Atlantic City Casinos Expecting a Big Thanksgiving Feast Despite COVID-19 Worries

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has dominated all aspects of life, including leisure and entertainment. Once again, the virus is in the news, with the outbreak threatening to cancel Thanksgiving celebrations in the United States. A number of states have already decided to go with new measures, some of which include shutting down non-essential businesses such as land-based casinos.

New Jersey, however, still does not belong to those states. According to Governor Phil Murphy, the state has no plans of shutting down the Atlantic City casinos. Gaming fans will be welcome at all nine AC casinos, but there won’t be any turkey on the menu. At least not in the evening as bars and restaurants in casinos now have to close every night at 10 pm.

Governor Phil Murphy Backing Atlantic City Casinos

With the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 going up in New Jersey, a question arose regarding shutting down Atlantic City casinos. Governor Murphy shut them down on March 18 and kept them closed until July 2, but this time, he believes there’s no need for such a measure.

Even though the number of new COVID-19 cases per day is considerably higher than it was in March when casinos ended up closed, Murphy thinks these sorts of venues do not add to the coronavirus risk.

“We believe, based on the evidence that we have, that they’ve been able to responsibly manage their casino floors” – Murphy said during a briefing with other state officials.

The thing is that Atlantic City casinos seem to be doing a very good job keeping the environment coronavirus-free. Furthermore, recent stats show that casinos rank #44 in the list of places where you’re most likely to catch the disease.

Atlantic City Casinos Would Not Survive Another Lockdown

Another incentive to keep the Atlantic City casinos open is the local economy. The gambling industry has suffered big losses as a result of the outbreak, especially in parts of the United States that rely on this industry.

Atlantic City definitely belongs to this category, as the city’s gaming revenue is keeping the local economy healthy. At least it was in the times before the pandemic. Since COVID-19 came to Atlantic City, the gaming revenue plummeted.

As evident from the figures released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, Atlantic City casinos generated $186.1 million in revenue this October, which is an 8% decline compared with October 2019.

Not everything is doom and gloom in New Jersey’s gaming world. Online gambling sites have been making a lot of money during the pandemic. Last month, online casinos and sports betting sites generated $118 million.

As a reminder, New Jersey is one of only four US states where online casino gaming is legal and regulated at the moment of writing. The other three states are Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

American Voters Approve Sports Betting and Casino Gaming Expansions

On Tuesday, Americans weren’t just choosing their new President between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Some of them were also casting votes that would decide the future of the US gaming industry. Three states voted to make sports betting legal, while three decided to approve/expand casino gaming.

The states in question are the following:

  • Maryland
  • South Dakota
  • Louisiana
  • Virginia
  • Nebraska
  • Colorado

Of those states, the top three listed have made sports betting legal. In Virginia, the voters decided to approve casino gaming in four locations. Nebraska voters approved adding casino games to the racetracks in the state, while the voters from Colorado made their state’s casino gaming laws more liberal.

Three New Sports Betting-Friendly US States

The voters in Maryland, South Dakota, and Louisiana voted to make sports betting legal in their states. As a result, the United States is going to have at least 25 states, together with the District of Colombia, where sports betting is legal in some form.

Online betting still remains illegal or unregulated in most of those states, although many are working on changing that. At the moment of writing, there are nine states where internet/mobile betting is legal.

The road to sports betting legalization in the US started in 2018 when the Supreme Court struck down PASPA, a federal law that practically made this gaming form illegal everywhere apart from Nevada and tribal lands. The Supreme Court’s ruling made it possible for individual states to decide the legality of sports betting on their own.

Three States Expand Casino Gaming

The voters from Colorado, Nebraska, and Virginia decided to liberalize their casino gambling laws. Virginia is going to make gambling legal in four casinos within the state. Over in Nebraska, the voters have decided to allow racetracks to turn into racinos, that is, racetracks that have certain types of casino games on the premises.

In Colorado, the voters decided to get rid of some wagering limits, while also expanding the list of casino game types available at land-based casinos. From now on, Colorado casinos will be allowed to add craps and roulette to their gambling offers.

Online gambling was not on the ballot, although the voting results are certainly putting wind in its sails. At the moment, here’s only a couple of states where internet casino gaming is possible. New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia are the states that already have online casinos, while a few more will get their gaming websites in the near future.

Online casinos remain illegal in Nevada, a state that relies on land-based casinos. The state’s stance towards internet gaming probably isn’t going to change anytime soon, partially because of the pressure legislators are getting from Las Vegas casino owners. One of biggest opponents of online casinos in Nevada is the owner of Las Vegas Sands, Sheldon Adelson, who’s recently gotten in news headlines for making a $75 million donation to Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

Saracen Casino Resort Makes an Unofficial Debut before Oct 20

The Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, Arkansas made an unofficial opening on Thursday, October 15 and is tipped to open to the general public tomorrow Tuesday, October 20.

Saracen Casino Resort Completed, Grand Opening for October 20

Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, made an unofficial opening Thursday night, welcoming special guests and residents from the state. The casino resort which has been developed by the Quapaw Nation since August 2019, announced its grand opening will be October 20.

Billed as the largest commercial construction project in Arkansas, the casino resort soft opening attracted interest from Gov. Asa Hutchison, as well as other elected officials, among which Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington and Jefferson County Judge Gerald Robinson, along with Quapaw Nation’s Chairman Joseph Tali Byrd and Tribal Princess Kristal Glass.

The 200,000 square foot casino will house 80,000 square feet of gaming space, offering 2,000 slot machines, 30 table games, a poker room and a sports book. The resort will offer amenities such as a 300-room hotel tower with luxury accommodation options, 6 restaurants, an outdoor venue for special events, as well as 15,000 square feet of event facilities for indoor concerts, special events and banquets.

The casino resort built in a region which was once home to the Quapaw Nation has already hired over 700 people and is further looking for around 100 more, as the tribe wants to contribute to the thriving of Pine Bluff and Jefferson County by its homecoming, feeling proud of the economic development it would bring to the region.

Divvying up the Tax Revenue

According to a constitutional amendment voted by residents in Arkansas, Pine Bluff will receive 19.5% of the gaming revenue from the casino resort, while Jefferson County will get 8% of it. Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington noted that further infrastructure projects will be funded by the increase in receipts due to the addition of the casino.

