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Dan Ippolito

As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and he 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.

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Casino City's Friday Five: Super Bowl betting edition

18 Feb 2022

By Dan Ippolito
Leading the gaming news this week was the reports from several states in the U.S. that saw their sportsbooks flourish over Super Bowl weekend. In addition to massive Super Bowl Sunday numbers, we also have a new sports betting operator launching in Puerto Rico, Wynn Resorts selling part of Encore Boston Harbor, a new gambling bill in Northern Ireland and news on Bally’s leaving Las Vegas.

Let’s begin with Encore Boston Harbor:

5. Wynn Resorts selling real estate of Encore Boston Harbor
Wynn Resorts announced on Tuesday that it entered into a definitive agreement to sell all of the land and real estate assets of Encore Boston Harbor to Realty Income for $1.70 billion. Wynn Resorts will continue to operate the $2.6 billion property, which became the first full blown casino resort to open in the Boston area back in June 2019.

Wynn will retain its 13-acre developable land assemblage on the east side of Broadway in Everett, Massachusetts, on a portion of which, the company plans to construct an expansion that is expected to include additional covered parking along with other non-gaming amenities.

The transaction is expected to be completed during the fourth quarter of 2022.

"Encore Boston Harbor is the premier gaming resort on the East Coast and the valuation we achieved in this sale reflects the property’s quality,” said Craig Billings, CEO of Wynn Resorts. “Equally important, the bespoke structure and terms of the lease allow us to maintain a great deal of operating flexibility across economic cycles. The proceeds of the transaction also provide us with liquidity for several of our upcoming development projects and the potential to retire other debt.”

4. New gambling bill introduced in Northern Ireland
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey introduced the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements Bill as a first phase in wider reform, saying the Bill should be regarded as the start of reform, not the end.

During the consideration stage on Monday, the Assembly voted to move the bill forward in an attempt to overhaul gambling regulations.

Minister Hargey said, “Overhauling our gambling legislation is something that I believe is very important and I was determined to deliver change during my time as Communities Minister. This Bill is proposing the first substantial changes to gambling law here in nearly 40 years and I am pleased I have been able to get it to this stage. It is the first stage of reform.”

3. BetMGM and Casino del Mar launch sports betting in Puerto Rico
Sports betting is officially live in Puerto Rico at Casino del Mar at La Concha Resort. In time for Sunday's Super Bowl, BetMGM began accepting wagers at the San Juan-based beach resort through 12 kiosks and five betting windows.

A full-scale BetMGM retail sportsbook is set to open at La Concha Resort later this year. BetMGM plans to launch its mobile betting app in Puerto Rico in the months ahead as well.

"This is a monumental day for BetMGM as it marks the launch of our first operation outside of the U.S. mainland," said BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt. "Casino del Mar delivers exceptional guest experiences and is an ideal partner as we look to extend our brand in Puerto Rico."

2. Bally’s leaving Las Vegas and no more masks
This week's gambling news includes the end of the Las Vegas face mask mandate, hopefully for the last time. Plus, word has come from Caesars of Bally's - Las Vegas leaving Las Vegas as both the Tropicana Las Vegas and The Mirage are set to follow Bally's out the door.

There is no longer a Las Vegas face mask requirement for guests at casinos. Different casinos around the state could still require a mask on their property, depending on the county or city they’re based in. Also, casinos are private property, they can require guests to mask up, even if there is no Las Vegas face mask requirement.

The legendary Horseshoe Casino brand is returning to The Strip with Bally's leaving Las Vegas. The transformation will begin in spring 2022 and will include a renovated exterior, new entertainment and food and beverage options, and a re-imagined casino floor and public areas. It will not be known as Bally's Horseshoe however, but Caesars Horseshoe Las Vegas.

Bally’s Corporation agreed to purchase the Tropicana Las Vegas last April. Now, with the deal set to finalize, Bally’s has publicly stated that they’re considering many options for the property. Those include that the hotel and casino will “almost certainly” be rebranded, perhaps even as Bally's Casino.

1. Record Super Bowl betting numbers
Nevada’s 179 sportsbooks won $15.4 million after accepting $179.8 million in wagers for Super Bowl LVI, shattering the previous record of $158.6 million set in 2018.

There were other states in the U.S. that have had successful months recently as well. During the NFL's Super Bowl LVI weekend, over 80.1 million mobile bets or log-ins were recorded in the U.S. at legal sportsbooks, more than double the amount that took place over last year's Super Bowl weekend, according to GeoComply.

Tennessee sportsbooks followed up a record-breaking January with another $23 million in Super Bowl betting, much of which came in February. Tennessee sportsbooks collected $23.1 million in bets on the Super Bowl, up from $15 million in 2021. Operators won $3.4 million on those bets for a particularly high 14.9% hold on the big game.

Aided by the launch of mobile sports betting on 8 January, New York recorded the highest-volume month in U.S. sports betting history with nearly $125 million in revenue on $1.7 billion in wagers. Online sportsbooks averaged $69.6 million in bets per day over the 24 days from the 8 January launch through the end of the month.

To put New York’s online debut into context with other states, Arizona set the record for the highest sports betting handle in a debut month for a U.S. market in September with $291.2 million. New Jersey previously held the record for the highest sports betting volume over any single month, reaching $1.3 billion in bets in October. And only New Jersey and Nevada have ever produced more than $1 billion in sports bets over a single month.
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