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Archive for April 11th, 2019

The Star to Announce Contractor for Brisbane Casino Resort Within Weeks

Excavation work at the site of the Queen’s Wharf resort nears completion, the actual construction phase is slated to begin in late 2019

The winning bidder for the construction of the A$3.6 billion Queen’s Wharf luxury integrated resort in Brisbane will be announced within weeks, news outlet the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Geoff Hogg, Managing Director Queensland for Australian casino operator The Star Entertainment Group, said today that “somewhere in the next four to six weeks” they will announce the successful tender that “will start building the main core and shell of the Queen’s Wharf development.”

The Star is the leading partner in Destination Brisbane Consortium that was selected back in 2016 as the winning bidder for the development and operation of an integrated resort in Brisbane’s Central Business District. The company won the race over its biggest archrival Crown Resorts.

Mr. Hogg went on to explain that the soon-to-be-announced winning tender will be tasked with the “core concrete and […] shell” of the resort. Tenders for internal fit-outs will follow at a later stage. Announcing the winning tender for the primary construction work will mark an important milestone and the shift from excavation toward the start of construction, Mr. Hogg said today.

Excavation work began early in 2017. Mr. Hogg explained today that phase is now almost complete. Workers have so far demolished a number of government-owned buildings to prepare the site for setting the foundations.

The Timeline

Mr. Hogg explained that they expect to reach an important milestone in mid-2019 when all 450,000 cubic meters of soil and rock would be taken out and the hole in the ground would be finished. Foundation work is slated to begin shortly afterwards. Actual construction work is likely to commence by Christmas.

They expect to be ready to begin ground level work by mid-2020. The luxury resort will feature a massive underground car park.

The Star targets 2022 opening of a major part of its property. The launch will include three hotels, one operating under The Star brand, as well as Dorsett-branded and Rosewood-branded hotels, food and beverage facilities, public spaces at the flagship Sky Deck, The Landing, and Waterline, and retail spaces.

The gaming and hospitality giant currently runs Brisbane’s Treasury Casino. That facility will be closed when the main resort is finished and The Star will relocate its license to a larger casino at its the Queen’s Wharf resort. As for its old gaming operation, it will be transformed into a retail center.

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Circa Resort & Casino Reaches Important Construction Milestone

The brand-new Circa Resort & Casino reached an important milestone Tuesday morning as first concrete was poured at the property which is currently under development in downtown Las Vegas

A convoy of 205 trucks delivered the 2,050 cubic yards of concrete that were poured Tuesday morning at the site of the future casino resort to set out its foundation.

Circa will occupy the landmark 18 Fremont Street site. It will be the first casino resort property to be built from the ground up in downtown Vegas in more than three decades. The hotel and casino complex is slated to welcome its first visitors in late 2020.

Businessman Derek Stevens is the visionary behind the future fixture on the shiny Las Vegas skyline. Mr. Stevens attended the first concrete pouring and talked to media about his latest endeavor. The businessman said that the Tuesday event “marked one of the first of many incredible moments in the story of Circa” and that they were “literally and physically laying the foundation for what’s to come and can’t wait to introduce Circa’s exciting new offering” to downtown Vegas’ 24 million annual visitors.

Mr. Stevens is also the owner of The D Las Vegas and Golden Gate Casino. His existing properties are part of the Fremont Street Experience and of the businessman’s strategy to re-imagine downtown Vegas and offer a new unique kind of experience to visitors. Circa will, too, be part of that process.

What We Know About Circa So Far

Circa’s hotel portion will feature 777 hotel rooms and suites. Mr. Stevens has previously said that the resort will focus on suites as he believes there are not enough of them in downtown Vegas to meet the growing demand for that type of accommodation.

Circa will also feature a two-level casino with multiple slot stations and table games. The split-level casino concept has mostly been avoided over the years, but Mr. Stevens has deployed it at The D and now wants to further develop it at his new property.

Sports betting will take center stage at Circa. Mr. Stevens has promised that his new resort will include the largest sportsbook in Las Vegas with the “biggest screen” in the history of sportsbooks. The new sports betting facility will also boast a multi-level stadium-like design to further enhance sports fans’ experience.

Mr. Stevens has tapped Steelman Partners to oversee the property’s architecture and design, while McCarthy Building Companies Inc. was selected as contractor and Tré Builders as construction manager. The new resort is expected to open doors in December 2020.

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Cyprus’ British Bases Laud Successful Crackdown on Illegal Casinos

Cyprus’ British bases lauded the successful end of their four-year crackdown on illegal casino activities conducted within their jurisdiction

The British Forces Cyprus stationed in Cyprus’ Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs) of Akrotiri and Dhekelia said during a Tuesday press event that they have successfully clamped down on all illegal gambling operations within their jurisdiction.