“I think this money is going to help us give those increases to our first responders that we’ve been looking to for so many years so we can have that level of retention that we need.” Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington

Shirley Washington further outlined that the city could not attract a lot of industries and should make the most of this opportunity by making Pine Bluff a destination city. Furthermore, the Mayor expressed hopes that due to the new jobs created and the opportunities for people to afford nicer homes crime levels would be driven down.

Jefferson County Judge Gerald Robinson expressed his expectations things would start to evolve fast around Pine Bluff, as due to the revenue from Saracen Casino Resort, “we’re building three new buildings, the new health department, a new veterans service building and were also building a new coroner’s office”.

The casino will open following strict guidelines for health and safety, and wearing of masks will be mandatory, as well as temperature checks at the entry. Slot machines are divided by plexiglass barriers and table games are limited to 3 to 4 seats.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

Trump Receives a Major Cash Injection From Las Vegas Sands Owner

The COVID-19 pandemic has finally stepped from the throne of the most discussed topic in the world. The topic that took its place is the 2020 Presidential Election. Even in the world of casino gambling, the Trump vs Biden race is heavily discussed, especially after the news that the owner of Las Vegas Sands Sheldon Adelson has donated $75 million to the current President’s campaign. Will this cash injection help Trump save his job?

According to offshore sportsbooks, the chance is very low that Trump will stay in the White House for another four years. Instead, with the odds of -210, Joe Biden is the favorite. Still, an even more drastic situation was back in 2016 when Trump took on Hillary Clinton, who was, at one, point a -500 favorite, America did not get its first female President.

Can Trump upset the odds once again? He might, but he’ll need more money for that as his opponent’s campaign currently has way more funds on their hands. This is why Adelson’s donation of $75 million is certainly appreciated in the Blue part of the US.

Who is Sheldon Adelson?

With an estimated net worth of $33.5 billion, Sheldon Adelson is one of the richest men in the United States. The 87 years’ old businessman is the owner of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which has several iconic casinos in its domain, including the following:

  • The Venetian Las Vegas (a luxury hotel and casino where the company’s headquarters are located)
  • The Venetian Macao (the second-largest casino in the world)
  • Marina Bay Sands in Singapore (the world’s most expensive integrated resort at the time of the opening in 2010)
  • Sands Macao (the first Vegas-style casino to open on Chinese soil)

The casino magnate used to be a member of the Democratic Party until 1996, before establishing himself as one of the biggest backers of the Republicans.

What’s Behind Trump’s Relationship With Adelson?

According to an article published in the New Yorker in 2013, Adelson changed his political affiliation after having trouble with labor unions in Las Vegas. The same article quoted him complaining about the current tax system in the United States, which makes taxes higher for those with more money.

Why is it fair that I should be paying a higher percentage of taxes than anyone else?

An even bigger reason for Adelson to back the Republican candidate lies in the Wire Act. The proposed bill is supposed to reverse the current online gaming laws in the United States, practically outlawing online slots and all the other popular internet casino games. Adelson is famous as the #1 proponent of this bill, which would secure a prosperous future of his land-based casinos.

The relationship between Adelson and the Republican Party is not a one-way street. Donald Trump has previously called Adelson his friend on many occasions, not to mention that Sheldon’s wife, Miriam Adelson, received a Presidential Medal of Honor from Trump in 2018.

The Trump-Adelson relationship reached its lowest point in August when the President reportedly berated the casino magnate for not donating enough money to his cause. Adelson eventually decided to pay-up, but the question is whether it’s already too late?

 

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

GGPoker Banishes 40 Players Over RTA Use, Seizes $1,175,305

Earlier this week, the online poker platform GGPoker announced its investigation on the use of real-time analysis (RTA) has concluded. Following the results of the investigation, the company decided to ban a total of 40 accounts, 13 of which had their winnings seized. The total amount of money seized from those accounts is $1,175,305.43, all of which will be returned to the players who fell victim to the RTA-using players.

One of the players who’s found guilty of using the RTA is the German player Fedor Kruse. Even though the poker platform did not mention its name explicitly, it’s almost certain that he’s lost all of his recent winnings as a result of the GGPoker RTA investigation.

The player who made a name for himself playing Call of Duty on Stream has been playing big-money poker lately on the GGPoker platform, with stakes as high as $200/$400. And he won most of them! Unfortunately for him, it wasn’t his poker skills or his luck that brought him the fortune. Instead, it was an RTA tool that he nicknamed the Dream Machine.

The Story Behind the GGPoker RTA Ban?

As per the rules set up by the GGPoker platform, it is forbidden to use any sort of RTA software. Players know this, so using such tools is going to result in account suspension every time GGPoker notices it.

“At GGPoker Network (‘GGPN’), we firmly believe Poker to be a battle of wits that is meant to be experienced without the use of any Real-Time Assistance (‘RTA’) whatsoever. To this end, we were among the first to prohibit heads-up displays, and we have been quick to ban players in the past that were using prohibited software.“

The problem is that figuring out who’s using it is not easy. However, since recently, it seems that GGPoker has cracked the code, as evident from the fact that 80 players have found guilty of using the RTA, half of which ended up with their accounts suspended.

GGPoker is definitely an enemy of RTA, but many poker players believe it should be the case. For many people involved with online poker, the use of real-time analysis is not a form of cheating. They argue that the use of RTA is no different from having a rules book by your side while playing.

How it works is that the RTA is actually a database of pre-solved poker hands, with literally thousands of potential scenarios. The software gives the player an opportunity to compare the hands similar to the one that’s currently on in the game. This way, the RTA can give the player an edge over others.

PokerStars to Help Little Fish

GGPoker wasn’t the only poker platform in the news headlines last week. Its main rival, the largest poker platform in the world, Poker Stars, has also decided to do some good deeds recently. The company has decided to help out “fish,” that is, inexperienced players who often lose their money to pro poker players looking to make some easy money.

The solution to prevent predatory behavior is to keep inexperienced players separated from experienced players in cash games. To do that, PokerStars has created Active Waiting Lists, which should prevent poker experts from robbing newcomers of their money. How it’s meant to work is that in order to be allowed in a waiting list, a player needs to have played games with the same stakes.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

Las Vegas Gets Its First Smoke-Free Casino on September 30

Once it reopens on the last day of September, the Park MGM Casino on the Las Vegas Strip is going to become the first smoking-free casino in the area. No other casino in this part of the United States has ever made such a decision, even after Las Vegas came out of the COVID-19 shutdown.

