Spin Cycle: Revenue Records, Mega Millions Markup Highlight Week In Gambling

Eric Raskin

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Welcome to “Spin Cycle,” Casino Reports’ weekly Friday roundup of all things impactful, intriguing, impressive, or idiotic in the gambling industry. Pull up a chair, grab a stack of chips and a glass of your beverage of choice, and take a spin with us through this week’s news cycle …

Three for three on iCasino revenue records

Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are the three biggest regulated online casino states, in terms of population size and the way they each flirt with $200 million in operator revenue most months.

All three stepped up their flirting game in March and set new state records in net dollars won from customers.

As Casino Reports covered this week, Michigan surpassed its previous high of $188 million with $215.2 million, and New Jersey topped its high water mark of $183.2 million with a $197.2 million performance in March. Rounding out the trio, Pennsylvania wasn’t far behind, reporting on Wednesday a state record $191.1 million in gross online casino revenue, up 29% over March 2023. That translated to $82.1 million in tax receipts, just over five times as much as legal sports betting produced for the state.

Similarly to the other major iCasino states, Pennsylvania saw brick-and-mortar revenue that was fairly flat relative to the previous year — especially when compared with the constant growth of iGaming revenue.

A Mega scoop from our sister site

Do you know the difference between Powerball and Mega Millions? They’re two different lotteries, but, in most people’s minds, they’re interchangeable. They each draw five white balls and one colored ball, they each cost $2 to play, their jackpots each start at $20 million and occasionally grow beyond $1 billion — there just isn’t much distinguishing one from the other.

But as my colleague Brett Smiley reported this week on Lottery Geeks, the lottery-focused website under the same umbrella as Casino Reports, Mega Millions is very close to finalizing a move to separate itself from Powerball. Possibly as soon as next spring, the Mega Millions price point is likely to increase from $2 to $5. And one probable result of that is jackpots growing larger than ever.

We won’t know exactly how the customer base will react until the change is implemented. But there’s a chance here for Mega Millions jackpots to swell to $3 billion or maybe even $4 billion — which would make it a lot harder to confuse it with Powerball.

Did we just become best friends?

The legal departments of two notable gaming companies, Acres and IGT, are done duking it out. IGT had accused Acres of patent infringement on multiple patents, but the companies announced Tuesday that they’ve settled all legal disputes. (Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.)

“IGT is pleased to reach a mutual agreement with Acres that resolves all disputes between us,” said Nick Khin, IGT’s COO of Gaming. “This allows us to dedicate our collective resources where they are better served, driving continued innovation in the exciting and evolving cashless gaming space.”

John Acres, CEO of Acres, said, “We are thrilled to put this matter behind us and work cooperatively with IGT to build exciting new gambling experiences that can increase both player enjoyment and casino profits.”

OK, maybe the Step Brothers “Did we just become best friends?” line is a reach. But at least Acres and IGT aren’t enemies anymore.

Disturbing allegations in Atlantic City

The mayor of Atlantic City, Marty Small Jr., and his wife, the city’s superintendent of schools, La’Quetta Small, were charged Monday by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office with endangering the welfare of their teenage daughter.

The details of the complaint filed are harrowing, alleging that Mayor Small hit his daughter multiple times in the head with a broom, causing her to lose consciousness, and that his wife punched her multiple times, beat her with a belt, and dragged her by the hair.

Neither parent has been arrested, and the mayor has announced that he does not intend to resign from his public office in the New Jersey shore casino town.

“Mayor Marty Small remains the mayor in the city of Atlantic City and will continue to faithfully perform all of his duties as mayor,” said Small’s lawyer, Ed Jacobs, in a statement. “He and his wife La’Quetta and their two children remain a close and loving and intact family.”

Cordish calls a blitz on Virginia casino pursuit 

Baltimore-based Cordish Companies is hoping to obtain a license to develop a new casino in Petersburg, Virginia, and is teaming up with a major name in pursuit of that opportunity: Hall of Fame former Buffalo Bills defensive end Bruce Smith.

The NFL’s all-time career sack leader and a native of Norfolk, Virginia (who played his college ball at Virginia Tech), Smith has become a hotel designer — helming Bruce Smith Enterprises — since retiring from football.

