After what seems like months of quarantining, states across the country have started allowing businesses to reopen. Closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, casinos have begun resuming operations.
Normalization is well underway. But that does not mean we can stop being safe and smart. If anything, we need to emphasize it more.
On to the Rewind:
Las Vegas casinos ready to reopen
After weeks of closure, casinos in Nevada have received the go-ahead to begin reopening.
Gov. Steve Sisolak announced last week that brick-and-mortars in the Silver State can resume operations starting June 4 as part of his “Roadmap to Recovery” plan.
As a result, a number of properties appear ready to take advantage of that authorization.
Many aim to open immediately, including:
- Caesars Entertainment: Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah’s
- MGM Resorts: Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand
- Station Casinos: Red Rock, Green Valley Ranch, Palace Station, Santa Fe Station, Boulder Station, Sunset Station
- Boyd Gaming: The Orleans, Gold Coast, Suncoast, Aliante, Cannery, Sam’s Town, Fremont, California, Jokers Wild
Many casino ownership groups have spent that past month piecing together new health and safety plans, ones that meet requirements set forth by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
These guidelines include limiting business to 50% capacity and enforcing social distancing on casino floors.
California sports betting bill emerges
Among states where it seems unlikely legalized sports betting will lay roots, California is high on the list. While that might remain the case, the Golden State has pushed forth a bill that provides a compromise for retail and online sports betting.
Six months after Sen. Bill Dodd and Assemblyman Adam Gray introduced constitutional amendment bills, lawmakers last week completed the legislation with additional details.
Included is the authorization for legalized wagering at tribal casinos and racetracks. And while cardrooms were omitted, those establishments would be allowed to offer designated player games that have generated contention from tribes.
This move comes as lawmakers seek additional revenue during a financially difficult time created by the coronavirus pandemic and as they attempt to limit $14 billion in proposed cuts from the governor.
The sports betting bill would result in a 10% tax on gross revenue for retail betting and a 15% tax on mobile betting while also requiring a $5 million initial licensing fee and $1 million annual fee for online sportsbooks.
California faces a budget deadline of June 15, though this bill has until June 25 to receive approval and land on the November ballot. Dodd told Legal Sports Report that he expects the Senate Governmental Organization Committee to vote on the bill June 2.
That said, lawmakers face a challenge from tribes, who might not be as accepting of this bill, specifically as they relate to cardrooms. The proposed legislation would effectively legalize designated-player games after tribes have long attacked what are now illegal operations.
As one spokesman told LSR: “The notion of authorizing cardrooms to conduct Nevada-style games is an absolute non-starter that repeals tribal gaming rights.”
DC sports betting launches without apps
Legalized sports betting soft-launched in the nation’s capital. Yet even as it gets off the ground two months after it initially intended, wagering in Washington DC faces quite the uphill battle.
The Gambet DC product starts with a web browser-based product only, as its iOS and Android apps are not expected to go live until early June.
Sure, with limited sports on which to wager, a slow rollout of such platforms is not incredibly terrible. The odds, though? That’s another story.
Out in Big Sky Country, Intralot powers Sports Bet Montana, which debuted earlier this year with miserable odds. Apparently, the group did not learn much, as it did the same in DC.
For example, many of the opening week point spreads for NFL games feature -118 lines on both sides. Even UFC Fight Night odds via Intralot cannot even compare with more favorable lines at other legal US sportsbooks.
Sports betting in Washington could expand soon. Along with this official lottery platform, stadiums, arenas and sports bars are qualified to offer legalized wagering. (William Hill, for example, will power the retail sportsbook at Capital One Arena.)