#9 Weekly Digest – Latest News in US Gambling World
In 2020, the online gambling industry in the United States was worth 59.6 billion USD. Various projections show that the industry is going to expand at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5%, and is expected to be worth almost 130 billion USD by 2027. The gambling industry as a whole has been experiencing major transformations and it is safe to say that online gaming is one of the biggest sectors of the economy.
If you are someone who is interested in online gambling and real money betting, then you should keep yourself abreast of the latest developments in the sector. Here is a news digest that will keep you updated with all the latest happenings in the industry over the past few weeks.
Illegal Poker Site in KY Ordered to Pay $1.3B
On December 18, the State Supreme Court of Kentucky ruled against the illegal gambling website “PokerStars.com”. The site had been reporting illegal gambling losses for over a decade and owed the state more than $870 million in 2018. Governor Beshear said in a press release that the state would recover more than $1 billion dollars from the syndicate. As online gambling is not legal in KY, any person who loses $5 or more in an illegal wager may file a lawsuit with the state to recover the lost amount.
The initial lawsuit against the defendants was filed by the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet all the way back in 2010. In the allegations filed by the state, it was discovered that more than 34,000 residents of KY lost $290 million on the illegal website. The company blocked KY residents from using the website only after this happened. In 2015, Judge Thomas Wingate ordered the website to pay the entire amount back. This amount was then tripled by the judge, saying that the company didn’t stop participants since they realized that “breaking the law was good for business”.
The PokerStars website is a subsidiary of The Stars Group, which is itself a partner of Flutter, a company specializing in online gambling based out of Dublin, Ireland. In a statement responding to the new judgement, Flutter said that this judgement “runs contrary to modern US legal precedent”. They have expressed their intentions to contest the ruling in higher courts and they have also gone on record to state that they recognize no liability in relation to this KY lawsuit. The statement also claims that the revenues earned by PokerStars.com in the 2006-11 period were worth $18 million only (updated in 2019)
Online Gambling Revenue in PA Falls For the First Time
In 2017, Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania signed a bill into a law – which made it legal for residents of the state of PA to participate in online gambling without any legal repercussions. Ever since then, the online gambling industry has been a consistent money earner for the state machinery. However, in November 2020, it experienced a month that could be described as lackluster. It seems that there is no external cause of this phenomenon. The market has reached a level of maturity and slowed down completely on its own.
According to some media outlets, the revenue generated from online gambling in November 2020 was 2.68% less than the level of revenue generated in November 2019. According to reports made by the Gaming Control Board of Pennsylvania, this was mainly because table games wagers exceeded wagers made at slots.
Hard Rock International to Diversify and Establish Online Casino & Sportsbook
Hard Rock International is a global leader in hospitality and entertainment, and they have only recently decided to diversify their operations. According to a recent press release, the HRI group is seeking to diversify and enter the world of sports betting and internet gambling. This venture will be called Hard Rock Digital and will seek to leverage the 120 million loyal customers of the HRI franchise. According to HRI Chairman Jim Allen, Hard Rock Digital seeks to explore the US market – which apparently is $7 billion for sports betting alone.
The report states that this diversification venture is going to be carried on with some of the industry’s biggest names in the world of online casinos and sportsbooks. Their partner in this effort is Seminole Gaming (SGA), which is a hardened veteran in the online gaming industry of the USA.
College Football Committee of 2020 Remains Predictable and Rather Disappointing
This year, the college football championships have been very uneven and disjoint, mainly due to the social distancing protocols and lockdowns implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This uneven and disjoint season has reflected in the playoffs for the 2020 college football championship as well, which many are calling “controversial”. As numerous games were cancelled, it was up to the College Football Committee to decide on the playoff positions for this year. The top 4 teams for 2020 playoffs are Alabama Crimson Tide, Clemson University, Notre Dame University and Ohio State.
Notre Dame University’s Fighting Irish team was picked over Texas A&M, with the committee saying that the Fighting Irish were a “better body of work”. It is also interesting to note that Ohio State managed to qualify for the playoffs, even though they only managed to play 6 games all season. Even though the Crimson Tide is the favourite this season, there has been a lot of debate over which team would deserve to get selected for playoffs this season. Many commentators have stated that the predictable decisions made by the Committee have made the game “stale and boring”.
One of the biggest upsets this season was Texas A&M being relegated to the 5th spot, even though they had a continuous winning streak for six games straight. In fact, many players, coaches and students of the university took to Twitter to express their displeasure at the decisions made by the Committee. In a sport with 130 unique teams, Clemson and Alabama might face each other off for the fifth time in the past six years. Many commentators are saying that this is a severe lack of balance.
Many other teams such as Cincinnati and Oklahoma were also shunted.