracay but she said that the original 2021 opening of the integrated resort is achievable.

“It is actually very helpful that the DENR is doing all of these the investigations, testing… We are actually getting feedback from the government about what’s in the island, identifying where the problematic areas are. It is actually helping us to build our plans. So hopefully when it reopens we can move along,” she told local reporters at the sidelines of the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting on Friday.

However, the LRWC executive’s statement quickly contradicted by Philippine Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, who insisted on Monday that President Rodrigo Duterte would never allow a casino to be built in Boracay. Roque warned that business firms shouldn’t test “the political will of the President on the issue of casinos in Boracay,” reminding both GEG and LRWC that the license that state regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) issued to them was only a provisional one.

“Noting that the provisional license is not a license itself. It is conditional, it is provisional. It is subject to the happening of conditions which will never be fulfilled because the President has said he will not allow it,” Roque said, according to The Manila Bulletin.

In March, PAGCOR approved the construction of GEG’s integrated resort on Boracay after granting the group a provisional gaming license. GEG announced that it planned to start the construction of its multi-million dollar casino resort by 2019 and expected to be completed in three years’ time.

If allowed to proceed, Galaxy’s casino project would supposedly generate $100 million in revenue annually for the company.

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Casino – CalvinAyre.com
US casino’s app allows real-money gambling from anywhere, but with a catch

A casino in Auburn, Washington, has taken an innovative approach to increase its customer base and bring the action to the client. The Muckleshoot Casino, in conjunction with Playport Gaming Systems, is launching a new app that allows gamblers to purchase US casino creates app to allow real-money gambling from anywhere, but there’s a catchgames and place bets with real money from anywhere. While it sounds like it would be an enticing and viable solution to virtually anyone, there is one catch that might make things a little complicated—to play or collect winnings, the gambler must conduct the transactions while physically at the casino.

The casino will offer real-money games such as Bingo and others that aren’t played against the house. There are already a number of similar apps out there, but this is the first that requires a gambler to be present at the casino to deposit or to cash out. It is certainly a little more than inconvenient; not many would want to fly to Washington state just to make a deposit or cash out $300 in winnings.

Playport already has similar operations in Mexico. This will be its first casino-integrated operation in the United States, and the company notes that the games will be available directly from Playport’s point-of-sale and loyalty platforms.

Muckleshoot Casino is owned and operated by the Muckleshoot Indian tribe. As such, it isn’t subject to state laws. This is a bonus win for the casino, since a number of companies in Washington are currently facing lawsuits over casino-style games. Those companies, while not offering real-money gambling, are said to be in violation of Washington gambling laws, said to be some of the tightest laws in the country.

The games to be offered by Muckleshoot are classified as “Class II” gambling activities under federal U.S. law. These activities are only regulated by federal and tribal authorities, not by the state, allowing Muckleshoot a greater amount of leeway in providing the games.

Playport uses proprietary technology to provide a real-money gambling solution for casinos and lottery retailers. Through strategic partnerships with a number of partners, the company now operates in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Playport has begun a push in the U.S., in particular with tribal casinos, and is a member of the National Indian Gaming Association.

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

World Casino News
Pachinko remains king for Japanese gamblers

In Japan, pachinko reportedly remains the most prevalent form of gambling with the amount spent by players enjoying the vertical pinball-like slot machines regularly topping approximately $200 billion every year. Revenues double earnings from automobile exports: According to a Thursday report from The Independent newspaper, the Japanese pachinko sector annually takes in about twice what […]
Casino News Daily
Ireland’s Revenue Declares War on Dublin’s Illegal Casinos

Ireland’s Revenue has issued enforcement letters to a number of illegally operating casino facilities across Dublin giving them 21 days to remove gambling machines from their premises, The Times reported earlier this week.

News about the government agency launching a crackdown against illegal operations arrived after an investigation by The Times showed that a number of Dublin-based arcades have used their licenses to operate gambling machines, thus breaching a 1988 citywide ban on the latter devices.

Under the long-standing prohibition, no licenses for gambling machines can be issued to facilities located within city limits. However, The Times reported last month that a number of arcade facilities are violating that ban and are using their arcade machine licenses to operate gambling machines.

According to Revenue definitions, arcade/amusement machines are games that gives players the chance to win no more than an opportunity to play again or a non-monetary prize the value of which is worth no more than €7. The Times found that the gambling machines at some of the arcade premises across Dublin offered players the opportunity to wager up to €2,500 on casino-style games such as video poker, roulette, and blackjack. Such premises now have 21 days to remove all gambling machines or face seizure of those.

