State-By-State Gambling & Legislative Impact Of Coronavirus

State-By-State Gambling & Legislative Impact Of Coronavirus
© USA Today

As more states begin to reopen certain activities, here is where gambling stands in each state and where the General Assembly sessions are as some states consider sports betting legislation.

Online casino gambling is legal in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia (going live in mid July). Online poker is legal in those states plus Nevada. Michigan has legalized online casinos with a target launch date of later this year.

Social casinos, such as Chumba, are legal even in states that ban online gaming.

Alabama

CASINOS: Wind Creek's three Alabama casinos — Atmore, Wetumpka and Montgomery — had a soft reopening for small groups of invited guests on June 4, followed by the public reopening on June 8. New health and social-distancing measures include temperature checks for guests and employees and masks or face coverings are required for everyone. Visitors were asked to bring their own masks, but they will be available at the facilities for a small donation supporting local first responders, health care providers, and COVID-19 patient relief. To accommodate social distancing, casinos limited the number of guests on the floor to roughly one-third of normal operations. Other casinos in the state have reopened or are getting ready to reopen under a "Safer At Home" order that was recently expanded to include casinos, camps and theaters.

LEGISLATURE: The legislature returned May 4 to pass the state's two budgets and adjourned on May 18. Gov. Kay Ivey on May 18 signed the spending bills, according to published reports. "While we have yet to know the full impact of COVID-19 on our state, these budgets will ensure continuity of government, while being fiscally responsible," Ivey said in a statement. Two gambling issues — establishing a state lottery and allowing the Poarch Band of Creek Indians to have casinos — did not gain traction in the abbreviated legislative session, according to the Associated Press.

Alaska

CASINOS: There are no casinos in Alaska. State law allows for bingo halls and pull-tab games.

LEGISLATURE: The legislature passed emergency coronavirus legislation March 29. It allows Alaska to combat health and economic issues from the pandemic, according to the Anchorage Daily News. Access to the capitol in Juneau has been limited to lawmakers, staff, administration officials and credentialed media.

Arizona

CASINOS: Navajo Nation has approved $24.6 million in coronavirus federal funding to help pay the tribe’s 1,100 gaming employees, as part of more than $475 million in CARES Act funding, according to a news release. Four casinos in Arizona and New Mexico were closed by the tribe in March, but continued to pay its employees until late July.

Gila River Casinos, which owns Lone Butte, Vee Quiva and Wild Horse Pass casinos, reopened them on July 2 after closing the casinos in mid-June because of employees' coronavirus concerns, according to Phoenix ABC affiliate KNXV-TV. They had initially reopened on May 15. During the closure, the company said it re-examined and enhanced safety measures at the three casinos.

Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino in Maricopa and Fort McDowell Casino near Fountain Hills reopened on May 15 under strict health and social distancing guidelines. Gov. Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order expired that day.

Talking Stick Resort and Casino Arizona in Scottsdale reopened June 1, according to published reports. Desert Diamond's West Valley Casino plans to reopen June 5, according to a news release. Desert Diamond's other casinos will be closed at least through May.

Bucky’s Casino and Yavapai Casino in Prescott Valley announced on their website that they reopened on June 1. Mazatzal Hotel & Casino in Payson said on its website that it will begin a "phased reopening" on May 21.

LEGISLATURE: Legislature leaders reconvened May 1 and ended the current session, which had been on recess since March 27 because of the coronavirus. It pushed some pending bills, including sports betting, into the next legislative session.


RELATED: Get The Latest Coronavirus Related News On Cancellations & Postponements


Arkansas

CASINOS: Casinos in the state have lost more than $1.4 billion in gaming terminal wagers this year, according to a report from KTBS, an ABC-TV affiliate in Shreveport, Louisiana. Gaming income has slowly been rebounding in Arkansas since casinos reopened after months of post-coronavirus shutdowns.

Sports betting live at Southland Casino in West Memphis after the sportsbook was shut down because of the coronavirus. Delaware North, parent company of Southland Casino, said in a news release that betting kiosks will be placed at various spots on the casino grounds, and the sportsbook will be in Southland's Sports Bar & Grill and in the second level racing mezzanine, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

The Oaklawn Park sportsbook was the only one in the state to reopen in mid-July. It took in $179,315 in total handle for the month but had payouts of $198,948, resulting in a loss of $19,633, according to the July gaming report from the Arkansas Racing Commission. The sportsbooks at Southland and Saracen were closed for all of July.

The Democrat-Gazette reported that a committee seeking a constitutional amendment to allow for 16 more casinos in the state dropped its challenge to the secretary of state's denial to put the proposal on the Nov. 3 ballot. The request to the state Supreme Court ends the effort to get the measure before voters. If the amendment made the ballot and was passed by voters in November, casino licenses would be issued for 16 casinos — two in Pulaski County; two in Crittenden County; and one each in 12 other counties.

The Arkansas Racing Commission on July 30 denied an appeal by Cherokee Nation Businesses over the awarding of a casino license to Gulfside Partnership in Pope County, according to KATV. A spokesperson for CNB said it is looking at other legal options.

The three casinos in the state reopened on May 18 under new capacity limits and health guidelines, according to a story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Casinos will be limited to one-third of their capacity, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. The casinos had been closed since March 17. The limit was increased to two-thirds capacity in June.

LEGISLATURE: The capitol has been closed, but the legislature recently convened at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock arena. Members of the house followed social distancing guidelines by spreading out throughout the Jack Stevens Center and approved emergency coronavirus funding. Hutchinson delivered his State of the State address on April 8 as the house met at the Stevens Center and the senate in the state capitol. Three lawmakers in the state have tested positive for coronavirus.

California

CASINOS: Two card rooms in San Jose, Bay 101 and Casino M8trix, will operate outdoors under giant tents to allow for social distancing. The plan to reopen the two card rooms outside passed 10-1 at city council on Sept. 1, according to sanjosespotlight.com.

The state Supreme Court ruled that the North Fork Mono Indian Tribe can proceed with a casino in Madera County along Highway 99, according to The Business Journal. Former Gov. Jerry Brown was within his right to agree with a federal ruling in 2011 that led to two “off reservation” tribal gaming projects in Madera and Yuba counties being approved. The casino and hotel resort has been planned for nearly two decades.

Stars Casino in Tracy, in the central part of the state, moved its tables outdoors, becoming the first card room in California allowed to operate outdoors. Closed voluntarily because of the coronavirus pandemic, Stars set up tables on its back patio and allowed for fewer players, according to broadcast reports. Usually with about 30 to 40 players, the card room now has about a dozen, with three or four players per table, the reports said.

The Quechan Casino in Winterhaven, closed since mid-March, has reopened with new social-distancing and health measures in place, according to its website.

Fantasy sports provider Monkey Knife Fight and AEG entered an agreement for three Los Angeles area pro sports teams. Monkey Knife Fight will be the exclusive fantasy sports partner for the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and MLS’ Los Angeles Galaxy, and an official partner for the American Hockey League’s Ontario Reign, according to a news release. MKF also has partnership deals in Southern California with the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers and MLB’s San Diego Padres.

Cardroom operators have asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to order tribal casinos closed as the state’s coronavirus cases experience a spike, according to the Times of San Diego. The California Gaming Association wrote a letter to Newsom, pointing out that his July 1 directive closed all of the cardrooms in certain counties, but not the tribal casinos. Cardrooms and tribal casinos are on opposite sides regarding several issues surrounding California gaming, including sports betting.

A coalition of California tribes has been given an extension to acquire enough signatures to get its sports betting measure on the 2022 election ballot. Superior Court Judge James Arguelles, in a tentative ruling posted on July 1, gave the Coalition to Authorize Regulated Sports Wagering until Oct. 12 to submit signatures. Arguelles made the ruling official on July 2 during a hearing in Sacramento.

Health officials in San Diego County said they are working with tribes to investigate several coronavirus cases that may be connected to several of their local casinos, according to NBC7 in San Diego. Viejas Casino and Resort in Alpine reopened May 18, according to the Associated Press. Other San Diego County casinos have reopened — Sycuan Casino Resort near El Cajon, Jamul Casino in Jamul and Valley View Casino & Hotel near Valley Center. Sycuan reopened May 20; Jamul reopened May 21; Valley View, Pala Casino Spa & Resort and Harrah's Resort Southern California reopened May 22; and Barona Casino & Resort reopened May 27.

Three San Francisco-area casinos have either reopened or are planning to reopen. Graton Resort & Casino reopened on June 18; the San Pablo Lytton Casino said on Facebook it has reopened; and River Rock Casino reopened June 29.

The Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians in Southern California reopened Casino Pauma on June 12, according to published reports.

A notice was issued by Colusa County health officials on June 5 warning of potential coronavirus exposure at the Colusa Casino Resort in northern California, according to CBS 13. The possible exposure occurred on June 1.

Many other casinos in the state have reopened. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, operated by the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, reopened June 2 with new health and social-distancing guidelines in place, according to the Desert Sun of Palm Springs.

Cache Creek Casino Resort near Sacramento reopened June 8, according to its website. Three other tribal casinos reopened on the same day — Jackson Rancheria, Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln and Red Hawk Casino in Placerville. They will have new health and social-distancing measures in place. There will be hand sanitizers in the gaming areas, and players must have temperature checks and wear face masks, according to published reports.

More Southern California casinos reopened May 22. The casinos reopening that day — Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella and Tortoise Rock Casino in Twentynine Palms; and Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa near Cabazon.

The Pechanga Tribe reopened the Pechanga Resort Casino, located about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, on June 1. Limited gaming was allowed at the reopening.

The Press-Enterprise of Riverside has an updated list of Southern California casino reopenings.

LEGISLATURE: State Sen. Bill Dodd pulled a constitutional amendment, SCA 6, from being considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 23, according to Bloomberg News. This likely pushes implementation of sports betting to 2023 — if it gets on the 2022 ballot and voters approve it. The legislation by Dodd and Assemblyman Adam Gray was met by opposition from California tribes at every hearing since it was introduced in May. That’s why Dodd ended the effort to get the referendum on the ballot, Chris Palmeri, Los Angeles bureau chief for Bloomberg News, reported June 22.

The legislature, which had recessed because of the pandemic, returned recently to work on passing a budget. Gov. Gavin Newsom has to sign it before July.

The original California stay at home order in the state has had an effect on the state's tribes getting enough signatures to have a sports betting measure placed on the November ballot. The tribe needs about a million valid signatures to get the question on the ballot and the signatures need to be verified by the state. With California residents banned from public contact, getting the required signatures for sports betting and other ballot initiatives could be difficult, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Not getting the measure on the ballot actually could lead to a better bill. The current measure does not allow for mobile sports betting.

Newsom said at a news conference on May 18 that pro sports and sporting events in the state could return in the first week of June without fans.

Colorado

CASINOS: William Hill’s mobile app went live in the state on Wednesday, just in time for the start of the 2020 NFL season. Former Broncos wide receiver and two-time Super Bowl champion Rod Smith placed the ceremonial first bet Wednesday, according to a news release. His wager was on the Broncos to win on Sept. 14 (they lost), along with a prop bet that Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce will score the first touchdown.

TheScore Bet launched in the emerging Colorado mobile sports betting market on Sept. 2. TheScore Bet, which received approval from the Colorado Division of Gaming on Aug. 5, gained market access with a deal through a subsidiary of U.S. gaming operator Jacobs Entertainment Inc. in January.

Since launching sports betting on May 1, the state has had about $123 million wagered in the state. The total amount wagered in Colorado in July was $59,183,620, compared to June’s $38,136,949, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue Division of Gaming's latest report. Mobile betting was $58,600,805 in July, 99% of the total wagered. Retail was just $582,815. Gross Gaming Revenue in July was $5,196,598, a 49.2% increase over June’s $3,484,015.

The Ute Mountain Casino in Towaoc, operated by the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, reopened on Aug. 20 with new social distancing and health measures in place. It had been closed since March 18 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Elite Casino Resorts has announced in a news release that it received approval from the state's Division of Gaming to launch the Elite Sportsbook. Elite Sportsbook will offer mobile and online betting through www.elitesportsbook.com. A mobile app will also be available. Customers can bet from their phone while in Colorado and betting kiosks will be available at Red Dolly Casino in Black Hawk. The news release said it will be the only sportsbook in Colorado to offer a progressive parlay.

One of the state’s licensed sportsbooks, Sportsbetting.com, launched a $1,000,000 Pro Football Pick ‘Em contest that is free to enter for state residents, according to a news release. The Carousel Group owns the website, which started taking bets Sept. 1. Contest entry is open now.

PointsBet announced on Aug. 7 that it will become the official and exclusive sports betting partner of the professional teams and venue owned by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment in Colorado — the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League and the Pepsi Center, where the teams play, according to a news release.

Johnny Nolon's and Colorado Grande, both of Cripple Creek, have opened retail sportsbook operations, according to the Division of Gaming's website. Johnny Nolon's went live on Aug. 1, while Colorado Grande went live on Aug. 3. There are now seven retail sportsbooks up and running in Colorado.

Former Denver Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith has been named chief brand ambassador for Denver Sports Betting, a sports betting analysis website, according to published reports. Smith will be involved in marketing content and working with the community. The Broncos announced sports betting partnership agreements with FanDuel, BetFred and BetMGM in June and July, becoming the first NFL team with such deals.

State casinos are hoping to get a measure to increase betting limits and to add new casino games in Cripple Creek, Black Hawk and Central City on the November ballot, according to published reports. If approved, it would take effect in 2021. The group behind the initiative has submitted nearly twice the number of signatures to the secretary of state required to get the referendum on the ballot, the reports said.

Colorado had a 49% increase in sports betting handle in June, the second month of legal sports wagering in the state. The total amount wagered in Colorado in June was $38,136,949, according to a Colorado Department of Revenue Division of Gaming release. The state saw $25,621,761 bet in May. June sports betting revenue was $3,484,015, a 36% increase over May's $2,565,729.

William Hill has launched its first sports betting kiosks at the Isle Casino Hotel and Lady Luck Casino in Black Hawk. William Hill said in a news release that it will provide localized futures and odds catered specifically for the Colorado market.

The Ameristar Casino Black Hawk opened its retail sportsbook on July 21, according to the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission website. It is the fifth retail sportsbook in the state, joining Monarch Casino Black Hawk, Saratoga Casino Black Hawk, Wildwood Casino (BetWild) and Mardi Gras Casino in Black Hawk. DraftKings opened a temporary retail sportsbook at the Mardi Gras Casino on July 10. The temporary DraftKings sportsbook is located on the first floor of the casino, which is owned by Twin River Holdings. Casinos in the state began reopening June 15.

The Monarch Casino in Black Hawk, which reopened in mid June, says it is expanding its operation and adding 516 hotel rooms, four restaurants and more gaming in the process. according to Denver NBC-TV affiliate KUSA. It is looking to hire 250 people, the report said.

On July 14, theScore secured Gaming Laboratories International GLI-33 certification in Colorado, part of the regulatory approval process needed for permission to offer sports betting in the state. John Levy, the founder and CEO of theScore, said his company had also received the same approval in Indiana days earlier.

Circa Sports and BetWild recently joined other online sportsbooks in the state, according to the gaming commission website. Circa has a partnership with Century Casinos, a gaming company in Colorado Springs that operates casinos in Cripple Creek and Century City, along with others in North America. Circa does not plan to open retail sportsbooks at the Colorado casinos, The Colorado Springs Gazette reported. Amelco, a UK gaming company, helped launch BetWildwood, the first online sportsbook to launch under Wildwood Casino in Cripple Creek’s online betting license, according to published reports.

The state launched its sports betting market on May 1, as originally planned. The sportsbooks in Colorado now up and running are BetMGM, BetMonarch (Monarch Casino Resort), BetRivers, BetWild, Circa, DraftKings, FanDuel, FOX Bet, SBK and Sky Ute.

Monarch Casino Black Hawk joined Saratoga Casino Black Hawk as retail sportsbooks operational in the state. Saratoga recently accepted the first retail sports bet at its sportsbook, which is operated by Betfred USA. Monarch is also up and running, according to the gaming control commission's website.

Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) has obtained a Vendor Minor sports betting license for its flagship affiliate site WSN.com from the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission, the company said in a news release. GiG Media is now active in seven states.

