February 2020
by Buddy Frank

Here’s a clue for Jeopardy fans: It started with cigar taxes, evolved from a casino never built, was re-energized by a bankruptcy, and includes a magnificent fountain and a hidden golf course.

You can just hear James Holzhauer or Ken Jennings buzzing in with “What’s a Gaming REIT?”

After reading a few dozen of Howard Stutz’ recent CDC Gaming Reports stories about yet another sale of a major casino to a REIT, you may have been wondering exactly what the hell a gaming REIT really is. If your property gets sold to a REIT, does that mean you can buy more slot machines? Will there be bigger bonuses? Who’s going to be fired, if anyone? Is there a new boss? And who’s going to patch the roof if it leaks?

Oversized slots with dual bash buttons have created a new class of game - and these are no niche products

by Frank Legato

Since Valentine’s Day is this month, we’re going to focus on a relatively new genre of slot machine that is practically made for the day.

In the past, there were two basic styles of slot cabinets, regardless of manufacturer: the core cabinet, which placed the main game screen in front of the player and was just tall enough that it could be played sitting on a standard stool or standing in front of the game, and the Big Bertha, which was a comically large slot cabinet with a huge handle that someone standing would have to use his or her entire body to pull. The latter was a novelty item many casinos chose solely to draw a crowd to a given area.

In the past 10 years, though, a third cabinet size has emerged, with new games designed specifically for it as it gained popularity. It’s referred to in the trade typically as a “large-format” cabinet, or in some cases, a “jumbo” cabinet. If it’s a video slot, the monitor is, perhaps, 55 inches, if not larger. If it’s a stepper, the reels are oversized, and there’s usually a big monitor above the reels for bonus features. And most of them are equipped with a bench seat and dual bash buttons, making the games perfect for play by two, even if it’s a single game.

by Buddy Frank

It’s the time of year that our guests are beginning to receive their W2G statements for 2019. Very shortly, you’ll be getting lots of questions from those players about gaming taxes. Therefore, we thought it prudent to reprint this review of the 4th edition of Tax Help for Gamblers, originally published in March 2019 - eds.

Are you participating in the Tea Party? I’m not referring to the right-leaning political group that’s been splintering Congress for the best part of the last decade, or a latter-day version of the rebellious rabble-rousers who dumped bales of commercial tea into Boston Harbor a few centuries ago. I’m talking about the group who sarcastically celebrates April 15th with a “Taxpayers Eat it Again Party.” If you’re not part of that depressed group, feel fortunate. I can assure you that most of your casino customers are.

There are probably hundreds of areas of the tax law that are unfair or onerous, but, from my perspective, there are two parts that are simply outrageous. One is paying taxes on debt relief. If you go bankrupt and default on a loan or mortgage, for example, you have to pay taxes on the amount of the money that you didn’t pay on that mortgage.

ReelHot January 2020 Update
Top-performing game title per Supplier (trailing 3 months).

Click here or the chart below to see the full ReelHot index.
Upcoming Industry Events of Interest
Crowne Plaza, Dubai - 02/26/2020 - 02/27/2020
AI adoption will account for 45% of the world economy’s total gains by 2030. The UAE ranks first in the Middle Eastern world in terms of expected annual growth of AI contribution to the economy at 33.5%. As a hub for technology and innovation, Dubai is the epicenter of all things AI in the Middle East. In addition, Dubai also has a burgeoning gaming market for games of skill and games of chance, video gaming, the racing industry, AR, VR and eSports.
Crowne Plaza, Dubai - 02/26/2020 - 02/27/2020
In a first-of-its-kind event held in Dubai, Eventus International will be hosting a summit on International Lottery Play Summit in 2020. The conference will be taking place from 26th - 27th Feb 2020 at the Crowne Plaza Dubai. The summit will focus on the future of lotteries and how digitalisation is reshaping the lottery industry.
Tropicana Las Vegas - 03/23/2020 - 03/26/2020
The WGPC is an annual conference that connects casino surveillance, asset protection professionals and regulators from around the world. The event examines current and emerging threats to casino entertainment complexes and explores opportunities and practices to combat those threats.
Intercontinental Malta - 03/24/2020 - 03/26/2020
CasinoBeats Malta brings vital industry insight, knowledge sharing and networking opportunities directly to one of online gaming’s spiritual homelands.
Meadowlands Exposition Center - 04/28/2020 - 04/30/2020
 After the resounding success of the inaugural edition in 2019, Betting on Sports America will return in 2020 with its second edition presenting 200 leading industry speakers across 50 sessions, with a 61,000 sq ft large exhibition that brings you 50 exhibitors, world-class hospitality, and the very best networking and business opportunities.
This report is edited by Buddy Frank, Frank Legato, and Justin Martin