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Gran Casino Theatre Balear, winner of Mallorca’s second casino licence has run into catastrophic legal problems Spain - New Operations

Despite having only been approved in December, the Gran Casino Theatre Balear, winner of Mallorca’s second casino licence has already run into legal problems that could prevent it being built.

UK – CASINO 36 AND ARENA GO HEAD-TO-HEAD Two projects will battle it out to land the licence to develop a small casino licence in Wolverhampton. The two contenders going forward to Stage 2 of the casino development plan are Casino 36 Ltd, an operator who already owns casinos in Wolverhampton, Dudley and Stockport and Arena Racing Company who operates Wolverhampton Racecourse in Dunstall Park.

Wolverhampton City Council will now evaluate the two appli- cations via its Evaluation Panel with a report being prepared and presented to the Licensing Committee in June, where the licence will be awarded to the successful applicant. Councillor Peter Bilson, Wolverhampton City Council’s cabi- net member for Economic Regeneration and Prosperity, said: “I am delighted we are getting closer to awarding the casino licence and we have two strong bids to consider. As well as enhancing the leisure offer we have here in Wolverhampton, a new development such as this will provide extra regenera- tion benefits to our city – such as the creation of new jobs. Both applications will now be assessed over the coming months before a final decision is made later this year.”

FRANCE – TRANCHANT INSTALLS IGT AVATAR SLOTS Groupe Tranchant has implemented James Cameron's AVATAR Video Slots from IGT across 11 of its 16 French casi- nos. The game, which is part of the IGT MegaJackpots net- work, was chosen by Groupe Tranchant to provide its cus- tomers with a new, exciting and cinematic experience, and to also generate excitement around the casino with the possi- bility of thrilling jackpot wins.

“The MegaJackpots portfolio is an incredibly important devel- opment for the casino industry, especially when paired with globally celebrated brands such as James Cameron's AVATAR. Groupe Tranchant recognises that this new, cine- matic and immersive experience is the future of casino gam- ing. We’re excited to continue this strong relationship with our key strategic partnership for IGT and the SFM LUDI as we innovate in the casino industry,” said IGT’s Sabby Gill.

Carlo Musio at Groupe Tranchant commented: “The James Cameron's AVATAR game is an immersive and exciting experience, and we are proud to bring this, as well as the chance to win MegaJackpots, to the French market. With this deal we are confident that we will become the premier French casino group destination for the most exciting casino experience.”

GERMANY - ONLINE OUTPACES LAND-BASED According to research published by the IFO Institute at Munich University, online gambling revenues have been out- pacing the revenues of the land-based casino industry in Germany since 2012. Whereas in 2005, online gambling was still responsible for €197m in revenues while casinos enjoyed nearly €1bn, in 2012 €658m was gambled on the Internet, compared with €538m revenue in the country's 100 casinos.

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The second Urban Planning Council of Palma City Council has approved a report stating that the cur- rent blueprint for installing the casino at Bingo Balearic Theatre in downtown Palma in Rosello Olivar market Square violates the uses outlined for the historical centre.

The Deputy Mayor for Planning and Housing, Jesús Valls, said there was a ‘legal and technical reality’ that led them ‘to this impediment.’ The report rejects said it would be a violation to devel- op the casino Bingo Balearic Theatre under the current plans due to three key elements, the prox- imity of nearby residents, its size of more than 300 meters and the fact that it is not allowed to offer parking in the same building.

Having applied to extend its offering in 1990 and 1999, Mayor Valls said the operator should have known this would prove the case. “They cannot plead ignorance,” he said.

The Gran Casino Theatre Balear won a three horse race to secure the second casino on the island of Mallorca in December, beating off competition from German company Merkur and Nervion, the operator of the existing casino in Porto Pi in Palma. The winning venue would have cost €10m and created 170 jobs. It would have seen the renova- tion of the old theatre bringing a casino, confer- ence, restaurants, bars and an auditorium to the space and included 70 slots and 13 gaming tables and bingo provided by Eusebio Cano.

Suggesting that the developers might yet be able to amend its plans, Mr. Valls added: “It is the responsibility of complying with the zoning parameters that allow the installation of the casi- no in the Balearic promoter Theatre. If they meet all the parameters, the license cannot be denied, and neither could it be granted if it does not.”

The report on the site ‘will be issued when the specific characteristics of the project are known.’

Germany According to the decision of the Federal Administrative Court of Germany in January, the game of poker is no longer considered to be a form of gambling. On January 22, the Court ruled that the payment of an entrance fee to a Poker tournament does not qualify as a ‘wager to obtain an opportunity to win', which is a key characteristic of any game of chance according to the German gambling regulations. According to the Court, a ‘wager to obtain an opportunity to win' is only given if there is a direct connection between the payment and the chance to win. The Court maintains that this is not the case when it comes to poker, as the entrance fee is used to cover the costs of the tournament.

Merkur’s emotional opening of its second Belgrade location

SERBIA Merkur International, a sub- sidiary of the family-managed eastern Westphalian Gauselmann Group from Espelkamp in North Rhine- Westphalia, has opened its sec- ond arcade in the Serbian capital of Belgrade.

The ‘Merkur Automat Klub’ brand and the Gauselmann Group logo of the smiling sun highlights where players can enjoy gaming entertainment in a stylish atmosphere.

The first ‘Merkur Automat Klub’ was opened in Belgrade in 2012. Dieter Kuhlmann, member of the

board of the Gauselmann Group and Managing Director of Casino Merkur-Spielothek and merkur International, said: “The develop- ment in Serbia has been very positive. The market has a lot of potential for us. That is why we have opened our second arcade.”

The new entertainment centre offers modern gaming machines over 350 sq. m. These include numerous products of the Gauselmann subsidiary Merkur Gaming that is responsible for the development and sales of AWPs and casino slots as well as Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) for global markets. The interior design of the arcade carries the

name ‘Emotion’ and was exclu- sively created by the ‘Creative and Design Development’ department in Espelkamp. It stands out due to the implemen- tation of quality materials, a co- ordinated colour scheme and tasteful decorations. Branch manager Dragana Dimitrijevic and her eight-strong team are on hand to explain to players how the gaming machines operate when desired and offer small snacks and drinks.

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