Luxor Hotel Alleged Teen Murderer Remains in Las Vegas Jail

Posted on: July 29, 2023, 12:27h. 

Last updated on: July 29, 2023, 12:27h.

A teenage girl will appear in court on Tuesday on charges she allegedly killed a California man in a room at Las Vegas’s Luxor Hotel & Casino.

Emma Kusak
Emma Kusak, pictured above. She appeared in Las Vegas court on Thursday after being arrested for allegedly murdering a man at the Luxor Hotel. (Image: KLAS)

Emma Kusak, who turned 18 on Wednesday, was booked that day at Clark County Detention Center for the June 29 fatal shooting of Charlie Satrustegui, 36, of Glendale.

Initially, she was held at a juvenile facility.

She is facing charges of open murder, robbery, and grand larceny for theft of his property and his killing.

On Thursday, she appeared in local court for adults. Judge Rebecca Saxe refused to set bail in the case.

Police revealed this week that Kusak allegedly shot Satrustegui twice in the head while the two were in a 12th floor room at the Las Vegas Strip hotel, according to Las Vegas TV station KVVU. She then fled from the room.

Shortly after the shooting, she called the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) to report the crime. She later turned herself into local police.

I didn’t mean to do it,” Kusak told officers, according to an arrest report.

Met on Dating App

The two originally met on Bumble months before the shooting. It is a dating app.

The couple sent about 30 texts to each other. Two months later, he asked her if she wanted to meet because he was visiting Las Vegas.

She said yes. He picked her up and the two went to Albertsons, a grocery store, to purchase alcohol. He then drove her to the Luxor where he was staying.

They drank about eight shots of vodka in his room.

At one point, Satrustegui showed her a handgun. He “told her he liked to hunt and go shooting,” Las Vegas TV station KLAS reported.

The two fell asleep at about 1 a.m. At approximately 3 a.m., Satrustegui told her to leave the room. He was upset over her loud coughs, she claimed.

Satrustegui then approached her, and she thought he was going to attack her. She then allegedly shot him.

Later, she changed some of her story after police questioned her version of events.

Kusak admitted the two had argued. Kusak attempted to call friends so they could give her a ride away from the hotel, according to Las Vegas TV station KTNV. But they could not come.

Soon, she grabbed his gun from a nightstand and then demanded that he give her “his s***.”

She wanted his car keys. He handed them over.

Did Not Mean to Shoot Him

She planned to rob him of his money. But then he “lunged” for the gun, and she shot him, police said. He fell to the floor.

Emma said she didn’t mean to shoot him and didn’t want to shoot him, but she had nowhere to go and didn’t want to go back to jail. Emma said she impulsively shot Charlie,” the LVMPD arrest report stated.

Kusak told officers she was broke. She did not want contact with either police officers or her parents.

Kusak allegedly stole his keys, wallet and cell phone. The wallet contained about $300.

Kusak then went to Satrustegui’s car. She drove the car for a few blocks and parked it. She left the wallet, phone and car keys in the vehicle.

Gun Tossed in Trash

She then took an Uber taxi to the Wingstop restaurant, near Rainbow and Charleston boulevards in Las Vegas.

She dropped gun in a trashcan at the location.

Kusak then phoned the police.

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California Illegal Gambling Operation Leads to Guilty Plea

Posted on: July 28, 2023, 10:19h. 

Last updated on: July 28, 2023, 10:19h.

A California accountant entered a guilty plea this week in a case tied to illegal gaming. A former pro baseball player and other athletes are linked to the scandal as well, authorities said.

Yasiel Puig Valdes
Yasiel Puig Valdes, pictured above. The baseball player faces a trial as another suspect recently pled guilty in the gambling probe. (Image: AP)

The accountant, William Eric Fulton, 59, of Agoura Hills, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a count of making false statements.

Fulton provided accounting services to Wayne Joseph Nix, 46, of Newport Coast, Calif. He is an ex-minor-league baseball player who allegedly ran an illegal bookmaking operation for about two decades.