Betsson, a gaming company headquartered in Stockholm, announced on June 29 that it has entered into a 10-year agreement with Dostal Alley Casino, a Central City Black Hawk casino, to offer sports betting. It will be Betsson's first entry into the growing U.S. sports betting market.

Casinos in Teller County's Cripple Creek reopened June 15 after receiving approval from state health officials. Among the new guidelines: Only slot machines were available at first and temperatures of customers were checked. They must also wear masks. Gilpin County casinos reopened on June 17 to long lines, according to published reports. The county, home to Black Hawk and Central City, where more than half of the state’s casinos are located, began a phased reopening. Colorado casinos had been closed since mid-March.

The Sky Ute Casino Resort said it will launch the Sky Ute SportsBook, a new mobile sports betting app, according to its website. The casino is located in the southwest corner of the state on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation in Ignacio. It is believed to be the first Native American sportsbook.

In its first month, Colorado sportsbooks saw bettors place $25.5 million in wagers, according to an email from the gaming control commission. Sports betting went live in the state on May 1 despite sports and casinos being shut down.

The commission spent nearly all of its five-hour meeting on May 21 considering a change to Gaming Regulation 30-1401, the tiered tax rate the casinos pay. Commission members heard testimony from, among others, the municipalities that would face budget shortfalls because of a reduced rate, and the Colorado Gaming Association, which said lowering the rate would help the state's 33 casinos rebound from being closed since mid-March. The commission unanimously voted to keep the current tax rate tiers for Fiscal Year 2021 while acknowledging the pain suffered by all from the coronavirus.

Century Casinos, Inc. announced May 19 that it has reached an agreement with bet365 to become the company's second internet sports betting operator partner in the state, according to a news release. Century, through a subsidiary, has a master license. bet365 will have to be approved by the state gaming board.

International Game Technology (IGT) announced in a news release on May 19 that its PlaySports platform will power retail and mobile sports betting at Wild Card Saloon and Sasquatch Casino in Black Hawk. Both casinos are owned and operated by Ed & Shirley's Inc.

A story in the Denver Post reported that the most popular sport to gamble on among Coloradans since sports betting launched has been table tennis, which had the most bets by volume and dollar amount in the first 10 days, according to DraftKings data. UFC was second, followed by Korean baseball and Belarus Premier League Soccer, according to The Post.

BonusFinder.com says it has been granted a Colorado license. It also operates in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Indiana.


More On Colorado Sports Betting:


LEGISLATURE: The legislature ended its temporary adjournment on May 26 and practiced social-distancing measures throughout the state capitol. On March 14, the legislative session was suspended. The legislature must pass a state budget. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled April 1 that state lawmakers don’t have to meet for 120 consecutive days during a declared public health emergency, according to the Denver Post.

Connecticut

CASINOS: Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket and the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville had soft reopenings on May 30, two days earlier than they had originally planned to reopen. Gov. Ned Lamont, who had been at odds with the tribes over reopening, was on board with their plans. He announced on May 29 that the casinos "took to heart some of the thoughts we had" and were allowed to reopen early. They reopened to the public on June 1. The casinos had been working on new social distancing and health guidelines. Hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes were prevalent throughout the casinos and every other slot machine was open to create proper distances between players. Body temperatures were checked as patrons entered the building and cards were swapped out more frequently at each table.

LEGISLATURE: Lamont has selected Rob Simmelkjaer, 48, who spent his career working at NBC Sports and ESPN to be the next chairman of the Connecticut Lottery Corp. governing board. After NBC Sports and ESPN, Simmelkjaer founded Persona Media, a Norwalk, Connecticut-based social media startup.

The legislature ended its session early on April 21. The state has awarded Scientific Games Corp. a new, five-year contract to serve as the Connecticut Lottery's primary instant game provider, according to a news release April 13. The deal increases the company's partnership with the state, becoming primary provider. Scientific Games has been a supplier of instant games to Connecticut for more than 40 years, the release said.


RELATED: Online Gaming Could Help Offset Post-COVID-19 Economic Downturn


Delaware

CASINOS: The state had $19,834,956 in iGaming handle in August, according to the Delaware Lottery’s figures. That’s down slightly from the $20,782,682 in July handle but about 58% higher than the $12.5 million the state saw in August 2019. August was the third consecutive month that the handle dropped since Delaware set a record for iGaming handle in May at $29.5 million. But August was still the fourth-best month in state history – all coming in the past four months. The iGaming revenue in August was $808,623, a 14.3% increase over July’s $705,533.

The state had $705,533 in online casino gambling revenue in July, a 144% increase from July 2019’s $288,675, but down 26.8% from June 2020. In June, the lottery had $964,607 in revenue. Total iGaming handle in July was $20,782,681, a 162% increase from the $7,918,402 handle in July of last year. In June 2020, Delaware had $23,829,572 in iGaming handle. Delaware had set state records for iGaming handle in April and May, topping $28 million both months.

Dover Downs had a net loss of $2.36 million in the second quarter thanks to a long closure related to COVID-19, the Delaware State News reported.

The state’s iGaming handle fell by nearly $6 million in June compared to May, halting Delaware’s momentum in that category. Delaware had set state record for iGaming handle in both April and May. Still, June’s figure of $23,829,573 was the third-best in state history; the past three months have been the only ones where handle has cleared $20 million. Net revenue was $964,607 in June, down 15% from the record $1,134,900 in May.

Delaware Lottery and online gaming firm 888 have extended their iGaming deal by an additional two years, according to IGB. Under the partnership, which began in 2013, the lottery can offer a range of casino and poker games and allow Delaware players to compete against New Jersey and Nevada players.

Casinos reopened on June 1 under new health and social-distancing guidelines. The state's stay-at-home order was in place through May. Casinos had to present a safety plan, keep capacity at 30%, have eight feet between slots and other gaming machines and disinfect those machines every 15 minutes to two hours, according to published reports. Horse racing tracks also resumed racing without fans on June 1.

Even though the state is losing revenue from casinos being closed since mid-March, Vernon Kirk, director of the state lottery, told The News Journal of Wilmington, Delaware, that there is no timetable for adding mobile sports betting. Kirk said it is not on the lottery's "front burner." Sports betting is available at the three brick-and-mortar casinos — Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington — but not through mobile, even though it is legal in the state.

Delaware's May iGaming report showed that revenue was $1,134,900. That was a 33% increase over April’s $856,182, the previous high for the state. The May figure also was a 262% increase year over year from last May’s $313,648, according to the Delaware Lottery, which oversees gaming in the state. The May total iGaming handle was $29,485,079, a slight increase over April’s $28,496,616 — which easily had been the state’s biggest month.


RELATED: Learn more about Delaware sports betting and gaming


LEGISLATURE: The state's presidential primary, originally scheduled for April 28 but moved to June 2 because of the coronavirus, has now been postponed to July 7, according to PBS station WHYY in Philadelphia. The legislature began meeting virtually on May 26; in-person sessions were suspended in March.

Florida

CASINOS: The Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee will reopen on Aug. 31 at 11 a.m., according to a post on its website. It will reopen with new social-distancing and health measures in place, including temperature checks before entering and wearing masks. Every other slot machine will be turned off, also.

A Miami casino has filed a lawsuit arguing that insurers should cover financial losses stemming from the facility being shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to West Palm Beach CBS-TV affiliate WPEC. The report said the lawsuit was filed in a South Florida federal court in South Florida by Magic City Casino operators. The suit says four insurance companies denied coverage for losses from “business interruption.”

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez on July 2 announced that casinos, strip clubs, movie theaters and other entertainment venues would have to close after being allowed to open through a June 4 order, according to the Miami Herald. Because of the spread of the coronavirus in the state again, he also announced a 10 p.m. curfew that begin July 3 in the city.

On June 26, the state prohibited the consumption of alcohol at bars because coronavirus cases across Florida have spiked. According to the state order, restaurants can serve alcohol on site and bars are allowed to sell alcohol to go.

Calder Casino in Miami Gardens had reopened June 12, according to Churchill Downs Inc., whileGulfstream Park reopened its casino on June 18. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Seminole Casino Coconut Creek and Seminole Classic Casino reopened in mid-June in South Florida with new health and social-distancing guidelines in place. Temperature checks upon entering and face masks are among the new safety initiatives.

Penn National announced it has reopened the Sanford Orlando Kennel Club.

The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Room in Tampa reopened on May 21. After the initial customers entered to new health and social-distancing measures, people waited in line into the evening to get in. The new guidelines including having the poker room at 50% capacity (23 of 46 tables); active tables with Plexiglass dividers; games run at a maximum of 6 handed; and employees and guests were required to wear masks (gloves are optional); and cards and chips were cleaned on a regular basis, according to the casino's website.

Some restaurants and stores in Florida were allowed to reopen at 25% capacity on May 4.

LEGISLATURE: Gov. Ron DeSantis in mid-May said that professional sports teams are welcome to practice and play — without fans — in Florida if they can’t hold practices or games in their own states, according to published reports. Earlier that week Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey made the same offer to pro sports teams. Florida has already hosted live UFC events without fans.

The legislative session ended March 13 without sports betting legislation and without a new compact deal with the Seminole Tribe, which had been paying $350 million a year to the state.


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Georgia

CASINOS: There are no casinos in Georgia. The state lottery hit a record with $1.24 billion in profit for the 2019-20 fiscal year that ended on June 30, according to the Associated Press. Sales dropped in the immediate wake of coronavirus but recovered enough for Georgia to set sales and profit records for the ninth consecutive year. Having an online lottery option helped the state regain its financial footing in April and May.

LEGISLATURE: The House failed to take up either of the gaming bills on its agenda the final day of the legislature on June 26. That ends any chance for sports betting this year in Georgia. There was some hope when the House Regulated Industries Committee on June 22 approved a resolution seeking a state referendum on legalizing casinos, horse racing and sports betting in the state, according to the Newnan Times-Herald. That came just days after the Senate Special Judiciary Committee on June 19 approved a bill authorizing the Georgia Lottery to operate online sports betting, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The tax revenue would be earmarked for the state’s HOPE scholarship, the paper reported. The latest failure comes after two previous attempts to move a sports betting bill failed earlier this year. House Resolution 378 would have amended the state constitution to allow certain types of sports betting, but the measure never came to a full House vote. The amendment would have permitted casino gambling as well as sports betting, including parimutuels. Senate Bill 403 also dealt with sports betting but it also failed to make the March 12 deadline.

Hawaii

CASINOS: There are no casinos in Hawaii.

LEGISLATURE: A stay-at-home order is in place through May. it was extended by the governor in late April. Hawaii lawmakers on March 17 indefinitely suspended the legislative session, according to the Associated Press. The recess began March 18.

Idaho

CASINOS: The Coeur d'Alene Casino reopened on May 1. The Coeur d’Alene tribe started the process with a limited opening of the Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort Hotel on April 27, followed by the casino's reopening. New health guidelines for casino visitors and employees have been put in place, including masks and fewer games. Other tribal entities and facilities say they will also begin their phased re-openings. Other casinos in the state, including The Nez Perce Tribe planned to open the Clearwater River and It’se Ye-Ye casinos, reopened mid-May.

LEGISLATURE: The senate ended its legislative session on March 19. The house ended its session March 20, according to the Associated Press.

Illinois

CASINOS: Gov. JB Pritzker on Sept. 18 extended remote registration, allowing Illinois sports bettors to sign up online. Pritzker’s executive order would have ended Sept. 19. His extension of the order that suspended in-person registration because of the coronavirus pandemic will be in effect for the top Illinois sportsbooks at least until Oct. 17. Illinois Gaming Board Administrator Marcus Fruchter said during the board's Sept. 17 meeting that 230,000 bettors had registered online since it was allowed.

The Danville City Council voted on Sept. 15 to rezone a piece of land earmarked for a casino project. Danville Development LLC plans to build a casino on the spot of land, then build a larger casino later, according to Champaign ABC-TV affiliate WCIA. The council voted to approve the 8.5-acre land for commercial zoning; it had been an industrial area.

DraftKings made an agreement with Accel Entertainment in the state to help sports bettors register for remote sign-up. According to a news release: “Accel’s more than 2,300 video gaming locations across the entire state of Illinois will promote exclusive DraftKings content and programming across all Accel marketing channels, including the Accel’s in-location digital display screens, to drive awareness of and retention for sports betting among its loyal player base.”

The FanDuel Par-A-Dice retail sportsbook opened in East Peoria on Sept. 10 the same day the NFL kicked off. It is FanDuel’s 12th retail sportsbook in nine states. FanDuel on Aug. 28 became the third mobile sports betting app to go live in the state, joining BetRivers and DraftKings. The app is called the “FanDuel Par-A-Dice Sportsbook.”

The Danville city council has approved a new bid for a casino from Danville Development LLC, according to The News-Gazette. It is planning to build a casino about a mile from a site that was originally planned for the facility, the report said. The first bid by Haven Gaming LLC was withdrawn after the Illinois Gaming Board said it was incomplete. Danville Development will submit a draft application to the mayor's office for approval. If approved it will then apply to the gaming board.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has rolled back in-person registration at casinos — again. Pritzker reinstated the order on Aug. 21 that suspended in-person registration because of the coronavirus pandemic and it will be in effect until at least Sept. 19. From June 4 until July 26 bettors did not have to register at casinos for mobile sports betting. He did not extend his order in late July, but did so on Aug. 21.

Two new sportsbooks opened Aug. 20 in Illinois at Hollywood Aurora and Hollywood Joliet casinos. They are the fifth and sixth retail sportsbooks in the state. The casinos, owned by Penn National Gaming, are about 40-45 miles outside of Chicago.

Sportradar will partner with Chicago-based regional sports network Marquee Sports Network to provide game notes, research support, analytics, and graphics, according to published reports. Marquee is a joint venture between the Chicago Cubs and Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Casinos in Illinois made just over $82.6 million in revenue for July, their first full month since reopening. That was down 28.6% from July 2019. The 10 casinos saw nearly 500,000 admissions combined over the month while operating at 50% capacity as mandated by the state.

Lower tax rates could make a Chicago casino "attractive enough" to development companies, according to a story in the Chicago Sun-Times. A Las Vegas consulting firm was originally pessimistic about the proposition, but lower tax rates could make it feasible.

The DraftKings At Casino Queen retail sportsbook in East St. Louis and the mobile sports betting app went live Aug. 5. The casino is located across the Mississippi River from St. Louis about 300 miles from Chicago.

William Hill opened its first Illinois sportsbook on Aug. 1 at Grand Victoria Casino Elgin about 40 miles west of downtown Chicago, according to a news release from the gaming company. The sportsbook is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The first bet was on the Detroit Tigers on the Money Line. Casinos reopened July 1 in Illinois. The William Hill Sports Book at Grand Victoria Casino is the beginning of William Hill’s expansion into the Illinois sports betting market. Pending regulatory approval, William Hill will soon offer mobile sports betting to fans across the state, the release said.

In addition to approving a sports wagering license for Hawthorne Race Track and making its co-branding rules permanent, the Illinois Gaming Board on July 30 addressed why some sports, including motor sports, PGA events and Korean Baseball, were unavailable to be bet on recently. When the sports were not available at betrivers.com recently, the board said there was an issue on with Rule 1900.120. Fruchter, the IGB administrator, during the meeting said the board received 39 requests to add events on July 23. State law says the IGB must wait 30 days to add the events.

Also during the meeting, the IGB approved Haven Gaming's request to withdraw its Danville casino owners license application. The company plans to resubmit the application at a later date, according to published reports.

Sports bettors will have to again register in-person at a casino in the state before being able to place wagers. Gov. J.B. Pritzker had suspended the in-person requirement in early June because the 10 casinos in the state were closed in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. But his executive order wasn’t extended a second time and the ability to register online expired July 26. The original order, posted June 4, was extended once, but was not among a number of orders that Pritzker reissued on July 24.

PointsBet received a temporary operating permit from the Illinois Gaming Board on July 15, contingent on partner Hawthorne Race Course securing a Master Sports Wagering License, according to a PointsBet news release. DraftKings and FanDuel received temporary operating licenses on July 17.

Rivers Casino has challenged the gaming board’s emergency rule that would allow co-branding for online sports betting, calling the rule invalid, according to the VIXIO Gambling Compliance website. Attorney Paul Gaynor, in the public comment, wrote that the Sports Wagering Act prohibits co-branding by online-only operators, according to Gambling Compliance. He also wrote that the gaming board did not have sufficient cause for the rule, the story said.

