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State of the Union: Las Vegas, Bally’s, Tipico and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, includes H1 results from a number of businesses including Bally’s, Churchill Downs Incorporated and Boyd. In addition, Covid-19 regulations have been tightened again in Las Vegas, while Tipico has secured a $90m media deal with USA Today published Gannett.

Face masks to return in Las Vegas as Nevada ramps up Covid-19 measures

Consumers in Las Vegas will once again have to wear face masks when gambling at land-based casinos after Nevada’s government reintroduced certain restrictions and measures related to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Signed by Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak yesterday (July 27), Emergency Directive 047 sets out how from 12:01am on July 30, staff, patrons and guests inside public indoor settings in casinos across 12 of Nevada’s counties will be required to wear face masks.

GLPI fundraising deal “not necessary” for Bally’s as Q2 revenue rockets

Bally’s has projected total consolidated revenue between $258m and $268m in its second quarter of 2021, a year-on-year improvement of up to 823.3% in a highly profitable quarter for the company.

Adjusted EBITDA is estimated to lie between $80m and $84m, another substantial increase of up to $73.3m compared to the same period of 2020.

Tipico agrees $90m media deal with USA Today owner Gannett

American mass media holding company Gannett Co. has signed an exclusive agreement with sportsbook and gaming operator Tipico’s US subsidiary.

The deal sees Tipico become the exclusive sports betting and igaming provider for Gannett, owner of the USA Today Network and a range of other local media assets across the US such as the Indianapolis Star and The Oklahoman.

Churchill Downs sees profit reach $144.4m in H1 as revenue rockets 91.6%

Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) returned to profit in the first half of its financial year as revenue almost doubled year-on-year following the easing of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions in the US.

Revenue for the six months to June 30 amounted to $839.4m, up 91.6% from $438.0m in the corresponding period last year.

Playmaker acquires Yardbarker in $24m deal

Digital sports media company Playmaker has acquired Yardbarker, a digital media property focused on publishing sports and entertainment news and information in a deal worth up to $24m.

Playmaker said the acquisition represents an integral pillar in its growth ambitions and significantly increases its US market presence, immediately adding Yardbarker’s more than 4 million unique monthly users and 350,000 daily newsletter subscribers to its audience.

Red Rock ordered to bargain with unions after “outrageous” election conduct

A federal court has ordered Red Rock Casino to immediately recognize and open negotiations with unions representing its employees, granting a rare injunction after a judge determined it “undermined the fairness” of union elections through “outrageous” benefit changes.

The dispute stems from Red Rock parent company Station Casinos’ decision to increase benefits in response to unionisation efforts across its operations during 2019 and 2020.

Sports wagering bill passed by Massachusetts House

A bill that aims to introduce sports betting in Massachusetts has been passed by the state House and referred to the Committee on Senate Ways and Means in a major development for sports wagering in the state.

The bill, House Bill 3974, outlines a tax of 12.5% for license holders each month, with license fees of $5.0m regardless of which license category an operator is eligible for. It was passed 156-3.

Colorado sports betting revenue rises to $19.7m in June despite handle drop

Colorado reported a month-on-month rise in sports betting revenue in July despite the US state experiencing a decline in revenue during the month.

Gross gaming revenue from sports wagering in June amounted to $17.6m, up 15.8% from $15.2m recorded in May this year and 700.0% higher than $2.2m in June last year.

PointsBet launches online gaming in New Jersey

Online gaming operator PointsBet has launched its igaming platform within the state of New Jersey, having received clearance from the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement to do so.

The New Jersey launch follows on from PointsBet debuting its first igaming offering in Michigan back in May.

Ontario sports betting standards restrict marketing, but not product

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has published draft sports betting regulations for the province, with restrictions on marketing similar to Ontario’s proposed online casino rules.

Currently, only the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation may offer online gambling, but that is set to change with the provincial government taking steps to liberalise the market.

PointsBet records 153.9% revenue growth in FY2021

Australia-based online bookmaker PointsBet has reported a 153.9% year-on-year revenue increase in its results for the 2020-21 financial year, ended 30 June.

Revenue came to AUD$210.1m (£111.4m/€131.0m), a rise of $128m compared to the operator’s revenue in its full year 2020 results. PointsBet’s total net win from gaming, however, was reported as $208.5m.

Red Rock Q2 revenue nearly quadruples as pandemic restrictions ease

Red Rock Resorts announced revenue figures of $428.2m (£306.7m/€360.5m) for the second quarter of 2021, representing a 294.7% increase on the same period last year.

Of this total, casino gaming generated $304.2m, which made up 71.1% of the total net revenue. This was up 302.4% from last year, in line with venues re-opening after a pandemic-enforced closure in 2020.

