Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. Novomatic and Lottomatica acquisitions targeting the Italian market, a New Jersey poll that puts the dampeners on a state-wide casino expansion, a pair of shutdowns and Irish Gambling Regulation Bill approval all feature in our latest headline recap.
The Irish government approved the publication of the Gambling Regulation Bill that will establish a new regulatory body and introduce “a robust regulatory and licensing regime” for the sector.
This is intended to establish “a modern and streamlined approach to gambling licensing activities” to replace a “currently fragmented regime”.
The legislation paves the way for the establishment of a gambling regulator focused on public safety and well-being that covers gambling online and in person, with the powers to regulate advertising, gambling websites and apps.
Consistently labelled a “priority action” by the country’s government, three types of licence for both in-person and remote gambling will be introduced. These are B2B; B2C gaming, betting and lottery and those for charitable causes.
Furthermore, a watershed prohibiting gambling advertising at certain times of day, this being between 5:30am and 9:00pm, will also be introduced.
MaximBet become the latest casualty of the US online gambling ecosystem after the entity, which billed itself as a “lifestyle online sports betting and casino brand,” detailed a closure of operations.
A statement issued by the gaming operator cited “challenging macroeconomic conditions” as well as an “increasingly cost prohibitive marketplace” in accelerating the decision to cease operations.
After debuting last year, MaximBet had entered Colorado and Indiana, with the group also previously having plans to enter four more in Iowa, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio “soon”.
Lottomatica entered the M&A arena in a bid to strengthen its position in the Italian online gambling space after entering into an agreement to acquire BetFlag.
The acquisition, undertaken via its GBO subsidiary, saw terms agreed regarding a purchase of online sportsbook and casino operator for €310m.
The deal represents Lottomatica’s first M&A play since the Italian gambling group was sold by International Game Technology to the Gamenet Group last year for $950m.
Esports Entertainment Group’s SportNation online casino and sports betting brand is to terminate UK operations at the end of this month as an ongoing company-wide strategic review progresses.
In making the decision, EEG said that the firm had undertaken “careful consideration,” however, due to a “a variety of reasons,” which included the economics of operating a small igaming business in the UK market, a ruling to halt operations was made.
The company acquired SportNation, alongside that of sister brand RedZoneSports, in July 2020 when the acquisition of parent company Argyll Entertainment was confirmed.
LeoVegas maintained that the group adheres to “high standards for ourselves when it comes to regulatory compliance” after three individuals were arrested for insider trading, according to Swedish daily Aftonbladet.
This came after an investigation into potential insider trading got underway in June, when LeoVegas confirmed that it was “fully assisting” authorities after it was contacted by the Swedish Economic Crime Authority.
However, with the impending takeover by MGM Resorts said to be in its final stages, it has been reported that a manager and two associates have been arrested having been suspected of accumulating stock in the build-up to the transaction.
According to Aftonbladet, Swedish District Attorney Pontus Hamilton estimates the senior manager, the only one of the three with a direct connection to the company, made millions by acquiring shares in his employer, which reportedly soared in value by up to 40 per cent.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board launched an awareness campaign aimed at preventing children from being left unattended while an adult supervisor gambles in a casino.
This follows a wave of action being taken by the regulator regarding such issues, with seven adults placed on the state’s exclusion list last week after a total of 13 children, aged between one and 15, were left unattended for between six minutes and seven hours in order to gamble.
The regulator emphasised that the ‘Don’t Gamble with Kids’ campaign has been developed due to concern over the number of minors who are being left in vehicles in casino parking lots or in hotel rooms attached to or near a Pennsylvania casino.
Since the start of 2022, the board’s Bureau of Casino Compliance has recorded 269 incidents involving 441 minors who were left unattended while one or more of the adults responsible for them chose to gamble in a casino. Included in the number are 68 who were six years old or under. This is compared to 171 incidents involving 279 minors in 2021.
Novomatic Group’s Italian business significantly bolstered its reach in the country after acquiring 80 per cent of shares in HBG Gaming Group.
In doing so, the Austria-based company sought to gain ‘greater solidity’ in the Italian market, whilst also contributing to the sector’s ‘industrial depth’.
A far-reaching business in Italy, HBG Gaming has interests in online gaming machines, bingo, sports betting and the ‘telematic network of entertainment’.
One Texas lawmaker is getting a head start on the efforts to expand gambling in the state in 2023 after Texas State Senator Carol Alvarado pre-filing a joint resolution to bring sweeping expansion.
If successful, this would greenlight resort casinos, tribal casinos, expanded gaming at horse racing tracks and greyhound racing tracks, and sports betting. However, it is a long road to success.
Alvarado’s motion was one of hundreds pre-filed in advance of the start of the 2023 legislative session in the state on January 11. Texas is unique in that the legislature only meets in odd-numbered years, so there is less time and more competition for lawmakers’ attention.
New Jersey locals voiced objection to the expansion of casinos within the state beyond their current Atlantic City home, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University survey.
However, despite a dramatically changing landscape across the country, this latest FDU poll suggests that there has been very little movement in public opinion across the Garden State in over a decade.
In what is billed by FDU as a “rare bipartisan accord,” a slight majority of 51 per cent oppose an expansion of casino gambling, while 37 per cent voted in favour of expansion beyond Atlantic City.
Any expansion would require a vote on a constitutional amendment in the state, however, in 2016, such an amendment failed by 77 per cent to 23 per cent.
The FDU also noted that “opposition to casino expansion may be one of the few remaining bipartisan issues in the state,” with resistance from the Democrats, Republicans and independents being 50 per cent, 54 per cent and 53 per cent, respectively.
This latest undertaking of 801 respondents also fared in a similar fashion to past examinations, with 2016 showing a 50 per cent opposition versus 37 per cent support and 2014’s figures being 50 per cent and 42 per cent.