PA Representative Suggests Sports Betting Revenues Help Property Taxes

Summary: A representative in Pennsylvania has proposed an amendment to see sports betting revenue taxes go towards property tax relief.

In the United States, there are many different gaming industries available. From online casinos operating in the US and Internet poker, to the lottery and sports betting, most every state offers some form of gambling. When legislation is created to legalize gambling, rules and regulations are put in place to dictate how the industry will operate.

In the mix, the way the new industry will be taxed is considered. Many states choose to use such taxes to help support education, fund programs or clean up the state. In Pennsylvania, one representative is hoping to use the sports betting tax to provide property tax relief.

House Bill 498

PennsylvaniaIn early January, House Bill 498 was introduced in Pennsylvania, sponsored by Representative Tina M. Davis. The bill has been sent to the House of Representatives for review and if passed into law, would provide property tax relief for residents of the state.

Based on Act 42 in the gambling expansion law passed in 2017, the state will take 36% in tax on sports betting revenues. Currently, six sports books are in operation. Of that amount, 34% will go to the General Fund of the state. The municipalities that host the betting venues will earn 2% which is being called a local share assessment.

With the new bill, Davis is proposing that the 34% be placed in a Property Tax Relief Fund. The 2% would remain the same. In her proposal, Davis points out that gaming was approved in the state with the intent of providing property tax relief for residents. She believes that expansions of gaming should see the tax relief provided for property owners in the state.

What Davis is referring to is the Taxpayer Relief Act, which was created in 2006. This act started the Property Tax Relief Fund. At the time, legislators made it clear that taxes from gaming revenues would go towards property tax relief in the majority. Revenues produced from slots and table games go towards this fund.

Fast forward to 2017, and voters in the state approved an amendment to the constitution that created legislation would stop property taxes altogether. However this would only happen if authorities such as school districts and counties found alternative options for property tax money. Such streams of revenue have yet to be found. However, Davis is suggesting that sports betting be the source.

Tax Issues

Oddly enough, areas in the state are actually creating new assessments of property and homeowners will actually see a tax increase. Davis has noticed the increased property taxes and has voiced her concern with the new bill proposal.

Rep. Davis has pointed out that homeowners are facing rising property taxes and seniors on fixed incomes are having serious issues with the change. Davis feels that because of the problems surrounding property taxes, public officials have to do something to provide property tax relief for citizens.

Now, it is up to lawmakers to decide if they want to approve the change and provide such relief to taxpayers or keep the tax payments the same. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and if lawmakers choose to help their constituents.

New York Online Sports Betting Might Not Be Easy to Accomplish

Summary: New York gaming regulators are considering mobile and online sports betting, but voters might not be on board.

In New York, legislation to allow sports betting to take place in the state was passed back in 2013. However, at the time, a federal ban was in place regarding the industry. In May 2018, the United States Supreme Court decided to rule that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was invalid. This decision allowed states like New York to get started with sports betting.

The state has been slow going in their efforts to launch the new wagering option. The New York Gaming Commission has been busy crafting rules and regulations, with the option only available to casino venues. Mobile gaming and online options are not considered legal based on state law.

Mobile Gaming

New YorkNew York can add mobile gaming to the mix, but Governor Andrew Cuomo believes that the option can only come about if an amendment is added to the constitution. With this route, the state would have to see an amendment approved by the Assembly and Senate, then placed on a ballot for voter consideration.

This could take as long as three years to complete. In the meantime, the state would be restricted to on-site sports betting. This restriction would definitely put a damper on the amount of revenues the state could bring in. Mobile usage is basically a given when it comes to gambling these days. Players want to have access to their games on the go and mobile allows them to do so.

Neighbor to New York, New Jersey, offers mobile options and will most likely take on a little New York traffic as visitors cross state lines to place wagers online.

Would Voters Approve?

If an amendment to the constitution is required, voters would essentially have to approve the idea. As of right now, approval might not be so easy to secure. Based on a recent Siena College poll, voters are split as to how they see mobile gambling via sports betting.

44% are for and 44% are against. A remaining 12% have no opinion on the matter. So, it seems the proponents of mobile sports betting will have to convince voters that the option is a good one to see it come to fruition, if an amendment is needed.

