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Disgraced Casino Boss Steve Wynn Sues MassGaming over Use of Privileged Information

Category : News

Mr. Wynn seeks to stop the release of MassGaming’s investigative report into sexual misconduct allegations against him
Former casino boss Steve Wynn is suing Wynn Resorts and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, arguing that the company he found has improperly provided the gaming regulator with privileged documents that the latter used for its probe into sexual harassment and misconduct allegations against the businessman.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission opened an investigation into the disgraced tycoon after the publication of a report by the Wall Street Journal that detailed a “decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct” by Mr. Wynn. Dozens of former and current Wynn Resorts employees claimed that they had been subjected to unwanted sexual advances by the businessman and that he had used his power to pressure them into “performing sex acts.”
The WSJ report was published in January and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission launched an investigation into the matter shortly after. Wynn Resorts is currently building the $2.4-billion Encore Boston Harbor integrated resort in the Greater Boston area. The property is slated to open doors next summer, but at one point during the ongoing investigation its future seemed very uncertain.
It emerged on Thursday that Mr. Wynn and his legal team filed a lawsuit against Wynn Resorts and MassGaming in a Nevada court on Wednesday. It is important to note that the businessman has quit the company and has sold his entire stock in it since the publication of the WSJ report.
In his lawsuit from Wednesday, the embattled businessman argued that his former company had provided the Massachusetts gambling regulator with documents “reflecting communications protected by Mr. Wynn’s attorney-client privilege and/or the common interest agreements he entered with Wynn Resorts.”
The lawsuit filing further read that the MassGaming probe has been conducted with a total disregard for Mr. Wynn’s privileged communications. The lawsuit seeks to stop the publication of the regulator’s investigative report in case it contains privileged information.
The lawsuit not a surprise
The gaming regulator said in a statement that it was not surprised by the lawsuit and that it has retained legal representation in Nevada to defend itself and to block Mr. Wynn’s effort to prevent the publication of the investigatory report.
The Gaming Commission is expected to release a full report with its findings during a hearing in December. The regulatory body opened the probe back in February to find out whether the allegations were true, who knew about those, and how the issue was addressed.
There were suggestions earlier this year that Wynn Resorts could lose its license for the development and operation of its integrated resort in Everett, a city located not far from Boston. The company was one of two major gaming and hospitality operators to have been issued gaming licenses by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, following the legalization of commercial casino gambling by the state Legislature a few years ago.
To distance itself from Mr. Wynn and the piling sexual misconduct allegations against the businessman, Wynn Resorts moved to change the name of its new resort from Wynn Boston Harbor to Encore Boston Harbor earlier this year.
News also emerged this week that Philip Satre will step in as Chairman of Wynn Resorts before the end of the year. Mr. Satre, a former Caesars Entertainment Corp. and Harrah’s Atlantic City CEO, is replacing D. Boone Wayson, who announced his retirement last month. Mr. Wayson was named as Non-Executive Chairman of the Las Vegas-based casino operator following the departure of Mr. Wynn in February.
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NT Racing Regulator Channels UK Gambling Commission, Raps Betfair for Responsible Gambling Failures

Category : News

Betfair was ordered to refund problem gambler after failing to spot “red flag behaviours”
Gambling operator Betfair, owner of the world’s biggest online betting exchange, was scolded by regulators in Australia’s Northern Territory for failing to identify “red flag behaviours” that showed a customer of the company had a serious gambling problem.
Betfair’s failure to spot its customer’s issues resulted in the latter losing hundreds of thousands of dollars within a few hours. The Northern Territory ruled that the company should refund the customer in question, described as Mr M in official documents, the amount of A$150,000 in “unlawful bets.”
The Commission’s ruling was issued last week and was concerned with a case dating back to February.
The Case
Mr M filed a dispute with the NT Racing Commission after gambling away more than A$190,000 within a few hours on Betfair’s website. Betfair is licensed in the Northern Territory to provide betting services to Australian customers and the local Racing Commission is the regulatory body that oversees the company’s activities.
According to official documents, Mr M requested on February 20, 2018 to have A$150,000 transferred from his Betfair betting account to his bank account after losing a significant amount of money on that day.
However, he managed to gamble away A$86,388 that had remained into his betting account a little over 20 minutes after making his initial request. The unfortunate bettor topped up his Betfair account with A$35,000 four hours later and gambled that amount within 47 minutes.
Mr M has told the NT Racing Commission that in what he has described as a “desperate mindset” he asked the gambling operator to reverse his earlier withdrawal request so that he could once again top up his betting account with A$150,000. The customer was initially told that a reversal of withdrawal request could not be canceled. However, after Mr M made several more calls to the company, a manager agreed to have his withdrawal request reversed in a one-off move. The gamble lost that A$150,000, too.

