THE UK’s Casino Advisory Panel’s march 31 deadline for local authorities ’ submissions for regional casino licenses leaves just one week to incorporate any of the Chancellor’s Budget announcements on gaming tax rates into their plans, posing a ‘major risk’ to those bids submitted.

That’s the view of Alex kyriabidis, global head of tourism, hospitality and leisure at Deloitte, UK financial consultants. “Local authorities across the country are at various stages in their preparation of casino license submissions,” he said.
“Some have considered applying for a license and declined to do so, others have incorporated the prospect of a license into regeneration proposals and a number have already held casino license bid processes and have ‘awarded’ the license – yet to be won – to consortia comprising operators, developers and investors.
“When the local authorities held their shadow bid processes, there was no license to award, the tax rates applicable to these casinos were not, and to date, have not been announced, and the terms associated with these licenses, such as exclusivity, which are crucial to gauge their economic impact are yet to be defined.
“Even if tax rates are announced in the Budget on March 22, that could be too short a time period to reformulate proposals by the submission date of March 31. This could lead to difficulty for the CAP and local authorities to identify which economic proposal is the most competitive. Put another way, if the Treasury announces a particularly stringent tax regime, will those bids still stand?
Kyriakidis also believes that local authorities that have already held a shadow bid process may fall because of legal challenge under European Competition Law, as the value of the license only comes to life when it has been awarded and its terms are known. “Any operator who did not participate at the time that the local authority held the shadow bid process could now claim that they are being denied the opportunity to bid,” he said.
InterGaming went to press as the CAP deadline and Budget announcement was approaching.

Five-Star Shangri - La to get new Nepalese Casino

The Hotel Shangri-La in Katmandu will open a new casino - Casino Shangri - La - by mid - April.

“We have already received a license from the government to run a casino at the Shangri-La hotel and preparations to launch it are afoot,”  said Bharat Shakya, general manager of Nepal Recreational Centre.
“It is expected than the casino will come into operation by mid-April. ” Said Nile Ashram, director of human resources and administration of Casino Shangri-La.
The Government only allows five-start hotels to run casinos and Hotel Shangri-La was recently upgraded from four-star.At present, six casinos operate in the Nepalese Capital. Besides Sri Lanka, Nepal is the only south Asian country to grant permission to operate casinos.

“We want to increase the number of casinos not because our business is doing well, but because all five-star hotels want to run one. We deiced to operate the casino in order to avoid eruption of competition in the casino sector at a time when business has already gone into tailspin,” said Rakesh Wadhwa, executive director of NRC.

Borgata in US $25m recruitment push

THE Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City is undertaking a two-part US $525m expansion that will create 1,500 new jobs in its first phase and increase its workforce by over 25 percent.

Since opening in July 2003,Borgata has led the Atlantic City market, maintaining the top-grossing casino position for 41of the last 42 months and employing over 5,000. “The human factor is vital to Borgata’s success,” said Larry Mullin, president and chief operating officer for Borgata. “We realise that our staff have truly made Borgata the destination it is today and have been the driving force behind our success. We are determined to grow our workforce with the same resolve we have grown the Borgata brand.
It is their commitment along with the confluence of the position, product, people, and processes that has made Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa Atlantic City’s market leader. ”
      Borgata will begin its search to fill the 1,500 new positions, which range from entry level to management. A high proportion of the new jobs will be in food and beverage as the phase1 expansion, scheduled for completion by the second quarter of 2006, will include the opening of three high-end restaurants and eight quick-service dining options.

*  The Japanese ruling Liberal Democratic Party is to considering a move to legalize casinos to boost the country’s tourism industry.
      A casino sub-committee is keen to see the country follow in the footsteps of Singapore, which lifted its ban on casinos in April last year. Thailand is also planning to follow suit.
      An interim report is expected in late April after discussing what gambling houses and casinos should be like if they are legalized and what measures should be taken about the current penal code banning casinos.

February 17:   REPORTS that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is only planning to extend its lease agreement for Casino Niagara for just two years adds to speculation that the venue’s days may be numbered.

      Fearing 2,500 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in new development could be a risk, Niagara Falls mayor Ted Salci wants the province to show confidence in the city as a major tourist destination by arranging a lease of at least 10 years with Canadian Niagara Hotels. The landlord that owns the property the casino is on.
      The closure of Casino Niagara could mean the lose of millions of dollars from city coffers. The city gets CA$2.6m a year for the first 10 years of the casino’s operation   as compensation for hosting a commercial gaming house, increasing to $ 3m a year for the subsequent 10 years.

