Online gaming approved on Tinian

Online gaming on Tinian was, on Friday, Sept 22, 2017, officially approved by the Tinian and Aguiguan Legislative Delegation as a local measure amending the 1989 Casino Gaming Control Act of Tinian, local news outlet Marianas Variety reports. The House Local Bill 20-30, which introduced the change, will also be amending the taxation rates and casino licensing fees in the jurisdiction.

According to the news report, the Friday measure was unanimously passed by the attending four members and witnessed by Tinian Mayor Joey Patrick San Nicolas and Joe Kiyoshi, the gaming control commissioner on Tinian, among other representatives from the municipal council.

Per the measure, a new paragraph was added to Section 15 of the revised 1989 ACT under (g) which legalizes online gaming with licensed operators, provided they implement geolocation software to limit the online gaming activities within the “intra-island borders of the Second Senatorial District” and among the jurisdictions where online gambling is legalized. And as part of the changes to the licensing and taxation fees, online operators will now be legally obliged to pay a supplemental yearly licensing fee of $300,000 to operate online gaming while also paying a 5% gross online revenue tax each month.

Prospective online operators would also be required to have a hotel-casino complex with at least 300 rooms to be allowed to operate online gaming activities.  For now, the only casinos that could meet the outlined criteria have yet to be built, with the soft launch of Alter City’s Plumeria Golf Resort estimated to happen in 2019 and the Tinian Ocean View Resort still waiting for its petition for community backing of the resort to reach the target goal.

Online gaming approved on Tinian was last modified: September 26th, 2017 by Alex Lanter


British Columbia casino may face money laundering probe

In Canada, a casino near the city of Vancouver has reportedly drawn the attention of provincial officials concerned that wealthy Chinese gamblers may be using its services in order to launder millions of dollars in illicit cash.

According to a report from the Bloomberg news service, British Columbia’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch watchdog could be set to investigate the River Rock Casino Resort following the publication by the western province’s newly-elected Attorney General of the findings of a two-year independent investigation into the venue owned by Great Canadian Gaming Corporation.

Bloomberg reported that the examination of the casino located some 7.5 miles from downtown Vancouver began in September of 2013 and purportedly found that patrons would often make single cash buy-ins of more than $404,000 without disclosing from where the funds had come. In July of 2015 alone, the investigation reportedly concluded that staff had accepted $11 million in C$20 notes while determining that the venue had fostered a “culture accepting of large bulk cash transactions”.

“Reasonable grounds to suspect money laundering activity through the use of un-sourced funds has been confirmed,” reportedly read the investigation’s findings. “While the patron may be bona fide, the un-sourced cash being accepted by the casino may be associated with criminal activity.”

The news service reported that such casinos are required to report any cash transaction worth over $8,079 although the subsequent filing of suspicious transaction reports or the barring of high-risk players is more discretionary. As such, the investigation allegedly discovered that River Rock Casino Resort had reported some 54,187 large cash buy-ins but had filed only 1,194 suspicious transaction reports while issuing 1,209 bans.

“I received a series of briefings that caused me to believe that our province could do more to combat money laundering at British Columbia casinos,” British Columbia Attorney General David Eby reportedly told Bloomberg. “I am making that report public today.”

Eby’s New Democratic Party-led government took office in July and the 40-year-old politician reportedly told Bloomberg that he would like to appoint an independent expert over the coming weeks to review provincial money laundering regulations.

For its part, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, which operates 20 facilities located across Canada and the United States, responded to the findings by declaring that it “strictly adheres to all regulatory requirements and maintains the highest standards of reporting at our properties”.

“The British Columbia Lottery Corporation, the Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch and the Financial Transactions and Reporters Analysis Centre have highly detailed and rigorous regulatory obligations that all Great Canadian [Gaming Corporation] facilities in British Columbia adhere to and at all times we govern ourselves to meet or exceed those obligations, rules and standards,” read a statement from Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. “We welcome the Minister’s review of the industry and our operations and, along with direction from the Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch and the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, we will adopt any further revisions to the regulatory structure should they direct British Columbia casino operators to do so.”

