Government Law & Policies

Research Brief: Paving the Regulatory Future for IRs in Japan – May 2021

As the world continues to face numerous challenges and rebounds from the pandemic, most countries around the world remain closed to outsiders. Japan and others throughout Asia are trying to find a way to reopen but have had to implement new restrictions and emergency orders. In Japan, these have been most recently extended until the end of May in numerous parts of the country. This is further complicated by the upcoming Olympics and the inability to host foreigner visitors to the market. Olympic-sized problems surround this event in terms of not just the general logistics of hosting the Games, which were supposed to be a shining moment for this proud country, but also the public sentiment that is growing against hosting the games. A recent online petition had hundreds of thousands of signatures calling for the cancellation of the event, with at least nine of Japan’s 47 prefectural governors concurring with the petition. These issues further cloud Japan’s recovery in general terms and with regard to the hospitality industry, especially on the tourism goals established by the government.

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Research Brief: State Legislative Update on U.S. Sports Betting & Online Gaming – May 2021

Three years into the repeal of PASPA, the sports betting world continues to move forward at a quick pace. The challenges of the last year continue in various facets of the sports calendar that has not quite returned to normal, as well as occasional challenges still with athletes having to go through COVID-19 protocols. As fans will likely return to the stands with the goal of having 100 percent capacity in many cases by the fall, it will bring some normalcy back to the game and eventually, the schedule.

Some 30 states and jurisdictions have now legalized sports betting in some form, with others still having discussions on how to craft an ideal market that suits their needs. What continues not to be normal over some of the recent states is how they are crafting their own markets that are either reinventing the wheel or now reviewing best practices to create the ideal market in terms of competition and revenue potential to the state. At this point, most legislative sessions are closing out their 2021 session heading into June. However, more than a handful of states operate a year-round legislative session. The year 2021 will likely be known as the year that had some more interesting markets crafted which may cause challenges down the way for other states that have yet to legalize.

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Research Brief: PASPA U.S. Sports Betting Three Years Later – May 2021

Three years ago, the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) made a historic decision in Murphy v. NCAA, in favor of states’ rights and overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”). In this decision on PASPA, the Supreme Court has allowed sports betting to now spread across the country with operational sports books in 22 jurisdictions (21 states and the District of Columbia)/ There are eight other jurisdictions (seven states and Puerto Rico) where sports betting is legal, but legislators and regulators are working through the next steps to bring the total number to 30 jurisdictions that have pushed forward since the repeal of PASPA three years ago today.  while some did not expect such a rapid expansion in such a short time, credit is due to Governor Chris Christie for initially pushing this effort on behalf of New Jersey.  It was this initial legal effort that was the catalyst for public opinion to grow in favor of sports betting.  Any assumptions that the overturning of PASPA was done by a public affairs effort, and not by the legal foundations or arguments, discredits the judicial process and the legal framework associated with separation of powers in the United States.

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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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Research Brief: State Legislative Update on U.S. Sports Betting & Online Gaming February 2021

The buzz from this year’s Super Bowl continues to catch fire with the legal sports betting market as it continues to expand across the country. Almost every media outlet has talked about not only the matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs (or Brady vs. Mahomes), but also a story about wagering, handle, the line, and some of the major brand names across the states that are conducting legal sports betting. This has been the case for several years, but sports betting has become much more mainstream.

This year’s Super Bowl did not offer the match up that everyone had expected between two premier teams featuring what many viewed as the ‘GOAT’ vs. the rising star “Kid.” Tampa Bay’s dominance in all facets of the game threw many sportsbooks off that had the line hovering around three to four points leading up to kickoff. The American Gaming Association prior to the game estimated that $4.3 Billion would be wagered.

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Research Brief: U.S. Court of Appeals First Circuit Wire Act Ruling

While most of the attention in the United States was focused on the Inauguration on January 20, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit released its ruling on a 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. The 2018 Memo reversed a previous interpretation of the original Wire Act issued in 2011 (the “2011 Memo”).

The 49-page ruling confirmed the district court’s ruling that the Wire Act only applies to a “sporting event or contest.” In light of today’s other activities, which largely surrounded the onboarding of a new administration that will push to reinstitute many Obama Era policies, this further accentuates the problems with the 2018 Memo and the stance issued by the Department of Justice in 2018.

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Research Brief: State Legislative Outlook 2021

As 2020 comes to a close and 2021 begins, there is hope for new beginnings. While this happens among many as new year’s resolutions and new starts happen in any year, this is the case now more than ever as the world continues to grapple with the Great Shutdown and SARS-CoV-2. A little over a year ago, the world began the journey that none have experienced in over 100 years since the last pandemic. No one could have predicted that the year would have gone the way that it did, with brick-and-mortar gaming being brought to a complete halt, in some cases more than once. The world also came to realize that online gaming and mobile sports betting can be a strong source of revenue to supplement, not supplant, existing gaming revenue. While the world hopes for a quick turn of the calendar as turning over a new leaf, it will take some time before the world returns to normal and excels beyond, having learned from the past year’s experiences.

One thing that can be noted at the close of 2020 is that revenues for sports betting and online gaming continue to grow. Numerous states have launched their product in the middle of the pandemic, including Colorado, the District of Columbia, Tennessee, and others. Others continued to modify their setup, with Illinois in flux as it hands down executive orders to allow in-person registration without enacting strong, permanent regulations. While many states are still trying to move forward as they launch their market, revenue will continue to increase, with many markets now reaching a stabilized year for growth with a favorable sports calendar that included almost every major sport this past fall. This includes modified schedules in football, baseball, basketball, hockey, golf, and others.

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

Some may believe that the counting of votes is related to the continuation of the November Election. As the November Election continues to take up the airwaves, states are certifying their results, leading up to the Electoral College vote that occurred on December 14th. While court challenges remain, the counting of votes in sports betting showed a wide passage of legislation to legalize the activities. November proved that voters took a strong stance showing that sports betting is supported by a plurality in these jurisdictions.

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