Other lawmakers do not feel that the decision needs to require an amendment. For now, discussions are ongoing as to how the state can proceed in general with land-based offerings as well as how to move on with online options.

The state is only going to fall further and further behind if they cannot get started in general. Having land-based sports betting will be a good starting point, but will not bring in the large amount of revenues as can be seen with mobile gambling.

It seems over the next few weeks or even days, we should see the state legislature decide how they wish to proceed. We may see land-based gaming stay at the forefront and mobile options be pushed to the wayside as the state just wants to get the ball rolling with the new industry.

Sports Betting Discussions Continue in Maryland

Summary: Sports betting is currently under discussion in Maryland, with a bill on the table set to assist the state lottery in the process.

Like many states in the US, Maryland is considering the legalization of sports betting. A bill was introduced by Delegates Jason Buckel and Kevin Hornberger, set to authorize the state’s lottery to be in charge of the new gaming industry. However, lawmakers are still trying to determine if voters of the state need to approve the option first.

Maryland Sports Betting

With the bill, the Maryland Lottery would be in charge and facilities that have horse racing licenses as well as those who operate the video lottery terminals, would be eligible to obtain a sports betting license. The bill will see 80% of the revenues go towards the licensees and then 20% would go towards the lottery. The language of the percentages was backwards at first and Delegate Buckel has stated that the change is being made now within the bill to rectify the issue.

The bill is three pages long and would have a licensing fee for sports betting of $300,000. The license would be good for one year and then required an annual renewal fee of $50,000. The fee paid for licensing will see 80% of that amount go towards an education trust fund. The remaining 20% would be split evenly, with half going towards a problem gambling fund and the other half going towards impact grants.

Is a Referendum Needed?

MarylandIn some states in the US, a referendum is needed in order for legal changes to be made. In 2007, voters of Maryland choose to greenlight a measure that would allow a commercial gambling expansion to be placed on the ballot for consideration. This brings about the question as to if the sports betting bill will need to be approved first via referendum before it can become law.

This requirement however, is not set for the state lottery. Because the sports betting bill involves the state lottery, it may not require the referendum. If so, then the state would be able to move forward without any issue as to waiting on voters to approve the option or not.

If the bill passes into law, bets would not be offered immediately. The bill would take effort on July 1st, but sports wagering providers would have to be contracted first before operations could begin. Rules and regulations would also need to be put in place to govern sports betting for the state. For lawmakers, it seems that a launch would most likely occur by 2020, if the bill moves forward in a timely manner.

If passed into law, Maryland would be one of many states to offer sports betting in the US. Over the past few months, several states have passed legislation or continue to discussion to be able to start the new industry.

Lawmakers will continue discuss this bill and determine if the referendum is needed. If not, hopefully the measure will pass and see the state become the next to begin offering the new wagering option within their borders.

Ohio Senator Feels Optimistic for Sports Betting Legalization

Summary: Sports betting legislation is up for discussion in Ohio, with one senator optimistic that the option will come to pass in the state.

Senator John Eklund of Ohio is a strong supporter of sports betting for his state. He has plans to introduce legislation involving the gambling industry, and feels hopeful that the bill he creates will be able to move forward.

Getting Started:

OhioEklund spoke with Legal Sports Report recently, stating that he feels the chances of a bill passing are better than 50/50. The Senator feels that the number of groups and organizations that support the option are far more than those who are opposed.

S 316 is a placeholder bill created by Eklund and Senator Sean O’Brien, one that would at least get the subject on the table for discussion. In the House, a companion bill has been created by Dan Greenspan. Eklund plans on having the details of S 316 ready by the end of the month to hopefully get the ball rolling with sports betting legislation.

The Senator began discussing sports betting in 2018 and at the time, was not in favor of mobile wagering. In the beginning, Eklund believed that the safeguards were not in place and mobile wagering would be unsafe for the younger generation. However, he is now aware of how the option can be offered with security measures in place.

Are Integrity Fees Considered?

Eklund understands that professional sports leagues are interested in integrity fees and want to be given a payment for protecting their games. Eklund is not so sure that the integrity fees need to be paid. For now, it seems the Senator is not going to offer this option. However, he has said that he will see about what will be done in the future.