Industry Responds to the Looming Crackdown

The Irish Amusement Trades Association (IATA), which represents both licensed and unlicensed arcades, has responded quickly to the pending crackdown, saying that it was considering legal actions against Revenue’s ruling. The association has long been lobbying for the ban on casino-style gambling in Dublin to be lifted.

IATA General Secretary John Roche has previously said that Ireland’s current gambling laws are archaic and are violating directives of the European Union in relation to the provision of gambling services across member states. Ireland’s gambling industry is regulated under the Gaming and Lotteries Act which took effect back in 1956.

Irish lawmakers have been working for years on a piece of legislation that would replace the obsolete regulations, but not much progress has been made so far.

A Revenue spokeswoman has told The Times than any operator of gambling machines without the necessary license or using an arcades license to operate gambling machines would have their machines seized and would be prosecuted. IATA maintains that they can face down the taxman in court and even win, citing recent European Court of Justice rulings, under which any laws restricting gambling to certain areas in a given country should be reviewed if they are applied properly.

According to a 2015 study by Gaming and Leisure Association Ireland the issuance of arcade licenses is cheaper than of gambling machine ones and by favoring the former, the country is thus losing revenue. The study also said that of all 7,559 arcade licenses issued, around 5,000 were actually used for gambling machines that offered cash prizes.

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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Casino News Daily
Boracay Casino Resort Still On Track to Open in 2021 Despite Ongoing Hurdles

A planned casino resort on Boracay is on track to be launched in 2021, despite the Philippine island’s closure for environmental rehabilitation, a representative of one of the companies behind the project told local media.

News emerged last December that Macau gaming and hospitality giant Galaxy Entertainment Group had partnered Philippine leisure and entertainment company Leisure and Resorts World Corp. (LRWC) to build together a $550-million integrated resort on the island of Boracay. It was announced earlier this year that Galaxy has received a provisional gaming license from the Philippine gambling regulator, PAGCOR, for the operation of a casino at the planned property.

At the same time, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the closure of the island for a six-month environmental cleanup, following a probe into the environmental state of the popular tourist hub. The probe found that local businesses were discharging untreated waste water into the sea and that there were multiple illegal buildings across the island. Boracay was closed on April 26.

Responding to news that Galaxy and its local partner were planning to build a casino on the island, President Duterte has repeatedly said that he would not allow that.

Despite the President’s vows to prevent the plan from materializing and the island’s closure, LRWC is confident that the resort is on track to open by 2021, as originally planned. The company’s Vice President for Legal Affairs Katrina Nepomuceno said Friday that the environmental cleanup is not delaying the project as they were able to finish what they had to finish before Boracay’s closure.

It became known earlier this year that Galaxy and its local partner have obtained a 23-hectare site in the Barangay Manoc-Manoc area. Ms. Nepomuceno said that a land survey has proven that the portion of land was alienable and disposable.

Working Closely with Environmental Regulators

The LRWC official further explained that they have been working closely with the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which is in charge of the ongoing rehabilitation process, as well as with other government agencies, and that they are getting updates on the process from the Boracay task force.

Ms. Nepomuceno also told media that they want to be sure their project is fully compliant with the government’s environmental requirements.

Asked when construction on the resort is expected to begin, the official said that they are yet to decide on the official start of the development process but that they believe the 2021 targeted opening is still achievable despite the island’s closure. Ms. Nepomuceno further pointed out that she is confident in the future materialization of their plan because President Duterte has said that he wants to keep Boracay popular with tourists and they are offering an opportunity for that to happen.

The LRWC official also said Friday that they are yet to receive confirmation from the Department of Agrarian Reform about a recently announced planned for Boracay to be placed under an agrarian reform that would aim to hand land across the island to its natives.

