Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. In this latest edition we look at a casino renovation, PlayStudios and Acies Acquisition Corp’s business combination, the arrival of single-event sports betting across Canada, and a UK Gambling Commission survey.
Attorney General’s from across the United States called on the Department of Justice to scrap its 2018 opinion “reconsidering whether the Wire Act applies to non-sports gambling.”
In a letter to US Attorney General Merrick Garland, 27 attorney general’s from around the country are calling on the withdrawal of a formal legal opinion issued during the Trump Administration that found state-sanctioned online gambling, such as lotteries and casino games, could be subject to criminal prosecution under federal law.
This 2018 DOJ opinion reversed an Obama-era DOJ position, put forth in 2011, which held that the Wire Act applied to only sports betting, thereby making online lottery sales and other non-sports-related online gaming safe from federal prosecution.
The letter asserts that with the Trump-era DOJ opinion still in place, “there remains substantial uncertainty” as to whether states and the industry can move forward with existing online gaming platforms, in addition to investing in new products, without fear of future criminal prosecution.
A report published by the UK Gambling Commission revealed that 34 per cent of British bettors admitted to being influenced by advertising.
Following a recent survey – which was completed by 6,258 people in March, June, September and December last year – the UKGC found that following general advertising, free bet offers were the second most common driving factor behind user’s gambling.
The online survey respondents were asked about advertisement and sponsorships to aid the UKGC in understanding the awareness of gambling related media. Overall, 85 per cent of respondents have either seen gambling adverts or sponsorships – a decline on the 2019 figures (87 per cent).
The report highlighted that gambling ads were the most commonly seen on TV, with 76 per cent having seen them, which was noted as unsurprising as it is likely that two thirds of respondents are watching more live TV than they did prior to the pandemic.
The arrival of single-event sports betting across Canada was rapturously welcomed by a multitude of stakeholders, after the Senate successfully passed Bill C-218, without amendment, at third reading.
Following Royal Assent, the vote will permit the Canadian gaming industry to begin working with provincial partners to offer single-event wagering to sports betting fans.
The Canadian Gaming Association has lauded the moment as a “major milestone and achievement” for the Canadian gaming industry, and thanked “many government leaders, individuals and organisations” for the effort that led to the passage.
A number of UK charities received a share of £1.25m, after members of the Betting and Gaming Council agreed to donate all profits gained from the Britannia Stakes, which took place at Royal Ascot on June 17.
Prostate Cancer UK, Marie Curie, the three Armed Forces charities and Care Radio will receive a share of the aforementioned figure, after 18/1 shot Peretto, ridden by Oisin Murphy, triumphed.
The Tri-forces charities who will all benefit from the race are the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity; the Army Benevolent Fund, The Army’s national charity; and the RAF Benevolent Fund.
Loto-Québec welcomed the findings stemming from an independent audit, with the group saying that recommendations fall in line with the steps it has already taken to improve its practices.
The examination focused on four pillars of intervention: money laundering, loan sharking, loyalty programs, and the independence and security of employees, with Loto-Québec fully co-operating throughout.
The audit was announced towards the end of 2020 by Eric Girard, Quebec finance minister, and followed a series of print and broadcast allegations regarding a perceived presence of individuals linked to organised crime at the crown corporation’s casinos.
After reviewing the findings, the corporation says that it found that many recommendations are in line with the steps it has already taken to “improve its practices and address the complex challenges associated with organised crime groups, which are always refining their methods”.
PlayStudios completed its business combination with special purpose acquisition company Acies Acquisition Corp, after approval was given at a special meeting of shareholders of the latter last week.
Beginning today (Tuesday 22 June) class A common stock and warrants of the combined company, which has been renamed as PlayStudios, begin trading on Nasdaq under the ticker symbols ‘MYPS’ and ‘MYPSW,’ respectively.
With approximately $220m in cash, the group is poised to accelerate the company’s growth initiatives, which include substantially expanding product development and acquisitions of other gaming and related companies.
The transaction implies an enterprise valuation for PlayStudios of $1.1bn, or 2.5x projected 2022 revenue of $435m or 12.3x projected 2022 pro forma adjusted EBITDA of $90m.
Everi is anticipating record second quarter revenues, as the gaming content provider also unveiled plans to capitalise on favourable market conditions to refinance its outstanding total debt and extend maturities.
The company said that its Q2 performance demonstrates “meaningful quarterly sequential improvement,” as well as substantial growth compared to the pre-pandemic 2019 second quarter results, even with a continued, albeit lesser, impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Everi says that revenue through the three month period should fall in the $167m-$172m boundary, representing an uptick Q1’s $139.1m and a rise of over 25 per cent from $129.7m from 2019.
Furthermore, the group anticipates that net income will fall between $31m-$34m compared to $20.5m in the first quarter and $5.5m in the same quarter two years ago.
Adjusted EBITDA should fall between $87m and $91m during the timeframe, compared to $75.4m in the 2021 first quarter and $64.1m in 2019’s second period.
North Carolina Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort is poised to complete a four-year $250m expansion project during the latter stages of the year as it strives to become “a destination that is unlike any other”.
The extensive development project, which broke ground June 2018, includes a World Series of Poker room, 725-room hotel tower, 83,000-square-foot convention space, new food and beverage offerings and more.
The resort’s fourth hotel tower will be welcoming guests to 725 rooms during the Autumn, with 83,000-square-feet of meetings and conventions space to more than triple the current rentable area at Harrah’s Cherokee.
In addition to the expansion project, several new gaming amenities and food and beverage offerings have already debuted earlier this year, with additional openings to come over the following months:
Upon completion, the expansion will include a WSOP poker room, which is to open in September 2020, and will allow guests to access the 34-table space which will offer eight-handed cash games.