In 2018, New Jersey Senator Ray Lesniak won his battle to bring legal sports bets to his own state and open the door for sports betting across the U.S. GGB News asked Lesniak about getting back, growing the industry, and how so many states missed the boat when it comes to sports bets.
Everything is a calculation in business, but reopening after the Covid-19 shutdowns has a risk assessment that includes deaths and infections. How much is too much? Gaming expert Richard Schuetz (l.) really hopes the rewards are greater than the risks.
After several days of qualifying runs, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy agreed to let horse tracks start racing again, provided a slew of protocols are followed. The Meadowlands (l.) got the first call, opening June 5. Monmouth Park and Freehold will follow.
The economic and health crises caused by Covid-19 will have a long-lasting negative impact on existing gaming markets. How about markets in the pipeline? GGB News asked Global Market Advisors’ Brendan Bussmann how the historic double-whammy will affect Japan and other jurisdictions.
Throughout fabulous Las Vegas, the largest gaming market in the U.S., casino doors are opening again. It’s not the Strip it was. It won’t be, either, not for a while. Analysts say a full recovery is at least a couple years out. But it’s a start. Above, blackjack tables at Bellagio are limited to three players, with Plexiglas separating the player and the masked dealers.
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Trying to broker a peace between California card rooms and gaming tribes, state Senator Bill Dodd is pushing a bill that would legalize sports betting in the state but also sanction house-banked games at card rooms, which tribes have been fighting for years. James Siva (l.), chairman of California Nations Indian Gaming Association, says the bill is designed to legalize table games in card rooms that the tribes say are illegal.
Casinos across the U.S., including Foxwoods (l.) and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, continue to resume operations based on the schedules and safety parameters handed down by their state governments. Here is a sampling of properties that put out the welcome mat last week or will do so soon.
Across Europe, casinos and betting shops have begun the long trek back to renewed operations and financial viability. Some opened in late May; others will not welcome patrons until July. Spain’s comeback date is yet to be determined. In France, only casinos in the “green zone” outside Paris may reopen, which includes Casino Barriere Trouville (l.).
In good news for Macau, the mainland Chinese city of Chongqing is issuing individual travel visas again. But there’s still no word on when the system will extend to the rest of China. In the meantime, Hong Kong is still under quarantine.
Louisiana House lawmakers approved a bill authorizing the language of a sports betting measure that may appear on the November ballot in each parish. Governor John Bel Edwards (l.) still must approve the measure before it can be placed on the ballot. Also, the Senate approved a bill that would establish regulations for daily fantasy sports.
In a closed-door executive session, Louisiana state Senator Karen Carter Peterson forced the resignation of Gambling Board Chairman Ronnie Jones (l.), appointed in 2013. No reason was given for Jones' ouster. Peterson also blocked the appointment of New Orleans Convention Center Board President Walt Leger III.
Thanks to the expansion of legal sports betting, commercial casinos in the United States won $43.6 billion from gamblers in 2019, up 3.7 percent from the year before. The American Gaming Association’s Bill Miller (l.) says commercial revenues have tracked steadily upward for five straight years.
Hong Kong businesswoman Pansy Ho (l.), co-chair of MGM China and a major shareholder, has named herself managing director, signaling her intention to assert direct control over operations with a major reshuffling of executives at the top.
This week, the GGB Podcast sits down with Scott Fisher and Suzanne Leckert, partners in the Convergence Strategies consulting group, on how they helped Danville, Virginia through an RFP process which resulted in the city choosing Caesars Entertainment as the exclusive developer of a casino in the town.
Officials with Resorts World Sentosa (l.) are working closely with Singapore government officials on a plan to safely reopen. Last month, Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry cleared a number of businesses to reopen starting June 2, but Sentosa and its market rival, Marina Bay Sands, were not on the list.
Last Monday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gave the OK for many businesses to reopen throughout the country, but there’s no word yet on when casinos, including Melco’s City of Dreams Manila (l.), may join the group.
Kangwon Land, the only South Korean casino that lets locals gamble, has tabled plans to reopen its main gaming floor following a sudden increase in Covid-19 cases in the country.
Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group has announced plans to significantly increase its share in Philippine subsidiary SunTrust from 51 percent to almost 75 percent. Suncity plans a bond issue to fund the acquisition.
