Commercial Gaming Smashes Revenue Records in 2021

The American Gaming Association last week revealed that commercial gaming brought in $53 billion in 2021, an increase of $23 billion over the Covid-Impacted 2020. The spread of online gaming and sports betting helped the industry make the huge jump.

Entain Acquires Avid Gaming

Entain PLC has acquired Avid Gaming, owner of Canadian iGaming brand Sports Interaction. Sports Interaction, licensed in Quebec, is operated by Mohawk Online and owned by the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake. Grand Chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer (l.) says Entain will “positively contribute” to her community.

Five Gaming Bills Introduced in Hawaii

Gambling may be illegal in Hawaii, but that doesn’t mean Hawaiians don’t bet. Facing a cash crunch due to Covid-19, some lawmakers want to legalize something that has gone on for a long time—and tax it heavily. One plan includes a casino in Kalopei, Oahu—home of a Disney resort.

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WEEKLY FEATURE: Super Bowl Bets Expected to Rise, ‘Mattress Mac’ Sets Record

Last weekend’s Super Bowl featured a not-so-glamourous pairing: the Cincinnati Bengals vs. the L.A. Rams. No matter. When all the bets are tallied, the American Gaming Association predicts record wagering on the Big Game. Houston furniture store magnate Mattress Mac bet a U.S. sports betting record wager of nearly $10 million all told.

Mask Mandates Dropped in Blue States

Last week the governors of heavily Democrat states—several major gaming states, including Nevada—dropped the mask mandates, defying the federal government, which has been guided by CDC policy that recommends the continuation of mask wearing to combat Covid.

Covid-Free Macau Celebrates Chinese New Year

Macau hasn’t registered a locally transmitted Covid-19 case in four months. As a result, the gaming hub pulled out (most of) the stops for its 2022 Chinese New Year celebration.

Poll: Nevada Voters Support Gaming Tax Increase

A poll shows that most Nevada voters favor a casino tax increase to support public education, but rejected a sales tax hike earmarked for the same purpose. The measure must be approved for the November ballot.

New York Addresses Uptick in Problem Gambling

Mobile sports betting in New York State has proven a quick success, but it has also caused an increase in problem gambling. The state has set aside $6 million a year to help compulsive gamblers, but ubiquitous gambling ads don’t help.

In Crown Probe, Australian Regulator Seeks Millions from Melco

The gaming regulator in New South Wales is pursuing legal action against Melco Resorts & Entertainment to recoup millions in legal fees associated with its probe of Crown Resorts, which involved a partnership between Crown’s James Packer and Melco’s Lawrence Ho (l.)

ICRG Receives $300,000 From Sands

Las Vegas Sands has contributed $300,000 to the International Center for Responsible Gaming (ICRG) to conduct research and education in the field of responsible gaming. Maria-Christina Annaloro, director of government relations and responsible gaming at Sands, discusses the endowment with ICRG Chairman Alan Feldman and President Arthur Paikowsky.

FANTINI’S FINANCE: Go Go Local

While the pandemic walloped the Las Vegas locals market, the recovery is well under way, with the Strip not far behind. Red Rock Resorts and Boyd Gaming posted record numbers.

ASIAN GAMING More

LVS Terminated Junkets in December

Las Vegas Sands, parent of Macau gaming concessionaire Sands China, has indicated in an annual report that it severed ties with “three primary gaming promoters” last December.

Osaka Council Seeks IR Referendum

An Osaka city council group says a referendum should be held on the city’s bid for an integrated resort, which would cost the city $687 million in site preparations. The IR (rendering at l.) would be built on Yumeshima Island.

Cambodian Authorities Call for End to Casino Strike

Officials in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh have ordered striking casino workers to stand down, citing Covid concerns. But labor leaders say it’s all about muzzling their demands for workplace reform at NagaWorld.

Philippines Reopens to International Travel

The Philippines reopened its borders to international travel last week. The borders closed in March 2021 due to a spike in Covid-19 cases. All arriving passengers must be fully vaccinated and carry negative Covid tests.

