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US State and Local Governments Rake in $40.8 Billion in Gambling Taxes

US governments on all levels, federal, state and local, received $40.8 billion in tax revenues from the rapidly growing gambling industry in 2017. The sector contributed $261 billion to the United States economy and employed more than 1.8 million people, a new study by Oxford Economics reveals.

The research, published this week by the American Gaming Association, uncovers the key role of the gambling industry in the nation’s economy. The latest data shows the striking impact of casinos on other sectors such as hospitality, finance, insurance, and real estate. The gambling business has also become a large employer, while tax revenue from it alone provides funds, which would allow for the hiring of 692,000 new teachers, says Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs for the American Gaming Association, in an official statement.

According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), casino gaming has expanded to multiple new markets in the past few years, supporting the development and funding of various community projects in education, healthcare, etc. In 2017, the total economic impact of the gaming industry was $261.4 billion. This figure refers to the business sales or the output, which includes much more than just casino revenues.

Instead, researchers at Oxford Economics took various aspects of the gambling industry into account. Native American casinos, for example, generated $33.7 billion in total revenue, while commercial casinos earned $55.7 billion, for a total casino revenue of $89.4 billion. Nearly $73 billion of it represents the gross gaming revenue, while the rest of the money was generated by lodging, food and beverage, and entertainment.

Another figure included in the 2017 statistics is the gaming manufacturers’ revenue, which totaled $6.3 billion. In addition, ancillary spending added another $13.3 billion – these are the purchases of casino patrons that are made outside the gambling facilities but are completely dependent on casinos. Overall, the total direct spending generated by the gambling industry last year was $109 billion. The commercial casino industry brought $40.8 billion in total tax revenues, $10.7 billion of which came directly from gambling.

However, the economic impact of the gambling sales far extends this figure and shows the sector’s actual potential for supporting employment and boosting revenues in many other industries.

Huge Economic Impact

As mentioned above, local, state and federal governments received $40.8 billion in tax revenues from the casino and gambling industry last year. As city and state coffers were boosted by billions of dollars, a wide range of projects and services were funded such as hospitals, schools, public safety, infrastructure projects, educational programs, etc. Interestingly, the total tax impact per household was estimated – it was $343 per US household. In other words, every household in the country received a share of the taxes collected from the gaming sector in 2017.

One of the most important roles of the gambling industry is its influence on employment in the United States, according to researchers. The Oxford Economics study shows that commercial casinos employed 361,000 people, while tribal casinos employed another 198,000 individuals in 2017. The income generated from this labor was $26.5 billion, estimates reveal. An additional 17,100 employees worked for gaming manufacturers, earning $1.1 billion.

Patrons’ ancillary spending, as explained above, directly generated 151,000 jobs in other sectors, with $5.7 billion in labor income. The gambling business supported a total of 727,000 direct jobs that accounted for $33.3 billion of wages, salaries, and tips, the report reveals. That is not all, however, and researchers explain that the business activity of the gaming industry has, in fact, caused a chain effect that ultimately generated indirect labor income of $18.3 billion.

Last, but not least, casino workers, as well as employees in businesses directly or indirectly influenced by the gaming industry spend on services and goods from completely different sectors. As a result, the induced labor income last year totaled $22.3 billion. Overall, the gambling industry supported 1.8 billion jobs that generated $74.0 billion in salaries, benefits, and tips.

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Zack Milchman Leads 69 Survivors to WSOP Circuit $400 NLH Monster Stack Final Day

WSOP Circuit regular Zack Milchman returns as a chip leader for the final day of $400 NLH Monster Stack tournament, which is currently underway at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek. This is the sixth event of the poker festival where a total of twelve WSOP gold rings would be given along with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash prizes.

The Seminole Casino in Coconut Creek, Florida, is now hosting the 2018/2019 World Series of Poker Circuit, one of the most prestigious poker tours in the world. The current, fifteenth season is taking place at more than a dozen venues, including Harrah’s Cherokee and Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood and Bally’s. The Seminole Casino Coconut Creek is one of the top locations with a festival that runs until Monday, September 24. There are a total of 12 official ring events, while the winner of the Main Event will also secure a free seat to the $1 Million GTD Global Casino Championship.

The sixth tournament at Coconut Creek kicked off Tuesday and 586 entries were registered over the two starting flights, pushing the total prize pool to $193,380. Only 28 players survived after Day 1A, led by Michael Perrone, while Day 1B ended with another 41 players who qualified for the second day of the event. Zack Milchman finished as a Day 1B chip leader with a massive stack of 842,000 in tournament chips. With such an impressive score, he is also on top of the overall leaderboard for the final Day 2 of the event.