The board issued the emergency co-branding rule on May 28. According to the gaming board website, an emergency rule is an adopted rule that becomes immediately effective upon first filing with the Secretary of State and automatically expires after 150 days.

Rush Street Interactive’s Rivers Casino in Des Plaines opened its online sportsbook BetRivers.com on June 18, taking the state's first online/mobile legal sports bet, according to a news release. The Bet Rivers retail sportsbook also took the state’s the first legal sports bet on March 9.

DraftKings will be entering the Illinois sports betting market after reaching a deal with Casino Queen in East St. Louis for market access. "DraftKings can confirm it has a market access deal with Casino Queen per our recent S-1 filing on June 16, 2020,” the company said in a statement on June 30. “We look forward to working with both the Illinois gaming board and Casino Queen to bring our legal sports betting product to Illinois."

When casinos reopened July 1 with new health and social distancing measures in place there were long lines of patrons waiting to get in some casinos, according to published reports. The gaming board announced on June 25 that casino and video gaming operations could resume on July 1 at 9 a.m. “The Gaming Board worked with the Governor’s Office, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to develop a gaming resumption process that protects the public health of patrons and employees, while restarting gaming activities in meaningful way,” Gaming Board Administrator Marcus Fruchter said in a news release. The announcement comes as the state prepares to move into Phase 4 of its reopening plan.

Pritzker signed SB 516 into law, finalizing a gaming package that paves the way for a Chicago casino by reworking existing tax structures, allowing gaming at the State Fair and providing relief during the pandemic, the governor's office announced June 30 in a news release. "After decades of proposals and false-starts, the Chicago casino has now become law, paving the way for a transformative new funding source for Illinois' infrastructure, as well as helping shore up Chicago's own significant pension obligations, in addition to serving as the impetus for a dynamic new entertainment district in our city," Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot said in the release.

Illinois lawmakers approved the Chicago casino on May 23, according to published reports. The Senate approved the casino plan 42-14, before sending it to Pritzker’s desk. The state’s capital programs would get $45 million upfront in licensing fees before the casino opened, according to bill sponsor Sen. Bill Cunningham of Chicago.

Arlington International Racecourse and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association reached a two-year deal on June 22 to resume racing at Arlington in July, according to published reports. Races restarted July 23 and are continuing on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Sept. 26. The season had been scheduled to begin May 1.

LEGISLATURE: The Illinois Supreme Court ruled April 16 that daily fantasy sports do not fit the state law's definition of gambling, according to Capitol News Illinois.

Indiana

CASINOS: Sportsbooks in the state had $70,876,622 wagered in July after seeing just $29,783,580 in total handle in June, according to figures released Aug. 10 by the state. That was a 138% increase month-over-month. Mobile led the way with a 121% increase in July. Casinos also were open all of July and more betting options became available.

Nuvei, a global full-service payments provider to iGaming and sports betting companies, announced in a news release on Aug. 5 that it has received approval from the Indiana Gaming Commission to provide services in Indiana. Nuvei will be able to support gaming operators and companies in accepting payments from Indiana-based clients. Nuvei said it is the beginning of its efforts to expand into the U.S. market, according to the release.

The Indiana Pacers and PointsBet have reached a multiyear partnership, making PointsBet an official sports gaming partner of the NBA team. PointsBet branding will appear along what is known as the "apron," the out-of-bounds space between the baseline and the team bench, according to a news release. This is the first time a sports betting operator will occupy that space, the release said.

The Indiana Gaming Commission approved of the impending Eldorado-Caesars merger, but on the condition that the two companies sell three casinos combined in Indiana. The Times of Northwest Indiana reported on July 13 that Eldorado CEO Thomas Reeg told the Indiana Horse Racing Commission that his company would meet that requirement. The story said that Reeg told the IHRC that the merged company would sell the Caesars Southern Indiana Casino in Elizabeth, the Horseshoe Hammond Casino and the Tropicana Casino in Evansville. Caesars also owns the Indiana Grand Racing & Casino in Shelbyville and Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Anderson; Eldorado would acquire those properties under the merger.

There were lines outside of some casinos as they reopened in Indiana on June 15, according to published reports. Indiana’s 13 state-regulated casinos were allowed to reopen with new safety plans they submitted to the Indiana Gaming Commission. The casinos have been closed since mid-March.

The state's only tribal casino, Four Winds Casino in South Bend, also reopened June 15. Boyd Gaming Corp.'s two Indiana casinos — Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City and Belterra Casino in Florence — also reopened June 15. Penn National announced it has reopened Ameristar Casino Hotel in East Chicago and Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg.


CHECK OUT: More about Indiana sports betting and gaming


On June 29, the IGC added the Nippon Professional Baseball league, The Basketball Tournament (TBT), updated its FIBA leagues, and added the Austrian, German and Spanish Liga tennis series to the list of sports that sportsbooks in Indiana can offer wagers on. In mid-June, the IGC added the following events — German Basketball Bundesliga, including BBL Pokal; the National Hockey League Draft Lottery; the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL); and World Team Tennis. The updated list of can be found here.

The IGC recently updated its Emergency Rules for Sports Wagering. The rules were effective May 20.

The IGC on June 1 suspended betting on lower-tier table tennis events, while it conducts a review of leagues and their relationship to sanctioning bodies to determine whether integrity policies apply, according to ESPN, which published a report on May 25 about the legitimacy of table tennis matches.

The IGC has given Caesars Interactive Entertainment full mobile sports betting authorization through its Hammond Horseshoe Casino. It had been operating under a temporary vendor's license since August.

LEGISLATURE: Gov. Eric Holcomb moved Indiana into Stage 4 of a five-part plan to reopen Indiana on June 12. The state has continued to ease some of the restrictions that have been in place since mid-March.

Iowa

CASINOS: The state had $22,859,622 in total sports betting handle in July, an almost 80% increase over June’s $12,711,201, according to figures released on Aug. 7 by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan resumed table games and expanded its hours on July 17. Masks are mandatory for guests and dealers will wear gloves and masks. The casino reopened June 12.

Betfred became the latest operator to open a mobile sportsbook in the state, launching July 7. Betfred is partnering with the Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort in Larchwood to offer sports betting. The casino also offers the Elite Sportsbook.

Harrah's Council Bluffs reopened July 3, according to parent company Caesars Entertainment. It is following state health and social-distancing measures. Limited seating will be available at slot machines and table games will remain closed, according to the release. A sister property, Horseshoe Council Bluffs, reopened on June 1.

Prairie Meadows Casino in Altoona reopened June 15 under new health and social-distancing guidelines, according to its website. The Blackbird Bend Casino near Onawa also reopened that day. Two properties owned by Eldorado Resorts — Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf and Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo — reopened June 1, according to a company news release. The company said it is adhering to regulations imposed by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds that limit capacity to 50% to make sure that social-distancing guidelines are met.

Penn National announced it has reopened the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Council Bluffs.

The Hard Rock Sioux City reopened June 2 with new social-distancing and health measures in place, according to the Sioux City Journal. The Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort in Lyon County reopened June 1 along with more than a dozen Iowa casinos. Casinos were allowed to reopen June 1 at 50% capacity and with other health and social-distancing measures in place.

Wild Rose Casino in Jefferson reopened June 1, the Lakeside Hotel Casino in Osceola reopened June 3. The Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel in Tama will reopen July 1, according to KCCI.

The casinos first closed in mid-March and the order has been extended three times. Some businesses, including restaurants, fitness centers and barber shops/salons began reopening May 15.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission at its June 4 meeting approved a request by DraftKings to allow daily fantasy esports games, but it rejected a request by the Iowa Gaming Association to allow casino betting on esports, according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette. DraftKings runs three sportsbooks at the Clinton, Jefferson and Emmetsburg casinos.

Scientific Games announced recently that it had secured a 10-year extension of its contract with the Iowa Lottery for a new statewide gaming system.

LEGISLATURE: The legislature has voted to ban the use of credit cards for sports betting at casinos, according to Radio Iowa. Legalized sports betting was approved last year at the state’s casinos, but Rep. Mike Sexton of Rockwell City says the legislation did not specifically mention credit cards. “We have established in the State of Iowa that you are not allowed to use credit cards for other forms of gambling,” Sexton said, according to Radio Iowa.

Kansas

CASINOS: Revenue at the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane increased in August for the fourth straight month after being shut down in mid March and part of April. The casino, owned by Boyd Gaming, saw more than $14.1 million in gambling revenue in August, the casino’s highest since the shutdown, according to published reports.

The state sued the U.S. Department of Interior on Aug. 10 to block the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma from building a casino on land it owns in Park City, according to the Associated Press. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas, attempts to overturn a decision issued in May by the Department of Interior that approved of the project. That decision reversed a 2014 ruling denying the tribe’s request to build the casino on the land it purchased in 1992, the AP reported.

Boot Hill Casino in Dodge City and Pittsburg's Kansas Crossing Casino reopened May 22, and the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane reopened May 23, according to the Associated Press. Penn National's Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway reopened slot machines on May 25 and Powhattan's Sac and Fox Casino reopened on June 1.

The casinos that have reopened checked temperatures of people entering and added additional health and social-distancing measures. Casinos were allowed to reopen May 22 under the state's "Phase Two" plans.

LEGISLATURE: The statehouse has been shut down to the public — only legislators, staff, executive branch employees and lobbyists are permitted. The legislature continues to have committee meetings and is also working on the state budget and any emergency measures, but is recessed until April 27.

Kentucky

CASINOS: A Keeneland Association and Kentucky Downs partnership has filed an application for a racing license in the southeastern part of the state and hopes to open a casino with historical racing machines in the area, according to a news release on Sept. 21. The application seeks state approval for a harness track in Corbin and a casino in Williamsburg, about 10 miles south of the proposed track. The facilities are contingent on approval of an pari-mutuel racing license by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Churchill Downs Inc. announced on Sept. 3 the opening of a new outdoor gaming patio on the south side of Derby City Gaming in Louisville. The new 8,000 square foot patio will add 225 historical racing machines, according to a news release.

As part of its gaming expansion, Kentucky Downs opened a historical horse racing machine gaming hall in September. The 30,000-square-foot facility opened in time for the start of a six-day horse racing meet that began Sept. 7, according to the Bowling Green Daily News.

Churchill Downs announced in a news release recently that it has agreed to purchase 1,250 historical racing machines from International Game Technology (IGT). The machines will operate at Derby City Gaming in Louisville, Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel in Oak Grove (when it opens in September) and Newport Racing & Gaming in Newport (when it opens in early fourth quarter).

There are no casinos or sports betting in Kentucky, where horse racing is king. The Churchill Downs spring meet opened on May 16. Live racing without fans will continue Thursdays through Saturdays. "There will be no fans for racing," Gov. Andy Beshear said April 29. "This is one of the most detailed plans that we have seen about specific security checks that everybody has to go through and be temperature-checked to masking to having a very limited group that is there.” The Kentucky Derby, which would have been run May 2, wound up running Sept. 5.

The state was considering legislation to expand gambling beyond horse race betting, but it won't happen this year. There is an indefinite stay-at-home order in place, but Kentucky is working with surrounding states to coordinate when they should reopen.

LEGISLATURE: State lawmakers on April 1 passed a streamlined one-year budget that keeps government spending at current levels, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. It didn't include a new revenue stream that sports betting legislation could have added.

Louisiana

CASINOS: The Delta Downs Racetrack Casino in Vinton will reopen on Sept. 16 after closing temporarily because of damage from Hurricane Laura, the Beaumont Business Journal reported. According to the report, Delta Downs and owner Boyd Gaming have donated more than $1.5 million to aid local efforts and kept paying all employees full salaries during the shutdown.

Caesars Entertainment and VICI Properties Inc. announced an agreement to sell Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Casino, Racing & Entertainment to Rubico Acquisition Corp. for $22 million, according to a news release. The sale is expected to close by the end of 2020 or early in 2021, subject to regulatory approvals.

The Golden Nugget Casino and the L’Auberge Casino, both in Lake Charles, are closed temporarily after sustaining damage in late August when Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana. Video posted on the website of The Advocate in Baton Rouge showed high winds ripping part of the roof off of the Golden Nugget.

Penn National Gaming plans to lay off nearly 1,150 casino workers in the state in August because of economic hardships caused by the coronavirus, according to the Associated Press. About 161 workers at L’Auberge Hotel and Casino in Baton Rouge and 441 additional employees are set to be let go at the L’Auberge Lake Charles casino, according to Louisiana Workforce Commission notices, the AP reported. Penn National also runs Boomtown Casino in Harvey and about 200 employees are set to be let go there by by Aug. 15. About 350 workers at the Margaritaville Resort Casino in Bossier City are also expected to be laid off, according to AP.

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in New Orleans reopened on June 13, according to Churchill Downs Inc., under new health and social-distancing guidelines from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board and city health officials. Caesars Entertainment reopened Harrah’s New Orleans the same day, according to published reports. Harrah’s, the state’s only land-based casino, initially reopened at 25% capacity.

The Lafayette Daily Advertiser reported on June 11 that riverboats, land-based casinos, racetracks with slots and other places with video gaming lost about $440 million in revenue in March and April based on state revenue reports. The state’s 20 casinos shut down March 17.

Penn National Gaming reopened its five casinos in Louisiana — Boomtown Casino Bossier City, Boomtown Casino New Orleans, L’Auberge Casino Baton Rouge, L’Auberge Casino Lake Charles and Margaritaville Casino Bossier City — on May 18. Casinos in the state have reopened under stricter health and social-distancing measures, including 25% capacity in the facilities. Visitors waited in long lines to get into the facilities, according to published reports.

Boyd Gaming reopened the Delta Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel, Evangeline Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel and Treasure Chest Casino on May 20. It will resume operations at the Amelia Belle Casino and Sam's Town Shreveport in the coming weeks, the company said.

The state began its first phase of reopening on May 15. Gov. John Bel Edwards announced May 11 that he would allow casinos, gyms, barber shops, hair salons, bars with food permits and others to reopen at 25% capacity, according to a story in The Advocate of Baton Rouge. Other businesses, as well as churches, can also increase to a quarter of their normal capacity. A stay-at-home order had been in place through mid-May.

LEGISLATURE: The Senate on June 23 gave final passage to HB 64, which sets the daily fantasy sports taxation rate, by a 36-0 vote. The House had already overwhelmingly approved it. Since it involves taxation, it needed two-thirds of the vote in both chambers to pass. The legislature is in a special session that was called immediately after the regular session ended on June 1. Edwards signed the bill establishing an 8% tax rate for online DFS betting, clearing one of the final hurdles. The DFS regulations were signed by Edwards in June.

Edwards signed Senate Bill 130 on June 15 and the question of legalizing sports betting in the state will now be on the November ballot. With Edwards’ signature, voters in the state’s 64 parishes get final say on whether or not they want sports betting in their locales. After he signed it on June 11, the bill became Act No. 215.

Edwards announced on June 4 that he has appointed state police Lt. Col. Mike Noel to be the new chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. Noel, who will retire from the state police, will replace Ronnie Jones, who has served since 2013 and was not reconfirmed on June 1 by the legislature. Noel has been with Louisiana State Police for more than 30 years. Jones, who was reappointed to the position by Edwards in July, was among 11 appointees selected by statewide elected officials to serve on boards and commissions who did not receive approval from the Senate.

Maine

CASINOS: The state's two casinos — Hollywood Casino Bangor and Oxford Casino — have reopened, according to the Bangor Daily News. The Oxford Casino reopened July 9, according to a new release from owner Churchill Downs Inc. The Hollywood Casino Bangor reopened July 10. The casinos will be limited to 200 people (50 people in four different zones), according to new health and social-distancing plans approved by state officials, the Daily News reported.

LEGISLATURE: On May 21, the state Gambling Control Board approved online betting on horse races, according to published reports. Bettors can place wagers on races around the world online. The governor vetoed a bill that would have legalized sports betting and the House failed to override the veto in February after the Senate had done so.

Maryland

CASINOS: Maryland’s six casinos, despite operating at 50% capacity because of the coronavirus pandemic, produced $149.5 million in gaming revenue in August, down just $4.7 million year over year. August was just the second full month the casinos were open after being closed by the state from March 16 until June 19. The revenue total for August is the eighth-best month of revenue in the Maryland casino program’s history, according to a news release from Maryland Lottery and Gaming. Last August’s total of $154.2 million was the fourth-best month ever. The casinos generated $139.9 million in revenue in July.

