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Gambling News

In Post-Shutdown US, Will A Bigger Value Be Placed On Legal Online Gambling?

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In May 2018, the US Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, opening the door for state-sanctioned legal sports betting.

That was just two years ago, but doesn’t it feel like much longer? It feels as if legalized wagering (outside Nevada) has existed as long as the traditional casino.

There’s no doubt that perceived longevity stems from the country embracing and expanding sports betting with such vigor that it seems as if decades of industry growth has been crammed into a brief window.

Indeed, legalized sports betting in America has grown rapidly over the past two years, particularly online. Without question, it will follow the same trend over the next two years. And the acceptance of online gaming — sports betting, casino and poker — will help states capitalize even more.

Sports betting has had rapid-fire expansion in US

Less than a month after SCOTUS repealed PASPA, Delaware became the first state to accept a legal wager outside Nevada. New Jersey followed soon after and quickly became a power player that now keeps see-sawing back and forth with Nevada for the most lucrative sports betting state.

Its operator-friendliness fueled the fire, and the state’s readiness to allow online gaming resulted in some 84% of $4.6 billion in legal wagers placed over the internet in 2019. Not to be outdone, online casinos and poker have perked up in 2020, as the two verticals have combined for nearly $210 million this year.

Since the PASPA repeal, 18 states and Washington, D.C., have gone live with legalized wagering with 13 of them featuring some variation of online betting. They have combined for more than $20 billion in handle since May 2018, a total that expects to grow exponentially in the near future.

More states appear ready to offer legalized sports betting

Four other states have enacted wagering legislation and await launch. And 16 states have active legislation, a total that seemingly continues to increase with each passing day.

All told, all but 12 states in the country are at least exploring regulated betting.

In late 2019, expansion began out west. Since that time, Oregon and Montana joined Nevada as states with legal sports betting. After Washington passed legislation to do the same, Colorado launched online wagering in May 2020. Then, a big domino fell, as California introduced a bill that, theoretically, would appeal to cardrooms and tribal casinos — though the jury is still out on how successful that compromise will become.

Back east, activity abounded as Virginia and Tennessee targeted summer launches for their respective sports betting industries while Louisiana and Ohio pushed legislation forward.

This all came after Michigan and Illinois introduced retail wagering and as the nation’s capital debuted its mobile platform.

Even before summer officially starts, the nation is abuzz with legalizing wagering, many of which are including the online aspect.

That vertical holds significance, and it is one that states still considering legalization or that already have operational industries need to consider implementing.

Pandemic sheds light on value of online gambling

Without question, the coronavirus pandemic has sent shockwaves around the world. It has hit both the US retail and online gambling industry hard.

Across the US, hundreds of properties were forced to shutter for the better part of two months. Only recently have they begun to reopen. Major sports leagues and organizers elected to suspend and cancel seasons and events, such as the NCAA tournament, the Masters and the Kentucky Derby.

The pandemic caused an experience no one wanted, but one that added more proof to the value of legalized online gambling.

Land-based casinos take a big hit

Consider Michigan and Illinois, two states that unfortunately went live with legalized retail sports betting just before the coronavirus pandemic — and two states that legalized but have yet to launch online platforms.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board announced revenue numbers for the first four months of 2020, and they were not pretty: reflecting a 39.2% drop compared with the same timeframe of 2019. Similarly, the state pocketed $24.2 million in taxes from its three commercial casinos — nearly $16 million less than the first four months of last year.

Land-based casinos that were closed hurt Michigan. And the same went for Illinois, where the state’s Casino Gaming Association estimated that casinos lost $100 million during the shutdown since mid-March.

Certainly, states in similar situations felt the same blow.

Online gambling shoulders the load elsewhere

While online sports betting provided just a drop in the bucket compared with previous months, what with sports being sidelined, other verticals have picked up the slack.

Only three states offer legalized online casinos and four have online poker. Those areas have seen massive spikes in recent weeks.

In April, New Jersey watched as monthly online sports betting revenue dropped nearly 90% year over year. Again, a byproduct of few sports on which to wager.

The state’s online casinos, though, saw their numbers skyrocket. In March, for example, New Jersey operators collected a whopping $64.8 million to set a state record. Online poker also peaked, coming in at $5.1 million in April. Nearby Pennsylvania experienced a similar trend.

Sports betting handle in the Keystone State plummeted 65% from March to April. And while land-based casino revenue dropped 51% from February to March, online operators combined for a state-record $43.1 million in April. Of note, online poker drew $5.3 million to set a US record for single-month revenue — beating New Jersey’s April total.

Of course, these totals will not make up for the massive losses properties have taken in recent months, but obviously they ease the blow.

Experts weigh in on the need for online gambling expansion

For years, stakeholders and some lawmakers have advocated for online expansion. The common argument against this move has long been the fear of cannibalizing land-based casinos; the fear that a mobile product would prevent potential customers from visiting brick-and-mortars.

Really, though, digital platforms will create more footfall.

“If you produce a good online experience, they’re going to be much more associated to your brand … than if not,” Max Meltzer, COO of Kambi, said during a recent teleconference. “I just think there’s more of an educational piece, and I think COVID’s done a bit more of a kick-start to that.”

Yaniv Sherman, head of commercial development for the online gambling company 888 Holdings, told the Associated Press that the coronavirus pandemic “has highlighted the need for revenue diversification. “The future is around online growth, and it’s right now, not in 5 or 10 years. We hope to get additional states on board.”

Matt King, CEO of FanDuel, agreed with that sentiment and even went further with it.

“When legislatures return in earnest, we firmly believe the number of states ready to consider accelerating mobile sports betting and online gaming legislation to drive tax revenue will expand substantially,” King told ESPN. “And we also see the industry recognizing this is a unique moment in time, and working more collaboratively to set aside minor differences and get bills across the finish line. Across the board, it’s a time for pragmatism, and we see that producing a real opportunity for significantly expanding the map.”

