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State of the Union: A look back 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.
state of the union

DC Lottery chief resigns, takes new job in Connecticut

Washington City Paper reporter Alex Koma broke the news that DC Lottery Office of Lottery and Gaming chief Frank Suarez had resigned. Suarez has accepted a similar position with the Connecticut Lottery. The OLG chief has been in the hot seat for months as the DC Council has been considering busting the District’s monopoly. Suarez has undergone intense questioning from council member Kenyan McDuffie.

On Wednesday (12 June), the DC Council voted to advance a budget that includes opening DC’s single-source wagering market. The budget must go through one more vote before heading for mayoral and congressional approval.

Fate of Florida sports betting…

The justices of the US Supreme Court met on Thursday (13 June) to determine whether or not they will hear oral arguments in  West Flagler Associates Ltd et al vs Deb Haaland et al. The case could determine the future of legal sports betting in Florida. According to the SCOTUS website, results of the conference will be made public on 17 June at 9.30am ET.

At the heart of the case is whether or not US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland should have allowed the 2021 compact between the state of Florida and the Seminole tribe to be deemed approved. The compact allows wagers to be considered placed where they are accepted.

In other words, bets made anywhere in Florida that flow through tribal servers are considered to have been placed in Indian Country. West Flagler, a pari-mutuel, argues that Haaland stepped out of bounds by allowing compact approval. In addition, there are issues around the compact itself. Among them, whether the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act governs off-property wagering, or if the compact violates the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

Hot-dog eating champs to chow down in Netflix special

Joey Chestnut, who it appears will not be competing in the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July hot dog-eating contest, will take on his longtime rival. Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi have agreed to a live Labor Day chow down on all-beef hot dogs on Netflix. The competition will air on 2 September, according to the Associated Press.

There’s been plenty of drama around Chestnut this week, after he said he was banned from the Nathan’s contest because he’s signed a deal with Impossible Foods. Major League Eating said the deal created a conflict with Nathan’s.

Kansas-Missouri border war continues

Earlier this week, Kansas City mayor Tyrone Garner said he’s behind a plan to try to lure the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas Royals from Missouri to Kansas, according to CDC Gaming. The Chiefs are considering a move after a sales-tax initiative that would have paid to renovate Arrowhead Stadium failed. Kansas law allows for wagering tax funds to be used to draw professional teams to the state. But tax revenue from legal wagering won’t generate enough money on its own. Lawmakers are reportedly considering creating bonds to fund construction of professional stadiums.

The Kansas legislature is scheduled to go into a special session keyed in on tax cuts on 18 June.

Bernie Kosar files a lawsuit over bet, firing

Former Cleveland Browns quarterback turned NFL broadcaster Bernie Kosar has sued BIGPLAY media, reports Cleveland.com. Kosar contends that company employees “forced” him to place a real-money bet on launch day in Ohio. The bet on the Browns to beat the Steelers ultimately cost him his radio gig with the Browns in 2023. NFL employees are not allowed to bet on their own team or the league.

Kosar is seeking $850,000 in damages, including $25,000 in attorneys fees.

Cherokee Nation gets thumbs up for Pope County casino

On Wednesday (12 June) Arkansas’ racing commission accepted a bid from Cherokee Nation Entertainment to build a casino in Pope County. The proposal includes a 200-room hotel and 50,000-sqft casino with 1,200 slot machines and 32 table games. Additionally, there will be a state-of-the-art sportsbook and a dedicated poker room. The ARC must issue a licence within 30 days.

The Gulfside Casino Partnership also submitted a bid. The commission refused to consider it, saying that the application was missing a letter in “support from the local governing body, either the quorum court or the county judge”. Because of the omission, the commission considered the application incomplete.

Worth the read

Eric Raskin of CasinoReports takes readers behind the scenes at a live-dealer studio. A day in the life may not be exactly what you think it is. Read the full story here.

In other news…

Mega Millions players will get better odds and higher payouts in 2025, according to Lottery Geeks. Mega Millions previously announced it will raise its price to $5. During a Montana Lottery Commission meeting on Wednesday (12 June), details of what’s to come were revealed.

Digital gaming company Greentube announced that it will enter Ontario through a partnership with Caesars Entertainment. Players on Caesars Palace Online Casino and the company’s sportsbook will have access to titles like Thunder Cash and Dolphin’s Pearl and other North American-specific games. Additionally, Greentube recently debuted Silver Lux: Big Win Spinner.

Jefferies Equity Research on Thursday (13 June) released its monthly overview of foot traffic at land-based casinos. The report shows a 5.1% year-over-year increase in the number of in-person customers in regional markets. But that number is still down against 2019.

Hard Rock will open its permanent Rockford, Illinois location on 29 August. The grand opening will include a guitar-smashing event. The location will have 1,300 slots, 50 table games, a poker room and a sportsbook, reports the Beloit Daily News.

Daily fantasy provider PrizePicks announced a partnership with Kindbridge Behavioral Health. Through the partnership, PrizePicks customers and front-facing employees will have access to free problem gambling services.


Open, competitive market coming to Washington, DC?

FanDuel sends DC betting handle to 450% gain in first month

Regulators taking action against black market

Senate redistricting could make Alabama lawmakers more amenable to gambling

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