Sunday, September 30, 2018

Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Goa’s floating casinos granted yet another stay of execution

goa-india-casinos-stay-executionFloating casinos in the Indian state of Goa have been granted yet another reprieve from their forced relocation, in what definitely qualifies as the day’s least surprising news.

On Saturday, Goa’s Public Works Minister Sudin Dhavalikar granted the state’s six floating casinos another six-month extension of their ability to operate on the Mandovi river. The announcement came just one day before the last six-month extension was set to expire.

For years now, Goa’s government has been promising to shift the shipboard casinos to a new waterway, but only as a temporary measure. The ultimate plan is to compel the casinos to permanently transfer their operations to a designated land-based gaming zone, possibly as part of an in-development airport near the state’s northern border.

The original plan was for Goa’s floating casinos to move ashore by 2020, but Goa’s Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar announced in early August that the transfer might not take place until 2022. Parrikar also promised to appoint a judicial commissioner who would be responsible for regulating casino activity as of this December.

Parrikar also said the new land-based licenses would be valid for a period of 10-15 years, and access to all of the state’s casinos would hereafter be restricted to out-of-state tourists.

While the water-to-land relocation will prove both disruptive and costly for operators, the long-term result will likely make up for the bother. Citing figures from similar casino relocations in the US state of Illinois, analysts have suggested shipboard casino operators could see their gross gaming revenue improve by as much as 25% once the legs of their gaming tables are firmly on dry land.

Goa already has a number of land-based gaming venues, most of which are located in tourist-friendly upscale hotels, but they are restricted to offering electronic gambling, i.e. no table games. All Goa casinos were hit with stiff hikes in their fees and taxes in the current fiscal year, which got underway on April 1.

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World Casino News
CEEG Awards Ceremony concludes; top operators earn accolades

The Ritz-Carlton Budapest recently played host to the 2018 CEEG Awards Ceremony, as part of the CEEGC Budapest. The award ceremony was scheduled for September 25th, set to reward several companies with top accolades for their efforts in the gambling industry. Each category had a shortlist of nominees, with two months set aside for voting, […]
Casino News Daily
Andrew Jacobs Leads after WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Southern Indiana Event #2 Flight B

Flight B of the second event on the schedule of the ongoing WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Southern Indiana live poker festival was completed last night. The second of two starting flights provided interested players with a final chance to register into the $400 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament.

As registration was closed, organizers were able to confirm the size of the event’s overall field as well as the prize pool and the places paid. As many as 763 entrants registered into the $400 No-Limit Hold’em Re-Entry. They generated a prize pool of $251,790. The top 81 finishers will leave with a cash from the event, with minimum payouts starting from $627. The champion will collect $50,359 and a WSOP Circuit gold ring.

And here is the place to mention that after Flights A and B, there are now as many as 93 players left in contention. Of them, 34 survived from Day 1A and the other 59 from Day 1B. The survivors from the two starting flights will combine together for the first time today when the final day on the tournament’s schedule is slated to be played.

Action resumes at 2 pm local time at Horseshoe Southern Indiana. The remaining hopefuls will have a long day ahead as they will have to first burst the money bubble, then to set the official final table, and finally to determine the champion.

Andrew Jacobs Emerges as Overall Chip Leader after Successful Day 1B

The remaining survivors will be led by Andrew Jacobs who bagged and tagged the largest stack after the end of Flight B. The player collected a total of 393,000 to top last night the Flight B and the overall chip counts chart, ending the reign of Day 1A chip leader Nicholas Pupillo (pictured). Pupillo now ranks second in the temporary leaderboard with a total of 389,500 in chips.

As it can be seen, Jacobs’ advantage is very tiny, and it is rather curious whether he will pull further ahead at the start of Day 2, or it will be Pupillo or another player from the 93 survivors who will assume the chip lead.

As mentioned earlier, action is scheduled to resume at 2 pm local time. It is also interesting to note that Pupillo is playing for his third WSOP Circuit gold ring. The player topped the field of a WSOP Circuit Main Event and of another tournament in previous seasons of the popular poker series to capture his first two pieces of gold.

Horseshoe Southern Indiana is playing host to the fifth WSOP Circuit stop of the 2018/2019 season. The ongoing live poker festival will run through October 8, when Day 3 of the $1,700 Main Event is to be played and the name of the Main Event champ is expected to become clear. The highlight tournament is slated to kick off on Friday, October 5 with the first of two starting flights.

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Casino News Daily
Nicholas Pupillo Eyes Third WSOP Gold Ring at Horseshoe Southern Indiana

Horseshoe Southern Indiana is the host casino of the latest WSOP Circuit stop on the series’ 2018/2019 calendar. Poker festivities at the gambling facility kicked off on September 27 with a single-day $400 No-Limit Hold’em, the field of which was topped by Corey Hodgeman for his first-ever WSOP Circuit cash of $15,873 and a gold ring.

The second gold ring tournament on the schedule started on Friday at the host venue. The $400 buy-in event began with the first of two starting flights and drew as many as 278 tournament entrants. The second starting flight is slated to be played today from 11 am. It will provide a last chance for interested players to join the event’s field.

The total amount of $91,740 was generated on Day 1A and it will be added to the money generated during the second starting flight of the tournament to comprise together the overall prize pool. And the prize pool itself as well as the places paid and how much the winner will collect will be announced upon the beginning of Day 2 on Sunday.

Of the 278 participants who registered for the tournament on Day 1A, there were just 34 players left at the time organizers called it a day on Friday at Horseshoe Southern Indiana.

The Day 1A Chip Leader

The remaining 34 survivors will have a day off today, while the second starting flight is being played. They will resume play on Sunday when the fields of Day 1A and Day 1B will combine for the very first time to play down to a champion.

