www.CasinoReview-Online.com • August 2013 • 130
Out of the Shadows: Ireland opens new chapter on gambling
Answers to Questions: Experts ponder UK casino success
Peninsula Politics: A rival gaming show for Macau? EVENTS 38
Revenue hole turns Hungary back to gaming and casinos Less than a year after banning all slot machines in the country leaving only a few hundred located in three casinos, the Hungarian government has said it may license up to ten new casinos and has finally adopted new though muchdelayed online gaming legislation.
The Hungarian government is planning to launch closed bids for casinos in ten cities outside the capital Budapest, the local press has reported. The government, reeling financially from a wound it inf licted on itself last October when it unexpectedly banned all street-level gaming, has indicated its intention as such.It believes it will be able to raise at least 805m forints (E2.8m) annually in taxes from the new casinos, plus more in fees. Even that, however, is unlikely to replace the public revenues that have been lost. In the last year of operation, arcade game operations are estimated to
have contributed more than 30bn forints (almost E100m) to Hungarian government coffers. In addition, the industry employed up to around 40,000 people, who suddenly lost their jobs, and who stopped paying income tax. From early in 2012, the government had been talking about establishing new street level gaming outlets based on VLTs. In the autumn it turned its face from even that and implemented a wholesale ban with licensed gaming machines falling from around 24,000 to a few hundred located in the three existing casinos. These venues have seen
their revenues soar since the ban. According to reports, even though the machine ban impacted only the two final months of last year, Casino Sopron’s revenues rose 18.5 per cent in 2012, the Tropicana Casino’s were up 47 per cent and the Las Vegas Casino rose more than five-fold. The government is apparently uncomfortable that the three venues are doing so well out of the situation. Nor has the ban prevented illegal unlicensed machines crossing the border to be used in illicit operations. The ten new casinos would be designated class II, meaning ten-year renew-
able licences, and a limit to the number of tables and slot - however, the limit is high, up to 100 tables and 1,000 machines before it tips up into class I.The new venues would all be outside Budapest, attracting annual fees of 50m forints (E165,000), and subject to a progressive tax regime of 30 per cent on annual revenues up to 5bn forints (E16.5m), reduced to 25 per cent on additional revenues up to10bn forints (E33m) plus an extra 1.5bn forints (E4.95m) f lat tax, and then to ten per cent on further revenues above that plus a flat tax of 2.75bn forints (E9m). Iványi György of the Hun-
Las Vegas Casino in Budapest, one of three currently operating in Hungary, could be joined by up to ten more casinos
garian Gaming Manufacturers Association said that casinos are unlikely to fill the gap left by the street market. “Casinos require people to show their identity. A live casino attracts a different type of audience to the old electronic casinos.” The move on new casinos came in the same month that the Hungarian Parliament finally approved new regulations for remote gambling following a long period of inaction.
The new law widens the scope of games legally available via the internet to include sports betting and online casino games, not just the online horserace betting and online card games that the previous version of the law stipulated. However, as remote gambling qualifies as a nonliberalised gambling activity under Hungarian law, it can only be offered by the state-owned gambling provider, which launched a new website in May, or by a company that obtains a concession from the government. The concession is valid for a maximum of five years, with the minimum concession fee applicable for 2013 set at 100m forints (E332,600) per game type. Licensed operators will be subject to a 20 per cent tax on GGR payable every two weeks, as well as quarterly supervisory fees calculated at 2.5 per cent of GGR totalling at least 100,000 forints (E333) and no more than approximately 50m forints (E166,500). Unlicensed remote gambling operators will be automatically deemed illegal and will be blocked. New provisions have been put in place to allow the authorities to order the data relating to illegal gambling operations published via an electronic telecommunications network to be temporarily inaccessible for a period of 90 days. All telecommunications service providers will be bound by the decision of the authorities.
internationalcasinoreview NJ internet gambling licences popular New Jersey’s Gaming Enforcement division has received applications from 37 firms who want to be part of legal internet gambling in the state. The names of the firms won’t be made public by the state until they are approved. Under a law signed this year, casinos with a physical presence in Atlantic City will be allowed to offer online betting from November and all 12 of the city’s casinos have said yes. All participants in the enterprise must be licensed, hence the 37 applications. At least two international online gambling companies have tried to buy existing casinos.
Suen wins latest battle in $70m suit against Las Vegas Sands A court case that could potential cost Las Vegas Sands billions of dollars continues with the company still on the back foot against Hong Kong consultant Richard Suen, who says LVS would not be where they are today without him. supremebattle UNITED STATES
Richard Suen, a Hong Kong-based business consultant who claims he helped Las Vegas Sands win a casino operating licence in Macau, has won the latest bout in a Nevada court. On July 30 District Judge Rob Bare turned down a request by LVS to overturn a jury decision from June that awarded Suen $70m (E53m) in a breach of contract case. LVS is now expected to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court. Suen says he was hired by Las Vegas Sands to curry favour with the Chinese government and help the company win a gambling licence in Macau. Sands holds that it would have won a licence without Suen’s help. He first sued LVS in 2004 and in 2008, a jury found in his favour in 2008,awarding him $58.6m (E44.4m), but LVS successfully petitioned for a retrial, arguing that the jury had been presented with inadmissible hearsay evidence. In June this year, Suen won the second jury trial. Given Las Vegas Sands success in Macau in the intervening years, the case attracted more interest and also allowed Suen to demand more money. He says he and his company were promised $5m (E3.8m) plus two per cent of net casino profits. LVS profits have skyrocketed since 2008: the company now operates four resorts in the Cotai Strip area, which it owns, plus one on the Macau peninsula.The company
Richard Suen in court earlier this year
now makes about 60 per cent of its profit in Macau. Neither Suen nor Adelson were present in court on July 30. Judge Bare, having allowed both sides to exceed normal page limits for supporting documents, commented:“There was a heck of a lot of paperwork filed.” Lawyers for LVS held that the jury in June was again allowed to consider hearsay evidence, including testimony from Sheldon Adelson’s brother Lenny, and that Suen failed to demonstrate that he helped secure a licence. They also argued that the trial should be scrapped because one juror was revealed to hold a “secret prejudice” against Adelson. The man in question taunted a fellow juror who was reluctant to find against Sands, and said she must be afraid Adelson would threaten her life if she angered him. The woman took offence and asked to sit separately from the rest of the jury for the remainder of deliberations. They said:“As there was no evidentiary basis for Juror number 12’s inflammatory comment, it can only be explained by a serious bias against LVS (and its CEO).” Sands first raised this issue in court immediately after the verdict was delivered.At the time, Bare said the company should have raised the issue before it lost the case. In June, the company said it saw compelling and sufficient grounds to appeal, and would do so “aggressively”. LVS spokesman Ron Reese told AP that nothing has changed and the company will “absolutely” appeal the decision. For Richard Suen, attorney John O’Malley, said the team was “looking forward” to defending the judgment at the Supreme Court level. He added: “We’re very pleased with Judge Bare’s careful and thorough analysis of the issues raised by the Sands, and we are very pleased with the result.”
Revel abandons live poker offer allin UNITED STATES
Revel Casino-Hotel, which recently emerged from bankruptcy having been in business less than a year, abandoned live poker from the start of August: it announced the decision only a few days before implementing it. In a statement the company said: “After careful consideration and in an effort to further improve the overall operating performance of Revel CasinoHotel, management has made the decision to close our poker room operations effective August 2013.” The poker room was designed to compete with Borgata’s dominant market position but it didn’t catch on: in June it achieved about $91,000 (E69,000) compared to Borgata’s $1.8m (E1.4m). Borgata’s per-table yield was almost ten times that of Revel. Revel, however, has left open the possibility that it might offer poker again following the expected November 26 launch of internet gambling in New Jersey. “Offering poker as an amenity on the property will be considered in the future as a component of an overall strategy related to our online opportunities,” said the company.
Solaire sends Bloomberry straight into profit shiningexample PHILIPPINES
Bloomberry Resorts Corp, which opened the Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila only in March, has reported a net profit in the second quarter from a net loss in the first three months of the year. Enrique Razon Jr, chairman and president of Bloomberry, said:“It is gratifying to know that Solaire has begun to generate profit after only a few months. I am confident that this trend will continue.” The company has reported a net profit for the period of P22.7m (E392,710), net profit from revenues of P3.60bn (E62.3m), overturning a net loss in Q1 of P1.06bn 2
(E18.3m). Gross gaming revenues totalled P3.89bn (E67.3m). while non-gaming revenues from the hotel, food and beverage, retail and other operations reached P267m (E4.6m). Excluding promotional allowances, gaming revenues accounted for 92 percent of total revenues. The company said: “After the opening of the property in March 2013, the Bloomberry Group focused its efforts in ramping up its gaming business by unveiling numerous programmes, events, promotions and other strategic marketing activities. It was during the second quarter of 2013 when the Group signed up several junket
August 2013 • internationalnews
operators, bringing in foreign VIP players.” Razon added:“There is no let-up in our ramp-up programs, many of which are already on stream.” Solaire was the first development to open in the Entertainment City gaming complex in the Parañaque district of Manila. It includes an 11-storey, 500-room hotel on a three-level casino and gaming area with 1,200 slot machines and 300 gaming tables. Construction is well under way on the next phase, which will feature a 1,800-seat theatre, 300 hotel suites, several restaurants and a 5,600sq m shopping area. It is expected to be complete in the third quarter of 2014.
Solaire has shone brilliantly in its first few months of opening
internationalcasinoreview Genting still interested in Echo Genting chairman Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay has said he plans to raise his stake in Australia’s Echo Entertainment and build a casino in Japan once it loosens gambling laws. The company has already applied to increase its stake in the Australian operator to above ten per cent but with no decision yet made. “We are waiting for regulators in New South Wales and Queensland to make a decision,” said Lim in an interview. He also said he would like a casino licence in Macau.
Bally to acquire SHFL in major merger Two of the hottest companies on the gaming industry supplier side are to join forces in a huge deal worth around $1.3bn. The agreement between Bally Technologies and SHFL Entertainment will be a very tangible expression of convergence in the industry.
proven innovation, excellent customer service and successfully anticipating Bally Technologies is to and adapting to changes acquire SHFL Entertainment within our industry, which at a price of $23.25 (E17.60) makes bringing our two per share, for a total consid- companies together a great eration of around $1.3bn strategic fit.” He continued:“The trans(E984.1m). The announcement was made on July 16, formational acquisition of and represents premium of SHFL, which joins two high24 per cent on SHFL’s closing calibre, talented and creative price on July 15 and nearly teams, will further enhance 40 per cent over the average our ability to deliver future price in the previous 90 days growth and serve our cus- as SHFL has not declared a tomers. SHFL’s intellectual dividend in an age, it is likely property, renowned brands to get enthusiastic backing and industry-leading suite of from shareholders. The deal diverse, high-performance has been unanimously products will enable us to offer an unparalleled offerapproved by both boards. Bally’s CEO Ramesh Srini- ing of gaming products and vasan said: “Both Bally and services, which - when comSHFL have long histories of bined with our content,techunitedforce UNITED STATES
Once and future colleagues: Bally CEO Ramesh Srinivasan and SHFL CEO Gavin Isaacs
nology, operational capabilities and respective geographic footprints - will provide the most comprehensive product portfolio offered around the world.” Bally believes firmly that the acquisition of SHFL will complement its existing lines while providing new access to the global landbased and online table games market and the growing electronic tables market. The deal will also allow it to enhance its presence in key international markets, especially Asia and Australia. For his part SHFL CEO Gavin Isaacs, himself a former senior executive at Bally, told analysts on a conference call: “We are bring-
ing together two best-inclass, highly complementary and customer-centric companies with a shared emphasis on innovation. Like SHFL, Bally has a balanced approach to its business, creating both high-quality entertainment supplies and technological solutions to increase productivity on casino f loor. They are renowned for their ownership of great content, technologies and global brands that still have plenty of room to grow, much like us. And like Bally, SHFL has a history of innovation and technological excellence, underscored by the introduction of numerous industry game changers, such as the first automatic card shufflers and
Fisherman’s Wharf developers struggle to enthuse investors
proprietary table games.” He added: “Our cultures are very well aligned. Together, we each bring highly skilled and talented organisations with solid business infrastructures and sound fundamentals… Most importantly, SHFL and Bally share the same vision: to build the industry’s leading supplier based on delivering superior products and services to customers around the world. And together, it is certainly within our reach.” Isaacs concluded:“When this acquisition is complete, I think it will be fair to say Bally will possess the most diverse, the most IP-rich and perhaps even the most powerful product portfolio in the industry.”
IGT appoints experts to board digitaldoers UNITED STATES
How the redeveloped site would look
Macau Legend Development, the company that owns the Fisherman’s Wharf area of Macau near the main ferry terminal as well as the Pharaoh’s Palace and Landmark Macau casinos, failed to get anywhere near its target in an IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in July. The company raised only HK$2bn (E195m) of the hoped for HK$6.1bn (E595m) and less than half of what it wanted even after the size of the IPO was slashed to $4.4bn (E429m). The company wants to redevelop Fisher-
man’s Wharf by refurbishing and expanding the Landmark Macau, as well as three new hotels, a marina and entertainment facilities, in the process building over its failed volcanic theme park, an embarrassing white elephant that greets new arrivals to territory. David Chow, the businessman and former politician who is the majority shareholder of Macau Legend Development, is confident that he will get find the backing for his ambitious plans, which also include an opera house and dinosaur museum. He told Reuters:“We were never wrong [about the theme park]. For me it was a park.We are not making money there. It was a gift to the society. Now we are going to
build the park into a resort.” The company, which doesn’t hold its own casino licence but operates ‘third-party managed properties’ under the SJM Holdings licence, has applied to the government for 350 extra gaming tables. It will have to wait, however: although the table cap is being replaced by a three-per cent annual growth cap, that means only 2,000 more gaming tables will be available until 2023. Macau Legend has enough money to start the casino development without needing to raise more until next year, according to executive director Sheldon Trainor. He said the company would likely seek debt financing rather than issuing new shares.
IGT has appointed two new board members with hands on experience in digital business. Tracey Weber joins from CitiBank, where she managed internet, mobile and global product for North America. She was named 2012 Mobile Banker of the Year. She said: “I look forward to lending my guidance and experience as support for the activities that will allow IGT to achieve its goal to lead and transform the gaming world.” She is joined on the board by Eric Brown, who is COO, CFO and EVP at digital communications company Polycom Inc. He also served as CFO for several major firms, including Electronic Arts and McAfee. “I have always been fascinated by IGT’s evolution as an ingenious entertainment content provider,” said Brown. “I look forward to contributing my financial and operational expertise as we focus on IGT’s expansion around the globe.” August 2013 • internationalnews
internationalcasinoreview Holland Casino sues website owner Holland Casino has launched proceedings against a website owner who registered the domain name hollandcasinoonline.nl in Germany. The site redirects visitors to four online casinos, all of which are technically illegal for Dutch citizens to play on, and the owners receive a click-through fee. The stateowned casino company has approached the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), which deals with international trademark infringement, and is confident of winning its case.