More states could consider expanding online

Over the next two years, online expansion will accelerate, as estimated by Chris Krafcik, a managing director with Eilers & Krejcik Gaming. “Both activities provide states, whose economies have been massively disrupted by the outbreak, the opportunity to capture new revenue immediately in the form of upfront license fees, and over time through taxes.”

While sports betting and other forms of online gambling reflect a minute percentage of most states’ budgets, that small portion — as well as other forms of online gambling — is much preferred to nothing.

The perception of online gambling has shifted, assured Meltzer during a recent teleconference. The “real trailblazers” have shown an understanding that moving online will generate more revenue and even attract more foot traffic at land-based casinos.

“I think people should be grasping onto the fact that, either way, however you want to run it, there’s a huge opportunity to generate revenues,” Meltzer said. “If I was having a strong coffee with someone … I’d certainly recommend to consider the revenues, just to consider what it can do in terms of retaining staff and growing an environment to attract more customers into your casino. That’s regardless of size. Regardless of size, there’s a model out there that can work for you. That’s my strong belief.”

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PA, NJ See Uptick In Online Poker Championship Entries

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While we’re not out of the woods yet, states across the country are beginning to ease restrictions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Some will soon allow select businesses to reopen, of course with capacity limitations and social distancing guidelines in place.

Online poker and online casinos have thrived during the shutdown, but major sports remain sidelined and casinos remain closed.

On that note, on to the Rewind:

Online poker tourneys crush in PA, NJ

We expected online poker to pick up steam as stay-at-home orders permeated the country. Perhaps no better example of this occured via PokerStars in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The inaugural Pennsylvania Spring Championship of Online Poker, featuring 50 distinct events, boasted prize pools totaling a whopping $3.2 million. Prior to the championship’s start, PokerStars dog-eared guarantees up to $2 million.

With more than 56,000 players and over 23,000 re-entries, PASCOOP finished with a total nearing 80,000 entries. The Main Event (High) carried a $200,000 guarantee, one that was easily topped as 1,315 entries pushed the prize pool to $368,200. The winner left with a cool $57,000.

Days later, the New Jersey Spring Championship of Online Poker, also hosted by PokerStars, posted similar figures.

Nearly $1.8 million was awarded in 96 events that featured over 33,000 entries, easily becoming the most successful tourney in the championship’s five-year history in the Garden State.

New Jersey’s Main Event itself included 620 entries that led to a $173,600 prize pool. The champ pocketed more than $30,000.

Michigan casinos struggling amid pandemic

It’s no secret that the nation’s retail gaming industry has suffered immensely since the coronavirus forced shutdowns. Michigan provides a microcosm of the struggle.

Bridge Magazine published a report detailing the continued closures of the state’s 23 tribal casinos, which have been shuttered since March 22 and will remain as such until at least May 15.

While other states have benefited from online gambling to at least maintain some sort of revenue stream, Michigan has land-based gaming only, for now. As such, the tail end of March and April concluded without a single legal wager made.

Without operational casinos, tribes are unable to fund services such as health, education and law enforcement, among other areas. Really, casinos provide a vast majority of funding for tribes.

For example, Bridge noted that as much as 60% of the budget for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community stems from the Ojibwa Casino. Similarly, some 75% of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe is backed by gaming revenue.

The rest of the state certainly misses casinos, considering those properties have contributed more than $30 million to local governments and over $54 million to the state in 2019.

Some relief coming for smaller casinos

While the pandemic has made it difficult for businesses to stay afloat, the Small Business Administration recently updated its guidelines for Payroll Protection Program loans that exclude small US gambling businesses.

Translation: Smaller casinos could receive loans to pay wages, utilities and rent during the shutdown.

The update came as Congress funneled $310 billion to fund the program.

Initially, “small businesses” were defined as establishments with less than 500 employees, which makes them available to receive up to $10 million or 2 ½ months of payroll, whichever is less. The trouble, however, stemmed from the SBA classifying gambling businesses as risky and “of poor character,” thus preventing that industry from receiving aid.

Now, though, guidelines dictate that any business eligible for a loan is not be overlooked based on gambling-related income.

That said, those businesses must vie with many, many others in various industries to acquire such help. Some 30 million small businesses exist in the country, and the money released by Congress is enough for just 31,000 loans at the max payout.

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Gambling News

PA, NJ See Uptick In Online Poker Championship Entries

[ad_1]

While we’re not out of the woods yet, states across the country are beginning to ease restrictions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Some will soon allow select businesses to reopen, of course with capacity limitations and social distancing guidelines in place.

Online poker and online casinos have thrived during the shutdown, but major sports remain sidelined and casinos remain closed.

On that note, on to the Rewind:

Online poker tourneys crush in PA, NJ

We expected online poker to pick up steam as stay-at-home orders permeated the country. Perhaps no better example of this occured via PokerStars in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The inaugural Pennsylvania Spring Championship of Online Poker, featuring 50 distinct events, boasted prize pools totaling a whopping $3.2 million. Prior to the championship’s start, PokerStars dog-eared guarantees up to $2 million.

With more than 56,000 players and over 23,000 re-entries, PASCOOP finished with a total nearing 80,000 entries. The Main Event (High) carried a $200,000 guarantee, one that was easily topped as 1,315 entries pushed the prize pool to $368,200. The winner left with a cool $57,000.

Days later, the New Jersey Spring Championship of Online Poker, also hosted by PokerStars, posted similar figures.

Nearly $1.8 million was awarded in 96 events that featured over 33,000 entries, easily becoming the most successful tourney in the championship’s five-year history in the Garden State.

New Jersey’s Main Event itself included 620 entries that led to a $173,600 prize pool. The champ pocketed more than $30,000.

