The Florida Senate voted Thursday to expand slot machines and tribal gaming at the same time that the House pursued measures to maintain protected horse and dog racing and tribal gaming markets for the next 20 years. The House bill would ban decoupling, requiring horse and dog tracks to maintain their racing operations in order to offer card games and slot machines, while the Senate's proposal would allow decoupling for racing as well as jai alai frontons.
Voting was canceled Thursday for a revised Georgia bill allowing a billion-dollar casino in Atlanta, putting pressure on the March 3 deadline to move the bill out of the Senate. The number of proposed casinos in the bill has been reduced to two from the four or five initially floated.
Las Vegas-based Competition Interactive, owned by casino architect Paul Steelman, was approved for a gaming equipment manufacturing and distribution license Thursday by the Nevada Gaming Commission. The company debuted its first game, called "Running Rich Racing," at the 2016 Global Gaming Expo and likely will put it forward first for field testing.
Hong Kong-based Melco Crown Entertainment is prepared to bet big on a Japanese casino and has its sights set on other properties in Cyprus and Spain as well. The company's history of joint ventures will likely position it well to work with operators in Japan, where local ownership is expected to be required.
Swedish online gaming company Kindred will acquire UK-based 32Red for $219 million. "We expect to see further consolidation in the gaming space this year based around the same types of motive that have driven this deal, namely scope to build scale, diversify regulatory risk and improve efficiency," said Davy Group analyst David Jennings.
A joint tribal company called MMCT Venture formed by the operators of the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos are seeking approval for a third Connecticut casino outside of tribal lands in Hartford, and nontribal companies may want to throw their hats in the ring too. While slot revenues of $200 million a year that go to the state would no longer have to be paid if a casino is built off tribal land, some believe the payments would still be required if the tribes are the ones who build the casino.
MGM Resorts International is pairing up with the British Columbia Lottery Corp. to offer a responsible gaming program called GameSense at all of its US properties by year's end. The company has also promised to give $1 million over five years to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas's International Gaming Institute for compulsive gaming research.
MGM's $950 million Springfield, Mass., casino could open ahead of it's projected fall 2018 debut. The casino is projected to create about 3,000 jobs and add a poker room with 20 tables to the state's portfolio.
Video-game gaming machine developer GameCo is releasing its "Pharaoh's Secret Temple" at Tropicana, Harrah's, Caesars and Bally's casinos in Atlantic City this month. It's part of GameCo's thrust to retain current players and attract new audiences using "relatable video-game gambling experiences that feature familiar entertainment based on popular brands ...," GameCo CEO Blaine Graboyes says.
Casino operator Genting Singapore believes it is in a good position to compete for a casino license in Japan against competitors such as Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts International, Hard Rock International and Melco Crown Entertainment. The company earned a net profit of $112.4 million in the fourth quarter, up from a $5.55 million loss the year before.
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