Before the Cordish-Smith plans can get serious, the Virginia legislature has to clear various hurdles on a referendum to approve Petersburg as a new casino town, after efforts to license one in Richmond collapsed. Also, Cordish will not be the only casino developer in the running; Virginia Business reports that Bally’s, PENN Entertainment, Rush Street Gaming, and the D.C.-based Warrenton Group are all in the mix.

“Historically, when opportunities for major developments have taken place, Virginians have either been shut out, or given such a small percentage, even in areas that are disenfranchised,” Smith told Virginia Business, noting that Petersburg’s population is about 77% African American. “This is about the citizens and the city of Petersburg, a city that has been ignored and disenfranchised for three generations, to be quite honest. … This city needs this economic engine more than any other city. It’s time to put Virginians first.”

The Shuffle: Other news and views

STRONG ISLAND: Long Island casino to break ground on $210 million expansion to stay ahead of competition

DIRTY DEPOSITS: Undercover operation exposes alleged money laundering through FanDuel

CRIME DOESN’T PAY: Man sentenced for role in Monarch Casino heist

OUR MAINE STORY: Maine closes legislative session without online casino approval

AND A MAINE OPINION: Legalizing internet gaming with hurt Mainers

ITCH TO SCRATCH: Ups and downs of lottery play can be ‘very addictive form of conditioning,’ expert says

GOING GREEN: Greentube announces US iGaming partnership with Caesars

SLOT OR NOT?: Minnesota bill to ban historical horse racing inches forward, amid sports betting debate and table games lawsuit

OUT OF LUCK: Convenience stores shut down Virginia Lottery sales in protest for skill games

NOTHING TO SEE HERE: MGM Resorts fights FTC over cyberattack investigation

FINDING NEO: Nevada Gaming Commission approves Aristocrat acquisition of NeoGames

CALL AN UBER!: Kentucky woman turns $50 into $50K, can’t drive home

TEXAS FOREVER: Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas announces plans for new casino resort on reservation

LOTTO PROBLEMS: Lotteries were not purpose-built to regulate other forms of gaming

KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID: Simplicity reigns supreme for online slots

GLASS HALF FULL: Entain’s Q1 offers mixed results, but confidence abounds with net revenue up 6%

TAKING STOCK: UK’s Games Global discloses over 80% jump in annual revenue in US IPO filing

MILLION-DOLLAR MYSTERY: Why do some lottery players not check to see if they won?

ANTE UP: Online poker play may be on the verge of a comeback in Nevada

THE WORLDWIDE BLEEDER: Analyst: ESPN Bet a drag on PENN

KNOW THY SELF: National Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program to debut this summer

The Bonus Round

Completing the Spin Cycle with some odds and ends and our favorite social media posts of the week:

  • Two upcoming industry events will feature two legends in their fields as headline attractions. At SBC Summit North America in May at the Meadowlands Expo Center in New Jersey, Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino will be a keynote speaker, and he said in a press release that he will “shed light on some of the behind-the-scenes action” from his playing days. And in July, at the NCLGS Summer Meeting at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh (Marino’s hometown), betting icon Billy Walters has been announced as one of the features speakers.
  • What happens in the Netherlands doesn’t necessarily happen in America, but there is nevertheless a critical situation brewing in the European country that’s worth tracking in the U.S. On Tuesday, the house of representatives in Holland voted to ban online slots. That doesn’t make it law — it now goes to the minister for legal protection to review. But, if approved, it will shake up the gambling landscape in the Netherlands and perhaps sound alarms on our side of the Atlantic. Jeez, as if the path toward online casino expansion wasn’t bumpy enough already …
  • The NFL announced Thursday that five players suspended last year for sports betting violations have been reinstated: Shaka Toney, Rashod Berry, Quintez Cephus, C.J. Moore, and Demetrius Taylor. But Isaiah Rodgers, formerly of the Colts and now of the Eagles, has not yet been reinstated — his “situation remains under review,” ESPN reported.
  • Attention, poker fans: PokerGO has announced its livestreaming plans for the 2024 World Series of Poker, promising more than 300 hours of live coverage this summer. (Well, almost live. They have to stream the action on delay so nobody at the tables can be fed information until long after the hand is over.) PokerGO will stream more than 30 bracelet events and all 14 days of the Main Event. I happen to enjoy watching poker on TV, but it’s not for everyone — and the idea of streaming poker day in and day out for almost two months prompted me to close this week’s Spin Cycle with this classic Brian Regan stand-up bit: