MGM Goes After US Federal Trade Commission

MGM Resorts is suing the US Federal Trade Commission to prevent a probe into the impact of last year’s massive cyber hack, which caused tens of millions of dollars in damages. The lawsuit was filed on Monday, the 15th, in Washington, and claims the probe would violate the operator’s Fifth Amendment rights. 

MGM’s lawsuit states that the probe should be blocked because MGM is not a financial institution and, therefore, doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction and remit of the US Federal Trade Commission. The case also highlighted a conflict of interest, as the FTC’s Commissioner, Lina Khan, was checking into an MGM property during the ransomware period and was asked to write down her credit card details as payment systems were down.

Interestingly, Caesars International was also subject to the same ransomware attack as MGM, but unlike the latter, Caesars paid the ransom, and its systems were restored quickly. Currently, there are no reports of the US Federal Trade Commission approaching Caesars.

iGaming Jumps 8.1% in New Jersey

March is a month that usually sees sports betting revenue skyrocket in the USA, as it’s the NCAA March Madness tournament. Surprisingly, according to the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement’s latest revenue figures, iGaming stole the show in the Garden State last month, with figures up 19.9% YoY.

The total revenue for all sectors in March was $487.4m, up 14.1% on the previous month. Land-based gaming accounted for $239.8m ($172.7m from slots), with iGaming not far behind, accounting for $197.2m ($194.8m from slots). Meanwhile, sports revenue fell by 3.6% to $89.7m.

Delaware’s Drive to Competitiveness?

Lawmakers in Delaware have filed a bill proposing to expand the state’s sports betting market. While iGaming and sports betting have been legal in Delaware since 2012, the market has been limited by rules that only allow a single operator to provide services. The current operator is Rush Street Gaming, which took over the contract at the start of 2024, before which it was held by 888 Holdings. 

Delaware is home to only one million residents, and the online gambling model is a revenue-sharing deal that sees the first $3.75 million of all gaming revenue go straight to the state. After that, the tax rate on revenue is a whopping 62.5%. Between 2013 and 2019, Delaware’s revenue did not pass the $3.75 million benchmark, meaning the state received all profits during this time.

The new bill—HB 365—proposes to allow each of Delaware’s video lottery agents to partner with two sports operators at a licensing cost of $500,000 for five years and an 18% tax rate. Delaware’s legislative season ends on June 30th.

Up in Smoke

New Jersey’s casino workers are up in arms about the state’s new Smoke-Free Air Pact. The workers (under the United Auto Workers union) have brought the complaint as a legal case against the state’s governor and health commissioner, claiming the rules are unconstitutional because they allow casino owners to decide whether to allow smoking on their premises and expose workers to secondhand smoke.

Workers have also been protesting, highlighting the issue by entering the State House Annex and smoking. The regional director of the union stated, 

“We’re not allowed to smoke in your workplace, but you’re allowed to smoke in ours…They say it’s OK for secondhand smoke to be blown in our faces all day, every day. We wanted to know if it’s OK if we did that in their workplace. They said it was inappropriate and not allowed here.”

Connecticut Looks at Restricting Gambling Ads and Limit Affiliates

A new bill —File No 271—has surfaced in Connecticut that seeks to limit gambling ads and affiliate partnerships. If passed, the bill would restrict the use of celebrities in gambling ads, require 21+ messaging on ads, prohibit ads where the majority of the audience is likely under 21, and ban them on social media if they would primarily appeal to those under the legal gambling age.

Interestingly, the bill also takes a shot at affiliates, stating, “No master wagering licensee, online gaming operator licensee or sports wagering retailer licensee may enter into an agreement with a third party to conduct advertising or marketing on behalf of, or to the benefit of, such licensee that provides that compensation is dependant on, or related to, the volume of individuals who become patrons, the volume or amount of wagers placed or the outcome of wagers.” It does continue that compensation based on referrals would be allowed, so long as it is not based on “creating an account or placing a wager.”

If the bill is passed, it will certainly shake up the books for both operators and affiliates.

In Other News

  • 1x2 Network enters Michigan via Rush Street Gaming.
  • Fanatics completes its PointsBet US takeover after going live in Illinois.
  • Greentube is live at Caesars Online Casinos in NJ and MI.
  • Maryland’s online casino bill fails to pass the Senate and dies for another year.

North Carolina: Bettory Spend Almost $200m in First 7-Days Betting 

The stats are in from The North Carolina State Lottery Commission, and its official bettors spent a massive ​​$198m in the first week of sports betting, which kicked off on March 11th. Of the $198m, $142m was returned in winnings, and $43m was gross profit. The state collects an 18% tax on operator revenue. 

The market in North Carolina is off to a roaring start, with eight platforms launching in time for March Madness, which began on March 12th. From noon on the 11th to the 13th, Geocomply recorded a staggering 5.4 million checks from 370,000 accounts in just two days. This is roughly 3.5% of North Carolina's population of 10.8m. 

Hard Rock Buys 888 US

888 Holdings has agreed to sell certain US assets to Hard Rock Digital this week after assessing its US operations. Details are thin on the ground, including the specifics of which assets they have agreed to sell and for how much. What we do know is that the acquisition will occur in phases and is expected to be finalized in Q4 of 2024.

Following in the footsteps of PointsBet, Wynn Interactive, and other operators who have struggled to break the US market, 888 (once Delaware's sole iGaming provider) conducted a strategic review of its US operations last month, which considered both full and partial sales alongside other options. 

When the review was announced, the official press release read, "888 is active in four states, with SI Sportsbook and SI Casino in Michigan, SI Sportsbook in Colorado and Virginia and 888casino in New Jersey. The gross profit margin in the US is lower than the group level, reflecting significant direct costs of operating in the market, including duties, market access fees, and license fees, in addition to intense competition from well-capitalised incumbent participants." (cue market leaders DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM).

Per Widerström, CEO of 888, added: "In the US, the intensity of competition and requirement for scale means huge investment is required to reach profitability."

The US market has often been cited as the new gambling gold rush. Still, with varying licensing regimes, high tax rates, considerable brand recognition and loyalty rates, and covering vast territories (physical and political), it's also proved more challenging than many operators first imagined.

New Jersey Tax Hike for Online Casinos?

Speaking of more challenging operating environments, legislators in New Jersey are considering a tax hike in one of the hottest iGaming markets in the USA. Bill S3064, introduced by Senator John McKeon, seeks to double NJ online casino and sports betting revenue taxes from 15% and 13%, respectively, to 30%.

In 2023, gambling industry taxes accounted for $414 million, but as one of the earliest adopters of internet wagering, New Jersey has some of the lowest tax rates in the US. It's now argued that leveling these out should defuse arguments on regional competitiveness (New York's rate is 51% and Pennsylvania's 36%). The Casino Association of New Jersey strongly opposes the bill.

Evolution Goes to Delaware

Evolution Gaming and Rush Street Gaming have struck a new deal that sees Evolution games live at online casinos in Delaware. Under the agreement, Delaware players can access top NetEnt, Reg Tiger, and Big Time Gaming slots at Delaware Park, Harrington, or Bally online casinos.

Evolution's CEO for North America, Jacob Claesson, commented, "Going live in Delaware is a great milestone for Evolution. It is our sixth US state and further solidifies our place as the market leader in online gaming.

"We are excited to partner with Rush Street Interactive, one of the most respected online gaming companies in the US, to bring online games to BetRivers players in Delaware."

NCAA Wants All Prop Bets Banned 

Prop betting is one of the most popular sports betting products after live betting markets. However, there's one place where it's not popular, and that's with the National College Athletics Association, which is seeking to ban prop betting on collegiate games across the country.

NCAA News Release

Prop betting involves betting on specific stats that can increase or decrease during a game. In basketball, we're talking over/unders on points scored by a player, how many rebounds a player gets, the number of three-pointers, and so on.

Prop bets on collegiate games are problematic because an NCAA survey conducted last year revealed worrying stats regarding intimidation and betting on campuses. Due to their age, inexperience, and lack of pay, collegiate athletes are more vulnerable to intimidation, and due to the nature of prop bets, they are easier to influence than, say, the overall game outcome. 

Since publishing the survey results, the NCAA has been campaigning for more protections for athletes and coaches, restrictions on prop betting, and launched an education campaign for students.

Colorado, Arizona, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Oregon already banned prop bets, while Ohio, Vermont, and Maryland joined the ranks this year and removed prop bets on college athletes and games. The NCAA is now working with legislators across the US to raise awareness of the issue. According to NCAA President Charlie Baker, many states respond by banning prop bets on college games.

Other News:

  • Nevada gambling revenue was up to $1.34b in Feb 2024 -  +8.5% year on year and +4.7% on Jan 2024's figures. Slots accounted for the most revenue.
  • Georgia's sports betting efforts failed as this year's legislative session is closed, killing the bill.

AGA: March Madness Bet Predictions 

The American Gaming Association's 2024 March Madness bet predictions estimate a total handle of $2.72b across the tournament (almost double what was spent at the Super Bowl and 2.2% of 2023's total revenue). 

The NCAA basketball tournament is one of the most significant events in the sports betting diary, with 67 games played over 18 days and a high betting volume.

Research from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming has similarly estimated a $2.68b handle and that around 35-40% of this handle will be placed on in-play bets, showing the growing popularity of live betting.

DraftKings "character assassination"?

DraftKings might be the OSB market leader in the US, but its reputation isn't all that golden. This week, it's taken another potential reputational hit in the form of another lawsuit (the last was brought by players based on misleading bonus texts) that's set to get messy, but this time it's self-filed.

DraftKings alleges a former employee, Michael Hermalyn, stole company secrets and attempted to persuade employees to his new employer. Michael Hermalyn was Senior Vice President of DraftKings' business development and growth departments from 2021-2024. In 2024, he accepted a new position at Fanatics as the President of VIP and Head of LA Office - Fanatics. 

DraftKings has said that Hermalyn stole company secrets and solicited customers and colleagues. An injunction has been placed as part of the ongoing case prohibiting Hermalyn from doing the above. The judge did not approve DraftKings' full request to stop Hermalyn from working at Fanatics during the case period.

The filing largely depends on a small number of cases where relationships crossed over - two instances of DK employees who reached out to Hermalyn with questions about Fanatics' roles they'd already applied to and another where he introduced a customer to a Fanatics VIP employee at the Super Bowl - turns out the customer was already a long-term Fanatics account holder.

As for stealing company secrets, this is easily explained by the fact that DraftKings does not provide employees with work phones, meaning they all download company documents on their handphones.

In response to the case, Hermalyn has accused DraftKings of "aggressive smearing" and "character assassination." He has called for the case to be dismissed because he fears his career will be ruined. He stated that it is built on "fabrications designed to malign and destroy the reputation of a senior employee who had the audacity to seek out a better opportunity."

Florida Settles with Seminoles 

Florida's Supreme Court has settled with the Seminole Tribe in a protracted challenge brought by companies including West Flagler Associates and the Bonita-Fort Myers Corporation.

The main issue was that the plaintiffs said that the gaming compact agreed to and approved by the Florida Legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis in 2021 exceeded the office's authorization capabilities by allowing betting outside of Tribal lands, creating a de facto sports betting monopoly in the state.

The case also stated that the compact went against a 2018 constitutional amendment, which requires a citizens' initiative to allow casino gambling outside of tribal lands.

However, under the compact, the Seminole Tribe can offer mobile sports betting in Florida but must pay the state $2.5bn over the next five years. 

The contradictions and the Seminoles' launch of Hard Rock Bet quickly led to legal challenges. However, DeSantis' attorneys have been quick to point out that sports betting is not casino gaming and, thus, isn't prohibited under the amendment. 

With the Supreme Court now settling on the side of the Seminoles, Hard Rock Bet has the green light to continue trading in Florida.

Pennsylvania iGaming Hits Record High for Revenue - Feb 2024

While revenue might be slipping in other verticals, online casinos in Pennsylvania hit record highs for revenue, with a total of $184.9m.

Total gambling revenue for the month was $499.1m, up 9.3% year over year (YoY) but down from January 2024's $464.4m. Retail slots remained at the top of the charts, accounting for $202.7m. 

Online slot revenue was $125.9m (up 35.6%), with online table games up 56.7% to $56.6m. Hollywood Casino took the top spot for revenue, followed by FanDuel, then Rivers Casino.

Possible Louisiana Gambling Ad Ban

Louisiana is joining Pennsylvania in discussing a gambling ad ban. House Bill 727 was introduced this week and currently sits in the committee. State Representative Shaun Mena crafted it and seeks to prohibit sports betting and daily fantasy advertising on TV.

Sports betting is legal in 55 of Louisiana's 64 parishes (retail from October 2021 and online as of January 2022). In 2023, more than $2.9 billion was spent betting on sports in the Pelican State, and the industry employs thousands.

Despite responsible gambling concerns, the Bill has been called "unlikely to make it" and "bad for business."

New York Delays New Casino License Decision

There's been a lot of news and hype lately regarding New York's three new casino licenses. However, under Commission executive Robert Williams, the New York State Gaming Commission has cautioned that a decision will likely not be reached until late 2025 due to the complex approval process and requirements.

New York opened applications and bids for the three new licenses in January 2023, and to date, MGM, Wynn, Hard Rock, Sands, and Caesars have all submitted plans for new establishments. However, under the regulations, bids must meet specific city environmental quality standards and land use procedures and prove they have the money to fund the development before approval. This makes the approval process lengthy, meaning applications will likely need to revise their bids. 

In preparation, the Commission has warned all applicants to ensure their proposals are water-tight and fulfill all regulations to prevent further delays.

In other News

  • Hacksaw Gaming and BetMGM extend a content deal to a West Virginia online casino, with Joker Bombs and Outlaws Inc. live to play now.
  • Flutter Entertainment has released its full-year records for 2023, showing FanDuel's US revenue grew by 40.7% YoY in 2023. Sportsbook revenue improved by 45.9 percent, while iGaming revenue grew by 47.2 percent with 3.7m new players.

Pennsylvania Considers Credit Card Gambling Ban

Pennsylvania’s lawmakers are progressing in a bill to ban credit cards from being used in sports betting, daily fantasy contests, lottery, and online casino payments. If enacted, the bill aims to improve responsible gambling protections for players by limiting credit availability.

Only three states—Iowa, Tennessee, and Massachusetts—currently ban credit card use for gaming transactions. The move also follows in the footsteps of the UK, which banned credit cards in 2019 and is now introducing affordability checks for players.

DraftKings and Golden Nugget Debut New RG Tool

DraftKings has released a new onsite tool called My Stat Sheet that presents players with their data. The data is presented as user-friendly, helping players make informed choices regarding their gambling and spending.

Consumers can view bets placed, deposits, withdrawals, contest involvement, time spent on the platform, and wins across time. Jennifer Aguiar, DraftKings Chief Compliance Officer, said: “As sports betting technology continues to evolve, DraftKings remains committed to continuously enhancing our robust responsible gaming program. The My Stat Sheet tool will help customers evaluate their play and make informed choices.”

Rhode Island Online Casino Open for Business - All the Business

Rhode Island has become the USA's seventh iGaming state after Bally Casino launched in March. Bally Casino offers players access to over 170 online games, bonuses, and a cutting-edge mobile gaming experience through its app.

The Ocean State joins Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan, and Connecticut as the USA’s iGaming states. Akin to Delaware, in RI, the state retains “complete regulatory control of iGaming, with nearly 62 percent of slot revenue and 15 percent of table gaming revenue direct to the State, " making operating conditions difficult for Bally. 

RI is not an open market; it only allows one operator -Bally, licensed for 20 years on a no-bid contract- to operate the state’s land-based and online casinos.

Craig Eaton, President of Bally’s Rhode Island Operations, said of the launch; 

“We are pleased to launch this new gaming product, which is borne out of our partnership with the General Assembly, Governor McKee and our regulators, the RI Department of Revenue, Division of Lottery, Department of Business Regulation, and RI State Police to enhance state revenue and better position the State’s casinos in the competitive New England gaming market.”

Maryland Online Casino Bill Moves to Senate

Just two days short of the cross-over deadline, Maryland’s House has passed the state's latest online casino bill (HB 1319) by 92-43. The bill now progresses to the Senate, which has under a month to pass it. 

The bill would put the choice to regulate online casinos in voters' hands on the November Ballot if the bill passes the Senate (the Senate’s deadline is April 8th). 

Maryland has been tipped as one of the most likely US states to legalize online casinos this legislative session. However, the bill has already been subject to many changes, including a restrictive tax on gaming revenue of up to 47% on electronic games and a credit card ban on gambling transactions.

PlayStar Casino Embraces Twitch

PlayStar Casino has announced it is embracing a new marketing strategy and launching a Twitch Casino Stream in partnership with SGG Media. The content will feature NJ streamers playing casino games via PlayStar, with the casino providing the account and budget. 

Jon Bowden, CEO of PlayStar said, “PlayStar Casino is excited to partner with SGG Media in allowing New Jersey casino enthusiasts to watch and play our online slots and games. 

We provide the excitement of live, legal, casino games to be played online by New Jersey residents while a large viewership can view the action in real time.”

North Carolina’s Sports Betting Market Live

During the market pre-launch, Caesars Sports was the first operator to go live in North Carolina on March 4th. The whole market opened on March 11th, with six other operators (FanDuel, DraftKings, ESPN Bet, BetMGM, Fanatics, and Bet365) going live.

Sports betting in North Carolina was legalized by HB 347, signed into law by Governor Roy Cooper in June 2020. To obtain a license, operators must partner with a state-based sports team, venue, or league. DraftKings has partnered with NASCAR and counting North Carolina is now active in 27 locations across North America.

Georgia’s House Considers Sports Betting Bid

The online sports betting debate is raging on in Georgia, where two complementary bills have passed the Senate and now sit with the House. Both bills aim to support education in Georgia, with 80% of sports betting tax revenue allocated to the pre-K and HOPE scholarship programs; the other 15% would fund responsible gambling and 5% for sports promotion. 

If agreed, and upon passing a public ballot, the bills would allow up to 16 licenses, nine of which would be tied to a local team or entity and include 20% tax rates on revenue.

Michigan Reports $218.5m in Betting Revenue - Feb 2024 

Michigan's gambling revenue for February 2024 is $218.5 million; when adjusted for gross receipts, it totals $182.1m - $169.2m from iGaming and $12.9m from sports betting. According to the Michigan Gaming Control Board, this provided the state with over $9m in gambling tax revenue.

The American Gaming Association recently stated that Michigan is the USA’s most active market, and in 2023 - “Michigan outperformed New Jersey by just $115,500 to become the largest iGaming market in the country. Pennsylvania rounded out the top three iGaming markets with $1.74 billion in annual revenue.”

New Jersey Hits $461.5m in Betting Revenue - Feb 2024

New Jersey hit a 12% YoY increase in total gambling revenue in February, taking $461.5m. The yearly total has already reached the $1 billion mark. For the month, land-based casinos took $211.6m, online casinos $182.3m and sports betting $67.6m. iGaming increased by 27.9m YoY.

In Other News

  • FanDuel signs White Hat Studios in Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
  • Caesars Digital signs White Hat Studios in four states, including Pennsylvania.
  • Supremeland Gaming (distributed through EveryMatrix in the US) scores a hat trick with NJ, WV, and PA gaming licenses.
  • Hacksaw Gaming gets Michigan supplier license.

News and Analysis

Fanatics Enters Michigan

Fanatics Sports and Online Casino is live in Michigan, replacing PointsBet to become the Wolverine State’s newest gambling site. Michigan is the 13th US state where Fanatics has launched, but only the third online casino location. 

Players who are members of PointsBet MI don’t need to take any action, as the account data, balance, and responsible gambling settings have been migrated to the new platform. 

Resorts Workers Up in Arms Regarding NY iGaming Bill

It’s an argument often made by the land-based industry, but rarely proven, that online gaming removes players and revenue from brick-and-mortar casinos rather than bringing in a new sector of players. 

This week, Resorts World Workers have been sounding alarm bells across NY in protest to the latest attempt by Senator Addabbo to legalize online casinos in New York. Nearly 700 workers have come together to support a letter from the Hotel & Gaming Trades Council Union, which, according to the New York Post, stated:

“We find it appalling that you are pushing legislation that would hurt workers like us and our industry in order to benefit a handful of companies who are seeking massive profits at our expense”.

“When customers come to a racino, VLT [Video Lottery Terminal] parlor, or casino, they support all of our jobs, including cooks, bartenders, servers, maintenance workers, and hotel workers”.