Nicholas Pupillo finished off Day 1A as the chip leader. The player bagged and tagged 389,500 in chips last night to top the temporary chip counts chart after a particularly good run throughout the day. Charles Dawson with 245,500 and Kendall Staggs with 229,000 were the other two players to make it top three of the Day 1A leaderboard.

It is interesting to note that Pupillo is eyeing his WSOP Circuit gold ring number three. He won his first piece from the series in 2015 when he bested the field of a $580 No-Limit Hold’em event. He also collected a cash prize of $15,600 for his triumph back then. Gold ring number two arrived last fall when he emerged victorious in the $1,675 Main Event at Thunder Valley Casino. His victory also secured him with a payout of $170,286.

Over the course of his career, Pupillo has cashed in 36 WSOP Circuit tournaments and seven WSOP ones and has collected cash prizes of more than $512,083 from the two major poker series. It is to be seen whether the player will manage to score his third WSOP Circuit victory.

Action at the host casino resumes at 11 am local time and Day 2 action will kick off on Sunday at 2 pm at Horseshoe Southern Indiana.

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World Casino News
Online Casino Innovator 2018 award for Wazdan

Online casino games and solutions developer Wazdan has announced that it was awarded with the Online Casino Innovator 2018 accolade during the Central and Eastern European Gaming Conference (CEEGC) on Tuesday. Talent affirmation: Licensed by regulators in Malta and the United Kingdom, Wazdan used an official Thursday press release to declare that the award has strengthened […]
Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Melco’s temporary Cyprus casino ‘exceeding expectations’

melco-cyprus-casinos-visitationMelco International Development’s temporary Cyprus casino has more than achieved the company’s visitation goals in its first three months of operation.

This week, Melco International’s Cyprus Casinos (C2) venue announced that its new Limassol gaming venue had welcomed over 175k individual guests since its soft-launch on June 28. The property held its official grand opening ceremonies this week.

The Limassol venue has apparently made up ground since its soft launch, as C2 president Craig Ballantyne originally said the property’s visitation had been “below expectations,”. The underwhelming birth was blamed in part on what Ballantyne claimed were unfair advantages offered by small-scale casinos in the Turkish-controlled northern half of Cyprus.

But C2 weathered the storm and said this week it had signed up 13k customers to the property’s loyalty program, “thus achieving the goals set by Melco Group,” according to an official statement from the company. Ballantyne added that C2’s first three months of operation “were successful and the results exceeded our expectations.”

Cypriot Minister of Finance Harris Georgiades and Limsassol’s Mayor Nicos Nicolaides were on hand for C2’s official grand opening, and each talked up the financial boost Melco’s gaming operations will give the local economy.

The Limassol venue is a temporary stand-in for Melco’s in-development €550m City of Dreams Mediterranean integrated resort, which won’t open its doors for another three years. After it opens, the Limassol venue will close its doors forever, and its staff will migrate to the larger resort.

Under the sole casino license Cyprus issued in 2016, Melco is also permitted to open four smaller ‘satellite’ venues, only one of which will be authorized to offer table gaming, while the others will each be restricted to a maximum of 50 electronic gaming machines. Three of these venues will launch later this year, while the fourth will open in Ayia Napa late next year.

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Casino News Daily
Two West Virginia Casinos Delay Sports Betting Launch

The launch of sports betting operations at two West Virginia casinos has been delayed, local news outlet the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported citing information from the West Virginia Lottery.

Lottery spokesperson Randy Burnside told the media outlet earlier this week that sportsbooks were expected to be opened at Mardi Gras Casino in Nitro and Wheeling Island Casino in Wheeling by the end of the month. However, Delaware North, the owner of the two gambling venues, had informed the state gambling watchdog that it would delay the opening of sports betting facilities at the two properties. The company had not specified why the launch would be delayed.

Mr. Burnside further pointed out that the Lottery is waiting to hear from Delaware North to schedule testing of the sports betting operations in October.

West Virginia became the fourth state to launch sports betting after the mid-May ruling of the US Supreme Court that authorized individual states to legalize wagering on professional and college sporting events, if they feel inclined to do so. Legal sports betting services went live in West Virginia in the end of August and Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races was the first local property to jump on the betting bandwagon.

The sportsbook at the casino is operated by British bookmaker William Hill. The Greenbrier is the only other property currently offering sports betting within West Virginia borders. It cut the ribbon of its FanDuel-run sportsbook on September 14.

Sports Betting Market Looks Healthy during First Few Weeks

According to information from the West Virginia Lottery, the state’s two sportsbooks have handled nearly $3.4 million in wagers since the Hollywood Casino facility opened doors. Sports betting handle at the property totaled a little over $450,000 during its first week of operation and a little over $1.1 million during its second week. Together with the FanDuel Sportsbook at The Greenbrier, sports betting handle amounted to more than $1.8 million during week three.

Handle figures are expected to improve even further in the coming weeks as the state’s sportsbooks are to go live with digital/mobile betting. Eric Zimny, Vice President of Racing and Sports Operations at Hollywood Casino, said during a recent ICE Sports Betting USA webinar that they will likely launch their mobile betting app in the coming weeks. The casino official pointed out that he still did not have a firm date and that the launch will not take place next week, but it will not take place in three or four months from now, as well.

It is still unknown when a FanDuel-powered mobile app will go live at The Greenbrier, but said app is anticipated to boost betting operations at the property significantly.

It now (and for now) seems that West Virginia has a healthy nascent betting market. And betting activity in the state is only poised to grow with the launch of mobile betting and the anticipated opening of two more sportsbook.

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Friday, September 28, 2018

Casino News Daily
Who Is the 2018 Asia Player of the Year?

