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State of the Union: Elections, Scientific Games, Tennessee and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, covers ballot results in Maryland, Louisiana and South Dakota, the launch of legal sports betting in Tennessee and Q3 results from a variety of operators and suppliers including Scientific Games and MGM Resorts.

Voters in Maryland, Louisiana and South Dakota back sports betting

Sports betting is coming to Louisiana, Maryland and South Dakota, after voters backed measures on yesterday’s (November 3) election ballot to regulate the vertical.

In Louisiana, legal wagering garnered support from voters in 55 of the state’s 64 parishes, according to preliminary results. This was facilitated by Senate Bill 130, authored by Senator Cameron Henry.

The measure was strongly supported by Louisiana Wins, a coalition of sports betting supporters that led the charge for a yes vote.

SG sees igaming and lottery growth offset by gaming declines in Q3

Scientific Games reported an 18.4% year-on-year decline in revenue for the third quarter of 2020, after growth in its lottery, digital and social gaming arm SciPlay was offset by steep declines in its gaming division.

Revenue for the three months ended 30 September fell to $698m (£535.8m/€594.1m), though this represented a 29.5% rise from the second quarter, in which the supplier was hit hard by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The year-on-year decline was down to its land-based content business, SG Gaming, for which revenue declined 49.1% to $231m.

Sports betting launches in Tennessee

Sports betting in Tennessee launched yesterday (1 November), with major operators such as DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM as well as the local Action247 launching their sports betting products.

The Lottery, which acts as the regulator for the market, confirmed on Friday that sports betting operators may take bets from players aged 21 and over and located in the state from Sunday as planned.

“This Sunday will represent the culmination of an enormous amount of work and due diligence to bring online-only sports wagering to Tennessee, the only state in the nation to do so,” TEL President and chief executive Rebecca Paul Hargrove said. “As the regulator, today also represents the beginning of a new stage as we establish and support a responsible and competitive program here.

Canadian MP to reintroduce single event betting bill

A bill that would repeal existing laws and make it legal for Canadians to wager on single sporting events is to be reintroduced into the country’s parliament.

Sponsored by Conservative Member of Parliament Kevin Waugh, C-218, which is also known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, was first introduced in February this year.

The bill seeks to repeal paragraph 207(4)(b) of Canada’s Criminal Code, under which consumers are only permitted to place bets on at least three games or more, meaning that a wager on a single match or event is illegal.

Chinese restrictions slow MGM Resorts recovery in Q3

MGM Resorts saw its regional US properties begin to recover from their novel coronavirus (Covid-19) shut-down in the third quarter, though continuing restrictions in Macau meant revenue remained down significantly year-on-year.

Revenue was down 66.0% at $1.13bn for the quarter ended 30 September, a period that saw all MGM Resorts properties reopened by the period end.

Acroud signs LoI to acquire US tipster company

iGaming affiliate business Acroud AB (formerly Net Gaming) has signed a letter of intent (LoI) to acquire an unnamed “fast-growing US tipster company” for an initial consideration of €2.2m ($2.57m).

The acquisition would also be followed by a potential additional earn-out consideration set at a minimum of €2.2m, to be paid in cash and shares.

NFL Players Association purchases stake in Monkey Knife Fight

The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) has acquired a stake in daily fantasy sports (DFS) operator Monkey Knife Fight.

Under the arrangement, the NFLPA and its OneTeam Partners joint venture with the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLPBA) and RedBird Capital Partners will become a strategic owner in the operator.

Everi reduces Q3 declines as casinos reopen

Gaming and financial technology provider Everi Holdings said the reopening of casinos across the US helped the business recover from the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) shut-down in Q3, though continued operating restrictions saw revenue remain below prior year levels.

Revenue for the three months to 30 September came to $112.1m, a significant improvement on the $38.7m generated in the Covid-19 hit second quarter, but still down 16.7% year-on-year.

FanDuel lands new deal with Entercom Communications

Sports wagering and daily fantasy sports operator FanDuel has entered into a partnership with US sports radio and audio provider Entercom Communications.

The agreement will run for a period of six years, with FanDuel to serve as the official sportsbook partner of Entercom across its sports broadcast stations and digital audio platform.

Esports Entertainment scores Philadelphia Union partnership

Esports Entertainment Group has announced details of a new partnership with US Major League Soccer (MLS) team Philadelphia Union.

Under the deal, the length of which was not disclosed, Esports Entertainment will serve as the official esports tournament provider for the club.