“We know that if, instead, they were to game from their homes, workplaces, or elsewhere, their dollars would go straight into the pockets of gaming companies, rather than to support the livelihoods of thousands of New Yorkers who support the state’s gaming industry.”

Senator Addabbo has been proposing iGaming bills in the Empire State each legislative session since 2019, and while none have passed, he’s collected over $75,000 in campaign contributions from iGaming companies.

Addabbo’s stance held firm under criticism from Resorts workers as, in his view, iGaming is inevitable and will contribute $800 million to $1 billion a year in revenue. He added that he has no interest in “cannibalizing” his constituents' jobs. Addabbo further sought to reassure workers, insisting that online gaming will increase employment and pointing to studies that concur. 

Ohio Bans Prop Bets on NCAA Games

Ohio’s regulator, the Ohio Casino Control Commission, has responded to NCAA calls to ban player-specific prop bets on its games. The new rule will come into force on March 1st. The ban aims to protect student-athletes after research published last year showed they were subject to harassment. 

Ohio’s governor, Mike De-Wine, who supported the ban, said: “The Ohio Casino Control Commission took quick action to protect student athletes from unnecessary and potentially harmful threats.

“Amending rules to focus bets on the team and away from individual athletes will improve the marketplace in Ohio and properly focus betting attention on the teams and away from individual student athletes.”

The NCAA is further advocating for greater protection of college athletes and more responsible gambling education after the earlier study revealed that 27% of schools from Power Five Conferences had dealt with sport wagering problems among their athletes or staff in the preceding year.

Jackpocket Gets ICAP Cert 

Jackpocket Casino has broken a double record within weeks of each other. Earlier in the month, the NJ brand became the first US lottery provider to become an online casino operator. Now, it’s the first US operator to be awarded the National Council on Problem Gambling’s Internet Compliance Assessment Program Certificate. 

The certificate accredits that Jackpocket has proved its dedication to player safety and provides the highest standards of responsible gambling care and provisions. Accreditation is based on thorough evaluation and auditing and lasts two years.

Jackpocket CEO and Founder Peter Sullivan said, “Our mission to provide a fun and responsible online casino experience rests on ensuring the highest levels of safety and security. Every step we take is with the goal of safeguarding our users.”

Will Iowa Lawmakers Lower Casino Taxes?

A new Bill, 719, which seeks to lower casino taxes to become more competitive with neighboring states, has been passed by Iowa’s House and now moves to the Senate for further consideration. The Bill suggests dropping the tax rate by 1% annually until 2027. The current rate is 22%, and the bill could reduce it to 19%.

There is significant support for lower taxes, and Iowa’s governor is also seeking tax breaks for individuals and corporations alongside casinos.

In Other News:

  • White Hat Studios goes live at Caesars Online Casino West Virginia.
  • AvatarUX debuts in the USA Caaesars Online Casino Michigan with KokeshiPop Slot.
  • Design Works Gaming joins BetMGM Casino Pennsylvania games lobby.

Game of the Week: Zodiac Lantern Tiger Slot, Light & Wonder, RTP 95.87%

This week, we’re discussing a new online slot by Light & Wonder that’s hitting the charts hard. Light & Wonder has heavily invested in Asian themes over the last couple of years, and this game does not digress. Set on 5x3 reels with 50 pay lines, it is filled with Golden Tigers, Lotus Flowers, Drums, and Scrolls. Plus, there is a bonus Dragon Wilds, Lanterns, and a Yin and Yang Scatter.

The mythical Dragon is Wild, and it can land as a single or expanded tile. Lanterns come in red and gold and are connected with several bonus features, but these features only pay in the Hold & Spin Feature.

  • Credit Lanterns: Can land showing the Mini or Minor jackpots or a multiplier of 0.5-4x the bet.
  • Game-in-Game Lanterns: These land with the Mega or Major jackpots or a multiplier of 20-150x the bet. The amount continually changes, only settling and paying out at the end of the Hold & Spin Feature.
  • Glow Lantern: The amount this lantern shows increases from 0.5 up to 100x depending on how and when it lands.

To trigger the Hold & Spin Feature, you must land 6+ Red Lanterns. If there’s a Gold Lantern in the mix, you’ll enter the Golden version of the bonus round. The round occurs on new reels, and only Lanterns count towards pays. Every time a new Lantern lands, the spins are re-set to 3—the round ends when you fill reels. 

https://casinocabbie.com/casinos/jackpocket-casino/nj/

The difference between the Red and Gold bonus is that the Red round starts with only one reel array unlocked (to unlock more, you need to collect Lanterns), whereas the Gold Round has all reel arrays unlocked, making it easier to stack up the symbols.

Lastly, the Yin and Yang Koi Symbol is the Scatter. You need to land 3 on reels 2,3 and 4 to trigger a Free Spins round; the options are (it’s the player’s choice):

  • 10 FS with 40 Red Lanterns added
  • 8 FS with 80 Red Lanterns added
  • 5 FS with 100 Red Lanterns added.

The advantage of Lanterns in this round is that you can trigger the Hold & Spin round as you play. Additionally, the Dragon expands to cover all positions on any reel it lands on during Free Spins.

Zodiac Lantern Tiger Slot is an epic new slot, and our only complaint is that it takes a bit of patience to trigger the Hold & Spins round. Otherwise, it offers non-stop action and high potential payouts of up to 10,000x the bet. Speaking of, stakes start from $0.20, raising up to $40 a spin, and you can find Zodiac Lantern Tiger Slot at these Light & Wonder Casinos in the USA.

AGA: Records Third Year of Growth for US Gambling Market

The US commercial gaming market hit new records in 2023, recording a total of $66.5 billion (bn) and contributing an all-time high of $14.4bn in taxes (up 9.7% on 2022). The figures cement what most of the industry knows: it was a knock-out year for US gambling.

Year on year (YoY), the figures were up 10% on 2022's $60.5bn. The biggest quarter was the fourth, which accounted for $17.4bn of revenue, underpinned by December's performance, which rounded things off with an impressive $6.bn in revenue, the highest-grossing month recorded.

Here's how each sector contributed:

  • Traditional Casinos: Land-based slots and tables accounted for $49.4bn, up 3.3 YoY.
  • Sports Betting: Sports revenue accounted for $10.9bn, up 44.5% YoY. The growth was accounted for due to maturing markets and the launch of legal betting in Massachusetts and Ohio.
  • iGaming: Online casinos contributed $6.2bn, showing a 22.9% uptick YoY, generated from just six iGaming states.

AGA President and CEO Bill Miller commented, "From the traditional casino experience to online options, American adults' demand for gaming is at an all-time high…Sustaining our momentum will take unified industry efforts around combating pernicious illegal operators and growing responsible gambling efforts in tandem with the growth of the legal market—both of which the AGA is committed to lead on throughout 2024."

Revenue isn't the only metric that's been growing in the USA, so have rates of problem gambling, which garners much less attention. Hopefully, with renewed tax revenues, the benefiting states will double down their support and education systems for gamblers, helping US gambling markets to grow sustainably.

Tribal Gaming: DOI Announces New Regulations to Allowing Gaming Off Reservation Land

The Department of the Interior has announced updated federal regulations that increase the "clarity and transparency" of Indian gaming compacts, making way for states to agree to compacts that allow for internet gaming outside of reservation land.

The new regulations (set to come into effect on March 22nd) result from proposed rule changes brought by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which sought to clarify how the DOI reviews "Class III Tribal-State Gaming Compacts". 

This change delivers clarity for the first time on whether tribal gaming sovereignty covers online gaming in cases where servers are located on tribal lands but the product is offered outside of reservation grounds. It confirms this is possible (as in Florida) if state compacts are agreed upon. 

The new regulations are a huge move forward for America's gaming tribes. Currently, tribal sovereignty extends to Class I and II but not Class III (full casino gaming). Tribes wishing to offer Class III gaming must first negotiate a state compact, which is then approved by the DOI. Before this update, it wasn't clear how the DOI approved or disapproved a compact and what factors they considered. 

At this time, there are 250 federally recognized tribes operating 519 tribal casinos or other gaming facilities in 29 US states. Tribal gaming revenue is a critical source of income on reservation land as it is used to drive economic growth and fund education, health, and other development projects.

Research has recorded that in locations where a tribal casino has been open for at least four years, the positive economic and social impacts include:

  • Young adults moving back to reservations, fueling an 11.5 percent population increase
  • Adult employment increased by 26 percent
  • There is a 14 percent decline in the number of working poor
  • And a reduction in mortality rates

Caesars Acquires WynnBet MI 

Last week, we covered news of the sale of Wynn Interactive's New York license sale to Penn Interactive and the closure of its Massachusetts platform. This week, it's Michigan's turn, as the company has made public the sale of its last online presence, WynnBet MI, to Caesars Interactive.

Caesars is entering Michigan for the first time, partnering with Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Matt Sunderland, SVP & Chief iGaming Officer for Caesars Entertainment, said, "As we continue to grow our iGaming franchise, the assumption of WynnBet's iGaming operations in Michigan allows us to tap into a significant market and customer base, providing a crucial step forward in growing our digital products and offering players more ways to play. We are honored to work with the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and look forward to growing with them in Michigan." 

NJDGE Announces Total Gaming Revenue Up 28% and Drops Evolution Case 

It's a double headline from New Jersey this week, as the Division of Gaming Enforcement has announced that iGaming revenue for January has smashed previous records and that it is dropping its misconduct casino against Evolution Gaming.

Finances first: Total gambling revenue for January reached $559.1m, a 28% increase from January 2022. Land-based venues contributed the lion's share at $205m, down 3.1% YoY, while iGaming generated $183.3m, up 19.9%. Lastly, sports betting created a record of $170.8m, up by a jaw-dropping 136.1%. What a fantastic and record-breaking way for New Jersey bettors and operators to start the year!

Turning to Evolution Gaming: the NJDGE has dropped a misconduct case against the live games provider that dates back to November 2021 and alleged that the company's products were available in multiple countries where US trade sanctions existed (including Iran, Syria, and Sudan). 

Evolution fiercely denied the claims, saying they were an attempt to discredit the business, which now seems likely as more than two years on and after financial and reputational damage has been incurred, the NJ regulator has concluded its investigation, finding no fault. 

Concluding the matter, an official statement from Evolution Gaming states, "The NJDGE found no evidence that Evolution sanctioned, promoted, permitted, or otherwise materially benefitted from its content offered by operators in any market that the NJDGE considers a prohibited jurisdiction".

Evolution and Caesars Collaborate to Meet Live Dealer Demand

The end of this ongoing investigation isn't the only reason Evolution Gaming has to celebrate this week, as the company has also signed a new strategic partnership with Caesars Digital throughout North America. The deal will see Evolution and Caesars work together to open a series of dedicated live dealer studios across multiple US states, including one in Caesars NJ Tropicana Casino (Evolution's third Atlantic City location). Evolution and Caesars will also collaborate to launch branded studio spaces within Evolution's Pennsylvania and Michigan studios.

Game of the Week: 4 Fantastic Fish, 4ThePlayer, RTP: 96%

This week, we’re talking about a slot game topping the US charts from one of our favorite game developers, 4ThePlayer. It’s a fishy number, set on 6x4 reels with 4,096 ways to win, jackpot prizes, and a substantial max potential prize haul of 15,000x the bet.

The action starts with line wins paying for 2+ matching symbols from left to right. As well as premium and lower paying symbols, there’s a Fishing Boat Wild, which subs for other symbols in line wins.

Fish Ways Cash Prizes and Giant Squid Feature

Fish Symbols fall in different sizes, with varying amounts of cash on the symbol. These pay when you land a winning combo of matching fish sizes. Linked to the cash Fish is the Giant Squid Feature, which is randomly triggered and sees a squid’s tentacles drop onto the reels and rearrange the Fish Symbols for a guaranteed payout.

Big Game Fish

Jackpot symbols, the Big Fish, can only land on reel 6. If the Big Fish is used in a regular Fish winning line, you’ll win the jackpot on the symbol - Big (100x), Super (500x), Mega (2,000x), and Ultra (10,000x).

4 Fantastic Fish Slot Gameplay

Fishing Re-Spins

The last feature is the bonus round and its Re-Spins, which you can trigger by getting 3+ Marlin Bonus Symbols on the reels. You’ll start with 3 Re-Spins, and only the triggering reels are active (you can unlock the rest by getting additional Bonus Symbols). 

During the round, only Fish Cash Symbols or blanks land. The Fish Symbols are sticky, and each new one resets your total to 3 spins. When you fill a reel with cash symbols, a shark will appear, clearing the reel and multiplying everything by 2x.

This slot packs a punch with loads of new features, meaning the gameplay might feel a little unfamiliar at first, but don’t worry; it takes all but a couple of spins to get the hang of things! Ready to play? Then set your bets from $0.10 to $80 a spin at these US Yggdrasil and 4ThePlayers Casinos!

News and Analysis

First and foremost, a massive congrats to the Kansas City Chiefs, who stole the show, trophy, and prize pot from the grips of the San Francisco 79ers in this year's action-packed Super Bowl game on Sunday. 

Turning toward the betting stats, GeoComply, which collects data from states with legal sports betting, registered new records, with a whopping 14,750 transactions per second pre-kick-off (almost double that of last year).

GeoComply also reported a 15% uptick in active betting accounts (8.5m across 28 states), with 1.7m new users registering in the two weeks before the Super Bowl.

GeoComply founder Anna Sainsbury commented that the figures were a credit to the achievements of the legal betting market, the progression and growth of which laid the groundwork for the historic Super Bowl figures. 

While we're still waiting on the exact handle and revenue figures, last week, the American Gaming Association forecast the event would create a betting handle of approximately $23.10bn.

Alabama House Approves Casino and Sports Bill

Alabama's House of Representatives has passed HB 151 by a considerable margin of 70-32. The bill seeks to approve legal casinos, lottery, and sports wagering and will now move to the State's Senate. 

As the bill requires a constitutional amendment, it will require approval via public referendum later in the year if it progresses past the Senate. If and when Alabama citizens vote in favor of the bill, it will create a regulated gambling industry in the state for the first time.

HB 151 is accompanied by HB 152, which includes the provisions for a gambling tax regime and details of revenue distribution and regulatory enforcement.

Wynn Interactive Sells New York License

Wynn Interactive has agreed to sell its New York operator license to Penn Entertainment and ESPN Bet, which plans to launch in The Empire State later this year. 

While this is a monumental move for Penn Interactive and ESPN Bet as it gives the company access to one of the most prominent sports markets in the US, it's a further reduction for WynnBet in what has already been a punishing 12 months.

In August 2023, Wynn Interactive announced that its US division was "underperforming" and closed its digital platforms in Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, New Jersey, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, leaving Michigan, Nevada, Massachusetts and New York open but under review. 

The news of the company's NY license sale comes almost simultaneously with WynnBet announcing the closure of its Massachusetts platform, instructing players they have until March 13th to withdraw their funds.

With things not looking good for WynnBet, which now only remains active in Nevada and Michigan, it seems there's no stopping ESPN Bet, which is already live in 17 states since taking over as Penn International's sports betting partner in late 2023.

Stakelogic Gets Green Light in Rhode Island 

Games provider Stakelogic has secured provisional supplier approval in Rhode Island ahead of the market launch, which is expected next month. Stakelogic is already approved in Michigan and Pennsylvania, making Rhode Island its third US state.

Stephan van den Oetelaar, CEO of Stakelogic, commented: "Gaining the Rhode Island license is a significant achievement in our ongoing US market journey. Our team is excited to introduce our content and technology in Rhode Island.

This expansion is a testament to our commitment to excellence and our strategy to be at the forefront of the online casino industry in North America. We are grateful to the Rhode Island regulators for their trust and cooperation and look forward to making a positive impact on the local gaming scene."

BetMGM and X Become Exclusive Partners

In the first-ever partnership of this kind, BetMGM has become the official US Live Odds Sports Betting partner of social media platform X. The agreement will see the social media platform integrate BetMGM's odds on the platform, with live betting links available, creating a seamless user experience.

BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt said, "X is the center of the sports world's conversation 24 hours a day, seven days a week…Being directly accessible within that forum is an unprecedented opportunity to expand our reach to a passionate and engaged audience. We look forward to adding intel and content that enhances the platform's interaction around sports."

While this provides an unparalleled opportunity for BetMGM, already the USA's third-largest sports provider with a 17% market share, it also sparks questions regarding responsible gambling and age-gating on social media. More specifically, whether X's current age-gating practices on content are up to the job of protecting underage audiences from viewing this content and how the platform aims to protect vulnerable users from this seamless, 24/7, and integrated service.

Game of the Week

Raging Rex 3, Play'n GO, RTP: 96.20%

Set on 6x4 reels with 4096 ways to win, Raging Rex returns players to the Cretaceous period in a race against time and nature for survival. You'll spin to win as the Raging Mama Rex stomps across the reels, creating chaos and potentially huge prizes of up to 30,000x in this new and action-packed prehistoric online slot.

Raging Rex 3 Gameplay

Aside from making base game wins, from left to right for 3+ matching symbols, you'll also get the chance to earn a selection of bonus features, including:

Re-Spins

This base game bonus triggers when the Rex hits the reels. The number of Re-Spins corresponds with the reel that Mama Rex lands on (6 for 6, 5 for 5, and so on), and during the spins, she acts as a Stacked Wild, subbing and increasing the chances of line wins.

Free Spins

Get 3-6 Scatter to trigger 7-13 Free Spins. Before the round starts, you'll get to pick between the three Free Round modes explained below.

  • Feeding Frenzy: One dinosaur symbol will be selected as the prey for the round, and the Rex is active on the reels. During this round, the Rex stalks the prey, and if they land on the same reel, the Feeding Frenzy meter is filled one point. For each point in the meter, a multiplier is added.
  • Hatchling Mania: Mama Rex's baby Hatchlings are leaning to hunt in this Free Spins round. During the game, Hatchlings can drop onto the reels, stick, and walk with each spin; they can also come with a 2x or 3x multiplier.
  • Survival: This is a new type of round, and it's played on 12 individual reels with a 2x2 Rex collector symbol in the middle. You start with 3 lives and need to survive as long as possible. Each spin costs one life and presents a new challenge, while each win resets your lives to 3. This round is a high-stakes experience that you should try at least once!

Ready to spin and see if you can win up to 30,000x your bet in this epic slot? Then it's time to set your bets from $0.10-100 and see how long you can survive the reels. You can check it out now at these Play'n GO casinos in the USA.

News and Analysis

American Gaming Association Super Bowl LVIII Predictions

This Sunday's Super Bowl is being held in Las Vegas for the first time and sees the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers go head-to-head. 

Based on survey data collected from 2,204 adults, the AGA predicts the game will generate a total betting handle of $23.10bn. That's $16.0bn more than the preceding year, with 67.8m people expected to bet - a 35% increase on 2023.

The AGA expects that: 

  • 42.7 million American adults plan to place a traditional sports wager online, at a retail sportsbook, or with a bookie, up 41 % from 2023.
  • 36.5 million plan to bet casually with friends or as part of a pool or squares contest, up 32% from 2023.
  • Americans continue to migrate to the legal market: 28.7 million adults, or 11%, intend to place online wagers using a legal U.S. sportsbook.
  • Bettors are nearly split on the game's outcome, with 47% planning to bet on the Kansas City Chiefs and 44% planning to bet on the San Francisco 49ers.

Additionally, the AGA reported gains for responsible gambling, with 75% of bettors reporting seeing a responsible gambling message in the last year, up 71% from 2023.

If you, like most of us, plan to bet on this year's big game, remember to bet responsibly!

NCLGS and UKGC Partner to Improve US Gaming Legislation

At the end of 2023, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) announced that as part of its global strategy to cut offshore gaming, reduce the black market, and increase player protections globally, it was opening the doors and extending the hand of friendship to any other regulators that wanted to learn from it.

One of the first to accept this offer is the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NGLGS). The UKGC will be a special advisor to the NCLGS as it develops model iGaming legislation for the US via a committee. 

The Committee has been created to encourage states considering iGaming legislation to learn more about best practices from those that have already taken the leap. Only six US states allow iGaming, with Rhode Island set to join in March, but other states are expected to legalize online casino gaming over time. 

Shawn Fluharty, NGLGS President, commented: "It is an honor to announce the UK Gambling Commission's involvement in this project. It is also a reflection of the magnitude of this opportunity and the seriousness that comes with it. 

"NCLGS will now have the unique opportunity to leverage the wisdom and expertise of one of the most respected regulatory bodies worldwide in an effort to produce model legislation to strengthen the US market, shrink the black market, and protect consumers."

