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Cash-strapped Kentucky takes another look at legalizing casinos

Kentucky lawmakers are studying proposals to amend their constitution in a bid to accommodate four casinos across the Bluegrass State.

Cash-strapped Kentucky takes another look at legalizing casinosWCPO TV 9 reported that State Reps. Dennis Keene and Rick Rand pre-filed BR-197, which seeks to legalize casinos and at the same time expand pari-mutuel gambling, in the first week of December.

Kentucky, currently one of 10 U.S. states that does not have a casino offering, is becoming more receptive to the measure compared to the previous years, according to Keene.

Aside from welcoming casinos to the state, Keene’s bill also opened the possibility of allowing sports betting.

The cash-strapped state needs new revenue streams to straighten its budget and salvage the state pension plan. Kentucky casinos could help recapture money that its residents spend in neighboring gambling venues, according to the report.

In the historic coal town of Jenkins, Kentucky, residents are already throwing their support for the opening of casinos in the wake of high unemployment rate, according to the Lexington Herald Leader.

Meanwhile, lobby group Jobs 4 Kentucky is gathering signatures of Jenkins residents supporting the initiative.

“Responsible gaming is the pride of the modern gaming entertainment industry,” the pro-casino group said in a statement posted on its website. “The Citizens of Kentucky can count on an expanded gaming community to operate responsibly and with care for our people.”

Despite the growing support, several lawmakers believe that BR-197 faces a steep uphill climb in the Congress.

One of the factors why the casino measure has not moved forward in Kentucky is the disagreements over the casinos’ location. Social conservatives are exerting pressure on Congress not to allow gambling expansion in the state, while the Kentucky’s influential horse industry wants casinos confined to the tracks.

Other casino bills have been filed in recent years, but Keene said gambling expansion has always failed in the legislature because “there’s not been the political courage to pass it.”

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Florida Gambling Battles in 2017: Not All Sunshine By Any Means

The Florida gambling landscape witnessed two major political power struggles in 2017. The first was between the State and the influential Seminole tribe; the second between the two polarized chambers of the State legislature.

Florida’s gambling battles 2017

Florida State Senator Bill Galvano proposed wide-ranging gambling reforms but he faced powerful opposition from the Seminole Tribe and Disney. Meanwhile, there was hope for pari-mutuel venues desperate not to offer greyhound racing. (Image: Politico)

The biggest winners in both battles, were, arguably, the Seminoles.

In November 2016, a federal court in Tallahassee delivered the shock verdict that Florida had violated its 2010 compact with the Seminoles by permitting the state’s parimutuel venues to offer house-banked games.

The compact had afforded the tribe exclusivity on such games until 2015 in return for over a billion in revenue shares. It stipulated that this right would be automatically extended until 2030 if the state infringed on the exclusivity pact.

State Makes Big Mistake

But the state regulator had allowed the parimutuels to offer so-called “player designated games.” These are typically casino games like Three-Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold ’em in which one player acts as the bank.

The state believed that because players played against each other in these, rather than against the house, they were not legally defined as house-banked games. It was an error of judgement, according to the court.

Florida had been in the process of negotiating a new compact with the Seminoles, and hoped to fashion a deal worth $3.1 billion to the state over seven years, but its hand was significantly weakened by the court’s ruling.

Bill’s Big Bill

Nevertheless, in January, the influential Florida State Senator Bill Galvano introduced a wide-ranging gambling expansion package that sought to comprehensively reform the state’s gaming laws and fix the standoff with the Seminoles in one fell swoop.

The ambitious legislation, SB 8, proposed wide-ranging changes that included the expansion of slot machines into counties where they already had voter approval. It would have also authorized pari-mutuel venues to run blackjack games and other house-banked games, compensating the Seminoles with the right to offer craps at their casinos.

For this, the tribe would sign a seven-year compact agreeing $3 billion in revenue-sharing payments to the state.

Additionally, Galvano’s bill would have created a regulatory framework for daily fantasy sports and authorized ‘decoupling’ at horse and dog tracks. This would mean that the tracks would not be required to offer a quota of live racing as a condition of being able to offer other gambling games, a condition many find burdensome and unprofitable.

Unfortunately for Galvano, the Seminoles hated his reform bill. The gamble-shy State House hated it, too, and Disney World hated it even more, with the Disney Corporation upping its spend to fund anti-gambling expansion political action groups.

The House produced its own bill, which pretty much proposed retaining the status quo, for which they would also charge the Seminoles $3 billion over the next seven years. Needless to say, the tribe, whose bargaining power had been strengthened by the favorable court judgement, hated that idea too.

No Love for Reforms

Despite his bill’s unpopularity in influential circles, Galvano holds some weight of his own in the legislature, and, as the year progressed, the two chambers edged towards a shock compromise.

In fact, to the surprise of many observers, it looked like a diluted form of Galvano’s bill would actually be pushed through as the legislative session neared its end in March. Or, at least, it did right up to the point that talks collapsed entirely, to the delight of the Seminoles, and Disney.

There was hope, however, for those racetracks that no longer wanted to be racetracks and for animal rights campaigners alike, when the Florida gambling regulator allowed the Magic City Casino in Miami to scrap greyhound races while retaining its more-profitable slot machines and card games. The decision offered hope to other tracks eager to decouple themselves from racing.

It’s a bizarre quirk of Florida gambling law that, while greyhound racing has been banned in 40 states on cruelty grounds, the state requires these businesses venues to offer it, by law, even if they don’t want to.

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How ‘Non-Gaming’ Became a Casino Industry Buzzword in 2017

Casino companies spent a lot of time and effort focused on non-gaming entertainment in 2017, not so much of a surprise after visitor spend on non-gambling activities in 2016, such as hotel stays, dining, dancing, and attending shows, accounted for 55 to 65 percent of casino resort revenues.

non-gaming casino resort Las Vegas Macau

Las Vegas resorts are more committed than ever to their non-gaming features. (Image: Daylight Beach Club/Mandalay Bay)

From Las Vegas to Macau, to regional casinos around the world, non-gaming became a buzzword in the board rooms of numerous gambling and hospitality conglomerates.

