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State of the Union: Illinois, DraftKings, CDI and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, includes a bill to legalise online casino gaming in Illinois, figures from the American Gaming Association on the performance of the US gaming market as a whole in 2020 and baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr’s appointment as a special advisor to DraftKings’ board.

Illinois lawmakers file bill to legalize online casino

Illinois Representatives Robert Rita and Jonathan Carroll have filed a bill that would legalize online casino gaming in the state.

Under House Bill 3142, also known as the Internet Gaming Act, Illinois’ brick-and-mortar casinos would be permitted to apply for internet gaming licenses.

US commercial gaming revenue plummets to lowest mark since 2003

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has revealed that total commercial gross gaming revenue in the US in 2020 came to $29.98bn, the lowest figure since 2003.

Slots made up the majority of sales, but this total was down 33.8% to $18.87bn. Table game revenue came to $5.09bn, meanwhile, down 39.4%.

DraftKings recruits MLB icon Cal Ripken Jr as advisor

DraftKings has appointed Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and entrepreneur Cal Ripken Jr as a special advisor to its board of directors.

Ripken, the Baltimore Orioles icon and 19-time All-Star, will lend strategic insights to the board and chief executive Jason Robins on key company initiatives and will become a DraftKings equity holder.

CDI swings to 2020 loss despite Q4 recovery

Racetrack and gaming operator Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) made a loss of $81.9m in 2020 as revenue dropped 207% to $1.05bn, but the business experienced a strong Q4 recovery, with profit increasing by more than 300%.

While land-based and racing revenue fell, online revenue from CDI’s Twin Spires online product brought in $403.4m, up 40.7%. Almost all of this came from its online horse race wagering platform, while $4.3m came from its sports betting and casino brand, which was rebranded under the Twin Spires umbrella earlier this year.

Penn National set to unlock NY online access through Rivers Casino deal

Penn National Gaming could gain access to the proposed New York online gaming market through a long-term strategic partnership with the owner of Rivers Casino & Resort.

Penn Interactive, which is already live in Pennsylvania and Michigan, will gain ‘second skin’ access to the New York market, subject to legislation being enacted and regulatory approvals, through Capital Region Gaming’s licence.

Vermont sportsbook bill would open market to six brands

Vermont Senators have introduced a bill to permit sports betting in the state, operated via the Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery with up to six online brands, as well as through lottery retailers.

Senate Bill 77 was introduced by Senators Richard Sears, Christopher Pearson Michael Sirotkin and Richard Westman.

Carousel’s enters three new states with Caesars deal

Carousel Group has entered a multi-state, 10-year partnership with Caesars Entertainment that will see its brand become available to customers in three new states.

Through the agreement, Carousel’s flagship betting site will operate in New Jersey, Indiana and Iowa, with online casino also offered in New Jersey, pending obtaining all necessary gaming licenses.

Arizona House and Senate betting bills both advance

Bills in the Arizona House of Representatives and Senate to legalize sports betting in the state have both made progress in recent days.

House Bill 2772 has been approved by the chamber’s Republican and Democratic caucuses, while the Senate Commerce Committee has passed Senate Bill 1797 bill.

BetMGM launches second online casino in Pennsylvania

BetMGM, the betting brand operated via the joint venture between Entain and MGM Resorts, has launched its Borgata Casino mobile app in Pennsylvania through a market access partnership with Rivers Casino Philadelphia.

The Borgata Casino features over 150 slots and table games, with players able to access content such as Premium Blackjack Pro and MGM Grand Millions.

Zitro appoints Magrisi as new US chief

Gaming supplier Zitro Games has appointed Mike Magrisi as the new managing director for its sales and operation office in the US.

Based out of San Diego, California, Magrisi will lead Zitro’s business development efforts in the US, leading the supplier’s expansion strategy in the country.

WatchandWager extends marketing partnership with AretoNet

Advance-deposit wagering operator and Webis Holdings subsidiary WatchandWager (WaW) has extended its data and marketing agreement with AretoNet for a further two years.

The US-based leading horse and greyhound racing operator will continue to utilise Malta-headquartered AretoNet’s full suite of real-time data analytics, business intelligence, segmentation and marketing automation features to deliver contextual, real-time marketing campaigns to maximise player conversion and retention.

theScore moves ahead with US IPO plans

Canada’s Score Media and Gaming (theScore) has launched a public offering of Class A shares in the US and Canada, which it aims to list on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.

The operator will offer 5m Class A Subordinate Voting Shares for sale through the offering. These will be offered through a syndicate of underwriters led by Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Canaccord Genuity and Macquarie Capital, as joint book-running managers.

Bally’s proposes new $650m casino resort in Virginia

US land-based casino operator Bally’s Corporation has put forward a proposal to construct a new $650m casino resort in the city of Richmond, Virginia.

The facility would span 1.6m square feet and include a casino with 2,500 slot machines, 90 table games, 30 poker tables and a high-limit gaming area.

GNOG pens NY market access deal with Tioga Downs

Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG) has agreed a deal with Tioga Downs Race Track in New York that could see it launch online gambling in the US state, subject to future legislation, regulatory approval and license eligibility.

Under the 20-year market access agreement, GNOG would launch a new online casino under Tioga Downs’ license in New York.

Churchill Downs to sell Illinois’ Arlington Racecourse site

Churchill Downs Incorporated has launched the process to sell the Arlington International Racecourse in Arlington Heights, Illinois, with plans for the new owner to redevelop the site.

THe operator, however, said it remains committed to running Arlington’s 2021 racing calendar, which lasts until 25 September. It said it does not expect the sale to close before this date, nor does it expect the sale to impact the schedule in any other way.