Tim Miller, Executive Director of the UKGC, added: "Gambling is an increasingly global industry with many of the same risks, opportunities and challenges seen on both sides of the Atlantic.

"It's therefore essential that jurisdictions, which will often regulate the same companies, work together to share knowledge and best practices to deliver fair, safe, and crime-free gambling markets. I am pleased that this important project with NCLGS will allow us to further strengthen our collaborative efforts to deliver on those aims."

We're particularly pleased to hear that US regulators are making the most of the opportunity proffered by the UKGC. Comparably with the US, the UK is a mature gambling market that's already learned many lessons of having a liberalized gambling market the hard way. 

As well as regulating many areas that US states don't (such as bonus terms, operator transparency, and rules for sports advertising and sponsorship, to name but a few), the UKGC is also amidst a regulatory review aimed at reducing problem gambling rates. Meanwhile, with more liberal sports betting regulations sweeping the US as more new states legalize the activity, the US is witnessing considerable increases in problem gambling rates, meaning there's never been a better time to reflect and improve.

Jackpocket - NJ's Newest Online Casino Opens

New Jersey has a brand new online casino that opened its virtual doors this week! Jackpocket Casino launched in partnership with Caesars Interactive Gaming New Jersey, LLC, and has made history as the first US lottery platform to enter the online casino space. 

The casino offers hundreds of slots, jackpots, Slingo, tables, and live dealers from leading software options. NJ players can effortlessly switch between the lottery and gaming apps. The operator also offers new players a $500 match bonus and a $10 lottery credit. 

Jackpocket became the USA's first lottery courier service to launch in 2019 when New Jersey legalized the activity. Like many lotteries, it's not run for profit, and ticket sale proceeds go toward the state's pension fund for public service employees. Since the lottery began, it's raised over $69m for the fund and awarded over $82m in winnings to over 300,000 residents! 

We can't wait to see what this trailblazing operator adds to the New Jersey gambling market once the platform has settled in.

Nevada Revenue Tops $15.5bn in 2023, Putting Macau Ahead at $22.8bn

Total gambling revenue figures for Nevada 2023 are in and have hit new record highs of $15.52bn. This put the state 4.6% ahead of revenue figures for 2022 but behind Macau's monumental $22.8bn figures for 2023. These two global gambling locations are often compared, both vying for the top spot of best gambling destination, but going by figures alone, Macau is standing clear as the winner.

Game of the Week: Blazing Bison Gold Blitz, DGC, RTP: 96% (Ranges)

Enough with the headlines; let's talk games. This week's top title that players cannot put down is Blazing Bison Gold Blitz by DGC. This game is a reskin of Gold Blitz Slot but with a new and wilder theme to reel players in.

It's set on 6x4 reels with 4096 ways to win. In addition to the main symbols, there are Wilds, which can land on reels 2-6 (or 2-4 in Free Spins), Lightning Bolt Collect Symbols, and Bonus Scatter Symbols.

Cash Collect

When a Lightning Bolt Collect Symbol lands, it collects the regular cash symbols and the minor (25x), major (250x), or mega (2,500x your bet) jackpots if any of these symbols are on the reels. 

Bonus Rounds

You'll need to land 3+ bonus symbols to make it to the bonus round. Before the game starts, you'll get to pick which bonus you want: Gold Blitz Spins or Free Spins:

  • 3 Scatter = 8 FS or 2 GBS
  • 4 Scatter = 12 FS or 3 GBS
  • 5 Scatter = 20 FS or 5 GBS
  • 6 Scatter = 30 FS or 7 GBS

The difference between the two rounds is that regular Free Spins come with Multiplier Wilds of 2-5x. In Gold Blitz Spins, you can only land cash symbols or blanks, and you're guaranteed 1 Collect Symbol per spin.

Ready to play? Then, it's time to load up the reels and start spinning from $0.20 up to $50 a spin at these DGC Casinos in the USA.

News and Analysis

The North Carolina State Lottery Commission has set the date that the legal sports betting market will open, and it's midday on March 11th. Pre-registration will begin on March 1st. 

Commission Chair Ripley Brand commented in local news that; "The plan approved today means that North Carolinians will be able to place bets on their favorite teams in many of this year's college basketball conference tournaments, including men's tournaments in the ACC, Conference USA, the MEAC, and the AAC, as well as throughout the men's and women's NCAA tournaments.

"Bets on sporting events have been made for as long as those events have taken place, but this time they will be legal, they will be done securely and fairly, and they will be made under rules designed to encourage responsible gaming."

There are 12 operator licenses available in North Carolina, and nine applications have been received so far. Operators seeking permits must partner with a sports team, league, or venue in NC.

BetMGM (with Charlotte Motor Speedway) and DraftKings (with Nascar) have already announced they will launch. On Wednesday, Caesars joined the rabble, announcing it will go live on March 11th after expanding its relationship with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Fanatics also plans to launch after agreeing to a partnership with the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes, and ESPN Bet has joined forces with Quail Hollow Golf Club.

Two Online Sports Betting Bills Introduced in Mississippi

In-person sports betting has been legal in Mississippi since 2018 (this also allows gamblers to place online bets, but only at licensed casino premises). Still, state legislators continue pushing online betting, as two new bills were introduced this week -HB271 and HB635.

This is the sixth consecutive attempt by lawmakers in the state to extend gambling laws. Last year's attempt passed, making way for a comprehensive analysis of sports betting in the state, but its reach, which initially included online sports betting, was significantly reduced at the committee stage.

Let's hope Mississippi lawmakers have better luck this legislative session and we can finally see some movement in the Magnolia State.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board Hacked

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has announced via X that it has been hacked, resulting in the Board taking down its site until it can restore control. Until then, the Board is working on getting a temporary site up and running for those seeking information and relevant web links regarding gambling in Nevada.

This is Nevada's third major hack after MGM and Caesars were attacked last year. The NGCB has not announced any more details or disclosed what information has been compromised.  

Atlantic City Casinos To Ban Smoking Inside

This headline almost seems like a blast from the past - hasn't everywhere already banned smoking inside? Apparently not, because the word on the legislative string this week is that New Jersey's Atlantic City Casinos are finally considering prohibiting indoor smoking.

While the rest of New Jersey banned indoor smoking in 2006, currently, it is permitted on 25% of the casino floor. Health-conscious Atlantic City workers have long been fighting for reform, but concerned stakeholders are worried about the effect of a casino-wide smoking ban on businesses.

The Senate health committee has already approved the proposed smoking ban bill, and NJ Governor Phil Murphy has said he will sign it, bringing it into force, should it pass the final hurdles.

EveryMatrix Gets Supplier Approval from the PGCB

EveryMatrix has secured interim Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approval. This is the content aggregator's fifth US iGaming state, as it's already approved for online casinos in Connecticut, New Jersey, West Virginia, and Michigan

Erik Nyman, President of EveryMatrix US, said, "EveryMatrix's goal has been to obtain direct partnerships with leading operators and to ensure full market access. With regulatory approval in Pennsylvania, we have obtained just that. 

"This is a great start to 2024. We will continue to roll out our games portfolio and aggregation services to fill both the content gap while also adding rich bonus and gamification features that will be completely new to the US market. 

"This will significantly boost our customers' portfolios with proven, localized revenue-generating titles and present US players with the ultimate user experience that they can only receive via EveryMatrix."

In Other News

  • FanDuel collaborates with YouTube and TikTok content creator Vegas Matt to promote US content and responsible play.
  • David Highhill (NFL's general manager for sports betting) confirms three sports betting ads (DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM) will be shown during the Super Bowl on February 11th. The number of sports betting equates to less than 5% of the total during the match.
  • Flutter Entertainment (FanDuel) debuts on New York's stock exchange.
  • Hacksaw Gaming goes live with Hard Rock Digital in New Jersey, and its titles include Chaos Crew and Om Nom.

Game of the Week

DraftKings' Rocket, RTP:97%

This week, we're talking about an exclusive in-house game title that's reaching new heights of popularity with US players: DraftKings' Rocket. Rocket is a simple crash game, which means all you've got to do to win is set a bet and cash out before it blows - easy peasy.

It's a unique live title that tests your risk perception and offers max prizes of up to 1,000x your bet, which is an impressive one million dollars. The higher the rocket climbs, the higher the multiplier payout gets, but if you hang in too long, you'll lose the round when the rocket explodes.

Rocket is a live game, so you can only join during the betting period, which is around 30 seconds (if you're too late, don't worry; just wait for the next round to start). You can set either manual or automatic bets, and the same applies to cashouts. The advantage of using the auto cashout or bet features is that you don't need to be too hot on your timing; sit back and watch the action.

DraftKings Rocket Gameplay

When the bet countdown reaches zero, the rocket launches, steadily rising as the game continues. If you cash out before the crash, you get the bet multiplier shown at the time. Fly too long, and you'll sacrifice your astronaut.

You're not playing alone; other gamers are betting on the same flight, which adds the perfect community element, and you can see details of their bets and when they cash out at the top left of the game screen. Moreover, if you want to up the ante, you can play the DraftKings progressive jackpot side bet and take the chance to win even more!

As an in-house title created by DK, this game can only be played at DraftKings Casinos. Still, the good news is that they're active in every casino state - New Jersey, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Connecticut - so everyone can play. Plus, new members can claim a 100% cash match welcome bonus, meaning if you're not already a DraftKings player, there are plenty of reasons to sign up.

News and Analysis

New Revenue Records for Internet Casino States in 2023

  • New Jersey: In the race for revenue in 2023, New Jersey has officially come out on top, just slightly ahead of Pennsylvania, with total revenue of $5.78bn - a 10% increase from 2022. IGaming grew by 15.7% up to $1.92bn, while sports betting increased by a whopping 31.9% with a total revenue of $1.01bn.
  • Pennsylvania: Meanwhile, Pennsylvania had a solid year, starting ahead of NJ and taking a total gaming revenue of $5.69bn, up 9.3% on 2022. The Keystone state saw a massive jump in iGaming, which increased by 27.7% yearly (total revenue at $1.74bn), and sports betting increased by 14.31%.
  • Michigan: The Wolverine state also smashed through previous iGaming and online sport betting records with total revenue 18.3% higher than the preceding year, totaling $1.98bn. $1.90bn was generated from iGaming, with $420.4m from sports betting - both new annual highs.

Wazdan Live at Hard Rock Bet, NJ

Wazdan and Hard Rock Bet New Jersey have forged a new deal this week that will see classic Wazdan games, like Magic Starts and Sizzling Eggs, live at Hard Rock Bet. In the last few months, Wazdan has expanded across the USA under Light & Wonder and created partnerships with BetMGM and Tipico. 

Wazdan’s Head of Account Management for North America, Izabela Slodkowska-Popiel, said, “We’re thrilled to partner with a brand as impressive as Hard Rock and deliver some of our top-performing content to its customer base. Our partnership with Light & Wonder has driven us to new heights across North America, and we’re confident that this will be another exciting expansion for us.”

Hacksaw Gaming and RSI Extend Partnership to NJ

In more top news for New Jersey players, Hacksaw Gaming and Rush Street Interactive have extended their North American agreement to cover NJ. Top-rated Hacksaw titles, including Chaos Crew, are already live at BetRivers Casino in the Garden State, with more to follow over the coming months.

Marcus Cordes, CEO of Hacksaw Gaming, stated: “We are delighted to announce another successful launch with Rush Street Interactive. Securing New Jersey, a highly significant jurisdiction and pioneer on the American igaming front, should add to the already proven insightful and triumphant venture.” 

MGCB Sends Cease and Desist Orders to Three Illegal Operators

The Michigan Gaming Control Board is one of the most active regulators regarding enforcement action, especially against illegal operators. This has previously led to several legal cases and the destruction of thousands of illegal gaming machines

This week, the regulator has again hit the headlines for sending cease-and-desist orders to three unlicensed companies operating within Michigan’s state lines.

The companies are PredictionStrike, New York; Sweepstakes Limited, Cyprus; and VGW LuckyLand, Inc., California. The MGCB’s investigation concluded that:

  • PredictionStrike “offered internet gaming and internet sports betting in Michigan without being licensed in the state as an internet gaming operator and a sports betting operator.”
  • Sweepstakes Limited promoted “an unlicensed online lottery and/or raffle for customers that buy its products through its internet website (Stake.us).”
  • VGW was “conducting illegal gambling by offering an internet game in which a player wagers something of monetary value for the opportunity to win something of monetary value.”

In the press release, MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams said, “Gambling regulations are in place for a reason, and illegal gambling operations are not welcome in Michigan. We do not want businesses who skirt the law having access to Michigan citizens and leaving them vulnerable because they are playing on unregulated sites that leave them with no recourse, and that siphon funds away from communities because they are not paying taxes like a regulated, legal gambling establishment would.”

Game of the Week

Crazy Time - Evolution Gaming, RTP 95.5%

Crazy Time isn’t a new title (it was initially released in 2020), but it’s making its debut in the USA after gaining approval to go live at BetMGM, Borgata, and Party Casinos. 

Crazy Time isn’t complex, so anyone can play. It provides nonstop action and great prize potential, making it a hit title with players worldwide.

It’s essentially a money wheel game, but it comes with four epic bonus rounds that boost the payouts and excitement levels. The wheel is the main game, and it has 54 segments. Each bet gets you one spin, and the segment you land on is what you win. 

A top slot reel sits above the wheel and spins before the main round, randomly applying an extra multiplier to one of the numbered segments.

Crazy Time Gameplay by Evolution Gaming

The wheel is divided as follows:

  • 21 segments = 1x your stake.
  • 13 segments = 2x your stake.
  • 7 segments = 5x your stake.
  • 4 segments = 10x your stake.
  • 4 Coin Flip segments = the Coin Flip bonus round with a max win of 5,000x.
  • 2 Cash Hunt segments = the Cash Hunt bonus round with a max win of 10,000x.
  • 2 Pachinko segments = the Pachinko bonus round with a max win of 10,000x.
  • 1 Crazy Time segment = which can pay out up to 20,000x.

Let’s go through the bonus rounds:

  • Coin Flip: A multiplier is picked for each side before the coin is flipped. The outcome of the flip decides which multiplier payout you win.
  • Cash Hunt: 108 multipliers are shown on the screen and then shuffled. You get to pick one, which is the payout.
  • Pachinko: This is a traditional Pachinko game, and the payout for the round is determined by which multiplier hole the puck lands.
  • Crazy Time Bonus: This is the most challenging and most profitable round to trigger, with only one segment on the wheel. It’s the main attraction and takes you to a new money wheel containing massive multipliers. The round starts with you picking the green, blue, or yellow picker. The host then initiates the wheel spin, and the outcome is the segment your picker stops on, with max payouts up to 20,000x your bet. You can also hit the double or triple segments, which gives you a new spin and doubles or triples! 

Ready to play the USA’s hottest new live dealer game show? Then get in on the action at BetMGM, Borgata, or Party Casino (players who cannot use the listed sites due to state restrictions should use BetRivers.Net). Stakes start from $0.50 a round!

News and Analysis

Maryland Considers Greenlighting iGaming

Maryland Senator Ron Watson has announced he will introduce an iGaming and Poker proposal for the second year running during Maryland’s 2024 legislative session, which opened on Wednesday (17th Jan).

According to the state’s legislation tracker, the bill hasn’t yet been registered, but local newspapers are already reporting on it. This year’s bill edition differs from the 2023 version as it features significantly increased taxes, up from 15% to 46%+. 

The tax increase likely aims to satisfy opposition from the land-based casino industry. However, it doesn’t look good for online operators, as markets with a similarly high tax rate (Delaware) have stagnated since approving online gaming.

Should the bill pass (through the House, Senate, and then a public referendum), it’s expected to help relieve the state’s $400 million budget deficit.

Pennsylvania Contributed $8+m for Responsible Gambling in 2022-23

According to the Compulsive and Problem Gambling Report for 2023 (covering from July 2022 to June 2023), Pennsylvania contributed $8.3m towards responsible gambling. The report states that:

  • Approximately 48% of the funds were used for “the purpose of problem gambling needs assessments and prevention, outreach, and education programs, and other DDAP-approved services.” 
  • 17% was distributed directly to gambling treatment providers to provide outpatient gambling counseling. 
  • The remaining 35% was used for administration, oversight of the programs, training, and Helpline services associated with problem gambling.

During the period, 2834 helpline calls were made, an increase of 433 from the previous period. Additionally, “most callers were White men calling for themselves. The most frequently reported precipitating problem was financial hardship due to gambling (68%), and the most frequently identified type of problematic gambling was internet (30%).” 

iGaming off the Table? New York Hopes Dashed for 2024-2025

Alongside Maryland, New York is working hard to legalize iGaming as Senator Joseph Addabbo has again introduced an iGaming bill (S 8185). However, Governor Kathy Hochul released her executive budget yesterday (17th Jan) for the financial year 2025 without inclusions for NY online casinos, which means it’s now much more challenging for Senator Addabbo’s bill to gain traction.

S 8185 is similar to the 2023 draft and includes provisions for ten licenses at the cost of $2-$10m per application, a 30.5% tax rate of which 0.025% would be contributed to responsible gambling. The proposals estimate that New York could benefit from $1bn more in annual tax revenue should the bill pass.

NJ Report: iGaming “Detrimental” to Economy

A report conducted by the National Economic Research Associates (NERA) has concluded that iGaming is a “net negative” to the New Jersey economy. The report cautions that the cost of problem gambling cancels out tax contributions made by the industry, causing overall losses to the state.

Additionally, as the sector employs fewer people than the land-based industry, less money is reinvested in the New Jersey economy than expected. According to NERA, iGaming paid $110m in NJ wages in 2022, generating $22m in spending. If the same expenditure was seen in another industry, like dining, the report projected it would lead to $1bn in wages and generate $200m in spending.

While recognizing the powerful tax benefits the industry brings, the report argues that the cost of responsible gambling negatives (including healthcare, welfare, homelessness, and criminal justice) outweighs the tax benefits, based on economic studies and evidence from the UK.

The report is enlightening and should prompt lawmakers and regulators in NJ as well as across the whole of the US to consider more carefully the legitimacy of the gambling boom as well as protection measures for US players, especially in light of the growing problem gambling rates (NJ has a 6% rate of problem gamblers, three times the national average). However, it’s important to note that the UK has a very different public healthcare and welfare system from the states and, therefore, different spending.

New Jersey Revenue Smashes Records for 2023

NERA’s report comes alongside news of the New Jersey market breaking revenue records for 2023 and reporting an all-time high of $5.78bn. With total revenue up 10.9% in 2022, the NJ market grew across all three major verticals - land-based casinos, online casinos, and sports betting.

The land-based industry remained at the front, taking $2.86bn in revenue (up 2.2% YoY), iGaming stood at $1.92bn (15.7%+ YoY), and sports betting hit over $1bn for the first time ($1.1bn to be exact, up 31.9% YoY).

Other News

  • Vermont races towards OSB success: The Vermont legal sports betting market went live at midnight on 11th Jan with DraftKings, FanDuel, and Fanatics open for bets. 
  • Curb NJ ads and allow racetrack slots: Two bills have been introduced to the NJ Senate for consideration. The first seeks to allow slot machines at horse racing tracks, and the second wants to restrict gambling advertising in the Garden State to protect vulnerable players better. Both bills have failed to pass in previous years.

Game of the Week

Book of Armadillo Slot - Armadillo Studios, RTP:94.1%

Book of Armadillo Slot is brand new and based on the player-loved “book of” theme, except, in this title, it’s a cheeky armadillo taking to the Maya rainforests as the explorer extraordinaire.

Set on 5x3 reels with 10 lines, the game includes Free Spins, Wilds (also the Scatter), Expanding Symbols, Armadillo Cash Symbols, and Golden Book wagers. To start making line wins, you’ll need to land 3+ matching symbols from left to right on a payline. 

Book or Armadillo Slot Gameplay

You can play either in regular mode or the Golden Book Wager mode, which increases the bet by 70%. In return for the increased wager, Golden Armadillo Cash Tokens of 1-1000x become available on the reels, and there’s a supped-up “Golden” version of Free Spins. 

  • Regular Free Spins: 3+ Scatters trigger 10 Free Spins with Expanding Symbols. You can re-trigger the round by getting another 3 Scatter on the reels. 
  • Golden Armadillo Spins: 3+ Scatter and 1 Armadillo Book gets you 10 Golden Spins with up to 3 Expanding symbols. Get 2+ regular Scatter or 1+ Armadillo book for 5 extra spins.

