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State of the Union: Michigan, Nevada, Golden Nugget and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, covers the opening of Michigan’s application process for online sports betting and igaming licences, May revenue figures from Nevada, where Covid-19 continued to wreak havoc, and Golden Nugget Online Gaming’s plans to go public with a valuation of approximately $745m.

Michigan opens sports betting and igaming licensing process
The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) has opened the application process for online sports betting and igaming licences in the state.

Commercial casinos and tribes in Michigan are able to apply for the new licences, while companies supporting operators and suppliers in the state can also apply for vendor registration.

The launch comes after the MGCB in May also opened up applications for online gaming supplier licences ahead of the state’s igaming roll-out.

Nevada gaming revenue down 99.4% in May
Nevada gaming revenue fell 99.4% year-on-year to just $5.8m in May, though this total represented an improvement on April’s $3.6m total.

The state’s casinos remained shuttered throughout the month as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Venues only reopened from June 4, with strict health and safety measures in place.

As a result the only sources of revenue were mobile sports betting and poker, as well as a small contribution from land-based slot machines in retail outlets.

Golden Nugget online gaming to go public on Nasdaq
Golden Nugget Online Gaming will go public on the Nasdaq exchange following a special-purpose reverse merger with blank check company Landcadia Holdings II.

Golden Nugget Online Gaming, the online division of the Golden Nugget chain of casinos owned and operated by Landry’s Incorporated and owned by Tilman Fertitta, will become only the second online casino operator to be purely publicly traded on a US exchange.

The deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2020, will see the operator’s shares traded on the Nasdaq under the GNOG ticker symbol. It values GNOG at approximately $745m, or 6.1x its projected 2021 revenue of $122m.

Penn National signs NFL data deal with Sportradar
Penn National Gaming has finalised a partnership with sports data and content provider Sportradar, to use its official National Football League (NFL) data on its sports betting platforms.

The operator said the partnership would allow it to use the official NFL play-by-play data feed to offer a wider range of in-play betting markets on NFL games, at both retail sportsbooks and via its Kambi-powered Barstool Sportsbook app.

The app is due to go live in the third quarter of 2020, and is being launched through the 40-year sports betting and online casino partnership struck with sports media giant Barstool Sports in January 2020.

Betsson to launch in US with Colorado’s Dostal Alley Casino
Betsson has agreed a deal with Colorado’s Dostal Alley Casino to launch online sports wagering in the state, in a venture that will also mark the operator’s entrance into the US market.

Under the 10-year market access agreement, Betsson said it plans to launch its B2C sportsbook in Colorado during the first part of 2021, subject to regulatory approval in the state.

Betsson said that the launch will form part of its ongoing strategy to expand into new and regulated markets, including establishing a presence in the US.

Galaxy sees Q1 revenue fall 15.9% amid Covid-19 closures
Table games supplier Galaxy Gaming has reported a 15.9% year-on-year decline in revenue for the first quarter of 2020, primarily due to the closure of land-based casinos as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Revenue for the three months through to March 31 amounted to $4.5m, down from $5.3m in the same period last year.

The land-based supplier put this drop mainly down to the closure of the majority of its customers’ casinos in regions around the world from mid-March due to the Covid-19 crisis.

theScore secures MLB partnership
Toronto-listed betting and media business theScore has been named an authorised gaming partner of Major League Baseball (MLB).

The deal provides the operator with access to official MLB data, league trademarks and logos for use in its mobile betting app, theScore Bet.

“We’re thrilled to work with MLB, helping bring our fans an even deeper experience as we begin our multi-state expansion of theScore Bet,” the operator’s founder and chief executive John Levy said.

RI sees mobile betting improve in May
Sports wagering revenue in Rhode Island slumped 71.6% year-on-year in May as the state continued to feel the impact of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis, though this marked a significant improvement on April’s figures.

Revenue for the full month amounted to $163,472 compared to $574,703 in the same month last year, while the state’s handle also fell 89.7% from $14.6m to $1.5m.

The state’s bricks and mortar casinos were closed throughout the month, meaning the only revenue reported was from bets placed before the shutdown being settled.

Gallup: US acceptance of gambling at record high
A record 71% of Americans view gambling as a “morally acceptable” activity, according to new polling figures from opinion polling giant Gallup.

