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MACAU - Casinoleaks-Macau.com suddenly shut down

Casinoleaks-Macau.com has shut down. On its website is only the information: “Casinoleaks-Macau.com is shutting down. Thank you for your interest”. The website that started operations in February promised to release information on organized crime in Macau’s gaming industry.

It was financed and authorized by a major US trade union. The project was led by Jeff Fiedler, a four-term member of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC). The website also featured essays and profiles on major VIP room and junket operators, and about VIP gaming in Macau. In an interview with MDT, Jeff Fiedler said concerning the reaction from gaming operators, triads and Macau gaming authorities, he expected “they initially might be angry.” He also is said to have “started to prove that the Macau gaming industry is hardly watertight.” MDT contacted the website in order to find out the motives behind the shut down. No answers were provided until the paper went to print. 

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WHAT IS YOUR OPINION OF THE SUDDEN SHUT DOWN OF CASINOLEAKS-MACAU - please feel free to write your comments below

USA - Casino Mogul Steve Wynn Denies Threatening To Kill Girls Gone Wild's Joe Francis

Steve Wynn has told a jury he never threatened the life of "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis and that if he had, it would destroy his upscale casino businesses.

Francis claims that Wynn threatened to kill him and have him buried in the desert in emails and conversations with record producer Quincy Jones in 2010. Francis first made the claims while embroiled in a multi-million dollar dispute over a gambling debt.

Wynn later sued for slander.

Francis repeated the claims during a trial that began Tuesday in Los Angeles. He says he took the warnings from his neighbor Jones seriously.

Wynn is the CEO of Wynn Resorts Ltd. and developed many of Las Vegas' signature hotels including The Mirage and Bellagio. He testified he has never sent an email in his life.

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ASIA - Cambodia - Entertainment Gaming Asia Announces Construction of Dreamworld Poipet is Underway

- Company Launches Progress Update Reports for Dreamworld Poipet on its Corporate Website – www.EGT-Group.com

HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Entertainment Gaming Asia Inc. (NYSE MKT: EGT) (“Entertainment Gaming Asia” or “the Company”), a leading gaming company focused on emerging gaming markets in Pan-Asia, today announced that it has commenced construction of Dreamworld Poipet, its slot hall development project in Poipet, Cambodia. Dreamworld Poipet, strategically located at one of Cambodia’s most significant border crossings with Thailand, will be a standalone slot hall constructed as an extension of an existing popular casino.

The $7.5 million internally funded project is expected to open in the first quarter of 2013. It is intended to measure approximately 16,000 square feet and feature a comprehensive suite of 300 high-quality gaming machine seats from leading manufacturers. These machines will include multi-player electronic tables and other top of the line slot machines to provide players a first class casino experience.

Also today, the Company announced that it has launched a Dreamworld Poipet Updates section on its corporate website to enable the investment community to track the development of this project. Please visit www.EGT-Group.com under the section entitled Dreamworld Projects where the Company will provide periodic updates and photos of the construction process for Dreamworld Poipet.

Clarence Chung, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Entertainment Gaming Asia, commented, “We are pleased to begin construction of our Dreamworld Poipet project. With a focus on providing quality gaming products, superior customer service and inviting atmosphere, we are dedicated to making Dreamworld Poipet a quality leader in this market. Our entrance into the established and growing gaming market of Poipet is a positive step in our strategy to become a leading developer and operator of regional casinos and gaming venues in Indo-China. We invite investors to visit our corporate website at www.EGT-Group.com to follow its development.

Entertainment Gaming Asia Inc. (NYSE MKT: EGT) is a leading gaming company in Pan-Asia engaged in the development and operation of casinos and gaming venues in the Indo-China region under its “Dreamworld” brand as well as the leasing of electronic gaming machines on a participation basis to the gaming industry. The Company also manufactures and sells RFID and traditional gaming chips and plaques to major casinos through its wholly-owned subsidiary Dolphin Products in Australia. For more information please visit www.EGT-Group.com.

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USA - Judge rules that poker is a game of skill. Poker pro says: Duh.

To a poker pro, it’s brutally obvious that the game is one of skill, not chance. I’ve made my living over the past nine years by having an edge on my opponents. I didn’t somehow get lucky over hundreds of thousands of hands, and I’ve yet to meet a person who thinks I did. Poker is a strategy game, requiring logic, mathematics, psychology and intuition to play well. This statement is hardly debatable — but it was still nice to hear a federal judge agree with it.

In United States v. DiCristina, U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein ruled earlier this month that poker is a game of skill and therefore not a violation of the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA). The news is unequivocally good for poker players, setting a precedent that other courts may look to. And yet, it’s hardly cause for celebration.

The IGBA was enacted in 1970 to crack down on organized crime. It was never intended to prevent ordinary people from playing poker — the statute does not include the game on its list of gambling activities.

But plenty of state laws do. In New York, where I live, poker is considered gambling; even home games are illegal, if common. The same is true in Maryland, New Jersey and many other states. Just this past week, delegates to the Republican National Convention endorsed a platform that includes support for “the prohibition of gambling over the Internet.”

Against such opposition, Weinstein’s ruling is a narrow victory. It does nothing to reverse anti-poker legislation, nor does it prevent Congress from passing more restrictions. I’m glad that we poker players are not gangsters in the eyes of the IGBA, but the IGBA hasn’t been anywhere close to our biggest impediment.

What is it about poker that makes the game a target of paternalistic laws? It can’t simply be the money at risk — billions of dollars are gambled on Wall Street every day with the enthusiastic support of the federal government. If wagers are legitimate in finance, then they should be okay in a card room. Poker isn’t craps — a game in which, according to the laws of probability, players will always lose in the long run. In poker, there are good bets and bad bets, and players have to figure out which are which.

