In the gaming world of big news and big features to go with them, some of the seemingly smaller stuff, (or information we now take for granted that’s certainly destined to be huge news), often slips through the casino floors’ cracks. Here are a few new stories we’re rolling ‘7’ on this week.
Let’s Play Football
We knew it was going to happen as every NJ casino owner and floor manager we spoke to waited with baited breath, but, when figures were released by the Jersey state Division of Gaming Enforcement on Oct. 12, almost $184 million was bet on sports in New Jersey in September, up from $96 million in August. A chunk of that and the largest (and expected) part of that jump? The start of the autumn pro and college football seasons.
Since sports betting in Jersey began in mid-June – after the state won a U.S. Supreme Court decision the month previous to its start, clearing the way for the rest of the states to offer sports betting – it has pulled in $336+ million in bets in the state. The industry of NJ casinos keep just under 8 percent of the amount bet as earnings after winning bets are paid out. Also, of the $336 million in sports bets made in New Jersey in 2018, $210 million got placed online or via phone, as opposed to a casino or racetrack.
Atlantic City’s nine casinos pulled in $272.2 million in revenue last month, an increase of 15.5 percent from this same time in 2017. Internet gambling in NJ was up 26.3 percent to $25.7 million.
So where is NJ’s neighbors in Delaware and Pennsylvania? Delaware casinos at Harrington, Dover Downs, and Wilmington’s Delaware Park got its sports betting operations not long after New Jersey, but are moving slowly to start. In Pennsylvania, the first sports betting licenses were awarded to two casinos last week — Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment (which operates Parx Casino in Bensalem, and the South Philly Turf Club) and Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course near Hershey, PA – but full operations probably won’t be ready until November at the earliest. Also in October, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board awarded an online gambling license to Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.
MGM Resorts International’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa named the 2018 “Property of the Year” during the Global Gaming Awards at the Global Gaming Expo.
As a casino reporter, all gaming venues are like my children, each special in every way. Yet, there’s one that’s just got to stand out, right? The Global Gaming peeps, during the 2018 Global Gaming Expo USA that just ended at Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas, found Atlantic City’s Borgata to be the top dog when it came to the GGEUSA’s “Property of the Year,” when it came to its Global Gaming Awards.
A panel of 60 industry expert judges took into consideration everything from the Borgata’s summer and autumn’s list of entertainers (e.g. Cher, Britney Spears, Stevie Wonder, Jerry Seinfeld, an upcoming sold out October show with comedian Bill Burr) to its exclusive culinary experiences, and unique casino promotions. Also, in June, the Borgata made history, when it became the first Atlantic City casino to accept legal sports wagers under Jersey’s new sports betting law. “Borgata is a stalwart of the Atlantic City Market,” wrote David Cook, the editor of Gambling Insider, the team behind the awards with the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) which recognizes land-based and digital businesses for achievements in the gaming industry over the previous year.
“This award is a testament to Borgata’s world-class offerings and showcases MGM Resorts’ leadership in markets throughout the United States and around the world,” said Jim Murren, Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International in a prepared statement. “We’re committed to being the industry leader in every market in which we operate, and we look forward to creating new, innovative and groundbreaking opportunities in New Jersey and nationwide.”
Listings of the awards’ judges and categories are available at globalgamingawards.com.
SugarHouse Wrist Slap
Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board fined SugarHouse Casino $100,000 (in total) for dealing cards to patrons using “illegitimate” decks. This includes several incidents in 2017 where cards were compromised by malfunctioning automatic shufflers after employees failed to address warning lights on automated shufflers used at poker, blackjack, and mini-baccarat tables between May 2017 and January 2018.
Also, on several occasions, dealers used card decks with too many cards or too few cards. The casino and state gaming investigators found no collusion, and all wrongs have been righted by SugarHouse so that none of the errors – human or machine-made — would be repeated.
See, everybody wins.