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World Casino News
Gamenet Group SpA purchasing rival GoldBet

Italian gaming operator Gamenet Group SpA has reportedly announced a deal that is to see it pay out approximately $310 million in order to purchase all of the capital in domestic rival GoldBet. Combined entity to be ‘clear leader’ in Italy: According to a report from iGamingRadio.com, Guglielmo Angelozzi, Chief Executive Officer for Rome-headquartered Gamenet […]
World Casino News
Reconsideration of Brockton, Mass casino on hold until September

A Thursday decision by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will see a request to reconsider its 2016 rejection of a proposed $700 million casino on the Brockton Fairgrounds (pictured) put on hold until September. According to Mass Live… Developer Mass Gaming & Entertainment petitioned the commission in June to revisit its application and to do so “without […]

Friday, July 27, 2018

Casino News Daily
Lotte Tour Extends South Korea Casino Footprint with Paradise Casino Jeju Lotte Purchase

South Korean tour operator and real estate developer Lotte Tour Development announced Friday that it is stepping further into its home country’s casino market with the acquisition of Paradise Casino Jeju Lotte.

The company is set to pay the total amount of KRW43.4 billion (approximately $38.8 million) for the gambling facility. Under a share purchase agreement with the casino’s current owner, Paradise Group, Lotte Tour will acquire 100% of the venue’s shares for KRW15 billion and will pay its debt which amounts to KRW28.4 billion.

Paradise Casino Jeju Lotte operates in the Lotte Hotel, which is part of the Joongmoon Resort Complex on South Korea’s Jeju Island. The gambling venue features 23 baccarat tables, 2 blackjack ones, a roulette table, and 24 slot machines.

Lotte Tour is currently developing a separate integrated resort with a gaming floor on the Jeju Island together with Chinese developers Greenland Group and China State Construction Engineering Corp. The property, named Jeju Dream Tower Integrated Resorts, is expected to open doors in October 2019.

Aside from a casino, the resort will also feature 1,600 hotel rooms operated by Grand Hyatt as well as a number of food and beverage facilities. Developers have previously said that their aim is to build the Jeju Island’s tallest and largest building with a total floor area of 303,737 square meters.

The Jeju Island, a popular tourist hub, has become a preferred location for even more developers to base their integrated resorts. Hong Kong-listed company Landing International Development has been opening in phases its Jeju Shinhwa World integrated resort with a casino and theme park on the island since last spring.

Visitors Numbers Dip for Third Consecutive Year

Although new resorts are springing and are expected to spring in South Korea in the next several years, official data shows that the number of foreign visitors to the country’s casinos dropped for a third straight year in 2017.

According to recently published statistics, the nation’s 16 operational foreigner-only casinos attracted 2.22 million visitors in 2017, down 6.2% from the previous year. The decrease was attributed to the fallout in the relations between China and South Korea over a missile defense system the latter country has deployed.

South Korea reached a visitor peak in 2014 when its casinos drew 2.96 million foreign patrons. However, visitor numbers have been dropping since then due to the severed relations with China. Last spring, the Chinese government banned the sale of package tours to South Korean destinations, which resulted in big withdrawal of Chinese tourists. Casino players from Mainland China have long been the biggest market for South Korean casinos.

Revenue from the country’s foreigner-only casinos amounted to $1.07 billion last year, down 2.9% year-on-year. In comparison, Kangwon Land, the company that runs the only casino in the country that admits Korean nationals, generated KRW1.52 trillion (approximately $1.3 billion) last year.

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Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Landing Int’l casino operations to start in March 2022 – PAGCOR

Hong Kong-listed casino operator Landing International Development Ltd. (LIDL) may have to wait five more years before it starts its casino operations in Manila.

Landing Int’l casino operations to start in March 2022 – PAGCORState-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) confirmed on Thursday that it recently granted LIDL a provisional license for the construction and operation of its $1.5 billion integrated resort in Manila.

However, PAGCOR said that LIDL may only start its casino operations by March 2022 due to a standing 5-year moratorium on new casinos in the state capital. The existing integrated resorts in Manila had requested a casino moratorium in 2017 to allow the market the space to mature.

There are about 18 casinos in Metro Manila, 3 of which are operated and owned by PAGCOR.

Entertainment City currently boasts three active resort casinos – Solaire Resort & Casino, City of Dreams Manila and Okada Manila – while Travellers International’s West Side City Resorts World is planning a 2020 launch.

“In the Manila area, we listened to our investors. They gave us a position paper to give breathing space for the market space to mature in the NCR (National Capital Region) so we listened,” PAGCOR chair Andrea Domingo explained.

In the meantime, PAGCOR told LIDL to “comply with all existing limitations and ensure the continuing validity of all the requirements” and to complete its proposed Nayong Pilipino Theme Park before the regulator issues “the authority to commence its casino operations.”

