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Revisiting Poland…

Merkur opens first Bratislava casino

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UK Commission open doors

Merkur opens first Bratislava casino

Gauselmann Group subsidiary Merkur Casino has opened its first casino in Bratislava, the Slovakian capital.

The move signals Merkur’s intention to expand its presence in the eastern European markets, according to chief executive Rolf Falke.  “I think that we are right in being confident that our concept will continue to work on a sound basis in the European arena,” he said.
      Bratislava is home to 450,000 inhabitants, and is close to the borders of Hungary and Austria, and the casino is in the Ruzinov district.  Nine staff currently work at the 330sq,m casino, which houses 32 AWP machines as well as two Merkur roulette tables.  Merkur now has over 50  casinos in European countries.

*  NEW TRIO – Three new casinos have been licensed in Botswana.  Two are located in Gaborone and one is in Palapye.  Both Gaborone casinos will be located at hotels.  The move means that Palapye will be the only village of Maun  has had unsuccessful applications rejected in the past.  Currently, Botswana has casinos operating in Gaborone, Frnscistown, Selebi-Phikwe, Jwaneng and Lobatse.

NEWS REVIEW

JUEN 21:  The government gaming company Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation stands firm on its decision to close down the Legenda  Hotel Casinoat the Subic Bay Freeport Zone north west of Manila, citing the company’s failure since 2001 to pay the government over PHP365m in gaming fees.  “We gave them ample time from 2001 until now.  It is their duty to settle with us,” says PAGCOR’s Edward King.

JUNE 22:  A 1923 agreement between Liechtenstein and Switzerland banning casinos may be about to change.  Switzerland itself admits casinos, so the abolition of the ban in Liechtenstein may be possibility.  Liechtenstein’s Prime Minister Otmar Hasler has confirmed that the government wants to advance the creation of a casino law.

JUNR 29:  An early day motion in the House of Commons from Malcolm Moss criticizes the casino Advisory Panel for not being ‘open or impartial’ when awarding the one regional casino license in Britain.  Moss, Conservative MP for North East Cambridgeshire, says that he is concerned and disappointed over the decision –making process employed by the Casino Advisory Panel which: “Contrary to commitments given in its Guiding Principles, seems not to have been as ‘open as possible’ or observed the ‘highest standards of impartially, integrity and objectivity.”


      “The chairman, Professor Stephen Crow, has admitted there was no single marking process which determined the final outcome of the sifting; regrets that no minutes of meetings have been published on the Panel’s website since January 2006 thereby making scrutiny of its decisions impossible, and the Panel seems to have fallen short of meeting the seven principles of public life as set out by Lord Nolan.”  Moss also fears that disappointed regional casino applicants ‘will seek judicial review in increasing numbers’ and he urges the Secretary of States for Culture, Media and Sport to investigate the matter ‘to restore confidence’ in the process.

JUNE  30 :  BOYD Gaming and MGM open an expansion at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic city.  The newly opened expansion is anchored by three new signature restaurants, additional casino games, an 85-table poker room, and a second nightclub experience called mur.mur.  Borgata’a next expansion is already under way and will include a second hotel adjoining the property.  The water Club at Borgata is scheduled to open in late 2007 with around 800 rooms and suites, along with four swimming pools and a spa in the sky.

JUNE 30 : The Boomtown Casino in Biloxi reopens.  There are no big changes in the layout of the casino, expect for the absence of an arcade for children and baby-sitting service.  Boomtown will use the space for more slot machines and a new restaurant. Boomtown has refurbished its gambling  barge and installed all-new slot machines.  The casino has 1,000 slots and 22 table games.

      Boomtown is one of two coast casinos owned by Penn National Gaming.  The company is re-branding its Bay St Louis property as a Hollywood Casino, which will re-open later this year.  The other coast casinos back in business since Hurricane Katrina are the IP, the Isle of Capri, the Palace and Treasure Bay.  Grand Casino Biloxi reopens in mid-August.  Beau Rivage reopens August 29, and Island View, a casino at the site of the former Gulfport Grand’s Oasis Hotel, opens in September.  The Silver Slipper in  Hancock Country is due to open in October.
     
JUNE 30 :  Over 700 people celebrate the launch of the UK’s first GCasino, from Rank Group.  The new £4.2m, 20,000sq.ft gaming development in Manchester is the first of a new generation of casinos and employs over 100 staff.  Targeted at a casino market of 25 -54 –year –olds, GCasino offers a 100 seater poker room, 15 gaming tables with Smart Chip technology, as well as 62 electronic gaming stations offering the latest in TITO ticketing facilities and a party zone for gaming beginners.

JULY 2 : The proposed regional casino project at Wembley could be under threat after a change in a control at Brent Council, with some Conservative and Liberal democrat councilors opposing the £320m scheme.

JULY 3 :  A new jersey appellate court rejects a plea by casinos to stay open, despite a shutdown of non-essential government services, meaning that Atlantic City casinos could fall victim to the Legislature falling to agree a budget and face closure on July 5.  Dan Heneghan, a spokesman for the Casino Control Commission, said: “The appellate division denied relief that the Casino Association has requested. I understand they will now try to get relief from the New Jersey Supreme Court.  Absent that and absent the state budget, the Casino Control commission chair ordered all gaming will have to cease as of 8 am on July 5.”