Are you ready to join the reels and unearth hidden treasures? Then it’s time to spin. Bets start from $0.20, and the maximum win with this high volatility slot is 5,733x stake. You can play this title at EveryMatrix online casinos in the USA.

News and Analysis

Delaware Rising - First Sportsbook and RSI Takes Over Online Casinos

Rush Street Interactive has officially taken over the Delaware market, powering and relaunching the state's three online casinos (Delaware Park, Harrington Online, and Bally's Dover) under the BetRivers brand, as well as launching online sports betting at each site. 

Players can now place online sports bets for the first time in the Diamond State, with betting open on professional and collegiate games across 28 sports and markets, including spread bets, moneylines, futures, parlays, and props.

RSI has taken over from 888, which has been running the Delaware market since 2013. RSI and the Delaware Lottery have agreed to an initial five-year term, which can be extended. 

Helene Keeley, director for the Delaware Lottery, said, "RSI's successes in other jurisdictions, including neighbouring New Jersey and Pennsylvania, are impressive, along with the company's overall reputation and experience.

RSI's commitment to responsible gaming, quality products, breadth of gaming content and customer service are key reasons we are so excited to partner with them.

Together RSI and the Delaware Lottery are devoted to successfully delivering best-in-class products and services to our customers."

We certainly can't wait to see what happens to the Delaware market as RSI revitalizes it. As one of the first states to legalize online gaming, there were big hopes for online casinos in DE, but due to the high tax rates on gaming and restrictive licensing setup, the market has stagnated over the last ten years.

Maine Proposes Exclusive Tribal Gaming Rights

Lawmakers in Maine will hold a public hearing on Wednesday to decide whether to grant exclusive online gambling rights to tribes. Federally recognized tribes in Maine have been offering legal online sports betting since LD 585 legalized the activity, and the market launched in late 2023. However, some parties now seek to extend this to cover iGaming.

Three proposals will be heard (carried over from the previous legislative session), with opposition expected from current state governor Janet Mills. We'll bring you more on this story next week.

Detroit Casino Revenue Down 3.1% in 2023 

The yearly totals are in for Detroit, Michigan, showing a total revenue decline for the city's three land-based casinos of 3.1%. The drop is less significant than expected, given that Detroit's casinos were shut for over a month as staff struck in October and November, demanding better pay and working conditions.

MGM, the casino affected the longest by strike action, remained the market leader with a 46% share. MotorCity Casino placed second with a 31% market share, and Hollywood came in third with 23% of the market.

Prospect Georgia

SB 172, which seeks to legalize online sports betting in Georgia, has passed the Senate Regulated Industries vote by 8-4, meaning it will now advance to the full Senate for debate.

Legalized sports betting would require an amendment to the Georgia constitution and thus requires a two-thirds vote from the House and Senate to pass, after which it must be approved during a state-wide ballot.

Georgia is one of few US states where almost all gambling activities (lottery and charity-based gaming aside) remain illegal, including sports betting and land-based casinos.

Game of the Week

Mega Diamond Slot - AGS, RTP: 94%

This week, we're discussing a golden oldie and one of the most popular online slots on the market right now, AGS's Mega Diamond. Mega Diamond is a classic, three-reel slot game that's traditionally only been available at brick-and-mortar casinos until recently. 

This no-frills, all-action title is now available at US online casinos and offers high-roller fun with bets starting from $0.05 and reaching up to $360 a spin, with max payouts of $450,000. 

Mega Diamond Slot Gameplay

Like all true classics, the gameplay is simple, and all you need to do to start making wins is line up matching Mega Diamond, 7, or Bar Symbols. There are 9 paylines and some features to explore, including a progressive jackpot prize.

  • Multipliers: These can be randomly added to some number 7 symbols, increasing any line by 2-5x.
  • Wilds: The Mega Diamond symbols can act as Wilds, subbing for all other symbols except multipliers or other Mega Diamonds (there are three types of Mega symbols in total).
  • Jackpots: If you match 3 red Mega Diamond symbols on a payline, you'll get the largest jackpot; 3 blue and you get the second tier; 3 purple, you get the third tier payout; and lastly, if you get 3 mixed Mega Diamond symbols on a payline, you'll win the fourth tier (smallest) progressive jackpot.

And that, Folks, is all you need to know to play and win Mega Diamond online slot. Aside from that, the higher your stake, the higher your chances of hitting a jackpot payout! Ready to spin? Then, set your bets and check it out at these AGS online casinos.

News and Analysis

Bill Miller Shares AGA Achievements in 2023

Rounding up 2023, AGA CEO and President Bill Miller highlighted the organization's work in fighting illegal gambling, leading responsibly, shaping conversations through research, advancing priorities in Washington, and gathering gaming leaders. 

Of particular interest to gaming executives is the research undertaken by the AGA in 2023, which revealed the organization to be a heavyweight in this respect as it leveraged resources and produced reports detailing the gaming contributes $330 billion to the US economy, supporting 1.8m jobs and generating $53 billion in taxes. Additional research into social attitudes also showed that 71% of Americans now recognize the positive economic contributions made by the gambling industry. 

Miller also focused on achievements for responsible gambling, stating the AGA had strengthened its Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering, developed an anti-human trafficking guide in gaming, and launched a new effort to bring together a responsible gambling initiative that can keep pace with the ever-changing industry.

Wazdan Hits PlayStar Casino Lobby

Wazdan has made further strides into the New Jersey market after going live at PlayStar Casino. The popular developer, already present at DraftKings, BetRivers, and Tipico Casinos, is distributed via Light & Wonder's aggregation division. The available Wazdan games include the smash hit 9 Coins, Sun of Fortune, Power of Gods: Hades, and the studio's in-house mechanics, including Hold Jackpot.

The Chief Commercial Officer for Wazdan said, "Our growth in New Jersey has been extremely positive for us, and we're delighted to be partnering with our latest operator in the state. Our engaging, immersive content has proven to be a hit with players and we're looking forward to delivering even further great experiences to end users." 

MGM Donates $360K to ICRG

MGM Resorts rounded up 2023 by donating $360,000 to the International Center of Responsible Gaming. The funds will be used for two projects that will help understand, prevent, and address gambling addiction and problem gambling. 

ICRG President Arthur Paikowsky said, "We salute MGM Resorts for supporting our research that will answer the many questions we have about the impact of gender on gambling disorder and address the health risks of casino employees."

While we also salute any contributions from gambling operators made towards improving responsible gambling research and treatment, we're also left wondering if US operators are doing enough. In 2022, MGM Resorts netted over $6.475 billion in profit, making this donation a drop in sea, at under 0.0055% of that figure. It also pales in comparison to Bally’s record-breaking $1 million donation two months ago.

Game of the WeekSmash Nudge Skillstar by Lightning Box, RTP: 96% (ranges)

Smash Nudge Skillstar is a 5x4 reel slot that comes with 40 lines, top prizes of 5,044x the bet, Skillstar Mini-Game, Wild Nuges, Multipliers, and Free Spins! Let's dive straight in and talk about how to win.

Set at a retro roller skating rink, this game is packed with action, and awards wins for matching 3+ symbols from left to right on any of the 40 fixed lines. There are two Wild Symbols: the Trophy, which is the regular wild, and the Wild Nudge, which always lands stacked and can expand across entire reels and move left or right (nudging).

Smash Nudge Skillstar Slot Gameplay

Star Symbols are the scatters and 3-5 triggers 8-20 Free Spins. During the round, an extra multiplier reel is added, which can randomly dish out 2-10x multipliers on each spin, seriously increasing the prize potential. That's not all; before you enter the Free Spins round, you can play the Skillstar Mini-Game, which doesn't offer any prizes but is great fun. The aim here is simple: avoid collisions with other players while skating and preserve your lives (you have three).

Ready to play? Then, it's time to get your game on with this arcade-styled number. It's available from $0.40 a spin at these Lightning Box Casinos.

That's it from us for this week, folks. It's great to be back, and we hope you've all had a great festive break. We'll bring you more of the latest iGaming headlines from the USA next week.

News and Analysis

Relax Gaming Hit the Reels at BetMGM NJ 

The US gaming market is heating up, with more content suppliers getting regulatory approval this year than ever before. This time, it’s the turn of Relax Gaming, which has received a transactional vendor waiver from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and has announced its upcoming launch at BetMGM in the Garden State.

Relax Gaming is an award-winning and leading aggregator and content studio world-renowned for its unique game content, with hit titles including Temple Tumble, Money Train, Hellcatraz, and The Great Pigsby. They are also the creators of the Dream Drop Jackpots mechanic, which made 11 millionaires in the space of a year.

Here’s what Simon Hammon, Relax Gaming’s CEO, had to say, “Launching in New Jersey is a landmark moment for our company…We have enjoyed many successful launches across a number of key regulated markets in the past few years. This one is no doubt one of the biggest to date. BetMGM’s ethos perfectly aligns with our vision and we expect our partnership to truly flourish.”

Kentucky OSB Market Takes $300m+ in First Month

The figures are out, and it’s official: Kentucky residents spent $323.6m betting online in October and the final three days of September (online sports betting launched on September 28th). 

Adjusted gross revenue totaled $54.2m, with FanDuel leading the market and accounting for $20.3m (total betting $131.2m). DraftKings rolled into second place at $19.5m (total bets $124.9m), and Bet365 in third, accruing $8.6m in revenue (total bets $31.2m).

The retail market, which opened earlier than online wagers, was outshined with total betting from September 7th - October 31st reaching $17.1m and revenue at $2.2m.

Fanatics Launches Straight out of the Gate and into the Connecticut Market

Just last week, we brought you news that Fanatics has been named the new official partner of the CT Lottery, taking over from Rush Street Interactive. It didn’t take long for Fanatics to make its move, as yesterday, the powerhouse operator announced its soft launch in the state.

The platform is open and accepting 2,000 customers before the full launch, which is scheduled for the 18th. Its ten new CT retail locations are also available. Since June, when Fanatics acquired PointsBet, the sports betting platform has launched in eight states, with Connecticut the ninth. 

DraftKings (current frontrunner in revenue) and FanDuel (Mohegan Sun) also offer online sports betting in CT, so Fanatics is going head-to-head against some of the best US operators. We can’t wait to see how the market share levels out. 

The Importance of Transparency: DKs Faces Lawsuit Over Bonuses in Massachusetts 

Transparency is significant in gambling, especially regarding bonus wording, representation, and wagering requirements. However, in the US, a much younger gambling market, it hasn’t garnered the same level of attention as in other markets, but things might be about to change. 

This week, DraftKings MA has found themselves subject to a class action lawsuit brought by MA’s Public Health Advocacy Institute on behalf of two players. The case accuses DraftKings of not being clear regarding the terms of their sign-up bonus, which the plaintiffs claim was “deceptive.” It goes even further, claiming DraftKings knowingly and unfairly designed its sign-up bonus to trick players into depositing and spending large amounts, knowing many would not receive it. 

The terms of the deal, which the plaintiffs say they were not aware of, included that players must make an initial deposit of $5,000 to receive a $1,000 non-withdrawable bonus. According to the case, players must also stake $25,000 in qualifying bets during the promotion’s validity period. 

Both plaintiffs have said they were confused after making the initial deposit when they did not receive the bonus. The lawsuit states that; “DraftKings’ advertising of the bonus is unfair and deceptive because an eligible consumer who, by definition, is a new participant in Massachusetts sports betting, like the plaintiffs, would be unlikely to understand the cost and risk involved in qualifying for the $1,000 bonus.”

“DraftKings knew, or should have known, that its advertisement and promotion was deceptive to its target customers, who were customers new to sports betting and who were extremely unlikely to understand the details of the promotion, even if it were in readable English on the company’s platform or in a font size that a reasonable consumer could be expected to actually read.”

It continues, “Marketers of a known addictive product should take special precautions to minimise addiction risk, not require $25,000 of gambling to qualify for a promotional offer to new customers who are likely to be gambling-naive. DraftKings’ promotion is an unfair business practice for this reason as well.”

For gambling to be fair and safe, players must understand what they are partaking in, which means complete transparency and player-centered, responsible terms from operators. While this is one of the first cases of its kind in the USA, bonus terms and conditions have been receiving more attention from global regulators as they are linked with gambling addiction. Last year, the UK Gambling Commission called out wagering requirements as potentially “encouraging excessive play” in that they bind players to gamble unsustainable amounts to meet bonus terms.

Problem gambling is a growing problem in the USA. We recently took a look at rates of gambling addiction in online casino states, which showed figures way above the national average. You can check out our findings here.

FanDuel on the Wrong Side of Responsibility 

In another strike against responsible gambling efforts in the USA this week, it’s been revealed that FanDuel lobbied against new rules introduced to New York in October that stop the advertising of sports betting near college and university grounds.

This was not the only measure FanDuel appealed against; they also said that responsible gambling messaging on advertisements took up too much space and spoke against making operators directly accountable for false, deceptive, or misleading statements made by marketing companies advertising their services.

While there were some clear arguments regarding the practicality of some of the new rules made by the operator, it is still disappointing news. In other markets where FanDuel operates, the company has been regarded as a forward-thinking operator, often inputting responsible measures ahead of regulation. If you want to read more about this case, you can find the full text in the New York State Register.  

Slot Game of the Week

Team Santa Power Combo Slot by Aurum Signature Studios, RTP 96.4%

We’re keeping on theme with the festivities and celebrating an Aurum Signature Studios Slot this week. If you’ve not heard of this studio before, don’t panic; it’s because they are distributed under the EveryMatrix label in the US. 

Set on 5x4 reels with 40 lines, this game can deliver with max payouts of 10,000x available on a single spin, multiple Free Spin modes, and jackpot prizes. 

The high-paying symbols are everything you’d expect from a Christmas-themed slot, and you’ll find a Jolly Santa, Reindeer, Present List, Santa’s Snacks, and a Stocking at the top paytable, followed by A-9. The Wild is a cute snow globe that can appear on reels 2-4 and sub for non-bonus symbols. There’s also a Pocket Watch, which awards a multiplier or letter symbol.

Team Santa Power Combo Slot Gameplay

There are three Scatters: the Green, Red, and Blue Presents. These can be collected to trigger different Free Spins rounds:

  • Green Scatter: This awards 5 Free Spins on 5x6 reels with 100 lines. Every Wild that lands nudges and fills that reel. Landing more Green Scatter increases the spins.
  • Red Scatter: This grants 10 Free Spins with the chance to win a jackpot. Pocket Watch symbols can award multipliers between 1-10x or letters. You win the corresponding pot if you spell out a jackpot (Grand, Major, Minor, or Mini).
  • Blue Scatter: This gives 5 Free Spins with a random prize multiplier (2-10x) applied to each spin.

If you land a combo of different color scatters, you’ll get a special Free Spins round that combines features for epic action on the reels!

Ready to play? Then check out Team Santa Power Combo at any of our recommended EveryMatrix US Casinos and load up the reels from $0.20 to $20 a spin.

News and Analysis

Fanatics Replaces RSI as the Official Partner of the Connecticut Lottery

The Connecticut Lottery has named Fanatics its new sports betting partner after news earlier in the year that they would be winding down their partnership with Rush Street Interactive. Fanatics sports will be available across ten retail locations and to players via mobile app. Fanatics CT is expected to go live in mid-December.

Greg Smith, President and CEO of the CT Lottery, said, “Fanatics is the only true sports brand in the gaming space and has established itself as an innovator in the industry. We have been impressed with the Fanatics team, their aggressive entry into the US sports betting market and we are excited to see how they redefine the sports betting customer experience here in Connecticut. CLC anticipates notable market share growth as a result of this partnership.”

This agreement rounds up what has been an unbelievable year for Fanatics, who acquired PointsBet US in the spring and has since launched it in 14 US states. Fanatics will go head to head against DraftKings and FanDuel (Mohegan Sun) in the state.

Only three operators are allowed in CT, with one sports betting license for the Mashantucket and Mohegan tribes and one run by the CT Lottery. The Mashantucket and Mohegan tribes also have the right to operate one CT online casino skin each.

North Carolina Takes One Step Closer to Opening Sports Market

Sports betting operator and supplier license applications are open in North Carolina. Once an application is submitted, the North Carolina State Lottery Commission has 60 days to review each. Operators then have ten days to rectify any issues highlighted if a license is not approved.

Sports betting became legal in North Carolina in June when HB 347 was signed into law. However, the Commission is still hard at work creating the regulatory regime for the state. According to HB 347, the rules must be finalized by January 8th. The market launch date is still to be set, but regulators have said it won’t be before 2024’s Super Bowl. The original deadline is June 14th, but there’s hope things will be ready before this.

Cari Boyce, Chair of the Sports Betting Committee, commented, “It is too soon to tell when betting will start … we want to get a fair and responsible programme up and running as soon as possible before the June deadline. We also want to make sure we get as much right up front as possible.” 

We’ll bring you more on the story and let you know which operators get the green light as soon as the information is available.

DGC Joins Caesars Online Lobby

It’s been a big month for games at Caesars Casino as last week they added EveryMatrix to their online platform, and now it’s been announced that gaming supplier DGC is joining the ranks in Pennsylvania. DGC is already live at Caesars Michigan, but not in other states.

DGC games are some of the most iconic titles online, and Caesars PA players will soon have access to Thunderstruck, Adventures of Doubloon Island, Gold Blitz, Book of Oz, Assassins Moon, and others. 

The Chief Commercial Officer at DGC said, “Each of our titles has been developed specifically to hit the mark with U.S. players, and this is why they are so sought-after across regulated states and it’s great to see Caesars Digital extending its partnership with us to ensure its players in Pennsylvania can fire up the reels on the most thrilling slots in the market.”

Detroit Casino Strikes Finally Over

Our last headline for this week is news that MGM Grand Detroit workers have left the picket line and returned to work after 47 days of strikes. Workers from Hollywood and MotorCity Casino have already returned to work, signing new contracts on November 17th, but MGM workers strung out negotiations longer. 

The finalized MGM contracts are valid for five years and include the largest-ever wage increase for workers in the history of the casino (an 18% rise), alongside a host of other benefits. The new contracts were ratified on December 2nd.

Game of the Week

A Christmas Full of Wilds, Greentube, RTP: 94.69%

This week, we’re getting in the festive mood and talking about a new slot game hitting high notes with players - A Christmas Full of Wilds by Greentube Gaming. Set on 5x4 reels with 30 lines, it comes with Cascading Wins, a Lock and Spin Bonus, four types of Wilds, and a unique Trail Win feature that delivers plenty of Christmas treats. Let’s dive in and take a look at how it works.

Christmas Full of Wilds - Greentube

Image credit: Greentube Games

To start winning coins, you need to match 3+ symbols, from left to right, on one of the 30 betlines. When you do, you’ll trigger a payout and a cascade, with the winning symbols leaving the reels and new ones falling, giving you a second shot at winning.

Trail Win

Above the reels is a trail of wooden symbols; with each consecutive winning spin, you’ll move one spot on the trail. Non-winning spins send you back to the start and reset the trail. Each time the trail resets, the length and available bonuses (Wilds or Lock and Spins) change, meaning sometimes you can win a feature quickly, and other times, it’ll take a little longer.

Wilds

There are 4 types of Wilds available in Santa’s trail, and each is designed to increase the win potential:

  • Wild Guns: Santa shoots at the reels, sending several Wilds loose and potentially causing betline wins.
  • Wild Drones: This is the same as the above, except it’s drone randomly dishing out the Wilds.
  • Wild Phones: Santa picks one symbol using his phone, causing all the matching symbols on the reels to be replaced with Wilds.
  • Wild Cameras: When Santa takes a photo of a symbol, all matching characters can turn into Colossal Wilds of 2x2, 3x3, or 4x4.

Lock and Spins Feature

If you land on the Lock and Spins Feature, you’ll kick off an epic bonus round. The round starts with 3 spins, and each reel position acts as an individual reel. Every time a new symbol lands, the total spins resets to 3, and symbols are locked during the round. There are only bauble Multipliers (0.5-9x the total bet) and Golden Presents on the reels. 

At the end of the round, golden presents reveal one of the four wilds, and all your wins are added up. If you fill the reels, you’ll get a bonus present of 1,000x the total bet! The round ends if you hit 3 consecutive spins without adding a new symbol to the reels.

Ready to bring in the festive cheer and take this brand-new game for a spin? Then load up a Greentube Casino and start playing.

News and Analysis

Caesars Online Casino ups its Game

It's been a busy week for Caesars online casino as they've added not one but two iGaming giants to their online platform. Both IGT and EveryMatrix have joined the ranks and bolstered the number of games available to US players. 