LIDL, which operates the Jeju Shinhwa World casino resort on South Korea’s Jeju island, has tied up with the Nayong Pilipino Foundation (“NPF”) and the Philippine Department of Tourism (“DOT”) for the development of the multi-billion dollar integrated resort.

According to its proposal, LIDL intends to develop a family-oriented resort, which consists of a casino, an indoor cultural theme park featuring the Philippines’ rich history, culture and heritage, an indoor waterpark, Asia’s first indoor movie-based theme park, a world-class state-of-the-art convention center, luxury hotels, and international retail and dining.

On Wednesday, LIDL chair Dr. Yang Zhihui thanked PAGCOR for granting the project a provisional license, which is valid for 15 years.

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Casino News Daily
Simon Lam Takes Down Inaugural WPT Gardens $5,000 Main Event

Simon Lam is the brand new member of WPT’s club of Main Tour Main Event champs. The player outlasted the 584-strong field of the inaugural edition of the WPT Gardens Poker Festival $5,000 Main Event for his first title from the popular poker series.

He collected a payout of $565,055 and a brand new 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC Roadster (valued at around $50,000). The player also secured a $15,000 ticket into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions.

The final day of the WPT Gardens Main Event was played on Thursday at the Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens, California. Lam came into that final day as the chip leader among a total of six survivors who comprised the official final table.

The first levels of the day saw poker pro Jake Schindler take the lead and extend the gap between him and his fellow contenders. Schindler then lost some of his momentum and what followed next was a fierce war for the chip lead between Men Nguyen and Lam. That war lasted hours and extended into three-handed play.

During that key and lengthy stage of the final table, the chip lead exchanged hands between Nguyen and Lam, and Schindler occasionally managed to double through his two remaining opponents to get ahead of them for a while. It was the elimination of Nguyen in third place that put an end to the mad three-handed race. The player collected $270,430 for his performance.

Heads-Up Duel

Lam was the chip leader at the time heads-up between him and Schindler kicked off. And the player never really lost his momentum, despite his opponent’s efforts to improve.

The two-handed match began with Lam holding 19.2 million in chips to Schindler’s 4.175 million. The two players battled it out for 11 hands until Hand #164 of the six-handed final table was dealt. It saw Lam raise to 600,000 pre-flop and Schindler call.

The [Js][7c][2c] landed on the flop. Schindler checked, while Lam bet 500,000 to see his opponent check-raise to 1.5 million. Lam spent the next 30 seconds thinking what to do next and eventually shoved. Schindler snap-called for his last 4.675 million, tabling [Jd][8d] for a pair of jacks. Lam turned [Jc][9s] for pocket jacks but with a higher kicker. Blank [3h] on the turn and [2d] on the river sealed it for Lam and sent Schindler to the rail. The tournament’s runner-up finisher collected $366,740.

Craig Varnell finished fourth in the WPT Gardens Main Event for $201,615. Saya Ono took home $151,995 for her fifth-place finish. Jared Griener went out in sixth place for $115,885.

The first ever WPT Gardens Main Event saw 584 entries who created a prize pool of $2,944,800. The top 73 finishers received a portion of the money.

The WPT is next heading to Choctaw Casino & Resort in Durant, Oklahoma for the second poker festival on its 2018/19 schedule. That festival’s Main Event take place on August 3-7. It features a $3,700 buy-in fee and a guaranteed prize pool of $1 million.

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Casino News Daily
Slovakia Submits New Gambling Law for EC Review

Slovakia submitted earlier this week a draft legislation that proposes major reforms to the country’s gambling industry for a review by the European Commission. Among other things, the piece aims to liberalize the country’s online gambling market and allow for international companies to operate in a regulated environment.

The Slovak Ministry of Finance submitted the draft Act on Gambling on July 25, 2018 for a review by the EC. This means that the legislation is now in a three-month standstill period during which it cannot take effect. The standstill period is due to end on October 26. During the next three months, European authorities will review the proposed reforms in the country’s gambling regulatory regime. If the EC does not provide comments on the legislative piece or an explicit rejection of its provisions, it will be able to take effect.

News that the Slovak government was planning to introduce certain changes in the way online gambling services have been provided in the country emerged in May when local lawmakers introduced the draft Act on Gambling.

Under the legislative piece, the national operator Tipos will keep its monopoly over the provision of online lottery, bingo, and raffle products. However, international operators will be able to apply for licenses to provide online casino games, poker included, to Slovak gambling customers. Licensed companies will be required to pay a 23% tax on their revenue from Slovakia.

