Mohegan Sun Ready to Acquire Boston-area Casino

Connecticut-based gaming company, Mohegan Sun has recently announced that it is willing to buy out Wynn Resorts’ $2.5 billion Everett casino project if is found to be unsuitable by state regulators. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is currently facing a lawsuit over its alleged botched investigations into sexual misconduct allegations against Wynn Resorts founder and former CEO Steve Wynn. Apparently, the move by Mohegan Sun meant to give the Gaming Commission an easy way out of the dilemma which has some very high stakes.

According to the Boston Herald, Mohegan Sun stated that it is confident in its reputation and is, therefore, the “best choice and as gaming operator and licenses holder for a Region A resort casino.” The company further promised that they will be committed to opening the Everett project in a timely manner should it be allowed to acquire it and complete the construction which was already underway.

This is not the first time that Mohegan Sun has made its intentions to acquire a gaming license in the state of Massachusetts public – in 2014, the company and its partner Suffolk Downs lots a bid for a gaming license in the state to Wynn Resorts. This not only ended Mohegan Sun’s chances of getting into the state’s gaming market but also culminated in the termination of the storied horserace tack at Suffolk Downs. Even though the odds of getting back on its feet have not improved for Suffolk Downs, Mohegan Sun is seemingly still hopeful in its hunt for a casino license in the state.

In its attempts to get its intention out there, Mohegan Sun has already held a number of initial meetings with some neighboring communities to express their interest in case Wynn’s license is stripped. The purpose of these meetings was to assure the residents that it would honor existing surrounding community agreements that were negotiated by Wynn.

In fact, Mohegan Sun has been championing its interests in owning a Boston Casino for the past few years and it is likely trying to make it clear to the four commissioners that will either uphold or revoke Wynn Resorts’ license that there is an interested buyer – this would seemingly make the decision to withdraw Wynn Resorts’ license easier.

Not Everyone Is Convinced

Unfortunately, Mohegan Sun’s plans have not been riding well with everyone. For instance, Everett Mayor, Carlo DeMaria, has expressed his disapproval of the idea of the Mohegan Sun taking over the facility. Apparently, Everett’s agreement with Wynn Resorts gives it’s the ability to approve or reject the sale of the facility to a new company.

A lot of factors will come into play before the final decision is made. One of the most significant ones would be the fact that Mohegan Sun has even gone as far as filing a lawsuit against the Gambling Commission arguing that is was better suited for the state’s gaming license than Wynn.

Genting Malaysia’s Share Price Drops Amid Higher Taxes

Last Friday, the Malaysian Budget was announced and one of the main highlights of that event was the negative surprises it had in store for the gaming sectors. This came in the form of an unprecedented tax hike that affected a number of gambling businesses including the country’s casinos and slot parlors.

As stipulated by the Malaysian government’s budget, the casino licensing fee will be increased to MYR150 million per year up from MYR120 million ($28.8 million). The casino duty rate will also be raised from the previous 25 percent to 35 percent of the gross gaming revenue. Furthermore, gaming machine duties will also be raised from 20 percent to 30 percent on gross collection.

Following the budget announcement, Genting Malaysia Bhd. suffered its worst ever single-day fall after a number of analysts downgraded its stock. The investment analysts who have been observing the Malaysian gaming sector pointed out that investors had previously priced in an increase in Malaysia’s gaming tax. However, they were, apparently, not expecting that the government would impose such high taxes – the country’s tax policies on gaming revenue have remained unchanged since the late 90s when the rate jumped from 22 percent to 25 percent.

“The casino license fee and duty rate hike are the largest on record,” said analyst Samuel Yin Shao Yang of Maybank Kim Eng Research. “The new casino duty rate of 35 percent, effective sales and service tax of 3.7 percent and corporate tax rate of 24 percent, ‘crowns’ Resorts World Genting as the heaviest taxed casino in Asia. Macau casinos are also taxed at 39 percent of gross gaming revenue but they are exempted from corporate tax.”

Future Projections

Genting Malaysia’s stock price fell by as much as 30 percent, its biggest drop since 1989. Genting Bhd., its parent company, also saw a 12 percent decrease in stock price which is also its highest since 1989. Some analysts estimate that there will be a MYR600 million to MYR700 million impact on the casino’s earnings before taxation, interest, amortization, and depreciation as well as net income for fiscal years 2019 and 2020. This is likely to offset a huge chunk of the earnings growth that is expected from Genting Bhd.’s capital expenditure into newer capacities over the past half-decade.