The Asia Player of the Year has been awarded each year since 2009. The Asian poker player to excel in the PokerStars Asia Circuit throughout the year is named as Player of the Year to enjoy the accolades accompanying that title. And each Asia Player of the Year has their name engraved on the one and only APOY trophy that is located at the PokerStars LIVE Macau poker room at City of Dreams Macau.

The best Asian player of the year is determined by the APOY Leaderboard, which takes into consideration players’ performance in PokerStars-sponsored tournaments that take place on Asian soil throughout the year. By players’ performance we mean how a given player finishes in one tournament or another, how much entries that event has, and what buy-in fee it features. Players receive points for each of these three factors and the more points they collect, the higher they climb in the APOY Leaderboard.

This year’s leaderboard included PokerStars-branded live tournaments that took place in the period between November 27, 2017 and August 12, 2018. Aside from having their name engraved on the special trophy, this year’s winner will also be awarded the amount of $20,000.

The Philippines Celebrates Its First Asia Player of the Year

Philippine poker pro Mike Takayama topped this year’s APOY Leaderboard with a total of 10,230 points. The player has had a killer year so far, cashing in 30 different live tournaments. In addition, he cashed in a large number of the official Asia Player of the Year Events throughout the season.

At the age of 29, Takayama has become his homeland’s first Asia Player of the Year since the ranking was first established in 2009. And with 10,230 points collected over the span of the 2017/2018 season, he is well ahead of the player who occupies the leaderboard’s runner-up spot. Alexis Lim is the player to rank second with 5,931 points.

Most prominently, Takayama won the PokerStars LIVE Manila Super Series 5 PHP10,000 Main Event for a cash prize of PHP931,800 (approx. $17,875) and a Platinum Pass for the upcoming 2019 PCA Poker Players Championship. He topped the tournament’s field in February, this year.

In May, he finished third in the PokerStars LIVE Manila Super Series 7 PHP10,000 Main Event to collect the amount of PHP525,000 and more points for his APOY score.

Overall, Takayama is his home country’s third most profitable player in terms of live tournament earnings generated. His winnings currently amount to a little under $1 million. The poker professional scored his career’s largest cash of nearly $198,568 this summer during the 2018 edition of the World Series of Poker. The player bested the $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em Super Turbo Bounty and his triumph also secured him with his first-ever gold bracelet from the series.

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World Casino News
The Atlantic Cub Casino Hotel sale falls through

In New Jersey, the deal that was to have seen Stockton University purchase the 20-acre site that was once home to The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel has reportedly fallen through with no desired purchase price ever being revealed. Discussions prove unsuccessful: According to a Thursday report from the Associated Press news service published by The […]
Casino – CalvinAyre.com
A casino strip in Manila? If PAGCOR has its way

Andrea Domingo, the chairman and CEO of state regulator Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corporation (PAGCOR), is envisioning more casinos operating in the Entertainment City complex in Metro Manila, according to Inside Asian Gaming.

Manila casino strip? If PAGCOR has its waySuch a plan might take a while, as PAGCOR itself placed a five-year moratorium on new gaming licenses for Manila-based casinos back in March 2017, upon the request of existing operators in the area.

Moreover, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the agency last August to stop issuing new casino licenses, with no timeframe given for when applications will once more be accepted.

“I really think there should be a critical mass in Entertainment City making the area more contiguous and each IR [integrated resort] more accessible. I really believe that,” Domingo told the news outlet.

She said she would have liked to see such a “critical mass” materialize, “but the four original IRs there are very adamant… They’re opposed to a fifth operator and they’re asking for the moratorium of five years for the industry to mature.”

Domingo noted that the five-year moratorium came around the time that Duterte is scheduled to step down from office, in 2022. Although admitting that land in Entertainment City was “very limited,” she said, “There’s new land in nearby areas and if the President, or the next President, will lift the [suspension on casino licenses]… But I cannot foretell what will happen.”

Another casino operator, Landing International, was set to begin building its casino resort in the same area as that of Melco Philippines’ City of Dreams Manila, Tiger Resort’s Okada Manila and Bloomberry Resorts’ Solaire Resort & Casino, but Landing’s lease contract with state corporation Nayong Pilipino Foundation was questioned by the Philippine Commission on Audit, which estimated foregone state revenue of PHP26 billion ($481 million) in relation to the property’s actual market value. The Philippine Justice department would later call for termination of the lease agreement.

Another local operator, Travellers International, which operates Resorts World Manila, is currently planning the building of a casino resort to be located in Entertainment City within a few years.

Inside Asian Gaming recently reported Domingo also saying that PAGCOR would continue to operate 17 casinos that the Department of Finance had earlier scheduled to be sold within the year. Domingo explained that the casinos were “still profitable” and that all proceeds went directly to the national government, unlike with a private operator that would be taxed one-fifth of its revenue. She also claimed that the lands in which the casinos were located were leased and not owned, making such a sale uncertain.

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Silver Heritage wraps up shares offering

Silver Heritage Group has wrapped up the retail component of its shares offering. The event was anything but the huge success the company had anticipated, bringing in only about a quarter of the revenue it had hoped to garner. The casino operator had been looking for US$4.03 million, but only collected $1.05 million.

Silver Heritage wraps up shares offeringThe company announced the results to the Australian Securities Exchange this past Wednesday. It indicated that it had received applications from qualified shareholders to sell 73.2 million shares and that another 8.9 million shares were offered through the Top-Up Facility, bringing in an additional $129,731.

The good news is that Silver Heritage has been able to raise almost all of the capital it had hoped to collect. Because the share offering was underwritten in its entirety, 177.6 additional shares have been allocated to the underwriter, bringing the total amount collected to $3.74 million.

