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State of the Union: CA, NV, Playtech and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, examines tribal reaction to a concession to cardrooms in a California sports betting bill, which cleared a first committee stage this week, as well as Playtech’s arrival in New Jersey and the effects of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) on Nevada gambling revenue.

CA tribal body attacks cardroom concession in SCA 6

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) has criticised language legalizing player-banked games at the state’s cardrooms in the sports betting bill put forward by Assemblymember Adam Gray and Senator James Dodd.

SCA 6 began as a short proposal to put the legalization of sports betting to California’s citizens first filed in June 2019, before being fleshed out into a full regulatory framework last week.

The bill, for which a companion proposal (ACA 16) has been filed in the Assembly by Gray, appears heavily weighted in tribal gaming operators’ favor by limiting legal betting to tribal casinos and racetracks, blocking cardrooms from the vertical.

Nevada redacts betting figures as Covid-19 hits April revenue

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) has redacted its figures for sports betting, horse racing and card game revenue in its revenue report for April, which reveals the state’s gaming industry generated just $3.6m.

Nevada’s casinos, which were shuttered from 11:59pm on March 17, were closed throughout April, meaning gambling revenue fell 99.6% year-on-year.

The $3.6m in revenue is likely to have come from mobile sports betting and online poker, namely, the only network active in the state.

Ohio House passes sports betting bill

The Ohio House of Representatives has passed a bill that would legalise both retail and mobile sports wagering in the US state.

First introduced by State Representatives Dave Greenspan and Brigid Kelly in April of last year, House Bill 194 passed the House by a vote of 83-10 yesterday (May 28).

Ohio’s Statehouse had debated the bill for more than a year prior to this week’s vote, with the House’s approved version setting out plans for the Ohio Lottery Commission to take responsibility for regulating the market.

California bill proposes exclusive betting rights for tribes and tracks

A constitutional amendment that would allow sports betting in California has been referred to the committee on governmental organisation, after details were added to the bill outlining how sports betting in the state would function, including allowing online betting.

The amendment, SCA 6 was proposed by Senator Bill Dodd and is complementary to Assemblymember Adam Gray’s ACA 16. Both bills were first introduced in June 2019. At the time the bill only set out plans to allow for a statewide referendum on the issue, which would have to be backed by two-thirds of voters before it could come into law.

It has now been significantly expanded, and covers retail betting, which may be offered by racetracks and North American tribes, similar to the proposed ballot measure put forward by a tribal coalition in November last year.

DC Lottery launches online betting platform

The DC Lottery has announced the launch of its online sports wagering platform in the state of Washington D.C., though the roll out of a supporting mobile app has again been delayed until June.

Developed in partnership with Intralot, the Gambet DC platform had been due to go live in March, but the launch was pushed back due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Players in the state can now register for an account via the Gambet website and place sports wagers, though options are currently limited due to the ongoing suspension of many major sports events as a result of the outbreak.

Committee approves California sports betting bill

The California Senate Committee on Government Organization has approved a constitutional amendment bill to allow sports betting in the state.

In a partisan 9-3 vote, with all Democrats on the committee voting for the bill and all Republicans against, SCA 6 – proposed by committee chair Bill Dodd – was adopted. The bill has now been referred to the Senate Committee on Appropriations, with a hearing scheduled for 9 June.

The bill, for which a companion proposal (ACA 16) has been filed in the Assembly by Assemblyman Adam Gray, sets out plans to allow for a statewide referendum on the sports betting, which would have to be backed by two-thirds of voters before it could come into law.

Louisiana Gaming Control Board welcomes new chairman

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has appointed Lieutenant Colonel Mike Noel as the new chairman of the state’s Gaming Control Board.

Noel will replace Ronnie Jones, who had led the regulatory body since 2013 but was not reappointed to the role during a legislative session at the Louisiana Senate earlier this week.

A member of the Louisiana State Police for over 30 years, Noel was named as assistant superintendent andchief of staff in June 2017, a role in which he was responsible for overseeing 1,700 staff and a budget in excess of $300m.

Playtech approved to launch online casino in New Jersey

Gaming solutions giant Playtech has secured regulatory approval from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) to launch its online casino products in the state.

Playtech has been granted a transactional waiver to roll out its solutions with bet365 and Hard Rock Atlantic City. It now expects to launch with additional partners in the market in the near future.

Playtech chief executive Mor Weizer described the New Jersey approval was a “major milestone” for the business.

RI betting revenue drops 98.6% in April

The suspension of major sporting events and a full month’s closure for Rhode Island’s land-based casinos badly affected the state’s sports betting market, with handle and revenue plummeting in April.

Amounts wagered fell 96.5% year-on-year to $591,377, with minimal contributions from the Twin River-owned Tiverton and Lincoln casinos – from wagers placed before the shutdown – complemented by a significantly lower mobile handle.

While there are no year-over-year comparisons, as mobile betting did not launch until September 2019, the channel’s $589,260 represents a 80.8% month-over-month drop. Players won back $561,058, leaving revenue of $27,202. This represents an 86.9% decline from March’s mobile revenue of $215,802.

Twin River to reopen 90% of casinos by June 8

Twin River Worldwide Holdings has announced that it aims to reopen 90% of its US brick-and-mortar casinos by June 8, following a period of temporary closure due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The Dover Downs Hotel and Casino in Dover, Delaware, will resume operations from today (June 1), with its Twin River Casino Lincoln and Tiverton facilities in Rhode Island to reopen on June 8.

Eldorado reopens Missouri and Iowa casinos

Eldorado Resorts has announced the reopening of three casinos in Missouri and two facilities in Iowa, following a period of temporary closure in response to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Boonville, Isle of Capri Casino Kansas City and Lumière Place Casino & Hotels in Missouri have all resumed operations, as have the Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf and Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo in Iowa.

DraftKings secures MI market access with Bay Mills

DraftKings has joined forces with the Bay Mills Resort & Casino to launch online, mobile and retail sports wagering in the state of Michigan.

The market access deal, which is subject to the receipt of applicable licenses and approvals, will see DraftKings roll out both its online sportsbook and supporting mobile application in the state.

Century reopens Missouri casinos

Century Casinos has reopened two of its venues in Missouri, as well as restarting online off-track betting operations in Alberta County.

Both the Century Casino Cape Girardeau and the Century Casino Caruthersville resumed operations on 1 June after more than two months of closure to limit the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

Spectrum Gaming Group appoints Barreto as CFO

Gambling consultancy Spectrum Gaming Group has promoted Juliann Barreto from director of finance to the role of chief financial officer.

Barreto joined Spectrum in May 2018 and has served as director of finance for the entire time. During this time, Barreto also worked as chief financial officer for financial and risk consultancy firm NFC Global.

Betsperts raises funding, makes board appointment

Crowd-sourced tipster platform Betsperts has completed a new funding round, while Barstool Sports head of strategy David VanEgmond has joined its board of directors.

Betsperts, which was founded in 2018 and allows users to make and post tips, and to follow their preferred tipsters, raised the funds through a seed round led by Parlay Capital Holdings.