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Archive for March 9th, 2019

Soho House Owner Rumored To Be Buying Caesars’ Rio Casino

The owner of a chain of private member clubs is reportedly courting Caesars to buy its Rio Casino

California businessman Ron Burkle has reportedly set eyes on Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, the Caesars-owned casino resort best known for hosting the World Series of Poker since 2005. Rumors about the property’s sale have been flying for the better part of a decade now, but a deal has never occurred.

Moreover, Caesars has denied its rumored intentions to divest the property on several occasions over the years.

Celebrity gossip website Page Six started the latest round of reports earlier this week. The rumor mill has churned out suggestions that Mr. Burkle has expressed interest in the Las Vegas hotel and casino resort. The businessman is the owner of the Soho House chain of private clubs, restaurants, cinemas, and bedrooms. Mr. Burkle’s business includes properties across Europe, North America, and Asia. According to Page Six, the billionaire businessman is also the owner of a company that specializes in buying underperforming assets.

Page Six also reported citing unnamed sources that the businessman plans to place Scott Sibella in charge of Rio. Mr. Sibella recently stepped down as President and Chief Operating Officer of MGM Grand.

Previous Sale Reports

As mentioned above, rumors about a potential sale of Rio have been floating around for years. The first round of such rumors emerged in 2010 when unnamed sources claimed that Harrah’s Entertainment, the property’s then owner, was seeking a buyer and that the resort had a number of suitors, with offers for its purchase going all the way up to $500 million.

It emerged in 2013 that the parent company of online poker giant PokerStars was interested in acquiring Rio as part of its strategy to return to the United States after it was shamefully banished from the nation in the years after the implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. Those reports were actually confirmed by PokerStars’ owner. However, a deal never took place.

Las Vegas blog Vital Vegas reported last year that Caesars was “highly motivated” to sell Rio and that the property had at least three suitors at the time. There were also reports later in 2018 that the resort was up for sale and that an interested buyer intended to demolish it and transform it into a Major League Baseball ballpark as Las Vegas seeks to attract sports franchises in a bid to grow its popularity among diverse groups of visitors.

Rio opened doors in 1990. The property features 2,500 hotel rooms, a casino with 1,100 slot machines and 90 table games, entertainment and dining facilities, convention space, and a number of other amenities. As mentioned above, the property has most notably been home to the annual WSOP poker festival. According to separate reports, Caesars plans to relocate the poker series to Caesars Forum, a $375-million convention center currently under construction in Las Vegas. The Forum is expected to open doors in the early 2020s.

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The post Soho House Owner Rumored To Be Buying Caesars’ Rio Casino appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Roulette Scam Discovered at Cyprus’ First Casino, Police Arrest Dealer

Police arrest dealer at Cyprus’ first casino after CCTV footage showed roulette tampering incidents that resulted in a player winning €5,800

Police in the Cypriot city of Limassol have arrested a live dealer working at the city’s C2 casino on suspicion that he has tampered with the roulette wheel to help a player defraud the casino out of €5,800, local news outlets report.

The casino employee was arrested by police last night. Police officers are looking for a second suspect, the player who collected €5,800 from the casino after being assisted by the detained dealer.

Police were alerted about the suspected conspiracy and fraud at the casino floor by the manager of security at the facility. Upon examination of CCTV footage, security staff members detected 18 different incidents of tampering the roulette wheel in the period between February 6 and March 2. As a result, a customer of the casino amassed €5,800 in winnings.

News about the suspected fraud at the gaming facility arrived as the property’s parent company, Hong Kong-listed casino giant Melco Resorts & Entertainment, is gearing up preparations to launch two more satellite casinos in Cyprus and to break ground on its main integrated resort in Limassol.

The C2 casino currently operational in Limassol is only a temporary facility that will remain open until the larger resort with the main casino floor launch in 2021. Melco debuted the facility last June.

The casino and hotel company and its local partner – Cyprus Phassouri (Zakaki) Ltd. – launched two satellite casinos – one in the Cypriot capital, Nicosia, and the other at Larnaca International Airport – by the end of 2018. As mentioned above, Melco will launch two more facilities of this type later this year – one in Ayia Napa and one in Paphos.

Construction of the Main Resort Expected to Begin Soon

News emerged last month that Melco has picked the preferred contractors for the development of its first integrated resort outside Asia. Greek construction companies GEK Terna and J&P Avax were announced as the winning bidders for the right to build the property that will be the first of its kind in Europe.

Melco has decided to bring its popular City of Dreams resort brand to Europe, naming its new resort City of Dreams Mediterranean. As the company has selected the preferred contractor, it is now almost ready to break ground on the property. Construction is expected to commence in April, according to reports by local media. The resort is expected to open doors in 2021, if no major obstructions occur.

City of Dreams Mediterranean will feature a casino with Las Vegas-style gaming options, a luxury hotel, retail space, convention facilities, and diverse food and beverage options. Melco initially planned to invest €550 million into its first European resort, but later on said that the final investment would exceed that amount.