The deal with EveryMatrix sees titles from the aggregator's substantial collection alongside its in-house studio, Armadillo, go live at Caesars in New Jersey, Michigan, and West Virginia. Pennsylvania and Connecticut will follow once full regulatory approval has been secured. 

EveryMatrix President Erik Nyman commented, "Caesars is one of the most iconic brands in the US and we are very excited to bring our unique games and aggregation capabilities onboard with them enabling them to elevate their already strong momentum in igaming."

In the second deal of the week, IGT and Caesars have also joined forces to provide West Virginia players with access to the studio's iconic and vast library of games. This includes titles specifically adapted for the platform, like Caesars Cleopatra. This partnership, alongside an agreement brokered earlier in the year between Caesars and Inspired Gaming is excellent news for WV players, as to date, the platform has been limited, offering under 100 titles.

New York Launches VSE Support Program

"Assisting those in need of help through providing care and concern is at the core of what NYCPG does, and the launch of this new program exemplifies that care and concern by breaking down barriers. The new online notary services make it easier for individuals to complete remote VSE while also connecting to one of our caring staff members who are knowledgeable about the process."

NY Council on Problem Gambling Executive Director James Maney

New York's Responsible Play Partnership has doubled down, improving its Voluntary Self Exclusion (VSE) program to better direct gamblers experiencing compulsion to support services. According to the New York Office of Addiction Services and Support (OASAS) in 2020, their Problem Gambling Prevalence Survey reported that "4.4 percent of adults in NY are at risk for developing a gambling problem and an additional 0.7 percent meet the criteria for problem gambling or a gambling disorder." 

Since the last survey, problem gambling rates have likely grown, coinciding with the 2022 launch of online sports betting in the state. Providing a support program alongside VSE programs is the right way to go, as gambling support charities recommend that additional support with longer-term exclusion leads to a higher success rate in reducing return gambling.

OASAS Commissioner Dr. Chinazo Cunningham also commented, "OASAS oversees a robust system of prevention, treatment, harm reduction and recovery services for those affected by addiction across the state, including problem gambling. Voluntary self-exclusion can be an effective prevention strategy to reduce gambling harms, and this new support program not only provides a way for people to complete the self-exclusion process, but also offers an opportunity to connect to OASAS local problem gambling community support services to assist in mitigating further harm."

Problem gambling is becoming more salient in the USA. Most recently, the NJDGE announced that the state had a problem gambling rate of almost 6%, which prompted us to create the most comprehensive responsible gambling guide currently available to US players. If you've not caught it, check out the link.

Hacksaw Hits New Jersey

Hacksaw Gaming has been awarded a provisional license to supply games in New Jersey with plans to launch content before the end of the year. The approval follows the studio's earlier launch at BetRivers Casino in West Virginia. Hacksaw is distributed under Light & Wonder in the US.

The studio is a worldwide hit and rising star of the industry that launched in 2018 and has already created over 40 games. Their most popular titles include Cash Quest, Joker Bombs, R.I.P City, Book of Time, and Chaos Crew.

In the official press release, Marcus Cordes, CEO of Hacksaw Gaming, commented: "Hacksaw is unstoppable in its ventures. We are ecstatic to see the rate at which we are broadening our horizons, and the headway we are making in getting the recognition our content deserves. There is no doubt that Hacksaw will thrive in the US."

As big fans of this studio, we cannot wait to follow their progress with US players.

European and North American Gaming Regulators Unite

Over 100 regulators in Europe and North America are joining forces to share information and exchange knowledge in one of the most significant collaborations ever seen in gaming. Brokered between the Gambling Regulators European Forum (GREF) and the North America Gaming Regulators Association (NAGRA), the partnership will strengthen links between jurisdictions and improve regulation while sharing information on risks and challenges experienced in both continents. It presents an attitude shift in the way regulators are approaching the market and regulation.

NAGRA president Ryan Winfield commented, "The power of partnership and collaboration between GREF and NAGRA is important in this ever-evolving industry. The changing landscape and the future of gaming makes it imperative that we reach out to other organizations in the industry in order to remain informed as we tirelessly serve our communities. This commitment to collaboration and communication will serve people across the globe."

This regulatory collaboration comes not long after the UK Gambling Commission's Tim Miller extended similar sentiments for worldwide gambling regulators to work together to combat illegal gambling and improve industry regulation.

Playtech Unveils Third US Live Dealer Studio

In yet another nugget of supplier news for the week, Playtech has launched its third live casino studio in the US, this time in Pennsylvania. The studio started streaming on the 28th, beginning with Blackjack and Roulette tables. Playtech already offers live content to online casinos in Michigan and New Jersey.  Additional live dealer options at Pennsylvania online casinos will provide more choices for players, as currently, only Evolution Gaming titles are offered.

Game of the Week

Chaos Crew, Hacksaw Gaming, RTP 96.3%

Celebrating the launch of Hacksaw Gaming in New Jersey, our slot game of the week, Chaos Crew, is one of the studio's most popular and innovative titles. Initially released in 2020, this punky slot promises all the action you'll need for a top-class weekend and is set on 5x5 reels with 15 paylines. The game showcases what Hacksaw Gaming is all about and excellent stats, including an over-the-average RTP, a hit rate of 23%, and maximum payouts of 10,000x the bet.

While mayhem controls the reels, there are some rules you need to know, like how to activate the bonus rounds to win the max payout potential. The first bonus symbol is the Wild, AKA Cranky the Cat. This symbol subs for others to make a bet line win, and when it does, it adds a Mystery Multiplier of 2, 3, or 5x. Use more than one Wild in a winning line, and the multipliers multiply each other.

The second bonus symbol is the Scatter. To trigger the Free Spins, you must land 3+ Scatter Symbols. This awards 3 Free Spins; every time you score a winning symbol, the number of spins resets to 3. The round will only end when you hit 3 non-winning spins in a row.

You're not aiming for line wins when you play this round, and the regular symbols don't count. Instead, only Stetchy Skulls, Epic Sketchy Skills, Cranky Cats, and Epic Cranky Cats award payouts. The good news is these symbols award supped up, multiplier payouts, adding between 1-20x your reel total.

The reel total is the number above each of the 5 reels during free spins, and it's how the total payout from the round is calculated. At the end of the round, these numbers are all added up and multiplied by the current bet level for the total payout!

Chaos Crew Online Slot Game

If you're ready to try out a different type of slot that's a little bit wild, this is the game for you. Bets start from $0.20 and go up $100 a spin, and you can find it at BetRivers online casinos!

News and Analysis

American Gaming Association: US Remains on Course for Highest-Ever Grossing Year

The American Gaming Association has released figures for quarter three, 2023, revealing it as the industry's best third quarter on record and the 11th quarter of consecutive growth for the US. In total, $16.17 billion was generated, according to the AGA's commercial gaming revenue tracker, which is up 6.1% YoY. This quarter is also the second-highest grossing on record.

Increased revenue was witnessed across all verticals, particularly iGaming, which was up 26% YoY. Meanwhile, in-person and online sports betting saw a 22.8% increase caused by new states legalizing the activity (Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Ohio). 

AGA President and CEO Ben Miller commented, "With growth across land-based and online gaming, we are delivering career opportunities for millions of Americans and strong economic contributions to communities across the country through increased tax revenue."

He also reminded stakeholders that while record numbers of bettors were using legal platforms and migrating away from offshore options as new states opened their markets, there was a "need for federal and state enforcement against illegal, offshore operators."

The State of Play: Revenue Round-Ups for October

Continuing on the financial theme, revenue figures are in for New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Delaware for October 2023 - let's take a look.

New Jersey

Gambling revenue in NJ was up 9.3%, with online casinos and sportsbooks steaming ahead. Total revenue reached $487.1m for the month, up on last year but down 6.6% on September's figures. Revenue from online games also increased by 13.3%. The most popular NJ online casino was Golden Nugget, then Resorts, with Borgata in third. Sports betting revenue increased 18.4% YoY.

Pennsylvania

Total gambling revenue in PA increased 7.3% YoY, hitting $483m. Retail slots contributed almost 40% of the total. iGaming also showed a substantial yearly increase, up 24.3%, totaling $154.8m, but fell short of September 2023's record-breaking $159.5m. Hollywood Casino was the most popular PA gambling site, followed by FanDuel and BetRivers.

Michigan

In Michigan, online sports bettors broke records, placing a massive $533m in bets. It was the first time online wagers in the state have exceeded $500m. However, when accounting for promotional spending, adjusted gross receipts (AGR) looked quite different; the market posted a total of $167.7m for iGaming and sports, which was up 5.8% YoY. Breaking it down, iGaming grew by 13.9%, while sports AGR fell by 26.1% YoY. Land-based casino revenue also declined, down 19.5% compared with October last year. However, this is in the context of Michigan's ongoing casino worker strikes (more on this below)

Delaware

Lastly, Delaware witnessed a 173.1% monthly increase in sports betting revenue, with the total peaking at $2.6m, up from $958,547 in September 2023. Sadly, the same increase was not visible in iGaming, as revenue dropped 18% YoY and 11.3% compared with September this year. Delaware Park remained the most popular online casino in Delaware for sports betting and iGaming.

PariPlay Joins Hard Rock NJ Games Lobby

PariPlay becomes the latest content aggregator to join the casino ranks at Hard Rock Bet NJ. Under the agreement, PariPlay will provide its full suite of games, along with titles from its popular in-house studio, Wizard Games.

This move will bolster Hard Rock’s lobby (currently home to around 500 options) and provide players with hit titles, including Dragons of the North, Wolf Riches, Wildwood Buffalo, and Book of Eternal Romance. 

Senior Casino VP at Hard Rock, Grant Williams, said, "We're thrilled to be adding Wizard Games' expansive and innovative portfolio to our highly rated Hard Rock Bet platform in New Jersey. With a huge selection of slots, table games, and live dealer options, Hard Rock Bet is entertaining our players like no one else can."

Detroit Casino Strikes Continue

On Monday, after 32 days of strike action, news broke that a tentative deal had been struck between Detroit's three land-based casinos and union workers. However, despite scoring the largest pay increase in the history of Detroit Casinos (18%), employees from MGM Grand have turned down the deal, deciding to stay put at the picket.

In contrast, 2,100 employees from Hollywood Casino and Motor City Casino voted in favor of the new contracts, leaving MGM to return to the negotiation table alone.

In other news:

  • The Florida Supreme Court rejected a motion to stop the re-launch of Hard Rock Bet.
  • Fanatics West Virginia is now live and offering sports betting and casino games. Players who previously held PointsBet WV accounts can use the same login details. Accounts have been automatically migrated, including balances, reward points, and responsible gambling settings.

Game of the Week

Electric Jungle - Bragg Gaming (Atomic Slot Lab), RTP: 95.57%

You might be wondering how a slot game with a slightly below-average RTP made it to our slot game of the week rankings. Well, the answer is simple: this new game provides action-packed gameplay, and a re-spins feature that we can't stop talking about. 

Set on 5x4 reels with 50 lines, it takes players deep into the rainforest for electrifying wins, and it's all about the Re-Spins and Free Spins features. Let's start with the Re-Spins. 

To unlock the round, you must land 6 or more Golden Gorilla Scatters, which provides 3 Re-Spins. This round is epic, as each row can expand and has positions that spin individually. During the round, you aim to collect more Golden Scatters. Each new one that lands sticks then expands the reel to create an extra reel position. It also resets the spins to 3. If you grow the reels to the maximum potential additional prizes, including Free Spins, multipliers, or one of four fixed jackpots, are up for grabs.

Electric Jungle Slot

If you don't hit Free Spins through the Re-Spins round, don't worry; you can also trigger it using the second Scatter symbol, the game logo, in the base game. Simply land 3, 4, or 5 scatter for 10, 20, or 50 spins. You can also re-trigger the round while you play, and line wins of 6 or more symbols transform into Gem Wilds!

Ready to take this thrilling new slot for a spin? Then stakes start from $0.50 to $200, the max payout potential is 5,680x your bet, and you can play it at these Bragg Gaming Casinos.

All right, that’s it for this week, folks. From the Casino Cabbie team, we wish you all a fantastic Thanksgiving - enjoy celebrating!

News and Analysis

ESPN Bet Live in 17 States with Online Casino in MI, NJ, PA, and WV

In the biggest story of the week, it’s official: ESPN Bet is live. The platform opened its virtual doors on Tuesday under Penn Entertainment. The brand new sports betting site has gone live in 17 states, with online casino verticals under Penn’s Hollywood Casino brand, offered to players in Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Jay Snowden, CEO and president of PENN Entertainment, said, "We're extremely proud to introduce ESPN BET and look forward to delivering an exceptional customer experience to fans across the U.S.

Our successful launch is the culmination of months of hard work across both teams and we could not be more excited to roll out ESPN BET in partnership with ESPN. PENN’s operational excellence paired with ESPN's unmatched brand and reach is a powerful combination that will drive this compelling new sportsbook.”

The original Hollywood online casino platform, currently available in Pennsylvania, will close permanently on December 14th. There’s no automatic migration in place, and players must sign up for a new account using ESPNbet.com.

West Virginia Goes for Poker Gold and Joins The Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement

In the second biggest story of the week, West Virginia has become the fifth official signatory to join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA). 

The first and only of its kind, MSIGA, was created in 2014 and applies to poker. It allows for cross-border games and shared prize pots, meaning poker players in WV can soon go head-to-head against those in New Jersey, Delaware, Nevada, and Michigan. With more players adding to the pool, it's set to increase the competitive quality of games and the size of prize pots, so this is excellent news. 

According to West Virginia Lottery Assistant Director Randy Burnside, the next steps involve WV online casinos, like BetMGM and FanDuel, getting MSIGA members' approval and testing the product before going live. 

New York Becomes the First State to Pass the $2bn a Month Mark

October revenue figures are in, and New York has officially become the first state to process more than $2 billion in internet sports wagers across a single month. The total was $2.1 billion, a whopping 30.5% increase YoY. FanDuel remained the market leader, followed by DraftKings, which placed second, and BetMGM in third.

Strikes in Michigan See Revenues Fall Almost 20%, While Nevada Avoids Walk Out

We’ve talked a lot about strikes over the last month as Michigan and Vegas casino employees have been fighting for higher wages and benefits and more job security. The Vegas saga finally drew to a close last Friday, with BetMGM, Caesars, and Wynn all negotiating in the final hours before staff hit the picket line.

But, things are not looking so rosy in Michigan, where 3,700 workers from Detroit's five land-based casinos have been on strike since October 17th. Figures have now revealed that casino revenue has dropped 19.45% YoY.

There’s no end in sight for Michigan, as earlier this week, workers doubled down efforts and called on residents to boycott Michigan’s online casinos and sportsbooks.

Social Casinos Under the Hammer

A class action suit by Nevada resident Steven Horn seeks legal address against Amazon for supplying social casino apps. The lawsuit argues that social casino apps are, in fact, akin to illegal gambling as they offer highly addictive games that are profitable and use virtual coins, which players can buy and, therefore, equate to real money. 

The lawsuit targets Amazon for supplying the apps and demands the company, which it says takes a 30% cut of each bet, to return the illegal proceeds it has made. The legal text reads, “By utilizing Amazon for distribution and payment, the social casinos entered into a mutually beneficial business partnership. In exchange for distributing the casino games, providing them valuable data and insight about their players and collecting money from consumers, Amazon takes a 30% commission on every wager, earning billions in revenue.

The result (and intent) of this dangerous partnership is that consumers become addicted to social casino apps, maxing out their credit cards with purchases amounting to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Consumers addicted to social casinos suffer a variety of non-financial damages ranging from depression to divorce to attempted suicide.”

Social casinos are considered legal in most US states because players do not have to buy coins, and they provide free virtual gaming. However, past challenges have set the standard, such as the 2018 IGT case in Washington, which ended in a $415m settlement and social casinos refusing players from this state.

NJ Casinos in to Forfeit $75K in Illegal Winnings

NJ land-based casinos are in hot water after the NJDGE revealed several violations dating back to 2020. Ocean Casino, Resorts, Golden Nugget, Ballys, Harrah’s, and Parx were named as accepting illegal bets from underage or self-excluded players. Resorts was the biggest offender in financial terms and was ordered to forfeit $51,643 in winnings, $33,590 of which came from one single, self-excluded player. 

Meanwhile, online casinos in NJ have also been flouting rules, as both DraftKings and Rush Street Interactive have received fines. DraftKings received a $7,500 fine for allowing a self-excluded player to make an account, and BetRivers (Rush Street Interactive) was handed a $2,500 sanction for accepting wagers on unapproved events.

This information adds to research published by the NJDGE in October, showing NJ’s problem gambling rate stood at 6% and points to serious, responsible gambling compliance issues in the state.

Game of the Week

Triple Wild Thanksgiving Slot: Everi, RTP 95%+

If you’re getting ready for Thanksgiving and ready to bring home the Turkey, this is the perfect slot game to get you in the mood, and it’s brand new, released just three days ago!

Set on 5x3 reels, this charming number delivers warm holiday vibes to your mobile or desktop device. It comes with classic graphics and gameplay that’ll reel you in, plus a triple wild symbol that adds a twist and bonus rounds to increase the win potential.

Ready to find out more? You’ll need to load up this slot and give it a spin, as we won’t give away the holiday secrets! It’s already live, so check it out at these Everi Casinos.

News and Analysis

Maine legal online sports betting is live! DraftKings and Caesars launched on the first day of legal betting, November 3rd, almost 18 months since Gov. Janet Mills signed LD 585 into law. Genius Sports has also secured temporary approval from the Maine Gambling Control Unit (MGCU) but is yet to launch.

LD 585 allows Maine tribes to apply for online sports betting licenses or to partner with one online operator per tribe. Meanwhile, racetracks, retail wagering operations, and off-track services may apply for retail licenses.

A spokesperson from the Maine State Police thanked local authorities and the sports betting industry for their patience and input in creating the state's gambling rules and infrastructure. 

Meanwhile, Caesars Digital President Eric Hession said, "Maine sports fans deserve an elevated sports wagering experience that matches the pedigree of sports fandom in New England. The launch of Caesars Sportsbook delivers on that pedigree.

We have a platform built for the modern sports fan 21 and older with exciting ways to wager responsibly on the sports they love. 

We'd like to thank Governor Janet Mills and the Maine legislature for making this launch possible, as well as the Maine Gambling Control Unit (MGCU) for all they have done throughout this process."

This is excellent news for players and the state coffers, which will be significantly bolstered by tax revenues generated from sports betting legalization.

Wazdan Games Live at Tipico NJ 

Wazdan content (via Light & Wonder) has gone live at its third New Jersey online casino this week after striking a deal with Tipico Casino. The games provider is already available at BetRivers and DraftKings, with this new deal extending its presence in the Garden State.

Chief Commercial Officer at Wazdan, Andrzej Hyla, commented, "Our partnership with Light & Wonder has been a vital part of our growth in North America, and we're confident that this will be another boost to all parties."

The entire Wazdan suite will be available at Tipico NJ, including hit titles like Power of Gods: Hades, Magic Spins, 9 Lions, 9 Coins, Sizzling Eggs, and Mighty Wild Panther. Alongside the studio's proprietary mechanics, like Hold the Jackpot and Cash Infinity. 

Wazdan is well-known in the slot industry as an innovative creator favoring bold and engaging themes. Thus far, their games have proved wildly popular with BetRivers and DraftKings NJ players.

Seminole Tribe, FL, Relaunches Sports Betting

Despite ongoing legal challenges, the Seminole Tribe in Florida has made the most of a window provided by the Supreme Court to relaunch sports betting under Hard Rock Bet. 

Early access has been open since Tuesday to any player who has previously held an account with Hard Rock Bet FL, with the complete service planned to go live between December 7-11th.

Since Hard Rock Bet made the early access announcement on X (formerly Twitter), the pari-mutuel betting companies involved in the ongoing legal challenge in the Sunshine State have petitioned the Supreme Court to "immediately suspend the sports betting provisions."

Oklahoma Online Sports Betting Proposal

In more sports betting news, Oklahoma has joined the movement, announcing plans for legal sports betting. This week, Governor Stitt set out his proposals to legalize both online and retail betting.

In line with the state's tribal gaming compacts, retail betting would be limited to the 38 Federally recognized tribes. For online betting, all operators can apply at an initial cost of $500,000 (+$100,000 annual renewal fees) and a 20% tax rate on revenue.

Oklahoma is one of only 15 US states yet to legalize sports betting. Plans include protections for college sports banning prop bets on college competitions. Stitt has also contacted the National Collegiate Athletic Association for their input and guidance.

