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State of the Union: Washington, NC, WV and  more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, covers developments in Washington State, North Carolina, West Virginia and more.

Washington to hold public hearing on sports betting regulation
The Washington State Gambling Commission is seeking public input on the future of sports gambling in the state, including discussion of three bills that were introduced during the 2019 legislative session.

At its public meeting on July 11, 2019, at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, the Gambling Commission will discuss the current sports gambling bills – HB 1975, HB 1992, SB 5965 – before the Legislature.

“If the Legislature authorizes sports gambling, we expect to be the primary state regulator,” said Commission Chair Bud Sizemore. “It is essential for us to hear from the public before we make any regulatory policy recommendations to the Legislature for the 2020 session.”

Commissioners and staff are expected to continue discussions on sports gambling at the following upcoming meetings on Aug. 8, Sept. 12, Oct. 10 and Nov. 14 2019 at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Olympia.

North Carolina betting bill set for full House vote
A bill to legalize sports betting at tribal gaming venues could soon be headed to Governor Roy Cooper should it pass a vote in the state’s House of Representatives later today (July 11). 

Senate Bill 154, which would allow legal wagering at Class III tribal gaming facilities, has now passed two House committees in quick succession. 

Yesterday (July 10) it passed through the Rules, Calendar and Operations of the House Committee, having been reported favorably from the Commerce Committee a day earlier.

West Virginia sports betting revenue plummets in June
Sports wagering revenue in the regulated West Virginia market plummeted by around 148.2% month-on-month to $377,552 in June, while total handle also dropped by 13%.

The June revenue total is some way short of the $937,065 that was generated in May, while the overall amount wagered by players was down from $10.7m to $9.5m.

Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races retained its position as the leading sports wagering venue in West Virginia, posting revenue of $201,618 in June from $5.4m in total wagers.

The Stars Group strikes NY betting and market access agreement 
The Stars Group has entered into an agreement with the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort that will see the PokerStars operator enter New York’s sports betting market, as well as providing access to any future igaming market in the state.

The partnership with the casino, owned by the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe of Akwesasne, grants The Stars Group an option to operate and brand real-money online sports betting, poker and casino in New York on a first skin basis. This is subject to the passage of legislation in the state, and each party being approved to operate in the market.

In addition, The Stars Group will also provide support services for the launch and operation of a retail sportsbook at the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort in Northern New York.

Intralot granted DC Lottery sports betting contract
The Washington, DC Council has awarded Intralot a five-year contract to power the city lottery’s sports betting offering, despite mounting concerns over the manner in which the contract was handed to the Greek lottery and gaming solutions provider.

The contract, for which Intralot could earn up to $215m over the five-year term, was backed by seven councilmembers, with five voting against. The Council used an emergency measure to bypass a public procurement process, to ensure it did not lose sports betting revenue to the neighbouring states of Maryland and Virginia.

PA prepares for second satellite casino license auction
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will hold a  second round of auctions for the right to apply for a satellite casino licenses in September. 

There are five Category 4 licenses available, which allow operators to construct facilities housing up to 750 slot machines and 40 table games, with current Category 1, 2 and 3 casino license holders eligible to participate in the auction.

The auction process sees operators bid for the right to obtain a license, with plans to be approved by the PGCB before construction can begin. Operators must then pay a $7.5m fee for a license to operate slots, and $2.5m for a table games certificate.

The Category 4 license was created as part of the gambling expansion bill signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf in October 2017, which also paved the way for the roll-out of sports betting and igaming. 

Maine sports betting on hold until 2020
Hopes for the launch of sports betting in Maine have suffered a setback after the state’s Governor Janet Mills failed to sign legislation into law before the July 2 deadline.

Legislative Document 553 was one of 39 that the Governor decided to hold back for further review, meaning the bills have neither been signed, vetoed nor allowed to pass into law without her signature. 

Puerto Rico legislature passes sports betting bill
A bill to regulate sports betting in Puerto Rico is headed to Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares to be signed into law after passing the unincorporated US territory’s legislature. 

Rosselló, who has previously claimed the legislation could turn Puerto Rico into a “state-of-the-art jurisdiction” for sports betting, is likely to ratify the bill.