Spin Cycle: Attempts To Ban Both Political Bets And Dave & Buster’s Bets 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 …

CFTC elects not to allow political betting

Wagering on politics exists only in the grayest of gray areas in the U.S. Although sportsbooks in some other countries offer election betting, in America, it’s only permitted through exchange wagering operators like PredictIt, where users can buy and sell election outcomes like stocks. But that low-stakes betting may soon disappear as well, as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) voted 3-2 last Friday to propose a rule that would ban such operations.

PredictIt remains operational as this plays out (with Joe Biden and Donald Trump essentially in a dead heat, odds-wise, as of Friday morning, for November’s presidential election), and they’re a long way and many procedural steps and likely lawsuits from actually being banned.

“Contracts involving political events ultimately commoditize and degrade the integrity of the uniquely American experience of participating in the democratic electoral process,” CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam said in a statement.

“Instead of attempting to shut down and restrict event contract markets, we urge the Commission to embrace innovation and formulate a reasonable regulatory framework that keeps Americans in regulated U.S. markets and not push this valuable activity offshore,” responded PredictIt CEO and co-founder John Aristotle Phillips said in a statement of his own.

Dave and … busted?

Much has been said and written — very little of it favorable — about Dave & Buster’s making plans to facilitate peer-to-peer wagering between customers. This week, it was Nevada’s turn to take a hard stand against this idea.

Dave & Buster’s has one location in Las Vegas, another in Henderson, and a third in the works for Reno. And Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Kirk Hendrick said Monday, in no uncertain terms, that this betting app project with Lucra Sports will not fly in the Silver State.

“The Nevada Gaming Control Board takes a hardline stance against any company that may be engaged in unlicensed gaming,” Hendrick said. “Furthermore, the NGCB consistently opposes activities that could promote underage gambling.”

We eaglerly await the first quote from a concerned regulated gaming industry entity expressing worry over the NGCB’s stance potentially pushing peer-to-peer arcade game gambling to the offshore markets.

WSOP preparing to put in a 3X raise 

As discussed two weeks ago in the Spin Cycle, interstate online poker play at WSOP.com combining players in New Jersey, Nevada, and Michigan into one pool is coming. We still don’t know exactly when it will launch, but on Wednesday, Pokerfuse reported that “private testing” of the three-state network is underway.

The poker media outlet obtained screenshots showing WSOP Michigan visible in the other states’ clients. Of course, proof of testing happening is not a guarantee that the three-state pooling will indeed happen in any timely fashion.

The World Series of Poker still has not announced dates and a schedule for its summer online bracelet series. In previous years, the live schedule of events in Las Vegas and the online schedule have been released simultaneously, but three months after the reveal of the 2024 WSOP schedule, there’s still no official word on the online aspect. The logical assumption: Organizers are waiting to make sure three-state pooling is good to go before revealing the plans. 

The Shuffle: Other news and views

LET THE GAMES BEGIN … EVENTUALLY: Games Global delays IPO launch as it is ‘not an absolute necessity’

ALL A-FLUTTER: Flutter Q1 revenue up 16% YoY, as FanDuel continues driving growth

SPORTS BETTING LEAGUE-ALIZATION: NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB weigh betting risks after Porter scandal

HIGHER AND HIGHER: Commercial gambling industry achieves national revenue record in Q1, AGA reports

BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE: South Dakota casino scammed out of $350,000, arrest made

HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL: Lottery scholarship dollars have reshaped the college landscape in Georgia

HOME COURT: US DoJ to Supreme Court: Florida sports betting case isn’t in your purview

THE DIGITAL DIFFERENCE: iGaming gives New Jersey gambling revenue a boost in April, up 10.4% YoY

UN-INSPIRED?: Analyst not discouraged by Inspired’s missing projections

TARNISHED SILVER STATE: The Nevada Gaming Control Board has officially lost its way

SAME CRAP, DIFFERENT DAY: The Alabama gambling debate, stuck in reruns

UPTICKS AND OPTICS: IGT Q1 revenue rises slightly on ‘better than expected’ lottery, gaming numbers

SNUFFED OUT: Bally’s shareholders reject proposal to study potential savings of adopting nonsmoking policy

DORMANT VOLCANO: Las Vegas landscape changes as Mirage announces official closing date

MATRIX RELOADED: EveryMatrix pleased with ‘extremely positive’ sustained growth signs in Q1

SUGGESTION BOX: Six ideas for how online casino proponents can get new legislation over the finish line

PLEASED TO REPORT: Aristocrat hails ‘outstanding’ H1 amid revenue and earnings growth

THE SHARP SIDE: Sharp Alpha Advisors closes $25M ‘Fund II’ to drive innovation in sports, gaming, and entertainment

NEW NAME, SAME GAME: 888 officially rebrands to Evoke plc

ALL BY DESIGN: Hyper-engaging design features in online slots raise new responsible gambling questions

SPRING ACTION: Virginia Lottery release April casino activity report

CATCHY PHRASE: Is this the greatest lottery ad of all-time? Hey, you never know

The Bonus Round

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

This next tweet needs a little context. Notice the spelling of the handle: @PGATUOR. It is a parody account. Do not mistake Casino Reports sharing this tweet for Casino Reports believing that Scottie Scheffler’s arrest was part of a sports betting scandal. OK, now, enjoy the tweet:

Also, enjoy the replies:

  • It takes a lot at this point for a gaming company partnering with a sports team to get our attention. Well, attention gotten on this one: 888casino announced a sponsorship deal this week with the Toronto Rush. Who, you ask, are the Toronto Rush? A Canadian Football League team, perhaps? Some minor-league hockey outfit? Nope. They play in the Ultimate Frisbee Association, formerly known as the American Ultimate Disc League. It does make some sense, attaching your casino brand to an object that spins around and around. Anyway, the partnership bar has been raised. Excited to hear which iCasino will be first to finalize a deal with the National Hacky Sack Federation.
  • Sure, casino table games are a losing proposition in the long run. But in the short term, anyone can be a big winner — such as the Connecticut man who went to Las Vegas last week and turned a $5 side bet into a $1,904,062 score on Friday night at the Venetian. He was playing Three Card Poker and put down his five bucks on the Millionaire Progressive, and waddaya know, a spade royal flush came his way. According to the casino, this was its 14th millionaire crowned on this progressive since it was launched in 2018.
  • Not satisfied to represent FanDuel solely by missing kicks during Super Bowl commercials, Rob Gronkowski stepped it up this Thursday by chatting with FanDuel Casino customers in New Jersey for an hour-long live-dealer roulette session. Honestly, this is an intriguing effort — does celebrity interaction elevate the interest for online casino players? We like the innovation, and we await word on the response. Hopefully, unlike a certain former teammate of his, Gronk came out of this experience with no regrets.