The Ruling
The NT Racing Commission has ruled that Betfair should refund Mr M the A$150,000 he had initially asked to be transferred to his bank account. The regulator has also said that Betfair clearly failed to detect a problem gambler, even though there were red flags that the customer the company was dealing had a gambling problem.
In addition, it came to the commission’s knowledge that Mr M had a history of problem gambling. The unnamed gambler self-excluded himself from gambling for six months in 2014 and had a one-month timeout on his wagering account in 2016.
In January 2018, a month before the February 20 incident that led up to his complaint with the Racing Commission, Mr M tried to have a A$40,000 withdrawal request reversed. However, his request was dismissed over “responsible gambling” considerations.
Betfair has told the commission that it could not have known that Mr M had gambling issues as he had never informed the operator about his problem and that it did not spot any “discernible indicators” in his gambling activity.
In its ruling, the regulator has said that Betfair failed to comply with existing gambling regulations and to detect “red flag behaviours”, and that if it had not failed to detect those, it would have suspended Mr M’s account and would have prevented him from losing a huge amount of money.
Aside from being ordered to refund its customer, Betfair was also fined A$13,175. That was the third time in the past year and a half that the gambling operator breached conditions of its license from the Northern Territory, the commission has noted in its ruling.
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Caesars CEO to Step Down, Company Signs Brand Sponsorship with New Raiders Stadium in Vegas

Category : News

Caesars CEO steps down after three years at the company’s helm; the casino operator becomes first founding sponsor of Las Vegas Stadium
Caesars Entertainment Corp. CEO Mark Frissora announced Thursday that he is resigning after three years in the role. Mr. Frissora will step down on February 8, 2019. The Las Vegas casino giant said during a conference call following the release of its Q3 financial results that it would appoint a search firm to find a replacement for its Chief Executive.

Mr. Frissora stepped in as CEO of Caesars in July 2015. The company was in the middle of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case at the time. It emerged from bankruptcy in the fall of 2017 under Mr. Frissora’s stewardship to embark on domestic and international expansion of both its gaming and non-gaming operations in a bid to improve its profitability and reduce its debt.

Caesars also reported its financial results for the third quarter of the year on Thursday. The company recorded net income of $110 million, up from a net loss of $433 million in 2017. Third-quarter revenue amounted to $2.19 billion, up from $0.99 billion in the prior year. The significant increase was attributed to the inclusion of the results of Caesars’ main operating unit, which emerged from bankruptcy last fall, as well as of the results of Indiana-based gaming company Centaur Holdings. Caesars finalized the acquisition of Centaur during the reviewed quarter.

In its financial report, the Las Vegas company provided comments on the recently emerged reports that it had been approached by businessman Tilman Fertitta with a merger offer. According to sources familiar with Mr. Fertitta’s intentions, the Golden Nugget owner had presented Caesars with an offer for a reverse merger that would have seen Caesars acquire Mr. Fertitta’s gaming, hospitality, and restaurant businesses in exchange for “a significant minority of Caesars’ common shares.”
The company said Thursday that after considering the proposal, it has decided to decline it as “it is not consistent with [its] plans to create and enhance shareholder value.” According to separate reports, Caesars is currently in talks to acquire Michigan-based gaming and hospitality corporation JACK Entertainment.

Raiders Stadium Partnership
News also emerged on Thursday, that Caesars has penned a 15-year agreement to become a founding partner of Las Vegas Stadium, currently under development in Paradise, Nevada and slated to become home venue of the Oakland Raiders as part of the franchise’s planned relocation to Las Vegas in the coming years.
As part of the partnership, the Caesars brand will be featured at the stadium’s entrances and drop-off zone. The agreement also involves digital signage as well as print, media, and radio assets, among others.

