When Washington state lawmakers approved sports betting for the state's gaming tribes, it excluded commercial operators like card rooms and racetracks. A new bill co-sponsored by state Senator Marko Liias (l.) would remedy that, but the tribes are mounting an opposition, claiming the bill would hinder their recovery from the pandemic. The story concludes with Part 2.
Washington Card Rooms Fight for A Piece of Sports Betting Pie
Last year, Washington State lawmakers approved sports betting for the state's gaming tribes, excluding commercial operators like Maverick CEO Eric Persson (l.). Now support is growing for a bill that would permit the wagers inside card rooms and racetracks, in addition to the tribal casinos. In Part 1 (Part 2 will follow on Friday), Persson is getting his ducks in a row.
Political Malpractice and the Nevada Regulatory Experience
The mix of politics and regulatory bodies is inevitable, but when politics overtakes regulation, things can get messy. Former regulator Richard Schuetz believes that’s just what happened in Nevada in the past few years.
Increasing Blackjack Revenue Through Blackjack Side Bets – Part 1
In his debut with GGB News, table game expert Bill Zender (l.) investigates why blackjack side bets are a profitable and customer-friendly option for casino operators. This is the first in a series that will provide table-game operators with methods to increases profits and build player loyalty.
New Live! Casino Opens in Philly
Cordish Companies is unveiling its Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia in a series of reservation-only Preview Days ahead of the grand opening February 11. Live! is the city’s second casino.
Featured Stories More
WEEKLY FEATURE: U.S. Appeals Court Upholds Legality of iGaming
A three-judge panel scrapped a 2018 bid by the Trump administration to reinterpret the Wire Act to prohibit internet gaming, including state lotteries. Their decision reaffirms that the act applies only to sports betting, and the new Justice Department officials in the Biden administration are unlikely to appeal.
Michigan and Virginia Launch Sports Betting
Last week, Michigan and Virginia launched sport betting, just in time for the NFL Super Bowl. In addition, Michigan’s 10 casinos and their partners also debuted online casinos in the state. The Michigan Gaming Control Board said additional approvals were expected in the near future. In Virginia, FanDuel got a head start because of its relationship with the Washington Football Team.
Macau: A Plodding Start to Year of the Ox?
Macau’s casinos are hoping for major upside from China’s biggest travel season. But pandemic concerns have authorities on both sides of the border urging people to stay home.
MGM Opts Out of Entain Bidding
MGM Resorts made an $11 billion play to acquire U.K.-based online gaming firm Entain, but the play fell short. Rather than up the offer, MGM folded. Meanwhile, Entain has named Jette Nygaard-Andersen (l.) to replace former CEO Shay Segev.
Sports Betting In Florida a Long Shot
A new year means a new attempt at legalizing sports betting in Florida. Such attempts usually fail unless the Seminole Tribe gives its permission. If not and the legislature approves the necessary laws, the tribe will litigate.
Star to Break Ground on Gold Coast Tower
Within weeks, Australia’s Star Entertainment Group will break ground on a second hotel and apartment tower at the Star Gold Coast. The project represents an AU$400 million (US$310 million) investment.
Thailand Considers Legal Gaming
Thailand is yet another nongaming jurisdiction that could take the plunge due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The country has long been considered a potentially rich market for gaming now that Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha (l.) says he would consider it.
Synergy Blue’s Washington to Step Down
Skill-based game supplier Synergy Blue founder and CEO Georg Washington is resigning from his post, and will be leaving the company in early 2021.
New Jersey University to Launch Gaming Journal
A new industry journal from New Jersey’s Stockton University will interest academics researching the field and industry officials seeking practical solutions, such as post-pandemic recovery, says Jane Bokunewicz (l.), of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism.
FANTINI’S FINANCE: Sky High Expectations
The axiom coined by late Barron’s columnist Alan Abelson holds true today. In a turbulent market, it’s up to investors to decide which stocks deserve to fly high, and which could take a precipitous fall.
GLOBAL GAMING BUSINESS PODCAST: Brooke Fiumara, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, OPTX
This week, the GGB Podcast features a discussion with Brooke Fiumara, the co-founder and chief operating officer of OPTX, on how her company is streamlining the use and effectiveness of casino data.
EUROPEAN GAMING More
U.K. Refuses Review of Gambling Levy
The U.K. horseracing industry expects to lose a lot this year due to Covid-19, yet the government has rejected a request to review the 10 percent levy on bookmakers. Upping races at Royal Ascot should help the situation.
Finnish Firm Takes Steps to Reduce Gaming Losses
Veikkaus, the Finnish gambling company, now requires customers to verify their identity before they can play slots. The extra steps expect to result in a decline in how much money they lose. A pilot program in October proved successful enough for a rollout.