Wall Street traders assess a company’s stock price and determine whether it’s overvalued or undervalued. A poker player looks at his hand and assesses its value compared with the amount of money in the pot. Price is everything. Just as a stock may be a poor investment at $100 but a steal at $80, a poker hand may be worthless in a small pot but a high-value play in a big one.

Professional traders and professional poker players get paid to analyze risk and reward. In both arenas, good investments routinely turn sour. Losing money is part of the game. This situation is acceptable on Wall Street but not, for some reason, at the poker table.

How can legislators question the element of skill in poker? If the existence of thousands of professional players weren’t evidence enough, one need only observe the game. Every hand is a series of decisions. Some decisions are more profitable than others, and those of us who have spent thousands of hours studying the game are better at making those decisions. Hence, skill.

If you don’t believe me, look at any study that has examined the issue. “Freakonomics” author Steven Levitt published “The Role of Skill Versus Luck in Poker: Evidence From the World Series of Poker” last year with fellow economist Thomas J. Miles. Before the 2010 WSOP, the authors identified a group of players as highly skilled, based on past performance and/or world ranking. They then followed those players’ results in the tournament, finding that the highly skilled group earned a return of 30 percent on their investments, while the rest of the player pool suffered a 15 percent loss.

Could this be a coincidence? The odds against it are astronomical.

Having a court decide whether poker is a game of skill is bizarre to most professionals. Are judges asked whether investment bankers’ jobs are legitimate? Of course not, nor should they be. And neither should players rejoice at a very small piece of bureaucratic validation.

Our government disdains a risk-reward game that millions of Americans play, then bails out Wall Street sharks who bet unfathomable sums. I can only conclude that this contradictory stance has little to do with the skills required for each pursuit. No, for some reason, lawmakers just don’t like poker.

jacksup@mattmatros.com

Matt Matros , the author of “The Making of a Poker Player,” is a three-time World Series of Poker winner who got his start playing in D.C. area home games.

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Macau casino revenue grows 5.5 percent in August

HONG KONG (AP) — Gambling revenue growth in Macau, the world's most lucrative casino market, picked up moderately last month after hitting a three-year low, data released Monday showed, as high-rolling gamblers raised their bets at tables in the semiautonomous Chinese city.

By KELVIN CHAN | Associated Press –

Revenue rose 5.5 percent to 26.1 billion patacas ($3.3 billion) in August from the same month last year, according to data posted on the Macau gambling authority's website.

Macau's casino revenues have surged at double-digit rates in recent years thanks to big-spending Chinese gamblers. Revenue zoomed up 42 percent last year to $33.5 billion, more than five times the amount earned on the Las Vegas Strip. But growth has cooled this year as China's economy has slowed.

In July, revenues rose just 1.5 percent, the slowest rate since mid-2009 and during the depths of the global recession.
The August figures ease some of the concern over the effect of China's slowdown on Macau, whose fortunes are highly dependent on wealthy gamblers from mainland China.

The data also showed that revenues were the second highest ever for Macau casinos, topped only by October 2011's 26.8 billion patacas. For the first eight months of the year, revenue rose 15 percent over the year before.

Macau, a former Portuguese colony that came back under Chinese control in 1999, is the only place in China where casino gambling is legal. Authorities ended a four-decade casino monopoly in 2002, transforming the city into an Asian gambling powerhouse by opening the way for foreign operators such as Las Vegas Sands Corp., Wynn Resorts, and MGM International to enter the market.
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Follow Kelvin Chan at twitter.com/chanman

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USA - Florida - Aquarium leak at Gulfstream Park closes two casinos

The casino at Gulfstream Park was closed Sunday after a leak from its 13,000 gallon aquarium. Activities outside the casino were not affected.

The giant saltwater aquarium stood 13 feet tall at Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino in Hallandale Beach, an unmistakable visual treat for visitors to its second-floor casino.

BY DIANA MOSKOVITZ DMOSKOVITZ@MIAMIHERALD.COM

Until it sprang a leak Sunday, a little after midnight. Water damage closed the first- and second-floor casinos.

Work continued Sunday night to clean up everything. Director of gaming Mike Couch said he could not guess when the casinos would reopen or how much the clean-up might cost.

“We’re just working through things, like the games, one by one and making sure things are OK,” he said.

A seam in the 13,000 gallon saltwater aquarium in the second-floor casino cracked open, and about 10,000 gallons of water gushed onto the floor, Couch said.

“It just kind of gave out,” Couch said, “and the water came spilling on out.”

The cylindrical aquarium, 13 feet in diameter and 13 feet high, held more than a dozen fish, Couch said, including sharks, a lion fish, a puffer and various tropical fish.

After it burst, casino employees raced into action. They grabbed towels and other supplies from the bar area, Couch said, and used them to plug the leak.

When it stopped, about 3,000 gallons remained in the aquarium. It was enough to keep the fish safe and swimming until employees of the company that cleaned the tank came, gathered the fish and took them back to its headquarters to hold them, Couch said.

The casino was evacuated, and employees got to work soaking up the water.

The water affected two casinos — the second-floor gaming area as well as the one of the first floor. No other parts of Gulfstream were affected.

The buffet, simulcast area, dining rooms and shops went on as normal.

The aquarium’s future had not been decided Sunday.

“We haven’t gotten to that point yet,” Couch said. “Right now, our focus is in getting everything cleaned up.”

Read more here at the MIAMI HERALD

 

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INDIA - Goa- Politicians who change their tunes on casino laws

PANAJI: Aam admi aurat against gambling (AAAG), a NGO, alleged that all political parties oppose the casinos when they are in the opposition parties, but legislate in their favour when they are in power.

AAAG has decided to oppose the amendment to the Goa Gambling Prevention Act, which legalizes illegal offshore casinos in Goa's inland rivers. It will discuss the future course of action at a meeting on Thursday, September 7, 2012, in the city.