Currently, leagues are not being paid integrity fees from the billions wagers legally as well as illegally in the United States. So far, the majority of the states offering sports betting are not providing integrity fees and they feel that the leagues are already ensuring integrity so why should they pay now?

Big revenues should be on the way if sports betting is approved in Ohio. To get the ball rolling, Eklund will be filling in his placeholder bill from 2018. However, the process has taken longer than the Senator has expected it to.

Stakeholders are agreeable that Ohio should have regulated sports betting. There are limitations as to how much the new industry would create for the state, but it would be new revenues none the less. There will be issues that will have to be dealt with involving the new industry such as what type of betting will be allowed, who will be able to offer wagering, who the regulator will be and if online gaming will be offered.

According to Eklund, he has already received four different drafted bills from stakeholders involving sports betting. Shareholders include fraternal organizations, racetracks and casinos. It seems several groups are interested, so all the details will have to be hammered out before the bill can move forward.

It will be interesting to see how the state progresses once the bill is filled in by Senator Eklund. Ohio might soon be the next state to get started in the sports betting industry.

Online Gaming Continues to Be A Success in New Jersey

Summary: 2018 was a stellar year for New Jersey regarding online gaming and 2019 is setting up to be just as successful.

In 2018, the online casinos of New Jersey enjoyed a record-breaking year. The industry was able to break revenue revenues six times out of 12 months and came close to hitting the $30 million mark in December, just narrowly missing out on yet another milestone. The state saw many highs last year and 2019 is setting up to be no different!

Highlights of 2018

New JerseyLast year, several factors contributed to the state’s success involving online gaming. New Jersey offers both online casino and poker gaming, having also just recently entered into the realm of online sports betting. The state saw great success as many changes came to the overall gambling industry last year.

First, two new casinos opened in the summer, both offering online gaming. The Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino opened and started offering both land-based and online services, which helped to increase the overall revenue numbers.

The state’s large portfolio of online casino games has played a large role in the success of iGaming. Players have a nice selection of table games, slots and more, along with live dealer, which makes for a more enticing experience online. Players continue to log in on a regular basis to enjoy the online casino and poker content, which only helps to push the revenue numbers further.

Sports betting legalization and launch also helped to create a stellar 2019. Sports betting is providing both land-based and online gaming revenues, as players can place wagers on site as well as online. It seems that if 2019 continues as 2018 did, the state will only continue to break records.

What’s To Come?

For 2019, it has been predicted by Eilers & Krejcik that as much as $401.5 million will be earned in revenues. The prediction is that the industry will continue to grow and reach new heights, increasing in total growth by over 35%.

The large percentage of growth does seem quite high but could be doable. One must consider that the state will continue to see new online casinos created, additional sports betting operations, and casinos integrating mobile sports betting options.

Sports betting is expected to be huge in the United States and because New Jersey already does quite well with online gaming, sports betting should be a big hit via mobile and online as well. It is expected that the new industry alone will bring in large numbers both online and via land-based wagering.

As to just how much the state will see by way of sports betting is yet to be determined. The new industry is in the early stages. Online sports books as well as land-based offerings are still in the customer acquisition phase. Such players may have gambled online in the past or this may be their first time.

Sports betting reaches a different audience than casino and poker does, so it could be that New Jersey reaches even greater heights when it comes to how much they can earn via sports betting services.

Just like 2018, all eyes will be on New Jersey this year as they continue to dominate the online gambling sector. Be it online casino gaming, poker or sports betting, New Jersey has the perfect formula. Month after month, the state continues to see gains and improvements, showing other states in the US just how online gaming is done. Hopefully, the state will continue to set new records and encourage other states to begin offering services online.

Indiana Gambling Legislation Moves Forward

Summary: A bill involving a casino license and sports betting has moved forward in Indiana.

The Senate Public Policy Committee recently heard testimony supporting a bill involving a casino license and sports betting, choosing to push the bill forward. The bill will allow for Gary’s Lake Michigan casino license to move inland and provides a license to Terre Haute. Also in the mix is sports betting. If passed into law, the bill would allow wagering on professional and college sports.

