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Innovate Gaming looks at the scepticism around the plan that is dividing the industry: madness, genius – or a dash of both?
Innovate Gaming looks at a situation that could change massively in March, with a change at the top in China
Innovate Gaming looks at a situation that could change massively in March, with a change at the top in China..
Innovate Gaming examines the revenue shortfall in Singapore. A temporary lull or a portent of worse to come?
Madrid has won the battle for EuroVegas – but Barcelona’s not done yet. Innovate Gaming asks the questions…
Another social gaming headline? Whatever next? Innovate Gaming asks the questions, and usually brings the answers…
The company behind Racing Card Derby has another hit on its hands in the form of Knock Out Baccarat, which they say could triple a casino’s action on the tables.
Social gaming grabs another headline, as our industry looks to it for the next revenue streams. Innovate Gaming asks the questions…
Millions of players, playing for free – can they be monetized? Innovate Gaming asks how big can the cake get, and who will be eating it…
Will Vietnam be the next big Asian gaming market? Innovate Gaming asks the question and brings the answer
March 2011 saw a devastating earthquake ravage Japan, shocking the world and leaving thousands missing, homeless – or dead. In the midst of a massive reconstruction effort, is now the time for the country to introduce casinos? Innovate Gaming asks the question
Former two-time UK Shadow Gambling Minister Nick Hawkins sorts the wheat from the chaff in his bi-monthly column...
Former UK Shadow Gambling Minister Nick Hawkins sorts the wheat from the chaff in his bi-monthly column…
Could Bingo fund bomb-making? The online gaming sector may seem far removed from the global threat of terrorism, but the Remote Gambling Association – a London-based industry body – is sufficiently worried about the spectre of Internet gaming being used for money-laundering that it's issued a set of practical guidelines aimed at operators.
You might consider it an Emperor's New Clothes moment. Or a replay of the “if you build it, they will come” error made by so many early dotcoms.
Either way, newly-launched online gaming site Trystbingo.com is challenging the accepted wisdom by recruiting no affiliates and handling all its own promotion.
If HR 2267 supplants UIGEA, it won't just be a case of one impenetrable abbreviation taking over from another. For behind the cryptic code beloved of bureaucracy lie two pieces of legislation – one in force, the other perhaps not far away from toppling it – which together govern the recent history and potential future of online gambling in the U.S.
The lawyers, at least, must be rubbing their hands in glee. Across Europe, the regulations governing online gambling are changing so quickly – and often inconsistently – that you'd be forgiven for wishing the single European market meant just that.
Replacing chips and cards with bytes and pixels can hike revenue and hamper cheats, according to proponents. And in the latest twist on fashionable retro, the newest casino technology is also mimicking some of the oldest.
Britain's casino landscape is altering as Genting Singapore discards its UK operations in order to focus on its Resorts World Sentosa project, while Rank promises to open ten more venues in the country.
2010 could be the deciding year for online gaming in the U.S., according to analyst GamblingCompliance. A report from the firm says: “More than three years after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, restrictions on Internet gaming are facing crucial tests in 2010, with federal and state governments making moves that will have a significant impact on the future of the U.S. gaming industry.”
Anew casino has opened in the Rostov region of Russia just seven months after the government sequestered all gambling into four remote zones. The Oracle is about 60 miles from Rostov-on-Don, near the Black Sea and Russia’s border with Ukraine.
Authorities in Peru hope that the introduction this year of a central server linking all the country’s slot machines will make it impossible for gaming operators to avoid paying tax.
Peru levies a 12 percent tax on gross gaming revenues. But until a 2006 law tightening the regulation of gaming came into force, most gaming businesses were unlicensed and the government was collecting less than $1m a year.
Quixant will show a PC motherboard designed specially for the Italian Comma 6a market at the Enada show in Rimini this month.
The QXi-106, based on an AMD chipset and including game storage, is compliant with requirements of the Italian regulator AAMS. “This is the first PC-based product designed from the ground up to comply with the special Italian gaming requirements,” said Sales Director Gary Mullins.
As video lottery terminals (VLTs) start to appear in Italy following last year’s legalisation and issuing of licences, vendors are beginning to land large orders, and a conference devoted to the new market is planned for this month.
