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State of the Union: NV, Penn, NBA and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, includes financial results from a variety of the US’s major regional casino players – with mixed levels of success – as well as Golden Nugget Online Gaming and Nevada and Colorado’s latest sportsbook figures.

Nevada casinos enjoy strongest month since February

Nevada casino revenue grew 10.5% from August but remained down 22.4% year-on-year, as low margins did not stop the state moving back towards normality following its novel coronavirus (Covid-19) shut-down.

Total revenue for September amounted to $821.1m, on stakes of $10.32bn, up 3.3% month-over-month. This represented the best monthly revenue total since February this year, the last full month of activity before Covid-19 disrupted the US casino market.

Slots contributed $607.5m in revenue, down 12.0% year-on-year but up 15.6% from August as players staked $8.37bn.

Penn National Gaming bounces back with record earnings in Q3

Penn National Gaming saw revenue decline 16.6% in Q3, though earnings reached record highs as the business emphatically bounced back from the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and launched its Barstool Sportsbook product.

The three months to 30 September represented a significant improvement on the second quarter of the year, when revenue fell 76.9% to $305.5m and the business posted a $213.9m loss.

Of Penn’s $1.13bn in revenue, $993.6m came from gaming, down 8.7% from Q3 of 2019.

Golden Nugget Online Gaming sees revenue grow 92% in Q3

Golden Nugget Online Gaming posted a 91.9% rise in net revenue for the third quarter of the year, and revealed that it expects to finalize its Nasdaq listing by the end of November.

Gross gaming revenue for the three months to 30 September came to $28.9m, almost double the $14.9m generated in the third quarter of 2019. After gaming taxes, its net revenue came to $25.9m, up from $13.5m in the prior year.

“Our third quarter confirmed and amplified our momentum in New Jersey, with record revenues supported by all-time-high player activity, sustained marketing investments and 64 new casino games, 20 of which we launched on an exclusive basis,” the operator’s president Thomas Winter said.

Twin River hails Q3 performance ahead of Bally’s rebrand

Twin River Worldwide Holdings said limiting its third quarter revenue decline to 9.8% year-on-year represented a positive result in the last set of results to be published before the business is rebranded as Bally’s Corporation next month.

Revenue for the three months to 30 September declined to $116.6m, in a period where the operator was affected by state measures to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19), including capacity limits, restrictions on gaming positions and other amenities.

This meant that the inclusion of revenue from Casino KC and Casino Vicksburg from Eldorado Resorts, after those deals were completed on July 1, only partially offset the declines across the core business.

theScore makes CAD$1.4m loss from betting in 2019-20

theScore’s sportsbook product made a $1.4m loss in its first full year in operation, after accounting for bonuses and unsettled bets, with the the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic checking the product’s momentum during the period.

The business, comprising the sports betting and core media businesses, made CAD$20.7m ($15.5m) in revenue for the year ended 31 August, down 31.2% year-on-year.

However, the betting division of the business generated only $253,000 in gross gaming revenue in its first year of activity, on stakes of $41.3m. After taking into account promotional costs and the values of unsettled bets, theScore posted a loss of $1.4m from wagering operations.

Boyd continues to feel Covid-19 impact in Q3

Casino operator Boyd Gaming said novel coronavirus (Covid-19) weighed on its third quarter performance, reporting a 20.4% year-on-year drop in revenue for the period.

Group revenue for the three months to September 30 amounted to $652.2m, down from $819.6m in the corresponding period last year.

Gaming revenue was down 7.7% from $613.5m to $566.0m, as Boyd’s properties were forced to continue operating at limited capacity due to state orders related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Net profit rockets 191.9% at CDI after online betting growth in Q3

Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) has reported a 10.3% year-on-year increase in net revenue in the third quarter, as growth within its online betting business also helped drive net profit up 191.9% during the period.

Net revenue in the three months to September 30 amounted to $337.8m, up from $306.8m in the corresponding quarter last year.

Twin River to acquire Tropicana Evansville from Caesars

Twin River Worldwide Holdings has agreed to acquire the Tropicana Evansville Casino in Indiana from Caesars Entertainment.

The property will be sold to real estate investment trust Gaming and Leisure Properties (GLPI) – which was spun off from Penn National Gaming in 2013 – for $340m. GLPI will then lease it to Twin River for $28m per year in rent, which may increase due to inflation.

BetMGM extends partnership with Detroit Red Wings

BetMGM, the online gaming joint venture between MGM Resorts International and GVC Holdings, has renewed and extended its partnership with National Hockey League (NHL) team the Detroit Red Wings.

The deal sees BetMGM continue to benefit from its presence at the home of the Red Wings, Little Caesars Arena, through the inclusion of an on-ice logo, in-venue signage and fan promotions, as well as a sponsored presence on the Red Wings’ digital platforms.