News EUROPE WEST
Ireland finally grasps the gambling nettle with new Bill
Richard Quirke (left) and Michael Lowry TD hoped to build a large casino resort in Tipperary
Aspers prepares for September launch largeopportunity UNITED KINGDOM
The Irish government has published a draft Gambling Control Bill, which, if passed, will revoke the 1956 Gaming Act and according to Justice Minister Alan Shatter, bring legal certainty to the gambling sector in Ireland, but it has already been criticised for being unworkable. irishayes IRELAND
Ireland’s Justice Minister Alan Shatter has published new draft legislation that will allow up to 40 small casinos in the country, each with no more than 15 gambling tables and 25 slot machines. The legislation aims to clarify the legal situation of casinos in the country, long since operated without the benefit of a recognised regulatory framework. Published on July 15, the General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill 2013 represents the Irish government’s current position on the regulation of the gambling sector and provides for the introduction of a comprehensive, new and unified licensing and regula-
tory framework for gambling in Ireland covering not only casinos but also lotteries, betting, bingo, arcades and remote gambling. The proposed legislation also establishes a dedicated gambling regulator within the Department of Justice, to be called the Office of Gambling Control Ireland (OGCI). The OGCI will be required to establish criteria to ensure a regional spread of casinos, and will be required to publish details of the criteria that will be taken into account when determining whether a locality is appropriate as a casino location for example, casinos won’t be allowed in close proximity to schools, health care facilities, etc. Appropriate planning permission will be required. Only smaller scale
casinos will be permitted - a maximum number of 15 tables will be allowed, and at a minimum, a casino must have at least three tables. It is also proposed to cap the number of casino licences that may be in operation at any time at 40 (there are currently 34 private members’ clubs registered for the purposes of Irish anti-money laundering legislation). In relation to gaming machines, the draft new legislation states that a standard multiplier of two machines to each table will be applied, subject to a maximum of 25 gaming machines in a casino. It is proposed that casinos will operate under ten-year licences, which may be renewed. Alan Shatter said that the new law would bring legal
certainty to the gambling sector in Ireland. He said:“I believe that this Bill will give Ireland a well regulated gambling system that will be recognised as such internationally.” The government has promised a wide-ranging consultation process before the Bill is passed through the Irish parliament.That consultation period promises to be a robust exchange of views. Independent TD (member of parliament) Michael Lowry has already weighed in with sharp criticism of the new casino Bill calling it “overwhelmingly shortsighted and negative.” The Bill’s provisions on size of casino will scupper once and for all the possibility of a large casino resort that project promoter
Richard Burke wants to build near Two Mile Borris in Tipperary, an idea backed by Lowry. Lowry said the level of activity that would be conducted in a casino under the Bill is ridiculously low.“The cap on gaming machines and tables is so prohibitive as to make these proposed new casino licences commercially non-viable,” he said. According to Lowry, Richard Quirke will be taking part in the consultation process on to show that the table and machine limits are “impractical, unworkable and not financially sustainable in any venue”. The Gambling Control Bill will also impose a ban on fixed odds betting terminals due to concerns about their harmful effect.
The UK’s second Large casino under the 2005 Gambling Act is set to open at the Xscape centre in Milton Keynes north of London on September 5. Like the first one at Newham near the Olympic Park, Casino MK will be operated by Aspers Group. Speaking to local press, Austin Graham, Aspers’ operations director, said: “We’re excited to be here in an iconic building and we cannot wait to get started. He continued: “It’s great for us to open the first large licence casino outside London.” Nigel Hartland, general manager of Casino MK, said: “For Milton Keynes, we will add a real leisure and entertainment venue. We’ll attract people from near and far.”
London casino launches social betting experiment twitterflutter UNITED KINGDOM
The Casino at The Empire on Leicester Square has launched the world’s first social casino competition. The competition, which opened on July 25, invites members of the public to apply for a day of betting where all the decisions they make within the casino doors are made by sharing their options live on Twitter. Peter Turpin, venue director of The Casino at The Empire, said: “Our global entertainment brand is always looking for exciting ways to experiment with the future of gaming. This oncein-a-lifetime opportunity will present one lucky individual 4
August 2013 • europewestnews
An innovative new marketing idea from the Casino at the Empire
with an experience like no other. We’re looking forward to seeing what decisions they make and how they’re swayed by the social crowd.” The winner of The Social Experiment by The Casino at The Empire will have the opportunity to take home any winnings they make plus the guest will not be liable for any losses they incur and will still be eligible for a £300 (E345) tab for the Carlsberg VIP Room or Icon Bar. The winner will be able to play a number of games throughout the day including blackjack, American roulette and Three Card Poker. A full commentary on the day will be provided by The Casino at The Empire on its Facebook page.
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internationalcasinoreview No more obstacles for casino The town of Saint-Trojan-les-Bains on the island of Oléron off the west coast of France has finally found an unchallenged location for the casino to which it is entitled. Previous projects based on the old casino (pictured) have been halted by the Administrative Court. New planning permission has been granted and, following an enquiry, no objections have been raised. The casino, expected to open during 2015, will be operated by Groupe Arevian, which operates six casinos mostly in the Auvergne.
News EUROPE WEST
Sands takes Madrid to the next stage The so-called EuroVegas project has now been formally submitted, late, but enthusiastically received for prospects it holds out in terms of jobs. Several obstacles remain, however. registeredbirth SPAIN
Andrew Tottenham, who is in charge of Las Vegas Sands European operations - and that means only one thing at the moment - has handed over a 326-page feasibility study to the government of Madrid autonomous region for the huge casino resort complex in Alcorcón south west of the city. The project is now officially registered with the government, which will consider it formally before opening it up to a public tender process that theoretically allows any other company to bid for the project on the same terms. No such bid is expected. The company is being very guarded about the process. It released a statement on July 25 saying: “Las Vegas Sands Corp confirms that it has pro-
duced a non-binding viability study to the regional government of Madrid, which lays out a preliminary vision for the development of a strip of resorts.” Speaking to analysts in a recent conference call, CEO Sheldon Adelson said:“With respect to Madrid, there are a variety of steps left in the development process. Any investment would be subject to receipt of government approvals and the finalisation of any grants and incentive package that would enable investment as well as success in a competitive tender process.” Among the incentives - or pre-conditions, depending on your point of view - is a relaxation of the general smoking ban for various parts of the resort, notably the gaming f loors. The regional government may not have the exclusive com-
petence to deal with the matter and it is likely anyway to end up at the European Court of Justice. Already a contentious issue, it will also undoubtedly be used by opponents of the whole project as another weapon. How much of a deal-breaker it would be, LVS is keeping tight-lipped about. There have already been rumours put about that the project was dead in the water. Early in July, the leader of the Socialist Party in One of the preliminary designs for a resort complex at Alcorcón Madrid said. LVS was three months late in handing over the study, the project had been added:“The company maindue originally in April. That dropped. Early in July,Tomas tains its interest in building has already put a dent in the Gomez of the Socialist Party Integrated Resorts in Spain government’s hoped-for in Aranjuez claimed his party and is very grateful to the schedule: a public tender had “some information” that government, which has conprocess to get underway in it had all collapsed and called tinued to work to make posSeptember this year with on the Madrid government sible the realisation of so large and complex a project groundbreaking on Phase 1 to clarify the situation. LVS itself responded with in the Madrid region.” early next. The first phase of the The delays prompted a statement saying the some to question whether reports were incorrect. It resort will require an invest-
ment of around E6bn, of which LVS will provide directly around E2bn. The construction of four of the eventual 12 hotel-casino resorts, events and conference facilities will provide around 25,000 construction jobs and about 75,000 permanent jobs once completed.
Aristocrat and TGT reach SBM plans get financial ‘amicable’ settlement backing
The surprise dumping a year ago of the French licensed supply and service company (SFM) Tranchant Gaming Technology (TGT) by its partner of 25 years Aristocrat, which led to a bitter exchange of words and legal action, has been “resolved by means of an amicable settlement” according to a joint press release. Under the agreement, TGT will continue to provide aftersales repair and maintenance services to Aristocrat gaming machines, specifically the MK5, MK6 and GEN7 Viridian 19-inch models that it distributed up to July 24 last year. It will do so until October 31 2015. All other services on machines falling outside those parameters will be undertaken by another SFM, SFC2A the company for which Aristocrat has thrown over TGT. TGT’s sister company Casinos Groupe 6
August 2013 • europewestnews
Tranchant, was Aristocrat’s largest customer in France, so the settlement means that Tranchant will not have to suffer the indignity of having a bitter rival poke about its operations. However “amicable” the agreement might be, it suggests nevertheless that
the relationship between Aristocrat and Tranchant has broken down irretrievably. SFC2A, which was instituted as only the fifth SFM earlier in 2012, is now proclaiming itself Aristocrat’s exclusive distributor in France as it is for Interblock products.
Société des Bains de Mer (SBM), which operates the five casinos in Monaco as well as hotels and other leisure businesses, has announced it has secured the E680m finance its needs to renovate and extend the prestigious Hôtel de Paris and to redevelop the Sporting d’Hiver. The state of Monaco, the majority shareholder with 66 per cent, has given the green light to a capital increase of between E180m and E250m as part of the financing deal. Who is buying is unknown, however, the state will retain its majority holding. Other shareholders are the likely candidates, notably Qatar, which holds six per cent and has always expressed an interest in more. The remainder will be in the form of debt financing. Hôtel de Paris will have a new eastern extension and be completely renovated. It will have the same number of rooms but larger and more opulent to cater to a high net worth clientele. A garden court will be created at the centre of the hotel. The new buildings will also feature exclusive rooftop villas with gardens and private pools. In place of the Sporting d’Hiver will be a sevenbuilding high-end commercial, residential and retail development. The work on both projects is expected to start at the end of 2014.
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internationalcasinoreview Casinos Austria ‘to take over’ Baden catering Casinos Austria’s own Cagast catering division is set to take over the F&B service at Casino Baden (picture) from long-standing contractor Do&Co, according to reports. The move, not yet confirmed by Casinos Austria, could take place at the turn of the year. Cagast already services six of 12 Austrian casinos and is able to offer “more flexible” price structures that would allow Casinos Austria make restaurants a more prominent feature in its venues.
CENTRAL EUROPE & CIS
Saarland casinos seeing an upswing
Casino Bad Steben
If it is not the end of the revenue slide for all seven state casinos in Saarland, at least there is hope that it is the beginning of the end. Out of the crucible of the last six or more years, the casino operator hopes for a better structure in the future. petition for casinos. The state-law imposed strict rules on the protection of The state-owned Saarland minors and requires and Spielbanken, which oper- minimum distance of 500m ates seven casinos in the as the crow flies between western German state bor- gaming arcades. Casino directors Peter dering France and Luxembourg, has reported an Jacoby and Michael Burkert increase in revenues in the told local press:“The new profirst half of the year.That con- visions are obviously tinues a trend seen in the working. To our knowledge last six months of 2012, virtually no new arcade which was the first time in licences have been granted.” The seven casinos have all at least six years that it was seen improvements in earnable to report growth. The company is partly ings but Jacoby and Burkert attributing the improve- were cautious about sustainments to a law that came in ability, terming it a “tempolast year that imposes more rary recovery”. “We are not saying the stringent requirements on the privately owned gaming problem is solved,” they arcades, which have been added. From 2006, before the the source of greatest comhappierdays GERMANY
global financial crisis hit,until 2011, annual gross gaming revenues fell from E42.8m to E32.4m. In 2012, revenues rose for the first time by four per cent to E33.6m with visitor numbers also up, particularly in the second half of the year. The numbers continued to rise in the first half of this year, with revenues up by about six per cent. Casino Neunkirchen, the leading earner in the group, saw gross revenues of E2.3m in the first half, a rise of 9.8 per cent. The three casinos in the state capital Saarbrücken saw their revenues rise 7.8 per cent in the period to E7.9m. It was not universally good news, however. The casino at Nennig, right on
the border with Luxembourg, saw revenues fall 3.7 per cent to E5.3m in the year to the end of June. Saarland Spielbanken pays 42 per cent of gross gaming revenues to the state and national governments in tax, amounting to E14.1m in 2012. The price of the state monopoly is heavy according to Jacoby and Burkert:“If we were taxed like any other business, we would extremely profitable.” Jacoby - a former finance minister - and his colleague want to discuss the possibility finding a new tax structure for the casinos that would see a smaller rate by revenues plus a more flexible portion to be paid annually.
Spielbank Saarbrücken a good start to the year
Bavaria to plug Bad Steben financial hole statesubsidy GERMANY
The state government of Bavaria, which owns ten casinos through Spielbanken Bayern (Bavarian Casinos), is to hand over E2m to the town of Bad Steben to plug a financial hole created by falling casino revenues. It is not the first time the state effectively subsidised its loss-making casinos. The move is a significant victory for the mayor Bert Horn, who together with local representative Alexander König, has been negotiating with the state finance ministry for more than 18 months. He said:“The end now is that we have an agreement that will make a lasting contribution to municipal finances.” The hole was created after the town, in order to avoid permanently liabilities connected to the casino, sold it to the state in 2007. However, it remained liable for the cost of construction and the continuing decline in revenues generated by the casino and the consequently much smaller share going to the town meant it was not able to cover either the interest payments or repayment of the principal. Under the agreement, the state has agreed to pay E350,000 and the balance up to E2m in the next budget to allow it to meet its obligations. Bavarian casinos, despite significant sums invested in their refurbishment, have seen sharply decreasing revenues in the last seven or eight years and consequent operating losses. The state, under pressure from local towns not to close even the worst affected venues, has effectively been subsidising their operation.
First half profits rise for Svenska Spel marginon SWEDEN
The Swedish state-owned gambling company Svenska Spel has reported a first-half net profit of 2.52bn kronor (E287m), an increase of 4.2 per cent compared to the
same period in 2012. Lennart Käll, CEO of Svenska Spel, said: “Despite record levels of privately owned gambling outlets that market themselves aggressively in the Swedish market, we are still competitive and strong. Our
August 2013 • centraleurope&cisnews
growth has come from products that both offer lower risk and better margins, which has allowed us to grow profits.” Svenska Spel is the parent company of Casino Cosmopol, which operates four casinos in the country.
The casinos saw revenues increase by 5m kronor, or 0.9 per cent in the six-month period, suggesting total revenues of around 555m kronor (E63.3m). The sports and lotteries segment, by far the largest division saw revenues rise 3.1 per cent to
around 3.19bn kronor (E364m). For the company as a whole revenues were up 0.1 per cent to 4.78bn kronor (E544.9m). CEO of Svenska Spel Lennart Käll
internationalcasinoreview Pagan claims top spot for Campione Casinò di Campione, which saw revenues increase about two per cent, was also, according to CEO Carlo Pagan, “the premier casino in Italy in terms of turnover, which totalled around E45m. He said that the casino had undertaken a marketing campaign targeting Chinese players coming from Milan - their numbers he said had increased five-fold. Casinò di Campione celebrates its 80th anniversary this year but is going through a period of austerity in order to balance its books.
Cyprus decides on one Integrated Resort Casino only
Remote gaming in Malta on the up onlineup
In what is not a universally applauded decision, the government of Cyprus has decide to concentrate on one location for a casino. Those districts that are unlikely to win are already feeling aggrieved. oneandonly CYPRUS
The Cypriot Council of Ministers has decided it wants just one casino for the island as part of an integrated resort. Government spokesman Christos Stylianides said the decision was based on a detailed study carried out by an international firm and that the licensing process would start immediately on a “fast track” basis and be completed within 12 months. He said: “The country’s economic and tourist development needs a casino with specifications for the same standards as those of the big casinos around the world.” He said ministers consider it “absolutely necessar y to retain external advisers with specialised knowledge and experience at all stages of the process, including the final stage of the signing of the casino
development licence with the successful applicant. The aim of the government is to have a credible international procedure that will attract international investment interest for the creation of casino-resort in Cyprus.” Specialist consultants will carry out further studies on the specifics of operating one integrated casino resort, including its location, he said. It is hoped the new resort will attract around half a million new tourists to the island and create around 3,000 jobs. “Deloitte carried out the initial study and other specialist consultants will carry out further studies on the procedures that will last 12 months. They will cover the specifics of operating a casino resort, including its location and how it will be chosen.” The decision to choose just one location for a large casino has attracted support
in some quarters and alarmed others. Authorities in the tourism hotspot Larnaca, also home to the island’s principal airport, have already staked a claim as the natural choice. Limassol on the south coast, the second largest city and another centre for tourism as well as a port, is also keen. Businesses in Paphos district in the south west of Cyprus have said they will lobb y the gover nment to change its decision and allow casinos in each district. Andreas Soteriades, secretary of SEKO Paphos - the Coordinating Committee of Parties and Organisations told the Cyprus Mail that a special meeting had been held to discuss the matter in more depth. “Representatives of local hotels, shops and other organisations, as well as the mayors from the district discussed what we can do to ensure Paphos is able to
Cypriot government spokesman Christos Stylianides
have a casino,” he said. “It will be a disaster for Paphos if a casino resort is built on the east of the island or in Limassol. We believe that we have to make a plan and request a meeting with President Anastasiades. We believe that it will be better for Cyprus to have a few casinos in different areas, instead of just one.” He continued:“We sent a letter to the president, which states that the government’s decision is wrong, constitutes unfair competition with the areas that will not have casinos and that Paphos believes
that we meet all the necessary requirements such as tourist flow, high quality visitors and the infrastructure to operate a casino.” President Nicos Anastasiades announced the change of policy on casinos in April, just a few months after coming to power and in the wake of the economic and banking crisis brought about by its close ties with Greece.It is a popular tourist destination for many countries, including Russia, and a casino of sufficient quality would also appeal to players from Israel and other countries in the Middle East.
