The 13 Holdings Might Postpone New Casino Launch for 2018

Union Gaming Securities Asia Ltd. announced in a note that the launch of the long-awaited hotel project The 13 might be postponed. The Macau located venue which allegedly is going to have a casino on its premises as well is expected to open to the public at the beginning of 2018.
Grant Govertsen, an investment analyst said that this delay in the launching is because of the time it might take to start anew the effectively stalled project. The hotel is located on the border of the Cotai and Coloane districts in Macau and it suffered some delays in the process of construction. The 13 Holdings filed an interim report in December, according to which the development of the property was on track and it was expected to open for business in the first quarter of 2017. Later in March, the company announced the opening date for the property would be announced later in the year.
According to Govertsen, the promoter of the scheme, The 13 Holding announced its annual results what amounts to further delays with respect to the company’s casino project opening in Macau. In the results, the company has shown evidence that as of the 31st of March its current liabilities exceed its assets by HK$300.9 million (US$38.5 million). Moreover, the holding had contracted a total amount of HK$369 million in capital commitments which are not provided for in the consolidated results.
In a previous statement, The 13 Holdings had said that in order to build a single room, the company should pay more than US$7 million in average. In order to finish the construction of all of the rooms in the property more than US$1.4 billion should be spent. The project description of The 13 says it is going to be an all-villa hotel with a total of 200 accommodation units. Union Gaming also added that the annual results showed that there is a funding gap present in the project, which is yet to be resolved so that the construction can continue.
The group also added that the liquidity of the group needs to be improved and its directors were negotiating to do so. According to them, they will have enough working capital to fund the operation and keep the project active. The firm also added that some of the potential improvements which could be done in this situation are to look for new sources of financing in the form of debt or equity. As of this moment, the amount of funding needed is not disclosed by the holding, but Union Gaming suggests it can be very expensive in the case of debt.

Pennsylvania House Leader Warns State’s Budget May Remain in Deficit for Longer

On Thursday, 10th August, House Leader Dave Reed expressed concerns on the behalf of the Republicans that Pennsylvania may stay in the big budget gap for some more weeks, pointing out that the Senate’s proposed budget bill includes unreasonable increase of some utiliy taxes.
On 30th June, the state’s lawmakers finally passed a $32 billion budget-plan, but they could not agree on proper ways to fund it. It is not a secret that for some time Pennsylvania is suffering one of the biggest budget deficiencies. According to specialists, the state’s financial situation has never been that bad since the recession.
The lawmakers found some sources of additional revenues to fund the budget plan, but the House and the Senate could not reach a decision regarding certain topics like gambling. Thus, the two chambers remained stuck in the financial gap, trying to compromise on certain issues. Almost 2 months later, the lawmakers still do not have a particular plan, which places the state on the edge of an economic crisis.
But what seems to bother Mr. Reed is the rise of the taxes. He told that the amount of money, which the local government will reap from the higher taxes is just the same as from the taxes generated by video-gaming terminals (VGTs). House Democrats consider that the increase of the taxes is a sufficient measure to cope with the situation.
In fact, namely VGTs became the Apple of Discord between the two chambers. The House passed a gaming bill, which allows VGTs to be installed in liquor establishments. The idea was supported as an additional source of income for the local government. The Senate, on the other hand, opposed the idea, placing their concerns that the video betting machines may “steal” the customers of the land-based casinos, which finally managed to emerge on the surface. What is more is that the already established brick-and-mortar is a steady and sure income for the treasury.
The lack of a realistic and efficient solution may have very bad consequences for Pennsylvania. Mr. Reed placed hopes that the lawmakers will find the most appropriate solution for funding the budget plan by the end of August, as any more delays can sharply deteriorate the situation of the state. While the lawmakers are trying to find a consensus and come up with a plan of action, the legalization of the online gambling industry seems to be even a more lucrative perspective with every passing day.
It was reported that the next legislative session is set to take place on 11th September, but the legislators remain on standby due to the delicate situation.