Michigan casinos struggling amid pandemic

It’s no secret that the nation’s retail gaming industry has suffered immensely since the coronavirus forced shutdowns. Michigan provides a microcosm of the struggle.

Bridge Magazine published a report detailing the continued closures of the state’s 23 tribal casinos, which have been shuttered since March 22 and will remain as such until at least May 15.

While other states have benefited from online gambling to at least maintain some sort of revenue stream, Michigan has land-based gaming only, for now. As such, the tail end of March and April concluded without a single legal wager made.

Without operational casinos, tribes are unable to fund services such as health, education and law enforcement, among other areas. Really, casinos provide a vast majority of funding for tribes.

For example, Bridge noted that as much as 60% of the budget for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community stems from the Ojibwa Casino. Similarly, some 75% of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe is backed by gaming revenue.

The rest of the state certainly misses casinos, considering those properties have contributed more than $30 million to local governments and over $54 million to the state in 2019.

Some relief coming for smaller casinos

While the pandemic has made it difficult for businesses to stay afloat, the Small Business Administration recently updated its guidelines for Payroll Protection Program loans that exclude small US gambling businesses.

Translation: Smaller casinos could receive loans to pay wages, utilities and rent during the shutdown.

The update came as Congress funneled $310 billion to fund the program.

Initially, “small businesses” were defined as establishments with less than 500 employees, which makes them available to receive up to $10 million or 2 ½ months of payroll, whichever is less. The trouble, however, stemmed from the SBA classifying gambling businesses as risky and “of poor character,” thus preventing that industry from receiving aid.

Now, though, guidelines dictate that any business eligible for a loan is not be overlooked based on gambling-related income.

That said, those businesses must vie with many, many others in various industries to acquire such help. Some 30 million small businesses exist in the country, and the money released by Congress is enough for just 31,000 loans at the max payout.

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Why Colorado Could Be A Major Player When Online Betting Begins

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For the past two years, legalized sports betting has permeated the country. State-regulated industries have cropped up in bunches along the east coast and in the heart of the Midwest.

Forgotten, it seems, is the West. The American frontier. But soon, a gateway will open to what is otherwise an untapped region.

The western United States “has a very different vibe” from the east coast, as Eddie Motl, vice president of communications for Fox Bet, put it. Within a month, Fox Bet, along with several other sportsbooks, will experience that vibe firsthand. Because that gateway — that long-sought-after, ever attractive gateway — is set to open Friday, May 1 with the debut of Colorado sports betting.

Yet the pomp and circumstance will certainly be understated when the first legal sportsbooks go online. The coronavirus pandemic has sidelined sports and closed casinos. So how can incoming operators maintain such a rosy outlook when uncertainty looms like a storm cloud?

Because, as FanDuel CMO Mike Raffensperger said: “Entertainment is important, particularly in challenging times.

“People need opportunities to entertain themselves. And frankly, a diversion in difficult times is something that’s important for mental health.”

Significance of Colorado sports betting not lost on operators

The addition of Colorado sports betting carries weight that extends beyond its own boundaries.

Robert Walker, the director of sportsbook operations at Nevada firm USBookmaking, told Legal Sports Report that, more than New Jersey, “Colorado is the first real battleground for US sports betting.”

Johnny Aitken, CEO of the Denver-based PointsBet, added that “Colorado could be a domino state. They’ve listened to operators about what we need to successfully compete with the black market. Hopefully, new states take notice as they open up.”

“Expansion into any new state is exciting because it’s an opportunity for us to showcase our unique approach to gaming and engage with sports fans,” Motl said. “Sports in America are tribal and so anytime we get to communicate with a new community, in this case Colorado, it’s an opportunity to learn from those fans and serve them with content tailored to their style.”

Sustainable tax rate sets up successful future

Even only within state lines, Colorado going live means much more than padding an operator’s portfolio.

For the likes of FanDuel Sportsbook, which expects to go live May 1, the Centennial State will become its fifth state in which it operates regulated wagering. But there’s much more significance with Colorado.

Specifically, as laid out by Raffensperger, the state “enacted legislation that we feel is conducive to a healthy and productive legal and regulated sports betting marketplace.”

That means a sustainable tax rate (10%) that sets up a competitive industry while also helping fund state initiatives. It means all-inclusive access to online wagering, from sign-up to cashing out, for the public. Such traits have helped New Jersey, where FanDuel remains a sports betting power, truly flourish.

As a result, New Jersey has become something of a template, one that operators are thrilled to see followed by Colorado.

Original outlook of Colorado sports betting

When New Jersey first went online, its model closely resembled one that paid dividends in Europe. By focusing on the everyday players, by capitalizing on digital marketing, and by offering in-play wagering and a wide array of markets, said model sets the table for a thriving industry.

The 18th state to introduce some form of legal sports betting, and whether purposefully or not, Colorado set itself up for success by following that model.

“For us, the regulators have been great to work with,” said Jamie Shea, head of sportsbook digital for DraftKings Sportsbook. “It’s just been really some good back and forth, working together. We all want to see the sports betting industry flourish in every way. … We all have the same goal. Working with the legislators and regulators in Colorado, it’s been great to see their enthusiasm.”

Its 10% tax rate allures, like a radiant light that leads one out of the darkness and into the promised land. It sets Colorado up to potentially accept as much as $6 billion in wagers, according to PlayColorado projections, in addition to $400 million in gross operator revenue and $40 million in tax revenue.

New Jersey, for perspective, taxes retail operations at a 9.75% rate and levies a 13% tax on mobile wagering.

The tax rate alone, Raffensperger said, “incentivized our investment.” But then you add in online access; a state that features franchises from MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL; a reasonably large population total; and a culture, as he put it, that features “a great independent spirit” that pairs well with sports betting.