The remote gaming industry contributed an additional 11.8 per cent to the economy in 2012 than it did in 2011 with E22m paid in gaming taxes and E45m in income tax and other contributions and taxes by remote gaming employees, a survey commissioned by the Malta Remote Gaming Council has shown. Malta’s parliamentary secretary for economic growth Edward Zammit Lewis said that the government intended to continue strengthening the Maltese gaming industry and the regulatory framework that protected it and its players. He said the government is working on new regulations to regulate casinos on cruise liners and a study on social casino games was being carried out and that if found to be feasible, the government would regulate this niche market to attract more gaming companies
Ca’ Noghera casino refurbishment complete alldone ITALY
Casinò di Venezia’s Ca’ Noghera casino on the mainland has completed a refurbishment programme costing E1.1m and which took just under six months to complete. Mayor of Venice Giorgio Orsoni officially opened the new-look venue on August 1. The work was concentrated on the Sala San Marco and adjacent zones, an area of about 1,000sq m and was achieved without closing the casino. New technology was installed, including a new air-conditioning plant, data
network, access control systems, alarms, CCTV and smoke detection as well as new LED lighting. There was also some substantial remodelling done with a new bar and four new areas on the gaming floor. The room opened with a new suite of 18 American roulette tables, one French roulette, seven blackjack, three casino poker, three punto banco and one chemin de fer. At the end of the summer a new sic bo table will be introduced. The refurbishment programme was mandated as part of the city’s plans to privatise operations of Casinò di Venezia. August 2013 • centraleurope&cisnews
internationalcasinoreview Casino revenues soften in Botswana The latest Botswana Casino Control Board annual report has shown that gambling generated revenues of around 208m pula (E18.5m) in 2012, a decline of four per cent compared to the 2010/11 period. According to the report, Grand Palm Gabarone (pictured) led the field in terms of gaming revenue generation, ahead of Gaborone Sun Casino. Marang Casino of Francistown maintained its third position; Menateng Casino of Selebi-Phikwe was fourth, with Letsatsi of Palapye ranked fifth.
AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST
Sun International to invest R3bn in new venue in Pretoria South Africa’s largest casino operator wants to close Sun Morula north of Pretoria - soon to be renamed Tshwane - in favour of a brand new casino close to the city centre. It wants to transform its least valuable licence into one of its most valuable. locationlocation SOUTH AFRICA
Sun International has applied to the Gauteng Gambling Board to open a brand new casino in Menlyn in the eastern suburbs of Tshwane/Pretoria, closing the Morula Sun venue in Mabopane and relocating the licence. If its application is successful, Sun will create a R3bn (E231m) urban entertainment complex as the major component of a large mixed-use precinct, Menlyn Maine, currently under development in the area. In a statement, Sun International said: “For some time, Morula has experienced a significant decline in revenues due primarily to its location which is now relatively inaccessible in the context of highway proximity and the new growth areas of Tshwane. More recently the business has been further negatively impacted by the growing electronic bingo and limited payout machine operations, which are targeting the underserviced Tshwane market, Morula’s key catchment area. “Over the years the Morula casino has been downsized and Sun International believes that, in its current location,nothing further can be done to reverse this oncepopular and successful property’s decline. “On the other hand, if the casino is relocated to an area that is closer to its source markets with good
road access, then the opportunity arises to create a significant and unique entertainment and conference destination, tailored to suit the needs of Tshwane and maximising for all stakeholders (provincial and national government, employees and shareholders) the true potential of this casino licence.” The Sun International development, to be known as Time Square, will form part of the new largescale mixed-use “Green City” project currently under development, known as Menlyn Maine. It will provide local residents and visitors with a wide range of activities and attractions and forms an integral part of what is envisaged in its final form to be an R8bn (E616m) green mixed-use city precinct of 315,000sq m, with a new shopping mall, a high-end residential component, an office park, hotels and an entertainment element. Construction there has already commenced at the wider precinct and provided approvals are given, Sun will develop the entertainment node. The company continued:“Based on extensive market research and after evaluating a number of options, the Menlyn area of Tshwane was identified as an area which is a high growth node, easily accessible to the key source markets of Tshwane East, North and Central, and to the region generally through good highway access along the N1.” It is proposed that the Time
Square entertainment node will comprise of a casino with initially 2,000 slot machines and 60 tables with flexibility to increase to 3,000 slot machines and 100 tables; a fivestar hotel with 100 luxury rooms and 10 suites; a conference and exhibition centre; an indoor entertainment arena seating 8,000 people for international and local entertainment,concerts,and sports events; and entertainment facilities including a diverse range of retail shopping, bars and restaurants. “Our market research has shown that there is clear demand for the hotel and convention space in Tshwane as well as the proposed entertainment arena - all of which also dovetail with Sun International’s existing assets and proven competence in the industry,” said the company. “Research into the gaming market indicates that for many customers from Tshwane West, North, Central and East, the location of the existing Gauteng casinos has made reaching them difficult. This suggests that there will be growth in the market from these areas with a casino based in Tshwane, giving residents the opportunity to enjoy the same ease of access and urban facilities found in other South African cities.” The development is contingent on a number of conditions being met, including the approval by the Gauteng Gambling Board to amend the Morula casino licence in order to permit the relocation of the
The Sun Morula casino in Mabopane will close to allow a new venue near the city centre
How Sun’s new Time Square venue will look
casino and permit the transfer of the casino licence from Sun International to a new subsidiary company in order to facilitate an enhanced and broad-based empowerment shareholding”.The board will also have to approve the increased number of gambling devices available at Time Square.The necessary applications have been submitted and Sun is awaiting the completion of the adjudication process. If and when the necessary approvals are granted, Sun will start detailed planning and construction of Time Square, a project it estimates would be completed within a period of three years. Sun through its subsidiaries will
hold the management contract for the new casino as well as an effective 74.9 per cent ownership of Time Square. Effective Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) ownership is anticipated to be 25.1 per cent.The company envisages Time Square will create as many as 10,000 jobs during construction and another 2,200 when operations begin. Sun also believes that Time Square will generate considerably more revenue for both provincial and national government by way of taxes and gaming levies and will generate far greater returns for shareholders than the on-going operation of Morula in its current location.
SA government ramps up problem gambling efforts responsiblegambling SOUTH AFRICA
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies is to submit far-reaching proposals to tighten what he sees as loopholes in the laws governing the gambling industry in South Africa. Among the measures, he will seek a comprehensive review of
advertising for larger casinos such as Montecasino and Emperors Palace in Gauteng, GrandWest in Cape Town and Sun Coast in Durban, as well as for low-payout machines in the back rooms of bars. Also being proposed is the establishment of a single regulator for online betting, betting exchanges, the national lottery
10 August 2013 • africa&middleeastnews
and sports pools – online gambling is currently banned in South Africa. In addition he wants to ensure the proper funding and coordination of education and awareness programmes on problem gambling and review of the self-exclusion system. Zodwa Ntuli, the deputy director-general for corporate and consumer regulation at the
Department of Trade and Industry, said the government regarded problem gambling as a serious matter. “It is for that reason the minister commissioned the gambling review to assess the extent of gambling in South Africa [in 2009] ... A number of recommendations were made, especially with regard to increased intervention in problem gambling.”
According to the National Responsible Gambling Programme, 326,000 calls from potential problem gamblers were logged between 1999 and February this year. About 15,000 callers had been referred for free treatment (100 a month on average) and 128 had received inpatient treatment for pathological gambling.
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internationalcasinoreview SkyCity nails Queenstown acquisition New Zealand’s largest operator SkyCity has acquired the Queenstown Wharf Casino from Otago Casinos after the NZ$5m (E3m) was given the go-ahead by the Commerce Commission. The company already owns a casino in the tourist resort. CEO Nigel Morrison said: “The purchase is part of our strategy to grow our presence in Queenstown, which we believe has huge potential for tourism growth. We are focusing on upgrading our VIP offering… to complement our Horizon VIP offering in Auckland.” The venue will be renamed SkyCity Wharf Casino.
News ASIA & OCEANIA
SkyCity signs deal convention centre deal and extends Auckland licence
Echo loses out to Crown in Sydney casino battle
skyrise NEW ZEALAND
The imposing design for the Crown Sydney Hotel and casino at Barangaroo
Sydney’s ‘Casino Wars’ took a decisive turn in early July when the advisory panel recommended Crown’s bid for a VIP casino to the government over Echo’s expansion plans for The Star. highrise AUSTRALIA
The panel advising the New South Wales government in Australia has recommended that James Packer’s Crown Limited proposal for a VIP casino at the Barangaroo development on Sydney Harbour be allowed to progress to the stage of the approval process. The decision means the end of the attempt by Echo Entertainment to retain the exclusivity enjoyed by The Star beyond 2019. The company wanted to expand and create a ‘Connected Integrated Resort’. The steering committee headed by David Murray compared both proposals, and both passed the viability tests. Echo, however, insisted that it would only be able to proceed with its A$1.1bn (E771m) investment if it retained exclusivity, which meant that only one proposal would proceed to the next stage. And that very issue was the deciding point for the panel. In its report it said:“The steering committee believes that Sydney and NSW would derive greater benefit through a competitive casino market which delivers increased tourism and visitation as well as broader economic benefits… This means, given the nature of the proposals and our assessment findings, that Crown should be offered
the opportunity to move to Stage 3 with conditions.” It added:“Establishing a competitive gaming market in NSW, with the attendant need for competitive neutrality would mean that there are a number of issues for the Government to consider if it accepts this recommendation. Clear negotiating parameters would be required for Stage 3.” Crown’s proposal for VIP gaming at the Crown Sydney Hotel Resort, as it is to be named, includes an upfront licence fee of A$100m (E70m) and a tax rate for rebate based play of ten per cent. The additional conditions the panel wants are that nonrebate play be taxed at 29 per cent not 27.5 per cent as proposed by Crown. It said the total of licence fee and gaming tax payments to NSW over the first 15 years of full operation must exceed A$1bn (E700m), and that rates would be reviewed after 20 years of operation, a review aligned to both casinos. Finally, local VIP membership criteria must include a 24-hour cooling off period for applicants who cannot demonstrate a track record of VIP gaming at other casinos, rules to ensure that guests are bona fide, and regular reviews of members gaming to ensure that they should remain as members. Echo’s chairman, John O’Neill, said:“We are disappointed that
12 August 2013 • asia&oceanianews
the NSW Government does not share our vision for the opportunity to further develop The Star into a globally recognised Integrated Resort that competes with the best in Macau, Singapore, Melbourne and other destinations. Star is Echo’s flagship property and we are here for at least another 80 years. Echo remains conservatively geared and, in the absence of its Unsolicited Proposal proceeding, has the funding and operational flexibility to pursue a range of growth avenues for the business.” Crown has accepted the conditions and the proposal has now moved to stage 3 in which the government will decide on whether to accept a binding offer and then start to make the necessary legislative amendments. If all does go to plan, the VIP licence would start in November 2019, immediately following the end of The Star’s exclusivity period, and extend for 99 years. The members-only casino would offer an estimated 120 tables at opening, none with low limits. It will be able to offer semi- and fully automated table games but no slot machines. There is no limit to the number of gaming tables, save only that must be able to fit on to a gaming floor that may not exceed 20,000sq m or 20 per cent of the gross floor area of the entire building, whichever is the lesser.
SkyCity Entertainment Group, which operates six casinos in Oceania, has announced it has signed a deal with the New Zealand government to build and run the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC). The detailed agreement formalises the terms set out last May in which the company undertook to design, build and fit-out the NZICC on a site in central Auckland, the country’s largest city. In return for this NZ$402m (E243m), the government will extend SkyCity’s Auckland casino licence and has agreed to a package of regulatory concessions as well as significant additional host responsibility measures to be introduced at the casino. Group CEO Nigel Morrison said: “Today is an exciting day for Auckland, New Zealand and SkyCity. The full NZICC agreement is a significant milestone in the development of this long-awaited and vital piece of national tourism infrastructure.” He continued: “The NZICC will deliver significant economic growth, jobs, high value international tourism and become a catalyst for further tourism and entertainment development in the ‘Victoria’ precinct and the Auckland central business district. SkyCity is fully funding the project, meaning that the NZICC will be delivered without requiring funding from taxpayers or Auckland ratepayers.”
The company said the estimated three-year construction period will provide 1,000 construction jobs and will result in 800 permanent jobs when the NZICC is fully operational in 2017. It already employs more than 3,500 people at the casino. The agreement includes significant additions to the company’s Host Responsibility Programme for responsible gambling, including doubling the number of full-time Host Responsibility staff in Auckland to provide round-the-clock coverage. The operator will also Introducing predictive modelling technology which analyses player data to help identify customers most at risk from gambling harm and will continue to roll out its Voluntary Pre-commitment Programme allowing customers to set both the time and the amount they wish to spend over a given period. Morrison said: “In addition, as part of SkyCity’s commitment to continuous improvement, [the company] recently announced that it had agreed with Auckland Mayor Len Brown that it will trial the use of further measures, including facial recognition technology, to identify and prevent barred problem gamblers from gaining entry to the Auckland casino.” He added: “This is a landmark announcement for Auckland, New Zealand and SkyCity. The NZICC will establish New Zealand as a leading destination for conference, convention and exhibition business.”
The New Zealand International Convention Centre will be central to SkyCity Auckland’s future
internationalcasinoreview Sands Macau agrees compensation A player who received HK$1.3m (E126,200) in TITO tickets from a faulty slot machine at the Sands Macau in April has agreed unspecified compensation with the operator for ‘mental anguish’. The machine issued 43 tickets in the course of 22 minutes - statistically impossible. The player originally claimed she had hit a HK$6m (E582,000) jackpot, although neither the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau nor the casino could find any evidence for it.
News ASIA & OCEANIA
The deals affect principally Lots 9 and 10
Lawrence Ho and Melco confirm investment in Primorye The IEZ Primorye, 50km north of Vladivostok, has achieved a significant success in attracting the attention of a major operator Melco, the majority partner in Melco Crown. Details are still sketchy but Lawrence Ho’s company is set to have a significant interest in two or three plots. easternpromise RUSSIA
Lawrence Ho has become the first major operator to sign up to the Integrated Entertainment Zone (IEZ) in Primorye, eastern Siberia, after companies that he controls took substantial shareholdings in one of the licence holders FGCE. Summit Ascent Holdings, in which Ho’s company Melco International Development (not Melco Crown) has a 37 per cent interest and of which he is now the chairman, is to pay around
US$9m (E6.8m) for a 46 per cent share of FGCE’s holding company Oriental Regent, plus commitments to invest a further approximately US$28m (E21m). FGCE holds the lease on Plot 8 of the zone, a service area, plus the lease and gaming licence for Lot 9.Construction has already started; the superstructure, including foundations and shell, of the main casino and hotel building is already in place. The eventual resort will have around 119 hotel rooms and the casino is expected to host 800 gaming machines, 25 VIP
tables and 40 mass-market tables. FGCE, calling on its ultimate parent, will operate the resort. The estimated total investment for Lot 9 complex is approximately US$130m (E98.5m) and is expected to open in or around September 2014. The agreement is legally binding. Summit Ascent has also signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with companies related to the vendor of the other site for the 154,400sq m Lot 10, next to Lot 9. The site lease would be transferred to a
company called D&M and a casino resort complex developed featuring a fourstar hotel with approximately 300 rooms, a five-star hotel with approximately 200 rooms and a casino with approximately 500 slot machines, 100 VIP gaming tables and 70 mass-market tables. The complex is also planned to have a shopping mall, restaurants and bars, a spa centre, nightclub and conference facilities. The estimated investment is US$500m (E378.5m). Summit Ascent and D&M would be equal joint
venture partners. FGCE would be engaged as the casino operator, responsible for all gaming operations, gaming equipment costs and fit-out of the casino for a fee of 50 of gaming EBITDA. This agreement brings forward the date by which gaming operations at the greenfield site were expected to begin - originally scheduled for 2015. There is close political interest given investments and potential revenues involved. Governor of Primorye Vladimir Miklu-
shevsky said.“The gambling zone itself is not the most important thing, but it is like an anchor. In the modern tourism business, income from the gambling zone itself makes from 30 to 40 per cent of all tourism revenues. The rest comes from other sources, such as amusement parks and shopping centres.” The gambling enclave, one of only four mandated for the whole of Russia, expects to attract players particularly from northern China, Japan, Korea and Russia itself.
