Spin Cycle: Massachusetts Tax Hike Rejection, Florida Gaming Conference Attraction Highlight Week In Gambling

Eric Raskin

slot machines cosmopolitan

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 …

Mass says ‘no mas’

The Massachusetts Senate’s response to Sen. John Keenan’s proposal to raise the state’s online sports betting tax rate from 20% of revenue to 51%: Take a hike.

After Keenan spoke on the Senate floor Thursday for about 20 minutes and said, “I can’t think of a single reason why we would not raise taxation rates on online sports betting,” his fellow state senators quickly thought of reasons. The rejection was swift:

Massachusetts was one of a few states looking to amend its existing online sports betting or casino tax rates, and the fact that New York taxes revenue at 51% has clearly emboldened other states to try the same. Other states, however, are not New York, when it comes to the population size, money to be made, and intrinsic value in operating in the state.

It remains to be seen whether the efforts in Illinois or New Jersey will ultimately meet a fate similar to that of Sen. Keenan’s proposal in Massachusetts. One prominent lobbyists believes the recent spate of increase discussions is a blip, but perhaps this is just a lobbyist lobbying.

Meet me at the Summit

It’s been real, Secaucus.

SBC announced details this week for next year’s major spring industry conference, and it’s headed somewhere a whole lot warmer than New Jersey — and has the potential to be a much larger gathering. The annual SBC Summit North America is giving way to SBC Summit Americas, combining both the North American and Latin American markets, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from May 13-15, 2025.

The Broward County Convention Center will play host to the inaugural SBC Summit Americas event, with an expectation of attracting representatives from more than 3,200 operators and 1,000 affiliates.

“When the size of your current venues becomes limiting and cannot meet the demands of the industry, you know it’s time for a change,” said SBC CEO and founder Rasmus Sojmark. “Now, it’s Fort Lauderdale’s turn to experience what SBC has to offer. We’re launching a major event for the entire Americas region and transforming it into a key networking hub and a must-attend occasion for anyone who doesn’t want to be left behind.”

Between now and then, SBC Summit Latinoamerica is still scheduled for Oct. 29-31.

Life’s a glitch

When is a $2.56 million slots win not a $2.56 million slots win? When the casino tells you the machine malfunctioned.

Bally’s Atlantic City and 72-year-old New Jersey woman Roney Beal were all over local, national, and international headlines this week after Beal claimed to have won a $1.28 million jackpot with a 2x multiplier on a Wheel of Fortune slot machine in February, only to be denied any winnings because a casino employee told her the machine had experienced a glitch and her win was voided. She has now lawyered up, and her attorney Mike DiCroce said they’re planning to sue for the $2.6 million plus more than a million dollars for emotional distress.

DiCroce alleged that the casino employee may have tampered with the machine after the incident to obscure evidence of the win Beal claims she scored.

In a statement to the New York Post, Bally’s passed the buck to International Game Technology (IGT), which provided the machine; IGT said it is cooperating with the New Jersey Casino Control Commission as it investigates the situation.

The Shuffle: Other news and views

HE SCHUETZ, HE SCORES, PART 1: Data is king, and other free advice for the Massachusetts roundtable on wagering limits

HE SCHUETZ, HE SCORES, PART 2: Operators’ snub of Massachusetts Commission shows a total lack of respect

HE SCHUETZ, HE SCORES, PART 3: Shamelessness reigns this week with Louisiana politics, operator snubs

ALL ABOUT THE OPTX: Bally’s Corporation to leverage AI through OPTX partnership

IN THE POCKET: DraftKings finalizes $750 million acquisition of digital lottery app Jackpocket

BETTER LUCK NEXT YEAR: Minnesota sports betting bill dead at end of chaotic, marathon day

MITTEN MONEY MATTERS: Michigan online gaming revenue drops in April compared to record March, but still strong

ON THE BACK BURNER: Culinary contract fight with Virgin heats up, but no Memorial Day strike planned

STEP ON IT!: New York lawmakers push for faster casino licensing to boost state economy

CHANGE FOR THE BETTER: DC hails FanDuel success as revenue tops $5M in opening 30 days

SKILL KILL: Virginia governor vetoes skill games bill after convenience store lottery sales protest halted

BOARDWALK BLUES: Atlantic City casino profits declined by nearly 10% in first quarter of 2024

THE WHEEL DEAL: BetMGM sponsoring a progressive jackpot bonus all week on ‘Wheel of Fortune’

THE BALL IS IN YOUR COURT: West Flagler to SCOTUS: DoJ laid out why you should hear Florida wagering case

WHALES WELCOMED: Rhode Island bill would double casino credit for gamblers

EVOLUTION IS COMING: Plans call for $75M building in Atlantic City for online gaming company

IN THE CLUB: Online lottery courier Jackpot.com joins NASPL

SWAP STOP: Nevada regulators shoot down sports-betting-ticket resale operators

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Competition heats up in geolocation services, ‘juicy niche’ of iGaming market

KNOW YOUR LIMITS: A few simple truths about limiting

The Bonus Round

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

  • Quick hot take: Media outlets are doing their readers/viewers a disservice when they sign a deal with an “official odds provider,” as the Associated Press did this week when it linked up with BetMGM. I get why these partnerships happen. (Capitalism. Media outlets wanting to stay in business. And so forth.) But for an article or a broadcast, using only one set of odds provides only a partial picture. If, as an example, BetMGM lists the Brewers and Cubs as co-favorites to win the NL Central, but DraftKings, FanDuel, ESPN Bet, and bet365 all have Milwaukee separated out as the favorite, the AP would be depicting the situation inaccurately if it used only BetMGM’s odds and wrote that the two teams are co-favorites. Single-sourced sports betting odds are not the worst distortion of reality to be found anywhere in the modern media world, of course. But still — I had to point out the flaws in the system. OK. Rant complete.

  • According to CDC Gaming Reports, there were 492 gambling-related bills considered in various U.S. legislatures in the first four months of 2024. Of those, 346 (70%) never got past the “introduced” stage, 52 (11%) passed out of one chamber, 30 (6%) passed a second chamber but got no further, three (<1%) were sent for signature but didn’t become law, and 61 (12%) became law.
  • While the Wheel of Fortune slot has stirred up controversy at Bally’s Casino in Atlantic City (see “Life’s a glitch” above), it has also paid out some major jackpots controversy-free of late, as game company IGT proudly publicized. Two Wheel of Fortune players hit seven-figures scores in April: One at the Nugget Casino Resort in Reno, Nevada won $1.79 million, and another at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas hit for $1.11 million. Think of all the vowels you could buy with that kind of money …

And with that …