Proponents of casino gaming and pari-mutuel wagering in Georgia join forces

2017 may be the year that the state of Georgia finally legalizes casino gaming and pari-mutuel racing. Proponents of both activities are now working together in the hopes of pushing legislation into reality.

The Georgia Horse Racing Coalition has been trying for several years to see a decision in regard to pari-mutuel betting appear on the ballot for voters to decide if the activity should be allowed in the state. The new legislative session started on January 9, and a new attempt at legislation will be made – this time with as many as five casinos to be allowed in the state along with a racino.

In the past, pari-mutuel wagering legalization attempts have stressed the connection between horse racing and agriculture. Proponents feel that breeding and training facilities would help the state, a fact that they hope will push opponents to their side. Georgia Horse Racing Coalition Executive Director Steven Crane stated that the group feels that on its own, horse racing does not provide enough tax revenues but with resort style gaming, enough is created where an uptick would be seen across the state.

The Hope scholarship of the state, a program that once funded 100% of tuition for college students who qualified, now only covers 70% of tuition due to low funding. The scholarships are completely funded by the state lottery but there is not enough to cover the full price now, like the state would like to do again.

For 2017, legislative proposals for the state include one that would place a constitutional amendment before voters next year to see new forms of gambling legalized. If the amendment is approved, the local governments would need to be approved by local voters on the next ballot to be able to operate a casino or racetrack. Once settled locally, the county or city would then need to apply for a license, one of six that would be available in the state.

A separate bill would be created to outline the licenses available, where the venues could be located, and minimum investment needed by the operator. Looking at the broad terms, the state would allow as many as five casinos and one racetrack. A resort style casino could be located within a 25-mile radius of the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport of Atlanta with no less than $1 billion invested in the property.

Four secondary licenses would be allowed but they could not operate within a 50-mile radius of the primary licensed casinos. $250 million or more must be invested in the properties. A license for a horse track would require an investment of at least $150 million.

As far as Crane is concerned, a racetrack would be created in the Atlanta area. Crane says that pari-mutuel group has envisioned a world-class facility with elevated walkways around the track, residential areas and entertainment areas, innovative infield space and more.

Proponents of casino gaming and pari-mutuel wagering in Georgia join forces was last modified: January 10th, 2017 by Marie Kelley


Britain’s Chelmsford racecourse approved for city’s first casino

Thoroughbred horse racing venue, Chelmsford City Racecourse, located in Essex, England, has been given the green light to open an all-night casino, according to EssexLive.

The venue, located near Chelmsford was approved on Friday, January 6 by the Chelmsford City Council, making it the city’s first ever casino. The Council also approved the racing venue for ten open-air concerts this year.

The casino will be situated in a yet to be constructed five-floor grandstand building and occupy approximately 3,000 square meters on one floor of the new housing, and will also feature a bar. Approximately two-thirds of the area inside the track will be utilized for the open-air concerts. Implementation of the two proposals will coincide with that of the new showground center at the racecourse, which will have a fitness area and terrace seating to accommodate 7,000 spectators.

The new casino and concerts were approved by the Council despite local parish councils’, including Black Notley, Felsted and Great Notley, concerns regarding noise pollution, parking, increased traffic, and operating hours. However, in a report, David Green, Chelmsford council’s Director of Sustainable Communities, addressed the concerns stating that due to the location and distance of the venue from residential properties, that there is “no reason to limit the hours of use of the casino.”

Green also confirmed in his report that live music would not be permitted past 11:30pm, but that no restriction would be placed on when concerts can be held. Regarding the councils’ parking and traffic concerns, Green said in his report, “Essex County Council Highway Authority are content that the vehicular access and parking areas are safe and sufficient to serve the site as an outdoor concert venue, but have advised that additional information is required in relation to the management of traffic at each event,” according to the news agency.

Originally known as Great Leighs Racecourse, the racecourse is owned by UK-based bookmaker Betfred, who has said previously that the project is expected to create upwards of 100 jobs, according to the report.