The new legislative piece also reads that companies that target local customers without the necessary authorization from local regulators would be subject to penalties.

The Slovak government has said that with the planned revamp of the country’s gambling market, they aim to take “the technological progress and the findings of regulatory authorities in other European countries into account more fully”, while providing better protections for consumers of gambling services.

Other Proposed Reforms

The draft legislation also contains provisions concerning Slovakia’s land-based gaming industry. The legislative piece, if it takes effect, will enhance the scope of authority of Slovak municipalities in regulating the provision of gambling services. Local governments will thus be able to determine whether they want or not gambling services to be provided on their territories.

The proposed reforms in Slovakia’s land-based gambling field come in the wake of a Regional Court’s decision from last month that overturned a full ban on gambling in the capital Bratislava. Last spring, city officials adopted the ban, forcing gambling houses across the city to close doors within the next several years.

The Regional Court of Bratislava ruled early in June that the city’s decision to introduce such a ban and particularly the way it was introduced violated the law. The prohibition was adopted by city councilors at the second attempt after failing to gain enough support the first time when it was voted in February 2017.

The new Act on Gambling also proposes the establishment of an independent regulatory body that will oversee the nation’s gambling industry. The Regulatory Office for Gambling will be assigned the tasks to license and supervise regulated operations, and to sanction unregulated providers of gambling services.

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Casino – CalvinAyre.com
MGM wants a piece of Osaka

Now that the Japanese government has approved the country’s Integrated Resort Implementation Bill (IRIB), casino operators are going to start pushing and shoving, hoping to gain a better position against the their competition. While some companies may feel that a soft approach is best to improve its status, MGM Resorts International went directly for the throat.

MGM wants a piece of OsakaMGM Chairman and CEO James Murren, in a conversation with Japanese media this past Wednesday, said that the company can make a “full contribution” to Japan only if it is allowed to operate in a major urban area. Murren specifically said that MGM wants Osaka. In other words, if MGM can’t have Osaka, they don’t want to be in Japan.

Murren, who was in Osaka to participate in the Tenjin Festival, continued to target Osaka for the operations. He told the Sankei Shinbun news outlet that “Osaka is the top” and declared to a local TV station, “I think Osaka is the perfect place for an IR.”

According to Murren, Osaka has a number of benefits, especially with its infrastructure. He said, “Kansai International Airport and Kobe Airport are nearby, and the Shinkansen and local railway network is developing.” He also reiterated that the company is prepared to spend around $9 billion to build an IR in the country.

There is still no word on when the license bidding process will begin. However, many expect it to start, at the earliest, toward the end of next year or into 2020. There are still several fine points being worked out now that the bill has been approved before the licensing process gets underway. Once it does, there will still be a significant amount of time before casino action is seen, with most resorts requiring around five years to be built.

Casinos in Japan are expected to bring in a windfall of cash. Analysts have predicted that the gross gaming revenue could reach as much as $40 billion annually. Casinos, according to the IRIB language, will be on the hook for 30% in taxes to the government, providing a nice source of additional revenue to the country.

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Casino News Daily
Simon Lam Leads WPT Gardens Main Event Final Table

The WPT Gardens $5,000 Main Event final table was set early today after a long Day 4 of the tournament. Six players are set to return later today at the host venue, the Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens, Southern California, to play down to a champion.

The winner will take home a nice payout of $565,055, including a $15,000 seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions, and a brand new Mercedes-Benz SLC Roadster worth over $50,000.

Simon Lam is leading the final pack of six players after the fourth day of play. The overnight chip leader had accumulated a stack of 6.155 million by the end of Day 4 action to pack with a considerable advantage over his fellow contenders for the title. Popular poker pro Jake Schindler bagged the second largest stack, good for 4.45 million.

This will be Lam’s second WPT Main Tour Main Event final table. Back in 2016, the player finished 4th in the $3,500 buy-in WPT Borgata Poker Open Main Event, good for his best live tournament cash of $250,970. Overall, Lam has nearly $1.4 million in earnings from various live tournaments.

Day 4 Action

Day 4 of the WPT Gardens Main Event kicked off with 46 hopefuls still in contention. Saya Ono was leading the survivors. While the local player failed to keep her lead throughout the day, she managed to secure her spot at the official final table. She currently occupies the fifth spot in the temporary leaderboard with a stack of 3.445 million, good for 57 big blinds. In other words, even though she stands near the bottom of the chip counts chart, she is still running pretty deep.

