2022: The Year Ahead in Gaming

Last year turned out to be a record-breaker for gaming revenues, despite the lingering effects of Covid-19. In Part 2 of this new-year look back/look ahead, we ask the experts what’s in the cards for 2022.

2021: The Gaming Year in Review

The Covid-19 pandemic is not yet vanquished, but in 2021, reopened casinos managed the exposure, leading to record revenues. Results for mobile and online gaming also came to the rescue. In Part 1 of a two-part series, we examine how the industry navigated one of its greatest crises.

North Dakota Sports Betting Bill Will Return

A sports betting bill introduced by North Dakota Rep. Jim Kasper (l.) failed last year in the legislature. But with sports books now coming to the state’s tribal casinos, and other opponents are pointing out with a lack of regulatory oversight, legalization of sports betting would be foolhardy.

New York Goes Live with Mobile Sports Bets

At long last, New York sports fans can place mobile bets on their favorite teams. Starting Saturday morning, four mobile sportsbooks opened for wagers: Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, Rush Street Interactive and FanDuel.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Covid Variant Hammers Casinos

With the global surge in Covid-19 infections, with the latest Omicron variant, casinos in a number of jurisdictions have taken steps to curb the spread and protect patrons and staff. Precautions include the return of masking, reduced capacities and in some cases, temporary closures.

U.S. Casinos Post Record-Breaking Numbers

In November, Nevada casinos set a new record, racking up $1 billion-plus for the ninth consecutive month. In 2021, Atlantic City posted almost $4 billion. U.S. casinos overall broke revenue records for 2021, with the final tallies still to come.

Junkets Down, Not Necessarily Out

In December, Macau-based junket operator Suncity officially closed, the latest chapter in a VIP sector that has been declining for years but spurred by the arrest of former Suncity CEO Alvin Chau (l.). But the industry could survive in a different form under strict rules, experts say.

Brazilian President Mulls Fate of Gambling

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (l.) doesn’t like gambling, and neither do the country’s evangelicals. But Congress is likely to legalize it, after which Bolsonaro will veto the law, and Congress will override the veto.

ICE Sets New April Dates

ICE London, the largest game trade show in the world, announced that the event will be held April 12-14 at the ExCel Centre in London, and the iGB Affiliate London will span April 13-14. Stuart Hunter (l.), managing director of Clarion Gaming, said efforts were made to minimize disruption at the NIGA trade show scheduled for April 19-22 in Anaheim, California.


Vietnam to Strengthen EGM Regulations

The Vietnamese government has introduced new regulations for the country’s electronic gaming machine industry, including rules for side-betting, illegal iGaming and foreigners playing in local casinos, like the Corona Resort Casino (l.) in Phu Quoc.

Osaka IR Would Open in 2029

According to a plan released by Osaka last month, its proposed integrated resort would break ground in 2023 and open in 2029. Osaka’s partners in the IR are MGM Resorts International and Orix Corp.


Crown Fined $1 Million for Junket Breach

Australia’s Crown Resorts has been fined $1 million by the Victorian gaming regulator for failing to comply with the rules for junket operations. Crown defied an order to sever ties with one agent deemed as unsuitable.

CDC Advises Against Cruise Travel

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised travelers to refrain from going on cruises, regardless of their vaccination status. Cruise ships in U.S. waters reported 5,000 Covid cases in late December.

A Reprieve for Saipan Casino Licensee?

The head of Saipan’s casino regulatory body says revoking an exclusive gaming license held by Imperial Pacific International would be unconstitutional. The failed, bankrupt operation closed in March 2020.

Finland Adopts Gaming Reforms

Finland’s newly proposed Lottery Act will, if adopted into law, help shore up the existing Veikkaus state monopoly. It will also put a heavy regulatory hand on discouraging offshore gaming operators.

Sweden Criticized on Deposit Limit Change

Sweden plans to lower the weekly deposit limit per week for online casino accounts from SEK 5,000 ($548.76) to SEK 4,000. This will prompt players to create multiple accounts, say critics of the new policy.