Indeed, Raffensperger emphasized, “we get really excited about the commercial opportunity.”

Coronavirus pandemic has shifted plans of operators

The launch of Colorado sports betting, at least commercially, obviously comes during an inopportune time.

The COVID-19 crisis essentially sidelined sports entirely, aside from a few niche markets. It’s not lost on incoming operators that sports betting offerings will remain slim once they go live.

“It has presented us and many other sportsbooks planning to launch in Colorado with added challenges,” Motl said of the coronavirus. “We’ve spent this additional time learning about our future customers in Colorado, understanding their tendencies and appetite for sports betting content as a whole. Operationally, we’ve worked to ensure that our infrastructure and process with state regulators is seamless once sports return.”

Operators remain bullish on Colorado sports betting future

Therein lies the optimism and persistence of bookmakers: This pandemic will not disrupt our plans.

Like Henry Ford said: “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”

“We’re very optimistic on Colorado,” Shea said. “We’re so excited to be launching in that state. Nobody can predict how long this (the coronavirus pandemic) is going to take. But what we can say is we will be there. … We are very cognizant of the seriousness of the nature of the world. We don’t want to take that away at all.

“We want to make sure everyone’s staying safe and following the guidelines of the government. We’re just an entertainment company but we hope to provide that little bit of light in the day.”

Flexibility is key during a time of zero sports

Fox Bet still intends to make its Colorado debut in May, though after the state’s go-live date. And, like many of its counterparts, it continues to exhibit flexibility in this time of uncertainty.

“As leagues and sanctions adapt to this new environment, so do sportsbook operators like us,” Motl said. “We’ve offered NASCAR’s iRacing, the NFL draft, as well as other smaller sports and competitions in accordance with (New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement) via the Fox Bet app. We’ve also gotten creative, for example coming up with the best sports movie bracket challenge. As sports leagues and governing bodies across the globe re-open competition, we will have more to offer.”

It appeared as if the coronavirus pandemic really hit home for the public when sports went off the air. When the NBA postponed its season, Raffensperger said, “it felt pivotal in a lot of ways in how this crisis came to bear for this country.”

For the FanDuel CMO, when sports return, the healing can begin. The light at the end of the tunnel becomes more clear.

“I think that’s an important moment of feeling like it’s a step forward for the country,” Raffensperger said, “a moment of catharsis. … I think it’s going to be, not to be too highfalutin about it, the start of a moment of healing and something we’re really excited about certainly commercially but also just our role within sports culture at large.”

When leagues and event organizers postponed and even canceled seasons and events, operators did not sway from their Colorado plans.

If anything, at least for FanDuel, there was more of an obligation to move forward as planned.

“I would say the reaction was we need to stay the course,” Raffensperger said. “I think we recognized we needed to shift our plans a little bit, in the manner and the means in which we launched. … I think whether it’s free-to-play gaming, some of the things that we’re doing on our fantasy sports platform, I do think it’s important. I think it’s the role that FanDuel Group plays, kind of in our commercial role at large.”

Plans to launch in Colorado remain on track

Before COVID-19, some incoming Colorado bookmakers — such as FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and BetRivers — circled May 1 as launch date. Others, like Fox Bet, sometime that month.

Those plans have gone unchanged.

“We are of course giving full consideration to the current circumstances regarding the disruption to the sports calendar, but our pre-existing timelines and goals for the multi-state expansion of theScore Bet remain on schedule,” John Levy, CEO of theScore, said. “We are pressing ahead with product development and regulatory initiatives and — subject to receiving all relevant licenses and approvals — are excited to introduce theScore’s unique integration of media and gaming to sports fans in both Colorado and Indiana later this year.”

Perhaps now more than ever, Shea noted, the public needs some kind of respite. And platforms such as DraftKings provide just that.

“Especially now, people need entertainment,” Shea said. “We are a sports company, a gaming company, an entertainment company. People need to be able to blow off some steam. … I think it’s nice to have that stability, that confidence that not everything has shut down, that there are still some movements going on. Some new and exciting things. It’s nice for the fans to have some levity at this time.”

Obviously operators will not have many betting markets to offer customers right away. Hopefully, though, the sports calendar will fill out in short order. That would certainly benefit bookmakers. But it would also provide a sense of normalcy for bettors, fans and the general public.

Companies like FanDuel are hoping to fast-track the latter.

“The reason that we’re launching on May 1 relative to the plan we had prior,” Raffensperger said, “is because we think it is important to demonstrate to Colorado our innovative spirit. … I think we’re still really optimistic and eager to introduce ourselves to Colorado, to do it in a way that adds value to consumers and bettors and fans. Again, we’re eagerly awaiting the return of major American sports alongside every other sports fan in Colorado and frankly around the country.”

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Global Poker Home Series Awarding Largest Online Poker Prize Pool

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The largest purse in the history of Global Poker awaits this weekend.

On April 26, the sweepstakes-based online poker site wraps up its Global Poker Home Series with the biggest guarantee it has ever offered: a prize pool of SC500,000 during the SC540 Sunday Scrimmage.

Not a bad payday during a time of quarantine.

What is Global Poker?

Legalized online poker is limited to a select few states — Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware — but Global Poker provides an avenue for the vast majority of the country as well as Canada.

A social poker site that made its debut in 2016, Global Poker allows players to purchase Gold Coins and receive Sweeps Coins to compete in tournaments. Sweeps Coins are redeemable for cash.

Additionally, players can compete in various styles of poker, including Texas Hold’em and Omaha.

Global Poker has flourished since launching four years ago, building its base to more than 1 million registered players.

Win big in the Home Series

Over the past few events, Global Poker has handed out larger and larger prizes. For example, Gold Coin events have already paid out some GC120 million, and Sweeps Coin players have shared a whopping SC1.22 million.

Those totals will increase Sunday.

