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Pennsylvania Slot Revenue Down

August 1, 2017 Category :Regulation Off

According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board report, Pennsylvania casinos recorded a 2.2% decrease in revenue in the latest 2016/2017 fiscal year, compared to last fiscal year, thus breaking a two-year streak of revenue gains. The Board’s report provides monthly revenue figures of all 12 casinos within the state and, according to the numbers, 10 of 12 casinos recorded a decrease in revenue. The total in this fiscal year is $2,336,152,508, which is less than last year’s total of $2,388,658,549.

However, the report only reflects slot machine revenue, while the tax revenue produced through table games is still to come. The final figures will be provided later this month. Even though PGCB bragged about the fact that in seven straight years they managed to generate more than $2.3b just on slots, the fact of the matter is that this figure is below the $2.5b peak recorded by the state in the fiscal 2011/2012.

Only three of 12 casinos in total managed to record year-on-year slots revenue gains in the just finished fiscal year, and none of them had gains that went over 4%. For example, Parx Casino in Philadelphia was down 0.45% to $386.6m. As for the Sands Bethlehem, it saw its slots revenue fall 0.39% to $304.1m. The slot-machine revenue in the Meadows Racetrack and Casino in North Strabane fell 3.6 percent to $217.9 million, and the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh was down 2.5 percent to $265.3 million in slot-machine revenue. The drop of the revenue was recorded in 10 of the last 12 months, but the reasons for such a state were never discussed.

It seems that state government is not that concerned with the current condition of land-based casinos, since they still hold the nation-high 54% tax on slots revenue. Over the last ten fiscal years, since the authorization of slots, the government got $12.1b from slot machines.

This situation could prove to be a perfect opportunity for online gambling, which could provide extra means for funding of the state’s annual spending plan. The land-based casinos’ biggest enemies at the time are thousands and thousands of video gaming terminals located in pubs, bars and clubs, waiting for the bills which will allow them to operate legally. Already the House and the Senate approved the blueprints for gambling expansion, due to the fact that slot machines cannot guarantee an increase in revenue every year.

The state legislators are looking for additional ways to boost their budget, which is why they are slowly turning to online gambling. Online gambling companies are more than prepared to provide additional income to the state, which will result in the legalization of online gambling. However, the plans could be derailed by the resistance in the Senate. President Joe Scarnati told the press that both sides are close to a compromise deal. We will have to wait for the final decision in the following days.

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New Jersey Casinos May Stay Open

July 12, 2017 Category :Regulation Off

After the Legislature failed to pass a budget, New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, shut down the state government, thus forcing the closure of tourist attractions, leaving around 35,000 state workers at home. This fact made the New Jersey officials look for alternative ways to ensure that casinos in Atlantic City remain open during the shutdown, because the closure would create an enormous loss of income.

Thanks to a law passed in 2008, Atlantic City casinos were allowed to remain open for seven days after a government shutdown, because New Jersey already faced a similar situation in the past. In the previous three years five of twelve casinos were shut down, which is why lawmakers and regulators are hoping to find a way to keep the casinos open, due to the fact that they are currently regaining momentum and the closure could be disastrous for them. For the first time in ten years, the casino market in Atlantic City posted its revenue income last year, but they could lose everything very quickly because of the current condition in the state government.

It seems that both sides of the government managed to reconcile their differences before the seven-day period ended, since a new bill, introduced by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senators Jim Whelan and Jeff Van Drew, will allow casinos to remain open indefinitely. Whelan sponsored the original seven-day law in 2008, and now he is hoping that the new bill will further support casinos in their attempt to remain the driving force of the city’s and the region’s economy.

Since Atlantic City is finally turning around, Whelan is positive that a shutdown in casinos would have plenty of negative consequences for the lives of casino workers, their families, as well as for the economy of the city and the entire region. In 2010, Chris Christie signed an executive order, by which employees at the Casino Control Commission became essential. This made plenty of lawmakers question the necessity of such a bill, because the “essential” employees are not affected by the state shutdown.

According to Whelan and the Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo, the S-3421 bill would come as a protection for all hard-working casino employees and the regional economy. More than 50,000 people work in the casino industry and they don’t want to experience the same faith as the workers from state facilities, including parks, historical sites and the Motor Vehicle Commission.

