Friday, January 29, 2021
Any financial aid that gaming businesses obtain from the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package currently under consideration on Capitol Hill will help the industry right itself following 2020’s economic devastation brought about by the ongoing pandemic. Still, American Gaming Association Bill Miller said Thursday said the funds would just be a start. Miller said other legislative efforts on Capitol Hill, including tax incentives, liability protections, and economic stimulus measures are needed to help the commercial and tribal casino markets dig themselves out of financial holes caused by the pandemic.
Android users in the US will soon gain access to betting and gambling apps through the Play Store, Google announced Thursday. As of March 1, online casino games, sports betting, lotteries and daily fantasy sports apps will be allowed in certain states. You can see a complete list of what types of gambling apps are allowed in each state on Google's support website. “We allow real-money gambling apps, ads related to real-money gambling and daily fantasy sports apps that meet certain requirements,” Google’s support page now says. To be eligible, app makers must complete a gambling application form, comply with state and country laws where the app is being used and have a valid gambling license for each state or country it wants to operate in.
Nevada sportsbooks again received a mix of good and bad news when the state’s Gaming Control Board released the figures for December and the overall figures for 2020 as business continues to boom, but the state fell further behind New Jersey in the race for national dominance. The state’s books handled $588.4 million from bettors in the month of December, an increase of 3% from December 2019, and they won $40.6 million, an increase of 11.7%, for a hold of 6.9% compared to 6.36% last December.
Kansas could see up to 12 legal online sports betting options under a bill introduced Tuesday in the state Senate. The proposal would allow each of the state’s four commercial casinos to open a retail sportsbook at their facilities and partner with up to three online providers each. The state’s Native American gaming tribes could also renegotiate their government compacts to offer sports betting as well. The Kansas Speedway in Kansas City would also be able to open a designated sports betting area for online wagering but would not be allowed to take in-person wagers. The track is adjacent to the Hollywood Casino, which would be able to take in-person bets under this bill.
If US sports betting had its own national holiday, it would no doubt be a commemoration of Super Bowl Sunday. Millions of fans around the world wager billions of dollars on the annual NFL football championship, making it the most anticipated day of the year for bookmakers and bettors alike. PlayUSA projects that Americans will legally wager more than $500 million on Super Bowl LV across all regulated US markets, representing a substantial uptick from the estimated $300 million in 2020.
(Canada) The president of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation says there had long been concerns about suspicious cash circulating in casinos but it wasn't until 2015 that police confirmed the presence of an organized crime threat. Jim Lightbody told the public inquiry into money laundering that the information he received from the RCMP was a "pivotal moment'' that left him "blown away.'' He testified it was the first time the RCMP told him they had evidence that organized crime was laundering money through provincial casinos, which the Crown corporation manages and safeguards.
Read more: The Canadian Press
(Maine) Governor Mills announced today that she will end the 9 p.m. early closing time for businesses beginning Monday. Her decision is a result of a decrease in the state’s positivity rate of new COVID-19 cases. The news lifts the mandated curfew for restaurants and bars, indoor and outdoor amusements, movie theaters, performing arts venues and casinos. “We are beginning to round the corner on the post-holiday surge of COVID-19.
(West Virginia) State Lottery revenue dropped in December, hurt by plunging business at West Virginia’s four racetrack casinos, presumably as a spike in COVID-19 cases dampened patronage. For the month, the Lottery had gross revenue of $87.5 million, down about $3 million from November, and down $6.63 million from December 2019, according to figures provided by the Lottery Commission.
(Florida) Pure beluga caviar, a banned U.S. import, is a rare dining experience unless you’re a member of the international jet set. Or a South Florida resident. Beluga sturgeon aren’t much to look at, but Miami’s Mark Zaslavsky has carried on a decades-long affair with these critically endangered fish, pampering them for years in exchange for caviar made from their eggs. The owner of Marky’s Caviar Lounge at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Zaslavsky is the only source in the United States for pure beluga caviar.
(Indiana) A bump in the road for the city of Danville as they are dealt with a lawsuit over their proposed Casino. "I nearly believe it's retribution. I don't believe that their lawsuit has any merit, or validity." Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. tells WAND news about the lawsuit over the location for the proposed Golden Nugget Casino. " Mayor Williams also made it clear to WAND News that "Mrs. Mervis nor her other children are a part of this lawsuit, so it’s only Michael and Adam through Mervis Industries.”
(Arkansas) The Arkansas Racing Commission on Wednesday approved an order regarding its July denial of an applicant's appeal of the commission's decision to award the license for a new casino in Pope County to the Gulfside Casino Partnership. The 27-page document outlines the commission's findings of fact and conclusions of law regarding the July 30 3-2 vote to deny the appeal by Oklahoma-based Cherokee Nation Businesses' Legends Resort and Casino LLC.
