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Archive for August 9th, 2018

Philippine President Vows to Block All New Casino Projects in the Country

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has reiterated his commitment to prevent any new casino resort projects from materialization in the country just a day after he said he would block the construction of Landing International Development’s $1.5-billion integrated resort in the Manila Bay area.

The Hong Kong-listed company received earlier this year a provisional license from PAGCOR, the Philippine gambling regulator, to build and operate an integrated resort in Entertainment City, a larger gaming, accommodation, and entertainment scheme in the Manila Bay area introduced by the country’s government late last decade and aiming to boost the local tourism industry.

Landing broke ground on its project yesterday, but shortly after a spokesperson for President Duterte announced that the country’s top official had no intention to allow the project’s materialization.

The Philippine President himself said today during a speech at the 117th Police Service Anniversary celebration in Quezon City that he hates gambling and that he would not authorize the construction of new casinos in the country. The official further advised that interested developers should better look for “something more enticing”.

President Sacks Nayong Pilipino Foundation Board

It also emerged yesterday that President Duterte has fired the entire board of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation as part of his efforts to prevent the controversial casino resort project from being carried out.

The foundation was established back in 1972 with a Presidential Decree to run the Nayong Pilipino cultural theme park in Pasay, Metro Manila. Landing has secured a 75-year lease agreement with the foundation as part of its pursuit of expansion in the Philippines.

However, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said yesterday that the President found the deal particularly disadvantageous, to a great extent due to its 75-year term. President Duterte himself said that a 75-year lease for the operation of a casino resort was not something he would allow.

Price-tagged at $1.5 billion, the NayonLanding integrated resort would have featured a casino gambling facility with 239 slot machines and 155 gaming tables, several hotels with a combined of more than 1,500 rooms and suites, a convention center, water parks and other entertainment options, and a number of food and beverage facilities, among others.

Landing said during the property’s groundbreaking ceremony that it expected it to attract between two and three million visitors per year. The resort was expected to open doors at some point in 2022, under the terms of the developer’s license from PAGCOR. An earlier opening date would have not been possible as under a February 2017 resolution, no casino resorts should be launched in or near Entertainment City until 2022, so that the area’s gambling industry has enough time to “mature”. At present, there are three operational resorts in Entertainment City and a fourth one is slated to launch in the early 2020s.

Following the comments made by President Duterte’s spokesman on his behalf, Landing said yesterday that its project would push through as the lease contract for the property “was valid and effective”.

The post Philippine President Vows to Block All New Casino Projects in the Country appeared first on Casino News Daily.

MGM Places Lion Mascot at Springfield Casino Entrance ahead of August 24 Opening

Preparations for the upcoming opening of Massachusetts’ first commercial casino resort are in full swing as MGM Springfield is just a little more than two weeks away from opening doors for visitors.

Local news outlets reported Tuesday that the $960-million integrated resort had its mascot – a 600-pound golden lion – placed at its entrance ahead of the August 24 launch of the property. The lion was crafted by Las Vegas-based George M. Raymond Co. and will welcome visitors and guests of the complex from the valet area of its parking garage.

The MGM Springfield developer and operator, MGM Resorts International, is traditionally placing lions at the entrance of all its MGM-branded properties. Leo the Lion, as the mascot is called, has different versions and different heights and weights across the different MGM casino complexes. Most prominently, MGM Resorts International runs integrated resorts in Las Vegas and Macau, but its operations are not limited to the world’s two largest gambling hub, as, as it can be seen, it is a fortnight from expanding into Massachusetts.

MGM Springfield will feature the state’s first commercial casino after lawmakers and voters approved the legalization of Las Vegas-style casino gambling in 2013 and MGM Resorts was selected as one of the preferred bidders for developing a casino facility as part of a larger resorts and was issued the necessary license in 2014.

The Las Vegas-based giant’s property was originally expected to open doors last year, but design changes and construction of surrounding infrastructure hampered that initial plan from being realized.

Aside from a gaming floor, MGM Springfield, which is spreading across several blocks in downtown Springfield, will also feature multiple food and beverage options, a six-story hotel, different entertainment facilities, and a seven-story parking garage with spaces for up to 3,400 vehicles.

MGM Resorts has recently announced that the parking will be free of charge to visitors and guests of its resort when it opens doors, a diversion from the policy implemented by multiple casino operators across Las Vegas to charge patrons for parking.

Diversity Praise

As part of the terms of its gaming license, MGM Resorts has promised to hire around 3,000 people at its MGM Springfield property, most of whom from the city and the region. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission recently praised the company for being on track to reach that target and for the diversity of its staff.

According to data from subcontractors MGM has been working with, around 21.6% of the workforce hired has been represented by minorities. The casino resort operator has previously introduced a goal of at least 15.3%. Women have made up for 8.53% of the hired workforce, compared to a previously set goal of 6.9%, while veterans have comprised 8.95%, compared to a previous goal of 8%.

It has also been reported that 36.6% of the hired casino staff are represented by Springfield residents, and that 52.8% are members of minorities, compared to a previously set goal of 50%.

