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Archive for April 13th, 2019

Florida Senate President “Encouraged” by Progress of Gambling Deal Negotiations

Florida Senate President Bill Galvano said earlier this week he is “encouraged” by the progress of talks between the state Legislature and the Seminole Tribe on a new gambling deal

Sen. Wilton Simpson has been tapped as the lead negotiator in the ongoing discussions with tribal officials. The legislator is slated to replace Mr. Galvano as the state Senate’s top official after the 2020 elections.

Sen. Simpson has been negotiating a new gambling agreement with Jim Allen, CEO of Seminole Gaming, the gambling arm of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The state hopes to land a new deal with the tribe before the current one expires at the end of May.

The tribe and the state signed their original compact in 2010. Under provisions of that agreement, the Seminoles were granted exclusivity over the provision of blackjack at its casinos across South Florida. In exchange, the tribe has been contributing a share of its revenue to the state.

The exclusivity portion of the compact expired nearly four years ago and state legislators and tribal officials have been trying to negotiate a new agreement since then. Attempts for the involved parties to reach a deal have even ended up in court at some point.

The Seminoles argued that the state had violated the terms of the original compact by allowing pari-mutuels to offer the so-called designated player games. A federal court judge sided with the tribe saying that the controversial games violated its blackjack exclusivity. Tribal officials even threatened to stop the annual payments to the state.

Florida’s former Governor Rick Scott managed to make peace with the tribe and save the hundreds of millions of dollars the state received from tribal casinos.

However, those payments are now threatened if a deal fails to be reached by the end of May. The state’s Legislature has estimated that it could receive up to $350 million from the tribe. However, the Senate removed that additional revenue from the proposed budget for the next fiscal year to prevent any significant financial impact from the potential failure of negotiations.

Table Games Exclusivity and Sports Betting

Commenting on media reports that a deal is under discussions, Senate President Galvano said Wednesday that “there’s still a lot that has to be done before anything can be finalized, but I am encouraged.”

The top Senate lawmaker also revealed that the authorization of the tribe to provide sports betting was part of the ongoing discussions. Last May’s landmark ruling of the US Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on the practice and multiple states have moved to legalize it since then.

It is believed that the Seminoles are urging the state to join the sports gambling frenzy and that the tribe is looking to be granted exclusive rights over wagering services.

Digital betting and additional table games for the Seminole casinos across Florida have too been part of the ongoing discussions, sources familiar with the matter have said.

While there seems to be progress, it should be noted that even though an agreement is reached, this does not necessarily mean that it would be approved by the House and by Gov. Ron DeSantis before the end of the legislative session on May 3.

And the state’s new Governor could stand in the way of the gambling agreement. Asked about his opinion on the matter, the legislator has said that he would certainly veto any proposal that benefits “just one little piece” over “a larger constituency.”

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The post Florida Senate President “Encouraged” by Progress of Gambling Deal Negotiations appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Elio Fox Wins SHRP Showdown Super High Roller

The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown $50,000 Super High Roller is now in the books, and it was high roller expert Elio Fox who topped the tournament’s field

The player scored his second super high roller win at the host venue, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, in less than a year. Last August, Fox emerged victorious in the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open $50,000 Super High Roller, so in a way he defended that title with his most recent triumph.

Fox came atop a field of 20 fellow high roller regulars earlier this week. Of his opponents, the player said that it was a really tough tournament and that he loved playing with “the group of guys that was there”.

The tournament featured a guaranteed prize pool of $1 million and the top four finishers received a share of the money. Fox’s payout amounted to $440,000. The player’s latest cash was far from his largest ever, though. Back in 2011, the poker pro was crowned the victor of the WSOP Europe Main Event in Cannes, France for a first-place payout of €1.4 million.

But here is how Fox took down the Super High Roller at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood.

A Tough Field

The single-day super high roller event took place on Wednesday, April 12. As mentioned earlier, it attracted 20 entrants, all of whom seasoned high roller players with quite some experience in higher buy-in events.

Fox himself admitted that it was a tough tournament. The player also pointed out that he has been playing a lot with the rest of the event’s entries. Knowing his opponents might be of great help in poker tournaments like this one.

As mentioned above, only the top four places paid. The bubble burst when poker star Darren Elias clashed into Alex Foxen to hit the rail and become the unfortunate bubble boy. It was Ali Imsirovic who scooped the tournament’s minimum payout. That player, too, was eliminated by Foxen to collect $120,000 in prize money.

It took a while before another player left the table. It was Fox who dominated action during three-handed play. Eventually, the player eliminated Foxen to further cement his momentum and enter the heads-up match against Sam Soverel with a massive advantage. As for Foxen, his third-place finish earned him a $180,000 payout.

Fox never looked back and quickly weakened his final opponent’s defense to claim the title and the top prize. On what turned out to be the final hand in play, Fox limped from the button and Soverel raised to 45,000 from the big blind. Fox re-raised and Soverel called, effectively moving all in.

Fox tabled [Kh][Qc] to Soverel’s pocket fives. The board ran out [9c][9h][2h][10d][Kc], earning Fox the title and the top cash and sending Soverel to the rail in second place for a consolation prize of $260,000.