A similar bill (HB 1027) was introduced in February 2023, passing the House of Representatives but failing to progress through the Senate. Thus, it's uncertain how this new proposal will fare.

Las Vegas Workers Ready to Hit the Picket Line

Despite Caesars reaching a provisional agreement with The Culinary and Bartenders Unions, Las Vegas workers are ready to walk out tomorrow, November 10th, in response to stalled contract negotiations. 

The Union has warned as many as 35,000 workers from 18 casinos will take action in what has been called the "largest hospitality strike in US history" if further headway is not made. The negotiations have been ongoing for seven months, with workers demanding better pay and benefits.

The Union has been busy preparing for tomorrow's strike, which looks ready to go ahead, with 45 strike stations and multiple picket lines set up throughout the strip.

Slot Game of the Week

​​Merlin: Journey of Flame, Play'n GO: RTP 96.26%

Looking for a red-hot new online slot to spin? Then it's time to check out our game of the week, Merlin: Journey of Fire by Play'n GO. Set on 5x3 reels with 10 pay lines, the backstory to this slot is the famous magician Merlin. 

As the young wizard, Merlin traverses an unforgiving, mysterious land, uncovering a series of dragon eggs in a swampy, enchanted lake. Using his Spell Book, Merlin uses his skills to crack open the winged hatchling – only to end up in a trial by fire. Your mission is to assist Merlin in surviving his quest. You'll have several features in your spellbook to help you:

  • Magic Ruins: The Magic Ruins, Spell Book, Staff, Potion, and Merlin symbols make up the main game characters. You'll need to match 3+ to make a win. There's also a Dragon Egg Wild and a scalier version, the Scatter symbol.
  • Free Spins: Land three Hacked Dragon Egg Scatter symbols anywhere on the reels, and 8 free spins are yours. These come with an extra reel and expanding symbols in play. Plus, the round is retriggerable with an unlimited number of times if you land an additional 3 scatter while playing.
  • Expanding Symbols: Before the Free Spins start, a special expanding symbol is chosen to add more magic to the round. Anytime this symbol features in a win, it expands to cover the entire reel.
  • The Gamble Spell: Lastly, any time you make any win under 2,500 coins, you can try your luck casting a spell to double or quadruple your win. Simply hit the gamble feature and guess the color or suit of the next card. Be careful how you wield this power, as it may not pay off, leaving you with nothing.

What's at stake if you succeed and help Merlin survive? Up to 7,500x your bet in fiery golden coins. Where can you play? At these Play'n GO online casinos at the cost of 10 cents up to $100. But remember, if you want to make it out alive, don't wake up the dragons!

News and Analysis

It's November 2023, which means it's officially a decade since the first states, Delaware and New Jersey, launched legal online casinos. These two trailblazing states made history, forever changing the course of online casino gaming and poker in the USA. 

In celebration, the American Gaming Association reported on the state of affairs, sharing the following data:

  • Since November 2013, six states have launched online casino gaming, grossing $16.32b in revenue and over $4b in taxes.
  • Between 2019-2022, the US iGaming market grew by 865%; comparatively, revenue across the UK and EU increased by 48%.

For more economic industry highlights, check out the American Gaming Association's revenue tracker.

California Rising: Two Tribal SportsBetting Proposals Filed

Two ballot proposals have been submitted to the Attorney General in the Sunshine State. The first is called The Sports Wagering Regulation and Tribal Gaming Protection Act and seeks to amend Article IV, section 19 of the State's constitution. 

If approved, 15% of adjusted gross gaming revenue would go to the tribal sports wagering revenue sharing trust fund, with 10% going to the California homelessness and mental health fund. Under this proposal, Tribes would partner with online sports betting operators, which the Tribal Gaming Agency would license.

The second proposal, The Tribal Gaming Protection Act, would limit online sports betting exclusively to California state tribes. The proposals will now sit for 65 days, after which the submitting party/parties must gather the required signatures for the measures to appear on next year's ballot. In 2022, online sports betting was featured, but voters rejected the proposals, so it's uncertain how these new options will progress.

DGC Live at Caesars Michigan

Digital Games Corporation (DGC) has had an incredible year forming new casino partnerships. Now, they've struck a distribution deal with one of the biggest, Caesars Online Casino in Michigan.

Caesars players will soon have access to the entire DGC games suite, which includes hit titles like 9 Masks of Fire, Action Jack, and Gold Blitz slots. And that's not all; DGC and Caesars plan to roll out more games in further states soon. 

Here's what Neill Whyte, Chief Commercial Officer at DGC, had to say: "Caesars Digital is one of the biggest names in gaming in North America. We are delighted to have added our premium slot content to Caesars Palace Online Casino in Michigan.

Our games have been designed to set the standard for others to follow. They have been developed specifically with US player preferences in mind, and that's why they hit the mark with online casino fans in Michigan and beyond.

This integration with Caesars Digital adds another big-name operator to our roster of partners and is a testament to our games' popularity with players. We look forward to launching in other states over the coming weeks."

Game of the Week

Amazing Catch, DGC, RTP: 96.08%

Following in the footsteps of recent hits like Big Bass Slot comes the Amazing Catch, another fishy-themed number that'll see you cast your lines wide and attempt to haul some tasty treasures. 

Set on 5x3 reels, with 243 ways to win, this online slot drops you into the heart of a serene lakeside view. To start making wins, you need to match 3+ symbols on the reels from left to right. The higher-paying symbols are the catch of the day (four different color fish), with playing card symbols taking the lower-paying positions. The Gold Fish is the Money Symbol and pays from 0.5x up to a whopping 100x your bet for line wins.

Amazing Catch Slot Gameplay

There are two more bonuses: Free Spins, which are triggered with Scatters that can fall on reels 1, 3, and 5 in the base game, and the guaranteed win Super Wheel Feature, which contains Big (20x), Major (50x), Mega (250x) and Super (5,000x) fixed jackpot payouts.

During Free Spins, there are 3 extra symbols: the Collect, Free Spin Multiplier, and Golden Lure characters.

  • Collect symbols can land on reel 5 and collect up and pay out any Money Symbols on the reels for that spin.
  • Free Spins Multiplier symbols start at x1 and progressive with each level, multiplying line wins.
  • Golden Lure Symbols are collected in the Free Spins Progression Meter, with every four symbols leading to a level-up and awarding an extra 5 spins, as well as increasing the Free Spin Multiplier - got it?

Why should you spin this slot? It's simple, serene, and offers some great prize-winning potential! Plus, it has a 24.34% hit rate, which means plenty of action!

Ready to play? Then pick a DGC casino, grab a welcome bonus, and set your bets from $0.20 up to $50!

News and Analysis

North Carolina Preps Sports Betting Rules

The North Carolina Lottery Commission has officially begun to prepare for the launch of sports betting in the state, which is due to go live by summer 2024. The Commission started the rule-making process on October 17th. It is currently open to public comment until November 1st.

HB 347 was passed into law in June, legalizing sports betting in NC and stating that the new regulations must be finalized by January 8th, 2024, with the market opening by June 14th at the latest (many speculate a February or March launch due to the SuperBowl and March Madness). The current proposals include banning fantasy sports, which will come into force unless challenged.

North Carolina is not the only state turning its attention to DFS, as earlier this month, New York regulators agreed on Rule 5602.1(a)(4) to ban fantasy sports games that mimic real money prop betting.

EveryMatrix and betParx Agree to Multi-State Content Deal

SlotMatrix (part of the EveryMatrix Group) and betParx have agreed on a multi-state content deal to expand betParx Casino's offering. The deal will provide betParx with content from the distributor's 22,500+ games and 300 partner studios aligned with the brand, cross-product bonuses, and gamification tools, including free spins and tournaments.

EveryMatrix holds supplier licenses in New Jersey. Michigan, West Virginia, and Connecticut, with an application underway in Pennsylvania. The aggregator already has agreements with multiple iGaming operators in the US.

Revenue Roundups, September 2023

New Jersey 

Gambling revenue in NJ is up 7.5% YoY for September, hitting $521.5m. This is slightly down on the previous month's earnings of $531.6m. Overall, YoY, land-based gaming was down 2.1%, with iGaming growing by 21.1% and slots accounting for most of the growth in this sector. Sports betting was also up by 13.4% YoY. 

Pennsylvania 

In PA, gambling revenue grew by 6.2% YoY in September, with total revenue at $476.3m. Online casinos in PA showed the most considerable growth, increasing by 41.5% to $159.5m and setting a new record for monthly iGaming revenue. Hollywood Casino was the frontrunner, followed by FanDuel, then BetRivers in third place. Conversely, sports betting revenue fell by 27.1% YoY.

Delaware 

Most unexpectedly, Delaware also saw monthly gains, with sports betting revenue up 208.9% on August 2023, while iGaming increased by 21.3% compared with the previous month. Sadly, this didn't compute YoY gains for sports betting, with figures down 65.5%. iGaming showed a slight increase of 3.4% YoY.

Michigan

Lastly, in Michigan, gross internet gaming and sports betting receipts from commercial and tribal operators increased 19.2% YoY, hitting $210.4m in September. Online casinos in Michigan generated the majority ($166.4m), representing a 29.3% YoY increase, while sports betting fell by 8%.

Game of the Week

Rich Little Piggies Meal Ticket by Light & Wonder, RTP: 96%

Enough of the serious business; it's time to turn our attention to online slots. This week, we're discussing Rich Little Piggies Meal Ticket from Light & Wonder. It's a medium volatility number, set on 5x3 reels, with 25 lines, a whopping max win of 12,500x. It's also among the most popular online slots currently available at US casinos.

When you open this slot, it's not much to look at and even feels a bit dated, but that's not why you're playing; this game is all about the jackpot and bonus appeal. To start making wins, you need to match 3-5 symbols on a bet line from left to right. The Wild symbol can help you create wins by subbing for any symbol that isn't a Blue, Red, or Yellow Coin  (these are the bonus symbols). The higher-value symbols are the Piggies and Vault. 

During any spin, a number of Mystery Symbols can fall on the reels and reveal matching symbols or coins. The coins are collected by the matching color Piggie sitting atop the reels. 

Rich Little Piggies Slot Gameplay

When coins are collected, they can either trigger the Red, Yellow, or Blue bonus round or enhance the round for the next trigger:

  • Blue Coins correspond to free spins if they trigger the round; if not, each coin adds an extra spin to your next trigger. When you play the Blue round, you get the number of free spins shown on the meter, which maxes out at 100 and resets at 9. 
  • Yellow Coins can lead to the jackpot free spin bonus round, where Mystery Symbols are collected and reveal jackpot prizes. If a Yellow Coin doesn't trigger the bonus, it adds 0.25x-6.75x the current bet to the Major, Maxi, Minor, or Mini jackpot meter. 
  • Lastly, the Red Coin triggers free spins or removes a low-paying symbol from the Red Piggie Metre for the next free spins round. During the round, Mystery Symbols are active and reveal only high-paying symbols.

Ready to play and see what you can win? Then set your bets from $0.20 up to $24 and take it for a spin at these top-rated Light & Wonder Casinos in the USA!

News and Analysis

NCAA Launches First E-Learning Module

NCAA has been busy since it first published new results on college-athlete harm and harassment last month and has launched its first e-learning module. Aimed at educating student-athletes about gambling-related risks and harms, it covers problem gambling, integrity, social media harassment, and the NCAA rules. It is freely available here.

Last week, the NCAA asked all states to work with them and update regulatory rules to ensure that student-athletes are protected from harassment, citing that few of the 38 states that had legalized sports betting protected college athletes. 

3,700 Detroit Casino Workers Walk Out

Detroit casino workers have staged a strike over pay and healthcare disputes. The strike started on Tuesday 17th, and included 3,700 union workers from the city's three casinos. The union, UNITE HERE Local 24, approved strike action after a 99% approval rate vote. 

The union requests better healthcare, job security, retirement packages, and wage increases. Workers have reportedly said that they are willing to strike until they get "what we deserve," saying they have forgone wage increases and other benefits to allow the industry to recover from the effects of the pandemic, but now it is time to readjust. Since the pandemic, casino worker wages have risen 3% compared with a 20% rise in inflation. 

Union workers in Las Vegas are also planning to strike action due to similar problems with contract negotiations.

UKGC's Tim Miller Calls for International Regulatory Cooperation Against Illegal Operators

You often hear about the USA and UK's "special relationship," but how's this one for size? In a landmark moment for international gambling regulator cooperation, The Gambling Commission Executive Director Tim Miller called on regulators worldwide to target illegal gambling operators during a speech given to the industry at this year's Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas.

Miller said that in the last year, the UKGC has reduced traffic to illegal gambling sites by 46% through targeted collaborations with payment providers, game and software suppliers, and internet search providers, thus demonstrating the importance of collaboration.

"As more North American jurisdictions open up to online gambling or sports betting, we see more and more large British or European operators looking to establish themselves here, in your markets. Increasingly, we regulate the same companies; we address the same risks; we face the same challenges."

"The more gambling regulators know of each others rules, standards and markets, the more we are sharing information and best practices, the more we support each other, then the more effective we will be. This, in turn, makes it harder for uncooperative operators to circumvent a regulator's regime or means they are more likely to face difficult questions in their home jurisdiction if they act poorly elsewhere."

What does this look like in the US, and what do we think of it? Well, it's about time regulators acted in a more globalized nature, working together to enforce legal and safe gambling. We regularly see examples of how easy it is for offshore casinos to establish operations and quickly target consumers from different jurisdictions.

Moreover, AGA reports show a worryingly large share of the US gambling market goes to offshore markets, costing approximately $13 billion in yearly tax revenue. Increased communication between regulators can make it harder for those seeking to evade fair gaming and tax regimes to operate. 

A closer partnership with the UKGC can only be beneficial as it's known to have one of the highest levels of player protection worldwide and regularly undertakes first-hand gambling research. According to Miller, The Commission is concluding "a number of Memoranda of Understanding with US regulators, in order to establish clear working relationships," which can only be beneficial as most US regulators are new to the online game.

NCPG and Mindway RG Partnership 

The National Council on Problem Gambling is integrating Mindway's Gamalyze AI on ResponsiblePlay.org, its statewide responsible gambling site. Gamalyze is an innovative new program designed to identify risky gambling behavior and provide customized interventions on a player-by-player base. It employs gamification to re-design problem gambling diagnostic testing, making it fun.

The tool will help provide those seeking problem gambling support with a better service and empower them to make better gambling choices. It will also provide the NCPG with data it can use to improve its RG programs.

For some time, industry experts have been citing the need for more frictionless RG tools designed to be attractive to players and fit for the age of modern gaming. Gamalyze is an excellent example of this, so we're excited that the NCPG is rolling it out statewide. If you still need to try it, hit up the NCPG over the next month and have a go.

NBA and Inspired Partner for One-of-a-Kind Virtual Games Range 

Inspired Entertainment has won the rights to create an exclusive range of virtual games using archival NBA footage. The games will provide multiple virtual betting opportunities based on the actual footage. The range will cover all 30 NBA teams and the All-Star, Playoffs, and Finals. 

Inspired President and CEO Brooks Pierce said in the press release, "We are thrilled to offer basketball fans worldwide the one-of-a-kind experience of a Virtual Sports NBA game. Our use of archived NBA footage will produce a truly distinct virtual sports offering. This will be complete with fresh gaming experiences providing a unique way for fans to stay connected with the game. Our partnership with the NBA allows us to provide an incredible offering. It will elevate our customers' brands and expand their reach to millions of basketball enthusiasts worldwide."

Game of the Week

Scroll of Seth, Play'n GO, RTP 96.31%

Scroll of Seth is a 5x3, 50-line, brand-new slot from Play'n GO. It might feel familiar, and it should, as Play'n GO are masters of Ancient Egyptian-themed games. They've pretty much perfected the genre.

As soon as you enter this game, you'll spot a horizontal top reel, which is an open scroll called the Wild Reel. There are also 10-A symbols, two Seth Wilds (gold is Normal, iron Enhanced), higher-paying animal symbols, and two Scatters - the Ankh and Scroll.

Let's start with the Wilds. Normal Wilds land on reels 2 and 4, but Enhanced Wilds are available on the Wild Reel. The Wild Reel is triggered when a Scroll Scatter lands on reel 3.

Scroll of Seth Slot Gameplay: Slot Interface

The Wild Reel has two tiers: the base game where 1-3 Enhanced Wilds can land, turning all symbols in the reel below Wild, meaning multiple, filled wild reels and Free Spins mode. The second tier, Free Spins mode, activates when you land a Scroll Scatter on reel 3 during the round. The Scroll reel has 2, 4, and 11x Multiplier Wilds and 2-4 extra spin Ankh Scatters. 

To get to the free spins round, you need to land 3-5 Ankh Scatters in the base game for 8, 11, or 15 free spins. With the Wild Reel active, the round has a potential of up to 50 spins. Regarding gaming action, it's high volatility with wins up to 5,000x and bets from $0.10-100. 

Ready to play? Then check out our top-rated Play'n GO Casino recommendations.

News and Analysis

AGA: The State of the US Gambling Industry

A new report from the American Gaming Association and Oxford Economics has detailed the economic contributions of the US gambling industry using year-long data from 2022. The report is well worth diving into, as it describes the industry figures, analyzing the stats per sector.  

If you’ve not got time for that, here are the most interesting findings:

  • “The U.S. gaming industry supported $329 billion of total economic output, with 1.8 million jobs, $104 billion of wages and salaries, and $53 billion of tax revenue in 2022.”
  • The taxes generated are “critical funding” for local projects and services, including health, education, infrastructure, and economic development, as well as supplementing state budgets.
  • The industry supports more direct jobs than other sectors, such as air transportation and the postal service (1 in every 33 hospitality jobs in the USA).
  • This economic activity was generated by gaming industry business sales of $150.3 billion, with $125.9 billion spent on land-based and online casinos and sportsbooks.
  • Casino revenue totaled $122.0 billion, including $75.9 billion at commercial casinos (62.3%) and $46.0 billion at Native American casinos (37.7%). 83.1% was from gaming and 16.9% from non-gaming activities/hospitality.

The analysis holds with public perception of gambling in the USA, in that 71% of American adults believe the casino industry positively affects the economy. 

GGA: Las Vegas Results Revealed

This year was the 10th annual Global Gaming Awards in Las Vegas. The event sees the best of the international and US gambling industry hit the awards stage, receiving recognition for their contribution to the industry over the last twelve months.

Here’s the winners list:

  • Slot of the year - Jackpot Carnival by Aristocrat
  • Customer loyalty club of the year - MGM Rewards
  • Land-based operator of the year - Wynn Resorts
  • Digital operator of the year - BetMGM
  • Sportsbook supplier of the year - Kambi
  • Digital product of the year - Live Craps by Evolution Gaming

Kentucky Takes $68m in Wagering in Week One 

We’ve been waiting for this figure to roll in since mobile betting went live on September 28th, and it’s now official: Kentucky players registered a massive $68m in wagering in the first week of legal sports betting in the Bluegrass State. 

Governor Beshear said the results surpassed expectations, with $68m wagered from Thursday to Sunday across retail and mobile sportsbooks. Of this, $66.5m came from 300,000+ mobile accounts, with $1.7m at retail locations. Retail sportsbooks launched on September 7th have taken almost $10m in bets for the month.

Michigan Licenses Third Live Dealer Studio

The Michigan Gaming Control Board has issued Authentic Gaming with a supplier license, mixing up the market and potentially changing the game for live dealers. Evolution Gaming is the most widely available live dealer casino software at legal US online casinos. While Playtech is licensed in several states, including Michigan, their live games feature at only a handful of casinos, with Evolution the clear market leader.

Authentic Gaming is a subsidiary of Light & Wonder. It is said to be ready to offer a complete collection of live titles in Michigan players, including live blackjack, baccarat, and roulette. The games will go live at BetRivers Casino first, then further expansion.

NCAA Calls for New Laws to Protect College Athletes

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has put out a national call to update current laws to offer more protection for college and student-athletes, following a recent NCAA report that showed a substantial increase in issues at schools, including harassment of student-athletes. 

38 states have legalized some form of sports betting since the 2018 repeal of PASPA, but according to the NCAA, many do not include rules that protect college sports and athletes. To rectify this, the NCAA has developed a new model of provisions it asks states to pass. The organization is also offering to work with states considering legalizing sports betting for early implementation of further protections.

Among the proposals are a harassment reporting hotline, increased penalties for those who harass student-athletes, mandatory education for operators, and a levy on sportsbooks to fund gambling harm education. 

