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State of the Union: NY, PA, Mississippi, Miomni and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, looks at the latest developments in states including New York and Pennsyvlania. Elsewhere, Miomni has requested the lawsuit filed by its erstwhile joint venture partner Delaware North be dismissed.

New York sports betting market grows…
FanDuel Group announced on Friday the opening of its first retail sportsbook in New York State, located at Tioga Downs Casino Resort in Nichols, New York.

The FanDuel Sportsbook opened Friday, 19 July, with New York Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo making the ceremonial first bet as part of a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Tioga Downs’ sports betting retail location is one of four upstate New York casinos permitted to offer sports betting in the state of New York and Keith Wall, Vice President Commercial Retail at FanDuel Group said the sportsbook would be a great opportunity for the state.

“As we continue to expand our sportsbook operations across the US the opening of our FanDuel Sportsbook at Tioga Downs Casino Resort is a history-making moment for the FanDuel Group,” Wall said.

… as Addabbo continues mobile wagering fight
New York Senator and Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee Chairman Joseph Addabbo, Jr. has resumed efforts to legalize mobile wagering in the state in the wake of the failure of a bill put forward during the state’s legislative session. 

With figures showing that about 25% of New Jersey sports bets are placed by New York residents, Addabbo (pictured) said the lack of mobile wagering options are costing the state treasury millions in tax revenue.

In May of 2019, New Jersey took in more money from sports betting than Nevada for the first time, by a margin of $318.9 million to $317.4 million. However, at a hearing held by Addabbo’s Committee on May 8, Kip Levin of Fan Duel and Lindsay Slader of Geo Comply said approximately 25% of New Jersey’s sports bets, worth around $79 million, come from New York residents.

Pennsylvania mobile wagering market expands…
Churchill Downs’ Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Pennsylvania has announced plans to begin its final testing of a BetAmerica-branded sportsbook, with a view to completing a full roll-out by the end of the week.

It will be closely followed by FanDuel, which began the three-day live test of its app on 22 July. 

Meanwhile bettors in the state will finally be able to bet on iOS devices, via Rush Street Interactive’s and sites.

The launch has been facilitated by GeoGuard Location Validator, a new app launched through a partnership between geolocation specialist GeoComply. Users are required to download the app from Apple’s App Store, then register for an account.

After doing so, they can use it to confirm they are located within Pennsylvania’s borders, and gamble via their mobile web browser.

Since the state’s online wagering market launched in May this year, players have only been able to gamble online via desktop and the Android operating system.

… as state benefits from gaming expansion legislation
Gambling revenue in Pennsylvania reached a record $3.3bn in the 2018-19 fiscal year, as the US state was boosted by additional income from regulated sports wagering.

The figure for the 12 months to June 30, 2019 represents a 1.84% increase on the $3.25bn posted in the corresponding period last year. The state collected a total of $1.39bn in tax from gambling, up from $1.3bn in the previous year.

Slots were by far the main source of income for licensed casinos in Pennsylvania, with revenue amounting to a collective $2.37bn, slightly up from $2.35bn last year.

Table games followed with revenue of $885.6m, down by 1.08% on $895.3m last year – the first time the state has seen a year-on-year drop since table games were introduced in its casinos in 2010.

Meanwhile, legal sports betting, which launched in the state in November of last year, generated $21.7m in revenue in the period to June 30. This was primarily derived from land-based activities, with online wagering having not launched until May this year.

Mississippi sports betting market enjoys strong June
Revenue from Mississippi’s regulated sports betting market increased by 35.4% month-on-month in June, despite the state seeing a 12.7% decline in amounts wagered.

Sports betting revenue amounted to $1.6m (£1.3m/€1.4m), compared to $1.2m in May, but the collective handle for the state’s central, coastal and northern regions slipped from $17.4m to $15.2m, according to figures from the Mississippi Gaming Commission.

Coastal casinos were once again the main source of income, generating $709,901 from $9.0m in wagers – a win percentage for the casinos of 7.90%. Revenue was up month-on-month from $626,283 in May, but wagers were down from $11.0m.

Miomni moves to dismiss Delaware North lawsuit
Sports betting software provider Miomni Gaming has hit back in its legal battle with Delaware North, saying claims by the US casino operator that it breached the terms of a joint venture agreement are entirely without merit.

Delaware North filed a lawsuit in April accusing its former joint venture partner and its chief executive, Michael Venner, of engaging in “an ongoing pattern of misrepresentation and bad faith” throughout the partnership.

In its response to Delaware North suit, Miomni says that its claims “fail in their entirety” for three key reasons.

Firstly, Miomni argues that Delaware North has failed to demonstrate that it is guilty of any breaches of contractual terms set out in its original filing. 

Miomni also said the US court lacks personal jurisdiction over Venner, who is a citizen of the UK and has had no contacts with Delaware. Finally, the supplier said that the claims of fraud fail as they do not specify exact incidents or events that constitute such illegal activity, and are based on statements made by third parties. 

Better Collective strengthens US portfolio with two acquisitions
Better Collective has acquired the assets of Florida-based sports betting websites Vegas Insider and Scores and Odds in a $20m cash deal.

“With the acquisition of the two mega-brands, and, Better Collective is paving the way to expand the position as the market leading sports betting information company to include the US,” Jesper Søgaard, chief executive and co-founder of Better Collective said.

Each site is an established brand, with Vegas Insider founded more than 20 years ago, providing statistics, user-generated picks and content to its audience. Scores and Odds, on the other hand, was founded in 1997 and offers odds comparison and sports statistics.

Currently the two websites, which attracted more than 15m unique visits per month during the National Football League’s (NFL) 2018/2019 season, operate on a business model based on the sale of betting tips and brand advertising. However, under Better Collective, the system will move toward an affiliate marketing model.