ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.Spectrum Gaming Group, an independent research and professional services firm serving public- and private-sector clients worldwide, has listed the 21 most important trends that the global casino industry needs to monitor in 2014.

For the tenth year, Spectrum has compiled this list that addresses ongoing changes in all aspects of the gaming industry to determine the most significant trends. New Jersey-based Spectrum, together with its sister companies, Spectrum OSO Asia, based in Bangkok, and Spectrum Gaming Capital, based in New York City, tracks these and other trends on a regular basis.

1. Asia: As legislation to authorize integrated resorts in Japan moves forward, major global operators will arm themselves for this major opportunity. This will also prompt possible countermeasures elsewhere in Asia, with the potential for a further domino effect.

2. Asia: Macau is expected to surpass US$40 billion in gross gaming revenue in 2014. There has been no sign of slowdown in revenue growth despite the slowdown in the Chinese economy. VIP play continues to be strong while the premium mass market is expanding quickly. Several operators have proceeded with new developments in Cotai that should open between 2016 and 2018.

3. Asia: Several jurisdictions are exploring liberalizing or expanding their gaming industries. Among them are the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Cambodia.

4. Asia: The potential of the Primorye Gaming Zone in Russia, near the eastern port of Vladivostok, comes into focus as development is well underway in its goal of becoming a prominent Asian gaming center.

5. Consolidation: European online gaming operators and suppliers will seek mergers or acquisitions with US-based suppliers or properties to gain a foothold in the United States and increase the likelihood of licensure in the United States.

6. Consolidation: Small gaming companies, especially those restructured in the recent financial collapse, will pursue mergers with other small gaming companies to achieve greater geographic diversification, better capital access, and liquidity for its shareholders.

7. Europe: More efforts will be underway to authorize integrated destination resorts. Even though the proposed EuroVegas project has been canceled, other efforts will move forward, with Cyprus being a likely opportunity.

8. Expansion: Florida will become an epicenter of the gambling-expansion debate, as racetrack operators, international destination resort operators, and Native American tribes make their arguments to a legislature that is unsure if the family-friendly tourist state needs more casinos.

9. Expansion: Legalization efforts will continue in longtime casino-reluctant states such as Kentucky, New Hampshire and Texas, as those states seek additional revenue streams while trying to stem the flight of gambling dollars across state lines.

10. Expansion: States that have achieved peak casino revenues will look to other forms of gaming in addition to i-gaming, such as retail slots, electronic lottery games, airport slots, and small games of chance.

11. Expansion: The tremendous expansion of gaming over the past decade has resulted in market saturation in many regions of the US. Casino operators will need to focus on organic growth instead of stealing share from neighboring states. As revenues in established jurisdictions stagnate, expect stronger advocacy for Internet gambling.

12. Finance: Following in the lead of Penn National, more companies will seek to split themselves into REITs and C-Corps as a way to enhance shareholder value.

13. Finance: Fear of saturation in the US will force tougher underwriting standards on loans for higher levered companies.

14. I-gaming: States will continue to adopt i-gaming, with more types of games to assure higher level of play and tax revenues. Small states will seek interstate compacts to provide liquidity for poker. States at the forefront of i-gaming may seek to become i-gaming hubs for national expansion. Expect interstate compacting to roll out much more quickly than it did in the lottery industry.

15. I-gaming: The veracity of geolocation software and the acceptance of i-gaming transactions by credit-card issuers will take center stage as gaming jurisdictions consider adding i-gaming to their gambling portfolios.

16. I-gaming: Social networking and electronic gaming will make further, behind-the-scenes steps toward a convergence that could, at some point, be the "next big thing" in gaming.

17. I-gaming: With i-gaming legalized in Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey, increasing attempts will be made for federal approval of Internet poker, while more states will examine the potential for new revenues from in-state i-gaming.

18. Law enforcement: States will continue to seek to eliminate, or perhaps regulate, Internet/sweepstakes cafes, recognizing them either as financially harmful or a revenue source.

19. Lotteries: As more US lotteries consider entering the online market, they will be adjusting their core business model from one that is primarily marketing-based to one that also issues licenses to suppliers.

20. Lotteries: More state lotteries will authorize online ticket sales, and those already selling tickets online will experiment with additional Internet products, perhaps even offering instant games online. In those states without land-based casinos, state lotteries can be expected to take the lead in efforts to legalize Internet gambling.

21. Tribal: As tribal and commercial operators further consider a move toward online, pressure will increase to reopen compacts to address online and other issues that were not contemplated when compacts were originally negotiated.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has championed the cause to bring regulated Internet gambling to his state. Now that online gambling is a reality in New Jersey, Christie stayed strong this week regarding his expectations from the industry.

Online casinos went live late last week in New Jersey, and the early returns have not been what was expected. The slow start, however, has not deterred Christie's prognostication for revenue. Christie still believes online gambling revenue will top $1 billion by next summer.

In the week since online gambling went live, the state reported over 37,000 accounts that have been created. The numbers, according to some experts, may not accurately represent how many people signed up at the online casinos.

"There were over a handful of casinos that went live last week, and gamblers tend to set up accounts at several different gambling locations," said analyst Travis Harken. "So while there were almost 40,00 accounts created, there is a good chance that a good portion of those accounts could be multiple accounts by individual gamblers at different online sites."