After shelling out the SC540 to buy into the tournament, players will have a crack at the largest prize pool in Global Poker history. Not only that, but winners will also receive Home Series trophies complete with their inscribed names.

Certainly, the event will draw ample participation. Consider last week, when the Sunday Teaser and Scrimmage events featured more than 1,100 players.

A bright spot after WSOP news

The poker world could use a strong weekend finish, especially after a rocky middle of the week.

The World Series of Poker announced it postponed the 51st installment of the Las Vegas event due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused mass casino closures across the country.

On the upside, the event is expected to return in fall 2020, dates of which Caesars Entertainment will announce at a later time.

Then again, not all news was bad: the WSOP online poker site remains operational for players in the aforementioned four states that regulate the game.

Online poker itself has seen an uptick in participation since the health scare began. So, too, have legalized online casinos. It only makes sense, really, when you consider the absence of sports and sports betting.

Fortunately for players needed to scratch a gambling itch, legal operators have stepped in to fill the void.

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New Jersey, Pennsylvania Online Gambling Revenue See Big Uptick In March

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This was supposed to be a landmark time of the year.

Two of the biggest and flourishing legal sports betting industries were supposed to be reaping the rewards of one of the sporting year’s busiest times: March MadnessMLB, the Masters, and postseason pushes for the NBA and NHL.

What an incredible month — certainly one that would produce record-breaking sports betting handle and revenue numbers for both New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Yet we were left wanting. The coronavirus pandemic shut it all down. All that’s left is what could have been.

That said, online gambling did not completely suffer. Rather, both online casinos and online poker saw an uptick. And last month, industries in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania seemingly compensated for a lack of sports.

New Jersey online gambling flourishes

Believe it or not, online gambling has been a mainstay in New Jersey for going on seven years. No month, however, has ever been as prosperous as March 2020.

Online casinos and poker operators reported a jaw-dropping $64.8 million in revenue. How big is that? Well, it sits nearly $13 million more than the previous month, for starters. More important, though, that total is the industry’s first month exceeding $60 million. And it’s actually nearly $10 million more than the state’s previous best monthly report.

If those feats aren’t enough, March 2020 numbers reflect an astonishing 65.6% increase year over year.

The kicker, though, lies with online poker. Entering March, this sector had not eclipsed $2 million in monthly revenue since August 2017. It hadn’t seen more than $3 million since October 2016. In January 2014, the state enjoyed its best poker month with $3.4 million in revenue.

You see where this is going: In March 2020, New Jersey online poker posted a whopping $3.6 million in revenue. Month over month, that’s a 101% spike.

All told, all but one online casino in the state reported record-setting revenue figures in March.

Certainly, these online platforms benefited from stay-at-home orders. Gov. Phil Murphy ordered the closure of Atlantic City casinos midway through the month. And when leagues began suspending and canceling events, online casinos and poker filled the void.

PA online gambling shows a similar trend

New Jersey was not alone in rewriting the history books.

Neighboring Pennsylvania was coming off a record-setting February. As the Keystone State nears the anniversary of its first online casinos, the industry put up yet another historic month.

Already trending upward, what with revenues up over 31% month to month since December, operators in March reported some $24.3 million in online revenue, marking a 24.5% increase from February. That total breaks down to a $12.4 million/$8.8 million/$3.1 million slash line for online slots/table games/poker.

It’s not just the revenue that stands out, but also the action. Consider players in Pennsylvania accounted for $871.6 million in total wagers, up nearly $170 million from the previous month. Staggering.

Like in New Jersey, the uptick in Pennsylvania can assuredly be attributed to mass shutdowns. With casinos closing down amid the coronavirus pandemic, overall gambling revenue in Pennsylvania actually dropped by 51%.

Takeaways from NJ, PA online gambling reports

Leagues and organizers suspending and canceling events sent a shockwave across not only the country but the world. What were fans and bettors to do?

From jump street, operators who integrated online casinos with online sportsbooks or vice versa made sure to cross-promote. The two industries appeal to different demographics. Get your slot players to notice the NFL lines, for example, or market table games to the everyday sports bettor.

March 2020 emerges as the most significant example of such strategies paying off.

What’s more, online gambling in New Jersey and Pennsylvania could open the eyes of lawmakers in other states. After all, those states could certainly use revenue from somewhere, right?



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The Unexpected Resurrection Of US Online Poker

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Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, Brazilian soccer star Neymar and legendary Australian cricket player Shane Warne live-stream a game of online poker.

This heavy-weight match, of course, is a dream scenario. It comes from the mind of Seth Palansky, vice president of corporate communications for Caesars Interactive Entertainment. Palanksy primarily deals with the World Series of Poker‘s (WSOP) land-based operations. But with recent events, his duties have shifted online.

Online poker hasn’t gone anywhere. It, along with online casino games, have merely vaulted to the front of the gambling activity list.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all 465 commercial casinos in the US have temporarily closed. All sporting events have gone on hiatus. Spectators around the world have dug deep into the gambling pit and taken to betting on sports like table tennis and Australian rules football.

In a way, one could argue the chaos has reignited the online poker discussion. (Last year’s WSOP tournament and the success of Pennsylvania online casinos are examples of recent conversations with a pro-online poker overlap.) But if it continues to be talked about in a post-COVID-19 gaming world, it is an entirely different conversation.

Pushing the online poker discussion forward

The central question is not whether legislation can be passed, because four states have done it. Instead, it’s getting lawmakers up to speed on how online poker operates.

“It comes down to the familiarity of government officials with sports, more so than poker. Obviously, they are involved in their communities, and they have their sports teams, and so it’s much more top of mind,” Palansky said in an interview.

This is true. Generally speaking, most state lawmakers are more familiar with their hometown team than the complexities of poker.

