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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Online gaming helps patients connect to their treatment - Economic Times

Online gaming helps patients connect to their treatment - Economic Times


Online gaming helps patients connect to their treatment

Reuters Jun 27, 2012, 10.49AM IST
LONDON: Meet Roxxi — a fully armed virtual nanobot. Billed as "medicine's mightiest warrior", she's fighting an epic battle deep inside the human body where she launches rapid-fire assaults on malignant cells. Or, if it's not cancer but diabetes you're fighting, why not join Britney and Hunter, two digital kids whose adventures to other worlds are spurred on by regular and timely updates of your blood sugar levels. They are a far cry from chemotherapy, diabetes medications, or aspirin, but Roxxi, Britney and Hunter are some of the buzz products from those who want to promote health and sell medicines.
Gamification — turning boring, unpleasantbut necessary tasks into an online game - is a new way of thinking that is gaining momentum among drugmakers and health campaigners. It's an idea that seeks to use natural human instincts — play and learn — to help patients to get to know their illness better and adhere properly to treatment regimens or disease monitoring programs. "We all grew up learning through play," said Christian Dawson, strategy director at Woolley Pau Gyro, a healthcare advertising agency. "Gamification is a way pharma can use that basic human instinct to get the right information into peoples' heads."
FINDING FUN FOR SICK CHILDREN
For 10-year-old Eleanor Howarth, being able to play while trying to deal with the shock of being diagnosed with juvenile diabetes was literally a game changer. The British schoolgirl was seven and a half when she was told she had the lifelong condition and, as a result, would need to prick and squeeze blood out of her own finger four times a day to check and register her blood glucose levels. Faced with blank refusals from a terrified child, Eleanor's parents got hold of the "Didget" monitor made by German drugmaker Bayer. It comes with a game called "Knock 'E m Downs" and can be plugged into a Nintendo DS -- the games console loved by millions of children -- and rewards the patient /player for regular blood updates by adding points and new features. "It turned something she was really quite fearful about into something that could be a bit of fun," said Eleanor's father Richard Howarth. Her mother Donna said "itchangedher whole perspectiveon the diabetes." Didget took its inspiration, in part, from Re-Mission, widely cited as one of the first successful health games.
Developed in 2006 by HopeL ab, a non-profit US organisation focused on children's health, and featuring the tumor-fighting Roxxi, it isdesignedto give patients a senseof power and control over the disease and help them understand why they must have certain treatments and what those treatments will do. But games are not just for kids. A recent report by analysts at Ernst and Young on trends in the global life science sector noted the rise of gamification in health and hailed its great potential. "We enjoy playing games -- they motivate us and give us feelings of accomplishment, purpose and social connectivity," the report said. In a chapter dedicated to gamification, J Leighton Read, a US expert on health games argued that "at a time when health care is focused on outcomes and seeking sustainability, the case for gamification has never been stronger."
But can Big Pharma, traditionally so conservative and hampered by stricter marketing regulations than many other sectors, really win from this game? Bayer, one of the early enthusiasts, now has some doubts. A spokeswoman for the German firm said itwas no longer promoting the Didget monitor because of concerns about whether encouraging children to stay indoors playing computer games was the right health message to send out. Since gamification is relatively new in health care, and even newer in the pharma sector, follow-up studies on its effects are sparse. But research published in the journal Pediatrics found that children who played Re-Mission showed improved behavioral and psychological factors linked with successful cancer treatment. Kieran Walsh, clinical director of BMJ Learning, an education division of the British Medical Journal group, says he's "not an enormous fan" of the term gamification because he fears it can sometimes trivialise medical education. He prefers the term simulation which, in hisfield,uses many of thesame ideas as gamification.
LEARNER CENTRED
Walsh sees the main use, and benefit, of games in this sector emerging from simulations that help doctors and other health professionals learn new skills, or keep up to date with the latest diagnostic guidelines or treatment protocols. Major drugmakers, Glaxo SmithKline and Pfizer among them, have reported success with campaigns centered around gamification designed first to attract, and then teach, doctors and other health workers.
Betting on Games
GAMIFICATION is an idea that seeks to use natural human instincts — play and learn — to help patients to get to know their illness better and adhere properly to treatment regimens. Pediatrics found that children who played Re-Mission showed improved behavioral and psychological factors linked with successful cancer treatment.