After a long period of hard and challenging times, the city is finally in the early stages of a comeback. It is a well-known fact that Atlantic City is the most important part of the tourism offer in New Jersey, and also a huge part of New Jersey’s economy. The aim of the bill is to secure casinos and regional economy in the event that such a situation occurs again in the future.

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Florida Proposes New Gambling Bill

April 17, 2017 Category :Regulation Off

After State Senate has passed the gambling bill proposed by Senator Bill Galvano, the Florida house considered and passed a different gambling bill than the one passed by the Senate.

Galvano introduced Senate Bill 8 which would allow more casino games and slot machines that would be included at dog and horse racetracks in eight counties. Galvano’s bill was well received in the Senate, as the majority of votes went in favour of passing the Senate Bill 8. Galvano is a fierce advocate of gambling expansion as according to him it is necessary to modernize state laws concerning gambling. As it was expected, the bill on gambling expansion in the state of Florida was not well received by the Seminole tribe whose situation would be compromised if the law allowed more gaming facilities. In response to that, Galvano proposed that craps and roulette could be added to Seminole Tribe Casinos.

However, Senate Bill 8 is not the only bill that deals with the topic of gambling in the state of Florida. Another gambling bill was proposed this week, this time by the House though HB7037. The sponsor of this bill is Representative Mike La Rosa, the chairman of House tourism and gaming subcommittee. His bill gives a completely different view on gambling than the Senate. In fact HB7037 argues against gambling expansion and adds that Seminole tribe could keep blackjack tables and slot machines for the next 20 years but without the addition of any new games. Furthermore the House suggests that the slot machines be limited to tribal casinos, while the tribe would have to pay $3 billion over the next seven years. This is one mutual point in the two opposing bills as Galvano’s Senate Bill 8 also proposes the same payment for Seminole tribe.

While Senate’s bill promises the addition of craps and roulette, it expands slots and blackjack throughout the state, which would terminate the monopoly tribe had over these games. On the other hand the House lets them keep the monopoly but does not allow expansion and still imposes payment. Seminole tribe is not happy with either of the proposed bills stating that both pieces of legislation are in contradiction to the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, being that the tribe does not get much for what they are supposed to pay. This is not a new issue for the state and the tribe as they have been trying to solve it since 2015.

Both Senator Galvano and Representative La Rosa, the sponsors of the two bills in question remain determined in their stances, while the final decision will be made on the annual session which is scheduled for May 5th.

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Casino Expansion in New Hampshire?

March 29, 2017 Category :Regulation Off

Senator Lou D’Allesandro is the next sponsor of the gambling expansion within the state of New Hampshire. He has presented a bill that proposes the construction of two new casinos that would make the state competitive in the casino industry and boost the budget directed to local communities and neighboring towns where the casinos will be built.

Last week, D’Allesandro’s SB 242 passed the Senate with a 13:10 margin which is one step further in his battle and it definitely gives hope. Prior to appearing before the House, the bill will need to get the green light from Senate Finance Committee, whose members have managed to hamper similar ambitions in the past. In 2014, a similar bill reached the House but it was one vote short of approval.

According to Senator Lou D’Allesandro, New Hampshire is not only letting the neighboring states move ahead in the casino industry, but it is also sending their residents to play elsewhere due to the lack of casinos within the state. This is how he comments on the situation:

“While New Hampshire has done nothing, surrounding states now have gaming entities,” he said. “They advertise on our TV stations and we send buses of New Hampshire residents to those other states to gamble. It’s time for New Hampshire to do something. No state that has done this (expanded gaming) has crumbled.”

SB242 proposes the construction of two casinos, one of which would operate under category one license, meaning that it would be able to house between 80 and 160 table games and between 2,000 and 3,500 slots. The other casino would hold category two license, which allows the operators to provide between 750 and 1,500 slot machines and between 25 and 80 tables. A fixed license fee would be set to $80 million for Category 1 license and $40 million for Category 2 license.

New Hampshire is not new to gambling. In fact the struggle to open the casinos has been going on for more than 15 years, but with no results. Currently, New Hampshire gamblers can play at card rooms which are regulated by The Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission. These venues are authorized and provide other gambling activities such as card and table games.