A total of 69 poker enthusiasts and pros will return to the poker tables on Thursday and the top 63 of them will finish in the money. Milchman is followed by Perrone who bagged 653,000 after the first flight. Among the big stacks, we can also see Bill Farnan (596,000), John Gorsuch (592,000), Kammar Andries (555,000), and Ray Millard (529,000). The minimum cash guaranteed to those who make it to the paid places is $632, while the winner will receive a prize of $40,619.

Cory Blum Has the Biggest Stack for $600 Pot-Limit Omaha Day 2

Wednesday saw another tournament of the 2018/2019 WSOP Circuit starting at Seminole Casino in Coconut Creek in Florida. Cards got in the air at 4.00 p.m. for the seventh event of the festival, the $600 Pot-Limit Omaha, which attracted a total of 59 players and collected a prize pool of $30,385. After a series of eliminations, the play ended with only 6 entries remaining for Day 2 on Thursday.

When they sit on the final table this afternoon, they will be led by Cory Blum, a poker enthusiast from Plantation, Florida. He has a sizable advantage over the others and will start with 455,000 chips, followed by Jordan Dhanani who has 248,000, Craig Monrade with a stack of 174,000 and Benjamin Friesen who has 164,000 in chips. They will receive a minimum of $1,793, while the player who manages to dominate his competitors and survive until the end will take home $11,394.

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Okada Manila Operator Eyes Expansion in Japan

Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI), the operator of Okada Manila casino resort, is eying expansion in Japan following the country’s official ratification of the Integrated Resort Implementation Bill in July. The Philippines-based gambling company is now opening a Tokyo office, which purpose is to research the opportunities for entering this new and exciting casino market.

In a statement, released on Wednesday, the Universal Entertainment Corporation which owns Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment, announced the opening of a TRLEI branch in Tokyo. The company explained that the new office would look into the potential of the integrated casino resorts in Japan with regards to the recently passed legislation. In July, lawmakers in the Land of the Rising Sun finally ratified the Integrated Resort Implementation Bill, which would allow the construction of large gambling and entertainment resorts.

According to Universal, the Japanese branch could work in close cooperation with Okada Manila, which is the third integrated resort to open in the Entertainment City in Parañaque and the largest one in the Philippines. The casino’s experience in marketing and customer satisfaction could prove useful for a potential launch of a gambling business in Japan. That is, of course, if Universal secures a Japanese integrated resort license.

That would not be an easy task, considering that only three IR licenses will be granted. A large number of gambling operators have already expressed interest in entering the Japanese market. Some of the companies that are said to be competing for a license include Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited, MGM Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands Corporation. The Genting Group and Galaxy Entertainment are believed to also join the race for casino licenses.

The Universal Entertainment Corporation, on the other hand, may have an advantage over most operators, as it is based in Tokyo. Apart from owning Okada Manila, it is also a large manufacturer of pachinko games and slot machines.

Kazuo Okada Files Suit against TRLEI

The news that Universal is considering a casino expansion in Japan comes at a time when its former chairman, Kazuo Okada, is taking legal action against the firm and its owner, Universal. In May 2017, the Japanese gaming tycoon was removed as sole director of Okada Holdings, which owns 68 percent of Universal. The allegations against him included fraud and misappropriation of company funds, but the charges were eventually dismissed.

Now, Mr. Okada has filed a suit with the Parañaque City Regional Trial Court against his former company. He claims his ousting was conducted without any authority and violated the rules of the corporation. Last year, his daughter Hiromi and his son Tomohiro combined their shares, which gave them the controlling stake in the company. Soon after that, the siblings hired two new directors who eventually removed Kazuo Okada as a chairman.

Last month, the 75-year-old billionaire was arrested in Hong Kong by the Independent Commission Against Corruption in relation to unspecified corruption-related offenses, according to an official announcement by Universal. Independently from that, the Japanese businessman has now also demanded that the Philippine Stock Exchange would investigate the deal between Tiger Resort Asia and Asiabest Group International.

In addition, Okada has been involved in multiple scandals, including his partnership and close friendship with Steve Wynn which ended with a six-year legal battle and a settlement earlier this year.

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Pennsylvania Lifts Ban on Gambling Contributions

The law that prohibited casino operators and employees in Pennsylvania to contribute to political campaigns has been officially lifted. In a state, where the commercial casino revenue is second only to Nevada’s, the move gives the gambling industry a lot of political influence and lobbying power.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Sylvia Rambo struck the provision down, deeming it unconstitutional. According to her, the ban expanded to include a too broad category of individuals and companies. As per law provisions, casino owners, as well as anyone with a stake in gambling businesses, are prohibited to make donations to political campaigns. This includes even individuals who are only slightly associated with the casino industry and prominent casino employees such as managers and directors. Moreover, the law banned even insignificant cash contributions of $1, for instance.