Boyd Gaming returns to profit in H1 as revenue rockets 85.0%

US land-based casino operator Boyd Gaming returned to profit in the first half of its financial year after reporting an 85.0% year-on-year increase in revenue.

Total revenue for the six months to June 30 amounted to $1.65bn, up from $890.4m in the same period last year.

Massachusetts State Lottery breaks sales and profit records in 2021

The Massachusetts State Lottery recorded an all-time record profit of $1.105bn in its 2021 fiscal year, consisting of the twelve months to June 30, 2021.

The operator narrowly surpassed its previous record of $1.104bn set in the 2019 fiscal year.

DraftKings and Sports & Social to launch sports bars with new partnership

Gambling and sports betting operator DraftKings has entered into a strategic partnership with US entertainment brand Sports & Social, owned by the Cordish Companies, in order to create new DraftKings sports bars across the US.

The new relationship will create upscale Sports & Social/DraftKings sports bars at locations across the US, beginning with Nashville, Tennessee and Detroit, Michigan, pending local regulatory approvals.

Caesars and New Orleans Saints confirm Superdome naming deal

Caesars Entertainment today confirmed its partnership with NFL’s New Orleans Saints which will see the Saints’ home stadium rebranded to the Caesars Superdome.

In addition to hosting the Saints’ home games and Super Bowl LIX in 2025, the Caesars Superdome will host a variety of events including the 2022 NCAA Men’s Final Four and the annual Sugar Bowl.

FanDuel appoints Borkowski as new senior vice president of marketing

FanDuel has announced the appointment of Brian Borkowski as its new senior vice president of marketing.

Following 15 years of marketing experience, Borkowski is joining FanDuel from streaming company Hulu, where he held the roles of vice president of media and acquisition and head of subscriber acquisition.

Aspire Global appoints Raven to lead US expansion as managing director

Online gambling solutions provider Aspire Global has appointed former Scientific Games director Quincy Raven as managing director of its US business.

In his new role, Raven will lead and execute Aspire Global’s growth strategy for the US gaming market as the provider continues with its efforts to expand its presence in the country.

FanDuel launches standalone casino product in NJ and live dealer in MI

Gambling operator FanDuel Group has launched a standalone online casino product in New Jersey and expanded its offering in Michigan with the addition of live dealer games from Evolution.

The operator had offered its FanDuel Casino within the FanDuel Sportsbook app in New Jersey but has now launched the new product to offer players in the state a “dedicated online casino experience”.

Tennessee betting revenue bounces back in June

The Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL), which is responsible for licensing and regulating online sports betting in the state, has reported that customers wagered a total of $174.5m in June, an increase of 8.4% month-on-month.

This was up from $160.9m wagered in May, which was the month with the lowest recorded wagering handle since the market opened in November 2020.

DraftKings and Boston Red Sox enter fantasy sports partnership

The Boston Red Sox and DraftKings have entered into a deal that will see DraftKings become the exclusive Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) betting partner of the team.

The Red Sox will promote DraftKings as its DFS partner through emails, on social media and on the Red Sox Foundation website.

Revenue increase drives net profit up 163.2% at VICI Properties in H1

VICI Properties, the real estate investment trust spun off from Caesars Entertainment in 2017, has reported a year-on-year increase in revenue and net profit during the first half of its 2021 financial year.

Revenue for the six months to June 30 amounted to $750.7m, up 46.4% from $512.9m in the same period last year.

LSports given Colorado sports betting vendor license

Sports data solutions provider LSports has been granted a vendor license for sports betting services by the Colorado Division of Gaming.

The license is valid for two years, and grants Lsports the opportunity to offer its sports data products to Colorado-licensed operators

DC bars to launch retail sports betting

Businesses in Washington DC are set to open retail sports betting today (July 29), through a partnership with DC Lottery-powered sportsbook operator GambetDC.

Venues set to offer Gambet’s self-service betting kiosks include well-known local bars and restaurants such as Ben’s Next Door, Lou’s City Bar, Takoma Station Tavern, and Dirty Water.

Treasure Island partners with GAN for online gaming launch

Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas has partnered with online gaming software provider GAN to launch an online gaming platform for the hotel’s customers.

The binding agreement will see Treasure Island’s online platform powered by Gan’s Gamestack software, which is used in more than 500 online games to date.

Michigan issues vendor license to Intelitics

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) has granted a vendor permit to marketing and analytics platform provider Intelitics, which will allow the platform to offer its services to licensed sportsbooks and casino operators in the state.

This is one of several recent license issuances from MGCB, following on from Golden Nugget Online Gaming and Evolution last week.