Another major UK bookmarker has announced an expansion in its US-based sports betting operations. 888 Holdings PLC has revealed that it has launched the first 888sport branded service in New Jersey, which it hopes will be a platform to expand into other states.
888 Sport, which is listed on the FTSE 250, has reached an agreement with sportsbook operator Kambi, through which customers of 888 will be able to access a wide range of sports markets using desktop or mobile devices. The launch is in addition to the established 888 Casino and Poker brands, which are up and running in New Jersey, and will enable US customers of 888 to access the company’s full portfolio of casino games, along with poker cash games and tournaments and the latest in sports betting.
Significant future growth
The announcement by 888 is the latest entry by a UK bookmaker into the fledgling US sports betting market, following the landmark Supreme Court decision back in May, which overturned a long-standing federal ban on sports betting.
As well as its new sports betting operation, 888 has also been expanding its casino offering, with the addition of a new slate of Live Dealer games. It also has plans to include New Jersey in its established poker network, which will allow poker players in Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey to compete with one another in tournaments.
The development of the company’s sports betting presence in the US could enable it to make significant gains from the rapidly expanding market and Chief Executive Itai Frieberger has outlined ambitious plans to further exploit the new US opportunities:
We now have our sport, casino and poker products all operational in the US and are continually developing our proposition, brands and technology to ensure that the group remains exceptionally well positioned to capture the potentially significant future growth opportunities as new regulation allows.”
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A study has revealed that trying their luck on lotteries and scratch cards has been the most popular form of gambling for people in Australia. 44.8% of the adult population had bought a lottery or scratch card in the 12 months to 30 June 2018.
The study is titled ‘Gambling Currency Report’ and was carried out by Roy Morgan. It surveyed a total of 50,000 people and discovered that around 10.6 million people, (55.4%) of the population, had gambled in some way during the year. When it comes to buying lottery and scratch cards, 7.7 million people tried their luck on lottery games in the given period.
Older Population Just Love Lotteries
It seems to be an older population that is hoping for a big lottery/scratch card windfall with the percentage buying tickets increasing with age. Only 12.6% of those aged 18-24 years of age had been buying lottery/scratch card tickets, rising all the way up to 55.6% for Australians aged between 50 and 64 years of age.
The percentages of players going out and playing the lottery or scratching off cards may be high but it’s a different story when looking at the percentage of overall gambling. 60% of that total figure is being spent on slot machines and for all the lottery/scratch card tickets purchased, they only total 13% of the total spending amount.
Michele Levine, who is the CEO of Roy Morgan, commented that the desire to gamble on lottery tickets and scratch cards is clear to see:
Clearly one of the biggest drivers of spending on lottery tickets is the prospect of huge jackpots of up to $100 million … the prospect of a life-changing lotto win is massively enhanced and attracts Australians in droves in search of a lucky ticket.”
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After the announcement earlier this week that American Football teams would be able to enter into partnerships with casinos, the Dallas Cowboys have announced that Thackerville’s WinStar World Casino are to become an exclusive partner.
The change in the rules regarding sponsorship is expected to be very profitable for NFL teams in the coming years. Dallas Cowboys Owner, President and General Manager, Jerry Jones said at a news conference announcing the new deal:
The Dallas Cowboys take great pride in aligning themselves with the best brands in the world. It is a privilege to stand shoulder to shoulder as partners with such a prominent entertainment brand like WinStar World Casino.”
Exciting Times Ahead
The casino has local connections in Dallas. That’s because the WinStar World Casino is owned by the Chickasaw Nation, which is situated just north of the Texas-Oklahoma border along Interstate 35. Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby said that hundreds of Chickasaws live in the Dallas area “and the Dallas Cowboys are a vital part of the community.” He added that although the agreement is a “great business deal” that’s not the only reason they have joined in partnership with the NFL team, and the casino is “excited to be involved with the Dallas Cowboys and the Jones family.”
The WinStar World Casino and Resort is the largest casino resort in the state of Oklahoma. As well as playing in their casino that features weekly poker tournaments, there’s also a Hotel, Global Event Centre, the WinStar Golf Course, shopping boutiques and Spa.
Hopefully the new sponsorship deal will bring some luck for the Dallas Cowboys who haven’t reached the Super Bowl since they were winners in 1995. Last season saw them finish second in the NFL East failing to make the play-offs.
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Online casino gambling revenue in Portugal saw a significant increase this summer, thanks mainly to the effects of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
A report from the country’s gambling regulator the Servico Regulacao e Inspecao de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ) last week revealed that there had been a dramatic rise in online gambling revenue in the second quarter of the year, which ended on June 30.