In other parts of the country, casinos did have to ban smoking temporarily as per the state orders. The decision to banish smoking out of the casino was not forced to the Park MGM casino by anyone. Instead, the casino management decided on this step following “guest demand.”

Casino Patrons Want Non-Smoking Environment

According to the president of MGM Resorts’ Las Vegas Portfolio, Anton Nikodemus, the reason behind this decision lies in “recurring guest demand for a fully non-smoking casino resort on The Strip.”

Nikodemus insists that this thought has been on the casino executives’ mind since the casino resort opened in 2018. The COVID-19 pandemic just confirmed that a non-smoking Las Vegas casino would be a good idea.

Anti-smoking advocates have been calling for an indoor smoking ban in Las Vegas casinos after the COVID-19 shutdown. The main reason cited was the fact that smoking simply doesn’t go together with the face mask rule. One can’t smoke and weak a face mask at the same time.

Nevertheless, all the Las Vegas casinos that have reopened do allow indoor smoking, while still requiring the patrons to wear face masks inside the venues. This includes all the other MGM-owned casinos in Nevada, including the MGM Grand Las Vegas, The Mirage, and Mandalay Bay.

Las Vegas Entering a New Era

Smoking in casinos has been the imagery associated with Las Vegas since its early days. The author of 11 books on Las Vegas, David G. Schwartz, agrees, but also adds that times are changing in Sin City. One of the sins that the city might get rid of in the future is smoking.

According to him, banning indoor smoking in Las Vegas casinos is something several companies have tried in the past. It’s needless to say that all of them failed in the endeavor. An example he points out is the old Silver City Casino, which went smoking-free in 1991 but decided to give up on that decision after only a couple of months. The reason to back down was a drastic decrease in the number of visitors.

Almost two decades later, smoking is no longer trendy, but many casino patrons still seem to indulge in it. For many of them, smoking is something they do only when on vacation, following the mantra of “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

Still, recent experiences have shown that smoking is not as an essential part of the casino experience as previously believed. The anti-COVID-19 measures set up in many states have banished indoor smoking in casinos, something which most patrons did not mind.

Smoking Is Back in Atlantic City Casinos

Atlantic City casinos reopened just before the 4th of July weekend, but in the first two months after the shutdown, they had to do business differently. Until early September, the AC casinos had to work at 25% capacity, as well as banish drinking, dining, and smoking out of the premises. However, starting Friday, September 4, those bans are lifted.

Indoor smoking is officially back in casinos in Atlantic City, but the same is not the case in other parts of the US. Commercial casinos in New York have returned to business earlier this month but will have to fulfill certain anti-COVID-19 conditions in order to remain open. One of those conditions is the smoking ban.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

New York Casinos are Back in Business After COVID-19 Shutdown

Starting this week, New York casinos are back in business after a shutdown that lasted for months. To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a decree on March 16 that made all commercial casinos in the state close down.

However, starting September 9, New York casinos are letting the players in once again. In addition to commercial casinos, the Empire State has also seen racinos getting back to business. Cuomo’s decision to let the gambling establishments reopen comes some three months after New York tribal casinos decided the same.

Four Commercial NY Casinos Reopen Their Doors to Public

Tribal casinos do not have to follow the guidelines of individual US states when it comes to casino gambling. This is the reason why some of them have reopened long before the New York Governor gave commercial casinos the heads up.

Some of the Indian casinos located within the state borders have been back in the casino game since June. Non-tribal casinos in New York, however, had to wait until September 9 to get back to work.

At the moment of writing, all four commercial casinos in New York are back in business. Those casinos are, namely, the following establishments:

  • Del Lago Resort & Casino in Tyre
  • Jake’s 58 Hotel & Casino in Islandia
  • Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady
  • World Catskills Resort in Monticello

Even though they’re back in business, the business is not going to be as usual for these casinos. The same as their tribal-owned counterparts, NY commercial casinos will also have to take some measures in order to minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Anti-COVID-19 Measures in New York Casinos

Governor Cuomo’s directive allows commercial casinos to reopen, albeit at limited capacity. The number of patrons allowed inside the casinos needs to be no more than one-quarter of the full capacity, which was also the case over in New Jersey when Atlantic City casinos reopened in July.

The role of the casino staff is to make sure the number of visitors does not go over. Another role of the casino employees is to ensure everything present in the casinos wears a face mask. They also need to make sure that social distancing guidelines are respected by the patrons.

All the commercial casinos that have returned to business had to install new air-filtration systems, as well as physical barriers between players’ seats in an effort to prevent the spread of the disease.

New York Gaming Commission to Monitor the Situation

As per the Governor’s instructions, the duty of the New York Gaming Commission is to monitor the situation. Together with the New York State Police, they are obliged to do regular check-ups on the casinos in order to confirm all the anti-COVID-19 measures are carried out properly.

If they spot rule-breaking, they have the right to fine the casino. And if the situation goes out of hand, Cuomo has the right to reverse his decision at any given moment. That said, it’s in the interest of both the casino management and the patrons to respect the newly-set guidelines.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

BetMGM Online Casino Goes Live in West Virginia

  • BetMGM has launched its WV online casino on Thursday, August 28, 2020
  • The launch comes just six weeks after the birth of West Virginia’s online gaming industry
  • BetMGM also plans to launch an online casino in Michigan in the fall

BetMGM online casino has launched earlier this week in West Virginia, doubling the internet gaming offer available to gamblers from the Mountain State. Less than two months after the launch of the first online gambling platform in WV, players from this state have two online casinos at their disposal.

The first WV internet casino to launch was DraftKings Casino. BetMGM followed, and so should two more casinos. Their launch should happen by the end of the year.

What do the WV Gamblers Get from the BetMGM Online Casino?

BetMGM is a gambling company owned by two companies – MGM Resorts and GVC Holdings. The role of GVC is to provide software solutions to the online casino. MGM Resorts provides funding, as well as the basis for the operating license of the WV BetMGM online casino. Without the MGM-owned land-based casino in West Virginia, the BetMGM online operation would not be possible.

Basically, the casino that’s launched on Thursday is an online version of Greenbrier Casino, a brick-and-mortar business owned by MGM. The internet casino has a pretty similar gaming offer as its real-life counterpart. We’re talking table games like blackjack and roulette, as well as a large number of slot titles.

