Inside Gaming: Wynn-Boston Conflict Ends, Super Bowl Betting, and Favorable DFS Vote in Calif.
In this week’s Inside Gaming, Wynn Resorts and the city of Boston end their long-standing feud to pave the way for the new Everett casino, the AGA forecasts lots of illegal wagering on the upcoming Super Bowl, and daily fantasy sports gets a legislative boost in California.
Wynn and Boston Resolve Conflict Over Everett Casino
On Wednesday an agreement was reached between Steve Wynn and Boston mayor Marty Walsh resolving a long-running feud between the city and casino mogul. According to the agreement, the city will no longer pursue lawsuits aimed at halting Wynn Resorts from building a $1.7 billion gambling complex in nearby Everett. Wynn also agreed to abandon a defamation lawsuit resulting from the many months of conflict between the parties.
The Boston Globe reports that the agreement involves the Wynn Resorts agreeing “to slightly sweeten the deal” already decided upon two years before when the Massachusetts Gaming Commission had ruled the Wynn would have to pay the city of Boston $1.6 million each year to balance out the financial impact the casino would have on Boston, plus another $25 million to help with traffic issues that will result.
The new agreement increases the annual payment to $2 million over the 15-year deal (a total increase of $6 million) while keeping the $25M expenditure. Additionally the Wynn will pay another $750,000 to help with the city’s legal costs which the Globe reports have totaled $1.9 million.
Last month a Suffolk County Superior Court Judge dismissed one lawsuit filed by Boston against Wynn Resorts, affirming that the state’s Gaming Commission had acted properly when issuing its license to Wynn Resorts to build in Everett. That ruling no doubt increased the likelihood of this week’s agreement, following which both sides showing optimism going forward.
A statement from Wynn Resorts following the agreement expressed a desire “to turn the page in our relationship with the City of Boston and begin a new chapter that will culminate with a beautiful, five-star resort overlooking Boston Harbor.” Meanwhile the Globe quotes Walsh stating “We don’t want to look at the past.... We agreed: Let’s try to move forward. We’ve both put the past behind us.”
The planned-for three-million square-foot resort, a rendering of which appears above, includes a 24-floor tower casino overlooking Mystic River. The current target date for opening is late 2018.
Read more about the agreement and plans at The Boston Globe.
Super Bowl Betting to Reach $4.2 Billion (Mostly Illegal), Says AGA
The conference championships are done and the final two teams are set for Super Bowl 50. The AFC champion Denver Broncos will take on the NFC champion Carolina Panthers on Sunday, February 7 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
Sportsbooks throughout Nevada are already taking wagers on the game as well as on the various prop bets that come with it, but as the American Gaming Association points out the majority of betting on the game, as usual, will be of the illegal variety.
In a report this week, the AGA estimates a total of $4.2 billion will be wagered by Americans on the Super Bowl, with about 97% of that amount being wagered illegally. Last year $115.9 million in bets were placed on the Super Bowl in Nevada sportsbooks, meaning “the illegal market is 35 times greater than the legal marketplace” according to the AGA.
The amount exceeds last year’s estimate from the AGA of $3.8 billion in illegal wagers on the Super Bowl.
Explaining its methodology, the AGA says it “took the most conservative estimate of illegal sports betting activity ($80 billion per year) from the 1999 National Gambling Impact Study Commission’s Final Report,” then “applied GDP growth as reported by the Census Bureau to make this current to today.” Additionally, “the AGA assumed that the proportion of legal gambling activity on the Super Bowl at Nevada sports books is the best available indicator of what proportion it might make up in the illegal market, and applied this ratio to the larger illegal gambling figure.”
Visit the AGA for further details regarding its estimates.
DFS Bill Moves Quickly in California, Gets Favorable Assembly Vote
Finally on the daily fantasy sports front, the California Assembly this week voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new DFS-related bill, voting 62-1 in favor of the Internet Fantasy Sports Game Protection Act (AB 1437) and sending it on to the state’s senate.
The vote came Wednesday folowing a relatively swift movement of the bill up the legislative ladder. Assemblyman Adam Gray only introduced the bill in September 2015, a reworking of an already-existing bill that looked to regulate and license those wishing to offer daily fantasy sports to Californians.
Among the reactions were the observations of some regarding how quickly the DFS bill earned consideration when compared to the ongoing struggle for online poker in California, a cause which Assemblyman Gray has also been attempting to support in the Golden State.
Meanwhile, less surprising was an opinion from Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin this week that DFS constituted gambling and was thus forbidden under the state’s law.
Read more about the vote and prospects for DFS in California in The Los Angeles Times.
Image: Wynn Everett.