As far as other gambling activities go such as Keno and Daily Fantasy Sports, the legislators in New Hampshire have already filed relevant bills by the beginning of this year. The bill that suggests allowing Keno games at existing gambling locations was proposed by the House this January and successfully passed the voting, while now it is waiting for the hearings of the Senate and Means Committee. These hearings will review another gambling bill – HB 562, which concerns regulation of video gambling.

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Georgia Votes on Casino Bill

February 26, 2017 Category :Regulation Off

Later this week Georgia might make their first step towards legalizing casinos through Senate Bill 79 and Senate Resolution 249 proposed by Senator Brandon Beach. The resolution and the bill aim to allow the construction of two casinos in the state of Georgia. The bill will be presented before the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee first and should it pass, the only thing left will be to get the green light from the Senate.

The legislators in Georgia are determined to legalize casinos, therefore they are starting the year with a new bill which would regulate the terms and condition under which the two predicted casinos would be constructed and operated. Considering the fact that in order to make casinos legal in the state, it would be enough to amend the current legislation that imposes ban on casinos, Senator Beach has introduced Senate Resolution 249 as well. The resolution would be enough to lift the ban, however, detailed regulations must be defined through a new act of law.

Senate Bill 79 proposes the construction of two casinos – one in Atlanta and the other one in Savannah or Georgia coast. The former will have to meet the requirement of being worth $2 billion or more. There will be a 20% tax on annual gambling revenue, while 50% of their income would have to be generated through non-gambling services.

The main reason why the lawmakers in Georgia are advocating for the legalization of casinos is to boost the budget for scholarship program HOPE currently sponsored by lottery. According to SB 79 30% of the tax levy paid by casino operators will be spent on merit based scholarships (HOPE program), 30% would be spent on needs-based scholarship, while the rest will go to healthcare.

The bill and the resolution will be proposed before Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee on Thursday. In case of a favorable outcome, the bill is passed to the Senate for voting and the number of votes Beach will need is 29. Even if this happens the decision process will not be over yet. Once the locations are determined the residents of the areas will have their say on a referendum vote.

Opponents of legalizing casinos will definitely stand against this proposal and, as they did before, try to thwart these attempts. Nevertheless, Beach firmly believes that the bill will pass the Senate and that the state of Georgia will have two new casino resorts.

There is no mention of letting the casinos offer internet gambling, though this would be the next logical step. Should the revenue from casinos start flowing, there is no doubt that the lawmakers will consider exploiting the popularity of USA online casinos and online casino games. As Atlantic City has learned the online side of the business is where the growth is and was Atlantic City’s only increase in revenue for 10 years.

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Mississippi to Get New Casino

February 15, 2017 Category :Regulation Off

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, the only recognized tribe in the state is planning to open the third casino under their operation. The Choctaw Tribal Council, with 16 representatives of all Choctaw communities has approved the construction of the new casino on the Red Water community. The newly-built casino will be called Red Water Casino and it will be the 34th casino in the state of Mississippi and it will be located in Leake County.

According to the press release, the Choctaw Tribal Council held a special meeting on Friday to discuss Resolution CHO 17-033 which aims to expand gaming in the Red Water community. Sixteen council members present at the meeting, who represent the Choctaw communities, voted and the final result of the voting showed that 9 voted in favour of the construction of the new casino and 7 voted against, which means that the Resolution was approved.

The Red Water Casino will spread on 35,000 square feet and it will include casino space, restaurants and entertainment facilities. Within the gaming space there will be 500 machines to play real money slots and 10 tables for live casino games.

Surely it will be a big boost for the Choctaw Indians whose population now counts over 10,000 members. The Choctaw Tribe already operates Pearl River Resort which includes two casinos: Silver Star Hotel and Casino and Golden Moon Hotel and Casino in Neshoba County and the Bok Homa Casino in Sandersville. According to the Tribal Chief Phyliss J. Anderson the new casino will be investment in the future of the tribe. The casino will bring more jobs and more revenue to the Choctaw population. Last year they have managed to refinance the gaming debt thanks to the increase in the annual revenue of their casinos. Hopefully the new casino will bring even more increase.

Indian tribes rely to a great extent on gambling activity as a boost to their economy. Thanks to Indian Gaming Regulatory Act brought in 1988, they have sovereignty on their land and they are able to bring decisions about gaming without the interference of the state. However, this applies only to Class I (social gaming or traditional forms of gambling during celebrations) and Class II gaming (bingo and lottery). If a tribe has the ambition to operate Class III gaming activities (casino games such as slots, blackjack, etc.) then it has to reach an agreement with the state through compacts that will define rules and regulations under which these activities will operate.