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Bloomberry Targets Mid-2019 Groundbreaking on Quezon City Casino

Philippine business magnate Enrique K. Razon, Jr. shed on Thursday important details about his integrated resort operation’s plans to build a new Solaire-branded property in Quezon City

The businessman told reporters that Bloomberry Resorts Corp. is on track to commence construction on its new resort in mid-2019, business news outlet BW BusinessWorld writes.

First reports about Bloomberry’s plans to expand its Solaire brand beyond the capital Manila emerged in 2016. Last summer, the company confirmed that it intends to materialize those plans. Bloomberry currently operates Solaire Resort & Casino in Manila. The property was the first integrated resort to open doors as part of a government-spearheaded mega-scheme known as Entertainment City that aims to boost the city and the nation’s tourism industry.

Mr. Razon said Thursday that Bloomberry’s new property will be called Solaire North. The businessman went on to say that they have finalized the masterplan for the project. They are yet to estimate the total cost, but Mr. Razon told reporters that they expect to be done by mid-April or early May. An official announcement for the masterplan will then follow.

Bloomberry has secured all the necessary permits to proceed with the construction of the latest addition to its portfolio of properties, it also became known. That includes a Letter of No Objection (LONO) from Quezon City officials.

On Track for Mid-2019 Construction Start

Mr. Razon said that they will host a groundbreaking ceremony as soon as the site is cleared. Bloomberry targets June or July start of construction of what would operate as Solaire North.

The resort will feature a 40-story tower that will occupy a 1.5-hectare site inside the Vertis North complex. Solaire North will include hotels, food and beverage and entertainment facilities, and a casino. Bloomberry has said previously that it would look to capture mass market gamblers from Quezon City and the nearby Pampanga and Bulacan provinces.

Details about the new integrated resort are revealed amid a bitter dispute between the Quezon City local government unit and the Philippine gambling regulator PAGCOR over a proposed introduction of a casino entry fee for residents of the city.

Last month, Quezon City officials passed an ordinance that gave the green light to Bloomberry’s project but included a requirement that city residents be charged a levy in order to be allowed access to Solaire North’s gaming floor.

PAGCOR argued that Quezon City’s local government unit had no authority to impose such a fee or to regulate games of chance in any other way. Mr. Razon said Thursday that they would not involve themselves in the row and that they have been given the nod to move forward with their project.

Aside from domestic expansion, Bloomberry is also eyeing Japan’s nascent casino market. Mr. Razon said that they are looking for locations and are in talks with Japanese businesses for potential partnerships. The company also currently owns the Jeju Sun Hotel and Casino on South Korea’s Jeju Island.

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Melco Picks Tourist-Busy Hubs for Ayia Napa, Paphos Casinos

Melco has selected tourist-busy locations for its final two satellite casinos in the Republic of Cyprus

Macau casino giant Melco Resorts & Entertainment announced Thursday the locations of the two satellite casinos it plans to open in the Republic of Cyprus later this year, local news outlet the Cyprus Mail reported.

Under the terms of its gaming license from Cypriot authorities, Melco can operate up to five casinos – one main gambling venue and four satellite facilities – across the Mediterranean nation. The company launched a temporary facility near the site where its main resort, City of Dreams Mediterranean, would be built, in June 2018. Construction on the luxury hotel and casino complex is expected to commence any day now in Limassol.

Melco’s first two satellite casinos opened doors late last year – one in the Cypriot capital Nicosia and the other at Larnaca International Airport.

The company’s final two satellite facilities will open in Ayia Napa and Paphos. Both cities are major hubs for international visitors of the island nation.

The Ayia Napa casino will be located on Archbishop Makarios Avenue, right next to Faros Hotel. The facility will thus join the busiest part of the popular seaside resort. The gambling venue is slated to open doors this summer. An exact opening date is yet to be announced by casino owners.

When Is The Final Satellite Casino Opening?

The Paphos satellite casino will be located at the end of Aphrodite Avenue. Melco said that it would build the gaming facility and other amenities over 2,600 square meters of land. The actual satellite casino will occupy 550 square meters. The property is expected to open doors in late 2019.

Both facilities will feature approximately 50 slot machines each, as required under Cyprus’ gambling law.

Commenting on yesterday’s announcement, Craig Ballantyne, Property President of City of Dreams Mediterranean and Cyprus Casinos (C2), Melco’s Cypriot casino business, said that both locations they have selected for their two new casinos are ideal as they are in the heart of Ayia Napa and Paphos’ tourist areas.

Mr. Ballantyne went on to say that they aim to “establish Cyprus as a year-round destination and contribute to the growth of the tourism market as well as sustainable economic growth.”

According to recently released data by the Cypriot Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission, the nation’s three operational casinos attracted nearly half a million visitors in the period between June 2018 and January 2019. Casino patrons gambled more than €210 million and some €175 million was paid out in winnings.

The temporary casino in Limassol was the major draw with its 242 slot machines and 33 gaming tables. The facility will remain operational until the opening of the main casino floor. As mentioned earlier, construction of Melco’s first integrated resort outside Asia and the largest property of this kind in Europe is slated to commence any day now. The company targets 2021 opening of the luxury hotel and casino complex.

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