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State of the Union: DraftKings, Covid-19, Puerto Rico and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, includes DraftKings’ first financial statements since its merger with SBTech and public listing on the Nasdaq. It also covers the full impact of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) on the American gaming industry, Pennsylvania’s gaming figures for June, and proposed sports betting regulations for Puerto Rico

DraftKings revenue up 27.1% in H1 as net loss widens

Sports betting and daily fantasy giant DraftKings reported a 27.1% year-on-year rise in revenue for the first half of 2020, though the business’ net loss widened to $230.1m for the period.

Revenue for the six months to 30 June came to $159.5m, of which $139.1m came from online gaming (comprising sports betting, online casino and daily fantasy sports), up 14.6%.

Gaming software, comprising the legacy SBTech business, contributed a further $15.0m, while DraftKings recorded a further $5.4m in other revenue. While the operator did not explain this ‘other’ segment, it classed it as B2C revenue suggesting it may be a contribution from retail betting.

US GGR down 45.6% in H1 as Covid-19 wreaks havoc

US commercial gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the first half of 2020 fell 45.6% year-on-year to $11.70bn, according to the latest figures from the American Gaming Association (AGA).

However, in a period where novel coronavirus (Covid-19) caused much of the US gambling industry to grind to a halt, online gaming revenue rocketed.

For the half year period, land-based slots were the largest driver of revenue, bringing in $7.36bn, but this was down 78.0% from 2019. Table games suffered the most severe drop, with revenue declining 78.5% to $2.13bn.

Puerto Rico launches consultation on sports betting regulations

Puerto Rico has taken a step towards launching legal sports betting over a year after legalizing the vertical, beginning a 30-day consultation on sports betting regulations developed in partnership with Gaming Laboratories International (GLI).

The unincorporated US territory’s then-governor Rico Rosselló Nevares ratified legislation in July last year, shortly before he resigned amid a scandal over comments he made on messaging application Telegram to members of his staff.

This year has already seen significant changes to the potential regulatory framework for gambling. Jaime Alex Irizarry, gambling director of Puerto Rico’s Tourism Board, resigned in April, before new governor Wanda Vázquez Garced appointed José Balasquide-Córdova and Cristóbal Méndez to oversee the formation of a new, dedicated gambling authority.

Galaxy warns of trouble paying debts amid 88% Q2 revenue hit

Table games supplier Galaxy Gaming saw revenue collapse 87.8% year-on-year to just $664,000 in the second quarter of 2020 as it warned it may struggle to meet some of its covenants.

Todd Cravens, Galaxy’s president and chief executive, said Galaxy’s revenue from the quarter came almost entirely from igaming as closure of land-based casinos because of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) meant it brought in almost no revenue from these clients.

“The second quarter of 2020 was painful for everyone in the global casino industry,” Cravens said. “We earned virtually no revenue from our land-based clients, almost all of whom were shut for the entire quarter. We used the time to develop new games and technologies that we hope to introduce later this year.

PA betting & igaming mitigate land-based decline in July

Gambling revenue in Pennsylvania more than doubled month-on-month in July to $283.1m, as the state’s market continued to recover from the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) shutdown.

Though revenue was only up 0.6% year-on-year from $281.5m in July 2019, the figure represented a 113.5% increase on $132.6m recorded in June of this year. This was down to the continuing strong performance of the state’s legal igaming products, aided by growth in the sports betting vertical.

The state’s casinos began to reopen in June – having been closed since March 16 due to Covid-19 – with all land-based casinos once again operational in July.

Golden Nugget igaming revenue grows 84.3% in second quarter

Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG), the igaming division of the casino chain that is preparing a stock market listing, has revealed that gross gaming revenue for the second quarter of 2020 almost doubled year-on-year.

Gross revenue for the three months to 30 June grew 84.3% to $28.2m, and after expenses were factored in, net revenue for the quarter was up 78.4% to $24.8m.

Illinois introduces new restrictions amid Covid-19 spike

The Illinois Gaming Board has announced new restrictions for land-based gambling facilities in the state in response to an increase in novel coronavirus (Covid-19) cases.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the Metro East region of the state has exceeded its criteria that trigger additional measures to slow any further spread of Covid-19.

GAN and Penn National Gaming launch social casino app

Online gaming supplier GAN and Penn National Gaming launched Penn’s MyChoice-branded social casino app, powered by GAN’s Simulated Gaming product, today (20 August).

