Construction Plans for Wynn Resorts in Massachusetts Put on Hold

Wynn Resorts has gone back to the drawing board concerning its plans for a new project in Massachusetts. The parent company originally planned to build a new resort across from its Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett, MA. Wynn is not the only casino developer to reconsider its construction plans in the Codfish State.

The project was supposed to begin construction later this year, with hopes of opening in 2024. However, Wynn Resorts announced the decision to reevaluate their plans earlier this year. The change of heart came after questions arose about the project’s connection to the Encore casino. If the project is determined to be part of the Encore casino’s “gaming establishment”, then it will be subject to regulation by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

Officials from Wynn Resorts did not give a timetable for how long its review could take. The company also has other plans for the construction site to consider. If the resort is subject to MGC control, that could also affect future construction plans. An increase in COVID infections has also contributed to the delay in construction.

Original Wynn Resorts Plans

The MGC was set to begin reviewing plans for the project last week. However, on the day the review was scheduled to begin, Wynn Resorts pulled the plug so they could reconsider the project. The casino resort developer also operates a casino hotel in Las Vegas and two in Macau.

Encore Boston Harbor already features over 2,700 slot machines, 185 table games, and a hotel. There are also private poker rooms and event spaces available. Guests can also access onsite dining options and a spa. The expansion project aimed to add even more amenities for guests.

Wynn Resorts owns land across from the Encore casino. Previous plans included building a 1,800 seat entertainment venue. Officials also planned to build approximately 20,000 square feet of new restaurant space. There were also plans for a new parking structure that would add 2,200 parking spots. The original plans were designed as part of a larger goal of building a Lower Broadway entertainment district.

Why Construction Plans are on Hold

Officials from Wynn Resorts decided to pause the evaluation process to reassess their plans. The decision came after questions started to arise about the connection of the new project to the existing casino. It is not clear what direction Wynn Resorts plans to take the projection in going forward.

The decision to reassess the construction project could also be attributed to recent financial troubles at other Wynn Resorts casinos. Wynn’s casinos in Las Vegas are still trying to rebuild from losses from the pandemic. Wynn Resort Macau has also been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. However, recent licensing news has caused stock prices to increase.

Wynn’s other companies have also been struggling lately. For example, Wynn Finance was recently downgraded by Moody’s Investors Service. The decrease in Wynn’s rating is a result of concerns about the developer’s ability to recover from several ongoing issues abroad. Wynn will likely need to rely heavily on its US casinos to make up for the shortcomings of its foreign operations.

What’s Next for Encore?

With the evaluation process on hold, Encore and other Wynn officials will reassess their plans for the project. Officials from Encore have indicated to the MGC that they will resubmit their plans once they are finalized.

Our meetings with the Development team over these past few months have helped to shape the project throughout its design… of a Destination District in Everett’s Lower Broadway area,”
Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria

Wynn will not be the only organization reworking the plans for the project. The casino resort developer has been working closely with Everett officials on the plans for the project. City and company officials are hopeful that the expansion will be the catalyst for transforming the area.

Massachusetts Gambling Laws

The commonwealth of Massachusetts adopted its Expanded Gaming Act in 2011, paving the way for land-based casinos. In the decade since then, a total of three brick-and-mortar casinos have opened. Now, legislators are debating whether to add sports betting to the list of gambling options in the state.

Gambling in Massachusetts is overseen by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC). The MGC was created by the passing of the Expanded Gaming Act in 2011. Funding for the MGC is generated from the gaming industry’s profits. There is no funding from taxpayers.

On top of overseeing the gaming industry, the MGC also oversees several initiatives designed to promote responsible gambling. Some of the programs MGC has implemented include GameSense, a program that offers tips to players about healthy gaming habits. All three of the state’s casinos feature GameSense Info centers.

The MGC has also released PlayMyWay at the casino in Plainville, with plans to release it all the state’s casinos. PlayMyWay allows players to track the amount of money they spend on electronic gaming machines. Massachusetts also offers players the option of enrolling in the Voluntary Self-Exclusion program to help prevent harmful gambling habits.

Conclusion

The plans for a revitalized entertainment district in Everett, MA have been put on hold. Wynn Resorts announced last week that it is reassessing its construction plans. Wynn was supposed to submit plans for a new entertainment venue, restaurant, and parking garage last week. The project, which is to be constructed near Wynn’s Encore Boston Harbor casino, was supposed to begin construction later this year.

Now, plans for the site are being reevaluated due to concerns about the role of the MGC’s jurisdiction over the project. Wynn’s financial issues from its other casino resorts may have also played a part in the developer hitting the brakes. Regardless of the reason, it appears that city officials will be working closely with officials from Wynn and Encore to create the new plans.

We are pleased with the progress we’re making on designing a development plan that will act as a springboard to create a Lower Broadway Entertainment District. We continue to evolve that plan and will present it to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission at the appropriate time.” -Encore spokesperson

Wynn’s six-acre project was supposed to be finished in 2024. However, officials have not given a new timeline for when they plan to present a proposal to the MGC. In the meantime, legislators will have plenty on their plates to deal with. Massachusetts has yet to legalize sports betting, but that could change by the end of the year.  The ongoing pandemic has also presented issues for lawmakers trying to keep the commonwealth’s economy afloat.

Detroit’s 2021 Casino Revenue Tops $1 Billion

No industry was immune to the struggles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily, many sectors of the economy were able to rebound in 2021. The US gaming industry reached new heights last year. Many states across the country set new gaming revenue records. The casinos in Detroit, MI may not have set new records, but they came close. Michigan’s online casinos also put up big numbers in 2021.

