Aristocrat Leisure to But Playtech for $3 Billion

Two Rows of Progressive Slot Machines
Australian slot machine maker Aristocrat Leisure Ltd. has struck a deal to buy U.K. gambling software developer Playtech PLC for $3.7 billion in a transaction that will create one of the biggest business-to-business platform providers in the global gaming industry.

The deal, which was agreed upon on Sunday, will be finalized if the two parties will agree to the further terms and conditions of the deal. Once resolved, Aristocrat’s wholly-owned subsidiary Bidco will be the acquiring party.

In a statement, Aristocrat CEO Trevor Croke said:

“The combined group would offer a broad portfolio of end-to-end solutions for gaming customers around the world, as well as seamless player experiences, underpinned by a shared focus on responsible gameplay and innovation.”

Aristocrat’s Offer

Aristocrat offered to buy Playtech’s ordinary shares at $9.35 per share which is a 58% premium of its October 15th closing price. At that price, the total issued common shares of Playtech would have a fully diluted value of around £2.1 billion or £2.7 billion using the enterprise value basis.

To fund the deal, Aristocrat will raise AUD $1.3 billion or $961 million dollars in a share sale. The company will be offering the shares at an 8.6% discount from its closing price last Friday. Aristocrat says it has received letters of intent and irrevocable undertakings supporting the deal from investors representing 20.7% of Playtech’s outstanding shares, including its biggest shareholder.

Playtech’s Aggressive Expansion

The deal comes at a time when Playtech was aggressively expanding in the United States and Latin America. According to Playtech CEO Mor Weizer, the sale has the potential to enhance their company’s distribution and their capacity to build new and deeper relationships with partners to boost their technological capabilities.

Meanwhile, Playtech also announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Hong Kong-based Gopher Investments to sell its financial trading division Finalto in a cash deal worth $250 million.

Official Reveals Details of Two Kings Casino Pre-Launch Expansion and Phase 1 Construction

North Carolina Flag
New Details emerged from the Catawba Two Kings Casino project in Kings Mountain, North Carolina.

Cleveland County official Jason Falls revealed the details of the plan to expand the casino’s pre-launch facility. Falls also showed the plans for Phase 1 of the full casino construction which is set to commence at the start of next year.

Pushing to Finish Pre-Launch Facility Expansion by Thanksgiving

According to a presentation by the Business Development Office of Cleveland County, the Catawba Nation is pushing to finish the expansion of their pre-launch facility by Thanksgiving. Currently, plans state that the addition of 500 slot machines and expansion of the existing gambling floor of the pre-launch facility will be completed by December 15th.

The pre-launch facility opened last July 1st and is unofficially generating 2,500 daily visitors which would give it an estimated 900,000 visitors per year. It is expected to operate until the full casino is complete. Construction of the permanent casino is expected to begin shortly after the expansion of the pre-launch area is complete.

Phase 1 to Begin on January 2022

The plans submitted by the Catawba Tribe reveal that the Phase 1 of the construction of the Catawba Two Kings Casino will begin on January 4, 2022 and it will cover the construction of a two-floor building. Initially, the Cleveland County allowed only a 60,000 square foot building as the introductory Phase 1. However the new plans reveal a several hundred thousand square feet .

Gaming floor in Phase 1 is listed at 95,575 square feet. The facility would include four restaurants with a total area of 37,000 square feet. At the corner of the site will rise a 29-floor tower that will be the center piece of the first phase of the full Catawba Two Kings Casino facility. Per Federal documents, the three-phase project will have a total cost of $273M.

Circa Sports Goes Live in Iowa Mobile Sports Betting Market

Person Browsing a Sports Betting Site on a Tablet

The Circa Sports mobile betting app went live in Iowa at 10 am CDT on Thursday through a partnership with Wild Rose Casino & Resort.

Wild Rose has three properties in Iowa and these are in Jefferson, Clinton, and Emmetsburg. Circa Sports is tied to the Jefferson property.

Circa Sports becomes the 13th mobile sports betting operator to go live in Iowa, including industry giants FanDuel and DraftKings, and the fifth to launch this year after BetMGM, BetRivers, The ScoreBet, and Bally Bet.

Said Circa Sports CEO Derek Stevens in a statement:

“We are thrilled to expand Circa Sports to Iowa and the Midwest. Iowa marks the third state of operation for our mobile app, and we’ve appreciated the collaboration with Wild Rose and Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission on bringing this launch to fruition.”

