In THE NEWS
G2E Asia touts session, trade show improvementsGlobal Gaming Expo Asia (G2E Asia) is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, and sponsor American Gaming Association is enhancing both conference and trade show offerings to make the occasion truly memorable.
On the conference side, G2E Asia 2011 sessions will provide three days of the most comprehensive gaming education in Asia, according to AGA officials. Top issues effecting the Asian gaming market will be explored, including the operation of VIP junkets, new and enhanced ways to provide better security in casinos and the best strategies for hiring (and retaining) top-notch casino staff.
“During the past several years we’ve seen gaming markets in Asia experience exponential growth,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the American Gaming Association. “These expanding markets and the critical issues facing the gaming industry will be examined thoroughly at the 2011 conference event. G2E Asia is the premiere conference event for the pan-Asian region and provides gaming industry professionals with the education and tools they need to succeed.”
In addition to improved conference content, G2E Asia will also offer attendees simultaneous translation services in English or Cantonese. Show goers can also partake in the G2E Asia Gaming Management Certificate Program, which features special interactive educational workshops designed to help new casino managers in Asia further their knowledge of current gaming trends in Macau.
Not to be outdone, the trade show portion of G2E Asia, managed by Reed Exhibitions, features a revamped exhibit floor and multi-faceted promotional support to connect exhibitors with customers and new buyers. The Security and Surveillance Pavilion and the Green/Lighting Pavilion showcase these leading product categories in response to growing regional demand. The newly developed My G2E Asia Show Planner helps buyers customize exhibit floor visits for maximum efficiency, including contacting exhibitors to set up appointments during the show and submitting requests for product information.
G2E Asia 2011 will take place June 7-9 at the Venetian Macau in Macau S.A.R., People’s Republic of China. For more information, visit www.G2EAsia.com.
System technology front and center at Bally's user conferenceBally Technologies showcased its cutting-edge systems products at its Systems User Conference 8, held last month at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, Calif. A floor-wide Virtual Racing event, U-Spin bonusing in action, new mobile innovations and visionary concepts for the future were among the highlights of the conference, attended by nearly 400 gaming industry executives.
Following through on its theme “Products in Action,” the Bally conference allowed attendees to see its latest bonusing and networked-gaming solutions live on Pechanga’s slot floor. The solutions are designed to help create unique player experiences, drive revenue and streamline operations for Bally customers.
Attendees got to see Bally’s iVIEW player-communication technology for the networked floor. More than 2,400 games have the iVIEW player-user-interface, and Bally’s iVIEW game screen player-user-interface was featured on 1,200 gaming machines from Aristocrat, Bally, IGT, Konami and WMS. iVIEW DM allows gaming operators to present personalized content, such as player account information and directed marketing messages, on the main game screen without interrupting play. iVIEW DM also enables point-of-sale marketing to improve player experiences.
Among the other highlights of the conference were Elite Bonusing Suite, the Bally CoolSign media-management solution, U-Spin Bonusing, Bally TV and the Bally App, which lets players stay connected to their favorite casino and access key player’s club features, safely and securely, from their smart devices including the iPhone, iPod Touch and Windows 7 mobile phones.
Attendees also were treated to speeches by football great Emmitt Smith and renowned futurist Dr. James Cantor.
For more info on Bally Technologies systems, visit www.ballytech.com.
A MONTH OF GAINS AND SETBACKS FOR INTERNET WAGERINGApril is usually known as a pretty mild month, but it’s been a wild past 60 days for the U.S. Internet gaming marketplace, which experienced the high of legalization in one jurisdiction and the low of a federal crackdown in one of its largest business subsets.
The month started off on a positive note when the District of Columbia became the first U.S. jurisdiction to approve Internet gaming. Plans call for Intralot, the district’s lottery provider, to operate the online gaming system, which will only be available to patrons within Washington D.C limits. The lottery can operate both games of chance and skills games such as online poker.
According to The Washington Post, government officials hope to set up 20 to 30 online gambling “hotspots” in district hotels, bars and clubs by Sept. 1. Eventually, people living within Washington D.C. will be allowed to play games such as online poker from home.
The district’s CFO estimates online wagering can provide $13 million to $14 million a year for the state by 2014, most of this money generated by online poker fees and a tax on winnings over $600.
Indeed, at this point, Internet poker and other forms of online wagering seemed on the ascendency in the United States, with legalization measures under review in a handful of states such as Nevada, Iowa, Hawaii, California and Florida. In preparation for a potential Web wagering future, North American gaming operators have started to ink deals with Internet betting providers: Caesars Entertainment with 888 Holdings, Wynn Resorts with PokerStars, Fertitta Interactive, the online arm of the family-owned company that created the Station Casino franchise, with FullTilt Poker.
The momentum toward U.S. Internet wagering hit a wall before the end of April however, when the federal government handed down indictments against 11 executives and bank officials involved with the Web’s three largest pay-to-play poker sites: PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker. The government has accused these sites of tricking and bribing banks into processing billions of dollars in illegal profits, and has frozen more than 75 company bank accounts in 14 countries while it seeks $3 billion in fines and restitution, according to the Associated Press.
