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State of the Union: Caesars, New Jersey, college football and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, covers the first results update from Caesars Entertainment since the merger between the former Caesars business and Eldorado Resorts, as well as digital media giant InterActiveCorporation’s acquisition of a $1bn stake in MGM Resorts and two “Power Five” conferences canceling their college football seasons.

Combined Caesars-Eldorado business posts $1.17bn loss in H1

Caesars Entertainment Inc. – the new name for the combined Caesars Entertainment Corporation and Eldorado Resorts business – has reported a $1.17bn net loss for the first half of the year.

Eldorado Resorts completed its acquisition of the Caesars Entertainment Corporation business shortly after the end of the reporting period in a deal worth $17.3bn. The combined business now has a portfolio of more than 55 casino properties around the world.

According to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), combined revenue for the two businesses in the six months to June 30 amounted to $2.79bn, down 50.3% from $5.61bn in the same period last year, due to the impact of closures enforced by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Online potential prompts IAC to acquire $1bn MGM stake

Digital media giant InterActiveCorporation (IAC) has acquired a 12% stake in MGM Resorts International, describing the investment as a “once in a decade” opportunity.

IAC, which has previously acquired, grown and then spun off businesses such as online travel agent Expedia, ANGI Homeservices and just last month, online dating giant, paid an estimated $1bn for its stake.

“With the separation of Match Group from IAC, and ‘new’ IAC emerging with $3.9bn of cash, no debt, and its opportunistic zeal intact, we are energized and excited to make this investment in MGM,” IAC chairman and senior executive Barry Diller said.

Big Ten, Pac-12 cancel college football seasons

The Big Ten and the Pac-12, two of college football’s “Power Five” conferences, have both postponed their 2020 football seasons, as well as all other Fall sports, due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The Big Ten, primarily comprising Midwest teams, did not mention a date of a possible return to action, but the West Coast-based Pac-12 said it “would consider a return to competition for impacted sports after January 1, 2021”.

Both conferences said they made the decision to suspend all fall sports based on the advice of their medical committees.

NJ sports and igaming grow, but casinos struggle in July

New Jersey’s sports betting revenue climbed 65.2% year-on-year in July, but the state’s land-based casino market saw further declines as it continued to feel the impact of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions.

Sportsbook revenue amounted to $29.6m in July, up from $17.9m in the same month last year, while the figure also represented a 103.2% month-on-month increase on the $12.6m recorded in June this year.

Consumers wagered a total of $315.1m with sportsbooks in New Jersey, up by 25.3% on last year, with players again favouring online. Some $295.8m was bet online, compared to $19.3m wagered in-person at retail facilities.

Losses widen at Full House Resorts in first half

US casino operator Full House Resorts has put a year-on-year increase in net loss for the first half of 2020 primarily down to the temporary closure of its brick-and-mortar properties due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Net revenue in the six months to June 30 totaled $45.4m, a drop of 44.8% from $82.2m in the same period last year.

Full House closed its casinos in Mississippi, Indiana, Nevada and Colorado in the middle of March. The first site – Silver Slipper Casino and Hotel in Mississippi – did not reopen until 21 May, while the others followed in the first few weeks of June.

DraftKings launches first retail sportsbook in New Hampshire

DraftKings has launched New Hampshire’s first retail sportsbook, in partnership with the state lottery and Eureka Casino-owned venue The Brook.

The DraftKings Sportsbook at The Brook is being launched with enhanced safety and sanitization protocols in place as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, offering betting on all major professional and collegiate US sports.

PointsBet partners Evolution for US live casino launch

Online gambling operator PointsBet has selected Evolution Gaming to provide live dealer games as it builds out its online casino offering.

Under the deal, PointsBet will launch Evolution’s classic table games, online poker variants and branded content based on gameshow as part of its New Jersey-facing online casino offering.

CDI sets out safety protocols for delayed Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) has announced a series of safety protocols for the Kentucky Derby, as it prepares to host the showpiece horse racing event after it was postponed for four months due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The 146th edition of the US meeting had been due to take place over the first weekend of May, but was delayed as a result of restrictions related to Covid-19.

Caesars launches campaign for new Virginia casino

Caesars Entertainment has formally launched a campaign to garner public support for a new casino in the city of Danville, Virginia.

Launched ahead of a public referendum on the venue’s construction, Caesars for Danville will look to promote the economic and employment benefits the project would bring to the city.

Golden Ent exceeds expectations despite 69.4% Q2 revenue drop

Golden Entertainment said results since reopening “have exceeded expectations”, despite a 69.4% drop in revenue to $76.0m in the three months to 30 June and losses increasing to $78.6m.

Casinos made up $39.4m of Golden Entertainment’s revenue, down 75.2%, while distributed gaming venues, mostly consisting of other locations with slot machines, brought in $36.3m, down 59.3%

Gaming was the largest source of revenue, bringing in $56.7m, but this was down 61.4%.

