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State of the Union: Las Vegas Sands, Monkey Knife Fight, NY and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, includes Las Vegas Sands’ announcement of its new permanent chief executive following Sheldon Adelson’s death, as well as the purchase of daily fantasy sports operator Monkey Knife Fight by Bally’s and the launch of sports betting in Virginia.

Spectrum study projects NY mobile betting revenue of up to $1.14bn

Spectrum Gaming Group’s long-awaited study on gaming expansion in New York suggests widespread mobile sports betting could see the state generate annual revenue of between $816m and $1.41bn.

The report was commissioned by the New York State Gaming Commission in 2019, and originally expected to be delivered in December that year. The delivery date was pushed back to June last year before being delayed indefinitely as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

It models potential returns for the state based on a range of different gaming expansion scenarios.

Covid impact leads Las Vegas Sands to $2.18bn loss in 2020

Las Vegas Sands made a loss of more than $2bn with revenue falling 73.7% to $3.61bn for 2020, as new chief executive Robert Goldstein announced the results of a year severely impacted by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

Casinos were still the largest contributor to revenue, but revenue from this segment was down 65.9% year-on-year to $2.27bn.

Room revenue fell 72.5% to $498m while food and beverage revenue was down 68.7% to $283m. Mall revenue fell 46.8% to $381m and convention, retail and other revenue was down 66.7% to $182m.

Bally’s to acquire DFS operator Monkey Knife Fight

Casino and sports betting operator Bally’s Corporation has agreed to acquire North America’s third-largest daily fantasy sports (DFS) operator, Monkey Knife Fight.

As part of the all-stock transaction, Monkey Knife Fight is set to receive immediately exercisable penny warrants to purchase approximately $50m in Bally’s common shares at closing.

It is then set to receive contingent penny warrants to purchase up to approximately $20m in additional shares on the first and second anniversaries of the deal closing, for a possible total of up to $40m.

FanDuel first to secure approval for Virginia sports betting launch

FanDuel was first operator to launch in Virginia on 21 January, after receiving approval from the Virginia Lottery.

The operator is the only one so far to receive a temporary permit, after its application in conjunction with the NFL’s Washington Football Team was accepted.

FanDuel had announced its launch was imminent yesterday (January 20) in a Twitter video, in which it said the launch should be expected the next day.

The Athletic signs up BetMGM as exclusive betting partner

Subscription-based sports media giant The Athletic has named BetMGM has its exclusive sports betting partner in the US.

The agreement with the MGM Resorts and Entain joint venture will see the title launch a new content vertical, The Athletic Betting Hub. This will be supported by in-depth content and product integrations between the partners.

FanDuel selects Genius Sports for new marketing drive

Sports betting and daily fantasy sports operator FanDuel is to work with Genius Sports Group on a new marketing initiative, aimed at bringing in new customers and driving engagement.

Under the agreement, Genius and FanDuel will deliver data-driven campaigns across multiple digital channels, including display, video and connected TV.

Bragg sets out aggressive North American expansion plans for 2021

iGaming software provider Bragg Gaming Group aims to rapidly expand throughout the US and Canada in the year ahead, while continuing to strengthen its presence in the supplier’s core European market.

In a corporate update, Bragg said it would ramp up investment in its technology, regulatory and compliance, and business development teams to ensure it could tap into new US and Canadian revenue streams.

Federal lawsuit claims Apple hosts ‘illegal social casinos’

Technology giant Apple has been accused of hosting and facilitating dozens of illegal social casinos in a new lawsuit that has been lodged in a US District Court.

The filing in the Northern District of California claims that Apple participates in “an illegal internet gambling enterprise” by distributing social games through its App Store that allow virtual chips to be bought.

NFL Conference Championships drive early Michigan betting at RSI

Betting and igaming operator Rush Street Interactive (RSI) has revealed National Football League (NFL) conference championship games were responsible for 39% of online sports betting handle during its first weekend of online wagering and igaming in Michigan.