Fulton allegedly laundered Nix’s illegal gambling proceeds, prosecutors said.

Fulton is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee on November 29 for sentencing.

The maximum sentence is five years in prison. He also agreed to pay a fine of at least $673,290.

Transfers were made between accounts involving large bets, prosecutors said. Checks were issued. Clients were wired money. Fulton also assisted Nix in getting bank loans.

Lies Told to Feds

Fulton also lied to federal officials about his activities, prosecutors said.

Lying to federal law enforcement officials in an attempt to cover up criminal activity is a serious offense,” Homeland Security Investigations Los Angeles Acting Special Agent in Charge Eddy Wang said in a statement.

On three occasions between March 2011 and October 2019, Fulton also gave no-cost personal loans to Nix. They totaled $1.25 million.

Nix used the money to pay gambling clients, prosecutors said.

Fulton through Nix also made personal bets, prosecutors said. They were made via the Sand Island Sports website.

Fulton allegedly placed 14 bets in a single day. Three were made on a match involving one of his clients.

Fulton also referred one or more of his clients to Nix. The client or clients were to take part in illegal gambling after the referral.

In October 2021, Fulton denied knowing about Nix’s involvement in sports gambling, and said he was unaware Nix was a bookmaker. He also denied placing a bet with Nix.

The statements he made were false, prosecutors said.

Between 2010 and 2020, Nix also paid Fulton $336,645.

Other Suspects

Also, Nix pleaded guilty in April 2022 to a count of conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business and a count of subscribing to a false tax return. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 6, 2024.

Nix’s partner, Edon Yoshida Kagasoff, 45, of Lake Forest, pleaded guilty in April 2022 to a count of conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business. Kagasoff was sentenced on July 5 to six months of probation, fined $1K, and must forfeit $3,164,563.

Also,  Yasiel Puig Valdes, 32, a former Major League Baseball right fielder, allegedly lied to the feds in their investigation, too.

Valdes played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds, and Cleveland Indians. He is charged with obstruction of justice and making false statements.

His trial is scheduled to start on January 16, 2024.

The El Camino Real Financial Crimes Task Force took part in the investigation.

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Las Vegas Crime Round Up: Sex in Police Van on Las Vegas Strip

Posted on: July 28, 2023, 08:42h. 

Last updated on: July 28, 2023, 08:57h.

Two unnamed men were arrested last week after engaging in a sex act while inside a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) van on the Las Vegas Strip.

Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resort & Casino
Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resort & Casino, pictured above. Two men in a police van parked near the casino had sex in the back of the vehicle. (Image: TripAdvisor)

The sex-capade took place last Friday when one of the men saw the other inmate in the back of the van. He checked him out.

“He liked him,” police said based on the inmate’s comments. Next, the “two inmates engaged in a sex act,” police said.

As the duo took part in the unspecified act, an unidentified inmate in the van “looked away,” police added.

Van at Planet Hollywood

The van was parked at the Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resort & Casino when the incident occurred.

The person driving the van was transporting the two men to the Clark County Detention Center.

Both men were charged with sex conduct by a person other than a prison employee, according to Las Vegas TV station KLAS.

They were each released from custody. No bail was set during their initial court appearances.

The Clark County District Attorney’s Office chose not to prosecute the suspects on their original charges.

One initially was arrested for trespass. The second man was arrested for burglary.

Murder Suspect Kept Corpse for Two Months

A man arrested for murder this week kept a corpse in a Las Vegas residence for two months hoping his girlfriend would come back to life.

He allegedly strangled the woman on May 4 and thought she would be reborn like in the movie, “The Grudge,” according to Las Vegas TV station KLAS.

A cooler was seen pushed against the closet door. That way the alleged killer would know if she came back to life when she tried to open the door.

The suspect was identified as George Bone, 31. He was arrested on Wednesday.

He was charged with open murder and failing to register as a sex offender, police said. Bone remains at the Clark County Detention Center. No bail was set.