Caesars will be offering exclusive experiences to its customers and Total Rewards members. High roller casino players will be provided with even more enhanced experience, including access to training facility events and the special Caesars-branded owners suite located at the 50-yard line of the stadium, among others.
While the entrances and other parts of the stadium will feature Caesars-branded signage, it should be noted that the deal does not involve stadium naming rights. According to sources, the Raiders have been in talks with multiple other major companies that have been prone to sponsoring stadiums.
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Churchill Downs Acquires Majority Stake in Rivers Casino Des Plaines

Category : News

Churchill Downs acquires “crown jewel of Illinois gaming” in latest acquisition deal within the US land-based casino space
Gambling company Churchill Downs Incorporated announced on Wednesday that it has reached an agreement to buy a majority stake in Rivers Casino Des Plaines in Des Plaines, Illinois. The transaction involves Churchill Downs’ acquisition of “certain of the ownership interests” of Midwest Gaming Holdings, parent company of the gaming venue.

Rivers Casino Des Plaines first opened doors in 2011. The property is located two miles from O’Hare International Airport, and is thus able to benefit from domestic and international passenger traffic at one of the busiest US airports. The casino features a 44,000-square-foot gaming floor with nearly 1,000 slot machines and 58 table games as well as multiple food and beverage facilities and an event center.

Under the terms of the deal, Churchill Downs will assume ownership of at least 50.1% of Midwest Gaming and will pay no more than $500 million in cash to complete the transaction. Churchill Downs has thus agreed to buy 100% of the ownership stake in the Des Plaines-based casino’s parent company from Clairvest Group affiliates and co-investors for $291 million and additional units of Midwest Gaming currently owned by High Plaines Gaming, an affiliate of major gambling group Rush Street Gaming, which will result in a cash consideration of no less than $326 million.

It has also become known that Rush Street will keep managing the day-to-day operations of the Des Plaines casino. Once the transaction is complete, the company expects to hold approximately the same stake in the gambling venue as it currently owns.
The deal is subject to approval from the Illinois Gaming Board and other customary closing conditions and is expected to be finalized in the first half of 2019.

Crown Jewel of Illinois Gaming
Commenting on the deal, Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said that it came as part of his company’s strategy to invest in gaming properties with “stable, predictable cash flows in diverse markets.” the executive further pointed out that the Des Plaines casino is the “crown jewel of Illinois gaming” and one of the nation’s premier casinos.
The acquisition of Rivers Casino Des Plaines is not the first time Churchill Downs and Rush Street have engaged in a deal of this kind. In 2012, the former company bought Riverwalk Casino and Hotel in Vicksburg, Mississippi from Rush Street.

Greg Carlin, CEO of Midwest Gaming, commented on the recently announced transaction, praising Churchill Downs for creating significant shareholder value over the years and expressing optimism that Rivers Casino will continue to be one of North America’s most successful gambling destinations under the Churchill Downs and Rush Street stewardship.

The recently announced transaction comes as another manifestation of a growing trend of major US land-based gambling companies merging or acquiring properties in a bid to cement their positions in a highly competitive environment.
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Norwegian TV Host Sues Gaming Innovation Group over Failed Collab

Category : News

Popular television personality claims he has reached a verbal agreement entitling him to 3.4 million shares now worth NOK10 million
Popular Norwegian TV presenter Hallvard Flatland says he is entitled to 3.4 million shares in online gambling group Gaming Innovation Group (GIG) under a verbal agreement with company officials back in 2015. The company is being sued by the television host and the two parties met in the Bergen District Court this past Wednesday, local news outlets report.

Mr. Flatland has worked for Norway’s first commercial television station, TVNorge, as well as for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. He is best known as the creator and host of the nation’s most popular gameshow, Casino, which aired between 1989 and 1993 and then briefly from 2003 to 2004. Mr. Flatland is also an avid gambler.

According to court filing, the TV presenter believes he is entitled to 3.4 million GIG shares, which are currently valued at around NOK10 million. Mr. Flatland has told court that back in the spring of 2015, he reached a verbal agreement with former Nio Inc. Chief Executive and investor Kjetil Myrlid Aasen to receive shares in the gambling group as part of a collaboration that would have seen the TV host become a GIG ambassador. Nio, a gambling company itself, had just secured the acquisition of GIG at the time.

