iGaming News: Las Vegas Brands Rocked by Coronavirus
Online gambling in the United States wasn’t necessarily the focus of last week’s news, but there were a number of important developments that have affected the industry. Sports betting was once again in an uptick marking a number of high-profile partnerships and a few overseas developments that have had a bearing on the gambling market at home.
Las Vegas Casino Brands Rocked by Coronavirus
Last week, Macau’s authorities issued a 14-day shutdown of all casino operations in the special administrative region. The ban could be further extended depending on the situation with coronavirus, the new deadly infection that originated in Wuhan Province, China and has since infected 40,628 people and caused over 910 as of the time of reporting.
International casino brands, and MGM Resorts Ltd. and Las Vegas Sands Corp. in particular, have been buffeted by the shutdown, losing all revenue from their Asian operations in Macau. On February 4, stock for MGM Resorts Ltd. fell by 3.45% and Las Vegas Sands lost 3.84%.
Casinos have also been re-focusing their investment efforts as revenue has continued to fall across the board because of the outbreak.
Penn National Gaming Signs a Landmark Partnership with NASCAR
Penn National Gaming, one of the largest casino operators in the U.S., has signed a new partnership with the NASCAR Cup Series, which will offer Penn National visitors to join in a jackpot game for every race and claim a $50,000 prize pool.
The companies are also working on an app that will release on time for Daytona 500, the most venerated of races in the Cup Series which, interestingly, is scheduled for the beginning of the season, and kicks off on February 16.
For its part, Penn National will make sure to promote the NASCAR franchise across the majority of its digital and land-based channels.
Big Year for Sports Betting in the United States
The casino industry saw a particular increase in sports handle in 2019, as that was the first full-year since sports betting has been officially legalized in the United States. According to official American Gaming Association (AGA) data, the total handle in 2019 reached the impressive $13 billion.
A total of 14 states have been contributing, but there are already 20 states where sports betting is legal, although, admittedly, not every state has launched officially. More specifically, this constituted an impressive 59% increase in the overall number of bets collected during that year.
Until May 2018, Nevada was the only state where sports bets were accepted, but that has since change to encompass nearly half of all states in the U.S. Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Nevada were among the busiest states attracting the biggest sports betting handle.
NCPG Seeks Restrictions on Payment Providers
The National Council on Problem Gambling in the United States is looking into opportunities to limit potential harm from problem gambling. The NCPG has asked payment operators to first introduce money and time limits so players aren’t tempted to spend beyond their means.
Another measure the NCPG has considered is the introduction of daily, weekly and even monthly limits so that players can continue to play safely without becoming problem gamblers, or so hoping goes.
More importantly, the Council expects more rigorous Know Your Customer or KYC practices to be put in place so that operators are aware who may be at a higher risk of tipping into a reckless gambling behavior.
Another soft touch the Council envisages is for operators to become more personal and deliver messages tailored to each player so they may help him lay off prolonged gaming sessions. Enforcing these changes would take time, and setting a legal guideline as to what constitutes the operators having met their obligations is yet to be discussed.
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Seeks Tribal Land for Casino in Massachusetts
The Mashpee Wampanoag has appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals in a bid to secure land from the federal government and use it to develop gaming facilities. With a panel and a hearing already having concluded, a final ruling is expected.
According to the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, the latest development almost guarantees the arrival of a new casino in Massachusetts, a clear victory for the tribe’s efforts to introduce a source of additional income for the community.
More importantly, the Mashpee Wampanoag have claimed that the case was also a dangerous precedent because it constituted the first time in the modern history of the country that the federal government had tried to take away from the tribes.
The tribe’s woes began back in 2015 when during the Obama’s administration, the tribe added 321 acres of land, but they were sued by a group of residents who disagreed with the reallocation of land.
Ohio for Responsible Gambling (ORG) Warns About the Dangers of Gaming
Ohio for Responsible Gambling (ORG), an initiative dedicated to fighting the formation of gambling behavior, has released new information that the earlier people are introduced to gambling activities, the higher their chance of becoming addicts is.
This development puts a fresh perspective on how gambling addiction can be fought and prevented instead of treated when symptoms begin to show. OGR also warned parents that some video games could also lead to addictive gambling patterns later in life.