Can Be Accessed Anywhere in the State

The Circa Sports mobile app can be downloaded at Circa’s webpage and it allows users to access a mobile sportsbook with both completed and live odds 24/7 for as long as they are withing the Iowa State boundaries. The app also has a futures bet service and two-sided Yes-or-No futures betting markets. Funds can be transferred using wire transfer, ACH, and Sightline.

In a press release from Circa Sports, the company boasted the best customer service support, highest betting limits, and the lowest hold percentages of any mobile sportsbook provider in the State. Circa now has presence in three different states after launching in Nevada and Colorado earlier this year as it pursues an aggressive expansion bid in the United States.

Iowa Top 10 in Betting Handle

Since allowing in-person registration for mobile betting access at the start of the year, Iowa has stayed in the Top 10 states when it comes to betting handle. The Hawkeye State has surpassed the $100 million monthly betting handle mark except July 2021. It’s biggest month this year was March when it generated $164.1 million.

Despite the presence of industry giants, newcomers have been able to get a good slice of the Iowa pie. BetMGM has surpassed the $60M total handle via its partnership with Diamond Jo Casino in Worth. The ScoreBet has generated at least $1 million in handle for six consecutive months. Meanwhile, BetRivers- which is also a skin of Wild Rose, has racked up a total betting handle of $3.2M in two months.

Catawba Nation Begins Expansion of Two Kings Casino Pre-Launch Facility

North Carolina Flag
The Catawba Nation announced ongoing work to expand the capacity of their pre-launch casino located at Kings Mountain off Interstate 85.

According to a press release issued by project consultant Delaware North, the Catawba Tribe is expanding their North Carolina gambling facility because of th “overwhelming success” they have achieved since the pre-launch facility opened last July.

Catawba Nation Gaming Authority president Mike Ulizio also issued a statement on the expansion. Said Ulizio:

“With the overwhelming success of the Catawba Two Kings Casino’s pre-launch facility since opening, it makes sense to work as quickly as possible to provide additional gaming opportunities for our patrons across the Charlotte region.”

Double the Size of the Gaming Floor

The addition of the gaming machines will double the size of the existing 14,700 square feet gaming area of the pre-launch building and it will increase the total gaming machines at the facility to 1,000.

A representative for Delaware North said the expansion will include the hiring of additional personnel. The pre-launch facility had a manpower of 259 workers when it launched earlier this year. The capacity for the original pre-launch building was 1,100 people.

Site work for the expansion began at the start of this month and is expected to be completed at the end of the year, when Delaware North is expected to begin the construction of the first phase of the permanent Two Kings Casino Resort project.

Pre-Launch Facility

A pre-launch facility of the planned Two Kings Casino opened last July. It was constructed using prefabricated modular structures and has a total gaming area of 14,700 square feet with 500 slot machines. It also offers limited food and beverage and other guest amenities.

The first phase of the project is a larger “temporary” casino is scheduled to begin construction at the end of the year and is expected to be completed in one year. This planned structure will become a part of the full casino and is expected to add 1,300 slot machines to the existing pre-launch facility’s capacity.

Once completed, the full $273 million Two Kings Casino facility will also have table games and a hotel among other features. It is expected to create more than 2,600 permanent jobs at full buildout aside from hiring thousands of laborers during the construction phase.

Midwest Gaming Withdraws Bid for Waukegan Casino License

Row of Slot Machines in Casino

The Waukegan Casino race is down to two applicants after Midwest Gaming withdrew its application.

This was revealed by Illinois Gaming Board Administrator Marcus Frutcher on Thursday shortly before a random draw to determine the order of public presentations by the two remaining groups vying for the Waukegan license.

Las Vegas developer Full House Resorts and Lakeside Casino LLC, a group led by former Grayslake state Sen. Michael Bond are set to make their final presentations before the Board on October 3rd.

Sale of Arlington International Racecourse

Midwest Gaming’s withdrawal did not come without controversy. Hours earlier, Churchill Downs Inc. announced that it would sell Arlington International Racecourse to the Chicago Bears for $197.2M. Midwest Gaming is a joint venture of Churchill Downs and Rush Street Interactive.

But despite speculation, Rush Street spokesman Dennis Culloton said that it was a mere coincidence that they withdrew their application on the same day that the sale of Arlington was announced. Rush Street does not have an interest in the 326-acre parcel that could be the Bears’ destination but the company has a sponsorship deal with the team.

Going for the Chicago Mega-Casino?

The sudden turn of events led to speculation that the Rush Street consortium could be going all-in on a proposal for the recently approved Chicago mega-casino. Churchill Downs has been non-committal about a plan to apply for the Chicago casino which has gotten a lukewarm response from other national gaming developers due to high taxes.