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The three casinos in Detroit reportedly generated a combined $1.26 billion in gross gaming revenue (GGR) in 2021. Their total GGR fell short of breaking the record set in 2019. The pre-pandemic record of $1.45 billion will stand for at least another year. However, Detroit’s casinos doubled their GGR from 2020. The pandemic forced Detroit’s casinos to close, resulting in a measly $639 million in GGR.

Casinos had to deal with lower capacity limits for the first half of the year, but they were still able to top the billion-dollar GGR mark. Other casinos in Michigan also reported impressive numbers. GGR for December has yet to be reported. However, online operators, sportsbooks, and tribal casinos have already reported over $1 billion in GGR for 2021.

Comparing the 3 Detroit Casinos

The casino industry in Detroit centers around three major casino operations: the MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino Hotel, and Greektown Casino. On top of their normal casino operations, each company also runs a sportsbook. If they are not forced to limit their capacity again, the three casinos will likely break the GGR record in 2022.

MGM Grand Detroit was the first casino to open in the Motor City. It is the casino that earned the most GGR in 2021. In total, the MGM Grand Detroit pulled in $554 million in GGR. The casino itself boasts nearly 3,500 video gaming and slot machines. Players can also win money at one of the 143 tables of classic casino games.

The casino with the second-highest GGR in Detroit was the aptly named MotorCity Casino Hotel. In total, MotorCity earned $438.2 million in GGR. The casino offers over 2,800 games for players to choose from. MotorCity’s gaming floor spans over 100,000 square feet and has nearly 60 gaming tables and two dedicated poker rooms. They also operate a sportsbook through a partnership with FanDuel.

Detroit’s Greektown Casino-Hotel opened in 2000. Located in the city’s Greektown Historic District, it is the only gaming casino controlled by a Native American Tribe. In total, the Greektown Casino earned $274.5 million in GGR. Greektown offers guests over 3,000 slot machines and 61 gaming tables to choose from. They also offer online and sports betting options via an agreement with Barstool Sportsbook.

Other Michigan Gaming Revenue

Detroit is by far the biggest city in Michigan, but it is not the only one to feature casinos. In total, there are over 25 land-based casinos in the Great Lake State. However, residents of Michigan can also access online betting options. As with other states that allow it, online betting has been a huge hit in Michigan.

The revenue numbers from December are still rolling in, so the yearly totals are not complete. Despite being incomplete, Michigan’s online GGR numbers are still impressive. In the first 11 months of 2021, commercial iGaming operations generated $517.9 million in GGR. Michigan has allowed online betting options since 2019. They were also one of the first states to allow online sportsbooks. In 2021, online sports betting generated $125.1 million in GGR.

In addition to the 3 state-licensed casinos in Detroit, the state of Michigan also features a high number of Indian gaming casinos. In total, 12 federally recognized tribes operate more than two dozen casinos throughout the state. In total, Native American tribal operators earned $375.8 million from their casinos. They also generated $1.4 million from their sportsbooks.

Michigan Gaming Laws

Michigan’s gaming industry is regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB). The current executive director of the MGCB, Henry Williams, started last his term last May. in general, the MGCB monitors gaming operations in Michigan and ensures the safety of bettors. Having a well-run gaming control board is especially important in a state like Michigan that allows most types of betting.

Bettors in Michigan can find just about any type of betting they could want. Players can place wagers in person at one of the state’s many casinos or online. They can also win real money from slot machines, table games, and sportsbooks. Horse race betting is also allowed in the Great Lakes State.

The MGCB oversees many types of betting in the state. They also ensure that bettors are not engaging in a handful of banned gambling types. Michigan gambling laws do not permit bettors to engage in registered bets or pool selling. Players are also not allowed to gamble in bonds, stocks, produce, or grain.

Like many US states, Michigan uses money from gambling taxes to fund many state programs, such as education. Licensed gaming operators pay an 8.1% tax on GGR to the state. They also pay a 10.9% tax to the city. In 2021, Detroit casinos paid $102.6 million to the state. The city itself received $160.8 million in taxes from casinos.

Conclusion

Detroit’s sports teams may be struggling, but its casino industry is back on track. US casinos took a massive hit in 2020 when they were forced to close. For many casinos, 2021 represented a chance to bounce back. The industry as a whole broke records last year. In Michigan, the three state-licensed casinos in Detroit came up just short of setting new records.

MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino, and Greektown Casino combined for $1.26 billion in GGR last year. That is double their combined GGR from 2020, and just short of their $1.45 billion earned in 2019. The high GGR total is also good news for the city and the state. Detroit collected $160.8 million in taxes from the three casinos. Michigan made a total of $102.6 million from Detroit’s three casinos.

A big part of the return to success for the casinos is their ability to offer guests a wide range of betting options. Michigan gambling laws permit in-person and online betting options. Casinos can offer a variety of traditional slot machines and casino games, as well as sports betting. Online options helped the casinos navigate restrictions on their capacity that were in place for the first half of 2021. Moving forward, the future of Detroit’s three casinos appears to be bright.

Missouri Casinos See Increase in December Revenue

Casinos in the Show-Me state ended 2021 on a high note. According to the latest numbers, Missouri’s adjusted gross revenue (AGR) increased by 7.6% from November to December. The $163.3 million AGR is the highest in the state since July. Now, casino operators will look to build on that momentum in 2022.

Missouri has a total of 13 commercial casinos throughout the state. It should come as no surprise that the casinos putting up the biggest AGR numbers are in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas. The casino industry has been growing as a whole in Missouri. In terms of AGR, the December 2021 numbers increased by 21.8% compared to December 2020.

Gaming laws in Missouri do not allow online casinos to operate from within the state. However, it does not forbid citizens from accessing online gaming sites from elsewhere. This means residents can still win real money from some of the best online casinos in Missouri.

