20 Million Americans Expected to Bet on the Olympics

The 2020 Summer Olympics starts today in Tokyo, where more than 14,000 athletes from more than 200 nations will compete in 35 different sports. Being the biggest sports event of the year, the Olympics are expected to attract hundreds of millions of viewers all around the world.

The Games are expected to be particularly popular in the US, where all the major sports competitions are currently on pause before the new season commences. Apart from sports fans, this year’s Olympics are probably going to be followed by a record number of US bettors.

As per the American Gaming Association (AGA), more than 20 million Americans are going to place at least one bet on the 2020 Olympics.

American Bettors Love the Olympics

The AGE wanted to know about the love American gamblers have for the Olympic Games. The association contracted a polling agency a few weeks ago called Morning Consult, which ran a survey on 2,200 adults from the United States.

The poll showed that about 8% of the respondents are planning to place a sports bet on an event in the Tokyo Olympics. Knowing that there are about 252 million people living in the United States in 2021, the calculation is that 20.1 million Americans are likely to make some Olympics bets this summer.

Among those who took part in the Morning Consult poll, 47% stated that they’re planning to make wagers among friends. Forty-three percent of the respondents said they’re going to make their bets at online sportsbooks, while 16% want to do it in person at one of the land-based sportsbooks.

Knowing that sports betting (online and retail) is legal and regulated only in a handful of states in the US, many bettors are planning to make their wagers offshore. The research has suggested that about 13% of American bettors are going to bet on the Olympics either via offshore betting sites or through an illegal bookmaker.

Olympics Bets Popular in the US

The Morning Consult survey showed that the Olympic sport of choice of American bettors is basketball. About 45% of the bettors will make at least one bet on basketball. No surprise there, as Team US is a heavy favorite to win the gold medal.

With Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum, and other superstars, the dream team led by Greg Popovich is a heavy favorite at -769.

The next sport on the list is soccer, with 34% of the bettors planning to bet on this sport. The USWNT is expected to do very well in the tournament, while the men’s team is not taking part in this year’s Games.

Among those respondents who said they’re planning to get involved with Olympics betting, 28% will focus on gymnastics, while another 27% will go with track and field and swimming.

Baseball is also expected to be on the radar of the US sports bettors considering that the Tokyo Olympics will be the first Games to feature this sport since 2008. Another reason is that Team US is favored to win gold.

In fact, the US is the nation expected to win the most gold medals in Tokyo, with the odds of -1200.

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.

Ohio Launches COVID-19 Vaccination Lottery

“Ohio Vax-a-Million” starts in less than two weeks! Five lucky winners will get $1 million. The conditions to take part in the lottery? Getting a jab!

On Wednesday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) announced that starting May 26, the Ohio Lottery will run its vaccination draw once a week. Adult citizens who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will be automatically placed in the draw.

The funding for the lottery comes from the federal COVID-19 relief packages. That’s the reason why some believe it’s a waste of money. For others, it’s a creative way to get more people interested in vaccination.

“Ohio Vax-a-Million” to Boost Vaccination

Even though vaccination started in top-gear in Ohio, the Buckeye State has seen a major drop in the number of vaccinations over the last week. Official data shows that the average number of vaccines given was over 140,000 in early April. In early May, the weekly average is slightly above 52,000.

At the moment of writing, Ohio has about 4 million people fully vaccinated. Sounds like a large number, but that accounts for only about 35% of the entire population of the state.

To get the vaccination on the fast track, Ohio Government has decided to think outside the box and offer a $1m-worth of incentives to get the jab.

Something similar is done in Kentucky, which is also struggling to get the people interested in the vaccine. Governor Andy Beshear (D) has an idea of how to solve this puzzle – Kentucky Lottery is going to give a free play in Cash Ball 225 drawing to every vaccinated citizen.

Neither Ohio nor Kentucky is doing particularly well with vaccination. In fact, both states have a vaccination rating that’s below the national average.

One state that’s doing better than most others is New Jersey. The Garden State is #6 when it comes to the percentage of the vaccinated population.

As a result, the COVID-19 pandemic is almost completely defeated in this state, which means that things can get back to normal. Even casinos can return to full capacity!