Expanding iGaming and iLottery options in the state was recently brought up at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing, according to WBAL-TV. Gordon Medenica, director of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, said states that offer iLottery have seen their iLottery sales "absolutely explode," adding that "the best asset for all the experience everyone's had with iLottery, it doesn't hurt brick-and-mortar sales, and that's very important to us." That led to questions from lawmakers about iGaming options, the WBAL report said. Maryland voters will get the chance to approve sports betting in November.

Some employees at the state’s six commercial casinos don’t want to return to work because of coronavirus health concerns, general managers of the casinos told lawmakers at the same hearing Tuesday, according to The Baltimore Sun. And casino tax revenue, usually around $60 million a month, was nothing in April and May when casinos were shut down, and $14.9 million in June after reopening for part of the month. Casino taxes go to state schools, the horse racing industry, a gambling addiction program and other community projects.

The state's casinos saw a 27% decline in revenue to $529 million during the last fiscal year, according to The Baltimore Sun. It was $194.3 million less than the previous fiscal year as casinos were closed for three months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Casino revenue in June was $34.9 million, a 75% decline year over year for the month. Along with casinos, fitness centers/gyms and malls, among other businesses, began reopening June 19. Casinos had been closed since mid-March.

The state's largest casino, MGM National Harbor in Prince George's County, reopened June 29 with enhanced safety social-distancing measures in place. They included temperatures checked upon entering, every other slot machine being disabled and plexiglass barriers installed. As with all MGM properties nationwide, masks must be work at all times inside the casino. The poker room did not open initially.

Maryland Live Casino reopened on June 29. Slots and table games were available, but guests had to wear face masks, follow social distancing protocols and have their temperature checked before entering.

Horseshoe Baltimore reopened on June 28. Hollywood Casino in Perryville, Ocean Downs Casino near Ocean City and Rocky Gap Casino, in western Maryland, reopened June 19.

LEGISLATURE: Senate and house leaders on April 20 announced they would not hold a special session in May. Maryland’s General Assembly ended its legislative session on March 18 because of coronavirus concerns, but not before approving a sports betting bill asking voters in November to legalize sports betting.

The Senate voted March 18 to approve the bill after the House added a key amendment the day before. If voters approve the measure, the legislature will have to work out how sports betting will be implemented, tax rates, and determining who gets licenses. The voter referendum is required by Maryland law.

The legislative session was supposed to end April 6, and this is believed to be the first time a session has been shortened since the Civil War.

Massachusetts

CASINOS: Aug. 31 is the separation date MGM Springfield set for about 1,900 employees it laid off in March but has been unable to recall to work, according to masslive.com. MGM Springfield had 2,000 employees before the pandemic and when it reopened in July, it did so with 700 employees. MGM agreed in May to provide benefits through Aug. 31 for employees enrolled in the company health plan who were furloughed. The casino celebrated its two-year anniversary on Aug. 24.

The three casinos in the state — Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville and MGM Springfield — combined for $45.422 million gross revenue in July, but were not open the entire month. Plainridge Park reopened July 8, while Springfield MGM and Encore Boston Harbor reopened days later, with new health and social-distancing measures in place. Casino reopenings were part of Phase 3 of the state's plan. All three had been closed since mid March.

The state’s Gaming Commission decided Aug. 13 to deny a request from casinos to bring craps and roulette back as options during the coronavirus pandemic, Masslive.com reported. The commission was satisfied at the way casinos have been complying with new COVID-19 precautions and protocols. According to Masslive, commission chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein said during the meeting: “At this juncture, it just wouldn’t be prudent to expand the options right now.”

Wynn Resorts reported that Encore Boston Harbor finished the second quarter with a $53.8 million loss as it remained closed due because of the coronavirus pandemic along with other Massachusetts casinos, according to masslive.com.

The Massachusetts Lottery in fiscal 2020 had the third largest revenue gain in its 49 years despite the coronavirus shutdown, according to masslive.com. It earned $5.252 billion in revenues in the fiscal year ending June 30, the report said. The record was $5.5 billion during the previous fiscal year. it also had a $979 million profit after expenses and payouts for the 2020 fiscal year, according to masslive.com.

Gov. Charlie Baker said legalized sports betting would generate much-needed revenue for the state as it deals with the coronavirus pandemic. His remarks came during a news conference July 22 at a Salvation Army distribution center in Lynn. The question asked of Baker was in response to David Friedman, senior vice president of legal and government affairs for the Boston Red Sox, suggesting that a bill legalizing sports betting should be passed before the end of the legislative session on July 31, masslive.com reported. Friedman, speaking at a Resilience and Recovery Special Committee meeting on July 21, said legalizing sports betting would help pro sports teams, casino operators and others struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. A bill released in March by the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies would allow adults 21 or older to bet at the state’s casinos, slot parlors and horse tracks, masslive.com reported. It also allows online and mobile sports betting within state boundaries. The bill was sent to the House Ways and Means Committee, but it’s unclear whether it will be approved by the end of the current legislative session.

LEGISLATURE: The legislature is meeting and a sports-betting bill is still active and could be included in the state budget.

Michigan

CASINOS: The Michigan Gaming Control Board will hold a public hearing on Sept. 23 to hear comments about proposed online sports betting and Igaming rules as the state moves another step closer to getting rules in place and the markets launched. The public hearing will be held virtually via Microsoft Teams. The proposed rules are posted here.

Scientific Games Corp. has launched retail sports betting for FireKeepers Casino, owned by the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, according to a news release. It also is working with FireKeepers to offer digital sports betting and iGaming when the state authorizes regulations.

Northville Downs' live standardbred races restarted on Aug. 14 and will continue on 17 other Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 10 under an order issued by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Pari-mutuel racing was authorized to resume at the track under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-160, the board said in a news release. Under the MGCB order, the track must limit capacity to no more than 896 people — an 85 percent reduction. It will remove more than 100 tables, 500 chairs and 200 televisions.

Detroit's three casinos reopened this week. MotorCity Casino and Greektown Casino reopened to the public on Aug. 5. MGM Grand Detroit reopened to the general public on Aug. 7, according to published reports. The casinos were allowed to reopen at 15% capacity, according to an executive order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Many of Michigan's tribal casinos — which are not under state jurisdiction — reopened with special precautions weeks ago. The three Detroit casinos closed March 16 after taking their first legal sports bets.

In a recently released report on Michigan's gaming industry, the American Gaming Association had three key takeaways about the state's 27 commercial and tribal casinos. The casinos have an annual $6.3 billion economic impact on the state, generate $1.3 billion in state and local taxes each year and support $2.1 billion in wages along with nearly 38,000 jobs, the report said.

According to state revenue reports, the three Detroit casinos have seen a 59.3% drop-off in revenue for the first six months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. They have combined to bring in nearly $300 million in revenue from January to June — although in reality it was only from January to March.

Little River Casino Resort in Manistee launched sports betting on July 17. Bettors can place wagers at a betting window and kiosks at the River Rock Sportsbook, according to published reports. Manistee mayor Roger Zielinski placed the first bet — $20 on the Detroit Lions to win the Super Bowl, the reports said. Little River is partenered with Rush Street Interactive, according to the casino's website.

Former Chicago Bears star defensive lineman Steve "Mongo" McMichael on July 13 placed the ceremonial first bet — $20 on the Bears to win the Super Bowl — as the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo began taking sports wagers.

Three Gun Lake Casino employees have tested positive for coronavirus, according to mlive.com. The three cases were confirmed by officials on July 7. The casino will remain open after a thorough cleaning of the property and will continue to monitor the situation, the report said. Gun Lake Casino, just south of Grand Rapids and west of Lansing, reopened June 8 with new health and social-distancing guidelines.

Global sports betting supplier Kambi has entered into a partnership with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi’s Four Winds Casinos to bring on-site and online sports betting products to three casinos in the state — New Buffalo, Dowagiac and Hartford — according to a July 1 news release. An online launch will follow. "We look forward to announcing the details of the sports betting options we will offer at our Michigan locations in the near future,” Frank Kennedy, Four Winds' senior vice president of gaming operations, said in the release. The Four Winds properties reopened their three Michigan casinos on June 15 as well as one in Indiana at South Bend.

Northville Downs, the only horse racing track in Michigan, can now conduct advance deposit wagering under an order from the Michigan Gaming Control Board. MGCB executive director Richard S. Kalm issued the order on June 26 along with a second order granting a conditional 30-day license to TVG.

Rush Street Interactive, which just opened the first online sportsbook in Illinois, on June 22 announced in a news release a partnership with the Little River Casino Resort in Manistee to be service provider for its retail sportsbook. The partnership with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians also allows Rush Street to co-brand for online sports betting and online casino as soon as Michigan regulations allow. Little River plans to open its new retail sportsbook early third quarter.

FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek opened its new sportsbook on June 22 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, according to wwmt.com. The casino, run by the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, reopened on June 1 under stricter health and social-distancing guidelines, according to its website.

DraftKings announced June 4 that it will partner with Bay Mills Resort & Casino to enter the online sports-betting market in Michigan. The deal allows mobile and online access, and Michigan bettors will be able to place in-person wagers at a new DraftKings sportsbook in the Bay Mills Resort & Casino. The partnership is subject to licensing and approval by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Odawa Casino Mackinaw reopened on May 22 with enhanced safety and social-distancing measures, including wearing face masks, in place, according to mlive.com. The Odawa Casino in Petoskey reopened May 29, as did the Leelanau Sands Casino and Lodge and Turtle Creek Casino and Hotel near Traverse City. They are owned and operated by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

Northern Waters Casino Resort in Watersmeet, owned and operated by the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, reopened on May 22, according to its website.

Saganing Eagles Landing Casino and Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mount Pleasant reopened June 1, according to the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.

The Island Resort and Casino, a tribal casino run by the Hannahville Indian Community in Harris near the Wisconsin border, posted new guidelines on its website for customers. It reopened May 16. It had been closed since March 21. Michigan’s state-at-home order is in effect until May 28.

Five Upper Peninsula casinos run by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians — Christmas, Hessel, Manistique, Sault Ste. Marie and St. Ignacehas — reopened June 1.


CHECK OUT: More about Michigan sports betting and gaming


Revenue from the three Detroit casinos declined steeply in March with a combined adjusted revenue of $57,445,827, the Michigan Gaming Control Board reported. That was down 52.8% from February’s $121,761,104 and down 59% year-over year. The Greektown on March 30 opened 40 rooms for free to Detroit police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians who are worried about going home and infecting family members with the coronavirus, according to the Detroit News.

Legal sports betting started in Michigan on March 11 after ceremonial first wagers were placed at the MGM Grand Detroit and Greektown casinos. The state’s 23 tribal casinos also shut down.

LEGISLATURE: The legislature on Aug. 3 canceled the week’s session and hearings because a Lansing-area state senator tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Associated Press. Republican Sen. Tom Barrett positive test came from screening required by his service in the Michigan Army National Guard. The Senate and House canceled a voting session that had been scheduled for Aug. 6 and all committee hearings on Aug. 5-6, the AP reported.

A Senate bill that was introduced in the spring aims to speed up the online gaming process by granting provisional internet gaming supplier licenses to commercial and tribal casinos before regulations have been set, according to published reports. Senate Bill 969 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Regulatory Reform. It's another sign that Michigan is one of the states showing urgency in getting iGaming up and running.

Minnesota

CASINOS: The Grand Portage Lodge and Casino began a phased reopening on June 22 with enhanced health and social-distancing measures, according to a post on its website. "As we plan the gradual process of reopening our economy and returning employees to work, we have taken measures to combat the potential impact on our resort and facilities," the post read. "We will continue to monitor the situation. As it evolves, our reopening date could change, based upon external factors, such as the planned June 21 reopening of the US/Canadian border."

Running Aces Casino in Columbus reopened June 15 with limited capacity and new health measures in place, according to Twin Cities Fox-TV affiliate KMSP. The Black Bear Casino Resort in Carlton also reopened June 15, as did the Fond-du-Luth Casino in Duluth, according to their websites. Both are owned and operated by Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

Casinos have been closed since mid-March. But the Prairie's Edge Casino Resort in Granite Falls reopened on May 18, the first day the state's new Stay Safe order allowed it, according to the casino's website. Two casinos in Prior Lake — Mystic Lake and Little Six Casinos — owned by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux reopened May 26, according to their websites. Treasure Island near Red Wing reopened June 1. Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Grand Casino Hinckley also reopened June 1, according to the Grand Casino website.

LEGISLATURE: The legislature returned April 14 and approved a new coronavirus relief package.

Mississippi

CASINOS: The state’s 12 southern casinos were allowed to reopen on Sept. 16 after they were ordered closed with Hurricane Sally approaching. The state Gaming Commission said that the casinos could reopen at 1 p.m. Wednesday and the Beau Rivage in Biloxi reopened Thursday morning, the Sun Herald in Biloxi reported. The Mississippi Gaming Commission had ordered the state’s 12 southern casinos to close on Sept. 14 as Hurricane Sally loomed in the Gulf of Mexico. The road leading to the Silver Slipper Casino in Hancock County was already flooded Monday morning, according to the Sun Herald.

The sports betting handle for the state was $1,575,859 in June, up 566.3% from May, when the handle was $236,503 as casinos operated for part of the month after being closed since mid-march. But the June figure was down 89.6% from June 2019 ($15,190,666), according to Mississippi Gaming Commission figures. The state lost $62,231 in June sports betting revenue. It made $87,697 in May and $1,625,113 in June 2019.

Dakia Entertainment Hospitality and Broadwater Development signed formal letter of intent to redevelop the former Broadwater Beach hotel, marina and golf course, according to published reports. Developers received tax breaks from Biloxi for the $1.2 billion, 266-acre entertainment complex. It is projected to open by the summer of 2023.

A Vicksburg casino employee has tested positive for COVID-19, according to published reports. The employee may have worked in the Riverwalk Casino days before developing symptoms. General Manager Ginny Tzotzolas, in a memo to casino employees that has been posted on social media, informed employees of the positive test. Casinos in Mississippi reopened on May 21. Doors opened at 8 a.m. and some casinos had lines of people waiting to get in. The casinos have been taking steps to enhance safety measures and create social-distancing protocols.

Penn National Gaming announced that its Mississippi properties reopened that day including 1st Jackpot Casino Tunica, Ameristar Casino Hotel Vicksburg, Boomtown Casino Biloxi, Hollywood Casino Gulf Coast and Hollywood Casino Tunica. Boyd Gaming announced that the IP Casino Resort Spa in Biloxi and Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Tunica reopened on May 21.

MGM Resorts reopened the Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunic on May 25, followed by Biloxi's Beau Rivage Resort & Casino's on June 1, both in a limited capacity.

The gaming commission ordered casinos closed at midnight March 16, according to the Clarion Ledger.

LEGISLATURE: The legislature adjourned its legislative session indefinitely, according to The Ledger.

Missouri

CASINOS: Twin River Worldwide Holdings said it will spend $61 million to redevelop the Isle of Capri Casino in Kansas City, according to the Kansas City Star. Twin River, which bought the casino from Eldorado last month, plans to replace the riverboat-themed facade, add a new restaurant and retail space and possibly a hotel, the report said.

The Missouri Gaming Commission on June 24 approved the sale of Lumière Place, a St. Louis casino, to Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. (GLPI), which is buying the real estate, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Eldorado Resorts Inc., will continue to own the Lumière business and operate the casino. GLPI now owns the properties of the six St. Louis-area casinos, the Post-Dispatch noted.

Casinos in St. Louis County reopened on June 15 under stricter health and social-distance guidelines, according to published reports. Some casinos in the state opened earlier, but St. Louis County did not lift its restrictions on casinos the same time as the state. Three properties owned by Eldorado Resorts — The Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Boonville, Isle of Capri Casino Kansas City and Lumière Place Casino & Hotel — reopened June 1, according to a company news release. The company said it is limiting capacity in the casinos to ensure proper social distancing.

Penn National has reopened the Argosy Casino Hotel & Spa in Riverside, Hollywood Casino in St. Louis, and River City Casino & Hotel. Missouri’s 13 casinos began reopening June 1. The riverboat casinos have been closed since mid-March. The state also began lifting some stay-at-home restrictions for businesses.

