MGM Resort International’s attempts to open a new Connecticut casino has come to a halt due to the decision of the federal appeals court, which ruled against It on Wednesday. The lawsuit is expected to be a long one since the new casino in East Windsor has the potential to change the casino industry in the state.
The US Court of Appeals has upheld the dismissal of the lower court of MGM’s claim that the state of Connecticut deprived it of the opportunity to compete for a third casino in the state. The authorities allowed only two of the operators to compete for the third property. They are Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun which already have a big influence in the gambling field in Connecticut.
According to a law issued in 2015, the right to seek a site for construction and to look for final approval from the legislature belongs exclusively to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, which owns the Foxwoods Resort Casino, and the Mohegan Tribe – the owners of Mohegan Sun. Upon finding out that this was the situation, MGM Resort International demanded its rights for fair competition and filed a lawsuit against the state.
The Court of Appeal’s respond to this claim was immediate and the officials stated their argument that the 2015 special act did not deprive the company of the chance to develop a casino and arrange the matter with the municipalities, and it also did not give the Tribes the right to build anything. In order for this to happen, a second special law is required, which has not been used to that moment, but it became reality on June 7.
The claim which the company filed is considered a premature one since at the time the case was argued, MGM could not show it have had any specific development plans for the projects. Furthermore, MGM Resort International has an exclusivity agreement in the state of Massachusetts which prevents it from building a casino property within 50 miles of Springfield. This means that Connecticut is off limits for the company.
However, on the 7th of June, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a bill which gives the tribes the legal right to jointly develop a new casino in the developing East Windsor area. This is the step, which MGM fears and against which it can eventually have the legal standing to sue, making the hypothetical problem a very real one. Apart from the East Windsor matter, the company is trying to convince the legislature to allow operators to compete for Fairfield County. A new casino resort located there will easily attract customers from the New York market.
The local media Macaudailytimes reported that the casino operators in Macau are frightened for their license renewals, expected to happen in 2020, as the government embarked on a land reversion hunt enforcing the Macau Land Law. This gave rise to concerns about the possible revocation of the operators’ land rights and their licenses.
It was reported that the government already confiscated more than 100 plots of land from different developers, as they were said to misuse the plot given to them, or use it for other purposes than the reported ones. This unleashed a wave of reluctance by the locals, entrepreneurs and even some legislators, which were frightened by the crackdown. Nevertheless, the protests did not stop the government to continue the process.
This, of course, made casino operators’ blood run cold, as they can also be affected by the land reversion. In an interview with Reuters, a senior casino executive, who preferred to remain anonymous, explained that the government will also target the casino concessions, but it is yet to become clear what will be the future of the currently licensed casino operators and their gaming facilities.
This raised another concern about the future licensing of the casino operators. While most of the Macau’s casino operators preferred to remain silent, others like Melco expressed their opinion on the matter outspokenly. Melco’s chief executive officer and chairman Lawrence Ho placed hopes that the government will spare the proliferating casino industry in the area.
The officials denied that the land plot seizure is related to the renewals of the casino licenses. Furthermore, it was explained that the government does not consider any amendments of the Land Law. The Land Law was amended for the last time in March 2014. Its purpose is to ensure the proper management and development of the land given to concessioners. Under the law, in case that the land is not developed within a given period of time stipulated in a contract, concessions expire and the government is allowed to seize the plot of land.
The local authorities explained that the crackdown aims to stimulate the concessionaire to develop the land and utilize it in a proper way. The developers responded that the government is the main setback in their development plans, referring to the unnecessary bureaucracy and lack of information.
In the meanwhile, casino operators started to mastermind plans to butter themselves up in front of the local officials and win their benevolence. For that purpose, the operators will hire more locals (to decrease the unemployment rate) and support the local business. But the casino operators still seem to be cautious as Reuters reported that they sign only short-term contracts with the new employees.
