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Apr 28, 2017
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Sri Lanka Prime Minister Discourages Australian Casino Mogul’s Entry

Written By Carla Harris

Ranil Wickremesinghe

After pulling out of an agreement to build a $350 million, 450-room resort and entertainment complex in the Sri Lankan “commercial capital” of Colombo, James Packer has been officially declared unwelcome by the newly elected government. When the country’s new Prime Minister found out that Packer had scrapped his Sri Lankan development plans, he had a caustic response for the Australian millionaire.

“Packer says he will not come,” said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in a recent statement. “Who asked you to come?” He went on to make his intent absolutely clear. “Please don't come - not in this lifetime.” Prime Minister Wickremesinghe came to power earlier this month when President Maithripala Sirisena rose to prominence. Maithripala is backed by the country's main party of Buddhist monks, an influential group that strongly opposes any and all plans to lure gaming companies to Colombo.

The owner of Crown Resorts Limited, James Packer, had planned to include a casino in the recently scrapped resort development. The former Sri Lankan government had approved three casino construction projects, including one for Crown Resorts. When the new government blocked those developments, Packer refused to build the planned luxury resort without its accompanying casino. Packer also objected to the new government’s decision to revoke a promised concession that would have saved him approximately $1 billion in 10-year tax breaks.

If Packer is upset about Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s statements, he certainly isn’t showing it. On February the 2nd, he was seen grinning broadly at a press conference at the newly-opened City of Dreams Casino in the Philippine capital of Manila.

Could Casinos Return to Cuba?

Written By Carla Harris

Fidel Castro

In the 1940’s and 50’s Havanna was a playground for wealthy Americans, a tropical paradise lined with palm trees and glossy casinos. That all changed when the Castro regime came to power in the late 1950’s, of course. However, following President Barack Obama’s efforts to thaw US-Cuba relations, some casino executives are beginning to eye the island nation once again.

Nick Sortal of the Florida-based news publication, Sun Sentinel, has posed the question with the view of how it might affect Florida in terms of competition for the casino and hospitality industries. Bob Jarvis, a Nova Southeastern University professor and expert in gambling issues, told the Sentinel, “I don’t think there’s any question every casino executive in the United States and beyond is thinking of a plan to get into Cuba.”

As Jarvis noted, it was Fidel Castro who brought an end to the glitzy and often romanticized era of Cuban casinos. There were a total of thirteen casino establishments, all of which were forced to close down or move elsewhere immediately after Castro overthrew Fulgencio Batista. Castro’s view was that gambling was a ‘sin industry’ and a ‘criminal waste of the nation’s financial resources’. A number of those casinos relocated to the rapidly growing city of Las Vegas in Nevada.

The Sun Sentinel put the question to the Seminole Tribe of Florida, owners of Hard Rock Casinos and an active international expansion program, Hard Rock International. Tribe spokesman Gary Bitner said simply, “Way too early to comment.”

Another expert on the industry, Michael Pollock, managing director for research firm Spectrum Gaming, told the Sun Sentinel that casino’s won’t appear in Cuba anytime soon. He said, “So many steps would need to be taken before it becomes a realistic pursuit. It would require a stable, open government, a relatively transparent regulatory system, a lot of capital investment… A lot has changed since Cuba was a gambling destination, not the least of which a lot other islands offer gambling, and it’s so prevalent in the United States.”

However, there is another, more optimistic view. Nelson I Rose, author, columnist and world-renowned gambling expert, writes, “Castro’s communist regime may have accidentally contributed something else to the speedy rebirth of casinos. There has been so little economic progress on the island that apparently the ornate buildings constructed in the 1950s to house the mob’s casinos are still standing, waiting to be refurbished and reopened, under new management.”

Castle Builder™ Slots Game Review

Written By Carla Harris

Castle Builder Slot Game

The Castle Builder™ Slot game offers players the chance to experience an alternative take on the customary format of the 5-Reel Slot. What truly sets this Slot apart from others is the fact that it boasts an innovative level-based game in which the player assumes the role of royal master-builder who is tasked with overseeing the construction of various castles in three different kingdoms.

The main objective of this 15-Payline game is to construct 10 castles in each kingdom – construction material is garnered when the Reels come to rest on construction material symbols. Once a castle has been completed the particular kingdom’s princess inhabits the castle after which three suitors attempt to woo her. Choosing the preferred suitor lies in the players’ hands and it could lead to substantial wins if the right suitor is chosen – each admirer sports an undisclosed reward and only after the nuptials will their wealth be revealed which may either be a small, medium or large sum..

