Could US Casinos Be Re-Opening Sooner Then We Think?

The world is still fighting with the pandemic, which has had its ebbs and flows. While most countries around remain paralyzed, comprehensive plans to open up the gambling industry and business in general, are once again the focus of most lawmakers. The economy must adapt to these trying circumstances, business leaders have argued, and the first regulatory measures to make a returning to some form of normality have been introduced already.

Nevada Casinos to Have Limited Occupancy Post Restart

Nevada has been one of the worst impacted states in the United States. The state generates its revenue mostly from the gambling industry and with that fully on hold since March 17, a way back to restoring economic activity is necessary.

However, Gov. Steve Sisolak doesn’t want to risk re-infection, and when casinos finally reopen, they will have to operate at 50% of their occupancy capacity. Casinos will be forced to increase distance between players and slash the number of available seats.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has said that licensees who plan to relaunch economic activity should all meet occupancy limit measures in full. The casinos are urged to mobilize security personnel and use surveillance to monitor and control the number of people on their premises when properties finally open back up again.

Meanwhile, a company has created self-disinfecting separators that can be inserted between slot machines to help people keep distance.

DraftKings Adapts and Introduces More Gamification Products

DraftKings has seen quite a few challenges these past few weeks, but the company has proven one of the most resilient nevertheless. The company launched a new online casino product in Pennsylvania in partnership with Hollywood Casino.

Players in the Keystone State now have access to various products, including blackjack, roulette, three card poker, as well as a wide range of slot games. The company has also been able to cushion the impact on the sports betting markets just as well.

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins spoke to CNN Business recently arguing that the company was not worried because of COVID-19. The main goal right now, Robinson explained, was to make sure that consumers remain loyal to DraftKings as a brand.

He also acknowledged the flurry of activity that has taken place in segments that were previously not as popular, meaning table tennis and electronic sports. Overall, DraftKings has the liquidity and cash to weather the storm and Robins expects things to start returning back to normal.

One thing the company would be interested in is to see if these exotic and off-beat bets would remain part of the regular offer once live sports is back.

Flutter and The Stars Group Finalized Their Merger

One of the biggest events of this week was the inking of the merger between Flutter Entertainment and The Stars Group (TSG) which are finally operating under the same entity. With the final approval of the Financial Conduct Authority, the company has been officially registered and listed on several stock exchanges, including Euronext Dublin and the London Stock Exchange.

The two giants merged their operations, citing the heightened uncertainty in the global gambling industry as the reason why. The pair own a number of brands, including Sky Betting and Gaming, PokerStars, Full Tilt, Fox Bet, BetEasy, Paddy Power Betfair, FanDuel, and many other.

As a result of the merger, the companies expect combined revenues of $4.7 billion per annum, an impressive figure.

West Virginia Acknowledges iGaming as Necessary Evil

If West Virginia has been a slow adopter of online casinos, the COVID-19 outbreak has completely reversed the position of the West Virginia Lottery Commission, which has voted emergency rules, with John Myers, director, approving of the introduction of online gambling in June or July.

The move was approved on April 29, but the Lottery will file an official request filed by the WV Secretary of State’s Office by May 15. The decision to adopt iGaming is just a temporary solution which will last 15 months, Myers said.

A new, more permanent measure should also be voted after this experience. In the meantime, a license to set up online operations should pay a $100,000 license fee to start offering online gaming solutions.

Wynn Buffeted in Q1 by COVID-19 Closures

While most companies in Las Vegas have shown resilience, and among which casino operators, the Q1 results are finally coming through and things aren’t looking great for operators at all.

Casino operator Wynn Resorts has reported net losses amounting to $402 million with the company citing the closures in the United States and Macau as the reason why. Operating revenue as of March 31, 2020 amounted to $953.7 million, the company said, or down 42.3% from $1.65 billion year-over-year.

Wynn confirmed that the outbreak has severely affected its operational potential in the United States and in China, with closures dating back to February 20 in Macau, which has not restored normal economic activity due to missing tourists.

Revenue in Macau fell by 64.3% down to $259.5 million in the first quarter of the year. On March 17, Wynn Las Vegas in Nevada joined the other operators and closed down all operations in the Silver State.

Penn National Also Suffers from Outbreak

It’s understandable that the majority of gaming properties in the United States have all been affected to some extent. The outbreak has not spared Penn National Gaming (PNG) which reported a loss of $608.6 million in Q1, 2020.

Revenue for the three months leading up to March 31, 2020 fell by only 13% though, down to $1.12 billion from $1.28 billion previously. Penn was bolstered by its online operations in states like Pennsylvania, however, allowing it to balance some of the odds and weather the complete shutdown of the land-based segment somewhat better than many competitors.

Specifically, Penn saw Penn Interactive, the company’s arm responding for online gambling post double the results for the same period last year. Operations reached $20.3 million over the period, from $10.2 million a year before.