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State of the Union: Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, includes the return of remote registration in Illinois, following renewed casino shutdowns, as well as continued improvement for the Nevada gaming market in July and a new player in New Jersey.

Illinois Governor reinstates remote registration for sports betting
Bettors in Illinois will be able to sign up for an online sports betting account without travelling to a physical location after Governor J.B. Pritzker reinstated an executive order suspending in-person registration.

The remote registration order will be in force until September 19 at the earliest, after the order was reissued on Friday (August 21). It had originally been implemented from June 4, and was due to be in force as long as Illinois’ Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamations were in place.

These proclamations, setting out measures to tackle the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, saw the state’s land-based casinos shuttered from March 16, making in-person registration impossible.

Nevada sees gaming market recovery continue in July
Nevada gaming revenue grew 33.5% month-over-month to $756.8m in July, as the state’s recovery from its novel coronavirus (Covid-19) shut-down continued, with the sports betting vertical rebounding from June’s loss.

However, July’s total still represented a 26.1% decline from the prior year, at a time when social distancing requirements are in place, and rising Covid-19 cases have prompted new restrictions in some state counties.

The $756.8m total included a $210.4m contribution from table, counter and card games, down 35.9% year-on-year, but featuring a much-improved performance from sports betting.

Twin River hands NJ skin to exchange betting start-up
Twin River Worldwide Holdings has granted the second of three online sports betting skins it is set to gain through its acquisition of Bally’s Atlantic City to Sporttrade, an exchange betting start-up.

The operator’s latest partner is a start-up currently developing what it claims will be the first regulated betting exchange in the US.

Sporttrade was “thrilled” to partner Twin River as it prepares to introduce “a truly differentiated product to the New Jersey market”, its founder and chief executive Alexander Kane said.

Colorado sees sports betting revenue and handle rise in July
Colorado reported a 9.1% month-on-month increase in sports betting revenue for July, while handle also jumped 55.4%, according to figures released by the Colorado Department of Revenue.

Sports wagering revenue in July amounted to $2.4m, up from $2.2m recorded in the previous month, as the market continued to grow since its first full month of operations in May this year.

Online was by far the main source of income for licensed operators in the state, with revenue for the channel contributing  $2.3m, compared to just $164,238 from retail sportsbooks.

Delaware sports betting revenue slumps to $12k in July
Sports wagering revenue in Delaware reached just $12,114 in July, in the first figures released by the Delaware Lottery since March, due to disruption caused by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Revenue was down 97.6% from $507,410 in July last year, and also 97.9% lower than in March of this year – the last time retail sportsbooks were operational in the state.

MGM appoints InterActiveCorp leadership to board
MGM Resorts International has appointed a number of executives from online media giant InterActiveCorp (IAC) to its board of directors.

IAC chairman and senior executive Barry Diller and chief executive Joey Levin will both join the MGM board, which will now consist of 14 members.

GAN benefits from Q2 online shift to grow first half revenue
Gaming technology provider GAN saw the migration of US players to igaming almost double its second quarter revenue, helping the supplier to a 16.2% year-on-year increase in revenue for the first half of the year.

Over the three months to 30 June, almost all of the US land-based casinos were shuttered for a time, as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. This saw players shift to online gaming, and resulted in GAN’s revenue for the quarter soaring 99.4% to $8.3m.

Scientific Games formulates protection plan for executives
Scientific Games has adopted a Change in Control (CIC) Protection Plan designed to ensure the company’s top executives receive significant financial compensation if they are dismissed “without good reason” under a new ownership regime.

Under the plan, any executives who have their employments terminated without just cause within 18 months of a change of control at the company would be entitled to the pay-outs.

Casino Royale Las Vegas to lay off 98 employees
Casino Royale, located on the Las Vegas strip and owned by hotel chain Best Western, is to lay off 98 employees because of the impact of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) on the property.

Of the 98 employees, 49 will be dealers, while other affected jobs in gaming include a pit manager, slot hosts, other slot employees, cashiers and surveillance employees.

Amelco taps Continent 8 to aid US expansion
Sports betting software and trading services provider Amelco is to expand its presence in the US after entering into a multi-state agreement with Continent 8 Technologies.

Under the deal, Amelco will manage its US operations through Continent 8’s network of data centres, which offer managed hosting, connectivity and cyber security services to clients.

ESPN opens new Vegas studio at Caesars’ Linq
Sports broadcaster ESPN will strengthen its ties with the US betting industry as it today (24 August) opens its new studio at Caesars Entertainment’s The Linq Hotel + Experience in Las Vegas.

ESPN said it will expand its content with Caesars to bring more Vegas-exclusive sports betting and entertainment news to viewers. This includes moving ESPN’s Daily Wager to the new Linq studio beginning on 8 September and launching a sports betting-themed digital show this autumn.

2020 Kentucky Derby to take place behind closed doors
America’s biggest horseracing event, the Kentucky Derby, will take behind closed doors for the first time in its almost 150-year history at the start of next month.

The Churchill Downs race — which usually welcomes a crowd of around 150,000 and last year attracted a record $165.5m in wagers — will be run without spectators on 5 September having already been rescheduled from May due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

DoI ratifies Oklahoma tribal compacts
The US Department of the Interior has approved the two most recent gaming compacts, signed by Oklahoma’s Kialegee Tribal Town (KTT) and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (UKB).

The compacts, negotiated and signed by Governor Kevin Stitt in July this year, cover Class III and table games, though not sports betting.

Esports Entertainment secures NJ market access with Twin River
Esports betting operator Esports Entertainment Group has entered into a multi-year partnership with Twin River Worldwide Holdings, that will see it enter New Jersey’s sports betting market.

The operator plans to roll out a proprietary mobile app, which, when live, will enable consumers in the state to place wagers on a range of esports events.

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.

IL brings in new casino restrictions as Covid-19 cases rise
The Illinois Gaming Board has confirmed that restrictions will be introduced in a number of regions across the state amid rising novel coronavirus (Covid-19) cases.

Figures released by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) show that both Metro East and Northeastern Illinois have exceeded its criteria that trigger additional measures to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Louisiana’s Coushatta Casino partners Rush Street for social launch
Louisiana-based Coushatta Casino Resort has launched a new social casino and sportsbook in partnership with Rush Street Interactive.

Coushhatta Casino4Fun is powered by the same technology used for Rush Street’s real-money online gaming sites and omni-channel retail sportsbooks.

BetMGM partners VSiN for new sports betting show
BetMGM, the betting brand operated via the joint venture between GVC Holdings and MGM Resorts, has joined forces with multi-platform broadcaster Vegas Stats & Information Network (ViSN), to launch a new specialist sports wagering program.

Betting Across America will see BetMGM oddsmakers and VSiN hosts discuss the latest odds and lines movement at BetMGM sportsbooks throughout the US.