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State of the Union: Florida, Canada, MGM and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, includes a new gaming compact in Florida that would allow for sports betting, as well as  results from MGM and its BetMGM joint venture, and progression of Canada’s single-event wagering bill.

Florida approves exclusive sports betting agreement with Seminole Tribe

A gaming compact allowing sports betting in Florida exclusively through the Seminole Tribe – which may partner with the state’s pari-mutuel operators under the agreement – has been approved by Florida governor Ron DeSantis.

As per the agreement, sports betting must only take place in sportsbooks operated by the Tribe, or online.

“This historic compact expands economic opportunity, tourism, and recreation, and bolsters the fiscal success of our state in one fell swoop for the benefit of all Floridians and Seminoles alike,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.

Canada single-event sports betting bill heads to Senate after Commons approval

A bill seeking to legalize single-event sports betting in Canada is to move to the Senate for further discussions after it was approved by the country’s House of Commons.

Bill C-218, also known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, secured approval at its third reading in the Commons last night (April 22), following passage at its second reading in February.

Approval clears the way for the bill to progress forward to the Senate, edging the country one step closer to legal single-event sports wagering.

MGM posts $247m Q1 loss as Vegas casinos continue to struggle

MGM Resorts International said consumer demand strengthened in the opening months of 2021 despite posting a Q1 operating loss of $246.7m (£177m/€204m).

In its financial and operating results for the three months to 31 March, the North American casino operator reported consolidated net revenues of $1.65bn, which was down 27.1% year-on-year.

The group said that while the comparative quarter in 2020 was negatively affected by property closures for a portion of the period, the 2021 first quarter was hit by midweek property and hotel closures, lower business volume and travel activity and ongoing operational restrictions due to the pandemic primarily at its Las Vegas Strip resorts.

BetMGM Q1 revenue reaches 90% of 2020 total as JV aims for $1bn by 2022

Online operator BetMGM recorded revenue of $163m for the first three months of 2021 – 90% of its entire 2020 total.

At an investor day event, the MGM-Entain joint venture announced it posted net revenue of $178m for the entirety of last year, but it appears set to eclipse that total by early Q2.

Betway owner Super Group set for US listing with $4.75bn SEAC merger

Super Group, the holding company of online sports betting and gambling operator Betway, has entered into a definitive agreement to merge with special purpose acquisition business Sports Entertainment Acquisition Corp. (SEAC) and expand its offering into the US market.

Under the arrangement, Super Group will combine with SEAC and apply to list shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the new ticker symbol ‘SGHC’, with the new business to operate under the name Super Group.

Nevada casinos post first billion-dollar month since February 2020

Gaming revenue in Nevada for March surpassed $1bn, marking the first time since the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) shutdown that it hit this figure.

Total revenue for March came to $1.07bn, a 38.1% month-over-month increase. The total was also 72.6% above March 2020’s $618.1m revenue figure, when the Las Vegas Strip casinos closed for the first time since the Kennedy assassination, from March 17.

FanDuel migrates to SG-powered sportsbook solution in Illinois and Indiana

FanDuel Group has debuted its OpenSports-powered sportsbook in two further states with the platform now available in Illinois and Indiana.

FanDuel has been operational in both jurisdictions for some time, but is now seeking to enhance its offering through the deployment of the Scientific Games Corporation technology.

Louisiana lawmakers deliberate amended betting tax proposals

Louisiana Representative John Stefanski has amended his bill to establish a tax rate for online and mobile sports betting in the state.

Stefanski’s House Bill 688, which appears to replace his previous proposal HB 628, sets a $250,000 application fee for a sports betting license.

Chicago issues request for proposals for new casino resort

The city of Chicago has issued its Request for Proposals (RFP) regarding the building of and running of an integrated casino resort within the city.

The chosen partner will have the sole casino license in the city, with the resort aimed to be ready by 2025.

BetMGM launches online poker mobile apps in Pennsylvania

BetMGM, the gambling brand operated via the joint venture between Entain and MGM Resorts, has launched two online poker mobile apps in Pennsylvania.

BetMGM Poker and Borgata Poker will both be powered by PartyPoker US network, offering players access to a range of poker variants, signature poker tournaments and cash games of all buy-in levels.