Behind the Curtains of Four Winds Casino Construction in South Bend

On Tuesday, 22nd August, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, the local tribe known to be the owner of the casino under construction in South Bend, announced that the realization of the casino project is going on schedule, providing the local media with a brief look from the inside.
Currently, the casino is under construction, but the local tribe announced that the gambling facility will be ready to open its doors at the beginning of the next year. This means that in less than six months the construction site will turn into a complete casino, throwing the cards in the air. The band added that the construction plan is according to schedule, pointing out that the casino is to contribute to the development of the city.
Passing by the main State Road 2 of the city, it is impossible to overlook all the builders, who are laying the foundations of the circular-shaped future casino. The most curious of you might be interested to know in which phase of the construction project is the soon-to-become gambling facility.
The casino is to be built in the shape of a rotunda, with a circular ground plan, boasting a spectacular wooden décor. The project of the building itself reminds of the tribe’s Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo. According to some people, the circular shape featuring a wooden décor recalls of the traditional hand-made wooden baskets of the tribe. The work on the outer structure of the building and the adjacent parking space is reaching the finish line.

According to the project, the gaming floor is to occupy 55,000 square feet, offering 1,800 slot machines. The gaming facility is to offer also non-gambling options including 5 restaurants and 3 bars. One of the restaurants will also offer barbecue area and two others will offer live performances.
Additional Details
It is worth to mention that the casino will not offer casino table games such as blackjack, roulette, poker and others due to the fact that the tribe did not ask for the state’s agreement to offer such games so far. The initial project also does not include a hotel complex, but it was shared that it might be included later on once the work on the casino project is completed.
In an interview with Frank Freedman, Chief Operating Officer of Four Winds Casinos, he explained that the complex is to welcome even people, who are not interested in casino games, as the casino is located in a very strategic position, offering easy access from all sides.
Benefits for the City
Summing up all the pieces of the puzzle, it seems that the local tribe will soon celebrate the grand opening of the casino, which is to improve the financial status of the city and decrease the unemployment rate. Moreover, South Bend will attract more visitors, which will also develop the tourism sector in the city. It is worth to mention that the tribe is old in the casino trade, as it is known to operate 3 other casinos in New Buffalo, Dowagiac and Hartford.

Macau Officials Discuss to Ban Off-Duty Casino Workers from Entering Gaming Areas

Macau’s gaming regulator looks to fight problem gambling issues by introducing a new legislative piece, focused on closing loopholes in the already existing gambling regulatory framework. Under the proposal, the casino employees will not be allowed to enter any gambling facility when off-duty. The idea is to be discussed at a one-month public consultation, which the government kicks off today and it is to end on 26th October.
In a press conference, which was held on Tuesday, the Director of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), Paulo Martins Chan, submitted the proposal as a point of discussion. He explained that the current law protects the common people, but not the people, who are directly involved in the casino games, including card dealers and casino staff. Mr. Chan backed up his stance, using data from the Social Welfare Bureau (IAS).
According to the survey, the number of casino dealers, who experience gambling problems is constantly growing. Mr. Chan provided a good reason for this tendency, highlighting that dealers and croupiers are more confident as they think to have better knowledge of the game. It became clear that the proposed ban on off-duty casino staff will not target the entire casino staff, but only the employees, who are in a direct contact with the casino or the game. To be more precise, these include table game supervisors, casino hosts, cashiers, pit managers and dealers. Supposing the bill enters the country’s legal framework, the wrongdoers are to be slapped a hefty fine between MOP1,000 and MOP10,000.
Apart from the casino employees, the consultation document aims to simplify the sanction procedures for gamblers under the allowed age of 21. It was proposed that people under the gambling age should be fined immediately once they are caught red-handed. The fine is to range between MOP1,000 to MOP10,000 and the wrongdoer will have 15 days to pay it voluntarily. The gambling facility will be also fined, paying a solid amount between MOP10,000 and MOP500,000. Here it is interesting to note that in 2012 Macau increased the minimum gambling age from 18 to 21.
Flaws in the Current Law
Under the current gambling law, casino employees are barred to gamble in the casino facilities, operated by their own employers. On the other hand, they are allowed to enter any other gambling complex and gamble at large. Supposing the bill is passed, that loophole will be closed and all casino employees besides administration staff, food and beverage workers, security guards, surveillance staff and performers will be restricted from entering casino floors. The officials proposed an exemption to the ban, applying the same rules for the barred casino employees as for the city’s civil servants, who are allowed to enter gambling facility only during the Chinese New Year holiday season.
DICJ pointed out that another major problem is that most of the detected wrongdoers, who do not comply with the gambling age are tourists. The current sanction procedures are quite clumsy and slow. In most of the cases, it turns out that the wrongdoer already left Macau, which makes the entire procedure expensive and time-consuming.