Plenty of factors led to gaming bosses deciding to look at non-gaming. Millennials, and their seemingly low interest in playing simple games of chance like slot machines, are one cause. Economic factors, first generated by a worldwide recession in the late 2000s, are also to blame.

But whatever the true root cause, it’s undeniable that in 2017 non-gaming was a key topic in the world of gaming.

Macau Makeover

In Macau, focusing on non-gaming was out of necessity, as resorts sought to become less reliant on high roller play due to People’s Republic President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign. After years of gaming revenues growing at exponential rates, topping out at $45 billion in 2013, China began more closely monitoring VIP junket companies that were transporting wealthy mainlanders to the only area of the country where gambling is permitted.

As a result, dozens of junket operators closed shop, and casino companies that had invested billions of dollars in constructing massive five-star luxury resorts downtown and on the Cotai Strip quickly searched for new revenue streams.

Catering to more of the mass market instead of VIPs paid off. “Las Vegasization” became the term referring to resorts overhauling their amenities.

The Las Vegas Sands’ Parisian hotel opened with a water park, shopping center, and half-sized replica of the Eiffel Tower. And the newly opened Wynn Palace gives visitors breathtaking views of the Strip on its “SkyCab” ride.

Mighty Millennial

In the US, the millennial demographic, those born between 1981 and 1997, are beginning to start families and settle down. The 20- and 30-something adult demo has long been a coveted age range for Las Vegas, but the current group isn’t sitting down at the slots at nearly the same rates of their preceding generations.

To keep rooms occupied, restaurants filled, and concert arenas packed, casino resorts have started to look for new gaming concepts. The primary areas include skill-based gaming machines, which combine elements of skill with chance, and esports, also known as competitive video gaming.

Las Vegas has also begun booking younger and hipper residencies. No longer is it just Cher, Celine, and Wayne Newtown gracing Strip marquees, but also millennial-cherished names such as Britney, Mariah, J-Lo, and the Backstreet Boys.

When it comes to bringing new people to Sin City, casinos in Las Vegas were thrown a bone in 2017 through the inclusion of pro sports. The NHL Golden Knights began play at T-Mobile Arena this year, and the NFL’s Oakland Raiders soon will be renamed the Las Vegas Raiders.


The most obvious non-gaming movement came from Las Vegas’ biggest casino operator. In September, MGM released an over-the-top marking campaign titled Welcome to the Show.

The one minute commercial spot makes no reference to actual gambling, instead focusing on MGM’s wide array of nightlife, dining, entertainment, and what they call the “Holy Sh*t Business.”

“The world’s leading producer of OMG,” MGM declared.

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MGM CEO Jim Murren Says Aftermath of Shooting Showed Las Vegas as Strong Community

The October 1 Las Vegas mass shooting was the city’s most horrific day in its history, but MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren says the valley’s response put its strength, unity, and resiliency on full display.

Jim Murren Las Vegas shooting

Jim Murren says the world came to a better understanding of Las Vegas as a place where real people live and work after the outpouring of support for first responders to the October 1 shooting. (Image: CNBC)

Speaking with CNBC this week, Murren said no one in Las Vegas expected tourists to comprehend that the region isn’t just a wild travel destination informally known as Sin City, but also a hometown community for more than two million.

The Other Vegas

“There’s been a perception of Las Vegas as a transient community or a place where people just visit,” the top executive of Nevada’s largest employer stated. “But I’ve known it now for two decades as a different kind of place. I coach little league, and yes, we have churches, mosques, and synagogues.”

“The outside world didn’t really know that, nor did we expect them to,” Murren continued. “But I do think the world saw that. They saw great acts of kindness, courage, and how the community rallied together.”

The Las Vegas shooting garnered 58 fatalities, and hundreds of wounded, all of whom were attending the Route 91 Harvest country music festival,

This week, Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg confirmed what we already knew: that all 58 homicides were the result of gunshot wounds. Twenty-one people were shot in the head, 36 died after being hit in the chest area, and one died by a bullet to the leg.

Shooter Stephen Paddock died by suicide after shooting himself in the mouth, Fudenberg noted in his report.

Getting Back in the Game

Murren said the healing process continues in Las Vegas, but added, “We’ve had a good couple months of recovery of our business.” Gaming and hospitality analysts have expressed the view that the Las Vegas shooting won’t have long-term financial impact on tourism.

Murren believes the addition of professional sports teams will further bring the community together. Having a team to root for, he says, “makes Vegas a hometown.”

The Vegas Golden Knights, an expansion franchise in the NHL, began playing at MGM’s half-owned T-Mobile Arena this fall. The team’s surprisingly strong play has them with the third-best record in the entire league.

The Golden Knights began the season with the longest odds (100-1) of winning the Stanley Cup of the NHL’s 31 teams. But today, that line has shrunk to 7-1 at Nevada sportsbooks.

Las Vegas will get its second professional sports team when the Aces begin play in the WNBA next year. MGM Resorts purchased the San Antonio Stars franchise this fall, but delayed the announcement by several weeks, due to the October 1 shooting.

“Sports is a common language. It certainly feels good that we’re going to have another opportunity to bring the community together,” Murren said, regarding the acquisition.

The soon-to-be-former Oakland Raiders are scheduled to relocate to Las Vegas for the start of the 2020 NFL season. The team’s $1.9 billion stadium is being constructed west of Mandalay Bay on a 62-acre plot.

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Deal!: GVC Agreed to Purchase Ladbrokes Coral for £4 Billion

Online betting giant GVC Holdings is closing out the year in style with the announcement of coming to a deal to purchase Ladbrokes Coral for a whopping £4 billion.

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Goa casino that ran aground relaunching on different ship

goa-golden-globe-floating-casinoDon’t look now, but the operator of the Goa floating casino that ran aground earlier this year has struck a deal to set sail on another vessel.

This week, the Times of India reported that Golden Globe Hotels Pvt Ltd would be transferring its gaming operations from the currently unseaworthy MV Lucky 7 to the MV San Domino, a vessel that has been moored for the last eight years awaiting a casino license.

If you’re just joining us, the MV Lucky 7 ran aground in July after Golden Globe ignored warnings about launching the vessel during monsoon season. Goa officials had only just approved the MV Lucky 7’s license in March, allowing it to join the other floating casinos plying their trade on the Mandovi River.