The offering follows an institutional share offering presented by the company earlier this month. That offering attracted $5.4 million, which is to be spent on the company’s Tiger Palace Resort Bhairahawa in Nepal.

Silver Heritage has had somewhat of a rough month. It has suspended trading twice on the ASE due to increased first-half losses and announced that it was working on a plan to raise capital. The company reported losses of $9.9 million for the first half of the year, an increase of 182% over the same period in 2017.

Those two suspensions aren’t the only ones in the company’s history. In February of last year, it had to halt trading after a “shortage of liquidity in the Nepal banking system” resulted in delays to the opening of the Tiger Palace.

The casino operator is still clamoring to get back to black. It is launching several casino projects, including a second casino in Nepal. That project gave the company some hope of a brighter future after it finally received approval to purchase the land rights for the operation, which will be located in Jhapa.

Since opening at the end of last year, Tiger Palace has only been treading water. If Silver Heritage expects to see a drastic turnaround, it would be a good idea to re-evaluate its current model and future business plans.

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Casino – CalvinAyre.com
North Korea denies running casino out of Moscow embassy

North Korea is denying media reports that it was hosting an illegal casino in its embassy in Moscow.

Earlier this month, Russia media reported on a series of raids on 15 underground gambling dens in the Moscow region. Russian investigators believe the illegal operation had been around since May 2016, generating profits of hundreds of millions of rubles each month.

These illegal operations were reportedly connected to licensed sports betting operator Panorama, which operates the GreenBet, UnionBet and Winline brands. Over 100 individuals were arrested, including Anton Bazhanov, a reputed high-ranking member of the local “criminal community.” Kommersant reported that Bazhanov offered to put up RUB10m (US$153k) bail but was ordered held in custody for two months while his case progresses.

On Wednesday, the Tass news agency quoted a law enforcement source saying that one of the underground casinos was located “on the premises of the North Korean embassy” and that it catered to a VIP clientele of diplomats and lawyers.

Komsomolskaya Pravda quoted other law enforcement sources saying they’d been denied access to the premises by embassy staff who cited sovereign territory rights. Following these reports, a North Korean spokesperson denied the allegations, telling Tass: “We know nothing about this.”

Russia banned casinos from Moscow and all other major population centers in 2009, restricting land-based casino operations to a handful of geographically distant economic zones, such as Primorye on the country’s eastern shore near Vladivostok, while banning all online casino activity.

North Korea has publicly mused about enlarging its modest homegrown casino operations, but the Hermit Kingdom has also demonstrated a willingness to do what it takes to earn badly needed hard currency, including authorizing agents to set up illegal online gambling operations in foreign countries. So the idea of setting up clandestine casinos in the few countries in which North Korea is allowed an embassy isn’t so far-fetched.

It’s not even the weirdest casino story to come out of Russia this month. In the country’s southern regions, police in Rostov-on-Don raided an illegal casino disguised as a funeral parlor, seizing cash, chips, betting records and arresting some unlucky patrons, one of whom quipped that he might as well “buy a coffin for himself” while he was there.

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World Casino News
BetConstruct aiming to impress at G2E

Online and land-based gaming technology solutions firm, BetConstruct, has announced that it hopes to ‘impress all the top figures and decision-makers’ by exhibiting its wares at next month’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas. Tailored sportsbetting solutions: The 2018 version of G2E is due to be held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center from […]
Casino News Daily
The Stars Group Sets Sights on Expansion and Revenue Mix Diversification

A few years ago, The Stars Group (then Amaya Inc.) was deep into a heavy debt situation, was shaken by an insider trading scandal involving its founder and then-CEO, Canadian businessman David Baazov, and was having difficulties in growing its key online poker product.

After paying down its debt, which was created as a result from The Stars’ acquisition of the owner of the PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker brands in 2014 for nearly $5 billion, the Canadian gambling company has shown that it is ready for some risk-taking and some geographical expansion and diversification of its core operations.

Over the past several months, The Stars announced two major acquisitions, revealed increased focus on sports betting across regulated markets, and once again indicated that it was ready to return to the United States after being shamefully banished from the nation in the aftermath of April 11, 2011, a day that has been commonly known as the Black Friday of online poker.

The Canadian gambling group is on its way of becoming the largest publicly traded online gambling company, but here is how it plans this to happen.

Two Major Acquisitions

The Stars and its PokerStars brand had to leave the Australian gaming market last summer, when the nation’s federal government amended existing gambling laws in a manner that prohibited the provision of online gaming and poker operations.

Early this year, the company announced that it would return to the Australian gambling scene by purchasing a major local bookmaker. The Stars originally planned to buy 61% in CrownBet, an online gambling website previously owned by Australian casino operator Crown Resorts. However, in a separate move, CrownBet announced that it had been selected as the winning bidder for William Hill’s ailing Australian business. As a result from that latter acquisition deal, The Stars decided to increase its interest in CrownBet to 80% and thus participate in funding the William Hill Australia transaction.

The Canadian gambling group paid $315 million in cash and newly issued common shares for its newly acquired Australian business. The two related acquisition deals created Australia’s third largest corporate bookmaker, with Tabcorp and Paddy Power’s local brand Sportsbet being the largest ones.

The Stars Group broke the news in April that it has entered into an agreement to buy major UK online gambling operator Sky Betting & Gaming for the total amount of $4.7 billion. The move would create the largest publicly traded online gambling company.

The deal is expected to generate annual cost synergies of at least $70 million, to expand SkyBet’s presence across multiple regulated jurisdictions (the company currently serves only the UK, Italian, and German markets), and to help The Stars to leverage SkyBet’s huge customer base in the UK and massive experience in the provision of online sports betting services.