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MassGaming Clears Legal Hurdle, Ready to Publish Wynn Probe

A Nevada judge dismissed earlier this week a suit filed by Steve Wynn, seeking to stop the publication of a report on sexual harassment allegations leveled against him

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission cleared earlier this week a major obstacle preventing it from finalizing and publishing the results from a probe into the suitability of Wynn Resorts to operate the $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor resort.

Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez dismissed this past Tuesday a case initiated by businessman Steve Wynn, who argued that his former company Wynn Resorts had improperly communicated information to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission that had violated attorney-client privilege.

Mr. Wynn filed his lawsuit last November, while the Massachusetts gaming regulator originally planned to complete and deliver its probe’s findings in December. Judge Gonzalez blocked temporarily the publication of the report as she wanted to hear more from all involved parties before making a final decision. The commission’s investigative team initiated the investigation following the publication of a Wall Street Journal report detailing decades-long pattern of sexual misbehavior by Mr. Wynn.

The billionaire businessman founded Wynn Resorts and served as the company’s CEO until February 2018, when he stepped down following the release of the WSJ article.

MassGaming’s investigative team looked into the sexual harassment allegations leveled against the businessman by Wynn Resorts staff and whether claims that Wynn Resorts intentionally covered harassment incidents were true. The regulator intends to use the findings from the probe to determine whether the Las Vegas hotel and casino operator is suitable to operate Massachusetts’ second full-scale casino.

Off-Court Settlement

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted last month to settle the issue with Mr. Wynn’s legal team off the court’s floor. The regulator said back then that its decision was based on its wish to avoid protracted litigation that could have further prevented it from publishing the results from its probe ahead of the planned opening of Encore Boston Harbor.

Wynn Resorts has been selected as the preferred developer and operator of an integrated resort with a full-blown Las Vegas-style casino in in the city of Everett in the lucrative Greater Boston area. The company is set to open its $2.6 billion property in late June.

Commissioners are now expected to move on with the publication of their report in the months preceding the planned launch of the luxury resort.

Wynn Resorts was also a defendant in Mr. Wynn’s suit involving the communication of privileged information. And while the casino operator has cleared that legal hurdle, its court troubles are far from over, with Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, one of the losing bidders for the Greater Boston casino license a few years back, suing the Las Vegas company and other defendants and claiming that the selection process conducted by MassGaming was marred by cronyism and a number of other improprieties.

According to Sterling Suffolk, Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria received kickbacks for facilitating the acquisition of the land where Wynn Resorts planned to build its resort, if it won the casino license bidding process. The racecourse seeks $3 billion in damages arguing that it was victim to a compromised land acquisition deal and licensing process.

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Japan Enhances Problem Gambling Measures ahead of New Casinos

Japanese lawmakers craft new rules to curb problem gambling ahead of the opening of the country’s first legal land-based casinos

The Japanese government announced Thursday plans to roll out a set of measures aiming to address widespread gambling addiction concerns as part of a larger legislative effort drafted by lawmakers to pave the way for the opening of the nation’s first casinos.

The Japanese Diet intends to require horse race and pachinko operators to use facial recognition systems to prevent gambling addicts and problem gamblers from fueling their addictive behavior by being easily admitted to gambling facilities.

Lawmakers believe the implementation of facial recognition across racetracks and pachinko parlors could help operators identify people who have self-excluded from gambling or whose families have requested restrictions on their entry into gambling facilities on their behalf.

Japanese officials said, cited by local news outlet the Japan Times, that their plan to introduce further limitations regarding gambling addicts’ admission to pachinko parlors and racetracks would also include the removal of automated teller machines from all existing gambling locations.

Lawmakers’ plan will cover betting on bicycle and speedboat racing, the other two legal gambling options in Japan, aside from pachinko machines and betting on horse races. The government will review the new problem gambling prevention measures every three years, it also became known.

When Will the New Measures Take Effect?

The government said Thursday that the facial recognition measures and other related restrictions will be introduced at pachinko parlors during fiscal year 2019, which ends in March 2020. As part of the plan, the nation’s welfare ministry will examine the effects gambling addiction has on child abuse during the same fiscal year.

The draft legislation introduced on Thursday also calls for Japan’s education ministry to step up education efforts on gambling addiction across the country’s schools.

The newly penned legislation further includes the implementation of a system that will enable problem gamblers to set a maximum limit on the number of horse and boat race betting tickets they can purchase online. That system is expected to be rolled out during fiscal year 2020.

The nation’s gambling industry will be required to craft advertising guidelines that will aim to quench problem gambler’s desire to gamble. The plan involves setting up addiction consultation offices in Japan’s prefectures and major cities. That part of the government’s scheme is expected to be realized around fiscal year 2020.

As mentioned above, the newly introduced framework aims to pave the way for gambling addiction prevention measures that would curb the negative impact expected to be incurred once the nation’s new casinos open doors.

Japan legalized casino gambling in December 2016 and is now crafting the necessary regulations and rules under which the country’s casino industry will be run. Problem gambling and gambling addiction has been a major topic of discussion since the legalization of casino gambling in the country, which has already been battling the consequences of the exploding popularity of pachinko.

According to a recent study, around 3.2 million Japanese nationals have suffered from gambling addiction at some point in their lives. There have been concerns that number could increase drastically once casinos become operational in the mid-2020s.

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