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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

PA, MA issue fines

On 22 May the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced that it had fined Wind Creek Bethlehem $125,000 (£98,089/€115,156) for allowing minors onto the gaming floor 10 times. The regulator wrote in a press release that the incidents occurred over a 20-month period and involved 11 people.

A day later, on 23 May, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission issued a $10,000 fine to Fanatics Sportsbook for allowing a bet to be placed on a Boston College team. A consumer placed a $50 futures bet on the Golden Eagles bowl game against SMU on 5 December 2023. Fanatics discovered the bet a day later and cancelled it. Betting on in-state college teams is not permitted in most cases in Massachusetts.

SI to exit Michigan by end of 2024

Michigan’s SI Sportsbook will exit the state by the end of the year, according to a report from PlayMichigan. The SI Sportsbook platform, now owned by Evoke, was the worst performing igaming operator in Michigan for the first quarter of 2024. In addition, its sportsbook was in the bottom tier for revenue during the same period. SI Sportsbook launched in September 2022 and is partnered with Island Resort & Casino.

It appears likely that Hard Rock Bet will replace SI Sportsbook. Evoke, formerly 888 Holdings, bought 888’s US assets earlier this year. The Michigan Gaming Control Board would have to vet and approve a new operator.

SI Sportsbook is one of two operators leaving the state in 2024. WynnBet is winding down its business and exiting multiple states. Caesars Sportsbook bought the WynnBet licence earlier this year. Digital platforms in Michigan must be partnered with one of the three commercial casinos in Detroit or a tribal casino. SI Sportsbook is partnered with Hannahville Indian Community on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

More credit?

A pair of bills making their way through the Rhode Island legislature would allow Bally’s to extend $100,000 in credit at its casinos. The senate bill is backed by President Dominick Ruggerio, author of the state’s legal sports betting bill.

The Providence Journal reported that Bally’s reason for increasing credit is to stay competitive. Neighbouring Massachusetts does not have a limit on how much credit a patron could be offered. And Connecticut’s two tribal casinos can choose their own credit limits.

Nevada: Made a bet? Keep your ticket

On Thursday (23 May) the Nevada Gaming Control Board said no to the idea of allowing bettors with wagering tickets to cash out early by selling them. PropSwap, which operates in other states but not Nevada, made the proposal, according to SBC Americas. The NGCB determined that PropSwap’s business model is illegal, in part because Nevada does not license such businesses. The proposal included creating a licensing category.

Illinois Dave & Busters could get a vote

On Wednesday (22 May) the Illinois bill that would ban Dave & Buster’s from “facilitating” gaming was folded into a horse racing bill. The amended bill, HB 394, got approval from the rules and gaming committees on Thursday (23 May) and is on the house floor. The language would prevent amusement centres from offering customers the opportunity to bet against each other. Dave & Buster’s is proposing such betting through its loyalty app and multiple states have voiced concern. Illinois is the first state to have a bill about the issue.

Illinois’ legislative session is scheduled to end today, but since the budget bill – which includes a wagering-tax increase hasn’t passed – it will be extended into the weekend.

Big money

On Thursday (23 May) Circa Sportsbook announced a $16m payout in its Circa Million VI and Survivor NFL contests. The Survivor contest will have a $10m guaranteed prize and Million VI will have a $6m gaurantee. In-person signups begin today (24 May) at any Circa Sports Nevada location and will be open until 7 September at 2pm local time.

The contests have no rake and will have mini contests throughout the year. The Survivor contest requires bettors to pick one winner, straight up, each week of the season, and a team cannot be reused. The Million VI requires five picks against the spread weekly. Entry fees for both contests at $1,000 and players can submit multiple entries.

Worth the read

Are sports betting companies targeting Blacks? James Trumm of the Toledo Blade took a deep dive into the question and found conflicting opinions.

In other news…

Beth Bresnahan, the former Massachusetts Lottery and DC Office of Lottery and Gaming executive director, was introduced on Monday (21 May) as SciGames’ chief communications and brand officer. She was previously the company’s vice-president of strategic communications.

BetMGM announced on Thursday (23 May) that it is now the official odds provider for the Associated Press. BetMGM odds will be in AP’s daily sports odds fixtures and other sports stories.

The Maryland Lottery on Thursday (23 May) granted Betr’s initial licence approval. When Betr, currently live in Ohio and Virginia, will launch was not revealed. The company exited the Massachusetts market earlier this year.


Tax-rate increase coming in Illinois? We’ll find out over the weekend

West Flagler files response to federal government in US Supreme Court

Massachusetts operators jilt gaming commission

FanDuel’s first 30 days in DC nearly 900% better than GambetDC in same period last year

DraftKings-Jackpocket integration underway

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