The Day 4 hopefuls first played to the unofficial final table of nine. Men Nguyen was holding the largest chip stack when that stage of the game was reached with 3.635 million. The remaining nine survivors were then relocated to a single table. It took 98 hands of play for the official six-handed final table to be reached.

Nguyen maintained quite some momentum halfway through those 98 hands. However, to everyone’s surprise the player fell asleep at the table and spent more than 20 hands in that state. He eventually woke up, but Lam was already gaining momentum by that time and was eying the top of the leaderboard.

Despite his unexpected nap, Nguyen made it to the official final table with the third largest stack among the remaining survivors. The player will enter the final day of action with 3.935 million or 66 big blinds.

Aside from the chip leader, Lam, Schindler, Nguyen, and Ono, Jared Griener with 3.875 million and Craig Varnell with 1.955 million were the other two players to make it to the tournament’s official final table.

Six-handed action is slated to kick off today at 4 pm local time at the host venue. The hopefuls will play down to a champion. Each of them is guaranteed a minimum cash of $115,885.

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World Casino News
Provisional license for fifth Entertainment City integrated casino resort

Chinese real estate firm, Landing International Development Limited, has announced that one of its subsidiaries has been granted a provisional gaming license for the new integrated casino resort it is planning to build in the Philippines. Hong Kong-listed Landing International Development Limited revealed via an official filing (pdf) that its wholly-owned Landing Resorts Philippines Development Corporation […]
World Casino News
Integration sees Wazdan go live with EveryMatrix

In December 2017, major casino games producer, Wazdan, agreed a deal to integrate its award-winning content onto the EveryMatrix’s CasinoEngine platform. Per the agreement, the producer’s portfolio of innovative online slots, which players can enjoy on desktop, tablet and mobile, will now be made available to the UK-headquartered firm’s network of operators. According to the […]

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Saipan could see second casino

A report in the Marianas Variety newspaper has indicated that Saipan could potentially be a target for a second casino project following the mammoth-sized Imperial Palace. With a little bit of luck, and some prudent planning, the casino development will hopefully be a lot smoother than what has been seen with Imperial Pacific.

Saipan could see second casino (hopefully minus the Imperial Pacific drama)Yusho Oki of Japan-based Paraisu Corp., apparently met with Saipan Mayor David Apatang. Apatang said that the businessman was somewhat elusive on what his plans are, but added that he will be making a return visit in August to discuss the possibilities in more detail. Oki did specify, however, that he was considering a casino in Saipan and the neighboring island of Rota, about 46 miles north of Guam.

Apatang told the newspaper that Oki is also possibly interested in creating business relationships between the American territory and select cities in Japan. The idea is to boost tourism while highlighting cultural and student exchange programs. The mayor added, “That’s why it’s important to keep our island clean so visitors will keep on coming.”

If the offering is legitimate (a cursory search could not find any records of Paraisu Corp. in Japan) and a second casino comes to Saipan, developers need to be prepared to have the project in order. Imperial Palace construction has been fraught with numerous delays, lawsuits, bribe allegations and more. Although it was originally expected to open in August, the casino developer, Imperial Pacific International, has requested an extension that would possibly see the operations begin to open in December.

In order to try and make up for lost time, Imperial Pacific has proposed putting on a night crew to keep construction going virtually around the clock. It has also brought in additional personnel from the Philippines, 600 in total, to assist with the construction and to meet contractual employment requirements.

Once open, the Imperial Palace will be a true luxury integrated resort, providing more than 200 gaming tables, around 350 slot machines and a 14-story hotel. A beach and a night club are also planned, and the resort will offer a variety of gastronomical options, including Western and Asian upscale and casual restaurants.

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Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Landing Int’l wins provisional gaming license for Manila resort

landing-international-philippines-gaming-licenseLanding International Development Ltd (LIDL) says it has received provisional approval to build a $1.5b resort casino in the Philippines’ capital of Manila.

On Wednesday, LIDL briefly halted trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange pending a major announcement. Later, the company revealed that its subsidiary Landing Resorts Philippines Development Corporation had received a provisional license to establish and operate a casino within NayonLanding, the integrated resort it plans to build in Manila’s Entertainment City gaming zone.

LIDL says the provisional license agreement it has reached with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is valid for a 15-year term from the date issued or until July 11, 2033. Landing noted that the license doesn’t permit the resort to offer video streaming or internet gambling, unless PAGCOR declares otherwise.