Canada’s Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Gives Publicity to Lower Rent Proposal

Canada’s biggest casino operator Gateway Casinos & Entertainment has advised London city hall and the Western Fair District to lower lease payments or sell the land, so that the operator can realize its project to expand the slot-only gambling venue at the (Western) fairgrounds. The company announced that a decreased ground-lease rental rate is to significantly cut the costs of the operator and the operator will be able to invest more in the casino project.
Gateway added that reducing the rent is also in the interest of the city of London, as it gets a fair share of the revenue. And when the industry booms, tax revenue jumps. Councillor Phil Squire expressed his readiness to consider the proposal supposing that the operator provides more detail-oriented information and accurate numbers.
Yesterday, Gateway spokesperson Rob Mitchell shared that the operator’s priority is to expand the gambling venue at Western Fair District, but the overpriced rent may force Gateway to abandon its plan. The slot-only venue expansion has been put $140 million price tag. The operator announced its interest in building a full-fledged casino, which is to be 3 times bigger than the existing one.
Mr. Mitchell hinted that the operator does not exclude any other options in the city, but he refrained from providing any more details. He said that the expansion of the casino is also to decrease the unemployment rate. At present, Western Fair District employs 300 people, but the number is expected to increase up to 1,000. Last but not least, the expansion of the gambling venue is to capitalize on the opportunity to attract people with various interests and thus boost multiple industries and the overall economy.
Today, city officials met behind closed doors and discussed the lease the city has with Western Fair. Currently, OLG has an agreement with London city hall and Western Fair District to pay approximately $6 million a year. The deal expires in 2020 and Gateway is seeking to renegotiate the terms of the deal, emphasizing on the ground-lease rental rates. It is interesting to mention that the land is jointly owned by the city and Western Fair.
City Official Wants to Hear the Operator’s Proposal
Councillor Phil Squire asked from the operator to present more detailed information and particular numbers. He announced that his stance on the matter is neutral and he wants to support only the option, which is in the city’s best interest. Consequently, he is to estimate if the decrease of the rent is to bring more economic benefits and higher revenues to the city. Mr. Squire added that the rental rate might be viewed as reasonable, having in mind the specific nature of the casino.
He also asked the casino operator if it is to contribute to the problem gambling treatment in the city. At this moment, Coun. Squire did not give a green light to the casino expansion, as this is not the first time, in which someone presents a half-baked building project.

Public Consultations on Gateway’s Casino Plan in Delta Seek to Gather Public Feedback