British Columbia casino may face money laundering probe was last modified: September 26th, 2017 by Adam Morgan


Klamath Tribes break ground on new hotel; casino expansion to follow

Second only to Crater Lake National Park as a top tourist destination, soon the Kla-Moy-Ya Casino will be complemented by an on-site hotel at its Southern Oregon property.

Located in Chiloquin, less than an hour from Crater Lake, the Kla-Moy-Ya Casino is owned and operated by the Klamath Tribes, who held a groundbreaking for their new 76-room hotel on August 15, 2017.

The Tribes expect that their new Choice Hotels Sleep Inn will be completed within 12 months. Sleep Inn is a brand of Choice Hotels International, Inc., an American hospitality holding corporation based in Rockville, Maryland.

Local TV stations KOBI-TV NBC5 / KOTI-TV NBC2 report that Klamath Tribal Council member Kathleen Hatcher-Mitchell said, “After 20 years with our casino, we now have a hotel to complement it, our Travel Center, all in one area,” Hatcher-Mitchell added that she thought the new hotel would be great for the Tribes and the county as well.

Currently, only Crater Lake National Park eclipses Klamoya Casino as a top tourist attraction in the Klamath County. That is something Hatcher-Mitchell pointed out when she said that a new hotel could help grow the tourist base. “It brings more of a destination resort type feel, rather than a ‘We’re going to go there for the day.’ So this will help get people to come and stay, and tour the area,” she said.

According to the new agency, the new 76-room hotel is a $6.5 million project and one that the Tribes worked closely with Choice Hotels to plan, said Jared Hall, Executive Director of Klamath Tribes Economic Development Corporation. “They came with a pre-packaged design plan that really cut a lot of the up front design work – which is very beneficial, or else this project would probably be delayed another six months,” he reportedly said.

Hall echoed the expected 12-month time frame for completion, weather permitting. He said, “We’re hoping at this time next year we’ll be announcing the grand opening.”

According to KOBI-TV NBC5 / KOTI-TV NBC2, upon completion of the new hotel, the Tribes will begin their next long-term project, which will be the expansion of the casino.

Currently, the Kla-Moy-Ya Casino offers 24/7 gambling by way of over 300 slots and video poker and keno machines, three blackjack tables, and a full-service restaurant and bar/lounge. Additionally, the Tribes own and operate the Crater Lake Junction Travel Center located on-site.

Klamath Tribes break ground on new hotel; casino expansion to follow was last modified: August 17th, 2017 by K Morrison


Work on Morpheus hotel tower resumes after fatal accident inquiry

After being asked to temporarily suspend all building work almost three weeks ago, Asian casino operator Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited has now reportedly resumed construction of the $1 billion Morpheus hotel tower for its City of Dreams Macau development.

According to a report from GGRAsia, Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited was asked by Macau’s Labour Affairs Bureau to stop all work on the project so that it could carry out an investigation into the July 14 death on the development’s 30th floor of a 33-year-old construction worker from mainland China.

“The Labour Affairs Bureau has issued the immediate suspension of all works at the construction site in order to protect the safety of other workers and ordered the contractor to immediately review the current occupational health and safety procedures and submit a detailed report of investigation,” read a July 19 statement from the Labour Affairs Bureau.

However, yesterday reportedly saw Hong Kong-listed Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited declare that these investigations have now been completed to the satisfaction of the Labour Affairs Bureau and that it has resumed construction. The firm, which was known as Melco Crown Entertainment Limited until an early-April name-change, purportedly explained that Morpheus remains on schedule to open during the first half of 2018 offering 780 rooms along with suites, duplex villas and “sky villas”.

Designed by late Iraq-born architect Zaha Hadid, the five-star Morpheus hotel tower is additionally set to feature a high-speed elevator that will transport visitors to an observation deck for views of the interior atrium. Moreover, last week reportedly saw Lawrence Ho Yau Lung, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited, state that the firm is hoping to bring in at least 50 gaming tables.