Floral theme for Wynn Palace in Macau palaceofflowers MACAU
Steve Wynn has announced that his new-build resort in Macau will be called the Wynn Palace and will feature a floral theme. Wynn Resorts has hired Australian contractors Leighton Holdings to build the complex, which is expected to open within three years at a maximum cost of US$4bn (E3bn) On a conference call, Steve Wynn told analysts: “We have an early completion date of January 2016, so we’d make Chinese New Year. If they miss the early date, which they don’t think they will, it will be April 2016.” He continued: “We’re well underway. Our foundations are coming on: we had to go deep into the earth to support the new building. It’s by far the most aggressive, ambitious and lovely project that I’ve ever been
Steve Wynn captured in front of what is believed to be the design for Wynn Palace on Cotai
involved in. I think it’s going to be a great addition to Macau and further enhance the growth strength of the
14 August 2013 • asia&oceanianews
Cotai area.” Wynn spoke passionately about what the new property will look like. “From the outside, it’s going to be reminiscent of the Bellagio in one respect. We’ve got an 8-acre
lake that’s strategically placed in front of the hotel, and we placed all of the high-end gaming on the water and the restaurants on the water. We filled the lake with new versions of dancing water. It’s a very complex, expensive, advanced water and light show, including fire.” An air-conditioned cable car system will take several thousand people per hour into the resort’s shopping mall from the new Macau monorail that will start at the ferry terminal. The aim is to have three other major entrances to the resort. “At each of those three arrival moments, we have placed attractions and features,” said Wynn. “The theme of this hotel is flowers, floral things. The use of flowers, of water and natural light has been taken to a new level for our company. We will have in this atrium floors that open and from
the horticulture department below, big huge displays of flowers will ascend. They will change every month: huge but intricate 5m-7m tall sculptures that are 10m or 12m wide on variable height lifts, and will vary from a full carousel of horses, like a merry-go-rounds that go round and round and up and down to calliope music, two multi-coloured hot air balloons like in Around the World in Eighty Days, peacocks and tigers and other fanciful objects, all made of real flowers.” Wynn has just reported second quarter revenues up 6.3 per cent to $1.33bn (E1bn), with a substantial increase of 16.2 per in revenues from Las Vegas. Macau revenues rose 2.6 per cent. Net profit for the quarter fell six per cent to $129.8m (E98.2m) after the company took a charge on the early retirement of debt.
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internationalcasinoreview Court rejects US tax on foreign gamblers Rejecting current Internal Revenue Service policy, a federal appeals court ruled in July that foreign gamblers cannot be taxed on every winning bet they make in US casinos when they end up losing money overall. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the IRS must treat foreign gamblers the same way it taxes US players who are taxed on the gains they make per session. When a gambler cashes out at the end of the night, they only owe income tax on any profits.
News NORTH AMERICA The world-renowned brand Hard Rock will make its Canadian gaming première with the launch of a first-class entertainment destination in Vancouver this winter, representing an important new strategic partnership for operator Great Canadian.
Hard Rock Casino Vancouver to Open Winter 2013
Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (GCGC) has revealed that Hard Rock Casino Vancouver is set to open in winter 2013, debuting as the first Hard Rock Casino in Canada. The Hard Rock Casino Vancouver will be a rebranding and renovation of the Boulevard Casino, situated in the city of Coquitlam, British Columbia in Metro Vancouver and will be home to new entertainment, dining and gaming offerings around the clock. “This new multi-million dollar renovation and rebranding will create an
An artist’s impression of how the funkier Hard Rock Casino Vancouver will look
iconic entertainment environment offering, ‘everything you go out for’,” said Howard Blank, vice president of Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. “We look forward to presenting the very best of gaming, music, fun and dining.” The Hard Rock Casino Vancouver will be owned and operated by Great Cana-
dian under a licence from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino HRHH IP (HRHH), owned by an affiliate of Brookfield Property Partners.The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is the flagship property owned by an affiliate of HRHH. “Hard Rock Casino is one of the most globally recognised entertainment brands
in the world,”said chief operating officer for Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, Jody Lake. “The expansion of the Hard Rock Casino into the Vancouver area is an important milestone for us and we warmly welcome the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver team into our family. We look forward to working closely with the Great Cana-
slot machines spread across the 7,400sq m casino floor. The Hard Rock Casino Vancouver will also be home to a 1,000-seat theatre, which will feature music, comedy, performance arts and multi-cultural programming, bringing a variety of entertainment options for all of Metro Vancouver to experience. The resort will offer a wide variety of culinary options, as well as unique cocktails and a selection of local craft brews and globally recognised beer brands. The new Hard Rock Casino Vancouver will be the first gaming property in Canada that will be themed with keepsakes from iconic music legends, with a special tribute to the many artists and individuals that have put Vancouver and Canada on the world-wide stage. “We are honoured to be working on this project with dian Gaming team as they Great Canadian, a company transition their property to with a track record of excellence in gaming and hospia Hard Rock Casino.” Expected to open late in tality,” said Andrea Balkan, 2013, the Hard Rock Casino managing partner at BrookVancouver will present field Real Estate Financial popular gaming offerings Partners. “The Hard Rock including blackjack, Casino Vancouver will be a roulette, pai gow, poker, bac- premier entertainment facilcarat, craps, VIP high-limit ity, reflecting the values and salons and more than 950 traditions of the Hard Rock state-of-the-art interactive Casino brand.”
Revel Casino announces layoffs
Genting is enticing Miami residents to the new Resorts World Bimini with a cruise aboard the Bimini Superfast
highprice UNITED STATES
Genting launches Bimini and a boat floatingboater
tially lucrative Floridian market: the company’s hopes to build a large casino Genting Malaysia has opened resort in Miami a couple of the latest addition to the years ago were thwarted. Resorts World on Bimini, a Resorts World Bimini offers Bahamian resort island off live gaming - not available in the Florida coast just 80km Florida - approximately 5,000 gaming machines, east of Miami. The project is a partner- shows, events and culinary ship between Genting delights. Just a couple of weeks Malaysia and RAV Bahamas, the developer of the resort. after the island casino Genting acquired the resort opened, Genting launched last year with the intention its brand new Bimini Superof tapping into the poten- Fast, a 32,000-tonne cruise THE BAHAMAS
16 August 2013 • northamericanews
ship that will sail the roundtrip between Miami and Bimini twice daily. Bimini SuperFast features onboard gaming plus six restaurants and bars,as well as the largest party deck in Florida. The trip takes just two hours. Genting had planned to launch the service July 1, but the US Coast Guard didn’t clear it until mid-July. The ship,called Bimini SuperFast, offers live blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and slot machines in two casinos,
and can transport up to 1,500 passengers. Genting Malaysia chairman and CEO Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay said: “The whole Resorts World Bimini experience is also extended to the Bimini SuperFast. It is our idea to have our customers board a fast cruise ship to the resort and also giving them the option to enjoy a cruising experience with top service and entertainment facilities onboard our new ship.”
Despite announcing its first profitable week since opening in April last year, Revel Casino in Atlantic City has made 75 managerial and professional employees redundant. According to chief executive officer Jeff Hartmann, the number of professionals had to be reduced because it was based on revenue projections that have not been realised. Revel found itself struggling immediately after opening and less than a year later filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a pre-packaged deal. It emerged in May with less debt and a new management team. In June, the casino launched a new marketing theme catering more to gamblers and allowing smoking on the casino floor for the first time. It also pledged to refund slotmachine losses for July for those who Revel Casino in Atlantic City sign up for the casino’s players’ club card. The first week in July, according to Hartmann, was the first time in the property’s history that it made a profit.
internationalcasinoreview New York governor signs expansion law New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law an Act that will see two 1,000-machine VLT parlours open in the state, one on Long Island, one near Albany. The law also mandates four full casinos in upstate New York, however, these will be subject to a referendum in November. Cuomo said: “This new law will bring the state one step closer to establishing worldclass destination gaming resorts that will attract tourists to upstate New York and support thousands of good-paying jobs.”
Caesars shortens its losses but remains lacklustre
: Coming soon: the Gansevoort will replace Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall
The leveraged buyout that put Caesars into private hands just as the economic crisis blew in is still weighing heavily on one of the world’s major operators, as has its failure to penetrate cashgenerating Asian markets. The company’s losses are smaller but are a long way off disappearing. holdingon
flat compared to the second quarter of last year. First half net revenues were $4.3bn Caesars Entertainment has (E3.25bn), down 1.6 per shortened its second cent on the previous year. In Las Vegas gambling revquarter by 12.2 per cent to $212.2m (E160.6m) despite enues were down 15.5 per falls in casino revenues in cent in Q2, while F&B was Q2 of 7.5 per cent to up 8.9 per cent. While the $1.43bn (E1.08bn).That fall, figures, according to CEO the company said, was Gary Loveman, ref lect a largely offset by increased trend away from gaming, non-gaming revenues and especially by younger visilower promotional tors, they were also allowanced, meaning that impacted by the closure of net revenues were relatively Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and UNITED STATES
Saloon, which is being transformed into the Gansevoort Las Vegas as part of the huge new “hospitality corridor” that is Linq. Loveman said:“While conditions in the gaming industry remain difficult…with visitation and casino revenues down across much of the network, we’re beginning to observe several tangible, positive underlying trends resulting from the enhancements we’ve made to our footprint, particu-
larly here in Vegas. In the past year, we’ve opened nine new dining offerings at Vegas, including the Bacchanal Buffet and Nobu Restaurant at Caesars.These new choices have begun to drive sustained growth in F&B results. He continued:“We’re also encouraged by improving consumer sentiment. According to a recent poll of our customers, optimism about the economy and labour market circum-
stances has improved since the beginning of the year. Our guests were reporting lower debts and higher savings, and their feedback indicates a rebound in discretionary spending.” The company continues to need as much revenue from any source it can to continue to ser vice its $20bn-plus debt. What is keeping the company in the red are its interest payments, which in the second quarter alone totalled more
$540m (E409m). Since the beginning of the year more than $1.1bn has flowed out of the business in interest payments. What’s more, its assets are worth around $738m (E559m) less than its liabilities: that hole is hitting the company’s credit rating and as a result its ability to invest in markets that might help plug it. In June it was turned down for a casino licence in South Korea for precisely that reason.
KNOWING WHAT’S AHEAD Are you planning for the future or hoping for better days?
Of course no one knows what obstacles will arise but, as in most cases, waiting is not the best strategy. Gaming Support offers suitable solutions for almost every problem, so you can get on with business.
August 2013 • northamericanews
internationalcasinoreview Salta regulator official resigns under cloud Geraldo Nelson Posadas, vice president of the gaming regulatory authority in Salta province, Argentina, has resigned “for personal reasons” amid a brewing scandal about allegations of illegal payments. The local press has levelled accusations at Posadas, authority president Sergio Mendoza and director Abraham Restom (pictured L-R) that they received unaccounted-for money over and above their salaries and that they failed to pursue proper process in appointing Argenlink SA to implement an online slot control system.
SOUTH & CENTRAL AMERICA After a great deal of work on the Hotel Casino Carrasco, it seems that Codere may not be able to enjoy the fruits of its labours as financial difficulties are forcing it to think about selling up.
Codere could sell Carrasco to Dreams and Sun
Less than five months after opening, late but with much fanfare,the owners of Hotel Casino Carrasco in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo are reported to be in advanced negotiations with possible buyers following financial difficulties for the majority shareholder Codere in South America. The hotel and casino had its official, televised opening on March 7, however, since then it has become apparent that a number of the 116 luxury rooms in the hotel have not been completed, the spa is not yet fully operational and remedial and improvement work around the iconic building has not yet been completed. Cashflow issues also mean the casino is not able yet to attract VIP players as any wins over half a million US dollars cannot, apparently, be met. The potential buyers have been named by local press as a consortium involving Dreams, the Chile’s Casino Monticello, Chile’s largest. company Carrasco Nobile, with Codere, which has suffered the remainder owned by Argenlargest operator by number of casinos,and Sun International from large losses in Argentina, is 51 per tinean investment group AGG. Neither Carrasco Nobile nor SouthAfrica,which operates Grand cent owner of the holding
The local press said that Mayor Ana Olivera and the Martín Blaquier chairman of Carrasco Nobile met in mid-July. Despite being given a sub-prime credit rating by the Uruguay Central Bank, Carrasco Nobile has reportedly been given a US$25m (E19m) line of credit by the state-owned Bancó República as well as other lines of credit of more than US$4m (E3m) by three other banks. The speculation about the health of Codere in South America has not gone away despite assurances from the head office in Spain. Word of a possible sale of Carrasco got out in June, At the time Guillermo Arcani, CEO of Carrasco Nobile told local press:“The shareholders received offers a long time ago. It is always good news that there are companies out there still interested in participating in the project.” The Hotel Casino Carrasco is an exceptional and iconic building in Montevideo and its refurbishment, which ran over considerably, was closely followed. It was originally built by French architects Dunant and Mallet starting 1912 and opened in 1921.The renovation work required more than 100 experts to help restore the building to its former glory. The two lower levels offer a modern, 3,000sq m gaming floor offering The twisting tale of Hotel Casino 23 casino tables, 400 gaming Carrasco’s existence continues machines and employing more than 280 people. The 116-room the office of the mayor of Montev- hotel was designed to provide ideo, who will have to approve facilities of highest international any change of ownership, have standards, and to employ more wanted to make any comment. than 170 people.
Garza Hotel becomes WinMeier Hotel & Casino
Uncertainty over municipal casinos attracts protests openbid CHILE
Proposals that would see the gradual expiration of the seven city-owned casinos in Chile and a managed approach to the decline in revenues have stalled,risking a guillotine instead. The mayors of the affected cities, Arica, Iquique, Coquimbo, Viña del Mar, Puerto Varas, Pucón and Puerto Natales, who are not keen anyway on the latest proposals, want the existing conditions to continue and certainly not to have them come to an abrupt end at the end of 2015 when the grandfather licences expire. They
have started a high profile campaign to try and get their way. On July 25, demonstrations were held in each city simultaneously, led by city officials who handed out leaflets explaining how the revenues were spent: on community projects, such as sports fields, squares and other leisure spaces as well as in grants to voluntary institutions such as the fire department, Red Cross, civil defence, community associations and social and sporting associations. Arica’s deputy mayor Fernando Núñez said: “We started the battle to defend the casino a long time ago
18 August 2013 • south¢ralamericanews
Under threat: Casino Arica
and unfortunately so far we have not received a satisfactory response. The least we expect is an extension of the same status of the casino for about 15 years, so we will continue with this type of action waiting for the government to listen to the communities affected.” Further protests have been scheduled in August, to
coincide with a meeting of the mayors inArica.A website has also been set up www.unmillondechilenos.c l as the online focus for the protests, highlighting the claim that a million Chileans would be negatively affected by the closure of the municipal casinos.The campaigners are also organising a petition to send to the president.
The former Garza Hotel in Peru’s fourth largest city Chiclayo has been reopened as the WinMeier Hotel & Casino after a US$4.5m (E3.4m) refurbishment by owners the Meier Corporation. The hotel now boasts 94 rooms, of which 30 are executive suites. However, the biggest change comes in the addition of a new casino with 340 machines and 12 gaming tables, as well as two restaurants. Meier’s CEO Félix Gómez said: “We opted for a comprehensive entertainment concept in Chiclayo. Our
goal is for WinMeier to become the premier establishment of its kind in northern Peru.” He added that the holding company also has plans for investment projects in other cities in the country, including Trujillo, Piura, Lima, Arequipa and Tacna, and expects to finalise plans for hotelcasinos in these locations in the next 18 months. The plans represent a big expansion programme for the firm, which has operated six venues in Peru for the past 20 years, including restaurants, casinos and hotel, as well as others in Chile and Argentina.
