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Nutshell

Penn National Gaming opened an integrated gaming and racing facility to replace Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Pennsylvania. With its 2,000 slot machines, Penn National’s racino is the seventh gaming facility to open in the state. Revenues from the slots, in addition to benefiting the state, are expected to give a major boost to purses at the racetrack. When live racing resumes in the spring, average nightly purses will start at an all-time high of about 0,000. ? Ameristar Casinos Inc. has opened another phase of its St. Charles, Missouri expansion, its 400-suite luxury hotel. The first 100 oversized luxury rooms opened last month and 100 will be opened each additional week until the entire hotel is operational. The spa and pool are scheduled for completion in the spring. Once that happens the resort will be renamed Ameristar Casino Resort Spa in St. Charles. The total package will include a 7,000-square–foot spa, indoor/outdoor pool with cabanas and fire pits, 2,300-space parking structure, and a high-energy nightclub called HOME (already opened). Also already open is the 130,000–square-foot casino with 3,000 slot machines and nearly 100 gaming tables, seven restaurants, and convention center. ?   Costa Rica and Antigua are each seeking individual arbitration from the World Trade Organization for compensation from the U.S. over the internet gambling ban. The new arbitration requests could possibly disrupt the agreement reached in December by the U.S. and the European Union. ?  Plaintiffs in a lawsuit in Great Britain are suing two major drug companies over the side effects of Mirapex, a drug for Parkinson’s Disease that has a side effect of promoting gambling addiction. The plaintiffs say the two drug companies, Boehringer Ingelheim and Pfizer, failed to sufficiently warn them that the drug could aggravate gambling compulsions, and subsequently, they lost tens of thousands of pounds gambling. ? Detroit businessman Tom Celani will pay cash for a 20 percent share of the Greektown Casino once Michigan gaming regulators give the go-ahead. Celani was one of the original investors of Greektown’s rival, the MotorCity Casino, and has developed casinos in California, Nevada and Oklahoma. As part of the deal with the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, he will be president of casino operations. “I’m excited, because it’s always been my passion to do this. I wanted to be involved in the project. It was part of the negotiations. I didn’t want to sit on the sidelines,” he commented. ? The Nevada Gaming Commission voted to approve the Goldman Sachs investment fund purchase of Carl Icahn’s American Casino and Entertainment Properties. The .3 billion sale would give Goldman Sachs the Stratosphere on the Strip and two Arizona Charlie’s casinos in Las Vegas, as well as the Aquarius in Laughlin. Jonathan Langer, managing director of Goldman Sachs and Co., told regulators that upscale development on the north end of the Strip leaves the Stratosphere in a very strong position. Langer said the Whitehall fund is prepared to invest million in upgrades, with million going to transform retail space at the Stratosphere into meeting space, million to change a bingo hall at Arizona Charlie’s Decatur into meeting space and a million room renovation at Aquarius. ACEP recently spent million to renovate rooms at Aquarius. Langer and two other Goldman Sachs executives were approved in Nevada as casino owners in 1996 for a 40 percent stake in the Las Vegas Hilton. The group also holds a passive, minority stake in the .4 billion privatization of Station Casinos.   
Slovenian casino and hotel operator HIT has become the majority partner in Casino Ljubljana with its investment of 4.4 million euro in the property. State funds Kad and Sod are minority owners, but will run the company. Talks are underway to appoint Jana Gerbec, current member of the Hit management board, to lead the casino, but a decision awaits approval of the Finance Ministry on the issuing of new shares in Casino Ljubljana.  ?  The multi-billion dollar Pagcor City project in the Philippines will soon have its first two foreign casino operators. The chairman of state gaming company Pagcor, Ephraim Genuino, said that the awarding of the licenses would coincide with the planned launching of Pagcor City sometime this spring.  ?  Wynn Las Vegas Resort in Las Vegas was awarded its second consecutive Mobil Five Star and American Automobile Association’s Five Diamond awards. The Tower Suites at Wynn Las Vegas is the only casino resort in the world to receive both the Mobil Five Star and AAA Five Diamond awards. In addition, Wynn Las Vegas was honored with the esteemed Michelin Guide’s Five Red Pavilion award in the premiere edition for Las Vegas in 2008. It is the only resort in Las Vegas to achieve this distinction and one of only nine in North America. 

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