It is also not clear in Churchill Downs or Rush Street Interactive or both as a partnership have applied for the 4,000 position Chicago casino but if they did, they would be considered instant favorites to get the license. RSI’s billionaire owner Neil Bluhm has close ties to Chicago Mayor Loi Lightfoot who earlier moved the deadline for submission of applications to October 29th.

Bally’s Quad Cities Slot Machines Open 24/7

Different Slot Machines
Bally’s Corporation announced on Thursday that the slot machines at its Bally Quad Cities Casino & Hotel will be open 24/2 beginning Friday, October 1st.

Said Travis Haskins, Vice President and General Manager of Bally’s Quad Cities in a press releases:

“Under our new Bally’s ownership and brand, we are excited to be able to expand our gaming times and offerings to our guests. After constricting hours and capacities during the pandemic, we are encouraged and optimistic to be able to expand our gaming to 24/7 for the first time in the property’s history. It is one of several positive changes we have made in the past couple of months as ‘Bally’s Quad Cities’ and essential to remain competitive in this market.”

This marks the first time in the history of the property that it will offer 24/7 gaming and it’s one of the several changes that Bally’s has implemented since acquiring the property for $120M from the Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment last June.

Bally’s Quad Cities New Schedule

Under its new schedule, Bally’s Quad Cities will offer table games starting from 12 noon on Mondays and Tuesdays while stating operations at 9 am from Wednesdays through Sundays. Meanwhile, Poker will be offered from 4pm till midnight from Wednesdays to Sundays.

The Players Club will open at 8 am and will close at midnight from Sundays to Thursdays and 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays. The Blue Square Cafe is open by 7 am and will serve customers until 9 pm on Sundays to Thursdays but will extend up to 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Meanwhile, the Oculus bar is open from 9 am to 3 am daily. Likewise, the hotel front desk is open 24/7.

From Jumers to Bally’s

With Jumers gone after 48 years of making it mark in the Quad Cities, so is the Jumer’s Casino & Hotel which was purchased by Bally’s Corporation three months ago. Not long after, the property is undergoing a rebrand and is now known as Bally’s Quad Cities Casino & Hotel.

The property-wide rebrand is expected to be completed in 2022 but for now, the interior signage of the 13-year old casino has been changed and Bally’s has introduced its all-new Rewards players club program to the Quad Cities.

The former Jumers Casino has a gaming area of 40,000 feet with 870 slot machines, 25 table games, and a 205-room hotel with 11 luxury suites, and events center, the Oculus sports bar, the Edje nightclub, and four restaurants.

San Manuel Casino Rebranded as Yaamava ‘s Resort & Casino

Casinos in California

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians announced on Friday that they are rebranding the San Manuel Casino as the Yaamava’s Resort & Casino.

The move allows the tribe to pursue additional growth opportunities and serve the community under the San Manuel Enterprise.

In a statement, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Chairman Ken Ramirez said:

“Today marks a new chapter of rebirth and boundless potential, so we have given our property a new name—Yaamava’—the Serrano word for ‘spring. We are immensely grateful to our Tribal citizens, the thousands of San Manuel team members, and millions of valued guests over the years, all of whom helped make this moment possible.”

New Visual Identity

The rebrand includes the creation of a new visual identity and logo. The Yaamava’ logo is inspired by the ancestral lands of the Serrano people. It takes the form of yucca plant frond woven in basket pattern. The logo symbolizes an important part of the history of San Manuel in the region, and pays homage to its heritage and culture.

Renaming the property was discussed as early as three years ago when they broke ground on the new hotel and resort. With the tribe expected to close on the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas at the end of this year, the rebranding allows the tribe to lend the name San Manuel name to other business ventures.

Started as a Bingo Hall

The San Manuel Casino spent its first 35 years of existence as a Bingo Hall. In 2018, it broke ground on a $760M expansion. The first of the three-phase project was unveiled this summer with the opening of three new bars, two floors of expanded gaming with more than 1,600 slot machines added, a high-limit gaming room, and three retail shops.

In December, the casino is expected to open a brand new 17-floor hotel with 432 guest rooms and 127 suites. The hotel will have a pool deck and added dining options. The casino is currently working to fill in an estimated 2,500 jobs by the end of 2021 to man the expansion. Next year, a 2,800-seat entertainment venue is being targeted for opening.

Indiana Gaming Commission Receives Four Applications for Vigo County Casino

Casino Floor with Slot Machines and Table Games

The Indiana Gaming Commission posted a list of companies who have applied for the Vigo County Casino license after the deadline for the submission of applications passed at 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday.

Per the Commission’s website, the applicant are Churchill Downs, Full House Resorts, Inc, Hard Rock Terre Haute, and Terre Haute Entertainment. No other details in the application were mentioned in the publication.

