Casino Cabbie: Letter From America 13
It’s Lucky 13 from our favourite US Partners Casino Cabbie, as Lauren Harrison updates us with all that’s fresh and fascinating from the world’s biggest and most exciting betting market.
The Maine Chance
Almost 18-months since Gov. Janet Mills signed LD 585 into law, online sports betting in Maine is finally live.
DraftKings and Caesars launched on the first day of legal betting, November 3; while Genius Sports, which has also secured temporary approval from the regulatory Maine Gambling Control Unit (MGCU), is yet to show.
LD 585 allows Maine tribes to apply for online sports betting licences or to partner with one online operator per tribe. Racetracks, retail wagering operations, and off-track services may also apply for retail licences.
“Maine sports fans deserve an elevated sports wagering experience that matches the pedigree of sports fandom in New England. The launch of Caesars Sportsbook delivers on that pedigree,” affirmed Caesars Digital President Eric Hession.
“We’d like to thank Governor Janet Mills and the Maine legislature for making this launch possible, as well as the Maine Gambling Control Unit (MGCU) for all they have done throughout this process.”
Seminole Tribe Rocks
Despite ongoing legal challenges, Florida’s Seminole Tribe has made the most of a window provided by the Supreme Court to relaunch sports betting under the Hard Rock Bet aegis.
Early access is now open to any player who has previously held an account with Hard Rock Bet Fla., with the complete service planned to go live between December 7-11.
Since Hard Rock Bet made the early access announcement on X, the pari-mutuel betting companies involved in the ongoing legal challenge in the Sunshine State have petitioned the Supreme Court to “immediately suspend the sports betting provisions”.
Watch this space.
Sooner Later Than Never
If at first you don’t succeed: Go. And go again.
That’s the deal in the Sooner State, Oklahoma, where Republican Governor Kevin Stitt–following the recent failure of HB 1027–has set out his proposals to legalise both online and retail sports betting, anew.
In line with the state’s tribal gaming compacts, retail sports betting would be limited to the 38 federally-recognized tribes.
As for online sports betting, all operators can apply for a licence costing US$500,000 — plus a US$100,000 annual renewal fee. Tax will be levied at 20 percent.
Oklahoma is one of only 15 states yet to legalise sports betting in the USA.
Plans include protections for college sports and Stitt has also contacted the National Collegiate Athletic Association for their input and guidance.
ESPN BET Alive
As previously reported in iGF, ESPN BET sportsbook, under the new Disney-owned ESPN and Penn Entertainment combo, is now live in 17 states.
In addition, Penn will also be offering iCasino in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan and West Virginia under its Hollywood brand.
“Our successful launch is the culmination of months of hard work across both teams and we could not be more excited to roll out ESPN BET in partnership with ESPN,” said Jay Snowden, CEO and President of PENN Entertainment.
“[Our] operational excellence paired with ESPN’s unmatched brand and reach is a powerful combination that will drive this compelling new sportsbook.”
West Virginia has gone for poker gold and joined the novel, and hitherto exclusive, Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), which allows for cross-border online poker games and shared prize pots.
The Mountain State is only the fifth state–after New Jersey, Delaware, Nevada, and Michigan–to join MSIGA since it was created in 2014.
With more players added to the pool, increased competition and bigger prize pots, it’s excellent news for MSIGA.
Not quite a full house but certainly more than a flop.
Michigan Walks, Nevada Talks
Strike action by hospitality workers at key Vegas casinos MGM, Caesars and Wynn has been avoided at the last minute with management finally agreeing to discuss falling wages, benefits and job security with their workers.
But things are not looking so rosy in Michigan, where 3,700 workers from Detroit’s five land-based casinos have been on strike since October 17.
With Motor City casino revenue crashing near-20 percent, year-on-year, last month, trades union workers are determined to stay out until their employment issues are resolved – and they’ve called on punters to boycott Michigan’s online casinos and sportsbooks in solidarity.
Social Casinos Under the Hammer
A class action suit by Nevada resident Steven Horn is challenging Amazon for supplying social casino apps.
The lawsuit argues that social casino apps are akin to illegal gambling, as they offer highly addictive games that are profitable and use virtual coins, which players can buy and–therefore, technically–equate to real money.
Amazon is taking a 30 percent cut of each bet placed, the legal action alleges, and the online retail giant should return all “the illegal proceeds” it has made.
“[This] is a dangerous partnership, consumers become addicted to social casino apps, maxing out their credit cards with purchases amounting to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“Consumers addicted to social casinos suffer a variety of non-financial damages ranging from depression to divorce to attempted suicide,” claimed Horn in his deposition.
Social casinos are considered legal in most US states because players do not have to buy coins, and they provide free virtual gaming.
But legal challenges have met with success and severe financial sanctions in the past.
In 2018, for example, Omnichannel IGT was involved in a massive US$415 million settlement in Washington State prompted by social casino legal action.