Will Adelson's deep pockets influence the push to legalize online gaming? - Thursday, June 28, 2012 | 2 a.m. - Las Vegas Sun

Will Adelson's deep pockets influence the push to legalize online gaming? - Thursday, June 28, 2012 | 2 a.m. - Las Vegas Sun


Thursday, June 28, 2012 | 2 a.m.
As Nevada gaming lobbyists diligently lay the groundwork for what might be a final end-of-the-year push for federal legislation legalizing online poker, perhaps the biggest wild card is a man who has vowed to spend as much as $100 million influencing this year’s election.
Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has spent $26 million on the presidential race and is likely to sink resources into Nevada’s U.S. Senate race — in which his longtime nemesis, Democrat Shelley Berkley, is running.
And Adelson, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., doesn’t like online gambling. At all.
Berkley’s Republican opponent, U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, stands to benefit from the substantial influence and money Adelson will bring to the race. But Heller continues to favor online poker.
“Sen. Heller continues to support legalizing Internet poker and has been working closely with both Sen. (Harry) Reid and Sen. (Jon) Kyl on legislation to achieve this goal,” Heller’s spokesman, Stewart Bybee, said in a written statement.
Bybee said Heller wasn’t available for an interview for this story.
Jan Jones, vice president of public affairs for Caesars Entertainment, which has been actively lobbying for passage of online poker legislation, echoed Bybee’s statement.
“Sen. Heller has been excellent,” Jones said. “He’s fully engaged and understands the importance of the legislation to Nevada.”
As a Republican in the Senate, Heller could play a role in winning over skeptical members of his party — those who worry about the proliferation of gambling if Congress legalizes online poker. Indeed, some blame former Sen. John Ensign for failing in that role in 2010 when he was in the thick of the scandal surrounding his extramarital affair.
Kyl, an Arizona Republican, had been a roadblock to the legislation but has since been convinced that gambling proliferation would be worse if individual states jump into the business, creating a patchwork of licensing and regulatory schemes.
That’s starting to happen now in the wake of a Department of Justice opinion that the federal Wire Act prohibits only online sports betting, not all online gambling.
Nevada companies are ramping up in preparation not just for federal legalization, but also to enter markets in states that legalize online play. Station Casinos this month launched Ultimate Poker, a free play site, on Facebook. Also this month, the Nevada Gaming Commission issued online betting licenses toBally Technologies and International Game Technology.
Although Nevada gaming companies stand ready to take advantage of individual state markets, they are better poised to capitalize on a national market, where their name-brand sites are familiar.
But even as lobbyists rush to convince lawmakers that a federal law legalizing online poker — and outlawing other types of Internet gambling — is needed, many say it’s Adelson who should be worked. Adelson’s influence with Republican leadership in the House, especially Majority Leader Eric Cantor, is more of a threat to online poker legislation than the money he is spending to back Heller, lobbyists say.
“Eric and Sheldon talk all the time; it’s an ongoing dialogue,” one industry lobbyist said. “Dean is one vote, where Eric controls the agenda.”
The question is how engaged Adelson decides to become on the issue.
Las Vegas Sands spokesman Ron Reese did not return a call for comment for this story.
Adelson has a strong personal opposition to online gambling, fearing the potential for minors and others to develop addictions from the ease of access.
But how strongly he’ll press the issue from a public policy standpoint remains to be seen.
Some have noted an evolution of Adelson’s stance on the issue.
“He’s gone from, ‘I’m against it, but I won’t be active in it,’ to making more public statements against it, and now he’s told important people in Congress he’s against it,” one lobbyist said. “So he seems to be getting stronger and more active in his opposition.”
Others say online poker is hardly near the top of Adelson’s priority list.
“Sheldon’s No. 1 desire is that Barack Obama is never re-elected,” a gaming lobbyist said. “His No. 2 desire is that the Senate goes Republican. Those two things seem to be higher in his game than killing Internet gaming.”
Heller’s staff declined to answer questions about whether Heller has worked to win Adelson’s support for the effort or has otherwise been lobbied by Adelson on the issue.
Proponents of the measure think it’s possible Adelson could be won over using the same argument that apparently persuaded Kyl to drop his opposition: One, that online poker is happening now with little enforcement and no oversight; and two, that the Justice Department has opened a Pandora’s box of states that want in on the action.
“The problem is that everybody has talked to Sheldon,” Jones said. “He has a very strong opinion about underage gambling, which I respect. But maybe he doesn’t fully understand that it is happening now with no protection or regulation.”