The US casino industry has been growing in general over the last several years. Casinos were able to rebound from a down year in 2020 when the pandemic restricted player access. Now, many casinos in the US are focusing on sustaining the industry’s growth. Missouri legislators could do their part by legalizing sports betting in the state. Many other states have seen huge boosts in revenue after they legalized sportsbooks.

Which Missouri Casinos are Performing the Best?

Missouri’s population of 6.1 million people is mostly divided between the two major cities in the state, St. Louis and Kansas City. In the east, the Greater St. Louis area houses approximately 2.8 million residents. Out west, the Kansas City metropolitan area is home to roughly 2.17 million people. As a result, it should come as no surprise that the casinos in KC and STL are generating a majority of the state’s AGR.

There were three casinos in the St. Louis area that broke the $20 million AGR mark. Ameristar Casino in St. Charles pulled in a total of $27.25 million in AGR, the highest in the state. River City was the next closest at $21.88 million and the Hollywood Casino was a close third with $20.35 million.

The Ameristar brand is also doing well on the western side of the state. Ameristar Kansas City raked in an AGR of $16.76 million. Harrah’s Kansas City was the next closest at $14.82 million. The Isle of Capri Casino in Boonville pulled in another $7.39 million.

Slot machines are by far the most popular way to gamble at Missouri casinos. There are almost 20,000 slot machines in total operating in the state’s casinos. From those machines, casinos generated $140.4 million in AGR. Table games, such as poker and blackjack, only generated $22.7 million. The hybrid machines at Ameristar St. Charles and Argost in Riverside produced just under $350,000 in AGR.

Can the Increase in Casino Revenues be Sustained?

A big increase in casino revenue to end the year is a good sign for the industry going into 2022. However, the question now will be whether casinos can sustain their progress. Many states in the US experienced success in 2021. However, casinos in other states have several advantages that Missouri casinos do not.

One major advantage some casinos have is the ability to operate sportsbooks. In Missouri, sports betting is not allowed, yet. Legislators could change that soon. Many of the professional sports teams in Missouri have been pushing for legalized sports betting. Surrounding states have already started to allow sports betting in one form or another. If legislators do not act quickly, they could see many bettors travel across state lines to place their wagers elsewhere.

Legalizing sports betting has proven to be a great source of income for many other states. Missouri could likely find similar success if they legalize the practice. Clarifying the state’s laws around online betting options could also go a long way toward sustaining the industry’s success. It would also allow future sportsbooks to offer online betting options. Other states, such as New York, have experienced immediate success when allowing online sports betting options.

Missouri Gambling Laws

Missouri’s lack of legal sports betting options is somewhat surprising. The Show-Me State has over a dozen casinos. However, Missouri’s gambling laws only allow for riverboat casinos. There were also a number of different regulations that limited industry in its early days. Since Missouri legislators removed betting limits in 2008, the casino industry has been on the rise.

Outside of riverboat casinos, bettors in Missouri have several other gaming options. Players can place wagers on horse races at licensed tracks in the state. Charitable bingo games are also allowed, as well as daily fantasy sports.

The state lottery in Missouri is also widely popular and contributes to funding the state’s educational programs. Since 1986, Missouri’s education funds have received more than $7 billion from the lottery.

Conclusion

The Missouri casino industry experienced an end of the year surge in AGR. According to the Missouri Gambling Commission, casinos in the Ozark State generated $163.3 million in AGR in December. That is an increase of 7.6% from November and an increase of 21.8% from December of 2020.

Of the 13 commercial casinos, over a third of the AGR was generated by three casinos in the St. Louis area. Ameristar in St. Charles, River City, and the Hollywood Casino all generated over $20 million each in AGR. Harrah’s and Ameristar Kansas City combined for over $31.5 million AGR in December.

Missouri’s strict gaming laws require that all betting take place on riverboat casinos. This means that the majority of the action is restricted to the banks of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Luckily, that is also where the majority of the state’s population lives.

To build on its recent success, Missouri legislators would likely need to loosen some of its gaming laws. Legalizing sports betting could go a long way in making the growth sustainable. Casinos would also benefit by the state officially legalizing online and mobile casino options.

Massachusetts Tribe Reconsidering Approach to Casino Plans

The state of the gaming industry in Massachusetts has been in flux for some time now. Lawmakers in the Codfish State have been debating the prospect of sports betting for years. Native American tribes in the commonwealth have also been trying to get in on the gambling action by building their own casinos. One tribe, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, is hoping that its newly reaffirmed reservation rights will allow it to move forward with its casino plans.

President Biden’s decision to affirm the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s reservation rights overturned a Trump-era decision. Now the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has the legal standing it needs to continue its pursuit of building a casino resort.

However, the new chairman of the tribe, Brian Weeden, says the tribe will need to reconsider its approach to building a casino. Weeden believes the changing landscape of the casino industry needs to be taken into account. Massachusetts has struggled to keep up with other states in the gaming industry. Currently, there are three other casinos operating throughout the commonwealth. Many states reported record-breaking incomes in the final months of last year. However, MA casinos reported decreases in income in November.

One issue preventing the MA gaming industry from keeping pace is the topic of sports betting. Legislators are expected to legalize sportsbooks soon, which would give the industry a need boost.

Weeden and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe are not the only group looking to build a casino in MA. The Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe has already started building a gambling hall near Martha’s Vineyard. Both Native American tribes face opposition to their gaming plans. The Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe faces legal issues regarding their right to build their gaming hall. On the other hand, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has faced opposition from the residents in Taunton who do not want a casino in their town.

