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The week in pictures: November 4th – November 10th, 2014

Nov 12, 2014

Weekly news in pictures

We saw some big stories breaking throughout last week and so lets take a look back at some of those that hit the headlines

In Berlin Germans celebrated the end of the cold war and the collapse of the Berlin Wall that for so long divided their city. Built by the communist authorities in 1961 to stop people fleeing to the west it collapsed in 1989 in triumphant scenes flashed around the world. To celebrate events were held across the city with 8,000 white balloons released along the length of the wall, only a few miles of which remains, to remember the numerous people who died trying to escape the east during the cold war. The Brandenburg Gate saw the biggest party with Peter Gabriel playing David Bowie’s “Heroes” to a massive crowd.

Massive crowds were not in evidence during the US midterm elections on Tuesday where a scant 36.5% of the voting public bothered to actually vote. This coupled with the Republican stoked unpopularity of President Obama saw the Democratic Party take a decisive beating at the ballot box. As the results rolled in it became apparent there was a lot of work to do before 2016 if they wish to retain the White House. Republicans celebrated their victory and new control over the Senate but insisted they would be working with the President in the final two years of his presidency, a sentiment echoed by Obama. And if you believe that…

Talking of unbelievable the new head of GCHQ, the British equivalent of the NSA, Robert Hannigan has called on tech giants to cooperate more closely with the intelligence services in the fight against extremists and terrorism. Apparently our all having social media sites and the ability to encrypt our communications is making his job a little bit too difficult, which is ironic since most of us only started using encryption after we found out Mr. Hannigan and his friends were listening in on everything we said online. In an almost pleading article for the Financial Times he called for a “mature debate” on privacy, security and civil liberties. Yeah. Good luck with that, Bob.

In sports the Formula 1 drivers championship was still neck and neck as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton went into the Brazilian Grand Prix. In an action packed race that saw Hamilton spin off at one point, the two Mercedes drivers romped home in first and second place with the German Rosberg winning cutting Hamilton’s championship lead to just 17 points with 50 available in the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi. Who’ll win that and take the season? Find out in our daily news pages but before you do that check out the stories that hit our headlines last week.

1. Apparently, the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino is so profitable that two rival groups of the tribe who owns it are fighting over it with guns and firearms, just like in the Wild West.
Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino  shooting

This casino is worth fighting for (Photo: Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino)

2. Macau is in big trouble. With VIP customers avoiding the gambling hub due to China’s crackdown on corruption, the city’s casinos are posting huge drops in profit.
Macau gambling in trouble

Gambling is about winning and… losing (Photo: Kieran Scott )

3. After pumping millions into their pro-casino campaign and dangling thousands of jobs in front of Massachusetts voters, Wynn, MGM and Penn National finally got what they wanted: the majority vote allowing them to move ahead with projects in the state.
Voting for casinos in Boston

Wynn, MGM and Penn National are ‘in the game’ in Boston (Photo: CBS)

4. As if making online operators pay extra to gain access to British players wasn’t enough, the UK Gambling Commission has also put restrictions on sports sponsorships.
New sport jerseys for sponsors

Sport jersey could come with a disclaimer (Photo:Zazzle Apparel)

5. Marriage is hard and David and Sam Mackie know it only too well. In two and a half years of marriage, they didn’t even get a chance to go on a honeymoon! Well luck was on their side last week, when they won a trip to Australia and GBP1 million.
Lottery Winners 1 million Pounds

This is how a million Pounds couple looks like (Photo: Daily Echo)

6. After Macau, it is now Singapore’s turn to bleed because of China’s crackdown on corruption, which has chased away VIP customers. While gambling news talk aboutpainful losses in casino revenues, no one is bothering to figure out what these high-rollers are actually hiding from.
Singapore looses casino clients

Where did all the ‘whales’ go? (Photo: Simin Wang/AFP)

7. Reports suggested that British driver Lewis Hamilton could potentially suffer a similar fate at the Interlagos circuit as in previous years.
Lewis Hamilton  Brazil Grand Prix

Perhaps a prayer would help… (Photo:BBC)

Meanwhile Swedish scientists have shown human stem cells can be used to treat the effects of Parkinson’s Disease with a study displaying an alleviation or reversal of the brain damaged caused. Hailed as a break-through this test on rats may lead to clinical trials on humans by 2017, and last week the drummer from AC/DC was charged with attempting to arrange a murder amongst other things, and whilst those charges were dropped he still faces up to seven years for making threats to kill, a charge his lawyer says will be contested, will he get off? Find out in our daily news pages.

