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News

Hotel, Casino and Resort News: UAE

June - July 2024

Wynn positioning itself as ‘best-in-class’ in free cash flow margin as it funds UAE project, analyst says

Wynn Resorts is well positioned to fund its integrated resort project in the United Arab Emirates and position itself as the “best-in-class” in free cash flow margin in global gaming, according to note to investors from CBRE Credit Research Director Colin Mansfield. CBRE estimates Wynn Al Marjan Island will be de-leveraging to Wynn on a pro forma basis relative to its 2026 estimates, declining to about 4.2x gross lease-adjusted leverage at project maturity.

 

News Feature

The First Casino Near Dubai Sparks a New Gold Rush

Four artificial islands in the Persian Gulf sat mostly empty for the past decade. Now, every lot is sold and cranes are everywhere.

Barely a year after Las Vegas casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd. announced plans for a $4 billion resort in the United Arab Emirates, the area is crawling with construction workers erecting five-star resorts, shops and $7 million villas in what developers expect will become a major tourist hotspot.

Before that deal, the artificial Marjan islands off the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, or RAK, had spent most of the past decade as a lost opportunity, a 2.7 square-kilometer (1 square mile) white elephant largely unused after a $1 billion football-themed resort and related Real Madrid academy was scrapped for the site.

These days, every lot is sold and cranes are rising faster than the morning desert heat. Hoardings around construction sites are plastered with signs advertising the coming homes. At least 20 developers have projects in various stages of design and construction on the islands, said Abdulla Al Abdouli, chief executive officer of the state entity that developed them. He expects most projects to be completed within just six years.

The new construction will cost billions of dollars, he says. But even he’s not sure exactly how many.

Anticipating the rush of new visitors, the emirate’s small international airport is planning to build a new terminal to boost capacity to 2 million passengers a year by 2027, almost triple the some 700,000 travellers anticipated this year. About one-third of the world’s population lives within a four-hour flight.

Ras Al Khaimah, which means the head of the tent in Arabic, has a 40 mile coastline on the Persian Gulf and until now has largely catered to Russian tourists looking for a cheaper alternative to Dubai. The Marjan islands, roughly half the size of Dubai’s famous Palm Jumeirah, were completed in 2013.

On the island where Wynn is building its planned casino and resort, activity is going full speed. A dozen cranes hover over what’s to be among the company’s largest developments, at 1,500 rooms. Access to the island is restricted only to workers until the site opens to the public in 2027.

“The Wynn casino and resort has been a game changer for Marjan,” said Khalid Bin Kalban, the CEO of Dubai Investments PJSC, which is building a hotel and a residential community there. “Everyone is there in anticipation that RAK’s tourism will grow rapidly with the casino. It’s about the gaming, the shows, the hotels. You’re essentially bringing a mini-Vegas to Ras Al Khaimah.”

The introduction of casinos would be a step change for the UAE, where gambling is prohibited under Islam and is illegal in the country: Offenders can be fined or sentenced to two years in prison — or both. No casinos exist in the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries, although they can be found in Lebanon and Egypt. The UAE has created an authority to provide a framework for legalized gaming, although no laws legalizing it have been passed so far.

It took decades to make Las Vegas what it is today, but officials here are thinking more ambitiously.

Marjan, the owner of the islands, is looking to build about 9,000 hotel rooms and a similar number of homes to add to the existing properties. The islands currently host six hotels with a total of 3,052 rooms along with around 3,000 apartments, many of which are serviced, including JW Marriott and Rixos. Las Vegas has almost 155,000 hotel rooms; some 10% of that total will exist here within a generation.

But for the emirate, which welcomed 1.2 million visitors last year, the existing supply sharply lags demand, said Al Abdouli, the CEO of Marjan. With about 8,000 rooms, the opportunity for developers is there to grow the market and attract new visitors, he added.

“Marjan Island is different from the daily hustle and bustle of being in downtown Dubai or Abu Dhabi,” said Al Abdouli. “It’s a getaway. Many of the visitors come from other parts of the UAE for staycations. There are mountainous areas for hiking, biking, triathlons and beaches. But the Wynn resort will be a catalyst like no other in the UAE.”

Prices have exploded, and for the lucky few who bought early the returns have been spectacular. Bin Kalban said prices per square foot not long ago were 300 dirhams ($82), but now you can’t find anything below 800 dirhams.