South Korean casino operator Paradise Co. Ltd. saw its May casino numbers plummet 51.2 percent year-on-year. But month on month, Paradise saw an improvement. It runs four foreigners-only casinos including Walkerhill (l.) in Seoul.
Gaming company Century Entertainment has ended its licensing agreement with Crown Resorts to run a VIP room at the Genting Crown Casino (l.) in Poipet, Cambodia.
The Macau gaming giant is selling US$1.5 billion of fresh debt to help carry it through the pandemic. The company generated only $9 million in casino revenue in April, a 99 percent decline from last year, and by its own estimation is bleeding $200 million a month to stay afloat.
Gaming1’s plan to take control of French casino group Société Française de Casinos has “lapsed,” the company announced. The Belgian group blamed the impact of the coronavirus, which has decimated financial markets around the world.
The U.K. Gambling Commission released data that indicated the decrease in maximum stakes on fixed odds betting terminals had a deleterious effect on overall performance.
The state of Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany has passed legislation to privatize land-based casinos in Aachen (l.), Bad Oeynhausen, Dortmund and elsewhere. The plan, which originated in 2018, would require a sell-off of shares held by state-owned banking group NRW.
In the first quarter, Bolsa Madrid gaming group Codere SA saw group-wide losses of €97 million due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The company is now in survival mode, and on the hunt for funding to keep it going.
Lithuanian casinos, both online and land-based, are vulnerable to money laundering, according to a risk assessment conducted by the government. , On a scale of one to four, the industry got a four—for the highest risk. Many of the casinos are located in the capital city of Vilnius (l.)
The Racing Post has resumed its print edition as horse racing returns in the U.K. after a hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Bangladesh Bank has filed suit against Bloomberry Resorts Corp., operator of Solaire Resort & Casino in Manila. The case concerns a notorious 2016 cyber-theft that led to losses of $81 million for the bank. It only recouped about one-fourth of the amount stolen by North Korean hackers.
SkyCity Entertainment of New Zealand, which reopened its gaming operations in Auckland and Hamilton in mid-May, says customers are flocking to return, within the limits of Covid-19-related safeguards.
Last Monday, Star Entertainment Group welcomed back a select number of invited guests to its Star casino resort (l.) in Sydney, Australia. The main gaming floor of the property in New South Wales remained closed to the public.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has approved Playtech to provide online casino content to the state’s iGaming market.
Cordish Companies has selected GAN Ltd. as its platform partner for internet gaming in Pennsylvania, providing its solution to power the PlayLive! iGaming site.
Prairie Meadows Casino Racetrack & Hotel has upped its game with the introduction of a mobile app. Developed by TPI, a local director marketing firm, the app offers patrons a host of uses from reward point balances to promotions, to reservations for hotel rooms, dining and events.
Sportsbook operator DraftKings will soon offer live-streaming of sporting events on its mobile app, in partnership with Sportradar.
The Ohio House has finally approved a sports betting bill, which now heads to the Senate, which earlier passed its own bill. The bills are similar, the difference revolves around the choice of regulatory agency. The House favors the lottery as overseer, while the Senate wants the Casino Control Commission.
Despite inquiries, the Tennessee Education Lottery has not received a single application for a sports betting operator’s license. The lottery would oversee sports betting should it come to the Volunteer State.
Issues have plagued sports betting in Washington, D.C. from the get-go, with a lawsuit over a no-bid contract to the operator, Intralot. Now that the system is live, problems continue—from less than optimal odds to geolocation glitches that prevent some from placing bets.
This one is from the what-else-is-new category: a survey of sports fans conducted for U.K. sportsbook Ladbrokes indicates pent-up demand for the return of sporting events.
A lawsuit challenging the legality of Rhode Island sports betting legislation has been batted down by a Superior Court judge. The suit, brought by Daniel Harrop (l.) of Providence, said enactment of sports betting violated the state constitution requirement for a voter referendum.
Australian sportsbook Betfair won’t accept bets on Japanese horse racing due to a dispute over the integrity of options.
The English Premier League is ready to begin the rest of their season on June 17. The first two matches pit Aston Villa against Sheffield United and Manchester City versus Arsenal. Games will be played without spectators, but televised. Players and staff will follow strict protocols.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is inching closer to green light for Atlantic City casinos to reopen. He said he’d like to see the gaming halls ready to roll by July 4 if talks with casinos convince him the industry is prepared. But a week later, Murphy extended the lockdown until July 7, with no mention of casinos.