On the flipside, some analysts believe that increase casino licensing and tax fees may be offset by the increased volume and revenues that are expected to become a reality when the new theme park reopens. With an increased number of visitors to the Genting Highlands, there will be a  positive spillover effect on the highland’s visitors and this will, in a way, cushion it from the overall impact of the new rates.

Plan to Turn Mayfair Townhouse into Casino Faces Backlash

Considered to be one of the most renowned and flamboyant society hostesses of the last century, Dame Margaret Greville truly mastered the art of hospitality hosting the elite at her Lavish Georgian home in London’s Mayfair. Most of Margaret’s neighbors looked forward to these soirees as they presented the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the guests including Queen Elizbeth the Queen Mother and King George VI as well as many other lords and politicians.

After her death in 1942, the Grade II listed Mayfair Townhouse was turned into a gentleman’s club and then later to the Debrett’s society of etiquettes before finally being turned into offices in the 70s. The next plans for the property, as it turns outs, is a casino project which not many of the neighborhood’s residents have been amused by.

A number of objections have already been filed to the Westminster council by the residents who are concerned that the casino will bring in “prostitutes, conmen, and moneylenders” instead of the glimpse of royalty that they have always been accustomed to.

“Crime is on the increase at an alarming rate throughout London. Casinos, unfortunately, attract money lenders, criminals of various denominations, conmen/women, male/female prostitutes,” a resident of the township commented.

One of the letters also highlights some serious crimes including robbery and murder that have occurred in British casinos. As such, they believe that the entry of the new casino would inadvertently bring in similar or worse problems to the area.

Loss of Privacy

As it stands, Mayfair already has a number of casinos, that is about seven all of which are walking distances from each other – saying that the area is saturated with casinos would be an understatement.

The proposed casino would occupy at least five of the six-floor establishment and would feature a sports lounge, a slots lounge, a VIP gaming area, a kitchen, a restaurant bar, wine stores as well as a private dining. Unlike most other legal gambling establishments, the casino would hold no more than 1140 members a day and only a maximum of 240 visitors would be able to visit the gaming space in any given day. Moreover, the casino would be operational every single day except for Christmas.

A number of residents are concerned that the proposed 24-hour casino could infringe on their privacy since the guests would supposedly be able to peek into the residents’ bedrooms at all times of the day.

While it is certainly too early to tell how exactly this tussle will play out, the applicants have already made provided some relevant elaboration to most of the concerns that the residents have raised. For instance, they have insisted that the noise at the casino would be kept as low as possible since visitors would be required to leave quietly and no music will be allowed in the establishment.

Mt. Airy Submits Application for Beaver County Mini-Casino

Last Friday, officials from the Monroe County-based Mount Airy Casino Resorts submitted a mini-casino license application to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Mount Airy’s plans will turn the over 100 acres of barren land in Big Beaver into a multimillion-dollar mini-casino and entertainment complex.

According to the Times Online, a local news outlet, Mount Airy plans to launch its mini-casino in Beaver County in late 2019, a facility that is anticipated to feature at least 30 table games and 750 slot machines. The plans officially kicked off last August when the casino bought 100 acres of barren land just off Interstate 376 where the mini-casino is set to be constructed, if the gaming control board approves their license application, that is. By submitting the official application for the license, the developers confirmed that they have indeed begun the process for final approval before construction begins. The application also included sports betting and online gambling.

While commenting on the issue, Mount Airy Pittsburgh’s vice president of marketing and gaming operations, Vincent Jordan said that he and other casino officials are excited about the license applications as it marked the beginning of the formal process that is required for them to establish a gambling business in Big Beaver County as early as next year.

“While the due diligence process is underway, we’re enthusiastic about working with the community on job training and other partnerships,” he elaborated. “We are looking forward to communicating our plans and are appreciative of all the help and collaboration we have received from Beaver County officials.”

