Gun Lake Casino in Michigan Unveils $300M Expansion

Man With Spyglass and a Gun Lake Casino Image
The Gun Lake Tribe announced on Monday a $300M expansion plan that will transform its property in Wayland, Michigan to a resort casino.

Gun Lake Casino is set to add 250,000 square feet of gaming that will extend the property west toward US – 131. The project is expected to begin after its current project is expected to complete late this summer.

Said Gun Lake Tribe chairman Bob Peters in a statement:

“We are proud of the continued growth of Gun Lake Casino which is directly connected to the outstanding effort of our team members. The tribe remains steadfastly committed to reinvest in our collective future, for the benefit of tribal citizens, team members and the local community. This will provide even more employment opportunities and enhance Gun Lake Casino’s position as a tourism driver for western Michigan.”

Biggest Expansion Ever

The Gun Lake Casino has undergone several expansions since it opened in 2011. The current $100M expansion that kicked off in 2019 involves a 72,000 square foot area where 450 additional slot machines, 12 new table games, and a larger non-smoking area inside the casino. However, the planned $300M expansion will be its largest ever.

The $300M expansion is expected to include a 250 room hotel with luxury suites, dining options, and a full service spa. The casino is also planning to recreate its version of a year-round island oasis with a glass-domed pool. Guests will be able to rent private cabanas by the pool during the day. At night, the place will have a night life public entertainment space with DJs, live music, and dancing.

Contributions to the Economy

According to a report released by the Tribe last February, the Gun Lake Casino has contributed more than $2.8B for the economy of the Wolverine State since its opening on February 20, 2011. In that report, the tribe says that they have already inverted a total of $415M in the casino while directly pays $502M in employee wages.

Nearby towns and cities also benefit from the operation of the Gun Lake Casino through revenue sharing which totaled $35M in the past decade that it has operated. Last December, it distributed a total of $5.7M to state and local governments, despite shutting down for three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Legends Bay Casino in Sparks Has Broken Ground

Pennsylvania Casinos

Olympia Gaming announced on Wednesday that the long-planned Legends Bay Casino in Sparks has broken ground.

The Sparks casino, located adjacent to I-80 at Sparks Boulevard in The Outlets and Legends shopping center, approximately 15 minutes from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, is the first casino built from the ground up in the Reno-Sparks metropolitan in the last 26 years. Construction is expected to be completed in 2022.

Said Olympia Gaming Chief Operating Officer DeCourcy Graham in a statement:

“This project is 14 years in the making. After successfully completing the first phase of this project with the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton and the Residence Inn by Marriott, we are now in a position to begin the next phase of development. We thank the City of Sparks and RED Development for helping bring this project to reality. We plan to build a project that the community will be proud to call their own.”

Part of the Original Plan

The Sparks casino was part of the original plan of the shopping complex that opened in 2009 but construction was put on hold due to the recession and the decline in casino revenues in the Reno-Sparks area due to competition from tribal casinos in Northern California.

Since then, it has taken more than a decade of planning. In October 2020, Olympia Gaming received an approval to change its original floor plan of the exterior of the Legends Bay Casino. The ongoing pandemic held back construction plans for the Sparks casino. But with the state of Nevada slowly easing restrictions, the project has finally broken ground.

Integrated to The Outlets at Legends

The 80,000 square foot property will include a a casino equipped with new slot machine technologies, a variety of table games, multiple dining options, a handful of bars, a sportsbook, plus large space and valet parking.

Olympia Gaming officials said that the planned casino will be seamlessly integrated to The Outlets at Legends shopping mall to provide its guests with retail and entertainment options aside from enjoying its casino games. According to Graham, having a casino experience at the heart of the shopping center is a big “opportunity” for the company.

Stardust Casino to Be Launched in Pennsylvania and New Jersey

Old Photo of the Stardust Sign in Las Vegas

The legendary gaming brand Stardust Casino will be resurrected as an online gaming option in Pennsylvania.

This was announced on Monday by a group led by Boyd Gaming and FanDuel. Pending regulatory approvals, the consortium plans to launch its online platform in April. At the same time, it was also announced that FanDuel’s Betfair Casino in New Jersey will be rebranded to the Stardust name.

A single Stardust App will be used for both states. This will be available via IOS, Google Play, and the website stardustcasino.com It will feature a wide range of slots and table games, including a live dealer version of those.

Said Keith Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boyd Gaming:

“For nearly 50 years, the Stardust was one of the most famous casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. And while the resort has been gone for more than a decade, the Stardust brand is still as well-known and popular as ever. We are excited to work with our partners at FanDuel to launch our first real-money online casinos and are confident this legendary brand will give us a significant advantage in connecting with players looking for a distinctive online gaming experience.”