The castles become more elaborate as the player progresses, as such more construction material is required but as the castle’s size increases so too does the rewards offered by the princess’ suitors.

Further merit lies in the completion of each building mission with the chance of receiving special achievements and unique service medals from the respective king which leads to the player working their way up to a higher rank.

Castle Builder™ switches into an endless mode as soon as the player has completed construction on all the kingdoms’ castles and achieved the highest rank.

Play play Castle Builder™ right now!

Gung Pow Slots Game Review

Written By Carla Harris

Gung Pow Slot Machine

If you’re looking to kick off the New Year with a bang you really can’t go wrong with latest Video Slot release. This Chinese New Year-themed Slot is crammed with exciting features and boasts truly entertaining gameplay.

Not only does the Slot feature amazing animations but also a bevy of fantastic graphics - Gung Pow is an explosive celebration of Chinese tradition, replete with bright fireworks, traditional coins and paper lanterns. The base game is accompanied by an atmospheric soundtrack that harks back to traditional oriental music and once the Free Spins feature is initiated a frenetic percussive soundtrack takes the lead.

This 5-Reel Slot offers 243-Ways-to-Win, Wilds, Scatters as well as an explosive maximum win of 90,000.

The Wild is represented by the Gung Pow symbol and appears on Reels 2 and 4 during the base game, this symbol substitutes for all symbols except the Scatter symbol.

When 3, 4 or or 5 sparkling Scatter symbols appear anywhere on the Reels, prepare for the Free Spins fuse to be lit and a winning extravaganza to begin. You’ll be rewarded with 15 Free Spins with a 3x Multiplier and on top of that Free Spins are retriggerable which could lead to further wins and Spins, on top of all the action Wild symbols will once again substitute for any symbol save the Scatter symbol.

For those looking for even more action and entertainment, a Gamble Feature is sure to hit the spot. You stand to double your win when you accept the challenge of placing your bet on the correct card colour.

Get ready to celebrate as the fireworks light up the night sky and your winning potential soars to new heights with this amazing Video Slot.

Experience the thrills and excitement of Gung Pow™ and over 300 more games now at Maple Casino for Free!

Prepare for the Hollywood-themed casino, Studio City

Written By Carla Harris

Hollywood Casino

Melco Crown Entertainment has released additional information about its fifth casino that will be opening its doors in mid-2015 and with it a spectacular array of offerings that are surely a world’s firsts in their own right.

The casino is set to capitalise on vacationing Chinese and has its sights firmly set on the middle class after the Macau gambling industry experienced its worst year in 2014, following Chinese anti-corruption policies being implemented by President Xi Jinping that effectively curbed high-rollers from frequenting the gambling mecca.

Studio City is set to boast a number of family-friendly activities as well as a rather unusual star attraction that is speculated to lure the masses – the casino is set to boast Asia’s highest Ferris wheel at a staggering 130 metres high. The ride will be nestled between the two hotel towers of the resort and was inspired by ‘two asteroids shooting through a Gotham city building’ according to developers.

In addition the resort has signed a deal with Times Warner that will allow them to include a slew of DC Comics superheroes and Warner Bros. characters in its rides and activities. Batman features prominently with a Batman Dark Flight virtual reality ride as well as a Batman climbing structure for children.

The $3.2 billion complex naturally also caters for adults and according to Bloomberg, who interviewed Lawrence Ho, chief executive officer of Melco Crown Entertainment, the casino will initially aim to have 400 gambling tables and 1600 hotel rooms available. On top of that the resort will feature a Pacha nightclub, a TV broadcast studio and a 5000-seat centre for events.

Despite the financial setbacks of 2014, Ho is optimistic about the development as close to 2 million mainland tourists visited the former Portuguese colony in November, an increase of 28 percent and 70 percent of the total, according to government figures.

Only time will tell if Melco’stourism gamble pays off.

Casino heavyweight James Packer loses $1.8 billion on the stockmarket

Written By Carla Harris

Australian Dollars

Some of Australia’s richest men have fallen on hard times, well by their standards anyway! In the past 12 months, shaky economic circumstances and a fall in share prices have caused a loss of more than $5 billion among the country’s wealthiest, but one of the hardest hit by the financial decline is businessman James Packer. The gambling bigwig and chairperson of Crown Resorts, one of Australia’s biggest entertainment and resort groups, is now $1.8 billion poorer on paper, according to Sky News Australia.