Deal or No Deal
Providing further details about the agreement, Mr. Flatland has said that it was reached on April 30, 2015 in Bergen. The involved parties did not sign any documents to officialize the deal, but the TV presenter has pointed out he was ensured a deal was reached. A new CEO was appointed to lead the combined entity, once the Nio/GIG deal was completed. Mr. Flatland contacted the newly appointed executive shortly after and asked for additional information on the agreement’s execution. However, the TV presenter was told that there would be no collaboration and that there was no agreement reached.

Mr. Aasen said in court that there was no deal of any kind, but admitted that he was approached by Mr. Flatland and that the latter asked to talk with GIG management about potential collaboration.
GIG Chairman Helge Nilsen represented the group in court on Wednesday. He explained that they were skeptical about the success of potential collaboration with Mr. Flatland. Mr. Nilsen further pointed out that the company did not have much money at the time and was not sure how its partnership with the TV presenter would help it.

On the other hand, Mr. Flatland said that as part of his agreement with GIG, he bought one million shares in the company to show his faith in its future. Mr. Aasen said yesterday in court that the purchase of shares was part of the capitalization of the gambling group and had nothing to do with the alleged agreement.

Gaming Innovation Group is headquartered in Malta, but operates offices in Oslo, Gibraltar, and Copenhagen, among others. Its activities include the provision of both B2B and B2C online gambling products.

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William Hill Makes £242-Million Offer to Buy MRG ahead of Major UK Gambling Industry Disturbances

Category : News

William Hill looks to expand European presence, diversify revenue mix, improve online performance with MRG marriage
William Hill today announced that it has made a cash offer to acquire Malta-headquartered online gambling operator Mr Green & co AB (MRG) as the British bookmaker is seeking to bolster its digital arm and amid tumultuous times for the UK gambling industry.

William Hill has offered to buy the online gambling company, which is based in Malta but hails from Sweden, for SEK69 per MRG share or a total consideration of SEK2.8 billion (approximately £242 million).

Assuming approval by Mr Green shareholders, the deal is expected to be finalized in January 2019. In a statement from earlier today, MRG has notified that its Board of Directors has unanimously recommended that the company’s shareholders accept the offer.

The transaction will extend the international footprint of William Hill’s online business and will help it establish presence in new markets. MRG’s online gambling brands Mr Green and Redbet currently operate in 13 markets, including Italy, Denmark, and the UK. The Malta-based gambling group has also applied for a license in Sweden.

In a statement from earlier today, William Hill has lauded both MRG’s sports betting and casino products and has pointed out that pairing with the company would allow it to strengthen its digital business, improve its revenue mix, and reduce its exposure to the UK gambling market, which is set to go through massive regulatory disturbances next year with the expected cut of the maximum FOBT stake and the implementation of a remote gambling duty hike.

Commenting on the offer, William Hill CEO Philip Bowcock said today:
“This proposed acquisition accelerates the diversification of William Hill – immediately making us a more digital and more international business. MRG will provide William Hill with an international hub in Malta with market entry expertise and strong growth momentum in a number of European countries. William Hill will move from a single brand to a suite of brands that can maximise growth opportunities moving forward in new and existing markets.”

The British bookmaker expects the deal to be accretive to earnings from year one of ownership before synergy benefits. It also anticipates synergy benefits of no less than £6 million per year. The synergy benefits are expected to be achieved progressively, with full delivery being anticipated by the third year after the completion of the acquisition.

Second Wave of Merger and Acquisition Deals
The UK gambling industry is facing massive regulatory challenges as Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced that the government will look to offset the losses from the planned cut of the maximum FOBT stake from £100 to £2 with an increased Remote Gambling Duty rate. Both changes will take force in October 2019 and come as part of Chancellor Hammond’s new Budget. Online gambling operators currently pay a 15% tax on gross gambling yield, but after the announced hike they will be required to contribute 21% of their GGY to the nation’s coffers.

Both the looming crackdown on the highly controversial FOBTs and the recently announced tax hike will hit William Hill’s profitability significantly. The British bookmaker owns one of the nation’s largest chains of betting shops with FOBTs, but its digital business has only shown mediocre performance over the past several years.
The introduction of the 15% Point of Consumption tax in 2014 sparked an unprecedented wave of merger and acquisition deals in the gambling industry. As a result, six of UK’s largest gambling companies paired to better position themselves in the changing landscape. The FOBTs clampdown and the new tax rate could certainly unleash a second wave of M&A activity and William Hill could become the main initiator of that wave.