In a statement, IGC executive director Greg Small said:

“We are very pleased with the level of interest in the Vigo County casino license and look forward to a competitive selection process. The work to evaluate these proposals begins immediately, with the goal of setting a Commission meeting date for official action before the end of the year.”

Vigo County Casino License Reopening

The application for the Vigo County casino license was reopened last July 1 after the Commission denied the annual renewal of Lucy Luck Gaming LLC. In its June 24 ruling, the IGC found Lucy Luck ineligible for a license renewal after “extensive review and considering all statutory and regulatory qualifications for renewal”.

The IGC also expressed concerns on Luck Luck’s financing was not complete. It also said that an executive team has yet to be set up. Lucy Luck has appealed the decision of the Commission but the issue is still pending. It remains to be seen how the appeal will affect the process of applications.

Applicants Submitted Detailed Proposals

Applicants were required to submit to the Commission a detailed proposal including “the proposed gaming facilities and proposed non gaming amenities, including any lodging facilities, dining facilities and retail facilities, at the proposed casino” while also paying a $50,000 application fee.

With the application period closed, the IGC will now conduct investigations on the applicants before determining a future date for “Commission action at a business meeting”. The disclosable portion of the proposals will be made available to the public in the coming days.

College Township Council Approves Nittany Mall Casino Development Plan

Hand Holding a $100 Bill Over a Laptop And Casino Games
The land development plan for the proposed casino at the former Macy’s property at the Nittany Mall has been approved by the College Township Council.

The project is still awaiting the approval of its Category 4 casino license from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board before the it can move ahead. The Board held a public input meeting last month and it will hold another similar discussion on a future date where the developer will be given the opportunity to present the plans for the board to vote and decide.

The Nittany Casino

Dubbed as the Nittany Casino in the plans, the project is expected to have 750 slot machines and 30 table games with sports betting also being eyed. A restaurant, bar, mini-outlet, and a quick serve food and beverage area are also in the works in the said casino project.

According to Chad Stafford of project engineer PenTerra, there will be few major renovations to be done for the exterior of the 94,000 square foot facility. However, a sally port will be added on the building’s Benner Pike side while a large canopy will be placed on top of the main entrance on the East College Avenue side.

New License in Centre County

Last September, Penn State trustee Ira Lubert won an auction for a Category 4 gaming license to be situated at Centre County with a $10M bid. In January, Bally’s Corporation announced that it had entered into an agreement with Lubert to develop the $123M mini-casino. Lubert’s group submitted an application that named the former Macy’s at the Nittany Mall as its targeted location.

According to Lubert, a casino at the Nittany Mall would reinvigorate the property and draw many new businesses to the mall itself and the surrounding area. That in turn will create jobs for local residents and hellp drive the region’s economy forward while also providing a new entertainment venue that the community can enjoy.

Rivers Casino Des Plaines $87M Expansion Reaches Milestone

Rivers Casino Des Plaines Logo and Exterior Image
The Rivers Casino Des Plaines $87M expansion reached a milestone on Monday with the placement of the final structural beam during a topping off ceremony.

The 87,000 square feet project includes a new poker room, additional slot machines, a new restaurant, and an events ballroom. The expansion will add 725 gambling positions, bringing the casino’s total to 2,000 which is the maximum allowed by the state.

Said Corey Wise, senior vice president and general manager of Rivers Casino:

“We are investing in the property to provide our guests more dining amenities, more entertainment, more gaming options, and what will be the Midwest’s best poker room,”

ATwo-Phase Expansion

The expansion will be done in two phases with the initial one expected to be completed during winter. It includes the ground-level addition which will house the new restaurant, and the expanded gaming floor for additional slot machines and table games.

Phase 2 includes the second floor of the new facility which includes a 22-table poker room, a slot machine area, anda 10,000 square feet ballroom for private events and live entertainment.

The new area will be located between the current casino building and the newly-expanded parking area on the North side of the property at 3000 S.River Road.

Creation of 400 New Jobs

The project is expected to create 400 new permanent jobs, including 250 table game dealers for the expanded gaming area. According to the company, the recruitment process for these vacancies has already started.

This expansion is just the latest in several upgrades that the Rivers Casino Des Plaines has undergone in recent years. After Illinois legalized sports betting in the summer of 2019, the Des Plaines-based casino took the first legal sports bet in the state through a retail BetRivers sportsbook inside the property.

Currently, the gambling property has a 5,000 square foot sports bar with a 47-foot wide video wall, with five betting windows, and 30 self service betting kiosks.