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Gambling in the USA

PlayIllinois.com says launch of sports betting first step in what could be $10B-a-year industry

George Miller

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PlayIllinois.com says launch of sports betting first step in what could be $10B-a-year industry
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Illinois officially has joined the ever-growing list of legal sports jurisdictions in the U.S. with the launch of BetRivers Sportsbook at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, and by doing so took the first step in what could be one of the largest markets in the U.S.

If the Illinois market fully matures — which would have to include the widespread launch of online sports betting — the state could generate from $9 billion to $11 billion in wagers annually and $650 million in operator gross revenue, according to projections from PlayIllinois.com, which tracks regulated online and retail gaming in the state.

“Illinois’ potential is enormous, but it has a long way to go to become a major player relative to the largest markets in the U.S.,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst at PlayIllinois.com. “Launching the industry is obviously a momentous first step. But because of regulatory roadblocks to online sports betting, it will be years before Illinois can enjoy the same kind of boom that we’ve seen in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.”

On Monday, Illinois became the 15th state to allow legal sports betting. Of those, only New York and Pennsylvania have a larger population from which to draw. And Illinois’ retail sportsbook market is expected to ramp up quickly, with five more expected to open soon, including sportsbooks at Argosy Casino Alton, Hollywood Casino Aurora, Hollywood Casino Joliet, Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, and Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino in East Peoria. Fairmont Park Racetrack in Collinsville, near St. Louis, has also been approved for a temporary operating permit.

Significant hurdles remain, though, particularly for online sports betting, which isn’t expected to launch until later this year. And when it does launch it will require in-person registration for mobile accounts.

The Illinois law, passed in December, allows for three “stand-alone” mobile operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel. But because of the state’s in-person registration requirement, those would-be operators will not be able to accept a bet for at least 18 months. And with a hefty $20 million fee to obtain one of those three licenses, it’s not clear which operators will apply.

“Illinois’ high licensing fees for online operators and its in-person registration requirements will undoubtedly stunt the growth of the industry,” Gouker said. “Even with the high fees, the appeal of the Illinois market will eventually be too much to resist for the country’s largest operators. But neighbor Indiana will be able to continue to cash in on the Chicago market until Illinois gets up to speed.”

Online sports betting is by far the most significant revenue driver in the major U.S. markets. In New Jersey, which has quickly grown to become the country’s largest market, 87% of all sports bets in January were made online. By contrast, Rhode Island, which put in place a similar in-person registration requirement as Illinois, draws just 15% of its bets from online sources.

Illinois’ 10 existing casinos, three racetracks, and as many as seven sports venues are eligible to apply to open retail sportsbooks. Those sportsbooks will also be able to set up mobile sports betting apps.

“The Illinois model isn’t ideal, but for Illinois bettors today is unquestionably a good day,” Gouker said. “Most of the state’s residents should be able to place a bet in relatively close proximity. And that is much better than the alternative.”

For more information and analysis on regulated sports betting in Illinois, visit PlayIllinois.com/news.

Gambling in the USA

Evolution Selected for PointsBet US Live Casino Rollout

George Miller

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Evolution Selected for PointsBet US Live Casino Rollout
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Evolution Gaming, leading provider of Live Casino solutions, announced today that it has been selected by PointsBet, a premier global sportsbook operator, for its rollout of Live Casino services in the US online gambling market.

Originally founded in Australia, PointsBet is currently operational in New Jersey, Indiana, and Iowa, offering both online and land-based sports betting. PointsBet entered the US market in July 2018 when it gained a commercial licence to operate as an online corporate bookmaker in New Jersey and commenced taking bets in the Garden State in January 2019. Since then, PointsBet has built a national footprint by entering into a number of other agreements to expand US operations into other states, subject to the passing of enabling legislation.

Evolution opened its first US Live Casino studio in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in August 2018. A second Evolution studio is currently under construction in Pennsylvania with go-live scheduled for H2 2020, as well as a third in Michigan, scheduled for go-live in 2021.

