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State of the Union: Covid-19, NJ, PA, DE, MS and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, focuses on the impact of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on the US gambling sector, as well as the latest revenue figures from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Mississippi.

Covid-19 leads to casino closures across US
Casinos have closed, both voluntarily and by law, across the US in response to the ongoing outbreak of the novel Coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

The Indiana Gaming Commission, Illinois Gaming Board, Michigan Gaming Control Board and Massachusetts Gaming Commission have both ordered all casinos in their states to close for two weeks.

Meanwhile in Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton have issued a Director’s Order banning all “mass gatherings” of more than 100 people while Maryland governor Larry Hogan issued a similar order.

On 16 March, Governor Ned Lamont of Connecticut, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York and Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey jointly announced on a conference call that all casinos in their states would close from 8pm ET as part of a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people.

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AGA calls for state support amid Covid-19 pandemic
The American Gaming Association (AGA) has urged state governments to offer additional support to the gambling industry as the market continues to feel the effect of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Casinos and other gambling venues across the US have been forced to close as states governments implement new measures to combat the spread of Covid-19.

AGA chief executive Bill Miller said it is now up to state governments to offer support to those impacted by the widespread shutdown, estimating that some 60% of casino employees have so far been affected.

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Covid-19 forces Nevada casinos to shut down
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has ordered casinos in the state to temporarily cease operations as part of a wider effort to slow the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

The order came into effect at midnight last night, with all casinos across the state required to shut down gaming devices, machines, tables, games and any other kit related to gaming activity by 11:59pm on 17 March.

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Kentucky Derby postponed until September 5
Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) has announced that the 2020 edition of the Kentucky Derby US horse racing event will be switched from May to September in response to the global outbreak of Covid-19.

The 146th Kentucky Derby had been due to run on May 2, in keeping with its traditional date of the first Saturday in May, but will now instead take place on September 5.

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New Jersey reveals year-on-year market growth in February
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) has reported a year-on-year increase in revenue across all market sectors in February, despite the sports betting sector reporting a significant month-on-month decline.

Sports wagering revenue for the month amounted to $17.0m, which was 33.8% higher than $12.7m in February last year, but 68.3% down on $53.6m posted in January of this year. Incidentally, the January 2020 figure was the highest ever monthly revenue total recorded in the state.

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Pennsylvania sports betting revenue slips to $4.7m in February
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has reported a marginal rise in market revenue for February, despite a 79.4% month-on-month decline in the sports betting vertical.

Overall gambling revenue in the state – comprising land-based table games and slots, online casino, sports betting, fantasy sports and video gaming terminals – amounted to $304.3m in February, up 0.5% from $304.2m in January and 13.8% from $267.6m in February 2019.

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Mounting costs lead DraftKings to 2019 loss
DraftKings’ revenue increased year-on-year for 2019 and but losses widened, as its merger with SBTech approaches, but the operator remains confident of seeing earnings exceed $1bn in the long-term.

The daily fantasy sports and sportsbook operator’s net revenue came to $323m, up 42.7% year-on-year.

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Mississippi sports betting revenue falls in February
Sports wagering revenue in Mississippi amounted to $2.1m in February, representing both a year-on-year and month-on-month decline for the state’s market.

Revenue was down by 25.0% from $2.8m in February of 2019, while the monthly total was also 54.4% lower than the $4.6m recorded in January this year.

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Delaware igaming revenue reaches $324,958 in February
Online gaming revenue in Delaware increased 18.3% year-on-year to $324,958 in February as all of the state’s three licensed operators reported growth.

The February amount was lower than the $387,865 figure reported in January of this year, while player spending was down month-on-month to $9.9m. However, on a year-on-year-basis, wagers were up 9.3%.

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Georgia sports betting bills die after missing legislative deadline
Two bills that would have legalised certain forms of sports wagering in Georgia have died after they failed to progress in time to meet a legislative deadline in the state.

Senate Bill 403 and House Resolution 378 had sought to amend the state’s Constitution in order to permit sports betting in Georgia.

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Rev. Sharpton calls on Colorado to block mobile betting
Civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton has urged Colorado lawmakers and the state’s Gaming Commission to block mobile sports betting in the state.

In a letter to Governor Jared Polis, Speaker of the House Kathleen Becker, Sharpton said legal online and mobile betting would lead to job losses – particularly among minorities – at Colorado casinos and would only benefit out-of-state companies.

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Galaxy Gaming suspends payments from closed casinos
Casino table game supplier Galaxy Gaming has suspended billing any casinos that have closed due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

The global pandemic has led to casino closures across the world as governments impose bans on large gatherings in order to limit its spread. Several casinos in the United States closed in the past week, including all casinos in New Jersey last night under orders from Governor Phil Murphy.

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