“We see Morpheus as a massive catalyst to launch City of Dreams Macau 2.0,” Ho told G3 Newswire. “Within the property we can easily house 50-plus tables. City of Dreams Macau next year is going to feel like a brand new property. There will be dedicated gaming space within Morpheus at various levels. We are going to have 50-plus tables.”

Work on Morpheus hotel tower resumes after fatal accident inquiry was last modified: August 2nd, 2017 by Adam Morgan


Michigan tribe breaking ground on Saganing Eagles Landing Casino hotel

In Michigan, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe has reportedly announced that it will be holding a ground-breaking ceremony tomorrow afternoon to mark the start of construction on a new five-story hotel for its Saganing Eagles Landing Casino in southern Arenac County.

According to a report from The Arenac County Independent newspaper, the federally-recognized tribe, which also runs the larger Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort near the Isabella County city of Mount Pleasant, revealed that the new development will offer 148 rooms along with space for an additional 400 slot machines.

“This expansion further solidifies our presence in our aboriginal territory and shows our commitment to the community and economic growth for the region,” read a statement from Frank Cloutier, Chief for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, which has in excess of 2,400 enrolled members. “I am very proud of our abilities and our staff for all that they do to make the Saganing Eagles Landing Casino one of the most preferred places to visit. Thank you to all of our patrons for your visits and soon to be your play-and-stay experience. There are so many possibilities for a brighter future and with continued collaboration we will look forward to enjoying them together.”

The Saganing Eagles Landing Casino welcomed its first players in 2007 and it currently offers more than 800 slots alongside a collection of electronic gaming tables. The facility brought in more than $120 million for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe during its first two years while the tribe’s gaming compact with Michigan means that the enterprise surrenders 2% of its net proceeds to the state each year.

The Arenac County Independent reported that the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort already offers a hotel while the new facility for the Saganing Eagles Landing Casino, which was first announced in 2013, is expected to be completed early in 2019.

Michigan tribe breaking ground on Saganing Eagles Landing Casino hotel was last modified: June 29th, 2017 by Adam Morgan


The 13 Holdings Ltd misses July 31 opening

On Monday 13 Holdings Ltd. missed an opening deadline for the world’s most lavish hotel according to multiple media reports. Opening by July 31, 2017, was one condition of a loan the company, headed by Stephen Hung, the former co-head of Asia investment banking at Merrill Lynch, has with China’s first nationwide state-owned joint-stock commercial bank; Bank of Communications Co.

The loan of HK$3 billion ($384 million) is also about the same amount 13 Holdings still needs to raise in order to finish the $1.6 billion project in Coloane, off the end of the Cotai Strip in Macau. The additional $400m would finish construction of the hotel and pay financing fees and associated costs, according to a Bloomberg report.

While most reports refer to the project as a casino, the company has not used that word for quite some time and Macau gaming regulators have not acknowledged receipt of a request for a casino license. Hung is listed by major financial sources as the Chairman of The Taipan Investment Group and the Vice Chairman of Rio Entertainment Group, operators of Macau’s Rio Hotel & Casino through its affiliates. The Rio license is owned by Galaxy Casino, S.A., the world’s third largest gaming company by revenues, behind only Las Vegas Sands and MGM.

13 Holdings Ltd’s stock prices have taken a hit, having peaked on January 25, 2013, when the company was known as Louis XIII Holdings Ltd. An earlier spike in company share price is not attributable to the hotel project as it occurred several years before Hung announced the luxury hotel.

Bloomberg reports that some early investors have bailed out. Most of the company’s assets are pledged according to the most recent financial statement filed with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

13 Holdings are in the final stages of completing the hotel and the company is still seeking operating licenses. They are still not commenting on whether the hotel will open a casino. While a career website still lists openings for a count room supervisor, manager, and cashier, the listings are not hosted on the13.com website but can be reached from there.