Pamela Anderson takes on Zynga with BamPoker game | VentureBeat

Pamela Anderson takes on Zynga with BamPoker game | VentureBeat

 By Dean Takahashi


Zynga has the biggest online poker game in the world, but actress Pamela Anderson has the biggest…well,  a bigger name. So she is entering the Facebook social gaming market with a new title called BamPoker.
The celebrity tie-in could help the new poker game stand out among many competitors. It’s another sign that social casino games, which are now played by 13 percent of all Facebook gamers, rank as one of the hottest and most crowded categories in gaming today.
BamPoker combines speedy Facebook poker gameplay, an online community, and the appeal of actress and supermodel Anderson. Zynga, on the other hand, has a five-year head start and it has 33.7 million monthly active players on Facebook.
BamPoker users can play Texas Hold ‘Em poker with former Baywatch star Anderson herself and talk with her via a fan page. The game pits real people against one another in both casual and tournament-style play. It’s a free-to-play game where you purchase virtual chips for real money if you want to. The goal is to obtain a VIP badge so you can play with the elite at exclusive tables.
BamPoker is the creation of Canadian entrepreneurs Elton Pereira and Jeremy Nichele.
“In a poker game, anything can happen,” Pereira says. “Even a flop can make you a winner.” Hence BamPoker’s motto: “That’s the Beauty of the Game!”
“When I first met Elton and Jeremy, I knew they were on to something special,” Andrerson says. “They weren’t interested in creating just another game — they wanted to take the social elements of online poker in a bold new direction. There is nothing like BamPoker out there today, and I am excited to be a part of such an innovative platform.”

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Maryland Governor O’Malley Still Open To Special Session On Gambling « CBS Baltimore

Maryland Governor O’Malley Still Open To Special Session On Gambling « CBS Baltimore


NNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Governor Martin O’Malley says he’s still open to calling a special session this summer on expanded gambling.Political reporter Pat Warren reports the governor is reaching out to members of the House of Delegates who opposed the plan.
A commission was assigned to build a consensus on several proposals: table games with dealers, blackjack, roulette; increasing the number of locations from five to six with a new casino at National Harbor; lowering the tax rate for casino operators. It failed.
“Suddenly, the House leadership decided that they didn’t want to share in that consensus for reasons that don’t make a whole lot of sense to me,” O’Malley said.
That consensus would have given the governor, Senate President and Speaker of the House a framework for legislation to approve in a special session and put to voters in November. Fifty-eight percent of voters polled last week said lawmakers should work harder to make that happen and 83% say they want to vote on it this year.
Labor groups are running ads in favor of a vote in November. A watchdog group has sent out mailers opposing it. Governor O’Malley says he’s working on it.
“I’d just like to get it resolved because I don’t want it to push other important issues aside and result in the sort of gridlock we saw in years past and that we saw just recently when both sides, the House and the Senate, decided to take the budget hostage and then we ended up without a budget,” O’Malley said.
In the original plan, the special session would have started a week from Monday. Lawmakers still have until August 20 to get a question on the ballot.
Legislative analysts say adding another casino could bring in at least $200 million for the state’s education fund.

WDEL 1150AM - Online gambling heads to Delaware Governor's desk

WDEL 1150AM - Online gambling heads to Delaware Governor's desk

State lawmakers have approved a bill authorizing online betting in Delaware and more venues for sports wagering and other gambling.

The bill, which cleared the House earlier this month, was approved by the Senate on a 14-to-6 vote Wednesday.

In addition to allowing online slots and table games, the bill expands keno beyond Delaware's three casinos to at least 100 other sites, and betting on NFL football to at least 20 non-casino sites.