Comment Things are rarely straightforward, or are they?
“ QUOTE UNQUOTE
Is there a simple answer to the question about why UK casinos are growing when Europe’s are not? Is it because the British are inveterate gamblers, or because it may be that European operators haven’t really identified what the problem is? Both might be true and more, says Paul Herzfeld. economystupid COMMENT
“Let me note firstly that it is not in all countries on the continent that casino revenues are in decline. Countries like Denmark, Finland, and Sweden are showing increases. And if you think, ‘That’s interesting, these are all countries in the north of Europe,’ then you are on the right track because the opposite is also true. In Spain, Portugal and Greece casino revenues have shrunk substantially over the last few years. The UK’s economy might be lacklustre but these Mediterranean countries are, as we all know, really suffering from the economic crisis. With an exceptional high unemployment rate of around 25 per cent to 30 per cent (and even higher for younger people) spending money in a casino is not really high on the agenda in these affected countries. Italy is a bit better off than Spain, Portugal and Greece, however, with the proliferation of street machines and more recently VLTs, casinos have lost a substantial part of their business to these ‘new’ products, which are now available everywhere in Italy. The development in Germany was quite similar. A number of years back, after a change of law, street machines became much more attractive and their number increased dramatically to several hundred thousand taking away revenues from casinos. As a side note it should be mentioned that it does not really help that in Germany street machines are regulated on federal level but casinos (and lotteries) on a provincial level. Hungary is even now demon-
strating that the impact of such a change of regulation for slot machines is not illusory: in 2011 the Budapest government decided no longer to allow slot machines outside of casinos. In the following year slot revenues of the Hungarian casinos grew by more than 100 per cent, albeit from a low level. And the importance of slots for business is probably another major difference between UK casinos and casinos on the continent. While in the UK slot machines account for about 15 per cent of total revenues due to restrictive regulation, for many casinos on the continent it is more than 50 per cent and sometimes close to 80 per cent. Any regulatory change respecting slot machines inside or outside casinos has a significant impact on a casino’s slot revenues and therefore total revenues. In the UK the growth of slot machines in betting shops has practically no direct economic impact on casinos, they cannot make more money from slots even if they would like to. With the Gambling Act 2005, the UK has also, in a way, modernised its casino industry. Restrictions like the obligation to register 48 hours before visiting a casino have been abolished and casinos have become more of a regular entertainment venue, even more so with the new licences for Large and Small casinos. While most of these licences have yet to become operational the whole industry has experienced a fresh impulse. Existing casinos were redone like Grosvenor’s G Casinos and much of Genting’s estate, or newly built like the Hippodrome Casino in London. All these developments have helped to grow the casino industry in the
UK despite difficult economic times. Most other European casino markets lack such impulses. Since the economic crisis started major investments have more or less stopped, cost cutting is the name of the game now. In a way it is understandable, pressure from changes in regulation as mentioned above and from other forms of gaming like VLTs in Italy (and soon in Greece) and of course from online gaming is high. And yes, online gaming affects land-based casinos, like any bricks-and-mortar business is affected by competition in the online world (just look at bookshops or electronic equipment stores). In addition until recently it was not possible for land-based casinos in most European countries to engage this competition with their own online gaming portal due to lack of proper legislation unless they wanted to risk their land-based licences. The UK is the front runner in Europe with regard to online gaming; casinos have lived with it for many years, a sort of balance has established itself and the bigger casino groups at least have their own online gaming presence. Therefore today UK casinos might not feel the online competition as much as casinos on the continent where the online gaming market is still developing. So coming back to the question why UK casinos are doing better than their siblings on the continent, the answer is probably a mixture of struggles to overcome the drought in consumer spending in mature markets on the continent and different market conditions in different countries, even though we all live in a common Europe.
“The acquisition of SHFL represents a great leap forward for Bally, creating a world-class end-to-end gaming technology innovator. We have a long history of innovating and adapting to changes in our industry and [this] announcement is about maintaining that forwardthinking mindset and enhancing our ability to deliver future growth.” Ramesh Srinisvasan, CEO Bally Technologies
“When this acquisition is complete, I think it will be fair to say Bally will possess the most diverse, the most IP-rich and perhaps even the most powerful product portfolio in the industry.” Gavin Isaacs, CEO, SHFL Entertainment
Paul Herzfeld is the former CEO of an international casino and gaming group, responsible for its expansion into new markets and the development of projects in Europe, Middle East, Australia, South Africa, Canada and South America. With more than 35 years of experience in the gaming industry, through his company Herzfeld Consulting (www.herzfeldconsulting.com), he provides services for international gaming companies. Herzfeld Consulting is specialised in the fields of strategic consultancy, identifying suitable business models, efficient search for investors, launching productive co-operations and entry into new markets. Herzfeld Consulting is an associate member of the European Casino Association.
“I expect the gambling sector to commit itself in a meaningful way to the concept and practice of socially responsible gambling. I will accept nothing less than high quality services and I will make sure that all operators pay their share for the development of services needed by people for whom gambling has become a problem.” Alan Shatter TD, Ireland’s minister for justice setting out a major quid pro quo for his government’s longoverdue reform of the gambling industry
20 August 2013 • comment
Does Macau need another trade show?
UK success from a focus on fundamentals
Macau is destined for two gaming trade shows for the Asian region, thanks to commercial and legal rivalries. But it may not even be the best place for one, says Hugh Sorrill.
The UK’s casinos have learnt to focus on the player and become more aggressive in laying out their stall in the wider leisure market, says consultant Paul Sculpher. But in many ways they’re still catching up with counterparts elsewhere.
Flip to the Events page at the back of the magazine and you will see that a new gaming show is to be staged in November, the Macau Gaming Show (MGS). It is billed as a show “by Macau for Macau and Asia” and says it will use the territory’s status as the “epicentre” of world gaming to create a new style of trade event, with more entertainment and more focus on the Asian experience. I’m all for competition: G2E Asia is a perfectly good show but it does feel a bit like an expo-by-numbers and, for all the vast sums it costs exhibitors, somewhat penny-pinched; the same goes for G2E in Las Vegas, by the way. Competition, they say, helps everyone raise their game. G2E Asia came about not long after the Macau market opened up, helped by the strength and connections of the new US operators, so there may be some justification in the Macau Gaming Show organisers’ contention that “once upon a time Macau listened to experts from the other side of the world explaining how the game should be played”, adding, “Those days are over.” Macau is certainly by far the largest casino gaming market by revenue in the world. Does that make it’s the “epicentre” of the world casino industry? Not when it comes to trade shows, no. Macau is a very concentrated market with few operators and a strong focus on baccarat at both the VIP or ever more important massmarket tables. Slot machines generate a modest amount by comparison and, given the relatively small number of properties with substantial EGM parks, represent a correspondingly small potential market for the main fee-payers of trade shows, the gaming machine manufacturers. Add to that the dominance of Aristocrat and the willingness of operators to hang on to what I shall so for the sake of politeness call ‘legacy’ machines, and Macau in itself is even less of an attractive market. The new properties under construction will of course keep interest going for a few more years, although existing relationships will account for more sales than any show. That said, Asia generally needs and must have a show and Macau does offer a relatively convenient location from which to reach the other burgeoning markets. Provided that exhibitors are allowed to show their products to the widest possible group. And that’s where the trouble is. Rather than a market-led inevitability, the nascent Macau Gaming Show is the product of politics and a legal
The UK casino market is just as idiosyncratic as every other nation, with the usual potpourri of odd legal challenges faced by operators, mixed in with some recent deregulation and a tranche of new licences being offered up to prospective operators under the most recent new piece of legislation, the Gambling Act 2005. Most markets around Europe have some or all of the above prevailing conditions to a greater or lesser extent, or face other cultural or country specific issues including increasing competition, as Hugh Sorrill notes in the original article, from the internet gaming opportunities and high street gambling outlets. I tend to take the view not so much that the UK is outperforming the rest of Europe, but that in a number of ways we’re just starting to catch up.There are three main areas where genuine progress is being made - casino location, integration of legislative change and a combination of new personnel at the top with a return to gamer focus. From a location standpoint, it has been a long while since the first casino relocations began in the 1990s, moving away from smoky backstreet sites towards designs beginning to be more open and welcoming to new players with high ceilings, more upscale furnishings and an emphasis (or indeed any attention at all) on customer service. However, looking back it has been open to question whether the industry really moved on during this period.Any press release in these pages covering a new casino opening from 1995 to 2005 would have been sure to include the words “new kind of casino”,“capture the leisure market” and usually,“open up the world of casino gaming to the mainstream”.The fact that these descriptions were almost ever present - and legal change did not really factor significantly until the mid noughties - calls into question in my mind whether the UK was genuinely progressing into a new way of thinking. Fast-forward to the more recent activity in the UK market, and it seems that there is a more fundamental change afoot, and this may explain the UK’s position as a positive outlier in the European casino scene. New entrants to the market have been much more aggressive in terms of aiming squarely at the new leisure market, partly simply by location - Aspers have had huge success in Newcastle and Stratford, partly by simply being in the centre of the leisure scene, and the Hippodrome in London has generated enormous footfall by the simple expedient of being located on one of the busiest street corners in Europe.The Stratford and Hippodrome sites alone have been responsible for an enormous uptick in the casino footfall in the UK, and considering they are dealing with admission levels equivalent to somewhere around ten times those of the average UK casino on their own, they will have made a significant year-onyear difference to the market on their own.The scale of their businesses allows the operators to cater for the huge leisure market - especially with enhanced 2005 Act slot provisions in Newham (and soon Milton Keynes) while still remembering where their bread is buttered from a VIP player perspective. The legal framework and operators’ attitudes are also changing.At the time of writing, an
Expert perspectives on the UK’s outperformance of European casinos Hugh Sorrill writes: In the July issue, following new data released by the UK Gambling Commission showing how UK casinos are strong and growing well despite some serious obstacles, I asked why given the many challenges and strategies they have in common, casinos in continental Europe are still struggling by comparison. It is not a question with one answer. I am delighted that two highly respected consultants Paul Sculpher and Paul Herzfeld have agreed to offer their perspectives, both providing important insights into how universal current trends within different regulatory contexts can have dramatically differing outcomes. And the gaming machine offer plays a larger part than you might think.
battle. The principal organiser behind MGS is the Macau Gaming Equipment Manufacturers Association (MGEMA), the chairman of which is Jay Chun, owner of LT Game. MGEMA and LT Game are in adjacent office suites. LT Game and SHFL Entertainment are engaged in a bitter patent dispute over electronic betting on live baccarat games, for which LT Game claims the patent in Macau. With such fantastic demand and a cap on the number of live tables, such electronic table games are one of the few ways operators can keep as many people happy as possible. The Macanese law states that even products destined for other markets may not be shown at trade shows if they in are in violation of a Macau patent. When LT Game attempted to assert this right at G2E Asia 2012 it was eventually forced to back down on the threat of being barred by Reed and the AGA from future G2E Asia trade shows. American economic imperialism or the justified prevention of restrictive trade practices? It depends on your point of view. Market forces, politics and chumism will determine whether MGS will succeed or not, and whether foreign manufacturers will feel comfortable enough to exhibit. So given that Macau might not be the ideal place for one, let alone two gaming shows might not a move to somewhere like the Philippines be a more sensible option?
announcement appears to be imminent that may open up larger stakes and prizes for casino slots, which could have a significant impact on casino incomes. More importantly, more casinos are adopting the “threshold” approach to door policy, doing away with the need for ID checks at the door for all but the biggest players. It’s a total mystery to me why any casino operator (below the very pinnacle of high stakes gaming) would choose to stop every potential player at the door for membership checks (and still claim to be trying to open up the casino market to new entrants).Any casual visitor could not fail to be frustrated by these delays. I have been. The other factor affecting the UK market is finally a coming together of new and older ways of thinking.About the time when the first relocations were taking place, if felt like only the new player mattered, the fabled leisure customer with their leisure pound, which every operator was hell-bent on attracting, in competition with cinemas, bars, restaurant and the like. Executives from all over the leisure industry and beyond were brought into the casino industry, looking at more widely targeted marketing techniques, and somewhere the existing player - the beating heart of the income stream - got lost in the shuffle with stampcards for DVD players and free buffets not of much interest to the better players in the casino. More recently it seems that there has been a much more positive working relationship in most companies between gaming-focused people and those more experienced in aiming for the leisure customer, such that the needs of each group are taken into account while trying to attract the other.With a limited slot offer (notwithstanding the electronic roulette offer available) it’s tough to make a living out of purely leisure punters, but on the other hand no casino owner could ignore the rising profile of casinos in the wider world, or fail to attempt to grow their market.With initiatives from loyalty cards to more personalised attention to bigger players, the key attitude is a mixed approach.This is perhaps exemplified in the UK with Rank’s G Casino ethos of locating on the edge of the town or city centre – close enough that serious players can get there easily, as can curious newbies who want to try a casino, but far enough out that the atmosphere for players is not at risk of disruptive late night drinkers simply wandering in to access a late bar. Overall, it’s no surprise that the UK is outperforming the general casino contraction/flatline in Europe.A combination of assertive new operators, legislative change (some of which is being adopted rather slowly) and an influx of new blood at decision maker level is leading to UK casinos emerging, blinking, into the 21st century. It isn’t so much that the UK is leading the way, more that they are catching up with the rest of the casino world. Paul Sculpher offers a consultancy service for existing and proposed casino projects both in the UK and overseas, based on 17 years working in betting and gaming in a variety of roles for both independent and PLC employers. Having worked at all levels from dealer to multi-site manager as well as in a head office project management role, his experience gives him special insight into opportunities and weaknesses in all areas of the business or proposed business. He also acts as UK agent for three casino supply companies.
August 2013 • comment
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internationalcasinoreview Advantech-Innocore reaches milestone with new product As the latest member of the DPX-S Series range from Advantech, the DPX-S435 is backwards compatible with previous models, giving existing customers an easy migration path to even faster technology. Craig Stapleton, Advantech-Innocore product director, said: “The DPX-S435 will be the first gaming board with Intel Xeon Processor, marking a milestone in casino gaming platforms. The slot machine industry has transformed in the last few years with an explosion of 3D graphics, multi-screen, picture-in-picture and immersive multimedia effects.”
Bally Technologies has installed its awardwinning Elite Bonusing Suite applications at Isleta Hotel and Casino in New Mexico, making it the first casino in Albuquerque to take advantage of the latest technology the company has to offer. casinopartnership BALLY TECHNOLOGIES
Bally Technologies has installed its award-winning Elite Bonusing Suite (EBS) applications at the Isleta Hotel & Casino (previously Hard Rock Albuquerque) in New Mexico. The casino will feature Virtual Racing NASCAR from Bally’s award-winning Elite Bonusing Suite (EBS).Virtual Racing NASCAR takes ingame floor-wide casino promotions to the next level by enabling players to select one of eight famous NASCAR drivers: Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, or Martin Truex Jr from the touch-screen on the iView or iView Display Manager (DM) player-userinterface. Players choose their favourite driver and cheer him across the finish
Bally Technologies installs its latest technology in Mexico casino line while still playing their favourite slot or video-poker game. The casino operator will also use EBS across the iView
network to offer playercentric, real-time interactive promotions such as U-Spin Bonusing, DM Tournaments, and Flex Rewards.
“Bally’s EBS applications will bring extra excitement to our casino floor,”said Isleta Hotel and Casino general manager Pam Gallegos.“We
having another way to win at the casino. These kinds of bonusing solutions help set us apart from the competition and give our loyal quests another reason to choose the newly banded Isleta Hotel and Casino. We’re also excited to be the first casino in Albuquerque to take advantage of the latest technology Bally has to offer.” Additionally, the casino will utilise Bally’s CoolSign media-management solution and install the state-of-the-art Bally WayFinder application across the gaming f loor, enabling players to easily find their favourite casino game or check out the latest menu at Embers Steakhouse, one of the resort’s premier restaurants. CoolSign enables casino operators to showcase bonusing events, such as Virtual Racing NASCAR, on video screens throughout the property, further enhancing the excitement and anticipation that these types of f loor-wide bonuses provide. Sridhar Laveti, Bally Technologies’ vice president of client services and support, said: “Casino patrons in New Mexico will be thrilled with the second chances to win and additional excitement they will find on Isleta’s gaming f loor. We look forward to working are especially excited about closely with the Isleta Hotel Virtual Racing NASCAR. Our & Casino to ensure they see players will be thrilled to be a strong return-on-investracing along with their ment from our advanced favourite drivers, while solutions.”