At the moment Ras Al Khaimah has 12 hotels in the planning stage along with seven in construction, according to CoStar, a London-based provider of real estate data and analytics.

The broader emirate of Ras Al Khaimah today has an old Arabia vibe, mainly a vast expanse of red sand dunes with sparse vegetation. It’s a far cry from Dubai’s skyscrapers and traffic jams some 70 miles down the road.

In the race to develop tourism destinations, Ras Al Khaimah has an advantage over Saudi Arabia. Alcohol is legal, and scores of Russian and Chinese tourists already visit the emirate, despite the limited number of hotels. The casino will help attract the gamblers but will also lure families looking for a slice of Vegas in the desert — without the trans-Atlantic flight.

Still, for Ras Al Khaimah to become a sustainable destination, more investment is needed in the area’s infrastructure, along with restaurants and retail, to support a steady stream of visitors.

“There’s a plethora of different things that are required,” said Philip Barnes, chief executive officer of Abu Dhabi-based Rotana Hotels & Resorts. “That’s why I think when people are looking at tourism or hotels, you’ve got to look at big picture. Where do you want to be and where do you have the infrastructure? It’s great to get into a destination that is developing because it allows you to get a foothold. But you’ve got to be cognizant of the development” of facilities and supporting infrastructure, he added.

There are no public transport options, for example, to visit the Marjan islands from Dubai.

“Las Vegas, contrary to what most people think, is not about gambling, it’s about conventions,” he said. “The Sphere, this new concert arena that they’ve opened, drives traffic into that city because they bring big names in with big impact on the economy. It’s not just about the people coming in for the concert, it’s the hotels, it’s the restaurants, it’s the retail. When you’re looking at tourism as a whole you have to understand the whole picture.”

Even without that, developers are racing to complete property as soon as they can. A typical four-bed villa on the island costs 6 million dirhams ($1.6 million), while top-end luxury houses here can reach 40 million.

Emaar Properties PJSC, developer of the world’s tallest tower in Dubai, is building luxury apartments and townhouses, with its marketing touting its site near the upcoming casino. The Address Residences, starting at 1.8 million dirhams, will include apartments ranging from one to four bedrooms and the community will include gyms, pools and restaurants on the island’s sandy white beaches.

Abu Dhabi’s largest developer tied up with international luxury beach club, Nikki Beach, to develop three branded residential buildings, and the first batch of 570 homes was sold within hours amid strong demand from overseas and expatriate residents. Another development, Rosso Bay Residences, has also been sold in an emirate that’s trying to lure the wealthy with various plans.

Abu Dhabi National Hotels last year started building a 1,000-room luxury resort on 1 million square feet of land that’s set to be completed next year. A US-based private developer, WOW Properties, has broken ground on 474 homes to be serviced by JW Marriott, along with a 264-room hotel at a total cost of 4.8 billion dirhams. And Britain’s Aston Martin has partnered with Saudi Arabian developer Dar Global to design the interiors of luxury homes that are part of a $250 million beachfront residential community to be completed by 2028.

The momentum of so many developers building at once is going to “create more and more synergies,” Bhupender Patel, co-CEO of WOW Resorts, said in an interview. “The whole market’s about to take off like you’ve never seen a market take off in this part of the world.” (Wires, AI News)

 

 

 

Finance / World Business News

Euro, Gold, Crypto and more via Media Man and FX Pro

A strong current account surplus may not help euro

The eurozone's current account surplus climbed to a six-month high of 31.9bn in December. Analysts, on average, had expected a decline to 20.3 bn from 22.5 bn the previous month. The current level was seen in the eurozone during the relatively benign pre-Covid period and sometime before Natural Gas prices spiked in the second half of 2021.

The normalisation of the surplus is good news for the single currency, as it means more net capital inflows into the region. But this growth has been fuelled by falling imports, which can be the result of lower commodity and energy prices (which is a very good thing), but also partly indicative of a slowdown in domestic demand. This threatens to translate into economic contraction in the coming months.

The euro area experienced periods of severe import contraction in late 2008 and early 2010, and in both cases, the economy experienced a severe downturn. Back in 2008, all this was accompanied by the collapse of the euro.

Gold

Gold rises but within a downward channel

Gold rallied for the fourth consecutive session to reach $2023, recovering almost all the losses suffered the week before on the back of the inflation report. Gold's ability to rally suggests continued domestic demand, as some investors are clearly rushing to buy back any losses.

