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State of the Union: NJ, Boyd, CO and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, features betting revenue figures from states across the US – including strong figures from New Jersey and Colorado’s first full month of legal sports betting revenue – as well as layoffs at Casino operator Boyd Gaming and the long-awaited passage of a fantasy sports tax bill in Lousiana.

New Jersey sportsbook revenue grows in June

New Jersey saw a year-on-year increase in sports betting revenue and another big month for online casino during June, although overall gambling was well down, with the state’s nine casinos closed.

Sports wagering revenue was up 30.3% year-on-year to $12.6m according to figures released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE). That figure was also up by 27.7% on the previous month’s figure of $9.9m.

The state’s online sportsbooks attracted $165.0m in handle, down 27.0% compared to $226.7m in June 2019. With land-based premises closed as a result of novel coronavirus (Covid-19), total sportsbook handle was down 40.0% year-on-year from $273.2m.

Boyd begins laying off furloughed employees

Casino operator Boyd Gaming has taken the “extremely difficult decision” to lay off staff members still on furlough, having warned in May that disruption caused by novel coronavirus (Covid-19) could force it to significantly cut headcount.

In May, at a time when the casino sector was shuttered as a result of Covid-19, the operator informed workers that between 25% and 60% of staff could lose their jobs, with layoffs likely to take place between July 1 and 14.

The layoffs are at the lower end of the scale suggested in May, Boyd told iGB North America. This comes after the business placed the majority of staff on furlough in April, which it described at the time as a “last resort”.

Colorado betting revenue reaches $946,741 in debut month

Colorado’s regulated sports betting market generated revenue of $946,741.34 in May, the first full month of legal wagering in the Centennial State.

In total, players wagered $25.6m, slightly higher than the early $25.5m figure released by the Colorado Limited Gaming Commission at the start of June, across six mobile sportsbooks. This came despite the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic shutting down the state’s brick-and-mortar casinos throughout the month.

Four of these – DraftKings, FanDuel, Roar Digital’s betMGM and Rush Street’s BetRivers – went live on May 1, the day the market opened. Monarch Casino Resort’s BetMonarch app then launched on 14 May, with The Stars Group, via the Fox Bet brand, following on 19 May.

Delaware igaming stakes top $100m so far in 2020

Delaware saw a third consecutive month where online gaming handle topped $20m in June, although figures were slightly down on April and May.

Online gaming stakes amounted to $23.8m, which was down on the record $29.5m put down in May, but three times the $8.2m for the same month last year.

Revenue of $964,600 was down 15.0% on the previous month, but up 275.0% year-on-year from $257,300.

Mississippi betting market swings to a loss in June

Mississippi’s sports betting market posted a $62,230.77 loss for June, after the state’s northern casinos posted heavy losses on basketball betting for the month.

The latest figures from the Mississippi Gaming Commission show that total revenue is down significantly from June 2019’s $1.6m total. This also represents a decline from May 2020’s revenue of $87,697.08.

Amounts wagered were also down significantly year-on-year, at $1.6m, compared to $15.2m in the prior year. June’s handle, however, represented a significant increase on the $236,502.91 wagered in May this year.

NV closes bars, restricted gaming sites amid Covid-19 spike

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has ordered all bars – including those in Las Vegas casinos – and restricted gaming locations in seven counties to close for at least two weeks amid rising cases of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in the state.

In an emergency order issued Friday (July 10), Sisolak announced that the measures would apply to “elevated disease transmission” counties, based on three criteria. A county would need to meet two of the criteria to fall under the scope of the order.

This would mean it has two of: fewer than 150 Covid-19 tests per 100,000 residents per day; a case rate higher than 100 per 100,000 citizens; or has more than 7% of tests come back positive.

Louisiana passes fantasy sports tax bill

Louisiana has finally passed a fantasy sports tax bill, more than 18 months after 47 of the state’s parishes approved the game, as governor John Bel Edwards signed Representative John Stefanski’s bill, introduced in a special session of the state’s legislature.

HB64 sets an 8% tax on revenue on paid fantasy sports, to be paid monthly. The funds shall go towards the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund. The Legislative Fiscal Office’s fiscal note for the bill estimates the bill will bring in around $375,000 in tax.

The bill passed the House by an 82-11 vote on 17 June before receiving unanimous approval in the Senate, sending it to Edwards’ desk, where it became law on Tuesday (13 July).

DraftKings launch heralds beginning of igaming in WV

Online casino launched in West Virginia yesterday (15 July) with DraftKings’ casino app going live, more than a year after legislation was passed by the state.

West Virginia becomes the third state in which Draftkings has launched its standalone casino product, following roll-outs in New Jersey in June and Pennsylvania earlier this week.

Ontario gaming venues to begin reopening from July 17

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) will permit certain casinos and charitable gaming centers to resume operations when the province enters stage 3 of its reopening plan, starting on July 17.

