United States

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

When the Wind Creek Bethlehem (formerly Sands) facilities initially received a gaming licensing in 2006, the licensing team produced a video that talked about the effect that Bethlehem Steel had on the town. This was the steel plant that helped build the New York Skyline and supported our military might through World War II. The eventual shutdown of the blast furnaces at the plant was the stoppage of the American icon that used to run 24/7/365. Those that still live in Bethlehem today have said that the blast furnaces created a deafening noise when they fell silent. Some may say that we are hearing the same noise today as the sports world has fallen silent.

With the Great Shutdown upon America and most of the world, operators and sports fans have had to look to other sports than the traditional major league and amateur sports that Americans where used to watching. Snooker, bandy, darts, and other games are now commonly found on sports betting apps along with a greater understanding of sports like Taiwanese baseball, Russian ping pong, and Belarusian soccer that have all seen their day in the sun as regulators work with operators to provide content for sports books. While ESPN may be televising cherry pit spiting or rock skipping, those sports have yet to make the cut as operators and regulators have not determined whether or not these are valid events that could have a wager conducted.

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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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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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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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Research Brief: Wire Act New Hampshire Case Ruling

On the afternoon of June 4th, a ruling was issued by United States District Judge Paul Barbadoro in the case between the New Hampshire Lottery Commission and Neopollard, a lottery vendor, against the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) regarding the Interstate Wire Act of 1961. The suit was brought by New Hampshire in response to the memorandum issued by the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (“OLC”) on November 2, 2018 (the “2018 Memo”), which stated that the Wire Act applied to all forms of gaming and not just sports betting, reversing a previous opinion issued in 2011 (the “2011 Memo”). The 60-page ruling in the New Hampshire case confirmed the 2011 Memo, stating that the Wire Act applies only to sports betting and setting aside the 2018 Memo. The result in the New Hampshire case represents a shot across the bow of the authors of the 2018 Memo and others, in the DOJ and elsewhere, who have pushed this agenda for the last several years.

The case was one that many throughout the gaming and lottery industries had been watching since the 2018 Memo was released earlier this year. After the 2018 Memo was released, the DOJ offered a 90-day window before enforcement of the Memo would go into effect, which meant that enforcement should have commenced on April 15, 2019. The DOJ extended that deadline another 60 days earlier this spring, pushing the end of the non-prosecution period to June 14, 2019.

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The Importance of Data in Sports Betting

As sports betting expands into new markets within the United States, operators and state governments are growing eager to capitalize on the opportunity.

In addition to Nevada, seven states now offer some form of sports betting in the post-PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) world. This number will likely grow as 2019 continues to unfold, as a supermajority of states plan to look into the opportunity for sports betting within their borders. Global Market Advisors has previously estimated the sports betting market at $139 billion, but that figure is contingent on how the market is crafted in each state.

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The Road to Sports Betting

When the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) last May, casino operators across the United States were euphoric, envisioning crowds of enthusiastic bettors flocking to newly constructed sports betting lounges, holding exciting events during major games, and attracting a younger clientele to
their properties. Several states moved quickly to permit sports betting in some form. While casinos in some states were able to quickly build betting counters and initiate sports betting
activities, most others, particularly in Indian gaming, have come to realize that they must first navigate through a maze of obstacles before taking their first bet.

Sports betting is currently available in some form in eight states: Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New Mexico. Each of these states offers some form of sports wagering, but the products offered and where bets can be made vary by state.

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Research Brief: Education on Sports Betting

Since the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”) by the U.S. Supreme Court, seven states have legalized and launched sports betting. These states include Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and New Mexico, in addition to Nevada which has been operating legally for decades. Each state has tailored their own sports betting regulations to meet their unique market dynamics. While some states have not instituted the most ideal tax rates or structures, these states are adding a new revenue source to their existing gaming and lottery product.

Nearly 30 states have introduced sports betting related language as of the writing of this brief, and others are expected to follow suit in the coming weeks and months as they look either to pass legislation or to study the opportunity that sports betting could provide to their state. Many of these states have already started to hold hearings or are continuing the debate from last year. As these states continue these conversations, they should take two things into consideration. The first is that integrity, first and foremost, is upheld in the legislation and regulations that are established for sports betting. It is never in a fee or royalty that is paid to anyone that is not taking the risk of operating a sports book. Second, there should be no rush to enter the market, as first-to-market status has already been achieved. At this point, it should be about taking the time to get things right by creating a robust, competitive market in a strict regulatory environment.

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