US District judge James Wilson approved Carson City Board of Supervisors’ decision to allow the Horseshoe Club to transfer its gaming license to the Silver Bullet Casino, letting it operate without the need to build a hotel part, which is the exact opposite of what the law says on the matter.
US District judge James Wilson supported the decision of the Carson City Board of Supervisors, which allowed the currently defunct Horseshoe Club to transfer its license to the Silver Bullet.
The Horseshoe Club started to operate as far back as 1970 and it closed its doors in 2014. The problem comes from the fact that the currently shattered casino facility was operating under the other rulings.
At the time when the casino facility in question started to operate, there were no requirements regarding the presence of a particular number of hotel rooms. Hence, under the old package of legislation, the Horseshoe Club was allowed to operate without the need to build any hotel rooms.
The gaming law, though, underwent significant changes. At present, all casino facilities are required to provide at least 100 hotel rooms in order to operate unrestricted casino facility in Carson City, the capital of the US state of Nevada. Nevertheless, the new rules did not affect the Horseshoe Club, as it was already established at that time. This means that the casino facility could continue to operate, without the need to comply with the newly-introduced rules.
The approval of the transference of the Horseshoe’s licence to Silver Bullet’s developers means that the Silver Bullet will be allowed to operate under the old rules and will not be required to build at least 100 hotel rooms. This ruffled the feathers of the other casino operators, who brought the case to court.
The casino operators of the Carson Nugget, Gold Dust West and Casino Fandango, which are in close proximity to the Silver Bullet, appeared to be the main opponents of the Carson City Board of Supervisors’ decision and the license transference.
They backed up their arguments with the fact that the Horseshoe Club shattered its doors 3 years ago. Moreover, it was reported that the casino facility did not pay its gaming fees for almost 2 years. Nevertheless, judge James Wilson explained that Carson City Board of Supervisors’ ruling is absolutely within the confines of the law, as the board has the power to issue injunctions regarding license issues, including the transference of a license from one person to another. It was explained that the Silver Bullet gaming facility will be able to get the license in case it pays its predecessor’s fees.
This vexed the casino operators, who explained that this is totally the opposite of what the law says on the matter. Furthermore, this ruling abuses the interests of the other casino operators, who were required to build at least 100 hotel rooms along with the gambling facility. It is yet to become clear if the opponents will appeal the judge’s decision.
Earlier today, 7th September, the US-based supplier of gaming technologies for land-based casinos Scientific Games reported that it has signed a new contract, under which it will supply Pechanga Resort and Casino with 4,200 new iVIEW4. The innovative technology is to be enabled on all slot machines owned by the casino resort, seeking to improve and customize its gaming environment.
Scientific Games announced today that its award-winning iVIEW4 technology has been deployed by the Californian Pechanga Resort and Casino. The two companies sealed a deal, under which the company-supplier is allowed to install the technology inside all of the casino’s slot machines. In that way, the casino aims to devise a new business strategy in a way that will approach the players’ unique needs and personal demands.
About iVIEW4 Technology
Through iVIEW4 technology, the operator is to provide interactive and interesting customized gaming content for the players of non-card games. Moreover, HTML5 graphics run more than smoothly on the iVIEW4-supplied devices. Apart from that, the Scientific Games’ technology utilizes a special web gadget, which allows the casino support teams to easily update the gaming content on the slot machines and introduce new bonuses, promotions, videos and etc. It was reported that the technology offers immediate response via a touch screen.
Customized Land-Based Gaming Experience
The move comes as part of the casino’s strategy to boost its multichannel marketing campaign, customizing its gaming options to match the needs of the players. It is interesting to note that a great number of land-based casinos started to look for ways to offer personalized gambling options and some industry-involved specialists even believe that this might be the new tendency.
This is not a surprise having in mind the advent of the technologies. Nowadays, gambling is accessible even at a click of the mouse, offering digital experience to the players. What is more is that the Internet gambling utilizes special technologies, which analyze customers preferences by tracking their “online behavior”.