As opposition leader, Manohar Parrikar came out on the streets, opposing casinos but now as CM, he passed legislations in casino owners's favour without discussing the draft with the opposing stakeholders. Congress MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, who is critical of casinos, also did not support the NGO's demand to repeal the Congress party government's amendments to the act to permit casinos, Sabina Martins of AAAG stated.

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USA - Closer Look: Ban on gaming donations a tough sell

CHICAGO (AP) — When Gov. Pat Quinn shot down a plan to boost gambling in the state, he called for more ethical safeguards and conjured up cautionary images of mobsters infiltrating Illinois casinos.

But his top suggestion to fix the proposal — banning political contributions from the gambling industry — would likely face a difficult road in a state with some of the most lax campaign finance laws nationwide, if Quinn really pushes for it and any lawmaker would sponsor such a reform in the General Assembly.

Many question if Quinn truly was motivated by the ethics and oversight concerns, or if he simply would never support the plan to establish five new casinos and slot machines at racetracks. Some of the plan's supporters question if aiming a contributions ban at one industry would be fair or constitutional. And Quinn could anticipate stiff resistance among lawmakers to doing away with such a fat source of cash.

Just ask Maryland.

The governor there proposed strict limits on donations from casino owners and some employees as part of a gambling expansion. But the proposal was pummeled by lawmakers until they ended up with what supporters say is a watered-down version that became law this year.

"What they did was take a very comprehensive bill and they (put) a big doughnut hole in it," said Delegate Luiz Simmons, a Maryland Democrat who has pushed gambling reforms. "It probably is almost moot."

The gambling industry — including casinos, racing parks and horsemen associations — has contributed nearly $10 million to Illinois politicians over the past decade, according to an analysis by good-government group Common Cause.

First on a list of the top 25 lawmakers receiving contributions was House Minority Leader Tom Cross, a Republican who received more than $530,000 from 2002 through 2012. Fourth was the sponsor of the vetoed gambling legislation, Rep. Lou Lang, a Democrat who received over $310,000. Another bill sponsor, state Sen. Terry Link, also a Democrat, was much further down at No. 14 with nearly $59,000.

Quinn received more than $46,000, according to the group.

Rey Lopez-Calderon, the executive director of Common Cause Illinois, said lawmakers should focus on ethical protections in gambling because of the industry's historic ties to organized crime and the state's reputation for rampant political corruption. Quinn's two predecessors are in prison, as he noted in explaining his veto.

"Part of the problem with corruption and the influence of money, why it's not just a trivial item, there's relationships that they've built up over years and years," Lopez-Calderon said.

Lawmakers were quick to disagree, arguing there's no tie between contributions and the legislation. Most of the state's 10 existing casinos opposed the expansion, saying it would have saturated the market and hurt existing establishments.

"The idea that gaming money brought me to this place is not true," said Lang, who has campaigned for expanded gambling for years. "I got some money from a bunch of casinos who opposed the bill."

Quinn's spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said the governor's concerns aren't over existing campaign contributions, but over the potential for problems.

The experience of trying to ban political contributions in other states has been varied. A handful — including Iowa, Michigan and New Jersey — have some type of ban. But not all attempts have survived constitutional challenges.

In 2009, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down a ban prohibiting casino investors and executives from making any political campaign contributions after a developer challenged it in a lawsuit. Louisiana's ban, among the strictest, has survived First Amendment challenges.

Deciding what to do with Quinn's veto is brand new territory for lawmakers. They passed a gambling expansion bill last year too, but refused to give the legislation to Quinn because he'd threatened to veto it.

This year, they passed the bill in Springfield just a few votes shy of what would be necessary to override the governor's veto. Supporters said they would try to get the necessary votes before the fall legislative session, after the November election. "My plan is to forge ahead," Lang said.

He and others believe Quinn had no intention of signing any gambling expansion: Quinn waited until the last day to make a decision and opted against using his amendatory veto power to approve the bill while altering parts he didn't like. Signing the legislation would have allowed lawmakers to proceed with a planned trailer bill they said would address his concerns, including the campaign contributions issue.

"He's taken tens of thousands of dollars from gambling interests," said Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks, who voted against the bill because he thought the expansion was too big for the state. He said Quinn's call for more ethical oversight "rings hollow."

Meanwhile, the American Gaming Association and a Chicago gambling attorney who once provided legal counsel to the Illinois Gaming Board argue that such bans unfairly target the industry.

"If you're going to have a campaign contribution policy, it should be a broad, all-encompassing one," said Donna More, the lawyer. "If the governor is serious, this is something that is much larger than one industry."

Quinn would only say that he made his decision to prevent loopholes, though he didn't have specifics when pressed for what type of ban he'd like or how he'd work with lawmakers.

"We should have the strongest one possible," he said. "There's just too many potentials for ... political disaster and governmental disasters if we have the gaming people running around handing out campaign donations to politicians and aldermen."

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Follow Sophia Tareen at http://twitter.com/sophiatareen.

 

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USA - Louisiana- L'Auberge Casino and Resort opens in Baton Rouge

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -
The big day was set, then Isaac came . Saturday L'Auberge Casino and Resort finally opened to the public.

"They have been waiting for this project for a long time. We couldn't control Wednesday. It was a little disappointing, but today made up for it. It was a great, great, great afternoon," said Mickey Parenton, casino vice president and general manager

By Kelsey Davis - email

L'Auberge customers made up for that lost time. No one wasted not one second before hitting the slots and tables and taking in all the sights.

"The architecture...I mean everything is really nice. I hope that everybody gets a chance to see it," said Portia Palmer.

 "We came today so we could catch the bus to the stadium, and not have to get in the traffic. But we also wanted to see the casino," said Adele Langlois.

Besides being the shiny new building on the river, company executives say the casino will be a huge boost to the city's economy.

"When you look at the indirect jobs of servicing this facility, you could add another 20 percent to that. So, you could easily look at that this has created anywhere between 12-hundred to 15-hundred jobs here in the area," said Anthony Sanfilippo, president and CEO of Pinnacle Entertainment.