Delta residents have the chance to weigh in on Gateway’s proposed entertainment complex in Ladner once again and voice their opinion on the matter. In September last year, British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) gave preliminary approval for the development of a new entertainment complex at Town & Country Inn. Since then, a series of public consultation sessions have been conducted by both Gateway Casinos and the City of Delta with the idea to gather feedback from the public before the wheels are put in motion.
Two more public consultation meetings are scheduled to take place this Wednesday and Thursday at the Sungod Recreation Centre and at the Harris Barn in Ladner, respectively. Both sessions are to start at 4 pm local time and continue till 8 pm. At the open house-style meetings, people will be given additional details regarding the planned entertainment complex. Attendees will have the chance to talk to representatives for Gateway and discuss the pros and cons of hosting a new gaming and entertainment complex in Ladner.
Another multi-civic committee meeting to discuss Gateway’s casino project is scheduled to take place on 15th February at Harris Barn at 7 pm. It will be also open to the public. These public consultation meetings aim at providing information on Gateway’s application and answer questions. The application involves Gateway’s rezoning request to permit the construction of the entertainment complex. The company behind the project is expected to submit its rezoning application this April.
Gateway’s Casino Plan Accepted with Mixed Feelings
The C$70 million construction investment would spread over 162,678 square feet. The entertainment complex is to include a fully-equipped casino, which is to occupy approximately 47,000 square feet of space.
In addition to that, the gambling operator is to attract the attention of people from all walks of life, as the entertainment complex is to include a number of non-gambling amenities, including dining lounges, bars and clubs. A boutique 116-room hotel complex will be also added to Gateway’s casino proposal. As for parking spaces, the complex is to offer 800 parking lots for its guests.
Even though Gateway’s project sounds like a good investment for Delta’s economy, the local residents and officials showed mixed reactions towards the casino. Those, who took an anti-casino stance on the matter explained that a new entertainment complex is to have a negative impact on the society and it is to cannibalize the profitability of the local business enterprises. Gateway’s plans to demolish the indoor tennis court also vexed tennis players and enthusiasts, who explained that the city needs an indoor sports facility.
Casino proponents, on the other hand, explained that a new entertainment complex is to bring fresh money to the city’s shrinking budget coffers and attract out-of-the-city visitors, who will spend their money in Delta. This will not only stabilize the local economy, but also foster the local businesses.

Delaware North Completes Nitro’s Mardi Gras Casino Acquisition

Mardi Gras Casino and Resorts in Nitro, West Virginia has been acquired by hospitality company Delaware North, which owns the state’s only other greyhound racing track in Wheeling. The sale was completed on Tuesday, but no details about the agreement were disclosed.
In January, the international hospitality and entertainment company Delaware North announced its plans to purchase Mardi Gras Casino in Kanawha County. The property is located near the city of Nitro, West Virginia and includes a gaming floor, live greyhound racing track, several restaurants, as well as a 150-room luxury hotel. Until now, it was owned and operated by Hartman & Tyner, a property management company headquartered in Oakland County, Michigan.
In the January news release, Delaware North said that the agreement is pending approval from West Virginia Racing Commission and the West Virginia Lottery Commission. Now that the acquisition has been approved, a transition team has been sent to the property to make the process of change ownership as smooth as possible. This is the second facility for Delaware North in the state – the firm also owns Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack in Wheeling. It also has multiple gambling venues in New York, Illinois, Florida, Arizona, Arkansas, and Ohio.
Officials from Hartman & Tyner and Delaware North did not wish to disclose important details about the agreement, including the cost of the property. However, according to Charleston Gazette-Mail, who cites records in the Kanawha County clerk’s office, it is possible that the value of the deal is around $27.6 million. The owners’ (old and new) unwillingness to disclose such information may be linked with media reports from last year, according to which the family company Hartman & Tyner slipped into chaos and lawsuits after the death of one of its founders.
What Will the New Ownership Mean for the Casino
Kim Florence, president and general manager of Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack, commented the acquisition Tuesday and assured the community that the first priority of Delaware North was to take care of the employees of the casino resort. According to her, the casino and its Players Club will keep their names, while employees will be offered a company-matched 401(k) retirement savings plan. There will be different opportunities for pay raise and other benefits, too.
The new owner also plans to update the collection of slots at Mardi Gras Casino and offer customers some of the latest and highest quality slot machines on the market right now. The 90,000-sq.ft. gaming floor is also home to approximately 30 table games while the gambling venue also has live greyhound racing and off-track betting for greyhound and horse racing.
Interestingly, with the newly passed WV Sports Lottery Wagering Act, the casino operator will most probably introduce sports betting. This depends on a Supreme Court decision expected by early summer, which may declare the federal ban on sports betting unconstitutional. Florence expressed her hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will allow states to legalize sports wagering, saying that this would be a great revenue opportunity for Mardi Gras Casino and would diversify the gambling options offered to customers.