Following the demise of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), states salivated at the opportunity of bringing sports betting to their residents. However, in the ensuing commotion, online poker was left behind.

A seasoned executive in the gaming industry, Palansky said his constituents have tried to help push online poker legislation forward with a federal framework and continue to lobby at the state level.

But he also said the current state of gaming might also be a catalyst for further discussion.

“I think something like what we are going to be going through here, not in just the short-term, but this [pandemic] is going to have long-term ramifications on the economy. Government entities are going to be looking for funds to help solve some of the issues that are being created as a result of where we are today,” he said.

Multi-state player pools in online poker

“With sports betting grinding to a halt and, of course, 100% of commercial casinos closed in the US, it’s a shame the states can’t be getting some tax revenue during these extremely difficult times from online poker,” Palansky said in an email.

Currently, only four states are operating online poker:

  • Delaware
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania

The tax revenue generated is incremental compared to sports betting and general land-based casino revenue. It resembles more of a Band-Aid and is in no way keeping the gambling industry afloat. But it does, however, provide funds at a time where every nickel and dime is needed.

But according to Palansky, a critical hurdle preventing legislation from moving forward in other states is the understanding that online poker relies heavily on the ability to offer multi-state player pools.

Much like any gambler, players are interested in risking as little as possible to win as much as possible. However, according to Palansky, if you only allow players to compete against those in their state, you limit the prize pool up for grabs.

“The reason daily fantasy sports can offer those big prize pools is because they are offering them across multiple states. If they had to restrict to a single state, the prize pools wouldn’t be compelling enough to get people to play,” he said. “Same problem in poker. So, getting all players in the same pool allows the offering to be much more robust, which creates interest, creates demand and enhances the offering.”

Currently, DE, NV and NJ are locked in what is called the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA). This accord allows for players from the aforementioned states to compete against each other. Pennsylvania, unfortunately, only allows its players to compete against other players within its borders.

It can’t only be about the money

“The most important piece to understand for online poker is the reliance on liquidity to make it work. Meaning, right now, we are locked in a tri-state poker shared market where residents in NJ, DE, NV are all playing with each other. We are able to segregate by where the participant is from and ensuring the tax revenue goes back to that state on where the participant is.”

Some government officials hunt for revenue to balance state budgets. Others seek jobs to bring to their state. But there are a few lawmakers who look for both.

There is a painful trickle-down effect from the closure of all commercial casinos: No casino guests, no gambling dollars, no tax revenue and, most importantly, no jobs. Due to casino industry shutdowns, the American Gaming Association (AGA) estimates roughly 649,000 casino employees are out of work.

When it comes to online poker, Palanksy said one of the toughest questions to answer revolves around job creation.

“A lot of it seems to be dependant on jobs, how many jobs can be brought to the state,” he said. “Lawmakers like to have customer service located in their state, accounting, essential personnel, et cetera, et cetera. When running an online business, it’s hard to have 50 different staffing offices in 50 different jurisdictions.”

But regardless, Palanksy says “any online business that can generate tax revenue and jobs should be something all elected leaders should take a good look at to see if it works for their constituents.”

Proving it works

It’s a tough task to convince lawmakers anything. Try explaining geolocation to someone who doesn’t use a smartphone. But Palansky knows the power of a working product.

“What I think what we’ve done is we proved anything that needs to be addressed is being addressed inside these three states. Any other state looking to get involved, it would be very turn-key and very simple and very safe. The protections are in place, the regulatory framework is in place,” Palanksy said.

“We made (online poker) meaningful in Nevada. Then replicated it in New Jersey. Then you work with (lawmakers) to show how the revenue base can grow with other states.”

Palansky said some states could argue they have enough liquidity to operate alone, but the reality is, almost all don’t (outside of California.)

“Poker is going to need the ability to be across state borders with the eventual hope of a worldwide pool that has significant revenue potential,” he said.

What’s on the horizon for online poker?

The latest state to legalize online gaming was Michigan, which is expected to debut sometime in 2021. In addition to online poker, the bill also legalizes online casino games, DFS and sports betting.

The Wolverine State’s plan to join the MSIGA is still up in the air.

“They are writing the bill, so we will see how that goes,” he said. “We think everyone should be able to run (online poker), but we understand states want to take a cautious approach. But we are willing to do what’s necessary to prove it works. But it’s frustrating to see how quickly sports betting came about.”

In recent months, the WSOP has seen player traffic increase by 54%. Whether that number continues to trend upward is unknown.

“It’s hard to predict, but we are putting together new series with $4 million in guarantees in April,” Palansky said. “That shows we are bullish and willing to stick our neck out and anticipate (that) the demand will be there. But it’s hard to know, obviously this is a recreational activity, and we are cautiously optimistic that people will have more time on their hands. After all, this is a recreational activity to take your mind off things but also be successful and win some money.”

As the sporting industry grapples with ways to stay active, maybe a WSOP tournament featuring Phelps, Neymar and Warne isn’t such a bad idea. The NBA has recently gone the video game route by announced a player only NBA2K tournament.

Perhaps bringing together some of the most decorated athletes in the world to play poker isn’t such a bad idea.

“Knowing each of them a little bit, what’s great for poker is the personalities around the table,” Palanksy said.

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The Biggest US Online Casino Winners

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If you’re looking for the chance at a five or six-figure payout, perhaps even a chance at becoming a millionaire, then look no further than the ever-popular Chumba Casino.

The popular online social casino is seeing quite a few payouts in 2020. So if you’re in the mood for free online slots, video blackjack, video poker, and bingo, with the chance to win real cash prizes then you have come to the right place.

Free Sweeps Coins right now

Chumba Casino is offering a pretty sweet bonus if you sign up right now. Not only are they offering two free Sweeps Coins, but players will also be able to pay $10 for their $20 Gold Coins package.

