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Casinos in Pennsylvania Can Now Return to Full Capacity

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Casinos in Pennsylvania Can Now Return to Full Capacity
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Memorial Day 2021 might be a big day for casinos in Pennsylvania. Operators within this jurisdiction were beset by the state’s orders issued on Memorial Day 2020.

The casinos were forced to shut down operations in a bid to contain the spread of the notorious coronavirus. However, according to statements made by Governor Wolf, the PA state government will be lifting all Covid-19 related restrictions apart from mask-wearing.

Governor Tom Wolf recently made a statement that PA casinos can resume 100% operations on Memorial Day. With the ban on restaurants and bars being lifted, the industry expects to witness a significant turnabout.

Review the map of Pennsylvania casinos found here. Then you could decide whether to promote the companies now that they’re back in business.

Philly Set to Review State Plan
After the Governor’s statement concerning the lift of Covid-19 bans in the state, Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley didn’t confirm whether the City of Philadelphia would follow suit. But, according to him, the Commission will have to review the state plan before giving a green light.

These statements from Farley triggered a violent reaction from the City’s council members. The furious council members argued that they are counting on the Farley’s reopening the City because Live Casino Philadelphia and Rivers Casino Philadelphia are within the City’s boundaries. As such, they are bound by the Commission’s rules.

There Lacks Absolute Certainty
You will realize that the operative word in these statements is “can.” Following last year’s closure of casinos in Pennsylvania for a hundred days, the PA Gaming Board released Covid-19 protocols for reopening.

However, with Wolf allowing these casinos to resume 100% operation, it remains unclear what the operators will do in light of added safety and health measures the gaming board put in place.

With many residents getting vaccinated and brick-and-mortar casinos resuming operation at 100% capacity, they have already begun hiring personnel. Valley Forge Casino was the first to hold a job fair. Other casinos in Pennsylvania have followed suit, with most posting job advertisements on social media.

Pennsylvania Casino Revenue Plunged in 2020
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, PA casinos witnessed a total of 1,500 closure days, about a third of the number of days they would have run normally cumulatively. With revenue from land-based casinos plummeting by about half, casino revenues in PA were bound to drop.

The State Gaming Control Board reported that fantasy sports operators and all the land-based casinos in the state generated a total of $2.65 billion last year, a significant (22%) drop from 2019’s year’s $3 billion collected from 12 casinos.

Land-Based Casinos Rebuild
At this point, it is worth noting that Pennsylvania is the second-largest gaming and gambling industry in the U.S after Nevada. The margin between these two states has grown wider since casinos in Nevada were legally allowed to offer full-scale iGaming services during the pandemic.

With the closure of brick-and-mortar wagering houses, gamblers turned to online casinos. These virtual casinos collected a gross iGaming revenue of slightly above half a billion dollars in 2020. However, since interactive iGaming platforms went live in mid-2019, there was no year-to-year comparison.

Wolf’s closure of brick-and-mortar casinos began in March last year, and gradual reopening commenced in June. By that time, the gaming revenue had dropped significantly. Table games and slots from developers like Relax Gaming generated a revenue of $1.86 billion last year. That was a 43% drop ($1.4 billion) from $3.26 billion gross gaming revenue recorded in 2019.

In light of the current developments, PA land-based casinos are getting ready to get back into business at full capacity. Pennsylvania National Gaming, the oldest operator in PA, will be launching two more venues, one in Morgantown and the other in York, later this year. According to the casino’s Q1 2021 report, it is currently experiencing high demand across the nationwide portfolio.

PA Residents Expected to Keep their Masks On
Wolf made it clear that lifting the bans did not mean that residents can return to the streets without wearing masks. Despite being vaccinated already, residents are expected to wear their mask when walking into land-based casinos.