Caesars Windsor Casino Employees Support Strike Action

Workers at the popular Ontario Caesars Windsor casino have supported strike action, with an overwhelming majority of 98,3 per cent of them voting to stop work if their demands have not been met. This was announced Wednesday evening by Unifor Local 444, the trade union, representing employees at the casino.
The unionized Caesars Windsor workers attended an information meeting and strike vote organized by Unifor Local 444 at Fogolar Furlan Club on Wednesday. Four groups of workers voted in four separate ballots held throughout the day and in the evening, the union announced that 98,3 per cent of Caesars Windsor’s employees supported strike actions if necessary. The union’s Third Vice-President Doug Boughner said that employees would stop work if the deal with the casino management is unsatisfactory.
Negotiations between workers and the casino started in February but so far, the two parties have not reached an agreement. Talks resume Thursday, but workers are not optimistic – in case Unifor Local 444 cannot strike a fair deal for them until their current contract expires, they will walk away from work. Contracts expire on April 4, which means that a new agreement needs to be signed in less than two weeks.
Boughner, who is the trade union’s liaison for the casino workers, said that despite the risk of a labour strike, Unifor Local 444 is, after all, happy with the results of the vote, as it clearly shows that workers support the Unifor’s bargaining committee. He added that the committee does not want a strike, but that affirmative action should be taken.
Negotiations with Caesars Windsor Casino
Talks between the union’s bargaining committee and representatives of Caesars Windsor casino began in February and the two parties have met over non-monetary issues multiple times. The union says that workers earn an average of CA$19 per hour and this includes skilled trade workers. However, the average payment drops to $17 per hour in case skilled trade workers are excluded. According to data, provided by the Windsor-based Unifor Local 444, the union represents approximately 2,300 workers from the casino.
The two sides cannot agree on a number of points, including the wages. The minimum hourly wage in Ontario rose to $14 on January 1, which gives workers hope that the casino would agree to increase salaries. But negotiators are also in discussions regarding pensions, as well as issues in relation to workplace conditions.
Caesars Windsor is one of the most popular casino resorts in the Canadian Province of Ontario and the U.S. Midwest. It can be easily seen from Detroit and it is believed to be one of the major reasons behind the legalization of casino gaming in Detroit. Interestingly, Detroit’s Greektown Casino-Hotel, which was constructed several years after the opening of Caesars Windsor, has quite a similar theme to its Canadian rival. Ontario’s Caesars Windsor has two hotel towers, a 5,000-seat arena, and a total gaming area of 100,000 sq ft.