Chumba uses a sweepstakes model, much like Monopoly at McDonald’s.

Past Chumba Casino winners include:

#1 Donnalyn K. — $1.88 million

The first million-dollar honor goes to Donnalyn, a Hawaiian mother of three. After over three years of playing Chumba Casino games, the outcome of a small 0.50 Sweeps Coins bet, resulted in a million-dollar cash prize!

Donnalyn made her mark on Stampede Fury which is part of Chumba Casino’s progressive jackpot, the popular Fireshot Jackpot. Other games that make up the progressive slot winnings include:

  • Reelin N’ Rockin
  • Wild Roads
  • Triple Double Fever
  • Long Zhi Bao Zang
  • Vikings Of The North
  • The Big GoREELa
  • Duskmoon Faire Jackpot

#2 Cindy B. — $1.12 million

Becoming the second Chumba Casino millionaire, Cindy also made her winnings from the Fireshot Jackpot progressive slots.

For those that need a refresher, progressive jackpot slots take each bet a player makes and feeds it into a pool that builds and builds. Once the jackpot is won, the amount resets to a predetermined amount and begins to build once more.

#3 Maria A. — $1.17 million

Another Stampede Fury player, Maria from California, became the third Chumba Casino millionaire while she was getting ready for work. Maria used her winnings to retire and get a business set up for her son.

These are but a few of the compelling stories from Chumba Casino winners. Even if you don’t win the big money, Chumba has had multiple winners and several slot games payout more than $10,000.

Some of those games include:

  • Aztec Wealth
  • Triple Double Golden Eagles
  • Gem Huntress
  • Garden Princess
  • Bombshell Jackpots
  • Hansel and Gretel’s Fortune

With eight progressive jackpot slots, there are a number of opportunities for players to become the next millionaire. All players need to do is sign-up, collect a bonus and spin.

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The Biggest US Online Casino Winners

[ad_1]

If you’re looking for the chance at a five or six-figure payout, perhaps even a chance at becoming a millionaire, then look no further than the ever-popular Chumba Casino.

The popular online social casino is seeing quite a few payouts in 2020. So if you’re in the mood for free online slots, video blackjack, video poker, and bingo, with the chance to win real cash prizes then you have come to the right place.

Free Sweeps Coins right now

Chumba Casino is offering a pretty sweet bonus if you sign up right now. Not only are they offering two free Sweeps Coins, but players will also be able to pay $10 for their $20 Gold Coins package.

Chumba uses a sweepstakes model, much like Monopoly at McDonald’s.

Past Chumba Casino winners include:

#1 Donnalyn K. — $1.88 million

The first million-dollar honor goes to Donnalyn, a Hawaiian mother of three. After over three years of playing Chumba Casino games, the outcome of a small 0.50 Sweeps Coins bet, resulted in a million-dollar cash prize!

Donnalyn made her mark on Stampede Fury which is part of Chumba Casino’s progressive jackpot, the popular Fireshot Jackpot. Other games that make up the progressive slot winnings include:

  • Reelin N’ Rockin
  • Wild Roads
  • Triple Double Fever
  • Long Zhi Bao Zang
  • Vikings Of The North
  • The Big GoREELa
  • Duskmoon Faire Jackpot

#2 Cindy B. — $1.12 million

Becoming the second Chumba Casino millionaire, Cindy also made her winnings from the Fireshot Jackpot progressive slots.

For those that need a refresher, progressive jackpot slots take each bet a player makes and feeds it into a pool that builds and builds. Once the jackpot is won, the amount resets to a predetermined amount and begins to build once more.

#3 Maria A. — $1.17 million

Another Stampede Fury player, Maria from California, became the third Chumba Casino millionaire while she was getting ready for work. Maria used her winnings to retire and get a business set up for her son.

These are but a few of the compelling stories from Chumba Casino winners. Even if you don’t win the big money, Chumba has had multiple winners and several slot games payout more than $10,000.

Some of those games include:

  • Aztec Wealth
  • Triple Double Golden Eagles
  • Gem Huntress
  • Garden Princess
  • Bombshell Jackpots
  • Hansel and Gretel’s Fortune

With eight progressive jackpot slots, there are a number of opportunities for players to become the next millionaire. All players need to do is sign-up, collect a bonus and spin.

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A Rundown of Top Online Poker Events For The Weekend Of March 28

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As the world continues to fight back against coronavirus, social and physical distancing have taken effect. Folks have holed themselves up as a preventative measure.

In turn, the public has shifted attention to legal online casinos and online poker, and poker operators have introduced various events and tournaments.

Need to find a table this weekend? Look no further than these events happening online.

Where to play legal online poker

Only select states offer regulated real-money poker in the US: DelawareNevadaNew Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The likes of PokerStars and World Series of Poker (WSOP) are heavy-hitters in the online poker world. So, too, is Global Poker, which prides itself on the social gaming aspect.

PokerStars stands as the largest online poker operator in the world, offering a wide array of cash games and tournaments for players in New Jersey, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Those wanting to play on the WSOP site have the option of a shared liquidity pool among players from New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.

Global Poker, meanwhile, allows players to buy Gold Coins for for ring games and tourneys.

