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, horse wagering, and more. So pull up a chair, crunch the numbers, and slide forward another stack of chips.
Let’s get ready for Rumbolz
The American Gaming Association announced two personnel changes this week, headlined by Michael Rumbolz being elected the national trade group’s next chairman.
Rumbolz is the executive chair of the board of Everi Holdings Inc., and as AGA chairman he’ll succeed Hard Rock International Chairman and Seminole Gaming CEO Jim Allen, who has served in that role with the AGA since January 2022. Chairman terms last two years, and Rumbolz’s begins next month.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to help shape gaming’s future as the AGA’s next chair,” Rumbolz said via press release. “From stopping illegal gambling to evolving responsible gambling, the AGA is tackling transformational issues and I am eager to build on the progress made during Jim’s tenure.”
In addition to his current role with Nevada-based Everi, Rumbolz was previously Everi’s president and CEO, Nevada’s chief deputy attorney general, and a member and chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
“Our industry and this association have never been stronger,” said outgoing chairman Allen. “I am immensely proud of our success over the last two years accelerating gaming’s recovery while defining and advancing new priorities. The AGA is well-positioned under Mike and [AGA President and CEO] Bill [Miller]’s leadership.”
That isn’t the only notable change in the organization, as on Tuesday, the AGA named Joe Maloney its senior vice president, strategic communications. The AGA is based in Washington, D.C., as Maloney was already prior to this career change — he was vice president of public affairs and strategic communications for the Washington Commanders.
“I’m honored to join the AGA and its dedicated team at this pivotal moment for the gaming industry,” Maloney said in a release. “The future holds great promise and I’m energized by the opportunity and challenge of communicating the remarkable benefits and economic impact of legal gaming across the country.”
Maloney is not a newcomer to the gambling business, as he steered the Commanders’ advocacy for sports betting in Virginia and Maryland and helped the team secure market access partnerships with FanDuel and Fanatics. He also played a role in the Commanders becoming the first NFL team to join AGA’s “Have a Game Plan, Bet Responsibly” public service campaign.
This week on Gamble On …
Every Thursday, US Bets drops a new episode of the Gamble On podcast, and this week’s welcomed Vegas Insider Senior Reporter Patrick Everson for a conversation covering everything from sportsbooks adjusting to the NFL under trend, to why the odds say the NCAA was right to leave Florida State out of the national title tournament, to his belief that it’s time to legalize election betting in the U.S.:
Could election betting really make politics any more corrupt than it already is? @PatrickE_Vegas scoffs at the notion on the latest #GambleOn — and shares a projection on legal presidential election betting volume that will blow your mind: https://t.co/WvMQlHM3Tj pic.twitter.com/jW9HBFnNNP
— US Bets (@US_Bets) December 8, 2023
Back to work!
Stating their case
A story of ‘pain, chaos, and honesty’
A bit of Buckeye buckling
Oklahoma going online (sort of)
Let the games continue
Safety concerns raised
Not the most scintillating start
Two states are better than one
Texas lieutenant governor still standing in the way
When Miriam Adelson last week agreed to buy a stake in the Dallas Mavericks, what she was really doing was buying Las Vegas Sands a seat at the table when Texas lawmakers finally get around to seriously considering an expansion of gambling in the state.
Lawmakers made some progress on the issue this past session, but they won’t meet again in Austin until 2025.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban — who will reportedly retain operating control of the team — envisions a new venue for his team, in the heart of an entertainment complex that includes a casino, even though such gambling is currently illegal in the state. Las Vegas Sands has for the past several years flooded Austin with lobbyists working to educate and convince lawmakers of the merits of legalizing casino gambling. The group has its eye on building a casino in north Texas, which includes the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
The economic benefit of broad casino gambling could be profound — generating $8.35 billion in gross domestic product, according to one estimate provided in a legislative analysis. Texas has several other legal forms of gambling currently.
“Texas already has a lottery. Texas already has betting on horse races. So it’s not as if the state is in principle opposed to gambling,” SMU political science professor Matthew Wilson told CBS’ Eye On Politics. “And there are a lot of tourism dollars to be attracted by this. Right now, Texas is losing money by residents who go out of state to Oklahoma, to Louisiana, to New Mexico for gambling, so a lot of those dollars could be kept here in the state.”
But before a Dallas casino can become a reality, Las Vegas Sands, Cuban, and anyone else interested in legal gambling must get through Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate and continues to oppose the idea. During the 2023 session, lawmakers for the first time moved legal sports betting and legal casino bills through the House. The bills did not make it out of the Senate.
“My experience and my knowledge is that we aren’t even close to having 15 votes or 16 votes for casinos,” Patrick told CBS News late last week. “When the session was over, there was not a hue and cry from voters calling their senators or House members, ‘Gosh, we didn’t pass, I needed this bill.’”
— Jill R. Dorson
New PA online casino alert
Pennsylvanians gained access to another casino app this week, with launch by Digital Gaming Corp. of its Jackpot City online platform. Digital Gaming paid $1 million for an iGaming operator license in 2021.
Through the company’s partnership with Live! Philadelphia as the tethered brick-and-mortar casino iGaming licensee, Jackpot City arrived with more than a hundred slot titles plus table games and live dealer options. It brings the total to nearly 20 full Pennsylvania online casino options, plus several iPoker sites.
As a welcome offer for its new customers, Jackpot City is providing a deposit match of up to $1,000, but it carries a hefty 25X play-through requirement — and met only by play of slots games — before the matching funds belong to the customer for possible withdrawal.
— Gary Rotstein
He slots, he scores!
BetMGM Casino is dropping the puck into its online slots game lineup, the iGaming operator announced Wednesday, with the launch of NHL Gold Blitz, the first NHL-endorsed online slot game.
“BetMGM is ecstatic to partner with the NHL and Digital Gaming Corporation to bring this first-of-its-kind slot to BetMGM,” said BetMGM Vice President of Gaming Product & Content Oliver Bartlett in a release. “The iconic NHL brand combined with the great action of the game make this a real winner. We are proud to offer this and many more unique games exclusively at BetMGM.”
The game is only available to New Jersey online casino players for now, but the plan is to soon offer it in all states where BetMGM Casino operates.
— Eric Raskin
More from around the gambling biz
WHEN IN TUSCANY: Off-Strip casino to bring back live table games [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
BUYING TIME: Seneca Nation, New York reach compact extension; no new deal yet [2 WGRZ]
PUTTING THE ‘NO’ IN ‘RENO’: A year after announcement, Firecreek Crossing casino project in Reno ‘on hold’ [FOX 11 Reno]
BLAST FROM THE PAST: Exacta Systems to install historical horse racing system at Derby City Gaming Downtown [CDC Gaming Reports]
GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION: Maryland casinos report decline in November revenue [The Southern Maryland Chronicle]
TORONTO’S TURN?: What are the odds Toronto can bet on gambling to fill its multibillion-dollar budget hole? [Toronto Star]
Image: Blundell Design