Trump’s Amman Castle?; Wynn goes 0-for-2

Gambling is illegal in Jordan but that doesn’t stop Donald Trump. The new president’s company has renewed the trademark for a Jordanian casino. This won’t play well with religious hawks in the Hashemite kingdom, who went into full cry when a previous regime tried to sneak a British-built, tourists-only casino onto the shores of the Dead Sea in 2007. It was enough of a scandal to be dubbed “Casinogate.” A previous attempt to build two tourist casinos in 2003 also went nowhere. Why the Trumps thought this time would be any different — and whether they expect any quid pro quo remains to be seen.

The official White House policy in such matters is that the left hand (President Trump) doesn’t know what the right hand (his children) are doing. And if you believe that, lemme sell you this groovy bridge in Brooklyn. The former chief ethics officer for George W. Bush‘s administration, Robert Painter, certainly isn’t buying it. “If we’re going to get involved in trying to work out Middle East peace, Jordan is a key player. We’re going to have a lot of different things on the table and I guess this casino is going to be part of what’s on the table,” he sighed, “That’s just corruption.”

Or crony capitalism. At any rate, who knew gambling would become a flash point so soon into the Trump administration?

* Steve Wynn lost another attempt to curb free speech when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals swatted away his lawsuit against stock picker Jim Chanos. The latter’s crime? He had voiced concerns about corruption in Macao during a speaking engagement in 2014. Wynn took this as a personal affront, sued, lost the first round and now has been defeated again. Will Wynn take a hint and abandon this quixotic tilt? Considering that he’d on the hook for Chanos’ legal fees, we suggest he quit while he’s behind.

* Glenn Straub can’t reopen Revel/Ten‘s casino yet but he’s doing the next best thing, creating brand awareness through a “Ten” social gaming site. Its functionality is very much like that of any other New Jersey Web casino, except that no money can be won or lost. Straub plans to go eventually for a full-blown Internet casino, run by his stalking horse, Connecticut developer Robert Landino. Straub doesn’t care to get personally involved in ‘Net betting, giving it a firm “Hell no.” We’re getting increasingly excited to see what Straub makes of Ten, the mega resort, but think he could have found somebody with more gaming experience than the builder of Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford. Revel’s third casino incarnation needs someone other than a beginner at the helm.

* Genting Group can’t seem to accelerate Resorts World Las Vegas but it’s already got its eyes firmly fixed on Japan. The company’s annual report states it “will be positioning the group as a strong candidate for the bidding process.” If successful, Genting would add the Land of the Rising Sun to a list of conquests that ranges from Singapore to Great Britain, from New York City to the Philippines. Interestingly, the report seems to have made no mention of the status of the Las Vegas project, which continues to creep forward with agonizing slowness, although Genting has made good on its pledge to resume work by early 2017.

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