Casino Cabbie: Letter From America 16

In ‘The Year of the Dragon’, what could be more apposite than kick-starting our 2024 America coverage with the latest Letter From America from our very special US correspondent Lauren Harrison of Casino Cabbie.

Delaware Rising

First Sportsbook and Rush Street Interactive (RSI) has officially taken over the Delaware market, powering and relaunching the state’s three online casinos–Delaware Park, Harrington Online, and Bally’s Dover–under the BetRivers brand, as well as launching online sports betting at each site.

Players can now place online sports bets for the first time in the Diamond State, with betting open on professional and collegiate games across 28 sports and markets, including spread bets, moneylines, futures, parlays, and props.

RSI has taken over from 888, which has been running the Delaware market since 2013.

RSI and the Delaware Lottery have agreed to an initial five-year term, which can be extended.

“RSI’s successes in other jurisdictions, including neighbouring New Jersey and Pennsylvania, are impressive, along with the company’s overall reputation and experience,” said Helene Keeley, Director of the (regulatory) Delaware Lottery.

“RSI’s commitment to responsible gaming, quality products, breadth of gaming content and customer service are key reasons we are so excited to partner with them.

“Together RSI and the Delaware Lottery are devoted to successfully delivering best-in-class products and services to our customers.

“We certainly can’t wait to see what happens to the Delaware market as RSI revitalises it.

“As one of the first states to legalise online gaming, there were big hopes for online casinos in DE, but due to the high tax rates on gaming and restrictive licensing setup, the market has stagnated over the 10-years.”

Tribal Gaming’s Maine Chance

Lawmakers in Maine are holding a public hearing to decide whether to grant exclusive online gambling rights to their Native American tribes.

Federally-recognized tribes in Maine have been offering legal online sports betting since LD585 legalised the activity, and the market launched in late 2023.

However, some parties now seek to extend this to cover iGaming.

Three proposals, carried over from the previous legislative session, will be heard, with opposition expected from current state governor Janet Mills.

Watch this space.

Detroit 2023 Casino Revenue Down

The yearly totals are in for Detroit, Michigan, showing–not surprisingly, given recent labour unrest–a total revenue decline for the city’s three retail casinos of 3.1 percent.

Although the casinos were shut for over a month, bridging October and November, with staff striking for better pay and working conditions, the dip was less than feared.

As previously reported in these pages, the dispute has now been amicably settled.

MGM, the casino affected the longest by strike action, remained the market leader with a 46 percent share. MotorCity Casino placed second with a 31 percent market share, and Hollywood came third with 23 percent.

Sweet Georgia

SB172, which seeks to legalise online sports betting in Georgia, has passed the Senate Regulated Industries vote by 8-4, meaning it will now advance to the full Senate for debate.

Legalised sports betting would require an amendment to the Georgia constitution and thus requires a two-thirds vote from the House and Senate to pass, after which it must be approved during a state-wide ballot.

Georgia is one of few US states where almost all gambling activities (lottery and charity-based gaming, aside) remain illegal, including sports betting and land-based casinos.

Miller Time

American Gaming Association (AGA) CEO and President Bill Miller has been sharing the sterling 2023 achievements of his organisation.

Miller highlighted the AGA’s work in fighting illegal gambling, leading responsibly, shaping conversations through research, advancing priorities in Washington, and gathering gaming leaders.

Of particular interest to gaming executives is the go-to research undertaken by the AGA in 2023, substantiating gambling’s US$330 billion contribution to the US economy, while supporting 1.8 million jobs and generating some US$53 billion in taxes.

Additional research into social attitudes also showed that 71 percent of Americans now recognize the positive economic contributions made by the gambling industry.

Miller also focused on achievements for Responsible Gambling, stating the AGA had strengthened its Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering, developed an anti-human trafficking guide in gaming, and launched a new effort to bring together a responsible gambling initiative that can keep pace with the ever-changing industry.

MGM’s Drop In The Ocean

MGM Resorts rounded up 2023 by donating US$360,000 to the International Center of Responsible Gaming (ICRG).

The funds will be used for two projects that will help understand, prevent, and address gambling addiction and problem gambling.

“We salute MGM Resorts for supporting our research that will answer the many questions we have about the impact of gender on gambling disorder and address the health risks of casino employees,” said ICRG President Arthur Paikowsky.

But, here at Casino Cabbie and iGF, while we also salute any contributions from gambling operators made towards improving responsible gambling research and treatment, we’re also left wondering if US operators are doing enough?

In 2022, for example, MGM Resorts netted over US$6.475 billion in profit; making this latest charity donation–at under 0.0055 percent of this figure–a mere drop in the ocean.

It also pales in comparison to Bally’s record-breaking US$1 million donation two months ago.

Come on Bill, buckle down. Surely you can raise your hand.

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