Research Library

Research Brief: State Legislative Update on U.S. Sports Betting & Online Gaming April 2020

Over the course of the last month, the sports world has largely gone silent around the globe. Since the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak began in China, it has swept its way around the world and has ended most of the sporting events that we have enjoyed. Sports has and always will be something that unites us. With the most recent announcements, including the postponement of the Masters which should be taking place later this week (moved to November), the cancelling of the British Open, and uncertainty of every professional and amateur event, it has forced sports book operators to become creative in pulling sports from across the globe to provide some level of content to eager viewers.

The numbers for February will likely be a strong benchmark that, like most gaming revenue, will not be seen for some time across most jurisdictions. Mobile gaming markets will likely make the quickest comeback once sports begin to return, as some polling has shown that social distancing will continue once things begin to return to a level of normalcy. This shows that mobile wagering is a driver not only before the Great Shutdown but post-coronavirus to allow operators and patrons to enjoy sports in their own way, whether that be at an arena or venue, at a sports book, at a neighborhood bar & grill, or at home.

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Regulated Sports Betting: A Nevada Perspective

This article discusses the impact Nevada has had on legal regulated sports betting for the past seventy years. First, an overview and history of Nevada’s sports betting regulatory framework will be presented; and, second, lessons learned and issues to consider for states wishing to embark on legalized regulated sports betting such as, integrity, why states and not the federal government should regulate sports betting, how tax rates and fees impact the legal and illegal markets, why technology is a critical component of legal sports wagering, why multiple avenues for consumer protection are essential, and finally how cooperation among all stakeholders is essential and will help create solutions to new challenges.

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The China Syndrome: Why the PRC’s impact on gaming throughout Asia is dependent upon many issues

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to emerge as an economic and political superpower in the world, and its actions have a direct influence on the gaming market in Asia. This goes
well beyond the borders of Macau, SAR (Special Administrative Region) that nearly 20 years ago opened up for the first time to foreign casino operators beyond Stanley Ho’s monopoly.

The reach of the PRC permeates both economically and politically into key emerging markets such as the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, South Korea, and other markets throughout the Far East (including Northeast and Southeast Asia).

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Research Brief: State Legislative Update on U.S. Sports Betting & Online Gaming March 2020

In the coming weeks in the sports betting world, the focus will be on college basketball with the conference tournaments and NCAA Tournament that are upon us. However, there is an incredible amount of activity in state legislatures as they either launch their efforts prior to the tip-off or try to get legislation passed before the final buzzer. A host of states have legislative sessions that are ending in March, while others are just reaching the second half of their session. Many of these efforts may result in a buzzer beater as stakeholders move towards compromises while other states may miss and have to wait for the next legislative session to start their discussion.

As we look at the current state of play in sports betting across the country, mobile wagering continues to be a dominant factor and a revenue driver for states. Nevada for the first time has started to report the percentage of mobile wagers, showing that nearly fifty percent of sports wagers in the state were placed through a mobile device. Pennsylvania saw the highest share of mobile wagering, as nearly 90 percent of their revenue came from mobile devices. Revenue continues to grow across the country as these markets mature with mobile options allowing for further growth opportunities.d.

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Research Brief: State Legislative Update on U.S. Sports Betting & Online Gaming February 2020

As we are coming off one of the most heavily watched sporting events and one of the most gambled-on events, we are just entering the proverbial Super Bowl of legislative activity. Numerous states are in the thick of their legislative sessions with numerous hearings and pieces of legislation surfacing as states work through sports betting, online gaming, brick-and-mortar casinos, and how to deal with the illegal/gray market.

As we look at states this month, there are four real groups to consider. In keeping with the football theme at the close of the 2019 season, we will classify these groups of states as “Professional Players”, “Draftees”, “College Players”, and “Signees”. Professional Players are those states that have already legalized sports betting and are up and running. Draftees are those jurisdictions that have legalized but have yet to launch in the market. College Players are those states that appear ready to launch and are in active debate to take it to the next level. Finally, in light of National Signing Day this week for future college football players, Signees are the states that are just starting their journey down the path of sports betting.