These are active times for Hialeah Park Casino MEI moves in
It’s a been a busy time on the supply front at Hialeah Park with SHFL’s First TableMaster Blackjack installed at the US casino.
Hialeah Park Casino, located at the Hialeah Park racetrack has announced it is the first casino in the world to install the latest in SHFL’s line of electronic blackjack products,TableMaster. The casino said in a statement:“The announcement of the installation of the most up-to-date electronic blackjack machines is a clear message to the public that Hialeah Park Casino will always strive to provide its customers with the most current technology that the industry has to offer. With the grand opening quickly approaching this summer Hialeah Park Casino is looking to lead the pack in South Florida gaming entertainment.” Currently, Florida allows only electronic casino gaming, so automated table games are a crucial part of the game mix. The law also allows live poker and the 24 August 2013 • suppliernews
Steve Calabro with the new SHFL TableMaster blackjack
casino will offer 23 tables when it opens. Steve Calabro, general manager of casinos operations, said:“I was honoured to be brought on to this project, as Hialeah Park represents almost a century of time-honoured history to South Florida. Knowing this, I wanted to make this casino the crown jewel of my career in South Florida.The installation of these electronic blackjack machines is just the tip of the iceberg as we unveil the casino this summer.”
The Hialeah Park Casino in Florida, due to open imminently, has specified all 882 slot machines with both SC Advance and Easitrax Soft Count. “The consultative approach - combined with an impressive resume - gave us the confidence to not only specify MEI, but use its products as core elements to implementing a comprehensive cash management system,” said Steve Calabro, Hialeah Park Casino vice president and general manager of casino operations. “Additionally, labour savings
from a streamlined drop process and customisable reports driving proactive maintenance practices will help us be efficient from day one. Knowing MEI’s experience, and its commitment to the profitability of its customers, offers tremendous confidence.” SC Advance has evolved from the Cashflow SC note acceptor, applying new technology and market knowledge. It features enhanced recognition technology, faster note-to-note speed, improved barcode recognition and capacity to accept more than 100 different currencies and denominations. MEI also claims the SC Advance has the industry’s best acceptance rate for valid street-grade notes, including those that are wet, crinkled or torn.
internationalcasinoreview IGT win big Oregon VLT order International Game Technology (IGT) will be providing 1,500 video lottery terminals to the Oregon State Lottery in 2014, the company has announced. IGT is now able to offer its AVP game theme library as it deploys into the Oregon Lottery market on the G2S protocol, which will see games such as Golden Goddess (pictured), Shadow of the Panther, and Siberian Storm made available to the Oregon’s VLT players.
Dallmeier installation optimises California casino operations It has been two years since Artichoke Joe’s Casino in California turned to Dallmeier to replace its analogue CCTV system with HD technology. The high-definition video system is instinctive to use, crystal clear and designed to be future-proof.
Dallmeier’s interface is intuitive
lance team at the casino turned to German video experts Dallmeier, present with its innovative prodLocated three miles from the San ucts on the North American Francisco International Airport, market for more than ten years. Artichoke Joe’s Casino has devel- Dallmeier develops and manufacoped into a casino of more than tures professional video security 1,800sq m, with 38 gaming tables, and surveillance systems and offers holistic solutions for proone restaurant and a sports bar. In 2011, the existing analogue fessional video surveillance CCTV system was to be replaced systems, from high-resolution with ultramodern camera technology through HD technology. extremely high-performance On the recom- recording hardware on to intellimendation of a gent video management systems. “The image quality of the HD casino consultant, the security cameras is unbelievable,” said Vincent de Fries, surveillance and surveilmanager at Artichoke Joe’s. The casino has installed vandal-resistant dome cameras that supply HD video in real time in the H.264 format. In addition to extensive functions for automatically and manually optimisDALLMEIER
Artichoke Joe’s Casino near San Francisco
IGT “makes the most millionaires” jackpotwinnings IGT
ing images, the cameras are equipped with many additional configuration possibilities specially configured for demanding applications in the casino sector. The fixed dome cameras are supplemented with several highspeed PTZ cameras with 10x optical zoom and full HD video (1080p). The video is recorded on several DMX 2400 Smatrix, a VideoIP appliance with integrated storage system. The entire video system is controlled through the SeMSy Security Management System. Workflows and complex manoeuvres can be deposited in the system, allowing for very easy and intuitive operation by personnel. Joe McDevitt, president of Dallmeier Electronic US, added: “Our video systems grow along with technology changes and can be adapted to new requirements without the traditional problems.”
International Game Technology (IGT) has published an infographic showing the history of MegaJackpots millionaires, including total money won, the “winningest states” and luckiest months. According to IGT, its MegaJackpot games have created more than 1,500 millionaires, more than any other gaming manufacturer. With almost US$6bn won in jackpot winnings since 1986, the infographic names the following “top five winningest states” ranked by total MegaJackpot dollar amount won. Nevada comes out top at $2.3bn, followed by New Jersey with $884m, then Mississippi with $513m, California with $429m and Louisiana with $307m The graphic also identifies what it classes as “the luckiest months” for winnings, with May ($548m), March ($509m) and November ($493m) making up the top three. IGT launched the MegaJackpot progressive product line in 1986 with MegaBucks slots. Today, it includes an extensive library of notable licensed games including most recently CSI: Video Slots.
August 2013 • suppliernews
internationalcasinoreview Inspired wins award for international sales growth Inspired Gaming Group has been ranked 34th in the Sunday Times league table of British private firms with fastest growing overseas sales. The company has quadrupled international sales to an annualised £25.3m (E29.4m) in two years and expanded its footprint to 33 countries worldwide. CEO Luke Alvarez said: “Inspired is a fast-growing, innovative, British technology company that uses our UK base as a platform to push into fast growing international jurisdictions. The UK leads the world in gaming innovation and we’re proud to be exporting that leadership into exciting emerging markets.”
Continuing to increase its partnerships throughout the French market, Interblock has announced the successful installation recently of G4 Organic Live Roulette in both Casino de Luxeuil-les-Bains and the Casino Gujan Mestras. G4 Organic Live is a semi-automated game, offering players the choice of any traditional game from Interblock’s selection. The Organic Live platform enables the ability to place wagers electronically on a live wheel operated by a croupier or an electronic shoe being dealt for a baccarat game. A compact and modern Organic Live Roulette game designed for six, seven, nine or 14 players, it can be easily integrated into any casino floor. The installation of Organic Live Roulette with seven play stations in a silver-black design took place at the JOA Groupe venue in Luxeuil, at the beginning of June. Casino director Stéphane Gatius said:“We had quite a long waiting line at the launch of the Interblock product. Our slot machine customers are very attracted by this new game, which allows them to discover roulette in an easier way the dealer is more available to give explanations; the game rhythm adapts itself to the customer.” He continued: “We also had some customer feedback saying that this newly installed roulette is much more pleasant and entertaining than existing ones in the
Interblock announces more French installations After two more recent and successful installations in the French market, Interblock’s G4 Organic Live Roulette is proving to be a popular and successful product for casino operators in France.
Magic Dreams’ installation in Hipodromo De Palermo gamingstrategy MAGIC DREAMS
Argentina’s Hipodromo de Palermo, owned by Casino Club, has selected 20 machines belonging to two popular Magic Dreams Jackpot Systems: Time Voyager and Captain Cash. Time Voyager, especially developed for the Argentinean market, is a fourlevel progressive jackpot system featuring a dynamic and surprising Multiple Bonus. The Time Machine Control Panel offers players the possibility to enter one of seven different bonus rooms where they will always be rewarded with prizes. The titles offered to Hipodromo de Palermo’s players include Back To Jurassic, Back To Rome and Back To Rinascimento (the Renaissance). Hipodromo de Palermo also features some of the most popular and best performing titles belonging to Captain Cash games library.The cutting edge Magic Dream’s Time Voyager jackpot 26 August 2013 • suppliernews
Jackpot System, Captain Cash features a special bonus game randomly triggered at the end of each base game.The titles chosen by the Argentinean Casino include Xcalibur, Oriental Secrets,Wolves Legend, Wild Indian, Lady Glamour and Diamonds on Fire. All these games are installed on Magic Dreams’ Upright Wow cabinet, which brings elegance and technology to the slot f loor. In addition, the LED technology and the Striking Hi-Fi sound system allow the player to become totally involved in its gaming strategy. “Our presence in Hipodromo de Palermo confirms the strength of our machines in the territory,” said Leonardo Cinalli, general manager for Magic Dreams in Latin America.“We’re confident that Fusion, our multigame, will receive the same appreciation that both Time Voyager and Captain Cash are receiving.”
French market at the moment.” JOA Groupe, the third largest casino operator in France, has shown its confidence in the Interblock semi-automated Organic Roulette with several installations across its estate, including Casino Les Pins, Casino Antibes La Siesta, Casino Montrond-les-Bains, Casino Canet en Roussilon, and Casino La Seyne Sur Mer. Located 50km southwest of Bordeaux, the independently owned Casino Gujan Mestras has also reported “excellent results” since the installation of its G4 Organic Live Roulette at the end of May. Bojan Dreven, regional sales manager at Interblock, said: “We are proud of having a new partner like Casino Gujan Mestras on board. Interblock thanks the company SFC2A, distributor for the French market, for its support and efforts, which helped us to establish good relationship with the casino, especially with adjustment and optimal placement of Interblock’s G4 Organic product into the casino floor.” Emilie Soulard, spokeswoman for Casino Gujan Mestras, said: “It makes a very nice impression in the centre of our slot machines room. In addition, it is very easy to reach, which allows new players to discover and enjoy the game of roulette. We have noticed that the players appreciate the entertainment side of this electronic form of the roulette and that it encourages traditional games players to enter the slot machine room.”
Merkur prepares for Peru Gaming Show showtime MERKUR GAMING
With a stand of 170sq m, Merkur Gaming Peru will have a big presence at the upcoming Peru Gaming Show trade show, taking place August 14-15 at the Jockey Plaza Convention Center in Lima. The company will be showing a total of 46 machines with more than 60 games in five cabinet styles, including the twin-screen Highflyer, UNO, Privilege, Evolution and a special appearance of the brand new Vision Casino cabinet, which will be a principle attraction for visitors. Tomas Mieles, general manager for Merkur Gaming Peru, said: “The current edition of the Peru Gaming Show is very important not only because it is our biggest exhibition ever, it is our first exhibition in the year when we consolidated our presence in Peru with a local office, a permanent showroom, and a growing number of machines at different gaming halls.”
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internationalcasinoreview Interblock will show commitment to Latin American market at Peru show
The Peru Gaming Show and International Gaming Conference 2013 in Lima will see Interblock unveil the G4 Organic Roulette 08 in Football Shape with PID with additional video game generator, which provides players with every wager available on a live game but with a much faster pace and immediate payouts. Having not attended this show for some time, Interblock USA CEO Tom O’Brien (pictured) commented: “We want to show our commitment to the region and offer them the full support and service they deserve.”
SHFL entertainment installs linked progressives in UK casinos
TCS John Huxley supplies new Vietnam casino
greateraction SHFL ENTERTAINMENT
The Grand Ho Tram Strip hotel and casino in Vietnam
Vietnam’s long-awaited casino project, The Grand Ho Tram Strip, opened its doors at the end of July after working closely with TCS John Huxley on the installation, design and layout of the gaming floor. grandpartnership
three swimming pools and luxury retail shopping. The second phase, which broke One of the most eagerly ground in October, will add anticipated casino openings a further 559 rooms and this year, the Grand Ho Tram more leisure and convenStrip casino, has opened tion facilities. TCS John Huxley said it with an extensive range of TCS John Huxley gaming worked closely with the operations team to ensure equipment. Flinging wide its doors on production, installation and July 26, the Grand Ho Tram even the design and layout of Strip Casino is located on a the gaming floor was com2.2km-stretch of beach two pleted to exacting standards. hours from Ho Chi Minh City The order consisted of 90 and in its first phase features tables, mainly baccarat, with a 541-room, five-star hotel a small amount of roulette, along with gaming facilities, blackjack, sic bo and stud ten bars and restaurants, poker tables. In addition TCS JOHN HUXLEY
there were over 70 Omni Baccarat displays, a selection of Saturn Roulette Wheels, Chipper Champ 2 chip sorting machines and Supernova Progressive Table systems along with all the table accessories and chairs. Michael Santangelo, chief operating officer at the Grand Ho Tram Strip casino, thanked theTCS John Huxley team for the design, production, layout and installation of the casino’s entire table gaming f loor. He said: “Huxley’s ability to provide a total turnkey service for all of our gaming tables,roulette
wheels, chairs and other table game peripherals has been exceptional.” The opening of the first casino resort on the Ho Tram Strip in Vietnam in July 26 by the developer, Canadian firm ACDL, came after some significant delays and threats to its very existence. In March, the venue’s major partner, MGM Resorts International, which was to have operated the casino and lent the resort its MGM Grand brand, pulled out after the government withdrew the investment certificate - and gaming licence - due to construction
delays.The project’s bankers then halted the line of credit last November. However, on April 4, the government reinstated the investment certificate and the project was back on track. Last October the developer started construction of the second phase of The Grand Ho Tram Strip, which will include a second tower of 559 rooms and additional leisure facilities. Pinnacle Entertainment, a shareholder of ACDL, started construction on its five-star resort on the Ho Tram Strip at the same time.
SHFL Entertainment has begun the installation of its Operator Wide Area Progressive (OWAP) technology to link 50 BJ Aces tables across 35 of Genting’s casinos in the UK, the company has announced. SHFL’s OWAP technology provides casino operators the ability to offer linked progressive jackpots across multiple properties, leading to faster incrementing and more frequent jackpots, while delivering more excitement for players. “I am very pleased with the opportunity to provide Genting properties our OWAP technology on such a large scale,” said Gavin Isaacs, chief executive officer for SHFL. “Our mission is to make gaming more exciting for players, which in turn benefits our customers, and OWAP does just that. By enabling greater action across so many properties, the progressive jackpots quickly climb to very appealing levels.” All 50 BJ Aces tables are scheduled to be linked by the middle of August.
RAY chooses Inspired for new sports bar at Casino Helsinki virtualsports
horse racing, greyhound racing, motor racing, football, tennis, cycling, and Inspired Gaming Group has speedway. The Casino Helsinki will announced an agreement with RAY to install its launch virtual sports in SepBetBOX virtual sports and tember and will be the first bet management system installation of Inspired’s (BMS) in the Casino Helsinki turnkey virtual sports BMS - currently the only licensed (BetBOX). Inspired has previously provided its virtual casino in Finland. RAY will be creating a sports library as an addibrand new sports bar area tional feed to existing sportsthat will offer its customers books, but now provides a the ability to place bets on full service of content, virtual races over the betting platform and backcounter via a cashier using end data analytics. Sina Hentunen, gaming the Inspired BetBOX POS system. Players at the casino manager at Casino Helsinki, will be able to bet on virtual said:“The breadth and quality INSPIRED GAMING GROUP
28 August 2013 • suppliernews
of virtual sports available, and the ability to take bets and control what sports we show and when, are the key reasons we chose Inspired as our content and technology partner for this project.” Steve Rogers, managing director of Inspired’s Virtual Sports division,added:“Many casino operators are interested in creating sports bars to attract sports betting fans in areas away from the main casino f loor in a more relaxed environment, but want to have the flexibility over scheduling of events and control over the RTP levels that is not available
with live sports events. Virtual sports perfectly fits those requirements and allows a constant channel of live content 24/7/365. We are delighted to have RAY as our first BetBOX casino customer and look forward to announcing many more in the near future.” BetBOX enables casinos, as well as retail sports betting operators and lottery operators, to broadcast a new virtual sports event or numbers game every three minutes and take bets over-the-counter and, in the near future, on self-service tablets.