RSI was one of a number of operators to go live in the state when its regulated online markets opened on January 22.

Las Vegas Sands appoints Robert Goldstein as new CEO

Long-serving executive Robert Goldstein will serve as Las Vegas Sands’ chairman and chief executive officer following the passing of the casino giant’s founder Sheldon Adelson.

Goldstein has held the roles on an interim basis since January 7 this year. He stepped in after Adelson took a medical leave of absence to undergo treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Tennessee sports betting handle jumps to $180.9m in December

The Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) has published sports betting figures for December, the second month of legalized wagering in the US state, during which revenue grew 5.3% month-on-month.

Players wagered a total of $180.9m on sports during December, up 37.7% from $131.4m in November, the first month of regulated betting, with the market having opened on November 1 last year.

Everi swings to loss following Covid-19 disruption in 2020

Casino content and financial technology provider Everi Holdings expects 2020 revenue to fall by up to 27.8% year-on-year, and to post a net loss, after its operations were disrupted by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Revenue for the year is projected in the range of between $381m and $385m, with its net loss for the 12 months to fall between $83m and $85m. This marks a significant decline from 2019’s revenue of $533.2m, and a net profit of $16.5m.

DraftKings joins NBA’s Charlotte Hornets as official DFS partner

Daily fantasy and sports betting operator DraftKings has entered into a new partnership with the North Carolina-based Charlotte Hornets, of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

The partnership sees DraftKings become the Hornets’ exclusive official daily fantasy sports partner, and the operator said it would greatly increase its presence in North Carolina.

Caesars expands into DFS with SuperDraft investment

Caesars Entertainment has made a strategic investment in daily fantasy sports platform SuperDraft, as the operator looks to expand sports and gaming offering.

SuperDraft, Caesars explained, would complement its existing real-money betting and gambling products. This in turn would strengthen the acquisition and retention of online and brick-and-mortar customers.

BetMGM launches sports betting in Virginia

BetMGM, the joint venture between MGM Resorts and Entain, has become the latest operator to launch sports betting in Virginia.

The BetMGM mobile app will allow players to place pre-game, in-play, futures and parlay wagers on a wide range of sports and competition.

Colorado sets new sports betting handle record in December

The Colorado Department of Revenue has reported a new monthly sports betting handle record for December, but also revealed a decline in gross gaming revenue (GGR).

GGR for the month amounted to $17.2m, which was 6.5% lower than the $18.4m posted in November.

BCLC brings in Lynda Cavanaugh as interim CEO

British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) has named Lynda Cavanaugh as its interim president and chief executive, with Greg Moore preparing to step down from the position tomorrow (22 January).

Moore handed in his notice in November last year, to pursue a new opportunity in the private sector.

Full House expects Q4 earnings growth despite revenue dip

Full House Resorts expects revenue for the fourth quarter of 2020 to fall year-on-year, though earnings are set to grow significantly, as it prepares to significantly expand its planned renovation of its Colorado property.

The operator expects revenue for the three months to 31 December 2020 to fall between $37.8m and $38.5m. This suggests a decline of up to 3.1% from the fourth quarter of 2019.

High hold helps MS betting revenue double in December

A 14.04% win percentage saw Mississippi’s sports betting revenue more than double year-on-year in December 2020.

Amounts wagered were up 12.7% from December 2019 at $55.3m, though casinos’ hold rate jumped from 7.09% in the prior year to 14.04%, according to the Mississippi Gaming Commission figures.

Michigan online gaming operators launch

Operators licensed to offer online sports betting or casino in Michigan went live on January 22 at 12:00 EST.

Penn National Gaming, which initially received approval for sports betting only and not online casino, has announced it will launch its Barstool Sportsbook app today, and that online casino products will follow shortly thereafter.

WynnBet secures market access in Ohio

WynnBet, the online gambling division of casino operator Wynn Resorts, has secured market access in the state of Ohio.

