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State of the Union: Canada, Wire Act, Sports Illustrated and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, is highlighted by passage of a bill to allow single-event sports wagering in Canada. Other developments include a letter from 26 state Attorneys General to the Department of Justice regarding the Wire Act and plans for Sports Illustrated to launch a betting product with 888.

Single-event betting coming to Canada as Senate approves bill

Canada’s senate has passed a bill allowing single-event sports betting, rather than only bets on multiples.

Bill C-218, known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, was approved by a vote of 57-20 on Tuesday.

Reintroduced to parliament in November 2020, the bill aimed to repeal paragraph 207(4)(b) of Canada’s Criminal Code, which states that sports betting is legal only if bettors place wagers on three or more sports games simultaneously.

Attorneys General call for DOJ to scrap 2018 Wire Act ‘reinterpretation’

Attorneys General from across the US have urged the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to rescind a formal legal opinion that found state-sanctioned online lotteries and casino could be subject to criminal prosecution under the federal Wire Act.

Some 26 state Attorneys General, who are the top legal officers of their state or territory, signed a letter sent to US Attorney General Merrick Garland urging that DOJ issues a formal memorandum rescinding its 2018 opinion “Reconsidering Whether the Wire Act Applies to Non-Sports Gambling.”

888 to launch Sports Illustrated sportsbook

888 is to power a Sports Illustrated-branded betting and gaming website in the US market, in partnership with the monthly sports magazine.

SI Sportsbook is set to debut in Colorado in the second half of 2021 following an agreement between 888 and Authentic Brands Group (ABG), the brand development, marketing and entertainment company which acquired the Sports Illustrated brand for $110m in 2019.

DoubleU Games to seek new underwriter for DoubleDown IPO

Korean social gaming operator DoubleU Games has terminated its contract with the underwriter responsible for listing its DoubleDown Interactive subsidiary on the Nasdaq exchange, and will now select a new representative to continue the process of going public.

DoubleDown announced its plans to raise around $100m via the Initial Public Offering (IPO) in June last year, with the capital raised intended to support strategic acquisitions, as well as repaying financial investors.

Exchange start-up Sporttrade receives $36m in funding

Philadelphia-based sports betting exchange Sporttrade has raised $36m worth of funding through a coalition of investors including major figures from both gaming and finance.

Former MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren is among the investors, as well as Tom Wittman – former chief executive of the Nasdaq Stock Exchange.

Codere Online to spin off and go public on Nasdaq with $350m SPAC deal

Codere Group has announced plans to spin off its Codere Online business, with the new publicly listed company to be traded on the US Nasdaq stock market.

Codere Online, valued at approximately $350m, will continue to be led by its existing management team and Codere Group will maintain majority ownership.

DC betting revenue dips in May but wagers grow

Washington DC sports betting revenue came in at $2.0m in May, an decrease of 3.7% from $2.1m in April, even though the district experienced a positive month for betting handle.

Between William Hill and the DC Lottery’s Gambet brand, customers wagered a total of $13.7m in May, a rise of 28.15% from April.

Canada single-event sports betting bill given third reading in Senate

Canada’s single-event sports betting bill was given its third reading in the country’s Senate as it edges closer to a final vote.

Bill C-218, introduced by Senator Kevin Waugh and backed by the country’s government, looks to amend Canada’s Criminal Code with regards to sports betting, repealing a section that currently prohibits wagering on single-sport events. Currently, betting on sports is only legal if the bet is on three or more events at once.

Loto-Québec welcomes results of money laundering audit

Loto-Québec has welcomed the findings of an independent audit on money laundering in casinos and gaming halls in Quebec and said it is already working to implement any suggestions from the audit.

The independent audit examined money laundering and extortionate loans in Québec casinos and gaming halls, as well as loyalty programs and employee security.

Amended Maine sports betting bill passes Senate

A bill to legalize and regulate sports betting within Maine has passed through the state’s Senate by 23 votes to 12 and passed the House for engrossment after each house submitted new amendments.

Senate Bill 1352 was first introduced by Senator Louis Luchini in April, but was later amended to bring in a major change to who can receive a license.

GAN pens exclusive igaming deal with Incredible Technologies

GAN has secured the exclusive rights to all current and future online games developed by Illinois-based designer Incredible Technologies.

Under the deal, GAN will have the online rights to more than 110 games over the course of the agreement, with the supplier to immediately begin deriving online content licensing fees from Incredible Technologies’ existing online operations in New Jersey.

California tribal gaming association expands further with three additions

California’s tribal gaming association has added three new members as it bolsters its position as the biggest regional organisation of its kind in the US.

California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) now has 39 members following the recruitment of Tejon Indian Tribe and the readmission of Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians and the Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians.

Everi enjoys continued profit growth in Q2 2021

Casino and financial technology company Everi expects a rise of 344.4% in revenue year-on-year in its second quarter of 2021, as the business saw improvements from the effects of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Though the quarter ended 30 June is still ongoing, the provider expects revenue to fall between $167m and $172m, a significant rise from $139.1m in the first quarter of 2021 and $38.7 in the second quarter of 2020, when the business was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tennessee Lottery surpasses $2bn in annual revenue for first time

The Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) has surpassed $2bn in total annual revenue for the 2021 fiscal year as of June 15, marking the first time the operator has reached the milestone.