Casino Helsinki in the Finnish capital
internationalcasinoreview Successful flotation for Quixant on LSE Quixant floated on the London Stock Exchange AIM market on May 21, 2013 with a market cap of £30m (E34.9m). The share price rose quickly from £49 (E57) to more than £93 (E108) by mid-June and has now settled at around £72 (E84). MD Nick Jarmany (pictured) said: “Becoming a public company was the next natural step in our strategy given our continued strong growth. It gives us greater presence and further demonstrates our long-term commitment to the gaming business... We are excited to have entered into this new chapter in the firm’s evolution.”
Apex Gaming selects BMM Testlabs for Latin America approvals
FutureLogic’s GEN3 Evolution printer sets record pace highdemand FUTURELOGIC
More than 60 new Apex games in three separate cabinets are heading to the Latin America market after BMM Testlabs was selected by Apex Gaming to provide its approvals service. keymarket APEX GAMING
Apex Gaming has chosen BMM Testlabs to provide the games approvals service for Latin America, the company has announced. It said its recent success at FADJA Peru demonstrated the potential for the company in the region and that its games have all demonstrated great player acceptance and entertainment value. Austrian firmApex Gaming has been making use of BMM’s services in Europe for many years and this business relationship was the prerequisite for the extended agreement, said the company. Apex’s chief technology officer Max Pessnegger said: “Latin America is a key market for Apex Gaming. Our combination of exciting, fun games packed in premium cabinets makes us stand out as a potential preferred partner for operators there. Player feedback in Peru has been excellent. Thus, we are investing to bring Apex to Latin America. The approvals are key. More
Max Pessnegger, chief technology office at Apex Gaming
than 60 games in three different games selections and also in three different cabinet versions need to be approved. BMM has proven itself in Latin America.” Apex will be submitting three different games selections for approval initially in Peru, Panama and Chile.The two established game selec-
tions - Multi Magic Classic and Red Hot Fruits XXL will be joined by the latest addition Multi Magic VI. Customers will soon also be able to choose from two upright cabinets - the Dual Slim Line and Pinnacle.The Pinnacle SL represents the top of the range of the premium solutions as a slant
top. All cabinets contain top component choice as well as the patented Apex technology. Pessnegger said:“We have an excellent reputation for machine uptime.This is key given our popularity among players. The way we keep our components cool in our gaming machines when in
continuous operation is yet another true unique selling point. Machine uptime guarantees player satisfaction and plays a vital role in operator revenue. Here we have proved ourselves for many years. We believe this will also play a decisive role in the various climates in Latin America.”
The Zone launches at Québec casino zonedin TCS JOHN HUXLEY/NOVOMATIC
The launch of Casino du Lac Leamy’s The Zone took place on June 13 in Québec, Canada. The Zone is the first auditorium style electronic gaming arena in North America.The project led by Loto Québec had the brief to incorporate a dedicated area of 40 electronic gaming terminals laid out in a formation facing a large stage area where live hosts drive a selection of games. Loto Québec chose TCS John Huxley to supply Novomatic’s Novo Line Novo Unity II game platform and terminals. The teams worked together over 18 months on new game ideas, development and the necessary approvals. The initial order consisted of 40 Novostar SL1 slant top terminals, 30 August 2013 • suppliernews
Auto Wheels, Saturn Roulette Wheels and Game Servers with a combination of Novo TouchBet Live-Roulette/Novo Multi-Roulette, Novo TouchBet Live-Baccarat, Novo TouchBet Live-Black Jack and a suite of video slot games based on Novo Line Novo Unity II. Luc Morin, director of new product development at Loto Québec, said:“The Zone is a unique concept, a gaming experience like we have never seen before. The Zone is a multi-game room with a host where customers can play live or virtual blackjack, baccarat and roulette as well as slot games all on the same terminal. This animated multimedia environment adapts to our customers through the different ambiances controlled by the host. Customers that come to the casino to enjoy a night out with
The Zone at Casino du Lac Leamy is a collaboration between TCS John Huxley, Novomatic and Loto Québec
their friends can stay together and play their favourite games without having to split up.The Zone is truly a social experience.” Brad Broderick, TCS John Huxley’s COO in North America, added: “From the very beginning,
we knew The Zone was going to be something truly spectacular and to be in attendance at the go live launch and to see the reaction of the casino customers, was confirmation that Loto Québec has set the stage for gaming of the future.”
FutureLogic has announced that gaming operators in North America have specified its GEN3 Evolution printers in more than 50,000 electronic gaming machines since production began in late 2012. The demand for the GEN3 Evolution printer in its first six months is over 400 per cent higher than the GEN2 Universal printer in 2006. “Responding to our customers’ needs has enabled FutureLogic to ship more than 1.5m TITO printers worldwide since 2000, which is more than all other competing manufacturers combined,” said Nick Micalizzi, VP of sales and marketing, North America. “We look ahead to continued success with the GEN3 Evolution printer as operators seek to take advantage of FutureLogic’s industryleading technology. In order to benefit from the GEN3 Evolution’s superior printing, promotional couponing capabilities, and advanced feature set, operators should request the GEN3 Evolution printer for all existing and new gaming machine purchases.” The GEN3 Evolution printer is equipped with a paper capacity of 450 tickets, saving operators up to 30 refills or US$300 (E228) per printer annually. FutureLogic printers also eliminate paper waste by taking the ticket stack down to the last ticket. Operators can update firmware by connecting a pre-loaded thumb drive to a printer while it’s still in the slot machine, yielding a reduced downtime for every slot machine on the casino floor. The GEN3 Evolution printer can also print and present a ticket/coupon in less than one second. Designed with promotional couponing in mind, the GEN3 Evolution offers an optional on-board promotional system module that creates separate and secure processing environments for both TITO and promotional couponing. This optional module also makes precision greyscale printing possible through a temperature control technology, producing a high-resolution output for printing promotional coupons.
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internationalcasinoreview GLI appoints Sylvester to senior role Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) has named engineering expert Greg Sylvester as the company’s new director of systems engineering. In his role at GLI, Sylvester will develop strategic plans for special projects; oversee development of new testing methodologies and tools to support the engineering process; provide technical input and support for projects; and work with new and/or developing regulatory entities as they begin implementing gaming programs.
Novomatic growth in Italian market continues Novomatic’s main Italian subsidiary, Adria Gaming, remains well positioned within the Italian market through business diversification, with activities across the various market segments of the industry. forzaitalia NOVOMATIC
As the primary Italian subsidiary of the Novomatic Group of Companies, Adria Gaming has quickly expanded its presence in the Italian market since the introduction of Comma 6b (VLT) machines in the country in 2009. The latest strategic acquisitions have been accomplished through the takeover of the Italian concessionaire GMatica in 2011 (a 100 per cent Novomatic Group company since 2012) and the operator Sogeslot in 2013 (80 per cent). Adria Gaming currently operates a total of 132 arcades with Comma 6a and 6b machines. The group presents a range of market specific gaming machines for the Italian Comma 6a market,
currently consisting of around 480,000 machines. Sophisticated multi-game compendiums of Novomatic hit games are offered in international standard cabinets such as the Slant Top, Lounge, Classic and SuperPub to provide market-specific products such as the Ultimate V and the Novostar X range with the new Novostar X10 multigame mix operating with the new minimum payout of 74 per cent. With a new minimum denomination of ten cents, the new Novostar X10 offers the novelty of low stakes gaming, which is popular among Italian players. Adria Gaming has longterm Comma 6b supply contracts and agreed profit sharing plans with all official Italian concessionaries; amounting to a market share of more than 50 per cent - of
which approximately 20,600 are currently installed. Novomatic has rolled out 20,000 machines in two-and-a-half years for the Italian market - in addition to the usual international production capacities. The Novomatic Comma 6b games offering comprises ten international hit games in three cabinets that are international standards multi-game machines, two upright cabinets and a topperforming slant top cabinet. Currently available are Book of Ra deluxe, Just Jewels deluxe, Lucky Lady’s Charm deluxe, Draw Poker deluxe, Dolphin’s Pearl deluxe, Power Stars, Sizzling Hot deluxe, Rapid Numbers, Always Hot deluxe and Ultra Hot deluxe - and the range is growing as the required homologation proceeds with ten more games in the
pipeline.Through the downloadable system, the implementation of newly available games in the machines is simple, as the concessionaries can download the games according to their own business strategy in accordance with the government authority SOGEI. Encompassing a broad diversification of its business activities in the various segments of the Italian
licences for 44 betting outlets on the basis of which it operates 17 betting shops, as well as 27 betting corners gaming market, the Italian in bars and tobacco stores. subsidiary also comprises a It provides a range of slot diversified sports betting games, as well as casino and online gaming offering. games, poker, bingo and The Adria Gaming group online sports betting, via provides its services for the five different brands, and land-based betting market will offer the complete in Italy through its sub- range of online sports sidiary Admiral Bet Italia. betting odds by September Currently, the company has this year.
The headquarters of Novomatic’s Italian subsidiary Adria Gaming in Rimini
New EGT installations at Casino Royale SHFL acquitted of patent infringement in Macau innocenceproclaimed SHFL ENTERTAINMENT
EGT’s Vega Vision+ machines on the gaming floor in St Maarten
wellsuited EURO GAMES TECHNOLOGY
Euro Games Technology (EGT) has installed the sleek Vega Vision+ Slant Top cabinet and the latest multigames from this series at Casino Royale, Sint Maarten,
part of the Maho Group and the largest casino on the island of St Maarten. The Vega Vision+ Slant Top cabinets feature two widescreen monitors and advanced technological characteristics, which are complemented by a range of the Vega
32 August 2013 • suppliernews
Vision+ multigame mixes. Director at EGT Panama, Nadia Popova, who is responsible for the Caribbean region and Central America, commented that EGT’s products are well suited for the Caribbean region. “Our company has very a good
position in the Caribbean market and the clients are showing a strong interest towards our products.We are very happy about our increased presence in the regions of Aruba and Curacao and we are expecting more new installations this year.”
SHFL Macau has been acquitted of patent infringement by the Macau Court of First Instance, the company has reported. The criminal proceedings were brought after Jay Chun, chairman of LT Game, alleged that SHFL had trampled on its rights to offer solutions for electronic betting on live baccarat in Macau. The court’s verdict is subject to appeal by the losing party. Ken Jolly, SHFL Macau’s executive vice president of Asia, said: “We have consistently maintained that our Rapid Baccarat solution does not infringe Mr Chun’s patent. As a long-term member of Macau’s corporate gaming community, SHFL Macau has been committed to competitively serving the needs of our customers in this important market. Today’s positive ruling enables us to continue on that path with even greater focus.” Rapid Baccarat (now called SHFL Fusion Hybrid) combines a live dealer and electronic betting terminals. The system can handle multiple terminals on a live baccarat game and includes a user-friendly touch-screen betting interface. All wagers are reconciled automatically, resulting in greater productivity and enhanced security.
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internationalcasinoreview GLI to stage Latin American Regulators Roundtable The most important issues facing regulators throughout Latin America and the Caribbean will be in the spotlight as Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) presents the 2013 Latin American Regulators Roundtable, August 12-13 at the Casa Andina Private Collection - Miraflores Hotel in Lima, Peru. Manuel San Roman Benavente, general director of casino games and slot machines, said: “This is an excellent opportunity to share our experiences with our colleague regulators from the countries of the region and also benefit of their experience and achievements.”
JCM Global’s iVizion bill validator exceeds expectations
Casino del Sol in Arizona
northernlight JCM GLOBAL
IGT claims world first crossover video poker tourney In partnership with Arizona’s Casino Del Sol, IGT’s DoubleDown Casino has launched The Game King Video Poker Championship Tournament, which it claims is the world’s first cross-platform video poker tournament. channelcrossing INTERNATIONAL GAME TECHNOLOGY
Games and systems supplier International Game Technology (IGT) has announced the launch of the world’s first cross-platform video poker tournament in partnership with Casino Del Sol and IGT’s Game King. For the first time, players can participate in a major video poker tournament across multiple platforms including mobile, desktop and on location at Casino Del Sol. The Casino Del Sol Resort is southern Arizona’s newest AAA Four Diamond-rated destination and one of several enterprises owned and operated by the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, a federally recognised tribe with more than 17,000 enrolled members and located in
southwest metropolitan Tucson, Arizona. “More than 1.5m people have played Game King Video Poker at DoubleDown Casino since its launch in April,making it our fastest growing table game,”said John Clelland, vice president of global marketing at IGT Interactive Group. “The Game King Championship Tournament spans several platforms, which will result in the largest group of poker players ever competing against each other.” More than 250,000 DoubleDown Casino players have qualified to play, currently the largest mobile and social poker tournament. With no cost to participate, entrants qualified to play on DoubleDown Casino via Facebook, iOS and Android app or through Casino Del Sol’s website before July 29.
After the qualifying period, five winners will receive airfare, transportation, two nights at Casino Del Sol resort as well as a US$200 (E150) resort credit. Players will then bring their video poker skills to the next phase of the tournament on location at Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona on August 24 and 25 where they will compete in the finals for the chance to be named The Game King Champion. “The Game King Video Poker Championship done in partnership with Casino Del Sol is a perfect example of how the convergence of mobile and social gaming impacts the casino gaming industry,” said Robert Melendres, executive vice president of IGT Interactive Group. “IGT has partnered with over 40 casinos that are integrating IGT’s DoubleDown
Casino into their plans to reach audiences online and grow through mobile and social platforms.” “We are excited about our partnership with IGT and our position as a key player in the largest mobile and social poker tournament ever,” said Brian Hoeffner, vice president of gaming for Casino Del Sol Resort.“The integration of DoubleDown Casino has enabled us to be on the forefront of the casino gaming industry.” IGT’s Game King is the undoubted dominant product when it comes to video poker, providing over 95 per cent of games in casinos around the world. DoubleDown is the only online provider of Game King poker and currently the only social casino to provide its games in French, German, Spanish, and now, Italian.
Amatic to have strong presence at Peru show poleposition
for the Peruvian market. Amatic will also be exhibiting the Roulette Grand Jeu, which has proved to be a hit for players Amatic Industries will underline its dedica- and operators alike. Thomas Engstberger, sales manager at tion to the Peruvian gaming market by taking a strong presence at the Peru Gaming Amatic, will be attending the Peru Gaming Show that will take place August 14-15 at Show to support the team at the company’s regional distributor Happy the Jockey Exhibition Centre in Lima. The company’s new Performer C22 Games. He said: “Our new Performer C22 upright gaming machine, with its unique cabinet with the Multi Juegos games alongdesign, Austrian flair and proven quality, side our Roulette Grand Jeu puts us in will be on display at the show, as well as pole position for maximum gaming entergames that have been tailored especially tainment in Peru.” AMATIC INDUSTRIES
34 August 2013 • suppliernews
Thomas Engstberger, Amatic sales manager
The iVizion bill validator from JCM Global has been appearing on new games at all four Casino Cosmopol locations in Sweden to “rave reviews” according to the company. The validators began appearing in new games in Casino Cosmopol last autumn. To date, approximately 250 iVizion units have come on to the gaming floors, and casino management reports the product has exceeded their highest expectations. Roger Jonsson, gaming manager at Casino Cosmopol, said: “Selecting the iVizion was a no brainer for us because of its improved security, fastest note-to-note processing speed and 99 per cent acceptance rate.” His colleague Erik Sober added: “After six months of having iVizion on the casino floor, we are very happy to see that it is performing above our expectations. We will ensure we order every slot machine with iVizion in the future, and we are excited to learn more about the additional functionalities of iVizion and other new products of JCM Global, such as DNA.” JCM’s general manager EMEA Payam Zadeh commented: “We are thrilled that Casino Cosmopol is so enthusiastic about iVizion. We created it to be the foundation of intelligent validation, and clearly Casino Cosmopol is benefiting from its many capabilities. Now as we move forward with additional apps, including the new Dynamic Network Applications (DNA), we expect that iVizion will be even further entrenched as the new global standard.”
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internationalcasinoreview Ainsworth ups profit guidance
Australian manufacturer Ainsworth Game Technology has reported a profit before tax for the financial year ended 30 June 2013 of approximately A$65m (E45.2m), an increase of 41 per cent 2012 financial year. The company said it was benefiting from a weaker Australian dollar as well as from better revenues from the state of Victoria after the A560 cabinet was approved. It has also seen improved revenues from its South American and Asian markets.
IGT posts strong third quarter despite internal battles IGT’s strategic direction appears to paying off: even though the board was diverted by a bitter proxy fight earlier this year, the business carried on growing substantially across most of its sectors.