Officials say the new gambling revenue will allow them to eliminate $4 million in slot machine fees paid by the casinos and cut their table game fees from $6.75 million to $3 million. In return, the casinos would pledge to spend an equal amount on traditional business expenses such as marketing, capital improvements and debt reduction.

Mobile Gambling Could Hit Atlantic City Casinos Soon « CBS Philly

Mobile Gambling Could Hit Atlantic City Casinos Soon « CBS Philly


ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) – The New Jersey Assembly has approved, and sent to the state Senate, a plan to allow for the use of mobiledevices to gamble in Atlantic City casinos.
The measure, which is co-sponsored by Paulsboro Democrat John Burzichelli, is expected to get through the senate and he hopes for Governor Chris Christie’s signature as well.
“We’re going to take advantage of technologythat allows an individual who’s a patron of a casino to use a portable device to continue to play a casino game,” Burzichelli said. “The device is limited to the boundaries of the casino. It doesn’t work in the parking garage. You can’t take it onto the beach. You can’t take it on the boardwalk.
It would be left to state gaming officials to decide whether that device is yours, with a downloadable program, or the casino’s through a device they’d issue to you.
It should be noted that Delaware is on the verge of approving online gaming throughout the state, an idea also under development in New Jersey.

Maryland Gov O’Malley puts odds of gambling session at 50-50 - Maryland Politics - The Washington Post

O’Malley puts odds of gambling session at 50-50 - Maryland Politics - The Washington Post



Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said Tuesday that he is continuing to pursue a consensus on an expanded gambling plan that would include a Prince George’s County casino, and he put the odds for calling a special legislative session on the issue this summer at “50-50.”
“I would very much like to get the lingering issues around gaming resolved,” O’Malley told reporters in Ocean City, where he was speaking to a gathering of the Maryland Municipal League and hosting a fundraiser to benefit the campaign to uphold the state’s same-sex marriage law.
O’Malley’s stated resolve came a week after a work group he set up failed to reach a consensus on a gambling plan and recommended against holding a special session. On Tuesday, O’Malley continued to blame members of the House of Delegates, who dissented from recommendations endorsed by the rest of the group, which also included state senators and members of his administration.
“The obstruction is the House on this issue,” O’Malley said, adding that he needs to get a better sense of whether the three delegates on the work group reflected the broader will of the chamber. “I need to now quickly reach out ... to take the full measure of the House.”
The work group recommendations included authorizing a sixth Maryland casino, most likely at National Harbor in Prince George’s County, and Las Vegas-style table games at the state’s five existing slots sites. Both pieces would be subject to voter approval in November.
House members said they would only agree to a sixth site if the state maintained its existing 67 percent tax rate on casino owners. Other members of the work group endorsed lowering the rate on some casinos by at least 5 percentage points to compensate for the additional competition fro a Prince George's facility.
O’Malley said he could not envision pushing a plan that looked much different than the work group recommendations. He dismissed the possibility of introducing a bill that would allow tables games at existing sites but not permit a new casino in Prince George’s.
Doing that, O’Malley said, would be unfair to Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), a major booster of a casino at National Harbor, who has sought an up-or-down vote on the idea.
“I think he’s owed that courtesy,” O’Malley said.
O’Malley said such a plan would solidify the opposition of other casino owners to additional competition in future years. “It would only dig the heels of existing site owners in deeper,” he said.
O’Malley also expressed concern that Caesar’s Entertainment could back off its plans to build a casino in downtown Baltimore if they are not allowed to include table games.
O’Malley has advertised the week of July 9 for a possible special session on gambling. He said Friday that the date could slip if it takes longer to build consensus
The governor’s comments followed a sparsely attended fundraiser at an Ocean City restaurant to benefit Marylanders for Marriage Equality, the group leading efforts to uphold the state’s same-sex marriage law in an expected November referendum.
Only about a dozen people appear to have attended the event, which was co-hosted by House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel), whose relationship with O’Malley has been strained by the gambling issue. Organizers said many people contributed money who did not attend the event, which had an advertised costs of $1,000.
During his address to the Maryland Municipal League, O’Malley plugged his continuing efforts to boost transportation funding, acknowledging his failure in the last legislative session to apply the sales tax to gasoline.
“I haven’t given up, and I have the scars to prove it.” O’Malley said. ”I left a lot of blood on the battlefield, but I haven’t dropped the flag.”
By   |  09:21 PM ET, 06/26/2012 