Morgyn Wynne, Vice Chair of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, said, “We are in a time where student-athlete health and well-being is the main priority. With the legalization of sports betting, it is imperative that we take a proactive approach to protecting student-athletes from the potential of negative engagement with bettors.

“Some 38 states have clearly passed 38 different laws. But one thing that needs to be consistent across all is prioritizing the student-athlete experience and preventing harmful activity that jeopardizes the integrity of sports.” 

In Other News:

  • MGM Resorts has announced that it expects losses of $100m from last month’s cyber attack.
  • The Culinary and Bartenders Union members will hit the picket line this week in Las Vegas over contract and pay disputes with MGM and Caesars.

Game of the Week

Live Craps by Evolution Gaming, RTP:88.18 - 99.17%

We’re not talking slots this week. Instead, we’re celebrating the official GGA digital product of the year, 2023, Live Craps! Craps is a classic casino dice game over 250 years old, but Evolution Gaming has masterfully brought it into the 21st century for online players.

Live Craps by Evolution Gaming

The basic rules of craps are that play starts with a pass-line bet. Pass line bets win if the come-out roll (the first dice roll) lands on 7 or 11. If it is 2,3, or 12, players who bet on don’t pass bets win. If neither outcome happens, bets remain in play for the next roll, and the outcome (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) becomes the point. The gameplay continues until the point is rolled again or a 7 (you can place additional bets throughout).

There are a couple of differences with Evolution’s version. Firstly, it’s the first live craps game available in the USA. Secondly, instead of a human shooter, a robotic arm is used. Lastly, the game’s design is as user-friendly as possible with a welcome vibe and features that include my numbers (used to track number combinations and payouts), tutorials, dealer assist (setting that makes the next round bet automatic), and game stats. 

Aside from the bespoke features this game offers, it can deliver sky-high returns on your bets of up to 99.17% if you employ strategic betting strategies. How much does it cost to play? The good news is that bets start from $0.50 at most casinos and range to $5,000.

Ready to play? Then check it out at any of our top-rated Evolution Gaming Casinos!

News and Analysis

New Dream Team Social Casino in the Works

"When two powerhouses come together, magic happens. This collaboration will set new benchmarks and bring forth innovative solutions for gaming aficionados worldwide."

Social casinos are the US trend that's officially taken over in 2023. These sites use virtual currencies that don't have value. Players can earn coins through bonuses to legally play games online in most US states (excluding Washington and Idaho).

This week, SCCG Management and Lady Luck HQ have kicked off the rumor mill by saying they will announce news of their new US social casino in the coming weeks. Why is this news so exciting? The potential is for an exciting new platform that revolutionizes what's already available by blending each company's specialty.

SCCG is a Las Vegas-based consultancy firm, and Lady Luck is a live-streaming content creator with over 400,000 YouTube subscribers, 470,000 FB followers, and 238,000 on TikTok. While live-streamed slots have proved widely popular in other gambling jurisdictions, they've not yet entered the US gambling scene. Hence, the potential here is enormous.  

Detroit Casino Workers Ready to Walk Out

Workers from across Detroit's three land-based casinos could walk out as early as next month should their negotiations regarding new worker contracts fail.

The United Auto Workers, representing most operational workers (slot and tables, maintenance, hospitality workers, etc.) at the MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino, and Hollywood at Greektown, has been discussing wage increases with the casinos since September.

The situation mirrors Las Vegas, where workers threatened to strike for wage increases just last week. Worker's contacts are set to expire in mid-October in Detroit. 

The Union said, ​​"Following COVID shutdowns, Detroit casino workers sacrificed raises and shouldered heavier workloads so the industry could recover. Now, workers are struggling to make ends meet, even as the industry generates all-time record high gaming revenues from in-person and online gaming."

AGA: Results of Gaming CEO Industry Outlook Survey 

Created in conjunction with the Fitch Rating, the American Gaming Association's Gaming Industry Outlook Report is a biannual survey undertaken of 33 US gaming industry executives. It provides "a snapshot of the current and future economic health of the industry based on executive sentiment, casino-visitation plans, gaming revenue, and economic indicators."

The results showed that:

  • 42% found the current business situation as good, and 55% as satisfactory
  • More than half, 58%, of all respondents expect the next 3-6 months to be the same
  • 26% described access to credit as hard, responding to questions about current financial conditions. 
  • Over half of executives cited inflation or interest rate concerns as limiting operations (58%).
  • Overall, 26% of executives remain positive but expect the pace of revenue growth and hiring to slot.
  • 44% of gaming suppliers remain optimistic about the pace of capital investment and the sale of gaming units for expansion and updating. 

WONDR NATION $250,000 RG Pledge

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation has pledged $250,000 towards responsible and sustainable gaming research undertaken by the University of Connecticut's School of Medicine. 

The $250,000 is a two-year grant. Associate professor of medicine at UConn School of Medicine said, "I am excited to work with WONDR NATION to examine the impact of rapid changes in the gaming landscape on our community and work toward enhancing responsible gaming strategies in online gaming environments." 

Anika Howard, President and CEO of WONDR NATION said, "We take responsible play very seriously and are proud to work closely with UConn researchers to increase player safety, fund critical research, and invest in our communities."

"At WONDR NATION, our mission extends beyond entertainment as we strive to pioneer a new era of responsible gaming. Teaming with UConn's medical school underscores our unwavering commitment to player safety and community development – a commitment that will redefine how we play and enjoy gaming." 

The funding aims to support students and the facility to conduct research regarding effective and preventative problem gambling treatment and strategies.

NJ Reports Problem Gambling Rate 3x National Average

Responsible gambling month might've ended, but the good news keeps rolling in as the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has announced a drop in the rate of high-risk problem gamblers. However, compared with national figures, the number remains above the average. 

The data was released in a Rutgers Center for Gambling Studies report for the NJDGE. It is the second-ever report (the first was published in 2017) on NJ residents (3,512 reporting via telephone and online survey), and findings show that:

  • 61% had gambled in the last year, down from 70% in the preceding study.
  • The number of respondents who exclusively gamble online has tripled from 5% in 2017 to 15% in 2023.
  • Those partaking in mixed gambling (online and retail) doubled from 18% to 36%.
  • Those exclusive gambling at land-based venues from 76% to 49%. 
  • The lottery was the most popular form of gambling, with 73% (down 7%) of respondents partaking.
  • The prevalence rate of high-risk problem gambling, analogous to gambling disorder, remained relatively stable at about 6%, three times the national average in population samples.

To assess the rate of problem gamblers, participants completed the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) of the Canadian Problem Gambling Index.

In other top stories this week:

  • Fanatics inch closer to total control of PointsBet US operations after completing the Wyoming and New York acquisitions. Fanatics will continue to close off each state individually and has already received regulatory approval in most jurisdictions.
  • Kentucky's legal online sports betting market launched with mobile platforms live and taking bets from last Thursday, the 28th of September. We can't wait for the first set of figures to roll in and show the results of early betting behavior in the state.

Slot Game of the Week

Granny VS Zombies: DGC Casinos, RTP: 96%

This slot is about as silly as they come, and in a zombie horror genre that's massively oversaturated, it's also a breath of fresh air. Granny vs. Zombies Lock n Win is set on 5x4 reels with 20 lines, free spins, lock n win reels, 5 jackpot levels, and multiple bonus wilds.

If you're ready to help Granny make it for as long as she can and hopefully survive a zombie apocalypse, this is the slot for you - grab your walker, set your bet, and click to spin. Manage to line up matching symbols, and you'll start making wins.

  • Wilds: This title comes packed with wilds. There are regular wilds, granny wilds, and zombie wilds. All of these replace regular symbols on pay lines to help you win. When you land a granny wild and zombie wild on the reels simultaneously, the granny will immediately activate defense mode and toss a Molotov cocktail, blowing up the zombie wild and making new ones where the body parts land. You can also land expanded walking wilds on reels 3-5, which will then move one reel right with each consecutive spin. 
  • Free Spins: You need three scatters to trigger free spins. The round begins with a choice of weapons, resulting in a different number of spins and damage level. During the game, you can use your weapon, which shows up on the reels as a wild symbol, to kill zombies and increase your spins and multiplier.
  • Lock n Win: 6+ coin symbols trigger 3 lock n win respins. All symbols except coins are removed. Coins lock in place, and new ones can expand the reels, adding new rows and also reset the count to three. The round ends when the count runs out, or the reels are filled with coins.
  • To win a jackpot, you must collect 3 star coins in a row during the lock n win round, kill the disco zombie in the free spins round, or fill the coin meter in the base game. This gets you a spin of the jackpot wheel, which has between 15x-5,000x your bet available. 
Granny VS Zombies Slot Game

Ready to play? Then, bring in the spooky season with this action-packed and fun slot game at DGC Casinos. Stakes start from $0.10 up to $50 a spin.

News and Analysis

Cease-and-Desist Orders for Florida DFS Sites

This week, the Florida Gaming Control Commission has sent cease and desist letters to Underdog Fantasy, PrizePicks, and Betr, all of which are daily fantasy sports (DFS) platforms operating in Florida. According to the Florida Regulatory Watch, which broke the news, the letters stated:

 "Under Florida law, betting or wagering on the result of contests of skill, such as sports betting, including fantasy sports betting, is strictly prohibited and constitutes a felony offense unless such activity is otherwise exempted by statute." 

"Accordingly, in Florida, sports betting may be lawfully conducted only pursuant to a gaming compact. …Further, receiving such illegal bets and wagers and aiding or abetting such criminal activities constitute separate felony offenses."

Underdog sought further clarification from the FGCC, who confirmed that all forms of DFS betting were classed as illegal. However, both DraftKings and Fanduel, who also offer this service in Florida, have not been contacted. 

Multiple DFS operators have hired attorney John Lockwood, who said, "The commission staff confirmed to me that the language in the letter broadly applies to all paid fantasy sports contests, and they are not aware of any paid fantasy sports company operating legally in Florida. We disagree on the merits and will be working with the commission and potentially the Legislature so we can ensure Florida sports fans can continue to play," 

PointsBet Gets $25,000 Fine for Illegal Bets 

This week, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement issued PointsBet with a $25,000 civil penalty for allowing unauthorized wagers. The sanction is related to three different occurrences:

  1. The first was a college basketball game at St Peter's University in May 2022 (betting on college games is not allowed in NJ). Betting was offered for 55 minutes with two bets placed. When the operator released the error, the market was closed, and the bets were canceled. PB has accounted for this as human error.
  2. The second case occurred in 2021 when the operator allowed betting on a League of Legends World Championship event featuring a player 17 years of age (for legal betting, participants must be at least 18).
  3. The last case pertains to an English Championship game between Cardiff and Millwall in 2021, where bets were allowed to be placed when the game's outcome was already known. According to the operator, the error was caused by communication issues with a third-party data provider they were using.

MGCB Destroys Illegal Gambling Machines

The MGCB has destroyed over 1,195 illegal gaming machines collected from 2015-2023 to prevent them from being resold or reused. According to MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams, "Illegal gaming continues to pose a threat to Michigan citizens and their communities, as it often leads to an increase in organized criminal activity, financial exploitation, and other related social issues. 

Unregulated gaming machines also result in a loss of state revenue. Operators running illegal gaming establishments are not reporting earnings or paying taxes — they are essentially robbing Michigan citizens of taxes and revenue used to support our schools through the School Aid Fund and our communities and local governments with essential state funding dollars."

American Gaming Association research has shown that nearly 40% of gaming machines in the USA are unlicensed. Destroying machines removes them from circulation while sending a clear message regarding illegal gambling operations in the state.

Las Vegas Threatens to Strike

Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, things are heating up between workers and employers as hospitality staff threaten to strike, potentially bringing the world-famous strip to a standstill. 95% of the 60,000 members of the Bartenders Union Local 165 and Culinary Workers Union Local 226 approved strike action after negotiations for higher wages and more safety protections didn't result in their favor. 

Negotiations with major US gambling brands began last year after the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the vulnerability of Las Vegas hospitality staff. While there's no strike date yet, the major resorts involved (including Caesars, MGM, and Wynn) will likely bring a better offer to the table before one occurs.

Slot Game of the Week

Blobsters Clusterbuster, Red Tiger, RTP 95.7%

Blobster Clusterbuster is an intergalactic-themed online slot filled to the brim with cute aliens and played on a 9x9 grid with a 3x3 central block containing Blobby and his spaceship. Your aim is to create winning clusters of 5-35 symbols. When you hit a win, the cluster disappears, and new characters fall in its place, providing the chance to make consecutive wins. There are also three bonus features and a free spins round. 

Blobster Clusterbuster slot gameplay

You'll need to unlock the bonus features, and you can do this by hitting wins next to Blobby. When you do, you'll see the lights next to the winning line shine. When all lights on Blobby's spaceship are activated, one of three features will trigger on the next spin.

  1. Upgrades: 8-31 low-paying symbols are upgraded to high-paying symbols.
  2. Frenzy: 5-20 symbols become wild.
  3. Supersize: 2-4 high-paying symbols transform into 3x3 giant or wild symbols and are counted as 9 regular symbols for payouts.

Once you've unlocked the reel features, they stay unlocked, and anytime you activate all the lights on the middle grid from there on in, you'll get 10 free invader spins. During the round, the bonus features are active at a better rate, and you can win more spins and multipliers, leading to max wins of 7,517x your bet.

Ready to play? Then check out this awesome online slot at any of our top-rated Red Tiger Casinos! It's available from $0.10 up to $10 a spin!

News and Analysis

After the Attack: MGM and Caesars

Last week, MGM experienced a cyber attack that the hacking group Scattered Spider has now claimed responsibility for. The admission was made via an unverified post on the ALPHV ransomware collective darknet leak site.

The post claimed, “We still continue to have access to some of MGM’s infrastructure. If a deal is not reached, we shall carry out additional attacks. We continue to wait for MGM to grow a pair and reach out as they have clearly demonstrated that they know where to contact us.”

MGM shut down its servers on September 10th in response to the initial attack on their system. While MGM hasn’t confirmed how it was compromised, social media posts reported that thousands of hotel rooms were affected and slot machines were frozen.

As of yesterday (September 20th), MGM announced it was still trying to normalize operations again, with all properties open and employees on hand to assist.

“Our resort services, dining, entertainment, pools, and spas are operating normally and welcoming thousands of guests each day. Our gaming floors, including slots, table games, and poker rooms are open. Visitors to our properties may use Slot Dollars and FREEPLAY, and our slots are recording gaming spend. Our slot ticket-in/ticket-out systems are up and running.”

However, they are not offering cash advances or check cashing, and areas of the MGM infrastructure, like the hotel booking system, still need to be fixed.

Interestingly, MGM was not the only company targeted, as Reuters has reported Caesars Entertainment was also attacked. Caesars detailed the attack to regulators, saying its loyalty program data, including driver's licenses and/or social security numbers was compromised, was compromised. 

While it hasn’t been confirmed by either Caesars or Scattered Spider, it’s being reported that Caesars paid the ransom, in contrast with MGM. Caesar’s have also taken further action:

“We have taken steps to ensure that the stolen data is deleted by the unauthorized actor, although we cannot guarantee this result. We are monitoring the web and have not seen any evidence that the data has been further shared, published, or otherwise misused. Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, we are offering credit monitoring and identity theft protection services to all members of our loyalty program.”

Scattered Spider is one of the most active and disruptive hacking groups in the US, according to Google’s Mandiant Intelligence, linked to over 100 hacks in the last two years. 

GeoComply: 242.3m Transactions Recorded in NFL Week One

We’re already two weeks into the NFL season, and data is rolling in from GeoComply regarding the betting stats from September 3rd to 10th. Detailing the data in a report named “From the Sideline to the Mainstream,” GeoComply recorded: 

  • 242.3 million geolocated transactions were registered across US-regulated sportsbooks in week one, a 56% increase from the same period in 2022.
  • 1.1 million new player accounts were created - a 40% YoY increase.
  • When the Lions scored the season's first touchdown, GeoComply recorded a massive increase in traffic, totaling 4,200 transactions per second immediately following the score. This is the highest rate of volume ever recorded in the first week of NFL games.
  • 97% of bets were placed via a mobile phone, with 75% of those transactions placed on an iOS device.

GeoComply also released data on the number of GeoComply requests in six unregulated states currently considering sports betting bills (Alabama, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, and South Carolina). 

The data show a significant demand for legal online betting options and led GeoComply to caution, “When a would-be bettor in one of these states is prevented from accessing a legal sportsbook, they often fall victim to unscrupulous online sportsbooks that aggressively advertise in these markets claiming to be legal and legitimate. GeoComply’s data is a clarion call to lawmakers in these states to take action in 2024. Legalization is the clearest path to put the state in the strongest position to protect consumers, establish accountability, and raise revenues.”

Revenue Reports for August from NJ and PA

New Jersey

The NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement has reported $531.6m, a 12.9% YoY increase in revenue from the state’s casinos, racetrack, and their partners for August 2023. 

The total breaks down to $280.3m generated by physical casinos, $155.3m from NJ online casinos, and $96m from sports wagering. In terms of the most popular online casinos by revenue, Resorts led the way, followed by Golden Nugget and Borgata Casino in third place.

Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, the state saw overall growth, with total revenue hitting $457.2m, a 7.5% YoY growth for August but a 2.1% drop on July’s monthly figures. Additionally, sports revenue fell by 35.1% YoY. The most popular online casinos in Pennsylvania by revenue were Hollywood Casino in first place, then FanDuel, and in third place Barstool.

Cardplayer Lifestyle Mixed Poker Games Festival

In our last piece of news for the week, we’ve got an upcoming event to tell you about - The Cardplayer Lifestyle Mixed Game Festival VI. The festival is hosted at Resorts World Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from November 26th to 30th, 2023. It includes two tournaments (a $260 Omaha 8/Stud 8 tournament on Monday, November 27th, and a $260 H.O.R.S.E. tournament on Thursday, November 30th, as the grand finale) and nonstop dealer’s choice cash games and other scheduled events.

If you’re a Poker fan, save the date, as this is the place to be. We had a chat with the event’s organizer and the founder of Cardplayer Lifestyle, Robbie Strazynski, who said:

"One of Cardplayer Lifestyle's most important missions is to help grow the game of poker beyond Texas Hold'em. Our sixth Mixed Game Festival is the perfect place to learn lots of other poker variants and have a blast playing for low stakes. 

Plus, we've got a HUGE grand prize on offer in the form of a WPT Voyage Prize Package, some great special events on the schedule, and tons more swag that we'll be giving out to our players. Resorts World Las Vegas is rolling out the red carpet for us to bring the world's largest home game to the world's best place to play mixed game poker."

Slot Game of the Week

Fire and Roses Joker, DGC, RTP Ranges: 86.70% to 96.01%

Our slot game of the week is one of the most spun slots in the USA for August 2023 - Fire and Roses Joker. It’s a retro-inspired title first released in March and has been rising in the slot charts since. 

Set on 3-4-5-4-3 reels, it comes with 720 ways to win and exudes classic slot vibes. But this doesn't mean you should expect less action; it’s packed with modern features, including pay both-ways reels, stacked wilds, a free spins bonus round, and 5 jackpots! 

As soon as you open the game, you’ll see the Joker on the left of the reels; this is Jolene, who hosts the game and is also the wild. She can move from the left of the reels to the center 3 to create more wins. Aside from Jolene, you’ll also see classic 7s, Cherries, Dice, Card, Clubs, Hearts, Spade, and Diamond symbols on the reels, all of which pay from 3-5 symbol matches.

To trigger the free spins bonus round, you must lock in a scatter symbol on each reel, which grants 6 spins. Before the round starts, each original scatter reveals an extra free spin or increases the round multiplier by x1 (the round maxes out at 10 spins and a 15x multiplier).

Need more action? Then, let’s cover the jackpots. Each golden rose symbol you score during gameplay adds to the jackpot totals by 0.5x and could trigger a spin of the jackpot wheel, where a jackpot payout is guaranteed (the jackpots correspond with the bet level, the biggest is seeded at 50,000 with a max cap of 250,000, which is 5,000x the bet).

If you’re ready to channel some classic slot vibes in a modern spinner, Fire and Roses Joker is the slot to play! Bets start from $0.20 up to $50 a round, and you can check it out at these DGC Online Casinos.

News and Analysis

MGM Out for the Count After Cyber Attack Takes Down Services

MGM Resorts has announced on social media platform X (previously Twitter) that it has identified a cybersecurity threat, forcing the company to shut down some of its systems, including the main MGM Resorts site, which has been down since Monday.