The victim was identified as Beverly Ma. Her decaying body was discovered in an upstairs bedroom closet at a Railroad River Avenue residence. Cops found the corpse during a check on her welfare after someone called them to say Bone claimed the body was in the closet.

Bone remained in the residence while Ma’s body was there.

He also ordered items from Amazon using Ma’s account and money, police said.

Ma and Bone had met while attending high school. They remained friends over the years and the two began living with each other last summer.

Search for Robbery Suspects

Authorities are continuing to search for several suspects who assaulted and robbed a man on the Las Vegas Strip in May.

The armed holdup took place on May 30 near South Las Vegas Boulevard, close to Tropicana Avenue, according to Las Vegas TV station KSNV.

The incident took place after the victim was walking by himself on the Strip. Several suspects then grabbed him, the report said.

Next, they pushed the victim onto the ground. The bandits grabbed his backpack. It is unclear what was inside of the backpack.

It was not immediately known what kind of weapon the suspects used during the robbery.

After the heist, they fled in a gray Chrysler Pacifica minivan. Police believe it was a rental vehicle.

This week, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) released a photo of one of the suspects and their getaway vehicle.

Officers also released a partial description of the suspects.

One man was wearing a Golden Knights hat, black hoodie, and black latex gloves. The other suspects wore black clothes. Their faces were covered with masks.

There were no serious injuries reported from the holdup.

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FOX Bet Could Be Out Of Business In Matter of Days

Posted on: July 28, 2023, 06:57h. 

Last updated on: July 28, 2023, 06:57h.

FOX Bet could become the latest casualty of the ultra-competitive US sports wagering landscape and its official obituary could be penned as soon as next Monday.

Fox Bet
An advertisement for Fox Bet’s Super 6 game. The gaming unit could be disbanded, according to a research firm. (Image: Fox)

Citing unidentified sources with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg  reported News Corp (NASDAQ: NWSA) and Flutter Entertainment (OTC:PDYPY) could announce a decision to shutter FOX Bet on Monday, July 31 with the closure taking effect the next day.

Reports surfaced earlier this month that the media giant was facing something of a do or die decision with FOX Bet with that date being Aug. 1. The “do” part of that equation would have been Fox parent News Corp putting more cash into FOX Bet to keep afloat a sports wagering operation that’s cobbled together nominal market share.

Currently, FOX Bet is live in just a quartet of US states and has less than 1% share in those jurisdictions, according to some estimates.

Where News Corp’s Goes From Here with Sports Betting

News Corp has well documented sports wagering ambitions both in its home country of Australia and in the US. However, the broadcasting behemoth has yet to find tangible success in either region.

Still, Fox isn’t left empty handed when it comes to the US sports betting scene. It still has rights to acquire up to 18.6% of Flutter-controlled FanDuel — by far the largest online sportsbook operator in the US.  That’s more than decent compensation when considering FanDuel is, by some estimates, valued at $20 billion.

Even if FOX Bet is put out to pasture, Fox will retain the rights to that branding and the popular Super 6 predictive games. Fox has held discussions with other sports wagering companies regarding possible marketing accords with its family of networks, according to Bloomberg, but it’s unclear if or how FOX Bet would fit into such an equation.

FOX Bet is controlled by Flutter by way of that company’s 2020 $12.2 billion acquisition of the Stars Group (TSG), in which Fox was a major investor. Since that deal, the brand languished as FanDuel grew and as Flutter put more emphasis on that unit.

What Flutter Gets

Though not monetary in nature, Flutter can wring some benefit from the closure of FOX Bet, should that decision come to pass. If nothing else, the Dublin-based gaming company would be of a unprofitable unit that had become more of a headache than anything.

Additionally, Flutter would retain FOX Bet’s customer database and marketing agreements, according to Bloomberg.

Flutter is also close to listing its shares in the US — a move that’s expected to occur before the end of the year. Doing away with FOX Bet could clean up the investment thesis and make the stock more appealing to a broader swath of investors in this country.

