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Nutshell

Another casino has closed its doors in the U.K. The Grosvenor Casino at Leeds called it quits after 40 years of operation. Reasons given for the move by operator Rank Group included the 500 percent increase in gaming tax since September 2007. A new casino in the city center had opened one month prior to the closing.
Increased efforts to combat money laundering are planned by the government of Nicaragua. Casinos and other companies where money is transferred will be regulated in this area by the Commission of Financial Analysis, which is headed by the Attorney General’s Office.
Michigan’s Saginaw Chippewa Tribe has repealed a tribal law barring unions at the S oaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mount Pleasant, which Teamsters Local 486 tried to organize. The move heads off a National Labor Relations Board ruling on unfair labor practices the Teamsters claim. “We got 99 percent of what we wanted,” says a union agent. The tribe maintains NLRB has no jurisdiction over the casino as part of a sovereign nation.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed Senate Bill 1369, which allows charities to run remote-caller bingo games and bars such groups from raising money with electronic bingo machines, to which state gaming tribes claim exclusive rights. Charities and tribes had pursued their goals separately; the bill was a hurried compromise lawmakers saw as preventing threatened cutoffs of tribal revenue sharing. Many small charities expect the new law to put them out of business.
The first nationwide Mega Jackpot has been introduced in Poland by Casinos Poland. The progressive system links slot machines from the group’s six full casinos. The group is 33-percent owned by Vienna- and Colorado-based Century Casinos.
Birmingham, Alabama Mayor Larry Langford wants a local vote in November to legalize electronic bingo at the Birmingham Race Course. The machines would bring the city $20 million a year, Langford says. Most city councilors favor the idea, but Alabama lawmakers would have to enact a law to put a favorable vote into effect. Governor Bob Riley opposes the plan.
As expected, the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs has taken an 11-acre casino site into trust for California’s Habematolel Pomos tribe of Clear Lake. The land, 115 miles northeast of San Francisco, goes into trust for the restored tribe under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 unless the move is challenged within 30 days. Backed by Luna Gaming of Detroit, Habematolel plans a $35 million casino with 349 slots upon gaining a state gaming compact.
The management of Slovenia’s Casino Maribor says the casino is again facing insolvency. A debt reorganization started in 2003 has not yet been completed and already there are new problems. If the court does not OK the start of the new reorganization, the casino will be forced to file for bankruptcy. If the court does agree, management will draw up a recovery plan by the end of 2008. The casino is said to be seeking a strategic partner.
The three coalition parties governing Bulgaria have agreed to regulatory amendments that could lead to regulated online gaming. The amendment is intended to benefit the state lottery and will also expand the lottery’s distribution network.
The only Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville restaurant in the Northeast had its grand opening last month at the Mohegan Sun’s Casino of the Wind in Connecticut. “You can never have a bad time at Jimmy Buffett’s. So rock on,” announced Mohegan Tribal Chairman Bruce “Two Dogs” Bozsum. The Casino of the Wind is the Sun’s most recent expansion, and the grand opening of Margaritaville was much anticipated. It was a positive note compared to the tribe’s announcement earlier in the month that the rest of the expansion has been put on hold until the economy improves. The restaurant is nothing if not expansive, even including a life-sized airplane hanging from the ceiling.
The city council of Kansas City, Missouri is clarifying the rules of a public tobacco ban that was passed earlier this year in a voter initiative. The council last month approved a rule change that would permit smoking in establishments where more than 80 percent of the sales are related to tobacco. The rule change also made it clear that smoking in casinos can only happen in areas where minors are not allowed. The change will benefit casinos such as  the Harrah’s and Ameristar Kansas City casinos.
Empire Resorts Inc. and Concord Associates LP announced last month that it has received $250 million in financing for a $1 billion Catskills resort project from Union Labor Life Insurance Co., an insurer with close ties to organized labor.
Developers in Delaware want to build a harness racing track north of Millsboro, and plan to open in the summer of 2011. A one-mile- long track and clubhouse could be augmented by hotels, shopping and a family entertainment complex (not to mention a racino), say the developers.

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