Britain’s Chelmsford racecourse approved for city’s first casino was last modified: January 10th, 2017 by K Morrison


CasinoCoin being re-launched following takeover

In the world of online gambling, the CasinoCoin open-source peer-to-peer crypto-currency has been taken over by the newly-established Double C Foundation and re-launched with the aim of bringing the innovation to a wider audience.

The non-profit Double C Foundation stated that it will now aid the development of CasinoCoin from new offices in the Isle of Man and be supported and advised by a small team of online gaming industry lawyers, executives and consultants.

“The only sustainable way forward for crypto-currency in the gambling world is to work with regulators and operators from day one and focus on regulated markets,” read a statement from John Caldwell, Advocacy Director for Double C Foundation. “Our aim with CasinoCoin is to provide a currency and related technical tools that are designed and accessible for both operators and ordinary players in the regulated gambling industry.”

Double C Foundation additionally declared that it intends to “lead the industry” in terms of “best-use practice standards” and is currently in the process of developing new integrated technologies for CasinoCoin encompassing know-your-customer, anti-money laundering and responsible gaming features.

“We are excited to reintroduce CasinoCoin to the industry and believe [Double C] Foundation will play an integral part in driving the coin’s future success,” read the statement from Caldwell, who previously worked in a senior marketing role for PokerStars.

CasinoCoin being re-launched following takeover was last modified: September 26th, 2017 by Adam Morgan


Imperial Pacific seeks amendment to casino license agreement

After Typhoon Soudelor (Hanna) the strongest tropical cyclone of the 2015 Pacific typhoon season took its toll on the early construction of Imperial Pacific’s Phase I casino resort project in Saipan, myriad other minor and major setbacks have kept the company bent into the wind in a race against opening deadlines and the potential of $100,000 per day fines if the Garapan casino resort doesn’t open on time.

For good measure, throw in a fire that ignited in construction debris piled against the burgeoning structure yesterday, and a small but vocal contingent of local naysayers, allegations of AML violations in a civil suit filed by a terminated employee, less than clear accounts receivable on a temporary casino’s world record VIP gaming turnover and the picture of an uphill battle for the company’s multi-billion dollar plans for the tiny CNMI island starts to become more clear.

On March 13, Imperial Pacific International (CNMI), LLC submitted a request to amend their casino license agreement in hopes of extending the deadline to complete construction of its hotels and casinos, the first of which is expected to open with gaming by the end of the month in a ‘soft launch’.

Sen. Sixto K. Igisomar, the former CNMI Lottery Commission chairman who signed a 40 year deal with the company, is supporting the extension. He relayed to local media outlet the Saipan Tribune recently that the whole matter has been an exercise in ‘faith’ on both sides from the beginning.  “Without faith, it would not work, this thing would have never been signed. We will be overwhelmed with doubt,” he told the online newspaper.

He noted that monies received so far from the company’s temporary casino and training center, Best Sunshine Live, have helped the government pay down obligations they previously had no way of honoring, and future revenues could “help the government to be able to retire all of these debts and pay off what we owe people.”

Igisomar was clear to state the overriding purpose of Saipan’s relationship with the Hong Kong-listed company, adding, “It is not all about money but for the betterment of our people and for them to be healthier and wealthier. For everything that we do, we should consider that,” Igisomar said.

Independent sources have informed World Casino News of several factors that may be causing delays in Imperial Pacific Resort (formerly Grand Mariana Resort) opening, and some of them have been born out publically. Imperial Pacific has refused requests for clarifications and offered no comments recently.

According to a letter from Mark Brown of IPI to Governor Torres, cited by the Tribune “At the starting phase of construction, [we] had one heavy equipment auger and two pile drive machines. The auger was extensively damaged … during the [typhoon], rendering it inoperable.”

Unpredictable ground conditions, limited cement supply, issues of dewatering, gaining air rights for cranes, foul weather, the lack of available skilled laborers, CW1 and H1 visa issues for imported labor, requirements for U.S. citizen worker participation, land lease of public lands in Garapan, and issues with Phase II and III at the current Mariana Resort & Spa location in Marpi have all contributed to the delay according to published and unpublished reports.