Speaking of online slots, BetMGM is currently the only online casino that has a progressive jackpot game in its offer. The main prize of this slot will keep growing until a lucky player hits the jackpot. Depending on how long it goes, the winner might hit a jackpot worth millions of dollars.

Second Online Casino in West Virginia

At the moment, West Virginians can play progressive slots only at BetMGM. However, that’s likely to change in the last couple of months. It could happen if the only other operational internet casino in West Virginia, DraftKings Casino, decides to include such a game in its game library.

If DraftKings doesn’t do it, other casinos might. There are at least two more online casinos ready for launch in this state. The cooperation between FanDuel and Betfair is expected to produce a new WV online casino by the end of the year. PokerStars Casino WV should also get viral in the upcoming months.

BetMGM Online Casino to Launch in Michigan This Fall

With MGM Resorts suffering huge financial losses in the retail casino industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company seems to be looking for other sources of income. That’s why it’s not surprising that the BetMGM online casino has turned into such an ambitious project.

Apart from being available in West Virginia, the online casino also operates in New Jersey. It’s also working on a launch in Pennsylvania, as well as Michigan, the state that’s only recently signed a bill that makes online gaming legal.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer did sign the bill a few months ago, but there still aren’t any online casinos in this state. The casino that’s expected to launch first is BetMGM online casino. The cooperation between GVC and MGM Grand Detroit is supposed to go online in November 2020.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

Macau Reopens: World’s #1 Gaming Hub Is Back In Business

The largest gambling hub in the world has started to reopen after a long COVID-19 lockdown. Macau has taken some baby steps on the road to complete reopening, something which still is not on the horizon. Nevertheless, China’s gambling paradise has started issuing tourist visas once again, albeit only for the visitors coming from other parts of the country.

When will Macau reopen for international visitors stays a mystery as the coronavirus still remains a serious threat. Another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic would wreak havoc on the city that relies heavily on tourism and gaming. According to BBC, Macau casinos have been losing $15 million every day during the crisis.

Macau Reopens Only to Visitors from Mainland China

The COVID-19 global pandemic started out in China, with the total number of cases being just short of 85,000 at the moment of writing. Macau, however, has been doing much better than mainland China.

Even though there are about 700,000 people who call Macau their home, only 46 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the region. An even more impressive fact is that all of the infected people have recovered successfully.

One of the main reasons behind Macau’s success with handling the crisis is that the region closed down to visitors early on. The Macau travel restrictions were introduced in January, practically turning the biggest gambling hub in the world into a ghost town.

The restrictions lasted until this Wednesday, causing a serious blow to the city’s economy. The worst is behind, but the Macau casino industry has a long road to recovery ahead. There’s no doubt it’s going to be slow as at the moment, as only visitors from mainland China are allowed in. It’s still unknown when the things are going to go back entirely to normal.

On the bright side, a big majority of visitors to Macau are those coming from mainland China. It’s been like that since always, even though this city is home to some prestigious casinos owned by American companies, e.g., Wynn, MGM, and so on.

Macau Casinos Recording Huge Losses

Macau went on lockdown in late January, which included the closure of the regional borders, as well as the shutdown of all the casinos in the area. After only 15 days, Macau casinos returned to business in February.

In comparison, Las Vegas casinos stayed shut down for several months. Nevada shut down all the venues on March 17, and after nearly three months of hiatus, casinos were allowed to go back to business on June 4.

Nevertheless, the Macau gambling industry had to rely on locals as the only source of income, as regional borders stayed closed until this Wednesday. Furthermore, Macau casinos also have to adhere to certain social distancing measures, such as the 50% reduced capacity. It’s needless to say that the limited number of gamblers has caused a gigantic loss in profits.

In 2019, Macau casinos saw nearly 110,000 visitors a day on average. During the 2020 pandemic, that number was more than ten times lower. Last week, for example, it’s estimated that the total number of casino visitors in the whole of Macau was below 50,000.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

MGM Appoints Bill Hornbuckle as the Permanent CEO

Bill Hornbuckle has been appointed as the permanent CEO of MGM, after being in the role of the interim CEO for more than four months. MGM Resorts International announced their decision this week, saying that they expect Hornbuckle to continue doing a good job.

Hornbuckle stepped in as the interim boss of MGM in March, after the former CEO Jim Murren retired. The interim CEO had been given a very tough challenge, but he’s managed to see the company sail safely through an unprecedented crisis. As a result of a good job done during the COVID-19 pandemic, MGM awarded Hornbuckle with a permanent contract.

Who is Bill Hornbuckle?

A graduate of UNLV, William J. Hornbuckle IV has more than 30 years of experience working in Las Vegas. His first major breakthrough in the ranks of MGM Resorts International came in 2012 when he led the company to develop the $800 million-worth resort MGM Springfield.

When Jim Murren decided to retire in March 2020, Hornbuckle was appointed the interim CEO. At first, the idea was that he’d stay in the role until a more experienced CEO was found. However, the COVID-19 pandemic happened then.

Being able to lead the company through the hardest times in its history made MGM realize Hornbuckle was the right man for the job. In the official statement, the company spokesperson praised his handling of the crisis, saying:

“There are few tests of leadership greater than what Bill has faced… (His) steady hand has provided reassurance and confidence to our employees, partners, guests, and shareholders…”

Even though Hornbuckle did a fine job to guide the company through the crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic did cause huge losses to MGM Resorts International.

COVID-19 Ruins MGM’s Revenue

The same day MGM announced their decision to appoint Hornbuckle as the permanent CEO, the company also released revenue figures for the period before June 30.

As it turns out, MGM’s total revenue generated from April to the end of June was only $289.8m. We say “only” because that’s a 91% drop compared to the same period last year.

In Las Vegas, which is one of the company’s main sources of revenue, the profits have dropped by 90%. Things would be even worse if it weren’t for the fact that Las Vegas casinos returned back to business on June 4.

Over in Macau, MGM China saw a revenue drop of 95%. The company’s three-month revenue was only $33 million, the main reason being the COVID-19 travel restrictions imposed in Macau. As a result of it, visitors from China and Hong Kong haven’t be able to come to Macau for the last couple of months.

MGM Casinos Reopening Around the US

The worst seems to have passed for MGM, as most of the company’s properties are back in business. There is a total of 18 casinos within the United States that are owned by MGM, 14 of which have already reopened after the COVID-19 hiatus.