Mississippi residents will soon have another casino to enjoy their favorite casino games and slots. This does of course still require you to physically visit the casino. If you want the convenience of playing online from home, see the many USA online casinos we recommend and endorse. These are the most reputable USA online casinos available and some even offer live dealer casino games where you can play at a brick and mortar casino right from the comfort of home. If you like playing table games we highly recommend you check out the USA live dealer casinos available.

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New York and South Carolina Consider Casino Bill

February 11, 2017 Category :Regulation Off

New York and South Carolina are looking to tackle the same legal issues concerning gambling these days. Both states are trying to pass new bills that will allow sports betting in the case of New York and in the case of South Carolina, casino gaming and horse racing as well. The New York State Senate saw S01282 proposed by five Democrats, while in South Carolina State Representative Todd Rutherford put forward House Joint Resolution H3102. Both bills aim to amend the respective state constitution so as to allow for regulated sports betting. Considering the fact that there is a federal ban on sports betting outside of the territory of Nevada, there is not much that these amendments can do, unless the ban is lifted by the US Supreme Court.

According to the New York Amendment, S01282 which is put forward by Senator Tony Avella, the state Senate should decide whether or not they will allow legal sports betting on professional and college sports at casinos, racetracks and off-track gambling houses. This is not the first attempt of Tony Avella to try and pass such legislation, however, not one of his previous attempts had any success. The main catch is that any law that state passes cannot bypass Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

The amendment of South Carolina introduced by Representative Todd Rutherford plans to introduce not only sports betting but also casino gaming activity and horse racing. Currently the State of South Carolina allows only for lottery, bingo on tribal land and casino cruises, which does not include brick-and-mortar casinos. Representative Rutherford proposed H3102 which will have to pass with the majority of votes in the houses and then the referendum.

The main obstacle in both cases is exactly, the aforementioned PASPA, also known as the “Bradley Act” brought in 1993, according to which sports betting is illegal in all states, with the exception of those states that legalized it before the law was brought: Oregon, Delaware, Montana and Nevada. Recently there have been many attempts by several states to repeal PASPA but they were unsuccessful. New Jersey has been trying for years to legalize sports betting but unfortunately it was all in vain. What makes matters even worse for New Jersey is that they had a chance to legalize it at the time PASPA was adopted and they failed to use it. However, New Jersey is not giving up. Their latest appeal with the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals is yet to be dealt with and the outcome of this appeal will largely influence New York’s and South Carolina’s plans for legalizing sports betting.

Another US state that is tackling legal issues concerning gambling is Massachusetts which is considering legalizing online gambling activities such as USA online casinos, fantasy sports and daily fantasy sports. State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg is planning to propose a bill that would allow online gambling and generate more revenue from gambling. The time frame gives her until summer to specify the state’s view on regulating online casino games including real money slots.

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Pennsylvania Gets Closer to Regulation

January 16, 2017 Category :Regulation Off

Pennsylvania is looking to finally solve the issue of online gambling and regulate the market within the state borders. After much turmoil and heated debates over the proposed House bills for legalizing online gambling last year, it seems that there finally is a bright future for regulating online gambling activity in the state. Senator Jay Costa has announced the new bill concerning gaming activity which will touch upon issues such as licenses and tax for online gambling and daily fantasy sports (DFS).

The long-fought battle of pushing the online gambling bill to pass the Senate was initiated by Representative John Payne who retired by the end of last year without seeing his bill passed. The burning issue was the local tax share which was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The tax share involved a fee of $10 million or 2% for revenue higher than $500 million. The Senate reacted to fix the issue, but they by-passed the proposed Payne’s bill and included this new amendment into the previous HB 1887 which did not include clear regulations on internet gambling. The year ended with no clear answer from the Senate regarding HB 2150, which means that Payne’s battles need to be fought all over again starting from point zero, that is, drafting a new bill and sponsoring it from the start.

However, it seems that Payne’s advocating will not be in vain, as Senator Jay Costa has proposed a new bill which tends to solve more or less the same issues as the previous two bills proposed in 2016, including tax fix, daily fantasy sports, online gambling activities such as internet casinos and online lottery.