By installing iVIEW4 technology, Pechanga Resort and Casino is to provide a better experience to its players, while at the same time being able to quickly respond to the customers’ personal needs. The innovative upgradable technology is expected to stimulate the appetite of more casino operators, aiming to retain their players. Currently, Scientific Games is announced to install the iVIEW4 technology on 4,200 slot machines, placed in the Pechanga Resort and Casino floor, which is spread over 200,000 square feet.
Easy money is everyone’s dream. Hence, many people started facing the opportunity to place bets on various games or events, hoping to bring home a bag of money. But pocketing the whole amount of money is in most of the cases a far-fetched dream, as the government will not miss the chance to reap its fair share. This immediately invokes one important question – how much is the tax on the winnings?
Unfortunately, it is hard to give one answer, which is valid for all the countries, as every country has a different tax system. But one thing is for sure – one of the best tax systems on gambling winnings is generally reckoned to be the Canadian one, as in most of the cases players can keep what they win, without paying anything. In other words, gambling winnings are exempt from taxes in Canada. Before the players start to jump for joy, it should be noted that there are certain exceptions to the rule, depending on the type of winning.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) does not require paying taxes on sweepstakes winnings, when the player wins from a Canadian lottery. The reason is that these are considered as windfalls, but not as a way of earning money. It is important to note that all the games, which feature 50:50 chance to win or lose are considered to be lotteries. This means that players can place their bets on the final result of a sports event without the need to pay taxes on their possible winnings. The players should keep in mind one important fact – the money, generated by use of the lottery earnings are taxable.
The bookmakers, on the other hand, are subjected to taxes, as their “winnings” are treated as income.
Following the same logic, many people might be misled by the idea that since the lottery winnings are exempt from taxes, the same law should be valid also for the casino winnings. But the things are a bit different when it comes to casino winnings. Under the Canadian Income Tax Act, all winnings from playing casino games are taxable.
At first, this may sound unfair and unreasonable, but the CRA treats casino winnings as “business income” due to the professional gamblers, who earn their money by placing bets in the casino. Hence, if you like to play casino games regularly, you are considered to “work” as a self-employed professional player.
But every cloud has a silver lining – even though the casino players need to pay taxes on their casino earnings, having the status of a “self-employed professional casino player” give them the right to claim business expenses.
Namely, that is the reason why the law is not completely clear when it comes to the casino winnings, as some players just like to play casino games and do not use this activity as a way to make money. Hence, it seems to be a hard task to determine if a particular individual is a professional player or not. In order to avoid cases, in which players deduct gambling losses in Canada as “business expenses”, the Canada Revenue Agency does not impose taxes on casino winnings, but also gambling losses are not deductible.
Winning Competitions at Workplace
Prizes and awards won at your workplace are not always exempt from taxes. Cash incentives are almost always taxable, as these are considered as part of your main income.
Winning in U.S.
In the eyes of the American law, all winnings are subjected to taxes. Even if Canadian players win American lotto, they are obliged to pay a certain amount of taxes. To ensure that the player will not leave the country before paying the taxes, the casinos are allowed to withhold part of the winnings.
However, the law offers a small loophole as the Canadian Income Tax Act does not impose any taxes even on lottery earnings generated outside Canada. Hence, the Canadian residents, who win an American lottery are obliged to pay only a 30% tax on their winnings to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Following the established British model, gambling winnings in Canada are not taxable, therefore gambling losses are not deductible. Canadian players can place their bets without worrying that the government will take a massive chunk of their fairly earned money. And taxed or not, it is the fun of the game that should be players’ drive.
The Tulalip Tribes plan to turn the first sod of the $100 million casino project to replace the already existing Quil Ceda Creek Casino in Snohomish County, Washington. It was reported that the construction of the gambling facility is to start by the end of 2017 and the project completion is slated for the end of 2018, or the beginning of 2019. Once the casino swings its doors open, the Tulalip Tribes will demolish their other 25-year-old Quil Ceda Creek Casino, which is across the street.
