Gaming

Windy City Gaming: Chicago will finally plant its flag for a casino development

Casinos in urban environments, not always the norm, have offered challenges in certain jurisdictions.

Major markets such as Philadelphia have had casinos near downtown for years. Pittsburgh and Detroit also feature casino gaming in downtown settings. The Washington, D.C. market, with MGM National Harbor, has also made an impact. But in recent years, more developers have embraced urban environments to meld properties into the fabric of the greater communities they serve. Two of the more recent examples were in Massachusetts, with MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor.

Some of the greatest opportunities for gaming expansion in the United States remain in urban settings. For years, New York, Atlanta, Miami, Dallas and Houston have been seen as potential expansion sites. But the most immediate opportunity exists in Chicago, which will locate a gaming development within the city itself.

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2020 Trends: Sports Betting

Since the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May 2018, over half of the jurisdictions within the United States have legalized sports betting, and nearly 20 of these jurisdictions are conducting legal sports betting operations today.

Sports betting continues to grow with the emergence of new markets in states such as Tennessee (which launched at the beginning of November), as well as more established jurisdictions such as New Jersey (which is currently at a similar level to Nevada in terms of handle). All the while, new operators and brands are being introduced in the space, and new deals are being announced across the spectrum of sports among operators, teams, leagues, media and other stakeholders.

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2020 Trends: Latin America

The gaming market throughout Latin America continues to emerge. While gaming has been a strong form of entertainment, Latin America can be a mystery to some that have not followed it as closely. Like Asia, it remains one of the great opportunities for expansion in the industry on a wide scale, from sports betting to further development of brick-and-mortar facilities from Mexico to Brazil to Uruguay.

Many of these governments at all levels continue to face challenges as they had relied on gaming as a source of tax revenue prior to the Covid-19 pandemic as revenue is still rebounding. This has further put burdens on governments, as those employed in gaming have also struggled in 2020 with facilities operating under limited function post-shutdown and in some cases will remain closed until the end of 2020.

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2020 Trends: Japan

Like the rest of the world, the development of integrated resorts in Japan has been significantly stalled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Japan is just beginning to reemerge as it is now starting to allow foreigners back into the country. While many speculated that 2020 would be a robust year for the integrated resorts, it looks like Covid, like the rest of the world, will push IRs back into 2021 as things finally start to move down the road.

Earlier this year, Japan transitioned from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stepping down for health reasons to the current Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Suga, who was Abe’s top lieutenant, has been a strong proponent of the integrated resorts initiative. His ascendancy was the ideal outcome in terms of the succession from Abe. Suga will not be a caretaker prime minister and wants to leave his own stamp over the next year coming into a fresh election next September.

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Peer-To-Peer Esports Sanctioning Organization

Peer-to-peer play is hardly a new concept. It is simply a system which provides the necessary means for competition to take place. Competitions may vary and may involve providing the necessary physical or virtual space to enable the competition to take place, supplying the equipment to facilitate the activity, arranging for both the space and the equipment or neither.

Peer-to-peer play operators would be responsible for the integrity of the competition by certifying that the necessary rules are complied with as well as ensuring that the tournament conditions offer a fully level playing field, proper matchmaking, and no cheating.

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A Sporting Chance

Esports has grabbed the attention of more than just the gaming industry, and for good reason.

The industry’s rapid rise has benefited from numerous omnichannel platforms that allow for unprecedented viewership and engagement from a diverse audience. With the “new abnormal” defined by Covid-19, esports has proven that media consumption is not just about what people can watch on the major networks. Instead, people are turning to streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube for competitive-based content

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Southern Exposure: Why gaming in the South is one of the last opportunities in the U.S.

The United States hosts a diverse set of gaming options from coast to coast. The gaming-rich Northeast continues to be dominated by strong regional destination casinos such as Encore Boston Harbor, Mohegan Sun, Borgata and Wind Creek Bethlehem. The Midwest remains the focus of the riverboat gaming. Tribal gaming also prevails across the country from North Carolina to Oklahoma and all along the West Coast.

The southern portion of the United States remains largely untouched when it comes to casino gaming. One of the many reasons for this over the years has been the long-held values and deep religious beliefs within these communities that have had an aversion to casino gaming.

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Research Brief: U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee – Protecting the Integrity of College Athletics

Today, the United States Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing titled “Protecting the Integrity of College Athletics.” The full committee, chaired by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), heard testimony on two major topics in college athletics, Name Image Likeness (“NIL”) and sports betting. These are two issues that, while extraordinarily important in college athletics, the NCAA clearly lacks the proper education to understand their true impacts. The hearing was divided into two panels with a total of seven testimonies on these two major topics:

Panel I: Name Image Likeness
• Dan Radakovich, Athletic Director, Clemson University
• Professor Matt Mitten, Executive Director of the National Sports Law Institute, Marquette University School of Law
• George Wrighster III, Former Member of the National Football League Players Association (“NFLPA”) Board of Representatives
• Dr. Mark Emmert, President of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”)
• Ramogi Huma, Executive Director of the National College Players Association (“NCPA”)

Panel II: Sports Betting
• Bill Miller, President and CEO of the American Gaming Association (“AGA”)
• Heather Lyke, Director of Athletics at the University of Pittsburgh

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Free to Play

As the sports arena fell silent due to the coronavirus, a host of new sports and games sparked the curiosity of sports fans and bettors, such as esports, Belarusian soccer, Russian ping
pong, Taiwanese baseball, darts and more. However, the main professional leagues and other U.S. sports have moved to free-to-play (F2P) as a way to stay engaged with fans during this unprecedented and uncertain time.

F2P is an opportunity for players to engage with games and products for fun or practice, sometimes in real time. F2P offers the same entertaining gameplay offering bonus rewards or prizes found in real-money games while allowing game producers, brands, and operators to cultivate new customers.

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Reform to perform: Shutdown provides rare POGO opportunity

As the brick and mortar gaming world fell silent in response to the coronavirus, many online gaming operations continued throughout the pandemic. However, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and President Rodrigo Duterte also shuttered the Philippine Online Gaming Operators (POGOs) in the middle of March in response to the outbreak. POGOs have made a sizeable impact financially to the Philippines, with revenues increasing by more than 13% from 2018 to 2019.

In late April, the government began to hold conversations about restarting these operations and deeming them essential businesses as a way to help finance a government heavily hit by a revenue shortfall due to the pandemic. After a six–week break, they were allowed to restart these operations following the strictest guidelines issued by the government under the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). Restrictions included limitations on staff sizing (30%), shuttle services for employees, temperature checks, social distancing and masks for employees.

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