Kangwon Land Earmarks $24 Million for Expansion

On February 4, South Korea’s Kangwon Land (l.) announced it will undertake almost US$24 million in new amenities. Among other upgrades, it will increase the size of its gaming floor by 10 percent.

Another Imperial Pacific CEO Jumps Ship

The revolving door of chief executives at Imperial Pacific International continues to spin. On February 2, interim CEO Ray Yumul resigned after a year on the job—and some sparring with commissioners.

EUROPEAN GAMING More

U.K. Gambling Commission Report Pushed Back to May

The U.K. Gambling Commission won’t release its much-anticipated report on gambling reform until May. This is the second time the report has been pushed back. Labor officials blame the troubles on Tory turmoil.

GLOBAL GAMING More

Brazil Congress: Not So Fast on Gaming Bill

Opposition to a gaming bill in Brazil has arisen in that country’s Chamber of Deputies. Some of those officials have requested that the bill be removed from immediate consideration. It’s now up to the chamber president, Arthur Lira (l.), to determine the fate of gaming.

ONLINE GAMING More

Betsson Launches iGaming in Buenos Aires

Betsson Group has launched its online gaming product in the province and city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in collaboration with land-based operator Casino de Victoria.

Hungary May End iGaming Monopoly

The government of Hungary may end the iGaming monopoly now held by Szerencsejáték Zrt. The parliament is mulling a bill to open the market to private online operators.

SPORTS BETTING More

South Dakota Senate Passes Online Sports Betting

With a 1-vote margin, the South Dakota Senate (l.) passed a resolution that would place on the November ballot a constitutional amendment allowing online sports betting. The measure still requires House approval.

North Carolina Governor Wants Mobile Sports Betting

An online sports betting bill that passed the North Carolina Senate last year has a good chance to pass in the House when the legislature reconvenes in May. Governor Roy Cooper (l.) said “it’s time” for legal online wagering.

Mississippi Mobile Betting Bills Fail

Mississippi lawmakers rejected three House and two Senate bills that would have legalized online sports betting. Currently sports wagers only can be placed on-site at a casino or parimutuel facility.

Ohio Regulators Release More Sports Betting Rules

In Ohio, a third batch of proposed sports betting rules has been released, focusing on Type C licenses and exclusion programs. Legal bets were approved in December and the industry must launch by January 2023, according to the bill signed by Governor Mike DeWine (l.) in December.

Kentucky Lawmaker Will File Sports Betting Bill

Kentucky Rep. Adam Koenig (l.) will file a bill legalizing online and retail sports betting. He said lawmakers are more interested in sports wagering following the passage of historical horseracing legislation last year.

Kansas Lawmakers Debate Sports Betting

Sports betting bills are being considered in the Kansas Senate and House. State casinos want to be the exclusive providers; lottery retailers disagree. Either way, Senator Rob Olson (l.) says, “We must get this across the line.”

Virginia Could Lift In-State College Bets Ban

A Virginia House subcommittee shot down a bill to lift the ban on in-state college sports wagers, but a Senate committee approved a measure allowing betting on spreads and totals for in-state college sports events.

Wyoming Approves PointsBet Sportsbook

Wyoming has granted a license to PointsBet to operate online sports betting in the state. It is the fourth operator approved by the Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission. Online sportsbooks are the only kind in the state.

Louisiana Sports Wagers Surpass New York—Per Capita

Louisiana beat out New York for volume of mobile sports bets after online wagers launched. Within 36 hours, 3.6 percent of Louisiana adults made mobile bets; 3.3 percent of New Yorkers posted bets in the same period.

Entain Acquires Avid Gaming

Entain PLC has acquired Avid Gaming, owner of Canadian iGaming brand Sports Interaction. Sports Interaction, licensed in Quebec, is operated by Mohawk Online.

Kambi, Kindred Extend Partnership

Kambi Group and Kindred Group announced that their B2B sports betting partnership has been extended through 2026, as Kambi announces its long-term sportsbook plans.

OLG Becomes NFL Sportsbook Partner

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. has partnered with the NFL. OLG’s PROLINE retail and online sportsbooks will have a five-year partnership once the regulated open market launches April 4.