The approval, which is subject to license eligibility and availability, legalization and regulatory clearance, extends WynnBet’s market access to a total of eight states across the US.

Circa Sports selects DeckPrism for Colorado in-play betting

Nevada-based sports betting brand Circa Sports has selected DeckPrism Sports as the exclusive in-play odds provider for its mobile sportsbook app in Colorado.

Under the deal, Circa Sports Colorado will have access to DeckPrism’s technology for pricing and in-play odds in the US state.

Scientific Games hires new investor relations lead

Scientific Games has named Jim Bombassei as senior vice president of investor relations, in a dual role that also covers its free-to-play gaming subsidiary SciPlay Corporation.

He joins from mass media conglomerate, where he held a range of roles after joining in the early 1990s, finishing his tenure as senior vice president of investor relations and treasurer. He previously worked for accounting giant Ernst & Young.

Washington regulator agrees gaming compact amendment

The Washington State Gambling Commission has reached a tentative agreement with the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe to amend the Class III gaming compact for the Tribe’s gaming operations in the US state.

The proposed amendments include a number of new provisions to provide new and expanded gambling opportunities for customers at the Tribe’s Snoqualmie Casino, as well as increased promotion of responsible gambling and increasing the Tribe’s contributions to the community.

RSI to launch brand in Virginia

Betting and igaming operator Rush Street Interactive (RSI) has announced that it will launch its brand in Virginia tomorrow (January 28), making it the third operator to launch in the state. will operate in the US state via a partnership with Rush Street Gaming’s yet-to-be-built land-based facility Rivers Casino Portsmouth – an agreement that will permit RSI to offer sports betting in Virginia for 20 years.

Bally’s and Sinclair rebrand regional sports networks

Bally’s Corporation has revealed the new logos and names for Sinclair Broadcast Group’s regional sports networks across the US, as part of a recently announced strategic partnership between the two parties.

Agreed in November 2020, the deal combines Bally’s sports betting technology – acquired through its $125m Bet.Works deal – with Sinclair’s local broadcast stations and live regional sports networks.

DraftKings launches in Virginia’s mobile betting market

DraftKings has become the second sports betting brand to launch in Virginia, with BetMGM securing a license ahead of its own rollout in the state.

The launch under a temporary sports betting permit sees Virginia become the twelfth state in which DraftKings’ mobile sportsbook app is live. Kambi, the operator’s outgoing sportsbook technology provider, has been licensed as a supplier in the state.

New Hampshire sets record sports betting handle in December

The New Hampshire Lottery has reported a new record sports betting handle for December 2020, though the US state also experienced a slight month-on-month fall in revenue.

Gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the month amounted to $4.5m, down 6.3% from the record $4.8m that was set in November 2020.

Genius Sports Group receives Michigan supply license

The Michigan Gaming Control Board has granted an online sports betting supply license to sports betting supplier Genius Sports Group.

The license allows the group’s Betgenius and Genius Sports Media companies to power the sportsbook and marketing operations of licensed betting operators in the state’s newly legalized online sports wagering market.

IGT signs long-term extension to Jamaican lottery deal

International Game Technology (IGT) has signed a seven-year extension to its deal with Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL) to continue providing lottery technology, content and ongoing services in Jamaica.

The previous agreement between IGT and SVL had been due to end in January 2026, with the extension to ensure this partnership runs until at least 2033.

Pariplay secures interim approval in West Virginia

Aspire Global-owned game aggregator Pariplay has expanded its presence in the US by sealing an interim iGaming supplier license in the state of West Virginia.

Under the license, awarded by the West Virginia Lottery Commission, Pariplay will be able to sign deals to provide its suite of gaming content to casino operators in the state.

PointsBet names golf personality Spiranac as ambassador

Australia’s PointsBet has hired Golf personality Paige Spiranac as a brand ambassador, joining Shaquille O’Neal in promoting the operator.

Spiranac is a former college golf player, and has accumulated almost 3m followers on Instagram, and 7m across all social media platforms.