The SRIJ reported that Portugal’s online casino sector showed a massive year on year increase of €5.4m to €16.8m, to which online slots gaming was the main contributor.
Sports betting revenue
In analysing the increase, the SRI attributed it to the impact of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Although the World Cup’s main effect was to drive an increase in sports betting-related revenue as people wagered on match outcomes, there was an associated rise in other gambling sectors including slots and both cash and tournament poker.
Many online casinos bring together both casino and sports betting functions, and it is believed that many of the new customers wagering on World Cup games may have tried their hand casino games, particularly in the quiet spells during or between matches.
In addition, a number of casino games are targeted directly at football fans, including William Hill’s 20P Shot, which features football-related symbols and national flags. The game was released to coincide with the start of the World Cup.
And it is likely that sports betting could drive similar increases in casino gambling revenue in future. Although the next World Cup in Qatar will not take place until 2022, there are a number of other tournaments that could produce a similar, if smaller effect, including the new look UEFA Nations League, and well-established competitions such as the Champions League. Many casino companies will have learned a lot from the success of their World Cup operations and will be eager to replicate the World Cup effect more often.
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The New York Jets are reported to be looking for a sports betting sponsor as the NFL season kicks off in earnest this weekend.
This is the first NFL season to take place in the wake of the Supreme Court decision in May that legalized sports betting by ruling that a 1992 Act banning the taking of bets on sporting events was unconstitutional.
In the weeks since that decision, eight racetracks and casinos in New Jersey have announced that they will be offering in-person sports betting, while six others are preparing to offer an online sports betting facility for people located in the state.
Among those taking up the sports betting opportunity are Monmouth Park and Caesars Entertainment, both of which received approval to accept online sports bets from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement last Friday. Both the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Tropicana Atlantic City are going through the process of obtaining online betting licences.
The dramatic upsurge in sports betting has prompted a number of teams to seek links with gambling companies. While neither the New York Jets nor the New York Giants have publicly stated that they will accept casino or sports betting advertisements, local media have reported that the Jets are actively seeking to partner with some of the New Jersey gambling venues, and it is believed that any such sponsorship could be worth up to $1 million over the year.
The door to NFL teams accepting gambling-related sponsorship has been opened by the NFL, which recently announced that it would permit casino adverts at its stadiums. So far only one franchise has pursued that option, but the Dallas Cowboys’ deal with Oklahoma’s WinStar World Casino is unlikely to be the last football-betting company link-up as sports franchises race to take advantage of new financial possibilities.
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The legalization of sports betting in the US as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in May has been warmly welcomed by gaming companies and the development of the sports betting market could in turn drive gaming growth across the country.
MGM Resorts, Boyd Gaming and Caesars Entertainment have all announced that they will be implementing sports book expansions, covering both casinos and online sites, and others are sure to follow as the size of the sports betting market grows.
As yet, sports books remain relatively small in terms of market share. Until the Supreme Court decision, sports betting – which was already legal in Nevada – accounted for just $329.1 million in revenue, compared to $1.24 billion for Baccarat and $1.17 billion for Blackjack. But that share is sure to grow as sports betting is taken up across the country
One way in which sports betting could serve to drive gaming growth is in customer engagement. If betting on sports spreads across the country, more customers will be engaging with the gaming companies and may also wager on traditional casino games, particularly if the gaming operators make a success of their online sports books.
Some of the leading gaming companies seem convinced that sports betting will increase the overall volume of wagers in the gaming industry, and if that prediction is correct, it seems likely that more and more operators will branch out into sports books.
And gaming companies will also have in mind the fact that there is already a thriving sports betting market, but it is almost entirely underground. According to the American Gaming Association, around $150 billion is wagered every year and most of that is spent on the illegal market. If that money moves across into legal sports betting through casino-owned sites and land based casinos, then the financial boost to the gaming industry could be significant.
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A number of English football clubs have been found to be in breach of rules regarding the promotion of betting services on their websites.
An investigation led by BBC Five Live found 15 English clubs whose websites featured links to betting companies on pages that were aimed at children. Among the clubs involved were Wolverhampton Wanderers of the Premier League and eight teams currently in the Championship, including Bolton Wanderers, Aston Villa and Brentford. All of the clubs identified currently have betting companies as their main shirt sponsors.
Some of the clubs host their sites through the English Football League (EFL) Digital Network, and in the way of the investigation, it has been reported that the EFL have taken steps to remove all relevant logos and betting links from their pages.
