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State of the Union: Michigan, NY, SBTech, Nevada and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s state of the union, in partnership with Segev LLP, includes Michigan’s first sports betting figures, while sportsbooks in New York bounced back from a loss-making February despite the ongoing shutdown of all major sports. Meanwhile, casino shutdowns were extended in both Nevada and Illinois and the Colorado Gaming Control Commission announced a new round of sports betting licensees.

Michigan sports betting revenue hits $105,548 in debut month

Commercial casinos in Detroit, Michigan, generated $105,548 in retail sports wagering revenue during the few days legal betting in March, before sporting events and casino closures halted activity.

Michigan’s regulated sports betting market only opened on March 11, but was forced to close days later on March 16 after all casinos in the state were ordered to temporarily shut as part of measures to combat the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).

Consumers in the state were also limited as to what sports they could place bets on, with almost all major events being cancelled due to the pandemic.

NY sports betting revenue up in March despite Covid-19 impact

The New York State Gaming Commission has reported a month-on-month rise in sports betting revenue for March, despite the state’s market being impacted by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) global pandemic.

Sports wagering revenue at the state’s four commercial casinos totalled $99,514 last month, up from a loss of $179,593 in February, which was a record low for New York. The March figure was the second-lowest monthly total on record.

Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady claimed top spot in the market in March, generating $81,883 in sports betting revenue, compared to a loss of $38,802 in February.

SBTech ordered to set aside $30m to settle cyberattack claims

The sellers of sports betting technology provider SBTech have been ordered to set aside $30m in cash and stock to settle any claims relating to last week’s cybersecurity incident.

The attempted hack, which forced the supplier to power down all its datacentres around the world – though did not result in a data breach – saw all SBTech clients go offline over the weekend, from Friday March 27.

Some of SBTech’s US-facing sites, such as Churchill Downs’ BetAmerica-branded sportsbooks in Indiana, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, remain offline. The supplier’s European-facing sites are back online, as is the Oregon Lottery’s Scoreboard site.

Nevada casinos to remain closed until April 30

Nevada casinos and other brick-and-mortar gambling locations are to remain closed until at least April 30 after the state’s Governor Steve Sisolak extended temporary measures to slow the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

Venues across the state were ordered to shut down gaming devices, machines, tables, games and any other kit related to gaming activity by 11:59pm on March 17 for 30 days. This suspension will now be extended until at least the end of April.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board, the state’s gambling regulator, will continue to enforce the temporary regulations until the Governor deems it fit to lift the measures.

Roar and WH receive CO licences in latest round

The Colorado Gaming Control Commission has issued master sports betting licenses to seven venues, including two operated by Century Casinos, as well as online betting licenses to Roar Digital, Smarkets, Rush Street Interactive and Penn National Gaming.

The Commission granted master licenses – which allow an operator to work with a licensed retail sportsbook, a licensed online sportsbook or a licensee that offers both – to Century Casinos’ Central City and Cripple Creek properties.

In addition, master licenses were granted to the Lodge Casino, Gilpin Hotel Casino and Bull Durham Saloon & Casino and Red Dolly Casino, all located in Black Hawk.

Boyd Gaming places majority of staff on unpaid furlough

Land-based gambling operator Boyd Gaming has set out a number of additional measures to mitigate the financial impact of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, including placing most of its staff on unpaid furlough.

All commercial casinos in the US are currently closed due to the outbreak, and with the number of confirmed coronavirus cases and related deaths continuing to rise in the country, it is not yet clear when they will reopen.

Boyd, which temporarily closed its casinos in mid-March, had already suspended its quarterly cash dividend due to the continued effects of the coronavirus and has now announced further measures.

Scientific Games lands long-term extension with Iowa Lottery

Scientific Games has secured a long-term contract to provide a new state-wide gaming system to the Iowa Lottery and 2,400 retail locations where its games are sold.

The agreement will run for an initial 10 years, with the option to extend by an additional five years. The Iowa Lottery Authority Board voted 5-0 in favour of awarding the contract to Scientific Games.

IGT hands new senior roles to Costa and Di Loreto

International Game Technology (IGT) has named Dorothy Costa as its new global head of people and transformation, while it has also appointed Mario Di Loreto as an executive vice president and senior advisor to group chief executive Marco Sala.

Costa moves into the new role having previously served as IGT’s vice president of people and transformation for North America.

Caesars furloughs 90% of staff over Covid-19 shutdown

Caesars Entertainment Corporation has announced that it has furloughed around 90% of its total workforce in response to the temporary shutdown of its casino properties due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

The operator said it expects the furloughs to impact employees at its US-owned properties as well as corporate staff. All individuals placed on furlough will remain as employees of the business throughout the period, Caesars said.

IGT furloughs 2,300 amid Covid-19 pandemic 

International Game Technology (IGT) has implemented a temporary furlough programme for its staff in the US as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, impacting 2,300 employees.

Robert Vincent, chair of the supplier’s primary operating subsidiary for its US lottery business, IGT Global Solutions Corporation arm, explained that the pandemic had significantly impacted its customers and markets.

Former NV governor Sandoval steps down from MGM role

Former Nevada governor Brian Sandoval has stepped down as MGM Resorts’ president of global gaming development in order to apply for the position of president of the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR).

Sandoval had served on the MGM board since January 2019. Prior to this, he had served the maximum two terms as Governor of Nevada, winning the gubernatorial election with 53.4% of the vote in 2010 and 70.6% in 2014.

Illinois extends gambling suspension to April 30

The Illinois Gaming Board has announced that a temporary suspension on brick-and-mortar gambling in the state due to the ongoing novel coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis will be extended to April 30.

The initial period of closure for casinos and video gaming locations had been due to run to the end of March. However, such facilities will not be permitted to open again until the end of April at the earliest.

AGA urges President Trump to amend Paycheck Protection Program

American Gaming Association (AGA) president and chief executive Bill Miller has written directly to US President Donald Trump, urging him to amend the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to include gaming businesses.

The PPP is one element of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was signed into law on 27 March, aiming to make $349bn in loans available to small businesses impacted by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).