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State of the Union: New Jersey, SG, Tennessee and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s state of the union, in partnership with Segev LLP, includes the effect of Covid-19 on sports betting revenue figures in New Jersey, Delaware, Iowa, Indiana and Mississippi, as well as cost-cutting measures at Scientific Games.

Elsewhere, Tennessee has moved closer to legal sports betting, while Virginia’s bill to do the same faces another obstacle and Connecticut’s hopes of legal igaming during the crisis have been quashed.

NJ sports betting revenue down as igaming soars
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has reported a 58.4% year-on-year decline in sports betting revenue in March, primarily due to the widespread shutdown of sports events as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.

However, the state’s online gaming market enjoyed a particularly strong month, with poker the standout performer.

Sports betting revenue amounted to $13.2m last month, down from $31.7m in March 2019 and also 22.4% lower than $17.0m in February of this year.

Scientific Games to cut spending by $100m in Q2
Scientific Games has said it expects to save more than $100m from cost-saving measures it has rolled out to help reduce the impact of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) on the business.

Last month, Scientific Games set out a broad range of actions that it said would preserve jobs and protect its operations during the ongoing pandemic.

These included its workforce having hours and pay reduced, while workers in support roles were furloughed. In addition, its executive leadership has voluntarily reduced its salaries by 50%, with chief executive Barry Cottle going without pay.

Tennessee closes in on sports betting launch
The Tennessee Education Lottery has approved rules and processes for mobile sports betting in the state, with minor tweaks to the payout percentage, and now aims to allow operators to begin applying for licenses next week.

The rules were approved by the lottery’s board of directors at a meeting Wednesday (April 15).

“These rules reflect the significant work that went into establishing the processes and requirements for licensing and regulating interactive sports wagering in Tennessee,” Tennessee Education Lottery board chair Susan Lanigan said. “The board thanks the TEL and the Sports Wagering Advisory Council for their thoughtful help and guidance.

Mississippi betting revenue plummets in March
Mississippi’s sports betting revenue fell sharply in the past month, after the popular National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) basketball tournament was cancelled and the state’s casinos shut from March 16.

Revenue for the month dropped 86.8% year-on-year to $648,646.60 (or 69.2% month-on-month) after the March Madness tournament, which drove customer activity in the prior year, was cancelled as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Amounts wagered declined 66.8% from March 2019, to $10.7m, which also represents a 68.8% fall from February 2020.

AGA: PPP changes still “woefully short” of addressing issues
The American Gaming Association (AGA) described revised guidelines allowing more businesses to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) as still falling “woefully short” of helping small gaming businesses survive the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The PPP, part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, aims to make $349bn in loans available to small businesses impacted by Covid-19.

However, the wording of the regulations governing PPP by the Small Business Administration (SBA) initially stated that businesses “deriving more than one-third of gross annual revenue from legal gambling activities” were ineligible for the scheme.

CT Governor rejects call for temporary igaming launch
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has rejected a request to give the state’s two tribal casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, temporary approval to launch online gaming during the shutdown enforced as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The measure was requested by the chief elected officials and chief executive officers of the 22 municipal members of the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (SCCOG).

The SCCOG requested Governor Lamont issue an Executive Order to allow the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation-owned Foxwoods and Mohegan Tribe’s Mohegan Sun to launch igaming during the shut-down, which began on 17 March.

Indiana sportsbook revenue halved by Covid-19 in March
The suspension of sporting action and the closure of the state’s casinos from mid-March has slashed Indiana’s sports betting revenue for the month.

With all major US leagues, not to mention other popular sports from around the world, shut down as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, and Indiana casinos closed from March 16, betting activity was significantly curtailed.

Virginia Governor requests sports betting bill amendments
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has put forward a number of amendments to a bill that would legalise sports wagering in the state.

House Bill 896, which set out plans to permit online and mobile sports betting, passed the House last month by a vote of 59-35 after also clearing the Senate on March 7 by a vote of 33-5.

Delaware igaming revenue climbs again in March
The Delaware Lottery has reported another year-on-year increase in online gambling revenue in March, with licensed operators generating a total of $514,959 during the month.

Last month’s total was 78.3% higher than the $288,745 reported in March 2019, while the figure was also 58.5% higher than $324,958 posted in February of this year. Player spending also jumped 12.3% year-on-year to $16.4m.

Iowa sportsbook revenue rises despite Covid-19 shutdown
Sports betting revenue in Iowa increased 55.1% month-over-month to $1.2m for March, despite the shutdown of almost all sports due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic midway through the month.

Total handle, however, was well below previous months, at $19.6m, down 66.5% from February.