Another Washington Sportsbook Opens

Washington’s Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort has opened a sportsbook. The grand opening included ceremonial first bets by NFL stars Steve Largent and Jim Zorn.

BetMGM Opens First Legal Sportsbook in Puerto Rico

Sports betting is now live in Puerto Rico at Casino del Mar at La Concha Resort (l.). Last week BetMGM announced it had launched the island’s first regulated sports betting platform, just in time for Super Bowl LVI.

Arizona Mulls More Tribal Sportsbooks

Licensing 10 tribal sportsbooks in Arizona is not enough, say tribes that were left out. Senator Sally Ann Gonzales (l.) has introduced legislation to rectify that. Her bill would bring the number up to 22, one for each tribe.

UNITED STATES GAMING More

Pennsylvania Casino Seeks Slot Reduction

Wind Creek Bethlehem (l.) has become the fifth Pennsylvania casino since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic to request a reduction in its inventory of slot machines.

Las Vegas Becoming Pro Sport City

First Las Vegas secured a hockey franchise in the NHL. Then it lured the Raiders out of Oakland. The A’s are looking long and hard as well. Vegas also just hosted the NFL Pro Bowl and NHL All Star Game.

NJ Judge to Rule on AC PILOT Suit

Atlantic County, New Jersey, filed suit against the state over legislation to alter the payments from casinos in lieu of taxes, known as PILOT. A judge heard from both sides and will rule in a few weeks on an injunction.

Encore Boston Harbor Revises Development Plans

Encore Boston Harbor has pulled back on big plans to develop land across the street from the resort, but briefed the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on plans for an entertainment center, dining and parking.

TRIBAL GAMING More

Win-River Renews Casino Moving Project

Plans to relocate Win-River resort casino (l.) in Northern California are moving ahead. The Redding Rancheria is waiting for approval by the BIA to begin construction on land near Interstate 5 and the Sacramento River.

Women’s Group Opposes Seneca-New York Settlement

Matthew Pagels (l., center) president of the Seneca Nation, has aroused the wrath of the Mothers of the Nation. The group opposes a settlement made by Pagels and New York officials on disputed casino payments.

LOTTERY More

U.K. National Lottery Bidding Heats Up

The competition is heating up for the lucrative contract to run Britain’s National Lottery, with U.K. firm Flutter Entertainment pitted against Czech contender Allwyn.

SG Lottery Expands to Azerbaijan

Scientific Games has launched retail and digital sports betting and lottery operations for the Azerbaijan National Lottery, Azerlotereya, under a 10-year contract.

PEOPLE More

Mooberry Named Zitro U.S. CEO

Zitro has named Derik Mooberry (l.), formerly a longtime executive of Bally Technologies and Scientific Games, as the company’s new chief executive officer, USA.

Laubach, Luciano Named to EKG Hall of Fame

Eilers & Krejcik Gaming announced that the late casino operator Michael Laubach (l.) and slot supply veteran Bob Luciano will be inducted into the EKG Slot Awards Hall of Fame.

Bragg Gaming Names Falzon President and COO

Bragg Gaming Group has appointed Lara Falzon (l.), veteran iGaming executive and a non-executive director of Bragg, as the company’s new president and chief executive officer.

Michael Lamers Joins Win Systems

Win Systems has appointed Michael Lamers (l.) as product director of the company’s gaming division. Lamers has worked for Aristocrat and Scientific Games, among other gaming giants.

New Codere Board Appointed

A new board has been appointed to head the Spanish gaming group Codere SA. Led by Chairman Christopher Bell they will formulate a four-year plan to return the company to pre-pandemic “levels of activity.”

GOODS & SERVICES More

Aurify Gaming Enters HHR with Exacta

Exacta Systems will partner with Georgia-based Aurify Gaming to bring Aurify games into the historical horse racing market under a License IP Agreement.

California Casino Employs Robot Servers

Rolling Hills Casino in Northern California will now use robots to act as servers. The robots, from Richtech Robotics, are able to bus tables and take orders at the Rock & Brews bar.

NUTSHELL More

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