Vita Media Acquires Greenplay

Vita Media Group has acquired Danish online gaming operator Greenplay, a subsidiary of Spanish casino group Codere’s iGaming division. The acquisition will help Vita strengthen its presence in Europe and LatAm.


Mississippi Lawmaker Sponsors Mobile Sports Wagering Bill

For the fourth time, Mississippi state lawmaker Cedrick Burnett (l.) has proposed mobile sports betting legislation. Currently, sports wagers only may be placed at casinos, but Louisiana’s imminent online launch may make the difference.

Arkansas Regulators Approve Mobile Sports Wagers

Arkansas casinos and licensed betting platforms would be able to offer mobile sports betting under changes made by the state Racing Commission. State legislators must now approve the changes. Oaklawn Racing and Casino Resort General Manager Wayne Smith (l.) opposes mobile sports bets.

Washington Casino Celebrates Sportsbook Opening

Washington’s Emerald Queen Casino (l.) has opened its BetMGM Sportsbook. The casino and sportsbook is owned by the Puyallup tribe which intends to make it a “premier destination for sports betting.”

Sports Betting Not a Priority for Texas Legislators

Texas legislators were unmoved last year by a relentless and expensive campaign by gaming interests to persuade them to legalize sports betting. Famous bettor Mattress Mack (l.) predicts it could take a decade to get things to change.

Betby Chooses Oddin.gg as Esports Betting Provider

Oddin.gg, a leading esports betting solutions provider, has secured a new B2B deal with sportsbook platform provider Betby. Betby will integrate Oddin.gg’s esports odds feed and make it available to all its global clients.


Louisiana Riverboat Casino Moving Ashore

Boyd Gaming will replace its Treasure Chest riverboat casino in Kenner, Louisiana with a land-based facility, opening in late 2023. The venue will offer a 47,000-square-foot casino, sportsbook, meeting space and dining.

Iowa Casinos Divided Over iGaming Expansion

Online sports betting is legal in Iowa but operators of the state’s 19 casinos are divided over expanding online gambling to include slots and poker. The legislature may require a multi-year study on the issue.Operators of Iowa’s 19 licensed casinos are divided over expanding online gambling beyond sports betting to include slots and poker. Some operators see the online gaming expansion as a way to attract younger casino patrons. Those against it said additional mobile gaming will cannibalize brick-and-mortar operations. Iowa Racing and Gaming Administrator Brian Ohorilko said, “The casino industry is pretty divided. It is 100 percent up to...

Alabama Considers Lottery and Casino Gambling

Alabama state Senator Greg Albritton (l.) will introduce a bill to legalize a lottery and casinos in the upcoming session. The measure would let the Poarch Band of Creek Indians negotiate a compact and offer Class III games.

Iowa Lawmaker Proposes Casino Smoking Ban

Casinos were exempted from Iowa’s 2008 ban on smoking in public places. Now state Senator Janet Petersen (l.) said temporary smoking bans in casinos were the one “silver lining” to Covid-19 and should be made permanent.

Officials Tout Waukegan, Illinois Casino’s Benefits

American Place (l.) in Waukegan, Illinois, opening in 2024, will create 1,800 jobs and generate new taxes and rental income for the city, say supporters of the project. The facility will offer an entertainment center and hotel.

Virginia Supreme Court to Rule on Skill Games

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (l.) has asked the state Supreme Court to overturn a circuit court judge’s order that prohibiting state officials from enforcing its ban on slot-like skill games.

Coffee King Challenges Oregon on License Delay

Coffee mogul Travis Boersma (l.) wants to make his Grants Pass Downs racetrack profitable racino with “historical horse racing.” He is frustrated with Oregon’s Racing Commission for slow-walking his licensing.

NFL Opens First Store in Las Vegas

Think of it as a Disney store, but for football fans. The first retail store devoted to all things NFL will open at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. In addition to gear and souvenirs, the store will feature player visitations.

Showboat Waterpark to Break Ground in Atlantic City

For those who doubted Bart Blatstein would build it, the Philadelphia developer expected to break ground January 12 on a 103,000-square-foot year-round waterpark at the onetime Showboat casino in Atlantic City.


