June 29, 2023Lauren

Ready for a bumper catch-up of two weeks of US iGaming news?

- WynnBet is live in West Virginia, becoming the state’s seventh online casino
- NY sports betting has made its first $1bn in tax revenue for the state’s education fund
- NJ, PA, and MI online casino revenue grew YoY in May
- Fanatics is back in bidding for PointsBet
- Is Rhode Island on track to become the USA’s next online casino state?
- And our slot game of the week is Goat Rush by Fantasma Games

News and Analysis

WynnBet: Live in West Virginia

WynnBet hits the reels at the end of last week, joining online casinos in West Virginia on June 22nd. The site is already busy, offering players hundreds of slots, live dealers, table games, a full sports betting suite, bonuses, and Wynn Rewards. The platform becomes West Virginia's seventh licensed online to launch since the market opened in 2020.

NY: First $1bn from Mobile Sports Revenue for Education 

Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr (Chair of the Senate's Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering) has now announced that New York's mobile sports betting industry has created the first $1bn in tax revenue for education. 

According to the NY State Gaming Commission, the tax was generated from when mobile sports betting went live on January 8th, 2022, until May 31st, 2023. Here's what Senator Addabbo has to say;

"Having an additional $1bn from our nation-leading mobile sports betting business to help our students get the best education possible is a tremendous milestone. We should continue to build upon these solid revenue-generating opportunities in order to make many additional improvements to our state's gaming ventures and addiction services. I look forward to greater results with the future eventual arrival of iGaming and iLottery in New York."

NJ: Land-Based Revenue Drops

Total gambling revenue for NJ in May has been recorded at $470.9m, a massive 9.4% increase year on year and almost 2% higher than last month. The continued growth is despite a drop in land-based revenue, meaning online gaming has carried the state's figures this month. NJ online casino gambling revenue increased by 18.7% YoY, with online slots showing an 18% jump.

The most popular gambling sites by revenue generation were Borgata ($44m), Golden Nugget ($43.5m), and Resorts Digital ($41.7m). Sports betting also recorded significant gains, with a 33.4% revenue increase YoY

While land-based gambling remains the state's largest source of revenue, generating 227.3m, the sector was down 2.4% YoY, with slots down 0.8% and tables by 7.3%.

Will Rhode Island Legalize Online Casinos?

It's looking likely that Rhode Island may become the USA's seventh iGaming state after the state's House of Representatives voted 57-11 in favor of legalizing the activity. It's now up to Governor Daniel McKee to either pass the motion legalizing online casinos or reject it.

How has this change managed to creep through so quietly? Well, we're not talking about a full iGaming market; hence there's been little controversy on the matter and no public ballot. If signed, the bill would allow only Bally's exclusive rights to provide online gaming in the state, and the offering would be a live casino, streamed using a simulcast from one of Bally's Twin River locations. Creating such restrictive rules makes the bill constitutional without requiring a public referendum. 

Fanatics: Back in the Game 

In April, PointsBet announced they were discussing with interested parties the sale of its US business (the seventh largest sportsbook in the US). It didn't take long before news of a Fanatics bid broke, with PB seriously considering the offer. Fanatics proposed buying the US brand for $150m in an agreement allowing PB to keep its Canadian and Australian business but hand over US operations. 

It was looking likely that PointsBet would accept the Fanatics offer, but then, over a week ago, in a surprise move, DraftKings submitted a proposal, offering $195m for the company - almost $50m more than the Fanatics deal that was on the table. Unsurprisingly, the offer turned heads, and within hours, the news had broken that PointsBet US was now considering a DraftKings takeover.

In a turn-up for the books, at the close of business on the 28th, Fanatics re-entered bidding with an increased offer that beat DraftKings' bid by $30m and up to $225m. On the same day, DraftKings released a statement detailing that they were no longer pursuing the acquisition and thanking PB for their time. 

As the only party left in the process, Fanatics is in a strong position, albeit a more expensive one than two weeks previous. We'll know more when shareholders vote on Friday.

PA: Gambling Revenue Continues To Rise

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board released gambling revenue figures for May, confirming continued growth for all sectors and a total gaming revenue reaching $479.4m - a 7% YoY increase. 

Land-based slots accounted for almost half of all revenue at $210.9m, while PA online casino revenue grew an incredible 24.4% to $141.0m. Online slots were up 28.6%, with table games also showing a 17.3% increase - what an incredible month from PA players!

The most popular online casinos in PA by revenue were Hollywood Casino, followed by FanDuel, and Rivers Casino in third place. Total sports revenue was also up by 17.4% YoY.

Michigan: Total Revenue up 15% YoY

Rounding off the week is news from the Michigan Gambling Control Board showing total gaming receipts up 15.5% YoY for May. However, this is the second consecutive month where total receipts declined. Compared with last year, online casino receipts were up 18.2% YoY, with sports up 5.1%; this generated $28m in taxes from online casinos in Michigan during May.

Slot Game of the Week

Goat Rush Slot, Fantasma Games (Light & Wonder), RTP: 94.25%

This week, our slot game to spin is the cheeky Goat Rush from Fantasma. This lively number delivers a good dose of humor and some awesome action on the 5x3 reels. Set in what looks to be an old mine, Goat Rush offers sublime graphics and a goat-enriched top reel reminiscent of Bonanza Slot by BTG. 

The game comes with 20 lines, and you can start making wins by matching 3-5 symbols from left to right. Each winning spin gives a re-spin, which continues until no new wins are formed. The top reel is a train filled with goat Wild symbols.

  • Wild Trains, Dropping Wilds, and Walking Wilds: The wilds are the Goat symbols, and they are in the Wild Train. Wilds can only be added to the reels via the dropping function. The dropping function happens when a goat sits above a winning symbol. At the start of any re-spin, any wild on the reel starts to walk, one space to the left with each spin.
  • Gold Multipliers: Each time a wild walks and makes it to the end of the reels, it adds to the progressive multiplier for the re-spins round (1-10x for the base game, up to 50x in the bonus). 
  • Mystery Feature: On any spin, rocks can fall, leaving a trail of mystery symbols or wilds on the reels.
  • Free Spins: Bonus symbols can land on reels 2, 3, or 4, and 3+ gets you 10 free spins. During the round, each additional scatter adds one extra spin.
Goat Rush Slot Game

What do we think of Goat Rush Slot? It's an epic and cheeky spinner that sets a great gaming tone. It's definitely worth a spin and a great introduction to the wild world of Fantasma slots! 

Fantasma Games is distributed via Light & Wonder in the USA, meaning players in every casino state have access to the game. Find a Light & Wonder Casino and take it for a spin on us by claiming a welcome bonus.

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