Senator Costa made this announcement following the discussion regarding online gambling with Senator Kim Ward. The newly-drafted piece of legislation intends to solve local gaming tax issues and propose license fees for land-based casinos. The current number of brick-and-mortar casinos in the state of Pennsylvania is twelve, though not all of them are expected to apply for an online casino license. Those who do apply will have to pay the fee of $10 million which amounts to a number of $100 million for the state, should 10 casinos apply for licenses as it is predicted. Under the new bill, online platforms of independent vendors will also be subject to licensing at the cost of $5 million. As for the taxes, any revenue generated from online gambling activity will be subject to a tax of 25%. Senator Costa also included the regulation of daily fantasy sports proposing a licensing fee of $2.5 million and a tax rate of 25% and the possibility of organizing online lottery.

This is definitely a good sign for all Pennsylvania players, as they are finally looking at the prospect of gambling at regulated USA online casinos, however, it is yet unclear whether the new legislation will allow online poker.

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To Ban or Not to Ban

December 30, 2016 Category :Regulation Off

legislateThe turmoil around online gaming in the USA continues, as the opponents of legalized online gambling are trying to use the current political circumstances and flip the coin over to their side. Ten state attorney generals have addressed the Presidential transition team, namely Vice President-Elect Mike Pence with the urge to reinstate America’s Wire Act from 1961 where all forms of online gambling would be banned except DFS (daily fantasy sports) and betting on horse racing. While President-Elect Trump has not yet expressed any attitude on this issue, the advocates of online gambling have already stepped up with counter arguments. Nevada Representative Dina Titus fought back with the same weapon also sending a letter to Pence explaining why online gambling should not be banned.

Currently, online gambling is legally regulated in three states: Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware while there are several other states interested in legalizing online gambling such as Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Online casinos from these three states are the only fully regulated and legal USA Online Casinos where online gambling is allowed at the state level and regulated and licensed by a United States government body.

Restoration of America’s Wire Act would ban online gambling on a federal level where only daily fantasy sports and horse racing would be legal in the governments eyes. This bill was proposed in 2015 to the Congress spurred on by the biggest opponent of online gambling, land-based casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. Now the advocates of banning online gambling are set to use the transition period in the White House and put the proposal on the table again. This resulted in ten Attorney Generals signing a letter in which they appeal to the Vice President and Presidential transition team to acknowledge the dangers of online gambling. Some of the reasons stated in the letter are the fact that online gambling can cause addiction and result in divorce, domestic violence and even suicide. The letter emphasizes the problem of youth being overly exposed to gambling which cannot be controlled in case of remote gambling. Furthermore they point out the dangers of increased criminal activity and money laundering.

According to Nevada Congresswoman, Dina Titus this letter contains misinformation and inaccuracies so she felt obligated to clarify these points and give counter arguments. In her letter, Titus points out that the online gambling industry is responsible for the operation of the largest companies in the world as well as many smaller casinos. Banning online gambling would have a detrimental effect on employment and the economy of these states.

Furthermore, she explains that the internet gambling activity is strictly regulated and monitored, and “there are extensive consumer protections in place that are enforced by state law enforcement authorities”. Concerning the problem of youth gambling Titus noted: “In Nevada, where there are effective controls in place to verify age and location, there has not been a single reported instance of minors playing poker online.”

One important question comes up amidst this ongoing debate. What is the role of Sheldon Adelson in this matter? The casino billionaire is known to be a fierce advocate of banning online gambling and he has sponsored many initiatives in that direction. Given that he also contributed financially to the Republican presidential campaign, there are speculations that his chances of banning online gambling are higher than ever.

So what does this all mean to the USA online casino player?

In short it really means nothing. Only if you live in Nevada, New Jersey or Delaware are you able to play at an online casino or poker room which is regulated and licensed by a United States governing body. The rest of us who live outside these three states all use offshore online casinos where you can play real money online casino games anytime the mood strikes. Play real money slots, table games and video poker and do so at the best and most reputable USA online casinos available. These online casinos are all licensed and regulated and USA players can enjoy all the games they offer. Some USA online casinos even offer live casino games where you can play popular games like blackjack and roulette against a real person using a live streaming feed.

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