Casino Cabbie: Letter From America 11
More magic vignettes from our favourite US partner Casino Cabbie this week as we watch the boom come down on bad gaming, boost the new and the positive and celebrate winning ways.
Where The Sun Don’t Shine
Florida’s Gaming Control Commission (FGCC) has sent cease-and-desist letters to daily fantasy sports platforms Underdog Fantasy, PrizePicks and Betr operating in the Sunshine State.
“Under Florida law, betting or wagering on the result of contests of skill, such as sports betting, including fantasy sports betting, is strictly prohibited and constitutes a felony unless such activity is otherwise exempted by statute,” warned the FGCC.
“Receiving such illegal bets and wagers and aiding or abetting such criminal activities constitute separate felony offences.”
Curiously, Big Dogs DraftKings and Fanduel have been left undisturbed.
With hot local attorney John Lockwood now hired for the defence in a class action, the case is set to rumble on.
He countered: “We disagree on the merits [of the ban] and will be working with the commission and potentially the Legislature so we can ensure Florida sports fans can continue to play.”
Making A PointsBet
PointsBet, currently being subsumed by Fanatics, has been fined US$25,000 by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement for allowing unauthorised wagers.
The fine was imposed for a cluster of breaches: taking illegal bets on a college basketball game, underage betting and taking bets on the result of an English football game that had already finished.
Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Em!
In scenes reminiscent of sledge-hammer wielding Treasury Agents from the “good ol’, bad ol’ days” of Prohibition, Michigan’s Gaming Control Board (MGCB) has smashed over 1,195 illegal gaming machines collected between 2015-2023 to prevent them from being resold or reused.
“Illegal gaming continues to pose a threat to Michigan citizens and their communities, as it often leads to an increase in organised criminal activity, financial exploitation, and other related social issues,” asserts the MGCB’s latter-day Elliot Ness, Executive Director Henry Williams,.
“Unregulated gaming machines also result in a loss of state revenue. Operators running illegal gaming establishments are not reporting earnings or paying taxes. They are robbing Michigan citizens of taxes and revenue used to support our schools and communities with essential state funding dollars.”
Waiter, Where’s My Piña Colada?
After surviving recent cyberattacks, which have cost them US$100 million, and counting, MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment are now facing strike action from their hospitality workers on the storied Vegas Strip.
Members of the Culinary and Bartenders Union will hit the picket line this week over contract and pay disputes with the gambling resort behemoths that have rumbled on in the wake of Covid19.
Over 95 percent of the 60,000 unionised Vegas workforce have voted for strike action for higher wages and better conditions.
Meantime, their casino co-workers in Motor City Detroit are also threatening to jam on the brakes if their wage demands are not met this week, mid-October.
”Following Covid shutdowns, Detroit casino workers sacrificed raises and shouldered heavier workloads so the industry could recover,” one top union official told Casino Cabbie.
“Now workers are struggling to make ends meet, even as the industry generates all-time record high gaming revenues from in-person and online gaming.”
The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, of WONDR NATION, has pledged US$250,000 towards Responsible and Sustainable gaming research to be undertaken by the University of Connecticut’s (UConn) School of Medicine.
“We take Responsible Play very seriously and are proud to work closely with UConn researchers to increase player safety, fund critical research and invest in our communities,” affirmed Anika Howard, President and CEO of WONDR NATION.
“We strive to pioneer a new era of Responsible Gaming.”
Responded the UConn School of Medicine: “[We are] excited to work with WONDR NATION to examine the impact of rapid changes in the gaming landscape on our community and work toward enhancing Responsible Gaming strategies in online gaming environments.”
State Of Play
A new report by the American Gaming Association (AGA) and Oxford Economics has detailed the economic contributions of the US gambling industry using year-long data from 2022.
Here are the stunning headlines:
The US gaming industry generates some US$329 billion of total economic output, employs 1.8 million people, pays US$104 billion in wages and salaries and US$53 billion in taxes.
Gambling tax revenue is “critical funding” for local projects and services, including health, education, infrastructure and economic development, as well as supplementing state budgets.
The industry, numbering one in every 33 hospitality jobs in the nation, supports more direct jobs than other sectors, such as air transportation and the postal service.
Gambling industry direct sales generated US$150.3 billion of business in 2022, with US$125.9 billion spent on land-based and online casinos and sportsbooks.
Casino revenue totalled US$122 billion, including US$75.9 billion at commercial casinos, US$46 billion at Native American casinos. Some 83 percent of revenue came from gaming, the rest mostly from hospitality.
Not surprisingly, an overwhelming majority of US citizens (71 percent) hold that “the casino industry positively affects the economy”.
Blues No More
Kentucky–the latest state in the union to legalise sports iGaming–has taken an astonishing US$68.2 million in wagers in only Week One of official betting.
Bluegrass State Democrat Governor Andy Beshear said the results–US$66.5 million placed on mobile accounts, US$1.7 million at retail locations–surpassed all expectations.
Winners, No Losers
And finally results of the 10th Global Gaming Awards held last week in the Venetian Resort, Las Vegas.
Slot Of The Year: Jackpot Carnival by Aristocrat; Customer Loyalty Club Of The Year: MGM Rewards; Land-based Operator Of The Year: Wynn Resorts; Digital Operator Of The Year: BetMGM; Sportsbook Supplier Of The Year: Kambi; Digital Product Of The Year: Live Craps by Evolution Gaming.
No guessing who’d win Columnist Of The Year — if they had one.