PokerStars online poker events

A pleasant surprise of late has been the rising popularity of online poker in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Here is the schedule for players in Pennsylvania:

No Limit Texas Hold’em
Date: March 29, 6 p.m. ET
Buy-in: $30
Guaranteed prize pool: $15,000

No Limit Texas Hold’em
Date: March 29, 7 p.m. ET
Buy-in: $250
Prize pool: $20,000

The Big
Date: March 29, 7 p.m. ET
Buy-in: $20
Guaranteed prize pool: $10,000

Sunday Storm, No Limit Texas Hold’em
Date: March 29, 5 p.m. ET
Buy-in: $10
Guaranteed prize pool: $7,500

The Big
Date: March 29, 6 p.m. ET
Buy-in: $10
Guaranteed prize pool: $7,500

Bounty Builder, PKO
Date: March 29, 9 p.m. ET
Buy-in: $20
Guaranteed prize pool: $10,000

Sunday Supersonic
Date: March 29, 10 p.m.
Buy-in: $50
Guaranteed prize pool: $7,500

For those in New Jersey, here are the upcoming tournaments:

No Limit Texas Hold Em
Date: March 29, 4 p.m. ET
Buy-in: $50
Guaranteed prize pool: $10,000

No Limit Texas Hold Em
Date: March 29, 5 p.m. ET
Buy-in: $10
Guaranteed prize pool: $7,500

No Limit Texas Hold Em, deposit freeroll
Date: March 29, 6 p.m. ET
Buy-in: Ticket
Guaranteed prize pool: $1,000 added

No Limit Texas Hold Em
Date: March 29, 6 p.m. ET
Buy-in: $200
Guaranteed prize pool: $40,000

No Limit Texas Hold Em
Date: March 29, 7 p.m. ET
Buy-in: $500
Guaranteed prize pool: $10,000

8-Game
Date: March 29, 8:30 p.m. ET
Buy-in: $50
Guaranteed prize pool: $1,000

No Limit Texas Hold Em
Date: March 29, 10 p.m. ET
Buy-in: $75
Guaranteed prize pool: $5,000

And with several variations of Championship of Online Poker (COOP), PokerStars has helped spearhead the uptick of online poker.

The Spring Championship of Online Poker will be the first such event in PA and feature a whopping $2 million guarantee. New Jersey, meanwhile, expects to have a $1.2 million guarantee, representing a $200,000 increase from 2019.

Those tourneys are scheduled for April 4, allowing for enough practice time.

Complete schedules for both events are expected shortly.

WSOP.com online poker events

A premier event expects to be a monumental hit during this summer’s World Series of Poker. And one last qualifying event is left for players hoping to join those tables.

The $55 March Mayhem tournaments boast a $50,000 guarantee and a seat at the Big 50 table to the winner. Players have one final opportunity to earn that seat as March Mayhem wraps up March 29.

Take solace for non-winners, however: Those players who have entered at least two tourneys receive tickets to a Big 50 Seat Freeroll, which awards five seats at the Big 50 table.

Not to be outdone, WSOP.com is looking to make up for postponed and canceled events. As part of its Online Super Series, WSOP hands out 18 WSOP Circuit rings in 18 days. One of the primetime tables: a $525 Main Event with $200,000 guaranteed.

The series goes through March 31. Here’s a look at this weekend’s events:

  • Saturday, March 28: 7 p.m. ET, $320 buy-in, $75,000 guarantee
  • Sunday, March 29: 5 p.m. ET, $525 buy-in, $200,000 guarantee

To boot, players in Nevada and New Jersey have access to daily WSOP tournaments:

  • Daily, 4 p.m. ET, $215 buy-in, $10,000 guarantee
  • Daily, 11 p.m. ET, $30 buy-in, $10,000 guarantee
  • Wednesdays, 8:30 p.m. ET, $20,000 guarantee
  • Thursdays, 8:30 p.m. ET, $500 buy-in, $20,000 guarantee
  • Thursdays, 10 p.m. ET, $250 buy-in, $15,000 guarantee
  • Thursdays, 11:30 p.m. ET, $1,000 buy-in, $20,000 guarantee

Global Poker online poker events

Like WSOP, Global Poker continues to add to its tournament schedule to help meet the demand for online poker.

On top of five-figure guarantees during the week, Global Poker offers several high-profile payouts over the weekend, including:

  • Friday Flash: SC15,000 Guaranteed
  • Saturday Swift: SC15,000 Guaranteed
  • Sunday Six: SC15,000 Guaranteed

The site has also ramped up its daily offerings including its new “NightCap” series for night time players. Here’s a look at the complete slate of new dailies:

Throughout the night, too, Global Poker features a variety of events for night owls:

  • 6 p.m. ET, SC11 buy-in, SC6,000 guaranteed
  • 6:45 p.m. ET, SC55 buy-in, SC8,500 guarantee
  • 8:00 p.m. ET, SC5.50 buy-in, SC15,000 guarantee
  • 8:30 p.m. ET, SC33 buy-in, SC20,000 guarantee
  • 10 p.m. ET, SC55 buy-in, SC10,000 guarantee
  • 11 p.m. ET, SC11 buy-in, SC5,000 guarantee
  • Midnight ET, SC21.50 buy-in, SC3,000 guarantee
  • 12:30 a.m. ET, SC22 buy-in, SC2,000 guarantee
  • 1 a.m. ET, SC21.40 buy-in, SC2,000 guarantee
  • 1:30 a.m. ET, SC21.40 buy-in, SC1,500 guarantee

Finally, Global Poker strengthened its weekend schedule with the addition of a deepstack event featuring SC1,500 guarantee. Those tourneys begin each Sunday at 4:15 p.m. ET.

In addition, Global padded its Saturday schedule of events:

  • SC11 buy-in, 3 p.m. ET, SC3,000 guaranteed
  • SC22 buy-in, 4:15 p.m. ET, SC6,000 guaranteed
  • SC55 buy-in, 5:30 p.m. ET, SC12,000 guaranteed

Finally, several satellite tourneys will run earlier in the day each Saturday, awarding seats to the major events:

  • SC2.20 buy-in, 2:20 p.m. ET, 12 seats guaranteed
  • SC3.21 buy-in, 2:50 p.m. ET, 10 seats guaranteed
  • SC3.30 buy-in, 3:20 p.m. ET, 8 seats guaranteed
  • SC5.30 buy-in, 4:05 p.m. ET, 10 seats guaranteed

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