Atlantic City Casinos to Return to Full Capacity on May 19

Starting next Wednesday, things are back to normal in Atlantic City casinos. At least as close to normal as possible at this point.

As per Governor Murphy’s instructions, casinos in AC will be allowed to operate at full capacity for the first time since March 2020.

However, some anti-coronavirus rules will remain in action. Face masks, for example, remain mandatory, and the same foes for the six-foot social distancing rule.

The good news is that even those rules could end soon. New Jersey’s goal is to have at least 70% of people vaccinated by the end of the next month. What this means is that about 4.7 million people in the Garden State need to receive two jabs of Pfizer/Moderna vaccines or one shot of Johnson & Johnson.

At the moment, New Jersey has slightly over 3.26 million vaccinated residents, meaning that getting to 4.7 million in six weeks does not seem impossible.

A similar scenario is expected in Nevada, where Las Vegas has already started working on 100% reopening.

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.

200+ US Casinos are Now Smoke-Free Following COVID-19 Shutdown

Dr. Brian King from the CDC has recently confirmed that more than 200 casinos around the US have returned from the COVID-19 shutdown as smoke-free facilities. King, who is the deputy director for research in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Office on Smoking and Health, called this fact “a silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

However, King shouldn’t be too optimistic about it as most of those casinos are planning to return to their old ways once the coronavirus is completely out of our lives. At least that’s according to gaming historian David Schwartz, who believes smoking and gambling go hand-by-hand.

Still, the fact is that the US gaming capital Las Vegas now has more smoke-free casinos than any time before, the most notable example being Park MGM.

Park MGM Casino Leading the Way

According to the president of MGM Resorts Las Vegas Portfolio, Anton Nikodemus, there is a strong desire among non-smokers to gamble at smoke-free casinos. As a result, the company has decided to make one of its Las Vegas properties entirely smoke-free.

The casino in question is Park MGM, which has been a smoke-free zone since returning to business on September 30, 2020. When it re-opened its doors, the casino became the first property on the Las Vegas Strip where smoking is banned.

The no-smoking rule, however, was in force in other Las Vegas casinos in the past. Probably the best example is the old Silver City Casino, which banned smoking in 1991. However, gamblers did not react very well to that decision, so the ban lasted for only a couple of months.

More examples of short-lived casino smoking bans come from Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Last summer, when those two states decided to allow the casinos to return to business after the COVID-19 shutdown, one of the rules was to ensure a smoking-free environment on the premises.

The rule, however, did not last too long. One of the reasons why casinos lifted the ban as soon as the state officials allowed them is that gamblers seem to have a love affair with smoking.

Gamblers Say Yes to Smoking

Over the last couple of decades, smoking prevalence has declined sharply in the US. According to the CDC, only about 14% of Americans smoke, or roughly 34.1 million people. What this means is that a big majority of people living in the United States are non-smokers.

The data differs a lot when casino gamblers are concerned. As it turns out, a large percentage of US casino patrons are smokers. Former UNLV professor who specializes in gaming history, David Schwartz, thinks that smokers generate more revenue to the casino industry than non-smokers.

He believes that that’s the reason why most casinos are going to allow indoor smoking to return as soon as the pandemic is over. Still, casinos might come up with a different solution. Rather than banning/allowing smoking entirely, they might decide to separate the gaming floors to smoking and non-smoking ones.

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.

Wynn Resorts Stocks Now Up for Sale at $118

Last year was “annus horribilis” for practically everyone involved with the casino business. However, some have managed to rebound in the last couple of months of 2020. One of those companies is Wynn Resorts, which closed out the last year on a relatively high note – they reported a positive adjusted property EBITDA of about $39.4 million.

The casino operator now wants to cash in on the euphoria, for which, Wynn Resorts decided to put a portion of its stocks up for public sale.  About 6.32 million Wynn Resorts stocks have been made available for purchase, which is expected to raise as much as $5.5 million.

The money collected through the sale of Wynn Resorts stocks is going to be used for “general corporate purposes.”

Wynn Stocks Traded at ~$118 on Robinhood

The timing is great for Wynn to sell its stocks. At the same time, it also seems that it’s still a good time for investors to start buying them. At the moment of writing, the price of one Wynn Resorts stock on Robinhood.com is $118.

