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Casino City’s Friday Five: Sports betting and gaming records edition

13 August 2021

The NFL preseason has begun and sports bettors are ready for the regular season to begin. Fans in Arizona will be able to place wagers on sports for the first time, starting next month. Also this week, we have a U.S. gaming record that was broken in Q2 of this year and Canada announced when single-event sports betting will finally become available. Last, but not least, we have The Venetian Las Vegas turning someone into a millionaire, a major acquisition by DraftKings and a new Pennsylvania casino opening.

Let’s start with a major win on The Strip:

5. $1.5 million jackpot paid out at The Venetian Las Vegas
On 10 August, a guest at The Venetian Las Vegas turned a $5 bet into more than $1.5 million.

The guest, who wished to remain anonymous, was playing IGT’s Wheel of Fortune Wild Red Sevens when the lucky Wheel of Fortune symbols lined up to activate the progressive jackpot for $1,578,584.

4. Hollywood Casino York opens its doors
Yesterday marked the grand opening of Hollywood Casino York, the third gaming and entertainment facility for Penn National Gaming in Pennsylvania.

The $120 million state-of-the-art casino welcomed thousands of guests ready to experience over 500 of the newest slot machines, 24 table games and the first retail Barstool Sportsbook in Pennsylvania.

The Barstool Sportsbook includes a 20-foot wall of televisions, bar top video poker, sports betting tellers and sports wagering and racing kiosks. All gaming at Hollywood Casino York is also outfitted with Penn National’s cashless, cardless and contactless capabilities.

“We’re thrilled to be opening our 43rd property in North America, our third in the Commonwealth, and showcasing Hollywood Casino York’s unique style of premier gaming, dining and entertainment in a truly modern atmosphere,” said Todd George, Executive Vice President of Operations for Penn National.

3. Sports betting in Arizona and Canada
Arizona's mobile betting market is expected to be live by 9 September, in time for the NFL season. Arizona's sports betting law allows for 20 sports betting licenses to be issued, 10 for tribal casinos and 10 more for Arizona's major sporting venues.

In addition to mobile betting, Arizona residents will be able to place bets in retail sportsbooks by the end of the year.

BetArizona.com announced the results of a survey of Arizona adults ahead of the upcoming launch of mobile sports betting in the state.

The survey determined that more than one million adults in Arizona plan to wager on sports once it becomes live next month.

Canada was also in headlines for the sports betting world as the country established that single-event sports betting will soon be legal across Canada, as Justice Minister David Lametti proclaimed 27 August as the in force date for Bill C-218.

This was the final hurdle for the Criminal Code change to legalize sports betting, which means that provinces and casino operators can now move forward with their plans.

Casino operators are looking forward to offering sports betting at their properties, and provinces will now have the authority to deliver a safe, legal, and controlled sports betting option to Canadians.

2. DraftKings to acquire Golden Nugget Online Gaming
The all-stock transaction with an implied equity value of approximately $1.56 billion will enable DraftKings to leverage Golden Nugget's brand, iGaming product and existing database of more than 5 million customers.

In connection with the acquisition, DraftKings has entered into a commercial agreement with Fertitta Entertainment, Inc., the parent company of the Houston Rockets, Golden Nugget, LLC and Landry’s LLC, and a leader in the gaming, restaurant, hospitality, and sports entertainment industry.

“Our acquisition of Golden Nugget Online Gaming, a brand synonymous with iGaming and entertainment, will enhance our ability to instantly reach a broader consumer base, including Golden Nugget’s loyal ‘iGaming-first’ customers,” said Jason Robins, DraftKings’ CEO and Chairman of the Board.

“This transaction will add great value to the shareholders as two market leaders merge into a leading global player in digital sports, entertainment and online gaming,” said Tilman Fertitta, Chairman and CEO of GNOG.

The deal comes on the heels of last week’s announcement that Penn National Gaming and Score Media and Gaming entered into a definitive agreement whereby Penn National will acquire theScore.

Penn National Gaming stated last week that it will acquire theScore, a Canadian digital media and sports betting and technology company, for approximately $2 billion in cash and stock.

1. Q2 US commercial gaming revenue smashes all-time record
U.S. commercial gaming revenue reached $13.6 billion in Q2 2021, marking a new industry record, according to the American Gaming Association's Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker. The total bested the previous record—$11.1 billion set in Q3 2019 and matched in Q1 2021—by more than 22%.

With nearly $24.8 billion generated to date, 2021 is close to surpassing 2020 full-year revenue ($30 billion) and on track to overtake 2019 ($43.6 billion) as the highest-grossing year ever for commercial gaming revenue.

"These first half results are truly remarkable. It is even more impressive when you consider commercial gaming revenue was at its lowest point ever just a year ago," said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. "This is a testament to our resilience and commitment to providing customers safe environments and world-class entertainment experiences."

Sports betting revenue declined 8% from the previous quarter to $889 million due to a quieter sports calendar. Despite this, the first half of 2021 has already generated more sports betting revenue ($1.8 billion) than all of 2020 ($1.5 billion).
Casino City’s Friday Five: Sports betting and gaming records edition is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
Dan Ippolito

As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports. Email him at daniel@casinocity.com, or follow him at @casinocity_dan on Twitter.
Dan Ippolito
As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports. Email him at daniel@casinocity.com, or follow him at @casinocity_dan on Twitter.