The fiscal year began with the Lottery’s best ever Q1, from July 1 to September 30, which saw the operator transfer $114.0m to the Lottery for Education Account after bringing in $498.2m in revenue, up 16.8% year-on-year.

Sauer to steer Churchill Downs’ corporate development and acquisitions

Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) has promoted Jason Sauer to the role of senior vice-president of corporate development, with the operator suggesting Sauer’s experience in mergers and acquisitions will be of particular importance in his new role.

Sauer previously served as vice-president of corporate development, having moved up from the position of senior director of corporate development in 2019. He joined CDI in 2014.

Bally’s signs deal to launch sportsbook in Kansas

Bally’s Corporation is set to launch its mobile sportsbook in Kansas through a deal with a Dodge City casino ahead of the implementation of pending sports betting legislation.

Bally’s will offer its Bally Bet mobile sportsbook in Kansas via a multi-year market arrangement with Boot Hill Casino & Resort.

Chicago Bears sign up BetRivers and Rivers Casino as first gambling partners

The NFL’s Chicago Bears signed the team’s first sports betting partnership after agreeing an exclusive deal with and Rivers Casino.

The multi-year agreement was signed between the National Football League (NFL) team and Rush Street Interactive, the Chicago-based gaming group that operates, and Rush Street Gaming-owned Rivers Casino, based in the Illinois city.

New Jersey fixed-odds betting bill passed by both houses

A bill to legalize fixed-odds horse racing within New Jersey has been approved by unanimous votes in both the state’s Senate and Assembly.

Referred to as the Fixed Odds Wagering Act, the legislation will allow customers to place fixed-odds horse racing bets through official license holders approved by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, rather than only pari-mutuel bets.

Jacobs Entertainment and Superbook Sports open sportsbook in Colorado

Superbook Sports has partnered with land-based operator Jacobs Entertainment to open The Superbook sportsbook at the Lodge Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado.

The partnership and sportsbook were first announced in April 2020.

Leadstar Media receives Colorado affiliate license

Sports betting affiliate company Leadstar Media has acquired a vendor minor sports betting license in the state of Colorado.

The entry marks the sixth state in which Leadstar has been approved to operate, having launched its first products in the US, and, in 2019.

Tribal esports body partners with Esports Entertainment Group

The newly formed Indian Gaming Esports Association (iGEA) is to integrate a full suite of B2C and B2B esports services for tribes and tribal casinos through a partnership with Esports Entertainment Group (EEG).

Online gaming and esports solutions provider EEG has become the exclusive provider of esports technology and services to iGEA, the a tribal esports organization devoted to advancing esports adoption among tribal nations and casinos.

Louisiana Governor signs off on sports betting bills

Regulated sportsbooks could launch in Louisiana by the fall after Governor John Bel Edwards signed two bills into law yesterday (Tuesday).

Senate Bill 247, sponsored by Senate President Patrick Page Cortez, and SB142, from Senator Rick Ward III, were signed off after being passed on the final day of the state’s legislative session earlier this month. Both bills passed after going to a conference committee, when the upper chamber rejected amendments put forward in the House of Representatives.

Boom Sports recruits former DraftKings sportsbook director

Boom Sports has appointed former DraftKings director of sportsbook Chris Fargis to lead its real-money sports division.

The New York-headquartered game developer and technology provider, which offers both B2B and B2C sportsbook and fantasy sports services, has recruited Fargis as general manager of real-money sports.

Esports Entertainment Group seals New York Rangers partnership

Esports Entertainment Group (EEG), the esports and online gambling operator, has sealed a marketing partnership with the New York Rangers NHL ice hockey team.

Under the agreement, EEG will serve as the Rangers’ official esports tournament provider from the start of July.

Ann Macdonald appointed chair of Loto-Québec board of directors

The Québec council of ministers has appointed Ann Macdonald as chair of the board of directors at Canadian provincial lottery operator Lotto-Québec.

Macdonald has been part of the board since March 2019 and will now move into her new position as president.

Operators welcome passage of Canadian single-event sports betting bill

Operators have welcomed the passing of a bill that is set to introduce single-event sports betting in Canada, which will provide opportunities for expansion in the country.

Bill C-218, also known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, was passed with a vote of 57-20 earlier this week, after its third reading in the Senate. The bill wold allow bets on individual sporting events, instead of requiring sports bets to be multiples, by amending Canada’s criminal code.

Ohio sports betting bill passed to finance committee

Ohio’s Senate Bill 176, which would allow sports betting to be licensed in the state, has been passed to the state assembly’s finance committee for approval.

The bill was first introduced in May by Ohio senator Niraj Antani, and would allow for 20 land-based and 20 online sports betting licenses to be issued, in addition to allowing a sports betting offering from the state lottery.

Unibet to sponsor Stewart-Haas Nascar team

Kindred Group has announced a collaboration between its Unibet brand and Nascar team Stewart-Haas racing, along with its driver Kevin Harvick, with Unibet serving as the official Stewart-Haas sportsbook.

The collaboration, which is Unibet’s first US motorsports partnership, is set to expand Unibet’s presence in the US.