"It will definitely help with the economy," said Palmer. "I think if nothing else it should put at least a little money in the pockets of Baton Rouge."

 A business some customers believe will be a great asset to the Red Stick with a big town feel that will attract more visitors.

"The atmosphere is very Las Vegas. It's very, very nice...very tasteful," said Mackey Langlois, a customer.

See this story and more at www.wafb.com

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USA - Florida - Some cheer idea of casino in Sunrise, but it's not a sure bet

The prospect of a casino resort and hotel coming to Sunrise has both supporters and critics wondering about the consequences on the city and surrounding areas.

Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan says casinos may bring a dramatic increase in jobs, but there are other potential impacts, including costs related to crime and traffic, the environment and aesthetics.

By Susannah Bryan,  see this and more at the Sun Sentinel
4:09 p.m. EDT, September 1, 2012

"We recognize Sunrise continues to be an attractive destination for development, even in these tough economic times," Ryan said. "Without evaluating the specific plans and the impact on the community, it is still too early to tell what this could really mean for Sunrise."

Video: Blow torch ignites fire at gas station during demolition

In July, Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming announced it would partner with Florida Panthers owner Sunrise Sports Entertainment in an effort to bring casino gambling to Sunrise.

Boyd lacks legal rights to offer gambling in Sunrise. But with legislative approval, the casino operator could attempt to transfer the pari-mutuel license it now holds for Dania Jai-Alai.

Sunrise Commissioner Joey Scuotto predicts a tourism-driven boomtown if a casino does come. And he's all for it.

"I've been pushing for this," he said. "We have the mall, we have the arena. It would be a good fit. We've got 26 million people coming to the mall. Some of those people will come to the casino. It's helping everybody."

With a casino drawing thousands of customers and employees, traffic would spike not just in Sunrise but in surrounding cities.

For that reason, Plantation Councilman Bob Levy said he suspects his city and others would have the right to collect impact fees.

To heck with the traffic jams, said Plantation resident Ed Tolon.

"I'm for anything that's going to put people back to work," Tolon said. "There's already gambling in Hollywood and Hallandale Beach and Coconut Creek. The traffic will stink. But what's important to me is the economy. It could bring jobs. We need to get people to work. That, to me, is the important thing."

Sunrise resident Lou Hendrix said she has mixed emotions about a casino coming to her city.

"I think the traffic flow needs to be considered," she said. "I would want to see what kind of crime it brings to the area. Am I opposed to it? No. But I do think it needs to be done right."

Hendrix is also well aware that casino traffic would affect her pals in neighboring Plantation.

"I have friends in Plantation," she said. "They don't seem to have a problem with it."

In fact, they are more upset about those tall condo towers known as Tao that won approval in Sunrise years ago.

"It's just not pretty to look at," she said. "They just totally hate it."

sbryan@tribune.com or 954-356-4554

 

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USA - Atlantic City - Golden Nugget Atlantic City ordered to pay winners in unshuffled cards case

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Hours after a judge ordered the Golden Nugget Atlantic City to let gamblers cash in nearly $1 million worth of chips they won in a card game where the decks were unshuffled, the casino's owner overruled his lawyers Friday and agreed to make the payments.

WAYNE PARRY | August 31, 2012 06:59 PM EST | AP  

The judge's decision drew an angry reaction from casino officials, who called it "an ambush" and vowed to file an appeal first thing Tuesday morning.

But Tilman Fertitta, the Texas billionaire who owns the Golden Nugget, said he decided to pay the winners to make the whole thing go away.

"Without question, the mini-baccarat game that took place on April 30, 2012, allowed $10 bettors to realize a gambler's dream and enabled them to beat the house out of $1.5 million," he said. "Even though we can appeal the court's ruling and take full advantage of the appellate process and legal system, and tie the matter up in litigation for a number of years, the Golden Nugget is a people business, and is prepared to allow the gamblers – most of whom continue to gamble at Golden Nugget – to realize the gambler's dream of beating the house."

The casino also will let gamblers keep more than a half-million dollars it already paid them from the same disputed games.

"I wasn't cheating," one of the gamblers, 51-year-old Michael Cho of Ellicott City, Md., said after the judge's ruling. "I didn't do anything illegal. It wasn't right for them to get the money."

The dispute stems from numerous games of mini-baccarat held at the casino earlier this year. Unbeknownst to either the players or the casino, the cards put into use for the games were not shuffled as their manufacturer, Gemaco Inc. of Kansas City, Mo., had promised.

Over a speakerphone in the judge's chambers, the company's attorney, Jeffrey Mazzola, acknowledged the company had erred.

"There was a mistake made at the Gemaco facility, which we freely admitted," he told the judge. "This was a one-time, isolated mistake, but it occurred. It's supposed to be a game of chance. It changed from a game of chance to a windfall for the individual players. What we have now is individual players coming to the court asking for a free payday based on a mistake that took place."

Lawyers for the Golden Nugget said the pattern of cards became apparent to players, who had been wagering $10 a hand and suddenly upped their bets to $5,000 a hand. The cards did not come out of the chute in numerical order, such as 2-3-4-5. Rather, they came out in a predetermined pattern that the manufacturer lists as a proprietary secret, the attorneys said.

But it did become obvious to the players.

"Anybody could see that – that was the dream we all look for," Cho said.

But Cho said he and the other gamblers still faced risk because they had no idea how long the pattern would endure. It lasted at least 41 hands, during which the players won more than $1.5 million. Despite its suspicion that a sophisticated cheating operation was under way, the casino did not stop the games.

"We took a chance on every hand we bet, that it wouldn't change," he said. "We didn't know if it was going to change. That's called gambling."

The Golden Nugget had sought a ruling barring the gamblers from cashing in more than $977,000 worth of chips they won from the game but still have in their possession. The casino also wanted the judge to order the return of more than $500,000 in winnings it paid out to some of the winners immediately after the games.