Questions and comments about the plausibility of a marriage between William Hill and MRG have emerged immediately after the British bookmaker announced its intentions earlier today. While many would consider William Hill’s decision to acquire MRG a bit unexpected and its £242-million offer a bit too high, it should be said that the latter company has performed more than well over the past year. It has strengthened its position in the lucrative Nordics, has improved significantly its gaming product and has diversified its offering with a sportsbook, and has thus improved its financial performance.
William Hill will thus benefit from the addition of more brands to its portfolio and of revenue from European markets. It is also important to note that the proposed acquisition of MRG comes at a time when the British bookmaker is looking to cement its position in the recently liberalized US sports betting market.

William Hill has begun to gradually expand its sports betting presence beyond Nevada, where it has been operating sportsbooks for many years, and in other states where sports betting has become legal following the mid-May SCOTUS ruling that annulled a long-standing wagering ban. The company recently struck a deal with US casino operator Eldorado Resorts to lock up access to 23 million customers across the US. The deal has also made the British company Eldorado’s exclusive sports betting and online gambling partner across its 26 casinos in 13 states.
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Shuttered Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino Still Out of Luck, Gets Zero Bids at Foreclosure Auction

Category : News

Primary lender assumes ownership of failed Lucky Dragon casino resort; property receives no offers at foreclosure auction
The unfortunate Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino was released back to its primary lender after it got zero bids at a Tuesday auction in Las Vegas. Located in the northern part of the legendary Strip, the property filed for bankruptcy this past February after a little over a year of operation.

Lucky Dragon opened doors in November 2016, featuring Asia-themed hotel, casino, dining, and entertainment facilities. The property includes two buildings, one of which accommodates its hotel portion, while the other is home to the gambling venue.

Signals that the property had serious financial issues were there from the start. However, those issues seem to have grown rapidly, trapping Lucky Dragon in a downward spiral that eventually forced its owners to shutter the casino and dining facilities in January. The property faced foreclosure not long after and then filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February. The nine-story hotel closed doors early this month to seal the troubled resort’s quick demise. According to analysts, the Lucky Dragon’s failure to turn into a profitable operation was the swiftest one to have occurred in Las Vegas in decades.

Tuesday’s foreclosure auction saw Snow Covered Capital LLC, a company linked to California developer Enrique Landa and beneficiary of the failed property, assume ownership of Lucky Dragon. The 2.5-acre, 203-room hotel and casino resort was valued at $35-million as the bidding process began, but no offers were made above that initial price.

Property to Reopen Someday
Commenting on the outcome of the Tuesday auction, Mr. Landa told local news outlet the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Lucky Dragon was “a very well-built” property, but it was operated under the wrong business plan. The businessman went on to say that the resort could be very successful if in the right hands. Mr. Landa expressed confidence that Lucky Dragon would reopen one day but could not provide estimate when exactly that was going to happen.

According to Snow Covered Capital consultant Michael Brunet, the Tuesday outcome was quite unexpected as the sale of the property was “marketed very extensively” ahead of the auction. More than 80 prospective buyers had signed non-disclosure agreements, it has become known.

From a Vegas insider: “It doesn’t matter who bids on Lucky Dragon at the ‘auction,’ the primary lender is going to bid a dollar more.” #bankruptcytheater
— Vital Vegas (@VitalVegas) October 25, 2018
Popular blog about everything Vegas-related Vital Vegas recently tweeted that the plan was all along for the primary lender to acquire the failed property. In a separate tweet from yesterday, Vital Vegas said that Snow Covered Capital can now sell Lucky Dragon “on its own terms”.