15th iGaming Platform in Pennsylvania

If no other iGaming platform launches between now and April, the Stardust online casino will be the 15th of its kind in Pennsylvania after BetMGM launched its Borgata brand last month.

Boyd Gaming owns the Valley Forge Casino Resort in Pennsylvania through which FanDuel operates an online platform that accommodates sports betting and casino games. That FanDuel site is expected to be retained while the Stardust online casino, which will operate without a sportsbook, uses a second iCasino skin belonging to Boyd Gaming.

Boyd’s First Venture in Online Gaming Industry

Founded in 1975, Boyd Gaming has a total of 28 gambling properties across 10 U.S. states. But despite its casino operations being geographically diversified, the Stardust Online casino is Boyd Gaming’s first venture in the online gaming industry.

Boyd Gaming owns 5% equity in the FanDuel Group so there was no surprise why it picked the sportsbetting operator as partner for this new endeavor. FanDuel’s proprietary front-end, apps, and player management system will be used in the Stardust project and those will be linked to Boyd’s B Connected player loyalty program.

One of Las Vegas’ Most Iconic Casinos

The Stardust was one of Las Vegas’ most iconic casinos and it played a big part in Las Vegas being branded as “Sin City”. Conceived by Italian-born businessman Tony Cornero who was a gambling entrepreneur during the 1920s to 1950s, Stardust began construction in 1954. After Cornero died in 1954, the unfinished casino changed ownership several times before Rella Factor acquired the resort and finished the project. The Stardust finally opened in 1958.

In 1985, the Strip property was bought by Boyd Gaming and kept ownership until 2006 when the Stardust was closed. Boyd revealed plans to build a $4.8B resort called Echelon Place on the former Stardust site but the Great Recession ended its ambitions. The former Stardust site remained a vacant lot until it was bought by the Genting Group in 2013 as the site of its Resort World Las Vegas property.

Alabama Gambling Bill Expected to be Debated in Senate This Week

Alabama State Seal With a Casino Background

Alabama Gambling Bill Expected to be Debated in Senate This Week

Republican senator Del Marsh expects that the senate will debate on his Alabama gambling bill next week. The discussion is aimed at pushing casino gaming and sports betting before the voters for the first time in 22 years.

The senate debate, which is expected to happen on Tuesday, is the bill’s first major test.

Said Marsh:

“I do believe we will have a bill that will get out of the Senate this week. Then we’ll just work it in the House.”

Establishment of Lottery and Casino Games

The bill, which was filed by Sen. Del Marsh earlier this month, would allow Alabamians to vote on he establishment of a lottery and the expansion of gaming in the state. It proposes the establishment of an education lottery that would generate revenues for scholarships. A gaming trust fund is also to be created to receive gaming funds and commissions and regulate gaming activities within Alabama.

It also seeks to limit gaming to five locations: a new site in Jackson or Dekalb counties, Birmingham Race Course, Victoryland in Shorter, Greenetrack in Eutaw, and Mobile Greyhound Park. The locations would be allowed to conduct “casino-style games” including slot machines and table games. Sports wagering could also be allowed in the five locations, subject to a compact, on land held in trust for the Poarch Bank of Creek Indians.

Sen. Marsh’s Focus on Gambling Bill

Marsh stepped down as president pro tem of the senate to focus on legislation, particularly the Alabama gambling bill. In order for Marsh’s proposal to pass, it needs to be approved by a three-fifths majority of each chamber of the Alabama legislature and then by a majority of voters in a statewide ballot.

Alabama is just one of five states in the U.S. that does not operate a state lottery. Alabamians last voted on gambling in 1999 when they rejected a proposal by then Gov. Don Siegelman. Since then, gambling bills have come up short due to a conservative opposition to gambling and a turf war on which entities could operate casino games or electronic bingo machines.

Tennessee Lottery Approves Two More Sports Betting Operators

Two Laptops Showing Sports in Front of a Pile of Money
The online-only Tennessee sports betting industry just got bigger last week with the addition of two more online gambling operators.

In an announcement made last Friday, the Tennessee Lottery’s Sports Wagering Committee has approved licenses for two more Tennessee sports betting online operators, bringing the total number of online sports betting options in the Volunteer state to seven.

Lottery CEO Rebecca Hargrove revealed that Willian Hill and Wynn Sports have been granted permission by the Commission to commence Tennessee sports betting activities. However, Hargrove added that the two new players and Churchill Downs won’t have their sportsbooks live when the NFL plays it championship game next weekend at Super Bowl LV. DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Tennessee Action 24/7 are the four sportsbooks ready to accept Super Bowl bets in the Volunteer State.

Affected by Christmas Day Explosion

A reason why one of the new Tennessee sports betting company won’t be able to go live on February 7th is the fact that its server was affected by the Christmas Day explosion in Nashville. The blast injured a dozen people and saw several buildings damaged. While the operator was not identified, the issue with its Nashville server isn’t expected to be resolved in time for SuperBowl Sunday.

