Hopefully, everyone has recovered from the slew of basketball upsets during the NCAA tournament and made room for more gambling updates.
This week, a Tennessee sports betting operator gets its license suspended, Chicago prepares to open the bidding war for its lone casino, and BetMGM Poker launched in Michigan.
For even more coverage, be sure and follow @VisitPlayUSA | @reporternickg | @brantjames for all the latest insights.
On the rewind:
Action 24/7 has sportsbook license suspended in Tennessee
Things are not looking good for the Action 24/7 sportsbook in Tennessee.
Right before the NCAA tournament was set to begin, the Tennessee Lottery announced it was suspending the company’s sports betting license.
Why? Because of evidence suggesting money laundering and proxy betting happening on the site.
These are two of the biggest no-no’s any sportsbook could ever be flagged for. It also doesn’t paint a good picture for smaller operators looking to break into the TN sports betting market.
The takeaway: Action 24/7 CEO Tina Hodges has already said the company would try to resolve the issue and seek to lift the suspension as quickly as possible. But right now, the company will have to overcome the reputation as the first online sportsbook operator to have its license suspended post-PASPA.
Georgia sports betting coming down to the wire
Things are beginning to heat up in the Peach State, where sports betting and voting bills are becoming entangled.
Rep. Ron Stephens told PlayGeorgia a recent committee hearing was canceled due to Republicans pulling their support for a Georgia sports betting bill after athletes spoke out against voting measures during the NBA All-Star Game.
Now, the two issues are not mutually exclusive; however, Stephens will need to win back support before the legislative session comes to a close on March 31.
The takeaway: Stephens expects lawmakers will get behind sports betting and pass a bill by March 29. But it will be an uphill climb. For a constitutional amendment to pass, the House needs 120 votes.
Chicago begins casino selection process
The chatter surrounding the proposed Chicago, Illinois casino has been fairly limited. But now, it appears the city is ready to begin phase two, requesting proposals.
According to PlayIllinois, the city will put out a Request For Proposal (RFP) in early April and hopefully select a winning bidder by the end of this year.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the city has a lot to offer, especially for gaming operators that call Las Vegas home.
The takeaway: Selecting a bidder will be the easy part. The hard part will be selecting a location to put a massive casino, something the city has yet to determine. There are five locations primarily on the south and west sides of Chicago that have been proposed. However, none have gained the necessary support from local officials. It will be interesting to see how things shape up at the end of the year.
BetMGM launches online poker in Michigan
Michigan online poker has been on everyone’s radar since Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed online gambling into law in December 2019. BetMGM Poker becomes just the second app to debut in the Wolverine State.
Although the rollout has been slow, it’s still a significant accomplishment. Online sports betting, poker, and casino games debuted on Jan. 22 and have been performing well since then.
In the first 10 days of operation, BetMGM was the top online casino and fourth in online sports betting handle.
The takeaway: While many don’t see online poker as a huge revenue generator, it only took one week for PokerStars Michigan to upend Pennsylvania as the online traffic leader. The BetMGM brand will most certainly be a top contender in the state moving forward. Plus, it’s never a bad idea to get in while the market is still new.
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This week’s Market Teasers include a pair of companies trending in the right direction. Penn National, a familiar face on this list, continues to push its Barstool Sportsbook which recently launched in Illinois. In comparison, GAN Limited lands a deal in Arizona.
Penn National Gaming
$PENN | $111.82 | -1.17% change
- Penn CEO Jay Snowden told CNBC the COVID vaccines are helping increase business, especially at brick-and-mortar facilities. “We are seeing right now in the business…is revenues and volumes that I haven’t see in years,” Snowden said. Penn recently joined the S&P 500 and is in a position for a strong year.
$GAN | $25.15 | -6.48% change
- Although it has seen almost a 7% decline, GAN recently announced a partnership with Gila River Gaming Enterprises in Arizona. GAN will provide gaming software for the Gila River Indian Community, which owns three casinos in the state. Arizona is on the verge of legalizing sports betting and permitting wagering at tribal casinos. So this deal could carry a lot of weight should a bill get passed.
**Market Teasers is not financial advice, nor am I a financial advisor. All figures were taken at March 23rd’s market close.