Inside Gaming: Portugal and Online Gaming, Budget Increases in Manila, and More
Online Gambling Regulations Delayed in Portugal
According to PokerNews Portugal, Portuguese State Minister Paulo Portas announced that there will be potential online gambling regulation in 2014. Portugal is desperately in need of tax revenues, as they were given a €78 billion bailout from the European Central Bank.
The estimated gross annual revenue in the country is around €60-50 million.
The problem is that the request for regulated online gaming omits rates, and it was evidently included in the budget only to add “virtual income” that will go towards the four-percent deficit target in 2014.
The projected tax rate will be around 20 or 25 percent, which is akin to the rates in other Member States within the European Union. The EU has been quite active with regards to online gaming — a few weeks back, the Court Justice of the European Union ruled that Italy can’t block online gambling sites from Malta with an .eu domain.
PokerNews Portugal contacted pro Carlos “Poeira4” Branco about the news, and he said “If you put a tax rate above what the players are willing to pay, or consider fair, the market dies…It seems quite obvious that a solution such as England’s or something with a reduced tax rate would make sense.”
White also said that Portugal is an interesting destination for misplaced American players or European players looking to relocate to somewhere nice, but he is unsure whether or not these players will leave their taxes in the country.
PokerNews Portugal has more.
Melco to Boost Budget in Manila
According to Bloomberg, Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd (MPEL) announced that it will boost its budget for its Manila casino in the Philippines by 10 percent. The $680 million increase comes after the company received government approval to add more gaming tables to the property.
The Pilipino casino regulator granted the company, a joint venture between Lawrence Ho and James Packer, approval to increase gaming tables from 242 to 365, and slot machines and electronic table games from 1,450 to 1,680. The Hong Kong-based company, which also building the City of Dreams resort in Manila alongside Henry Sy, is raising the budget because construction and other costs are rising as well.
The Philippines awarded four gaming licenses is 2008 and 2009, including Genting Malaysia Bhd and Belle Corp.
As development in Macau starts to slow, Melco Crown is expanding overseas. The company is constructing one of the four casino resorts in Manila, and the $1 billion resort is scheduled to open in the middle of 2014. Along with the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam will soon attempt to replicate the gaming successes of Singapore and Macau.
Melco Crown’s casino will be the second to open in Pagcor City, which is being constructed along Manila Bay. The first casino, Solaire Manila opened in March and is a $1.2 billion property owned by Enrique Razon Jr..
Menominee Teams Up With the Seminoles
On Wednesday, Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reported that Hard Rock International will develop and manage an off-reservation casino proposed in Kenosha, Milwaukee.
“Hard Rock is a very big brand – it’s known internationally,” said Frank Fatini, chief executive officer of the Fantini Gaming Report. “The brand has a great reputation…it would give immediate visibility to the casino in Kenosha.”
Details regarding the deal are momentarily unavailable, but previous arrangements with the Menominee Tribe have shown that they are willing to share more than 25 percent of their gaming revenue with a potential developer and manager.
The deal should apply pressure to Milwaukee Governor Scott Walker. Walker must approve the casino complex, which is slated to be built off of Interstate 94, and the tribe has been in search of a developer since Mohegan Sun walked away from the project several years ago. The Menominee will be forced to pay the Mohegans roughly $12 million if the Kenosha casino is constructed.
Walker says he will approve the casino if each of the state’s other 10 tribes “bless the proposition.”
According to sources, the Menominee have been discussing a possible deal with the Seminoles for months.
"The [Menominee] tribe had to do something — they had to reach a deal with someone, they can't continue to do this on their own," said one source. The Hard Rock group "brings lots of expertise in gaming and marketing to the project.”
The Florida-based tribe acquired the Hard Rock for nearly $1 billion in 2007, and Hard Rock has 174 venues in 54 countries, including 138 cafes, 17 hotels, and seven casinos.
For more, check out the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.
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