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Aussie Greyhound Trainer in Cruelty Case Once ‘Sexually Stimulated’ Dog

Posted on: July 28, 2023, 10:22h. 

Last updated on: July 28, 2023, 12:13h.

The Australian greyhound trainer whose kennel is at the center of an animal cruelty investigation was once caught on camera allegedly “stimulating” a dog before a race.

Tony Rasmussen, Lisa Rasmussen, Racing SA
Tony Rasmussen, above, and his wife, Lisa, were charged with 12 offenses Friday morning related to footage showing animal abuse at his kennel compound in South Australia. (Image: Greyhound Recorder)

In 2016, Tony Rasmussen was seen in Sky Racing footage handling a dog named Crisis Bale “in the vicinity of its genital region,” according to a subsequent inquiry by Racing South Australia (SA).

Some commentators at the time suggested the action was designed to make the dog run slower. Sure enough, Crisis Bale underperformed in the race at Angle Park.

Slap on the Wrist

Rasmussen pleaded not guilty to misconduct charges in connection with the incident. Racing SA stewards “deemed his actions to be improper” and found him guilty of violating Greyhound Racing Rule 86(o), which states:

 An offence is committed if a person (including an official) … has, in relation to a greyhound or greyhound racing, done something, or omitted to do something, which, in the opinion of a Controlling Body or the Stewards: (i) is corrupt, fraudulent, or dishonest; (ii) constitutes misconduct or is negligent or improper…

Rasmussen was fined $1000, with $250 suspended for a period of two years on the condition he did not reoffend. The police weren’t involved because they considered it a matter that was being dealt with internally by Racing SA.

Shocking Footage

Rasmussen was described by this week as “South Australia’s premier trainer.” His star dog, Victa Damian, has won 14 of its 24 appearances this year.

Shocking drone footage emerged this week taken from above Rasmussen’s kennel compound near Adelaide.

Purportedly filmed by a whistleblower and passed to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), it showed an unidentified man repeatedly kicking and punching dogs, including puppies, as well as dragging them by their hind legs.

The footage was filmed over a 17-day period in June and early July this year, according to ABC.

New Charges Filed

On Friday morning Racing SA announced it had charged Rasmussen and his wife, Lisa Rasmussen, with a dozen racing offenses in relation to the footage.

After viewing the video, SA Premier Peter Malinauskas announced this week there would be an independent inquiry into the industry. In a statement to Thursday, Carey Thiel, executive director of Grey2K USA Worldwide, questioned why Rasmussen was still working in the industry at all.

This is not the first time Tony Rasmussen has been implicated in the abuse of greyhounds. In fact, he was found guilty in 2017 of sexually abusing a greyhound before a race. He was given a $1,000 fine for that repulsive act, which was a slap on the wrist,” Thiel said.

“If South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas is serious about getting to the bottom of this case, he should start by finding out why Greyhound Racing SA allowed a known greyhound abuser to continue to work in the racing industry for years after he was caught,” Thiel added.

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Source: Kick to Spend at Least $200M Attracting New Creators –

Posted on: July 28, 2023, 07:50h. 

Last updated on: July 28, 2023, 12:18h.

The streaming platform wars may be heating up in a big way. A recent tweet by Kick cofounder Ed Craven suggests the Twitch rival will spend hundreds of millions of dollars to dethrone its rival. The ties Kick and Craven share with online gaming platform will help.

Former Twitch content creator xQc in a public appearance
Former Twitch content creator xQc in a public appearance. He signed a $100M deal to move to Kick, and similar deals are reportedly in the works. (Image: Getty Images)

After signing million-dollar deals with streamers like xQc and Amouranth, it seems that Kick plans to continue opening its wallet. This is something the site’s cofounder himself has revealed through Twitter, before it became X, where he assures that “the best days of streaming are yet to come.”

Craven apparently has big plans in the works to onboard more streaming talent at almost any cost. In the face of increasing global regulations, a tempered approach is advised.