Catawba’s North Carolina Casino Expansion Opens

The Catawba Nation’s Two Kings Casino expanded pre-launch facility (l.) added 500 electronic table games including blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat, for a total of 1,000 gaming machines, including 945 slots.

Massachusetts’ Mashpee Tribe Regain Right to Build Casino

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts, one of two federally recognized tribes in the state, has regained its right to put land into trust. The Department of the Interior last week reversed an earlier ruling. The tribe hopes to build the First Light casino (l.).

California County Awaits Hard Rock Casino

The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tejon in Kern County, California could begin building early this year. The project, proposed by the Tejon Indian Tribe, requires the approval of Governor Gavin Newsom.


Inspired Buys Sportech Lotteries

On January 4, Inspired Entertainment announced that it has acquired Sportech Lotteries for $12.5 million. It marks Inspired’s first foray into the lottery sector and is expected to support growth in North America.

Moroccan State Lottery Seeks Operator

The Morocco State Lottery has put out an international call for bids seeking a new operator to assume overall management and operation of the lottery on an eight-year contract.


Florida Governor Appoints Three to Gaming Panel

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appointed the first three members of the state Gaming Control Commission, including Chairwoman Julie Imanuel Brown (l.) The commission will oversee gaming in the state starting in July.

Canadian Gaming Association Names New Chairman

The Canadian Gaming Association has named Ilkim Hincer (l.), a top executive of Hard Rock International, as chairman, and George Sweny of Flutter Entertainment as vice chairman of the board.

Pragmatic Play Appoints Cornides COO

Pragmatic Play Ltd. announced that it has appointed Irina Cornides as chief operations officer, as the company continues its growth in the iGaming market.

Seth Young Joins EQL Games Board of Directors

EQL Games has added Seth Young (l.) to its board of directors. Young has more than 15 years of experience in interactive gaming and technology and currently serves as chief strategy officer at Fifth Street Gaming Digital.

Fisher Exits Oregon Tribal Resort

Michael Fisher (l.) departed his role as general manager of the Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City, Oregon, effective New Year’s Day. Fisher will be replaced on an interim basis by John Wheeler.

Navajo Tribal Member Nominated as Federal Judge

Sunshine Suzanne Sykes (l.) is the first member of the Navajo Nation to be nominated to be a federal court judge. She was nominated by President Joe Biden to be a judge for the Central District of California.

Harris to Join Rank Group as CFO

Rank Group Plc has tapped Richard Harris (l.) to be the company’s chief financial officer and board director. Harris will assume his new duties on May 1, replacing Bill Floydd, who resigned last summer.

Aristocrat May Add Directors

Aristocrat Leisure Ltd. has announced that it will consider expanding its board of directors and increasing the funds available for non-executive director fees.

PlayUp CEO Fight Gets Ugly

Australian sports betting firm PlayUp blames former U.S. CEO Laila Mintas (l.) for scotching a $450 million deal to sell the company. Mintas denies the allegations and says PlayUp has “eviscerated her reputation.” Mintas countersued and a court ruled she did not have to adhere to an injunction forcing her to


AGS Acquires Lucky Lucky Blackjack Side Bet

AGS has acquired the player favorite Lucky Lucky Jackpot side bet from Aces Up Gaming, enhancing its rich content portfolio and providing opportunity for further growth of its progressive products.

MGM Upgrades Loyalty Program

Starting February 1, MGM Resorts will introduce a new loyalty program for gaming and nongaming guests across the U.S. The new MGM Rewards plan will offer “more ways to earn and a host of exciting new benefits.”

Zitro Expands in France, Argentina

Zitro has installed its Link King and Link Me games in eight casinos operated by France’s Barrière Group, and several games in Argentina’s Casino Fuente Mayor.

Oregon’s Three Rivers Chooses OPTX Platform

The Three Rivers Casino Resort in Florence, Oregon has agreed to implement the OPTX suite of player development, slot and artificial intelligence software. Brooke Fiumara (l.), co-EO of OPTX, says her company’s products “increase guest visitation, revenue, and profitability.”

Analyst Plugs Everi, AGS

B Riley analyst David Bain is recommending buys on slot manufacturers Everi Holdings and AGS, which he says are both poised for significant share price gains.




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