Moving Forward

IndianaThe bill has a fiscal impact, so it will now be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Gary sent several officials to the hearing to be able to push for support. The mayor of the city, Karen Freeman-Wilson, was on hand along with city council members, senators and more. The officials wanted to show that moving the casino inland would be a huge opportunity for the city.

The mayor has wanted to see the two riverboat casinos move inland so that the Buffington Harbor will be open for development. Now that the casino licensing has been moved, the city will have a blank area in which to use for economic development. The city will be able to provide jobs as well as increase the amount of tax revenues brought to the city.

Senate Bill 552 would provide the city of Gary with a large increase in gaming revenues, money that is much needed. The casinos already 800 jobs will be increased by 400 with construction jobs also available as the inland building is constructed.

The region of Gary has been undergoing a transformation as of late in order to change the perception of the region as well as the reality for the community. According to Mayor Freeman-Wilson, the city is trying to return to a time when they were prosperous. Already, around $1.7 billion has been invested over a seven year time frame in the region.

More than 1,300 vacant buildings or abandoned structures have been demolished or deconstructed to focus on reducing crime in the region and see overall community success.

Sports Betting Component

SB 552 also covers sports betting, an industry that Indiana can also benefit from. States across the US have continued to legalize sports betting after the option became available last May. In Indiana, the bill would allow casinos in the state to offer sports betting.

The measure places rules for the casinos to provide the new wagering option. The Indiana Gaming Commission is also given the ability to create additional regulations. Sports betting is supported by lawmakers as well as professional sports teams in the state including the Colts and IndyCar.

It seems the bill has the full potential to pass into law. Already close to a dozen states have legalized sports betting in some form or fashion. If Indiana is able to pass the legislation, they would be yet another state that gets in on the newest industry in the nation.

Now, we just wait and see what happens to the measure in the Senate Committee. Hopefully, the bill will continue to move forward and we will see Indiana become the next to offer sports betting along with the quality casino changes to the region.

Sports Betting Overtakes Online Gambling Legislation Efforts

Summary: In the US, sports betting legislation efforts have far surpassed online gambling legislation changes.

New YorkIn May 2018, the US Supreme Court decided to rule that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was invalid. This Act was what was keeping most every state in the nation from taking part in sports betting activities. Over the past few months, state after state have begun or completed the process of legalizing the new industry. This year alone, several states have moved forward with legislative efforts to get in on the action. Lawmakers are much more receptive to sports betting than online gambling legislation with sports betting now tracking much more action than iGaming.

Busy Year

2019 is already setting up to become a stellar year for sports betting. So far, several states have started the discussion or introduced legislation to get the ball rolling with sports betting. Texas, Arizona, Iowa, Oregon, Massachusetts, Washington D.C. and many other states are focusing on sports betting legislation. But what about online poker or casino gaming? Thankfully, there are still states that are interested in launching these industries as well.

New York is one such state that is still considering online gambling. Lawmakers in NY are focusing on trying to see online poker move forward, though progress has been slow going. Senator Joseph Addabbo has taken over as the chairman of the Senate Gaming Committee and is the newest sponsor of legislation involving online poker.

Senator Addabbo has decided to reintroduce legislation first created by former Senator John Bonacic. S18 would legalize online poker and regulate the activity as a game of skill. However, sports betting is currently taking center stage, being considered in the House and Senate in mobile and online form.

Virginia is also a state still considering online gaming. Currently, the topic of debate is sports betting but one bill on file focuses on online gaming as well. Several sports betting bills are on the table with one focused on allowing the state lottery to sell tickets online and take sports bets online as well.

H 2210 was able to move past the Committee on Rules last month with a strong vote of 14 to 2. However, the legislation is on hold at the moment. The state does not have any land-based casinos, so how online gaming and sports betting would take place is still being worked out.

Still Being Considered

Even though the sports betting has taken center stage, there are states that are still considering online gambling. Even with sports betting legislation efforts, some states are adding in other elements, such as online gaming in generalized form. This could open up the door for online casino and poker gaming in the future.