North Carolina Gambling regulation bill faces uncertain future

North Carolina Gambling regulation bill faces uncertain future


RALEIGH - A proposal to regulate and heavily tax North Carolina's proliferating gambling industry is scheduled to be considered by state legislators again today, but its prospects are uncertain.
Until late Tuesday, it appeared that legislative leaders were going to allow the idea to die, but now it's scheduled to be heard in the state House Finance Committee this morning.
The bill would impose steep taxes on North Carolina's so-called sweepstakes parlors. These are gambling houses where people play computer games in hopes of winning money.
These businesses have expanded largely unregulated over the past several years amid a legal cat-and-mouse game between new gambling laws drafted to outlaw them, lawyers skilled at overturning the laws in court and software designers skilled at making the new games to comply with the letter of the law if not its spirit.
Gov. Bev Perdue has called for taxing the businesses to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for education.
Rep. Bill Owens of Pasquotank County, a Democrat who has been helping the Republican-controlled legislature overturn Perdue's vetoes, unveiled the latest iteration of a plan to tax and regulate the industry on Tuesday morning at a meeting of the House Finance Committee. The committee discussed the idea without voting on it.
The legislative staff estimated that the games would generate between $98 million and $329 million of state taxes per year.
The amounts widely vary because the staff had only rough guesses about how many sweepstakes cafes operate in North Carolina and how much they money they take in.
Owens' proposal calls for 9 percent of the revenue to pay go to law enforcement agencies, including local police and sheriff's departments. Six percent would be for administration expenses.
The remaining 85 percent of the money would be for public education, with up to $189 million sent to local school districts statewide to make up for statewide to make up for recent cuts to their budgets, and the rest for other education spending.
City and county governments could levy additional taxes on the outlets. Cities already do this through their privilege license taxes, but counties have been prohibited by law from imposing similar taxes on any business.
The bill would also impose new restrictions, such as prohibiting the sale of alcohol, on businesses that operate sweepstakes cafes. That would force some convenience store owners to choose between selling alcohol or keeping the machines.
People under age 18 would be banned from entering the businesses. The businesses would have to be licensed by the state, cap their maximum prizes at $10,000 and be subject to other restrictions, as well.
Litigation over whether the sweepstakes cafes can stay in business is pending before the N.C. Supreme Court. With that in mind, the bill would expire on April 1. If the Supreme Court rules the machines are legal, the lawmakers could extend the law, Owens said, and if they are ruled illegal, the lawmakers could let the law expire.
In discussions of the idea, lawmakers who think gambling should be illegal have expressed hesitation at giving the sweepstakes parlors the legitimacy of a law to tax them; others with an anti-tax bent don't like the idea of creating a new tax.
Staff writer Paul Woolverton can be reached at woolvertonp@fayobserver.com or 486-3512.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pennsylvania Assembly OKs mobile-device gambling

Pennsylvania Assembly OKs mobile-device gambling


The Assembly approved legislation to allow mobile gambling devices at Atlantic City casinos was approved 77-0-2 Monday — allowing the Shore resort to offer what Las Vegas has offered since 2006.


"In order to remain attractive to visitors and competitive with neighboring states, it's important that Atlantic City keep up with the latest innovations and trends," said Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D., Gloucester), one of the prime sponsors.


The bill, described by sponsors as "a smart 21st-century adaptation," allows patrons to enjoy gaming while waiting for a dinner reservation at a casino restaurant, at a casino lounge, or poolside at any A.C. casino.


