Gaming Report: Gionee Chairman Accepts to Losing $144 Million in Saipan Casino, PokerStars Set to Launch Operations in Pennsylvania & More

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  • Arpit Jain December 1, 2018
  • 6 Minutes Read

As the gaming industry continues to expand in newer markets, there are many developments warranting attention. China’s smartphone giant Gionee’s Chairman recently accepted that he had lost almost $144 Million in a Saipan Casino. The company is said to be on the verge of bankruptcy and the chairman claimed that the reason for the same was increased competition and poor relationships with suppliers and not his personal debts.

Another benchmark decision came from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) which approved PokerStars’ license to operate in the state. The company is expected to start operations in 2019.

Wrapping up this report with have news of recently voted out Wisconsin Governor Kevin Walker, who struck a deal with the Potawatomi Tribe before leaving office which may reduce the state’s gaming compact liability by half.


Gionee Chairman Liu Lirong Loses $144 Million in Saipan Casino

A Chinese business media website published an interview with one of the country’s largest mobile phone manufacturer – Gionee’s chairman Liu Lirong who denied losing over 10 billion yuan (~$1.4 Billion) at the Imperial Pacific casino in Saipan. Lirong quoted, “I did participate in gambling in Saipan, but how could I possibly lose that much?” and agreed that he did lose over 1 billion yuan ($144 Million).

Liu Lirong
Liu Lirong

The Shenzhen-based company founded in 2002 that controls almost 6% of China’s smartphone market, has over 17 billion yuan ($2.44 Billion) in debt and is reportedly on the verge of bankruptcy. The company failed to pay its suppliers and 20 of them filed an application for bankruptcy reorganization with the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court on November 20.

Lirong claims that he didn’t misappropriate Gionee’s cash to gamble, but suggested that he may have been “borrowing company funds”. He claimed that the company lost money due to increased competition and poor relationships with suppliers and not because of his personal debts.

Gionee averaged a loss of over 100 million yuan ($14.4 million) per month between 2013-2015, which almost doubled in 2016 and 2017.


Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Approves PokerStars License

On November 28, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approved the license of The Stars Group owned PokerStars paving their way to enter the second state in U.S post Black Friday. PokerStars will enter PA in the first quarter of 2019 under the license of Mount Airy Casino Resort. Among the state’s 13 casinos, seven are now approved for online poker.

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board

The Stars Group plans to operate the BetStars platform in the state as well and had partnered with Mount Airy Casino in August this year. Neither of the two however has applied for a sports betting license in the state till date.

The company recently also made a deal with land-based casino company Eldorado resorts by virtue of which it can operate online sports betting and online gambling in 11 states where Eldorado operates.


Soon to be Replaced Wisconsin Governor Kevin Walker Makes Deal With Potawatomi Tribe

Wisconsin Governor Kevin Walker who was voted out of office after losing to Democrat candidate Tony Evers early November doesn’t officially have to give up his seat until January 7, and seems like he is making the most of his time in office as he recently struck a deal with the Potawatomi Tribe.

Kevin Walker
Kevin Walker

Under the deal, if any of the tribe’s existing properties suffer from new casinos, the state’s gaming compact liability will be reduced to half from $500 million to $250 million.

Potawatomi Chairman Ned Daniels Jr. has signed the agreement and the deal is now required to be approved by the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.

There are 22 Native American casinos in the state with the tribes paying a sum based on revenue for the right to operate casinos.

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