It took several months, but the MV Lucky 7 was finally shifted from its sandbar and is currently under repair. Rather than let its license sit idle, Golden Globe has applied to shift its operations to the MV San Domino.

The San Domino is owned by the Essel Group, which had hoped to launch gaming operations aboard the ship under the Casino Maharaja brand. However, while the ship is already kitted out for casino operations, it has yet to take a single wager due to Essel Group’s inability to secure a Goa gaming license.

An unidentified Golden Globe director (hopefully not the one pictured in red) told the Times that the company had leased the San Domino for one year, and the plan was to launch operations “sometime in mid-January 2018, probably after we compete the interiors.” The state government has been asked to approve Golden Globe using the MV Lucky 7’s jetty as a mooring point.

The MV Lucky 7’s launch was highly controversial, given that Goa’s government has been trying to run all six floating casinos permanently aground, as part of the state’s plan to transition to an all land-based gaming market by 2020.

The state had promised to reveal its new casino policy this month, but Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said Thursday that, while the amended Goa Gambling Act is done, it now won’t be issued until the new year, apparently due to the need to run it by his cabinet ministers.

The shift onshore will only grow the local casino industry, according to Anil Malani, CEO of Delta Corp, which operates four Goa casinos (three floating, one land-based). Local media quoted Malani saying (essentially) that shipboard casinos were a pain in the ass to operate and that he was looking forward to the landward journey.

Malani said Delta’s current Goa operations were “completely strained for capacity” but the water-borne constraints “will eventually fall” once the move onshore is complete. In the meantime, Malani is excited at the possibility that Delta “could be building maybe, five times, 10 times next year. So we can actually plan for years to come.”

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Controversial Rules Cost NFL Teams Victories, Bettors Money

It was an expensive football game for two teams and countless bettors on Sunday. Two rules affected the outcome and cost the Steelers and the Raiders possible victories.

Jesse James

Pittsburgh Tight End thought he had scored the winning touchdown but referees ruled his catch was bobbled and ruled it incomplete. (Image: Barry Reeger/Special to Penn Live)

It also influenced the total points and the spread and some of the people that wagered on the games got a bad beat.

Both teams were playoff contenders and the defeat cost Pittsburgh home field advantage and possibly knocked the Raiders out of the postseason. Each rules decision had to do with the end zone and both had the call go against them.

“It was a tough, hard-fought game,” said Pittsburgh Coach Mike Tomlin. “We came up short. I appreciate the efforts of the guys.”

Steelers Touchdown Pass Ruled Incomplete

Pittsburgh, who had lost seven of the last nine to New England, was down by three and 10 yards away from the end zone with 28 seconds remaining. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw a pass to tight end Jesse James who appeared to cross the plane of the goal line.

Replay ruled he did not have possession and it was called an incomplete pass. Roethlisberger threw an interception two plays later and his team lost, 27-24.

If the touchdown had been upheld the Steelers would have likely won 31-27. With the line at 2 ½ points they would have covered. Also those who had the over at 54 ½ would have collected as well. It was their fourth consecutive loss against the spread.

The loss also gave the Patriots home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs since they now own the tiebreaker over Tomlin’s group.

The outcry on social media about the rule was huge as fans were blowing up Twitter with rants about how the Steelers got robbed. Mike Pereira, a former vice president of officiating in the NFL and now a television analyst, told his Twitter followers the refs got the call correct.

“Look, here is the rule. If you’re going to the ground you have to hold onto the ball when the ball hits the ground…Going to the ground trumps lunging/reaching to try and get extra yards or score a TD. You do that at your own risk. It’s incomplete,” he tweeted.

Raiders On Wrong End of Fumble Call

Less than four hours later Oakland was experiencing its own heartbreak regarding the rules. The first was when the referee used a folded index card to help with a measurement on a fourth down play late in the fourth quarter with the score tied at 17. It was ruled a first down and allowed Dallas to keep their drive alive. They ultimately kicked a field goal for a 20-17 lead.

The Raiders then marched down the field and quarterback Derek Carr tried to score the tying touchdown but right when he got to the goal line, he fumbled and the ball rolled out of the end zone.

If the ball had gone out anywhere else on the field they would have retained possession, but the rule states a ball that goes out of the end zone is a touchback. The Cowboys held on to win the game.

If Oakland had scored or kicked a field goal to send it into overtime they could have possibly kept their playoff hopes alive. Bettors also would have benefitted from them covering the spread. In the end, however, both turned out to be losers.

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NJ lawmakers: North Jersey casino referendum not happening anytime soon

New Jersey lawmakers appear to have lost their enthusiasm for pushing a referendum that would have paved the way for the opening of casinos in North Jersey.

NJ lawmakers: North Jersey casino referendum not happening anytime soonThe Associated Press reported that it is unlikely New Jersey lawmakers will revive a ballot question to authorize casino projects near New York City, especially after the electorate overwhelmingly rejected the idea last year.

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney said proponents of North Jersey casinos could once again attempt to bring the ballot question to the fore next year, although he believes that it is unlikely for the Senate to tackle the issue even after 2019.

“I don’t see it anytime soon, if ever,” Sweeney said, according to the news agency.

Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen, whose district includes the Meadowlands Racetrack, agreed that perfect timing is needed before they peddle the referendum to voters a second time.

Proponents of North Jersey casinos are also cautious of bringing back the issue to the table in the near future. Meadowlands Racetrack owner and North Jersey casino supporter Jeff Gural said he is willing to wait five years before attempting to revive the issue.

Gural pointed out that the North Jersey casino plan will never happen in the future if it suffers another landslide defeat. Gural said he will only revive the call for a referendum on North Jersey casino once he is certain that they already have the majority votes to win.

The state, according to Gural, should also wait for the opening of three casinos in New York before reviving the casino ballot question.

“However long I have to wait, I’ll wait,” Gural told the news agency. “As soon as New York opens the three downstate casinos, the argument will no longer be about saving Atlantic City. New York and New Jersey will need revenue after this federal tax bill passes, and the one thing a Meadowlands casino would do is send $500 million a year to the state.”