The creditor (sole “bidder”), Snow Covered Capital, now has the option to sell it on its own terms, outside of bankruptcy process. As we shared recently, this was likely the plan all along, miracle offer notwithstanding.
— Vital Vegas (@VitalVegas) October 30, 2018
The hotel and casino resort was the first to be built from the ground up on the Las Vegas Strip in many years. It was heavily promoted as a property that aimed to cater to Asian high rollers by offering them authentic Asian experience. However, it failed to attract the desired clientèle and that paired with heavy financial troubles from the outset, caused the property’s swift demise.
Upon filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Lucky Dragon had nearly $50 million in loans from Snow Covered Capital and nearly $90 million raised by 179 foreign investors who sought US residency by participating in the so-called Immigrant Investor Program.
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New York Jets Partner Online Gambling Operator 888, Face Backlash from Football Purists

Category : News

Yet another NFL team joins forces with a casino operator as the league relaxes gambling advertising rules
The New York Jets have penned a sponsorship deal with online gambling operator 888 and football purists are not happy about it, news outlet the New York Post reported on Monday. The deal is set to be officially announced later this week, but 888 banners have already appeared outside MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the home stadium of the New York Jets.

Following the mid-May ruling of the US Supreme Court that struck down a federal ban on sports betting, the NFL reversed ahead of the new season a long-standing ban on casino advertising, allowing teams to partner with casino operators and advertise those in exchange for financial contributions.

However, the NFL rules still prohibit sports betting operations from being advertised by football teams. Aside from casino games, 888 also offers poker and sports betting services. Critics of the partnership between the Jets and the online gambling operator have argued that the fact that it offers wagering products crosses the line and violates NFL’s gambling advertising rules.

As mentioned earlier, the tie-up between the Jets and 888 has already manifested itself in the form of several orange banners displaying the logo outside MetLife Stadium. Sources familiar with the deal have told the New York Post that the banners do not violate league advertising rules as they do not specifically refer to 888sport, the gambling operator’s online sports betting operation.
However, critics have pointed out that the banners were “dangerously close to flouting the rules.” The deal is expected to be announced later this week, which means that more details about its scope are to emerge.

Normalization of Gambling through Ads
According to Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the National Council of Problem Gambling, advertising partnerships of this kind can have a big and lasting impact on young fans of football who go to the games. He told the New York Post that children and young people “will become much more inclined to see gambling as being part of the game.”

The four major sports leagues – MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL – were long opposed to sports gambling, arguing that the activity threatened the integrity of sports. However, the US Supreme Court ruled this past May against the leagues and annulled the long-standing federal sports betting ban. Since the ruling, league officials have softened their stance on the wagering issue and have been seeking a share of the proceeds generated from sports betting in the form of an integrity fee and advertising revenue, among other things.

The NFL decided to relax its advertising rules ahead of the new season, allowing teams to take advertising money from casinos. The Dallas Cowboys became the first team to align itself with a casino operator in early September, thus making history. It joined forces with Oklahoma-based WinStar World Casino.

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Andorran Government Extends Review of Casino License Appeals to November 27

Category : News

The government of the tiny nation needs one more month to review the paperwork filed by companies opposing the issuing of a casino license to local company Jocs SA
The government of Andorra has extended the deadline for issuing its response to the appeals filed against the granting of a casino license to November 27. Andorra officials had up to Monday, October 29 to decide what their next actions regarding the pressing issue would be.

The Andorra Chief Executive (Prime Minister), Antoni Martí, said Monday that the government needed more time to review the appeals as they all included huge volumes of documentation.
The issue stems from the issuing of a casino license for the construction of a boutique integrated resort in Andorra. The Andorra Game Control Board (Consell Regulador Andorrà del Joc (CRAJ)) selected this past summer local gaming company Jocs SA as the winning bidder for the development of the gaming and entertainment property.

Jocs SA had pitched an offer for the construction of a €15-million casino resort that is expected to create more than 160 new jobs and to annually attract 200,000 international visitors. The gaming and entertainment complex is also expected to generate over €90 million in an economic impact.
According to analysts, the fact that Jocs was a 100% Andorra-owned company was among the main factors in it being selected as the winning bidders. The tiny nation’s gaming regulator had received as many as 13 different bids, including a €105-million offer from Genting UK, subsidiary of Malaysian gambling and hospitality giant Genting Group.

The announcement about Jocs being picked as the winning bidder unleashed a wave of discontent among the other companies who had submitted offers and accusations that the bidding process had not been conducted properly.
Reports have also emerged that one of the companies has accused Game Control Board Director Xavier Bardina of interfering in the selection process.