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Looking for Economic Stability

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has faced many obstacles in its quest for a casino. However, Weeden and other tribal officials hope that a casino could provide the tribe with economic stability. Chairman Weeden has been public about his plans to address substance abuse, homelessness, and other issues that affect the tribe.

So far, the tribe has received $15 million from President Biden’s coronavirus stimulus bill. Tribal officials also plan to apply for federal funds from the new $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.

A total of $11 billion in the bill is intended to go toward Native American tribes. Chairman Weeden has also proposed the idea of requesting increased restitution from the government in the form of either more land or financial compensation.

On top of federal funding, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe also plans to address its issues in other ways. A casino is not the only option for new sources of employment and income. The tribe can also open and operate recreational marijuana shops, as well as tax-free gas stations and smoke shops.

Obstacles to Building the Casino

It is important that the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe have other options for achieving economic stability. So far, it has faced many obstacles to its plans of building a casino. The Tribe has a deal with Genting Berhad, a Malaysian-based casino developer.

If the tribal casino is built and opens for business, the tribe will owe Genting Berhad $600 million. Construction originally started in 2016 on a $1 billion resort casino but had to stop after running into legal problems.

Another obstacle for the tribal casino is that the original plans for the casino resort may be too lavish. The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe planned for the casino to include dining options, a hotel, and a water park among other entertainment options. However, original plans were halted by an order under former-President Trump.

A more simplified design would not only be easier to build, but it could also save money in the long run. By not offering table games such as blackjack and poker, the tribal casino could avoid a 17% state tax on gaming revenue.

Tribal officials also face opposition from some of the residents in Taunton, MA where the casino would be built. The anti-casino group has asked a federal judge in Boston to reopen their legal challenge against the tribe. According to opponents of the casino, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe should not qualify for reservation.

The anti-casino group has argued that the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe was not a recognized tribe in 1934 when the Indian Reorganization Act became law. As a result, they argue that the tribe should not be eligible for reservation. They have also argued that the tribe should not be allowed to use the land they intend to build the casino on. The land in Taunton is roughly 50 miles from the tribe’s home located in Cape Cod. As a result, the group argues the land should be considered part of the tribe’s historical land.

Conclusion

Casinos and sportsbooks across the US reached newfound success in 2021. Unfortunately, not every state has been as willing to join in on the action. Massachusetts, for instance, has not yet legalized sports betting. As a result, revenues at the state’s three casinos dipped in the last quarter. If legislators can pass a sports betting law in 2022, then the industry could get back on track. Adding new casinos could also help. The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is hoping to help with the latter.

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe recently received had its reservation rights restored. Now, tribal Chairman Brian Weeden hopes to resume the tribe’s plans for building a casino. Chairman Weeden plans to work with other tribal officials to modernize the tribe’s casino dreams. He also wants to address other issues affecting tribal society such as substance abuse and homelessness.

Chairman Weeden and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe will not be able to address their goals unopposed. The tribe has already faced opposition from the federal government under former-President Trump. Now, the tribe is facing opposition from some residents of Taunton. The opposition is claiming that the tribe does not qualify for reservation status. They are also claiming that the land for the casino in Taunton should not be part of the tribe’s property.

Idaho Casino Opens First-Ever Tribal Game Testing Ground

Bettors in Idaho now have access to a one-of-a-kind gambling experience. The Coeur d’Alene Casino in Idaho opened its “Discovery Den” on New Year’s Eve. Guests can go to the newly opened area to access new gaming products before they are released to the public.

Located in Worley, ID, the Coeur d’Alene Casino is owned and operated by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. The casino resort features tens of thousands of square feet of gaming area for guests to enjoy. Adding the new “Discovery Den” creates another attraction for guests to enjoy. It is believed that the testing area is the first of its kind in tribal gaming.

The “Discovery Den” features new gaming products from some of the biggest casino games developers. Included in the testing area will be games designed by Scientific Games, Gaming Arts, Everi, Konami, AGS, and Bluberi. Games in the “Discovery Den” will be rotated on a quarterly basis.

Due to the gambling laws in Idaho, only bingo-based gambling machines will be allowed in the testing area. Still, guests will be able to try new games before they hit the market. The feedback from guests will also provide companies with valuable feedback on their products before they are released. “Discovery Den” also offers the casino an advantage over other tribal casinos in the state without a game testing area. It can also prove vital in competing with the top online legal casinos in Idaho.

About the Coeur d’Alene Casino

The Coeur d’Alene Casino and Resort has been operated by the Coeur d’Alene tribe since 1993. The casino floor spans over 100,000 square feet and features over 1,600 video gaming machines. Bettors can also enjoy high-stakes bingo. Guests who frequent the casino and resort can take advantage of their rewards program. First-timers can take a virtual tour of the property online.

In addition to the large casino floor, guests can also stay in one of the 300 rooms and suites available. There are also seven restaurants and cafes for guests to enjoy. Dining options range from deli-style experiences to fine dining. Outside of the casino, there are plenty of other attractions for guests to take advantage of. The luxury spa spans over 15,000 square feet. There is also the Circling Raven Golf Club next door.

The resort also offers over 40,000 square feet of space for meetings, conferences, and even weddings. There is an indoor pool and jacuzzi for guests to use. The hotel also offers pet-friendly rooms so guests can bring man’s best friend along with them. Coeur d’Alene Casino and Resort is located in the Northwestern Idaho countryside.

Benefits of Testing Ground

The newly opened 2,200 square foot “Discovery Den” is just the latest attraction at the Coeur d’Alene Casino. It will offer guests the opportunity to test the latest and greatest gaming machines. State gaming laws prevent the use of slot machines and live table games. As a result, the guests are limited to playing bingo-based terminals that operate similarly to slot machines.