Initially, the purpose of the legislation was to eliminate corruption and reduce the influence of the gambling industry in political decisions. In her opinion, however, Judge Rambo points out that in its current form, the ban exceeds the necessary scope of the original idea and that it acts as an overall prohibition of campaign contributions. It should, instead, has a clearer and narrower definition of the people who should be banned from donating to political campaigns.

The provision has been struck down temporarily once in the past, but except for this limited period of time, it has been in effect since 2004. This was the time when Pennsylvania legalized commercial casinos and the ban was seen as a tool to restrain the gambling industry’s influence over legislators and politicians. The matter is of a particular importance, considering the size of the casino industry in the state nowadays.

Pennsylvania is home to 12 operating casinos and another one, which is currently under construction. The industry has generated $3.2 billion in gross gaming revenue in 2017, $1.4 billion of which was contributed to the state as taxes, according to data released last month by the American Gaming Association. The figures clearly show that Pennsylvania has become the second biggest state for gambling after Nevada where the industry reported nearly $11.6 billion in annual GGR for the last fiscal year.

Pennsylvania Casino Revenue Rises 3% in August

Last month, the casino sector in Pennsylvania posted increased revenues compared to the same period in 2017. Slot machine revenue grew 4.42 percent to $201.7 million and although there was a slight decline in table game earnings, down 1.33 percent to $73.3 million, the total gaming revenue was up for the month. In August, the gross gaming revenue generated from the state’s 12 casinos was a little more than $275 million, a rise of 2.82 percent from August 2017.

According to the latest figures, released this week by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, seven casinos across the state saw gains year-on-year. Several facilities posted significant growth last month, including Parx Casino (up 8.51%), Rivers Casino (up 8.16%), Valley Forge Casino Resort (up 6.93%), SugarHouse Casino (up 6.86%), and Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course (up 6.28%).

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Russian Authorities Arrest 100 People in Illegal Gambling Crackdown

The Russian police have revealed an underground casino network in Moscow during a joint operation of several investigative offices. Following a long investigation and more than 80 searches of businesses and homes, authorities have detained 100 people, including the leader of the criminal organization, A. Bazhanov.

The news of the massive operation that uncovered one of the largest criminal syndicates in the Russian capital was announced Wednesday by the press service of ICR, an abbreviation for the Investigative Committee of Russia, which is the country’s anti-corruption agency. The investigation, however, was conducted in cooperation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the FSB, the Federal Security Service, which is the main successor agency to the former KGB.

With this large-scale operation, authorities revealed that the criminal organization has created a sophisticated network of 15 illegal casinos and gaming clubs in Moscow. They operated under the guise of legal bookmaker Panorama LLC since May 2016 and provided illegal gambling outside Panorama’s official premises. The betting company is working under several brand names, including GreenBet, UnionBet, and WinLine. Members of the criminal organization managed to conduct unsanctioned gambling operations using specialized equipment.

Investigators have cracked down on the activities of 15 Moscow casinos and detained 100 individuals after a huge number of offices and apartments were searched, ICR’s Yulia Ivanova said. Initially, 47 of them will be charged with different crimes, she added. According to her office, investigators have united a total of 12 criminal cases. This is certainly one of the largest operations against illegal gambling businesses in Russia in the past few years.

Underground Casinos Earned Millions of Rubles Every Month

The criminal syndicate that organized the illegal gambling and betting operations probably started as a much smaller activity of A. Bazhanov. Over a period of 2 years, the network expanded to around 15 gaming clubs and casinos, which generated revenues worth hundreds of millions of rubles every month. The leaders of the group had a lavish lifestyle, according to investigators. They purchased a top-tier real state, as well as expensive cars and other luxury items.

The structure of the network was neatly set up, so the different levels of the operation functioned separately. Many of the individuals did not know their fellow syndicate members but it was the leaders of the organization who were surrounded by the ultimate secrecy. Various technological innovations were used such as IP phones and messaging apps, there was a strict hierarchy, and accomplices’ tasks were clearly distributed.

This is not the first investigation against illegal gambling groups in Russia, with various underground betting shops and gaming clubs being uncovered across the country. According to the data revealed by authorities, however, this large-scale operation has eliminated one of the largest networks of illegal casinos in Moscow. The organization led by Bazhanov is also one of the biggest criminal groups uncovered in the capital.

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