MLB and the NBA ended contracts with lobbyists representing their Missouri sports-betting interests, according to a story in the Post-Dispatch. The move comes after sports betting was gaining momentum in the state. But lawmakers cut their spring session short in mid-March. According to The Post-Dispatch, the legislature returned to pass budget and coronavirus measures, but is shying away from acting on many significant changes in state policy. “It appears we are running out of time to take action on both sports betting and video lottery,” Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, who has sponsored various gambling bills in recent years, told the newspaper.

LEGISLATURE: The state has extended its contract with Scientific Games to produce Scratchers games through June 2021, according to a news release. Scientific Games, the world's largest supplier of lottery instant games, has been primary provider to the state since 2011, the release said. Legislators returned to work and passed a state budget and sent it to the senate, according to the Associated Press. The budget takes lost revenue because of the coronavirus into consideration. The state constitution requires the budget be passed by May 8.

Montana

CASINOS: The Montana Lottery extended its contract with Scientific Games Corporation for instant scratch-off lottery games for two years, through August 2022, according to a Scientific Games news release issued July 28.

Restaurants, bars, casinos and breweries reopened May 4 under new health and safety guidelines. Some of the new regulations include social-distancing measures and a reduced capacity in the establishments. Officials at casinos in Billings and Butte spent the weekend before the reopening spacing out machines to maintain social distancing and putting up shields to protect customers and employees, according to published reports.

LEGISLATURE: The state legislature is not in session. It had canceled scheduled committee meetings and allowed staff to work remotely.

Nebraska

CASINOS: Sponsors of three bills that would legalize casino gaming at the state’s horse tracks asked the Nebraska Supreme Court to intervene after the secretary of state ruled against the issue being put on the ballot, the Lincoln Journal-Star reported. Secretary of State Bob Evnen is blocking three initiatives from appearing before voters. Lynne McNally, speaking for the sponsors of a petition drive to get the three bills on the ballot, told the newspaper that Evnen’s ruling was "incorrect as a matter of law because each of the three initiatives meets the applicable requirements of the Nebraska Constitution as to form and procedure.”

The pro-gambling group trying to place measures that would allow casinos at horse-racing tracks on the November ballot submitted the required number of signatures to the secretary of state, according to published reports. The group, Keep the Money in Nebraska, says it has about 475,000 signatures for the three petitions, with each having more signatures than needed, according to the Associated Press.

One petition wants to allow gambling, amending the state constitution; another seeks to change state law to authorize and regulate casinos; the third concerns where the tax revenue from gambling would go, according to AP.

Nebraska has four tribal casinos. The tribal casinos mostly remained open throughout the pandemic with extra safety precautions being taken. But the state has been losing tax revenue to nearby states with legalized gambling like Iowa.

Gov. Pete Ricketts opposes the ballot measure to legalize gambling and has said he may use his own money to try to block the measures, the AP reported.

LEGISLATURE: The Nebraska Legislature is on an indefinite recess and it is undetermined when the session will resume.

Nevada

CASINOS: Health investigators have released a list of facilities where possible COVID-19 exposures have happened in southern Nevada, and dozens of hotel-casinos have been named, according to the Reno Gazette Journal. Some of Las Vegas resorts mentioned in the report and the exposures that may have happened there in August include the Cosmopolitan (304 cases); Bellagio (153); MGM Grand Hotel (133); The Venetian (89); and Caesars Palace (86).

Park MGM will become the first Las Vegas Strip casino to be smoke-free when it reopens later in September, according to multiple reports. Park MGM is now set to reopen Sept. 30, becoming the last MGM facility to return to business after it closed down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. The casino will be both smoke-free and vape-free when it reopens.

The Gazette Journal had reported weeks earlier that the facility was slated to reopen some time between late September and mid October. The return of Park MGM comes weeks after MGM said it would lay off 18,000 workers nationwide because of the COVID-19 shutdown.

Boyd Gaming Corp. said it has upgraded its mobile sports betting app for the start of the NFL season, launching a new version of B Connected Sports in Nevada. B Connected is also the name of the company's loyalty program.

Sale listings for two Reno Station Casino properties were pulled from a commercial real estate website, with a company source telling the Reno Gazette Journal that a new casino is still a possibility in Reno. The listings were taken down Tuesday after the Gazette Journal reported that the Station properties were listed on the Commercial Real Estate Exchange website. The listings were posted on Sept. 5, the report said.

The Tuscany hotel/casino in Las Vegas is partnering with Circa Sports to rebrand the facility’s sportsbook, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. According to the story, the Tuscany’s new sportsbook is scheduled to open in March.

Treasure Island has opened its new sportsbook, the Golden Circle Sportsbook and Bar, on the casino floor. It allows for more than 750 guests and has a sprawling video wall, according to published reports. At almost 12,000 square feet, there is room for social distancing.

Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International began laying off 18,000 furloughed workers nationwide on Aug. 31, according to published reports. MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle, in a letter to employees, said the layoffs were due to the coronavirus pandemic. The number is about a quarter of the company's workforce before the pandemic. Employees will receive health care benefits through September. MGM could recall some workers when it reopens two properties that remain closed — the Park MGM in Las Vegas and the MGM Empire City in New York.

One of MGM Resorts' iconic properties, The Mirage, has reopened on the Vegas Strip. The casino reopened Aug. 27 with new social-distancing and health measures in place. It had been closed since March 16.

Penn National Gaming has delayed reopening its only property on The Strip, the Tropicana, until Sept. 17, according to the Review-Journal. It had been tentatively scheduled to reopen on Sept. 1. The Tropicana was closed, along with other Nevada casinos, in mid March because of the coronavirus pandemic. As many as 12 Las Vegas Strip casinos have not reopened since the coronavirus pandemic and might remain closed, the Review-Journal has reported. Properties with uncertain futures include some owned by MGM Resorts, Station Casinos, Caesars and Boyd Gaming.

International Game Technology (IGT) has signed a long-term agreement with casino operator Boyd Gaming to support its retail sportsbooks in Nevada, according to a news release. Boyd will use IGT's PlaySports platform, along with its Nevada-based mobile sports app and online sports betting portal, according to the release. IGT's self-service PlaySports kiosks will be deployed in the gaming venues, also.

Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a bill giving limited liability protections to most businesses as a guard against lawsuits related to COVID-19, the Review-Journal reported on Aug. 12. Senate Bill 4 protects the businesses against legal action from employees who contract coronavirus, as long as those businesses adhere to proper health measures, the report said. Schools and most health facilities were excluded from the bill.

The Culinary Union and MGM say the health and safety issues that led to lawsuits because of the coronavirus pandemic have been resolved because of SB 4. The bill also protects some industries from legal liability pertaining to the coronavirus, the Associated Press reported.

The Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno has been charged by Nevada gaming regulators with violating the state’s COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, according to CDC Gaming Reports. A three-count complaint was filed Aug. 7 by the Gaming Control Board alleging that gaming agents saw Grand Sierra customers without face coverings or masks at three different times. Face coverings or masks are mandated by the state. The gaming agents, in the complaint, said employees of the casino did not take measures to get patrons to comply and wear facial coverings.

ZenSports, in a deal with Strategic Gaming Management, has acquired an option to purchase the Big Wheel Casino in Lovelock, with an additional option to operate the sportsbook at Baldini's Sports Casino in Reno, according to a news release. The agreements will give ZenSports, headquartered in San Francisco, a physical presence that is required by the Nevada Gaming Control Board to operate its mobile sports betting platform in the state, the release said.

Las Vegas-area tavern owners will be to temporarily add up to seven upright slot machines to replace games embedded into bar tops that were shut down in July, according to CDC Gaming Reports. The Clark County Commission on Aug. 5 approved the resolution for the replacement machines. Nevada gaming regulators on Aug. 14 allowed tavern and bar operators to utilize stand-alone slot machines, according to Gaming Reports. In the notice, the Gaming Control Board said restricted gaming operators — locations with 15 or fewer slot machines — can have stand-alone slot machines that connect with the location’s slot management system.

Four Station Casinos facilities in southern Nevada that closed because of the coronavirus pandemic might not reopen, Frank Fertitta III, CEO and chairman of the board of directors for Red Rock Resorts, the parent company of Station Casinos, said in an earnings call on Aug. 4, according to the Las Vegas Sun. The Palms, Texas Station, Fiesta Rancho and Fiesta Henderson are still closed despite other casinos in the company reopening in June 4.

Wynn Resorts, based in Las Vegas, reported $85.7 million in operating revenue for the second quarter of 2020. Year over year it was a 95% decrease from the $1.66 billion for the second quarter of 2019. Wynn Resorts, like other gaming companies, was hammered in the second quarter because of casino closures from mid-March until June. On the bright side, the company's sportsbook and casino app is now available in New Jersey after receiving state regulatory approval, according to published reports.

The Las Vegas Sands Corp. has announced that it will continue to pay employees and offer benefits through at least Oct. 31, according to published reports. Sands has not furloughed or laid off any of its employees due to the pandemic. Casinos began reopening in early June.

The Tropicana is back on the market, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal. The property's landlord, Gaming and Leisure Properties, is hoping to sell the resort, then either lease it back, or sell it outright to a new owner, the report said. Gaming and Leisure Properties in April purchased the Tropicana from Penn National Gaming in exchange for rent credits of $307.5 million. At that time, Penn National said it will continue to operate the property for two years or until the Tropicana is sold.

Bally’s Casino on the Las Vegas Strip reopened on July 23, according to published reports. Caesars Entertainment has already reopened other properties in the city including Harrah’s, Paris Las Vegas, Caesars Palace and the Flamingo.

The Las Vegas Sands on July 22 reported a second quarter loss of $985 million because of the coronavirus pandemic, a decline of 97.1% from the 2019 second quarter ($1.11 billion). The pandemic has essentially transformed Las Vegas from a global destination to a regional gambling hub dependent on "drive-in" business, President and COO Rob Goldstein said in an earnings call, according to published reports.

Wynn Resorts, which owns Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, and Penn National Gaming, owner of the Tropicana, will be having more layoffs and furloughs, according to the Las Vegas Sun. The Tropicana is scheduled to reopen Sept. 17. In addition, Circus Circus planned to lay off about 250 workers by Sept. 1, according to a notice filed with the state, The Sun reported. Boyd Gaming, a casino company based in Las Vegas, also announced it will lay off more than 6,000 casino employees across 10 states, according to a Reno Gazette Journal story July 16. That would account for at least a quarter of Boyd’s U.S. workforce. All of the company’s casinos have reopened except for three in Las Vegas, the report said.

The state Gaming Control Board has ruled in favor of BetMGM over dozens of parlay wagers from June on KBO League and Chinese Professional Baseball League games that had already started, ESPN reported. BetMGM can void more than $200,000 in outstanding parlay bets placed on June 28 in early morning at Bellagio self-serve kiosks and on BetMGM's mobile betting app, ESPN said.

Betfred USA was chosen as a sportsbook partner for the Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Nevada is the fourth state where Betfred USA has established a sportsbook, joining Pennsylvania, Colorado and Iowa. The Mohegan Sun Casino is undergoing renovations and is slated to reopen in late 2020.

Gov. Sisolak ordered all bars to close on July 10 after a statewide spike in COVID-19 cases, affecting many of the state’s restricted license slot facilities. Restricted venues are those that have 15 or fewer slot machines. Sisolak ordered bars making most of their money from alcohol (as opposed to places classified as restaurants, where most of the business comes from food even if they serve alcohol) in several Nevada counties to close. Among those affected are bars in Las Vegas (in Clark County) and Reno (in Washoe County).

The $17.3 billion merger between Eldorado Resorts and Caesars Entertainment was approved by Nevada regulators on July 8, getting it one step closer to completion. The Nevada Gaming Control Board and Nevada Gaming Commission, in special meetings taking place right after each other, gave their approvals to the deal. They also approved William Hill taking over operations of Caesars sportsbooks. Willam Hill, the sportsbook provider for Eldorado, currently has 113 sportsbooks in Nevada. The merger, already approved by the Federal Trade Commission, faces two remaining hurdles as Indiana and New Jersey regulators need to approve the merger.

Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino closed its table games temporarily on July 7 because of the increase in coronavirus numbers in the state, according to a post on its Facebook page. The casino owners want to give the tables a deep cleaning and sanitize them.

Caesars Entertainment Corp. and Las Vegas Sands Corp. say workers at their casinos in the state could be fired for not wearing face masks. Casino companies are trying to comply with the June 24 order by Sisolak, according to the Review-Journal. Sisolak mandated that face masks or coverings must be worn in public as the state tries to slow the spike in COVID-19 cases. The order took effect June 26 and includes casinos, which began reopening across the state on June 4 after being closed since mid-March.

Sporting Solutions, a sportsbook and lottery supplier, partnered with Las Vegas-based SCCG Management, gaming consultants, to try and gain entry into the U.S. sports betting market, according to iGB North America. SCCG will offer business development and strategic support to Sporting Solutions, the report said.

Avi Resort & Casino in Laughlin reopened July 10. It announced in late June that it would close temporarily; a July 4 fireworks show was canceled. The casino re-closed temprarily after some employees had tested positive, a news release said. The casino was thoroughly cleaned before reopening.

The Nevada Gaming Commission on June 25 approved changes to existing cashless gaming rules that could make it easier for gamblers to transfer funds from bank accounts by debit card when in casinos. The amendments are effective immediately, according to the Review-Journal. The changes could result in new cashless gaming systems available to transform using currency in casinos to electronic payments.

The poker rooms at Bellagio and Caesars Palace reopened June 18, according to published reports. There are fewer seats at the tables and plexiglass has been installed because of social distancing rules.

The state Gaming Control Board on June 17 updated its health and safety regulations and ordered Nevada casinos to require patrons at table and card games to wear face masks "if there is no barrier, partition, or shield between the dealer and each player." If guests do not have them, the casino must provide them.

Las Vegas Sands, which owns the Venetian and Palazzo, will try to limit coronavirus among its staff by using “smart rings” that can detect infection before symptoms show up, according to published reports. The company bought 1,000 of the rings from Oura, a Finnish technology start-up, after two studies indicated the devices can accurately predict the onset of symptoms.

Las Vegas casinos reopened June 4 after being closed for 78 days. It was the first day allowed by Nevada in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and some of the biggest casinos in Las Vegas — MGM Grand, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, The Venetian, The Flamingo, Wynn Las Vegas, Sahara, The Plaza and Encore — were back in business. From most accounts, it appeared it was a successful reopening.

The reopening of the Bellagio went so well on June 4 that MGM Resorts International President and Acting CEO Bill Hornbuckle told the Review-Journal that the company has already started preparing for its next reopenings. Luxor will reopen on June 25; Aria and Mandalay Bay, Four Seasons Las Vegas will reopen on July 1.

MGM has called back “several thousand” employees, according to the story in the Review-Journal, and Hornbuckle hopes to bring back 50 to 60 percent of hourly staff members by the end of summer.

Boyd Gaming reopened nine of its Nevada properties on the first day — The Orleans, Gold Coast, Suncoast, Aliante, Cannery, Sam’s Town, Fremont, California and Jokers Wild. A list of the June 4 casino reopenings in Las Vegas can be found here.

Penn National has reopened Cactus Petes Resort Casino and M Resort Spa Casino Las Vegas.

UFC held a card in Las Vegas without fans over the May 30-31 weekend and prominent boxing promoter Bob Arum staged a card of five fights on June 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas after receiving local and state approval. The card was the first in a series of fights over the next two months at the MGM Grand. There was a second fight card on June 11, kicking off twice weekly shows at the hotel in June and July. The fights would be televised on ESPN.

The Colorado Belle in Laughlin won’t be reopening, according to the Las Vegas Sun. Employees have been laid off “indefinitely,” according to a statement released May 18 by parent company Golden Entertainment.

Circa Sports started curbside sport betting at the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino on May 7, according to KSNV Ch. 3. It will be open seven days a week between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The South Point Hotel Casino on South Las Vegas Boulevard launched a sports app for mobile betting on May 6, according to its website. New users can sign up, and existing customers can make deposits, without leaving their cars in a drive-thru at the property's valet entrance.