Indiana sportsbook revenue and handle recover strongly in July

The Indiana Gaming Commission has reported the strongest month for the state’s sports betting market since February, with revenue and handle both soaring in July.

July marked the first full month in which the state’s casinos were open following the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) shut-down, which saw venues closed from March 16, and not reopened until June 15.

Century Casinos posts $58.9m H1 loss despite revenue growth

Century Casinos Inc. has reported a net loss of $58.9m for the first half of 2020, despite its US operations driving a 26.2% year-on-year increase in revenue for the period.

Net operating revenue for the six months through to June 30 totalled $123.8m, up from $98.1m in the first half of last year.

Iowa sports betting revenue up to $2.2m in July

Sports betting revenue in Iowa increased to $2.2m in July as the state continued to recover from the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) shutdown of sports and retail gambling venues.

Revenue was up by 261.5% from $620,740 in June – during which retail casinos reopened after a period of closure that stretched back to mid-March – while the state’s sports handle also jumped 80.3% month-on-month to $22.9m.

Wind Creek and Pala Interactive launch igaming in PA

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians’ casino business Wind Creek Hospitality has joined forces with Pala Interactive to launch a  for Pennsylvania’s Wind Creek Casino.

Consumers in the state will have access to a range of real-money casino games, with Pala Interactive to power the platform using its online player account management system.

Twin River reports $32.4m first half net loss

Twin River Worldwide Holdings saw revenue for the first half of 2020 fall 47.7% year-on-year, becoming the latest listed US operator to outline the disruption caused by novel coronavirus (Covid-19) on its business.

Revenue for the six months to June 30 amounted to $138.1m, down from $263.8m in the prior year. The majority of this came from gaming, which contributed $99.6m of the total, down 47.9%, while racing operations revenue fell 53.4%.

FansUnite completes Askott acquisition

Canadian igaming operator and technology provider FansUnite Entertainment has completed the acquisition of white label solutions provider Askott Entertainment for CAD$27.8m (USD$20.7m) in FansUnite shares.

Askott shareholders received 1.9193 common shares of FansUnite for each Askot share they hold, for a total of 71.2m shares valued at $0.39 apiece.

AGS losses soar in second quarter

Gaming technology supplier AGS’s revenue fell 77.5% to $16.8m as its losses increased almost six-fold for the three months ending 30 June.

Gaming operations revenue declined 81.0% year-on-year as casinos across the US were closed for much of the quarter, while equipment sales revenue fell by 68.5% to $6.6m

Canterbury Park posts $925,976 loss following Covid-19 upheaval

Canterbury Park Holding Corporation, operator of Canterbury Park racecourse in Minnesota, has reported a $925,976 net loss for the first half of 2020, after it was forced to temporarily close the venue due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Net operating revenue in the six months to June 30 totalled $13.7m, down 51.1% from $28.0m in the same period last year.

PointsBet becomes exclusive gaming partner of Denver Nuggets

PointsBet has entered into a multi-year partnership with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE), owner of the National Hockey League (NHL)’s Colorado Avalanche, the National Basketball Association (NBA)’s Denver Nuggets, the National Lacrosse League (NLL)’s Colorado Mammoth and the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer (MLS).

The deal sees PointsBet become the official exclusive gaming partner of Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Mammoth, and the teams’ home arena, Pepsi Center. The exclusive agreement covers the entire gaming category, including retail and online sports betting, daily fantasy, online casino and free-to-play.

Detroit casino revenue decline widens to 65.0%

BetMGM, the betting brand operated through the joint venture between GVC Holdings and MGM Resorts, has entered into a wagering partnership with North America’s Nascar stock car racing series.

The multi-year deal will see BetMGM serve as an authorised gaming operator of Nascar and have rights to use the series’ official marks.

Detroit casino revenue decline widens to 65.0%

The year-on-year decline in revenue for Detroit’s three commercial casinos has widened to 65.0% as of July 31, the final full month the venues will be closed.

The latest figures for the Michigan Gaming Control Board show that by July 31 2019, the MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino and Greektown Casino generated revenue of $854.4m.

Betfred signs extended racing deal with XB Net

Gambling operator Betfred has signed an extension to its distribution deal with North American horse and greyhound racing content provider XB Net.

Under the renewed agreement, XB Net will continue to provide Betfred with live pictures, data and betting services from a network of over 50 North American tracks.

DraftKings extends MLB fantasy partnership

DraftKings and Major League Baseball (MLB) today announced a multi-year extension to their existing fantasy partnership, which will see DraftKings continue as the league’s exclusive official daily fantasy sports (DFS) partner.

As well as the multi-year extension, DraftKings expanded its content rights and product integration with the league and has continued permission to use MLB images and video within its DFS games.