Wynn stocks at Robinhood
Screenshot: Robinhood

The lowest price of Wynn Resorts stocks was recorded in late January. On Friday, January 29, the price for one stock was $99.53. Since then, the price has been constantly going up.

Last week, we saw the price for one stock going above $116, while this week, it went over $117 before reaching the current price on early Saturday morning.

The reason why buying Wynn Resorts stocks at $118 seems like a good business move is that the price is still way below $136.82, which was its price before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring.

Wynn Stock Improvement Led by Macau Rebound

Things still aren’t in order in Las Vegas, with COVID-19 still causing troubles for the casino industry. Good days seem to be ahead as, from February 15, Nevada will ease its COVID-19 measures. As a result, casinos will be allowed to increase their capacity from 25 to 35%. Not a very big improvement but knowing that the vaccination is ongoing, the end of the crisis seems to be on the horizon.

What this means for Wynn Resorts is that their two properties on the Strip (Wynn Las Vegas and Encore) are expected to return to their full glory within a couple of months. Once that happens, millions of dollars will start pouring in the company piggy-bank, which is bound to make its stocks go up.

Until that happens, the main driving force behind Wynn Resorts will continue to be the operation in Macau. Wynn’s CEO Matt Maddox was full of praise for the company’s property in Macau, calling it “the sweet spot of our company.”

In addition, the company has big plans for its online sports betting brand WynnBET. According to Maddox, the internet operation saw its “revenues growing almost 50 percent over the last three months.” WynnBET was recently made an official sponsor of the Memphis Grizzlies in an effort to make the brand a household name among American sports fans.

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.

Pornstar Stormy Daniels Asking for Your Help to Blow Up Trump’s Casino

One of the worst years in history for the gaming industry (and otherwise) is finally over. And over in Vegas, they’ve blown the sign saying “2020” with dynamite. Speaking of blowing things up, Stormy Daniels wants to be the one to push the demolition button on Donald Trump’s former casino in Atlantic City.

To do that, she will need to enter an auction organized by the government of Atlantic City. The bids are still coming in, but at the moment of writing, the highest one stands at $175,000.

Stormy doesn’t feel too good about paying the money on her own, which is why she’s asking for your help – anyone who wants to see Stormy blowing up Trump Plaza can fund her GoFundMe campaign.

So far, Stormy’s campaign has raised only $1,935 thanks to 91 donors. Still, the goal of the campaign is to reach $1,000,000. For those who think it’s a bit much to pay to see Trump’s former sex partner blow up his former casinos, we need to remind you that the money is going to charity. All the proceeds from the auction will go to Atlantic City’s branch of Boys & Girls Club.

Philadelphia Casinos to Return to Business on Monday

In other casino news, Philadelphia Governor Thomas Wolf has signed a decree allowing all of 14 casinos located within the state borders to return to business starting Monday, January 4. They’ve been closed for three weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic that’s been making a comeback in the Commonwealth.

Once they re-open their doors, casinos will have to operate under different conditions. They will have to make certain adjustments inside the venue in order to adhere to the social distancing rules. Casinos are also required to use high-tech air purification systems, as well as clean the premises on a regular basis, while also providing hand sanitizers for the guests.

The biggest change that Pennsylvania’s casinos will go through over the next period is 24/7 surveillance. At any given moment, the state police and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) need to have a presence in each of the 14 casinos, either in-person or through surveillance cameras.

Casino Industry Hopeful of a Big Comeback in 2021

The return of Pennsylvania’s casinos is definitely very good news, but more good news are expected to follow in the upcoming weeks. With the COVID-19 vaccine available, the end of the pandemic is near.

Sure, it might take some time for things to get back to normal but a general consensus is that 2021 is going to be much, much better than the last one.

Some of the things casino aficionados should be excited about include the opening of Resorts World Las Vegas and Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

Over in Hawaii, officials are thinking about changing their stance on gambling. If everything goes according to plan, the construction of Kapolei casino resort.

Finally, more and more states are going through the process of sports betting legalization. There are also some that plan to make online casino gambling legal in 2021.

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.

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.

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.