Participating developers will also benefit from the testing area. The feedback from quests will provide developers with valuable feedback on new game designs before they are released elsewhere. So far, the casino has partnered with Gaming Arts, Scientific Games, Everi, AGS, Bluberi, and Konami. Creators are limited to testing games that fit Idaho’s regulations. However, if the testing area is a success, casinos in other states could open similar gaming areas.

Developers need a testing area for several reasons. Creating new games for the current generation of gamblers is important to keep them interested. However, developers have also struggled to create games that attract younger generations. Gaining insight from the current generation could prove invaluable for making games for decades to come.

Idaho Gaming Laws

Idaho features several one-of-a-kind casino experiences such as those offered by Coeur d’Alene Casino and Resort. However, the state also has fairly restrictive gaming laws that limit gambling operations throughout the state. For instance, state officials have refused to enter into Class III gaming compacts with Idaho’s federally recognized tribes.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) defines tribes’ rights to operate different types of gaming operations on their land. Under a Class III license, a tribe could operate traditional slot machines and gaming tables. However, because Idaho state officials refuse to allow Class III compacts, tribes are limited to Class I and II operations. Under Class I and II licenses, tribes can only operate bingo-style games, lotto games, and pull tabs and punch boards.

Idaho also does not allow sports betting. Online gaming options are also limited in “The Gem State.” As a result, residents have to travel across state lines to access those styles of gaming. Luckily, plenty of neighboring states offers players the chance to win real money from both online gaming and sportsbooks. Otherwise, bettors can enjoy the gaming options offered at one of the state’s seven tribal casinos. Idaho also has a fairly large array of lottery games, but all tickets must be purchased at in-person shops.

Conclusion

A groundbreaking gaming option recently opened in the state of Idaho. The Coeur d’Alene Casino and Resort recently opened its new “Discovery Den” to the public. In the new gaming area, players will be able to test out new video gambling products from some of the best-known developers. Developers will be able to use player experiences to fine-tune the games before they are released elsewhere.

The games themselves are limited to only bingo-style betting machines. Idaho does not have any Class III licensed casinos, so no tribes can offer slot machines or table games at their casinos. However, the bingo-style machines should still provide developers will valuable information. Companies have been looking for new games for younger generations and the “Discovery Den” should help them immensely.

Bettors cannot access sportsbooks in Idaho. Legal online betting options can also be hard to come by. Access to new games on a quarterly basis will help the casino retain the attention of its customer base. The new testing area opened on New Year’s Eve and is just one of many attractions that sets the casino apart from others in the state. If it proves successful, other tribal casinos could follow suit and open their own testing centers.

Kalispel Tribe of Indians Announces New Partnership with USI

The sports betting industry in Washington state is slowly but surely expanding. Washington has some of the most restrictive gambling laws in the US. As a result, it is no surprise that some sportsbooks throughout the state have started to partner with outside firms. This week, the Kalispel Tribe of Indians announced they have a new partnership with US Integrity.

Northern Quest Resort and Casino has been open for two decades but only recently started operating a sportsbook. Washington state has strict gambling laws that only allow wagers to be placed on casino grounds. The casino is looking to operate a mobile betting option starting this spring.

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Partnering with USI will help the Kalispel Tribe ensure they take every precaution in following the state’s betting laws. A successful launch last this spring would make the Kalispel Tribe the second Washington tribe to operate a mobile sportsbook.

As part of the deal, US Integrity (USI) will provide its full range of integrity monitoring services at the tribe’s Northern Quest Resort and Casino. USI is a technology company that monitors sports betting operations to prevent fraud and corruption. The Kalispel Tribe of Indians owns multiple casinos in the state, but the partnership with USI only affects their Spokane location. Representatives from both USI and Northern Quest spoke positively about the partnership earlier this week.

What is USI?

USI was founded in 2018 with the aim of making sports, and sports betting, safe and fair for all involved. The technology company partners with different leagues and organizations with the aim of detecting and discouraging fraud. USI also helps prevent game manipulation, fixing of games, and other betting activity that would be illegal and unethical.

The technology offered by USI is especially important in the modern-day as the US sports betting industry continues its rapid growth. Despite being only a few years old, USI has already joined forces with several big names in the sports world.

Some of the leagues that use USI’s services include the NBA, SEC, and PAC 12. Several universities and individual teams are also partnered with USI. Schools such as Pitt and the University of Colorado work with USI. As do sportsbooks such as William Hill and BetFred Sports.

Sportsbooks benefit from using USI’s service to help detect and prevent fraudulent betting. USI analyzes data sts from sportsbooks to look for suspicious wagering and officiating patterns. They also monitor for signs of illegal activity such as insider trading. Using USI’s services allows sports betting operations to ensure bettors have a fair and safe experience.

How Does USI Partnership Affect Northern Quest Casino and Resort?

Northern Quest and Casino Resort launched its sportsbook last month. However, Washington state has very strict gambling laws. For instance, bettors can only place wagers while on casino property. Northern Quest plans to launch its mobile betting app in the spring. The expansion of its sportsbook makes Northern Quest a good partner for USI’s services. The fraud detection company can help the casino prevent problems before they arise.

The sportsbook at Northern Quest Casino and Resort spans over 2,300 square feet. Currently, bettors can only place bets at the retail counters or one of the self-service betting kiosks. It also features multiple televisions that bettors can use to track their bets in real-time. The addition of a mobile betting option will allow players to take advantage of in-play betting options.

When the app launches, bettors will likely place more wagers to take advantage of the additional bets available to them. Unfortunately, the increase in betting could also create new issues for the sportsbook. USI’s technology will allow the casino to identify problems in real-time. Partnering with USI will help Northern Quest ensure that the expansion does not also bring with it an increase in fraud and other unsafe betting activity.