According to the Chief Executive of the EFL, Shaun Harvey, the situation under which betting logos and material appeared on web pages aimed at children occurred as a result of a misunderstanding, and had now been rectified:
As soon as we were made aware of the issue, which came about as a result of a misinterpretation of the Advertising Standards Authority Code, a resolution was quickly developed and implemented to ensure the matter was resolved as promptly as possible. We apologise to all supporters of our Clubs for any concerns this may have raised.”
The EFL have also announced that all of the clubs under their supervision who have links with betting companies have been instructed to remove any such material, including logos, from web pages aimed at under-18s.
The news follows increasing concern about the influence of betting advertising and its association with sport, and about the social impact of the betting industry in general. Earlier this year, the UK government reduced the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals to £2 and the main opposition Labour Party has pledge to introduce more stringent measures targeting the betting industry if they come to power.
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If anyone fancies buying a casino then the opportunity comes along on September 10. That’s when the Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas is the subject of a bankruptcy auction.
The Hotel and Casino opened in December 2016 and was the first to be built from the ground up in post-recession Las Vegas.
The property is situated on a site just west of Las Vegas Boulevard and has a nine-story hotel tower, plus a separate 27.500 square-foot casino building. The owners specifically targeted customers from Asia, but sadly the Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino didn’t live up to its name as the hoped-for guests from that region failed to arrive. Derek Stevens who owns the D Las Vegas and the Golden Gate casinos blamed the location of the casino and the lack of pedestrian traffic in the surrounding area.
Financial Problems Escalate
Last year the Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino was valued at $143m. 2018 began with the owners revealing severe financial problems leading to the casino floor and its dining facilities being closed. The business was pushed into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February and is now being auctioned off on September 10.
Developers have previously said that several prospective buyers had shown interest in the property. That’s despite the fact court papers show the owners have been offering assets without getting a buyer for over a year. The owners were even advised to “abandon the property” to avoid further costs.
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27-year-old Notts County defender Matt Tootle has revealed he’s a compulsive gambler and claims gambling is “rife” in football.
The former Crewe Alexandra player has previously spoken about having mental health problems, but on Twitter this Wednesday tweeted: “I’ve been a compulsive gambler for as long as I remember, and it has brought to me some of my worst memories.” He also stated that problems with gambling are “rife in football” and “something needs to be done.” Tootle hopes that he will be able to help others who are also having gambling problems.
The Notts County player said he had been gambling since he was sixteen and that he had tried on several occasions to quit gambling but had been unsuccessful in doing so. His problem had caused difficulties with those closest to him who had attempted to help him. “It’s an illness and until you decide you actually want to help yourself you will never get over it,” he added. Tootle says he has gone a month without gambling “and I’m proud of it.”
Notts County, currently bottom of League Two, have offered their support of ‘Toots’ saying that they are liaising with the English Football League (EFL) “to identify if they can offer any further support.” Recently, the head of the NHS Simon Stevens has said Premier League clubs should do more to help tackle gambling addiction.
There have been incidents in recent years with Joey Barton (now manager of Fleetwood) banned for 18 months for placing 1,260 bets on football matches between 2006 and 2013. The former West Ham and Stoke winger had reported gambling debts of £1.5m and in an interview with the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire, claimed that some gambling companies were targeting players due to their high disposable incomes.
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Well-known casino operator Caesars Entertainment has joined the rapidly growing New Jersey sports betting market, by offering mobile sports betting.
The mobile service will be available through the Caesars Casino & Sports App, which can be downloaded for iOS and Android users, and will allow anyone based in New Jersey to wager on a range of sports bets, including the NFL, which kicked off on Thursday. Users will also be able to access 400 popular casino games, including slots and video poker.
The move follows May’s Supreme Court ruling on the 1992 PASPA Act which opened the way for legalised intra-state sports betting, and New Jersey has been one of the first states to develop its sports betting sector. Caesars has already begun to accept sports bets in two of its casino venues in the state, along with two sites in Mississippi.
Caesars is one of the largest gaming companies in the US and has an ongoing partnership with technology operator Scientific Games, who provide its mobile betting software, through the OpenBet technology, along with much of its casino technology.
The Supreme Court decision that opened the way for sports betting did not permit inter-state sports betting, so Caesars customers in the Tri-state area will only be able to make sports bets through the new app extension when they are physically located in the Garden State.
Caesars has also stated that as part of its sports betting growth strategy, the company is planning to set up new retail locations offering sports betting and to expand its mobile sports betting option into other states. So far, New Jersey, Delaware and Mississippi have led the way in developing sports betting, but other states are expected to announce legal frameworks to benefit from the potential boost to state revenue associated with sports betting.
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