MGM Goes After US Federal Trade Commission

MGM Resorts is suing the US Federal Trade Commission to prevent a probe into the impact of last year’s massive cyber hack, which caused tens of millions of dollars in damages. The lawsuit was filed on Monday, the 15th, in Washington, and claims the probe would violate the operator’s Fifth Amendment rights. 

MGM’s lawsuit states that the probe should be blocked because MGM is not a financial institution and, therefore, doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction and remit of the US Federal Trade Commission. The case also highlighted a conflict of interest, as the FTC’s Commissioner, Lina Khan, was checking into an MGM property during the ransomware period and was asked to write down her credit card details as payment systems were down.

Interestingly, Caesars International was also subject to the same ransomware attack as MGM, but unlike the latter, Caesars paid the ransom, and its systems were restored quickly. Currently, there are no reports of the US Federal Trade Commission approaching Caesars.

iGaming Jumps 8.1% in New Jersey

March is a month that usually sees sports betting revenue skyrocket in the USA, as it’s the NCAA March Madness tournament. Surprisingly, according to the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement’s latest revenue figures, iGaming stole the show in the Garden State last month, with figures up 19.9% YoY.

The total revenue for all sectors in March was $487.4m, up 14.1% on the previous month. Land-based gaming accounted for $239.8m ($172.7m from slots), with iGaming not far behind, accounting for $197.2m ($194.8m from slots). Meanwhile, sports revenue fell by 3.6% to $89.7m.

Delaware’s Drive to Competitiveness?

Lawmakers in Delaware have filed a bill proposing to expand the state’s sports betting market. While iGaming and sports betting have been legal in Delaware since 2012, the market has been limited by rules that only allow a single operator to provide services. The current operator is Rush Street Gaming, which took over the contract at the start of 2024, before which it was held by 888 Holdings. 

Delaware is home to only one million residents, and the online gambling model is a revenue-sharing deal that sees the first $3.75 million of all gaming revenue go straight to the state. After that, the tax rate on revenue is a whopping 62.5%. Between 2013 and 2019, Delaware’s revenue did not pass the $3.75 million benchmark, meaning the state received all profits during this time.

The new bill—HB 365—proposes to allow each of Delaware’s video lottery agents to partner with two sports operators at a licensing cost of $500,000 for five years and an 18% tax rate. Delaware’s legislative season ends on June 30th.

Up in Smoke

New Jersey’s casino workers are up in arms about the state’s new Smoke-Free Air Pact. The workers (under the United Auto Workers union) have brought the complaint as a legal case against the state’s governor and health commissioner, claiming the rules are unconstitutional because they allow casino owners to decide whether to allow smoking on their premises and expose workers to secondhand smoke.

Workers have also been protesting, highlighting the issue by entering the State House Annex and smoking. The regional director of the union stated, 

“We’re not allowed to smoke in your workplace, but you’re allowed to smoke in ours…They say it’s OK for secondhand smoke to be blown in our faces all day, every day. We wanted to know if it’s OK if we did that in their workplace. They said it was inappropriate and not allowed here.”

Connecticut Looks at Restricting Gambling Ads and Limit Affiliates

A new bill —File No 271—has surfaced in Connecticut that seeks to limit gambling ads and affiliate partnerships. If passed, the bill would restrict the use of celebrities in gambling ads, require 21+ messaging on ads, prohibit ads where the majority of the audience is likely under 21, and ban them on social media if they would primarily appeal to those under the legal gambling age.

Interestingly, the bill also takes a shot at affiliates, stating, “No master wagering licensee, online gaming operator licensee or sports wagering retailer licensee may enter into an agreement with a third party to conduct advertising or marketing on behalf of, or to the benefit of, such licensee that provides that compensation is dependant on, or related to, the volume of individuals who become patrons, the volume or amount of wagers placed or the outcome of wagers.” It does continue that compensation based on referrals would be allowed, so long as it is not based on “creating an account or placing a wager.”

If the bill is passed, it will certainly shake up the books for both operators and affiliates.

In Other News

  • 1x2 Network enters Michigan via Rush Street Gaming.
  • Fanatics completes its PointsBet US takeover after going live in Illinois.
  • Greentube is live at Caesars Online Casinos in NJ and MI.
  • Maryland’s online casino bill fails to pass the Senate and dies for another year.