A New Streaming Crown

Craven has been optimistic about Kick and its ability to knock Twitch, hamster races and all, off its pedestal. However, some users don’t believe that things are going to turn out so well for the site.

One, despite not being asked for his opinion, recently asserted that it was a mistake to sign xQc on a multimillion-dollar deal, because he posted much more content on Twitch. To this, Craven, whose is looking at purchasing Rush Street Interactive, hinted at big changes coming to the platform.

He revealed that Kick plans to sign contracts of $1 million with 100 people. In addition, it has earmarked another $100K each for 1,000 more contracts.

Kick remains focused on attracting as many creators as possible. For this reason, it has reiterated that it wants to offer fair payments to all streamers who make an effort to create content on the platform.

The strategy could be working, as the numbers continue to increase. data shows that the average number of viewers for the week of February 16-23 was 39,558. The average for June 29 to July 6 was 134,654, but has dipped slightly. It’s now at about 112,649.

It is also likely that Kick will sign celebrities who haven’t yet ventured into streaming or content creation. One of these is NBA great Shaquille O’Neal, who revealed on a Squadcast podcast a few days ago that he wanted to be part of Kick if it paid him enough.

The MVP and Hall of Famer known as Shaq said, “They pay him $50 million just to play video games? … [xQc} is in trouble because I’m about to come after him. So, he just turns the camera on, and people just watch him? … I might have to look into that.”

Off to the Races With Alfa Romeo

The Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix, weather permitting, is coming this weekend. It could give Kick another boost in attention. The neon green logo of the platform is already associated with Alfa Romeo’s eSports teams through a partnership, and it’s now time for the logo to feature at the vehicle manufacturer’s presence in Belgium.

Kick will appear on customized livery for the racing team, according to a press release. It will be found on uniforms, as well as the cars.

Of course, all of Kick’s momentum can be brought to a halt with a single act, including a kick. Social media livened up recently when a video emerged of Kick streamer Suspendas. In it, he allegedly kicked a cat that jumped onto his bed while he was trying to sleep.

That video has been taken down from Kick, but there are others that are exactly why legislators are stepping in to control streaming platforms. For example, Suspendas allegedly tried to hook up with an underage girl in Nepal in a stream that was posted on the platform. He was later arrested in connection with that effort.

He also allegedly had sex while broadcasting a livestream. Making this incident worse, according to comments in the thread that followed, a minor was in the room at the time.

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France’s Lottery Operator FDJ Wins Rights to Irish Lottery –

Posted on: July 28, 2023, 07:46h. 

Last updated on: July 28, 2023, 12:22h.

The Irish Lottery is getting a new operator, and it won’t be Allwyn. Beating out the global lottery operator that recently took over the UK’s National Lottery is Française des Jeux (FDJ).

A lottery player browses options with the Irish Lottery
A lottery player browses options with the Irish Lottery. France’s lottery operator, FDJ, is taking over the operations through an acquisition. (Image:

During the presentation of its financial health report for the first half of the year, the French group announced the signing of an agreement for the acquisition of Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI). FDJ will acquire the entire capital of the company, valued at €350 million (US$384.26 million).

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) announced that it would sell its majority stake in PLI this past March. It followed a failed attempt to retain the operation of the National Lottery in the UK, which went to Allwyn.

FDJ Beats Allwyn

PLI, which holds the exclusive rights to operate the Irish National Lottery until 2034, counts among its shareholders the OTPP, the Irish Post (An Post), and the pension fund associated with the latter (An Post Pension Fund). Like its French counterpart, PLI offers draw and scratch-off games, the vast majority of which bets are made at points of sale (85%), while digital bets represent 15% of the total. The group is also a member of the Euromillions community.

The PLI team looks forward to partnering with FDJ for an even better performing Irish National Lottery and contributing to FDJ’s international expansion in the lottery industry,” said PLI Managing Director Andrew Algeo.