In an annual poll of Americans’ views on a variety of activities, gambling was scored as the fifth-most “morally acceptable” behaviour, behind only birth control, divorce, drinking alcohol and premarital sex.

The figure was an increase from 68% during 2019’s poll and exceeded the high of 69% recorded in 2018.

FTC approves Eldorado-Caesars merger
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved the merger between Eldorado Resorts and Caesars Entertainment, after requiring Eldorado to sell two properties to Twin River Worldwide Holdings in markets where the deal was deemed uncompetitive.

The required sales – of the Eldorado Shreveport Resort and Casino in Louisiana and the Mont Bleu Casino Resort & Spa in Lake Tahoe, Nevada for a purchase price of $155m – were agreed in April.

Eldorado agreed to acquire Caesars for $17.3bn – $7.2bn in cash, and approximately 77m Eldorado common shares – in June 2019, with shareholders of both operators approving the deal in November.

PlayAGS faces class action lawsuit over securities purchases
A class action lawsuit has been filed against PlayAGS after the gaming technology supplier was accused of failing to disclose information about its business, operations and prospects to investors.

The Law Offices of Frank R. Cruz launched the lawsuit on behalf of persons and entities that purchased or acquired PlayAGS securities between August 2, 2018, and August 7, 2019.

On the final day of the period in question, PlayAGS reported a net loss of $7.6m for its second quarter, covering the three months to June 30, 2019.

GiG secures Colorado sports betting licence for
Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) has secured a new vendor minor sports betting license for its flagship affiliate website World Sports Network ( in Colorado.

Issued by the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission, the license enables to drive traffic for the state’s sports betting licensees.

This includes managing, administering or controlling sports wagers received or made on a gaming system; maintaining or operating software or hardware for this system, and providing products or services to enable the establishment to offer sports betting.

Culinary Union to sue Las Vegas casinos over Covid-19 safety
Culinary Union Local 226, the largest labor union in Nevada, will file a lawsuit against a series of “major Las Vegas Strip casinos” today, arguing that workers at these casinos have faced “hazardous working conditions” as these casinos reopen.

The union will sue the unnamed operators for injunctive relief under the Labor-Management Relations Act, alleging that casinos on the Strip have not protected workers, their families, and their community from the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19). The suit goes on to claim that the rules or procedures in in place if a worker tests positive “have been wholly and dangerously inadequate”.

BCLC shakes up executive team
British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) has announced a series of changes to its executive structure, in support of the organization’s new corporate strategic plan.

The plan seeks to enhance the player experience for BCLC’s customers, and grow the business responsibly using agile people and processes.

Sportech announces reshuffle of Bump 50:50 team
Betting technology supplier Sportech has announced a number of changes to the senior team at its Bump 50:50 charitable raffle division, including the appointment of Dave Kurland as its new president.

Kurland joined Bump in 2011 as its director of business development, a role in which he helped the business grow one client in 2011 to over 120.

Arkansas Scholarship Lottery extends with Camelot
The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery (ASL) has signed a two-year extension to its strategic partnership with lottery technology provider Camelot Lottery Solutions, the B2B arm of the UK National Lottery operator.

Under the agreement, Camelot and the ASL will continue to work together to implement the lottery’s commercial plans, with a focus on data-driven insights and business intelligence.

Sporting Solutions taps SCCG to aid US entry
Sportsbook and lottery supplier Sporting Solutions has agreed a partnership with Las Vegas-based gaming consultancy SCCG Management, in order to accelerate its entry into the North American sports betting market.

SCCG will provide the supplier with business development and strategic support through the relationship, as the supplier looks to carve out a presence in the states.

SG and Caesars extend sports betting and igaming partnership
Scientific Games and Caesars Entertainment have extended their existing digital sports betting partnership, following the launch of mobile sports wagering and online casino gambling in Pennsylvania.

Under the agreement, Scientific Games and Caesars will bring their digital sports betting and igaming experiences to players in Pennsylvania.

DraftKings and Stats Perform extend data deal
DraftKings has extended its partnership with data provider Stats Perform for its daily fantasy sports and live fantasy products.

Under the deal, which started in 2012, DraftKings will use Stats Perform’s live data feeds for major US leagues including the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League, as well as college football, men’s college basketball and “most top soccer leagues”.