State of the Union: A look at the week that was in North America

Queens casino controversial among politicians

Businessman Steve Cohen’s plan to build a casino in Queens adjacent to the Mets’ Citi Field earlier this week got the endorsement of a city councilman, but a state senator said Cohen has not been “open and transparent,” according to the New York Post.

State Senator Jessica Ramos, who appears to back a Genting Resorts World project, took issue with Cohen’s lobbying strategy. Any downstate casino will need legislative approval in Albany. Cohen is partnered with Hard Rock in his proposed venture.

Queens Councilman Francisco Moya told the NYP that “If we fail to seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we ensure that the area around Citi Field remains underutilised parking lots for the foreseeable future; and we permanently stymie the future growth potential of Queens. Let’s not allow that to happen.”

In March, the New York State Gaming Commission said it won’t decide who gets the three available licences until late 2025.

Louisiana to ban college player prop bets

The NCAA last week made a public plea for a national ban on college player prop bets, and Louisiana’s regulator 1 April followed up by announcing that it will prohibit that betting market from the 1 August:

Here’s the bulletin announcing the incoming ban on college player prop betting in Louisiana: pic.twitter.com/esXdsIbrhc

— Geoff Zochodne (@GeoffZochodne) April 3, 2024

Stripped down Alabama gambling bill goes to conference

Alabama’s House refused to concur with a stripped-down version of the comprehensive gaming bill that it sent to the Senate 4 April, and the issue will now go to a conference committee, according to the Associated Press.

The House previously passed a gambling bill that would have brought 10 brick-and-mortar casinos, lottery, and retail and digital sports betting to the state. The Senate stripped out all sports betting, added electronic gaming machines at dog tracks, and lowered the number of retail casinos.

Either proposal would be a constitutional amendment that would go to the voters. Lawmakers have more than a month to conference and send a proposal back to the House and Senate floors. The legislature is set to adjourn 20 May.

New offerings

Circa Sports started taking bets in Kentucky 1 April, marking the company’s first launch since going live in Illinois last September, according to a company press release. The launch means that those in Kentucky now have eight wagering platforms to choose from. Circa Sports is also live in Colorado, Iowa, and Nevada.

In Mississippi, DraftKings opened a new brick-and-mortar casino at the Golden Nugget. The book features the largest seamless screen on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the company announced. And in New Jersey, Prime Sportsbook soft-launched in New Jersey 31 March, its second market after Ohio.

Golden Nugget holds grand opening for new DraftKings Sportsbook https://t.co/GouCCsc5h2

— WLOX (@WLOX) March 29, 2024

Poll: Nevadans want a lottery

A Noble Predictive Insights poll of 829 registered voters held 27 February-5 March revealed the 75 percent of Nevadans support introducing a state lottery. Nevada is one of five US states that does not currently have a lottery.

Support for a lottery is bipartisan, according to the poll, and 82 percent of Democrats are in favor vs. 71% of Independents/Others. Whether or not to allow a lottery is one of five ballot measures that Nevada voters will consider in November.

Digital sports betting NOT coming to Nebraska

Following a public-opinion poll that revealed that 57% of those polled would vote yes to a constitutional amendment that would expand legal sports betting to online platforms, backers won’t run one, according to the Lincoln Star-Journal. Though the number is more than the 50% needed to pass an amendment, it is not high enough to convince backers to move forward.

“If you’re at 57 (% support), it creates some possibility that you could lose unless you really were to put substantial resources into it,” Lance Morgan of WarHorse Gaming told the Star-Journal “It doesn’t make any sense to go to war unless you have a war chest lined up.”

WarHorse partnered with BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and FanDuel to run the poll.

LSU-Iowa women’s game record setting

Though none of the major operators released hard numbers, all reported that the LSU-Iowa women’s basketball Elite Game 1 April was the most bet on women’s sporting event in history. According to ESPN, viewership for the Sweet 16 was up 96 percent.

The 2024 #NCAAWBB Sweet 16 was the most-watched on record

2.4M viewers, up 96% year-over-year
@IowaWBB/@CUBuffsWBB drew 6.9M viewers on ABC
Registered 4 of 5 most-viewed Sweet 16 games on record#MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/UjNo3YIuAq

— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) April 2, 2024

Led by superstar Caitlin Clark, Iowa beat LSU to advance to the Final Four, which starts 5 April in Cleveland. The Connecticut-USC game was also in the top three most bet women’s sports events at BetMGM, according to USA Today.

ICYMI on iGB

Tribal leader wants to bring art of compromise to national stage

Responsible gaming a top-line priority two years in in Ontario

Bally’s shareholder blasts ‘woeful’ takeover bid

DOI requests another extension from SCOTUS in Florida sports betting case

Fanatics goes live in Arizona