While the future of VIP gaming in Macau is an unknown, the volatile sector has shown improvement with the government reporting a 29% year on year gain for July to MOP23 billion (US$2.86b) in gross gaming revenue. Most analysts attribute the growth to VIP gaming, but caution that it is too soon to know for certain if the year-old Macau recovery is stable yet.

Macau Business Daily reported on July 28 that the Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) was still waiting for a request to inspect the property, a move needed to get the hotel’s licensing process moving forward. “All documents are already approved but we’re still awaiting the request to inspect the property. Without the request we [can’t] initiate the process to grant a license,” MGTO Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes told Business Daily.

A license for any casino would need to come from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, and would likely be a sub-license issued by one of the existing concessionaires. Sociedae de Jogos de Macau (SJM), Galaxy Entertainment Group, and Wynn Resorts hold the only true concessions while MGM Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, and Melco Crown Entertainment technically operate under one of the big three. Macau’s current casino gaming concessions are set to expire in 2020 and 2022.

The tender process for new concessions has not been made clear by the Macau government.

With or without a casino, THE 13 is slated to be the world’s most luxurious hotel and the fleet of 30 custom Rolls Royce Phantoms could easily ferry big spenders to tables at remote casinos if needed.

The least expensive rooms at THE 13 should set you back about $1,500 per night, while the most opulent accommodations could run as high as $100,000.

The property will feature 200 villas (suites). La Villa du Compte will have private elevator lobbies, butlers trained by MCM Palace Consultants and certified by the English Guild of Butlers, floor to ceiling baroque details with period and modern artworks, Roman Baths for 6-8 guests, stained glass and marble bathrooms, elaborately carved and gilded baroque headboard beds with velvet canopies, faceted chrome furniture designed by Mr Hung and other leading artisans, and of course, transportation in one the THE 13’s bespoke red Phantom Rolls Royces.

The 13 Holdings Ltd misses July 31 opening was last modified: August 2nd, 2017 by Lars Jones


Hanoi asked to approve casino for $2.2 billion beach resort

A Lăng Cô development received a helping hand from provincial authorities recently when officials there asked the government in Hanoi to approve a casino for their 692-acre ocean side leisure project in the Thừa Thiên-Huếprovince in the North Central Coast region.

Vietnamnews.net reports that the development company is also requesting an increase in their investment threshold to US$2.2 billion, which is the amount necessary to participate in a 3-year pilot program that will allow Vietnamese citizens to enter some of the country’s casinos legally for the first time. According to a report on GGRAsia, the company already has registered capital of US$875 million.

It has long been known that the property would be seeking a casino, with Hard Rock International being mentioned by several media outlets several years ago, and again over the last weekend by vietnambiz.vn who stated that the company cooperates with Hard Rock as well as the Silver Heritage Group.

Reports indicate that the casino would open in Phase II of the project and beyond with expansions. By 2020, 500 machines and 50 tables are slated to be brought into operation, doubling those numbers in 3 years.

The Ministry of Defence, and Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism have reportedly approved the plan which will employ over 1,000 workers when in full operation. Between 2016 and 2020 two five-star hotels with 1,000 additional rooms as well as 1,653 villas will be opened. Through 2025 an additional 900 rooms over 2 more five-star hotels will be built along with another 250 villas which are expected to be offered for sale. The final phase of the project to be completed in 2030 will add 2 more five-star hotels with a total of 1,000 rooms along with 315 more deluxe villas up for sale.

The first Phase of the resort opened as Banyan Tree Lang Co in 2013. The property currently features a Banyan Tree resort with 57 villas, and a 229 room Angsana hotel and conference center. Also included is an 18-hole Nick Faldo-designed golf course along with the Laguna Sea Sports Centre and Marine Lab.