Under the current license agreement, Imperial Pacific has proposed to add over 2,000 hotel rooms, a total of 180,000 square feet of casino floor space, nearly 150,000 sq ft of retail, a 600 seat theater, about 100,000 sq ft of convention space with a ballroom, a wedding chapel, over 30,000 sq ft of spa and fitness space, and a $100 million themed entertainment facility.

The company’s current commitment seems to be somewhere between $2 billion and $3 billion with earlier estimates reaching as high as $7 billion.

 

Imperial Pacific seeks amendment to casino license agreement was last modified: March 14th, 2017 by Lars Jones


Kansas Crossing Casino to begin soft opening last week of March

While keeping with their latest Grand Opening date of April 8, 2017, Kansas Crossing Casino has now announced that special guests will receive ‘sneak peeks’ throughout the last week of March and all of the public will be invited beginning March 31.

Casinos often open with a soft-launch for promotional purposes as well as to make sure all systems are “go” after extensive beta testing. However, the liquidity of the dates has some customers confused, according to reports on social media. Representatives have confirmed the soft and grand opening dates.

The facility near Pittsburg in the southeast corner of the state near the Missouri and Oklahoma borders faced an uphill climb at various times, mostly due to lawsuits from proponents of a competing proposal for the state’s final lottery-owned casino license.

The $80 million casino complex is located near the junction of U.S. Highways 69 and 400 in Crawford County and will feature over 625 slot machines, 16 gaming tables, and a 123-room Hampton Inn and Suites and entertainment complex. The casino is expected to entertain about 500,000 visitors annually, far less than the rejected Castle Rock project would have, but still a massive influx of arrivals for a town with a stable population of just over 20,000 people.

As of Saturday 3-18-2017, the company website still displayed a status of “check back soon for reservations” and travel partner websites were not yet accepting reservations for the week following the grand opening. No comment on when the hotel would open was available from the listed phone number.

Kansas Crossing Casino to begin soft opening last week of March was last modified: March 19th, 2017 by Lars Jones


Genting Group receives initial approval for downtown Miami hotel proposal

In southern Florida, global casino operator Genting Group reportedly won unanimous support from an influential Miami-Dade County committee last week for its plan to build a 300-room hotel on a small plot of land near the site of its long-proposed Resorts World Miami downtown casino resort project.

According to a report from the Miami Herald, Genting Group has been trying to obtain permission to build its Resorts World Miami scheme on the 5.65-acre site of the newspaper’s former headquarters overlooking Biscayne Bay since 2011 but its attempts have been continuously hindered by local opposition, planning regulations and an inability to secure the appropriate casino license.

However, Thursday reportedly saw the transportation committee for the Miami-Dade County Board Of County Commissioners breathe new life into the stalled casino plan after it approved an unaffiliated proposal to give the Malaysian firm a 90-year lease on an adjacent one-acre plot of public land that would be home to the hotel as well as a renovated bus terminal and new-look Metromover station.

Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez told the newspaper that the proposed hotel deal with Genting Group would generate nearly $55 million in rent and revenue-sharing payments for the county while he put the value of the transit improvements at around $22 million.

Although the plan calls for Genting Group to construct a hotel on the site, the Miami Herald reported that the company would be permitted to alter this designation in order to build a residential complex depending on market conditions.

“The Adrienne Arsht Center Metromover Station is a critical mass transportation hub in the center of our prized downtown Miami property and is in desperate need of revitalization,” read a Friday statement from Michael Levoff, Public Affairs Senior Vice-President for Genting Americas. “Assuming approvals are granted, the station will be modernized and improved with private funds from Resorts World [Miami], creating hundreds of construction jobs in the process.”

The newspaper reported that the proposed hotel structure would sit next to Genting Group’s other downtown Miami holdings, which include the site of the former Omni mall along with the historic Boulevard Shops building, while the firm would be required to start construction within four years.

“I don’t think as a commissioner it gets better than a situation like this where we have a commitment and the partnership is there,” Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman told the newspaper. “What you have is a win-win-win for the county that wants to get transit projects going. This is exceptional.”