In November 2016, 80 percent of New Jersey voters thumbed down a ballot proposal to allow casinos outside Atlantic City. Proponents of the ballot questioned the outcome of the polls, lamenting that New Jersey will miss the chance to generate millions of dollars in tax revenues for the state and to produce thousands of jobs.

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IGT Awarded $800,000 from Paradise Entertainment Following IP Quarrel

Paradise Entertainment Ltd will pay the world’s largest casino equipment provider, International Gaming Technology (IGT), $800,000 to settle an intellectual property dispute, according to a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Thursday.

Jay Chun, Chairman and Managing Director of Paradise Entertainment Limited and Eric Tom, IGT Executive Vice-President of Global Sales.

Jay Chun, Chairman and Managing Director of Paradise Entertainment Limited (left) and Eric Tom, IGT Executive Vice-President of Global Sales, ushered in a new era of cooperation between slots manufacturers back in 2016. But it didn’t take long for things to wind up in court. (Image: LT Game)

The squabble arose following a 2016 deal in which the two slots manufacturers agreed to a partnership that would see Macau-based Paradise share its electronic table game technology and patents with IGT.

Slots manufacturers have until recently viewed one another as fierce competitors and guarded their technologies closely, but last year saw a sudden thawing of these attitudes as a surprising spirit of cooperation emerged.

As well the Paradise deal, earlier this year IGT struck a landmark patent cross-licensing agreement with Scientific Games, its closest global competitor. Under the terms of that deal Scientific Games and IGT are now permitted to offer games using patented game features from each other’s mammoth portfolios.

Trouble in Paradise

But despite this apparent new era of openness, it didn’t take long for things to wind up in court. The Paradise deal allowed IGT exclusive rights to the development, manufacture and distribution of Paradise’s Live and RNG electronic table worldwide for 15-year term, except for in Macau where Paradise is a major player.

In return, Paradise would receive an undisclosed upfront sum, as well as an ongoing cut of the revenues.

But it appears that one of Paradise’s subsidiaries, LG Games, wasn’t playing ball. Or, at least, it couldn’t, because it didn’t have access to the all the technological components used in its own games. Thus, it was unable to furnish IGT with the complete article, leaving the slots giant feeling short-changed.

Payments on Hold

From Thursday’s filing: “Subsequent to the signing of the agreement, a dispute arose among the LT Game parties and IGT as to whether the LT Game parties have to provide certain technology (not being possessed by the LT Game parties) to IGT that may be required for IGT to make and place the licensed products under the agreement.”

“On 17 October 2017, upon commercial negotiation of the parties with the view to resolving the dispute, the LT Game parties agreed in writing with IGT that they shall pay to IGT a sum of US$800,000 for complete resolution of the dispute, which was determined based on the sharing by the LT Game parties of the estimated costs for the required technology,” continued the filing.

Paradise, which is expected to earn around $44 million from the deal over 15 years, said that the $800,000 would be set off by IGTs revenue-sharing payments, which will now be on hold until September 2018.

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North Jersey Casino Would Bankrupt Upstate New York Resorts, Analyst Opines

The North Jersey casino ballot referendum to end Atlantic City’s gambling monopoly in the state was strongly defeated by voters during the November 2016 election.

North Jersey casino Phil Murphy

Fifty-four percent of Atlantic County voters backed Governor-elect Phil Murphy, but that might not be to their benefit, as the next New Jersey governor supports a North Jersey casino. (Image: Tanya Breen/Asbury Park Press)

That was great news for commercial casinos then under construction in Upstate New York, but next fall the question can be represented to Garden State voters.

Though outgoing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) also supported bringing gambling north, Governor-elect Phil Murphy (D) does too, and he might be better suited to convince residents to come to his side. Should that happen, New Jersey-based gaming analyst and consultant Alan Woinski says it would be lights out for New York’s upstate casinos.

Talking with City & State New York regarding the Empire State’s three recently opened commercial casinos’ financial difficulties, Woinski opined that there would be no reason for the tens of millions of people in the New York City and North Jersey area to travel at least 60 miles just to place a bet.

“If this new governor here in New Jersey is able to convince lawmakers to put a casino in the Meadowlands, it’s all over for New York,” Woinski stated.

However, it will take more than Murphy convincing state lawmakers to bring gambling north, but also voters. The New Jersey Constitution bars commercial casino gambling outside Atlantic City, and mandates that “no gambling of any kind shall be authorized by the Legislature unless … authorized by a majority of the votes cast by the people.”

Saturation Point

States have expanded their gambling laws across the country over the last decade in response to the US recession and governments looking for new sources of tax revenue. That’s especially true in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, where today commercial casinos can be found not only in Atlantic City, but in West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts.

Determining when enough is enough is a difficult proposition. Some say the industry has already long passed the tipping point, but those that know the industry best, Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts, for example, continue to invest billions of dollars.

MGM says its development cycle, which included the $1.4 billion MGM National Harbor, will come to a close with its $960 million resort in Springfield, Massachusetts. Wynn remains under construction on its $2.4 billion Boston property.

New York Hurting

Four years ago, the New York Legislature authorized three upstate commercial casinos in an effort to revitalize struggling communities. All three sites promised to generate big revenues, and subsequent strong tax money.

But during their first year in operation, the trio of venues are heavily underperforming.

Tioga Downs, for instance, predicted $262 million in gross gaming over its first 12 months. With 10 months in the books, the casino has won just $125 million.

Woinski said lofty casino projections are reached by consultants who are often hired by state gaming commissions, and those agencies frequently tell the state and bidding company “what they want to hear.”

Woinski concluded the reason casinos go along with the unreasonable predictions, “What incentive does the casino have to come in with a really realistic number? Because somebody else is going to be coming in with an unrealistic one.”

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Sunday’s Pittsburgh-New England Game Could be AFC Championship Preview

Pittsburgh and New England are the top two teams in the AFC and are playing Sunday in what could be a sneak peak at the AFC Championship a month from now. The Patriots are traveling to the Steel City and are a 3-point favorite despite being on the road.

Mike Tomlin Bill Belichick

Pittsburgh Coach Mike Tomlin will try and avenge last year’s 36-17 loss to Bill Belichick’s Patriots in last season’s AFC Championship when the two teams meet Sunday. (Image: Getty Images)

They opened anywhere from one to two points but saw the line increase earlier this week. The over-under has actually decreased a point since it opened at 54 ½.