Holland Casinos to Reopen in February
The government of the Netherlands has extended the national Covid-19 lockdown by three weeks, meaning 14 of Holland Casino’s gaming halls must remain closed until February 9 at the earliest.
Century’s Poland Casinos Closed Through January
Colorado-based Century Casinos disclosed on January 15 that its eight gaming properties in Poland will remain closed at least through January to comply with Covid-19 quarantines.
Hard Rock Takes Steps to Open London Casino
Hard Rock International, owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, has acquired a casino premise license in the U.K. from the Ritz Club. This will allow it to build and operate a casino in London.
Genting to Close English Casino
Genting UK has announced that its Genting Casino Southport in the English northwest will close for good. The closure was forced by the loss of business caused by Covid-19 closures.
GLOBAL GAMING More
Brazil Sports Betting Law Could Be In Place by Summer
Brazil sports betting laws could be passed by summer. This will allow the South American country to begin offering sports betting by 2022, says Economic Minister Waldir Eustáquio Marques Jr. (l).
Chilean Casinos Down 43.6 Percent
Chile’s Superintendency of Gambling Casinos says the country’s 11 casinos contributed around $1.8 million to the state in taxes on reopening, with revenues down 43.6 percent.
Colombian Casinos Under Strict Lockdown
The government of Colombia has instituted strict lockdown protocols due to a rise Covid-19 infections. The restrictions will keep the land-based gaming industry on pause for the foreseeable future.
ONLINE GAMING More
Cuomo Includes Mobile Betting in Budget Address
It’s official: New York is entering the mobile sports-betting fray. Will the framework be market-friendly or government-friendly? Governor Andrew Cuomo (l.) is pushing for the latter.
Indiana’s Ford Adds Poker to iGaming Measure
Indiana state Senator Jon Ford’s (l.) proposed gaming legislation now includes online poker as well as online casinos. Ford originally thought poker would hurt the bill’s chances, but was persuaded otherwise.
Mississippi Tries Again With Online Sports Betting
It’s a long shot, but online and mobile sports betting could be available in Mississippi this year under a measure proposed by state Senator Scott DeLano (l.). The bill doesn’t specify the number or cost of licenses or the tax rate on revenue.
Delaware Doubles iGaming Revenue
Owing largely to the industry shutdowns due to the Covid-19 virus, iGaming revenue in Delaware more than doubled year-on-year in 2020, to $8.4 million.
Canadian Lottery Group Expands Online Gaming
Residents of two Canadian Atlantic provinces could soon begin betting at online casinos offered by Atlantic Lottery Corp. It announced it will be expanding online gaming to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.
SPORTS BETTING More
Key Players in Place for Connecticut Sports Betting Bill
The call by Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont (l.) for sports betting in the state may mean the political stars are finally in alignment for a bill. The governor’s support is seen as crucial by many.
Arizona Governor Calls for Sports Betting
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (l.) has called for legalizing sports betting in the state plus daily fantasy sports, keno and mobile sportsbooks. This would also require approving new tribal gaming compacts.
Oregon Governor Proposes Mobile Sportsbook Expansion
Oregon Governor Kate Brown (l.) supports giving control of sports betting to the Oregon Racing Commission and giving it leeway to license new providers.
Lawmaker to Refile Bay State Sports Betting Bill
Massachusetts’s political landscape appears to be open to legal sports betting. So says Senator Brendan Crighton (l.), who’s preparing to file another bill, as he’s done for the past two years.
Stephens Sponsors Georgia Sports Betting Bill
Georgia state Rep. Ron Stephens (l.) has filed a bill that would legalize online and mobile sports betting. Proponents say Georgians already spend $1.5 billion per year on illegal sports betting.
NJ Books Discourage Withdrawals, Face Fines
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has threatened to fine sportsbooks that ask players to cancel cash withdrawals and stop dragging their feet to fulfill withdrawal requests. DGE Director David Rebuck (l.) said customers have the right to speedy access.
Minnesota Lawmakers Introduce Sports Betting Bills
Minnesota state Senator Karla Bigham (l.) will sponsor a bill to bring sports betting to the state’s tribal casinos and two racinos, and state Rep. Pat Garofalo will reintroduce the sports wagering bill he sponsored last year.
Freehold Raceway to Go Mobile with PlayUp
Freehold Raceway, the last of New Jersey's racetracks to offer sports betting, has partnered with PlayUp to offer mobile wagering. The bets went live on January 12.
Mark Davis Buys Las Vegas Aces
Mark Davis (l.), owner of the Las Vegas Raiders football team, is now the owner of the Las Vegas Aces women’s basketball team. He bought the team from MGM Resorts International earlier this month.
WynnBet Now in Eight States
WynnBet will soon offer sports betting in Iowa. This will be the company’s third sportsbook jurisdiction since Wynn Interactive acquired the U.K. based BetBull. It expects to be active in half of the U.S. markets soon.