Gimenez told the Miami Herald that the latest Genting Group project, which must now be approved at the next full meeting of the 13-member Miami-Dade County Board Of County Commissioners in April, would create 1,871 construction jobs with its hotel employing some 171 people.

Genting Group receives initial approval for downtown Miami hotel proposal was last modified: March 20th, 2017 by Adam Morgan


Amaya appoints new Chief Technology Officer

Leading provider of technology-based products and services, Amaya Inc. (NASDAQ: AYA ), announced Wednesday that it has appointed former technology consultant for Partis Solutions, Jerry Bowskill, as its new Chief Technology Officer, effective immediately.

Dr. Bowskill’s responsibilities include the overall technology performance and strategy of the business, according to PRNewswire. The Canadian gaming and online gambling company’s new Chief Technology Officer will report directly to Rafi Ashkenazi, Chief Executive Officer of Amaya. Dr. Bowskill will reportedly lead and execute the strategic technology vision of the online gambling company’s business in order to maximize the potential of its growing product suite and its impact on the millions of current and future Amaya customers.

Dr. Bowskill will head a team of more than 300 developers and technologists worldwide.

Mr. Ashkenazi said, “Jerry’s wealth of technical expertise and commercial experience will be a great asset for our gaming and interactive brands. I look forward to working closely with him again,” according to the news release.

Dr. Bowskill commented on the appointment, saying, “I am excited to be joining such a continuously evolving consumer tech company and to help lead its growth through the efficient delivery of high quality products and services, development of innovative new products, and continued expansion of its offerings.”

Prior to a brief stint at Partis Solutions, from January 2017 to June 2017, Dr. Bowskill’s previous roles have seen him work at TouchTunes Interactive Networks, Scientific Games, and SG Interactive.

Dr. Bowskill began his professional career as a research scientist and has held several roles within British Telecom’s advanced applications & technology research group. In his role as researcher, he has authored more than 40 academic publications and was a research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s “Media Lab.”

Headquartered in suburban Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Amaya owns gaming and related consumer businesses and brands including, BetStars, PokerStars, PokerStars Casino, Full Tilt, StarsDraft, and the PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival live poker tour brands. Through certain of these brands, Amaya also offers non-poker gaming products, including sportsbook, casino, and daily fantasy sports.

Amaya appoints new Chief Technology Officer was last modified: June 16th, 2017 by K Morrison


del Lago Resort & Casino to debut new slot technology this weekend

The del Lago Resort & Casino in upstate New York is preparing to debut new technology this weekend with an interactive slot tournament on the schedule for this Saturday. The media has been invited to demo the new slot game to see just how the casino is launching something new to the region, with leading-edge technology.

The slot tournament will take place this Saturday from 5 to 9 pm with $20,000 up for grabs being split between the top five winners. Players will find the new technology provides a simpler and more convenient way to play at the casino.

With the new technology, when issues arise during tournament mode, slot techs will not have to place a section of machines out of service to repair the problem. Guests will no longer have to wait in long lines to compete in a tournament at the del Lago. The new technology allows players to participate in slot tournaments in their seats from any slot game they choose, as well as see what place they hold in the tournament from the slot game or television display. This makes the del Lago the most convenient casino to offer slot tournaments.

Guests of the casino who have earned 50 points on the casino floor, or 100 points via the high limit room, will be able to play their favorite slot games with their player card and choose to join in the tournament automatically. The option will pop up once the tournament begins so players never have to leave their seat to take part.

Another bonus to the new technology is the option for players to order drinks from their game. Simply use the touch screen and a server will provide the selected drink while the player enjoys game play. On top of these changes, the online casino also recently launched their del Lago Players Reward Card program. This new program allows the casino to become a gateway of sorts for the region of the Finger Lakes.

With the new program, players not only earn rewards for the casino but they also have the ability to redeem casino reward points at local retailers in Finger Lakes. This includes such businesses as Knapp Winery, Muranda Cheese Company, Ciccino’s Pizzeria & Restaurant and more.