So, as we continue in the New Year, all eyes will be on states that are focused on enhancing their gambling industries. How many more states will legalize sports betting in the coming months? Will states focus on online casino and poker gaming as well? Only time will tell what will happen. As always, we will stay tuned to all new updates and keep our players in the know as to what’s going on around the nation by way of newly introduced legislation.

Sports Betting Moves Forward in Washington D.C.

Summary: Lawmakers continue to push sports betting legislation forward in Washington D.C.

The District of Columbia is one of many regions in the United States that is focused on legalizing sports betting services. In Washington D.C., lawmakers are focused and continue to push forward legislation to approve and regulate the industry. A recent legislative meeting saw lawmakers approve a proposal with a vote of 7-6. The decision will see a competitive bidding process avoided for the DC lottery contract.

The passage of the proposal will help to push sports betting into fruition in a much faster manner. The current supplier of lottery gaming will be able to launch the option quickly. Intralot would be the operating company, with a rollout set for the first of September. Because the bidding process is being bypassed, the region can get started much sooner if approved by Congress.

No Bidding Process

Washington DC CasinosThe sponsor of the sports betting legislation is Councilmember Jack Evans. The bill was pushed forward with the help of information provided by a study that supported claims that the standard process of procurement would cost around $60 million and there would be 27 months where the region would miss out on revenues.

Evans pushed his agenda yet again during this recent meeting, highlighting a recent shooting to try and see his proposal move forward. Evans reminded fellow lawmakers that a portion of the money from sports betting would go towards violence prevention.

As long as Intralot provides a reasonable proposal, they would become the only supplier to the district for mobile sports betting. With the passage of the measure, it cuts down on the competition from IGT and Scientific Games.

While the sourcing aspect will be expedited based on this new legislation, there is an issue as to how much competition the product will create as the sports betting industry in the US starts to mature. Sports betting permits in the region will be available for other venues including the sports arenas of the area. However, such operators will be restricted to offering services only within their property.

Strong providers of sports betting in other areas of the US, like DraftKings and FanDuel, will not be able to offer services in D.C. Intralot is expected to hold 20 to 30 percent of the handle in the district. The DC General Fund will benefit from the revenues earned.

Moving Forward

Now the proposal just has to move forward in order to come to fruition. A primary bill was passed back in December to legalize sports betting. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the bill and it must now be reviewed by the United States Congress. A 60-day review window is set before any decision will be made.

If D.C. sees their legislation approved, they would become the latest region to offer sports betting in the United States. Several states are already in operation with sports betting including West Virginia, New Jersey and Delaware. This week, other states saw sports betting legislation introduced including Texas and Iowa.

Sports betting is quickly becoming the top choice for states that want to expand their gambling industry. For years, sports betting has been banned from most every state in the US. Upon the SCOTUS ruling in May, lawmakers quickly began to focus on legislation to see their individual state enter the new industry.

This year will see several states get in on the action, but just how many will actually get started with operations is anyone’s guess. We will watch anxiously to see which states begin offering sports betting services, be it online, in land-based form or in both formats.

Caesars Atlantic City Properties Affected By New Competition

Summary: The two new casinos in Atlantic City as well as neighboring state competition have caused Caesars three properties in New Jersey to decline in guest hotel stays as well as revenues.

In June 2018, the Hard Rock Atlantic City and the Ocean Resort Casino both opened for business, on the same day no less. With the launch of two new gaming properties in Atlantic City, current operating casinos were expecting to be affected in some manner. There were seven casinos operating in the region and this would bring about even more competition. Caesars Entertainment Corp operates three properties in Atlantic City and all three were subject to lower guest stays as well as a decrease in revenues due to the new competition.

AC Casinos Affected

Caesars Entertainment CorpCaesars owns the Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, Caesars Atlantic City and the Bally’s Atlantic City casinos. Each venue has operated in the region for decades and has been successful. However, once the new casinos opened up, the three began to see issues. When looking at the seven total properties operating in the region before the two new venues were opened, the Caesars properties were hit the hardest.

When looking at hotel stays, the numbers were down. Bally’s even downsized the number of rooms they offer, and they still saw a decrease in overall stays. Before the two new venues opened, the Caesars Entertainment Chief Financial Officer, Eric Hession, stated that he felt the properties would take a hit. The new casinos would cause issues along with the competition that continues to build in neighboring states such as New York and Pennsylvania.