Commenting on the partnership, Seth Young, Chief Innovation Officer at PointsBet, stated: “We are thrilled to partner with Evolution Gaming to launch Live Casino technology in US jurisdictions, where we plan to offer our proprietary online casino platform. The addition of Evolution Live Casino extends the appeal of PointsBet’s premium product in the rapidly growing US market.”

Sebastian Johannisson, Chief Commercial Officer at Evolution Gaming, added: “Evolution’s Live Casino portfolio offers PointsBet a rich mix of world-leading online Live Casino games including classic table games, online Poker variants that are big favourites with US players, and our new generation of award-winning, record-breaking game show games. In addition, PointsBet will have the option of exclusively branded dedicated tables and environments, should they require these.”

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Gambling in the USA

Virginia Lottery launches IWG games becoming the Company’s 23rd WLA/NASPL iLottery launch

George Miller

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Virginia Lottery launches IWG games becoming the Company’s 23rd WLA/NASPL iLottery launch
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Long-standing collaboration with NeoPollard produces fastest integration to-date

Today IWG digital instant win games launched on the Virginia Lottery’s iLottery gaming platform, making it the 23rd WLA/NASPL-member lottery to launch the instant win supplier’s games portfolio. The integration took just weeks to complete, a timeline made possible by the long-standing collaboration between IWG and NeoPollard Interactive, the Virginia Lottery’s iLottery platform provider.

Following the execution of a five-year contract agreement, the completion of a streamlined integration process, and the implementation of IWG’s locally-deployed Remote Game Server (RGS), the Virginia Lottery has elected to roll out the provider’s top-performing games. An extensive portfolio of games is planned into the Lottery’s roadmap.

Among the titles now available to Virginians is Cash Expander, a customized game from IWG that has been designed specifically for the Virginia Lottery. The gameplay, which utilizes the developer’s core ‘match three cluster’ mechanic, includes gold, silver and bronze Virginia state symbols that activate the bonus round when three appear on-screen.

The release of Virginia Cash Expander marks the fourth iteration of this instant win game appearing in the North American iLottery market, following previous localized versions in Michigan, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. These custom-made releases have proven hugely successful, with players appreciating the content that’s been adapted for their own respective markets.

The launch of instant win games with the Virginia Lottery highlights the supplier’s impressive lottery client network, with its content already live across the growing North American iLottery markets, including Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania in the US, and the Atlantic Provinces, Québec, and British Columbia in Canada.

Rhydian Fisher, IWG CEO, said: “We’re so excited to be live in Virginia, our 23rd iLottery launch. The Virginia Lottery and its entrepreneurial approach to iLottery combined with the support of its platform vendor, NeoPollard, made it possible for us to execute a contract, integrate our RGS platform, and localize a set of games, all in a very short period of time. Clearly, the leading iLottery platforms have proven they can support the integration of independent game providers, like IWG, right during a program’s initial launch.”

Kevin Hall, Executive Director of Virginia Lottery, said: IWG has done a tremendous job delivering the first of many games from its portfolio to the Virginia Lottery. They, along with our partners at NeoPollard, completed this integration within a very demanding timeline. Having seen the success of Cash Expander with other lotteries in North America, we’re confident our own localized version will also appeal to a wide range of players here in Virginia.”

 

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Gambling in the USA

AGA to Report on Q2 U.S. Commercial Casino Gaming Revenue

George Miller

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AGA to Report on Q2 U.S. Commercial Casino Gaming Revenue
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The American Gaming Association (AGA) will host a press call on Thursday, August 13, 2020 at 11:30 a.m. EDT to provide an overview and analysis of the commercial gaming industry’s financial performance during Q2 2020. Data discussed will include national and state gross gaming revenue (GGR) broken down by gaming vertical.

 

WHO:          Bill Miller, AGA president and CEO.

 

WHAT:        Press call to discuss commercial casino GGR from Q2 2020 and YTD.

 

WHEN:          Thursday, August 13, 2020 at 11:30 a.m. EDT.

 

WHERE:      Register for the Zoom call here.

 

About the Report

AGA’s new Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker provides state-by-state and cumulative insight into the U.S. commercial gaming industry’s financial performance based on state revenue reports. The first issue highlights second quarter results, ending June 30 (Q2 2020), and year-to-date comparisons.

 

 

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