PA Betting, BoscaSports Sign Content Deal
PA Betting Services and BoscaSports have completed a global digital sports content deal that will provide retail bookmakers with a range or real-time sports betting updates.
Mississippi Sportsbook Going Strong
Since the Sportsbook at Pearl River Resort reopened last August, more than 2 million bets have been placed. The venue owned by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians will introduce changes to its mobile app next month.
Star QB Favre Signs On as TwinSpires Spokesman
Super Bowl champ and NFL Hall-of-Famer Brett Favre (l.) has teamed up with Churchill Downs to become the brand ambassador for its TwinSpires iGaming brand.
Puerto Rico Eyes Sports Betting by April
Gaming regulators in Puerto Rico have indicated a plan to launch sports betting in the U.S. territory by April, following a few final steps to prepare the market.
UNITED STATES GAMING More
Gilbert Sells Interest in Jack Entertainment
Dan Gilbert (l.), founder and chairman of Rock Ventures, has sold his remaining interest in Jack Entertainment, the business he founded which owns casinos in Cleveland and Maryland.
Chicago Considers Casino Locations
Among the sites mentioned for a Chicago casino are the Lakeside Center at McCormick Place, the Chicago Tribune’s Freedom Center, the Palmer House, the Navy Pier and Thompson Center.
PA, NJ Gaming Revenues Down
Gaming revenues were down in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In New Jersey, however, gaming tax revenues were saved by online gaming revenues.
Bally’s Completes Eldorado Shreveport Acquisition
Bally’s Corp. announced that it has completed the previously announced acquisition of Eldorado Resort Casino Shreveport (l.), on the Red River in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Trump Plaza Implosion Auction Canceled
An auction for the right to implode the former Trump Plaza in Atlantic City is off. Owner Carl Icahn disapproved of the plan. But the billionaire has agreed to donate the top bid of $175,000 to a local charity
Nebraska Lawmaker Flips On Gaming
Nebraska state Senator Tom Briese (l.), once opposes to expanded gaming, has introduced three bills to regulate racinos, which voters approved in November.
Former Casino Exec Sues Indiana Gaming Commission
Rod Ratcliff (l.), former CEO at Spectacle Entertainment, is suing the Indiana Gaming Commission, claiming it’s trying to force him to forego his stake in two casinos.
MGM Grand Detroit Poker Room Reopens
The poker room at MGM Grand Detroit (l.) reopened January 22 after being closed since March 2020. New health and safety restrictions are in place. Greektown is expected to open in the next few weeks.
Massachusetts Casino Revenues Plummeted in December
The Bay State’s three casinos, the Encore Boston Harbor (l.), MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park slots parlor took a combined 40 percent hit in revenues in December. Combined revenues came to $49.8 million.
Judge Supports Flynt’s Lawsuit Vs. California
A judge agrees with porn publisher and California casino owner Larry Flynt (l.) that a law preventing him from owning casinos in more than one state is “archaic.” He declined to dismiss Flynt’s lawsuit against the state.
Good Economic Forecast Could Kill Texas Casinos
Good economic news for Texas means that legislators won’t be scrambling to find new sources of revenue to make ends meet. That could spell doom to efforts to bring five casinos to the Lone Star State.
Covid Wasn’t Kind to New York Casinos
New York State’s four commercial casinos including Rivers Schenectady (l.) saw gaming revenues fall nearly 60 percent last year. Nine racinos took it on the chin as well. Their take was down 62 percent.
Sisolak Envisions a New, Different Nevada
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak (l.) wants to wean the state off its dependence on gaming-related tourism. The job market must be retooled, he says, and new tech and clean energy are the way forward.
New Mexico Bill Would Convert Racinos to Casinos
Two New Mexico lawmakers have introduced legislation to let the state’s five racinos to add table games and sports betting. That would turn them into casinos regulated by the New Mexico Lottery Authority.
Wyoming Nears Legalizing Gaming
A bill to legalize skill games at bars and restaurants has advanced in the Wyoming Senate’s Committee on Travel, Recreation, Wildlife & Cultural Resources. It would be regulated by the Wyoming Gaming Commission.
SPAC Could Launch Fertitta onto NYSE
Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta (l.) reportedly wants to use a special acquisition company to get onto the New York Stock Exchange with his Golden Nugget and Landry’s companies.
Montana Governor Lifts Closing, Capacity Limits
Montana Governor Greg Gianforte (l.) has removed Covid-19 health restrictions, freeing casinos, restaurants and bars to resume normal hours and capacities. Gianforte said he replaced mandates with “personal responsibility.”
TRIBAL GAMING More
Eastern Band Tribal Council Rejects Protest
The tribal council of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians rejected attorney Robert Saunooke’s format protest against the council’s proposal to purchase Caesars Southern Indiana casino for $250 million.
