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Nutshell

  • The Missouri Gaming Commission, which opened bidding last month for a casino site at Sugar Creek, has received one bid, from Wild Rose Entertainment. Wild Rose operates two casinos in Iowa and will be developing a casino complex in Kansas City, Missouri. The existing casinos in the Kansas City market are unanimous in opposing a fifth one, but the commission considers that irrelevant. Wild Rose proposes to spend $135 million for a casino with 1,200 slot machines, a hotel, dining and meeting rooms, all built around a riverboat casino that would be the smallest in the area. The commission met in late March to further refine the process.
  • The question of casinos on Taiwan was put on hold last December, but now presidential candidates from two parties there have said they would be for establishing casinos. The election was set to take place March 22.
  • Arizona’s gaming tribes will add nearly 3,000 more slot machines this year at the state’s dozen casinos. They will also be allowed to add 19 percent more table games. This will give the state a total of 18,158 slots and 3,318 gaming tables if all the tribes take their allocations. The state tribal gaming compact under which the tribes operate allows them to increase their gaming offerings every five years as long as the state’s population increases. Tribal casino managers say that they will add as many as they are legally allowed to. There’s a growing demand for the higher-limit machines, and for slots that have dramatic and glamorous new graphics that make them seem like video games. Movies are a popular theme.
  • The first of five former Eldorado casinos in the Ukraine has been re-branded to the Olympic Casino Opera by its new owner, Olympic Entertainment Group. The 423-square-meter casino has nine tables and 37 slots.
  • New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine to casino operators: If you build in Atlantic City, don’t assume the partial smoking ban will last. Corzine considers Atlantic City’s current ban-which limits smoking to no more than 25 percent of the casino floor-a temporary measure that will one day give way to a total ban. April 15 is the first anniversary of the partial ban. “People shouldn’t be building under the assumption that they’re going to get this partial ban,” the governor told the Associated Press. “I feel very strongly about moving forward with a total ban.”
  • The Iowa House has passed a public smoking ban that exempts casinos, bars and restaurants. The bill goes to the state Senate, which earlier approved a version with no exemptions. A House-Senate conference committee is expected to resolve differences between the two.
  • Trump Entertainment Resorts has appointed chief executive Mark Juliano to the company’s board of directors. Juliano was named CEO last year after James Perry resigned amid rumors he had clashed with Donald Trump, chairman of the board and top shareholder. Perry had also served as a member of the board of directors.
  • A Thunderbird Resorts casino in the Philippines is drawing 60 percent of its visitors from the nearby town that rejected it. The company tried but failed to get approval for a Fiesta Casino in Baguio five years ago. Now, Baguio residents drive an hour to La Union to play. The Fiesta Casino at Poro Point draws between 1,000 and 2,000 people a day. A 40-room luxury hotel will open in April 2008.
  • Las Vegas Sands Corp. is moving ahead with plans for its flying casinos to shuttle customers between Macau and Las Vegas, but the Nevada Gaming Control Board wants to make sure the company is keeping a close eye on what happens in the air. Regulators want to make sure the company has a system in place to know how much money is wagered in international air space and how much is wagered at the company’s Las Vegas casinos. “We want to ensure that the gaming that occurs on the aircraft is segregated from the gaming activities in Nevada,” Control Board member Mark Clayton said.
  • Wynn Las Vegas will open the Encore Suites in December 2008. Encore is a complement to Wynn Las Vegas, expanding on the existing property’s accommodations, culinary offerings and leisure activities. Encore will bring five new signature restaurants, 11 retail outlets, seven cozy bars and lounges, an ultra-chic nightclub and a luxurious spa and salon. Encore features 2,034 suites ranging in size from 700 square feet up to 5,800 square feet. It also brings 60,000 square feet of event space, adding on to the 200,000 square feet available at Wynn Las Vegas.
  • From the If-You-Think-U.S.-Regulators-Are-Tough Department: In 2006, China’s gambling crackdown resulted in the arrest and prosecution of 1.13 million gamblers and the seizing of 3.5 billion yuan ($445 million). The Ministry of Public Security is honing in on internet cafés, where young people meet to play multi-player games, and online gaming, which “has ruined the online environment and harmed young people’s growth, which runs against the policy of building a harmonious society,” according to a government circular.

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