FDJ highlighted in a press release that, for 2022, PLI achieved a turnover of €140 million (US$153.7 million). That resulted in an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) margin of 24%, similar to what FDJ has experienced. As a result, the French operator expects to add 5% to its annual performance this year.

Last year, PLI redistributed 65% of its €399 million (US$438 million) in gross gaming revenue (GGR) to charities. It reportedly gave about €260 million (US$285.45 million) to over 4,000 entities, amounting to almost €260 million.

CEO Stéphane Pallez added in the press release, “This acquisition is perfectly in line with our international development strategy and our core business. FDJ is thus continuing its development while remaining faithful to its recreational, responsible, and redistributive gaming model.”

Big Names Lose Out

The acquisition doesn’t change the ownership structure of the lottery – Ireland still owns it and the Regulator of the National Lottery still regulates it. The purchase only gives FDJ the rights to operate the Irish Lottery according to the agreement PLI struck with Ireland in 2014.

The transaction is expected to be finalized before the end of the year, following approval by the Irish National Lottery regulator. In addition to Allwyn, International Game Technology, and Australia’s Lottery Corp had bid for PLI. There’s no indication that any have mounted a challenge to the results.

FDJ continues to find more success with its operations, both in terms of GGR and turnover. For the first half of the year, the former was €3.3 billion (US$3.6 billion), a 2.4% increase. The latter was €1.3 billion (US$1.42 billion), an increase of 6.3%.

Driven by sports betting and the lottery, digital stakes posted a marked increase (13.3%) and now represent 13% of the total. Purchases at points of sale also increased, adding 3.2%. As a result, FDJ recorded a net profit of €181 million (US$198.72 million), up 13.5%.

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More Brazilian Soccer Players, Business Owners Fall In Betting Scandal –

Posted on: July 28, 2023, 07:41h. 

Last updated on: July 28, 2023, 12:30h.

In what seems to be a never-ending saga of sports manipulation in Brazil, more soccer players face accusations of match-fixing. The latest list, the result of three ongoing investigations, includes seven more players, as well as some of the people who ran the illegal betting rings.

Brazilian soccer fans watch a game in a stadium
Brazilian soccer fans watch a game in a stadium. An ongoing scandal involving match-fixing in the country doesn’t seem to have an end. (Image:

An investigation by the Public Ministry of Goiás (MPGO, for its Portuguese acronym) has identified match-fixing in 13 games in Série A of the Brazilian Championship of 2022. This revelation comes as Brazil continues its Operation Maximum Penalty, an investigation into widespread match-fixing. The investigation is now in its third phase.

The Court of Justice of Goiás (TJGO, for its Portuguese acronym) has signed off on a request by the MPGO to prosecute seven players and seven other people accused of involvement in the scheme. More players might find themselves in trouble next month. The new chapter in the drama doesn’t include the ongoing investigation taking place through a parliamentary commission of inquiry.

Brazil Soccer Falls Apart

Among the athletes cited in the decision are Alef Manga of Coritiba, Dadá Belmonte of America-MG, and Igor Cariús of Sport Club do Recife. Their status with their respective teams, and with Brazilian soccer, is now in limbo.

In addition, Jesus Emiliano Flores, Pedro Henrique Azevedo Pereira, Sidcley Ferreira Pereira, and Thonny Anderson da Silva Carvalho are on the list. They don’t currently play for any Brazilian club, although they have all found new homes elsewhere. Azevedo Pereira, known as Pedrinho, is playing for Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk.

Other people, who investigators have identified as intermediaries and/or agents, will now also face possible prosecution. Among the names the MPGO mentioned are Bruno Lopez, Icaro Fernando Calixto dos Santos, Luis Felipe Rodrigues de Castro, Romário Hugo dos Santos, Victor Yamasaki, Thiago Chambó Andrade, and Cleber Vinicius Rocha Antunes.

As of the 25th round of the 2022 Brazilian Championship, according to the MPGO complaint, these agents began to look for players offered money to receive yellow cards. In one case, payment was offered for a red card.

