June 27, 2024Lauren

Welcome back for a bumper edition of the Casino Cabbie Weekly Digest -two weeks of coverage in one. Buckle up; we've got a lot to share:

- U.S. Supreme Court upholds Seminole sports betting monopoly in Florida
- Washington D.C. approves new competitive sports betting landscape
- MGM acquires Tipico
- Illegal sportsbooks still dominate the U.S. market
- Which U.S. states are ramping up protective measures?
- New Stats: 59% of U.S. bettors wager daily
- Bovada adds Michigan and Connecticut to the list of banned states
- Playtech goes live from MGM Grand and Bellagio, bringing Vegas to global audiences.

U.S. Supreme Court Refuses Florida Sports Betting Case

The Seminole Tribe of Florida has reaffirmed its monopoly on sports betting in the Sunshine State, as this week, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the West Flagler case in a full hearing. 

This effectively means that the most recent ruling stands, which upholds the 2021 Florida State Gaming Compact and gives Hard Rock Bet - the Seminole Tribe - the full go-ahead to continue taking bets in the state. Hopefully, the Supreme Court's decision will close this matter for good.

D.C. Competitive Market Confirmed

Following last week's news that Washington, D.C., was considering opening its sports betting market, on Tuesday, the 25th, the D.C. Council gave its final sign-off on the FY25 budget, which includes provisions to increase the number of operators permitted. Currently, only FanDuel operates in the district. The new budget goes into effect on July 15th.

MGM Resorts Acquires Tipico

MGM Resorts has hashed out a deal to see its subsidiary, the LeoVegas Group, acquire Tipico's U.S. sportsbook and online casino platform. Subject to approvals, the acquisition is expected to be completed in Q3 2024. The deal is a significant move as it means LeoVegas and MGM will have their own proprietary sports betting platform with inroads across major international markets. 

MGM Resort's press release states that Tipico will wind down its U.S. operations before the acquisition closes. LeoVegas will acquire Tipico's U.S.-facing management, technology, and trading teams across the U.S., Colombia, and Europe as part of the transaction.

Gary Fritz, President of MGM Resorts International Interactive, said that the "acquisition of Tipico's award-winning U.S. platform marks a significant milestone in the strategic development of MGM Resorts' global digital gaming business, allowing us to operate a proprietary sports betting platform" and giving the company complete control of its entire technology ecosystem.

Additionally, in a video posted by the LeoVegas Group on Linkedin, the company's Chief Product and Technology Officer Mattias Wedar explained that they'd been on the hunt for a suitable sportsbook to acquire for a while and that Tipico "features both simple and superior UX is built for a multi-brand and multi-jurisdiction environment and that's exactly what LeoVegas Group needs" as they continue to expand internationally.

Illegal Betting Still Dominates US Market

Speaking of money, Yield Sec has used predictive analysis to estimate the U.S. black market for online sports betting in 2023. Despite the spread of sports betting legislation since the repeal of PASPA, their estimates show that most of the money is going offshore, with 65% of all wagering gross gambling revenue (GGR) taken by illegal gambling sites.

According to Yield Sec, the market split between illegal and legal GGR is US$19.1 billion in illegal bets to $10.4 billion in legal wagers. Looking at total online spending, the largest revenue generators are parlay bets (54%).

U.S. States Ramp Up Protective Measures

With the U.S. still in the throws of illegal gambling, we decided to look at which states have been busy implementing more robust protective measures for players and encouraging safer gambling.

According to the American Gaming Association, in 2023, the U.S. gambling industry made concerted efforts in this respect, with new rules for sports betting ads adopted in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.

Connecticut, Louisiana, and Maryland policymakers also put limits on marketing partnerships between sports wagering operators and local colleges and universities. While Ohio, Maryland, and Vermont banned prop bets on college games.

In the same period, the American Gaming Association also beefed up its Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering, updating the voluntary operator code to add further limits on marketing to college-aged audiences and prevent the use of specific misleading terms in all ads.

U.S. Bettor Behavior: 59% Wager Daily

Betsson, GambleID, and Sports Handle have partnered to undertake new research, surveying 97 sports bettors. The respondents, which were 98% male, and with 62% aged 25-44, showed that:

  • 59% of the group bet daily, 33% weekly.
  • 43% had downloaded more than 5 betting apps, 21% had 4, and only 5% were loyal to a single app.
  • When asked about bet preference, 81% said they prefer to bet on the point spread, 69% on money lines, and 63% on over/under bets.
  • 37% of respondents said they deposit less than $100 a month, 10% said $1000-4,999, 1% spent over $10,000, and 9% decided not to answer.
  • 92% chose football as one of their top three sports to bet on, 66% basketball, and 27% golf. Esports and boxing were among the most unpopular markets to bet on.
  • More than half of respondents choose to bet via an app, with 93% selecting DraftKings as the most well-known, FanDuel in second (92%), and Caesars in third (89%). 74% also selected BetRivers.
  • When asked what the top factors for bettors in picking an app were, 74% said odds, 70% said the UX and 62% said promotions.

Bovada Banned in MI

Meanwhile, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) has successfully become the first state gambling commission to take enforcement action against an offshore gambling site, Bovada. Last week, we reported on the MGCB's issuance of a cease-and-desist order to Bovada, which we can now share has been successful.

Bovada has now stopped accepting bets from Michigan and Connecticut (which followed Michigan's approach by sending their own letter a week later). Their website reads, "Bovada is available to U.S. residents, "except for those living in Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Michigan, and Colorado."

This is undoubtedly a win for the MGCB, which takes enforcement against illegal and unsafe gambling operators seriously.

Playtech Goes Live From MGM Grand and Bellagio

MGM Resorts and Playtech are partnering in a one-of-a-kind deal that will see the latter stream live dealer games from inside the MGM Grand and Bellagio in Las Vegas. Titles will include single and double-zero roulette and baccarat, available to consumers in regulated markets outside the USA, starting with the U.K. and Mexico.

Bill Hornbuckle, Chief Executive Officer & President of MGM Resorts, said, "The launch of this new and exciting live casino offering, in partnership with Playtech and directly from Bellagio and MGM Grand in Las Vegas, furthers our strategic vision to be the world's premier gaming entertainment company. This collaboration amplifies our commitment to providing unparalleled experiences and expands our global reach to our customers. 

"We believe the content, celebrity talent and sophisticated gaming experience that we will offer – all from the trusted and highly reputable brands of MGM Resorts – will be unmatched in the industry."

Mor Weizer, Playtech's Chief Executive Officer, added, "We are thrilled to partner with MGM Resorts, a world-renowned gaming and entertainment brand. This alliance combines the strength of MGM Resorts' global prestige with Playtech's extensive international market knowledge and innovative games. 

"As a leading technology provider in regulated markets, we are delighted that this partnership is pioneering a new live entertainment category and product offering for players in these regulated territories. 

"Our alliance is built on a shared vision to create an innovative and unique customer experience alongside our commitment to safer gambling. Both Playtech and MGM Resorts are dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of player protection and ensuring our offerings are enjoyed responsibly."

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