DraftKings to enter distribution deal with Dan Le Batard Show owner Meadowlark

DraftKings has announced a content distribution and sponsorship media agreement with Meadowlark Media in a continued effort to expand its sports entertainment reach.

As part of the deal, DraftKings and Meadowlark will distribute podcast “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” and the Le Batard and Friends Network across TV, audio and online. The show and the wider network will feature DraftKings’ odds, betting trends and sportsbook information.

Playtech launches in Michigan with Parx Interactive and Gun Lake Casino

Gambling technology group Playtech has expanded into the Michigan market by launching a new igaming mobile app in partnership with platform provider Parx Interactive and the Gun Lake Band of Pottawatomi Indians.

Play Gun Lake will run on Playtech’s IMS platform and Player Account Management and feature a range of online gambling content from Playtech.

New Hampshire sports betting revenue rockets 979.3% YoY in March

Sports wagering revenue in New Hampshire hiked 979.3% year-on-year in March after a 404.6% jump in the US state’s handle for the month.

Gross gaming revenue from sports betting reached $4.3m in March, compared to $394,229 in the same month in 2020, though last year’s figures were significantly impacted by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Colorado surpasses $2bn in sports bets since launch as March wagers hit $300m

Players in Colorado have spent more than $2.0bn on sports betting since the state opened its regulated market in May 2020, with figures from the Colorado Department of Revenue showing over $300.0m was wagered in March this year.

Players bet a total of $301.0m on sports during March, up 12.9% on the $266.5m wagered in February and the second highest monthly total since the market launched in May 2020, but lower than the record $326.9m spent in January.

MGM agrees $80m Las Vegas Strip land sale

Casino giant MGM Resorts’ CityCenter subsidiary has reached an agreement with Infinity World Development Corp to sell a two-acre Las Vegas strip site to retail developers in a deal worth approximately $80m.

The buyers are 63SLVB LLC, owned by Brett Torino of Torino Development and Paul and Dayssi Kanavos of Flag Luxury.

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board issues $17,500 in fines

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has issued fines totaling $17,500 to three of its licensees including Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, operator of the Parx Casino.

Two of the fines related to the theft of video gaming terminals (VGTs) at a truck stop, and the third related to Greenwood, for allowing the deployment of unapproved online games.

Churchill Downs launches igaming in Pennsylvania, online betting in three states

Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) has announced the debut of its Twinspires Sports app in the states of Indiana and Colorado, and the launch of the TwinSpires Casino and Sports app in Pennsylvania ahead of the 2021 Kentucky Derby.

TwinSpires customers within the states will have access to sports betting across various professional sports including NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL and PGA, in addition to collegiate sports and events from around the world.

Tennessee bounces back in March as sports betting handle reaches $205.9m

Players in Tennessee wagered $205.9m in sports during March, the second-highest monthly total since the US state opened its regulated sports betting market in November last year.

The amount was 16.8% higher than $176.3m in February and just 2.6% shy of the $211.3m record set in January, according to figures published by the Tennessee Education Lottery.

Williams to succeed Kalm as new Michigan Gaming Control Board executive director

Henry Williams has been appointed as the new executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), having received approval from state Governor Gretchen Whitmer after Richard Kalm stepped down.

Williams has worked for the MGCB since 2001, most recently serving as deputy director of its casino operations division, providing oversight of the Enforcement Section, Employee Licensing, Gaming Lab and the Disassociated Persons program.

15 providers express interest in Connecticut Lottery sports betting license

The Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC) has received 15 responses to its request for qualifications (RFQ) for sports betting providers with which it may partner if it is permitted to launch sports betting in the state.

CLC initially issued the RFQ earlier this month, seeking applications from experienced sports betting providers. These providers would power the lottery’s sports betting product.

Kambi records 55% Q1 revenue increase as profit soars

Kambi has posted Q1 revenue of €43.2m (£37.6m/$52.2m) for 2021, representing a 55.1% increase on last year thanks to continued growth of the US market and a busy American sporting calendar.

The supplier said 87% of this revenue was generated from locally regulated markets, while operator turnover grew 122%.

Boyd returns to profit in Q1 as gaming growth offsets hospitality decline

Boyd Gaming enjoyed a rise in profit and overall revenue in Q1, as growth in gaming revenue offset the fact that hospitality revenue dropped considerably year on year.

The revenue for this quarter totaled at $753.3m, a rise of 10.0% compared to the previous first quarter.