While the state monitors the first week of action, online casinos have come out strong in their effort to lure gamblers. Betfair, and several other online sites that have opened, have started ad campaigns on television stations aimed at bringing gamblers in.

During Monday Night Football on ESPN, Betfair ran ads touting the legality of online gambling in New Jersey, and encouraging gamblers to sign up for accounts. Betfair offered free play in exchange for initial deposits from gamblers. The ads in New Jersey have followed similar ads that are being run in Nevada.

"It's eye-opening," said Harken. "Gamblers in the US have never seen this type of advertising pressure for online gambling, and it is not yet known how they will react. Much like ads for other products such as liquor and automobiles, ads for online gambling during sporting events is viewed as an effective tool for marketers."

Net Entertainment is very proud to announce that it has signed an agreement with Bet365 Group Limited, one of the world’s leading online gambling groups. Under the terms of the agreement, Net Entertainment will deliver a number of its top online games across bet365’s mobile and desktop channels.

bet365 is yet another major U.K. company to select Net Entertainment as its online games provider. Net Entertainment has, in a short period of time, successfully signed contracts with bet365, William Hill, Ladbrokes, 888, Paddy Power and Sky Vegas.

“We’re very excited to announce our latest agreement with bet365, a firm we believe is a pioneer in the online gambling space with a significant global reach”, said Björn Krantz, Chief of GMO and MD Net Entertainment Malta Ltd.

“The agreement solidifies the trust and confidence which exists in Net Entertainment’s technology. bet365 will now be able to offer its players the very best experience in the market. It is our plan to build a solid and long-term presence in the U.K., and our agreement with bet365 will further strengthen our footprint in the territory.”

Steve Ibberson, Managing Director - Gaming for bet365, said: “Net Entertainment is one of the leading suppliers in the industry and has top-quality content to offer. Our aim is to provide content across all channels to our customers worldwide; we are excited to add Net Entertainment’s games on both our mobile and desktop sites.”

WILMINGTON, Delaware. A $383,656 Bad Beat jackpot was dealt at 5:30 p.m. yesterday at the Casino at Delaware Park when four queens lost to a 9 high straight flush. Both players were in on the flop when John S. flopped a set of queens and Craig K. flopped an open-ended straight flush draw. Craig hit his straight flush on the turn, and John rivered the fourth queen. John was awarded $174,648, Craig received $95,914, and seven players split the remainder, walking away with $16,442 each.

“This is just one of the bonuses our players enjoy at Delaware Park. We also have Hot Seat Wednesday, where $100 is randomly awarded every 30 minutes to dealt-in players,” said Bill Fasy, Chief Operating Officer. “On January 1, our 13-day Winter Classic kicks off and includes a $100,000 Guaranteed Main Event on January 11. Winning is always in play here at Delaware Park.”

About Delaware Park

Delaware Park is a multi-faceted gaming facility offering guests live seasonal Thoroughbred racing, year-round simulcasting from around the globe, live table games, a 25-table poker room and 20-table dedicated tournament room, nearly 2,500 exciting slot machines on two spacious levels, pro football sports parlay betting, Keno, casual and elegant dining and White Clay Creek Country Club, featuring a world-class 18-hole championship golf course. Delaware Park is conveniently located minutes south of Wilmington and the Delaware Memorial Bridge and just north of the Maryland state line on I-95 at exit 4B. Lottery agent for the Delaware State Lottery. Must be 21 to play.

VALLETTA, Malta Microgaming Systems has excited the online gaming community including the likes of JackpotCity Casino by announcing the release of Avalon 2: The Quest For The Grail online video slot, set to be released in February 2014. Although this casino game is a sequel to the original 2006 title, Microgaming has made it clear that they are not resting on their laurels and have thus far unveiled a teaser trailer for the actual game along with another one showcasing the design elements that have gone into the production thereof.

This upcoming title promises to deliver something not seen in any of Microgaming’s previous slot titles – eight bonus rounds. The game has five reels and will use the 243 Ways-to-Win system, but that is a gaming formality these days. Of far more importance is the interactive nature of Avalon 2: The Quest For The Grail along with its interesting storyline that not only updates the Arthurian myth by bestowing a very visual contemporary design, reminiscent of many current fantasy novels and films, but through motion capture technology, endows its key characters with incredible realism.

Avalon 2: The Quest For The Grail uses four main characters to set about what can only be described as a sweeping, epic tale – the type that will make players think of the Tolkien novels. Microgaming has fleshed out a full-fledged tale with the intention of drawing the player in and engrossing the individual in a world consisting of 3D design and animation. The addition of player choice with regards to the choosing of the quest path also lends this game longevity. The lead characters are King Arthur, Merlin, Guinevere, Morgan and a sinister individual known as the Black Knight.

As the title suggests, this casino game bases its story around the quest for the Grail. In managing to get three or more Grail chalice symbols to appear on the reels, access is granted to a map of Camelot and on it the various bonus rounds. There are eight bonus rounds, each presenting players with unique challenges to win and get closer to the most coveted bonus round of them all - The Isle of Avalon.

Avalon 2: The Quest For The Grail online video slot shows a lot of promise. Its scale appears to be bigger than anything Microgaming has done in the past, and when the game lands in early 2014, the company and its affiliate online casinos such as JackpotCity are no doubt expecting an increase in their player bases.

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