The Steelers have won their last eight consecutive games, including Monday night’s come from behind effort against Baltimore, 39-38 last Sunday. They are 11-2 on the season with their only losses coming to Chicago and Jacksonville.

The Patriots are 10-3 and are coming off a shocking 27-20 defeat to division rival Miami, 37-20 on Monday Night Football. That snapped an eight-game winning streak. They previously lost to Kansas City opening week and Carolina two weeks later. In the three most recent times New England lost their home opener they went on to win the Super Bowl.

They are still the favorites to win the Super Bowl at 9-4. They opened at 6-1. The Steelers are next at 3-1, dropping from opening odds of 10-1.

History on Patriots Side

Of the previous nine match ups between the teams seven of them have gone to Head Coach Bill Belichick’s squad. That includes last year’s AFC Championship, which New England won, 36-17.

Quarterback Tom Brady has not lost two away games in a row since 2015. The team is also undefeated in their last six games following a loss, which includes a mark of 6-0 against the spread.

As an underdog at home the Steelers are 10-6 straight up and 11-3-2 ATS in their last 16 games. One important stat is that the Steelers have lost by an average of 15.3 points in the last four contests with New England.

Much at Stake Sunday

With a victory the Steelers would probably wrap up the best record in the conference and ensure home field throughout the playoffs. If New England wins they would match Pittsburgh’s record and have the tie breaker to claim the home-field advantage if the two meet in the AFC Championship.

The Patriots offense is ranked second overall and will face the Steelers’ No. 5 defense. Pittsburgh has the advantage on offense with its No. 4 ranked offense going against New England’s No. 29th defense.

Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin was accused of looking ahead to the New England game the last few weeks, but he vehemently denied the accusation.

“I don’t know that any of us were looking ahead to be quite honest with you,” Tomlin said during a conference call with Patriots media. “When we do interviews and people ask us about potential big games down the road, we’re going to politely answer questions and do so honestly. That’s not us looking down the road. That’s us simply performing our professional duties.”

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PAGCOR: Casinos may face closure for letting minors in their facilities

State regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has warned casino operators to not let minors inside their gambling facilities if they don’t want their casinos to be shuttered for good.

PAGCOR: Casinos may face closure for letting minors in their facilitiesIn a memorandum posted on its website, PAGCOR reminded casino operators to forbid guests below 21 years old from entering the gambling area of their integrated resorts. The penalty set by PAGCOR for erring casinos was the closure of the gaming site.

The state regulator also reiterated its long-standing prohibition on all government officials and employees, as well as their immediate relatives; members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP); Gaming Employment License holders; and persons included in the National Database of Restricted Persons from setting foot in any casino in the country.

Casino operators that will violate the directive will face a penalty of PHP100,000 (US$1,980) per entry per individual classified as a “prohibited person,” according to PAGCOR.

The guidelines stemmed from Memorandum Circular No. 6, which was signed in 2016 after the Philippine government received reports that many government officials and employees, and even members of the AFP and PNP, have been frequenting the casinos.

The prohibition on government officials inside casinos was also Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s way “to promote a high standard of ethics in public service.”If any government official or personnel enters a casino, it would be considered “conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service,” according to the regulator.

PAGCOR, however, failed to clarify yet again whether elected government officials were also prohibited from gambling in casinos. At the height of the House of Representatives’ investigation into the Resorts World Manila arson attack, Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano declared that elected government officials were exempted from PAGCOR’s prohibition from gambling in casinos.

The legislator pointed out that PAGCOR couldn’t bar them from gambling in casinos because the electorate already knew they gamble a lot but they still chose to vote for them anyway.

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Casino Listings
New Jersey Online Revenue Soars (Yet Again)

New Jersey's online gambling market continued to grow in November as the state saw online numbers surge 20% from last year to $20.6 million.

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Casino –
Detroit casinos post flat November revenues

Revenues of Detroit’s three casinos eked out small year-on-year gains in November, according to the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Detroit casinos post flat November revenuesAggregate revenue of MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino Hotel and Greektown Casino-Hotel is up 0.4 percent to $113.1 million in November. The combined revenues of Detroit casinos also grew by 1.4 percent year on year.

MotorCity, which had the second biggest November market share, saw revenue climb 2.7 percent to $38.2 million. MGM rose 0.8 percent to $48.6 million, while Greektown registered the lowest revenue of all the three casinos with $26.3 million.

The state regulator said the three casinos remitted a total of $9.2 million in gaming taxes to the state and handed another $18.3 million in wagering and development agreement payments to the City of Detroit in November.

Gaming experts believe that the revenues of these three casinos will drastically improve in the event the US Supreme Court (SC) rules in favor of New Jersey’s petition and declares the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional.

Research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming predicts Michigan will be one of the first states to offer sports betting in casinos if the SC upholds the arguments of New Jersey.

“The sports betting customer is likely different than the typical casino customer,” Chris Grove, managing director of Eilers & Krejcik, told Detroit News. “It would create new customers and new revenue for casinos.”

However, it is still up in the air if the owners of MotorCity and Greektown are willing to embrace the idea of sports betting in their respective facilities.

The family of Marian Ilitch, which owns MotorCity Casino, also runs the Detroit Tigers (baseball) and Red Wings (hockey) teams, while Greektown owner Dan Gilbert also controls the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

In most of her previous interviews, Ilitch tried to distance herself from her family’s sports ventures.

Matt Cullen, chief executive of Greektown operator JACK Entertainment, said it’s still premature to discuss the possibility of sports betting in Detroit casinos.

“Under the right and thoughtful regulatory framework, we generally support legalization of sports betting,” Cullen said, according to the news agency.

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Casino –
Brazil police raid Winfil casino for second time, seize slots and cash

brazil-police-raid-winfil-casinoThe Winfil casino in Porto Alegre, Brazil has been raided for the second time in six weeks for offering real-money gambling without authorization.

On Monday, local media reported that police had once again descended on the Winfil casino, seizing 98 slot machines, numerous documents and an unidentified sum of money. However, no arrests were made and the property has not been ordered to close.