The mobile gaming device must not extend outside the property boundaries of a casino hotel facility. The full Senate must concur on the amended Assembly bill.
— Suzette Parmley


Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/business/160300025.html#ixzz1yty5rmPW
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Macau Casinos Decline on Visa, Credit Limit Concerns - Bloomberg

Macau Casinos Decline on Visa, Credit Limit Concerns - Bloomberg


Macau casino stocks declined in Hong Kong trading amid speculation visa restrictions and limits on some China credit cards are slowing revenue growth in the world’s largest gambling hub.
Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. (27) dropped 5.7 percent to close at HK$18.12, Sands China Ltd. (1928) declined 5.8 percent, Wynn Macau Ltd. lost 2.8 percent.
The Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. Galaxy Macau casino resort in Macau, China. Growth in mainland Chinese visitors to Macau may have softened in May as the Guangdong local government might be tightening visa issuance and as China UnionPay reduces the amount that can be spent overseas on credit cards, Chinese language Macau Daily reported on June 23. Photographer: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg
May 9 (Bloomberg) -- Gabriel Yap, executive chairman of GCP Global Pte, an investment management firm, talks about Macau's gaming industry and his investment strategy. Wynn Macau Ltd., the Hong Kong-listed unit of billionaire Steve Wynn’s Las Vegas company, reported a 10 percent increase in first-quarter profit as Chinese tourists drove up revenue in the world’s largest gambling hub. SJM Holdings Ltd., the Macau casino operator founded by billionaire Stanley Ho, reported a 22 percent increase in first-quarter profit. Yap speaks from Singapore with John Dawson on Bloomberg Television's "On the Move Asia." (Source: Bloomberg)
May 8 (Bloomberg) -- Aaron Fischer, head of Asia consumer and gaming research at CLSA Ltd. in Hong Kong, talks about the outlook for Macau's gaming industry and his investment strategy. Fischer also discusses luxury goods retailers. He speaks with Susan Li on Bloomberg Television's "First Up." (Source: Bloomberg)
Growth in mainland Chinese visitors to Macau may have softened in May as the Guangdong local government might be tightening visa issuance and as China UnionPay reduces the amount that can be spent overseas on credit cards, Chinese- language Macau Daily reported on June 23. Macau casino gambling revenue rose 7.3 percent in May, the slowest pace since July 2009.
“Recent weakness in Macau gaming revenue and visitation growth could be partially explained by the visa restrictions and reduction in China UnionPay limits highlighted by the Macau Daily,” Cameron McKnight, an analyst at Wells Fargo & Co., said in a June 25 research note. “While expectations have recently moderated, we believe outperformance in the Macau stocks is likely to be limited here.”
Visitors from the mainland drove casino revenue up 42 percent last year in the only city in China where casino gambling is legal, pushing up earnings at Macau operators. About 16 million mainland Chinese tourists visited the city in 2011.
Gambling revenue for the six casino operators in the former Portuguese colony rose last month to 26.1 billion patacas ($3.3 billion) from 24.3 billion patacas a year earlier, according to the Chinese city’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
“The report on visa tightening is a bit speculative,” said Grant Govertsen, a Macau-based analyst at Union Gaming Group. “We haven’t seen anything so far to convince us this is happening.”
MGM China Holdings Ltd. (2282) slumped 4.8 percent, SJM Holdings Ltd. (880), founded by billionaire Stanley Ho, dropped 1.98 percent, Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. (6883) dropped 2.5 percent in Hong Kong trading. The city’s benchmark Hang Seng Index gained 0.45 percent.
Gigi Chiu, spokeswoman of the Macau Government Tourist Office declined to comment on the newspaper report.
To contact the reporter on this story: Vinicy Chan in Hong Kong at vchan91@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anjali Cordeiro at acordeiro2@bloomberg.net

Online gambling bill faces Senate vote in Delaware - SFGate

Online gambling bill faces Senate vote in Delaware - SFGate


DOVER, Del. (AP) — The state Senate is poised to vote on a bill authorizing online betting in Delaware and more venues for sports wagering and other gambling.
The bill, which passed the House two weeks ago, was scheduled for a Senate vote Tuesday.
In addition to online slots and table games, the proposal by Gov. Jack Markell expands keno beyond Delaware's three existing casinos to at least 100 sites and betting on NFL games to at least 20 non-casino sites.
Administration officials say the gambling expansion would allow them to eliminate millions of dollars in fees paid currently paid to the state by the casinos. The casinos would pledge in return to spend an amount equal to those cuts on traditional business expenses such as marketing, capital improvements and debt reduction.