Nebraska Track, Tribes Await State Gaming Commission
Fonner Park in Grand Island, Nebraska is reviewing several operators to run its future casino, including Ho-Chunk Inc. whose WarHorse Gaming subsidiary will develop casinos in Lincoln, Omaha and South Sioux City.
Clarion Gaming Changes Management Team
Clarion Gaming, the producer of the ICE trade shows and conferences, has appointed senior management. Alex Pratt is now group managing director, and Stuart Hunter (l.) has been named managing director. Former MD Kate Chambers has left the company.
Paragon Appoints Ford VP of Hospitality
Paragon Casino Resort has named longtime executive Emma Ford as vice president of hospitality, responsible for management and operation of the hotel and RV park.
Elaine Hodgson Named AGEM Board VP
Incredible Technologies’ President & CEO Elaine Hodgson (l.) has been named vice president of the 2021 Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers’ board of directors.
Circus Circus Promotes Executives
Circus Circus Las Vegas has announced the promotions of executives Stuart Richey (l.) to executive vice president and general manager and Shana Gerety as senior vice president of operation.
Exacta Names O'Hanley Executive VP of Sales
Exacta Systems has appointed Ross O'Hanley as executive vice president of sales. O’Hanley will be responsible for leading Exacta's sales organization and working to enhance customer and B2B relationships.
Volberg Added to Lancet Gambling Commission
A key researcher into the effects of casinos on life and society in Massachusetts, Rachel Volberg has joined the Lancet Public Health Commission on Gambling. She will serve an 18-month term.
Trump Commutes Sentence of Vegas Gambler Billy Walters
On his final day in office, former President Donald Trump commuted the prison sentence of a Las Vegas gambler convicted of insider trading. In a statement, Billy Walters blamed his travails on prosecutorial misconduct.
Jockey Club Appoints Three
The venerable Jockey Club in London has appointed two people to key roles within the organization and elevated a third. Among them, former Disney exec Charlie Boss has been named chief commercial officer.
MGC Appoints Enforcement Director
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has appointed Loretta Lillios as director of its Investigations and Enforcement Bureau. Lillios has been with the commission since 2014.
GOODS & SERVICES More
PGA Tour Kicks Off ‘Know When to Lay Up’ Campaign
The PGA Tour has joined the American Gaming Association to support safe, responsible betting with a new campaign called “Know When to Lay Up.”
Allied Esports Sells WPT to Element Partners
China and Minnesota-owned Allied Esports Entertainment Inc. plans to sell the World Poker Tour (WPT) to Element Partners, LLC for $78.25 million. The sale includes all poker-related business and assets.
Passport Technology, Automated Systems Merge to Form Gaming Payments Firm
Passport Technology Inc. and Automated Systems America Inc. are joining forces in what they call an “all-stock merger of equals.” Both provide payment technologies to the gaming industry in the U.S. and globally
Cher-Ae Heights Live with Konami Synkros
California’s Cher-Ae Heights Casino has launched the Synkros casino management system from Konami, featuring floor-wide bonusing events, personalized rewards and other marketing solutions.
OPAP Extends Intralot Contract
Greek gaming operator OPAP has extended its contract with Intralot involving numerical lotteries and services through its LotosX lottery solution.
SuzoHapp Splits Cash-Handling, Gaming
SuzoHapp Group is splitting it cash-handling product business from its core business of gaming, amusement and sports betting technology, dubbing its new cash handling business PayComplete.
Zitro Debuts Games in Florida
Zitro has debuted its new Allure range of games in the United States at the Casino at Dania Beach (l.) in Florida, with games including the “Bonus Link” system.
GeoComply Funds RG Nonprofit
Geolocation technology provider GeoComply has donated $200,000 to the nonprofit group Conscious Gaming to help fund responsible gaming efforts in the United States. GeoComply Chairwoman and Co-founder Anna Sainsbury (l.) says it helps to fulfill the company’s obligation to RG.
Caliente Upgrades Contract with Betgenius
Mexico’s largest gaming group, Grupo Caliente, has upgraded its contract with Genius Sports. Together they will offer sports betting and a live official sports data and video feeds to allow expansion into South America.
MoneyMatrix Partners with PayPal
MoneyMatrix is partnering with payment solution provider PayPal to offer PayPal deposits and withdrawals in 14 European Union countries and in the U.K.
TRADE SHOWS & CONFERENCES More
G2E Asia Moves To August
G2E Asia will take place live August 17-19, 2021 at the Venetian Macao, with a complete education program and trade show floor showcasing products for the Asian gaming market. The show was originally scheduled for May.
NEWS & NOTES
Small Nuggets of News
THEY SAID IT More
Outrageous pronouncements, simple statements and words of wisdom.