Octavian Global Technologies has signed a ten-year contract with AWP gaming concessionaire BetPlus, which will deploy Octavian’s Symphony VE system to manage Comma 6b devices, as VLTs are known under Italian rules.
Harrah’s Entertainment could return to the stock market in 2013-15, CEO Gary Loveman has speculated. Loveman told Reuters that the company – taken private by buyers TPG and Apollo in a $31bn deal at the beginning of 2008 – would wait, however, for economic recovery and the legalisation of online Poker in the U.S. before returning to the market. There had been no discussion of firm dates yet, he added.
Aspers at The Gate in the northern English city of Newcastle Upon Tyne has doubled the size of its card room, which can now hold 200 people.
Opened in 2005, the card room has hosted Poker events such as the Sky Poker Tour and the Virgin Festival. After extending it into the former Club Aspinall VIP room, Aspers management now hope to hold more such high-profile events as well as more tournaments for local customers.
Gaming software provider Playtech has acquired the business and assets of online Bingo developer Virtue Fusion.
Virtue Fusion is claimed to have the largest independent network in the fast-growing online Bingo sector, with 30,000 daily players and more than €100m ($135m) staked each month.
Anew casino in Cambodia, the thirtieth in the country, is wooing foreign players including Vietnamese, Chinese and Malaysians.
The Titan King at Bayet, near the Vietnam border and about 70 miles from Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, opened late February after three years of construction.
The new Princess Casino in Providence, Guyana, plans to work closely with tour operators in order to comply with local rules that only resident guests can gamble there.
The casino in the Princess Hotel – formerly Buddy’s International Hotel – offers Blackjack and Poker as well as slots.
The Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in Swain County, North Carolina, is getting a substantial $633m makeover.
The venue, owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, will double the size of its casino floor as well as building 532 new hotel rooms, a 3000-seat events centre, and a spa.
Gaming Support has gained Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) certification for its BaseSys Navigator jackpot controller. The approval allows BaseSys Navigator to be used to manage mystery and progressive jackpots at venues in California, Delaware and Rhode Island.
Cirsa has sold its 50 percent stake in Casino La Toja to the brothers Gonzalez Fuentes, whose firm Egasa operates more than 60 arcades in Spain and is now moving into casinos.
Egasa already has stakes in the Mallorca and Bilbao casinos, as well as licences – as yet unused – to run venues in Chile and Croatia.
Silver Heritage (SHL) has extended its agreement with Inspired Gaming Group to sell Inspired’s server-based gaming products across the Asia Pacific region.
The contract will run for another three years, with an opportunity to extend it still further. SHL, which already runs Inspired content and its Open SBG on more than 300 terminals, hopes to grow that number to more than 1300 during the new contract period.
Delaware legislators have dealt the beleaguered Atlantic City gaming industry a further blow by approving a bill that allows the state’s three racinos to offer table games.
They could be introduced at Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway – all of which currently have only slots – by summer.
Britain’s Rank Group recorded a 3.4 percent rise in gross revenue during 2009, to £540m ($810m), although operating profit was down 3.8 percent to £58m ($87m) thanks to tax increases. Revenues grew at Rank’s two largest businesses, Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casinos. The latter was named as the main driver of growth, with the G Casino brand spreading during the year from six to ten properties.
British bingo operators have won some reprieve from planned tax increases, but venue closures are still feared. In April, the government had proposed to increase the gross profit tax from 15 percent to 22 percent – an unexpected move that led to a demonstration at the Houses of Parliament in London under the banner of the I’m Backing Bingo pressure group.
Many casino operators’ attention is likely to be turning to Africa this winter, with regulations easing in Mozambique and a South African licence up for grabs.
The relaxed Mozambique gaming regime, unanimously approved by the nation’s assembly in June and now signed into law by President Armando Guebuza, will allow casinos to be developed throughout the country.
Elektroncek has redesigned the PID component of its Megastar Roulette and Dicestar multiterminal gaming machines. The new PID Star, an optional add-on, is mounted above the centre unit and provides players with information including live video and statistical data about the last 200 games.
Two Las Vegas casinos have opened new hotel towers despite what some see as an over-supply of rooms in the gaming capital.
Planet Hollywood Resort has 1201 rooms in its new PH Towers – about 200 of them marketed as timeshares for extended visits – while the HRH Tower at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino has 374 rooms, intended to offer a boutique option to older, premium customers.