Ex-MGM Resorts CEO to Lead Nevada’s Coronavirus Task Force

  • COVID-19 prompts Nevada to shut down casinos and set up a relief task force
  • Former MGM CEO Jim Murren appointed head of the task force
  • Murren’s expertise will help contain the outbreak, Nevada Gov. Sisolak says

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the now-retired MGM CEO Jim Murren has been selected for the job of heading the coronavirus relief effort in Nevada.

MGM’s Former Number One at the Helm of Nevada’s COVID-19 Task Force

Jim Murren will be leading the newly established COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force, announced Governor Steve Sisolak this Sunday afternoon, following the closure of Nevada’s casino for 30 days. According to Gov. Sisolak, the experience that Murren has in a handful of industries will help Nevada’s healthcare system and ultimately lead to containing the outbreak.

Murren became a part of MGM in 2008 and for the past 12 years as CEO. It wasn’t long after his retirement in February that he was appointed a head of the new task force. Gov. Sisolak noted that Murren’s position is unpaid, voluntary and due to start straight away.

Murren’s first job on the list will be to allocate/source all of the useful assets from the private sector that can help in the fight with the coronavirus.

Considering Murren’s vast experience and contacts in Asia and the Middle East, it is expected from him to greatly help Nevada. Murren took part in a COVID-19 tourism industry round table with President Donald Trump and other White House leaders early in March so the announcement of Sisolak came at the right moment.

Gov. Sisolak noted that Murren will help the state receive the needed personal protection equipment, COVID-19 test kits and other essential supplies that the federal government cannot source currently. Sisolak also added: “Jim Murren can open doors that otherwise, I, as governor, can’t open up,”.

Some in Nevada Has Its Doubts About Addressing the Outbreak

Nevada state reaction was mixed as Jon Ralston, an old-timer editor and reported of The Nevada Independent questioned why a gaming insider such as Murren was picked. Ralston deemed that Gov. Sisolak was handling the crisis quite well so far but did note on Twitter that his announcement can face a bit of criticism.

Driven by fear of spreading the virus, states ordered the closing of many businesses and casinos. A lot of US leagues canceled their entire seasons or banned their fans from watching the games live, in person.

MGM did not stand idle by and took action to close all of its Strip casinos in Vegas. Only a few days after this decision, on Thursday, Sisolak ordered a state shut down for 30 days of all gambling establishments.

Murren noted that “There’s nothing more important right now than helping our state and each other through this crisis”. He continued with: “When we defeat this pandemic, I am confident that our state will come roaring back, as we have from the great hardships of the past.”

Aran Malik

“Magic Malik”—as we like to call him—is not only a tech whiz but a wizard when it comes to getting obscure news hot off the press so we know exactly what’s happening and can explore and report it back to our growing and loyal readerbase.

Betway Fined £11.6M For Failure To Protect Customers

The UK Gambling Commission continues its series of penalty-imposing actions, with the latest operator, Betway, fined a record £11.6 million for failure with regards to gambling addiction protection and player source of funds checks.

The gambling regulator in the UK meted the severe punishment to Betway, after it had found out serious violations in dealings with high-spending VIP clients that meant the operator handled around £5.8 million of suspected criminal proceeds, and the gambling Commission is now returning the money to the victims.

In one of these VIP cases, Betway allowed a customer to deposit over £8 million, in the span of four years, lose £4 million and in the meantime having his account flagged 20 times as a potential risk, only in each of these occasions for the staff to accept the client’s word as evidence of the source of the funds. Even the board of directors of the company, when the case was referred to them, allowed the gambler to continue, with the actual closure of the client’s account happening after the police’s intervention.

Another client was allowed to deposit £1.6 million and lose more than £700,000, in a period of 3 years, despite being unemployed, and Betway failed to verify customer employment status due to reliance on open source information that confirmed the client could afford the losses.

A violation of the customer self-exclusion policy was found when a client made a series of deposits totaling £494,000 into 11 different accounts, after that customer had previously signed up to exclude from gambling, a glaring example of gambling addiction behavior.

Another VIP client deposited and lost £187,000 in just 2 days, without being asked by Betway’s staff about the source of the money.

“The actions of Betway suggest there was little regard for the welfare of its VIP customers or the impact on those around them. As part of our ongoing programme of work to make gambling safer, we are pushing the industry to make rapid progress on the areas that we consider will have the most significant impact to protect consumers” Richard Watson, Executive Director, UK Gambling Commission.

