Saturday, January 30, 2021
Weekend Commentary
Nearly six years ago, Nevada put the kibosh on daily fantasy sports operators.

The Gaming Control Board, based on a research memo authored by the state’s Attorney General, banned unlicensed fantasy sports websites from providing their product to Nevada customers. The reason?

“Daily fantasy sports constitute sports pools and gambling games,” Brin Gibson, then-chief deputy attorney general for gaming and government affairs, wrote in the October 2015 memo. “They may also constitute lotteries, depending on the test applied by the Nevada Supreme Court. As a result, pay-to-play daily fantasy sports cannot be offered in Nevada without licensure.”

Shortly after the memo was provided to gaming regulators, then-Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett issued a cease-and-desist order, effectively banning the daily fantasy sites, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, from operating in Nevada. The sites could apply for a sports pool license but needed to partner with a licensed casino operator.

Fast forward. Gibson is now chairman of the Gaming Control Board, appointed last November by Gov. Steve Sisolak. Burnett is an attorney in Reno with Nevada-based McDonald Carano.

Both remain firmly committed to the memo and order. (more)

The Hot Clicks of the Week
It didn’t take long for new Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Rob Goldstein to put his stamp on the casino conglomerate. He told analysts Wednesday Las Vegas Sands was exploring the potential of entering the sports betting, digital, and iGaming marketplace – an area of the gaming industry in which his predecessor, the late Sheldon Adelson, spent millions of dollars in an effort to quash. Goldstein said Adelson had ethical concerns about online gaming and how to police it against younger age players.
Hard Rock Casino Rockford on Wednesday could take another step toward state license approval when 815 Entertainment LLC makes its case before the Illinois Gaming Board. Final approval is not expected this week. But Rockford will become the first from a group of six casino proposals allowed under a state gaming expansion to make its case for a “preliminary suitability determination.” It is one of several required remaining steps in the approval process.
Brent Musburger knew that adding bookmaker Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder to CBS’ The NFL Today would cause controversy in 1976. Snyder, a native of Steubenville, Ohio, had been a flamboyant character in Las Vegas gambling circles since the 1950s. The NFL was vigilant against any form of gambling. In 1963 the league suspended Paul Hornung and Alex Karras, and fined five Detroit Lions players, for betting on football games. But Musburger knew that then NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle understood the appeal of having an oddsmaker on the show.
A bump in the road for the city of Danville as they are dealt with a lawsuit over their proposed Casino. “I nearly believe it’s retribution. I don’t believe that their lawsuit has any merit, or validity.” Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. tells WAND news about the lawsuit over the location for the proposed Golden Nugget Casino. ” Mayor Williams also made it clear to WAND News that “Mrs. Mervis nor her other children are a part of this lawsuit, so it’s only Michael and Adam through Mervis Industries.”
Authorities busted an illegal bar and gambling operation in Newark Saturday night, officials said. Police were called to the Portuguese Soccer Club, located at 215 Wilson Ave., around 10 p.m. following complaints of illegal alcohol and gambling, Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose said. Inside, investigators found about 50 people drinking alcohol, playing cards and using gambling machines, according to Ambrose. 
There seemed to be more upbeat news about tourism and visitation in the past week than we’ve seen in months. Here are some of the highlights from a glass-half-full week: A research firm completed a report for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority involving a key tourism market, business travelers. We all know that Southern Nevada’s hotel rooms are most frequently filled with free and independent travelers on Fridays and Saturdays and business travelers on the midweek days.
Jet-setting sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein died in 2019, but he continues to haunt his old associates. One of those, Apollo Global Management co-founder Leon Black, certainly knows his way around Las Vegas and the casino industry. Apollo announced this week that Black would step down as CEO following the release of an investigation by its board of directors that focused on his relationship with Epstein. The investigation found no criminal link to the pedophile but did emphasize the two shared a substantial financial relationship and longtime social friendship during years Epstein was recruiting and sexually abusing underage girls. Black has denied all wrongdoing and any knowledge of Epstein’s crimes. Forbes calls Black “the most prominent Wall Street A-lister connected to Epstein.”
Online sports betting went live last weekend in Michigan with 10 different platforms, each with a single partner – one of Detroit’s three commercial casinos and seven of the state’s tribal gaming properties. That’s a crowded field even for a populous, sports-crazy state like Michigan. Imagine the frenzy in California and Texas if those states ever decide to get around to legalizing sports betting. New York is already causing a stir with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to let the state’s lottery oversee online sports betting with just one operator. Sports betting companies will step all over each other to get into those lucrative markets. Why?
For December 2020, the three Massachusetts casinos reported less than $50 million in gross gaming revenue. It was a decline of 40 percent from December 2019. The casinos in Massachusetts, like those everywhere in the country, are suffering the impacts of government operating restrictions and a customer base leery of being in public. The nation and the gaming industry are approaching the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. Macau marked the one-year anniversary of its first case of COVID-19 on January 22, 2021; its casinos closed for two weeks beginning on February 4, 2020.
Oshidori International Development has announced a partnership with US tribal casino operator Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment that will see the two companies jointly pursue an integrated resort license in Nagasaki, Japan. The collaboration follows the recent launch of Nagasaki’s RFP on 7 January, with the prefecture planning to select its operator partner in August of this year – around two months before the national government starts accepting applications from candidate locations.
This report is edited by Howard Stutz.
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