Casino Cabbie: Letter From America 20

Welcome to our latest Casino Cabbie’s Letter From America, this week featuring a rich cornucopia of news: from record-breaking New York State, to proposed new country-wide Safer Betting protocols and a truly bizarre iGaming story from Minnesota; it’s informative, if not compulsive, reading all the way. Enjoy!

FanDuel Winning US Shoot-out

Based on its 27 percent share of GGR, FanDuel is now the Numero Uno sportsbook and iGaming operator in the booming US market, beating DraftKings to the top spot.

The news comes as the Flutter Entertainment-owned operator announces an expansion of its FanDuel TV channel franchise.

The new channel, called FanDuel TV+ Streaming Apps, is available via Pluto TV, Roku and, of course, mothership FanDuel TV.

Now don’t say that bettors are spoiled for choice.

New York’s All-time High

Punters in the Empire State have again raised the stakes, wagering more in April than any other month with an online sports betting handle of US$1.96 billion (£1.56bn); a massive 27.3 percent, year-on-year, uptick for the month and a six percent month-on-month increase.

FanDuel remained the most popular choice by player spending in New York, followed by DraftKings and Caesars in third.

Since the launch of legal online sports betting in January 2022, the New York market has gone from strength-to-strength despite having, at 51 percent, the highest rate of operator tax in the country.

Moreover, last week, an online poker bill was introduced to the State Senate by, you guessed it, our favourite gambling advocate, Senator Joseph Addabbo.

The Bill, SB9226, proposes to authorise the “New York State Gaming Commission to licence certain entities to offer for play to the public certain variants of internet poker which requires a significant degree of skill, specifically ‘Omaha Hold ’em’ and ‘Texas Hold ’em.'”

If passed, the bill would create 10 licensees; valid for 10-years and costing US$10 million (£7.9m), taxed at 15 percent on gross revenue.

Now You See It, Now You Don’t

Hard Rock has announced plans to redevelop the storied Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and rename it Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Guitar Hotel Las Vegas.

Work is scheduled to begin after July 17.

FTC Tracks MGM Lion

MGM Resorts is suing the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prevent a probe into the impact of last year’s massive cyber hack, which caused tens of millions of dollars in damages.

The lawsuit, filed in Washington, claims the investigation violates MGM’s Fifth Amendment rights and that, legally, they don’t fall under the FTC’s remit because the casino group are not a financial institution.

The case also highlights a juicy conflict of interest. Apparently, FTC Commissioner Lina Khan was checking into an MGM property during the ransomware rupture and was asked to write down her credit card details as payment systems were down.

Interestingly, Caesars International–who also came under ransomware attack at the time and who, unlike MGM, paid-off the hackers–are not under FTC investigation.

Watch this space!

Smoke and Ire

New Jersey’s casino workers are on fire about the state’s new Smoke-Free Air Pact.

The workers, members of the United Auto Workers union, have brought the complaint as a legal case against the state’s governor and health commissioner, claiming the rules are unconstitutional because they allow casino owners to decide whether to allow smoking on their premises and expose workers to secondhand smoke.

They’ve been protesting and highlighting the toxic issue by entering the State House Annex and smoking.

“We’re not allowed to smoke in your workplace, but you’re allowed to smoke in ours,” charged a union rep.


The former River Colony has decided to crack down hard on gambling ads…and affiliates.

Bill 271 seeks to restrict celebrity endorsement in gambling ads and ban publicity where the majority of the audience is likely to be under 21-years-old, notably on social media.


“No master wagering licensee, online gaming operator licensee or sports wagering retailer licensee may enter into an agreement with a third party to conduct advertising or marketing on behalf of, or to the benefit of, such licensee that provides that compensation is dependant on, or related to, the volume of individuals who become patrons, the volume or amount of wagers placed or the outcome of wagers,” states the proposed bill.

Wouldn’t it be easier to “Just Say No!”

Missouri Breaks

A Missouri Group calling itself ‘Winning for Missouri Education’, supported by six regional pro sports teams, has gathered a staggering 325,000 signatories, some 60 percent of the adult population, in a petition calling for online sports betting to be legalised in the state.

Superseding normal regulatory channels, Winning for Education wants the matter to go straight to a November ballot that will approve a constitutional amendment to allow digital sportsbooks.

All-USA Self-exclusion

Responsible Gambling company idPair has announced the launch of a National Voluntary Self-Exclusion Programme (NVSEP), which will be rolled out across the US this summer, starting in New England.

NVSEP is a first for this vast nation.

It will cover online and land-based venues and integrate individual state systems already in use. The system also collates current regulatory information and public health resources from different states, making it more easily accessible.

Jonathan Aiwazian, CEO of idPair, said: “While current self-exclusion protections don’t travel, people do.

“We look forward to working with more states to use technology to provide a more comprehensive level of protection for those who need it most.”

Ashes to Ashes, Maybe

In a bizarre twist to the ongoing progress of Minnesota’s proposed sports betting bill, state senator Nicole Mitchell, a leading iGaming proponent, has been arrested by police in an alleged burglary case.

Sen. Mitchell was arrested on April 22 for “stealing” her father’s ashes but says the case is “a family situation blown out of proportion”.

With her temporary removal from her committee and caucus assignments, ruling Minnesota Democrats now need Republican votes to pass the gambling legislation.

ESPN BET and PGA Tee Off

Newly-launched ESPN BET has beaten all comers to the PGA Championship, currently playing at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, by becoming the first sports betting brand to partner with the golf association.

The Disney-PENN Entertainment sportsbook has signed a three-year deal with the PGA.

They will have special access to broadcast and content offerings, and an exclusive on-site lounge over the par-4 13th hole.

Lucky for some.

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