The app is integrated with Penn’s MyChoice player loyalty program, which currently boasts more than 20m members, allowing members of the program to earn loyalty points by playing games on the app.

Mississippi betting market returns to growth in June

The latest figures from the Mississippi Gaming Commission show the state’s sports betting market recovered from June’s losses in July, growing revenue year-on-year despite a decline in amounts wagered.

Amounts wagered in July were down 40.8% year-on-year to $7.9m, though with just $1.6m wagered in June, this suggested the market was recovering well following the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) shut-down of the state’s casinos.

Penn’s M Resort announces 58 more layoffs

Penn National Gaming’s M Resort Spa Casino Las Vegas has announced an additional 58 permanent layoffs, on top of 352 previously announced redundancies.

The operator announced the additional layoffs in a letter to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation dated 6 August, as part of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 (WARN Act). This requires that employers provide advance warning of mass layoffs.

PointsBet scores betting partnership with PGA Tour

PointsBet has agreed a multi-year content and marketing deal to become an official operator of the PGA Tour, organizer of the top men’s golf tournaments in North America.

Under the agreement, the length of which was not disclosed, sports wagering operator PointsBet will have rights to use official PGA Tour marks in the US.

GAN pens simulated gaming deal with New Mexico casino

GAN is to launch its Simulated Gaming solution for Native American casino operator Laguna Development Corporation’s (LDC) Route 66 Casino property near Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Under the arrangement, customers at Route 66 Casino will be able to access a range of free-to-play online casino games, with LDC set to roll out the offering before the end of the third quarter.

IGT pens extension with New York Lottery

International Game Technology (IGT) has signed a two-year extension to its technology and services contract with the New York Lottery.

The renewed deal, agreed by the IGT Global Solutions Corporation subsidiary, will run through to August 2022.

GAN pens simulated gaming deal with New Mexico casino

GAN is launch its Simulated Gaming solution for Native American casino operator Laguna Development Corporation’s (LDC) Route 66 Casino property near Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Under the arrangement, customers at Route 66 Casino will be able to access a range of free-to-play online casino games, with LDC set to roll out the offering before the end of the third quarter.

MGM’s The Mirage to reopen August 27

MGM Resorts International announced that its Las Vegas-based Mirage resort will reopen for business on August 27, following several months closed due to the novel coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic.

The company described how it would reopen the property in line with its seven-point safety plan, a set of protocols and procedures designed to prevent the spread of the virus.

Players stake $37.2m in first four weeks of WV igaming

The first four weeks of legal online casino in West Virginia saw players wager $37.2m on DraftKings’ casino products, resulting in revenue of $824,639, the latest figures from the West Virginia Lottery Commission reveal.

The state became the third in which DraftKings rolled out its standalone casino app on 15 July, following launches in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, in partnership with Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.

Delaware igaming revenue soars in July

The Delaware Lottery has reported a 144.4% year-on-year increase in online gambling revenue in July, while player spending more than doubled to $20.8m.

Revenue for the month amounted to $705,533, up from $288,675 in the same month last year, though this represented a 28.9% decline from June’s $964,607 total.

Horse racing resumes in Michigan at Northville Downs

Horse racing – and simulcast wagering – has resumed in Michigan, with Northville Downs holding live standardbred races from August 14.

The resumption of pari-mutuel racing at Northville was authorized by an executive order from Governor Gretchen Whitmer, which also saw Detroit’s commercial casinos reopen from August 5, following their novel coronavirus (Covid-19) shut-down.

GAN launches igaming in PA with Cordish

GAN has announced the launch of a new PlayLive!-branded igaming site in Pennsylvania through a partnership with Cordish Gaming Group, the global gaming division of real estate and entertainment business Cordish Company.

The new site offers players in the state access to a range of online slots, table games and non-traditional online gambling games.

SG launches sports betting in MI with Firekeepers Casino

Scientific Games has launched its sports betting product in Michigan through a partnership with the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi (NHBP)’s Firekeepers Casino, the first tribal casino in Michigan to offer sports betting.

The supplier added that it is also working with the casino to launch online sports betting and igaming as well, as agreed in a deal signed in January.

IGT pens Nevada sports betting deal with Boyd Gaming

International Game Technology (IGT) has entered into a long-term sports betting partnership with US casino operator Boyd Gaming.

Under the agreement, IGT will provide Boyd with its PlaySports platform to support the operator’s retail sportsbooks throughout Nevada, along with its mobile sports app and online sports betting portal.