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State of the Union: Maine, Oregon, NJ, PA and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, covers positive developments in Maine, less happy news in New York, and provides more details on the Oregon Lottery’s SBTech-powered sportsbook launch.

Maine passes sports betting bill on final day of legislative session
Maine has become the third state in New England to regulate sports betting after its legislature pushed a bill through the House and Senate in just two days.

Legislative Document 553, which moved rapidly through the legislature on Tuesday (June 18), was given final approval by each chamber yesterday (June 19), and will now pass to Governor Janet Mills to be signed into law.

The one-line bill was filed by Senator Louis Lucchini in January this year, sitting with the legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee while lawmakers developed a regulatory framework. Once this had been completed, the bill quickly moved through the Senate and House, aided by a suspension of rules to allow for two readings in a day, with only confirmatory votes required yesterday.

LD553 opens up the market to all of the state’s bricks and mortar gaming venues, such as commercial racetracks, off-track betting facilities, and commercial and tribal casinos. It will also allow mobile operators to apply for licences without the need for a land-based partner in the state.

New York mobile betting bill dies in Assembly
New York bettors will have to travel to upstate casinos to bet on sports after Senator Joseph Addabbo’s mobile wagering bill failed to progress through the Assembly.

The legislative session, which was extended by a day to Thursday (June 20) in order to finalize a number of state appointments, saw S17 fail to progress beyond the Assembly Standing Committee on Codes.

After it became clear S17 would progress no further, Addabbo tweeted that he saw no clear reason why the state could not implement mobile sports betting in 2019. Failure to do so would see the state miss out on around $75m in revenue, funding for education, and both job creation and retention, he said.

“NY will be stuck like a disabled car on the shoulder, while we allow an illegal sports betting business in our state thrive and idly watch other neighboring states pass us up with enormous revenue gains from mobile sports betting,” he said.

Eldorado Resorts and Caesars merge to create US gaming giant
Eldorado Resorts and Caesars Entertainment Corporation have entered into a definitive merger agreement that will create a new market leader in the US gambling sector.

The deal will see Eldorado acquire all outstanding shares in Caesars for a value of $12.75 per share, consisting of $8.40 per share in cash, and 0.0899 shares of Eldorado common stock, for a total consideration of around $17.3bn. This breaks down to $7.2bn in cash, and approximately 77m Eldorado common shares, and sees the operator assume Caesars’ net debt. 

Upon closing, Eldorado shareholders will hold 51% of the combined entity’s outstanding shares. A new, 11-member board will be established, with six directors coming from Eldorado’s board, and five from Caesars.

The new business, which will operate around 60 casino resorts and gaming facilities across 16 states, will operate under the Caesars name, and continue to trade on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.

NJ Senate weighs bill to allow Golden Nugget to take NBA bets
A bill that would lift the prohibition on casinos that share an owner with a professional sports franchise from taking bets on leagues involving the team has been passed by the New Jersey Assembly.

A5463, which was filed on June 17 by Assemblymembers Raj Mukherij and John Burzichelli, was passed following its third reading, with 76 lawmakers voting in favour, and none voting against. 

It aims to move direct or indirect owners of a sports team from the list of individuals prohibited from placing bets on a sport. Currently any Atlantic City casino owned by an individual that also holds a stake in a sports team cannot take bets. 

This currently only affects Golden Nugget. The venue is unable to offer odds on the National Basketball Association (NBA) as its parent company’s owner Tilman Fertitta also owns the Houston Rockets, one of the league’s franchises. 

Oregon projects revenue of $141.2m from sportsbook launch
The Oregon Lottery has revealed that it expects to generate $141.2m in revenue over the first three years following the launch of its SBTech-powered retail and mobile sportsbook.

After formally signing a contract with SBTech earlier this month, the lottery aims to launch a mobile offering ahead of the National Football League (NFL) season in September, followed by retail betting kiosks early in 2020. 

It has now published a series of revenue projections for the product, which estimates that total handle over the first three years in operation will amount to $1.6bn. This breaks down to $332.8m in the first year, rising to $555.9m in the second, then $722.3m after three years. 

William Hill strikes tribal partnership in New Mexico
William Hill US is to enter the New Mexican gambling market through a new partnership with the Mescalero Apache Tribe, operator of the state’s Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino.

The tribe has selected William Hill to power the launch of a new sportsbook within the venue, the operator and supplier’s first partnership in the state, and its first tribal agreement outside of Nevada. 

“Over the years, our customers have come to expect a high level of service and the best casino offerings possible,” Inn of the Mountain Gods chief operating officer Frizzell Frizzell Jr said. “Our sports book will be no exception. 

“Together with William Hill, we will offer state-of-the-art betting technology, and innovative wagering opportunities including in-play options.