Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. Today, we look at a major Entain departure, further records being smashed in New Jersey, UKGC reminder and Virgin Las Vegas delay.
Shay Segev last week gave notice of his intention to leave global gaming and sports betting group Entain to become co-CEO of international sports streaming platform DAZN.
Segev, who only took up the CEO role in July 2020 as Kenny Alexander stepped down after a 13-year tenure, asserts that the decision has not been influenced by recent interest in the group by MGM Resorts International.
Stating that he fully supports the board in rejecting the proposal, the company adds “that this changes nothing with respect to the board’s view of the recent proposal,” and that it remains “unanimous in our view that the proposal significantly undervalues the company and its prospects”.
Hard Rock International is eyeing an expansion of its globally recognised brand, after the gaming, entertainment, and hospitality firm announced the acquisition of a casino premise licence in London.
Stating that it’s looking to stamp its authority in “the birthplace of Hard Rock,” the move follows persistent recent rumours of the group casting admiring glances towards Las Vegas.
The company has acquired the casino premise license from The Ritz Club in London, a transaction which will allow Hard Rock to seek out and establish a new casino premise in the city, continuing the group’s expansion into major gateway cities around the world.
As a globally recognisable brand, the strategic move sets the stage for the creation of a casino that Hard Rock says will complement the company’s other offerings in international gateway cities. HRI boasts venues in 69 countries spanning 240 locations that include owned/licensed or managed hotels, casinos, Rock shops and cafes.
Neil McArthur, chief executive of the UK Gambling Commission, has reminded operators of the need to ensure “that you are protecting your customers during this difficult time”.
He has called on operators to demonstrate extra vigilance during the new national lockdown, particularly with the continuation of elite level sport meaning “there are more opportunities for betting customers to gamble”.
“Most people will be spending more time at home and many people are likely to be feeling more isolated and vulnerable as a result of the length of the pandemic period, the new restrictions and further uncertainty about their personal or financial circumstances,” McArthur says in his statement.
Acknowledging that “we know that the restrictions imposed in response to COVID-19 have had an impact on customer behaviour,” McArthur says no should be in any doubt “about how closely we are monitoring issues or our willingness to take further action if we deem that necessary”.
A number of expectations have been laid out by the regulator, which includes a reminder to continue following strengthened guidance issued during the first lockdown, and taking close interest in data that shows consumers expanding their portfolio of games and spending more time or money than before.
New Jersey sportsbooks were very close to scaling a new $1bn height during December, while the region’s online casinos and poker rooms continued to stem the losses being felt on a retail basis.
During the month the Garden State’s igaming offerings generated a record $99.5m in revenue, up 101.6 per cent from $49.3m in 2019 and producing $14.9m in taxes.
Online casinos tallied $970.3m in revenue throughout the entire year, a 101 per cent gain from $482.7m in 2019, and produced $145.7m in taxes. With revenue at retail casinos down $1.2bn year over year, analysts say that the rise in online gaming revenue was “critical”.
On the sports betting front, the month saw New Jersey fall a fracGambletion shy of becoming the first state to accept $1bn in sports bets in a single month, but the region still extended a streak of record-setting months while reaching $6bn in wagers for the year.
New Jersey’s sportsbooks collected $996.3m in December wagers, according to official data, surpassing the record $931m bet just a month earlier and marking the fifth straight month of setting an all-jurisdiction record. This generated a record $66.4m in revenue.
GambleAware has revealed that William Hill donated over half of its £1.04m pledge for 2020/21, over the first three quarters of 2020.
Publishing its industry donation figure for April 1 to December 30, 2020, the independent charity revealed that William Hill donated £540,000 of its pledge with Flutter Entertainment second, donating £874,000.
Other leading operators which have donated substantial sums include bet365 at £763,000, Gamesys at £450,000 and Petfre (Gibraltar) – the owner of Betfred – at £75,421, made in two separate donations.
Additional donations, in the form of unclaimed winnings and credit from dormant accounts, were also received, with the two largest donors named as LeoVegas at £94,328, and A&S Leisure Group, owner of Napoleons Casinos, at £10,000.
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas has announced a further delay to its long awaited grand opening, with the property assuring that construction deadlines are being met and citing “current conditions in the market as it pertains to the pandemic” for the push back.
The latest delay comes after the group had previously intended to debut its overhauled former Hard Rock International property during the latter stages of 2020, before revising that target in September of last year to January 15, 2021.
Issuing a statement on social media to confirm the decision to delay the reimaged property’s debut, JC Hospitality, the owner of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, expresses that it’s “beyond excited” to introduce the venue to guests, but that the health and safety of all concerned must come as the priority.