MGM Grand Detroit should be the next one to reopen as Michigan governor has okayed the casino return in this state. If everything goes according to the plan, MGM’s casino will reopen on August 7. MGM Empire City would be the one to follow next, although much still remains unclear with the COVID-19 situation in New York, whose governor still hasn’t announced the exact reopening dates.

Mirage and Park MGM in Las Vegas, however, will probably remain closed until next year, as suggested by Hornbuckle. The reason for this decision is that the reopening at 50% capacity would not bring desired profits, while potentially cannibalizing other casinos on the strip, including MGM Grand.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

West Virginia Becomes 4th US State to Legalize Online Casinos

As of Wednesday, July 15, there are four states within the US where online casino gambling is legal. The most recent addition is West Virginia whose lawmakers have recently okayed this gambling form. Previously, the only states where online gambling was permitted were New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

DraftKings Casino is the first gambling platform to go online in this state. In partnership with Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood Casino, DraftKings has launched its casino website, as well as its WV mobile app, which is available in two versions – one for Android and one for iOS devices.

DraftKings Embraces Online Casino Business

DraftKings is perhaps best known as a daily fantasy website, which is how this company started out back in 2012. Once the sports betting ban got lifted as a result of New Jersey’s case in front of the US Supreme Court, many states started passing laws to make online betting legal and regulated.

DraftKings wanted to get on the bandwagon right away, applying for a license in a number of betting-friendly states all across the United States.

After the company’s decision to branch out its business proved successful, DraftKings decided to get in on the online casino business. Pennsylvania and New Jersey were the first two states where DraftKings online casino launched.

Pennsylvania saw the birth of the DraftKings Casino on May 1, 2020. In New Jersey, the standalone casino app launched on June 24, 2020. Before that, the casino was a part of the NJ DraftKings Sportsbook. Exactly three weeks later, DraftKings Casino West Virginia went online for the first time.

What Games Can You Play at DraftKings Casino West Virginia?

Real-money online slots make up most of the DraftKings Casino game library in the other two states. There are slots of different types to be found there, including 3-reel, 5-reel slots, 3d games, progressive jackpot slots, and so on. The games are developed by some of the world’s most reputable software companies, such as NetEnt, IGT, and Spin Games.

You might not get to play slots straight away at DraftKings WV Casino as these guys are typically regulated the last. In the meantime, West Virginia players can quench their casino thirst by playings table games like blackjack, baccarat, roulette, and others.

Are Other States Expected to Follow West Virginia’s Example?

Right now, only four states within the Union are when gaming fans can play online casino games legally. The number of states is expected to go up drastically, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With social distancing measures preventing people to go to land-based casinos en mase, online gaming seems like a better alternative.

Furthermore, the experience from the states that have already made online gambling legal shows that during the pandemic, this industry can serve as an important source of income for the state budget. For example, online slots in Pennsylvania created a $38m revenue last month. Land-based casinos in coronavirus-ridden Nevada probably aren’t going to get anywhere near that number.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

Atlantic City Casinos Are Back in Business After 100+ Days

Slot machines are finally spinning in Atlantic City casinos after exactly 108 days. That’s how long venues in New Jersey were closed down due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Atlantic City casinos started reopening on Thursday/Friday in order to get themselves ready for the 4th of July weekend. Things, however, aren’t exactly the same as they were before the pandemic. Casinos are now working at 25% capacity, with no dining, drinking, or smoking allowed within the premises.

Eight Out of Nine Atlantic City Casinos Reopen

Atlantic City, the gambling capital of the Atlantic coast, was a casino-free zone for 108 days. This is the longest the AC casinos were closed since gambling became legal in this part of the USA, back in the 1970s. However, since this week, the state’s government has decided to loosen up its anti-COVID-19 measures and let the casinos reopen their doors to visitors.

New Jersey is another state that has decided to reopen its casinos. Previously, the same was done by several other states, including Nevada, where Las Vegas casinos returned to business about a month ago.

Speaking of Las Vegas, Sin City saw practically all of its casinos reopening the moment the state’s government okayed it. The same is not the case over at the East Coast. In Atlantic City, eight casinos have returned to business, but one still hasn’t.

Hard Rock, Ocean, Resorts, Tropicana, Golden Nugget, Caesars, Bally’s, and Harrah’s – these are the eight Atlantic City casinos that have reopened this week. Borgata is the only Atlantic City casino that has decided not to go with the flow.

Borgata Atlantic City Refuses to Reopen

New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy postponed the decision to resume indoor dining in venues across the state, as well as ban indoor drinking and smoking. This decision was announced on Monday and was met with disagreement from casino officials.

Nevertheless, most Atlantic City casinos decided to accept the decision. Actually, Borgata was the only casino to decide to scrap is reopening place due to this ruling.

Apparently, the casino management believes that reopening Borgata under the current conditions would not be a profitable decision. Borgata Atlantic City is more than just another casino. This venue isn’t just about gambling; it also relies on other leisure activities, which could be smothered by the aforementioned measures.

Miami Casinos Have to Close Down Again

Over in Florida, casinos have been in the business since mid-June, but another suspension is imminent. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez has signed a decree that would shut down all the casinos in the area apart from tribal-owned casinos.

This measure comes as a reaction to a dramatic increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases. Florida is one of the first states to loosen up the restrictions, after the initial shut-down back in March. Since May, this state has hosted a number of big sports events, including several UFC fights.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

PA Online Slots Record a $38m Revenue Last Month

  • On Thursday, Pennsylvania released its casino revenue data for May.
  • Last month, online casinos in Pennsylvania recorded a revenue of $55,838,789.
  • Revenue from PA online slots accounts for about 70% of this state’s total internet gaming revenue.

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board released the official revenue figures for May. As expected, online casinos made more money than their land-based counterparts, which has been the case since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. What’s interesting is that PA online slots were responsible for more than two-thirds of the total internet casino revenue in Pennsylvania in May.

The total internet gaming revenue in May was $55,838,789, which is an increase of about 30% compared to April. A big percentage of that money came through video slot games. PA online slots made a revenue of $38,822,857 for casinos, which is nearly 70% of the overall revenue.

Pennsylvania Casinos Report a Total Revenue of Over $55m

Pennsylvania is one of only three states in the US where online casino gambling is legal and regulated. The other two gaming-friendly states are New Jersey and Delaware. West Virginia has also approved online gambling, but internet casinos are yet to launch in this state.