Number Breakdown

Looking at the individual numbers for each casinos, the declines can easily be seen. Harrah’s Atlantic City earned $332.9 million in gaming revenues for 2018 which is a decrease from the previous year of 8.4%. However, despite the decline, the casino still came in 3rd place among the nine total venues for last year’s earnings.

Caesars earned $326.9 million and Bally’s earned the least at $191.9 million. Caesars was down 11.2% and Bally’s was down 9.1%. The results saw Caesars finish in 4th place while Bally’s was in 6th by the end of the year.

Expert analysts suggest that the Caesars properties are struggling due to the lack of investment by the parent company. Caesars and Bally’s are two of the oldest properties in the region and could benefit from capital investment. Harrah’s has seen an investment by Caesars, with $56 million being spent this year on renovating and rebranding the Harbour Tower, the oldest hotel tower of the facility.

For Caesars and Bally’s to see a turn around, some type of investment will have to be made. The company is making efforts to revitalize their operations in Atlantic City, having spent around $200 million within a four year time frame with more changes yet to come this year.

Along with their land-based operations, the company also focuses on online poker and casino gaming. It will be interesting to see how the brand fares with their three land-based facilities as well as with online services in 2019. Competition will continue to build as Pennsylvania begins to offer online gaming as well as satellite casinos, VGTs are added and sports betting.

Caesars may continue to see declines if competition continues to be a factor.

Baton Rouge Riverboat Casinos Suffer Losing Year

Summary: The riverboat casinos in Baton Rouge suffered in 2018, seeing a decrease in revenues of 15% from the previous year.

As the New Year is in full swing, we are starting to get an inside look as to how gaming operations fared across the United States in 2018. Gaming commissions and lottery groups are compiling data from gaming operations in their respective areas and releasing the info to the public. Some states have seen great success with their gambling industries, while others have suffered a bit. The Louisiana Gaming Control Board recently provided the revenue totals for riverboat casinos in Baton Rouge, venues that suffered quite a drop when compared to 2017.

Riverboat Revenue Plummet

Louisiana CasinosIn Baton Rouge, there are three riverboat casinos in operation. Players can visit the Belle of Baton Rouge, the Hollywood Casino or the L’Auberge Baton Rouge, when in the area. In 2018, the casinos brought in a total of $256 million. This was a 15% decrease when compared to the over $300 million earned in 2017.

The decline was not that much a surprise for the operators as the riverboat casinos have suffered from revenue decreases for about a year and a half now. Month after month, the casinos have seen a drop in earnings, having many wonder how much longer the venues will be in business.

The worst month in 2018 for the casinos was July where just over 26% less was earned than in the same time frame from 2017. March was the best month, where the region earned just over $27 million, but this was still 8% less than what was earned the previous March.

The Belle of Baton Rouge was the biggest loser in 2018, having dropped just over 23% in 2018. The casino earned $44.4 million which is much less when compared to the $57.9 million earned in 2017. This year, it doesn’t appear that the venue is going to fare any better. The new parent company of the facility, Eldorado Resorts, has decided to drop plans to upgrade the property and move it onshore.

The Hollywood Casino was also down in revenues, earning just $58.1 million. This was a 14.7% drop from 2017. The L’Auberge venue was down just over 12% with only $153.2 million in earnings. This was much less than the $174.4 million from 2017.

Moving on to Land

The riverboat casinos do have the option now to move on to land. A new state law was enacted that allows the operators to move their facilities on to land if they meet certain investment thresholds. Eldorado Resorts had plans to move the Belle onto land but they are now reconsidering the option. It seems that they may not feel that the investment would be worthwhile.

The other venues have yet to announce plans to move from water to land. With the lowered revenues, it may be some time before any equity is freed up in order to make the move. It is disappointing as new venues might be able to bring in more revenues to the state if larger facilities were created.

Overall, the riverboat casinos Louisiana were able to bring in $1.92 billion in revenues. This is about the same as the revenues earned the previous year, when considering all riverboat casinos in the state.