The British bases launched a crackdown on illegal casinos in 2014. During the Tuesday press event at the Akrotiri police station, Superintendent Dinos Petrou said that all illicit activities have been eradicated.

Mr. Petrou went on to say that they have invested a “considerable amount of police hours to combating this crime” and lauded the “outstanding work of our officers” and their partners at the Cyprus Police, “who have played a major role alongside us.”

The Tuesday event marked the end of a four-year operation carried out by the bases. SBA authorities launched the clampdown in 2014 after spotting nine illegal casinos operating within their jurisdiction.

The crackdown included multiple raids, arrests, confiscation of equipment and cash, and legal actions.

British base authorities seized more than €31,000 in cash, imprisoned ten individuals for their participation in the illegal gambling activities and fined heavily 30 others for their wrongdoings. The operation also saw more than €100,000 being paid out in bails over thee past few years.

Helping Local Schools

During their raids, British base authorities confiscated more than 1,500 personal computers that were used for the operation of illegal gambling by the involved individuals. The computers were wiped clean and a number of them were donated to local schools.

Mr. Petrou said Tuesday that they have established good relationships with many of the schools both in and outside the SBAs, so they decided to help local students with their education by donating equipment they would be able to use on a daily basis.

Authorities admitted their efforts to purge the illegal gambling operations hit many roadblocks. Many of the targeted casinos were built in areas near or partly falling within the jurisdiction of Cypriot authorities. This necessitated their joint work with the Cyprus Police.

Mr. Petrou said they will remain vigilant against any renewed illegal gambling activity and that those breaching the law will be prosecuted harshly even after Great Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong gaming and hospitality giant Melco Resorts & Entertainment has broken ground on its City of Dreams Mediterranean integrated resort in the Cypriot city of Limassol. The luxury property is expected to open doors in 2021 and to become the first Las Vegas-style casino complex on the territory of the Republic of Cyprus.

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Kansspelautoriteit Hits’s Owner with Six-Figure Fine… Again

Five years after its first fine from Kansspelautoriteit, ONISAC is served a fresh course of good old regulatory wrath

The owner of has once again fallen foul of the Netherlands Gambling Authority. Kansspelautoriteit said Tuesday that it has imposed a €450,000 fine on Gibraltar-based online gambling company ONISAC Limited for repeated violations of Dutch gambling regulations.

The recent financial penalty was the latest development in a years-long row between the Dutch gambling regulator and ONISAC and its sister company Mansion.

In a Tuesday statement, Kansspelautoriteit said that the hefty fine comprised several components. In the first place, ONISAC was slapped €200,000 for servicing Dutch gambling customers without the necessary authorization to do so. That initial fine was doubled to €400,000 for repeated violations of the gambling regulations of the Netherlands.

The remaining €50,000 of the overall fine was imposed because ONISAC charged Dutch players what Kansspelautoriteit labeled “unreasonable administration fee.” ONISAC’s Dutch gambling customers were charged a 5% levy each month if they were inactive for 180 days. The fee started from $15 and had a maximum threshold of $500.

The levy was charged until players had funds in their accounts. Kansspelautoriteit said in its statement that ONISAC’s online gambling operation has put customers at “an unreasonable disadvantage.” stopped accepting Dutch gambling customers in September 2018, and closed all Dutch accounts the following month.

Mansion/ONISAC’s Lengthy Row with Kansspelautoriteit

As mentioned earlier, this is not the first time ONISAC has received regulatory spanking for targeting Dutch players with its products. In 2014, the company and its sister operation Mansion were fined €150,000 for conducting business in the Netherlands.

The companies moved to contest the financial penalty in the Hague District Court. In a ruling issued in July 2017, the court sided with Kansspelautoriteit, stating that the regulator was right to punish the unauthorized provision of gambling services to Dutch customers.

Mansion and ONISAC appealed the ruling in the Council of State, but the latter supported Kansspelautoriteit’s cause of hunting down and penalizing erring operators.

As pointed out above, bid farewell to the lucrative Dutch market in the fall of 2018. The operation’s owners have probably thought it would be the most reasonable move to exit the Netherlands for a while in anticipation for the passage of the Remote Gambling Bill. The piece of legislation had been stuck in the Dutch Parliament for the longest time before it was eventually approved in the Senate this past February.

The bill’s enforcement will pave the way for the liberalization of the Dutch gambling market and its opening to international operators. Interested companies will be able to obtain licenses issued by Kansspelautoriteit and conduct business in a regulated environment.

However, Dutch lawmakers agreed that gambling operators that have previously violated the local regulations will have to serve a two-year blackout period before being allowed to apply for a Dutch gambling license. With two fines on its record, ONISAC could potentially be among those operators that would be forced to serve the two years of punishment for previously servicing local customers.

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