LIDL has committed to spending at least $1b (and likely up to $1.5b) on its Entertainment City venue, which the company hopes to open by “early 2022.” The company has scheduled a groundbreaking ceremony on the development site on August 7.

The company cautioned that the project’s fate was contingent upon it receiving “other approvals” necessary to commence construction, “and these may or may not be granted.” Ordinarily, this is a boilerplate clause, but in LIDL’s case, nothing can be taken for granted.

Just last month, government auditors expressed concerns over the legality of the land lease deal LIDL had struck with its local partner, the Nayong Pilipino Foundation. The Philippine Commission on Audit expressed alarm at the favorable terms that LIDL had secured, which were far less steep than lease prices paid by other Entertainment City operators.

Should the project go forward, LIDL is promising a Filipino cultural theme park, an indoor waterpark, an indoor movie-based theme park, a convention center, luxury hotels, retail and dining areas, along with a 28k-square-meter gaming floor with a “sky casino” theme.

LIDL chairman Dr. Yang Zhihui (pictured) thanked PAGCOR “for their vote of confidence” in granting the provisional license, while pledging that the planned resort “will contribute positively” to the nation’s tourism sector – particularly via guests from South Korea – and create “significant job opportunities” both in the construction phase and afterward.

Entertainment City currently boasts three active resort casinos – Solaire Resort & Casino, City of Dreams Manila and Okada Manila – while Travellers International’s West Side City Resorts World is planning a 2020 launch.

The post Landing Int’l wins provisional gaming license for Manila resort appeared first on CalvinAyre.com.

Casino News Daily
Exclusive Interview with PlayOJO CEO Ohad Narkis on UK Gambling Industry’s Challenges

Ohad Narkis is the CEO of PlayOJO, an innovative online casino that launched last year and is aiming to challenge the big industry names. Having previously worked for some of the global gambling industry’s powerhouses, including PokerStars and Scientific Games, Mr. Narkis is now using his knowledge and experience in the field to build a brand that places fairness and transparency at its core.

The UK gambling space is one of the main markets PlayOJO has been targeting since it went live. What are the challenges facing a new operation in the highly competitive UK online gambling environment? How is PlayOJO handling competition? And how does it make sure that its is fully compliant with the wave of regulatory reforms in the UK gambling industry from the past several years? Mr. Narkis has provided answers to these and many other important questions and has offered our readers an insight into how PlayOJO believes customers should be treated and industry challenges should be approached.

Operating an online casino business in the current environment of extreme competition, rising costs, and growing regulatory pressure must be really hard. What are the biggest challenges a new casino comes across when it goes live?

I would say that the biggest challenge of all is to cut through the noise in the market. The UK market is extremely competitive, very fragmented and is dominated by several well-established brands, some of which are high-street brands that have been around for years. To break into this cluttered market takes a lot of effort, preparation and much thought about how to differentiate yourself and stand out in the 3 key levels – Product, Brand, and Value proposition.

Without these major considerations and a creative and cut-through marketing strategy, it would be hard for any new brand to launch into a market and build any kind of significant market share. The growing compliance and regulatory pressure makes things even more challenging for a new casino. As far as PlayOJO goes, we believe that as operators we have a responsibility to our players and this is why we decided to challenge the market on some of its core shortfalls relating to fairness and transparency. With our fairness implementation, we’ve created a win win situation for both our players as well as for our business.

In what ways does PlayOJO stand out from its competition?

We’ve established PlayOJO to challenge the perception of the market. The outdated way of how things were being done was creating friction with customers and a greater level of mistrust within the industry. In order to address this fundamental inherent issue, we wanted to create a brand that is very transparent and fair. This is why we created a completely new value proposition with PlayOJO; we scrapped all the traditional bonus systems and created a new platform where customers could interact with us and not have concerns about things like funds availability or bonus money.

We wanted to create a brand that looked and felt different to any other brand. The name itself is not even a traditional casino name as we wanted to steer clear of using words like “luck” or “spins” that scream casino. The same goes for the visual brand elements being gender neutral, warm and welcoming. We treat players as our friends and this comes across in our playful and fun tone of voice and the way that we communicate with them.

Your bonus rewards system is a bit different from what is usually offered at online casinos. Can you elaborate more on how you approach new customers and how you reward them?