The Governor says that he will lift the mandatory mask wearing order after 70% of the adults in the state has been vaccinated. According to the state Department of Health, about 50.1% of the adults had received at least one dose of the Covid-19 jab by May 6. In addition, 32.2% of the adults are fully vaccinated by taking a single dose of Johnson & Johnson or two Pfizer or Moderna vaccines doses.

The state department of health continues to make progress in the fight against Covid-19. With the evolving CDC guidance and more residents getting vaccinated, the state is committed to seeing its reopening efforts come to fruition.

However, the health agency is still calling upon Pennsylvanians to take all the necessary steps required to eradicate Covid-19, which means masking, social distancing, sanitizing, frequent hand washing and receiving vaccines.

Some Casinos are Enduring Better than Others
While not a single PA casino has managed to match pre-Covid revenue performance, the experience is different for each operator. In March, for instance, the statewide plunge in table and slots revenue from 2019 for casinos that had been in operation for at least two years was 21.5%, but Meadows went down 35.8%, Wind Creek 32,8%, and Mohegan Sun 13.9%.

McCraken and Frabbiele, two casinos on the opposite sides of Pennsylvania, both reported that part of their problems had to do with being in close proximity with other states that had adopted less restrictive measures. Meadows is also facing new competition from Live! Pittsburgh, a young but promising casino.

With the state allowing PA casinos to drop the 6-foot social distancing order and the resumption of full operation on May 31, operators within the state are filled with hope. According to state statistics, about 5,000 slot machines were not in operation as of March 2021 compared with March 2019.

The number of table game players had also been reduced from six to three. Casino executives suggest that cautious players be allowed to sit at a reserved table with three seats while others play on 6-player tables.
To surmise, PA casino operators need to be fully aware that the post-Covid world remains undefined.

Gambling in the USA

Celebrate Fast Times! Sonic Dash Surpasses 500 Million Milestone as Fans Honour 30th Anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog

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Celebrate Fast Times! Sonic Dash Surpasses 500 Million Milestone as Fans Honour 30th Anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog
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Beloved IP continues to drive mobile game download growth from loyal global fan base

SEGA of America, Inc. today announced that its hit mobile game Sonic Dash has surpassed a major milestone on mobile devices. Since initially launching in 2013, the game has achieved more than 500 million downloads worldwide. The endless runner game, which stars the famous blue hedgehog running, dashing, jumping, and spinning across stunning 3D environments, is the most played Sonic mobile game ever!

Sonic Dash’s major milestone also falls during the 30th Anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog, which SEGA is celebrating with fans around the world! From the small mobile screen to the silver screen, the Blue Blur is still capturing the hearts of audiences. Last year saw the first live-action movie release of Sonic the Hedgehog, and now the next chapter of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is hotly anticipated to release next year in 2022.

Sonic Team’s Takashi Iizuka: “Achieving over 500 million downloads is a huge testament to the endurance of the Sonic brand and the truly fun, timeless gameplay of Sonic Dash. We appreciate our loyal fans as well as our partnership with both Apple and Google for their enduring support in showcasing Sonic Dash in the App Stores. This milestone could not have been achieved at a better time!”

SEGA HARDlight’s Studio Director, Neall Jones: “We continue to be amazed at Sonic Dash’s loyal fans and how the game is still driving millions of new downloads every month. A massive thank you to all Sonic Dash fans. We look forward to continuing to provide you with new and innovative in-game events built around the ever-expanding Sonic universe, for years to come.”

Sonic Dash was developed by HARDlight, a SEGA of Europe studio. The studio is also behind another wildly popular mobile multiplayer runner: Sonic Forces. HARDlight produces regular events in Sonic Dash, featuring collaborations with highly recognized IP. Starting Friday, September 17, fans can also join a special event in Sonic Dash, honoring this 500 million milestone.

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Gambling in the USA

Gaming Americas Weekly Roundup – September 6-12

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Welcome to our weekly roundup of American gambling news again! Here, we are going through the weekly highlights of the American gambling industry which include the latest news, new partnerships and compliance updates. Read on and get updated.