888.com has acquired the Wink online bingo business, which operates networks including Wink Bingo, Posh Bingo and Bingo Fabulous.
Wink has enlisted more than 60,000 active players since its launch in early 2008.
Casinos Austria has reshuffled top management as it prepares to implement international expansion plans approved last month by the group’s board.
Josef Leutgeb, previously Financial Director, and Paul Herzfeld, currently Deputy Director General, are leaving their posts to focus on international development. Leutgeb has already stepped down from his finance role; Herzfeld will vacate his position in the middle of the year.
Genting is this month opening the first phase of its $4.4bn Resorts World Sentosa development in Singapore.
The complex debuts with 1350 rooms and ten restaurants across the Hard Rock Hotel, Hotel Michael and Crockfords Tower, as well as the Festive Hotel, which – unusually for a casino resort – is designed specifically for families with children.
Online gaming firms based outside the UK may have to apply for a British licence if they want to serve customers in that country.
British Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe is proposing that licensing by the country’s Gambling Commission should be a requirement for companies wanting to advertise or provide online gaming services in Britain.
Rank Group subsidiary Grosvenor Casinos opened its G-branded venue in the northern English city of Sheffield in December, just a week after closing its Grosvenor-branded site in the same city.
Online gaming firm 888 has published its first report on corporate responsibility, covering 2008.
During that year, 888 jointed FTSE4Good – a London Stock Exchange index “designed to measure the performance of companies that meet globally recognised corporate responsibility standards”.
Online gamers can play Poker with real cards – kind of – after a deal between Gioia International and Red Planet Gaming.
The RealDealPoker.com Website, run on a Red Planet platform, will use Gioia’s new Cut N’ Shuffle dealing system when it launches in February.
Mark Gasser is the new President of Gasser Chair Company, where he has worked since 1973, becoming Executive Vice President in 1985. The role was previously held by Gary Gasser, who remains Chairman and CEO. The Ohio firm specialises in seating for the hospitality and gaming sectors.
The arrival of table games in Pennsylvania’s casinos is likely to bring smiles to cash-strapped state authorities and woes to already beleaguered Atlantic City.
A law recently ratified by Governor Ed Rendell allowing casinos, currently slots-only, to offer table games too will help to balance Pennsylvania’s budget by adding to its annual casino tax revenue, currently just over $1bn.
The president of Palau has vetoed legislation which would have allowed gaming in the tiny Pacific nation.
The Palau Gaming Control Act of 2009 would have authorised the first gaming venues in Palau – also known as Belau – and established a supervisory commission.
Aristocrat has collaborated with video-game legend Sega to create two new slots.
Based on characters from the Sega classics Bonanza and Golden Axe, they will be available from Aristocrat in the first quarter of 2010.
Online casino group Grand Privé has enlisted eCogra to investigate claims that it betrayed affiliates when it cancelled its affiliate-marketing programme in December 2008.
Internet forums have bubbled with resentment at Grand Privé apparently expressed by former affiliates, making claims such as “the casino group will continue to profit while tossing hundreds if not thousands of Webmasters into the cold”.
An alliance between game design firm Astro and server-based gaming (SBG) specialist Inspired Gaming Group will see the two draw on each other’s technology and expertise.
One man was jailed and another received a suspended sentence after cheating at British casinos.
Abdullah Toksoz, a Turkish national living in London, was sent to prison for 16 months after pleading guilty to deception, false representation and fraud.
Two casinos in England’s Midlands region have been acquired by an independent operator after going into administration.
Casino 36 Ltd., which runs the eponymous Casino 36 in Stockport, paid an undisclosed sum for the Castle Hill casino in Dudley and The Rubicon in Wolverhampton. Both are located in the conurbation surrounding Birmingham, Britain’s second city.
Construction has started on a 50km-long bridge linking Hong Kong to Macau.
The 73bn yuan ($10.7bn) project is expected to cut driving time from Hong Kong to Zhuhai to just one hour, and with Zhuhai already linked to Macau by another bridge, it will potentially open up Macau’s casinos to many more Hong Kong visitors. It currently takes four hours to make the journey.
CityCenter is open. MGM Mirage’s grand project on the Las Vegas Strip welcomed the first guests to its Aria resort and casino in mid-December.