Interestingly enough, Nevada, which is thought to be a gambling paradise, has not made online casinos legal. The reason for this is that legalizing online gambling could have a negative effect on the business of land-based casinos in Las Vegas.

Judging by the experiences from Pennsylvania, the legalization of online casino gambling is guaranteed to bring profits. In times when it’s impossible to go to a real casino, such as a global pandemic like the one we experienced this year, players have no other option but to turn to internet gaming platforms.

As a result, Pennsylvania’s online casinos have recorded a significant revenue increase over the course of the last few months. Each of its nine licensed online casinos has made big profits in May, the leader being Rivers Casino Philadelphia, which recorded a revenue of $17,584,381. What’s interesting is that this casino’s online slots revenue was $15,096,662.

PA Online Slots Brought in Almost $39m

Each of PA online casinos has online slots in the game library. The reason is that slots are the most popular type of casino game. This is why it’s not surprising that PA online slots have made a total revenue of nearly $39m in May.

All the other games combined made about $17m. Those include everything from table games like roulette, craps, and blackjack to lottery-like games like keno.

The popularity of online slots is not unique only to Pennsylvania. Players from all over the United States seem to love these sorts of games. The evidence for this is that most of the internet gaming revenue in Delaware and New Jersey is also created by slots.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

Las Vegas Casinos are Back in Business After COVID-19 Hiatus

Las Vegas casinos are back to business after more than two months. On March 17, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak ordered the shut-down of all non-essential businesses in the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, all of the nearly 140 Las Vegas casinos ended up closed to visitors for nearly three months.

The 2020 Las Vegas lockdown was the only time the entire Strip was shut down since the assassination of JFK. Even in 2017, when the Las Vegas shooting happened, not all casinos and resorts on the Strip decided to shut down.

Las Vegas Casinos Reopen to Public on Thursday

For nearly three months, Las Vegas was a real ghost town. In mid-March, all of Sin City’s casinos closed down, together with bars, restaurants, and even strip clubs. There was one strip club that tried to stay in the business during the lockdown, advertising “coronavirus-free” dancers, but it too had to shut down eventually.

The days of lockdown are finally over in Las Vegas, with casinos starting to reopen as of Thursday, June 4. Business, however, is not as usual. At least, not for the moment being. In order to be allowed to reopen, Las Vegas casinos are required to make some changes.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has issued a plan for casino reopening that every venue needs to adhere to in order to be allowed to operate. Some of the requirements stipulated by this plan include a reduced number of visitors, increased frequency of cleaning, and so on.

Some Casinos Seem to Be Ignoring Social-Distancing Guidelines

Casinos, as well as players, were super-eager to get back to reopen the casino doors. Once that happened on Thursday, the enthusiasm caused people to break some social-distancing rules.

The footage from all over Las Vegas shows that people have been ignoring the new anti-coronavirus rules inside the casinos. Visitors seem to be gathering around in large groups, sitting next to each other while playing slots and other casino games.

The good news, however, is that all the evidence is pointing out that the casino staff has been at top of the game.

Sin City Hopeful of Recuperating from the Crisis

Everyone in Las Vegas seems to be thrilled by the news of casinos reopening. The reason is that the local economy is very reliant on the casino industry. According to the Nevada Resort Association, “no other state depends on tourism at the magnitude as Nevada.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the state, and in particular its biggest city Las Vegas, billions of dollars in damage. So far, it’s estimated that Nevada has lost over $2 billion, with the potential economic damages measured in tens of billions of dollars.

The worst has passed, but now it’s time for the state to get back on its feet. Las Vegas casinos are open once again, but the number of tourists is still very low. The good news is that as the COVID-19 measures are loosening up, the number of visitors is expected to go upwards dramatically.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

Nevada Casinos to Reopen June 4 Unless COVID-19 Cases Go Up Over the Weekend

As confirmed by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Friday, Nevada casinos are to reopen June 4 if everything goes according to plan. The only condition is that the number of COVID-19 cases does not go up dramatically during Memorial Day weekend.

Sisolak will hold a news conference next week to confirm the decision to reopen Nevada casinos. The Governor is waiting for the stamp of approval from the health officials. If approved, the casinos in Las Vegas and other parts of Nevada will be able to go back to business after nearly three months.

Nevada Casinos to Reopen After Nearly Three Months

Sisolak ordered casinos to lock their doors to customers to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on March 17. Since then, Las Vegas has turned into a real ghost town.

Apart from the eerie atmosphere of one of the most vibrant cities in the country, the COVID-19 lockdown caused many other problems. Its impact on the local economy is measured in billions of dollars.

According to a study by AmericanGaming.org, the pandemic has cost the casino industry more than $43 billion dollars, with over 650,000 employees ending up jobless during the lockdown.

Social Distancing Measures in Las Vegas Casinos

Casino owners and employees alike are eager to get back to the job, hoping the gambling business in Nevada will come back to life on June 4. The business will be far from normal, however. At least in the beginning.

Nevada’s plan for casinos reopening implies that the casinos will have to take some serious measures in order to be allowed to go back to work. For instance, casino personnel might be required to do temperature checks on the visitors before letting them in.

Furthermore, all casinos will have to reduce the number of visitors to achieve social distancing. For that, they will have to reduce the number of seats in table games.

As a result, roulette tables that used to have 15+ seats will now have fewer than ten. Craps tables will have about five-six seats. Baccarat tables? No more than four. Blackjack? Three seats.

Nevada Gamblers Curious About Online Casinos

In mid-March, Google Trends recorded a huge increase in search volume for terms like “online casino.”

Nevada Casino Google Searches
Google Trends screenshot

Casino-related searches in Nevada peaked around March 17, which is when Gov. Sisolak ordered the closure of Nevada casinos. A day before, the White House had asked Americans to stay home for a period of two weeks to prevent the spread of the novel virus.

Google shows that Nevada residents have been interested in internet gambling during the lockdown. However, despite their interest, they haven’t been able to actually play any real-money casino games on the internet. At least not without breaking the state laws on gambling.

The thing is that Nevada does not belong to the category of states where online casinos are legal. At the moment, there are only three states where internet gambling is possible – New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

Nevada Approves Plan for Casino Reopening

Even though Nevada belongs to those 26 states where stay-at-home orders are still in place, its Gaming Commission has decided to approve a plan for casino reopening. It’s supposed to serve as a guideline for the casino industry once the state looseness its anti-coronavirus measures.