Packer, son of Kerry Packer, the late media mogul, inherited the family company, Consolidated Press Holdings Ltd. He soon tired of the traditional press and began forging a future in international gambling and tourism with Crown Resorts, a group that not only has two of the biggest entertainment complexes in Australia (Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex, Melbourne and Crown Perth), but also resorts in Macau, the high-end Aspinall’s Club, London, and is currently invested in a building in Sri Lanka that was set to be completed this year.

As reported by New Zealand’s Business Day, Crown Resorts has seen a 28% fall in share price and operations are not running as smoothly as they did in the past. ‘Crown's two Australian casinos have been hit by sluggish consumer spending while plans for a $US400 million casino development in Sri Lanka look to have stalled after a change of government.’

This is not the first time billionaire Packer and his Crown Resorts have faced an uncertain future. Back in 2008, an attempt to enter the Las Vegas gambling industry resulted in losses of US$250 million investment as Fontainebleau Resorts ended up filing for bankruptcy. It was reported in the Sydney Heraldin 2009 that this was one of a number of failed bids to crack ‘the coveted Las Vegas market’.

Packer was not the only member of the ‘Rich List’ to feel the pinch. Andrew Forrest, chairman of Fortescue Metals Group, was the hardest hit with the fall of mining stock taking $2.5 billion of his paper wealth. This also affected Kerry Stokes, chairman of Seven Groups Holdings, another one for the mining industry.

Mining aside, the fall in share price for Crown Resorts does say something about the current state of Australia’s gambling industry. Does this mean that Australians would rather choose convenience and play their Pokies online than go through the effort of visiting a land-based casino or resort?

The Industry Innovations of Australian Gambling Mogul Len Ainsworth

Written By Carla Harris

Jackpot Slot Machine

When Len Ainsworth took over his father’s dental equipment company as a young man, he had little idea that he would ultimately transform the gambling industry and become one of the richest people in Australia. Now in his 90s, Ainsworth devotes a great deal of his AU$1.35 billion fortune to a variety of philanthropic efforts. A cancer survivor, he donates substantial sums to support cutting-edge medical research.

His firm dedication to innovation has served Ainsworth well over the course of his 62-year gambling industry career. He founded the slot machine company Aristocrat Leisure in 1953 and soon grew into a global market leader. Never one to be satisfied with the status quo, he always looked forward to the latest advancements in the industry.

As modern technology expanded beyond the world of traditional spinning-reel slot machines, Ainsworth consistently kept pace with the progress. Over the years, Aristocrat began to produce a wide range of linked jackpot systems, electronic card game simulations, and computerised table games. The company has also created revolutionary digital gaming systems that are able to manage entire networks of slot machines.

Aristocrat is perhaps been known as the manufacturer of the iconic, Egyptian-themed “Queen of the Nile” slot. A great deal of the company’s revenue, however, is generated through its popular linked jackpot brands “Jackpot Carnival” and “Cash Express.” These hyperlink systems are able to synchronize as many as 256 machines, allowing them to do display a common progressive jackpot.

After his cancer scare, Ainsworth handed ownership of Aristocrat over to his sons to begin Ainsworth Game Technology. At an age when most people are thinking about retirement, he continues to push the hi-tech envelope, offering a range of global gaming solutions and progressive linked terminal systems. In 2010, Macau Business Magazine presented Ain

Will ISP Filters Create a Headache for British Bettors?

Written By Carla Harris

David Cameron

Online poker players and other gamers will soon be required to jump through an extra hoop — and they have a new policy spearheaded by Prime Minister David Cameron to thank for it.

Cameron has been lobbying the U.K.'s largest Internet service providers to install automatic browsing filters in an effort to protect minors from violent, racist and adult material.

Customers must manually opt out of such filters by making a request to their ISP.

The U.K.'s four largest ISPs have responded to the lobbying in different ways. Sky and TalkTalk have agreed to require opt-out filtering, but Virgin Media and BT, the country's two other major ISPs, have yet to introduce opt-out filters. Both are under pressure to do so, though, and BT now uses an opt-in filter.