 

Hanoi asked to approve casino for $2.2 billion beach resort was last modified: July 19th, 2017 by Lars Jones


Madrid Live! integrated casino resort application rejected again

Cordish Gaming’s second application for the rights to build a $2.2 billion integrated casino resort at the Torres de la Alameda macro-complex in Madrid was rejected by the Community of Madrid last week in a move said to surprise and “shock” the American gaming company.

The Spanish newspaper, El Confidencial, reported on Friday that the fourth-generation family-owned Cordish Companies would seek legal remedy, and that representative of Cordish learned of the rejection through media reports, rather than through official channels. The latest application was reportedly 500 pages in length and the original proposal, rejected in March 2017, was said to have “met all the requirements for a CID (Integrated Development Center) license,” while the most recent application made crystal clear every nuance of the Madrid Live! integrated resort they wish to build.

The project was slated to occupy over 225 acres of land near the Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport, the country’s main airport. Some reports indicate the government was not comfortable with the revised plan because it may have still relied too much on gaming revenues in order to succeed. The plan called for a casino floor of over 100,000 sq ft.

Only one Integrated Development Center (CID) can only be approved in any ten year period because of the broad scope of such a project including land use and tax issues.

Cordish CEO Joseph Weinberg is reported as having said that if Madrid Live! did not meet the CID license requirements, then no project could. He noted that his project would create over 50,000 jobs and pump billions of euros into the local economy. Wienberg stated that his company had committed to cover all necessary infrastructure improvements needed to support the project and would seek no aid or subsidies from the Community of Madrid.

Those assurances were reportedly conveyed by Cordish Companies during a July 19 meeting with representatives of the Community of Madrid. They also are said to have committed to completing the project, showed credit backing from Credit Suisse and American bank holding company M&T Bank, and promised to include about 16.5 acres of free public beach access. No more than 15% of the development’s area would be devoted to gaming, according to the El Confidencial report.

One reason given for rejecting the proposal in March was that the initial plan may have left the Community of Madrid responsible for investing about $370 million in infrastructure such as road and rail improvements needed to get visitors to the complex. However, in March a Cordish company spokesperson stated: “The government does not understand our application in two major respects. One, we make no requests for any public infrastructure nor any public subsidy by the government and in fact, none is needed. Two, we are fully committed to a total build-out of a massive $2.2 billion integrated resort.”

The proposal submitted in December 2016 and rejected in March called for 4,000 guestrooms and suites along with typical resort amenities like convention space, retail outlets, a full range of food and beverage outlets, entertainment venues, etc. but in order to qualify for CID license, the project would also need sports and cultural components. Many integrated resort developments begin with a casino in their first phase as a way to service debt while the rest of the project moves forward. The plan for Madrid Live! reportedly included “Europe’s largest offer of resort-style hotels, gastronomy, all kinds of entertainment, shops and events for residents, families, tourists, congresses, and conventions” along with several nightclubs, an eSports arena, and the addition of a “World Soccer Hall Of Fame Museum”  nearby.

Calvinayre.com reports that the Cordish plan expected to rely on gaming for about 62% of the project’s revenues in its first year. The massive casino floor would offer 1,500 slots, 100 table games, 30 poker tables, and a 15,000 sq ft sports betting center.

It’s currently unclear if the company will be invited to apply again or exactly what they would have to change for their third proposal to be successful.

Madrid Live! integrated casino resort application rejected again was last modified: July 24th, 2017 by Lars Jones


Silver Heritage confirms 2017 Nepal casino opening

Australian listed Silver Heritage Group (ASX: SVH) has confirmed earlier reports that their much anticipated Tiger Palace Resort Bhairahawa will open in phases beginning in September with the casino opening before December.

In their half-year results summary covering the period ending June 2017, the Hong Kong-based casino operator and developer said that Tiger Palace Resort Bhairahawa is fully funded following the Entitlement Offer which raised A$19m and that the casino resort is on schedule to open hotel and hospitality areas on September 30 and the casino one month later on November 30, 2017.