What’s Next for the Andorra Casino Issue?
Following the announcement that Jocs would be granted the sole casino license, five of the unsuccessful bidders filed appeals, asking for a review of the bidding process and the opening of a new such process that would be conducted in a more comprehensive and transparent manner. Genting, Cirsa, Casinos Austria, Partouche, and Barrière were the five companies to separately appeal the issuing of a gaming license to Jocs.

Of these five, four (excluding Barrière) asked for annulment of the Game Control Board’s decision and the granting of the license. Jocs submitted the necessary documentation to be issued the license in July. The Andorran gambling regulator then had two months to review the company’s application. It extended the review by a month and then confirmed that it would use a second extension.
The regulator can only extend the process twice, which means that once the second extension period runs out, the body could issue the casino license ahead of the government’s decision on the matter. Involved parties have expressed concerns namely to the possibility of Jocs being awarded the contended license before the government’s decision.

As mentioned earlier, Andorra lawmakers have up until November 27 to review all appeals filed and to decide whether a new bidding process would be opened or Jocs would be given the go-ahead to proceed with the construction of the casino resort.
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Business Magnates Sheldon Adelson, Warren Buffett Clash Over Nevada Electricity Monopoly Ballot Question

Category : News

Casino boss Sheldon Adelson funnels $20 million into initiative aiming to break up Nevada’s electricity supply monopoly

Nevada has turned into an arena for a battle of billionaires as two business magnates are clashing over a constitutional amendment that aims to end the utility monopoly in the state. The amendment is set to appear on the November 6 ballot as Energy Choice Initiative, and has so far drawn more spending from the clashing parties than the Nevada Senate race, POLITICO wrote over the weekend.
Businessman Warren Buffett and his Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate company currently own NV Energy, the state-run monopoly known to be Nevada’s largest utility. Mr. Buffett has been found to have funneled $62 million to battle the Energy Choice Initiative. Among others, the camp of supporters of the initiative is represented by US casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who has so far contributed $20 million to support the proposed constitutional amendment.

As mentioned earlier, the measure (Question 3 on the ballot) aims to end NV Energy’s monopoly and allow Nevadans to choose their energy provider. Both the YES and NO camps promise lower electricity bills, new jobs, and expansion of clean energy across the state. And both camps have the same arguments why state residents should back/reject the measure.

Opponents of the measure fear that breaking up the monopoly could put planned renewable energy projects at great risk. NV Energy has recently lodged a request for 330 megawatts of renewable energy and storage and has announced contracts of 1,000 megawatts of new solar energy and 300 megawatts of new storage.

If Question 3 passes, the utility would be required to give up ownership of power plants and only maintain and run Nevada’s electrical lines. In addition, the Legislature will be obligated to create a new, open, electricity market that will allow customers to choose from a number of power providers.
Who Has the Upper Hand?
A similar measure was approved by a majority of Nevadans in 2016. Under state laws, a certain initiative should pass twice so that the Nevada Constitution is amended. However, the NO camp has stronger backing this time, and analysts believe Mr. Buffett’s efforts will prevent the implementation of the proposed amendment.

Of the $95 million raised by both sides, NV Energy has funneled $62 million. Mr. Adelson has contributed $20 million to promote Question 3, which has made him the largest patron of the initiative. The measure has also been backed by data storage company Switch, which has contributed $12 million.
Analysts suggest that NV Energy has commenced its campaign against Question 3 much earlier than the initiative’s YES camp, which has secured the utility provider with the necessary advantage. The measure won 72% of the vote back in 2016, when it first appeared on a ballot. According to experts, the majority vote was due to the popular belief that voters were casting a vote in support of renewable energy. However, fears that breaking up the monopoly could actually harm renewable energy initiatives seem to have grown over the past two years.

Major Las Vegas casino operators have been among the high-profile companies to opt out of NV Energy and seek other suppliers. Under state laws, companies can stop buying power from the state-run monopoly as long as they pay an exit fee determined by competent authorities.

MGM Resorts International paid a $87-million exit fee in 2016. Wynn Resorts and Caesars Entertainment Corp. have, too, been among those to leave. Las Vegas Sands, the gaming and hospitality giant led by Mr. Adelson has originally applied to exit NV Energy, but has then balked at the $24-million fee estimated by state gambling regulators and has eventually decided to stay in.
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The post Business Magnates Sheldon Adelson, Warren Buffett Clash Over Nevada Electricity Monopoly Ballot Question appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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