The Maryland Jockey Club approved the resumption of live racing—without spectators, due to the coronavirus—with a meet that began May 30 at Laurel Park (l.).
Fan-free horse racing began June 6 at tracks in Illinois, thanks to protocols that lessen likelihood of Covid-19 flare-up. Hawthorne Race Course (l.) re-opens on June 6, with racing two nights a week. The track estimates that no more than 25 additional personnel will be on hand to run live racing.
For more than a decade the building has stood unfinished at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip, 67 stories of blue glass gleaming in the desert sun, a towering monument to the gambler’s worst enemy𑁋bad luck. And the Drew (ne’ Fontainebleau at left) may have reached the end of the road.
The group Arkansas Wins 2020 has begun a petition to allow a total of 16 casinos in the state, including three that are already operational: Southland (l.), Oaklawn and Cherokee. More than 89,000 signatures would have to be gathered by July 3.
A federal appeals judge has ruled that the Pennsylvania gaming law that prohibits casino licensees from making political contributions is unconstitutional. The case was brought by shareholders in Sands Pennsylvania Inc. and Maggie Hardy Magerko (l.), owner of a group that leases land to Lady Luck Casino.
Times being what they are, operators on the Las Vegas Strip are having to take a hard look at their value proposition. First to go was paid parking. Resort fees could be next, as the Sahara (l.) has temporarily suspended them.
In Oklahoma, the Comanche and Otoe-Missouria tribes are defending their actions in signing a new gambling compact with Governor Kevin Stitt—a move widely criticized by other tribes. The dissenting tribes have urged in U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt (l.) to approve the compacts.
Norfolk, Virginia officially named the Pamunkey Tribe its operator for a $500 million commercial—not tribal—casino. Local voters will approve or reject the projects in November.
The Gun Lake Tribe of Wayland, Michigan has shared more than $7.9 million in gaming revenue payments with state and local governments. Tribal Chairman Bob Peters (l.) called it “the most important … distribution we have ever made,” coming in the middle of the pandemic.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) last week rejected the application by the Coquille Indian Tribe of Oregon to put land into trust that is located 170 miles from its reservation. The distance and jurisdictional problems were among the top reasons given by the BIA.
The U.S. Treasury extended the deadline to May 29 to tribes for uploading data to the Treasury website to apply for the $3.2 billion that remains of CARES Act that has been earmarked for tribes. It is already six weeks late in being paid out.
The National Council on Problem Gaming has named three new members to its advisory board. Valerie Spicer (l.) has served in various capacities in tribal gaming. Christopher Hebert worked in the attorney general’s office in Louisiana. George Sweny spent years with the Canadian lottery system.
Departing Donaco International CEO Paul Arbuckle (l.) will stay on with the company while it searches for a new chief executive. Arbuckle was due to leave for good on June 4.
TransAct’s Epicentral Clean2Play provides printed proof that a slot machine has been cleaned and sanitized to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Dynam Japan Holdings is targeting Singapore for approval of a suite of video slot machines, including a pachinko-style game the supplier already has launched in Macau.
Cirrus Logic is launching new low-power sensor chips that improve tactile feedback in a variety of devices, including those used for gaming applications.
Gary Platt Manufacturing has donated hundreds of masks to the Navajo Nation in response to a call from the group Seeding Sovereignty for equipment to fight the spread of Covid-19.
Everi Holdings reported a net loss of $13.5 million for the first quarter of 2020, due to the March closure of casinos due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but executives say liquidity has been preserved.
SBC Events has announced that its flagship industry summit, originally to be held live in Barcelona, will be presented as a digital-only event for 2020. The SBC Summit Barcelona—Digital will be held September 8-11.
A Florida con man successfully swindled the Mill Casino in North Bend, Oregon by claiming to be a booking agent for ’70s disco group the Village People (l.). Casino management got wind of the fraud when it saw that the real group was playing elsewhere on the scheduled dates.
A U.K. online gaming site was shut down because it did not follow responsible gambling measures with a customer who committed suicide. PT Entertainment Services did not confirm the customer’s occupation or income, and offered him VIP perks after he had lost more than £30,000. UK Gambling Commission head Neil McArthur (l.) says an investigation is continuing.
Small Nuggets of News
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