February 18:   SCOTTISH bookmakers declare all five Scottish horse racing tracks as Betfair free.
      Following successful  voluntary experiments at Kelso and Mussel burgh, all three Scottish Bookmaker’s organizations unanimously agree to advise members not to use betting exchanges as a means to hedging in the on-course betting rings.
      The plan, started at on February 27, has the backing of management at all five Scottish tracks.
      John Carroll, secretary of the East of Scotland Bookmakers Association, says : “After the successful voluntary trials at Kelso and Mussel burgh, it was felt that this move would considerably strengthen betting rings on Scottish racecourses. ”

February 19:   DEVELOPERS of some hotels currently under construction in Guyana may receive casino licenses from the government pending legislation for which a dr4aft bill exists, according to executive director of the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest ), Geoffrey Da Silva.
      Responding on local television to whether the government had given a commitment to issue casino gambling licenses to hotel projects, Da Silva says : “I would not absolutely deny that. ”
      At least four hotels are under construction for the 2007 Cricket World Cup, including the 200 room Buddy’s International Hotel near the cricket stadium at Providence. Another in the same area is being erected by Arthur and Smith, one at Versailles and one at Turkeyen. Additional plans are in place to build a hotel in Kingston which will include casino gaming.

February 19:   HAMAS is planning to prevent the casino in Jericho from ever opening again soon after it forms the new Palestinian Authority cabinet, sources claim.
      Oasis Casino, which opened in 1998, is the only casino in the Palestinian Authority areas. Owned by Casinos Austria, the casino was shut shortly after the beginning of the intifada in September 2000.
     “They can only dream of reopening this damned place,”  a source close to Hamas tells The Jerusalem Post. “We’ll never allow the casino to operate. ”
      Other sources claim that the casino will be turned into a mosque. “I’ve heard from top Hamas officials that this will be one of the first things that they will do when they take over the Palestinian Authority,” the source  says. “I don’t think many Palestinians will be unhappy to see the casino wiped off the face of the earth. ”

      Although it is located in Jericho, the casino never obtained a license from the Jericho Municipality. Instead, it operated under a special license from the PA Finance ministry.

February 21:   THE owner of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas will consider selling the popular property located off the Las Vegas Strip after receiving a number of proposals to buy it.
      Hard Rock Hotel, which owns the Las Vegas hotel and casino, did not provide any details on a potential selling price or how many proposals it has received.
     “The company has determined that it will explore a potential sale,” it said in a statement. “There can be no assurances that this process will lead to a transaction. ”

February 21:   SINGAPORE’s venture into the casino industry is unlikely to harm its campaign to attract Islamic investors opposed to gambling, the monetary Authority of Singapore has claimed.

Singapore wants to market itself as a center for Islamic finance, which bans interest and shuns investment s in industries like gambling, brewing and tobacco a strategy that could put it in competition with financial centers in the Muslim world.
      Singapore has also dropped a ban on casinos and unveiled US $ 5bn plans to build two casinos to rival those in Las Vegas and Macau.
     “Investors will basically look at the (Islamic finance) products and at who will approve those products,” Ng Nam sin, the authority’s head of financial-center development, told Reuters. “It’s up to the investors to decide. ”

February 24:   THE UK’s first gaming academy has opens in Blackpool, Lancashire. Blackpool and The Fylde College has built its own training casino and courses ranging from GCSE to foundation courses for degrees are available to students aged over 18.
      Students will learn skills such from operating a roulette wheel and table to machine maintenance and legal and management issues.
      The project has been backed by gaming company Gala Casinos. The college is also set to receive the Beacon Award, a Centre for Excellence in Leadership award for innovation in curriculum leadership development.

February 24:   BRITISH casino operator London Clubs International agrees to seal its flagship casino Les Ambassadors to Twin wood for £ 115m in cash. “The disposal of Les Ambassadors will allow the group to develop its casino estate and build out the new licenses it has secured in London and the regions,” London Clubs chairman Michael Beckett said in a statement. The Proceeds of the disposal will be used to reduce London clubs ’ debts.

February 24:   WYNN  Resorts lost US $11.4m in the fourth quarter. The result compared with a loss of $127.7m in the same quarter of 2004.
      Excluding $16.5m in charges, the company earned $ 5m, compared with $12.8m the previous year.
      Chairman and chief executive Steve Wynn said the Wynn Las Vegas resort, which opened in April 2005, ‘dominated’ other Strip properties in average room rate per night, win per slot machine and win per gambling table.
      The average daily room rate was $278 in the quarter, up from $274for all of April to December, with occupancy at 93 per cent. Each slot machine took in $252 a day, while each gambling table brought in $ 8,842.

February 25:   CHINA’S Internet media and content providers pledge stronger self-regulation and legal measures over pornography, gambling and other ‘unhealthy content. ’
      The Internet Society of China passed several self-regulation agreements in 2005, pledging to improve the conduct of internet industry participants and promote and ensure the sound development of the internet industry in line with the law. ’

February 25:   TWO Las Vegas clubs are put on notice for allowing celebrity Paris Hilton’s underage boyfriend into their establishments on New Year’s Eve.
      Tao Asian Bistro in The Venetian and Body English at the Hard Rock Hotel received warning letters last month from the Clark Country Business License Department after investigators determined that Starves Niarchos, 19, was allowed into the clubs.
      Both clubs were told they had violated county code, but were not issued citations because operators had co-operated with county agents, the letters said.

February 25:   A BILLS   package regulating the gambling industry will be considered by the Moscow State Duma in its first reading on March 10, 2006, the State Duma’s schedule confirms.
      The draft gambling industry bill will stiffen the requirements imposed on the market’s participants. If the bill is passed, a bank security of RU300m and RUR150m in equity will be required to open a casino or a gambling house.