The judge denied both requests, saying there will be time to address those issues as the lawsuits filed by both sides come to trial. He agreed that the gamblers did nothing wrong, and even though they discerned a pattern, the judge said there was no guarantee it would not change at any moment. Fertitta said the payments to the gamblers would occur on the condition that both sides dropped litigation against the other.

"It was a rigged game," casino attorney Louis Barbone said. "We walked in that day believing everything was on the up-and-up. We walked out $1.5 million in the hole."

The casino claims the vendor's failure to shuffle the cards made them "defective" and in violation of state gambling regulations mandating fair odds for both the casino and its customers.

Fertitta said the proper course for Golden Nugget to recoup its losses was through litigation with the card manufacturer.

"We have a company we can go back against that has admitted fault," he said. "But that's our problem."

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USA - IGT Celebrates 10,000 Slots in Mexico with Customer-focused Forum

LAS VEGAS - August 28, 2012 - International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT), a global leader in casino gaming entertainment and systems technology, announced today in honor of its 10,000 video slot machines placed in Mexico, it will host a seminar on business strategies and emerging trends in the gaming industry for its Mexican customers on Aug. 29, 2012 at Hacienda de los Morales, Salón Moreras in Distrito Federal in Mexico.


"We are honored to host this forum and celebrate the continued growth of the gaming industry in Mexico," said Toni Martinez, IGT area vice president, Latin America. "IGT's continued commitment to this important market can been seen across the country as we place our 10,000th IGT game in Mexico. We also are excited to offer an informative seminar, giving our customers the latest news on trends, strategies and best practices in the industry."


This informative seminar will highlight how IGT is dedicated to its Customer First principle and has a deep understanding of operators' daily demands that allows the Company to provide the many solutions Mexican casino operators need to drive success on their casino floors.


The invitation-only event will be held from 6 pm to 10 pm and include discussions on IGT's MegaJackpots product launches, IGT Systems and sbX® solutions in the gaming industry as well as future global gaming trends with key personnel from IGT.

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POLAND - LOT hopes to sell 33% stake Casinos Poland

 

At a general shareholders meeting at state-controlled LOT Polish Airlines on Wednesday, it was agreed that the company would sell its stakes in the low-cost carrier Eurolot and the casino network Casinos Poland.

The company has planned to sell these holdings for quite some time now. In June, CEO Marcin Pieróg declared that LOT also wanted to offload its stake in Petrolot, a company delivering fuel for airplanes waiting at Polish airports.

Currently, LOT owns a 38 percent stake in Eurolot and a 33.3 percent stake in Casinos Poland.

The Casinos Poland website has been suspended for quite some time now http://casinospoland.pl/

CHINA - Under China's watch, Macau won't return to 'Gangster's Paradise'

Aug 27 (Reuters) - Three murders, hammer-wielding heavies, and a high-profile police swoop have raised concerns that Macau, the world's casino capital, may be backsliding to the bad old days of the late-1990s. And that's even before ex-triad boss "Broken Tooth" ends a 15-year jail sentence in December.

By By Farah Master

All this at a time when China's economy, the world's second-biggest, is growing more slowly - hitting gambling revenue and possibly making junket operators, who collect gambling debts in exchange for commission from casinos, more aggressive.

But on the former Portuguese colony's narrow, bustling streets and inside the glitzy, fortress-size casinos, there's little indication the violence is spiralling out of control in the only place where Chinese nationals can legally casino gamble.

Much has changed in the past 15 years in Macau, a special administrative region on China's southern coast. Then, the seedy gambling enclave was plagued by open gang warfare. Bombs went off in the streets and shoot-outs broke out in broad daylight.

In 1999, Macau seceded from Portugal to China and, now, Las Vegas tycoons including Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn have helped transform the territory into a multi-billion dollar goldmine, a magnet for high-rollers and global investors. Gaming revenue last year was $33.5 billion, more than five times that of Las Vegas.

The key, say security forces, political analysts, lawyers and academics, is that China is in control.

"Number one: the Chinese government will not tolerate it (rising violence). Number two: if you look at the structure of the VIP room operation in Macau, it's a completely different story from 1998," said Davis Fong, a director of the Institute for the Study of Commercial Gaming at the University of Macau.

The murder and mayhem in the late-1990s was sparked by the triads' aggressive maneuvering to capture more of the lucrative VIP gambling market, which accounts for over 70 percent of total revenues.

Today, most of those operating Macau's VIP rooms - select areas in casinos that target the big spenders who drop more than 1 million yuan ($156,900) at a time - are companies, rather than individuals, investing in a lucrative market where total monthly revenues are still rising. Analysts expect August gambling revenue to show a pick-up after a quarter of subdued growth.

Security officials, though, say the industry junkets which operate these rooms often have links to triads or gangs.

Police raids this month and last, codenamed "Thunderbolt" and held in conjunction with Hong Kong and Chinese authorities, detained more than 300 people and resulted in 3 jail sentences, 22 suspended prison terms and 15 people still in custody. The main crimes were drug use, illegal immigration and fake documents.

Local residents say the Macau police undertake "clean-up raids" every month or so, and they didn't see the recent swoop, which had wide media play, as anything special. "There are frequent checks on all the casinos, karaoke and nightclubs and sauna parlours," said one local man, who didn't want to be named.

Despite slowing growth - gambling accounted for more than 40 percent of Macau's total GDP in 2010 - the government is developing large-scale infrastructure, and new properties are going up alongside the glass towers and casinos that make up the Cotai Strip. Beijing has incorporated Macau into China's Five Year Plan and wants to position it as an international leisure destination, reducing its reliance on casinos.

WARNING TO OTHERS

Hoffman Ma, deputy chairman of Success Universe Group, which has a joint venture with casino king Stanley Ho's SJM Holdings to operate Macau casino Ponte 16, said the local government opted for a high-profile police raid as a warning to others.