The deal was finalized in mid-July. However, the UK Competition and Markets Authority opened an investigation into the takeover on the very next day after its finalization, thus blocking the transfer of ownership and the integration of the two businesses. The UK competition watchdog is expected to release the results from its probe in October.

Focus on Sports Betting

While online poker still is The Stars Group’s main product, the company has gradually been trying to expand into the online casino and mainly into the online sports betting sectors. And the above-discussed two acquisitions are one of the manifestations of its efforts to diversify its offering and revenue sources.

According to company estimates, on a pro forma basis including the acquisitions of SkyBet, CrownBet, and William Hill Australia, its 2017 revenue mix by product would have been 37% poker, 34% sports betting, and 26% casino. As it can be seen, online poker would still have been the leading product, but sports betting would have trailed not far behind. And with the company’s increased and growing interest in the sports betting vertical as well as the addition of companies specializing namely in online sports betting, this particular product could very soon become the main driver of growth for the gambling giant.

The US Betting Market

The Stars Group has been quite clear in its intentions to return to the United States after the April 2011 incident. Its PokerStars brand debuted in the New Jersey Internet gambling market in the spring of 2016, but besides that market, the company has not been able to enter the other states where iGaming is legal, with those being Nevada and Delaware.

However, the mid-May ruling of the US Supreme Court, allowing individual states to legalize sports betting, came as extremely good news not only to The Stars but also to the rest of the sports betting world.

Taking advantage of its existing New Jersey operation, the Canadian company struck a partnership with Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino Hotel to extend their collaboration and jointly offer online sports betting services. The Stars’ BetStars online sportsbook went live in the state in mid-September, initially allowing bettors to place their wagers via mobile devices.

Back in August, the Canadian gambling giant announced a partnership that would allow it to enter Pennsylvania’s online sports betting and gaming market. The Stars has joined forces with Mount Airy Casino Resort. The two companies are yet to submit their sports betting license application to the state Gaming Control Board, but this is expected to happen anytime now as the local regulator is set to review applications from other businesses during its October 3 meeting.

The Stars Group is clearly showing that it is ready to leave the insider trading incident and its debt difficulties behind and take some risk as well as focus on diversifying its gambling revenue mix. And as it can be seen, sports betting is playing and will play an important role in its current and future efforts to expand its presence and establish itself in key regulated markets, including the US which many expect to become a behemoth regulated sports gambling field in the next few years.

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Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Caesars wants ‘100-year partnership’ with Japan

Caesars Entertainment has raised the curtain on a “100 Year Partnership for Japan” campaign. The casino operator is one of the many that is hoping to grab a license to set up a resort in the newly approved Japanese integrated resort (IR) market. As part of its campaign, Caesars has included a number of announcements tied to initiatives in the country, all designed to help set it apart from the competition.

Caesars suggests "100-year partnership" with JapanIncluded in the initiatives are concept imagines of an IR that could be located at the Yamashita Pier in Yokohama. The concept is based on The Great Wave, an ukiyo-e piece crafted by Japanese artist Hokusai. The IR would carry the name “The Yokohama Art & Culture Park and Entertainment Resort,” but is up against some strong opposition. Yokohama citizens have already overwhelmingly said that they opposed an IR, as has Yukio Fujuki, chairman of the Yokohama Transport Association (YTA). The YTA controls the area around the Yamashita Pier.

Caesars also said that it was designed an innovative casino entry system exclusively for use in Japanese IRs. The system uses smartphones to initially register the customers and then to subsequently track each entry into the casino, as well as to monitor for possible problem gamblers.

That system, apart from sounding very intrusive, doesn’t meet Japan’s requirements. Japanese regulators require that a “MyNumber Card” be produced each time a customer enters a casino.

The casino giant also said that it has already spent around $223,000 on responsible gaming initiatives in the country. Those funds were first allocated last February, meaning it spent just over $30,000 each month on the program. Caesars added that it will now allocate an additional equal amount, more than likely to be spent just as quickly.

The company also said that it is currently expanding its team in the country. It has added Shinya Okiyama as the manager for Japan development and Kengo Nishmura as the head of government and community relations. Caesars didn’t specify exactly how many boots it now has on the ground in Japan, but said that it is still increasing the force and that it was still considering adding more contingents outside of Tokyo.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Massachusetts’ top gaming regulator throws in the towel

massachusetts-gaming-commission-stephen-crosby-quitsMassachusetts’ gaming regulatory boss has resigned just one day before a meeting that could affect Wynn Resorts’ Boston casino project.

On Wednesday, Stephen Crosby announced his resignation as chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), effective immediately. Crosby’s letter to MGC staff (read it here) said he was leaving with “a profound sense of sadness, regret – and yes, frustration.”

Crosby said he’d decided to leave after the past few weeks saw him twice accused of “prejudging the outcome of the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau’s ongoing investigation regarding the suitability of Wynn Resorts.”

In January, the MGC launched a probe into how much Wynn execs knew of a $7.5m payment their former boss Steve Wynn made to a woman he allegedly sexually assaulted. The MGC is trying to determine if Wynn execs hid the existence of the payment from commissioners while the company was undergoing suitability vetting for its $2.4b Boston-area casino project (now known as Encore Boston Harbor).

Crosby said he received a letter from Steve Wynn’s lawyer on September 17, “insisting that I had already made up my mind against Steve Wynn regarding the allegations of sexual misconduct.” On Tuesday, Crosby said he received a letter from Mohegan Sun attorneys “insisting that I had already made up my mind in favor of Wynn Resorts in the suitability investigations.”

Mohegan Sun was one of the failed applicants for the sole Boston-area casino license. As was Suffolk Downs, who filed a lawsuit earlier this month restating old claims that the MGC had ‘fixed’ the application process due to the fact that Wynn’s land partners included a former business partner of Crosby’s.