At the same time, however, we note that since the beginning of the year, gold has been characterised by solid selloffs on the news, forming a smooth downtrend. In the context of this downtrend, a rise to $2040-2045, which is the upper boundary of the bearish range, looks quite acceptable.

The area around $2035 - the highs of two weeks ago - also appears to be a crucial intermediate level. Confident buying from this level would be the first important signal that the recent correction is over and that gold is ready to make a fresh assault on the highs.

Much more important, however, will be the behaviour of gold as it approaches the $2050 level, where the reversal of the decline in late January took place.

Consolidation at this level would confirm the breakdown of the downtrend and set the stage for a move towards $2100 and the subsequent renewal of historic highs.

However, as long as gold is trading within the downtrend, there is a greater chance of a breakdown or even an acceleration of the downtrend.

Among the fundamental factors, the potential for growth could be provided by the fall in the dollar if Fed officials show a softening of their position, bringing the start of interest rate cuts closer.

On the bearish side, equities could come under pressure following the optimistic rally in the tech giants and the news of a sharp slowdown in economic activity. We also do not rule out the possibility that the recent support measures for the Chinese stock market and property sector will cool demand for gold as a safe-haven for investors from that part of the world.

 

Cryptocurrency

Crypto market growth halted amid capital inflows

Market picture

The crypto market has corrected 0.46% in the last 24 hours, fluctuating within a narrow range without a clear direction. Bitcoin is down 1% but up 3.7% over seven days, Ethereum is flat for the day but up 10.6% over the week. The top coins are mixed with BNB +2% and Solana -2.5%.

Bitcoin is currently drawing its fourth daily candle with opening and closing levels close to each other. Such sideways consolidations are characteristic of strong bull markets, as opposed to corrective pullbacks on smoother rallies.

Ethereum hit local highs on rumours of a positive regulatory decision before the end of March. Bloomberg analyst James Seyffarth bet 4 ETH that the SEC will not approve a spot Ethereum ETF next month.

According to data from CoinShares, investment in crypto funds rose by a record $2.452 billion last week, following inflows of $1.116 billion the previous week.
Bitcoin investments increased by $2.424 billion, Ethereum by $21 million, Cardano lost $6 million, and Solana lost $1.6 million.

Since the beginning of the year, crypto funds have seen inflows of an impressive $5.2 billion, with total AUM rising to $67 billion, the highest since December 2021.

News background

Bitcoin will see institutional support in the next three to six months, according to Coinbase. Bitcoin ETFs could eventually become a major competitor to gold funds.
According to IntoTheBlock, there is an 85% chance that Bitcoin will reach a new all-time high within the next six months. Five factors could contribute to this: the halving of the price, ETFs, monetary easing, the US election, and companies accumulating BTC as part of their treasuries.

Former CIA contractor Edward Snowden, who has been living in Russia since 2013, called bitcoin the most significant achievement of the financial system in the entire existence of money and means of exchange.

Amberdata admitted that Ethereum will outpace Bitcoin in terms of growth due to more constructive deflationary policies. The supply of ETH has been decreasing since September 2022, thanks to the update of The Merge, as well as the implementation of a mechanism to burn part of the commissions. During this time, around 0.36 million ETH, or 0.3% of the total supply of 120 million coins, have been removed from circulation.

 

Via Roy Morgan Research and Media Man social media

Copper, gold, and Bitcoin rise; Iron ore and oil fall; ASX to fall in response to selling on Wall Street; US vetoes Arab-backed UN resolution demanding ceasefire in Gaza; Assange's lawyers warn that he risks 'flagrant denial of justice' if he is tried in US

Latest updates on Key Economic Indicators

21 February 2024

Roy Morgan Summary

Australian Dollar: $0.6550 USD (up 0.0011 USD)
Iron Ore Mar Spot Price (SGX): $120.85 USD (down $6.40 USD)

Oil Price (WTI): $78.27 USD (down $1.02 USD)

Gold Price: $2,024.37 USD (up $6.43 USD)

Copper Price (CME): $3.8595 (up $0.0465 USD)

Bitcoin: $52,059.35 (up 0.35% in last 24 hours)

New report reveals Roy Morgan is one of Australia's leading data companies - with in-depth information on millions of Australians based on their Helix Personas

 

Market Research Update

20 February 2024

Roy Morgan Summary

Roy Morgan leads the way as one of Australia's leading data companies. A special in-depth report into Australia's leading data companies interviewed Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine and Executive Chairman Gary Morgan about the role the company plays in compiling data and building profiles of different Australians. One of Roy Morgan's key products is 'Helix Personas' which profiles people under headings such as "young and platinum", "smart money", "cautious conservatives", "fair go", "working hard" and nearly 50 other personas. For example, the "young and platinum" group love their mobile devices and are "always on the hunt for the shiny, new and cool" and "making the rent". Their income is around the $64,000 a year mark and they can often be found "living a conventional life centred around family".

