Lawmakers, Casinos All Over The US Exploring How To Expand Gambling Markets

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If there was a theme of the week in gambling news in the US, it was new frontiers.

Multiple states and casinos considered ways to expand gambling offerings to include more people, different activities, and, most importantly, generate a younger customer base.

Nevada won big by acquiring the state’s first NFL franchise. Pennsylvania is considering the controversial video game terminal expansion, and New Hampshire might just pass a measure to allow two casinos in the state.

While lawmakers debated and made deals, casinos branched out as well. Turning Stone Casino threw its hat in the increasingly large social casino ring.

One state over, a New Jersey casino played host to its first esports competition.

Here is the scoop on all the news from the new frontiers of the casino world:

NFL’s Raiders invading Las Vegas in 2020

After months of teasing and negotiations, the Oakland Raiders are officially leaving Northern California and moving to Sin City.

Unlike the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams, who immediately relocated, the Raiders will continue to play in Oakland for at least two seasons.

Las Vegas baited the team with the promise of a new $1.9 billion stadium project. At one point, Sheldon Adelson pledged $650 million, but he rescinded the offer.

The expensive stadium will now be paid for with $750 million in tax dollars, NFL funding, and financing from Bank of America.

Nevada had to wait quite a while to get a professional sports team since the major leagues uniformly opposed sports betting. The relocation is the first indication the NFL’s strict stance might be getting looser, as it appears Nevadans will continue to be able to bet on Raider games after the move.

If you’re wondering what else might change now that Vegas has a football team, you can find answers to the big questions here.

Pennsylvania lawmakers clash over VGT proposal

Lawmakers in Pennsylvania are still considering online gambling expansion. Now the legislature has another gambling expansion to consider.

A new House bill reintroduces the idea of legalizing and regulating video gaming terminals (VGTs) in state bars and truck stops.

The measure proved to be a non-starter for many lawmakers in 2016. Proponents of VGTs think they could bring in as much as $500 million in tax revenue annually. Additionally, supporters point to the expansive illegal VGTs in the state which desperately need regulation.

Opponents worry about the same thing they worry about online gambling–cannibalization. With 12 Pennsylvania casinos to consider, any additional gaming which could eat into casino revenue needs to be carefully considered before it will pass through the legislature.

A similar bill is seeking sponsors in the Senate.

New Hampshire casino bill passes the Senate

While Pennsylvania deliberates casino expansion, lawmakers in New Hampshire debated casinos.

The state Senate passed a bill to allow two casinos in the state. Next the bill moves on to the House, where its future is unclear.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Lou D’Alessandro, thinks he can round up enough votes to pass the measure. D’Alessandro tried to pass a similar bill in 2014, but it came up one vote short in the House.

Here is hoping for better luck this time around.

Turning Stone Casino launches social casino

Just one week after news broke the GAN software-powered TEN Resort social casino was up and running, GAN was back in the news. This time there was a more formal announcement about GAN’s new project.

Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY partnered with GAN to launch a new social gaming app. Turning Stone’s social casino offers an array of play-for-fun casino games. It is also tied to the land-based resort’s existing rewards program.

The upstate New York casino is the latest East Coast brick and mortar to debut a social product. GAN has launched a number of similar gaming apps with regional casino groups over the last year.

Caesars Palace in New Jersey hosts esports competition

Social casinos are just one way casinos are trying to acquire a younger customer base. Another is esports.

Las Vegas is already taking wagers on esports, so the gap between video games and gambling is already closing.

This weekend, Caesars Palace hosted the Gears Pro Circuit Atlantic City Open, a Gears of War competition with a $200,000 prize pool. This is the first major esports event to run in Atlantic City.

New Jersey is not the only state trying to curry favor with the video game generation. Nevada casino Planet Hollywood just installed its first skill-based slot games this week in an effort to draw the same esports-loving audience.

Image by A Syn / CC BY-SA 2.0

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About

Jessica Welman has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for WSOP.com. A graduate of Indiana University and USC, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.

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