Spin Cycle: Evolution’s Expansion, Tropicana’s Farewell 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 …

Another Evolution in Delaware’s iCasino upgrade

We’ve all seen the numbers since Rush Street Interactive (RSI) took over for 888 Holdings as Delaware’s exclusive online casino operator, with revenue nearly tripling in January, the first full month after the change.

But the experience upgrade for online gamblers in the First State isn’t ending there. Online casino game supplier Evolution has partnered with RSI to launch its slots games on the state’s three iCasinos. The Evolution umbrella includes games under the NetEnt, Red Tiger, and Big Time brands.

“Going live in Delaware is a great milestone for Evolution,” said Evolution North America CEO Jacob Claesson in a press release. “It is our sixth U.S. state and further solidifies our place as the market leader in online gaming.”

Evolution now has games in every legal iCasino state except Rhode Island.

Delaware, however, does not permit live-dealer games, which are a key element of Evolution’s offerings in other states.

Goodbye to a Strip stalwart

After 67 years welcoming gamblers on the Las Vegas Strip, the Tropicana closed its doors Tuesday. The Strip’s third-oldest remaining casino — younger only than the Flamingo and the Sahara — is scheduled for an October demolition so its lot can be used to build a baseball stadium for the relocating A’s (as well as a new Bally’s resort).

When it opened in 1957, the Trop was Las Vegas’ most expensive casino, costing $15 million. Celebrities connected with the property included Sammy Davis, Jr., who bought an 8% stake in 1972, and Rodney Dangerfield, who opened his Rodney’s Place comedy club there in ’88.

In recent years, though, like Dangerfield tugging on his tie, the resort just couldn’t get no respect. It becomes an unfortunate but inevitable casualty of Las Vegas’ continued move into major pro sports.

Sin City has NHL, WNBA, and NFL teams, will add MLB in ’28, and it’s no secret it’s a top contender for the NBA’s next expansion.

Pace-for-play situation?

As the “skill game” debate rages on in Virginia and other states, the Virginia Mercury reported Monday on an unclarified connection between a game operator and a state senator.

Pace-O-Matic, a Georgia-based software company that produces the slot-like game machines found in non-casino locations, donated $1,900 for travel to Virginia state Sen. Bryce Reeves in 2022, Reeves disclosed on a campaign finance report. The Virginia Mercury reported that Reeves and Pace-O-Matic both claimed that they complied with all state financing and disclosure laws, but the news outlet could not get either party to explain what the $1,900 went toward.

Reeves recently voted for a bill to repeal Virginia’s ban on skill games, among other legislative moves that appear to align with Pace-O-Matic’s interest. The Mercury article goes into much greater detail of what the laws in the state permit and the areas in which Reeves and Pace-O-Matic’s responses were murky.

Pace-O-Matic’s games are currently available in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wyoming.

Four new games, custom-made for Jackpocket

With Jackpocket Casino gaining steam in the one market in which it has launched, New Jersey, White Hat Studios announced Friday a quartet of new iCasino games specifically tailored for Jackpocket’s brand.

The bespoke content includes three digital table games: American Roulette, Blackjack, and Blackjack Player’s Choice. The fourth title is a Megaways slot game.

“We’re thrilled to have taken our relationship with Jackpocket to the next level by delivering exclusively branded games to the online casino,” said White Hat VP of Gaming Armen Tatarevic. “We worked closely with the team to ensure these games captured the energy and identity of Jackpocket, ensuring existing players would instantly resonate with the unique experiences on offer. We are especially excited about Jackpocket’s version of Blackjack Player’s Choice, the only blackjack available with six different side bets, that is proven to be a player favorite.”

The Shuffle: Other news and views

THEY SAID, THEY SAID: Bally’s shareholder fight heats up as K&F Growth Capital unveils counterproposal

NO TIME FOR GAMES: Ukraine considers ban on online gambling for armed forces

DEEP IN THE HEART: Las Vegas Sands reboots push for Texas casinos with online petition

TRACKING TOWARD TAKEOVER: Aristocrat’s acquisition of NeoGames moves forward with Nevada regulators

FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS: Gambling regulation and Boeing chart the same turbulent path

KINDER, GENTLER: Renowned regulatory expert Dan Hartman joins Kindbridge Behavioral Health advisory board

CANNIBAL LECTURE: Retail casinos still generate more revenue than online casinos

CAITLIN CLICK: FanDuel says Iowa-LSU game was its biggest betting event of all time for women’s sports

WHOLE LOTTO BACKING: Overwhelming bipartisan support for lottery legalization in Nevada, poll indicates

LATIN FAVOR: DraftKings, MGM target Brazil’s booming online gambling market

NOT IN OUR STATE: Michigan protects regulated gaming industry through illegal gambling crackdown

BABY STEPS: Senate committee approves Mississippi online sports betting bill

SEPARATING THE SKINS: New Jersey shines light on online gaming market with detailed revenue reporting

OPEN BOOKIE: Inside the gambling ring linked to Ohtani — as told by two bettors themselves

OPEN AND SHUT: OpenBet owner Endeavor taken private in $13 billion deal

The Bonus Round

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

  • Ever heard of a “good leaver” payoff before? For £4.3m, I’d be the best darned leaver you ever saw. According to Entain’s annual report, former CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen, who resigned in December, is in position to collect that jackpot-level score on her way out the door. Meanwhile, the executive wheels keep turning at Entain, where Chairman Barry Gibson announced he’s retiring by September, and interim CEO Stella David will replace him.
  • Stake.com, a “crypto casino operator” (which exists in the U.S. as a “social casino” at Stake.us), announced a partnership with UFC light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira — by our count, the sixth UFC athlete to sign a deal with Stake.com. Pereira is set to face Jamahal Hill in the main event of UFC 300 a week from Saturday.
  • The geolocation competition is heating up, with this tweet from Bettor Sports Media’s Jon Lerner showing that bet365 is now working with XPoint Verify to confirm a player’s location. Previously, bet365 used GeoGuard, and GeoComply remains the most widely used service to determine whether a device is located within legal gambling borders.
  • Ah, the old $5 side bet that returns $534,028. A player (who chose to remain anonymous) was dealt a heart royal flush at an Ultimate Texas Hold’em table at the Venetian in Las Vegas on Saturday and won the “Millionaire Progessive.” More like a half-millionaire progressive. But still, a decent score.