"The major junkets don't want this (more violence). Many of them are involved in other industries and have been using their connections to get into other businesses like bullion and forex in Hong Kong. They're diversifying," he said.

Given Macau's small size - about a third as big as Manhattan - word gets around quickly and China would have little problem quashing any potential escalation in violence, said David Zweig, Chinese politics expert at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

"They would probably just put pressure on the Macau government to really crack down. They might send in an adviser or two, but you wouldn't see an influx of mainland police ... that would scare people," he said.

Visitors to Macau - and there were 28 million last year - don't seem scared.

At the palm-fringed Grand Lapa luxury resort, where two people were murdered recently inside the hotel, guests milled around the busy lobby on a weekday afternoon, queuing to check in. Staff at a nearby Chinese medicine store said there had been no impact on local residents.

"The hotel murders are related to the gambling industry. Macau is safe, everyday people don't have to worry," said a doctor working at the store.

Read this and more Asia Casino news at REUTERS 

PHILIPPINES - Bogus kidnappings staged by losing casino players from China on the rise — Ang See

MANILA, Philippines — Along with the rise of kidnapping cases involving Chinese nationals in the country, anti-crime crusader Teresita Ang-See also revealed a parallel upswing in bogus abductions of casino players from the mainland.

By Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
8:28 pm | Thursday, August 16th, 2012

In a phone interview, Ang-See said: “We are aware that some kidnapping cases involving Chinese nationals have been staged. These are casino players who lost a lot of gambling money. They want to get back their losses by staging their own kidnapping and asking for ransom from the relatives in China.”

Ang-See, founder of the Movement for the Restoration of Peace and Order (MRPO), said that her group has received reports of at least four kidnappings of Chinese nationals last month in Pampanga and Metro Manila that turned out to be hoaxes or staged.

Ang-See said that these sham kidnappings should not distract the Philippine National Police and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) from addressing the “real and alarming” rise in number of visiting Chinese tourists who have been snatched against their will by uniformed men.

The anti-crime advocate earlier told the Philippine Daily Inquirer about the seven Chinese nationals who were kidnapped in separate incidents last month while on a tour outside Metro Manila last month.

She said the most glaring of these cases was the kidnapping of four Chinese nationals while visiting a relative based in Cavite last July 27. She said the group was held in custody for one day and they were released only after relatives forked out P2.5 million in ransom.

Ang-See was dismayed that authorities merely shrugged off the report without investigating or penalizing any of the policemen involved.

Interestingly, Ang-See said that the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines had denied any knowledge of these kidnapping cases involving its citizens visiting the country and had denied issuing a black travel warning on the country.

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USA/SPAIN - Casino Plan Runs Into Opposition in Spain

MADRID — The legal troubles of the American casino mogul Sheldon G. Adelson in the United States and Macau are fueling opposition to his plans to build a casino and leisure resort in Madrid or Barcelona.

By RAPHAEL MINDER Published: August 15, 2012

On Wednesday, a Catalan environmental party, ICV-EUiA, called on Mr. Adelson to appear before the Catalonian Parliament to explain why some of his company’s activities in Macau have run into legal problems in the United States.

Mr. Adelson’s company, Las Vegas Sands, is being investigated by the U.S. authorities on suspicion of violating anti-bribery laws linked to its expansion in Macau, the Chinese gambling capital and a major source of income for the Sands. The company has denied wrongdoing and has said the investigation stems from the accusations of a disgruntled former employee. The Chinese authorities have also been investigating some of the company’s activities.

Jaume Bosch, a lawmaker from the Catalan Green Party, expressed concern that the Spanish authorities had recently welcomed Mr. Adelson, a billionaire, “like a head of state, while the most powerful countries in the world have placed him under suspicion.”

In the United States, Mr. Adelson’s preference for working below the radar has been tested this year as he has emerged as the largest donor to the Republican Party in the presidential campaign, in which he has pledged to spend up to $100 million to defeat President Barack Obama. This week, just days after the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, named him as his running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan traveled to Las Vegas to meet Mr. Adelson for what an aide to Mr. Romney called “a finance event.”

In recent months, plans by Las Vegas Sands to build a giant casino complex in Spain have created a bidding battle between the two biggest cities in the country. Officials are eager to attract development while Spain is in the midst of its second recession in three years, with record unemployment of almost 25 percent. The government is struggling to convince investors that the country will not sink deeper into crisis and require a full European bailout.

Mr. Adelson and other Sands executives have made several visits to possible building sites in Madrid and Barcelona. The two cities also recently sent delegations to Las Vegas in a bid to win over company executives. The Sands wants the complex, which it plans to call EuroVegas, to have 12 hotels with a total of 36,000 rooms, six casinos with 18,000 slot machines and three golf courses.

Esperanza Aguirre, the head of Madrid’s regional government, has urged the national government to meet concessions requested by Mr. Adelson, including some tax exemptions, as well as an easing of Spanish restrictions on smoking in public spaces. Ms. Aguirre’s request, however, has led to questions over whether granting special treatment to the Sands would open the door to similar concessions for other investors.

While a final decision was initially expected before the summer, the Sands has pushed back any announcement until September. The Sands still hopes to start construction in mid-2013 and complete the complex within 10 years, according to Michael A. Leven, the company’s president. Mr. Leven said in June at a news conference in Barcelona that the decision to build a casino complex in Spain should not be compared to “a soccer match between Madrid and Barcelona.”

Still, some Spanish politicians are acutely aware that the longstanding rivalry between the two cities is helping the politically savvy Mr. Adelson.

“It has worked great for him to have two cities competing so fiercely, with everybody trying to make the maximum efforts to meet his wishes,” Xavier Trias, the mayor of Barcelona, said this year. “But if he thinks the European casino model can become the same as in China or Vegas, I think that he is wrong because there are laws here that really cannot and shouldn’t be changed.”