This marks the second time the police have raided the Winfil venue, which is operated by Catalan-based gaming operator Grupo Pefaco. On October 30, police staged a major raid on the venue, putting an end to the alleged illegality going on inside.

Winfil opened in mid-October with its electronic gaming machines set for free-play “demonstration” mode due to the ongoing illegality of casinos in Brazil. But Winfil switched to real-money gaming following a court order that the operator interpreted as preventing the authorities from seizing its gaming devices.

However, the judge who issued that ruling quickly clarified that she hadn’t authorized real-money gambling at the venue, and the police swiftly pounced. Mindful of the ruling, the police seized cash and the circuit boards of most of the 460 slots, while leaving the machines themselves in place.

Winfil reopened one week after the initial raid, apparently with its machines restored to their full capacity. Not willing to let this stand, the authorities went to the Court of Justice of Rio Grande do Sul and had the earlier ruling annulled, while the court also upheld a Public Prosecutor’s Office indictment, clearing the way for this latest raid on Monday.

The police reportedly only confiscated 98 of the property’s 460 slots because they felt they’d sufficiently disabled the remaining machines from functioning. However, that’s probably what they thought last time, and Winfil’s operators don’t appear to be easily intimidated. Winfil’s attorneys were reportedly planning to study their legal options before offering an official response.

Brazil is currently pursuing the legalization of multiple forms of gambling, including land-based and online casinos, with a key Senate committee hearing scheduled for Wednesday (13). This is the final week for such hearings before the legislature reconvenes next week to pass budget and social security bills, after which they break for the holidays.

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Bitcoin Chaser
Revain Announces Release of Version 0.2 of Platform

December 11, 2017, Moscow, Russia – Revain announced today the release of version0.2 of the platform in less than a month after the release of its first test version on November 15th, 2017.

In addition to basic features of the test version, the version0.2 has delivered a number of new ones. First and foremost, everyone can write a review on the platform. Second, “Like” and “Dislike” buttons are now active. Third, with new functions, such as “Sell” and “Buy” you can immediately trade token on a number of exchanges. Finally, we have introduced the button “Follow” which enables users to subscribe to receive updates from the project.

“v0.2 release is finally here and Revain team is really happy how things are going right now”, said Rinat Arslanov, CEO. “The beta version which was released a week ago generated a fair share of excitement among our community as well as helped us to perfect the final release. We are thankful to all users who tried beta and left their feedback and we are looking forward into the future!”


About Revain

Revain is a feedback platform designed for accumulating authentic user reviews on projects and startups that have concluded their crowdfunding / ICO stage. The platform is bringing to life the service that will finally allow businesses to receive detailed and genuine feedback about their projects, while users will get access to other people’s experience with ICOs and share their own insights as well. The platform aggregates information on token dynamics and major milestones in startup’s development.

Impartiality of opinions available on the platform is achieved by the fact that only well-reasoned reviews will be stored. After the platform is introduced in its full capacity, a review hash will be getting stored in blockchain, which stands for its inalterability and no chance of making changes or deletion.

Revain platform is available at:




Twitter: @revain_org


Press and Media Inquiries:

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William Hill Adds Support to Scientific Games Takeover of NYX

The battle between Scientific Games and William Hill over the acquisition of NYX Gaming has seemingly come to an amicable conclusion, as William Hill is now providing support for the deal.

Scientific Games NYX William Hill

William Hill CEO Phillip Bowcock says his company now fully supports the Scientific Games acquisition of NYX. (Image: William Hill)

In a press release distributed on Wednesday, Scientific Games announced several developments that make its takeover of NYX likely to proceed without major incident.

Most notably, both NYX and Scientific Games were able to announce that they had entered into independent agreements with William Hill and AlpInvest Partners CoInvestments to support the announced acquisition.

In total, William Hill and AlpInvest control about 40.9 million ordinary shares of NYX, adding substantial support ahead of a planned December 20 shareholder vote on the deal.

Agreement Ends All Litigation Over Acquisition

In addition, all parties have entered into a settlement in which all sides have agreed to end all litigation against each other in relation to the proposed takeover.

Scientific Games and NYX had filed lawsuits in Nevada and New Jersey, respectively, claiming that William Hill was illegally trying to block the takeover in order to protect itself against potential competition in case sports betting were legalized in the United States.

The agreements appear to end the maneuvering that was taking place ahead of the shareholder meeting. According to NYX, the acquisition would only be prevented if 51 percent of shareholders did not approve of the takeover, and that the termination clause in place specifically excluded William Hill and its affiliates from taking part in the vote.

On their end, William Hill said they hadn’t yet made a decision on where they stood on the proposed deal, but that they certainly wanted a seat at the table when the shareholders discussed the possible takeover.

At the same time, the sports betting giant worked to increase their influence at that table by converting its convertible preference shares to ordinary NYX shares.

As part of the latest round of agreements between the parties, William Hill has withdrawn its notice of conversion of those shares.

Contractual Rights, Future of Sports Betting Were Concerns for William Hill

The corporate maneuvering follows a September announcement in which Scientific Games agreed to purchase the entirety of NYX for just over $600 million. William Hill had several concerns about the deal, including some of its contractual rights that stemmed from NYX’s purchase of OpenBet in 2016.

According to Phillip Bowcock, CEO of William Hill, those issues have now been resolved.

“These agreements safeguard William Hill’s technology roadmap and relationship with NYX and end all legal action between the parties,” Bowcock said.

The importance of this deal for all parties involved has been amplified due to signs that the Supreme Court of the United States may be leaning towards striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a decision which would allow individual states to regulate sports betting.

“We are pleased to expand our commercial relationship with Scientific Games in the US market which offers considerable potential should the Supreme Court ruling on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which is expected next year, provide states with the power to regulate sports betting,” Bowcock said.