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine confirmed that the Helix Personas market segments are based on statistical information, not data from individual people. "It's totally ethical. Unlike Facebook or any of these things, it's not any particular individual", Roy Morgan's chief executive Michele Levine, said.: 38,582.12 at 3.22pm NY time (down 45.87 points on Friday's close)

 

Roy Morgan wins three-year contract to deliver domestic tourism statistics for Austrade

21 February 2024

Roy Morgan Summary

From 2025, Roy Morgan will provide Austrade with the world's best practice survey methodology, big data integration and modelling techniques to deliver accurate domestic tourism statistics. Roy Morgan has reimagined the future of domestic tourism statistics to move Austrade and its stakeholders to the forefront of tourism intelligence with a new platform that will drive the future of Australia's tourism industry, which is estimated to be worth in excess of $160 billion. Portia Morgan, the Head of Client Services at Roy Morgan, says that using face-to-face interviewing, which is the gold-standard for surveying the population, enhanced with big data and cutting-edge data science techniques, Roy Morgan will be delivering a future-proofed system that will be cost effective, reliable, and accurate. She adds that Roy Morgan has been delivering survey-based tourism insights via its Holiday Tracking Survey for 20+ years and the company is thrilled to be working with Austrade and the broader industry to provide a deeper of understanding of how many people are travelling, where they go, what they do and how they spend their valuable tourism dollars.

 

Anti-mining PM pushes BHP's cash offshore

Roy Morgan Summary

It is somewhat hypocritical of the federal government to flag possible support for Australia's nickel industry, given that Labor's anti-mining legislation may jeopardise the expansion of BHP's copper operations in South Australia. BHP is still likely to proceed with an expansion, but the previously touted investment of between $10bn and $15bn is now only a 50 per cent chance. The new labour laws in the government's industrial relations reforms mean that BHP is now more likely to redirect much of this capital investment to its criticals minerals projects in other countries; rival miner Rio Tinto is already doing this.

 

More than 2.7 million New Zealanders now read newspapers and magazine audiences surge to over 1.7 million

21 February 2024

Roy Morgan has released its readership results for New Zealand's newspapers and magazines for the 12 months to December 2023. The data shows that 2.73 million New Zealanders aged 14+ (64.4%) now read or access newspapers in an average 7-day period via print or online (website or app) platforms. In addition, 1.71 million New Zealanders aged 14+ (40.3%) read magazines, whether in print or online either via the web or an app. The New Zealand Herald is still the nation's most widely-read publication, with a total cross-platform audience of 1,720,000 in the 12 months to June 2023 - almost five times as many as the second placed Dominion Post with a readership of 341,000. Meanwhile, New Zealand's most widely read magazine is still the driving magazine AA Directions, which had an average issue readership of 379,000 during the year to December (an increase of 63,000 on a year ago).

These are the latest findings from the Roy Morgan New Zealand Single Source survey of 6,254 New Zealanders aged 14+ over the 12 months to December 2023.

New report reveals Roy Morgan is one of Australia's leading data companies - with in-depth information on millions of Australians based on their Helix Personas

Market Research Update

20 February 2024

Roy Morgan Summary

Roy Morgan leads the way as one of Australia's leading data companies. A special in-depth report into Australia's leading data companies interviewed Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine and Executive Chairman Gary Morgan about the role the company plays in compiling data and building profiles of different Australians. One of Roy Morgan's key products is 'Helix Personas' which profiles people under headings such as "young and platinum", "smart money", "cautious conservatives", "fair go", "working hard" and nearly 50 other personas. For example, the "young and platinum" group love their mobile devices and are "always on the hunt for the shiny, new and cool" and "making the rent". Their income is around the $64,000 a year mark and they can often be found "living a conventional life centred around family". Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine confirmed that the Helix Personas market segments are based on statistical information, not data from individual people. "It's totally ethical. Unlike Facebook or any of these things, it's not any particular individual", Roy Morgan's chief executive Michele Levine, said.

