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State of the Union: Colorado, Caesars, PokerStars and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, covers Colorado’s legalization of sports betting by referendum, PokerStars’ launch in Pennsylvania, Caesars Entertainment’s results for the third quarter of 2019 and more

Colorado legalizes sports betting by referendum

Colorado has legalized sports betting statewide through referendum, with the proposition receiving 51.1% of the vote.

The race was called after a total of 756,720 people voted in favor of legalizing sports betting, while 723,665 voted against the proposition.

The proposition read: “Shall state taxes be increased by twenty-nine million dollars annually to fund state water projects and commitments and to pay for the regulation of sports betting through licensed casinos by authorizing a tax on sports betting of ten percent of net sports betting proceeds, and to impose the tax on persons licensed to conduct sports betting?”

The referendum was too close to call at the end of Tuesday (5 November) night and so stretched into Wednesday morning. However, the vote for the proposition exceeded the threshold to automatically trigger a recount, which occurs if the margin of victory less or equal to than 0.5% of the winning total.

PokerStars launches as first online poker brand in Pennsylvania

PokerStars has become the first online poker brand to go live in Pennsylvania after it launched in the state in partnership with Fox Bet, the joint venture between its parent company The Stars Group and broadcaster Fox Sports.

Both PokerStars and its PokerStars Casino online casino sister brand are live in Pennsylvania, operating alongside Fox Bet after it launched in Pennsylvania in September. The three brands are also active in New Jersey.

Players in Pennsylvania can access a selection of poker games, tournaments and promotional offers at, while PokerStars Casino will offer a range of online slots titles, as well as card, table and live casino games such as roulette and blackjack.

PokerStars and PokerStars Casino are now available across mobile and desktop in Pennsylvania.

Caesars swings to Q3 loss after Rio sale despite revenue rise

Caesars Entertainment reported a 2.3% revenue increase to $2.24bn for the third quarter of 2019, but the operator swung to a loss due to impairment costs from the company’s sale of the Rio All-Suites Resort & Casino for a lower fee than the company’s valuation.

Revenue increased slightly in every vertical except one. Casino made up just over half of the company’s $2.24bn of revenue, at €1.13bn, 2.6% more than in 2018. Food and beverages were the next largest source of revenue at $411m, up 0.7%, with revenue from hotel rooms following closely behind with $409m, up 3.5%.

Management fees contributed $15m to revenue, down 6.3%, while reimbursed management costs brought in $53m, up 3.9%. Other revenue increased 1.9% to $217m. Las Vegas venues brought in $973m for Caesars, up 6.9% from 2018.

Venues in the rest of the US brought in $1.12bn, 0.5% less than in 2018, a decline the company attributed to increased competition in Atlantic City and Southern Indiana. Revenue from locations outside of the US fell 4% to $144m, which Caesars said was primarily due to lower gaming volumes in the UK.

West Virginia sports betting revenue up again in October

Sports wagering revenue in West Virginia climbed in October as operators in the state were boosted by an increased usage of mobile betting platforms.

Overall market revenue for the four weeks through to 26 October amounted to $4.6m, with players spending a total of $29.0m on sports betting across retail and mobile.

Retail was the most popular form of sports betting, with revenue coming in at $2.7m for the month after consumers spent $16.3m at licensed venues in West Virginia. However, mobile shortened the gap with revenue of $1.8m and handle of $12.7m for the month.

Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races remained the market leader, posting sports betting revenue of $3.5m for October and processing $19.1m in bets.

Pro-gambling Beshear elected Governor of Kentucky

Democratic Party candidate Andy Beshear — who pledged to legalize commercial casinos, sports betting and online gaming if elected — has won Kentucky’s gubernatorial election.

In a tight race, the former Attorney General defeated incumbent Matt Bevin by 5,150 votes, 0.35% of the total turnout.

Beshear won in the state’s main population centers, claiming Jefferson County, which includes Louisville, by almost 100,000 votes, as well as Fayette County, including the city of Lexington, by more than 35,000 votes.

In September, Beshear detailed a policy under which tax revenue raised through gambling expansion would be fund a pension system for public servants such as teachers, police officers and firefighters.