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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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The planned A$3-billion Gold Coast integrated resort is expected to generate more than 13,000 jobs for residents of the region, local media reported, citing figures released by developer ASF Consortium. In December, the Chinese-backed investors presented a new development plan for the construction of a luxury hotel and casino complex on a piece of land at the Gold Coast’s Southport Spit. A previous plan for a A$7-billion resort on Wavebreak Island submitted by the ASF Consortium had been scrapped by the Queensland Government.

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Swedish gambling group Betsson AB announced that it has undertaken further steps to expand its presence into the UK gambling market. It has made a cash offer to acquire UK interactive gaming company NetPlay TV for £0.09 per share or the total amount of £26.4 million. The deal is yet to be approved by the UK High Court of Justice and NetPlay TV shareholders. Several investors in the gambling company have already provided Betsson with statements of support. The transaction is expected to be finalized in April.

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Developer and supplier of solutions for the international gambling industry Playtech today announced the launch of its newest and largest by far live casino studio. The new facility is located in the heart of Riga, the capital city of Latvia. Lifting the veil on certain important details in relation to its newest endeavor, Playtech said that the studio spreads over almost 100,000 square feet of space and is perhaps the largest one in the industry.

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After co-hosting the recently held Miss Universe beauty pageant, gaming tycoon Kazuo Okad is reportedly getting ready for another major event—the formal launch of his $2.4-billion Okada Manila resort. Okada Manila, developed by Philippines-based Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc., opened its doors to the public last December 21—an event referred to by the venue’s promoter as a “preview period.” The resort launched its casino operations on December 30, after it secured the approval from the state gambling regulator.At the time, Tiger Resorts said the official opening for the resort will take place at the end of February 2017.

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