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State of the Union: PointsBet, Covid-19, 5Dimes and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, covers PointsBet’s first-of-its-kind deal with the University of Colorado Buffaloes, the US gaming market’s July recovery and 5Dimes’ decision to block access for US customers, possibly signaling an attempt to mvoe into the regulated market.

PointsBet nets landmark deal with NCAA’s Colorado Buffaloes

PointsBet has signed a five-year deal to become a betting, gaming and fantasy sports partner of The University of Colorado Buffaloes, becoming the first operator to sign an agreement with a “Power Five” collegiate sports team.

The deal will see PointsBet signage appear at football stadium Folsom Field, as well as at the team’s basketball and volleyball stadium the CU Events Center. The operator’s brand will also feature in gameday promotions, television advertising space and on radio broadcasts.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which governs collegiate athletics, has taken a strong stance against gambling in the past and does not permit gambling advertisements during competitions it organises such as the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Betting & igaming contribution to US gambling grows in July

US commercial gross gambling revenue (GGR) continued to recover in July as more casinos and other venues reopened following the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) shutdown.

Operators generated $2.83bn during the month, which represented a 56.4% rise on the $1.81bn recorded in June and the third consecutive month of sequential growth. However, July’s total was down 23.9% year-on-year, as operating restrictions such as capacity limits continue to impact operators.

However, the latest figures from the American Gaming Association (AGA) revealed significant growth in the sports betting market, with revenue up 86.2% year-on-year to $69.0m. iGaming was the standout performer, however, with revenue rocketing 253.6% to $142.9m.

5Dimes to block US customers, hints at regulated pivot

Costa Rica-based sportsbook 5Dimes will block access for US customers, hinting that it may look to secure licenses to move into the US regulated betting market.

The operator, which does not yet hold any US licences but is popular among American bettors, will stop taking bets from US IP addresses from September 21.

Players must make final withdrawal requests by September 25, and funds that cannot be delivered to players by September 30 will be deemed abandoned.

AGA urges clamp-down on illegal NFL online betting

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has called for more to be done to tackle illegal online gambling websites, after a study forecast an increase in consumers using offshore sites to place online bets on the 2020-21 National Football League (NFL) season.

Some 33.2m of American adults are set to place some form of wager on the NFL during the upcoming season, which begins later today (September 10) with the Kansas City Chiefs playing the Houston Texans.

Should this be the case, this would represent a 12.6% decline on the 38m adults that were expected to place bets in the 2019-20 campaign, which ended with the Chiefs beating the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 to clinch Super Bowl LIV.

Betting start-up Vigtory brings in MGM Resorts veteran Butera

Chicago-based sports betting start-up Vigtory has appointed former MGM Resorts president of interactive gaming Scott Butera as its co-chief executive as it prepares to launch in Fall 2020.

Butera will serve alongside Vigtory’s current chief executive and founder Sam Rattner, and also joins the operator’s board of directors.

William Hill launches sportsbook in Colorado, rolls out CBS content

William Hill’s US business has announced the launch of its online and mobile sportsbook in Colorado, while the bookmaker has also rolled out the first selection of content and products through its new partnership with CBS Sports.

Built on William Hill’s proprietary platform, the sports betting app and website will be available to access across the state of Colorado, offering users pre-game and in-play betting option on professional and collegiate sports.

Penn National prepares Barstool Sportsbook live test in PA

Regional casino operator Penn National Gaming is preparing for a test launch of its long-awaited real-money sportsbook featuring the Barstool Sports brand in Pennsylvania.

The test launch was approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, pending final iOS app approval, and is due to take place between September 15-17.

Boyd launches new mobile sportsbook in Nevada

Casino operator Boyd Gaming has announced the launch of a new mobile sports wagering app in the state of Nevada.

The B Connected Sports app will operate under the same name of Boyd’s existing mobile offering in Nevada, but will now run on International Game Technology’s (IGT’s) PlaySports solution.

Penn National prepares Barstool Sportsbook live test in PA

Regional casino operator Penn National Gaming is preparing for a test launch of its long-awaited real-money sportsbook featuring the Barstool Sports brand in Pennsylvania.

The test launch was approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, pending final iOS app approval, and is due to take place between September 15-17.

2020 Kentucky Derby brings in $79.4m in wagers

A total of $79.4m was bet on the 2020 Kentucky Derby, down 52.0% from 2019’s record handle, according to Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI).

Bettors staked $126.0m on the program of racing on 5 September, down 49.8%, following the event being postponed from its traditional date in May and taking place without spectators becaus eof the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

Michigan clears CDI for advance-deposit wagering

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) has approved Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) to begin offering advance deposit wagering (ADW) on horse racing to players in the state.

