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Location, location, location INBRIEF NEWS

The licence has been issued for London’s new casino, but a losing bidder questions the choice of site

Winning the new casino licence in the east London borough of Newham is only the beginning of the struggle for Aspers, it seems. The firm, which beat off City & Eastern and Apollo

Resorts & Leisure for the right to open a large casino near the site of next year’s Olympics, is already having its choice of location contested. Aspers wants to put the casino – with Bingo, Poker and

a sportsbook as well as table games and 150 slots on a 65,000-square-foot gaming floor – in the new Westfield Stratford City shopping centre, a £1.45bn ($2.3bn) development close to the Olympic park, but City & Eastern is considering a legal challenge to the local authority. The firm says the borough ignored an independent

Taxing times

The British government plans to go ahead with its plans to overhaul the taxation of amusement machines, replacing the existing Amusement Machine Licence Duty (AMLD) fee paid for each device with a new levy on profits called Machine Games Duty (MGD). Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said in his late-March budget that consultation on the new tax structure would take place in May, and reforms would then pass into law as part of the Finance Bill 2012 before being implemented in early 2013. But the trade body Business in Sport and Leisure (BISL) is urging the government to abandon its plans for replacing

AMLD with MGD. “Gambling, like all industries, needs certainty if it is to create the growth the economy needs. What the leisure and gambling industries don’t need if we are going to play our part is a completely new tax regime that creates a year of uncertainty on rates,” said BISL CEO Dominic Harrison. The gaming industry has already suffered from the effects of the smoking ban, the 2005 Gambling Act and the recent

economic downturn, BISL said. Now, it is arguing, not only the “winners and losers” effect of the new tax – which will see some operators pay far more per machine than others – but also the prolonged period of uncertainty before plans for the regime are solidified will further hinder businesses. Meanwhile, rates of AMLD and gaming duty have been increased in line with the Retail Price Index.

New Jersey: not so fast

E-gaming won’t be legal in the state after all, unless voters approve it in a planned November referendum

So near...and yet so far. Just as the state looked poised to legalise Internet gambling – and perhaps open the floodgates to that happening across the US – New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie has vetoed the legislation. Instead, he proposes to hold a referendum on the

question in November, echoing the public ballot which led to voters approving the introduction of land-based gambling in Atlantic City in 1976. Christie’s concern, reportedly, was that the legislation as drafted could allow businesses such as bars and nightclubs outside Atlantic City to offer online

6 APRIL 2011

gambling. He’d prefer to see it limited to operators in the ailing east coast gaming resort. Meanwhile, online Poker – if not the full panoply of e-

gaming – continues to slowly gain respectability across the U.S. In Iowa, a Senate committee has approved a bill authorising the game; it will now go before the full senate. California and Florida are considered likely to follow. And in Nevada, the state’s Gaming Control Board

(NGCB) has okayed a partnership between Caesars Entertainment and parts of the 888 e-gaming operation. Commentators see that as significant because, although online gaming (apart from sportsbooks) is technically legal already in Nevada, the state has not yet issued detailed regulations for operators – meaning it can’t, in practice, be offered. The NGCB decision, though, could be a step in the direction of doing just that.

report which urged that the casino be located in an area requiring regeneration, rather than in a commercially busy zone. “We are baffled as to why Newham would decide to put

the casino in the part of the borough that least needs further regeneration,” said City & Eastern. Meanwhile, Apollo may have learned a bit about urban

regeneration from its unsuccessful Newham bid. In historic Bath, along with partner Manor Property Group it’s proposing a £24m ($38m) scheme that will revitalise a derelict site in the Walcot Street area, with a 150-bedroom hotel, restaurants and bars as well as a small casino. But Apollo – which was victorious in obtaining the large-

casino licence for the northeastern city of Hull – is also facing a legal spat in Scarborough, a smaller Yorkshire town, where Apollo is one of two applicants for a small- casino licence. The other contender, Nikolas Shaw, charges that the local authority unfairly allowed Apollo extra time to submit its application. A court hearing will be held in July.

ATOMIC POWER Atomic Gaming has renewed its distribution contract with Atronic, originally signed in 2008, for a further five years. It will distribute Atronic’s gaming and signage products in parts of Africa and the islands of the Indian Ocean.

COZY DEAL International Game Technology (IGT) is to supply game content including 100,000 Pyramid, Cleopatra, Da Vinci Diamonds, Monopoly Multiplier, and the MegaJackpots series to online firm Cozy Games.

RANK VICTORY Rank Group in the UK has received £74.8m ($120m) as a refund of overpaid value-added tax, but the government is to appeal the case. Meanwhile, Rank has reported a jump in profits of nearly 30 percent for 2010, to reach £48.9m ($80m). All its businesses grew, the company said, notably Grosvenor Casinos.

NEW NUMBER The Gaming Standards Association has updated its Game to System (G2S) protocol, to G2S v1.1.

ON THE MONEY Innovative Technology’s NV200 banknote validator has been approved by the European Central Bank for its ability to detect counterfeit euro currency.

INDIAN APPROVAL Incredible Technologies has been licensed by the Wisconsin Office of Indian Gaming and Regulatory Compliance to distribute devices such as its Magic Touch Class III casino games to tribal gaming operations in the state.

READY TO PRINT Gaming Laboratories International has confirmed that TransAct Technologies’ Epicentral Print System, used to deliver promotional material to slot players, raises no regulatory concerns or threats to system integrity.

PAYMENT PORTFOLIO Bally Technologies is to acquire Las Vegas firm Sightline Payments, adding payment- processing systems to Bally’s product catalogue for the first time. Sightline’s technology includes mobile, ATM, cage and cheque- guarantee systems.

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