Washington State Gambling Laws

The state of Washington is one of the biggest sports hubs in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle now features sports teams in all four major US sports. So it should come as no surprise that citizens of the Evergreen State are eager to win real money betting on their favorite teams. However, Washington has some of the most restrictive betting laws in the US.

In Washington, bettors can only place wagers while on casino grounds. However, the state only recently legalized sports betting last September. As a result, many casinos have started to partner with outside agencies to begin their sports betting operations.

Sportsbooks may not be able to offer true mobile betting options in Washington, but that does not mean they are not available. Northern Quest became the second casino to launch a mobile betting app for players to use while at the casino. They also became the second casino to partner with USI to assist with managing their sportsbook operation. The Snoqualmie Casino was the first to do both. As more casinos follow suit, Washington legislators may begin to loosen some of their restrictive betting laws.

Conclusion

Sports betting in the US is continuing to grow. Last month, the Kalispel Tribe of Indians became the second tribe in Washington to launch a mobile betting option at its casino. The Kalispel Tribe launched the app at its Northern Quest Resort and Casino. This week, Northern Quest announced it is partnering with US Integrity to help manage its sportsbook.

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USI is a technology company focused on reducing fraud and providing safe sports betting for all involved. The company started in 2018 and has quickly made a name for itself in the sports world. USI currently has partnerships with a number of prominent figures including the NBA, SEC, and William Hill sportsbook.

The partnership between USI and Northern Quest is an obvious one. USI already works with the only other casino in Washington state with a mobile sportsbook. They can also provide valuable guidance to the casino as they venture into the mobile sports betting world. Increased betting options will also likely increase the number of bets placed. Technology from USI will help Northern Quest ensure that all the betting action is done in a legal manner.

Construction on Portsmouth Casino is Underway

By this time next year, residents of Portsmouth, VA will be preparing for the opening of a new local casino. Rivers Casino Portsmouth broke ground last month and the construction has been going as scheduled so far. If all things continue as planned, the new casino will be opening early next year.

The new $300 million casino is being built by Rush Street Gaming. When it opens, the property will offer guests many exciting entertainment options. The venue will spread 57 acres and include a casino and 4-star hotel. Guests will also be able to attend events at the entertainment facility onsite that will hold up to 3,000 people.

In addition to the normal casino games, bettors will also have access to sports betting options. The new casino will offer sports betting through a BetRivers retail sportsbook.

On top of the wide range of gambling options, guests will also have access to multiple bars and restaurants throughout the casino and hotel. Local officials are also hopeful that the new casino will bring with it new economic opportunities. The new Portsmouth casino is expected to bring approximately $16.3 million in tax revenue.

Benefits for Portsmouth

The long-term tax revenue is not the only benefit proponents of the new casino are hoping for. Local officials are also hopeful that the new Rivers Casino and Hotel will create plenty of jobs. New employment opportunities would help the community recover from the ongoing pandemic.

It is estimated that the construction of the hotel and casino will create approximately 1,400 construction jobs. The list of contractors employed on the project includes S.B. Ballard Construction Co., a local construction company in Virginia. Other firms based out of Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, and elsewhere are also employed on the project.

Once the new casino resort is complete, the long-term impact should also benefit the commonwealth. The casino and hotel are expected to employ a total of 1,300 full-time employees. In addition to creating new jobs, the casino and hotel will also provide a new tourist attraction for the area.

In total, Rush Street Gaming has stated that they believe that the new casino hotel will generate massive income for the local economy. By their estimates, the impact will upwards of $200 million annually. That influx into the local economy will be welcomed as the commonwealth continues to try to rebuild its economy post-pandemic.

Virginia Gambling Laws

The new Rivers Casino and Hotel in Portsmouth is not the only casino planning to open its doors in the coming years. Virginia voters approved a total of four casinos in 2020. However, the casino in Portsmouth is the first to begin construction. Being able to open its doors first will give the Rush Street Gaming project a jump on the competition.

If the Portsmouth casino is the first of the new casinos to open, it will also be the first legal casino in the state. Virginia did not legalize casino gambling until 2019. However, the casino will not be without competition for bettors.

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As of now, the state does allow for skill gaming machines. Citizens of the commonwealth can also access online sports betting sites. Voters legalized sports betting in July of 2020, and the first sportsbooks launched last year.

Currently, the Virginia State Lottery is tasked with overseeing the registration and licensing throughout the commonwealth. However, with the legality of some forms of gambling in question, the state could create a new department to oversee the practice. Lawmakers throughout the state have been pushing for casino legislation. It is unlikely they would create new laws that would negatively impact the industry in the coming years.

What is Rush Street Gaming?

Rush Street Gaming is one of the leading casino developers in the US. The company was started in Chicago in the mid-1990s by Neil Bluhm and Greg Carlin. Bluhm was a real-estate developer and Carlin was a successful investment banker. The company is named after the storied road in Chicago. In recent years, Rush Street Gaming has been expanding its business into other states.

Currently, the casino developer has a total of six casinos already operating. The new construction in Virginia will their seventh. Rush Street Gaming has also built casinos in their home state of Illinois, as well as Pennsylvania and New York. Bluhm and Carlin also worked together to build the Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls.

Much of the company’s expansion has come in the last half-decade. As more states begin to pass gambling-friendly legislation, companies such as Rush Street Gaming look to take advantage. To date, the company boasts that they have created over 9,000+ jobs. In addition to site-based casinos, the company is also involved in hotels, restaurants, television production, and internet gaming.

