Latest Gambling News: Sportsbook Licensing Slows In Maryland ...and more


October 30, 2023

Every week we will be bringing you a summary of all the latest stories from the gambling industry across the world, covered by our Vixio analysts. This is a mere snapshot of what our experts report on each and every day.

Sportsbook Licensing Slows In Maryland

The Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) has awarded MSF Sports a retail sports wagering facility license but will not hold another meeting until January due to a lack of mobile or retail licenses that need to be approved by the end of the year.

James Butler, chief of staff and deputy director of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency told commissioners Wednesday (October 18) that there are five mobile, one facility operator and one facility license applications under investigation. There is one additional mobile application that has not been filed.

Butler said he did not expect any applications to be ready for SWARC’s consideration until January.

MSF Sports, which is a subsidiary of the Maryland State Fair and Agricultural Society, and the Maryland State Fairgrounds, was expected to partner with DraftKings Inc.. Currently, there are 12 mobile #sportsbooks and 13 retail locations operating in Maryland.

Commissioner Randy Marriner said the window to submit applications was closed but asked his fellow commissioners and staff if anyone had been approached and asked about the window reopening.

“We have only had a couple of random inquiries whether it is going to reopen,” Butler said.

Marriner added that “no one is beating down the door” to apply for a license.

“This market seems to have taken its near term, if not long term, structure with a dominant handful of mobile operators,” said SWARC chairman Thomas Brandt.

Pennsylvania Regulator Fines Casinos, VGT Facility

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approved four consent agreements Wednesday (October 18) resulting in fines totaling $73,075.

Stadium Casino Westmorland LLC, operator of Live! Casino in Pittsburgh, was fined twice totaling $30,000 with one consent agreement settled for $20,000 for two instances for allowing individuals who were on the PGCB’s casino self-exclusion list to enter and #gamble.

The second agreement included a $10,000 fine for allowing someone under the age of 21 to access the #casino floor and play slot machines.

Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc. was fined $25,000 for not providing the control board with ownership structure changes involving five of its video gaming terminal locations.

Finally, Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, Inc., operator of Parx Casino in Bucks County, agreed to a fine of $18,075 for failure to submit two license renewal applications in a timely manner.

In other decisions approved during Wednesday’s meeting, the PGCB voted to renew the Category 2 standalone casino license of Sugarhouse HSP Gaming LP, operator of Rivers Casino Philadelphia .

No Casinos Wants Voters To Decide Florida Sports Betting

No Casinos Inc. has submitted its amicus curiae brief to the Florida Supreme Court claiming the proposed “hub and spoke” model for the Seminole Tribe to conduct mobile sportsbetting in Florida “violates the text, spirit, and public policy” behind the state constitution.

The anti-gambling group believes that “article X, section 30 of the Florida Constitution” ensures that voters have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorise casino gambling in the state.

In its 33-page filing, attorneys for No Casinos relied heavily on its 2018 Amendment 3 that was passed by 71 percent of the voters “in order to explicitly remove the legislature’s authority to authorise certain forms of gambling.”

“No Casinos proceeds on the premise that sports betting, which is permitted state-wide under the compact and challenged statutes, is within the definition of casino gambling” within the state constitution.

Beverly Pohl, counsel for No Casinos, described the “hub-and-spoke” model that allows wagers to be placed anywhere within the state as long as they are processed by computer servers on tribal lands as “based on legal fiction.”

“Notably, federal defendants in related litigation have taken the position that “under federal law, the location of the bettor determines where the bet is placed,” and that a tribal-state compact cannot, by fiat, change the location of the bettor,” Pohl wrote.

Pohl reminded the state's Supreme Court that it was No Casinos position that only the voters through an initiative process can expand gaming in Florida.

“Among the policy concerns is the fact that under the compact, gambling is #regulated by the tribe with minimal state input, thereby depriving Florida citizens of the benefits of government accountability for state-wide activities the state has allowed by contract.”

Nasdaq Delists Elys Game Technology

As trading began Wednesday (October 17) on the Nasdaq exchange, Elys Game Technology, Corp. was no longer among the stocks listed following the removal of the company’s shares.

The New York-based interactive and sports betting company was notified in a “Delisting Letter” of the decision by the Nasdaq Hearings Panel and comes after shares have traded below $1 for roughly eight months.

Elys may request a review of the decision within 15 days from the October 13 date of the delisting letter.

In a statement, the company said it is currently carefully evaluating whether such an appeal is warranted, noting that expenses related to its #Nasdaq listing were approximately $1.6m annually.

“In anticipation of realising substantial cost savings, the Company sees opportunities to streamline operations through delisting and deregistration,” the company said. “These benefits include lower operating costs, reduced management time commitment to #compliance and reporting activities, and a simplified corporate governance structure.”

Elys has initiated the process of transferring the quotation of its common stock to one of the over-the-counter markets operated by OTC Markets Group Inc. The shares of the company's common stock will continue to trade under the symbol "ELYS".

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