(Credit: Roy Morgan Research)

 

Roy Morgan Summary

Roy Morgan leads the way as one of Australia's leading data companies. A special in-depth report into Australia's leading data companies interviewed Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine and Executive Chairman Gary Morgan about the role the company plays in compiling data and building profiles of different Australians.

One of Roy Morgan's key products is 'Helix Personas' which profiles people under headings such as "young and platinum", "smart money", "cautious conservatives", "fair go", "working hard" and nearly 50 other personas. For example, the "young and platinum" group love their mobile devices and are "always on the hunt for the shiny, new and cool" and "making the rent". Their income is around the $64,000 a year mark and they can often be found "living a conventional life centred around family". Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine confirmed that the Helix Personas market segments are based on statistical information, not data from individual people. "It's totally ethical. Unlike Facebook or any of these things, it's not any particular individual", Roy Morgan's chief executive Michele Levine, said.

(Credit: Roy Morgan Research)

 

Media Man

Warrner Bros

Profile

In 2010, the Warner Bros. Pictures Group broke the all-time industry worldwide box office record with receipts of $4.814 billion, which surpassed the prior record of $4.010 billion (set by the Studio in 2009). Warner Bros. also established a new industry benchmark for the international box office with a total of $2.93 billion (marking a record third time of crossing the $2 billion threshold) and retained its leading domestic box office ranking with receipts of $1.884 billion. 2010 also marked the 10th consecutive year Warner Bros. Pictures passed the billion dollar mark at both the domestic and international box offices. Warner Home Video was, once again, the industry’s leader, with an overall 20.6 percent marketshare in total DVD and Blu-ray sales. The companies comprising the Warner Bros. Television Group and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group remain category leaders, working across all platforms and outlets, and are trendsetters in the digital realm with video-on-demand (transaction and ad-supported), branded channels, original content, anti-piracy technology and broadband and wireless destinations.

The Warner Bros. Pictures Group brings together the Studio’s motion picture production, marketing and distribution operations into a single entity. The Group, which includes Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures International, was formed to streamline the Studio’s film production process and bring those businesses’ organizational structures in line with Warner Bros.’ television and home entertainment operations.

Warner Bros. Pictures produces and distributes a wide-ranging slate of some 18-22 films each year, employing a business paradigm that mitigates risk while maximizing productivity and capital. Warner Bros. Pictures either fully finances or co-finances the films it produces and maintains worldwide distribution rights. It also monetizes its distribution and marketing operations by distributing films that are totally financed and produced by third-parties. The Studio’s 2011 slate includes “Sucker Punch,” “The Hangover Part II,” “Green Lantern,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2,” “Happy Feet 2” and “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.”

Warner Bros. Pictures International is a global leader in the marketing and distribution of feature films, operating offices in more than 30 countries and releasing films in over 120 international territories, either directly to theaters or in conjunction with partner companies and co-ventures.

New Line Cinema, part of Warner Bros. Entertainment since 2008, coordinates its development, production, marketing, distribution and business affairs activities with Warner Bros. Pictures to maximize film performance and operating efficiencies. Highlights of New Line’s 2011 release slate, distributed by Warner Bros., include “Horrible Bosses,” “Final Destination 5,” “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas” and “New Year’s Eve.”

The Warner Bros. Television Group oversees and grows the entire portfolio of Warner Bros.’ television businesses, including worldwide production, traditional and digital distribution, and broadcasting. In the traditional television arena, WBTVG produces primetime and cable (Warner Bros. Television and Warner Horizon Television), first-run syndication (Telepictures Productions) and animated (Warner Bros. Animation) programming, which is distributed worldwide by two category-leading distribution arms/operations (Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution and Warner Bros. International Television Distribution).

Among the primetime series produced by divisions of the Warner Bros. Television Group are “Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “The Mentalist,” “Mike & Molly,” “Fringe,” “Gossip Girl,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “Nikita,” “The Middle,” “Southland,” “The Closer,” “Rizzoli & Isles,” “Supernatural,” “The Bachelor,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew” and many more. Also produced by the company are first-run syndicated programs such as “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “TMZ” and “Extra,” among others, as well as animated shows “Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated” and “Young Justice.”

