February 29, 2024Lauren

This week in US iGaming news, we've got new online casinos, protests, bet bans, and potentially lower taxes. Join us for the full story:

- Fanatics sportsbook and casino launches in Michigan
- Resorts workers protest against New York online casino bill
- Ohio bans prop bets
- Jackpocket Casino gets ICAP certification
- Iowa lawmakers look to lowering casino taxes
- And our slot game of the week is Zodiac Lantern Tiger Slot by Light & Wonder

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. 


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.

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