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Social Safeguards: How Singapore set a new standard in addressing responsible gambling

As Singapore continues to serve as the model for IR development, it has also become one of the current models to address the promotion of responsible gaming measures and casino exclusion policies for its two integrated resorts.

At the time of inception, these cutting-edge initiatives allowed for a different model for individuals to be excluded from the casino, limited the floor size of the facilities, created a publicentity to promote responsible gaming efforts, and created partnerships with operators to work with the government in creating an environment of responsible gaming. It also introduced a casino levy for locals with the option of a daily or yearly fee.

The two operators in the market, Las Vegas Sands (Marina Bay Sands) and Genting Singapore (Resorts World Sentosa), initially had to develop internal responsible gaming education and training programs. These initiatives have continued to evolve over the course of time as more research has become available and the market has matured. The programs include an initial and annual training that offers employees the ability to understand the signs of problem gambling, as well as how to respond and support a guest. It also includes support in the form of high level specialists that offer a higher level of knowledge on responsible gaming measures and how best to handle a guest that may need further assistance.

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The Evolving Casino Marketing Landscape

Twenty years ago, there was much talk in the gaming industry of how to engage GenXers, and the potential value of this segment. As GenX is only now becoming a meaningful contributor to the industry, this conversation has now evolved into the current hype around millennials.

What allowed GenXers to become gamers is simple: they began to acquire the two key items that people need to gamble—time and money. As millennials age, we will see them gravitate toward casinos gaming as well. While the demographics of casino participation have been little changed for a generation, there have been material changes in products, channels and, importantly, methods of engaging with casino patrons.

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Bouncing POGOS

Online gaming has been on the radar of mainland Chinese authorities over the last six months, as they seek to stop online operations in Asia. They are particularly focused on online gaming markets in Cambodia and the Philippines, which are suspected of targeting Chinese nationals.

In response to several compliance issues and concerns raised by Beijing, Cambodia has effectively shut down its online gaming operations. However, the Philippines and President Rodrigo Duterte, even after meeting with the Chinese President Xi Jinping, decided to keep its online gaming operations open. The market is thriving throughout the Philippines and looks to continue to grow under the regulatory structure of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR).

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Rising Sun: Japan begins to enter the homestretch in 2020

Like the cherry blossoms in the spring in Japan, integrated resort developments will begin to emerge into full bloom starting in January 2020. The coming year will see significant progress at the central government level that will then launch the RFP process at the prefecture level.

If the level of activity in the second half of 2019 is any indication, 2020 will prove to be a very robust year. However, there is still a lot of work to do before Japan awards up to three of the coveted IR licenses established through the IR Promotion and IR Implementation Acts.

Since the market began to emerge some 20 years ago, Japan appears to be in the homestretch for the initial round of development of integrated resorts. The movements not only by operators but also by interested prefectures will continue to evolve in the coming weeks and months.

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Rethinking the Premium Players Lounge

Premium player lounges have become a fixture in many casinos in North America. These lounges provide higher worth players with a place to take a break from the gaming floor, catch up on text messages, and sit in a relaxed, non-gaming environment. They also offer hosts a place to connect with their customers. At some properties, the lounge may provide players with some form of food offering, yet rarely, if ever have they been considered part of a casino’s food & beverage strategy. In fact, in most player lounges food is treated as an afterthought, usually comprised of packaged snack foods or some items from the central kitchen that, after sitting out for a couple of hours, have lost their gastronomic appeal.

What is rarely recognized is that the premium players’ lounge, properly designed and maintained, can help the casino property provide its best customers with precisely the kinds of dining that they prefer for their everyday gaming experiences while reducing comp expense and the time gamblers spend off the gaming floor.

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