The new casino project aims to refresh and update the Tulalip Tribes’ gaming options. It was explained that the gambling venue is to feature larger casino floor, spreading over 110,000 square feet. The casino officials also shared that they plan high capacity garage, which is to offer 1,200 parking lots. Moreover, the new gambling venue is to offer not only gambling options, but also non-gambling entertainments, including new classy restaurants and gourmet food. But the Tribes consider preserving the overall local atmosphere as their customers enjoy it and it is the casino’s trade mark.
The officials explained that their main goal is to establish a casino facility, which pleases their customers’ individual preferences. To do so, the officials launched a research project, which picked up information about the demands and needs of the already existing Quil Ceda Creek Casino’s customers. The Tribes still did not announce the official name of the casino, but it is currently referred to as “QCC2”.
The entire casino project is to spread over 15 acres and it is to be located on a piece of land, which currently hosts the Tulalip Court and police department as well as the now closed, Arby’s, at 6103 31st Ave. and 6328 33rd Ave NE, which are all going to be re-positioned. Speaking of the casino project, Marie Zackuse, Chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors explained that it is to be the finishing line to the existing Tulalip Resort Casino, also operated by the Tribes. The casino officials, though, did not provide any details on what is going to be established following the demolition of Quil Ceda Creek Casino. The only thing, which they mysteriously revealed is that it will be a surprise.
The Tulalip Tribes’ Economic Power
It was estimated that the Tulalip Tribes are the third most powerful employer as 3,700 people work for them. It should be admitted that their presence on the market is of vital importance for the city’s economic stability, significantly decreasing the unemployment rate. Moreover, Teri Gobin, vice chairwoman for the tribes pointed out that more than 60% of their employees are of non-tribal origin. This means that the tribal-owned casino is not concentrated only to support its own community. Apart from this, the casino enhances the tourism experience, attracting foreign visitors, who spend their money within the city’s borders and thus, contribute indirectly to the local small- and medium-sized business success.
Gambling giant Las Vegas Sands announced that the operator considers entering the recently-regulated Japanese casino market. Earlier this year, Chairman Sheldon Adelson stated that the company is ready to invest as much as $10-billion in the future casino venture. The Japanese fresh casino market has opened a great potential for development and profitability and many big operators, including Las Vegas Sands has entered Japan casino license bidding war. To make its offer even more enticing, Las Vegas Sands had a card up its sleeve. At a press conference in Tokyo, which took place earlier today, the gambling operator relied on popular music figures and top sportsmen such as the former England’s soccer player David Beckham to enchant Japanese officials with sweet promises of super modern integrated resorts, and new concert and sports venues.
The fresh Japanese market proved to be one of the most enticing ones. Being on the brink of awarding casino licenses, all the rivals are trying to up their chances in the competition. Las Vegas Sands makes no exception. At the recently-conducted press conference in Tokyo, the gambling operator counted on some of the most popular sports and public figures to present its ideas. Las Vegas Sands Corp. President and COO Robert Goldstein’s speech gave a start to the conference. He expressed his compassion to the Japanese nation, which became a witness to a tragic event only a few days ago.
The press conference continued with David Beckham and other beloved figures. To cheer up the atmosphere as much as possible, the top sportsman expressed his love to specifically Japanese cuisine. The operator’s strategy included also the participation of the music mogul Irving Azoff and some popular music groups such as The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. The operator also announced that apart from the casino resort, it plans to establish first-class concert and sports venues, aiming to give a strong boost to the country’s tourism sector and leisure industry. The current owner of Staples Center and former CEO of Alderac Entertainment Group Tim Leiweke said that to attract popular sports teams such as NBA and NHL, the country needs to renovate its Seattle’s KeyArena, which perfectly fits Sands’ vision.