The plan will bring many new changes to the casino industry in Las Vegas. For instance, each of the 441 casinos located within the state borders will have to reduce its capacity by half. Undoubtedly, the measure is going to impact the industry revenue compared to the pre-pandemic era.

However, considering that the Las Vegas casinos have been closed since March 18, even a slight increase in customers would do wonders for them.

Special Anti-Coronavirus Measures for Las Vegas Casinos

Once the Nevada officials decide to end the stay-at-home order for preventing the pandemic of COVID-19, Las Vegas casinos are going to open their doors to the public. It’s already been almost two months since they had to lock their doors, so everyone in the casino industry looks very eager to get back to business.

However, once the lockdown is over, business is not going to be as usual. At least not at the beginning. The Nevada Gaming Commission has come up with a set of policies meant to ensure social distancing inside casinos.

Some of those measures include the following:

  • Every casino to reduce its maximum capacity to 50% of the current number.
  • Blackjack tables to reduce the number of seats from six to three.
  • One roulette table to have no more than four seats.
  • No more than four poker players to sit at the same table.
  • Casino’s cleaning staff to disinfect all tables and seats regularly.
  • Casino personnel to wear face masks and gloves.

Commissioners believe that these sorts of measures should be able to prevent the coronavirus from spreading among gamblers. However, not everyone agrees. There are some who think there’s a need for additional measures.

Indoor Smoking Remains Allowed Despite Pleas

Jennifer Pearson from the School of Community Health Sciences at the University of Nevada in Reno was one of those who raised their concerns about the plan for casino reopening. According to her, the plan leaves some crucial questions unanswered.

For instance, she wonders why there aren’t any changes in the state’s laws regarding indoor smoking. Her reasoning is that if smoking is allowed inside the casinos, gamblers would have to take their face masks off in order to have a cigarette.

The public seems to be on her side; however, no policies have been discussed formally by the Nevada Gaming Commission. Still, the chairman of the NGC John Moran has reassured everyone that the guidelines for casino reopening are subject to modifications in the future.

When Will Casino Reopening Start in Las Vegas?

A few weeks ago, Las Vegas mayor called casinos to re-open their doors to the public. Her plea was met with a public backlash as the COVID-19 pandemic was raging at the time in the United States. Several weeks have passed since and American epidemiologists suggest the end of the crisis is on the horizon.

At the moment of writing, there are 19 states that have decided to loosen their anti-coronavirus measures. For instance, Florida has labeled some sports as essential businesses, the result of which is that many large events are going to take place in the Sunshine State, including the UFC 249.

However, Nevada still doesn’t belong to this category of states. However, things are going to change soon, as the state is planning to start working on bringing the life back to normal. The decision of the Gaming Commission to come up with a plan for casino reopening is certainly giving hopes to gambling aficionados that Las Vegas venues are going to go back to work by the end of the month.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

Las Vegas Mayor Calls for Casinos to Reopen Despite COVID-19 Worries

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has called for casinos to reopen in Sin City as the gambling industry has started losing big money due to the coronavirus lockdown. She labeled the decision to shut down all non-essential businesses in the state “total insanity” and that the Nevada Governor is “killing Las Vegas.”

Goodman, an independent, urged all Las Vegas establishments to start bringing business back to normal as the pandemic is starting to show signs of backing down.

Mayor Goodman gave an interview to Anderson Cooper on CNN, in which she expressed her opinion that the coronavirus pandemic is not anything out of ordinary and that “viruses for years have been here.”

Goodman also suggested that Las Vegas residents could be used as a “control group” to test whether relaxing restrictions would be a good decision for the rest of the country. She did, however, add that she bears no responsibility for finding ways on how to maintain social distancing measures once the lockdown is over.

Reaction From Other Nevada Officials

Not everyone, however, shares Goodman’s opinion. Steve Sisolak, Governor of Nevada, a state with more than 4,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the moment of writing, has responded to Goodman’s comments saying the state is not yet ready to return to normal.

Similar reactions came from other Nevada officials as well, one of whom even called Mayor’s comments “reckless and dangerous.”

Jim Murren, the head of Nevada’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force, said that he believes the Las Vegas Mayor is wrong, adding that is opinion is that science has to lead the way.

The Rise of Online Gambling

It’s been more than a month since Governor Steve Sisolak signed the closure of non-essential businesses in Nevada, thus shutting down every casino in the world’s capital of gambling. The order will remain in motion until at least April 30.

With nowhere to go to quench their thirst for gambling, casino aficionados have started looking for alternatives on the internet. As a result, many retail casino businesses are missing out on the opportunity to make money during the shutdown.

On the other hand, web-based casinos have been experiencing a major increase in revenue since the start of the pandemic. According to Morgan Stanley analysts, the industry is booming in the states that have legalized this form of gambling. In New Jersey, for instance, online casinos have recorded a 66% increase in revenue in March.

“We believe the impact of COVID-19 could spur more states to legalize online casino and sports betting”,
Thomas Allen of Morgan Stanley said.

The current situation is likely to prompt a number of states to start thinking about making online gambling legal. Right now, there are more than 15 states where activities like online gambling and sports betting are legal and regulated. That number is expected to double by the end of the decade. The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to speed up that process.

The same goes for land-based casinos who are expected to adjust their modus operandi and expand their business to the world of online gambling.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

William Hill CEO and CFO Remuneration Packages Amended

William Hill CEO, Ulrik Bengtsson and CFO, Matt Ashley, have their remuneration packages amended due to the ongoing coronavirus health crisis and its material impact on the revenue of the UK-based gaming operator.

Reduced Revenue, Freeze on CEO Salary Increase

In line with the update issued by the operator in March that a decline in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization /EBITDA/ to the extent of £110 million for 2020 was expected, CEO Bengtsson would have his annual salary increase suspended, and remain on £600,000 for the year. Even payment of 2019 dividend to shareholders was suspended to retain cash within the company that was materially impacted by having its retail estate closed.

William Hill has lowered Bengtsson’s maximum pension contribution rate from 20% to 5%, to bring it in line with the rate for the general workforce. The lower rate means another £30,000 will go towards a pension for the company’s CEO.

All executives and senior employees, CEO inclusive, have had their annual bonuses and long-term incentive schemes cancelled. For the position of a CEO, the bonus range is between 150% and 200% of salary.

