July 4, 2024Lauren

This week:

- Tribal gambling sets a new annual record for GGR at $41.9 billion.
- Ohio proposes new rules for bonus T&Cs after Fanatics mech flop.
- Michigan’s FY25 budget shores up additional MGCB funding.
- Google updates their US gambling ad rules for DFS and lottery operators.
- Protests erupt in California against SB 549.
- Update Delaware: Competitive betting bill dies as legislative session ends.

Tribal Gaming Growing Strong - FY23 Results

The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) has released the full-year gross gaming revenue (GGR) figures for FY23, revealing a new record of $41.9 billion, a 2.4% year-on-year increase.

The report includes data from 527 gaming operations from 245 tribes in 29 states. Revenue growth was seen across all regions, with Phoenix and Rapid City experiencing the most significant GGR increases at 5.5% and 4.9%, respectively. Still, Sacramento led the way in GGR, with 87 facilities creating $11.9 billion.

According to Sharon Avery, NIGC's acting Chairwoman, "This year's gross gaming revenue results demonstrate how a strong regulatory framework and diversity of tribal gaming enterprises generate growth in the gaming industry."

"Again, this year, tribal gaming operators and regulators have proven that their ingenuity and tenacity are catalysts for growth, even in the face of an ever-changing gaming landscape. This steadfastness will ensure that tribal gaming remains a valuable resource for continued economic sustainability in tribal communities."

Vice Chair Jeannie Hovland added, "I congratulate the industry regulators, operators, and tribal leadership on another successful year. Their hard work in meeting and overcoming the challenges presented by an increasingly competitive market is evidence that tribes are resilient, and their gaming expertise is yielding benefits for their nations as IGRA intended."

Ohio: New Rules for Bonuses After Fanatics Mech Flop

The Ohio Casino Control Commission has taken action, submitting Ohio Adm.Code Chapter 3775-16-09 to the state's Common Sense Initiative Office. The amendment covers new rules for bonuses in the Buckeye State, which has already implemented a ban on risk-free terminology.

The proposal aims to ensure that bonus terms and conditions are clear and not misleading, stating, "Terms and conditions that are full, accurate, concise, transparent and do not contain misleading information."

According to the new rules, bonus T&Cs must also include the date and time the promotion is active and expires, rules of play and cancellation, any eligibility restrictions, the nature of the prizes of awards, the wagering requirements, and the eligible events.

What's more (and taking a direct shot at Fanatics, who have landed in regulatory hot water with the OCCC after breaking the rules by tying bonus bets to merchandise purchases), the amendment states, "Sports gaming proprietors must not offer a promotion or bonus in connection with or as a result of a non-gaming, consumer transaction." Unless the promotion does not "target individuals under the age of twenty-one, other individuals who are ineligible to participate in sports gaming, individuals with gambling problems, or other vulnerable individuals."

The proposal is open to public consultation until July 12th.

Funding the Board: Michigan's RG Efforts

In more good news for US responsible gambling in the USA, Michigan lawmakers have passed the new FY25 budget, which provides new funding for the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB).

The FY25 budget includes doubling the Michigan Gaming Control Board's (MGCB) annual contribution to the compulsive gambling prevention fund from $3 million to $6 million (the money funds research, the 24/7 gambling helpline, education projects, and treatment for compulsive gambling), providing $3 million for the "Don't Regret the Bet" responsible gambling awareness campaign, and using $1.9 million to hire 14 new MGCB staff.

The MGCB's press release stated, "These positions are necessary to support the agency's internet gaming and sports betting regulatory operations in one of the fastest-growing U.S. gaming markets, expand the MGCB's regulatory capacity, and enhance protections against illegal activity."

MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams also said, "I extend my deepest gratitude to Governor Whitmer and the Legislature for their commitment to enhancing the Michigan Gaming Control Board's operations with their support of additional FTE positions, underscoring their dedication to strengthening the agency and its regulatory efforts." 

"Moreover, the MGCB's increased contribution, from $3 million to $6 million, to the Compulsive Gambling Prevention Fund demonstrates our proactive approach towards responsible gaming. Together, we are safeguarding the integrity of the industry while prioritizing the well-being of Michigan citizens."

The new budget awaits Governor Whitmer's sign-off and will come into force on October 1st, 2024.

Google: Changes to Gambling Ads

Google has updated its gambling ads and games policy for DFS and lottery operators across the USA. From July 15th, DFS ads will run in 17 states, and the lottery will be in 33 + Washington D.C.

The 17 states listed for DFS advertising are Alaska, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

The new rules establish the principle of parity that does not currently exist among state regulators in the US; "If advertisers are targeting their ads in a state that does not require a license, the advertisers must be licensed in at least one other US state that does require a license to operate Daily Fantasy Sport services."

This allows DFS adverts to go live through Google Adverts in states without regulated gaming or established licensing regimes, like Utah.

It's All Kicking Off in California, Again

More than 100 demonstrators gathered in Sacramento on Tuesday to voice their opposition to SB 549, a bill currently in the general assembly. If passed, the bill would grant California tribes the ability to take legal action against privately owned cardrooms for infringing on their exclusive rights to Las Vegas-style gaming.

At the protest, attendees heard speeches from local politicians and city representatives. They discussed how the bill could negatively impact cities where cardrooms operate and provide tax revenue and as many as 32,000 jobs.

The mayor of the City of Gardena, Tash Cerda, also emphasized the significance of card rooms in her community, stating that they employ over 1,200 residents and individuals from neighboring areas and create annual wages totaling over $47 million.

Strong opposition to the bill has been evident, and the Hawaiian Gardens Casino in Los Angeles and Chevron Corporation have provided significant financial support for lobbying efforts.

Meanwhile, in Delaware…

Delaware's most talked about bill of 2024, HB 365, which proposed a multi-licensed system for the state's gambling market, has died at the committee stage as the state's legislative session ends for the year. 

The bill, which never made it out of the House Appropriations Committee, proposed up to six betting skins, two per each of the state's retail casinos. 

As the bill has failed, BetRivers (Rush Street Interactive) maintains its monopoly on the state after taking over the contract from 888 Holdings (now evoke) at the start of the year. Since BetRivers took over, revenue has increased massively month on month across Delaware's three online casinos.

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