Casino News Roundup: NJ Fraud, Macau Growth, Toronto Expansion  

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There were a number of big headlines in the casino world this past week, including a huge fraud case that was cracked. We’ll start there as we recap this week’s online gaming news: 

Man Identified In New Jersey Online Gambling Fraud Case 

In a story that could soon be seen on CNBC’s popular show American Greed, a man has been charged in a case of online gambling fraud that reached the proportions of $1.3 million. The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has charged Sandy Masselli as the lead defendant in a case filed with the New Jersey Superior Court. He allegedly partnered with his wife and an associate, Joseph Picco, between July 2012 and December 2017, and defrauded 26 investors of money that he purported would be used to start up online gambling businesses. 

The state claims that, instead of using the resources to build up these enterprises, Masselli funded a lavish lifestyle, spending $145,000 via personal credit cards, over $25,000 on automobile leases, and at least $68,000 for restaurant, clothing and hotel bills. 

The action also alleges that Masselli used $93,000 to pay legal bills for an ongoing federal criminal court case while spending $17,000 to fund his son’s tuition at George Washington University. 

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Masselli wrongly led unsuspecting investors to believe that he was a savvy businessman. If convicted, Masselli is expected to spend a long time in prison. 

Macau Casinos Report Substantial Revenue Growth  

Although there has been some concern about Macau’s revenue numbers of the last couple of seasons, the most recent report suggests that it’s back in business and as strong as ever. Numbers released Saturday by Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) show a revenue of $3.3 billion US in the month of August, which is a 17.1 percent increase over August 2017. That now means that for the calendar year 2018, total revenue is up 17.5 percent to $25 billion. 

August witnessed the biggest year-on-year improvement over the past four months and the highest monthly revenue total this year. The month continued a streak of 25 straight months in which gaming revenue has risen. 

Analysts pegged August’s annual growth in the range of 15 to 17 percent, but China-based gambling trends caused the result to be slightly above that range. 

Zoning Approvals Go Through For Toronto Gaming Expansion

As the hubbub of building a casino in Toronto continues, one venue very quietly got the rights to go ahead and become one. 

On Friday, Greater Canadian Gaming announced that its One Toronto Gaming subsidiary had received zoning approvals from Toronto city leaders to introduce table games at Casino Woodbine. Currently, Woodbine is a slots-only parlor connected to the venerable horse racing racetrack. 

The casino has already opened up with 50 live dealer tables and almost 200 electronic tables in over 100 positions. One Toronto Gaming says it should add 50 live tables and over 300 more slots in the fourth quarter of this year. Although there’s been so much protesting to prevent a casino from opening up on Toronto’s downtown waterfront (or anywhere in the city), apparently the same protesters haven’t made a peep about Woodbine becoming a gaming venue. 

Woodbine, located on the fringes of Toronto near the airport, has hosted racing since 1956 and unveiled its first slots in 1999. Woodbine was allowed to open a casino in 2015.