Through their illegal operations, the gang allegedly made about BRL720,000 (US$152,496). All defendants will respond for violations of the General Sports Law. That addresses the offer and receipt of a patrimonial advantage for the practice of an act of manipulation of the result of a sports competition.

The Superior Court of Sports Justice (STJD) on Thursday summoned additional players to testify as part of Operation Maximum Penalty. They’ll have to appear when the STJD holds a hearing on August 8.

This list includes Nino Paraíba, Richard Candido Coelho, Vitor Mendes, Nathan Palafoz de Sousa, Diego Porfírio, and Bryan Garcia.

Brazil’s Sports Betting Tax Plan Under Fire

Match-fixing isn’t the only issue facing Brazilian sports. As the country prepares to launch its regulated market following recent legislative approval, the tax rate is coming under fire.

The rate for operators is going to be 18%, substantially higher than the 5% initially presented. This isn’t making them happy, and the Brazilian Institute of Responsible Gaming (IBJR) wants the government to know it.

The IBJR is a trade group representing gaming interests in Brazil. Among its members are Flutter, Bet365, Entain, and Betsson. As the government was submitting the final signature for the sports betting bill, IBJR President Andre Gelfi voiced a concern that has been repeated around the world. The high tax could lead to an increase in black market gambling.

Gelfi explained that the tax rate may “impact the entire economic chain” associated with the sports betting market. It could lead to less attention to innovation and customer support for the industry, which could have long-term ramifications.

Because the market controls will be tighter, offering incentives to players will be more difficult. As a result, Gelfi believes users will still turn to offshore options that provide better incentives.

It’s too late to backtrack now. Brazil has put the ball in motion, and only time will tell if lawmakers properly understand the market, or if Gelfi is correct.

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Sands Long Island Casino Bid Joined by Canyon Ranch

Posted on: July 28, 2023, 01:13h. 

Last updated on: July 27, 2023, 05:21h.

Las Vegas Sands is betting on improving its odds of securing one of the three New York downstate casino licenses by partnering with Canyon Ranch, a leader in the destination wellness category.

Sands Long Island casino Canyon Ranch
A guest at Canyon Ranch’s Lenox resort meditates in front of a fountain. Las Vegas Sands is partnering with Canyon Ranch to bring its health and spa services to its potential Long Island casino. (Image: Canyon Ranch)

Sands is proposing a more than $4 billion integrated casino resort on Long Island at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale. Sands reps say if the Las Vegas-based casino operator wins one of the three downstate licenses, the company will build a sprawling entertainment and luxury retreat on the 72-acre compound known locally as the Nassau Hub.

Along with a five-star hotel and a casino floor with slot machines, table games, and sports betting, Sands’ blueprint includes a world-class live concert venue that would honor the long legacy of live music at the Nassau Coliseum. The integrated resort would also feature numerous celebrity chef restaurants and flexible meeting and convention spaces. The casino, Sands says, would occupy less than 10% of the overall square footage.

Sands officials in discussing the multibillion-dollar project in the past have additionally teased a comprehensive day spa and health club. This week, those comments became clearer with the announcement of Canyon Ranch joining the project.

Canyon Ranch Long Island

Canyon Ranch owns and operates two resort destinations focused on health and well-being. The resorts, located in Lenox, Mass., and Tucson, Ariz., provide guests with an array of services and amenities.

Canyon Ranch offers services in spa and beauty, fitness, nutrition, health, mind, and spirit. Guests can receive facials and massages, take yoga and other fitness classes, meet with a private health coach, learn how to cook healthier, find their purpose, and receive spiritual guidance.

Canyon Ranch stays aren’t cheap. A “Lifestyle Reset” package, which includes the guest learning how to live a life with more energy and purpose, starts at $1,100 a night before fees and taxes.

Along with its destination resorts, Canyon Ranch operates a smaller facility at The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas. Sands built and owned The Venetian until the company sold the two casinos, The Venetian and The Palazzo, for $6.25 billion in 2021. Some of that cash is expected to be used for Sands Long Island should it win the bidding war.