Keeping our players loyal is of essence and that’s why we came up with features like OJOPlus – a money-back mechanism which gives players back a percentage of their wager every time they bet, whether they win or lose. Unlike other casinos, it’s not a promotional offer but an inherent part of our value proposition which is active 24/7 and of course paid in cash.

On the same note, we don’t believe in luring our players in with too-good-to-be-true match deposit bonuses. Instead, we reward them for actually playing, using our levels system and the OJO Wheel, which they can spin by reaching new levels or just as a surprise extra perk. At PlayOJO, all funds are available for customers to play or withdraw at any time and without any restrictions. We do not impose painful wagering requirements on our players and we set no max win limit – they are in control.

The UK is the largest regulated iGaming market, but it has become a bit of a challenge to operate there due to competition and regulatory pressure. What are your personal views about that market and its current state?

The UK market is becoming much more challenging to operate in, particularly because of the increased regulatory pressure, some of which is understandable and actually very positive. It took extra attention and enforcement from the Gambling Commission and the likes of CMA and CPA to pave the way for operators to be more upfront about how they operate.

There was much non-transparency in the market between customers and operators that became a problem. I believe that it’s very positive that regulators are now pushing for operators to clean up their acts and give customers more control over their money and their play. This is a fundamental and welcome change in the way that the industry operates and I anticipate that it will take some time for the industry to adapt.

The UK Government announced started taxing freeplays last summer. How has this affected your operations in the country?

To be honest, it didn’t have a significant impact on our operations because we only launched a few months before the change to taxation calculation took place so were able to plan for it from the outset. Because we’re less bonus-heavy, the introduction of tax on bonuses didn’t impact our bottom line in a significant way.

The UK Gambling Commission has slapped massive fines on a number of operators for compliance failures over the past year. How do you make sure that all aspects of your UK-facing business are compliant with the growing number of requirements?

Along with the entire industry, we have learned a lot from these high-profile cases of certain operators, some of which who were were charged with failings within crucial operational functions. In an environment where the Gaming Commission keeps raising the bar when it comes to Responsible Gaming, KYC and Customer Protection, we need to stay one step ahead of the game so that our players stay protected.

This last year we’ve seen a greater endorsement in operators being challenged to be more socially responsible. The significant fines that the Gambling Commission has imposed onto operators clearly shows that much more attention, time and resources need to be devoted into internal processes. These should include rigorous checks for customers’ sources of funds, AML prevention, preventing instances where self-excluded players are marketed to via 3rd party channels and very importantly, ensuring that players are not encouraged to play beyond their financial means.

We actually introduced several new safety measures that identity unusual playing patterns very early on in the player’s life-cycle. These involve a very efficient KYC process, including source of fund authorisation, play monitoring and in certain cases, a total suspension of play activities. This is something we have seen across the industry and it has impacted VIP players in particular. Our VIP player numbers have actually decreased over the last months which is simply due to these suggested measurements, but we feel that this is the only way for responsible operators to operate.

You have quite unique approach to responsible gambling. Can you tell us more about your focus in that area?

We’ve created an environment where players feel secure because there is nothing hidden in our terms and conditions and they have full control of their money, which is held in a single cash account. It’s about being socially responsible in terms of how we communicate with players and the fact that everything is upfront for them makes them feel protected.

All of our marketing is based around this idea – in fact our new marketing campaign is based around our fairness message. There is no other operator that has built an entire brand or campaign around being fair and with this initiative we hope to educate the industry as well as the customers by setting the “fairness bar” of how players should be treated in the industry. It’s a long-term goal that requires a great deal of resources, patience and stamina because changing perceptions in an industry that has been operating for many years with low-trust levels is not something that can be done overnight.

The matter of social responsibility goes beyond the UK for us. PlayOJO operates in a number of different markets and one of our fastest growing markets is in Sweden, where we launched at the beginning of 2018 with exactly the same propositions and “fair” brand promise.

Despite the fact the market there is still unregulated and the industry does not face the same pressures from regulators, our perception of how we believe the industry should operate remained intact. With the knowledge that the Swedish market will re-regulate at the beginning of 2019, we anticipate that the Swedish Gambling Authority will follow in the same footsteps as the UK Gambling Commission as far as getting operators to clean up their acts. Therefore, we see ourselves as the pioneers of a fair casino promise in Sweden, setting that “fairness bar” high as we have done in the UK and demonstrating how we believe operators should treat their customers, in a socially responsible and fair way.

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