On Tuesday, the Mohegans (who are also suing the MGC) wrote a letter to the MGC seeking Crosby’s “immediate disqualification” from the Wynn investigation based on comments Crosby made to a reporter regarding the Wynn probe.

Crosby told the reporter that the #MeToo movement had “changed everybody’s sensibility. And I’m sure Wynn’s sensibilities. Wynn Resorts’ sensibilities, have changed, too.” Mohegan attorney Kenneth Leonetti said Crosby had made a “public endorsement of Wynn Resorts’ culture” that “cast greater doubt on the impartiality of the proceedings.”

As a result of the past month’s events, Crosby says he had “reason to expect that the Commission’s objectivity—even if I recuse myself from the current proceedings—will be challenged,” and he doesn’t want “my involvement in these critical deliberations be used by others to hamper the Commission’s ability to do its work, or to undermine the confidence of the public in that work.”

Despite maintaining that “there has never been a shred of truth or accuracy to any charge of bias, favoritism, corrupt practice, ethics violations, or prejudgment in my execution of this job,” Crosby believes that “the appearance of integrity as well as the reality of integrity is critical,” and so he’s outta here.

Thursday’s MGC meeting agenda contains two items relating to the Wynn probe, including “a request from Encore Boston Harbor for a NonDisclosure Agreement, and the logistical planning for the Wynn Resorts Hearing Process.”

The post Massachusetts’ top gaming regulator throws in the towel appeared first on CalvinAyre.com.

Casino – CalvinAyre.com
12 groups interested in building Yokohama casino

At least 12 entities, eight from outside Japan, are asking about building a casino in Yokohama City, according to the Kanagawa Shimbun.

GGRAsia reported the news that among the companies requesting information on setting up a Yokohama casino are Caesars Entertainment Corp., Wynn Resorts Ltd, Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd, and MGM Resorts International. Apart from these four, two other entities who had submitted related documents to the city are based in Japan, while two remained unidentified.

12 groups interested in building Yokohama casinoThe Malaysia-based Genting Group, through subsidiary Genting Singapore, disclosed that it has incorporated several subsidiaries, including Genting Yokohama Co., Ltd. and Resorts World Yokohama Co., Ltd.

In spite of the interest from businesses, it is not certain that Yokohama will push through with a bid to host one of three casinos licensed by the Japanese government pursuant to the Integrated Resorts (IR) Implementation Law passed last July. In a survey conducted by the city last May and June, 94% of respondents expressed a “negative” view of having a casino in the city.

The Yokohama government intends to study the requests it has received, and by March 2019 will release its comprehensive study as basis of whether a bid will be made.

Yokohama is the second most populous city in the country, after nearby Tokyo, another favored location for an integrated resort. Aside from the two cities, Osaka has been tagged as a likely casino spot.

Meanwhile, GGRAsia also reported that Shinzo Abe’s recent reelection as prime minister would not make a difference to when casinos are to be constructed and opened. Union Gaming’s Grant Govertsen said, “I don’t think his reelection will have any impact on the IR situation other than it will keep moving it forward. Otherwise this doesn’t change the pace of IR events.” He saw the licenses being issued two years from now yet, and for the casinos to open in 2025.

Mike Tanji, of Gaming Capital Management Inc., said the reelection would not make a difference to the timing of putting up the integrated resorts, noting that the process will involve creation of a casino administration committee and the drafting of guidelines by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. This and several other procedures “will take relatively a long time since our country has no experience in this field,” Tanji said.

Abe has had his popularity plunge due to his commitment to passing the IR bill, on which Japanese citizens remain divided.

The post 12 groups interested in building Yokohama casino appeared first on CalvinAyre.com.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Macau 2018 growth forecast at 5.8%

The Macau economy is expected to grow 5.8% for this year, followed by 3.9% growth in 2019, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Macau 2018 growth forecast at 5.8%News outlet The Macau Hub reported on the EIU’s forecast that the special administrative region’s growth in gross domestic product (GDP) will continue to be fueled by the gaming sector, which itself has seen below-expected gross gaming revenue (GGR) the past year.

Macau’s Statistics and Census Service (DSEC) had previously released data for the first half of the year, showing 7.6% GDP growth year on year.

The EIU said that the Macau government’s attempts at diversifying the economy outside of gambling would remain largely unsuccessful. However, according to the EIU, the government should continue working to grow its non-gambling tourism activities to boost the entertainment sector.

With Typhoon Mangkhut hitting the city the other weekend, several analysts had adjusted their GGR forecasts for the quarter. The overall effect on the economy, however, is seen to be negligible.

The EIU expects a slowdown in mainland China’s economy will affect Macau; however, this will be offset somewhat by increased incomes to be spent by visitors from China.

Chinese tourists remain the hugest population among those visiting Macau, with 2.53 million Chinese visiting last August, a 25.3% increase from August last year. A total of 3.4 million people visited in August, a 18.7% increase year on year.

Macau’s strong 2017 performance, much on account of growth in the VIP gaming business, was preceded by three years of contraction owing in part to the Chinese government’s anti-corruption drive where it cracked down on outflows to Macau.

According to the EIU, inflation for 2018 is expected to hold at 2.9%, lowering to 2.8% the following year. The budget balance will be at 10.3% for 2018, and 9.4% in 2019. The unemployment rate is projected to stay at 1.9% for the two years.

The post Macau 2018 growth forecast at 5.8% appeared first on CalvinAyre.com.

