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Archive for February 6th, 2019

Massachusetts Lawmakers Praise First Casino’s Impact on Economy

Massachusetts Senators impressed by economic impact of the state’s first full-scale commercial casino

Massachusetts Senators toured MGM Springfield on Monday and praised the property’s impact on the local and state economy, local news outlet MassLive reports.

The $960-million resort, which is home to the state’s first full-scale commercial casino, was the first stop of a statewide listening tour that will see Senators travel around Massachusetts as part of the 2019-2020 Commonwealth Conversations.

MGM Springfield officials, including property President Michael Mathis, welcomed state lawmakers for a tour around the hotel and casino complex that is located in downtown Springfield. Sen. James Welch hosted the event. The Senator told local media that he and his colleagues were able to see what MGM Springfield has been providing not only from a gaming and entertainment standpoint but also from an economic standpoint.

Las Vegas gaming and hospitality operator MGM Resorts International debuted the $960-million hotel and casino resort last August. The property thus became the first of its kind to commence operations in Massachusetts.

The state legalized casino gambling in the early 2010s. Massachusetts gambling regulators then selected MGM and rival Las Vegas powerhouse Wynn Resorts to build and operate the state’s only commercial casino resorts. Wynn’s Encore Boston Harbor is currently under development in the city of Everett and is targeting mid-2019 opening. Massachusetts is also home to a slots-only parlor in Plainville.

Senators Laud MGM Springfield

More than 20 Senators toured the downtown Springfield resort yesterday. They pointed out that the opening of the property has been “an overwhelmingly positive experience” that has created opportunities in various important areas from gaming and entertainment to new jobs.

Commenting on yesterday’s trip to Springfield, Sen. Michael Rodrigues told local media that what he saw there was “absolutely beautiful” and that people were happy, it was busy, and that he and his fellow lawmakers were impressed with the thought and work that went into designing MGM Springfield and its facilities.

According to data by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, MGM Springfield generated gaming revenue of nearly $101.5 million in the period between August 23, when it opened doors to the public, and December 31, 2018. The property contributed more than $25.3 million in taxes to the state. Under Massachusetts’ gambling law, casino operators are taxed at a quarter on their gaming revenue.

MGM Springfield currently employs around 3,000 people. The property’s owners pledged that at least 35% of its employees would be from Springfield.

Massachusetts Senators’ tour around the hotel and casino resort took place shortly after local news outlet WCVB cited information provided by the State Police that there were two times more crime incidents in the area surrounding MGM Springfield in the months after its launch. According to numbers by the State Police, there were 208 incidents at the property that resulted in 120 arrests. Those incidents included assaults, sexual offenses, and robberies, the police report went on.

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Parx Casino Owner Seeks Permission for Sportsbook at Valley Forge Turf Club

The owner of Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pennsylvania is seeking permission to convert the Valley Forge Turf Club into a satellite betting facility

Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment Inc., filed late last week a petition with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to open a physical sportsbook at its Valley Forge Turf Club property, located in Oaks, just off U.S. 422 and a short drive from Philadelphia.

Greenwood is also the owner of Parx Casino in Bensalem, which went live with sports betting in early January, and of South Philadelphia Turf Club, which opened a satellite sportsbook in mid-January. The company’s two operational betting facilities and the one yet to be opened at the Valley Forge Turf Club are all competing for a share of the lucrative gambling market in the Philadelphia region.

It is still unclear when Greenwood will be able to open its third sports gambling location. In its filing with Pennsylvania’s gambling regulator, the company said that the Valley Forge Turf Club is “ideally suited” to bettors and travelers because it is located near key locations, such as Valley Forge National Park and the King of Prussia Mall, and key Philadelphia suburbs.

The Valley Forge Turf Club opened doors in the mid-1990s as a horse betting and simulcast operation. With the addition of a sportsbook, Greenwood is looking to boost activity at the property as the popularity of horse racing has declined in recent years.

The Valley Forge Turf Club is licensed by the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission, which means that Greenwood will also need permission from that regulator in order to be able to proceed with its sports betting plan for the property.

Sports Betting in Pennsylvania

Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course was the first gambling operation to bring legal sports betting to Pennsylvania. The property’s William Hill-powered sportsbook went live in mid-November 2018. Two more sports betting facilities were launched by the end of 2018, with those being Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh and SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia.

According to data released by the state’s Gaming Control Board, sports betting was off to a promising start in Pennsylvania. The first three operational sportsbooks handled $16 million in wagers in December, the first full month of legal sports betting in the state, and generated revenue of $2 million.

Financial information for the month of January is yet to be released by the gambling regulator, but the opening of three more sportsbooks in January (at Parx Casino, the South Philadelphia Turf Club, and Harrah’s Philadelphia), and increased Super Bowl betting activity last month has certainly boosted numbers.

Mobile betting is legal within the state’s borders, under its gambling law. However, licensed sportsbook operators are yet to go live with wagering apps that would make it possible for bettors to wager from anywhere within state limits. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has said that it would first handle physical sportsbook applications before authorizing digital betting.

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Kambi to Resurrect mybet Sports Betting Brand in Germany

Mybet set to return to Germany with a Kambi-powered sports betting product after turbulent times and closure

German online sports betting brand mybet is gearing up preparations to relaunch in its domestic market after shutting down operations last fall.