(Northern Nevada) Lyon County became the latest rural county to declare an economic emergency and decline to enforce the governor’s COVID-19 directives on the basis that they hurt businesses. The county of about 58,000 people joins the rural resistance along with White Pine, Elko and Eureka counties, which are less populous. “It’s very important the rural counties of our great state to be united with one message going forward,” said Lyon County Commissioner Ken Gray, who spearheaded the effort. 
(Las Vegas) For those who have been eagerly awaiting the opening of the spaceship-like building wedged between I-25 and Colfax Avenue in Denver, you will have to wait a bit longer. However, if you’re craving some Meow Wolfian experiences, the artist-collective-turned-immersive-entertainment-tycoon is opening its second permanent installation on February 18 in Las Vegas, called Omega Mart, and tickets are on sale now.
By Jeff Edelstein, SportsHandle
And just like that, everyone in America knows what a short squeeze is. Actually, check that: I’m pretty confident no one knows what a short squeeze is, but I am confident at least one person on Reddit knows what a short squeeze is, and as a result, millions of Americans think they know what a short squeeze is, and as a result of that, the obvious stuff starts happening: A dying retailer’s stock soars by about infinity percent, hedge funds nearly go belly-up, retail bros are booking million-dollar profits, trading gets halted, lawsuits are filed, and … And before I had breakfast this morning (Lucky Charms, a little on the nose, wouldn’t you agree?) I bought 40 shares of Nokia at $5.81 pre-market because Reddit said so and then shortly thereafter found myself nodding in agreement with a tweet from Donald Trump Jr., who I normally rank somewhere between “loathe” and “disgust.” (more)
Fonbet has been announced as the official sports betting partner of Italian football club AC Milan in the Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region. The Russian-based sports betting operator’s new partnership with the Serie A leaders will see the Fonbet brand become visible in the region during AC Milan home games, as well as on the club’s official website and mobile app. The club said the deal is built upon “innovation, passion and responsible entertainment” while the partnership will aim to popularise the sport in the Russia and CIS region.
Interactive Gaming Group today announced the appointment of Cristina Niculae as Chief Executive Officer. Niculae has held a number of leadership roles for the past 17 years and scaled several business units worldwide, in companies such as Oracle and Ericsson. Recently, she held the roles of Chief Operating Officer and Chief Strategy Officer at the B2B business GiG, which she joined in 2017, and was instrumental in structuring the group strategically and operationally
Read more: CDC Gaming Reports
(United Kingdom) The Rank Group saw revenue fall 55% in the first half of its 2020-21 fiscal year, with land-based closures resulting from novel coronavirus (Covid-19) exacerbated by the impact of new social responsibility measures on digital revenue. Underlying like-for-like net gaming revenue in the six months to 31 December 2020 came to £156.9m, down 58% year-on-year. This does not factor in the acquisition and integration of Stride Gaming, new venues and permanent venue closures.
(United Kingdom) White Hat Gaming has agreed to pay a settlement of £1.3m (€1.5m/$1.8m) after a GB Gambling Commission investigation identified a series of money laundering and social responsibility failures with the Malta-based operator and supplier’s operations. The Commission notified White Hat in January 2020 that it was to undertake an investigation of its combined remote operating licence, as part of the regulator’s ongoing compliance work. The study focused around the handling of seven customers’ accounts, following concerns identified through a compliance assessment in March 2019.
(Argentina) Kambi has entered into a multi-year agremeent to provide its sportsbook services to Argentine operator Casino Magic. The sports betting supplier will support the launch of a digital Casino Magic sportsbook in Argentina's Neuquén province, as Argentina regulates sports betting on a province-by-province basis. The sportsbook is expected to go live during Q1. Kambi also recently signed a deal to enter the Dutch regulated online market once the market launches next summer, partnering with the largest casino operator in the Netherlands, JVH gaming & entertainment.
  • New CEO at Las Vegas Sands
  • Reshuffles for Sazka & MGA
  • Great Canadian Corp CEO steps down

  • Simon Hammon, CPO, Relax Gaming

Global Gaming Business Magazine
By Brendan D. Bussmann
Casinos in urban environments, not always the norm, have offered challenges in certain jurisdictions. Major markets such as Philadelphia have had casinos near downtown for years. Pittsburgh and Detroit also feature casino gaming in downtown settings. The Washington, D.C. market, with MGM National Harbor, has also made an impact. But in recent years, more developers have embraced urban environments to meld properties into the fabric of the greater communities they serve. Two of the more recent examples were in Massachusetts, with MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor. Some of the greatest opportunities for gaming expansion in the United States remain in urban settings. For years, New York, Atlanta, Miami, Dallas and Houston have been seen as potential expansion sites. But the most immediate opportunity exists in Chicago, which will locate a gaming development within the city itself. (more)
This report is edited by Howard Stutz and Alec Rubin