World Casino News
Steroids scandal rocks Japanese horseracing industry

The horseracing authority for the northern Japanese province of Iwate was reportedly forced to suspend all contests for one day last week after several of the competing animals tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid. Horses tested positive for boldenone: According to a report from Asia Gaming Brief, the Iwate Prefectural Horse Racing Association first […]
Casino News Daily
Biggest WSOP Europe Main Event Winners

The WSOP Europe festival is two weeks away and every self-respecting fan of live tournament poker has already braced for quality poker action and immense thrill. The 2018 edition of the major series is set to take place at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, one of Europe’s best and most popular poker destinations.

The WSOP Europe has 10 gold bracelets up for grabs and it is to be seen who the lucky ten players to capture the pieces of jewelry will be. Of course, the €10,350 Main Event is the most highly anticipated tournament. The event is slated to kick off on October 27 and to run through November 2. Aside from the Main Event gold bracelet for the winner it will also feature a guaranteed prize pool of €5 million. Hopes are that the guarantee will be crushed and that the tournament will see great interest among players from all around Europe and all other corners of the world.

Elio Fox – €1.4 Million

In 2011, US poker player Elio Fox emerged as the winner of the largest ever WSOP Europe Main Event. He topped a field of 593 entries to be awarded the amount of €1.4 million. The tournament took place in Cannes. England’s Chris Moorman was Fox’s heads-up opponent. The moment of victory came for the latter after his [Ad][10s] bested his final opponent’s [Ah][7s].

It is also important to note that Fox has remained quite consistent in his pursuit of poker prestige in the years after his WSOPE Main Event victory. Most recently, the poker professional finished runner-up in this year’s WSOP $100,000 High Roller event for a cash prize of $1,798,658 and took down the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open $50,000 buy-in Super High Roller for $500,000.

Marti Roca De Torres – €1,115,207

Spain’s Torres came as the winner of the 2017 WSOP Europe Main Event. That was the first edition of the tournament after a two-year hiatus of the European series. The player was the last man standing from a field of 529 entrants. He collected the amount of €1,115,207. Torres faced heads-up one of Italy’s most promising poker players – Gianluca Speranza. On what turned out to be the final hand in the Main Event, Torres beat his opponent with [Qh][5d].

Torres has cashed in several tournaments since last fall when he became the WSOP Europe Main Event, but has not taken down any major event since then.

The 2017 edition of the WSOP Europe took place at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, the venue that has now turned into a permanent home of the major tournament series.

Annette Obrestad – £1,000,000 (approximately €1.1 million)

The Norwegian poker pro became the winner of the first-ever WSOP Europe Main Event and has so far been the only female player to take it down. She outwitted a 362-strong field to collect £1 million in prize money. It is also important to note that at the age of 18, she was the youngest player to ever win a gold bracelet from the WSOP.

John Tabatabai from Wales was Obrestad’s final opponent on her road to victory. The two players’ final clash saw the Norwegian player’s pocket sevens hold up against Tabatabai’s [5s][6d].

The inaugural WSOP Europe Main Event took place in London. In fact, the first four editions of the series were all hosted by the capital of the United Kingdom.

Phil Hellmuth – €1,058,403

Hellmuth has long held the record for the most WSOP gold bracelets ever won. He captured his 13th ever piece of WSOP jewelry in 2012 when he topped the 420-person field of the WSOP Europe Main Event. His share of the prize pool totaled €1,058,403.

The tournament took place in Cannes where Hellmuth remained one of the two players to participate in the heads-up match. Ukraine’s Sergii Baranov was the other one. However, it was not meant to be for the Ukrainian as his [As][4c] sent him to the rail in second place after clashing against Hellmuth’s [Ah][10d]. The US player thus further cemented his reputation of a tournament poker legend. It should also be noted that Hellmuth is one of the few players to have won the WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas and the WSOP Europe Main Event.

Adrian Mateos – €1,000,000

Mateos is one of the most popular poker pros of the younger generation of players. At the age of 24, the Spaniard boasts three WSOP gold bracelets and an EPT Grand Final title. Mateos won one of his pieces of WSOP gold for taking down the WSOP Europe Main Event.

He became a WSOPE Main Event champion in 2013, when the tournament was held in France. The player beat a field of 375. Local player Fabrice Soulier was his heads-up opponent. The final hand of the tournament saw Mateos collect all his opponent’s chips with [Ad][Kc] to Soulier’s [9d][8d].

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Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Traders call out Melco Philippines over ‘unfair’ tender offer price

The share price offered by the operator of City of Dreams Manila to its shareholders prior to being delisted from the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) has been criticized by analysts as too low, local news outlet BusinessWorld reported.

Melco Philippines tender offer price ‘unfair’ – analystsMelco Resorts and Entertainment (Philippines) Corporation, in its petition for voluntary delisting, had set a tender offer price of PHP7.25 ($0.13) per share for about 1.57 billion shares, constituting about 27% of the company.

This price, as calculated by independent financial adviser FTI Consulting Philippines, Inc. (FTI CPI), is higher than the stock’s price of PHP6.21 ($0.12) as of September 7. Furthermore, the volume weighted average price of the stock was calculated at PHP7.32 ($0.14) over a one-year period, and PHP6.52 ($0.12) over six months.

Even so, the price is half of its initial public offering (IPO) price of PHP14 ($0.26) back in 2013.

Jervin De Celis, a trader at Timson Securities, Inc., said, “[W]hat makes the tender offer unfair is that their follow on offer price was at P14 five years ago and [Melco Philippines] was not even earning that time. Now that they’re starting to earn, they’re buying back the shares at almost half the price below the IPO price.”

Another trader, Aniceto Pangan from Diversified Securities, Inc., saw the tender offer as disadvantageous to long-term investors who had held on to the stock the past five years.

“It’s unfair for those investors who were offered a higher price during their IPO and follow on offering, considering they stayed on and saw more of a long term investment… [T]hey are the ones who will lose money here,” Pangan said.