Meanwhile, Churchill Downs received approval in early January. It will operate under a BetAmerica sportsbook that is being rebranded as TwinSpires but the company has not set a launch date. WynnBET Tennessee has likewise not announced when it will go live while William Hill is expected to commence operations next month.

$180M December Handle

Tennessee passed the United States’ first online-only legal sports betting law in 2019 with Republican Governor Bill Lee allowing the bill to pass without his signature. The law took effect that summer with the Lottery tasked to administer Tennessee sports betting. Online sports betting began last November for people 21 and over who are physically in the boundaries of the Volunteer state.

Last Tuesday, the Tennessee Lottery reported a December 2020 betting handle of $180.9M which represented a 37.7% increase from the state’s $131.4M haul in its debut month last November. Gross payouts in December were recorded at $167M which was a significant 41% increase from the previous month’s $118.2M. The state received a privilege tax of $3.1M for December 2020, a 29.2% increase from November’s $2.4M figures.

Rhode Island Casinos Reopen After Three-Week Closure

Casino Floor In Michigan

With Rhode Island’s three-week shutdown over, Bally’s Corporation has reopened its two casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton effective Monday, December 21, 2020.

Table games, slot machines, stadium gaming, and virtual table games are now open at the Twin River Casino Hotel in Lincoln and the Tiverton Casino Hotel property. But while the racebook in Lincoln is also now operational, the one at Tiverton is still closed. Lincoln’s poker room will remain closed and the same also goes for the two hotels, Event Center in Lincoln, Valet, Entertainment offerings, and some restaurants.

Both properties will be operating from from 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. from Sundays to Thursdays and 6:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. during Fridays and Saturdays.

Said Marc Crisafulli, Executive Vice president of Bally’s Corporation and president of its Rhode Island casinos:

“We are incredibly excited to welcome back our guests to both of our Rhode Island casinos and to do so in a safe manner. The health and safety of our customers and employees continues to be our priority and we wish to underscore that all safety and health protocols remain in place.”

Reopening Protocols

With Rhode Island still having one of the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the United States, Bally’s Corporation has established reopening protocols to protect their guests and employees. These include temperature checking, the mandatory wearing of facemasks inside the properties.

If a guest does not have a face mask, the Rhode Island casino will provide one for him/her. Temperature checking will be done via non-invasive thermal cameras or temporal thermometer. Guests or employees who have a temperature of above 100.4 degrees will not be allowed to enter the casino premises. As for employees Twin River employees will be screened daily and those who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to work on that particular day.

Social Distancing Measures

Likewise, the Rhode Island casinos are implementing strict social distancing measures. Guests are not permitted to be within less than six feet from other guests not belonging to their party. The same distance must be maintained while standing in lines, using ATMS, elevators, kiosks, or moving around the casino floor.

Slot machines are also separated six feet apart as are stadium gaming, or virtual table games. The food court will be open but it will also have limited seating capacity. Meanwhile, beverages will be served using disposable cups. Plexiglass barriers also separate players.

Catawba Nation Reveals Name and Logo of North Carolina Casino

North Carolina Casinos

The Catawba Nation announced last Friday that the name of their gaming project in Kings Mountain, North Carolina will be Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort. The name and the casino’s logo were unveiled last August 28, 2020 at a private event attend by citizens of the Catawba nation, casino partners, city officials of Kings Mountain.

Said Catawba Nations chief Bill Harris:

“Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort celebrates our rich history and hopeful future in our ancestral lands in North Carolina – where our people were established hundreds of years ago, as the names Catawba River, Catawba County and Catawba College suggest. The name pays tribute to the 18th century Catawba Chief King Hagler and to the City of Kings Mountain, which will be home to the new casino resort. It also symbolizes the unique relationship that the Catawba people have historically had – and will continue to strengthen going forward – with fellow residents of the region.”

Tribute To King Hagler

King Hagler was the Catawba Chief from 1750-1763. Under his rule, the Catawba Nation forged a peaceful relationship with the American colonists in the region while also strongly defending the rights of his people. The Catawba tribe helped protect the colonists during the Revolutionary War, French War, and Indian War. In return, the Catawba got the support from them.

The logo of the proposed casino depicts King Hagler against a representation of Kings Mountain. The logo was developed in consultation with Delaware North. The New York-based hospitality and entertainment company is an adviser of the Catawba in the ongoing project.

First Phase Opening in 2021

Last March, the Catawba Nation received approval from the U.S. Department of the Interior to use 15.76 acres of land from Dixon School Road and I-85 to build the casino. The project has gotten disapproval from local groups and other counties in the state. In July, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians filed a lawsuit to stop the construction. But a week after the case was filed, the Catawba broke ground with the goal of opening the first phase of the casino in 2021.

