The reels are always spinning in the gambling industry, and “The Double Down” is here every Friday to catch you up on all of the week’s biggest news. Sports Handle’s “Get a Grip” rounds up everything on the sports betting side, and US Bets provides the best of the rest: brick-and-mortar happenings, online casino developments, poker headlines, and more. So pull up a chair, crunch the numbers, and slide forward another stack of chips.
If you got a problem …
The start of March Madness marked the midway point of Problem Gambling Awareness Month, a fine time to check in on what folks are writing and saying about the topic.
First, a quick shoutout to the National Council on Problem Gambling for calling it Problem Gambling Awareness Month, not Problem Gaming Awareness Month. It’s high time the industry eschews that euphemistic language. “Gaming” sounds harmless and could refer to my teenager playing Madden or Rocket League. “Gambling” tells everyone clearly what it is we’re talking about.
My colleague Mike Seely covered an interesting problem gambling-related webinar for Sports Handle this week, in which panelists, mostly from the U.K., questioned whether steering people toward “responsible gambling” is the most, well, responsible approach to this. I can’t say I was particularly moved by any of their arguments, but it’s a worthwhile read that will force most in the industry to consider a perspective they haven’t been exposed to much.
CDC Gaming Reports’ Rege Behe also wrote about the topic, diving into how Problem Gambling Awareness Month has evolved (among other things, from a week-long endeavor to a month-long focus). NCPG Executive Director Keith Whyte shared a succinct message about the importance of having open conversations about problem gambling: “It gives people permission to know it’s OK not to be OK.”
And then there was a more mainstream exploration of the topic by Chris Stewart of Scripps News, which analyzed how advancing technology is helping to combat problem gambling. The article discusses RG requirements for gambling apps and also breaks down a stunning statistical disconnect. “A person is seven times more likely to have a substance use disorder than a gambling addiction,” Stewart notes, but “researchers found the amount of public money put into substance use treatment programs is 338 times larger than gambling treatment programs.”
Lots of food for thought as Problem Gambling Awareness Month rolls on.
This week on Gamble On …
Every Thursday, US Bets drops a new episode of the Gamble On podcast, and this week’s welcomed the COO of the World Jai Alai League, Scott Savin, to discuss NFL great Ray Lewis’ connection to jai alai, a BetRivers bettor in Pennsylvania winning his WJAL bets at more than an 80% clip, and what it would take for one of the podcast’s hosts to become the Jerry Jones of jai alai:
Is @jeffedelstein about to purchase a @JaiAlaiLeague franchise? #GambleOn podcast guest Scott Savin gives him the info he needs to make an informed decision: https://t.co/GdAyTsnu0k pic.twitter.com/5IsjYXrsj7
— US Bets (@US_Bets) March 17, 2023
Las Vegas In Full Game-Planning Mode To Host Its First Super Bowl
The empire strikes out
New York Unlikely To Launch iCasino In 2023
Gambling Expansion Momentum Has Slowed To A Halt In New York
But maybe Iowa offers hope?
Iowa Bill For Internet Casino Gaming Filed In General Assembly
Lukewarm to trot
Slow Goes It On The Illinois Racino Front At Hawthorne And Fairmount Park
Got our mind on their money
New Jersey Gaming Revenue Tails Off To $412.2 Million For February
Detroit Casino Revenue Ticks Higher To $105 Million For February
Jamie Tartt a -500 favorite to pronounce ‘poopy’ weirdly
Just For Kicks: Ted Lasso Final (?) Season Betting Props
Tribal lines drawn in Alabama, Florida
The Poarch Creek Band of Mission Indians last weekend debuted an advertisement in Alabama pushing for an expansion of gambling that would benefit its three Wind Creek Casinos. There is currently no bill in the state’s legislature that promises an expansion, but the tribe says in its ad that more access to legal gambling would result in 12,000 jobs and $700 million in tax revenue for the state.
If the Poarch Creek name sounds familiar, there’s a reason. The tribe also owns five gaming facilities in Florida, including the recently purchased Magic City Casino. In an interesting twist, the Poarch Creeks purchased Miami’s Magic City Casino from West Flagler and Associates, the owner of two Florida parimutuels that are suing the U.S. Department of the Interior over the legality of the Seminole Tribe’s 2021 compact with the state of Florida.
Since the Poarch Creeks and/or West Flagler have not asked for Magic City Casino to be removed from the lawsuit, which is winding its way through federal court and would give the Seminoles a monopoly on digital and retail sports betting, the lawsuit now involves one tribe (the Poarch Creeks) suing the DOI over another tribe’s (Seminoles) compact. In this scenario, the Poarch Creeks are essentially a commercial venture, as they have no federal land in Florida and, like other tribes, are expanding their gambling businesses through commercial ventures.
But whether or not the Poarch Creeks remain part of the West Flagler and Associates vs. the DOI lawsuit will be interesting to see. On the one hand, the 2021 Seminole-Florida compact would all but shut Magic City Casino out of digital sports betting. On the other, the Poarch Creeks may not want to oppose the Seminoles in their home state, where that tribe owns seven retail casinos and a significant amount of land.
— Jill R. Dorson
Taking a Torch to gray-market machines in Missouri
For the second time in two weeks, a distributor of gray-market gambling machines in Missouri has been hit with a lawsuit. Attorneys filed a complaint Wednesday in Missouri’s Eastern District court against Torch Electronics, a politically influential company based in suburban St. Louis that has flooded the state’s convenience stores with what both suits claim are illegal slot-style machines.
The latest suit is on behalf of TNT Amusements, a coin-operated amusement game firm, which says its business has been harmed by Torch’s illegal activities. Previously, attorneys filed a class-action suit claiming racketeering by Torch in Missouri’s Western District on behalf of seven Missourians who lost money playing the machines.
“TNT’s revenue has plummeted as a result of Torch’s illegal conduct,” the complaint reads. “The presence of the Torch devices at amusement locations directly impacts TNT’s business.”
Missouri lawmakers have been unable to agree on a way to crack down on the spread of the unregulated machines. Torch is a major donor to political action committees in the state.
— Mark Saxon
More from around the gambling biz
KENTUCKY TACKLING GRAY MACHINES TOO: Proposal to ban slot-like machines sent to Kentucky governor [Associated Press]
VIRGINIA REVENUE SWIMMING UPSTREAM: Rivers Casino Portsmouth reports $24M revenue in first full month of operation [The Virginian-Pilot]
OVERNIGHT PARX-ING: Parx Casino Hotel is finally coming to Bensalem with 300 rooms, rooftop restaurant, and more [Bucks County Courier Times]
THE ROTUNDA GOES UNDA: Caesars Palace to demolish rotunda along Strip [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
PROACTIVE APPROACH: ‘It happens in casinos every single day’: Lincoln Warhorse staff get human trafficking training [KLKN-TV8]
REPRESENTING NEVADA’S INTERESTS: Nevada congresswoman makes educating colleagues about gaming a priority [Las Vegas Sun]
FLUSH WITH CASH: Million-dollar royal jackpot hit at Prairie Band [CDC Gaming Reports]
Image: Blundell Design