News emerged on Monday that the gambling website will be upgraded with a sportsbook powered by Kambi Group, a Stockholm-listed sports betting provider with presence in some of the world’s largest gambling market that serves more than 20 customers, including 888, LeoVegas, and DraftKings among others.

The mybet website is expected to be relaunched in Germany in the first half of the year. Prior to its closure last fall, the brand had provided betting services to German gamblers for more than 15 years.

Under a multi-year agreement between Kambi and mybet’s new owner Rhinoceros Operations Ltd., the betting provider will supply its complete sportsbook and full range of managed services to the German gambling brand. Mybet will thus be able to return to its domestic market, which has grown exponentially over the years.

According to a report by research firm Goldmedia, the German market was worth nearly €13.5 billion in 2017, up from €12.4 billion in 2015.

Commenting on partnering mybet, Kambi CEO Kristian Nylén said that they are excited about the betting brand’s potential as it remains strong and, boosted by the quality offered by Kambi’s sportsbook, mybet “can once again become a leading player in the German market and elsewhere.”

mybet’s Closure Story

Mybet’s former parent company MyBet Holding SE shut down its B2C operations last fall after entering open insolvency proceedings in August. The move was prompted by the company’s failure to come to terms with an unidentified interested investor.

MyBet first announced in July that it was holding talks with said investor to sell its B2C business to them. However, it later on said that discussions fell through as the would-be buyer of mybet set conditions that could not be fulfilled.

MyBet’s consumer-oriented operations were hit by slow growth in the company’s core markets – Greece and Ghana. In addition, pressure for the gambling company increased when its application for provisional suspension or stay of enforcement in relation to sports betting taxes in Germany was rejected by the Frankfurt am Main II Tax Office. The office’s decision left MyBet with a €4 million tax obligation.

Mybet was recently purchased by Rhinoceros Operations Ltd., a Malta and Curacao online gambling group that also operates the Wunderino Casino brand. Commenting on the company’s upcoming entry into the German sports betting market with mybet, Rhinoceros Operations CEO Tobias Carlsson said that together with Kambi and their other partners, they will do everything in their power to revive mybet’s legacy of one of the pioneers in the German sports betting field and to provide players with “the experience they desire and deserve.”

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EGBA: Dutch Online Gambling Situation “No Longer Tenable”, Bill Finally Heads to Senate

EGBA urges Netherlands to re-organize online gambling market as millions of Dutch gamblers are at risk, forced to gamble on unregulated websites

The Dutch Senate is set to finally consider the so-called Remote Gambling Bill that has been stuck in the parliament for the past two and a half years after it survived its first major legislative hurdle in the summer of 2016 to be passed in the House.

The Remote Gambling Bill contains provisions and proposals for the re-organization of the Netherlands’ digital gambling market in a manner that would make it possible for international online gaming and betting operators to obtain licenses from the local regulator and to operate in a regulated environment. Such operators will also be obligated to pay taxes to the country for being allowed to service local customers.

The start of the Remote Gambling Bill in the Senate is scheduled for today at 1:50 pm local time through 5:25 pm local time and again from 7:45 pm local time through 11:55 pm local time, or nearly eight hours. As it can be seen, legislators from the upper house of the Dutch parliament have a long day ahead, and hopefully a fruitful one that will finally see some progress in the re-organization of a market with great potential.

EGBA Calls for Re-Regulation of the Local Market

Ahead of today’s debate, the European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA) published yesterday a statement to once again express its support for the re-regulation of the Dutch market and for the ongoing effort of Dutch Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker to bring regulated online gambling to the country.

In yesterday’s statement, EGBA’s Secretary General Maarten Haijer said that “the introduction of a Dutch online gambling framework is urgently needed” as the Netherlands is currently one of few EU countries whose digital betting and gaming markets are still unregulated.

Mr. Haijer went on to say that the situation is “no longer tenable” and that it hurts “normal, law-abiding citizens and puts their protection at risk by forcing them to play in an unregulated online environment.”

According to EGBA’s statement, the Dutch online gambling market was worth nearly €600 million last year, which cost the Netherlands around €175 million in tax revenue that operators targeting local customers would have paid to the country if the market had been regulated.

“A licensing model which facilitates this consumer choice will create a better functioning market with players who are properly protected and valuable tax receipts for the Dutch state”, says EGBA Secretary General Maarten Haijer

EGBA’s full statement can be read here.

Online Gambling Participation On The Rise

According to a recent survey commissioned by Holland Casino, the number of people gambling on unregulated websites has increased 20% over the past two years. More than 1.86 million Dutch people were discovered to have wagered money on such websites in the period between 2016 and 2018.

Online poker and casino games have been the most popular products among Dutch gamblers, but sports betting has also grown in popularity in the country in recent years.

The Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit, has tried for years to purge the gaming and betting space of unregulated operations, but with little success. The regulatory body has slapped hefty fines to a number of internationally licensed companies that have kept targeting Dutch players, despite warnings that their activities have been violating existing rules. However, Kansspelautoriteit has been particularly successful in collecting those hefty fines.

It is yet to be seen how the country will treat fined operators and whether they will be forced to serve a time out from the market when it gets reorganized. In other words, such errant companies might not be allowed to apply for licenses at the outset, and might have to wait for a little while as a form of punishment for previously targeting Dutch customers.

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