Sunday, July 30, 2017

Mr. Jones

Pala Casino Tries to Keep Up with the Joneses with $170 Million Expansion to Southern California Resort



Gambling Sunny in California

The Pala Casino announcement is just the latest in a laundry list of resort overhauls in Southern California.

Pechanga’s current renovation is costing the tribal group $285 million. Construction is also taking place at the Barona Casino & Resort, Sycuan Casino, and Viejas Casino & Resort, all properties which are located in the San Diego area. Those tribes, however, aren’t revealing how much money they’re spending.

The Pala Band of Mission Indians says it needed to update its property to adapt to customer demand. Speaking to the pool area, which will be transformed to resemble a space typically found at major resorts in Las Vegas and to include bars, fire pits, and cabanas, Pala CEO Bill Bembenek explained that visitors are looking for a more luxurious experience.
Slow Rollout

Pala Interactive, the tribe’s internet gaming division, has been operating in New Jersey through a partnership with Borgata since the fall of 2014. has been one of four live websites under the land-based resort, the others being,, and

The New Jersey rollout was delayed for several years, while waiting for the arrival of PokerStars. But since the company’s poker site launch last month, traffic has been slow-to-nonexistent: according to PokerScout, PalaPoker is averaging just two players a week on average.
While New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement doesn’t break down internet gaming revenues by site, Borgata’s partners have generated $23.48 million in year-to-date income. Only the Golden Nugget ($33 million) has made more from iGaming.
Read full article at link above

Monday, July 17, 2017

NIGC Signals "Mission Accomplished" In Indian Country

2016 Indian Gaming Revenues Increased 4.4%

WASHINGTON – July 17, 2017- Today Chairman Jonodev Osceola Chaudhuri, Vice Chair Kathryn Isom-Clause, and Associate Commissioner Sequoyah Simermeyer of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) released the Fiscal Year 2016 Gross Gaming Revenue numbers totaling $31.2 billion, an overall increase of 4.4%.  
“The success reflected in the 2016 gross gaming revenue is due, at least in part, to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act’s promotion of tribal self-determination principles,” said the Chair of the NIGC, Jonodev O. Chaudhuri.
In the 1970s rural Tribes began gaming, mostly as small bingo facilities, as a means to provide revenue and jobs for their people and to manifest self-determination. The same holds true today as is evident by 57% of gaming revenue being generated by small or moderately sized Indian gaming operations grossing less than $25 million per year.  For gaming tribes, revenue has become a lifeline to generate economic development and supplement moderate funding received from federal government programs and services.
Revenues are calculated based on 484 independently audited financial statements, comprised of 244 federally recognized Tribes across 29 States. The GGR for an operation is calculated based on (1) the amount wagered minus winnings returned to players and (2) earnings before salaries, tribal-state compacts and operating expenses.  Each of the NIGC administrative regions showed growth during FY16 with the following increases being reported:
  • Sacramento Region (6.3%)
  • Oklahoma City Region (5.7%)
  • Portland Region (5.1%)
  • Phoenix Region (4.4%)
  • Tulsa Region (4.0%)
  • Washington, DC Region (3.8%)
  • St. Paul Region (1.1%)
“The stable growth is reflective of a healthy and well regulated industry with a tremendous impact on local and state economies,”  said Chairman Chaudhuri.  “When Congress passed IGRA  almost thirty years ago, it expressly cited in its findings and purposes the long standing federal policy goal to promote tribal economic development, tribal self-sufficiency, and strong tribal governments; no other economic driver has been able to do that for Indian country as successfully as gaming,” he said.
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act created the National Indian Gaming Commission to support tribal self-sufficiency and the integrity of Indian gaming.  The NIGC has developed four initiatives to support its mission including (1) To protect against anything that amounts to gamesmanship on the backs of tribes; (2) To stay ahead of the Technology Curve; (3) Rural outreach; and (4) To maintain a strong workforce within NIGC and with its tribal regulatory partners.  To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Download the PDF here.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Online Gaming Lobbying Increases

New iGaming lobbying group launched in US

By Robert Simmons


The I-Development and Economic Association (iDEA) claims that it is “an association seeking to grow jobs and expand online interactive entertainment business in the United States through advocacy and education”.

It is made up of 17 firms representing a wide spectrum of the online gambling industry including: Amaya, Inc, Golden Nugget, Paysafe, Paddy Power Betfair, GVC Holdings, Resorts Interactive, Catena Media; NetENT, Sightline Payments, Continent 8 Technologies, NYX, Tropicana Entertainment, Gamesys, Pala Interactive, Vantiv Gaming Solutions, eZugi, and Ifrah Law.
Read full article at link above

Seems Pala's money is still circling the drain.  How's that $100 million online poker investment working out?  Everyone got per cap raises this year, right?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


3rd former tribal leader pleads guilty in casino theft - Des Moines Register

OMAHA — A third former Winnebago Tribal Council member has pleaded guilty to his role in stealing from the tribe's casino in Iowa.
The Sioux City (Iowa) Journal reports that Charles Aldrich entered the plea Monday in U.S. District Court in Omaha.
Aldrich is one of nine former council members accused of a conspiracy to siphon more than $327,000 from the WinneVegas Casino in Sloan, Iowa. Lawrence Payer and Louis Houghton pleaded guilty last month to the same charge: theft from a gaming establishment on Indian lands. They await sentencing.


The indictments came after an FBI investigation determined that while on the tribal council, the defendants had given themselves raises and bonuses totaling $327,500 directly from the tribe's WinnaVegas Casino Resort without approving them at council meetings. It showed that in 2013 and 2014, the nine were issued $87,000 in gift certificates by the casino and uploads to prepaid debit cards paid for by the casino totaling $240,500. These distributions were recorded on the casino's books as miscellaneous administrative expenses, according to the indictment.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Fake Casino Chips

Counterfeiting Suspect Told Deputies She Flew to China, Vietnam for Fake Casino Chips: Docs

A suspect in a San Diego County Sheriff's Department investigation told detectives she flew to China and Vietnam to get millions of dollars worth of fake casino chips and labels for local casinos.
Deputies arrested Lien Do, Hao Nguyen and Ben Ven Pham on Christmas Day last year, after a detective asked a judge for a search warrant for Pham and Do's Garden Grove home.

At the casino, Sheriff detectives found $300,000 worth of counterfeit chips in the suspects' car.
"It appears that what they were seeking to do was convert those chips into cash and to walk out the casino with the cash," said District Attorney Prosecutor Daniel Shim.
Detectives found casino player cards for Sycuan, Pala, Pechanga and Viejas.

Read more at link above