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Construction of the $950-million MGM Springfield casino resort in Springfield, Massachusetts has reached its halfway point, city officials confirmed at a press conference on Thursday. It was also understood that the property may open doors earlier than it is slated to. MGM Springfield is one of two projects for the construction of Massachusetts’ first commercial casinos, the other being Wynn Boston Harbor. Both plans were given the green light by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission after a statewide referendum authorized commercial gambling activities.

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Real innovation in poker is as rare as a witch without a broomstick. Full Tilt’s Rush Poker falls into that category. Expresso Poker by Winamax is another. And now it’s the turn of PokerStars to take the game to another level. Writing in the PokerStars Corporate Blog, Severin Rasset, PokerStars Director of Poker Innovation and Operations, has given the poker community a voyeuristic peek at a new game called PokerStars Power Up.

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Atlantic City’s casinos started 2017 off on the right foot as all seven gaming venues posted year-on-year gains in January.  Figures released Tuesday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement show brick-and-mortar gaming revenue of $185.9m in January, up nearly 6% from the same month last year. Counting the $18.8m from the casinos’ online gambling sites and the annual gain is an impressive 15.2%.

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After the massive crackdown on drugs, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has now set eyes on illegal online gambling. The Southeast Asian country’s highest official has recently issued an order that provides clear definitions of what illegal online gambling is and how issues related to the distribution of illegal iGaming services should be coped with. Executive Order No. 13 was signed by President Duterte earlier this month and came into effect today, February 10. The legal document deems illegal all online gambling operations provided without the explicit authorization by the relevant regulatory bodies.

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South Africa’s casino industry remains the biggest player in the country’s gambling market, but sports betting is coming on fast.According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, casino revenue grew 6.7% to R18.2b in 2015 and PwC expects the casino market to be worth R22.4b by 2020. But the vertical’s share of the overall pie is shrinking. Casinos accounted for 70% of 2015’s overall gambling revenue, down from 73% in 2014 and from 81% in 2011.

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James Packer’s Crown Resorts has received the greenlight to proceed with the development of a 90-storey hotel and apartment tower adjacent to Crown Melbourne. The Australian casino giant will develop the new hotel tower, called One Queensbridge, in partnership with the Schiavello Group. The project will cost about AUD1.75 billion (USD821.84 million), according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Victorian planning minister Richard Wynne, who approved the project, said One Queensbridge “was project of state significance,” and exempted it from strict new central city planning controls.

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Russia may be on its way to designating a sixth gaming zone with casino venues, according to recent reports by local media outlets. Word has leaked out that a Turkish architecture firm was hired to develop a gaming area near Makhachkala, the capital city of the Russian Republic of Dagestan.Earlier this year, a first casino resort was launched in the Sochi zone. The first such venue in Russia’s newly designated zone – Sochi Casino and Resort, has been promoted as one that offers a unique entertainment concept, inspired by the casino resorts in Las Vegas.

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New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney failed to gain the necessary support from fellow Senate members to override a Governor’s veto of a bill that many believed was intended to teach billionaire investor Carl Icahn a lesson. Following the Trump Taj Mahal’s closure, the New Jersey Legislature passed a measure, sponsored by Senate President Sweeney, under which a casino owner that closed their property after January 1, 2016 would be prohibited from receiving a new casino license for a period of five years.

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In the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Island, the long-running effort by Bridge Investment Group to win approval for its proposed Tinian Ocean View Resort and Casino has taken another turn with the privately-held real estate developer reportedly launching an online petition in an effort to gain more local support. According to a report from the local Marianas Variety newspaper, the appeal posted at Change.org  is seeking community backing for the planned $120 million development after the United States territory’s Coastal Resources Management agency refused to issue a permit for the scheme’s proposed harbor site near the island’s largest town of San Jose.

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