      Winnings must comprise no less than 80 percent of play. The bill will also set stricter requirements governing the facilities in which gambling houses and casinos may be established, and introduce mandatory licensing for such institutions.
      A bill canceling the licensing of gambling equipment production for the next six months will also be considered in its third reading.

February 26:   GENTING’S net profit   for 2005 records a 34 percent increase over the previous year and breaks the billion-ring it mark ever, at RM1.25bn. Revenue for 2005 hit RM5.45 bn, a 17 per cent increase compared with RM 4.65bn a year ago.

February 26:   MGM Mirage reports record fourth-quarter and full year 2005 financial results. Net revenues increased 65 per cent to $1.8bn for the quarter.

March 1:   CARDIFF, Wales officially launches its bid for a UK regional casino license, tied into the city’s attempt to become an Olympic host city for 2012.
      The International Sports Village project, around which the Olympic bid is centered, can only be completed in time if Cardiff is chosen as the venue for a regional casino. The development, delivered through a regional casino, will be available to provide valuable training facilities by 2010 to support the 2012 games, and provide a legacy as an International  center of sporting excellence for the future.

March 1:   LATEST figures show a decline in the numbers of gambling licenses in New Zealand since the introduction of the Gambling Act 2003.
      Since June 2003, gambling operators have gone down 25 per cent from 699 to 526 by the end of last year. Venues were down 18 per cent from 2,122 to 1,747, and gambling machines dropped from 25,221 to 21,343, a decline of 15 per cent.

March 5:  REVENUE at the Boardwalk casino complex on the Port Elizabeth beachfront in South Africa increases 15 per cent for the six months to December  31, as more foreign tourists descended on the city.
      The casino complex’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization also rose by 20 percent during the same period.
      Sun International chief executive Peter Bacon attributes the increases in revenue to increased market penetration, stronger local economy, and more international tourists visiting the city as more cruise ships docked at the harbor.

March 6:   A Federal judge orders Rod Stewart to pay Harrah’s more than US $3m for a cancelled Las Vegas show in December 2000.
      The British rocker’s lawyers are also forced to pay an additional $153, 483 in contempt-of-court sections and legal costs for failing to torn over information to lawyers for Harrah’s Entertainment before trial last year.

March 8:   DONALD Trump may be in trouble after he failed to save several years of corporate emails that are key to his lawsuit against the developers of the Seminole Hard Rock hotels and casinos in Florida. The messages span from about 1996 to 2000 and would go a long way toward determing whether Trump’s case should be tossed out of court for not being filed in a timely manner.
      Broward Circuit Judge Jeffrey Stratified is less than happy. “I don’t have the patience for this,” he says. “This has been going on too long to have to listen, and I don’t mean to be disrespectful, to this doubletalk. There has to be an attitude adjustment from the plaintiff. ”

I Would not hesitate to change that date by two, three or four weeks or four weeks even if it would cost us another US $ 7m or $ 8m if I were sure that I could enter the market with a better level of service than anybody has seen. Macau is our opening gambit in Asia. It’s the beginning of our role as an Asian company and therefore the moment shouldn’t be wasted or squandered. ”
Steve Wynn has big plans for the Wynn Macau resort, which may now see its September 5 opening date delayed.

     “WANT a windfall worth hundred of millions of pounds?  It’s really not as hard as you think. All you have to do is run a betting business. ”
      Journalist Nick Matheson in UK newspaper The Observer

     “WITHOUT hesitation, Macau. ”
      Peter Barge, author of the The Little Book of Big Decisions when asked where in Asia he would put his money.

“I WILL say that focus is on Asia and on Europe. But I can’t say any more. I haven’t spent the past five years on aero planes to these places just so that our competitors can get out there first. ”
      Ladbrokes – renamed from Hilton – chief executive   Chris Bell.

“I’M putting my family first. What we’ve achieved in one year I don’t think most businesses achieve in a decade. ”

      Richard Segal on his decision to step down as PartyGaming chief executive.

“WE think we have a very good chance to win. ”
      Harrayh’s chief executive Gary Loveman is confident about the company’s Singapore bid.

     “ WE are trying to give women what they want an opportunity to learn the game in a less testosterone-driven environment. ”
      Ben Fried, betfaur’s head of poker, on the company’s new pink female only microsite.

     “ I ASK whether it is possible to have a proper experiment with regional casinos if you have only one. There is a very good case for regional casinos in economic and regeneration terms but it will only be a proper experiment if you we increase the number from one to around eight. ”
      Terry Lloyd, the MP  for Manchester Central, UK.

“SOMEBODY who has on the market perhaps the most expensive property in Florida doesn’t retain emails? That’s a tough one. ”
      Broward Circuit Judge Jeffrey stratified is stunned by Donald Trump’s lack of technological nous.

     “WHAT is the point in a pilot scheme if the government is going to increase the numbers to eight before the first brick has even been laid?”
     UK Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Hugo Swire, attacks government plans.