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Gambling in the USA

Is there a future for gambling in Augusta?

George Miller

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s there a future for gambling in Augusta
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The complicated stance on gambling taken by local governments across America could have limited life, with more dialogue than ever, as well as a pro-gambling president incumbent in the White House. Although certain states have a very relaxed approach to gaming, Georgia isn’t one of them, forcing any sort of gambling to remain part of the underground industry worth billions of dollars.

For Augusta, this means arrests and jail time, with four people put under duress in 2016 following unlicensed lottery sales. In a state where gamblers can visit Indian reservation casinos, it seems a little extreme to enforce gambling so strictly, especially when other states are reaping the benefits associated with a more liberal approach to gambling.

Las Vegas and Atlantic City are anomalies which are deeply rooted in the history of gambling in the US, but Michigan, Delaware and Pennsylvania are all well on the way to creating a regulated and controlled gaming industry that will open up new tax generation and employment opportunities. So the big question is why Georgia, and especially Augusta, isn’t getting a piece of the action?

Augusta’s prominence

Detroit is still struggling with bankruptcy, unemployment and a severe lack of public funding. To combat this, 3 major casinos are allowed to operate in the downtown area, generating hundreds of millions of dollar for the state of Michigan every year. This tax funding is pumped straight back into the local community, promoting regeneration and also creating new jobs.

Augusta isn’t in the same situation as Detroit (in fact it’s quite the opposite), but the opportunity that exists is a strong one. Detroit isn’t known as a holiday hotspot, the weather isn’t great all year around and to be brutally honest, rust belt visitors will take their tourism dollars to Chicago or across the border to Toronto. For Augusta, visitors from the coast, Atlanta, Charlotte and even the North East would be more than enough to turn Augusta into a premier gambling destination.

Naturally, the Masters tournaments is the big opportunity. Thousands flock to Augusta every year to see the world’s best, spending upwards of $200 million in the process. Imagine if these visitors were hosted in casino resorts designed to generate even more cash that could be used for public services and improvements across the city, instead of placed in the pockets of private organisations and international hotel chains that don’t have Augusta’s economy at the forefront of their operations. Sports gambling is an underground industry worth $700 billion and it would be naïve to think that no gambling takes place at all during a masters tournament, so why not tax it?

The way online gambling is performing in other states and countries is definitely a point for consideration too. In the UK, online gambling now makes up 33% of the £13.8 billion industry, growing year on year and allowing online casino operators and bookmakers to become some of the biggest earners and employers. Wink Bingo, one of the UK’s market leading online bingo providers, has seen record growth, allowing them to build a trusted website that benefits from the laws on gambling in the UK. As well as an improved offering thanks to reinvestment, Wink is also creating jobs and contributing to the UK’s economy via tax, something that both cities and states could be and are doing in states like Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Trump’s key role

The president has a background in casinos. After raising millions of dollars in capital through the sales of junk bonds, Trump basically transformed Atlantic City, New Jersey back in the 1980s, constructing and operating several casinos and plastering the Trump brand onto the city. Although the casinos he operated weren’t a success, it has left a lasting legacy that has turned Atlantic City into a gambling hotspot on the East coast. Although legalised gambling at a national level is on the cards, we’re yet to see an official stance from the president’s office, possibly due to the other fires he is busy fighting both internally and externally. What is certain however is the fact that any changes to gambling laws will be a drawn-out process, with conservative law makers, judges and of course local government need to align, a process which will not be as straightforward as many gaming companies and gamblers will be hoping for.

Augusta would also be impacted greatly. Gambling in the US is starting to shake its dark past, and regulated gambling would certainly be free from ties with organised crime. If Augusta were to become a casino hotspot, the dynamic of the city could change completely, something that many residents wouldn’t be in favour of. New visitors may bring additional revenues, but it may all of a sudden become more difficult to get to work in traffic, or even book a restaurant.

The trade-off between tax revenue and additional tourism problems would need to be considered in depth, but it still feels that taking advantage of golf visitors is a no brainer. On-site bookmakers or even concession stands that offer odds could be a simple solution that would bump up golf revenues considerably.

With the president’s official decision to come and some guaranteed backlash from lawmakers in Georgia if the US does decide to legalise gambling at a national level however, it may still be some time before we can enjoy gambling without having to leave Augusta.

George Miller started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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Gambling in the USA

New Jersey Governor Signs Bill which Allow Golden Nugget to Take NBA Bets

Niji Narayan

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New Jersey Governor Signs Bill which Allow Golden Nugget to Take NBA Bets
Photo Source: tripadvisor.com
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New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed a bill which allows the Atlantic City’s Golden Nugget casino to accept bets on most National Basketball Association (NBA) games.

Tilman Fertitta, a billionaire from Texas, is the owner Golden Nugget casino. He also owns the NBA’s Houston Rockets team. When New Jersey lawmakers legalised sports betting last year, a provision in the law banned team owners from placing or accepting bets on any games involving their sport.

“We’re grateful, and appreciative that people eventually realized this was an overreaction. It allows us to compete,” Steve Scheinthal, general counsel for the Golden Nugget’s parent company, Houston-based Landry’s Inc., said.

The ban on all NBA bets cut badly into the Golden Nugget’s New Jersey sports betting business. A gambler wanting to place bets on football at the Golden Nugget had to go somewhere else to bet on basketball, making it much less likely he or she would visit the Golden Nugget at all for sports betting.

“It was like going into a boxing ring with one arm tied behind your back. You just can’t compete that way. It gave everyone a year’s head start on us,” Scheinthal said.

 

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Gambling in the USA

Kentucky AG Andy Beshear Reveals Plan for Casinos, Sports Betting Across State

Niji Narayan

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Kentucky AG Andy Beshear Reveals Plan for Casinos, Sports Betting Across State
Photo Source: huffpost.com
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Andy Beshear, the Democratic candidate of Kentucky gubernatorial election, has unveiled his plan to expand gaming and bring casinos, sports betting, fantasy sports and potentially online poker into the Bluegrass State.

Beshear, the state’s current Attorney General, faces Republican incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin in the November general election. Bevin has spoken out against gaming, especially as an option to increase funding for public pensions.

Beshear’s plan resembles what Illinois officials pushed through in their state earlier this year. While Illinois already had casino gaming, the new law expands the number of casino licenses available and allows sports betting across the state. Illinois plans to use the revenue stream to shore up the state’s infrastructure and fund pensions.

Kentucky is one of the 10 states in the US without a commercial or tribal casino. The border states of Kentucky such as Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio have casinos or racinos located just across the Ohio River near major population centres in Kentucky. Beshear said that the state loses out on $500 million in tax revenue annually to its neighbouring states.

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Gambling in the USA

Blackstone Group to Buy Bellagio and MGM Grand

Niji Narayan

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Blackstone Group to Buy Bellagio and MGM Grand
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Blackstone Group is going to buy the Bellagio and the MGM Grand, two of the biggest properties owned by MGM Resorts. Blackstone is in talks with MGM Resorts regarding this.

After buying, Blackstone would then lease the property back to MGM Resorts, who would continue to run the day-to-day casino operations.

By selling the property to Blackstone, MGM would free up needed capital to build a $10 billion resort in Japan. Early estimates have MGM receiving roughly $7 billion for the two casino resorts.

Blackstone has made a splash in the gaming market over the last several years. It purchased the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas in 2014 for $1.73 billion and acquired Spain-based Cirsa Gaming Corp in 2018 for $1.8 billion.

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