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Has Japan Missed the Opportunity to Become Asia’s Second Largest Gambling Hub?

Sep 30, 2014
Has Japan missed the chance to become Asia’s second largest gambling hub?

Has Japan missed the chance to become Asia’s second largest gambling hub?

Japan is getting closer and closer to that critical point where casino developers will lose their patience and turn their backs on any investment opportunity in the country.

Since experts estimated that Japan has the potential to become Asia’s second largest casino market, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration has been pushing for a change in Japanese gambling laws to open the door to major casino developers before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. With the way things are going, it looks like the big dream is not going to happen anytime soon.

For Japan, it’s not a matter of “sooner or later”. If investors don’t have sufficient time to make their plans, obtain approval and start building, the effort will not be worth it. Having a favorable regulatory system as soon as possible was crucial for the success of the country’s gambling market. It’s becoming increasingly unlikely that everything will be ready in time for the Olympics.

Reuters: Costs, politics erode chances for a Tokyo casino by 2020

Japanese casino supporters are starting to panic as plans to change the country’s gambling legislation don’t seem to be coming together. As time passes and authorities are still undecided whether to approve the new casino bill, plans to open the first casino in Tokyo before the 2020 Olympics are becoming increasingly unlikely.

Even though Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has repeatedly stated that legalizing casino games is one of his main objectives, recent gambling news say building costs are skyrocketing, and the city government is not treating casino development as an economic priority anymore.

For months, casino companies have courted the governments of Tokyo and Osaka, hoping that they will convince them to open the market. Analysts have touted Japan as one of the world’s biggest untapped markets for gambling, but authorities are still undecided.

Major casino operators like Las Vegas Sands, Genting Singapore, MGM Resorts and Melco Crown Entertainment have proposed billion-dollar plans for the area, in order to position themselves as potential candidates for a license, should the casino bill be approved.

The parliament just began its autumn session, and the casino bill should be debated. Supporters of the idea are hoping that politicians will make a decision, giving the administration enough time to approve the bill and start making plans by 2015. But costs have become an issue and the Tokyo government is considering scaling back its plans for the Olympics.

Satoshi Okabe, a senior manager at a project being developed by Dentsu, said: “The reality is that preparations for the Olympics are going to be pretty challenging. Casinos are secondary. Building costs are going to spike and foreign casino operators are going to find investment returns inefficient.”

Meanwhile, Osaka is making progress with its plans for a casino and Caesars Entertainment is still interested. “We are actively in talks with potential Japanese partners about an Osaka project,” said Steve Tight, president for international development for Caesars.

Forbes: Japan Forms Casino Task Force To Boost Flagging Momentum

At the end of August, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government announced that it was going to create a task force help speed up preparations for casinos in Japan. Decision-makers have postponed the issue for a while now, but the Abe administration is hoping the task force will revive momentum for the resorts to be open in time for the 2020 Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo.

Some major gaming companies said they were willing to spend as much as $5 billion or more to build integrated resorts in the country’s largest cities, but financial experts doubt that the Japanese market is worth that level of investment.

The casino legalization bill was introduced in December 2013, but the Diet didn’t include it in its June voting session. The issue was brought up for debate just a few days before the session closed, so there is still hope that it might come up again during the special session held in autumn.

A report released by Morgan Stanley says Japan is facing many issues in its ambitions to build integrated casino resorts. Analysts Praveen Choudhary, Thomas Allen and Alex Poon have concluded that the country’s gambling market may not be as profitable as casino developers are hoping.

GamingZion: Major Casino Developers Eager to Join the $40 Billion Japanese Casino Market

Experts agree that a casino industry in Japan could potentially generate a yearly profit of $40 billion. The news has convinced the world’s largest casino developers that they must have a share of that juicy revenue, so developers like Melco Crown Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts and Caesar’s Entertainment Group have all pledged to invest billions of dollars.

Melco CEO Lawrence Ho said the company was willing to spend as much as $5 billion on a new investment in Japan, should the new law pass. The developer sees it as the perfect opportunity to expand outside of Macau.

Las Vegas Sands, Wynn and MGM are also interested in the Japanese casino market, and Caesars Entertainment has already presented its plans for a $5 billion resort, as Chief Executive Officer Gary Loveman said the company “will have no trouble raising the finance for a world-class facility in Tokyo.”

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