News and Analysis
US Gambling States Ask DOJ to Take Action Against Offshore Operators
One of the biggest stories this week is that many of the USA's gambling states (including New Jersey, Illinois, Nevada, Michigan, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Colorado) have come together and authored a joint letter appealing to the DOJ to take firmer action against offshore gambling sites targeting and accepting US players.
The heads of the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) and Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) personally put their names to the letter, stating that the offshore market poses significant threats that the states couldn't handle alone. The letter also highlighted the risks of illegal gambling, including a lack of responsible gambling care, absence of age-gating and money laundering checks, and lack of fair play assurances.
MGCB Director Henry Williams added, "State regulators like the MGCB ensure operators offer products that pass technical standards and testing, and we also require operators to comply with reporting requirements. Offshore operators flaunt state regulations and offer products that do not protect the public, which greatly concerns me and my fellow state regulators. Regulated operators recognize licensing is a privilege that can be taken away, but illegal operators do not face similar consequences for failure to follow laws and maintain integrity."
Earlier this year, the American Gaming Association (AGA) estimated that the size of the US offshore market spending in 2022 was $510.9B, costing the US a potential $13.3b in lost tax revenue. Players in non-legal gambling states can use sweepstakes casinos legally, but offshore casinos are not recommended as they are not secure.
AGA: 85% of Americans Agree with Repeal of PASPA
Five years have passed since the Supreme Court struck down PASPA, making it possible for each US state to decide independently whether to allow sports betting within their state lines. Last week the AGA released the results of a nationwide survey, showing rising approval rates as 85% of Americans now believe this was the right move. In 2019, only 63% agreed it was the correct choice.
Moreover, 77% of respondents support the legalization of sports betting in their state. Interestingly, the report also showed that 78% of US bettors now use regulated operators, compared with 44% in 2019. While these stats confirm the growth of legal sports betting in the US, the AGA highlighted the need for continuous education for players regarding legal gambling operators vs. offshore sites and the threats they pose.
PointsBet on the Tracks
PointsBets has already hit the headlines twice this month amid talks of a potential US sale. However, in the turn-up for the books, this week, the company announced the launch of a new product, PointsBet Racing, which is already live in 25 states. PointsBet Racing is created in partnership with 1/ST Technology and includes live streaming. The app also features famous tracks (over 180) and races worldwide - from the US and UK to Hong Kong and Australia.
According to Johnny Aitken, CEO of PointsBet USA, "The launch of PointsBet Racing marks a significant milestone in our efforts to expand our product portfolio and capture the tremendous potential of the US horse racing market. We are optimistic about replicating the success we have seen in mature global betting markets where racing is a huge engagement channel next to sports. This new offering will contribute to the growth of online horse racing in the US, and we are excited to get live in advance of one of the most important racing events of the year."
Vermont Sports Betting Bill Passes Senate
Vermont's HB 127 has passed the Senate on its third reading and now moves back to the House for final confirmation. The bill which seeks to legalize sports betting in the state is bi-partisan and was first introduced in January.
If the bill makes it through the final stage and to the Governor's office, which is now likely, it will allow for up to six online and mobile sportsbooks. There will be a licensing fee (an amendment added by the Senate) and a 20% tax rate on revenue. It's expected that Vermont players could be laying online bets from January 2024.
Game of the Week
Thunderstruck Stormchaser, Stormcraft Studios. RTP: 86-96.10%
This week, we're discussing an exclusive slot available at BetMGM, Borgata, and Party Casinos - ThunderStruck Stormchaser by Stormcraft Studios. This is the fifth slot in the top-rated ThunderStruck series. Need a refresher? Then check out this catch-up trailer released by the game studio.
Based on Thor and his lightning powers, this game comes jam-packed with features, high volatility action, and prize wins of up to 10,200x your bet. The back story goes like this: Thor is on a mission to retrieve his father's (Odin) spear and take his seat on the throne of Asgard, which depending on the outcome of your gaming session, he will achieve or not.
The graphics and backdrop set a detailed scene and drop you right into the action of Asgard, where you'll play on 5x4 reels with 1024 ways to win. The main features include Rolling Reels (aka cascading spins; once you make a win, the symbols disappear and new symbols fall, creating a second chance at winning), Multiplier symbols (from 2-20x), Wilds, Wildstorms (which trigger randomly and award up to 5 reels stacked with wilds), and Free Spins (up to 25, with progressive multipliers).
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