Far From Done Deal

Neither Sands’ casino nor Canyon Ranch are anywhere close to being a sure thing on Long Island. Sands is one of a dozen or so casino bids being prepared in what’s shaping up to be a hotly contested bidding war for the three coveted concessions.

Along with Sands, notable casino giants expected to bid include Caesars Entertainment for a project in Times Square and Wynn Resorts for a casino in Hudson Yards. Hard Rock is partnered with Steve Cohen for a casino at the billionaire’s Citi Field ballpark, home to the New York Mets.

Coney Island is also being targeted by a consortium consisting of Thor Equities, Saratoga Casino Holdings, and the Chickasaw Nation, the latter of which operates the world’s largest casino in the WinStar World Casino Hotel in Oklahoma. Mohegan is also in the running with a pitch for Midtown East near the UN.

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Cordish Wins Over North Carolina Lawmakers With Contributions

Posted on: July 28, 2023, 12:33h. 

Last updated on: July 27, 2023, 11:54h.

The Cordish Companies based in Baltimore could stand to be the biggest winner if legislation introduced in North Carolina seeking to authorize three commercial casino resorts becomes law.

North Carolina casino gambling Cordish Phil Berger
North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (at podium) and state Rep. Jason Saine (far left) are among the state lawmakers in North Carolina who have received campaign contributions from a casino company based in Maryland. Berger and Saine are supportive of more gaming in the Tar Heel State. (Image: AP)

North Carolina State Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) is working on a draft bill that would allow one casino resort each in the counties of Rockingham, Anson, and Nash. Dubbed the Rural Tourism Incentive Program, the statute would require the state to seek a single casino operator to construct and operate the three casinos through a competitive bidding process.

At this juncture, it appears that Cordish might be the front-runner for the commercial casino monopoly rights in the Tar Heel State.

Cordish has already reached a handshake agreement with a family who owns a 193-acre farm in Rockingham. Cordish wants to acquire the vacant land but first must have the property rezoned for commercial use.

Berger believes North Carolina should allow a few commercial casinos in the northern part of the state or along the I-95 corridor in order to keep casino dollars from flowing north into Virginia where casinos are opening.

Campaign Contributions

The Carolina Public Press reported this week that several state leaders have received financial contributions from Cordish in recent years. The independent, nonprofit news organization discovered that at least eight state lawmakers, all Republicans, have received donations from Cordish during a period ranging from November 2022 through March.

Berger received $5,600 from Joseph Weinberg, who is the CEO of Cordish’s gaming division. Weinberg also gave that amount to state Sen. Lisa Barnes (R-Nash), Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne), and Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln).

Zed Smith, Cordish’s chief operating officer, gave $2,500 to state Sen. David Craven (R-Anson), Rep. Larry Strickland (R-Johnston), and Rep. Kyle Hall (R-Forsyth).

Rhonda Smith, the wife of Zed Smith, gave $2,500 to state Sen. Todd Johnson (R-Union). The lone donation to a Democrat came on the federal level, with Cordish Principal Jon Cordish giving $2,500 to US Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC).

The contributions are legal and violate no ethics laws, but some say they still raise concerns.

“It could be the tip of the iceberg of the money that is falling into political campaigns and dark money operations that will be or have been funding General Assembly candidates and politicians,” said Bob Hall, the former director of Democracy NC, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to strengthening democracy.

Fourth Tribal Casino

Included in Berger’s draft bill is a provision that would protect the eastern portion of the state for a possible tribal casino owned by the Lumbee Tribe should it one day receive federal recognition. The Lumbee tribe is based in Pembroke.

North Carolina is currently home to three tribal casinos with slot machines, table games, and sports betting. Two are owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) — Harrah’s Cherokee and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River. The third, Catawba Two Kings Casino, is owned by the Catawba Indian Nation.

Caesars Entertainment operates the Harrah’s properties on behalf of the EBCI. Nork York-based Delaware North operates Two Kings.

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