Latest News

Rush Street Interactive has launched its own branded online live casino studios in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The studios will supply live dealer games to the BetRivers online casino in Pennsylvania and PlaySugarHouse online casino in New Jersey.

888 Holdings has announced the launch of SI Sportsbook in Colorado. SI Sportsbook combines 888’s world-class proprietary and scalable technology with Sports Illustrated’s iconic brand to create a unique value proposition for sports fans.

Gaming Realms has announced that its first Slingo game has now gone live in Pennsylvania, following the company’s recent award of an interactive gaming manufacturer license in the state.

Tipico Sportsbook has selected Colorado as the site for its new technology hub. The sportsbook expects as many as 441 jobs to be brought to the area over the next eight years.

International Game Technology has announced that its world-class PlaySports platform footprint will expand into Wisconsin through an agreement to power sports betting at Oneida Casino, on the Oneida Nation Reservation.

Internet Vikings has launched its iGaming hosting services in Colorado. This follows its recent launch in West Virginia. This new launch is just the second step in Internet Vikings’ expansion into the US with 11 more states expected to come onto their map by the end of the year.

DraftKings has announced the addition of its new and exclusive game DraftKings Rocket to the DraftKings Casino product suite. The game is currently available in New Jersey with Michigan and West Virginia to follow pending regulatory approval.

New Partnerships

BetMGM has entered into a strategic partnership with Casino del Mar at La Concha Resort in Puerto Rico. Subject to regulatory approvals, BetMGM will expand its retail and mobile sports betting offerings to Puerto Rico, signifying the company’s first market access agreement outside of the U.S. mainland.

MegaFans, a mobile gaming company headquartered in Southern California, has partnered with Launchpool Labs and joined their first incubator programme which kicked off Sept. 1, 2021.

As the Denver Pioneers prepare for a new sports season, Denver Sports Properties has announced a multi-year agreement with its first corporate sports betting partner, SuperBook Sports. The agreement, facilitated by Playfly Sports, will include branding, media hospitality and social media assets with a focus on responsible gaming and education for student-athletes.

Baltimore Ravens and Caesars Entertainment announced a partnership in which Caesars Sportsbook will be the NFL club’s “premier sports betting partner” while also expanding the Ravens’ relationship with Horseshoe Baltimore casino.

Esports Entertainment Group has signed a partnership agreement with Game Fund Partners LLC to become a part of their Venture Capital Arm and a new planned $300 million game fund.

Genius Sports has expanded its existing agreement with WynnBET to provide the operator with official National Football League sportsbook data, content and fan engagement solutions.

Compliance Updates

Genius Sports Limited has announced that it has been granted a long-term Online Sports Wagering Vendor Permit by the Wyoming Gaming Commission.

The company has also secured a temporary event wagering supplier license from the Arizona Department of Gaming.

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Gambling in the USA

High 5 Games Gets Social With NetEnt

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High 5 Games Gets Social With NetEnt
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Titles from NetEnt are available on High 5 Games’ social casino in free-to-play markets including the United States

 High 5 Games announced the addition of NetEnt games to its social casino. Players in the United States and other free-to-play markets now have access to all NetEnt titles. Games are available to play at High5Casino, on Facebook, and via the High 5 Casino app on iOS and Android.

Yana Tsyganova, VP Operations of High 5 Games, commented: “We’re thrilled to bolster our relationship with Evolution Group and bring our social casino players in the United States the same NetEnt titles that real-money players all over the world can’t get enough of. With the addition of these new NetEnt slots, we’re doubling down on our commitment to the social casino scene and giving players what they want, no matter where they choose to play.”

Titles from NetEnt are already available on High5Casino.com for real money in a number of international markets. With the expanded Evolution Group partnership, players accessing the free-to-play casino in the United States and other jurisdictions where real-money games aren’t available will have access to NetEnt’s most popular slots.

 

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