As an example, Mr. Trias said, “In Vegas you can cross a casino to a hotel room with children, but that isn’t possible here.”

Some civic groups oppose plans for EuroVegas on environmental grounds. Other opponents say they fear that by promoting gambling, Spain might spur criminal activities like prostitution and money laundering.

“Our politicians are presenting this as a project that will save us from the economic crisis, but they’re ignoring several reasons why this goes against what this country should push for,” said Sonia Pomares, a member of Aturem EuroVegas, or Stop EuroVegas, a protest association formed this year in Catalonia.

A version of this article appeared in print on August 16, 2012, on page B7 of the New York edition with the headline: In Spain, Opposition to a Casino Plan.

Read this and more similar articles at The New York Times - Read more articles by RAPHAEL MINDER

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Undercover near Italy

              Recently I was invited by the Director of Security and Surveillance of one of the largest Casinos near the Italian border, to assist in the unmasking of a scam involving a roulette table game inspector and one of the guests. The reason I was asked to help in this case was because of my previous experiences in this type of action and because of my knowledge of the Italian language.


              Here was a case of large sums of money going out across the roulette table to an established roulette player, through the use of announce bets or call bets as they are known in the U.K. On camera everything looked to be in order and nothing out of the usual for this type of establishment but for the consistency and regularity of the losses to the house, going to this one player. Typically the table chef or inspector was responsible for two tables, where on one table was usually a strong dealer and on the other side a weak or a trainee dealer, as is the case in most casinos in their fledgling years. This experienced expatriate inspector was allowing the player to throw across late announce bets shortly before the ball was about to leave the rim of the wheel. When there was little or no time for the dealer to place and mark the bets on the race- track. This was a normal situation throughout the gaming floor, that bets were being accepted without time to mark them, therefore without the use of audio, on the gaming tables, the management had to rely solely on the word or honesty of the supervisors and dealers who were accepting the bets. In this situation and because of the dishonesty of the inspector, the player was on a winner almost every time.
              I will explain the methodology: - once the ball was in play the established player would put across a number of call bets. There is a common bet in Europe of calling any number and three neighbours and the same number and one neighbour, this being a ten piece bet, for example what is usually announced would be seven 3,3 and seven 1,1. Thus making 7, 28 and 29 kind of bonus numbers. In actual fact the bet can be broken down into two five-piece units (or broken in half) and placed on 28 & 29 on the race- track, which is the same thing. In this case the player was calling two of these such bets and creating enough work for the dealer to cope with, during the spin. However the player would then put across two more one hundred-piece units and announce in a garbled voice towards the inspector two more numbers and their neighbours. These latter bets would invariably be accepted by the inspector over the head of the dealer and would to no surprise be winning bets.
              My job was to work under cover as a bogus player in the casino and try to get as close to the action as was possible, without making the participants of the scam aware of my intentions. It took several days of my either trying to anticipate on which table the action would take place on next and being there ahead of the game or popping up at the right moment when the coup was about to happen. This was no easy feat as the perpetrators of such actions are usually very wary of strangers. Not only did I have to be involved in the play but I also had to remove myself enough from the action to try and witness what was going on, without appearing to be taking any notice of what they were doing or who was looking at who and saying what. In most instances the player would request in a low voice (sottovoce) to the inspector certain numbers and their neighbours or on occasion simply ask for the famous "my bet" or the same bet. Which always resulted in chips being placed on the winning number whatever the outcome.
In the course of my time there on the gaming floor, far from appearing like the smart, straight backed casino manager, I had to appear like every other player, I even simulated some gamblers habits such as, I developed a nervous twitch and a slight limp and fidgeted in my pockets for marking cards and pencils and I had to handle the chips like someone suffering with arthritis. Fortunately the casino is one of the busiest in that part of Europe, with the majority of gamblers being Italian or at least Italian speaking. However, to my credit, although the casino management were aware of my presence, they were not able to positively single me out from the rest of the punters and therefore had no real idea who I was, fortunately neither did the scammers.
               In this particular gaming jurisdiction it was the casino companies themselves who had lobbied the Gaming Commission into not demanding the installation of Audio as part of the prerequisite of gaming regulations. As the stipulations of the commission were already too demanding and expensive for their preoperational budgets. Many of the casino managers and surveillance directors, whom I spoke to at the time, were quite surprised to discover that the use of audio would not be available. As time goes by and the emergence of certain house scams are discovered the wisdom of those early decisions may now be called into question. As in this case they were certainly paying now for those pre opening savings.
              About twenty years ago I had been asked to trail audio on a roulette table and in those days I have to admit the system wasn't very affective with too much back ground noise in the room being picked-up, therefore it was too difficult to make out what was being said on the tables. However with today's technology and modern audio systems being what they are, I believe it's a must have tool for the casino security and surveillance departments to have. It has not only aided me to discover certain discrepancies, which appear from time to time on casino games but it is a useful device in establishing good public relations with disgruntled gamblers, when it turns out that their disputes could be resolved to their satisfaction, after play back had reinforced their argument. I had one occasion a couple of years ago, when a player had reacted badly to his announced bet being misplaced resulting in his bet not being placed on the winning number. After much ranting and raving, he swore blind that he had called eleven and seventeen and the neighbours (when 36 was the winning number) and threatened never to return to the casino ever again. However after witnessing the play back and the sound in the manager's office, of him clearly asking for seven and seventeen and the neighbours, he couldn't have apologised more. Subsequently he later turned out to be one of our best customers and we never received a single complaint from him thereafter. Not only did he apologise to all the gaming staff involved but also he became the best tipper and the nicest player that the staff ever had to deal with, a model customer.
              On another occasion we overheard our head cashier advising our v.i.p. customers to visit the city's newest casino, which had just opened, in the neighbourhood. We discovered the reasons for this; she was about to jump ship and had been offered a contract to work for the competition. It is a well known fact that staff under surveillance and especially audio surveillance forget after a while, that they are being monitored and can be heard to say the most damaging things. Well they say that walls have eyes and ears, or at least they should have !!!

