Casino Watch - February

9 January 2008
NGC Signs Off on Harrah's Sale

Harrah's announced Dec. 21 that it had received approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission for the proposed $17.7 billion sale of its business to private equity tandem Apollo Management Capital and TPG Capital. Harrah's said in a written statement that the approval follows the Dec. 6 recommendation of the Nevada Gaming Control Board. "Moving forward as a private company after the closing of the transaction, we will continue . . . our further development in international markets and strengthen our competitive position in each of the markets where we operate," said Harrah's Chief Executive Gary Loveman. The deal is expected to close in early 2008. Gary Thompson, a spokesman for the group's World Series of Poker operation, told IGN in November that Harrah's is "taking a very serious look" at launching a Europe-facing Internet offering.

Glimmering Licensee

Net Entertainment has agreed to supply its CasinoModule platform to Glimmer Ltd., primarily a land-based group, which is looking to launch its online casino during Q2 2008. "The fact that we signed 18 new license agreements during 2007 demonstrates the strength of Net Entertainment's offering," said NetEnt Chief Executive Johan Öhman. No word yet regarding December's announcement of a mystery Eastern European licensee.

Nuts Goes Live

The Nuts Poker League, Europe's largest pub poker league, has partnered with Inside Gaming to launch an online poker room. "Inside Gaming has grasped a true understanding of our business and has the flexibility to create bespoke tournaments to suit our players and allow us to continue creating the community environment that we've worked hard to establish," said TNPL Managing Director Steve Bellis.

Danish Poker Ruling Overturned

The eastern division of the Danish High Court ruled late December that tournament poker is a game of chance, overturning a previous lower district court ruling that determined it is a game of skill and therefore not subject to Denmark's gambling laws.

An appeal to the Supreme Court is under way.

Sands Secures $3.7 Billion to Construct Singapore Casino

The Las Vegas Sands Corporation said it has secured over $3.7 billion in loans to build a casino-hotel complex in Singapore, Sands President and CEO William Weidner said

The company's new project, the Marina Bay Sands, is scheduled to open in 2009, and will include 2,500 hotel rooms, and 1.2 million square feet of convention, exhibition and meeting room space, along with three large entertainment venues and around 1 million square feet of retail space.

The project is part of a larger plan to expand in the Asian market. In 2007, the company opened the Venetian Macau.

Australian Pokies Face Gladiatorial Challenge

Academy Award-winning actor Russell Crowe is looking for support in his fight to ban electronic gambling machines from Australian pubs.

The "Gladiator" star believes the country's 200,000 machines, known as pokies, are leading to gambling addiction.

Crowe has already won a battle to ban the machines from the Sydney rugby league club he co-owns. Crowe and fellow owner, millionaire businessman Peter Holmes à Court, convinced skeptical board members of the South Sydney Rabbitohs to dump the club's 160 pokies, which bring in A$1 million (US$862,000) a year.

Crowe and Holmes à Court have started "A club with no pokies" group on social networking site Facebook and have had t-shirts printed bearing the slogan.