The company hasn't released the full details of which systems have been shut down or what type of cyber security threat/breach has been detected. Still, the issue has been reported to law enforcement and cybersecurity specialists. 

The post read: "MGM Resorts recently identified a cybersecurity issue affecting some of the Company's systems. Promptly after detecting the issue, we quickly began an investigation with assistance from leading external cybersecurity experts. We also notified law enforcement and took prompt action to protect our systems. 

Our investigation is ongoing, and we are working diligently to determine the nature of scope of the matter."

The attack comes one week after Stake.com revealed a hack that facilitated unauthorized transfers on the crypto-based casino and sportsbook user accounts.

Missouri on the March: New Petitions Filed

Four petitions to change the State Constitution have been filed in Missouri (2024-135, 2024-136, 2024-137, and 2024-138), once again kicking off the sports betting debate in the Show-Me State. 

Alixandra Cossette, a state-based attorney in law, has submitted all four proposals. They propose legalizing retail and online sports betting at a license cost of $250-500,000, a tax rate of 10% on gross gambling revenue, and making provisions for one license per operator. The proposed launch date would be before December 31, 2025. 

While many of Missouri's neighboring states have already permitted legal betting, the latest attempt in this state failed in April this year despite support from casinos and the professional sports sector. 

DraftKings Issue Apology Over Inappropriate NY Promo

DraftKings' has formally apologized to NY players after an advertising stunt on Monday, which marked the 22nd anniversary of 9/11, used the tagline "Never Forget" and the text "Bet on these New York teams to win tonight on 9/11". 

The brand quickly drew hoards of negative criticisms on X for misusing the messaging and taking advantage of the date, which saw over 3,000 US citizens lose their lives.

DraftKings took down the promo and issued a statement on X, saying, "We sincerely apologize for the featured parlay that was shared briefly in commemoration of 9/11. We respect the significance of this day for our country and especially for the families of those who were directly affected." 

The National College Athletic Association released the results of a survey conducted of 546 compliance administrators at schools from July 18 to August 1, 2023, which collected usable data from 500 participants. The findings were compared to the results of the same survey undertaken in 2019.

The survey findings reported:

  • There is a "substantial increase" in sports wagering issues at Autonomy Schools (AG5), with 27% answering yes to the question, "Has your athletics department dealt with a sports wagering and/or problem gambling issue within the past year?" Comparatively, only 3% answered yes in 2019.
  • 25% of AG5 schools also answered yes to "During the past year, did you become aware of any student-athletes on your campus who were harassed (online or in person) by someone with gambling interests?" This question had not been included in the 2019 version of the survey.
  • The survey also confirmed that 100% of all schools gave responsible gambling education to student-athletes in 2023, up from an average of 96.5% in 2019.

The survey continued, asking further questions about the frequency, topics, and delivery methods of responsible gambling education (read the complete results and data).  It's Responsible Gambling Month in the US, so this survey, which provides an educator perspective, will prove insightful for the industry and regulators.

Game of the Week

ARRR! 10K Ways Slot: Reel Play, RTP 96.1%

Set on 6x4 cascading reels, with 10,000 ways to win, a bootyful max haul of 20,000x the bet, and a charming pirate theme. Symbol payouts start from 3-6, and there are two high-paying Pirates, a Parrot, Kraken, and various lower-paying coins.

Jolly Roger wilds sub for other symbols to help you make wins. They can also have random 1-5x multipliers attached. Wilds can only land during cannon wild rounds. At the end of any non-winning spin, you might get a wild bonanza if the Cannon Wilds feature triggers, changing 1-3 symbols Wild with a multiplier. 

4+ Treasure Chest Scatter trigger 3 Bonus Re-Spins. Only prize symbols land during the round. Treasure chest symbols come with mystery multipliers of 1-100x. Kraken symbols get a multiplier value that's the total of the adjacent prize symbols, and Captain symbols get a multiplier worth the total value of all prize symbols on the reels at the time. The round starts with the triggering symbols revealing multipliers to get things rolling.

All prize symbols that land are sticky for the game during the round. When the round ends, because you've filled the reel with coins or run out of spins, you'll get your bet x the total prize symbol values. If you filled the reels, the round re-triggers.

Lastly, there's a Gamble Feature. Now, if you play like a real pirate, this chance to substantially increase your wins or equally decrease them based on a red/green wheel spin will be irresistible. Ready to play? ARRR! 10K Ways Slot is available at these ReelPlay Casinos from $0.20 to $25 a spin.

News and Analysis

Red Rake and Gaming Realms Enter Pennsylvania

Red Rake Gaming has received PGCB supplier licensing to launch at online casinos in PA. This is the studio’s first entry into the US online gambling market, although it has provided games for years as a social gaming operator

Nick Barr, Managing Director for Red Rake Gaming, said, “We could not be more thrilled to have been approved for operating in PA and already have seen a huge demand from operators for our content across the state. We are equally delighted to now being able to offer the players who have enjoyed our social games over the years to have the ability to play with real money in Pennsylvania. We are extremely confident about the US and the integral part it will play in Red Rake Gaming’s continued growth.”

Meanwhile, Gaming Realms has also been hard at sizing up the PA market and forging a deal for PA access with Bally’s Interactive. Bally’s recently launched in PA and offers its online platform in NJ and Delaware. 

Craig Falciglia, Director of Business Development in North America at Gaming Realms, said, “Bringing our Slingo games to Bally’s is a great accomplishment and will allow more US players than ever before to engage with our fan favorite games.” 

Fanatics Gets To Work Rebranding PointsBet

The Fanatics/PointsBet takeover is closed, and the rebranding has started as Fanatics has secured market access in multiple new states. The acquisition cost Fanatics Inc. $225m, making way for three products, depending on the state: Fanatics Sportsbook, ‘PointsBet, a Fanatics Experience,’ and PointsBet Casino.

  • Ohio, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Maryland remain the straightforward Fanatics Sportsbook. 
  • Maryland, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia transition to “PointsBet, a Fanatics Experience.”
  • The PointsBet-operated online casinos in New Jersey, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania will remain PointsBet Casino.

NJDGE Reminds Bettors Against Laying Illegal NFL Bets

The NFL season kicks off today with the Kansas City Chiefs pitted against the Detroit Lions. Legal sportsbooks also launch in Kentucky - it’s a big day. In New Jersey, the NJDGE has proactively warned bettors against placing bets at offshore sportsbooks. 

First Attorney General Lyndsay Ruotolo said, “We know that the start of football season brings with it an uptick in sports betting and fantasy sports participation, and we want everyone to enjoy these activities safely and securely.

Sportsbooks and daily fantasy sites licensed and authorized to operate in New Jersey are subject to nation-leading consumer safeguards against fraud, identity theft, and unscrupulous actors; however, illegal sites have none of these protections. 

This season, we urge fans to stick with regulated websites to avoid scams and bogus offers. And for those who may need help with a gambling problem, know that help is available.”

DGE Director David Rebuck added, “The problems with illegal sportsbooks are numerous. They lack oversight to ensure customers are actually paid what they won as well as security protocols to safeguard sensitive personal and financial information, like social security numbers and bank data.”

On the note of legal online gambling, September is Responsible Gambling Month in the US.

AGA: Responsible Gambling Month and Consumer Trends Survey Results

September is all about encouraging consumers to gamble safely. With legal mobile and online gambling options spreading across the US, there’s never been a better time to bring offshore players into the legal, regulated, and safe gambling market by spreading awareness of the dangers of offshore gaming. It’s also a time for educating consumers on the available tools to manage gambling and red flags suggesting gambling harm.

The American Gambling Association spearheads Responsible Gambling Month in the US, and this year is the 25th edition. The month is divided into four key themes:

  • Empowering customers to play responsibly (Sept. 1-10)
  • Legal, regulated gaming protects players (Sept. 11-17)
  • Building a responsible gaming culture within (Sept. 18-24)
  • Advancing responsible gaming with research (Sept. 25-30)

Leading up to Responsible Gambling Month, the AGA also undertook a YouGov Survey between the 3rd and 10th of August, including a nationally representative sample of 2,018 Americans aged over 21. The Consumer Trends In Responsible Gaming Awareness Report detailed that:

  • Consumers reported high levels of responsible gaming engagement, with 84% of past-year bettors (91% for sports bettors) aware of at least one responsible gambling tool.
  • They also reported high confidence in the effectiveness of the tools: 85% for deposit limits, 78% for time limits, and 77% for wager limits.
  • 53% of sports bettors reported increased responsible gambling advertising across the last year.

AGA Vice President for Responsibility Cait DeBaun highlighted in the report the importance of responsible gambling awareness and trust, “Our industry’s success is based on earning customer trust, providing safeguards for responsible gaming, and implementing tools that our customers engage to bet responsibly. Today’s data shows our united effort to elevate responsible gaming is clearly resonating with players and shaping a safer gaming landscape.” 

Game of the Week

Payday Express: Fantasma Games, RTP 94.46% 

This week, we’re hitting the reels for a red-hot Wild West train-robbing adventure created by Fantasma Games. Set on 5x3 reels, with 10 lines and a max win of up to 6,254x the bet ($0.20 to $30), it comes with payday doubling wilds, re-spins, sticky symbols, and free spins.

As usual, you’ve got high-paying and low symbols, 5 of each, plus a wild and a scatter. Wilds can land on any reel and sub for other characters to help you make winning lines. Get 3+ wilds anywhere on the reels, and you’ll trigger the payday wild feature, which doubles the number of wilds on the reels.

3+ train bonus symbols trigger the bonus rounds and give you 15 free spins. Any win triggers a re-spin with winning symbols and wilds locked in place during the round. This continues until no new wins are made.

Inpatient to get straight to the bonus round? There’s a bonus buy to solve that issue; it costs 70x the bet but guarantees your entry to the free spins re-spins payday bonanza!

Payday Express Slot Gameplay

Ready to spin? Fantasma Games is distributed via Light & Wonder in the US, so head down to any of our top-rated Light & Wonder Casinos to start playing.

News and Analysis

Kentucky: Sports Betting Licenses Issued and Pre-Registration Open

Kentucky's Horse Racing Commission has issued seven temporary sports betting licenses in preparation for the market launch on September 7th (online sportsbooks will follow on the 28th). The temporary licenses are active for one year, and mean bettors can place bets on the NFL kick-off, which also takes place on September 7th and sees the Detroit Lions go against reigning champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.

Seven online operators (BetMGM, Bet365, Caesars, Circa, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Penn Sports) and eight retail locations gained approval (Churchill Downs, Derby City, Ellis Park, Mint Gaming Hall in Corbin and Williamsburg, Newport Racing, Oak Grove, The Red Mile and Turfway Park).

Golden Nugget Becomes PA's Newest Online Casino

Pennsylvanian has a brand new online casino, and it's golden by name and nature. We are, of course, referring to Golden Nugget, which has become PA's 19th online casino and the second operator to launch under Pennsylvania's qualified gaming entity (QGE) program (its license is not linked to a land-based casino). 

PA is Golden Nugget's fourth online casino state, as the brand already operates in NJ, WV, and MI. The platform is already live, offering over 500 games, including DraftKings' exclusive titles, and welcomes new players with a 100% match offer.

State of the States: Revenue Roundup, July 2023

NJ

The NJ gambling market grew by 5.3% YoY (up 10.3% on June 2023), with a total gambling revenue of $506.2m. $290m came from land-based casinos, while NJ online casino revenue accounted for $155.2m, up 13% YoY. Borgata Casino took the top spot, with Resorts in second and Golden Nugget in third place. Meanwhile, total sports betting revenue was up 35.6% YoY, totaling $61.0m for the month.

PA

Pennsylvania also had a great month, with total revenue up 8.9% YoY to $467m (up 6% from June 2023). PA online casino and iGaming revenue grew an incredible 34.8% YoY, with online slots up 31.9%. Hollywood Casino led the way, followed by FanDuel in second place and BetRivers in third. 

MI

In Michigan, commercial and tribal operators reported $176.1m in gross receipts from internet gaming and sports betting ($153.6m for iGaming and $22.5m for sports). When adjusted for promotional spending, that's a total of $154.6m adjusted gross receipts (AGR), with $138.2m from iGaming and $16.4m from sports betting. YoY shows an 18% growth rate for iGaming and 16.8% for sports.

DE

Lastly, in Delaware, total iGaming and sports spending fell by 4% YoY, with a total wager amount of $36.4m ($24.6m on online video lottery games, $11.8m on tables, and $2.3m on sports betting). Online casinos generated $1.2m in revenue. Delaware Park remained the market leader, followed by Bally's Dover, with Harrington placing last.

Delaware Provider Update: RSI Wins the Day

Last week, we talked about who would be Delaware's new iGaming provider. Well, now we can announce that the Delaware Lottery Commission has awarded the contract to Rush Street Interactive for five years after 888 Holdings dropped out of the process.

Delaware was the first US state to legalize online casino games. Still, it is home to only three online casinos. It isn't a competitive market due to the single gaming license and restrictive tax laws that see the first $3.75 million of revenue taxed at 100%, after which slot revenue falls to 57% and table games to 20%.

Fanatics Sportsbook Live in Four States

In our last headline for the week, Fanatics Sportsbook has officially launched in Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Tennessee, following six months of beta testing. Fanatics is a challenger brand that uses an in-house platform and brings consumers simplified betting and transparent withdrawals. 

Fanatics Betting and Gaming Chief Scott McClintic said, "We are laser-focused on solving pain points facing customers by offering a faster, easier, and more rewarding sports betting experience. The strategic patience to build a product for the long term has given us an opportunity to redefine a customer's expectation of what a sportsbook should be. With the Fanatics Sportsbook product foundation built and wholly owned, customers should expect unparalleled speed of feature improvement, delivery, and innovation."

Slot Game of the Week

Cyber Wildz, Greentube: RTP 95%

This week, we're discussing a new slot game from Greentube, Cyber Wildz. This vibrant, electrifying, and dystopian slot looks downright awesome and plays like a dream. It's set on a 6x5 grid, with 15 pay lines, and it comes with plenty of multiplier action, free spins, and a whopping max win of 20,000x the bet!

There are 9 regular symbols and two special symbols: Kray-Z the Reaper, which is the wild, and Y-Pout the Assassin, which is used in the bonus round. Kray-Z characters help you make wins in the base game by subbing other symbols, and they come with random multipliers of 2, 3, or 5. If you land more than one multiplier on a winning line, they'll multiply each other for even bigger wins.

Cyber Wilds Slot Game

The bonus round is free spins, and you'll need to land 1 scatter symbol on reels 1 and 6 to trigger it. This takes you to a new set of reels, with multipliers sitting atop. Only Kray-Z and Y-Pout symbols land during the round, each with a multiplier attached. The multiplier is added to the total above the reel where the symbol lands and the spins re-set to 3. The round ends when your spins run out or no Kray-Z or Y-Pout symbols land. The total win for the round is then calculated as the bet x the sum of all the multipliers sitting above the reels.

Ready to take a look at what the future of slot gameplay looks like? Take Cyber Wilds for a spin from $0.20 up to $10 a round at these Greentube Games Casinos.

News and Analysis

WynnBet Bows Out

Wynn Resorts has this week announced that it will be closing its online casino and sportsbooks in states where it doesn’t have a physical presence (Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, New Jersey, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.). WynnBet will continue to operate in Nevada and Massachusetts. While the company has no physical presence in New York, it will continue to operate under review, and in Michigan, the sportsbook will be closed, with WynnBet online casino remaining.  

In the press release, Chief Financial Officer for Wynn Resorts, Julie Cameron-Doe, stated the following reasons for the closures: “In light of the continued requirement for outsized marketing spend through user acquisition and promotions in online sports betting, we believe there are higher and better uses of capital deployment for Wynn Resorts shareholders.”

“While we believe in the long-term prospects of igaming, the dearth of igaming legislation and the presence of numerous other investment opportunities available to us around the globe have led us to the decision to curtail our capital investment in WynnBET to focus primarily on those states where we maintain a physical presence.”

WynnBet players have until October 11th to withdraw any remaining funds.

Rush Street Gaming Makes Moves on Delaware

Big changes are abroad for online casinos and players in Delaware as Rush Street Interactive has been left the only bidder for the state gaming tender after 888 withdrew. 

888 has held the contract since online casinos in Delaware launched in 2013. The tender should have ended in 2020, but it was extended for two years due to the launch of multi-state poker in the jurisdiction.

The date of 888’s withdrawal and RSI’s launch is not yet clear, but the Delaware Lottery has requested it should be before November 1st, but it’s unclear if RSI will be ready at that point as they need to develop an online poker product to replace 888’s.

AGA: US Commercial Gambling Revenue Hits New Q2 Record

US gambling markets have long been called the new gold rush, and the figures would certainly suggest it to be accurate as the AGA announces Q2 revenue figures that’ve broken records for the second-highest quarter on record (the first was Q1 2023). 

Moreover, this is the 10th consecutive month of growth for the USA, with gross gambling revenue up to $16.07bn. The most significant gains of the year, compared with 2022, have been Sports Betting and iGaming, rising 66.5% and 22.6%, respectively.

Play’n GO Live at BetRivers MI and NJ

Swedish games developer and industry titan Play’n GO has formed a new deal with Rush Street Interactive to see the provider’s games go live at BetRivers Casinos in NJ and Michigan. As part of the agreement, Play’n GO will at first provide a smaller part of its portfolio, like Fire Joker and Rise of Merlin, before launching more hit titles, including Book of Dead, over the coming months.

Caesars Launches New Online Casino App

Rounding off the news on a high, Caesars Online Casino has a brand new app that puts casino players first. The app is Caesars Palace Online Casino and is already available to NJ, PA, MI, WV, and Ontario players. 

Rather than replacing the brand’s pre-existing mobile apps, it complements them, aiming to end the frustrations players experienced with the current app, which provides casino access through the sportsbook and makes it more difficult for casino players to collect Caesars’ rewards points. The new iOS and Android app streamlines this and focuses wholly on casino gaming, with no sports betting (this product is still offered via the original Caesars Sports app).

The app offers hundreds of games, the iconic rewards club, and other exciting bonuses. Plus, as it’s new, it features all the mod cons and is a tech step up. According to Senior Vice President of iGaming, Matt Sunderland, “Players in North America deserve an online casino-first experience that treats them like royalty, and that’s what we’ve brought to market with Caesars Palace Online Casino.”

Slot Game of the Week

10000 BC DoubleMax: 4ThePlayer, RTP: 96%

Today we’re bringing you a new slot game from one of our favorite state-side licensed producers, 4ThePlayer. This studio wows the experts and players with every single release - they’ve got a magic touch, honed and crafted through dedication to creating games stacked with new features, engaging graphics, and epic gameplay. Without further ado, let’s dive and see what 10000 BC DoubleMax delivers.

Set on 5x5 reels with 50 pay lines, this colorful and bright slot features a mind-blowing combo of epic features, including Gigablox, progressive multipliers, wilds, cascading wins, a bonus buy, golden bets, nudging and exploding reels, and free spins! In fact, this is the first slot to combine Yggdrasil’s Gigablox and Double Max mechanics.

As with most slot games, you want to land 3-5 matching symbols from left to right on any of the 50 pay lines to win. The reels are cascading, which means once you’ve made a win, those symbols are removed, and new ones fall in their place, giving you another shot to win. 

With each consecutive cascade, there’s a progressive multiplier that doubles (this is the Double Max feature) and is applied to spin should you win, plus a wild is added to the reels. You’ll also see giant Gigablox rolling around; these are giant symbols that make it easier to win. 

10000 BC Double Max Slot

Let’s look at the bonus features:

  • Mammoth Explode: Spin and lose rather than win, don’t worry; you’re still in with a chance as the Mammoth Explode feature may randomly trigger, bringing the beast on to the reels to create havoc and destroy symbols, creating a free cascade with a guaranteed win.
  • Mammoth Shuffle: Also randomly triggering on losing spins when a Gigablox is on the last reel, this feature sees the Mammoth push the Gigablox reel across the grid to the leftmost position. For there, it will move one space to the right with each consecutive spin.
  • Free Spins: Land 3 scatter symbols to trigger between 7-15 free spins, where the multiplier is not reset between cascades. 
  • Golden Bets and Bonus Buy: Lastly, the Golden Bet feature doubles your chances of hitting free spins for the cost of 25% of your bet, and the Bonus Buy lets you buy your way straight in.

Are you ready to take this awesome slot for a spin and discover what you can win? There’s up to 10,000x your bet available, and wagers start from $0.10-10.00. Check it out at these 4ThePlayer online casinos.

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