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State of the Union: A look at the week that was in North America

| By Jill R. Dorson
Welcome to iGB's State of the Union, a look at the biggest North American sports betting stories we've covered over the week and briefs on others we found interesting.
wrigley field draftkings sportsbook

Illinois regulator grants DraftKings full mobile licence

On Thursday (25 April), the Illinois Gaming Board unanimously awarded DraftKings a four-year mobile and retail licence. The company has been offering statewide mobile sports betting since 2019. It also opened its sportsbook at historic Wrigley Field last month. DraftKings first entered the Illinois mobile market through a partnership with the Casino Queen in East St Louis in 2019.

The Wrigley Field sportsbook is the second brick-and-mortar book at a professional sports venue in Chicago. FanDuel opened its location at United Center in 2022. Illinois was among the first US jurisdictions to allow sports betting operators to partner with professional sports teams. This also enabled customers to place bets sportsbooks at pro venues. Caesars Sportsbook – then William Hill – was the first in the US to open a retail location at a pro venue. This was at the Capital One Arena in Washington, DC in 2020.

Tropicana demolition approved

On Wednesday (24 April) the Las Vegas Review Journal reported that the demolition permit for the Tropicana Hotel has been approved. Bally’s now has until 20 October to bring down the hotel, with the $48,000 permit approved by Clark County. It will reportedly cost Bally’s $15m to implode the historic property. Bally’s will use the land, in part, for a new $1.5bn, 33,000-seat baseball stadium for the Athletics.

The land the Tropicana sits on is owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties (GLPI) while the hotel is owned by Bally’s. The two companies will partner on redevelopment, with GLPI putting up $175m toward demolition and redevelopment.

NoVig pulling out of Colorado

Steve Ruddock reported in his “Straight to the Point” substack that Novig is pulling out of Colorado as of 30 April. The operator, which says it generates revenue from charging market makers and professional bettors rather than the average Joe, launched in Colorado in January. NoVig is not live in any other states. According to a letter it sent to customers, it will “cease operations” and shut down on 30 April. Customers can withdraw money until then. Any balances after 30 April will be converted to paper cheques and mailed.

“In the spirit of rewriting the rules of sports betting,” the NoVig team wrote, “our team has been working on some huge game-changing product updates. While we can’t go into too much detail about these updates right now, we’ll let you in on the big news in the next couple of months.”

Wynn NYC proposed project gets blowback

A local New York City community board called out Wynn Resorts/Related Companies and their proposed Hudson Yards casino project according to the New York Post. In a 12-page letter sent on 1 April, Manhattan’s Community Board 4 (MCB4) wrote that the Hudson Yards project was initially approved in 2009 and included 5,700 housing units. The current casino proposal includes 1,507 units.

“MCB4 must note it cannot support the proposed project’s drastic shift from residential to commercial use designed around casino use,” the board wrote. “The applicant, Related Companies, solely in pursuit of casino dollars as a means to fund the platform over the WRY [Western Rail Yards], proposes to amend that plan out of existence in favour of two oversize commercial towers, one of a hotel with 1,750 keys, sitting on the equivalent of a 20-storey base containing a casino.”

Up to three casino licences can be awarded for downstate brick-and-mortar properties. The New York State Gaming Board is aiming to award the licences by the end of 2025.

Worth the read

The Iowa sports betting scandal is… convoluted. It’s been hard to parse out if data really was misused and, if it was, by whom. Washington Post sports investigative reporter Albert Samaha did a great job of peeling back the layers. In his article, he’s done a great job of explaining where and how things went sideways. So, if you’re wondering about the Iowa scandal, what technology is out there to track people and bets, or just want a better understanding, this story is worth the read.

In other news…

The Harrah’s Columbus in Nebraska is set to open on 13 May. Nebraska’s Racing and Gaming Commission late last week approved the opening date for the state’s first permanent casino. Three other casinos are already operating in temporary facilities.

PrizePicks also announced the hiring of former Turner Sports, Bleacher Report and Warner Brothers Discovery executive Renee White as chief of people and former Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health communications officer Phil Sherwood as senior director of responsible gaming.

A casino scam that has been working its way through Canada is now of concern in Ontario. Casino Rama, which in turn links to Curacao-based WinSpirit Casino, is advertising on social media, but is not regulated by the province. Provincial police have issued a warning for customers to be on the lookout for fraudulent gaming advertisements.

On 9 May DraftKings will open its third “Sport & Social” in collaboration with Live! Hospitality and Entertainment. The new sports bar and restaurant will be in Columbus. The location won’t have teller windows or kiosks, but DraftKings odds will be displayed and bettors can wager on the app. The space will have a 37-foot media wall and 20 HD TVs.


NHL Coyotes leave Arizona. What happens to their event wagering license?

Time is running short for Alabama gambling expansion

Arkansas casino taking a unique approach to try for statewide online gambling

Churchill Downs, Inc posts record quarterly revenue despite falling profit

There’s much more to Penn than ESPN Bet

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