The proposed casino’s gaming area is expected to have more than 1,700 electronic games and 54 gaming tables. The resort will also have a 940-seat restaurant space plus a service area/player’s club in the main gaming area.

Boyd Gaming’s Eldorado Casino Granted Non-Operational License Until 2021

Boyd Gaming

The Henderson City Council approved on Tuesday Boyd Gaming Corp.’s request for a non-operational license for its Eldorado Casino until June 2021.

It can be recalled that last July, Boyd Gaming filed with the Council documents requesting to change the gaming and liquor license of its Water Street property to non-operational until June of next year. With the approval, Eldorado Casino will be able to keep its licenses while remaining closed until June 2021.

In its letter to the City Council, Boy Gaming Corp.’s Vice President for Regulatory Compliance and Compliance Officer Michelle Rasmusson wrote:

“When a decision is made to reopen the property, we will submit a reopening plan prior to reopening. We look forward to working with the City of Henderson on reopening the property safely and in compliance with all applicable requirements at a future date.”

One of Three Boyd Properties That Remain Closed

Eldorado Casino is one of three Boyd properties in the North Nevada territory that remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Eastside Cannery and Main Street Station being the other two.

Established in 1961, Eldorado Casino underwent major renovations in 1997 and 2007. It has a gaming floor of 30,000 square feet and has more than 400 slot machines. Eldorado also offers Keno and Bingo in its venue while also housing a sportsbook. The property was shut down last March 17th following the order of Governor Steve Sisolak as part of the state’s effort to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Many Nevada Casinos are Still Closed

Boyd Casino isn’t the first gambling operator to make a similar request to the City Council. It can be recalled that Station Casinos also requested for the closure of three casinos-Fiesta Rancho, Fiesta Henderson, and Texas Station. All three requests were approved by North Las Vegas and Henderson City Councils.

Even major companies like Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International still have some properties closed to date. Among these are Caeasars’ Planet Hollywood Resort, The Linq, Rio, and Cromwell. Park MGM is still closed while the Mirage is still scheduled to open before the Labor Day weekend.

Visitor numbers in the state are down and that coupled with the casino’s reduced capacity due to extensive health and safety measures has made it non-viable for some Nevada casinos to open at the moment. And in the light of the continuing pandemic, there is no guarantee that all casinos who are temporarily closed will eventually resume business activity in the future.

Cordish Launches PlayLive! Site in Pennsylvania

Maryland Live! Casino
Cordish Companies’ PlayLive! became the first branded internet gambling site to launch before its brick and mortar facilities have opened.

The online gambling business was launched on Monday, ahead of the opening of the company’s two casino projects in the Keystone State. Cordish’s Live!Casino Pittsburgh and Live!Casino Philadelphia are set to open in late 2020 and early 2021, respectively.

Said Cordish Gaming Group President Rob Norton:

“As a leader in the gaming industry, Cordish understands the importance of innovation and this site certainly illustrates our ability to enhance the traditional launch timeline of our new casino projects.”

Extensive Content

Developed in partnership with Game Account Network (GAN), PlayLive! has an extensive content of more than 100 gaming options, including classic slot games like Cleopatra, Crazy Money, Game King Video Poker, and Wheel of Fortune. It also carries popular titles like Gonzo’s Quest, Starburst, and Twin Spin.

Aside from online slots, PlayLive! Also offers interactive table games like blackjack, roulette, and baccarat. Players are also allowed to join Jackpot games like Divine Fortune, Mercy of the Gods, and Wheel of Fortune Hawaiian Getaway. The leaderboards show the players’ current rankings, creating an extra level of excitement for gamblers.

All games have been configured in such a way that players will get the same experience online as they do when they are at Live! Casino floors. In celebration of its launch, PlayLive! is offering welcome bonuses and free spins.

Live!Rewards Enrollment

The site was also launched so that Pennsylvania residents can enroll ahead of time in the Live! Rewards® customer loyalty program,. The rewards will be used by customers when the Keystone State’s Live! Hotels become operational but it can also be used in all Live! Casino and Hotel properties in the United States.

The rewards program is free to join with all players receiving the red Classic Live! Rewards® Card. All card members accumulate points to enjoy a variety of benefits and perks on PlayLive! and Live! Casino and Hotels.

About Live! Casino and Hotels

Live! Casino and Hotels are owned and operated by companies affiliated to the Cordish Companies. The flagship property is located in the Baltimore/Washington DC area and it is the top tourist destination in Maryland with a AAA Four Diamond rating.

The soon to open Live! Casino and Hotel in Philadelphia is located in the Stadium Entertainment District of the city. It will feature 2,200 slots and games plus more than 150 live action table games. On the other hand, the second Live! Casino and Hotel is located in Westmoreland near Pittsburgh has over 100,000 square feet of gaming space with 750 slots and 30 live action table games.