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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

NY to require gambling hotline number on ads

New York is poised to become the next state to tighten gambling advertising guidelines after the senate passed a bill that would require any ads to have warnings about “harmful and addictive behaviour”.

AB 1118 originated in the house, passed the senate and was sent back to the house for final consideration. It’s now headed for the governor’s desk. The key requirement is that a problem gambling hotline number be posted on every advertisement. .

Another bill – that would have required that all applications for three downstate casino licences be submitted by 31 August – did not get a final vote before adjournment on Thursday (6 June). The bill, SO 9673, would also have required final approval for the licences by 31 December 2025.

Still waiting…

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed a budget bill late on Wednesday (5 June), but not the one that includes a graduated wagering tax increase. According to WGEM, Pritzker has plans to sign that bill, HB 4951, before the end of the month. The new tax structure, which will tax sports betting annual adjusted gross revenue over $200m at 40%, is supposed to go into effect 1 July.

Massachusetts regulator stands firm

On Monday (3 June) Massachusetts Gaming Commission chair Jordan Maynard reiterated that any discussion about bettor limits would have to take place in a public forum. Last month the Commission held a roundtable to discuss bettor limits but all live operators declined to attend.

The operators wrote to the MGC ahead of the meeting saying they were open to the discussion, but behind closed doors. On Monday, Maynard said representatives from FanDuel had contacted him, but he’s staying firm on public discussion.

Massachusetts has an open-meeting law, which limits how many commissioners can gather to discuss a topic outside of a meeting.

“I will ensure that FanDuel and any other operator know that each commissioner will need to be updated in a way that is transparent and fully compliant with the open-meeting law,” Maynard said. “That said, I wanted to acknowledge that reach-out and am hopeful for the future as our learning on this issue continues.”

Also at the meeting, operators presented first-quarter reports. The state’s sportsbooks brought in $171.1m in revenue. DraftKings was the top producer, bringing in $91.9m.

Cherokees submit plan for Pope County (Arkansas) casino

On Wednesday (5 June) Cherokee Nation Entertainment submitted a proposal to build a casino in Pope County, Arkansas, according to TB&P. The submission comes six years after Arkansans voted to legalise sports betting and allow up to four brick-and-mortar casinos. Three other casinos are either open or in progress. The Pope County application deadline is 11 June.

The Cherokee Nation proposal includes a 200-room hotel and 50,000sqft casino with 1,200 slot machines and 32 table games. The casino would also have a sportsbook and dedicated poker room. A music venue, water park, RV park and dog park are also part of the plan. The tribe plans to make a $300m investment in the Legends-branded casino resort.

Moving to firm ground

Gaming and Leisure Properties has committed up to $111m to move its Belle of Baton Rouge casino resort from the Mississippi River onto land, the Baton Rouge Advocate reported. When gambling was first legalised in Louisiana, physical casinos had to be on riverboats. The law has since changed. GLPI has plans to move the casino and renovate the 250 hotel rooms. The casino will be operated by Casino Queen & Entertainment.

Worth the read

Interested in how sportsbooks and casinos manage their VIPs? CasinoReports’ Brett Smiley took a deep dive into how casinos and sportsbooks define VIPs, how VIP hosts are trained and how hosts identify potential problem gambling issues. Take a look.

In other news…

Demolition and construction at the Mirage site will be in three phases over 18 months, KTNV reported. According to permits pulled at the Clark County Department of Environment and Sustainability, the iconic volcano will be the first thing to go. Phase 2 will include deep excavation and the building of the 660-room guitar-shaped tower. Phase 3 will involve landscaping, building walkways and other surface improvements.

Hard Rock’s Bristol, Virginia, property won’t open its permanent location as planned next month, the company announced on Wednesday (5 June). Hard Rock didn’t name a date, but pointed to an end-of-year grand opening. There is already a temporary casino operating at the site.

FanDuel is close to a deal to take over the naming rights for Diamond Sports regional sports network, according to Bloomberg News. Bally’s currently has the naming rights. FanDuel would purchase an equity stake in the company.

Ontario Lottery and Gaming has issued an RFP as it moves to update its back-end technology, according to CDC Gaming. The goal is to offer customers more choices and a better experience and to generate more revenue for the province.

Gaming compliance company Continent 8 announced on Tuesday (4 June) that it is now licensed to operate in Nevada. The company, which offers regulatory compliance solutions, is already operating in 30 US jurisdictions.


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