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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: Trending toward back to normal edition

19 Feb 2021

By Dan Ippolito
Last week, Nevada casinos were allowed to increase capacity from 25% to 35% with hopes of moving to 50% in March. This week, we saw more signs of progress toward normalcy when MGM Resorts International announced three of its Las Vegas Strip resorts will be moving back to 24/7 hours.

Also this week, we have two online massive jackpots, an online revenue records in multiple U.S. markets, a new casino coming to Long Island and a breakthrough for single-event sports betting in Canada.

Let’s begin with some jackpot winners:

5. Back-to-back jackpots won from IGT Powerbucks slots
Within hours of each other, two lucky online slots players won a combined total of more than $2.5 million in top prizes playing Wheel of Fortune Exotic Far East on an Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation casino.

On 20 January, the first online Powerbucks slots player won $1,582,205 and a few hours later, another player hit the jackpot for $1,002,272.

“These back-to-back jackpot wins are unprecedented for IGT’s Powerbucks link, and the fact that these two players won playing the same game in the same online casino adds to the excitement,” said David Flinn, IGT Regional Vice President Canada, South and Central America.

4. Plans for new casino in Long Island announced
On Wednesday, the Shinnecock Indian Nation announced plans for the casino it intends to build on its territory on the eastern end of Long Island, which will be called Shinnecock Casino Hamptons.

The facility will be a Class II gaming facility operated by the Shinnecock Nation and will include a variety of casino games, as well as Class II video terminals.

The Trustees indicated that the construction process will begin in the summer of 2021.

3. Pennsylvania breaks record for online casino revenue
Pennsylvania sportsbooks and online casinos opened 2021 with over $600 million in monthly sports wagers for the first time and recorded more than $80.4 million in online casino revenue, the highest amount to date.

The state’s gaming control board reported that the combined total revenue generated from all forms of gaming, along with fantasy contests, during January 2021 was $311,102,747, an increase of 2.73% compared to January 2020.

There were several other U.S. states that saw their revenue numbers do well in recent months.

New Jersey sportsbooks took in more than $950 million in wagers and a record $82.6 million in revenue in January while the state's online casinos crossed $100 million in revenue, becoming the first legal gaming jurisdiction in U.S. history to cross that threshold in a single month.

New Jersey's sportsbooks collected $958.7 million in wagers in January, according to official data released Wednesday. That is up 77.5% from $540.1 million in January 2020. Online betting generated 92.5% of the state's January handle.

Indiana sportsbooks accepted $348.2 million in wagers in January. That is up 103.9% from $171 million in January 2019 and topped the previous record of $313.1 million set in December.

If the growth continues through 2021, the state could top $3 billion in bets, more than $200 million in revenue, and $20 million in state taxes, according to PlayIndiana projections.

With retail sportsbooks closed, Illinois online operators attracted $491.7 million in bets in December, according to official data released Monday. That is up 8.6% from $449.2 million in November.

Illinois' retail and online sportsbooks for all of 2020 produced:
  • $1.9 billion in wagers
  • $125.5 million in taxable revenue
  • $20.2 million in state and local taxes
Michigan's online sportsbooks and casinos are off to a historic debut with more than $115 million in sports bets in the final 10 days of January, while online casinos generated $29.4 million in gross receipts.

Combined with January's retail sportsbook handle, Michigan's sports betting handle hit $150.8 million. That makes Michigan the highest total monthly handle for a state debuting online sports betting in U.S. history. In all, online sports betting accounted for 76.3% of the state's handle.

2. Single-event sports betting moves forward in Canada
A bill to legalize single-event sports betting in Canada passed a second reading on Wednesday and now moves to the Justice Committee for a third reading with potential amendments, before being sent to the Senate.

While Canadians across the country are currently permitted to place bets on a series of sports events, a form of parlay betting, they are prohibited from placing a bet on an event in, or on an outcome of, a single game or match.

1. Three Las Vegas Strip properties to resume 24/7 hours
MGM Resorts International will resume 24/7 hotel operations at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Park MGM and The Mirage resorts, effective 3 March. Previously, each property had implemented selective mid-week closures related to decreased business volumes due to COVID-19.

In accordance with state guidelines, MGM Resorts also recently announced several of its live entertainment shows will return to the stage in February and early March.

"As we begin to see positive signs around the public's sentiment about traveling, coupled with important progress on the vaccination front and decreasing COVID-19 case numbers, bringing Mandalay Bay, Park MGM and The Mirage back to full-week operations is an important step for us," said Bill Hornbuckle, MGM Resorts' CEO and President.
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