Las Vegas-based GameCo will soon begin distributing skill-based video-game gambling devices in Nevada, according to the Review-Journal. A six-month field trial featuring two games — "Nothin’ but Net 2" and "All-Star Hoops" — was completed at four casino properties, The Linq, MGM Grand, and Park MGM in Las Vegas and Atlantis Casino Resort & Spa in Reno, the newspaper reported. The company said it hopes to offer other video-game gambling devices in Nevada.

The Lakeside Inn and Casino in Lake Tahoe announced on its website on April 14 that it was permanently closing after 35 years. "This decision was not made lightly. We hoped that we would be able to resume operations once this COVID-19 situation improved. However, that’s just not in the cards for us," the post read.

Also on April 14, the Nevada Gaming Control Board granted approval to offer wagers on these esport events — 2020 Overwatch League, 2020 League of Legends European Championship and the 2020 ESL ONE-DOTA Los Angeles. Earlier in April it approved wagering on the 2020 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. Nevada is one of the few states to allow eSports betting.

LEGISLATURE: The Nevada legislature is not in session. It only meets in odd-numbered years.

New Hampshire

CASINOS: DraftKings and South Side Tavern in Manchester announced the opening of DraftKings Sportsbook at Manchester on Sept. 3, according to a news release. It's the second retail sportsbook in the state. DraftKings opened its first retail sportsbook in New Hampshire at The Brook casino in Seabrook on Aug. 12.

IWG has rolled out two new e-Instant games for the New Hampshire Lottery, according to a news release. The two seasonal e-Instant games will complement retail versions of the games. Halloween Extreme went live on Aug. 18 and Frosty Fun will be available Oct. 28. Both e-Instant games are linked to their printed counterparts via cross-promotional free play awards. IWG previously launched its first online instant win game for the state's iLottery platform, according to a news release. New Hampshire Cash Expander, a localized title designed specifically for the state lottery, follows the launch of localized eInstant games for the Michigan Lottery and Pennsylvania Lottery, the release said.

The Brook Casino in Seabrook reopened June 19 under new health and social distancing measures, according to its websites and social media accounts. The casino said in a news release that it "not only meets, but exceeds the New Hampshire Lottery Commission and Governor’s Economic Reopening Task Force’s health and safety standard." Casinos closed in mid-March and Gov. Chris Sununu's stay-at-home order was in place until June 15. The Brook Casino said on its website that it would close on June 22-23 and June 29-30 for deep cleaning and be open daily beginning July 1.

Instant Win Gaming will become the "e-Instant" game supplier for the New Hampshire Lottery, according to gamingintelligence.com. The lottery commission sought proposals for the development, design, implementation and related services for iLottery e-Instant Games in the fall.

Some non-essential businesses in the state reopened May 11 under enhanced health and social distancing guidelines. Among the business reopening — golf courses, drive-in theaters, retail stores, barbers and hair salons, and campgrounds.

The state lottery reported $8,768,769 in sports betting handle in March, down 60% from the $22,130,928 in total handle reported in February. State revenue in March from sports betting was $394,229, down 41% from February’s $671,435.

New Hampshire started offering eNASCAR betting this spring, according to the New Hampshire Lottery's web page of approved sports wagering leagues and events. “The New Hampshire Lottery is constantly looking for ways to engage our players and to attract new audiences and eNASCAR represents a strategic addition to our sports betting portfolio,” Charlie McIntyre, lottery executive director, said in a news release. “This new sporting event offers an exciting new opportunity for our players to experience the thrill of winning.”

LEGISLATURE: Legislative proceedings were suspended until May 4.

New Jersey

CASINOS: Betfair is withdrawing from the state’s sports betting market, according to Thoroughbred Daily News, which reported the story on Sept. 11. Betfair, based in the UK, offers online casino and horse racing in New Jersey, but it will pull out of the state for horse racing betting on Oct. 1. “When we launched in 2016, we felt like exchange wagering, popular elsewhere, was worth trying in New Jersey to see if it could increase new fan interest in racing,” Kip Levin, the COO of FanDuel Group (Betfair’s parent company), told TDN. “For a variety of reasons, including a customer base used to exotic wagers and a reluctance by major US racing associations to embrace the different business model, it never hit the critical mass needed for it to be viable.”

New Jersey posted a $112 million loss in gross operating profits from Atlantic City's nine casinos in the second quarter, compared to $159 million in profit in the second quarter of 2019, The Press of Atlantic City reported. The gaming report was released Aug. 24 by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement. The casinos were closed in April, May and June (most reopened July 2) and had just online gaming and some sports betting available to provide revenue.

The state Division of Gaming Enforcement has ruled FanDuel must pay disputed soccer bets from mid-July that led to an investigation by regulators, according to ESPN. At issue were odds FanDuel posted on MLS, Premier League, La Liga and Serie A games and whether the pricing was the result of an error. The DGE issued its ruling on Aug. 13. In a statement to Gambling.com on Aug. 14, FanDuel said "a new bet type that was installed by a vendor incorrectly resulted in erroneous lines being made available to customers." It also said that customers would receive their winnings in their online accounts and that it had contacted one retail customer to return to the Meadowlands to receive his winnings. The DGE also released a statement Friday: “DGE’s general policy is to not automatically void wagers when errors occur on the part of sports wagering operators. Although operators are free to request that those wagers be voided after patrons have placed bests, DGE treats those requests on a case-by-case basis. This practice encourages operators to have appropriate controls in place to avoid offering erroneous sports wagers, and they reinforce the integrity of sports wagering in New Jersey and confidence in the industry by the public.”

GameCo has received approval from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement for a casino service industry enterprise license, according to a news release. The Las Vegas-based company can bring its esports betting, skill-based iGaming and Video Game Gambling products to New Jersey casinos and sportsbooks. GameCo, the creator of the first Video Game Gambling Machine (VGM), launched the first skill-based VGMs in New Jersey casinos in 2016, the release said. IGaming Cloud, a subsidiary pf Gaming Innovation Group, has also received a casino service industry enterprise license from the DGE. This will allow the supplier to offer its online casino platform to New Jersey operators.

The Borgata became the ninth and final Atlantic City casino to reopen when it allowed invited guests into the casino on July 23, according to The Press of Atlantic City. It will reopen to the public on July 26. Borgata delayed its reopening after Gov. Phil Murphy announced that there would be no drinking, eating or smoking allowed in Atlantic City casinos when they reopen on July 2.

Resorts, Tropicana, Ocean, Golden Nugget and Hard Rock all reopened on July 2. Harrah’s, Caesars and Bally’s reopened on July 3.

Murphy had announced on June 22 that casinos could reopen on July 2 at 25% capacity. He had planned to allow indoor dining at restaurants at 25% capacity, but he reversed course after outbreaks in other states.

The New Jersey Casino Control Commission on July 17 approved the merger of Caesars Entertainment and Eldorado Resorts after a three-day hearing. The combined company will own more than 50 U.S. casinos, including four of Atlantic City's nine casinos, and will operate under the Caesars Entertainment brand even though Eldorado will hold 56% of the company. It will be the largest casino company in the country.

The state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement suspended betting on Ukranian table tennis on July 9 in wake of match-fixing concerns surrounding six players, several media outlets reported. Regulators in Colorado did the same.

Tipico, a German sports betting company, has applied for a sports betting license with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, according to EGR. Tipico hopes to launch in New Jersey, where it has its U.S. offices in Hoboken, in time for the start of the NFL season.

On-site betting can resume at horse racing tracks on July 2, Murphy announced. Live bets can be placed on horse races at the tracks and on simulcast races from around the country. Monmouth Park will reopen its William Hill Sportsbook on July 2. The Meadowlands will reopen its FanDuel sportsbook the same day.


RELATED: See which New Jersey casinos are open


The state's Division of Gaming Enforcement must give its approval before the casinos can reopen and said it “has engaged with the casino industry to develop plans for the safe reopening of Atlantic City’s retail casino operations when authorized by the governor,” the AP reported.

A development company has dropped it bid to bring sports betting to the site of a former racetrack, Garden State Park in Cherry Hill, according to the Associated Press. Cherry Hill Towne Center Partners said it wants lawsuit dismissed against GS Park Racing and affiliated companies, the successor to the company that ran the South Jersey track where horse racing was last held in 2001, AP reported. State law allows casinos and current and former racetracks to offer sports betting.

The U.S. Supreme Court on May 18 declined to hear a dispute between professional sports leagues, the NCAA and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. The case now goes back to federal court in New Jersey. A federal judge, after hearing testimony from both sides, will determine the amount of damages the horsemen’s association will receive.

Scientific Games and the Golden Nugget Online Casino will launch ReelPlay content, according to published reports. ReelPlay, a partner of Scientific Games, will include El Dorado Infinity Reels in the launch.

LEGISLATURE: A bill that would add permanently add esports to the state's legal wagering options cleared the House on July 30, according to published reports. The legislation expands the definition of what New Jersey bettors can wager on to include skill-based events like esports. The bill moves to the Senate for consideration.

The legislature approved a package of tax relief measures for Atlantic City casinos on June 15, according to nj.com. The legislation expanded tax deductions casinos can take for promotional gaming credits and reduces the tax liability for one year on gross revenue if a casino saw losses during the pandemic. Licensing payments to the state would be deferred until six months after the casinos are permitted to reopen. A $500 licensing fee on each slot machine would be waived until June 30, 2021.

New Mexico

CASINOS: The state's horse racetracks and racinos are proposing an expansion of in state-regulated gambling, including internet gaming, according to the Albuquerque Journal. The Journal reported that the draft legislation would allow the state’s five racetrack casinos to have an unlimited number of video slot machines, table games and on-site sports betting parlors. The state has gambling compacts with tribes there.

The Santa Ana Pueblo Tribe delayed reopening the Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel for 30 more days in July and it remains temporarily closed. Tribal leadership said it would like to see a "more consistent and stable public health environment" before reopening. The casino has been closed since March 15.

Route 66 Casino Hotel, owned and operated by the Pueblo of Laguna, reopened on June 27, according to its website. The Dancing Eagle Casino remains closed for now.

The Ohkay Hotel Casino in Ohkay Owinge reopened to VIP customers on June 13 and to the general public on June 15, according to published reports. The Isleta Casino in Albuquerque also reopened to invited guests and VIP customers, including Gold Card members. The Taos Mountain Casino also reopened on June 15, according to its website. Casinos statewide closed in mid-March. The Navajo Nation said its three casinos in New Mexico — Fire Rock, Northern Edge and Flowing Water casinos — would reopen on July 5 at 50% capacity, according to a news release. New health and safety measures will be in place, including employees wearing face masks.

LEGISLATURE: The legislative session has ended.

New York

CASINOS: Empire City Casino in Yonkers reopened Sept. 21 at 25% capacity, according to the casino’s website. Guests are required to wear masks at all times inside the casino and some of the facility’s machines are disabled to make social distancing easier. The bar remains closed and there is no beverage service on the floor. The casino, owned by MGM Resorts, shut down in mid March.

The four commercial casinos and 11 racinos in the state began reopening on Sept. 9 for the first time since March 16. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Sept. 3 that the casinos and racinos could reopen at 25% capacity and with strict health and social distancing measures in place. Six upstate casinos operated by the Oneida and Seneca nations reopened in June with new social distancing and health measures. The Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods in Connecticut also opened in June and Atlantic City's nine casinos began reopening in July.

International Game Technology has signed a two-year extension with the New York Lottery, extending its current contract to August 2022, according to a news release. As part of the extension, IGT will produce 400 new GameTouch self-service vending machines and continue to provide an advanced central system, terminals, and ongoing services to the lottery.

The Del Lago Resort and Casino in Seneca County responded to published reports that it will be laying off more than 1,000 employees, saying that nothing has changed. It said the notices filed with the state were required since layoffs started in April, reports said. The state's four commercial casinos have been closed since mid-March and a reopening date is uncertain, which is why Del Lago filed the notices with the state.

Tioga County is asking Cuomo to allow non-Indian casinos in the state to reopen, including Tioga Downs in Nichols. The county legislature recently passed a resolution supporting the reopening of the casino in the county, according to local website binghamtonhomepage.com.

The Oneida Indian Nation reopened sports betting on July 22 at three casinos in the central part of the state, according to Syracuse.com. All three casinos – Point Place Casino in Bridgeport, the Yellow Brick Road Casino in Chittenango and the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona – reopened for gaming and some other activities on June 10. Bettors can only wager inside the casinos.

The Times Herald-Record of Middletown reported on July 14 that more than 4,100 casino workers in the state would get layoff notices. The workers had already been on furlough since April. Several of the state’s tribal casinos have already reopened.

The Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady posted an update on its website July 7 saying that it would remain temporarily closed until further notice.

The Akwesasne Mohawk Casino in Hogansburg will reopen Aug. 3, general manager Todd Papineau announced via Facebook. He said there will be new health and social-distancing measures, including a lower capacity. It will reopen without table games, he said in the Facebook video.

The Oneida Indian Nation reopened its three casinos — Turning Stone Resort Casino, Point Place Casino and Yellow Brick Road Casino — on June 10, according to published reports. In addition to new health and social-distancing measures, the casinos was not allowing anyone from outside a 120-mile radius of the casinos to enter, according to a syracuse.com report.

The Seneca Nation has reopened the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino, according to a news release. Other Seneca Nation gaming sites in Irving, Salamanca and Cuba, as well as larger casinos including reopened on June 18, according to published reports.

The Lakeside Entertainment casino in Union Springs was the first gaming operation in New York to reopen. The slot machine-only facility, run by the Cayuga Nation, says it is exempt from the state restrictions imposed by Cuomo, the report said. It also reopened under stricter health and social-distancing guidelines.

The Saratoga Casino and Hotel also announced on its website that it is working with the state on how to reopen, but said a reopening date "has not been determined."

New York sports betting rebounded in March with $99,514, according to figures posted by the New York State Gaming Commission. Despite being hardest hit by the coronavirus and not having mobile sports betting, New York saw a slight turnaround in sports betting revenue from its loss of $179,593 in February.

LEGISLATURE: The capitol and surrounding buildings have been closed to visitors. Three members of the New York State Assembly have tested positive for coronavirus. Cuomo and lawmakers reached a tentative budget agreement on April 1, according to news reports. The budget does not include mobile sports betting. Cuomo has been a staunch opponent of adding mobile sports betting in the state, even as revenue from sports betting in the state reaches new lows.

North Carolina

CASINOS: The Catawba Indian Nations’ Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort received support from Republicans and Democrats in Congress last week. House members from North and South Carolina introduced a bill called the Catawba Indian Nation Lands Act, according to the Charlotte Observer. It reaffirms a March U.S. Interior department decision to put the casino land in trust. The designation allows the Catawba Nation to develop a casino. Ground was broken on the project in July and the name was announced in late August. The Eastern Band of the Cherokees, which has two casinos in western North Carolina, continues to fight the proposed casino in court.

The Jackson County Department of Public Health and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Public Health and Human Services have identified a coranvirus cluster at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, according to a health department news release. The North Carolina Division of Public Health defines clusters of COVID-19 as a minimum of five cases with illness onsets or initial positive results within a 14-day period and plausible linkage between cases in the same setting during the same time period. Five table games employees at the casino have tested positive for COVID-19, the release said. All positive employees are following isolation orders.

The Catawba Indians are breaking ground on a $300 million casino 35 miles west of Charlotte in Kings Mountain on July 22, according to WBTV. The report said the Catawbas, based in South Carolina, plan to open the casino in late spring or early summer of 2021. The groundbreaking comes despite a lawsuit against the project by the Eastern Band of Cherokees, who operate their own casinos in western North Carolina. The tribe gained federal approval in March to acquire 16 acres near Interstate 85 in Cleveland County. It still faces an amended lawsuit from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, according to the Associated Press. It's the latest development over the casino between the two tribes. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, based in North Carolina, filed the amended complaint in early July challenging the federal government’s approval in March for the casino. The new complaint is part of a lawsuit filed in federal court in D.C. by the Cherokee tribe in March, five days after the agency’s decision. A judge denied a motion by the Eastern Band for a preliminary injunction in April.

The two casinos in western North Carolina — Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in Cherokee and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel in Murphy — reopened May 18 by reservation, according to the Harrah's Cherokee website. They had been closed since March 18. Both casinos have extensive health and social distancing measures in place, the report said. Employees will be screened, have their temperature checked and wear face masks. The stay-at-home order in the state expired May 8.

