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State of the Union: Michigan, Hard Rock, New Jersey and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, includes Michigan’s first online gaming licenses, Hard Rock’s new online gaming joint venture and yet another record month for sports betting in New Jersey

Michigan issues 15 provisional online sports betting and igaming licenses

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) has approved provisional licenses for 15 platform providers to support commercial and tribal casinos in the state with online gambling and sports betting.

The state’s regulator launched its online gaming supplier licensing process in May and has issued provisional licenses ahead of the market’s expected launch early next year.

Successful applicants include the American Wagering division of William Hill, GAN, Golden Nugget, Scientific Games’ NYX Digital Gaming arm, Parx Interactive and Flutter’s FanDuel.

Stars and Fox Bet veterans to lead new Hard Rock Digital venture

Hard Rock International has struck a joint venture with a trio of former Stars Group executives, including ex-chief executive Rafi Ashkenazi, to significantly expand the restaurant, casino and hotel giant’s digital gaming business.

The new Hard Rock Digital venture will look to leverage Hard Rock International’s network of properties alongside those operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Seminole Gaming arm to develop omni-channel sports betting and igaming businesses worldwide.

Together, Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming have a database of more than 130m customers, and a footprint of almost 250 land-based properties across 76 countries.

New Jersey sports betting handle passes $900m in November

New Jersey became the first US state to generate more than $900m in sports betting handle in a calendar month during November.

Total sports wagering handle hit $931.6m during the period according to figures published by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE).

That figure was up 16.0% compared to October 2020 and 65.7% higher than November 2019. The New Jersey figure dwarfs Nevada’s $659.9m record handle, generated in October 2020.

US tribal gaming revenue reaches record $34.6bn in FY2019

Gross gambling revenue from tribal casinos increased 2.5% year-on-year in the 2019 financial year to a record $34.6bn, according to new figures published by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC).

The total was calculated from 522 independently audited financial statements submitted to the NIGC by 245 federally recognized tribes across 29 states, with these split into eight regions to cover certain states.

All but one of these regions reported year-on-year revenue growth in 2019, with the Oklahoma City region – covering Western Oklahoma and Texas – seeing the most growth, with revenue up 7.7% to $2.7bn.

Genius Sports Group acquires scoreboard data supplier Sportzcast

Sports data provider Genius Sports Group has agreed to acquire Sportzcast, a US sports data distribution system manufacturer.

Sportzcast produced Scorebot, a program that delivers sports data to scoreboards within venues, which has been installed in more than 6,000 venues worldwide, across 194 scoreboard systems.

William Hill sees marginal DC betting revenue growth in November

Both William Hill’s sportsbook at Washington DC’s Capital One Arena and the DC Lottery’s Gambet app saw stakes dip – though revenue increase – in November.

Handle for William Hill’s temporary facility was down 4.6% from October’s total, at $13.7m, though prizes and payouts also declined, to $11.0m. 

Mississippi sports betting revenue more than doubles in November

Sports wagering revenue in Mississippi more than doubled year-on-year during November, despite a slight decline in the US state’s handle.

Revenue for the month amounted to $8.1m, which was 113.2% more than $3.8m in the same month in 2019, but 8.0% lower than $8.8m in October this year.

New York sports betting revenue doubles in November

Gross gaming revenue from sports betting in New York doubled year-on-year in November to $2.6m, according to new figures published by the State Gaming Commission.

The monthly total was up from $1.3m in November 2019, and also level with the $2.6m recorded in October of this year.

FanDuel partners Cage in South America and the Caribbean

Flutter Entertainment-owned FanDuel Group has entered a strategic business agreement with The Cage Companies to launch online and retail sportsbooks in South America and the Caribbean.

Under the arrangement, FanDuel and the supplier’s Cage Sports subsidiary will operate sportsbooks at  retail locations and online across both regions.

LeoVegas to launch Pink Casino in Canada

LeoVegas is to take its Pink Casino brand beyond British borders for the first time, announcing plans to roll out the brand to players in Canada.

The operator already runs a number of brands in the Canadian market, which would allow it to leverage this experience and local knowledge for Pink Casino’s debut in the market.

Penn National enters Maryland through Hollywood Casino deal

#Penn National Gaming is to enter the Maryland market ahead of the introduction of legal sports betting in the state after agreeing a deal to acquire the operations of Hollywood Casino Perryville.

Under the terms of the $31.1m deal, Penn will enter into a lease with Gaming and Leisure Properties (GLPI) for the real estate assets associated with the 75,000 sq ft facility with annual rent of approximately $7.77m.

Esports Entertainment seals NFL first with Eagles partnership

Esports Entertainment Group (EEG) has become the first esports tournament provider for a National Football League (NFL) club, having partnered the Philadelphia Eagles.

As part of the multi-year agreement, the Eagles will become a shareholder of EEG, which is an online gaming operator as well as tournament provider.

Iowa betting revenue rockets in November

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) has reported a 125.0% year-on-year rise in sports betting revenue in November, after amounts wagered grew 47.1% for the month.

Revenue for the month amounted to $8.1m, up from $3.6m in the same month last year, but down 11.0% from $9.1m in October this year.

FanDuel launches new sportsbook in WV with Scientific Games

FanDuel Group has relaunched its West Virginia online sportsbook with Scientific Games’ OpenBet, the first state to launch on the platform after parent company Flutter announced plans to migrate the brand to the technology.

FanDuel has operated a sportsbook in West Virginia since 2019, but the revamped offering is powered by Scientific Games, rather than International Game Technology (IGT).

DraftKings becomes official partner of NHL’s Nashville Predators

DraftKings has signed a deal to become the official daily fantasy sports provider and an official sports betting operator of the National Hockey League (NHL)’s Nashville Predators.

The deal follows the recent launch of the DraftKings Sportsbook in the Predators’ home state of Tennessee.

dMY shareholders to vote on Rush Street merger on 29 December

Special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) dMY Technology Group will hold a shareholder meeting on 29 December in order to approve its proposed reverse merger with Rush Street Interactive, the online gaming arm of Rush Street Gaming.

The SPAC has filed a merger proxy statement for the securities and exchange commission (SEC), which will be distributed at the meeting.

Covid-19 forces Loto-Québec to suspend more local operations

Canadian provincial lottery and gaming operator Loto-Québec is to suspend operations in Pays-d’en-Haut and the Laurentian Mountain amid rising novel coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in each region.

The temporary closure order came into effect at 11:59pm yesterday (December 13), with the operator’s Casino de Mont-Tremblant in the Laurentian Mountains to close until further notice.

Delaware iGaming revenue down again in November

The Delaware Lottery reported a sixth consecutive month of igaming decline in November, with amounts wagered down to an eight-month low.

Some $16.4m was gambled in November, down 7.9% on October and the lowest figure since $16.35m was handled in March.

Rush Street Interactive partners with Century for online casino in WV

Rush Street Interactive – the online division of Rush Street Gaming – has partnered with Century Casinos’ Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort in order to launch online casino games in the state, with an expected launch date in the second quarter of 2021.

Rush Street will launch its site in the state, pending licensing and regulatory approval form the West Virgnia Lottery.