The media have been invited to take part in a demo of the new technology this morning at 10 am at the del Lago Resort & Casino. Members of the media will be able to use cameras to shoot the games as they take place as well as actually play the games and order a drink. Executive Vice President and General Manager Jeff Babinski (pictured) will be on hand to discuss why the technology is so important to the venue and why the del Lago is the only casino in the area to offer the convenience to guests along with many other benefits. The Players Reward Club partnership program will also be discussed along with information about the opening of the hotel and spa on July 1st.

del Lago Resort & Casino to debut new slot technology this weekend was last modified: June 22nd, 2017 by Marie Kelley


BetTracker mobile sportsbetting app rolled out across Great Britain

Ahead of next month’s start to the domestic football season in the United Kingdom, gambling software innovator Playtech has announced that the BetTracker product from its Playtech BGT Sports subsidiary has gone live with a host of bookmakers including BoyleSports.

Isle Of Man-based Playtech explained that the BetTracker sportsbetting application, which can now also be utilized at shops run by BetFred, JenningsBet, Sean Graham and Corbett Sports, allows punters to transfer any wager placed on a land-based venue’s self-service betting terminal to their mobile device before subsequently collecting their winnings in cash at any of the same operator’s outlets.

“BetTracker has been a fantastic addition to the retail sector since its launch and we’re pleased that many of our existing partners are now offering it to their customers,” read a statement from John Pettit, United Kingdom, Ireland, Asia and Australia Managing Director for Playtech BGT Sports. “The unique app provides players with much greater choice to improve the user experience and, in turn, boost incremental revenues in shops as it attracts new and existing customers alike.”

Playtech declared that BetTracker, which is accessible via Apple and Android-powered devices, allows operators to “improve the multi-channel experience” for their retail customers as users can “monitor and cash-out shop bets on their personal mobile device” and is to moreover become available at Joe Jennings Bookmakers, David Pluck and Chisholm Bookmakers venues “in the coming weeks”.

“With the football season kicking off soon, we are hoping to carry on the momentum and are confident this roll-out will contribute significantly to that,” read the statement from Pettit.

BetTracker mobile sportsbetting app rolled out across Great Britain was last modified: July 7th, 2017 by Adam Morgan


Quickspin bringing Second Strike to Ladbrokes retail estate

Online gambling software innovator Playtech has announced that its Quickspin video slot development subsidiary has signed a deal to introduce its very own Second Strike game onto more than 7,700 retail terminals operated by Ladbrokes Coral Group in the United Kingdom.

The ten-winline game is the first shop-focused product Quickspin has developed since it was acquired by Isle of Man-based Playtech in March of 2016 and is set to appear on land-based terminals in Ladbrokes-branded outlets across Great Britain over the next few weeks.

Playtech declared that Second Strike is the product of a “close collaboration” between its Quickspin and Psiclone Games Limited subordinates with the former developing the title subsequent to the latter converting it to meet all of the retail specifications and regulations of the United Kingdom.

“We’re really proud of Second Strike,” read a statement from Daniel Lindberg, Chief Executive Officer for Stockholm-based Quickspin. “Designing a game specifically for United Kingdom retail players but equally making it available across all other channels is a first for us but equally it has been a wonderful project and a challenge our team have risen to. The result is a high-quality game with superior gameplay and a series of incredible features that I’m very confident players will really enjoy.”

A video slot that sees players required to collect three, four or five matching symbols adjacent on a winline in order to triumph, Second Strike additionally offers the Bonus Track, Second Strike and Super Second Strike bonus features.

“Bonus Track is a trail of symbols located around the outside of the reels that is activated on any win,” read a statement from Playtech. “Symbols that formed the reel win [with the exception of] wild symbols are randomly lit on the Bonus Track and a marker begins traversing the track in a clockwise motion. Landing on a dimmed symbol mean no win while landing on a lit symbol activates the Second Strike feature. Players are also able to opt for Mega Spins and are awarded a power-up of five reel spins and Wild Strike, a bonus where a floating wild symbol moves clockwise around the outside of the reels.”

Quickspin bringing Second Strike to Ladbrokes retail estate was last modified: July 9th, 2017 by Adam Morgan