Conclusion

The wait for a legal casino-style betting option may soon be over for Virginia residents. Construction on the Portsmouth Rivers Casino is officially underway and will stretch over 57 acres. The casino is set to open in early 2023. In total, the project has a $300 million price tag. Rush Street Gaming, a Chicago-based casino development company, was hired to build the casino.

Portsmouth Rivers Casino is the first of four casino projects to break ground in the commonwealth. In total, the project is estimated to create a total of 1,400 construction jobs. Once the doors open on the casino and hotel, a total of 1,300 full-time employees will be needed to run it.

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Local officials estimate the casino will create $16.3 million annually in tax revenue. Rush Street Gaming estimates the casino will generate $200 million per year for the Portsmouth economy.

The facility itself will also create a new destination for locals and tourists alike. In addition to the casino and hotel, it will also feature a 3,000-person entertainment site. A partnership with BetRivers retail sportsbook will allow guests to access sports betting options on site. Several restaurants and bars are also planned for the property. When it opens next year, the casino and entertainment complex will be the first, but not the last, of its kind in Virginia.

Nevada Gaming Commision Approves San Manuel Tribe’s Purchase of Palms Casino

Empathy Suite Instead the Palms Casino in Las Vegas

The San Manuel Gaming and Hospitality Authority announced on Friday that it has received approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission as licensees for the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

Said SMGHA Chairwoman Latisha Casas in a statement:

“We are grateful for this opportunity to share our long-standing tradition of hospitality with Las Vegas and execute our vision for this iconic resort, starting by welcoming back former and current Palms employees. Together, we will create history.”

The approval came on Thursday, or two weeks after the Nevada Gaming Board recommended approval of the $650 million purchase from Red Rock Resorts. With a gaming license in place, the acquisition closed on Friday.

History Was Made

Indeed history was made with the Nevada Gaming Commission’s approval. Connecticut’s Mohegan Tribe currently operates the casino inside Virgin Hotels Las Vegas under a lease agreement. But the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians are the first Native American Tribe to both own and operate a casino resort in Las Vegas.

The Tribe is the owner of the Yaamava’ Resort & Casino in San Manuel, Highland, California. That casino is the former San Manuel Casino which started as a Bingo Hall way back in 1935. Incidentally, that new property launched on the same week that the Nevada Commission signed off on the Palms sale.

The Palms was one of the four properties of Red Rock Resort that remained closed following the state’s 78-day shutdown on gaming last year at the height of the pandemic. Last May, San Manuel announced that it would purchase the property from Station Casinos, the parent company of Red Rock Resorts, for $650M in cash.

Spring 2022 Reopening

With little capital improvement needed on the Palms Casino after its previous owner had spent roughly $1 billion to renovate an expand the off-Strip property, San Manuel representatives that they plan to reopen the casino in the spring of 2022.

In addition to the casino, the Palms has more than 700 hotel rooms and suites, multiple casual and upscale dining options, a meeting and convention space, a 2,500-seat theater, pool and spa, and the Palms Place condominium.

The reopening would require 1,000 new jobs ranging from casino, operations, hotel management, food and beverage, along with supervisory positions. According to the Tribe, the job applications process is already underway. Within days after the close of the deal, guests can start making reservations at Palms Place. Meanwhile, reservations for Palms Casino resort will be available in the early part of 2022.

Hard Rock International Agrees to Buy MGM’s Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas

The first Las Vegas strip megaresort may be under new ownership soon. Officials announced earlier this week that Hard Rock International has reached an agreement with MGM to buy the iconic Mirage Hotel. Sources have said that the deal is worth almost $1.1 billion.

Before the sale becomes official, it is subject to regulatory approvals and must pass standing closing conditions. It is not expected to be finalized until late 2022. The details of the sale were released in a press release earlier this week.

Originally opened on November 22, 1989, the Mirage Hotel is credited with changing the landscape of the Las Vegas strip. It was built during a time that Las Vegas casinos needed a new way to compete with growing lottery and tribal casinos in other states. At the time it was built, the Mirage was the largest hotel resort in the world with 3,044 rooms. It was also one of the first hotels to focus on non-gambling attractions to lure in guests.

Why did MGM Sell the Mirage Hotel?

The Mirage Hotel has been a staple on the Las Vegas strip for over three decades. Unfortunately, it is located on the northern end of the strip. Experts believe that MGM has been looking to consolidate its properties to the central and southern parts of the strip. MGM previously sold its other northern properties as it moves to an “asset-light” business model. Treasure Island was sold in 2009 and Circus Circus was sold in late 2019.

Selling the Mirage Hotel and its other properties have not been the only move made by MGM. They have also announced plans to purchase The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, which is located in the southern part of the Vegas strip.

Officials from MGM have said that selling the Mirage Hotel will allow them to focus more on improving their other Las Vegas properties. Having fewer properties to manage will allow for a renewed focus on an improved customer experience. As MGM adopts a quality over quantity approach, it became necessary to part with the legendary hotel.

What are Hard Rock’s Plans for the Mirage Hotel?

If the sale goes as planned, Hard Rock International will once again own a stake in the Las Vegas strip. Hard Rock previously operated a hotel on the strip, but it was sold to Richard Branson in 2018.

Hard Rock International has previously discussed plans for building a 1,000-room guitar-shaped hotel on the Las Vegas strip. The Seminole Tribe, who owns Hard Rock International, already has one guitar-shaped hotel in its home state of Florida. There have also been discussions of plans to build similar guitar-shaped hotels in Nashville, Mexico City, Japan, and Barcelona. It is unknown at this time if that would mean tearing down the Mirage Hotel or building a hotel altogether.