Mount Airy’s Operations in the Commonwealth

Earlier this year, Mt. airy won a mini-casino license after making a $21,888,888.88 bid – the terms for this license also stipulated that the casino could include up to 750 slot machines and 30 table games. For this project, the casino has even already begun discussions with workforce development and educational partners, a move that has earned the operator a lot of praise form the county board of commissioners who have been keeping a watchful eye on the developments.

According to Daniel Camp, the chairman of the country commissioners, the move is an indication of Mount Airy’s commitment and dedication to the project.

“It’s great to see another organization and business come into Beaver County who is willing to and will be a great neighbor to our community,” Mr. Camp pointed out. “I think them being here this early prior to breaking ground is a sign that shows the commitment to the community and the project.”

The PGCB to Review the Application

The mini-casino application that was submitted on Friday required Mount Airy to conduct a traffic study, local impact report as well as other forms of research, which is typical of the application process. However, according to the gaming control board’s spokesperson, it will be a few weeks before they release the application to the public for review. In the meantime, the PGCB staff will be reviewing the application for completeness while at the same time redacting any confidential information that it may include.

GambleAware Adds New Trustees to Gambling-Independent Board

United Kingdom-based industry charity GambleAware has recently expanded its board of trustees with new appointments. These new appointees are meant to advise the organization on issues to do with addictive behavior and health-related matters in the United Kingdom. The choice of the new trustees was based on the organization’s mandate to establish a board that is completely independent of the industry.

One of the new trustees is Marcantonio Spada, a London South Bank University Professor of Mental Health who will be bringing significant experience in working to identify the various causes of addictive behavior with regards to gambling. Professor Spada is also currently the Head of Division of Psychology and Deputy Head of the Centre for Addictive Behaviors Research at the South Bank University.

Joining Professor Spada is the Paul Simpson, an NHS Trust Surrey and Sussex Chief Finance Officer/Deputy Chief Executive who will be bringing some significant experience and expertise in both financial management and healthcare. Mr. Simpson has served multiple finance roles across multiple local NHS Trusts.

“We are delighted that Marcantonio and Paul have agreed to become trustees of GambleAware. Between them, they bring strong experience in addiction, public health, finance, and risk management. Also, I should like to record our thanks to both Alan and Brigid for their hard work as trustees,” Kate Lampard, GambleAware’s Chair of Trustees, said about the new appointments. “GambleAware’s Board is now wholly independent of the gambling industry, and we believe this is necessary to secure public trust and confidence given our central role in commissioning research, education and treatment services. Trustees continue to call for a statutory levy on the gambling industry to ensure research, education, and treatment services are adequately and sustainably funded.”

GambleAware will still be pursuing the charitable objectives that it has always been after in a bid to curb the issue of gambling-related harm. Supporting these operations is a government-prescriber voluntary donation system that is currently in place. Kate Lampard believes that all of these can be achieved without the need for anyone to employed by a gambling company to sit at the table.

A little over a month ago, GambleAware announced that they were getting involved in a new initiative with Citizens Advice. The two organizations are expected to raise $2 million which will be used towards a joint effort focusing on debt advisers for gamblers. GambleAware’s partnership with Citizens Advice marks the next logical step for the organization to tackle the issue of problem gambling in the United Kingdom.

Atlantic City’s Ocean Resort Casino Granted Gambling License

With a little less than a week till its June 28 grand opening and after two days of testimony, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission has finally approved Ocean Resort Casino’s application for a gambling license. The hearing took two days and featured Bruce Deifik, the owner of the former Revel Casino, giving a close to two-hour testimony where he outlined his plans for the casino as well its role in the city’s resurgence.

Deifik further pointed out that it took them 13 long and hard months to get the casino license granted and thus the decision by the state gambling regulator to award Ocean Resorts Casino a license was a “dream come true for myself and my entire family.”

The gambling license was granted with a list of 26 conditions to boot – these were laid out by the state regulators at the Division of Gaming Enforcement. These 26 conditions primarily addressed the casino’s financial resources as well as its relationship with JPMorgan Chase, one of its lenders. The goal here was to ensure that Ocean Resort Casino is not afflicted by the same economic challenges that led to the deterioration and ultimate closure of its predecessor.

“I am placing a great deal of confidence in Mr. Deifik, his family and his assembled team to market this property and draw old and new customers to come and experience what Atlantic City in general and Ocean Resort, in particular, has to offer,” the New Jersey Casino Control Commission Chairman James T. Plousis said in a statement after the vote.