While the filters are primarily designed to prevent minors from accessing violent or adult material, online gaming sites are also affected. Some ISPs attempt to filter all gaming sites, while others only filter gaming sites with adult content.

That could be a significant problem for some online gaming fans, who may not be able to opt in to the filtering system without blocking their favourite gaming sites.

Some critics have assailed this "broad brush" approach, claiming that too much content is being inadvertently restricted. Some businesses and even charities have complained that their sites have been unwittingly placed off limits because of software mix-ups. There's also considerable confusion on the consumer side, as the filtering policies of ISPs are not uniform.

There's also a question as to whether gaming is being unfairly lumped in with adult or objectionable content.

While the value of opt-out filtering can certainly be debated, one thing seems beyond question — poker and other games have nothing in common with violent or adult content.

To lump them together is poor policy — and a unnecessary headache for British gaming fans.

Lucky Fire Online Slots Review

Written By Carla Harris

Lucky Firecracker Online Slot

It is said that the person who launches the first fireworks on Chinese New Year will be awarded good luck. This New Year, be the first to offer this explosive new video slot and all the luck in the world will be yours. This Chinese New Year-themed Slot is crammed with exciting features and boasts truly entertaining gameplay.

Not only does the Slot feature amazing animations but also a bevy of fantastic graphics - Lucky Firecracker is an explosive celebration of Chinese tradition, replete with bright fireworks, traditional coins and paper lanterns. The base game is accompanied by an atmospheric soundtrack that harks back to traditional oriental music and once the Free Spins feature is initiated a frenetic percussive soundtrack takes the lead.

This 5-Reel Slot offers 243-Ways-to-Win, Wilds, Scatters as well as an explosive maximum win of 90,000.

The Wild is represented by the Lucky Firecracker symbol and appears on Reels 2 and 4 during the base game, this symbol substitutes for all symbols except the Scatter symbol.

When 3, 4 or or 5 sparkling Scatter symbols appear anywhere on the Reels, prepare for the Free Spins fuse to be lit and a winning extravaganza to begin. You’ll be rewarded with 15 Free Spins with a 3x Multiplier and on top of that Free Spins are retriggerable which could lead to further wins and Spins, on top of all the action Wild symbols will once again substitute for any symbol save the Scatter symbol.

For those looking for even more action and entertainment, a Gamble Feature is sure to hit the spot. You stand to double your win when you accept the challenge of placing your bet on the correct card colour.

Get ready to celebrate as the fireworks light up the night sky and your winning potential soars to new heights with this amazing Video Slot.


Golden Era Online Slots Review

Written By Carla Harris

Double Era

Join the all-star cast of Golden Era for a trip down memory lane where the icons aren’t just the character symbols but also the fantastic features that this Video Slot holds. This classic Hollywood-themed Slot boasts an all-star cast that are intent on sharing their glamorous lifestyle and wealth with you.

Golden Era is sure to immerse players with its distinctly cinematic artwork, animations and audio. This Slot combines crisp graphics with vintage design which is accompanied by a charming cinematic score that is both old-fashioned and upbeat.

This 5-Reel, fixed 15-line Slot offers the traditional fare of Base Game features with the main attraction being the phenomenal payouts and the Bonus features.

Get ready for an outstanding performance when 3, 4, or 5 Scatter symbols appear on the reels revealing two Bonus features from which to choose which are guaranteed to steal the limelight: Free Spins with Merging Wild Reels or the Double Feature Bonus.

Free Spins
This Bonus feature grants you access to 12 Free Spins and you’ll witness the debut of an exciting new Wild feature, Merging Wild Reels. Each Wild Reel features 1 of the 2 sophisticated stars and with every spin the Wild Reels move towards each other incrementally till they meet and combine in the middle of Reel 3 with the Merged Wild Reel awarding a 2x Multiplier on all participating wins.

Double Feature This feature epitomises vintage Hollywood with a selection of classic motion pictures posters. The aim of the game is to pick as many posters as you can until the game is ended with the pop item which awards cash value before ending the Bonus. Each poster you successfully pick is loaded with a spectacular cash prize, and there a chance to discover the Bonus Multiplier that doubles all Bonus wins.

Don’t miss a second of the action in Golden Era. With an accessible minimum bet of 0.15 bet and wins of up to 106,000 in the Base Game, 66,000 in the Free Spins Bonus and 14,000 in the Double Feature Bonus, everything is in place for box-office brilliance.


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