For the time being, the government the government has blocked U.S. gamblers from logging on to these offshore sites.
MGM RESORTS: KERKORIAN TO STEP DOWN, MACAU CASINO DEAL ANNOUNCEDKirk Kerkorian, the founder and largest shareholder of MGM Resorts International, will step down from the company’s board of directors and take up the position of senior advisor and first director emeritus.
As director emeritus, Kerkorian will serve as a senior advisor to both MGM Resorts management and its board, and will have a standing invitation to attend any meeting of the board or its executive committee. He will not, however, retain voting rights on board matters.
Kerkorian, who owns a 27 percent stake in MGM Resorts through his Tracinda Corp. holding company, will continue to be represented on the MGM board through Tracinda executives and MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren.
Kerkorian, 93, told Bloomberg that board meetings had become too lengthy and that he no longer liked to travel to them from his home in California. He added that he preferred the new position since it would allow him a more strategic and advisory role with MGM Resorts; and that he would continue to talk to Murren “at least three to four times a week.”
Meanwhile in other MGM International news, the company has gained a controlling stake in the MGM China casino resort it is attempting to co-develop along with Pansy Ho in the Cotai Strip area of Macau. MGM will gain control through an initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange which will give it a 51 percent stake in the project as opposed to a 29 percent share for Ho. Previously, Ho and MGM Resorts had been equal partners in the project.
SENATORS SEEK TO RESTRICT OFF-RESERVATION TRIBAL CASINO DEVELOPMENTUnited States Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) have introduced a new bill that could further restrict Native American tribes’ ability to establish off-reservation casinos.
The legislation, entitled “The Tribal Gaming Eligibility Act,” would amend the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) and require tribes seeking to open a casino on non-reservation holdings acquired since 1988 to have both a modern and aboriginal connection to the land. The criteria for this connection includes a 25 mile proximity to an existing reservation currently occupied by tribal members, a routine tribal presence on the proposed casino site since 1988, an application moving the land into trust status filed with the Interior Department within five years of tribal recognition, and that the tribe not already operate a gaming facility elsewhere.
Tribe’s that can’t meet these criteria will have to go through a two-part determination before a casino can be built, in which the Interior Secretary and state governor must approve the plan as being in the best interest of the tribe and not detrimental to the local community.
This is the second time over the past year that Sen. Feinstein has proposed a bill seeking to tighten the rules regarding the placement of non-tribal land into trust status for the purposes of opening a casino, which is sometimes called “reservation shopping,” according to Indian Country Today. The previous bill had died in last year’s session of Congress.
Sen. Feinstein’s district includes the San Francisco area, where tribes are seeking approval for non-reservation gaming facilities. Recently, a plan by the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians to build a $1 billion off-reservation casino in the San Francisco area city of Richmond was rejected by the community’s City Council. The Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians also seeks to develop a casino resort in Richmond.
A number of Arizona gaming tribes are also pursuing off-reservation casino development projects.
NCRG SITE COMBATS PROBLEM GAMBLING ON COLLEGE CAMPUSESThe National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) has launched a new Web site aimed at helping colleges and universities tackle problem gaming on college campuses.
The site, collegegambling.org, collects and offers the latest research and best practices on problem gaming awareness and prevention to help the schools and their students address the issue of on-campus wagering.
According to the NCRG, 75 percent of college students gambled during the past year (whether legally or illegally, on campus or off). While the vast majority of those old enough to legally gamble can do so responsibly, the most recent research estimates that 6 percent of college students in the U.S. have a serious gambling problem that can result in psychological difficulties, unmanageable debt and failing grades.
MACAU CASINO REVENUES SET MONTHLY RECORD
FLORIDA RESORT CASINO BILL PULLEDA bill that would have legalized four to five large integrated casino resorts in urban locations throughout Florida has been withdrawn.
State Senator Dennis Jones (R-Seminole), the bill’s author, withdrew it because of a move by Florida’s pari-mutuel industry to piggyback a tax reduction onto the measure.
“As we started to gain some acceptance, the pari-mutuel industry attacked us with the idea they wanted another tax cut and I was unwilling to do that after we gave them a 15 percent tax cut last year,” Sen. Jones told the St. Petersburg Times. “They apparently had the votes to ride on the back of this industry. I’d rather have nothing than something I don’t like.”
If approved, the Jones bill would have established destination-style casinos with all forms of traditional slot and table games. Bidders would have to pay a $50 million application fee in return for exclusive rights to operate the games. The resorts would also have to be at least 75 miles apart.
ISLE OF CAPRI, NEMACOLIN RESORT NAB PA. GAMING LICENSEThe Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has awarded its second and last Category 3 gaming license to Nemacolin Woodlands, a joint venture between Isle of Capri Casinos and Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, clearing the way for the establishment of a casino at the Fayette County-based facility.
The casino, Lady Luck Nemacolin, is planned to be fully integrated into the guest experience at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, and is expected to include 600 slot machines, 28 table games, a casual dining restaurant and lounge. The project will cost approximately $50 million which is to be funded by Isle of Capri Casinos. The project is expected to be complete within nine months of the commencement of construction.