Disappointed Penn National sinks to second quarter loss explodedprofits
PENN NATIONAL GAMING
INTERNATIONAL GAME TECHNOLOGY
IGT has reported a very strong third quarter with net revenues pushing ahead 8.7 per cent to $579m (E438.3m) in the three months to the end of June. The increase this time was from product sales, which rose 11.9 per cent to $259.2m (E196.2m) and from the Interactive division, which includes the DoubleDown Casino, where revenues were up 68.6 per cent to $72.5m (E54.9m). That growth was partially offset by a fall in revenues from operations of 4.4 per cent to $247.3m (E187.2m), which the company said was due to lower MegaJackpots revenues. In the year-to-date, net revenues were up 12.5 per cent to $1.71bn (E1.29bn), of which $744.3m (E563.4m) were from operations, down 4.1 per cent, $772.9m (E585.1m) from product sales, up 18.3 per cent,and $192m (E145.3m) from Interactive up 113.8 per cent. Operating profit was up 28.8 per cent to $123m (E93.1m) in Q3 and by 18.2 per cent in the YTD. Net profit in Q3 rose 41 per cent to $65.7m (E49.7m) and in the ninemonth period by 32.6 per cent to $209.2m (E158.4m). Machine sales have been boosted by the award of significant VLT contract in Canada and Illinois. The company shipped 13,400 machines in the quarter bringing the total for the year so far up to 38,400, figures up by 15.5 per cent and 32 per cent respectively. The vast majority continue to be shipped to North America. The company is still on track to
IGT’s DoubleDown “the envy of the industry”
make a return, eventually, on the half-billion dollar DoubleDown Casino acquisition of January 2012: revenues reached $61.4m (E46.5m) in the quarter compared to $29.9m (E22.6m) a year earlier and seems set to top the $200m revenue-mark for the whole year. CEO Patti Hart said:“Our continued focus on IGT’s social gaming
business at DoubleDown resulted in another remarkable quarter of growth. DoubleDown marked a significant milestone recently as it surpassed Zynga Poker as the top-grossing social casino game on Facebook. We are generating monetisation rates at DoubleDown that, frankly, are the envy of the industry, nearly double that of our nearest competitor.” She continued: “This performance is propelled by our best-inclass IGT content, along with a purposeful approach to player conversion and retention. And DoubleDown’s mobile platform has gained substantial traction, recently ranking as the top-grossing social casino app ever on iPad.”
In a conference call with analysts, she added:“The challenges that we have all been facing in this industry, quite frankly, still exist.We’re all well aware of what they are, and for the most part, we have adjusted our businesses to the new normal. However, as we make these adjustments, there are still real, significant areas of potential growth and expansion in this business. “Our vision at IGT is and has been for some time, to lead the convergence of gaming around the globe, not just in the US but everywhere internationally, extending our content and services to everyone on every device… As always, we will work hard every day to stay ahead of the game.”
Owner and operator of 28 casinos and racetracks, Penn National, has reported a net loss of $12.2m (E9.2m) in the second quarter of 2013, a sharp decline from net profit of $66.7m (E50.5m) in the second quarter last year and well off the projections the company had previously estimated. Penn National’s CEO Peter Carlino said that the company had not hit its targets for many of its casino properties, including at its recently opened venue in Hollywood Casino in Columbus, Ohio. He blamed competitors that had launched expensive promotions and his company’s own decision not to counter the tactics. In a conference call, Carlino said: “I’ve never seen an industry so desperate to give away its bottom line as this industry. They’re suicidal.” Net revenues for the quarter were up 6.8 per cent to $761.4m (E576.4m), largely due to revenues from new properties that Penn opened in the past nine months. However, those same properties saw operating expenses balloon 22.2 per cent to $714.5m (E540.9m).
Stock falls hit June’s AGEM Index marketforces AGEM INDEX
After three consecutive months of increases taking it to record highs, the AGEM Index took a dip in June of 8.84 points or 5.3 per cent from May. However, compared to June 2012, the index is up 33.59 points or 26.9 per cent, and in the last 12 months has
seen falls in only four months. The latest score is attributable to 11 of the 17 quoted gaming industry suppliers whose weighted share prices make up the index seeing declines. Of the six that saw their share prices rise, all but one increased by less than five per cent. The broader stock markets performed slightly
36 August 2013 • businessnews
better than the AGEM Index in June, but each also reported monthly declines. NASDAQ and the S&P 500 were both down 1.5 per cent while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.4 per cent. Among the positive contributors to the June 2013 AGEM Index were Ainsworth Game Technology whose stock price rose 8.9 per cent, contributing 0.26 points to
the index. Scientific Games added another 0.23 points, due to a 3.3 per cent increase in share price. Meanwhile, a 2.6 per cent rise in the price of SHFL stock contributed 0.19 points. On the other side of equation, Konami’s 13.6 per cent decline subtracted 3.04 points, while GTech fell 7.5 per cent take away another 2.71 points.
internationalcasinoreview SFCMC losses widen in half-year SFCMC, the Barrière subsidiary that operates two casinos and two hotels in Cannes, saw net revenues fall 6.3 per cent to E41.7m in the six months to the end of April. Casino revenues fell 7.5 per cent, with slot machines falling 8.7 per cent. Hotel revenues fell 8.5 per cent. Net losses worsened by 62.1 per cent to E4.7m. The company said that downward trend was evident across all sectors and that it would take greater care over the management of the group.
Olympic’s Baltic business grows olympicperformance OLYMPIC ENTERTAINMENT GROUP
Olympic Entertainment Group’s (OEG) casino revenues in the Baltic markets grew steadily in
the second quarter and the first half, the company has reported. In Estonia, gaming revenues in H1 totalled E15m, up 4.7 per cent; in Q2 they were up 2.2 per cent compared to a year earlier
at the E7.5m. The Latvian casinos generated half-year revenues of E15.5m, an increase of 3.9 per cent over 2012, helped by an 8.3 per cent boost in the second
quarter when revenues reached E7.7m. Finally in Lithuania, Olympic Casino Group Baltija saw the fastest growth with gaming revenues of E9.5m in the first
Mass market boosts LVS H1 revenues and profits
half, up 7.9 per cent. Again the figures were helped by a substantial revenue increase in the second quarter of 10.7 per cent, which brought the total up to E4.6m.
SFC invests to capitalise on its acquisition spendtoearn SOCIÉTÉ FRANÇAISE DE CASINOS
Sands Cotai Central is doing very good business for LVS
The mass-market sector in Macau has been growing faster than any other and that is reflected in Las Vegas Sands’ latest figures, which show that in the second quarter, revenues from the main gaming floors in some cases exceeded those from the VIP rooms. Macau we delivered record financial results with strong growth and operating Its major properties in momentum ref lected in Macau and Singapore drove every segment of our busian increase in revenues and ness. We welcomed more profits at Las Vegas Sands than 14m visitors to our (LVS) in the second quarter Cotai Strip properties and first half of the financial during the quarter and delivyear, the company has ered a record $657.2m [E497.5m] of adjusted propreported. Group net revenues in the erty EBITDA from our Macau three months to the end of property portfolio.” At the Venetian Macau, June were US$3.24bn (E2.45bn), a rise of more Q2 casino revenues were than 25 per cent on the same up 42.6 per cent to $800.6m period last year.The speed of (E606m) with an adjusted EBITDA of growth is increasing - in the property first six months of the year, $360.9m (E273.2m). Rolling the company saw net rev- chip volume at the VIP tables enues totalling $6.45bn was up 6.1 per cent to (E4.88bn), up 22.5 per cent. $11.84bn (E8.96bn), with a Net profit in the quarter hold of 3.41 per cent. Drop reached $671.7m at the mass tables was up (E508.5m), up 134.5 per 56.1 per cent to $1.59bn cent - although the prior year (E1.2bn) with a hold of 28.2 figure included a $100.1m per cent. Sands Cotai Central, (E75.8m) impairment charge. Net profit in the half- which was open for 81 days year was $1.37bn (E1.04bn), in the prior comparison period, in Q2/2013 saw up 58.9 per cent. Chairman and CEO casino revenues of $530.5m Sheldon Adelson said: “In (E401.6m) and adjusted broadsands
LAS VEGAS SANDS
enues rose one per cent to $242.1m (E183.3m), however, adjusted property EBITDA fell back 19.3 per cent to $61.8m (E46.8m). The Marina Bay Sands in Singapore by contrast, saw casino revenues up 7.3 per cent to $590.3m (E446.8m) with adjusted property EBITDA up by 7.5 per cent property EBITDA of to $355.3m (E269m).There, $146.1m (E110.6m). VIP growth was driven by VIP chip volume stood at play:rolling chip volume was $14.33bn (E10.8bn) with a up 24.9 per cent to $14.37bn win of 2.35 per cent. Mass- (E10.9m), with a win of 2.53 market drop was E1.23bn per cent. Drop at the mass(E931.1m), with another market tables fell in the $1.25bn (E946.2m) played quarter by 3.5 per cent to $1.16bn (E878.1m). at the gaming machines. In Las Vegas, the two Sands Macau saw casino revenues up 8.6 per cent up casinos generated gaming to $287.5m (E217.6m) and revenues of $105.1m adjusted property EBITDA (E79.6m), up 11.1 per cent, up by 23.8 per cent to however, adjusted property $88.3m (E66.8m), that was EBITDA fell 2.2 per cent to despite a fall in VIP chip $63m (E47.7m). Casino revvolume of 5.6 per cent. The enues at Sands Bethlehem slack was more than taken rose 10.3 per cent to $118m up by play on the main (E89.3m), while adjusted property EBITDA was up floors. Only Four Seasons had a 24.9 per cent to $33.6m poor showing: gaming rev- (E25.4m).
The four-casino French operator Société Française de Casinos (SFC) has reported first-half revenues to the end of May up 8.3 per cent to E9.8m. However, the revenue hike was entirely due to the acquisition last year of the Casino de Collioure on France’s Mediterranean border with Spain, which it bought out of administration. On a like-for-like basis, the company saw its revenues fall 4.7 per cent to E8.7m. Actual revenues from casinos in the period was up 8.1 per cent to E8.6m, but excluding Collioure fell 6.8 per cent to E7.4m. The company said that like-for-like visitor numbers had remained stable in the period, but it had noticed a significant fall in spend-per-head. Collioure may have added revenues, but it has not added profitability yet.Actual group EBITDA fell 40.5 per cent to E394,000: excluding the new acquisition it was down 18.2 per cent to E541,000. Like-for-like profits for the period were down 41 per cent to E129,000: including Collioure, SFC made a loss of E149,000. “The first half has been dedicated to the restructuring and refurbishment of [Casino de Collioure] in order to kickstart its business and increase visitor numbers,” said the company.“New gaming machines have been acquired for all the casinos in the group, among them the most modern,attractive and most recently authorised machines in France.” It continued: “The positive effects of the measures taken in the course of the first half should be felt in the next months, particularly at the Casino de Collioure, which is already seeing its business improve at the start of the second half.”
After refurbishing its cheap acquisition, SFC hopes Casino de Collioure will add to the bottom line
August 2013 • businessnews
internationalcasinoreview Getting to grips with Eastern Europe The Eastern European Gaming Summit is to take place October 21-22 in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, and will provide a networking and discussion point for all those interested in gaming in this developing market. Confirmed speakers at the event include: Romania’s Cristian Pascu. Bulgaria’s Angel Iribozov, Chairman. Poland’s Bartlomiej Korniluk. Serbia’s Zoran and FYR Macedonia’s Blagoja Petrovski. The conference is a preceding event to the BEGE Expo, which will be held on October 22-23, 2013 in the same venue.
Events New Macau Gaming Show aims to rival G2E Asia localshow MACAU GAMING SHOW
A show that hopes to rival G2E Asia, the Macau Gaming Show (MGS) is to take place in November for the first time at the CotaiExpo at Venetian Macau. “This show will be different. Instead of being organised from the other side of the world, MGS is a show by Macau, for Macau and the Asian region,” said Coco Tam, spokeswoman for the organisers, a consortium led by the Macau Gaming Equipment Manufacturers Association. “Macau is now the undisputed global epicentre of gaming - and casino buyers from around the world now look to Macau for excellence and innovation in the gaming industry. It is time we had our own Asian-focused show, while still being relevant to a global audience.” The event’s slogan is “Everything Gaming!”and will cover all aspects of gaming operations, from gaming equipment to promotional services, entertainment, facilities and F&B. However, the organisers say it will also be full of entertainment,
performance, and fun. “Forget the tired and boring show formats of the past,” said Tam.“The gaming industry is all about being entertained, so we’re associating the MGS brand with fun, excitement, and all of the delights Macau has to offer. Buyers should enjoy themselves and want to come back to MGS year after year, so we’ve planned an entertainment, networking, and social calendar overflowing with parties and events for MGS visitors. Expect to be wowed by everything Macau entertainers and performers have to offer, including entertainment right on the floor of the show.” She added:“Often the most important and lucrative element of any show is the networking opportunities it presents. Many shows leave exhibitors and visitors to fend for themselves on the networking front, but not MGS.We have gone out of our way to create numerous formal and informal networking and entertainment events. After all, isn’t a trade show all about breaking the ice, meeting new business contacts, and collecting those all-impor-
The new MGS will take place at the Venetian Macau
EiG brings new format, new features and new delivery for 2013 onside EUROPEAN IGAMING
A new gaming show has been launched for Macau designed to be “by Macau, for Macau and Asia”. Organised under the aegis of the Macau Gaming Equipment Manufacturers Association, whose cochairman is Jay Chun of LT Game, the inaugural Macau Gaming Show aims to create a more exciting trade event with added entertainment and networking.
Show organiser MGEMA is cochaired by LT Game’s Jay Chun
tant business cards?” The show will be accompanied by a conference co-organised by the International Masters of Gaming Law.The theme for the inaugural summit will be Capitalising on Asian Gaming Growth.“It’s a conference by Asia for Asia,” said Tam.“Once upon a time Macau listened to
experts from the other side of the world explaining how the game should be played.Those days are over.In the decade since gaming industry liberalisation, Macau has grown to become the undisputed global epicentre of gaming. Much of the world’s gaming innovation, excellence, and modern day know-how was home-grown right here and the gaming world now looks to Macau as its hub.” The MGS Summit will feature predominantly Asian-based lawyers, operators, and academics offering perspectives on the industry.Topics will be selected from a diverse range of subjects such as gaming regulation, gaming finance, junket operations, gaming products and services, social responsibility, the future of the industry and much more.
EiG – the European iGaming summit that takes place October 8-10 – has been transformed with an entirely new format, new content and new side events. The new EiG agenda includes features tailored to meet the needs of what organisers have identified as iGaming’s ‘Implementers’ – senior executives who are responsible for applying a strategic vision to an organisational structure. Smaller and more targeted learning sessions, 11 specialist Workshops and Networking Groups will have attendance limited to just 50 delegates and are designed to provide the ‘Implementers’ with a programme for their specific requirements and operational needs. In addition EiG Tutorials will feature insightful industry presentations held within a central networking area. EiG has networking and learning at its core, says Clarion. EiG’s Breakfast With... session comprises a focused group discussion with an influential keynote speaker with a range of different industry stakeholders on hand to challenge conventional wisdom and facilitate debate. The EiG Power Talks will provide an opportunity for insight from leaders who have been recognised by their peers throughout the year for their contributions to the business, while the CEO Debate is a once-a-year chance to discover how the C-Level opinion formers who are helping to fashion iGaming see the future. The programme also includes a new feature called The Pitch, comprising a series of 15minute power pitches delivered by visionaries who will be presenting their innovations and landmark products in an attempt to win the hearts and the minds of the EiG audience. All members of the audience will be able to cast their vote anonymously using hand held electronic devices and using the EiG Networking App with the winning Pitch unveiled at the Awards Lunch on October 10.
DIARY AUGUST 2013 13-15 Australian Gaming Expo
Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Sydney, Australia www.austgamingexpo.com
Sands Convention Center, Las Vegas, USA www.globalgamingexpo.com
OCTOBER 2013 8-10 EiG – European iGaming
SEPTEMBER 2013 23-26 G2E 2013
Summit, Fira Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
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38 August 2013 • events
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