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

As the sporting industry continues to reemerge from the Great Shutdown, it now faces its next challenge as it relates to local politics within the United States, including factors such as racial tensions, views of the use of police force, and the upcoming presidential election. Sports has always been viewed as a unifier – one where sports fans can escape the nonsense of the political world to enjoy a game. It appears that in the near term, those days are over.

In the middle of August, the NBA initiated a boycott following the shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Bucks began what turned into a short silencing of sports. This followed with the rest of the NBA and the WNBA taking a pause before their eventual return to the court after several internal and external discussions between the athletes, teams, and league on whether the season would even continue. The spillover then went into the MLB, NHL, and MLS in response to the initial action by the NBA. While sports betting operators have been banking on the return of sports based on the health and safety measures related to SARS-CoV-2, it was not foreseen that politics would become a deciding factor into another potential shutdown of sports.

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

Sports have begun to reemerge with more traditional sports with which American consumers are more familiar and have a deeper affinity for wagering. After nearly five months since the start of the Great Shutdown, sports are starting the long and winding road to recovery. Optimism reigns for the fall as we potentially see the return of football as well as the potential addition of the remaining 2020 schedule for the NBA and NHL that just recently restarted. MLB’s abbreviated schedule has faced a bumpy ride out of the gate, not just with Dr. Fauci’s first pitch at the Washington National’s Game, but by the subsequent canceling of games due to coronavirus-related concerns. Nevertheless, while the stands may not be full, sports have returned.

As GMA continues to look at sports betting markets that are limping through the downturn (while also exposing sports bettors to new options), the numbers continue to show that a competitive market leads the way for states versus those that have a limited number of providers or a model driven by land-based gaming. Those states that operate a full mobile wagering product continue to dominate the market and offer the best alternative to the black market. That being said, tax rates also matter and can inhibit a market, as can be seen in states like Pennsylvania. While offering a full mobile experience, the tax rate continues to impose challenges by limiting the operator’s ability to spend marketing dollars, cutting into overall operations, and leaving money on the table for the state that, in a competitive gaming region, would actually see an increase in revenue with a decreased tax rate.

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Research Brief: Creating Dynamic, Competitive Sports Betting Markets

Over two years ago, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”). In overturning PASPA, the Supreme Court has allowed states to begin to regulate sports betting across the country. As of today, there are 19 legal sports betting jurisdictions in the United States, with five others working through regulations and another three states seeking voter approval.

As each of these 19 sports betting markets have been created, there is a direct relationship between the revenues generated and how the how the markets were initially crafted, including factors such as tax rates, the depth of competition, and the ability to offer mobile wagering. This research brief highlights the revenues generated in those states that were among the first movers to the market following the repeal of PASPA. Those states that have shown the highest revenue generation and a competitive tax rate are those that are leading the effort across the United States. New Jersey continues to be the model versus states such as Rhode Island and Delaware that continue to struggle.

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

As we hit the midpoint of the year as well as over 100 days into the Great Shutdown, sports are still navigating uncharted waters as they look to reemerge. NASCAR, UFC, and boxing have dominated the airwaves in addition to baseball from Asian-based leagues. Sports betting revenues have remained well below average in states across the country including Nevada that, for the second month in a row, redacted the number in its monthly report. Some states continue to see decent numbers as they are able to incorporate online gaming revenue into the mix, while other jurisdictions are using this time to get things in place as they have emerged during the pandemic.

Major professional sports are just starting to figure out how to come back. This includes the soon-to-start NBA that is beginning its social distancing efforts in Orlando. The NHL will be heading north to finish its season, after what was viewed as its favorite hub city in Las Vegas was overlooked because of a spike in coronavirus cases and a media blitz by the local culinary union that did more to dissuade visitation than to protect workers and guests. The biggest question continues to be on the football season that just saw the NFL cut its preseason from four games to two, as well as major college football programs trying to figure out how to start fall camp while testing their student-athletes and staff as they return to campus.

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

While sports betting revenues remain low during the Great Shutdown, sports are beginning to return to the scene, and while there may not be fans in stadiums, there is a wealth of opportunities to keep fans engaged and restart sports betting revenue generation around the U.S. While April and May will still be fairly dismal in terms of numbers and performance, it is important to lay the groundwork now for the return of sports in the near term. This will not only make the argument that sports will hopefully unite society during this challenging time, but it can also influence and motivate other states to consider legalizing sports betting to compete against the illegal market.

Foreign sports such as European soccer continue to dominate the sports airwaves, but other familiar sports are beginning to emerge through the world of COVID-19 testing and social distancing. This includes the first out of the gate with the UFC, followed by NASCAR which has now hosted a series of races. The return of golf was highlighted over Memorial Day weekend with “The Match” featuring Tiger Woods/Peyton Manning vs. Phil Mickelson/Tom Brady.

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Strip Reset: COVID-19 is definitely challenging, but does the crisis present opportunities for a Vegas makeover?

Las Vegas soared until recent years, but we’ve reached the tipping point, where it’s necessary for the Strip to redefine itself again. Las Vegas is like no other place in the world. It’s the entertainment and sports capital of the world. It has the most amazing resorts. It just needs to remember our industry’s roots, redeliver on customer service, and provide value.

Covid-19 has devastated the industry and the greater Las Vegas economy. With the resulting industry shutdown, the city must take the opportunity to develop a strategy to reopen, reinvigorate and recapture its guests.

For the first time in well over a decade, both Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts, which between them operate 18 Las Vegas Strip resorts, have new leadership teams. These teams are comprised of seasoned casino industry professionals—not outsiders from professions other than hospitality—who have the ability to make these changes.

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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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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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