DraftKings scores first golf partnership with DeChambeau

Sports betting and daily fantasy sports operator DraftKings has secured its first deal with a professional golfer by entering a partnership with US player Bryson DeChambeau.

The integrated brand, content, marketing and VIP-centric collaboration will see the DraftKings logo feature on DeChambeau’s golf cap when he plays.

HeadsUp and LOTIX to launch US sportsbook and lottery operations

Media and gaming operator HeadsUp Entertainment has agreed a joint venture with gaming and payment supplier Lotix, to pursue lottery and betting opportunities in the US.

Through the agreement, HeadsUp aims to enter state gaming markets, powered by Lotix’s technology.

DC Lottery issues warning over illegal sports betting

The Washington DC Office of Lottery and Gaming (OLG) has warned consumers, media outlets and marketing agencies in the US capital city about the dangers of using or working with unlicensed sports betting operators.

While, land-based and mobile sports betting is legal in DC, but the OLG said it is aware of a number of outlets operating in its jurisdiction without the relevant license.

Loto-Québec revenue falls 51.4% in Covid-hit first half

Canadian provincial lottery and gaming operator Loto-Québec saw its revenue for the first half of its 2020-21 fiscal year fall 51.4% year-on-year, after operations were disrupted throughout the first quarter by novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

Revenue for the six months to 28 September came to CA$687.4m (£400.2m/€443.8m/$517.0m), with retail lottery sales suspended due to Covid-19 from 23 March.

WynnBET enters multi-year sports betting partnership with Nascar

WynnBET, the digital gaming division of Wynn Resorts Ltd., has entered into a multi-year, national sports betting partnership with the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (Nascar).

The partnership will see WynnBET become an authorized gaming operator of Nascar, and the two organizations will collaborate to create and promote new sports betting experiences for fans across the United States.

FanDuel nets partnership with NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies

Daily fantasy and sports betting operator FanDuel has struck a new strategic partnership with Tennessee-based National Basketball Association (NBA) team, the Memphis Grizzlies.

The multi-year deal represents FanDuel’s first NBA team sports betting partnership, and sees the operator become official sports betting and exclusive official daily fantasy partner for the team. It also marks the Grizzlies’ first partnership with a sports betting operator.

Oklahoma names special counsel for Native American affairs

Kevin Stitt, the Governor of Oklahoma, has appointed attorney Ryan Leonard as special counsel for Native American affairs in the state.

In the role, Leonard will assist the governor and his administration on issues arising from the US Supreme Court’s decision in the McGirt v. Oklahoma case, a landmark ruling issued in July this year stating much of the eastern portion of the state of Oklahoma remains as Native American lands.

NBA extends data deals with Genius and Sportradar

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has extended its official US betting data partnerships with both Sportradar and Genius Sports Group.

Under the deals, Sportradar and Genius Sports Group have non-exclusive rights to distribute official NBA and WNBA betting data to betting operators in the US.

William Hill launches online and mobile sports betting in Indiana

William Hill has announced the launch of its online and mobile sports wagering offering in the state of Indiana.

Consumers in the state can access the William Hill sportsbook app and website from anywhere inside Indiana’s borders.

FanDuel teams up with Evolution for live casino offering

FanDuel has selected live dealer giant Evolution to provide its live casino offering in the US.

The deal will allow FanDuel to offer live casino for the first time in Pennsylvania.

FanDuel and Twin River to open new retail sportsbook in NJ

Flutter Entertainment’s FanDuel Group has expanded its partnership with Twin River Worldwide Holdings to launch a new retail sportsbook at the Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel and Casino in New Jersey.

Scheduled to open before the end of the year, the new sportsbook will serve as a temporary facility, with a permanent retail location set to launch in spring next year.

Tennessee Lottery approves events for sports betting

The Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL)’s board of directors has approved an initial list of sporting events for online wagering in the state, to be published on its website in the near future.

The TEL, which serves as the licensing and regulatory body for online gambling in the state, and not as an operator, also announced today that the Sports Wagering Committee of the board had also met and approved 17 new vendors in the state.

Michigan’s Northville Downs to run 54 racing days in 2021

Michigan-based racecourse Northville Downs has announced plans to schedule 54 days of live pari-mutuel horse racing on Fridays and Saturdays throughout 2021, under an order issued October 27 by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB).

The track has also received permission to simulcast races to and from the venue, and conduct simulcast pari-mutuel wagering throughout next year except on April 4, November 25 and December 24 and 25.