Piper Chaucer Tan, research associate for Philstocks Financial, Inc., meanwhile, noted that upon Melco’s delisting, it would be much harder to sell the shares for a better price. “If you don’t [accept the tender offer], you don’t have a reference price and [Melco Philippines] will determine the price per share of your stock position… [T]hey can value it below the tender offer price,” he added.

In order for the delisting to proceed, majority shareholder MCO (Philippines) Investments Limited, which already holds 73% of outstanding shares, would need to raise its stake to 95%, through the tender offer conducted from October 3 to 30. The delisting is planned to take effect on November 13.

Parent company, Hong Kong-based Melco International Development Limited, has said that the delisting would allow MCO “to consolidate its interests in [Melco Philippines] to better support and facilitate [Melco Philippines’] future business plans.”

In its tender offer report for Melco Philippines, FTI CPI cited “unpredictable” casino and gaming policies of the current Philippine administration as a concern in holding gambling-related investments in the country.

Melco International has signified its prioritizing of Japan among its “near to mid-term” plans, with the third-largest economy having passed legislation for the setting up of three large-scale integrated resorts in the years to come.

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Monday, September 24, 2018

World Casino News
Chinese crackdown hurts bottom line at Crown Perth

Australian casino operator, Crown Resorts Limited, has reportedly revealed that gross gaming revenues at its Crown Perth property for the twelve months to the end of June fell by almost 10% year-on-year to stand at approximately $409.51 million. Baccarat revenues tumble: According to a Sunday report from The West Australian newspaper citing information made public by […]
Casino News Daily
Poker Tournaments Starting September 24-30

Fall is officially upon us and a new batch of extremely exciting poker events is set to arrive in its wake. This week’s live tournament poker overview includes events across Europe, Asia, and North America. All four promise unparalleled thrill and massive monetary prizes and all four are great for challenging one’s level of poker mastery.

Here are four of the major tournaments set to begin over the next few days and information about what one might expect from them.

PokerStars Megastack Namur

The city of Namur in Belgium will be host to the next PokerStars-branded poker festival. The PokerStars Megastack is set to kick off today at Casino de Namur and to run through the end of the month. The tournament will feature multiple exciting opportunities for players to test their skills and challenge opponents who have mastered the game at different levels.

The festival will include four tournaments and several satellites to the Main Event. And action at the host casino will kick off namely with the PokerStars Megastack Main Event. The tournament will run from today all the way through September 30 and will feature six starting flights and two more days of action. It will be a €170 buy-in event and will start off with a guaranteed prize pool of €100,000.

Another thrilling tournament on the Megastack festival’s schedule will be the €550 High Roller. That one will run on September 29-30.

WPT DeepStacks Vietnam

The WPT DeepStacks is next heading to Vietnam for another exciting festival that will bring together some of Asia’s best grinders as well as guests from around the world. The festival will take place from September 26 to October 4 at Pro Poker Club in Ho Chi Minh and will feature a plethora of events, with those varying in buy-in fees.

One of Asia’s most thrilling destinations will welcome the WPT DeepStacks series with a 2-day Welcome WPT Vietnam VND7,700,000 tournament. As for the highlight tournament, the VND22,000,000 Main Event with a guaranteed prize pool of VND8 billion it is scheduled to take place on September 28 through October 2.

The VND44,000,000 High Roller is another event worth being mentioned in our overview. The tournament will take place over three days – October 1-3 – and will feature two starting flights and one more day of play. It will allow a maximum of 2 re-entries per starting flight and will certainly offer tons of quality poker action.

Wynn Fall Classic

For those looking for thrill and excitement on the Las Vegas Strip, Wynn Las Vegas is the right place. This year’s edition of the highly popular Wynn Fall Classic is kicking off September 26 and will take place all the way through October 15.

Its schedule includes 16 different tournaments, 15 of which will be No-Limit Hold’em ones. There will also be one Pot-Limit Omaha tournament within this classy festival for fans of that poker game.

The Wynn Fall Classic will start with the $550 No-Limit Hold’em Seniors tournament. The event will be a single-day one and will feature a guaranteed prize pool of $50,000. It is important to note that most of the events within the festival will be single-day ones. There will also be one two-day event, two three-day ones, and two four-day ones.

The Main Event will be one of the four-day tournaments. It will start on October 12 and will be completed on October 15. Interested players will be able to take part in it by paying a buy-in fee of $1,600. The tournament will feature a guaranteed prize pool of $500,000 that will hopefully be crushed.

partypoker MILLIONS Dusk Till Dawn, Nottingham

partypoker’s MILLIONS live tournament brand is next landing in Nottingham for more than a week of unequaled poker action. The Dusk Till Dawn festival will begin on September 29 and will end on October 7. As one can tell by the name, the Dusk Till Dawn casino, a popular poker meeting hub, in Nottingham will play host to this major event.

The festival is set to feature more than £7 million in guaranteed prize money. This speaks volumes about the quality of poker that players and spectators will be able to witness at the host venue.

The £1,100 No-Limit Hold’em MILLIONS UK Open will put the beginning of action within the festival. The event will feature a guaranteed prize pool of £1 million. There will be five starting flights and three more days of play.

The £5,300 Main Event will be the next big tournament to kick off. It will take place on September 30-October 6. There will be at least £5 million up for grabs for those who run deep enough into this prestigious tournament.

The £550 MILLIONS UK Finale with five starting flights and the £10,300 High Roller are two other exciting events that should be mentioned. The former will take place October 4-7 and will feature a guaranteed prize pool of £500,000, while the latter will run from October 5 through October 7 and will feature a guaranteed prize pool of £1 million.

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