Betway will pay £5.8 million back to the victims of the crimes committed by its customers, plus another £5.8 million to the Gambling Commission that will be spent to reduce gambling addiction. Betway accepted to pay the penalty and improve their existing processes.

“Betway takes full responsibility for the small number of historic cases which have led to this settlement. We have fully cooperated with the investigation and will take further proactive steps to ensure all recommendations and findings are implemented” Anthony Werkman, CEO, Betway.

The latest imposed financial penalty by the UKGC is almost 4 times the amount of the previous one, the £3 million fine meted to Mr Green, an online gaming company owned by William Hill, and the GC is determined to make the gambling environment safer in times when the society shows sensitivity on the matters.

Aran Malik

“Magic Malik”—as we like to call him—is not only a tech whiz but a wizard when it comes to getting obscure news hot off the press so we know exactly what’s happening and can explore and report it back to our growing and loyal readerbase.

New NetGaming Hire Natalya Ovchinnikova – A Clear Sign Of Ambition

NetGaming has hired Natalya Ovchinnikova as the new head of product, with the task to grow the company’s start-up slot portfolio.

Experience On Board

The Malta-based creative casino games design studio NetGaming continues its efforts to further strengthen its senior management team by bringing in more experience in the shape and form of former slot product owner at Yggdrasil Gaming and product manager at NetEnt, Natalya Ovchinnikova.

New Content Every Month

The new head of product will be responsible for the oversight of the production process for the company’s engaging portfolio of slot games, as NetGaming is planning to release new content every month during 2020, a mixture of original and branded content in a premium quality slot catalogue, available in 26 languages and compatible with 41 currencies.

CEO Knows Best

The newly employed Natalia Ovchinnikova is a former colleague of current NetGaming CEO Pallavi Deshmukh, at NetEnt, and he is delighted to be able to add her to his team.

“We are absolutely delighted to have Natalya on board. With a fantastic track-record of achieving consistent results, her extensive and successful industry experience speaks for itself. I am pleased to be working with Natalya again”, Pallavi Deshmukh, CEO, NetGaming.

New Hire Excited

With nearly a decade of iGaming experience under her belt, Natalia Ovchinnikova is the perfect solution for the growing slot product needs of NetGaming and the new employee is looking forward to meeting the high expectations in front of her.

“I am thrilled to be joining NetGaming, an exciting provider boasting an immersive gaming suite and ambitious plans for global expansion. With international growth and high-profile content in the pipeline, this is a company gearing up for major 2020 success”, Natalya Ovchinnikova, Head of Product, NetGaming.

Global Expansion

The creative content designer NetGaming has recently signed lucrative deals for partnership across the world, including the content distribution deal with the provider of online gaming solutions BetConstruct, as well as with EveryMatrix, to gain access to the largest casino content library with more than 8,000 games and 260+ local and global jackpots, the casino aggregator, CasinoEngine.

Aran Malik

“Magic Malik”—as we like to call him—is not only a tech whiz but a wizard when it comes to getting obscure news hot off the press so we know exactly what’s happening and can explore and report it back to our growing and loyal readerbase.

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.

Portugal’s Gambling Revenue Grows for 8th Consecutive Quarter

  • Portugal’s gaming and sports betting revenue continues to grow in Q4 2019
  • Players spend some $941.10 million on games of chance
  • Close to 163,900 people register to bet and gamble over the period

Portugal has posted another successful quarter in Q4 2019 with online gambling revenue climbing to a new high and reaching $72.3 million over the period. The national regulator, Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ), reported growth across all main online gambling segments consolidating the country’s position as a developing iGaming market.

Sports Betting Continues to Drive Market Growth

In terms of comparing results year-over-year, Portugal managed to pull 52.1% more in pure revenue in the three months leading up to December 31, 2019. Not only that, but Q4 2019 was also the eight quarter in which the country’s market had only grown without showing any signs of slowing down.

Part of the positive development was also occasioned by sports gambling, which reached $36.88 million, or another 55.0% uptick compared to the same period a year before. Portuguese gamblers put down some $204.63 million in total bets, pushing the results up 67.5% year-over-year.