RI retail betting continues to outstrip mobile in September

The Rhode Island Lottery reported a slight year-on-year decline in sports betting revenue – but month-over-month growth – for September, as retail continued to outperform mobile wagering.

Sports betting revenue in September reached $2.4m, down 4.0% from $2.5m in the same month last year, but 71.4% higher than the amount posted in August this year.

OK Governor to forgo appeal against tribal compact ruling

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has warned that while he will not appeal against a US District Court ruling stating tribal gaming compacts in the state automatically renewed in January this year, the decision will cause difficulties for the state in future.

Stitt had previously that claimed the existing 15-year compacts with tribes did not automatically renew for another 15 years and would have to be renegotiated in order to continue.

NHL commits to AGA’s responsible gambling initiative

The National Hockey League (NHL) will support the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) ‘Have A Game Plan’ public service campaign to promote responsible gambling.

Through the new partnership, the NHL will use the in-arena and digital marketing assets from across the league to show videoboard images and run public address announcements to help promote the initiative.

CO September betting revenue declines despite record handle

Colorado sportsbooks took in revenue of $4.2m in September, down 44.6% month-on-month, even as betting handle continued to shoot up beyond $200m, as low margins hit operators in the Centennial State.

The drop in revenue was due to a drop in margin to just 2.0% compared to 5.9% in August, as stakes grew 61.4% to $207.7m, exceeding the record set last month. Of this total, $203.9m came from retail bets, up 60.9%, while the remaining$3.8m came from retail, up 90.1%.

Caesars to reopen The Cromwell casino in Las Vegas

Caesars Entertainment is to reopen The Cromwell on the Las Vegas Strip next week, meaning just one of the operator’s properties in the city is yet to open following the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) shut-down.

The Cromwell closed its doors in mid-March in line with Nevada’s Covid-19 restrictions and is the only Caesars property on the Las Vegas Strip yet to resume operations.

Unibet adds sports betting to Philadelphia Eagles partnership

Kindred brand Unibet has expanded its casino partnership with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles to cover sports betting as well as casino.

Unibet signed a deal to become the Eagles’ official casino partner in November 2019, when NFL teams were not yet permitted to explicitly advertise sports betting.

theScore joins National Council on Problem Gambling

Canadian betting and sports media business theScore has announced that its Score Digital Sports Ventures (theScore Bet) subsidiary has become a platinum member of the US National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG).

As a platinum member, theScore will work with the organization to increase public awareness of gambling addiction and campaign for greater treatment for those who suffering from gambling-related harm.

Cost cutting helps Red Rock post Q3 profit

Casino operator Red Rock Resorts said that despite third quarter revenue falling 24.2% year-on-year, l0wer costs helped it post a profit for the period

Net revenue for the three months to September 30 amounted to $353.2m, down from $465.9m in the same period last year.

Caesars and William Hill jointly sponsor NFL’s Colts

Caesars Entertainment and William Hill have together signed a deal to become an official sports betting partner of the Indianapolis Colts, the first joint team sponsorship between Caesars and the operator it looks set to acquire.

The agreement will see the pair launch a free-to-play game titled Pick 6 Predictor, in which players predict the outcome of six different events for each Colts game. It will offer fans a series of prizes, including a stay at a Caesars property in Las Vegas.

NeoGames aims to raise $90m through Nasdaq listing

Online gambling and lottery solutions provider NeoGames has announced plans to raise up to $90m through an initial public offering (IPO) in the US.

NeoGames filed its IPO proposal with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday (October 27), with plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol ‘NGMS’.

IGT provides $4.84bn in economic value in 2019

Gaming solutions giant International Game Technology’s (IGT) latest sustainability report claims the business generated $4.84bn in ‘economic value’ through its products and services last year.

This metric looks to quantify the economic activity created through the supplier’s solutions. The value of the economic activity created directly by IGT, was down 32.6% year-on-year at $4.84bn, while the economic value to parties other than IGT came to $4.63bn, down 0.9%.

ESPN veteran Ryan Spoon named BetMGM operations chief

BetMGM, the sports betting joint venture between MGM Resorts and GVC Holdings, has appointed Ryan Spoon as its new chief operating officer.

Spoon most recently served as senior vice president of social and digital content for ESPN, previously serving as SVP of digital product and design for the sports broadcaster.

FanDuel gains D.C. presence through MLS team deal

Washington D.C.’s Major League Soccer (MLS) team D.C. United has announced a long-term, exclusive partnership with sports betting and daily fantasy operator FanDuel.

The deal sees FanDuel become the team’s exclusive sports betting partner, and includes plans to open a FanDuel-branded retail sportsbook at its home stadium, Audi Field, in 2021.

Scientific Games appoints Cathryn Lai to digital team

Global gaming supplier Scientific Games has strengthened its digital business with the appointment of Cathryn Lai as senior vice president and general manager for the US market.

Lai joined SG Digital on October 19 after serving as senior vice president of products, marketing and gaming operations for the supplier’s gaming division.