 


John Connolly is a Casino Manager who is fluent in five European languages and with many years of experience in gaming floor management and security. For more information contact johnconnolly@eyontheaction.com
 

 

 

 

 

NEW ZEALAND - SkyCity refuses to reveal gambler research

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Experts are concerned SkyCity will use its research on potential problem gamblers at the casino to keep revenue flowing.

The casino's introducing sophisticated software which analyses player behaviour and will show who is at risk of problem gambling.

Chief executive of the Problem Gambling Foundation Graeme Ramsey said he is concerned the research could be used to keep problem gamblers just below the high risk level.

"The danger here is that SkyCity could use that material for its own purposes to keep people gambling for longer periods of time at slightly less problematic levels," said Ramsey.

SkyCity refused to show ONE News its research on how people gamble at the casino and there is no legal requirement for it to do so despite the information it could provide.

"There is a greater onus for intervention if you have got more accurate research," said Ramsey.

Loyalty cards are not compulsory, but experts say if they were the data could also highlight money laundering

"Money laundering is so often connected to terrorism so there are good reason why Government may want to get stricter," said Linda Hancock from Australia's Deakin University.

"It's quite incredible that regulators aren't on top of it and aren't requiring an audit of this data and an actual inspection of it."

The programme is in a testing phase until mid next year.

It comes as SkyCity negotiates with the Government for a convention centre in exchange for more pokie machines.

More at tvnz.co.nz

The programme analyses data collected from loyalty cards used by players.

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Melco Crown Entertainment is teaming up with the Philippines' richest man to develop a $1 billion Manila casino resort

Macau gambling company Melco Crown Entertainment is teaming up with the Philippines' richest man to develop a $1 billion Manila casino resort in a sign of the industry's plans for rapid expansion in Asia.

Melco said late Thursday it will develop the project with three companies controlled by Philippine tycoon Henry Sy. Melco is jointly controlled by Lawrence Ho, who is the son of Macau casino king Stanley Ho, and by James Packer, the son of late Australian media magnate Kerry Packer.

Melco has signed an agreement with Sy's investment holding company SM Investments Corp., his property developer Belle Corp. and Belle subsidiary PremiumLeisure and Amusement Inc.

The Philippine casino regulator has already issued a provisional gambling license to the group for the casino, which will include a hotel, shopping and entertainment facilities and will be located in a middle-class suburb on Manila Bay. A regular license will be issued once certain conditions are met.

Melco expects to invest up to $580 million. The Manila project would be the company's first outside Macau, the world's most lucrative gambling market where it operates two casino and is developing a third. High-rolling Chinese gamblers have powered Macau's gambling revenue growth. Last year, the semiautonomous Chinese region raked in $33.5 billion in casino revenue, up 42 percent over the year before and more than five times the amount on the Las Vegas Strip.

Melco said it wanted to expand in the Philippines because the country is a popular tourist destination and close to major sources of tourists including South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and China.

The company said it wanted to "take advantage of the anticipated growth in the leisure and tourism industries in the Philippines, which will cater to an increasingly affluent and growing Asian middle class who continue to seek new travel destinations and experiences."

Japanese slot machine tycoon Kazuo Okada is also developing a casino in Manila.


Associated Press | Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2012 9:58 pm |

 

Melco Crown Careers  &   Melco Crown Entertainment  websites 

Belle Corp.  & Belle Corp Careers websites

PremiumLeisure and Amusement Inc. company information

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National Jewish Democratic Council Calls on Romney to Return ‘Adelson’s Tainted Money Immediately’

Jewish Democrats called on Mitt Romney and Republicans not to accept money from Sheldon Adelson because of allegations that the casino magnate approved of prostitution at his China properties.

National Jewish Democratic Council President David Harris appealed to NJDC supporters to sign on to a petition to “Tell Romney to Reject Adelson’s Dirty Money.”

Harris wrote:

“As you saw during the Republican primaries, GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson dumped millions of dollars into supporting Newt Gingrich’s feckless campaign. Now he’s doing the same for Mitt Romney – with no plans to stop. But perhaps the most alarming aspect of Adelson’s potentially unlimited contributions is where the money comes from.

“It’s well known that Adelson makes tremendous sums of money through his casinos in China which – according to 2008 Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain (AZ) – means that Chinese ‘foreign money’ (to quote McCain) is flooding our political system. But this week, reports surfaced that in addition to his anti-union and allegedly corrupt business practices, Adelson ‘personally approved’ of prostitution in his Macau casinos.

“Given these reports, Romney and the rest of the Republican Party must cease accepting Adelson’s tainted money immediately.”

Matt Brooks, the director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, told JTA the call was “disgusting” because it was based on allegations in a lawsuit filed by Steven Jacobs, a casino executive who was fired by Adelson in 2010.

“Setting aside their partisan agenda, the NJDC should be ashamed of itself for attacking someone who has done more for the Jewish community and Jewish philanthropy than anyone in recent history,” Brooks said, citing Adelson’s major contributions to the Birthright Israel program, which brings Jewish youth to Israel, and to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum.

“If this is proven to be nothing more than rantings of an employee in legal battle, NJDC is going to have a lot of egg on its face,” Brooks said. “If they were truly mensches about it, they would wait until it is adjudicated.”

Adelson and his wife, Miriam, have given tens of millions of dollars this year to political committees supporting Republicans in general and Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, in particular, although it is not clear if the Adelsons have given directly to Romney.

Adelson is also a major funder of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Adelson has clashed repeatedly with unions at his Las Vegas properties. Earlier this year it was reported that federal authorities are investigating allegations that he bribed Chinese officials to advance his interests there.

JTA content was used in this report.

By Jewish Press Staff at the JEWISHPRESS.com

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