Prior to the meeting, the regulator’s commissioners admitted to having a number of serious concerns most of which were shared by the Division of Gaming Enforcement.

“But after listening to the very extensive, and personal testimony of the past two days, my concerns have been eased,” Commissioner Alisa Cooper commented.

During their testimonies, Deifik and Alan Greenstein, Ocean Resort Casino’s chief financial officer, elaborated on their vision for the luxury casino hotel, their finances as well as the changes that they made to the property. Frank Leone, the casino’s chief executive officer also testified on Ocean Resorts’ strategy and plans to attract and keep guests. He firmly believes that they will not make the same mistakes that their predecessor did.

“I can assure you that we’re going to speak loudly and clearly to the core casino audience,” Leone said. “Our promise is to have an unwavering commitment to exceeding guests’ expectations.”

The casino is going to employ nearly 3,300 people, a good number of whom will be Atlantic City residents with prior casino experience. These employees will be assigned to various sections of the 1,399 rooms and 130,000- square-foot casino floor that features close to 2,000 slots machines, over 100 table games, and eight poker tables.

Macau Locals Should Be Able to Bid for Licenses, Says Tycoon

The Macau casino scene has been booming for quite some time after a brush with some rather significant lows. Despite this, they still have to put up with regulators and licensors who always come for their pounds of flesh every few years – many Macau licenses are up for renewal in just but a couple of years or so.

Since time immemorial it has always been the existing operators who get a hold of a great deal of the new concessions, if not all of them. However, this is likely to change in the near future as a local Macau businessman has risen above to challenge the status quo. Chan Meng Kam, the businessman, is of the thought that local firms should also be given the opportunity to bid on casino concessions alongside existing operators.

As reported by GGRAsia.com, Chan Meng Kam, who is also a former legislator stated on Wednesday that he believed that locals deserved to have at least a little more input and influence the process that would grant casino gaming rights to the gambling haven in the near future.

“I know many people are paying attention to the gaming license issue,” Chan said during the annual meeting of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the Chinese government’s top advisory group. “As someone from Macau, I hope that Macau people can be allowed to participate in it.”

While this move would naturally imply that Chan is interested in acquiring a casino license, he withheld information regarding his core interests in the issue.

Why Chan’s Opinion Matters

Other than being a member of the Legislative Assembly in Macau from 2005 to 2017, Chan is also known for being one of the richest men in the coastal strip of Macau with hundreds of real estate properties in the territory. He has a pretty good reputation as well since he acquired his wealth in the 90s.

Currently, Chan chairs the Golden Dragon Co Ltd., a company that runs three Macau casinos under the licenses of Melco Resorts and Entertainment and SJM Holdings. The three casinos are referred to as satellite casinos since they rely on service agreements with one of the six authorized license holders in the city.

 

Battle Over Third Connecticut Casino Is Reignited

The struggle over the rights to establish a third casino in Connecticut has started all over again at the State Capitol. Bridgeport lawmakers are now pushing for a repeal of the 2017 law and the start of competitive bidding for the third casino license. However, since the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is yet to act on the third law pertaining to Connecticut’s third casino law and the MGM is still hell-bent on stopping the third casino, the raging battle has started all over again.

As it stands, the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes are planning to start tearing down an old movie complex in East Windsor next week. This planned demolition, according to the tribes, is meant to make way for the joint casino project. The legislature approved this plan and the Governor signed it in 2017 but it is still yet to be approved by the Trump Administration.

The Public Safety Committee is, therefore, going to have to find a way of handling this battle over the third casino license while at the same time make room for the Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association, both of whom reached out to the committee on Thursday regarding their work on a framework for sports-betting-related legislations.

The proposal that the Public Safety Committee is set to hear will effectively repeal the 2017 law and thus grant the tribes the right to establish and operate a casino in East Windsor as well as the right to call for competitive bidding.

“The gaming landscape has changed around the region and we’re looking to see what we can get out of our gaming license or gaming options in the state of Connecticut,” said Representative Chris Rosario.

A decent number of Bridgeport lawmakers are of the opinion that glamorous MGM proposal for the establishment of a casino complex at the Bridgeport harbor will create more jobs and generate more revenue than what the current deal with the Mohegan and Pequot tribes could yield.

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