WBTVG is an innovative leader in developing new business models for the evolving television landscape, including ad-supported video-on-demand, broadband and wireless, and has digital distribution agreements in place with all of the broadcast networks. Internationally, the Studio is one of the world’s largest distributors of feature films, television programs and animation to the worldwide television marketplace, licensing some 50,000 hours of television programming, including more than 6,000 feature films and 50 current series, dubbed or subtitled in more than 40 languages, to telecasters and cablecasters in more than 175 countries.

WBTVG provides original shortform programming for the broadband and wireless marketplace through its Studio 2.0 digital venture, and its digital media sales unit is devoted specifically to multiplatform domestic advertiser sales for both broadband and wireless. WBTVG continues its strategic expansion into digital production and distribution with the launch of several advertiser-supported entertainment destinations, including TheWB.com, a premium, video-on-demand interactive and personalized network and KidsWB.com, a premium destination built around youth-oriented immersive entertainment.

The final component of WBTVG is broadcasting: The CW Television Network, launched (in partnership with CBS) in September 2006 with quality, diverse programming, is targeted to the 18–34 audience.

Warner Bros. Animation’s combined classic and contemporary library currently boasts 14,000 animated episodes and shorts which air on domestic broadcast networks, as well as cable networks and in direct-to-video releases around the world. The classic library includes such brands as Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies, Hanna-Barbera and Ruby-Spears as well as such beloved characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester, Tweety, Taz, Tom and Jerry, Popeye, Batman, Superman, the Flintstones, the Jetsons and Scooby-Doo.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment’s home video (Warner Home Video), digital distribution (Warner Bros. Digital Distribution), interactive entertainment/videogames (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment), direct-to-consumer production (Warner Premiere), technical operations (Warner Bros. Technical Operations) and anti-piracy (Warner Bros. Anti-Piracy Operations) businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. WBHEG is responsible for the global distribution of content through DVD, electronic sell-through and transactional VOD, and delivery of theatrical content to wireless and online channels. It is also a significant worldwide publisher for both internal and third party videogame titles.

In 2010, Warner Home Video dominated the U.S. market as the number one company in total sell-through video (DVD and Blu-ray combined) with 20.6% marketshare, theatrical catalog, TV on DVD, non-theatrical family and animation, Blu-ray and VOD. WHV has been the number one studio in overall DVD sales 14 consecutive years, and is also the leading studio in the international home video space.

With more than 3,700 active licensees worldwide, Warner Bros. Consumer Products licenses the rights to names, likenesses and logos for all of the intellectual properties in Warner Bros. Entertainment’s vast film and television library. With a global network of offices and agents in key regions throughout the world, including North America, Latin America, Asia and Europe, WBCP maintains an ongoing commitment to expand and build the power of its core brands’ recognition in the international marketplace through strong and creative merchandising, promotional marketing and retail programs.

DC Entertainment’s DC Comics has been in continuous publication for more than 60 years, and is the leading comic book publisher in the industry and the creator of some of the world’s most recognized icons. DC’s characters continue to headline blockbuster feature films, live-action and animated television series, direct-to-video releases, collectors’ books, online entertainment, digital publishing, countless licensing and marketing arrangements and, most recently, graphic novels. DC continues to attract new readers and fans all over the world with its signature characters Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Justice League leading the way.

Warner Bros. International Cinemas provides a true state-of-the-art movie experience to audiences in Japan with more than 60 multiplex cinemas and more than 600 screens internationally. One of the pioneers in multiplex development for the international marketplace, WBIC is continually exploring new markets for expansion. (Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment)

 

Press Release

09 August 2010


MICROGAMING SET TO LAUNCH THE LORD OF THE RINGS™: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING ONLINE VIDEO SLOT GAME


First Title to Utilize Proprietary Cinematic Spins™ Technology Allowing Players to Experience the Film with Every Spin


ISLE OF MAN – Microgaming today announced the imminent launch of a new flagship game, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Online Video Slot Game. This slot game is the first to utilise Microgaming’s new Cinematic Spins™ technology, allowing gamers to see clips from the films with every spin.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is a new online slot game that is part of a multi-year licensing agreement Microgaming signed with Warner Bros. Digital Distribution in 2009. The company is developing a series of cutting-edge, graphic rich video slots based on this popular movie trilogy and will use animation material, themes, and characters, from the trilogy of The Lord of the Rings™ motion pictures that include The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. These online slot games will be available to adults only in countries where online gaming is permitted.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is the first online video slot to use Microgaming’s Cinematic Spins™ state-of-the-art gaming technology. This allows movie clips to act as moving backgrounds behind the reels during spins providing players an unprecedented level of excitement and immersion.

