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Inside Gaming: February Revenue Up for NJ, Sands Settles Years-Old Dispute

Atlantic City, New Jersey
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  • Another revenue increase in February for New Jersey; Las Vegas Sands settles 15-year-old dispute.

  • Inside Gaming: Atlantic City casinos again see overall revenue increase in February w/ online boost.

Another Increase in February for New Jersey

Regulators in New Jersey released their monthly casino revenue report this week, and once again the numbers show Atlantic City enjoying overall gains in revenue, with casinos' online business once more adding considerably to the total.

According to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement's monthly report, the total gaming revenue for the state's nine casinos for February added up to just over $232.3 million, up a considerable 21 percent year-over-year.

That total includes an almost $31.75 million internet gaming win, up just over 44 percent from a year ago and the second-highest month ever behind last month's $33.6 million. It also includes close to $3.9 million in sports wagering revenue, which wasn't part of the equation a year ago.

Speaking of sports wagering, the state's two licensed racetracks Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment and Monmouth Park again added close to $8.9 million of revenue to the bottom line.

The two new casinos, the Hard Rock Hotel Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino that both opened last June, earned almost $22.9 million (Hard Rock) and almost $15 million (Ocean Resort) in revenue, respectively.

As usual, the Borgata led the way with about $56.3 million in revenue. Enjoying year-over-year increases in February were Resorts Casino Hotel (up 24.5 percent), Caesars Atlantic City (up 10.7 percent), and Golden Nugget Atlantic City (up 5.8 percent). The four remaining casinos all saw decreases, with Harrah's Atlantic City the largest (down 14.8 percent).

"Since the start of the New Year, Atlantic City continues to see sustained revenue and tourism growth in 2019,” said Kevin Ortzman, president of the Casino Association of New Jersey, the Press of Atlantic City reports.

"As we head into March, with March Madness and baseball season approaching, we are very hopeful that Atlantic City will continue to grow as a destination resort for visitors," Ortzman added.

Majestic Star Riverboat Casinos Now Under New Owners

Moving over to the Midwest, the two Majestic Star riverboat casinos in Gary, Indiana are now under new ownership.

Spectacle Entertainment purchased the two casinos from Majestic Holdco, LLC back in November for an undisclosed amount. Last Friday the Indiana Gaming Commission gave its final approval of the sale.

Both the Majestic Star and Majestic Star II closed overnight on Tuesday, the last day of operations for Majestic Holdco, then reopened Wednesday with Spectacle as owners following some inventory and other business plus a final okay from regulators.

Spectacle has plans both to rename the casinos. Relocation is also in the works, as the Indiana-based gaming company has already announced its intention to move one of the casinos to a land-based site in Gary, and to use its second owner's license to open a casino in Terre Haute, reports the Northwest Indiana Times.

The two casinos are among the oldest in the state, having received the first two Indiana casino licenses back in 1996. One was owned by the late Don Barden, the pioneering CEO of Majestic Star. In 2005 Barden and his company purchased the other one from its original owner — Donald Trump.

Las Vegas Sands Settles Lengthy Dispute Related to Macau Entry

We first started this "Inside Gaming" column here at PokerNews back in 2009. There's an industry-related story that has been going on even longer than that, one which finally came to a conclusion this week.

Back in the early 2000s, a Hong Kong businessman named Richard Suen was hired by the Las Vegas Sands Corp. to help the Las Vegas-based company enter the Macau market via faciliating high-profile connections and providing assistance securing a license to operate.

Las Vegas Sands was awarded the needed subconcession, and in 2002 began operations in Macau. A couple of years later the company first opened Sands Macao to launch what has been a lengthy, important relationship for the company. Indeed, today Macau alone accounts for more than 60 percent of Sands' revenue.

Complaining he and his company had not been properly compensated for his role, Suen took Las Vegas Sands to court and in 2008 won a $43.8 million judgment. After an appeal, the Nevada Supreme Court overtuned that ruling in 2010.

Then in 2013 a lower court awarded Suen $70 million following a retrial, plus another $31.6 million in interest to bring the total owed by the company to more than $100M. Another appeal predictably followed, and again the judgment was overturned by the state's Supreme Court.

Cut to earlier this week. As another trial was playing out in Nevada, yesterday came news that a settlement has been reached between Suen and the company, thus bringing a sudden end to the decade-and-a-half long story.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, while terms of the settlement were not disclosed, in 2009 Sands paid out $42.5 million when facing a similar lawsuit.

Our first update on this story here in "Inside Gaming" came way back in 2010. Perhaps this will be the last one regarding Sands and Suen.

Photo: "Atlantic City" (adapted), Eric Haake, CC BY 2.0.

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