The reels are always spinning in the gambling industry, and “The Double Down” is here every Friday to catch you up on all of the week’s biggest news. Sports Handle’s “Get a Grip” rounds up everything on the sports betting side, and US Bets provides the best of the rest: brick-and-mortar happenings, online casino developments, poker headlines, and more. So pull up a chair, crunch the numbers, and slide forward another stack of chips.
Two steps forward, one step back
Now that New York has moved on from the possibility of online casino legalization in 2023, the focus turns to other “New” locales: New Hampshire and the wider New England region.
An iCasino and iPoker bill in New Hampshire seemed to be building momentum, but on Wednesday, the New Hampshire House Ways and Means Committee voted unanimously to recommend killing the legislation. The proposal will still move to the House floor for consideration, but optimism for the Granite State legalizing iCasino this year is now all but gone.
Two other New England states, however, are reaching for the baton.
In Rhode Island, one of the earliest states to approve sports betting, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and Rep. Gregory Costantino introduced online casino legislation Thursday — with the not-so-surprising support of Bally’s Corp. Bally’s is the only casino operator in the nation’s smallest state (with two properties) and the only sports betting operator. The bill includes tax rates of 50% on slot revenue and 18% on table games revenue, with the bill effective Jan. 1, 2024, if it passes this session.
Maine is also making moves, with a bill submitted this week to allow the Wabanaki Nations to offer both iCasino and mobile sports betting. Maine is a complicated gambling state where tribes can only operate bingo halls, not full casinos, but online casino would give them an opportunity for a massive revenue boost. If the bill passes, it could give the Wabanaki tribes the exclusive right to offer iCasino in the state. Maine legalized sports betting in 2022 but hasn’t launched it yet.
It’s hard to say which state will be the seventh to legalize iCasino. But it’s looking like a safe bet to say lucky number seven will be among the New England six.
This week on Gamble On …
Every Thursday, US Bets drops a new episode of the Gamble On podcast, and this week’s welcomed 4for4’s Connor Allen to give his take on NFL Draft wagering, including a spread-some-chips-around approach that got bettors in the black if their portfolio included Tyree Wilson going seventh at hefty odds:
“One of these guys is going to slide: Tyree Wilson, Will Anderson, or C.J. Stroud.”@ConnorAllenNFL sees potential for a handsome payout on an exact-position bet in the #NFLDraft, as he explains on the #GambleOn podcast: https://t.co/LtQRuXRfZB pic.twitter.com/yLQ8jrEvxe
— US Bets (@US_Bets) April 27, 2023
The white stuff
UK Government Releases Long-Awaited White Paper On Gambling
Stream a little stream
DraftKings Enters The Streaming Wars With DraftKings Network
Laying down the law
Pennsylvania Board Fines Casinos, Punishes Sportsbook Employees
And down the stretch he comes
Wilt Chamberlain Of Studs Stoked To Get Stroked
Ads that don’t subtract
Betegy, A Tech Company With Ukrainian Ties, Is Changing Gambling Advertising
New BetMGM slot: a wing and a prayer
How do you like your slots? Honey BBQ? Lemon pepper? Mango habanero?
BetMGM announced Thursday the launch of a new Buffalo Wild Wings-branded iCasino slot game developed by Inspired Entertainment and available in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. The slot is a 40-line, 5×4 game where players hope to match symbols such as burgers, basketballs, and the BWW buffalo logo.
“The Buffalo Wild Wings branded casino game is another opportunity to entertain our fans through the BetMGM platform,” said Buffalo Wild Wings Director of On-Premise Experience Nigel Jones in a press release. “Partnering with one of the industry leaders in entertainment gives our guests one-of-a-kind experiences.”
The relationship between BetMGM and BWW dates back to 2019, when the sports bar/restaurant was among the first retailers post-PASPA to capitalize on the growing popularity of the legal sports gambling experience.
— Eric Raskin
Yes, Virginia, there will be a Caesars
Caesars was granted a casino facility operator license in Virginia Wednesday, becoming the third approved casino operator in the commonwealth. The approval came after a thorough vetting process completed by the Virginia Lottery, and a temporary casino location is expected to open and take its first bet on May 15.
“For months, the Lottery’s Gaming Compliance Department and legal team have conducted background investigations and examined every detail of this application,” Virginia Lottery Executive Director Kelly T. Gee said in a statement. “Those investigations include not just Caesars Virginia, but all the vendors and employees as well.”
Up to five land-based casinos may open in Virginia, according to state law. Hard Rock Casino in Bristol and Rivers Casino in Portsmouth are already open. Hard Rock opened its temporary facility in July of 2022, while Rivers Casino opened to the public in January of 2023.
— Bennett Conlin
Turning 10 cents into nearly $2 million
DraftKings announced Monday that a New Jerseyan who placed a 10-cent bet on its Extra Chilli Megaways online slot won $1.97 million — the largest progressive jackpot ever claimed by a DraftKings iCasino player. It also marked DraftKings’ second million-dollar-plus jackpot winner in the past month, according to a press release.
The previous record, also set in New Jersey, was the $1.01 million jackpot a DraftKings gamer won while playing the iCasino’s Hypernova Megaways game. There are several games within the Megaways slot brand, and US Bets analyst Jeff Edelstein recently summed up the Stargate version of the “bright and poppy slot” by writing, “If you don’t like this slot, you don’t like slots.”
— Mike Seely
How ‘gambling addicted’ is your home state?
WalletHub released a report Tuesday combining intriguing industry analysis with questionable wording.
The site looked at all 50 states — sorry, D.C. and Puerto Rico, you weren’t considered — and ranked them on “gambling friendliness” and “gambling problem and treatment” to come up with a rather harshly titled listing of the “most gambling-addicted states.”
The metrics found that Nevada was tops in all categories and thus apparently the “most gambling-addicted state,” while Utah ranked last. A few sub-rankings shared in the report: Nevada is No. 1 in casinos per capita and gambling machines per capita; Rhode Island leads the way in lottery sales per capita; Mississippi and Minnesota are tied at No. 1 in percentage of adults with gambling disorders; and California is the king of gambling-related arrests per capita.
— Eric Raskin
More from around the gambling biz
MORE WHITE PAPER MUSINGS: The white paper is better and worse than you think [The State of Online Gambling/Substack]
VEGAS VIC CAN’T FIND A BIC: This downtown Las Vegas icon in violation of city code [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
GOING GREENTUBE: RSI extends Greentube partnership to Ontario and Michigan [CasinoBeats]
KINDRED SPIRITS: Kindred Group initiates strategic review including potential sale of business [EGR Global]
THE NYC-AC EFFECT: Panelists: New York casinos could see Atlantic City closures [Associated Press]
HERE WE ARE NOW, (DON’T) ENTERTAIN US: New hotel offers guests an unexpected oasis of serenity on the Las Vegas Strip [Las Vegas Sun]
HAUL, CAESARS: Four 6-figure jackpots hit at Las Vegas Strip casino [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
Image: Blundell Design