The casino is a 150,000-square-foot facility with 1940 slots and 145 table games, while the 61-storey hotel has just over 4000 rooms. Cirque du Soleil will stage a resident production.
New York City’s suburbs could get a new Indian casino following federal recognition of the Shinnecock tribe on Long Island.
Following a three-decade fight in court to be acknowledged as a legitimate tribe, the Shinnecock Indians are likely to gain their new status after a public comment period of six months at most. They would then be able to run a Class II casino on their territory.
Singapore’s Weike Gaming Technology is to enter the European market with the launch in Spain of its multiplayer Baccarat, Blackjack and Poker games.
The gaming machine and systems maker will offer its five-player Revo Baccarat and Blackjack and ten-player Poker Pal X to Spanish casinos before turning to other European territories.
Visitor numbers in the exhibition hall at November’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas were up about seven percent on 2008.
Overall attendance – including exhibitor staff – was about 26,000. That figure was down about 3.5 percent on the previous year, but organisers said the drop was largely because of a decline in the numbers of exhibitor staff, who represent about one in six of attendees.
Harrah’s Entertainment was poised to take over the Planet Hollywood resort and casino in Las Vegas as we went to press.
A Harrah’s subsidiary had filed an application for approval of the move with the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
British operator Genting Group appears to be embracing electronic gaming, closing one conventional casino in favour of an electronic-only site and opening an electronic-only betting office next to another casino.
JCM Global and Bally Technologies have both been victorious in patent infringement cases at US federal courts, as we reported last issue.
In the JCM case, a federal district court judge upheld the verdict delivered by a Las Vegas jury in January that found MEI’s CashFlow SC series of bill acceptors had infringed patent protection on JCM’s removable stacker mechanism.
Server-based gaming (SBG) is allowing casinos in developing markets to catch up with their counterparts in the developed world, according to BetStone, which supplies an SBG platform.
The firm said that recent industry events such as Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas and SAGSE in Buenos Aires had showed that “casino operators are no longer viewing this technology in a conservative way, but want the best technological fit”.
JCM Global is to continue as exclusive provider of currency-validation systems to eight venues operated by Ameristar Casinos in the US.
The deal includes sites in Colorado, Iowa, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Nevada.
Two new casinos in Pennsylvania pushed gross gaming revenue in the state up by nearly 27 percent in November.
The state’s nine casinos with slots brought in $166,293,583 during the month, up 26.73 percent from November 2008, according to the State Gaming Control Board.
Ladbrokes has chosen Evolution Gaming to manage live dealing on its LadbrokesCasino.com Website.
Evolution Gaming will provide 24-hour streaming video of real dealers from its Latvia studios, allowing Ladbrokes’ customers at Baccarat, Blackjack and Roulette tables to interact with live croupiers.
Industry veteran Robert van Enkhuijzen has set up his own consultancy to help gaming and amusement firms develop new markets and new business opportunities.
“Although the gaming market is global it is still full of complexities and I see my task as supporting and accompanying my clients in understanding the requirements, challenges and indeed potential stumbling blocks in each individual country,” said van Enkhuijzen.
Two Ohio residents learned that it pays to read the terms and conditions after their lawsuit against online gaming operator Party Poker failed.
A federal court in Ohio rejected their class-action claim that they and others had lost money playing with Party Poker because other players had colluded against them. They claimed that Party Poker was aware of the collusion but did not act to stop it.
The second annual International Casino Conference (ICC) on 25 January will cover issues including regulation, casino design, new products, the role of social media, and loyalty programmes.
Clever Duck Media has named the finalists for the 2010 International Gaming Awards.
Nearly 300 entries were received from 30 countries for the prizes, which will be presented at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London on 25 January. Tickets for the event, where Francis Lui of Galaxy Entertainment and Mitch Garber of Harrah’s Interactive will take the stage, were almost sold out as we went to press.
Bally Technologies, Konami Gaming and WMS Gaming are among the notable casino suppliers expanding their presence at IGE this year.
But the biggest stands will belong to IGT Europe and Novomatic, organisers say.
Britain’s new responsible-gaming charity the Great Foundation will present its first awards at IGE on 26 January.
They “will recognise those gaming organisations whose donations [to the foundation] have exceeded reasonable expectations”, it said.