Pinnacle closes one, opens another in Missouri
innacle Entertainment in the U.S. has surrendered its licence for the President Casino in downtown St. Louis just as it opens the new River City Casino near the city.
The President will be closed by the beginning of July, after Pinnacle agreed
with the Missouri Gaming Commission to give up the licence. The commission had been concerned by declining takings at the President
since the competing Lumiere Place opened nearby in 2006 – revenue fell from about $70m in 2007 to less than $25m in 2009 – and by the condition of the riverboat Admiral used by the casino. But that has not stopped publicly-traded Pinnacle from investing nearly
$400m in the 90,000-square-foot River City Casino in south St. Louis County. And losing the President licence could also open up for Pinnacle the
possibility of establishing another site elsewhere in Missouri, where the total number of casino licences is capped at 13. North St. Louis County is one location being mooted. Pinnacle also operates venues in Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada and
Rank adds Brighton to G Casino stable
The G Casino on the seafront in the fashionable southern resort city of
Brighton has ten gaming tables – five for Roulette and five for card games including Blackjack and Poker – as well as 30 electronic Roulette terminals, linked to two of the live games and an automated wheel, and 26 slots. There is also a 90-seat dedicated Poker room. Following its £1.2m ($1.8m) million refurbishment, the 12,651-square-foot
facility includes a lounge showing sporting events on three plasma screens, and a 40-cover restaurant. G Casino is a new Rank brand intended to make casinos more enticing
and accessible to players who might have been deterred by the simultaneously shady and elitist image that has long afflicted them in Britain. Sue Moralee, General Manager of G Casino Brighton, said: “We’re working
hard to remove some of those barriers often associated with casinos.” Rank also operates a Grosvenor-branded casino in neighbouring Hove.
US revenues drop again, but it’s not just the economy
.S. gaming revenues fell nearly six percent during 2009 as consumers felt the economic pinch, an even worse decline than in 2008, according to estimates from the American Gaming Association.
The dozen states where casinos are legal saw gross gaming revenue drop
5.7 percent to $30.7bn, after a 4.6 percent fall in 2008. Gambling capitals such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City were the worst hit. Market research from Mintel, however, suggests that the gloomy trend may
be caused by longer-term factors than current economic conditions. Mintel says that 30 percent of American adults visited a casino in the last year – down from 35 percent in 2001 – and attributes that decline not only to the downturn but also to the rise of Internet gambling, illegal in the U.S. but nevertheless widely practised, and to the development of better entertainment technology in the home. Of those who did visit casinos in the past year, according to Mintel, 27
percent went to venues on Indian reservations and 24 percent to Vegas, against just 12 percent to Atlantic City.
News in brief
Belarus could benefit from the
near-total casino bans in neighbouring Russia and Ukraine by welcoming their gamblers, according to President Alexander Lukashenko. Tight regulation rather than outright prohibition will build tax revenue, create jobs, attract tourists and promote inward investment, while preventing the development of a criminal gaming economy, he says.
Jamaica’s Parliament has passed
ank Group has relaunched another UK Grosvenor site under its G Casino brand, bringing the total to 11.
the Casino Gaming Act, paving the way for the opening of casinos on the Caribbean island. Long debate over the legislation introduced last year had covered issues of problem gambling and whether a separate regulatory body is needed for casinos.
South African merger
South Africa’s Gold Reef Resorts
and Tsogo Sun are to merge, creating a gaming and hotel conglomerate valued at around ZAR21bn ($2.8bn). SABMiller, owner of a 49 percent stake in Tsogo Sun, will now own 39.7 percent of the combined company, which – like pre-merger Gold Reef – will be listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
A new family benefit scheme in
Japan, intended to reverse the falling birth rate by aiding parents, could be a windfall for the nation’s gambling sector too. Observers expect much of the cash to end up in pachinko parlours, as did funds the government handed out to families as part of an economic stimulus package last year.
NeoGames is providing gaming
operator Megascratch with more than 50 online scratch-card games for a Scandinavian service. And online scratch-card operator Hopa.com is now running a mobile service in the UK, offering ten scratch-card games and supporting Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson handsets.
4 APRIL 2010
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