While the return of land-based gaming sees the Canadian province continue to return to normal following the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the venues – which have been closed for four months, since March 16 – will be subject to tight restrictions.

Maximum occupancy, for example, will be limited to 50 customers, while table games must remain suspended.

Pennsylvania to hold new slot license auction

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) will hold an action on 2 September for a Category 4 Slot Machine License.

A category 4 licence would allow the licensee to operate between 300 and 750 slot machines.

Any entity “with an ownership interest in a slot machine license” may participate, by submitting a location – a circle with 15 mile radius – in which they would operate.

Iowa sports betting market continues to recover in June

Figures released by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission show that sports betting revenue in the state amounted to $620,740 in June, an increase of 23.9% on the previous month.

Iowa was boosted last month by the reopening of its casinos on June 1, after closing their doors on March 17 due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which had led to a significant drop in revenue in April to $150,331.

Detroit casino GGR falls 59.3% in H1 after Covid-19 closures

Michigan’s three commercial casinos – MGM Grand, MotorCity Casino and Greektown Casino, all located in Detroit – brought in a combined $299.2m in revenue, down 59.3%, for the first six months of 2020 following closures due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

All three casinos closed their doors on 16 March as the pandemic hit the US and have remained closed ever since, meaning the revenue was made in just over 40% of the half-year period, roughly corresponding to the amount of revenue lost.

Pointsbet receives Illinois betting permit

Australia-based sports betting operator PointsBet has received a temporary operating permit from the Illinois Gaming Board.

The certification will allow to operator to roll out retail and online wagering in the state, once its partner, the Hawthorne Racecourse in the Southwest Chicago suburbs, receives a master license.

Betfred partners Mohegan Sun for Las Vegas debut

Betfred is to enter the Las Vegas gaming market for the first time after being named as the sportsbook partner of the new Mohegan Sun Casino property in the Nevada city.

The sportsbook will be located within the 60,000-square foot Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas when it opens later this year, with an online sports betting product also to be offered.

Eldorado-Caesars to sell trio of IN casinos to complete merger

The Indiana Gaming Commission has approved the proposed merger between Eldorado Resorts and Caesars Entertainment, but has ordered the combined entity to sell three casinos in the state.

With Eldorado operating the Tropicana casino in Evansville, Indiana and Caesars operating Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, Horseshoe Hammond Casino, Caesars Southern Indiana Casino and Indiana Grand Racing & Casino, the Commission had reservations about the deal.

Indiana sports betting market suffers June dip

Indiana’s regulated sports betting market saw revenue and handle decline in June, despite the state’s land-based casinos reopening midway through the month.

Amounts wagered across all licensees fell 20.2% month-over-month to $29.8m, according to the latest Indiana Gaming Commission figures.

Alberta to allow online 50/50 raffle ticket sales

Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis announced that ticket sales for 50/50 raffle prize draws will now be available online to customers in the Canadian province.

AGLC aims to diversify the means by which its customers can access its products, in order to increase revenue and, therefore proceeds, to local charitable organisations.

Denver Broncos signs up new betting partner in BetMGM

National Football League (NFL) franchise the Denver Broncos has signed up its latest sports betting partner, with BetMGM to open a new lounge at the team’s Empower Field at Mile High stadium through the agreement.

BetMGM, the leading brand operated by MGM Resorts and GVC Holdings joint venture Roar Digital, is to provide a range of premium fan experiences to Broncos fans as an official partner of the team.

Atlantic City’s Borgata prepares for 26 July reopening

The Borgata, Atlantic City’s most successful casino, will later this month become the last of the city’s nine resorts to reopen after the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown.

The MGM Resorts International property will reopen to the general public on Sunday, 26 July following its closure earlier this year amidst the coronavirus crisis. The Borgata said in a statement that its amenity offerings initially will be limited, with plans to open more fully in the coming weeks and months.

Sportradar extends data deal with FantasyPros

Sports data and content provider Sportradar has signed a multi-year extension to its partnership with daily fantasy sports tips platform FantasyPros, covering the supply of real-time data across all major US sports.

FantasyPros will continue to utilize Sportradar’s real-time data on its properties for content analysis, insights, and matchup breakdowns to help players improve their fantasy sports performance.

DraftKings opens retail sportsbook in Colorado

Daily fantasy and sports betting operator DraftKings and land-based casino operator Twin River Worldwide Holdings have announced the opening of a temporary retail sportsbook at the Mardi Gras Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado.

Guests will be able to place bets at the temporary location, on the first floor of the casino, from this Friday, July 10. The sportsbook will feature eight self-service betting kiosks, a cashier window and several large-screen TVs.

RI amendment seeks to scrap in-person sports betting registration

Lawmakers in Rhode Island are to consider an amendment that would remove the requirement for consumers to register in-person in order to access online sports betting in the state.

Introduced this week by Representatives Nicholas Mattiello and Marvin Abney, amendment H 8097 would permit players to register for an account online or via their mobile device.