Win sequences and expanding wilds also use cinematic clips, instead of traditional animated graphics. The slots feature famous scenes from the film including Ringwraiths during the attack at Weathertop, Balrog in the Mines of Moria, and Uruk-hai in the woods of Middle-earth. Players will also enjoy seeing characters from the films that include Frodo, Aragorn, Saruman and the deadly Black Riders.

Roger Raatgever, CEO Microgaming comments: “Microgaming has always been ahead of the curve with innovative offerings, but this game really does push the boundaries of what an online slot can do. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring looks and feels like an extension of the big screen film experience and we’re confident that our operators will see a great deal of demand from their players, when the game is released. This is an important deal for Microgaming and highlights our commitment to partner with the right brands, at the right time. The Lord of the Rings is one of the most successful and well loved brands on the planet and we are excited about combining this widespread appeal with Microgaming’s groundbreaking software.”

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy generated $3 billion in worldwide box office receipts and was nominated for a total of 30 Academy Awards®; of which they won 17, including Best Picture.

- Ends -
Notes to editors:
*Cinematic Spins is a trademark held by Microgaming

© 2010 New Line Productions, Inc. All rights reserved. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and the names of the characters, items, events and places therein are trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Middle-earth Enterprises under license to New Line Productions, Inc.

For further information please contact:
Duncan Skehens / Laura Moss/ Lyndsay Haywood
Lansons Communications
020 7490 8828
DuncanS@lansons.com / LauraM@lansons.com / LyndsayH@lansons.com
Warner Bros. Digital Distribution

Peter Binazeski
818-977-5701
peter.binazeski@warnerbros.com
About Microgaming (www.microgaming.com)
Since the company developed the first true online Casino software over a decade ago, it has led the industry in providing innovative, reliable gaming solutions. Thanks to an unrivalled R&D programme, that averages 60 games per year and a unique ‘partnership’ approach to working with operators; Microgaming software powers over 160 market-leading online gaming sites.
The company’s front and back-end software supports multi-player, multi-language games - over 500 of them, all uniquely branded and provides platforms for land-based and wireless gaming. Microgaming powers the world’s largest Progressive Jackpot Network and has paid out over €265million. In May 2009 it created the biggest ever online jackpot winner with a single payment win of €6.37m.

As a founding member of eCOGRA, Microgaming is at the forefront of an initiative focused on setting the highest standards in the gaming industry, and leads in the areas of fair gaming, responsible operator conduct and player protection. Microgaming has been awarded eCOGRA’s Certified Software Seal following a rigorous onsite assessment to ensure that the development, implementation and maintenance of the software is representative of industry best practice standards Microgaming licensees are therefore eligible to apply for the eCOGRA Safe & Fair Seal.

About Warner Bros. Digital Distribution
Warner Bros. Digital Distribution (WBDD) manages Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group's (WBHEG) electronic distribution over existing, new and emerging digital platforms, including pay-per-view, electronic sell-through, video-on-demand, wireless and more. WBDD also oversees the WBHEG's worldwide digital strategy, partnerships in digital services and emerging new clients and business activities in the digital space.

 

News

2009

With Time Warner sitting on $7 billion in cash, the Marvel deal has ignited rumours of a second wave of consolidation in the media industry. Dream Works Animation, home of Shrek, is seen as a potential takeover candidate, as is MGM with its huge library of classic films. The games firms Electronic Arts and Take Two Interactive, with its Grand Theft Auto franchise, are also being touted as potential buys.


Profile

Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. (also known as Warner Bros. Pictures, or simply Warner Bros.) is one of the world's largest producers of film and television entertainment.

It is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank, California and New York City. Warner Bros. has several subsidiary companies, including Warner Bros. Studios, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Home Video, TheWB.com and DC Comics. Warner owns half of The CW Television Network.


Founded in 1918 by Jewish immigrants from Poland, Warner Bros. is the third-oldest American movie studio in continuous operation, after Paramount Pictures, founded in 1912 as Famous Players, and Universal Studios, also founded in 1912.