Gateway Reveals Design and Name for Proposed Delta Casino

Last week, Gateway Casinos and Entertainment revealed the design of the proposed casino complex, which is to be built at the Delta Town & Country Inn site in Ladner. The company also announced that the new property would be a Cascades-branded casino. However, the casino needs to receive official approval from City Council, following the public hearing scheduled for May 1.
The proposed gambling and entertainment complex would be developed and operated by Gateway Casinos and Entertainment, one of the largest gambling operators in Canada. The $70 million property would have around 500 slot machines and 24 gaming tables, as well as Gateway’s signature restaurant brands, MATCH Eatery and Public House, ATLAS Steak + Fish and The Buffet. In addition, the complex is expected to feature a hotel with up to 124 rooms, more restaurants, meeting space and around 800 free parking spaces. There would also be a theatre for live events that would diversify the entertainment options and attract more customers.
The Cascades Casino Delta would bring up to 700 new jobs to the area and would result in various economic opportunities for Ladner and the City of Delta, according to Gateway’s CEO Tony Santo. The company explains that the design and theme of the Cascades brand are built around the concept of “play”, which means that the complex would be much more than just a casino venue. It would be a full-service local entertainment facility with sophisticated amenities in combination with “casual ambiance”.
The new property would be yet another Cascades-branded casino for Gateway as it already operates several Cascades venues in Langley, Penticton, and Kamloops, British Columbia. The proposal is expected to go before Delta City Council this May. Before this, a public hearing for the rezoning application is scheduled for Tuesday, May 1. If the project receives approval from City Council and all required permits from the province and the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, the existing 49-room Delta Town and Country Inn would be demolished this summer and construction of the new complex would start by the end of the year. The company hopes that the new casino would be fully operational by 2020.
Cascades Casino Delta Will Not Increase Crime, Problem Gambling
Not everyone is particularly enthusiastic about the development of a new casino in Ladner. Opponents of the casino have expressed multiple concerns, including traffic problems, increase in crime rates and prevalence of problem gambling. Gateway, however, has addressed these issues and recently, it said that the current road network would be perfectly capable to accommodate the peak traffic caused by the proposed casino. In a traffic analysis, the company points out that there is a congestion associated with the George Massey Tunnel, but the road infrastructure would be able to deal with any increased traffic from the casino during peak periods.
The other concern, that the new casino would lead to increased crime rates, is unfounded, according to Delta police. In an interview for a local media outlet, Delta Police Department Chief Neil Dubord says that he does not expect a surge in violent crime or property crime, as no single research paper suggest a link between the two. One of the biggest issues raised by opponents of the proposed Cascades Casino Delta is that would fuel a gambling addiction. The relationship between the prevalence of problem gambling and the presence of gambling facilities have been researched and proven multiple times.
The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC), however, says that it has taken steps to help problem gamblers. According to the agency, the casino in Delta would promote responsible gambling by offering casino products that feature special software that reminds patrons of the amount they have wagered and the time they have spent on a particular game. The BCLC also says that it offers problem gamblers assistance through dedicated programs, namely the Game Sense program, and helps people find counselling, which is free of charge for anyone in the province.

Labor Day Marks Start of Atlantic City Seasonal Employee Layoffs

Atlantic City will see layoffs of seasonal employees start after Labor Day, with the nine hotel and casino properties in the resort also to shed some jobs with the summer coming to an end.
Only a couple of months after the casino industry of Atlantic City reported employing over 30,000 people for the first time in almost four years, the overall number of workers there is expected to fall below that threshold. Still, industry experts shared an opinion that the results are still not alarming, even in case that this year’s numbers look worse.
The openings of the Ocean Resort Casino and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in June brought more workers to Atlantic City, with casino employment being pushed beyond the 30,000 mark. As revealed by the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) of New Jersey, 6,877 more people were employed by the local casino resorts in August in comparison to 2017.

According to information shared by the DGE, the total number of people employed by AC casinos was 30,217. Out of them, 22,177 were the full-time jobs, while the number of part-time casino workers was 2,973. The remaining 5,067 positions were categorized as “other”, which usually describes the category of temporary and seasonal workers.
The former executive director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, Jim Kennedy, commented on the expected layoffs, sharing his expectations to see no less than 1,000 people to be dismissed from their positions between Labor Day and October. According to Mr. Kennedy, the decline would come as a part of the normal seasonal employment’s fluctuation.
Layoffs at Two New Casinos in AC Will Make Employment Picture Look Worse
Bob McDevitt, president of Unite Here Local 54, the union representing local casino workers, commented on the expected seasonal job dismissals, the two new properties in Atlantic City would also see some layoffs to cut over-staffing. According to him, possible job cuts in both the Ocean Resort Casino and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City venues will make the employment landscape in the region seem even worse.
“When you open a casino, you always overhire, as a practice, because you don’t know who is going to show up those first few days. (…) Every casino that has ever opened has had to lay off.” – Bob McDevitt
The last time when the number of employees in the Atlantic City casinos passed the 30,000 threshold, was in 2014. As mentioned above, the two new casinos in the resort have helped push the total employment of the industry back over that mark.
Both the Ocean Resort Casino and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City started operation on June 27th. The two new resorts accounted for a combined 8,184 jobs in July, a figure which represented 27% of the industry’s total. The total number of jobs at the Hard Rock amounted to 4,393, while Ocean Resort’s employees totaled 3,791, making them respectively the second- and third-largest employees in Atlantic City after Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. The later remained the top job creator in the AC casino sector, reporting 5,938 employees in July.