Based on achieving certain business targets, CEO Bengtsson could have been awarded additional shares from the company, through the Performance Share Plan, an option he chose to decline.

200% of CFO Salary in Shares

The remuneration package for Matt Ashley, William Hill’s Chief Financial Officer, includes an annual salary of £450,000, a pension contribution of 5% of salary, and his bonus and long-term incentive plan have also been cancelled. Ashley’s resignation from National Express resulted into share forfeited for him, a loss William Hill will compensate on a like-for-like basis. The new CFO will be required to hold 200% of salary in company shares, a requirement upped from the previous 150% level.

The new CFO took the role April 6, after the initially selected for the job to replace long-time serving Ruth Prior, Adrian Marsh, decided to remain put in his old company, DS Smith, due to the challenges posed by the severe outbreak of the virus and its material impact on the gaming industry.

William Hill expressed its position that the addition of Matt Ashley is important in providing stability for the business and timely in regards to the expected impact on its revenue due to the ongoing health crisis. The company displayed confidence the decision was made to protect the interest of the shareholders and that it did not overpay for its new CFO.

The proposed remuneration packages to CEO Bengtsson and CFO Ashley will have to be approved by the shareholders at the business’s Annual General Meeting, scheduled to take place May 15, 2020.

A year ago the UK-based gambling operator William Hill vowed to double its profit figures by 2023, but in line with the ongoing health situation that brought the gaming industry to a halt, that promise looks like wishful thinking.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

Spain Posts Decent 2019 Results Despite Slow Q4

  • Spain’s Q4 gaming and betting results drop
  • The country’s industry remains strong in 2019
  • A series of regulations expected to hit in 2020

Spain is seeing an uptick in 2019 gaming and sports betting revenue, despite a slowdown in the fourth quarter and a rapidly intensifying regulation.

Spain Posts Strong 2019 Results Despite Q4 Drop

Unperturbed by the most recent government announcement that online gambling advertisement will come under heavy regulation, the Spanish market grew 7.1% in 2019, even though Q4 produced slightly worse results.

Spain posted a total of $821.5 million in 2019, even though the last three months of the year were fairly challenging. According to the Dirección General del Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ), the country’s gambling regulator, sports betting has been the largest incentive the industry saw in 2019. There have been headwinds as well, specifically in the case of several high-profile sports figures accused of match-fixing.

DGOJ recognized the contributions of all verticals that grew over the period, beating year-over-year (YOY) results. Sports betting added an estimated $417.51 million. Spain also saw the so-called real-money contests mark a 170% increase YOY.

While online gambling and sports betting seemed strong, poker and bingo inched down during the period. Both segments saw a tangible decline with bingo operations shrinking 9.7%. Revenue through December 31, 2019 declined by 2.1%.

Interestingly, in-play betting picked up a little in Q4, driving revenue for the sports betting segment, which collapsed by another 29.7% in the last three months of the year, a normal development for that part of the year.

However, roulette results went up in Q4, for example. The segment generated an estimated 24.9% uptick translating to $17.53 million, underlining Spaniards’ appetite for the rather pricey segment that is roulette. All gambling companies bolstered their affiliate operations, investing up to 6.4% more or a total of $12.02 million to gain a foothold following a number of restrictive regulatory measures.

Spain to Tighten Gambling Regulation

Spanish lawmakers have been going gung-ho about gambling in the country. Even though the industry has been shaping as a staple GDP product, regulators and politicians have been paying a closer eye on ongoing developments.

For example, at the end of 2019, the Spanish government approved to limit the size of bonuses new players can receive at EUR 100, around $125. Now, online advertisement is coming under scrutiny with as much as 80% of all advertisement up to be restricted, a new law suggests.

Other countries, such as Italy, have already gone through with a blanket ban, targeting all advertisement in full. Globally, regulations are tightening. The Stars Group recently signed a partnership with GiG Compliance to bring affiliate companies for its poker brand, Poker Stars, in line with specific regulatory norms in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States.

Spain’s quickly-developing market will definitely occasion more scrutiny and with it the need for better self-policing by brands who wish to stay in regulators good graces.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

NIGC Issues Recommendations to Tribal Operators to Stay Compliant

The tribal regulator of gambling matters, the National Indian Gaming Commission, has issued a list of recommendations on how to set up a sports betting business and comply with all legal prerequisites.

Regulator Advises Tribes on How to Open Sports Betting Operations

The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) has released a new document outlining the potential difficulties that Native American tribes face in relation to rolling out sports betting operations in the united states. These difficulties, the official statement specified, had to do specifically with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

NIGC Chair E. Sequoyah Simermeyer spoke about the new regulation and how it could help tribal operators to operate in the changing order after the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

The lifting of the federal ban has already prompted tribal operators in places like New York, Mississippi and New Mexico to launch their operator, as per the negotiated tribal compacts with the U.S. Department of the Interior, Simermeyer explained.

However, Simermeyer also explained that to roll out sports betting, all tribes must make sure that the activity is classified as Class III gaming under their own compact.

Explaining the Business of Tribal Gambling in the U.S.

Tribes need to also understand the different ways of setting up their business, including a full control over the sports betting activity – where a tribe would be fully responsible for running business, and leasing its land to allow third-parties to run operations there.

Furthermore, tribes could also team up with third-party data providers while managing their own sportsbook. However, involving any third parties would necessitate further approval from the chair.

More importantly, Simermeyer explained, all tribes should seek and comply with the regulations lest they face stiff penalties. Speaking of payments, all transactions back to any partner must not exceed 30% of the Gross Gaming Regulator (GGR) as per NIGC approved regulation.

However, if specific conditions are negotiated, then a 40% revenue split of the revenue could be enacted, provided that the NIGC chair has given his or her approval.

What Kind of Relation Is It?

To help build a mutually beneficial business, NIGC will focus on several selection criteria in determining the viability of an individual partner. For starters, the Commission would look at the longevity of each partnership, giving a slight preference to long-term contracts.

Secondly, the regulator would also take a look at the amount that will be paid out to any third party, as well how much control said third-party has in running tribal operations. In addition, all tribes must comply with regulatory expectations insofar as compliance with tax laws and customer protection goes.

Due diligence checks are advisory, NIGC specified, to ensure that everyone is enjoying a safe gaming environment. According to Simermeyer, the latest recommendations issued by NIGC consolidate the Commission’s position as a regulator and a source of safe guidance in the sector.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.