Japan’s Gambling Market at Present
Japan went through many hurdles until it finally made the first step to regulate its gambling market. In December 2016, the lawmakers passed the so-called Promotional Integrated Resorts Bill, which allows the provision of casino games throughout the country. The next stage is to pass the Implementation Bill, introducing the regulations, which the operators need to comply with. The regulation of the casino industry gave rise to certain concerns regarding the side effects of gambling and its addictive nature. Currently, the lawmakers are still working on the second bill, which is the last stage of the long and clumsy process. At present, it is known that the number of the integrated casino resorts will be limited, which explains why the competition between the casino operators to debut on the Japanese market is so fierce.
Yesterday, the media agency CBC News reported that a group called Casino Free Sudbury frowned to Gateway Casinos’ expansion proposal to remove the old-dated slots at Sudbury Downs (firstly introduced in 1999) and establish a multi-million gambling complex on the Kingsway. The group is currently mustering support from almost 200 business units in Sudbury, hoping to persuade the city council and the province to bid farewell to the casino expansion proposal. They believe that the presence of a casino complex is to intensify social issues among locals, which is to reflect the economy in a negative way.
The odds of Sudbury to welcome a new $60 million gambling complex seems to be lower after a casino expansion lobbying group gained a strong support by nearly 200 other business units. One of the most fervent opponents of the casino expansion is Sudbury tech entrepreneur Tom Fortin, who operates one of the biggest manufacturing firms in the area. Speaking of Gateway Casinos’ expansion plan, he stated that a gambling complex will not benefit the local economy, but even the opposite. He added that this is to deepen the social problems and economic problems as these are intertwined. According to Mr. Fortin, the main reasons for the costs increase of hiring people in casino towns are social issues.
Mr. Fortin provided some details regarding the other business units, which joined the anti-casino group. He said that there are members from the small- and medium-sized businesses sector as well as giant business units. Mr. Fortin shared that the group aims at urging the city council and the province to not allow the construction of Gateway Casinos’ gambling complex. He elaborated that it might be a hard task to convince the local officials to step aside of the casino project as they will lose money in tax revenues, but he pointed out that the authorities should be more concerned about the locals.
Proponents of the Casino Expansion
But every coin has 2 sides and the casino expansion is not an exception to the rule. Greater Sudbury city council expressed its support to the casino project more than once. Reached for a comment, Robert Mitchell, director of communications and public affairs for Gateway Casinos explained that the in case the operator receives an approving nod from the authorities for the construction of the multi-million gambling complex, it will become one of the most noteworthy attractions in northern Ontario. He added that the idea is to fully-integrate the complex, which will offer also non-gambling activities, including restaurants, bars, and entertainments.
Apart from that, it is not a secret that a new entertainment complex will create new job opportunities, both permanent and temporary, and decrease the unemployment rate. It was announced that Gateway Casinos is to create 250 permanent job places. Apart from that, the entertainment complex is to pay taxes to the state, which is to bridge some gaps in the budget.
Mere months ago, British Columbia Lottery Corp. (BCLC) has found itself in the middle of a money laundering firestorm, after a shelved casino report showed lapses in anti-money laundering controls at British Columbia. The scandal undermined BCLC’s authority, which holds the monopoly over the casino industry in the Canadian province. The casino industry in British Columbia has turned into an easy prey for criminals, who started to use local brick-and-mortar casinos as a facade to hide illicit activities. This week, it surfaced that British Columbia’s government decided to provide more power to BCLC to effectively combat money laundering activities.
British Columbia has 17 land-based casinos, which are all run by BCLC. For years, the province has turned into a preferred gambling destination for high rollers from China. Experts claim that this led to the increase of money laundering and terrorism funding across the country. In September this year, the new BC government washed some dirty linen in public after it found out a year-old casino report, which unveiled alleged money laundering activity at the River Rock Casino Resort. According to the report, River Rock accepted millions in $20 bills. The large transactions involved cash flows of unknown origin. As a result, British Columbia’s government scolded BCLC for being negligent in its watchdog duties.
