2018 has been a landmark year for the sports betting industries in the United States following the US Supreme Court ruling in May deeming the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) to be unconstitutional.
The decision gave individual states the autonomy to go ahead with legalising sportsbooks within the confines of respective state boundaries, and the ruling has dominated gambling industry news throughout the year.
The most read article of the year was the exclusive update from Andrew J Winchell. As well as acting as Chief of Staff to New York State Senator John J Bonacic, Winchell also serves as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Racing.
Back in October, he told SBC that the State Gaming Commission are making regulations on the ability to offer sports betting at the four commercial casinos in New York well known. State Legislature are yet to implement such legislation, and it is expected that the regulations are more likely to be implemented until January 2019 when the legislature reconvenes.
This year, according to Winchell, has not been short of progress in legalising sports betting for New York as sports betting legislation which authorises the expansion to mobile and self-service betting kiosks at licenced tracks and other betting facilities.
The first installation of Euro Games Technology at Cache Creek Casino in Brooks, California, came in at the second most read story of the year for SBCAmericas. Working alongside its North American partner Reel Games, the operator chose to install monitors connected to the Chinese themed four-level progressive jackpot game Fu Gui Rong Hua which gives players the chance to win multiple jackpots simultaneously.
The installation has cemented Reel Games’ position in California casinos and has given basis for the company’s expansion across the United States.
Sean Smith, President and Founder of Reel Games Inc. stated: “Cache Creek Casino Resort is one of the most popular gaming facilities in Northern California and we are proud to have our products on their floor.”
Mergers and acquisitions are always big news for the gambling industry, and the announcement of a potential merger agreement with Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment Inc and Twin River Worldwide Holdings was no exception.
The partnership would transform Twin River into a publicly traded company and meant that Dover Downs shareholders were able to exchange their stock for Twin River common shares.
Denis McGlynn, Dover Downs’ President and CEO, stated, “Becoming part of Twin River is transformational for us. We have been impressed with the depth and talent of the Twin River organisation and their operational capabilities.”
Via the proposed merger Twin River, whose net revenue for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017 stood at $428.8m, would reach a new geographical location in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Meanwhile US President Donald Trump (pictured) signed Section 773 of the House Armed Services
Committee Report 115-874 in August 2018, which attracted the fifth largest readership this year.
The new legislation meant that members of the US armed forces are to undergo screening for compulsive gambling behaviours carried out through the incorporation of medical screening questions pertaining to problem gambling.
The measure was legislative priority for the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) for the last 16 years and is now expected to provide support for the estimated 56,000 active duty members of the armed forces who meet the criteria.
NCPG executive director Keith Whyte said: “Previous DoD surveys have found active duty personnel are two to three times more likely to have gambling problems than civilians. Better detection of gambling problems improves overall health and reduces social costs. Undetected gambling addiction exacerbates substance use disorders, depression and suicidal behaviour.”
Following the dismissal of PASPA earlier in the year, internet gaming was an area significantly on the rise – and Evolution Gaming announced efforts to capitalise on this up-shift.
In New Jersey the operator unveiled a new live casino studio, as well as announcing new deals with 888casino, Resorts, Hard Rock, Ocean Resort and PlaySugarHouse. The expansion into the realm of internet gaming has significantly expanded the groups portfolio, and offers differentiation which can only be positive.
James Stern, Evolution’s director of business development & land-based sales, addressed why the scene has continued to go from strength-to-strength, as well why and how his firm will enhance what is already on offer: “Our entry into New Jersey delivers players with a world-class live casino playing experience like no other. Our live games portfolio never stands still, so there really is something for everyone.”
Back in August, SBC Americas spoke with Keith McDonell, Founder of kmigaming.com, He spoke about the decision to move to America as a bid to replicate kmigaming.com’s footprint in Europe and Asia with a new LLC, the opportunities and threats in the US betting space as well as lessons to be learnt from British entrants.
The article was the sixth most read of 2018. McDonnell explained to SBC that expanding into the US market offers consumers a more substantial betting calendar to choose from, and that European and American operators still have a lot they can learn from one another in the year to come.
Mcdonnell added: “There is a lot of talk and activity in the US in online gambling right now. The true battle to succeed is not to be first but to be right. This can only be achieved by considered decision making, assessing all viable options.”
World-renowned Caesars Entertainment announced in September that it would be launching its sportsbook following its partnership with SG Digital, tallying in as the seventh most read article of the year.
Launching the new sportsbook in the newly regulated market posed a number of challenges for the groups, including both legal and technical challenges, competition with British operators as well as developing customisable solutions that would reflect the changing needs of US customers.
The casino operator had to ensure that it adhered to each jurisdiction’s regulatory requirements, and noted that the road ahead would most likely lead to development of its mobile offering as well as a ‘domino effect’ of newly regulated jurisdictions in the future.
The overturning of PASPA has meant that betting operators have had to adopt new methods ensuring integrity in the newly regulated markets as told to SBC by Tom Russell in the ninth most read article of the year.
Russell, the Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs at Genius Sports, spoke of the crucial elements needed to combat corruption in the betting markets, and how the best way to protect US sports integrity is to ensure that sportsbook use official data as part of the licencing agreements.
Russell emphasised the need for regulatory bodies and licenced sportsbooks to cooperate in enhancing the sustainability and success of the US sports betting market. He states that market restriction can have detrimental effects, but notes: “it is also important that the number of restrictions on licensed sportsbooks doesn’t become excessive and inadvertently fuel the popularity of the illegal market through which $150bn is currently wagered every year in the US.”
The final of the top ten most read articles of 2018 was occupied by Pinnacle Entertainment and its decision to open The End Zone, a dedicated sports wagering venue at Ameristar Casino Hotel Vicksburg in Mississippi.
The group had previously carried out the majority of its business in Nevada but following the PESPA ruling, the group expanded its portfolio to Ameristar Vicksburg and are expecting to continue growing its presence in more states as sports betting is legalised.
The new facility offers a sports viewing space with a selection of sporting events on large-screen TVs, the area’s largest high-definition television for featured sporting events, an expansive menu of draft beers, and a full-service ‘tailgate’ dining experience.