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PlayUSA Rewind: Some US Casinos Beginning To Require Vaccines, Tests To Enter

Written By Nicholaus Garcia | Updated:
Casino Floor

We are so close. As of writing, the NFL season is 22 days away.

But before we get there, serious issues are making headlines.

This week, the COVID-19 delta variant is forcing commercial casinos to rethink mandates. Also, Connecticut finally chooses its sports betting partner, and operators team up to win over New York regulators.

For even more coverage, be sure and follow @VisitPlayUSA | @reporternickg | @brantjames for all the latest insights.

On the rewind:

Vaccinations required to enter some commercial casinos

In the hopes of once again calming the spread of COVID-19, some casinos across the US now require guests and employees to be vaccinated.

Under direction from the city, Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel & Casino is requiring at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or a negative test within 72 hours is required to participate in indoor activities — casinos included.

Harrah’s New Orleans was the first casino in the nation to implement a vaccine-related mandate. As a result, the casino will not impose capacity restrictions; however, guests and employees must wear masks indoors.

New Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns, said Louisiana has a “crisis on its hands” with the highest COVID-19 cases per capita in the nation. The new indoor vaccination requirement was issued by New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and went into effect immediately.

But these requirements don’t stop in Louisiana. The Empire State is also implementing a vaccination mandate to enter museums, cultural institutions, and, you guessed it, casinos.

According to Bloomberg, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio issued the mandate on Monday, Aug. 16. Note that unlike New Orleans, a negative test won’t be accepted.

During a press briefing, de Blasio has this to say:

“The key to New York City is an approach that starts with vaccination. We want you to enjoy New York City but you need to be vaccinated to do it.”

The takeaway: To put it simply, if you want to gamble at Harrah’s New Orleans or anywhere in New York City, two of the major tourist destinations in the US, you’ll need to comply with the mandates.

Connecticut Lottery chooses its betting partner

Surprise, surprise, the third and final CT sports betting operator is Rush Street Interactive (RSI).

With the selection of RSI, the company will have sportsbooks in Bridgeport and Hartford. Additionally, RSI will have 15 retail sportsbooks across the state, 10 of which will be at existing Sportech locations.

RSI joins DraftKings Sportsbook (Mashantucket Pequot Indians) and FanDuel Sportsbook (Mohegan Indians) as the only three operators in the state.

The takeaway: This is a big get for RSI. However, the company has to make good on the $170 million they promised Connecticut over the 10-year contract.

Companies forming super-teams to win New York sports betting bid

If you thought Russell Westbrook joining LeBron James and Anthony Davis was huge, how about Bally Bet, BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel teaming up?

Every operator is trying to win the highly coveted NY mobile sports betting license, but it appears they can’t do it alone. So now, former gambling rivals from all over the US are joining forces and creating superbids to win over state regulators.

In addition to the above super team, other notable superbids include:

  • Kambi
  • Caesars
  • PointsBet
  • Resorts World
  • Rush Street
  • WynnBet


  • Kambi
  • Fanatics
  • Penn National Gaming

Individual bidders include TheScore, FOX Bet, and Bet365.

The takeaway: The NY State Gaming Commission will have its hands full with hundreds of pages of documents. Within these proposals, there are state revenue estimates, revenue sharing arrangements, and licensing fees. This will be no easy task, nor will this be resolved quickly. Everyone better strap in.

 NFL inks more sports betting partnerships

The room is getting pretty crowded after PointsBet, BetMGM, and WynnBet all landed on the NFL’s list of authorized gambling operators. Each of the three companies are in the “second-tier” and are primarily focused on data and advertising.

According to Yahoo! Sports, the companies are committed to purchasing official league data from NFL partner Genius Sports.

The group joins “tri-exclusive” partners DraftKings, FanDuel, and Caesars, which all signed five-year deals back in April.

The takeaway: How many sports betting deals will the NFL make? Nobody knows. Some big fish like Penn National, PointsBet, and Rush Street are still left on the table. However, after a slow approach to legalized sports betting, the NFL has fully embraced the industry. So expect a few more of these deals to happen by year’s end.

Canada sports betting 14 days away

Our last story takes us north, where single-event Canadian sports betting will debut on August 27.

That’s right, sports betting in Canada will go live before Maryland, Arizona, Connecticut, and several other states. Since Canadian provinces already offer parlay wagering through their lotteries, the transition is expected to be smooth.

Individual lottery corporations like the British Columbia Lottery and Western Canada Lottery will provide sports betting on their individual websites.

The journey for the sports betting bill C-218 began in Feb. 2020. It was discussed in Nov. 2020 and passed on June 22, 2021.

The takeaway: At least one operator, theScore (Penn National), will be ready to launch at the end of the month. Other companies making a move into Canadian territory include PointsBet, DraftKings, and BetMGM.

Market Teasers

This week’s Market Teasers is a one-company show. Caesars Entertainment takes the big win after securing a deal with an NFL team. Not only that, but the company is part of a supergroup trying to win the chance to operate New York sports betting.

Caesars Entertainment, Inc.

$CZR | $85.01 | 1.07% change

  • The gambling giant is now the official casino partner of the Houston Texans (NFL). The deal will integrate Caesars Rewards into the Texan’s promotional channels. These include digital and traditional media like stadium signage.

** Market Teasers is not financial advice, nor am I a financial advisor. All figures were taken on August 18 at market close.

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Remember to follow @VisitPlayUSA | @reporternickg | @brantjames for even more insights.

Photo by Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press
Nicholaus Garcia Avatar
Written by
Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for PlayUSA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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