British Columbia Takes Action Against Money Laundering
BC government announced that it is to investigate the case and make more steps towards toughening money laundering measures. It seems that the government has already started to do its homework. The announcement of the government’s decision to grant more power to BCLC came this week. On Thursday, Attorney General David Eby announced that the provincial government is to renew its operational service agreement (OSA) with casinos, extending the operational period with another 20 years. Mr. Eby commented that the new OSA is expected to give more power to BCLC in the war against money laundering and facilitate its work.
The government is currently waiting to receive the results of an ongoing independent review, which investigates the anti-money laundering policies and practices in the gaming industry within the province. Peter German, a former deputy commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) was assigned the task to conduct the review. The results are expected to be released by the end of March next year.
BCLC president Jim Lightbody added that under the new OSA, service providers are the ones, who are responsible for adopting a practical approach to anti-money laundering practices. BCLC is to survey for suspicious money transactions and oversee if the casinos work in compliance with the country’s established anti-money laundering framework. Furthermore, BCLC will be able to immediately alarm about any irregularities found out about in the independent review of anti-money laundering policies
This move is expected to lead to the expected result and curb, or at least significantly reduce money laundering activities at BC’s casinos. It is important to note that this is not the first time, in which money laundering activities at BC’s casinos have appeared on Canadian officials’ radar screens.
Speakers from Canada’s biggest private casino operator Gateway Casinos & Entertainment (“Gateway”) and B.C. Lottery Corporation are to provide more detailed information regarding Gateway’s $70-million casino project in Ladner to be located on the current Town & Country Inn site. Apart from that, the speakers are to present their vision for the future development of the local gambling industry.
According to reliable sources, the guest speakers are to attend the Delta Chamber of Commerce’s next luncheon, that is to take place on 24th January from 11:30 am local time. Delta Town & Country Inn is to play host to the upcoming event. To attend the event, the members will be charged a $35 fee, while the non-members need to pay an entry fee of $45. It is interesting to note that Delta Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization that aims at establishing a favorable environment for the successful operation of local business entities. The organization represents business owners and supports business growth and development.
In the meanwhile, Gateway is to hold another public information session on 18th January. Delta residents will have a good chance to get accurate information straight from the source. Late last year, Gateway Casinos held two public information sessions at the open house at the Tsawwassen Springs Clubhouse. The City of Delta also held its own public consultations in order to hear people’s opinion on the matter.
In September last year, B.C. Lottery Corporation gave preliminary approval for the casino development at Town & Country Inn. The topic did not drop off the radar for quite some time, as the proposed entertainment complex in Ladner is in close proximity to Richmond’s River Rock Casino.
A Quick Look at Gateway’s Multi-Million Construction Investment
Gateway already released renderings of Delta’s proposed casino, offering an exclusive look behind the curtains. The gambling facility is to spread over 10.8 acres and 9 of which will be occupied by parking lots and the building for the proposed development. The other 1.8 acres will be occupied by green space.
The entertainment complex is to offer a number of gambling and non-gambling entertainments under one roof. The future complex is to offer also accommodation facility, and more precisely a five-story hotel with 116 rooms. Apart from that, the full-fledged entertainment venue is to offer meeting facilities and two dining areas, including Gateway’s most recognizable brand Match.
The gaming floor is to feature 600 slot machines and 24 gaming tables. It is important to note that BCLC explained that the number of the gaming tables and the slot machines is flexible as the corporation need to analyze the market and determine “the appropriate gaming device count and product mix”.
Gateway’s proposed entertainment complex is to bring broad economic benefits. The gambling operator announced that the project is to decrease the unemployment rate, bringing up to 700 new permanent jobs and 500 temporary construction jobs.