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The gaming industry in the U.S. has undoubtedly got a huge boost ever since the Supreme Court struck down the ban on sports betting. Despite failed past efforts for introduction of legal sports betting, a new legislation in New York has revived the chances of legalized sports betting in the state. Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. recently introduced the Senate Bill (SB) 17 that envisages the state’s four commercial casinos to offer sports betting, online poker and full-scale online gambling.
However, Las Vegas’ largest casinos lost $1.17 Billion in the U.S. fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, as per the ‘Gaming Abstract’ report by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
Meanwhile, Indiana has emerged as the latest U.S. state on the verge of introducing sports betting as the Senate Public Policy Committee approved the Senate Bill 552 for legal and regulated sports betting.
In Washington D.C., the D.C. Council has suspended the competitive bidding process for companies to bid for and operate mobile sports betting apps and earmarked the current D.C. Lottery operator Intralot to take charge of the same.
Coming back to Asia, South Korea has introduced new anti-gambling cyber squads across seven local government offices in the country to curb illegal gambling.
New Sports Betting Bill Introduced in New York
New York has taken strong strides towards legalizing sports betting and at the helm of the efforts is Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., the new chairman of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee. Addabbo recently introduced the Senate Bill (SB) 17 that includes legal provisos to permit the state’s four commercial casinos to offer sports betting. He is now calling out for a three-year plan to expand gaming in New York and has envisaged including online poker and full-scale online gambling to maximize revenue for the state.
Addabbo’s SB17 is similar to the S7900 that was introduced by his predecessor John Bonacic in the 2018 legislative session. However, Bonacic’s proposed legislation did not find flavor on the assembly floor and fizzled out.
The new bill allows both land-based and mobile sports betting in New York. If approved, it will allow the gaming commission to enter agreements with other states to share information for “integrity monitoring purposes.”
Among its other significant components is the inclusion of a 0.2% ‘royalty fee’ to professional sports leagues, along with 8.5% tax on gross sports wagering revenue. The bill will also require customers to sign up for their mobile accounts in person.
New York is the only U.S. state with a bill that requires the use of official data and a royalty fee and this could prove a major hurdle in the state’s plans for sports betting. None of the seven states that have legalized sports betting in 2018 have included this provision in their sports betting regulations.
The Bill is also likely to face opposition from the new chair of the Senate Finance Committee i.e. Senator Liz Krueger, who has opposed any form of gambling expansion in the state.
Nevada`s Largest Casinos Lost $1.17 Billion in Fiscal Year 2018
The annual ‘Gaming Abstract’ report by Nevada Gaming Control Board is out and the figures clearly indicate that despite seeing record revenues, Nevada’s largest casinos lost $1.17 Billion in the U.S. fiscal year ending June 30, 2018.
According to the report, the 289 casinos in Nevada generated a net loss of $1,168,224,369 from total revenues of $27,107,879,852. The report further elaborates that after patrons of the casinos spent $27.1 Billion on “gaming, rooms, beverage, food, and other attractions,” the casino’s expenses resulted in a loss of nearly $1.17 Billion “prior to deducting federal income taxes and prior to accounting for extraordinary expenses.”
The primary reason for the net loss is being attributed to expenses associated with the reorganization of Caesars Entertainment. While Caesars managed to emerge from an $18 Billion bankruptcy late in 2017, it did bring down the net gambling revenue figures in the U.S. state.
Senior analyst with Nevada Gaming Control Board, Michael Lawton said, “There was a large company this fiscal year which experienced a very large amount of reorganization expenses due to their exit from bankruptcy.” He added, “The good news is those are one-time charges, they are not recurring expenses. So if things keep going as they are, we shouldn’t see such a substantial net loss recorded next fiscal year.”
Caesars is among the largest 168 casinos in Clark County, Nevada’s most populous casino hub which includes Las Vegas. According to the report, these casinos had a combined net loss of $1 Billion from total revenues of close to $24.2 Billion.
While casinos posted a record $12.5 Billion in gambling revenue in the aforementioned fiscal year, revenue from gambling activities increased last year to $11.6 Billion. Around 76.2% percent of the gambling revenue in Nevada came from 61 casinos owned by publicly traded companies.
Indiana’s Lawmakers Pass Sports Betting Bill
A crucial hurdle in opening of the U.S. state of Indiana to sports betting has been crossed. On Wednesday, the Indiana Senate Public Policy Committee approved Senate Bill 552 by a unanimous 10-2 vote.
The Bill contains provisions for introduction of legal sports betting, and a regulatory framework for the Indiana Gaming Commission to supervise sports betting in the state’s casinos. Relocation of two of the casinos in Gary is also part of the planned roadmap.
“If I were a betting man, I’d bet we’ll have sports wagering in Indiana,” Representative Earl Harris Jr. said, talking about the legislation. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens this year.”
Once the Bill is passed in the Public Policy Committee, it will go to vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee. The voting is scheduled for the coming week, on February 14. In case the Bill is passed here as well, it will go to the floor and then to the House.
The legislation has support from two major sports enterprises currently functional in Indiana i.e. NFL Franchise and IndyCar racing.
D.C. Lottery Provider Gets Sports Betting Monopoly in Washington D.C.
Fresh developments have changed the way mobile sports betting will be operated and controlled in the U.S. capital district of Washington D.C. Early this week, the D.C. Council suspended the competitive bidding process that would allow companies to bid for a contract to operate mobile sports betting apps in Washington D.C. The Council has instead opted to outsource the deal to Greek firm, Intralot that already operates the D.C. Lottery.
The idea was mooted last month but Council Chairman Phil Mendelson withdrew the emergency legislation and chose to hold hearings to gather viewpoint on how the Council should take up implementation of sports betting.
The Bill seeking the suspension of competitive bidding process was passed by a narrow margin of 7-6. The main proponent of the bill was chief financial officer Jeffrey DeWitt who argued that if companies were allowed to compete in an open marketplace, it would take up to two years to launch mobile sports betting in Washington D.C., amounting to a potential $61 Million loss in tax revenue.
The Bill will now be placed before Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) who has supported the idea of contracting Intralot. With the bidding process foregone, mobile betting may be available in D.C. by fall this year.
New Anti-Gambling Cyber Squads Formed in South Korea
Online gambling is banned in South Korea and the government has put in a number of stringent measures to ensure that its citizens cannot access internationally licensed sites. The country is known for doling out some of the most severe punishments to illegal online gambling operators.
The South Korean enforcement agencies have now stepped up their drive against online gambling. Last week, National Policy Agency of South Korea announced that it is forming new dedicated anti-gambling cyber squads across seven local government offices in the country. This includes major cities like Seoul and Busan.
According to the police, they will also be launching operations to crack down on other undesirable online content like cyber sexual violence. Last year in July, the Korea Communications Standards Commission reported handling of close to 120,000 complaints against undesirable online content and according to the figures, nearly 34,000 of them involved gambling sites.
Notably, South Korean residents are barred from casino gambling, except for one of the nation’s land-based casinos. The prohibitory rules apply even if residents participate in gambling activity outside the country. Recently, former K-pop star Shoo pleaded guilty to “habitual gambling” in the Seoul Eastern District Court after she was sued by a pair of money lenders who claimed that she owed them KRW 600 Million.