In the short term, the hotel resort will continue to operate under the Mirage name. MGM has agreed to license the brand to Hard Rock International for up to three years royalty-free. The ability to license the Mirage brand is important in keeping the hotel open and operating. Hard Rock must obtain a Nevada Casino license, which could take up to a year.

Officials from Hard Rock International also announced that they intend to keep all 3,500 employees that currently work at the Mirage Hotel. Hard Rock Chairman Jim Allen has also stated that they will enter into a long-term lease agreement with VICI Properties Inc., a real estate investment trust.

Conclusion

An agreement has been reached between MGM and Hard Rock International to sell the iconic Mirage Hotel. MGM first opened the hotel in the late 80s and changed the landscape of the Las Vegas strip forever. Now, for the hefty price of $1.1 billion, the Mirage Hotel will likely be under new ownership by this time next year. The sale must be approved by regulatory bodies and pass certain closing conditions before it is finalized.

What Hard Rock plans to do with the storied hotel is unknown. Officials have said they will wait to decide the fate of the Mirage until Hard Rock obtains a Nevada gaming license. In the meantime, the hotel will remain open and operate under a licensing deal between MGM and Hard Rock International. Officials from Hard Rock have also stated that they intend to keep all 3,500 of the Mirage employees on their payroll.

2021 is US Casinos’ Winningest Year Ever

The US casino industry continues to break records. The American Gaming Association (AGA) reported yesterday that casinos in the US have won a total of $44.15 billion so far in 2021. That number will continue to grow as more states report revenues from November and December. The industry has been on a record-breaking pace all year. The total revenue also does not include revenue earned by tribal casinos.

This year’s revenue broke the record set in 2019 of $43.65 billion. The industry took in a hit in 2020, with the AGA reported total revenue at around $30 billion. This was a result of casinos across the US being forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the US betting markers are back on track and players are more eager than ever to try to win real money.

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As more states continue to legalize sports betting, it is reasonable to assume that the industry will continue to break records in the coming years. Major sporting events, such as the Super Bowl and the CFP, could also result in an increase in betting revenue.

A Closer Look

Casinos being able to return to full operations largely explains the industry’s bounce-back year. Many states only allow gambling on the grounds of a brick-and-mortar casino. But this year’s record-breaking revenue was earned in just 10 months. So just where exactly has the extra revenue been coming from?

Brick-and-mortar casinos have seen a jump in their total revenue. In October, site-based casinos reported a total of $3.97 billion in revenue. That is an increase of 16% over October 2019. Adding sportsbooks has allowed casinos to attract a new customer base. Some casinos have also started incorporating sports betting lounges and self-service betting kiosks.

Another big reason the revenue numbers have been so high this year is the expansion of sports betting in the US. In 2020, only 17 jurisdictions allowed sports betting operations. This year, Americans wagered a record total of $7.05 billion on sports in October across 25 markets. In total, bettors have placed $42.19 billion in bets this year so far.

Out of the billions of dollars bet in October, sportsbooks across the US were able to keep a total of $408 million in profit. The previous monthly record was set in September at $405 million. Several states also set personal-best marks already this year. Based on their reported revenues from October states such as South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Massachusetts, Iowa, and Colorado all set new records for annual gaming revenue.

Sports betting is not the only sector that broke records in October. Bettors also wagered more on internet gambling sites. In total, online gaming operators earned $357 million from internet gaming sites, a new monthly record. Compared to last October, the sector’s revenue increased by 129%.

In October, internet gambling combined with sports betting and casino betting for a total revenue of $4.75 billion. The reported income is the second-highest ever for a monthly total. That mark is an increase of over 30% from October 2019. Prior to 2021, no month in the US had passed $4 billion in gaming revenue. October marked the 8th straight time it has happened this year.

Can the Industry Sustain its Growth?

So far 2021 has seen the US gaming industry soar to never before seen levels. This begs the question:  will the boom be sustainable? For the foreseeable future, the answer appears to be yes.

A large part of the recent growth in the US gambling revenue can be traced back to the US Supreme Court overturning the 1992 law that banned sports betting. Since the decision in 2018, dozens of states have adopted new laws that permit sportsbooks operations. Each state has been able to make its own laws and as such there are a variety of systems across the US. Currently, more than half of the states in the US permit sports betting, and more seem poised to follow suit soon.

In addition to allowing sports betting, another factor responsible for the recent success in the gaming industry is the growing popularity of online betting options. Not every state that allows sports betting also allows for online or mobile betting options. However, the ones that do have seen their profits shoot through the roof this year. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect in-person services, online alternatives can keep the revenue rolling in.

In the immediate future, the biggest betting events on the horizon are the football playoffs. In the US, football is the most bet on of the major American sports. The winter months bring fans the opportunity to earn real money from betting on the playoffs for both professional and collegiate football. Earlier this year, it is estimated that Americans wagered over $4 billion on the Super Bowl alone. With more states allowing sports betting this time around, that number will likely increase.

Conclusion

This week the AGA announced that the US gambling industry has officially surpassed its previous record for total annual income. As last reports of October revenue rolled in, the total money won by casinos this year hit $44.15 billion. That broke the previous record of $43.65 billion set in 2019.

Proponents of the US gaming industry should also be optimistic about the industry continuing to grow in the coming years. Each year, more and more states are legalizing the sports betting industry and adding more revenue to the US total. There are also major sporting events on the horizon that could see bettors place even more wagers than normal.

With most states still gathering the income numbers for November, and with December numbers yet to be determined, it is safe to say that the record will continue to rise. So far in 2021, there have been eight consecutive months of over $4 billion in monthly revenue across the US gambling sector. If that streak continues through the end of the year, the yearly income will likely break the $50 billion mark.