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Bitcoin Chaser
Bitcoin Above $15000 USD

Bitcoin Above 15000

On Thursday December 7th, Bitcoin reached $15,374 USD according to CoinMarketCap. Less than a week ago on the first day of December, Bitcoin was just about to reach that five-figure mark, although was still unable surpass and hold above $10,000 USD. Bitcoin prices vary from exchange to exchange, and it looks like there are, at least in theory, great arbitrage opportunities out there. Nevertheless, in the long run – which is shorter than anyone would think when it comes to cryptocurrencies – exchange prices trend towards harmonization. A good indicator is Coinbase, where Bitcoin reached a peak of $15,200 USD so far. This opens the door for more people to engage in profit taking, so it is necessary to analyze this sudden rise more carefully and add some details to this broad snap shot of the current situation.

Bitcoin Market Cap and Dominance

Total market cap and dominance are always useful figures to try and understand the trends, especially for cryptocurrency traders. In terms of total market capitalization, Bitcoin has yet again surpassed a milestone, growing beyond the $250bn USD mark. Some may take this as a warning. Speculation and investment based on speculation increases the risk of a bubble, although newcomer buyers are certainly tipping the demand scale, favoring bullish supporters right now. It is important to remember that Bitcoin is an asset unlike any other in human history, and the price evolution we have seen so far, has strong grassroots origins. Just in the coming weeks will Wall Street bankers and institutional traders – the kind who crashed the world economy in 2008-09 – be able to trade Bitcoin futures.

Futures Market Advocates are Cautious

As some people in Wall Street get ready to trade Bitcoin futures, many institutional investors are campaigning against it. Maybe they realize that Bitcoin is a threat to their models. According to news outlet Financial Times, a number of major players based in the US are announcing plans to delay the launch of Bitcoin futures trading. CBOE and CME have stated that they will commence Bitcoin futures trading before the year’s end, with CBOE launching in just a few days. However, the Futures Industry Association (FIA) will try to stop this effort on its tracks, by appealing to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFT). The FIA has supposedly started to contact the CFT, voicing a negative opinion on the introduction of Bitcoin futures by the two major exchanges. In the meantime, the CBOE is planning to launch futures trading on Sunday, December 10th, followed by the CME on the 17th.

Bitcoin Dominance 

In the meantime, cryptocurrency investors have been moving away from most altcoins and into Bitcoin. This is probably due to the futures trading announcements. Bitcoin dominance is above 60% now and it is expected to keep on rising at least until Bitcoin futures trading starts. This means that altcoin holders are now at an important crossroads regarding their holdings, but some might also start feeling the pressure from endogenous forces as well.

Developers Warned of Ethereum Application Licensing

Ether holders and developers of Dapps on the Ethereum ecosystem, must be aware of a few changes ahead. The Ethereum Foundation utilizes open-source licenses for different elements of Ethereum. Core team members haven’t yet finalized or selected the final open-source license, meaning some unexpected rules and compliance factors may present themselves soon. Bitcoin developers are safe, since that ecosystem and its infrastructure are completely different.

With thousands of Ethereum applications, the dangers of public pitfalls are rising. Developers of Ethereum based applications will be relying on increased awareness around new licensing requirements. While the Ethereum Software is known to be ‘free’, small print intervenes, bringing some restrictions to the surface. This might increase the downward pressure on the price of certain altcoins, which should add to the forces pushing Bitcoin prices higher.

Bitcoin Futures and Cryptocurrency Trading 

Given the troves of information and changes coming from within the cryptocurrency sphere, it is already challenging to keep up with changes and adjust trading strategies accordingly. Now, with Bitcoin futures trading and the attempts to stop it, there will be more information that traders will have to consider when they operate in the markets. There is no doubt that up until this point, Bitcoin has had a solid grassroots support, but from next week onwards, this could all change.

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Op-Ed: Why I Hope New Jersey Gets Its Own Legal Sports Betting in 2018

I won’t lie: I’ve made some underground sports bets in my life. I’ve also smoked pot, bought concert tickets from scalpers, and hung out at bars where I threw back cocktails hours after legal drink service officially wrapped up. (Okay, maybe that last one was most of my 20s, come to think of it).

Chris Christie New Jersey sports betting SCOTUS decision

Outgoing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (right) is betting on a legacy that will see sports betting allowed in the Garden State, if the SCOTUS overturns the current ban. (Image: Brendan Smialowski, AFP/Getty)

Personally, I have no problem with any of those activities, except for one thing: doing them turned me, technically at least, into a law-breaker. 

I am not alone in being a generally law-abiding person who’s dipped down into the dark side here and there. In fact, according to Play NJ, more than $4 billion has been illegally wagered on sports this year in New Jersey alone.

On December 4, steps were taken to alter that situation. A hearing was held in the Supreme Court of the United States, with the state of New Jersey making a bid for the federal government to lift its nearly national ban on sports betting. The latter has been in place since the passage of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA).

That change would allow the Garden State to make its own decision. A change which, pending that federal green light, New Jersey is ready to unleash with its own legal sports betting. In a mismatch that the WWF would find laughable, this fight saw Governor Chris Christie vs the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NCAA in the legal ring, but don’t assume you know who’s coming out on top.

Christie wants sports betting brought in, of course, while the leagues’ top brass maintain that it could have a corrupting influence.

Treading in Murky Waters

It turns out that Christie may have been just the kind of heavyweight to face off against the major leagues after all. Because the MSM’s initial consensus of the SCOTUS review seems to be that the majority of justices see the prevailing law as flawed.

There was plenty of back and forth among the justices on Monday, with arguments about whether or not the feds can rightfully tell state governments what they can and cannot do in this arena.

“All we have here are a group of provisions telling states what they cannot do,” said Justice Stephen Breyer. “At the same time the federal government does not have a clear federal policy.”

Statements like that one increased the odds that sports betting (in Garden State casinos and at race tracks) will soon be something that I’ll be able to do close to my home in New York City without having to rub elbows, directly or indirectly, with people who walk on the wrong side of the law (and have sometimes been known to bust kneecaps).

It seems as if the smart money already knows the outcome. After the proceedings, bellicose Chris Cristie crowed, “If we’re successful here, we can have bets being taken in New Jersey within two weeks of a decision by the court. We’re like boy scouts: we’re prepared.”

I heard about the Borgata gearing up for construction of a $7 million sports book while on a recent trip to Atlantic City. Bosses there do not seem to be sweating the Supreme Court outcome, and are apparently already counting the cash influx in their heads. They are betting more than I ever could on the likelihood of New Jersey-sanctioned sports betting coming through.