LEGISLATURE: The state legislature returned April 28 for the first time since the pandemic began. Lawmakers wore masks and followed social-distancing guidelines, according to the Raleigh News and Observer. The legislature will look to pass coronavirus relief measures and then adjourn until July or August.

North Dakota

CASINOS: A federal judge has denied a request by Powerhouse Gaming, a gaming equipment company, to reactivate about 500 electronic pull tab machines that were shut down on July 8 by the state attorney general, according to the Associated Press.

PlayUp Ltd, a provider of wagering and fantasy sports in Australia, has been approved for advance-deposit wagering (ADW) license in North Dakota. The state racing commission approved the application in late May, according to a news release. The license allows PlayUp to accept wagers on all forms of racing from about 20 states.

Dakota Nation Gaming Enterprise reopened the Dakota Magic Casino & Hotel, Dakota Sioux Casino & Hotel, and Dakota Connection Casinos on June 6, according to published reports.

The 4 Bears Casino in Minot reopened on May 16 under new health and social-distancing measures that included no blackjack or tables games, according to its website. It will be open Thursdays-Sundays. The Standing Rock Tribal Council reopened the Prairie Knights Casino and Resort near Fort Yates in Sioux County in mid-May, according to a published report.

LEGISLATURE: The legislative session meets in odd-numbered years.

Ohio

CASINOS: The casino and racino combined revenue in August was about $172 million, just short of the record $181 million in July. But the figure in August was good enough to set a state record for the month, according to Cleveland.com. The paper reported that the $172 million in 2020 was 4.7% higher than the August record set in 2019.

Casinos and racinos returned in mid-June, but being closed three months because of the coronavirus has left the industry about $500 million in gambling revenue behind the same point as last year, according to cleveland.com. The state report, released July 7, means a loss of about $160 million in fees and taxes to the state, the cleveland.com report said. June revenue of $76.7 million was about half of what it was ($161.4 million) last June.

Casinos and racinos in the state reopened on June 19 after being closed in mid-March. Gov. Mike DeWine gave the OK for the reopenings on June 5 after the casinos submitted new health and social-distancing plans. Miami Valley Gaming reopened the first day, according to Churchill Hill Downs Inc. Hollywood Gaming in Austintown reopened June 19.

Penn National has reopened Hollywood Casino in Columbus, Hollywood Casino in Toledo, Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway and Hollywood Gaming at Mohoning Valley Race Course. MGM Northfield Park reopened on June 20 at noon.

Horse racing was allowed to resume May 22. MGM Northfield Park on May 8 warned that it might have to lay off some of the 900 employees it temporarily furloughed, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. The state’s four casinos and seven racinos closed March 13 after DeWine banned mass gatherings of more than 100 people.

Revenue at the casinos from the first 13 days of March was $71,902,867. The combined revenue in February was $171,423,785, a state record. The month-over-month decline was 58%.

LEGISLATURE: HB 194, which legalizes sports betting, was approved by the House on May 28 by an overwhelming 83-10 vote. It now heads to the Senate, which has its own gambling bill. The Senate bill, SB 111, has some differences including having a different agency oversee sports betting. The differences in the bills will need to be worked out and pass the Senate before moving to DeWine.

DeWine has extended the state’s stay-at-home order until May 29 with some exceptions. On May 4, construction, manufacturing and distribution operations can start up again and offices can reopen. Nonessential retail stores can reopen on May 12.

Oklahoma

CASINOS: Gov. Kevin Stitt's request for a rehearing in a case where the state Supreme Court ruled the governor's gaming compacts with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribe has been denied by a 5-1 vote, according to The Oklahoman. The case was filed against Stitt by state Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat and House Speaker Charles McCall. The state Supreme Court ruled on July 21 that the gaming compacts signed by Stitt with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribe were invalid. The compacts were announced in April and Treat and McCall filed the lawsuit in early June, saying Stitt could not agree to provisions in the compacts that are not allowed under Oklahoma law, according to the Tulsa World. “The tribal gaming compacts Governor Stitt entered into with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribes are invalid under Oklahoma law,” the opinion from the Supreme Court said, according to The World. “The State of Oklahoma is not and cannot be legally bound by those compacts until such time as the Legislature enacts laws to allow the specific Class III gaming at issue, and in turn, allowing the Governor to negotiate additional revenue.”

Two recent gaming compacts between Stitt and the Kialegee Tribal Town and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians were approved by the U.S. Department of Interior and the tribes can abide by the terms the when they are posted in the federal register, according to IGB North America. The compacts, announced in July, cover Class III and table games, but not sports betting. The gaming compacts with the Keetoowah Band and Kialegee Tribal Town are currently before the state Supreme Court after state Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat and House Speaker Charles McCall challenged the legality of them, as they did earlier compacts negotiated by Stitt. The Supreme Court invalidated the earlier compacts on July 21.

Four tribes are seeking to have a federal court void gaming compacts between the state and two tribes — Comanche Nation and the Otoe-Missouira Tribe — that the state Supreme Court invalidated on July 21, the Associated Press reported. The Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Citizen Potawatomie Nations filed the lawsuit on Aug. 7 in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. It asks for a declaration that the U.S. Department of Interior violated federal law by approving the agreements, the AP reported.

The Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association suspended the memberships of Otoe-Missouria and Comanche Nation for signing the gaming compacts, according to The Oklahoman. They are suspended for the remainder of the calendar year, after which time they could seek reinstatement, the association said in a statement.

Black Hawk Casino in Shawnee and Sac and Fox Casino in Stroud have reopened and are "clean and sanitized," according to their websites. The casinos closed June 22 after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus, according to ktul.com.

The Golden Mesa Casino in Guymon announced on its website and social media that it reopened on June 22.

The Comanche Nation reopened two casinos on June 12 — the Comanche Nation Casino in Lawton and Comanche Red River Casino in Devol — and will reopen the Comanche Spur Casino in Elgin and Comanche Star Casino in Walters on June 15, according to published reports.

The River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa reopened May 31 to VIP guests and to the public on June 1, according to the Tulsa World. In addition to the pandemic, the casino had to close last year for two months because the Arkansas River flooded. The casino has enhanced safety and social-distancing measures.

The WinStar Casino in Thackerville and Choctaw Casino & Resorts in Durant reopened May 27, according to media reports. Both are close to the border with Texas.

Chickasaw Nation began a phased reopening of its casinos and gaming centers on May 27. Chickasaw Nation officials reopened at 25% of full capacity.

The Thunderbird Casinos in Norman and Shawnee, operated by the Absentee Shawnee Tribe, reopened May 11 and in Norman the casino had a line nearly 250 people long, according to The Oklahoman. Temperatures were taken at the door, masks were handed out and guests had to sit at slot machines at least six feet away from the nearest person.

Two other tribal casinos in Oklahoma — 7 Clans Casino Resort and Tonkawa Hotel & Casino — have reopened, according to the American Gaming Association. Casinos in Oklahoma were temporarily closed on March 23.

LEGISLATURE: The legislature recently gave Stitt additional powers to deal with the coronavirus pandemic under the state's declaration of a health emergency, according to The Oklahoman.

Oregon

CASINOS: Roar Digital has entered into a sports betting partnership with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde in Oregon, according to a news release. Under the agreement, Road Digital, the joint venture between MGM Resorts and GVC, will serve as exclusive sports betting partner to the tribe. It will also open a BetMGM retail sportsbook at its Spirit Mountain Casino. Roar has the option for an on-reservation mobile sports betting app if the state sets regulations and gives approval, the release said.

A casino that had reopened in June closed again temporarily after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. The Indian Head Casino in Warm Springs closed on July 8 after the positive test, Bend TV station KTVZ reported. Indian Head had reopened on June 18 after it was initially closed for a few months in response to coronavirus concerns.

Four casinos in the the state reopened in May — The Mill Casino Hotel in North Bend opened May 18, the Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City opened May 21, Three Rivers Casino in Florence and Coos Bay and Seven Feathers Casino Resort opened May 22, according to the Associated Press. All have new health and social-distancing guidelines in place.

LEGISLATURE: Could call a special session to address coronavirus and any key items left uncertain by the pandemic.

Pennsylvania

CASINOS: NetEnt has launched its portfolio of casino games with Wind Creek’s expanded online offering to include iGaming in Pennsylvania, according to a news release Sept. 22. Wind Creek Bethlehem can offer casino content to online audiences, including NetEnt's table games and top performer Divine Fortune. The partnership increases NetEnt’s market share in Pennsylvania, where it has expanded significantly since first launching last year.

An auction for a license to operate a “mini-casino” in Pennsylvania was won on Sept. 2 by Ira Lubert, the chairman and co-founder of Independence Capital Partners and Lubert Adler Partners. He submitted the winning bid of $10,000,101. The mini-casino would be in Unionville Borough near State College in Centre County. The auction had two bids and it took place before the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s public meeting. Lubert is licensed by the gaming board in connection with his ownership stake in Rivers Casino Pittsburgh. The Category 4 casino — mini-casino — can have between 300 and 750 slot machines, along with a maximum of 30 table games, at opening, according to the gaming control board. It can add 10 table games after its first year of operation.

Gaming Realms has an agreement to bring its online gaming offerings into the state after reaching a deal with Rush Street Interactive, according to a news release. Gaming Realms already offers its full Slingo Originals online gaming products in New Jersey. According to the release, Slingo Originals games will be integrated right into the Rush Street Interactive platform.

Mohegan Sun Pocono has told 240 furloughed employees they could face layoffs if they are not called back to work before the end of September, according to FOX56 report.

GAN, an interent gaming software provider, has launched the new “PlayLive!” branded internet gambling business in the state for The Cordish Cos. It allows Pennsylvania residents to enroll online, in advance, for their Live! Rewards Players Card. The announcement in a news release on Aug. 17 comes as the Cordish Gaming Croup is planning to open two new Live!-branded gaming facilities in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in late 2020 and early 2021.

A report from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board released Aug. 13 shows that the state’s six harness and thoroughbred tracks saw increases in starts, races and purse amounts. But taxable handle dropped by 10.8% to $300.1 million last year, according to The Center Square website.

The state lost $968.8 million in operating revenue, leading to a gaming tax deficit of $424 million, during the shutdown for coronavirus concerns, the Allegheny Institute reported.

The Wind Creek Casino in Bethlehem has launched an online gaming platform in partnership with Pala Interactive. Pala is providing Wind Creek its online player account management system for the online casino, according to a news release. The launch is the completion of the first phase of the casino’s real money and social casino plans, with the next phase being sports betting introduced in partnership with Betfred USA and Scientific Games later this year.

The state lottery reached profits of $1.14 billion in the 2019-20 fiscal year that ended June 30 for programs that support senior citizens, according to IGB. It's the ninth straight year the contribution has been more than $1 billion. The lottery also reported sales of $4.5 billion on traditional products like scratch-offs, IGB reported.

The June handle of $88.313 million for online sports betting in the state was up 13.9 percent from the $77.510 million reported in May. Retail betting from the reopening of casinos helped increase the state’s total sports betting handle for June to $89 million, up 14.8 percent from May, according to figures released by the state. Gross sports betting revenue in June was $6.663 million, up 38 percent from the May total of $4.828 million.

Rivers Casino Philadelphia reopened on July 17, becoming the state's last casino to get back in operation. The casino had been waiting to set a reopening date because the city kept some of its restrictions in place, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh reopened July 10 after being shut down temporarily by an order from the Allegheny County Health Department. New health mandates are in place — guests must wear a mask in the casino and their temperature will be taken before they are allowed to enter. Rivers Casino and the Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington (about 30 miles outside of Pittsburgh) originally reopened on June 9 with new health and social-distancing measures in place. Demand at Rivers Casino was so high it opened two hours early, according to KDKA. Since the reopening two employees have tested positive for the coronavirus at Rivers Casinos, according to published reports.

International Game Technology (IGT) announced July 7 that its video gaming terminals CrystalDual 27 and CrystalSlant have been approved by the gaming control board and they can be added in truck stop locations, according to a news release. IGT has a gaming presence in Pennsylvania with slots and video poker games, casino management systems, iGaming, sports betting and the video gaming central system, the release said.

FanDuel has launched a standalone casino app in the state, according to a news release sent June 24. Initially, Android users can download it, but iOS users will soon be able to acquire it. Rival DraftKings announced on June 23 a standalone casino app in New Jersey. FanDuel is partnered in Pennsylvania with Valley Forge Casino just west of Philadelphia for sports betting and online casino gaming. Those wishing to use the new app can sign up for a new account or use an existing FanDuel sportsbook account.


RELATED: See which Pennsylvania casinos are open


Presque Isle Downs and Casino reopened June 26, according to its website. Half of the casino's slot machines and table games were available at the reopening to allow for proper social distancing. Guests and staff wore masks and had their temperatures checked upon entering. Horse racing will resume July 27 without spectators.

Mohegan Sun Pocono announced on its website that it reopened on June 22 — "We are open and excited to welcome you back to a world at play," it proclaimed. "With the guidance of industry experts, regulatory agencies, and in closely mirroring the comprehensive protocols put in place by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment's flagship property in Connecticut, we feel we are well-prepared for our doors to open and can't wait to welcome guests to a clean, safe and fun environment," Anthony Carlucci, president & general manager of Mohegan Sun Pocono, wrote on the website. Mount Airy Casino also reopened June 22 at noon.

Harrah's Philadelphia and Valley Forge Casino reopened June 26, while Parx Casino, northeast of Philadelphia, and Wind Creek Bethlehem reopened June 29.

Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course reopened June 19. The poker room did not open and the sportsbook will remain closed, but there will be betting at the sports wagering kiosk, according to the casino's website. The Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin in Farmington reopened June 12, according to Churchill Downs Inc.

DraftKings Online Casino went live May 1 through a partnership with Hollywood Casino in the Poconos. In a social media post on June 23, the gaming operator announced that DraftKings Roulette is now available in its sportsbook app. Also in the first week in May, Caesars Online Casino went live through its partnership with Harrah's Philadelphia. Online casino gaming is legal in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware and online poker sites are legal in those three and Nevada.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on June 10 approved Wind Creek Bethlehem's petition to conduct sports wagering. The board's vote was unanimous. Wind Creek hopes to start construction in mid-August on the sportsbook and open around Nov. 21, according to the Allentown Morning Call. The sportsbook will be operated by Betfred USA. Betfred has a sportsbook in Iowa and opened one in Colorado on June 17.

The Gaming Control Board outlined the minimum requirements for the state’s casinos to reopen their facilities. The 10-page guideline document is available on the board’s website. The requirements include new health and social-distancing measures. In addition, "poker rooms are not authorized to operate due to players handling cards and chips,” the board said in the document. Poker room operations will be re-examined based upon changing guidance from health officials, the gaming control board said.

All casinos were closed March 17 by order of the state Gaming Control Board.

Scientific Games has agreed be the distributor of SidePlay Entertainment’s eInstant games in North America, according to a news release on June 11. The Pennsylvania Lottery is the first to launch SidePlay’s content through Scientific Games' OpenGaming platform, the release said.

LEGISLATURE: State Senate Republicans are pushing for gambling legislation that would allow slot machine-like terminals in bars, restaurants, nonprofit social clubs and other businesses with liquor licenses, according to the Associated Press. The bill could deliver tax revenue at a time when states are trying to make up for revenue losses from the coronavirus. The legislation also seeks to ban unregulated cash-paying “skill” game terminals from laundromats, pizza parlors, grocery stores, corner stores and bowling alleys that do not have liquor licenses, the AP reported.

Rhode Island

CASINOS: The Twin River casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton have laid off more than 1,300 workers combined this month, according to The Providence Journal citing documents filed with state labor officials. The layoffs, effective Aug. 11, include more than 1,000 workers in Lincoln and nearly 300 in Tiverton.

Twin River Worldwide Holdings will move forward with plans to expand its Lincoln casino by 40,000 square feet, according to The Valley Breeze. Company officials appeared before the Lincoln Planning Board’s Technical Review Committee on Aug. 18 to discuss the expansion plans.

Tax revenue from the Twin River Tiverton Casino Hotel for the fiscal year that began July 1 will be held in a reserve account and can’t be used by the town of Tiverton until the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2021, according to the Marlborough Enterprise. The Town Council voted 5-2 to approve the ordinance. City Council President Patricia Hilton, who introduced the ordinance, said it was needed so projected gaming revenue is not placed into the current fiscal year budget, the newspaper reported. Because casinos in Rhode Island were closed in mid-March, the town faced a $1.8 million budget deficit.

