This week “Inside Gaming” shares a couple of news items regarding Caesars Interactive Entertainment’s operations in Nevada, New Jersey, and now Delaware, a report on Macau’s continuing struggles, and some NFL betting news in anticipation of the start of a new season.
There is big breaking news in the gaming industry this morning as Bwin.party Digital Entertainment has chosen to accept GVC Holdings’ latest bid, thereby agreeing to a takeover deal that may be finalized by the end of the calendar year. For more on that developing story, see Giovanni Angioni’s report “The Bidding War Is Over: GVC Holdings to Buy bwin.party for $1.71 Billion.”
Meanwhile, read on for other industry news from the past week.
PayPal Among Payment Options for WSOP.com Players in Nevada
Yesterday came a report via iGamingBusiness that Caesars Interactive Entertainment has begun offering PayPal as a payment option for those playing on the Nevada WSOP.com site.
“The group launched the payment method in the state of Nevada this week,” reports iGaming Business, “and expects to roll out a full launch in New Jersey this week.” In New Jersey the payment option will be available through Caesars’ WSOP.com site as well as its CaesarsCasino.com and HarrahsCasino.com sites.
Caesars Interactive Entertainment provided no comment to iGaming Business when contacted.
PayPal has long prohibited transactions by merchants and account holders in the U.S. (and other jurisdictions) where gambling activities are illegal, reserving the right to block such activities and close accounts of those attempting them. However, among its policies PayPal has a provision to allow such transactions in jurisdictions where gambling activities are legal and in cases where the merchant has been approved by PayPal, as has happened this week with CIE.
WSOP.com players in Nevada are now able both to deposit and withdraw funds via PayPal, one of several money-moving methods including MasterCard, VISA, Neteller, among others. The news is intriguing not just with regard to the future prospects of Caesars’ online sites for which the additional option should be beneficial, but for other U.S.-based operators as well.
Here is the report from iGaming Business.
Regulators in New Jersey Approve CIE’s hosting online games for Delaware
There was more CIE-related news yesterday as New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement announced it has approved Caesars Interactive Entertainment’s request to provide gambling content from its server in Atlantic City to the Delaware state lottery.
According to Fox Business, the “agreement announced Thursday will permit SG Interactive, a division of Scientific Games, to provide game content from servers located in Caesars’ data center in Atlantic City to the Delaware Lottery’s online gambling platform.”
The slot games being offered are only accessible to online gamblers in Delaware, and in fact have been live since Monday even though the announcement of the approval was only made yesterday. The DGE’s statement describes the arrangement as “the first such agreement regarding casino game content between states with authorized Internet gaming.”
David Rebuck, director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement, described the approval as the product of “a great collaborative effort between the Delaware Lottery, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, Scientific Games, and Caesars Interactive Entertainment.”
The Fox Business report notes a study by the investement firm Morgan Stanley predicting that by the year 2020 there will be 15 states with legalized online gambling. The same study predicts revenue of $2.7 billion from online gambling in 2020, the figure reduced from an earlier estimate of $5 billion. Last year the three states currently offering online gambling — Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware — together accumulated about $135 million in revenue.
For more on the approval, visit Fox Business.
Macau Down Again, Sands Still On Top
For a 15th-straight month, Macau’s gaming revenue endured a decline, again falling sharply with 35.5% less revenue for August year-over-year.
According to Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, the Special Administrative Region’s casinos took in 18.623 billion pacatas in August in “Monthly Gross Revenue from Games of Fortune,” the equivalent of about $2.33 billion USD. In August 2014, Macau’s gaming revenue was 28.876 billion pacatas (over $3.61 billion).
As Bloomberg Business reports, the decline followed the recent opening of two new casinos by the Galaxy Entertainment Group. Industry analyst Richard Huang of Nomura Holdings, Inc. commented that following “the opening of Galaxy phase two in May, the downward trend of gaming revenue has been remaining steady, which means incremental revenu brought by the new opening is basically zero.”
Overall gross gaming revenue in Macau has slipped 36.5% for the first eight months of 2015. On Tuesday a government statement in response to the latest revenue figures announced it will be cutting public spending for the coming fiscal year, including “reducing costs in areas such as the purchase of daily supplies and third-party services,” reports Bloomberg Business.
Meanwhile according to GGRAsia, the Macau operations unit of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation moved up to a 25.3% share of the market in August, a gain from its 23.8% share in July.
That gain kept the Sands ahead of SJM Holdings, who moved up into second position with 21.9%, passing the Galaxy Entertainment Group who slipped to third with 21.3%, still ahead of Melco Crown Entertainment (13.6%), Wynn Macau (9.5%), and MGM China Holdings (8.4%).
For more on the continued slide of Macau gaming and its effects, head to Bloomberg Business.
Lifting of Brady Suspension Affects Game Lines, Super Bowl Odds
Finally, sports bettors are gearing up for another season of the National Football League, with the season opener coming next Thursday when the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.
While the Patriots had been listed a favorite in that game by most Las Vegas sports books over recent weeks, the line had fallen to as low as a single point in anticipation of the Pats’ starting quarterback Tom Brady missing the game as a result of a four-game suspension levied for his involvement in the so-called “Deflategate” controversy from last year’s playoffs.
However, a ruling from a U.S. District Court Judge on Thursday nullified the suspension as unfair and suffering from “legal deficiencies,” meaning Brady will be in uniform next Thursday for the start of the season. Lines immediately reflected the news, with the Pats now around a -6.5 favorite versus Pittsburgh.
As David Purdum reports for ESPN, the news has affected futures betting as well, including the odds being offered to those considering betting on the Pats to repeat as champions.
“Before Thursday’s news, the Patriots were listed at 10-1 to win the Super Bowl behind five teams, at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook,” writes Purdum. “After the news, the Patriots moved to 8-1, co-favorites in the AFC with the Indiapolis Colts, and behind only the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl race.”
For more on the “Brady effect” on betting lines, go to ESPN.
Photo: “Tom Brady,” Jeffrey Beall. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.