By the middle of next year, we should know whether Borgata executives were being prescient or overly optimistic.

Staking Out the Garden State

If sports betting passes muster with SCOTUS, the most obvious winners will be the residents of New Jersey. They’ll get to bet sports legitimately, watch games in new (and presumably massive and luxuriously appointed) sports books, and the Garden State will realize extra revenue by taxing sports betting enterprises to the hilt.

Second-place finishers will be guys like me, who live close enough to make the trek. Legal sports betting gives me one more reason to drive down to Atlantic City on any given weekend. Through all of this, the state’s casino and horseracing industries will get financial shots in the arm that they desperately need as well.

Football players take a knee in protest 2017

Could legal sports betting across America be exactly what football needs to bring its sagging ratings back up? Gaming writer Michael Kaplan says “yes.” (Image: AP)

Third-place trophies? Going to professional sports. Controversy over the national anthem protests aside, with legal betting, more people will have reasons to watch games on TV, period.

After all, viewing sports with no money riding on the outcome is a bit like buying dinner for a hot chick who just kisses you on the cheek when you drop her off at home: a lot of time invested with no ultimate reward.

The biggest losers, of course, will be the illegal bookies who now make bank on the underground sports betting market. The day that you can start to place bets at casinos and racetracks nationwide, they’ll experience a dramatic drop in business that may ultimately send them back to college for that accounting degree their mom always wanted them to get anyway.

Las Vegas, which currently more or less owns the legal US sports betting market, will take a bit of a hit, of course. There will be fewer bets made there and East Coasters who typically are jonesing for a visit to Sin City for March Madness blowouts may just decide to bet closer to home.

But don’t cry into your adult beverage just yet. Just as the Western gaming epicenter has continued to make bank despite almost every American state having some kind of legal gambling presence now, the Vegas sports books aren’t likely to shut down due to lack of customers anytime soon, no matter what the SCOTUS decision may be vis-a-vis a sports betting ban .

Not Playing Ball

For reasons beyond my own comprehension, the NFL, which is now prepping to start the Raiders playing out of Las Vegas in 2020, is taking the hardest stance against legalization. Its spokespeople say they are worried about increased potential for games to be fixed.

But the football league may soon be the lone holdout. According to ABC News, “NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said gambling isn’t a major concern.” And it shouldn’t be for an operation that now has a hockey team, the Golden Knights, skating on not at all thin ice in Vegas.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is on board with overturning PASPA, the bill that made sports betting illegal in all but four US states when it was passed in 1992. (Image: Patrick McDermott/Getty)

NBA commissioner Adam Silver wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece back in 2014, arguing that we should “legalize and regulate sports betting.” And according to ESPN, major league baseball decision-makers are leaning toward favoring legalization.

At this juncture, it’s becoming tougher and tougher to find any serious opposition among the pros or the hoi polloi to making sports betting in the US legal for any state that wishes to do so, whether on land or online.

As for me, I’m trying to drum up action on sports betting coming through or not, but have had a helluva time finding anyone willing to bet that the SCOTUS will leave the ban in place.

Meanwhile, I’m more than ready to place my bets in Atlantic City the right way, legally, if the Supreme Court does the right thing this spring.

Editor’s Note: Michael Kaplan is a New York-based journalist. He has written about gambling for The New York Times Magazine, Wired, Playboy, Thrillist, British GQ, and Kaplan has authored or co-authored four books, including “Aces and Kings: Inside Stories and Million-Dollar Strategies from Poker’s Greatest Players.”

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MGM, CT Tribes Open to Competitive Bidding on Bridgeport Casino

The two Native American tribes that operate casinos in Connecticut now say that they want to be part of any process that results in a casino being built in the city of Bridgeport.

Bridgeport Casino MGM Tribes

MGM CEO Jim Murren (left) and Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim (right) are hoping to bring a casino resort to Bridgeport, CT. (Image: Dan Haar/The Hartford Courant)

The move comes in response to MGM’s proposal to build a $675 million resort in the city, as well as a Tuesday appearance at a local meeting of business leaders by MGM CEO Jim Murren.

The Mohegan and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribes, which operate Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino respectively, had previously responded to the MGM proposal with skepticism. Tribal leaders had questioned whether the firm could ever gain state approval for such a project, and also pointed to comments by Murren, in which he said the company’s upcoming casino in Springfield, Massachusetts would be its “last major development project here in the United States.”

Tribes Begin to Take Bridgeport Threat Seriously

But in a letter sent to legislative leaders this week, the chairmen of both tribes seemed to take the thread of a Bridgeport resort more seriously. They reminded state officials of the $7 billion that has been given to the state through the compact between Connecticut and the tribes, as well as the shared history between the state and tribal leaders.

“For more than two decades, our two tribes and the state of Connecticut have forged a mutually beneficial partnership,” the letter read.

A casino in Bridgeport would be the fourth such venue in the state. The tribes, working together as a company known as MMCT, are building a smaller facility in East Windsor. That mid-sized casino would be designed to keep Connecticut gamblers from traveling north to MGM Springfield once it opens.

The East Windsor facility will be the first gambling expansion in the state since the Mohegan Sun casino opened in 1996. However, the tribes had once asked for approval to build three commercial casinos in various areas of the state, a request that was denied at the time.

“If circumstances have changed and there is now real interest in putting a casino in Bridgeport, we want to be a part of that discussion,” the letter read.

MGM is Up for Competition

For their part, MGM welcomed the idea of the state holding an open competition for a casino in the city.

“We welcome the tribes’ interest in such a process,” MGM wrote in its own letter to state officials. “MGM has participated in competitive processes in other states, as have the tribes, and we are prepared to do so in Connecticut.”

Uri Clinton, senior vice president of MGM, expressed confidence that they would win out in any bidding war in Bridgeport.

“We’ve got the best site,” Clinton said. “If someone else wanted to…make a proposal they’d have to have some deal with someone else who has land.”

While the partnership between the tribes and the state has been a lucrative one, its value has been falling in recent years in the face of increased regional competition. While the state received as much as $430 million from its share of slot revenues in 2007, that number fell to $265 million in 2016, and could continue to decline as Massachusetts casinos open in the next year.

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