Gov. Gina Raimondo on July 22 signed two bills, SB 2919 and HB 8097, that eliminate the state's requirement that people must register in person at either the Twin River Casino Hotel in Lincoln or the Tiverton Casino Hotel before placing mobile sports bets. Lawmakers passed the two bills, sponsored by state Sen. Dominick Ruggerio and state House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, on July 16, Providence TV station WPRI reported.

The Twin River Casino Hotel in Lincoln and the Tiverton Casino Hotel, the two casinos in the state, reopened June 8 by invitation only to selected members, according to the Twin Rivers website. New health and social-distancing measures were in place. Temperature checks were included in the new guidelines and each facility was limited to about 25% of capacity. Only video slots spaced six feet apart and virtual table games were available at the reopening.

The total sports betting handle in Rhode Island for May was $1,533,114, a 159% increase over April’s $591,377, but still a fraction of normal month. May 2019 saw $18,900,152 in total handle. Revenue for May was $163,472, six times higher than April’s $27,381 but down considerably, 81.8%, from May 2019’s $899,165.

A Superior Court judge has denied a request for an injunction to stop sports betting in Rhode Island, according to the Newport Daily News. Former Providence mayoral candidate Daniel Harrop sought a summary judgment over his claim that sports betting online and at the state’s two casinos violated the state constitution, the newspaper reported. The judge ruled that voters had approved sports betting in 2012 and 2016.

International Game Technology (IGT) and William Hill have enhanced the Sportsbook Rhode Island mobile app and website, according to Providence Business News. The revamped app and website will include an elevated interface and bigger betting menu, among other improvements. Bettors will have a wider selection of futures and prop-bets, and sporting events such as Russian table tennis and Taiwanese basketball, PBN reported.

The state's stay-at-home order was lifted May 8.

LEGISLATURE: The state ethics commission ruled that Gov. Gina Raimondo did not commit an ethics violation during negotiations for a no-bid, 20-year lottery contract with IGT (International Game Technology). The commission voted 7-1 on April 28 to dismiss the complaint, according to the Providence Journal. All legislative sessions have been postponed indefinitely.

South Carolina

CASINOS: There are no casinos in South Carolina. The South Carolina Education Lottery recently awarded a new six-year contract to Scientific Games to provide "warehousing and distribution services with a new state-of-the-art distribution facility, a next generation lottery mobile app and interactive services," according to a news release.

LEGISLATURE: The state's stay-at-home order was lifted on May 4. It makes the governor's "home or work" order voluntary and allows some restaurants to begin serving patrons under strict guidelines. State parks reopened on May 1. The legislature returned April 8 to consider emergency legislation and adopt a resolution to allow it to operate after the session ends May 14, according to The State.

South Dakota

CASINOS: Deadwood Gaming Association executive director Mike Rodman told keloland.com that the betting handle for June 2020 was up 13.75 percent from June 2019. The taxable adjusted gross revenue for June 2020 was $10,239,651. It was Deadwood’s largest handle for the month of June since as least 2014, Rodman said.

The Royal River Casino & Hotel in Flandreau, owned and operated by the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, reopened on May 29. Flandreau is about 45 miles north of Sioux Falls.

Casinos in Deadwood reopened around May 10. The Deadwood City Commission voted on May 7 to permit casinos and other businesses in the city to reopen, according to the Deadwood Advantage website.

The decision allowed for slots and table games to begin under social distancing and health guidelines. Deadwood mayor David Ruth Jr. on March 23 ordered the 25 casinos in the city to close temporarily.

LEGISLATURE: The state attorney general recently released the ballot explanations for the November election, including Constitutional Amendment B entitled “An amendment to the South Dakota Constitution authorizing the Legislature to allow sports wagering in Deadwood,” according to the Capital Journal of Pierre. The explanation reads: The constitution currently authorizes the legislature to allow certain types of gaming in the city of Deadwood: roulette, keno, craps, limited card games, and slot machines. This constitutional amendment authorizes the legislature to also include wagering on sporting events as a type of gaming allowed in Deadwood. Under federal law, any gaming authorized by the legislature to be offered in Deadwood would also be allowed at on-reservation tribal casinos upon amendments to current tribal gaming compacts. Vote ‘Yes' to adopt the amendment. Vote "No" to leave the constitution as it is.

The legislature approved a bill in March asking for the referendum. The legislature ended its session on March 30.

Tennessee

CASINOS: The Tennessee Lottery set a record with $1.84 billion in revenue in the 2019-20 fiscal year which ended June 30. The lottery proceeds generated $438.2 million for the state’s education fund.

The Lottery hired Danielle Boyd as vice president of sports gaming operations just days after Jennifer Roberts announced she was leaving as the lottery’s director of sports gaming regulation. Boyd comes to Tennessee from William Hill U.S., where she was the head of government relations for two years. She had previously been managing general counsel of the West Virginia Lottery for almost seven years but left shortly after the state launched sports betting in 2018.

Roberts announced on her Twitter account that June 26 was her last day as director of sports gaming regulation with the Tennessee Lottery. She is joining GameCo, based in Las Vegas, as vice president/general counsel starting July 1. Roberts had been with the Tennessee Lottery since Dec. 2.

IGT (International Game Technology) recently announced a two-year contract extension with the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation through June 2027. As part of the agreement, IGT will upgrade the lottery's loyalty website and mobile app, providing new player convenience features, according to a news release.

There are no casinos in Tennessee, but an all-mobile sports betting market is getting closer. The Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation approved sports betting rules on April 15, but they include a controversial 10% hold. The state hopes to have sports betting up and running when sports return. The state is under a stay-at-home order through April.

LEGISLATURE: The legislature recessed on March 19 until at least June 1.

Texas

CASINOS: The Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel will reopen Oct. 1 at 25% capacity and with other social distancing and health measures in place, the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas announced on Sept. 21. The casino in Eagle Pass is on the border with Mexico. It has been closed since March 19.

Mega Millions and Powerball tickets can now be purchased at business centers of participating H-E-B supermarket stores in the state, according to a Texas Lottery news release. The tickets will be printed on cash register receipt paper.

Penn National has reopened Retama Park and Sam Houston Race Park.

The Texas Supreme Court on May 8 sent a case back to a lower court involving the city of Fort Worth and operators of eight-liner gambling machines, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The Supreme Court ordered the Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth to determine the legality and constitutionality of the machines.

Tribal casinos in the state have voluntarily closed. A stay-at-home order that was in place through April has ended, but some counties have extended closures.

LEGISLATURE: Was not in session in 2020. It meets in odd-numbered years.

Utah

CASINOS: There are no casinos in Utah. The state prohibits gambling.

LEGISLATURE: The legislative session ended March 13.

Vermont

CASINOS: There are no casinos in Vermont. Intralot has extended its agreement with the Vermont Lottery, according to IGB. Under the new deal, Intralot will provide its Lotos central system, Photon terminals and Winstations technologies to the lottery.

LEGISLATURE: The Senate approved legislation Wednesday setting up a committee to research how the state could tax and regulate sports betting in Vermont, according to published reports. SB 59 now moves to the House for consideration. The legislature will recess by the end of June.

The state's stay-at-home order ended May 15 but Gov. Phil Scott kept a state of emergency in place until June 15. The senate met March 24 by phone and the house conducted a token session March 24. Further sessions could be temporarily suspended. A sports betting bill had been introduced.

Virginia

CASINOS: The Danville City Council voted 7-0 on Sept. 1 to approve the city’s agreement with Caesars Entertainment for a proposed casino, the Danville Register & Bee reported. The sides agreed on a final proposal for a casino, in which Caesars said it would invest $400 million and provide at least 1,300 jobs. City residents will vote on whether to approve the proposal in November.

At a Lottery Board meeting, the state began a public comment period regarding sports betting regulations that were released. The public comment period ended Sept. 9. The state law legalizing sports betting went into effect July 1. After the comment period, rules will be announced in mid-September, according to the timeline on the lottery website. When the law was passed, Del. Mark Sickles, who represents the 43rd District and sponsored the House bill, said it would be “great to have before college football and the NFL seasons, but I think we’ll be lucky to have it by the Super Bowl, much less the NFL season.” That falls in line with the lottery’s timetable, as it has 90 days to approve operators who apply, which puts the process into December. In the “FAQs On Virginia Sports Betting” section on the state lottery website, one of the questions was “When will I be able to place a legal sports bet?” The answer: “Legal sports betting in Virginia will not be available before mid-to-late December 2020, at the earliest.” More likely it will be early 2021.

On July 1, Mega Millions, Powerball, Cash4Life, and more instant-win games became available online in Virginia, the lottery announced, according to published reports. It becomes the seventh state with lottery games online.

The city of Bristol reached agreement in late May for Hard Rock International to become its preferred partner on a casino proposal. Bristol voters must pass a referendum in November to approve a casino. Bristol is one of five Virginia cities — along with Richmond, Danville, Portsmouth and Norfolk — permitted to seek voter approval for casinos.

IGT (International Game Technology) announced April 28 that it has signed a six-year contract with the Virginia Lottery to provide Scratcher tickets, strategic planning and services, according to a news release. Under the agreement, IGT will become the primary vendor for instant ticket games for the first time in Virginia. The contract will run through June 30, 2026.

LEGISLATURE: Sen. Tommy Norment, R-James City County, at a gaming subcommittee meeting in January, presented his bill to expand lottery sales to the internet.

Washington

CASINOS: The Legends Casino in Toppenish reopened Aug. 13 with limited capacity. The hours are 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., with deep cleaning taking place during the eight hours that the facility is closed. The casino will be operating at about 50% capacity according to social distancing guidelines, according to 500nations.com.

The state gambling commission will start the process of creating rules and regulations for sports betting after a vote on July 17, according to the published reports. Four of the state’s tribes — Kalispel, Suquamish, Snoqualmie and Tulalip — have applied for sports betting licenses. Washington approved sports betting at tribal casinos in March and Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill into law on March 25. The tribes are working with a state gaming commission on meeting the new state law's requirements. Betting is permitted on pro sports, but not college sports, and there is no mobile sports betting in the new law.

The Skagit Valley Casino, owned and operated by the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, reopened June 24 with enhanced safety and social-distancing measures, according to its website. Among the new guidelines — capacity will be 30%, guests will be required to wear masks and undergo temperature checks upon entering and table games will remain closed.

The Snoqualmie Casino near Seattle reopened on June 11 with new health and social-distancing guidelines in place, according to its website.

The Swinomish Casino & Lodge in Anacortes opened May 28, according to its website. The Silver Reef Casino Resort in Frendale reopened May 21 to members of the Lummi Nation and to the public on May 22, according to the Bellingham Herald.

The Tulalip Resort Casino and Quil Ceda Creek Casino reopened May 26, the Tulalip Tribes announced on the casinos' website. It included new health and safety guidelines.

Three other tribal casinos reopened May 18 — Emerald Queen, Little Creek in Shelton and Nisqually Red Wind in Olympia, according to published reports. They had health and social-distancing measures in place in place.

The Angel of the Winds Casino Resort in Arlington, run by the Stillaguamish Tribe, reopened May 13, according to a story in The Seattle Times. It is the first casino in western Washington to reopen since a stay-at-home order in the state was put into place in March.

As part of the reopening, the casino put new health and social-distancing measures in place. One of the new changes, according to The Times, is a requirement that all guests have a cellphone to use as part of the check-in process.

In addition, the Angel of the Winds Casino Resort announced recently on its social media accounts that the facility will be smoke-free. It said it will be the first smoke-free casino in the state.

Northern Quest Resort and Casino near Spokane and the Kalispel Casino in Cusick, run by the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, reopened May 5, according to the websites of both casinos.

The tribes are not bound by state orders. The tribal casinos fund many tribal government operations, and have thousands of employees, the Associated Press reported.

LEGISLATURE: The legislative session wrapped up March 13. Earlier in the month the senate passed legislation to legalize sports betting in the tribal casinos. In doing so, Washington became the 21st state with legal sports betting (plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico) and the first to sign such legislation into law in 2020.

West Virginia

CASINOS: The mobile and retail sportsbooks at Mardi Gras Casino and Wheeling Island Casino are operational on schedule. The mobile sportsbooks at Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack, in Wheeling, and Mardi Gras Casino, in Cross Lanes, both operate through Betly.com. Their operation means that all five commercial West Virginia casinos now have at least a retail sports betting option and that four of the five have mobile sportsbooks available.

The state lottery's streak of 17 years with annual gross revenue of more than $1 billion has ended, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, due in large part because casinos and Limited Video Lottery sites were shut down for more than two months by the coronavirus pandemic. Gross revenue for the 2019-20 budget year, which ended June 30, was $955.7 million, a $187.4 million decline from the previous fiscal year, according to figures released by the state.

DraftKings launched its mobile gaming product line in the state on July 16. Players can wager on Blackjack, Roulette, three-card poker and more by accessing DraftKings casino games through either the standalone DraftKings Casino app or through the DraftKings Sportsbook app. West Virginia joined Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware in offering online casino games.

The Hollywood Casino & Inn at Charles Town Races, Mardi Gras Casino & Resort at Nitro, Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack, Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort in Hancock County and The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs reopened on June 5 under strict health and social-distancing guidelines.

Limited video lottery retailers began reopening on May 30.

West Virginia sportsbooks took in $2,965,302 for the period from March 29 to May 1. West Virginia reports its figures weekly. The week ending May 2 saw $1,063,604 in sports betting handle, double the amount in any of the previous four weeks, undoubtedly helped by NFL betting on that week’s draft.

LEGISLATURE: IGaming launched in mid-July under temporary rules, which will be replaced by permanent rules that are expected to be filed in the fall for review by the legislature during the 2021 regular session. The current legislative session has ended.

Wisconsin

CASINOS: The Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee announced on Aug. 24 that it will not limit admission to club members only, according to Milwaukee CBS-TV affiliate WDJT. Anyone over 21 can reserve gaming sessions. Masks and temperature checks will be required to enter. The Potawatomi had previously announced it will permanently lay off 1,600 employees in August, according to the Milwaukee Independent.

Casinos in the state, with enhanced safety measures in place, began reopening May 26, including the Oneida Casino and the North Star Mohican Casino, according to published reports. Menominee Casino Resort opened May 27. Ho-Chunk Nation reopened casinos in Madison on June 3 and in Nekoosa on June 16. The tribe also announced plans to reopen casinos in Wisconsin Dells, Black River Falls and Wittenberg on June 29, according to published reports.

LEGISLATURE: Residents voted April 7 in the presidential primary in Wisconsin after legal challenges that went to the state and U.S. Supreme Courts. Gov. Tony Evers had sought to delay the primary until June 9 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Polling sites were consolidated and altered to accommodate social distancing guidelines for the primary. Votes won't be counted until at least April 13.

The assembly has ended its session while the senate last convened on March 24.

Wyoming

CASINOS: The Wind River Hotel & Casino in Riverton has delayed reopening because of "extenuating circumstances," according to Facebook post from the casino on July 21. It has been scheduled to reopen July 22. Closed since mid-March, the casino has not announced a new reopening date.

Voters in Park County will be asked in November if they want to approve pari-mutuel gambling, following approval by county commissioners at their most recent meeting, according to the Wyoming Business Report. Pari-mutuel involves racing sports, but is only associated with horse racing in Wyoming, the report said. Terminals would be placed in the county to take live bets on simulcast horse races, if voters approve the measure.

Northern Arapaho Tribe closed its casinos indefinitely on March 16. The Eastern Shoshone Tribe also closed its casino.

LEGISLATURE: The legislative budget session ended March 12.

Puerto Rico

CASINOS: Puerto Rico is taking a step toward launching sports betting after legalizing it in July 2019, according to IGB North America. It has begun a 30-day consulting period on regulations that have been developed in partnership with Gaming Laboratories International. Among the regulations: A 7% revenue tax on land-based betting and 12% for online betting. Fantasy contest operators would be subject to a tax equal to 12% of contest entry fees, according to IGB. Betting could be offered in casinos, hotels without casinos, inns, racetracks, horse betting agencies, shops, and any other venue the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission approves. Online and mobile betting could also be non-tethered, the report said.

LEGISLATURE: Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced announced on July 20 that she was convening the body's fifth special session to consider health and retirement measures for the island.

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