The post MGM Places Lion Mascot at Springfield Casino Entrance ahead of August 24 Opening appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Brady Holiman Tops WPT Choctaw $3,700 Main Event

Brady Holiman is the brand new WPT champion after the player outlasted the 755-strong field of the WPT Choctaw $3,700 Main Event for his career’s largest cash of $469,185 and the chance to compete in the season-ending Tournament of Champions.

Holiman entered the official six-handed final table of the prestigious tournament holding a commanding chip lead, and held on to it until the very end. The player was responsible for four of the five eliminations during that final stage of the game, which helped him cement his chip leader position.

Winning his first WPT title did not take that long on the final day of the WPT Choctaw at Choctaw Casino in Durant, Oklahoma. The six finalists returned for action at about noon local time and the whole ordeal lasted less than four hours.

The official final table of the event included two former WPT champions – Anthony Zinno, who was looking to scoop his record-tying fourth-title from the series, and Tony Ruberto, who was vying for title number two. The two players were both short-stacked at the beginning of the final table. And they were both eliminated by the eventual champion.

Zinno went out in fifth place, good for $125,630, while Ruberto was eliminated in fourth for a cash prize of $166,605. Timothy Domboski, who entered the final table second in chips, was actually the first to leave that final stage of the tournament. The player was, too, busted by Holiman to hit the rail in sixth place, good for $95,780.

Holiman then gave Day 1A chip leader Viet Vo the chance to perform the fourth elimination of the day. The player busted Christopher Smith in third place to secure himself with a spot in the head-up match. Smith took home $223,370 for his deep run.

Two-Handed Action

Heads-up only took 16 hands. The match began with Holiman holding 17.775 million in chips to his final opponent’s 12.425 million. Despite his efforts, the latter never managed to take the lead during the short duel. At one point, he nearly evened the stacks, but Holiman quickly doubled through him to make sure that he maintained his lead.

Hand #122 turned out to be the final one of the final table. It saw Vo raise to 450,000 from the button and Holiman three-bet to 1.2 million from the big blind. Vo four-bet to 2.7 million after taking some time to decide on his move.

Holiman then, too, gave it some thought before announcing all in for 20 million with [As][Js]. Vo called instantly for 9.9 million, tabling [Kd][Kh]. The board ran out [Jc][Jh][6d][3h][7d] to secure Holiman with the coveted title and send Vo in second place, good for a cash prize of $302,725,

The fourth-ever edition of the WPT Choctaw Championship drew a field of 755 entries who generated a prize pool of $2,548,225. The top 96 finishers received a share of the money, with min-cashes starting from $2,932.

Next up on the WPT Main Tour schedule is the WPT Borgata Poker Open at Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. The $3,500 Main Even part of the festival’s schedule is slated to take place on September 16 through September 21.

The post Brady Holiman Tops WPT Choctaw $3,700 Main Event appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Twin River Announces August 28 Closure Date for Newport Casino

Twin River Management Group has confirmed a closing date for its Newport Grand Casino in Newport, Rhode Island. The property is slated to be shuttered on August 28 and its gaming license will be transferred to the company’s newly built Twin River Tiverton Casino in Tiverton, Rhode Island.

The latter property is scheduled to hold its grand opening on September 1, or a month ahead of its originally planned launch.

Twin River’s new hotel and casino complex will feature a gaming floor occupying 100,000 square feet with 1,000 slot machines and 31 table games, as well as multiple dining facilities, a parking garage, and an 84-room hotel, among other facilities. As mentioned above, the Twin River Tiverton property will operate under a license previously belonging to the Newport Grand Casino.

Twin River originally planned to invest $75 million into its property, but upped its investment later on to eventually spend $140 million. Earlier this year, the company received regulatory approval to operate gambling around the clock at its Tiverton property. Alcohol will not be served during overnight hours.

The Tiverton Town Council approved in May the around-the-clock provision of gambling services at the new gambling venue for a period of one year under a pilot program. Owners of the property will be required to present town officials with quarterly reports on public safety and the impact the casino operations have on the local community. After the one-year pilot program is completed, town officials will conduct a review to determine whether the around-the-clock provision of gambling services will be kept or the hours during which visitors will be able to gamble at the property will be reduced.

Dover Downs Merger

Aside from the upcoming closure of its Newport property and the launch of its Tiverton one, Twin River and its parent company Twin River Worldwide Holdings will also be busy completing its recently announced merger with another gaming and entertainment company.

News emerged last month that Twin River would combine its operations with Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment amid a massive consolidation wave within the US casino and gambling space and following the recent annulment of a long-standing ban on the provision of sports betting in the United Statesbu the US Supreme Court.

The deal will see Twin River, which is a private company, become a publicly traded entity. It will also allow the hotel and casino operator expand across additional states and leverage on Dover Downs’ experience in sports betting as it has been operating in Delaware, one of the few states where this type of activity was legal before the SCOTUS ruling from earlier this year. The two companies will thus be better positioned to adjust to the changing US gambling environment.

The deal is subject to approvals from regulators where the two companies operate properties as well as to other customary closing conditions.

The post Twin River Announces August 28 Closure Date for Newport Casino appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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