Entain Appoints Jette Nygaard-Andersen as CEO amid Failed MGM Bid
Outgoing Entain CEO Shay Segev will be replaced by a worthwhile successor with non-executive board member Jette Nygaard –Andersen officially stepping in the position effective immediately.
Segev is withdrawing from the company shortly after taking the reins over in November for a position in DAZN which will explore new opportunities for him and amid a repealed bid from MGM, a long-term Entain partner, which tried to bid for the company’s assets offering a $11 billion takeover.
Entain turned down the bid and later, MGM Resorts International confirmed that it had given up on the idea. Now, Nygaard-Andersen will have to pick up the baton and deliver on the ambitious strategy that Segev outlined late last year.
The company is shifting towards fully-regulated markets only, and all interactions with grey markets will be phased out within the next two to three years, Entain promised at the occasion of rebranding from GVC Holdings.
As part of the changes in management, Chief Financial Officer Rob Wood will step in as vice CEO and be in charge of all retail operations and work on future acquisitions and partnerships. Entain similarly posted strong financial results, citing its partnership and growth with MGM Resorts International through the BetMGM brand in the United States
Massachusetts Casinos Finally Reopening on Monday
Following prolonged restrictions and shutdowns, Massachusetts is planning to restart casinos back to 24-hour operation on Monday, January 25. Gov. Charlie Baker has decided that the Wynn Resorts Encore Boston Harbor, MGM’s MGM Springfield and Penn National’s Plainridge Park may restore operations back to 24 hours a day.
Capacity was last reduced to 25% on December 26 and it will remain in place until at least February 8 with the governor and health authorities reassessing the opportunities to bump this to higher occupancy or restore full occupancy altogether.
The casinos brought in close to $50 million in revenue in December, 2020, which is a 40% decline year-over-year, based on numbers published by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. Nevertheless, casinos have been operating to strict guidelines.
The Wire Act DOJ Interpretation Finally Defeated
A Federal Circuit Court has decided against the Department of Justice interpretation of the Federal Wire Act, backing up the decision by a New Hampshire lower court that the new Opinion issued in 2019 cannot be used to stop cross-border gaming and betting, and lotteries.
The decision arrived on Wednesday and has proven a relief for stakeholders in the gaming industry all over the country. The opinion was first floated on November 2, 2018 and gathered momentum in 2011 when it became evident that the DOJ may seek to reinterpret the Wire Act meaning and throw a spanner in the works of such activities as mobile gaming and sports betting.
At the time, gaming lawyers, analysts and experts sounded an alarm that should the Opinion be voted in, it could basically curtail the new-found excitement for sports betting and online gambling, two activities that have proven very popular and a great source of revenue, especially now in the terms of a global pandemic.
Some have suggested that even if the Wire Act’s Opinion was to be turned into a law, its life-span under a Biden Administration Justice Department would have been very short, since the responsible people would have just reverted to the 2011 interpretation at once. The Department will not seek a rehearing at the Supreme Court, and the matter is finally considered settled.
Will Washington Legalize Sports Betting and Casinos beyond Tribal Operators
A bill proposing gambling expansion was introduced to the Senate in Washington. This is the second consecutive year a bill is proposing gambling expansion beyond Tribal casinos. Co-sponsored by Republican state Senator Curtis King of Yakima and Democratic floor leader Senator Marko Liias of Lynnwood, Senate Bill 5212 proposes to expand sports betting to the state’s licensed horse race tracks and card rooms.
The current version of the bill proposes that cardrooms and horse race tracks that currently hold a license would be able to apply for a sports betting license. Those operators are to pay a $100,000 licensing fee. All operators that would offer sports betting must also pay a 10% tax on gross revenue. Here it’s important to mention that this is an additional tax to the taxes which the suppliers already pay.
Senate Bill 5212 prohibits betting on college sports, high school sports, or electronic sports. Furthermore, the bill proposes online sports betting to be restricted only to the retail venues that would sign up for a license. Last year, a bill proposing similar gambling expansion did not go ahead. However, in light of the economic impact brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the current bill may go forward considering that taxes from a gambling expansion will undoubtedly help by bringing vital revenue for the state.
Sports Betting Would Generate Vital Tax Revenue
Although Washington’s legislature previously legalized the sports betting offering by Tribal operators, the activity is yet to be launched. Now, under SB 5212, the legislature may expand sports betting beyond Tribal operators.
Speaking for the Associated Press, Eric Persson, Maverick Gaming chief executive, said that the bill creates an “economic opportunity” for the company. He added that a gambling expansion would result in approximately 10 new permanent jobs at each of the company’s 19 locations. This, according to Persson would “help spark pandemic relief efforts”.
Furthermore, he stressed that the gambling expansion may generate millions of dollars to local and state governments in tax revenue. If sports betting is legalized, Persson estimates that some $50 million may be generated annually from sports betting taxes.
The U.S. gambling expansion began in 2018 with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down PASPA (the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act). The law that effectively limited sports betting to Nevada only was ruled unconstitutional which ended the 25-year restriction. Consequently, sports betting expansion was left in the hands of each state’s legislature. By now, more than two dozen U.S. states offer sports betting, with more eager to join each year.