The Weekly Gaming Business Wrap Up
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Here’s a look at the headlines for this week in the gaming business world.
A Maryland Senate committee voted 10 to 2 Friday to advance a controversial bill that would authorize a full-fledged casino in Prince George’s County and add several additional sweeteners for the proposed host jurisdiction. The measure would allow Las Vegas-style gambling at Maryland’s five previously authorized slot venues.
The casino debate that has been raging in Foxborough for nearly four months has taken a weird twist. According to a new report in the Boston Globe, the new sore subject is not Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn’s and Robert Kraft’s proposed $1 billion casino at Patriot Place, but some billboards which the Kraft Group insists are on its land.
The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino launched a rewards program this week with a name that describes what its music-loving customers most covet: a Backstage Pass. The new system lets Hard Rock customers earn points for every dollar spent — gaming and nongaming — at the 1,500-room off-Strip hotel-casino.
Casino stocks tend to rally before a new casino opens, and then deflate afterward. But that might not be the case with Las Vegas Sands’ (LVS) new Cotai hotel, which is expected to open in early April, writes Stifel Nicolaus analyst Steven Wieczynski.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has endorsed a proposal to use revenues from state-owned casinos to bolster the long-term financial health of the pension system for teachers and government workers. The proposal has passed the House in a larger bill aimed at shoring up Kansas Public Employees Retirement System.
State lawmakers this week continue to debate a bill that would allow up to four casinos and 14,000 slot machines in New Hampshire. The casino bill, House Bill 593, is up for a vote even as Gov. John Lynch has promised to veto it if the bill ever reaches his desk. Opponents say it would erode the quality of life in New Hampshire.
The Valley Forge Casino Resort has received the green light from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to get the party started. The dice will begin tumbling at 12:01 a.m. Saturday at the Valley Forge Convention Center in King of Prussia. In all, visitors will get to court Lady Luck at 600 slot machines and 50 tables offering blackjack, craps, roulette, pai gow poker and baccarat (poker players will have to suffice with tournaments that will be staged no more than once a month).
A casino in Oxford, Maine has taken another step toward opening with the installation of the first slot machines. The first of more than 500 video-screen machines were installed in the casino on Thursday and a spokesman says the goal is to open the casino in June. Spokesman Scott Smith told the Sun Journal that hiring will begin soon in earnest for positions in security as well as food and beverage services.
The Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah is stepping up efforts to develop a casino in southeastern Massachusetts. The Martha’s Vineyard-based tribe says it has secured options on two attached tracts of lands, one in Freetown and the other in neighboring Lakeville. Freetown officials have scheduled a May 29 referendum on the proposed casino and the tribe has asked that a vote be set in Lakeville.
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