JULY 3:  Cala  Corporation completes its plans to build a US $400m destination casino three miles off the Miami coast.  The UnderSEa Resort will feature 900 luxurious suites, a 50,000sq.ft casino, a 50,000sq.ft.spa, six food and beverage outlets, an on-site helicopter service and approximately 50,000sq.ft of undersea aquarium observatory space.  Florida has been an established offshore gaming market for over 40 years, generating in excess of $10bn in gaming revenues since 1965.  The company plans to become the largest offshore casino operator as well as the largest offshore  timeshare developer.
     
JULY  8:   New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine signs a $30.9bn compromise state budget into law, formally ending a financial impasse that essentially shut down the state and some of its businesses.  The news was especially good for the state’s casinos. 
      The city’s casinos, which add millions of dollars to the state’s coffers every week and which had been closed down for a day, reopened when Corzine signed an executive order allowing state departments to reopen. 

      The budget crisis hit on June 30 when lawmakers failed to adopt a new budget by the constitutional deadline.  As a result, the state closed all ‘non-essential’ government offices, including the Casino Control  Commission, the agency responsible for regulating gambling in Atlantic City.

JULY 10:  A new Jersey man is suing the owner of Atlantic City’s Tropicana Casino and Resort for failing to protect him and other individuals from dangers of second hand smoke.  The lawsuit was filed by Meiselman, Denlea, Packman, Carton and Eberz in Superior court for the State of New Jersey in the Country of Atlantic City on behalf of plaintiffs Vincent Rennich and his wife, Lynn Rennich, against Aztar Corporation, which owns and operates the Tropicana.


      The complaint states that: “Aztar caused and permitted an abnormally dangerous activity at the Tropicana and such activity caused Mr Rennich to suffer lung cancer.”  The suit demands a trial by jury and is seeking an award of damages to be determined at trial.  It further charges that: “Aztar has done nothing whatsoever to warn, guard against or alleviate the dangers of second-hand smoke to those individuals, such as Mr Rennich, who work at the Tropicana.”  The suit adds: “Aztar has spent millions of dollars lobbying for its right to continue to subject those who earn their living working within the Tropicana’s premises to do so in a smoke-polluted environment; an environment that has caused Mr Rennich lung cancer.”
      Rennich has worked as a casino table games supervisor at the Tropicana since 1981 and was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2005 at the age of 47, even though he had never smoked a cigarette in his life.  The compliant states that: “Aztar has failed to provide him with any warning of the dangers of second-hand smoke or with a safe environment in which to perform his job through prophylactic measures such as proper ventilation equipment or other air cleaning devices.”  The same law firm is also pursuing a sex discrimination case against the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City.

JULY 10:  Aspers, the casino and entertainment venue at The Gate, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, appoints Paul Sculpher as general manager.  Sculpher, 34 has more than 15 years’ experience in the gaming industry.  He said: “There is really nothing else like Aspers anywhere in the UK in terms of a casino that offers a complete leisure experience.”

JULY 10:  Casinos in Atlantic City won 5.9 per cent more money from gamblers in June than they did a year earlier, the  state’s Casinos Control Commission says.  Casino’s gambling winnings totaled US $428.1m during the month.  For the first six months of the year, casinos won $2.5bn from gamblers, also up 5.9 per cent over the same period last year.  The 12 casinos in the second largest US gambling market saw their slot machine revenues rise 3.7 per cent to $ 109.3m.  Casinos paid $34.3m in taxes on their gross revenues in June.

 

WHAT THEY WERE SAYING

“Macau has reached its current level with less than half as many gaming tables, and only six per cent of the slot machine, found in Las Vegas.”

Voanews.com’s Claudia Blume reports on Macau’s rise in popularity with gamers.

“I attended a dinner at which Philip anschutz was a guest.  He certainly talked to me about casinos, but got absolutely no information  that was not freely available in the newspapers.”

UK Culture Minister Tessa Jowell confirms that she  met AEG owner and Kerzner partner Philip Anschutz as British  newspapers try and whip up another casino controversy.

“It’s been an unloved company.  The name will disappear by spring.  Rank will be history.  There is a wall of money looking for cash-generative businesses.”

A UK rival gives their assessment of the Rank break-up.

Our presence in China,  where we are acting as consultants on the opening of China’s first pool betting shops, has opened up other opportunities in Asia , including Vietnam where we are in discussions on a new  football lottery, which is due to launch next year.”

Chris Bell, Ladbrokes’ chief executive, confirms that preliminary talks are taking place between the company and the Vietnamese Government.

“Our inspectors were notified right after I lifted our suspension order and they responded quickly and professionally.  The reopening went very smoothly, in large part because of the dedication of our inspectors.  We had inspectors volunteering to come in and help get casinos back in operation.”

Casino Control Commission chair Linda Kassekert after her office was able to get Atlantic City casinos back into operation within an hour after Governor Jon Corzine lifted the state of emergency  that had sidelined all non-essential state workers including casino inspectors required by law to monitor  casino operations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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