Under an order issued by MGCB executive director Richard Kalm, CDI will now be able to accept mobile bets on live and simulcast pari-mutuel horse races.

Kindred strikes IL, OH market access deals with Penn National

Unibet operator Kindred has struck market access deals with regional casino operator Penn National Gaming to offer online betting and gaming in Illinois and Ohio.

It hopes to offer betting in Illinois, subject to it being licensed by the state Gaming Board, and both online betting and gaming in each state, provided legislation is passed.

William Hill rolls out online and mobile sportsbook in WV

Bookmaker William Hill US has announced the launch of its online and mobile sportsbook in the state of West Virginia.

Built on William Hill’s proprietary platform, the sportsbook website and app offer a range of markets and bet types across professional and collegiate sports.

Newgioco obtains GLI certification for Elys betting platform

Italian sports betting supplier Newgioco Group has obtained the Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) events wagering system certification standard GLI-33 for its Elys betting platform, for use in Washington D.C.

The certification covers the Elys betting system and retail point of sale terminals, and represents the first step of the company’s plan to unveil the Elys US betting platform for operations throughout the country.

PointsBet raises AU$70.5m via initial entitlement offer

Online gambling operator PointsBet has revealed it raised a total of AU$70.5m (£51.2m/€43.4m/US$51.1m) through the first stage of its fully underwritten entitlement offer.

Launched earlier this week, the offer will see the operator issue approximately 10.8m new shares, priced at $6.50 each, with around 55% of shares purchased by existing shareholders.

PointsBet exceeds expectations with AU$200m placement

Online gambling operator PointsBet has surpassed initial expectations by raising AU$200m (£109.9m/€123.0m/US$145.2m) through a share placement.

PointsBet last week set out plans to generate $150m, but the raising surpassed this after the operator sold off a total of 18,181,819 new shares at a price of $11 each.

California SC ruling paves way for new Class III casinos

The California Supreme Court has ruled in favor of tribes wishing to build new Class III casinos in California, removing a major barrier to decades-old plans for the construction of new facilities in the state.

In a 5-2 opinion, the court ruled that the Governor has the power to allow the Department of the Interior to take land into trust for casino-style gaming.

CDI opens new outdoor gaming space at Derby City

Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) has opened a new outdoor gaming patio on the south side of Derby City Gaming, the only licensed land-based gaming facility in Louisville, Kentucky.

The 8,000 square foot outdoor space features 225 historical racing machines (HRMs), bringing the facility’s total number of machines to 1,225.

FanDuel launches online sportsbook in Iowa with Boyd Gaming

Flutter Entertainment-owned FanDuel Group has announced the launch of its online and mobile sportsbook in Iowa, through its partnership with Boyd Gaming.

Customers can register for the online and mobile sportsbook at Boyd’s Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque or Northwood Iowa, though this will only be required until January 1 next year, when Iowa will allow players to register online or in-app.

NY Governor sets reopening date for casinos

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that the state’s casinos will be permitted to reopen next week, having been closed for almost six months as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The state’s casinos, which closed their doors on March 16 due to Covid-19, will reopen from Wednesday September 9, subject to strict safety protocols. The order applies to the state’s four commercial casinos and racetrack casinos.

Caesars offloads Harrah’s Louisiana to Rubico Acquisition

Caesars Entertainment – the operating name for the newly combined Caesars Entertainment Corporation and Eldorado Resorts business – has agreed to sell its Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Casino, Racing & Entertainment property to Rubico Acquisition for $22.0m.

Caesars will receive $16.5m in proceeds from the sale, with $5.5m going to VICI Properties, a real estate investment trust spun off from the operator in 2017, subject to customary adjustments for cash and net working capital.

BetMGM becomes first betting partner of NFL’s Detroit Lions

BetMGM, the joint venture between MGM Resorts and GVC Holdings, has been named the first official sports betting partner of National Football League franchise the Detroit Lions.

The partnership will see BetMGM branding displayed around the Lions’ Ford Field stadium, while the operator will gain a presence on team’s broadcast programming and digital channels.

HeadsUp signs LoI to purchase 50% VIP Entertainment stake

Canadian igaming business HeadsUp Entertainment International has signed a letter of intent (LOI) to acquire a 50% stake in online gambling operator VIP Entertainment Group.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but HeadsUp said the LOI sets out a three-step due diligence process that should allow the acquisition to go through next month.

Scientific Games extends with Resorts Digital in NJ

Scientific Games has signed a multi-year extension to its New Jersey-facing content supply deal with Resorts Digital.

Under the renewed deal, Scientific Games will continue to support the Resorts-operated Resorts Casino and Mohegan Sun Casino sites with its OpenGaming platform.

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