May 23, 2024Lauren

It’s all go this week in gambling news as:

- The American Gaming Association reports the US gambling industry’s 13th consecutive quarter of growth, including a record-breaking March.
- Entain secures unconditional licensing from the Nevada Gaming Commission
- Virginia’s Governor Youngkin vetoes bill on games of skill
- Minnesota’s legislative session ends in a complete meltdown and no sports betting bill
- New Jersey and Pennsylvania report booming revenue for April
- And 4ThePlayer goes live in the Keystone State

It’s All Boom, Baby: AGA Reports 13th Consecutive Quarter of Growth

The American Gaming Association is reporting record revenue highs for Q1 of 2024, which marks the 13th consecutive quarter of growth for the US commercial market. The balance sheet stands at $17.67 billion, $6.09 billion of which was generated in March alone, now the second-highest-grossing month on record. 

Retail accounted for approximately 70% of the revenue generated, with just under 30% coming from online gambling. 

Breaking that down per product:

  • Land-based gaming generated $12.34 billion (+0.3% YoY)
  • Sports betting created $3.33 billion in quarterly revenue (+22.0% year-over-year and partly driven by new market launches in Kentucky, Maine, North Carolina, and Vermont).
  • And iGaming generated $1.98 billion (an all-time high, +26.1%, with Rhode Island launching in the quarter).

AGA President and CEO Bill Miller commented, “While gaming’s momentum remains strong, 2024 will be the new baseline for future growth after several years of sports betting legalization and post-pandemic consumer shifts.

“Gaming’s continued growth relies on maintaining our commitment to innovation and responsibility.”

Entain Secures Unconditional Nevada Green Light

Entain has secured unconditional approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) to operate in the state. The UK company, which operates BetMGM in the USA as a joint venture with MGM Resorts, was already licensed in the Silver State but under short-term agreements (first under a two-year and then a three-year license, which recently expired).

The Commission’s earlier reluctance to issue Entain with a full-term license reflected its concerns over Entain’s operations in other jurisdictions, specifically those where gambling is not regulated.

In response, Entain took the necessary steps required by the NGC, including, according to Chairman Barry Gibson, withdrawing from 140 unregulated markets, which cost the company approximately $100 million in profit.

Entain attorney Erica Okerberg also told the Commission, “The company has taken great strides not only to move past some of the historical issues but to accept responsibility for them and find ways to learn and grow.”

Happy with Entain’s commitment and progress, the NGC granted the operator unconditional approval to operate on May 1st and issued their new license on May 16th.

Virginia Governor Vetoes Bill on Games of Skill

Virginia’s Governor, Glenn Youngkin, made headlines this week by vetoing SB 212, which was set to legalize games of skill in the state. The bill, which had already passed Senate (32:8) and House (51:45) approval, is now dead in its tracks.

Commenting on his decision to prevent the bill, Governor Youngkin said, “In recent years, the Commonwealth of Virginia has authorized casinos, sports betting and pari-mutuel wagering, on top of longer-standing gaming options like the Virginia Lottery, horse racing and charitable gaming. When it comes to additional gaming options, such as games of skill, we must proceed with a robust set of safeguards. 

“I sent over a package of amendments which addressed my many concerns with the bill. While it is regrettable that my recommendations were not adopted, I remain open to working with the General Assembly going forward on this subject.”

Lawmakers now have until June 28th to draft a new bill and bring it before the state, after which Virginia’s legislative session closes for the year. While this is a tall order with such scant time, Governor Youngkin has made it clear he remains open to the possibility.

Commenting on the veto, the American Gaming Association’s Bill Miller said: “We applaud Governor Youngkin’s veto of SB 212, which will protect communities from illegal gambling machines and uphold not only the original ban passed by the General Assembly in 2020 but subsequent judicial determinations in Virginia’s courts.”

Miller refers to the fact that Virginia banned skill game kiosks in 2020; however, implementation was paused in response to COVID to assist small businesses. More recently, in Q4 of 2023, Virginia’s Supreme Court ruled to reinstate the ban, hence renewed efforts to approve skill games.

No Sports Betting Bill for Minnesota 

Minnesota was tipped as one of the USA’s most likely states to legalize sports betting in 2024. Unfortunately, the state’s legislative session has now closed, and no new sports betting bill has been approved, meaning it’s back to the drawing board for legislators, who can make their next attempt in 2025.

Not only did the session close without passing sports betting, but it also ended in a complete meltdown as senators threw insults across the chamber, had shouting matches on the floor, and convened for sessions, some of which went on until 5 am.

2024 is now the first year since the repeal of PASPA in which no state has approved new sports betting legalization, pointing to a slowdown in the pace of gambling expansion in the USA.

April Revenue Reports: New Jersey and Pennsylvania

In more good revenue news, New Jersey has reported a 10.4% increase YoY for April 2024, with the total revenue hitting a whopping $510.9 million. 

Land-based casinos were the primary driver, generating $216.8m (-6.3% YoY) while iGaming accounted for $187.9 million (+18.9% YoY). Golden Nugget took the top spot for NJ online casinos, followed by Resorts Digital in second and Borgata Casino in third. 

New Jersey sports betting revenue also increased by a massive 46.9% YoY up to $106.2 million, with FanDuel in first place, Resorts Digital in second, and DraftKings in third.

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, total gaming revenue was just behind New Jersey, hitting $504.7 million for the month (+5.87% YoY). The largest share came from retail slots, followed by online slots and table games. Incredibly, online slot revenue grew by over 30% compared with April 2023.

April 2024 Gaming revenue by type - taken from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board

iGaming generated $173.4 million in revenue (+26.39% YoY), with Hollywood Casino in the top spot, FanDuel in second, and Rivers Casino in third. For sports betting, the total market hit $42,4 million in revenue (+14.5% YoY).

If you love your stats and want to dive deeper into the PA market, we thoroughly recommend looking at the full press release from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). 

4ThePlayer Secures Pennsylvanian Licensing

Rounding off a good note, 4ThePlayer secured PGCB licensing. The ground-breaking studio, creators of hit slot games 9K Yeti and 4 Fantastic Lobsters, is now available in four US markets (New Jersey, Michigan, and Connecticut).

Business Development Director and Co-Founder Chris Ash said, “I am thrilled we can bring our unique gaming experience to the players of Pennsylvania. After the success we have seen with these titles in other states, we are excited for players in Pennsylvania to play them!”

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