Football and basketball were the main drivers of sports betting interest in the country with both segments posting some significant improvement. Football, for example, had soared up by 74.6% more wagers compared to Q4 2018. In the meantime, Portugal has also been revving up its efforts to clamp down on illegal gambling.

Casino Products Make Steady Expansion Efforts

iGaming products also contributed a fair bit, pushing the total number of wagers placed up 49.1.% year-over-year. Specifically, players spent$941.10 million on online gambling revenue in the last three months of the year, marking another significant progress or 47.9%.

Slots topped these developments with some 69.0% of all money placed on casino products going in the way of slots over the quarter. Interestingly French roulette was the second most played game, with some 13.6% of the wagers going its way.

This indicates a maturity among Portuguese gamblers who are well aware of the inherent advantages of the game as one of the best-paying versions of roulette. Third came poker, with a 9.4% share of the market.

Poker has been a rather popular pastime in Portugal especially now that PokerStars has been part of the available options since 2016. Not only that, but Portugal is also sharing liquidity with other countries to boost the overall prize pool available for poker tournaments, something that places such as the United States still lack.

The Scope of the Portuguese Market – 12 Operators Active

Presently, the country has 12 approved gaming and betting operators that are active and hold multiple skins. The total number of licenses issued is 20 and the majority of those – 11 – are allocated to games of chances, such as the ones offered at casinos.

In the quarter, some 390,400 people placed a wager online, marking another increase. Estimated 163,900 new registration were made in the country during the fourth quarter of 2019.

Kat Orlov

Newcomer Kat is our newcomer poker aficionado whos skill not only lives on the table but flourishes on the site as through her many sources she never fails to be the first to hear of any important or exciting poker news around the world.

Evolution Introduces Speed Blackjack to Slash Waiting Times

Developer of live games, Evolution Gaming, has introduced yet another innovative game to its portfolio, with Speed Blackjack slashing waiting time for players by 30-40%.

Evolution Gaming Debuts Speed Blackjack

On Thursday, Evolution Gaming introduced its latest blackjack live dealer version, Speed Blackjack, adding to a what is already an extensive list of accomplished titles in the segment. Once again, Evolution has found a way to introduce an innovative feature to their game and help it stand away.

While the core principles of the game remain fairly the same, in Speed Blackjack, all players get the option to Hit, Double Down or Split at the same time. The player to act the quickest will be the first to get the next card.

This dealing process will repeat itself until all players are happy with their draw and reveal their hands. Commenting on the news, Evolution Chief Product Officer, Todd Haushalter, has lauded his company’s efforts in the segment.

Mr. Haushalter explained that the game introduces a key difference to any casino product out there. In an official statement, he rhetorically asked ‘why should players have to wait?’ suggesting that Evolution Gaming has discovered a much more efficient way to proceed to playing.

He acknowledged that the game didn’t seek to introduce a new skill-based element, but rather slash the overall waiting time. Evolution ahs been trying to innovate the live dealer segment at a time when many other companies have been happily joining in.

In a similar vein, Evolution released First Person Lightning Roulette and First Person Dream Catcher in 2019, expanding on an already fantastic portfolio of options. Evolution’s emphasis on random number generator (RNG) game that transcend the traditional live gaming segment has won it a reputation for the most innovative company in the segment.

Optimizing the Game and Serving the Player

Players now stand a unique opportunity, the company argues, to slash the overall waiting time by estimated 30-40% times, allowing them to play more or simply play quicker, Mr. Haushalter has explained.

The ‘Speed’ segment isn’t entirely new either with Evolution already having debuted a number of games that are built on the premise of minimizing waiting time. The key difference to the new game is that the age-old rule where decisions are made from left-to-right is now gone and everyone gets to act on their own time.

Apart from working on new titles, Evolution has also been working on expanding into new markets. A recent license by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has allowed the company to launch live games with Parx Casinos’ iGaming sites in Pennsylvania.

Similarly, the company teamed up with Penn National Gaming to host live games. Evolution is in the process of setting up a studio in Pennsylvania, boosting its footprint across North America.

Carmen Thompson

Carmen is our residential reporter always on the move and hunting down the latest scoops and rumours to explore. Nothing gets past her keen nose, especially when it comes to some serious Jelly Bean poker tournaments.