Tiger Palace Resort is the company’s first luxury casino resort in southern Nepal and faced construction delays having missed an anticipated February opening. Tiger Palace joins an impressive small portfolio of properties that includes the Millionaire’s Club in Kathmandu’s affluent embassy district in the Shangri La Hotel & Resort, and the Phoenix International Club near Hanoi – one of only 7 true casinos currently licensed and operating in Vietnam.

Tiger Palace is located near the Nepal/India border and is expected to draw players from one of the world’s most underserved gambling markets. Nepal is adjacent to the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh with a population of over 200 million and no casinos. Ninety percent of that number lives outside India’s largest city and capital, New Delhi some 12 hours away by road, or a little over an hour by plane.

The 26,598 sq ft casino is expected to open with 30 tables and 128 gaming machines with room to expand those numbers to 53 and 200 respectively in the near future. The company’s now solid financial position and the property’s location away from other 5 star accommodations and amenities may have factored into the decision to open the casino last. Many phased casino resort openings launch with a casino first, most likely in order to take advantage of instant revenues.

The property, is expected to open with 100 five-star guest rooms and 2 villas, 3 restaurants, 3 bars, a spa and fitness center, separate swimming areas for families and other guests, along with meeting and event space. Silver Heritage plans to eventually provide 400 guest rooms there.

The company’s report mentions further developments along the border including the proposed Tiger Resort 2 (current working name) and possibly a third Tiger branded property with a combined offering of over 200 gaming tables and more than 1,000 electronic game machines.

The company’s casino at the Phoenix luxury hotel in Vietnam’s Bac Ninh City added 3 VIP tables this month bringing the total to 15 along with 94 machines. Silver Heritage has a management agreement with the owner of the Phoenix that is due to run until at least March 31, 2025. That property brought in $235 million in net profit for the company in the first half of 2017 – the lion’s share of it from table games.

The Millionaire’s Club in Kathmandu didn’t fair as well with $156,000 in net losses for the period on $57,000 in Gross Profit.

Silver Heritage confirms 2017 Nepal casino opening was last modified: August 25th, 2017 by Lars Jones


Casino games being planned for coming Morpheus hotel tower

Despite being forced to suspend construction on the Morpheus hotel tower at its City of Dreams Macau development earlier this month, Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited has reportedly announced that it still hopes to open the new enterprise during the first half of next year complete with casino games.

According to a report from G3 Newswire, the revelation from Lawrence Ho Yau Lung, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited, came after authorities in Macau asked that all work on the $1 billion project be stopped following the death on July 14 of a 33-year-old construction worker from mainland China.

Designed by late Iraq-born architect Zaha Hadid, the five-star Morpheus hotel tower had reportedly been scheduled to open in April of 2018 offering approximately 780 rooms along with suites, duplex villas and “sky villas” while a high-speed elevator is set to transport visitors to an observation deck featuring views of the interior atrium.

“We see Morpheus as a massive catalyst to launch City of Dreams Macau 2.0,” Ho told G3 Newswire. “Within the property we can easily house 50-plus tables. City of Dreams Macau next year is going to feel like a brand new property. There will be dedicated gaming space within Morpheus at various levels. We are going to have 50-plus tables.”

G3 Newswire reported that the revelation came as Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited, which was known as Melco Crown Entertainment Limited until an early-April name-change, posted a 21% increase year-on-year in second-quarter net revenues to $1.29 billion. The Hong Kong-listed firm moreover reported a 76% swell in operating income for the three-month period to $127.44 million while its net income rose by 18.5% to reach $36.47 million.

“I don’t think any architecture in any building in Macau is remotely close to Morpheus,” Ho reportedly told G3 Newswire. “Based on the government’s track record of rewarding operators for investments in terms of diversification and the beautification of Macau, I think we check all of those boxes. Naturally, it’s out of our control in terms of how many tables we get but we are going to be submitting our relevant documentation to the government and we will see where it goes.”

 

Casino games being planned for coming Morpheus hotel tower was last modified: July 31st, 2017 by Adam Morgan