Indy Gaming: SCOTUS ruling favoring Texas tribal casinos has 'wider implications'

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Good morning, and welcome to the Indy Gaming e-newsletter, a weekly take a look at gaming issues nationally and internationally and the way the occasions tie again to Nevada.

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A U.S. Supreme Court ruling final week was a victory for a Native American tribe in Texas that had been in a authorized tussle with the state over using digital bingo video games on tribal land going again to the Nineteen Nineties.

But the choice may produce other ramifications for the Texas gaming panorama, the place efforts led by Las Vegas Sands to legalize industrial casinos have been unsuccessful because the mid-2000s.

States bordering Texas have Las Vegas-style casinos. Texas gaming proponents have lengthy lamented the state is dropping potential tax {dollars} to on line casino operators in Oklahoma, Louisiana and New Mexico.

For instance, WinStar World Casino and Resort is situated in Thackerville, Oklahoma, on Interstate 35, simply throughout the state line from Texas. The on line casino, operated by the Chickasaw Nation, has the most important on line casino flooring within the U.S. – 698,000 sq. toes – and attracts a lot of its enterprise from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

The 5-4 ruling by the justices permits the Tigua Indians of El Paso, formally generally known as the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, to function bingo at an El Paso leisure middle. Analysts stated the ruling may even profit the Alabama-Coushatta tribe, which has been combating with Texas officers over bingo operations on its reservation, which is situated an hour’s drive north of Houston.

A 3rd tribe, Kickapoo Traditional Tribe, has bingo-based video games at a on line casino in Eagle Pass, two hours west of San Antonio. But the tribe’s gaming operations are lined underneath a unique federal regulation.

In a analysis notice written shortly after the Supreme Court resolution was introduced, Truist Securities gaming analyst Barry Jonas stated the ruling would have “wider implications across the industry.”

Jonas stated the choice “could further discussions around the eventual legalization of (commercial casinos) in Texas.” Subsequently, any Texas on line casino legalization would have repercussions for on line casino operators in Louisiana, notably Penn National Gaming, Caesars Entertainment and Boyd Gaming.

After reviewing the justices’ opinion, B2 Global Managing Partner Brendan Bussmann stated he doesn’t foresee an instantaneous change within the gaming panorama in Texas. However, “it may start to force the conversation as locations near El Paso and Houston offer a regulated gaming experience to customers in those parts of the state.”

Last 12 months, Texas lawmakers rejected a Las Vegas Sands-backed on line casino gaming proposal. In February, the Texas Tribune reported the corporate launched a political motion committee with greater than $2 million in funding to help a renewed effort.

Las Vegas Sands Senior Vice President Andy Abboud, who has overseen the legislative effort to legalize casinos in Texas, stated the corporate will work with the Legislature subsequent 12 months to place a on line casino referendum on the poll.

Abboud stated the Supreme Court ruling “gives the existing tribes certainty” regarding their gaming operations. He added that the corporate has met with all of the tribes excluding the Kickapoos.

“They are strong supporters of our initiative,” Abboud wrote in a textual content message. “The Kickapoos are not opposed, just worried about the impact.”

U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 6, 2021. (Humberto Sanchez/The Nevada Independent)

Bussmann stated the Supreme Court ruling added an “extra element to that conversation” regarding on line casino legalization efforts in Texas.

“It’s a complex topic that spans sports betting to casino gaming that has been debated for 20 years and is likely far from over,” he stated.

The Supreme Court opinion was authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch and was joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Amy Coney Barrett. Gorsuch primarily based a lot of the ruling on a 1987 Supreme Court case, California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, which concerned the rising improvement of casino-style gaming by North American tribes.

That 6-3 ruling by the courtroom in favor of the Cabazon tribe successfully overturned current legal guidelines proscribing gaming on tribal reservations, and led to the creation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

National Indian Gaming Commission Chairman Sequoyah Simermeyer stated in a press release final week that the ruling within the Texas case acknowledged “the importance of Indian gaming’s long-standing regulatory framework.”

In the ruling, Gorsuch rejected Texas’ argument that its legal guidelines on bingo prohibit the sort of video games supplied by the tribe. 

“No one questions that Texas ‘regulates’ bingo by fixing the time, place, and manner in which the game may be conducted,” Gorsuch wrote. “The state submits only that, in some sense, its laws also ‘prohibit’ bingo — when the game fails to comply with the state’s time, place, and manner regulations. But on that reading, the law’s dichotomy between prohibition and regulation collapses.”

Mike Andrews, who oversees the Native American Policy group at Washington D.C.-based McGuireWoods Consulting, stated the courtroom’s ruling established the National Indian Gaming Commission because the regulator for the tribe’s bingo operations, not Texas.

“This case will have significant impact in Texas by essentially cutting the state out of any monetary amounts they could have claimed if this was truly indeed gaming,” stated Andrews, a former chief counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

“This also sets up a future fight between the tribes, the State of Texas and the Governor’s office regarding Class III (commercial) gaming,” he stated.

Las Vegas-based gaming tools supplier AGS leases digital bingo video games to the Alabama-Coushatta tribe’s gaming facility. In 2021, the corporate stated income from the video games was between $9 million and $10 million.

Jonas stated AGS and different gaming tools suppliers “could see growth opportunities as Texas tribes presumably contemplate expansions following the ruling.”

AGS CEO David Lopez stated in a press release that the Supreme Court resolution “allows the Texas tribes to gain economic freedom and confirms their rights as federally recognized tribes.”


Everi’s smartphone cashless know-how on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

 Judge tosses out Sightline patent infringement lawsuit towards Everi

A patent infringement lawsuit filed by Sightline Payments towards Everi Holdings was dismissed earlier this month by a federal decide in Texas, who dominated the state was the improper venue for the case.

Las Vegas-based Sightline filed the lawsuit on Sept. 30, alleging that monetary know-how and cost processing rival Everi infringed on 5 of the corporate’s patents associated to cashless gaming, together with know-how that enables a participant to switch funds from their monetary account to a digital pockets for gaming play.

U.S. District Court Judge Alan Albright dominated a declare for patent infringement have to be introduced within the judicial district the place the defendant both resides or has an everyday and established place of job.

Everi’s company workplaces and monetary know-how division are situated in Las Vegas, whereas the corporate maintains its video games division workplaces in Austin, Texas. The decide didn’t rule on the deserves of the lawsuit, solely that Texas was an improper venue for the case as a result of Sightline did not allege any acts of infringement dedicated inside Texas by any of the Everi firms.

A spokesman for Everi declined to touch upon the ruling.

In an emailed assertion, a Sightline spokesperson stated, “We are committed to vigorously defending our intellectual property and maintain that this is the appropriate jurisdiction for our claim.”

Sightline stated in its authentic submitting that its mental property counsel reviewed Everi’s cell pockets for potential patent infringements, and claimed to have discovered 5 violations.

More than a decade in the past, mental property disputes over slot machine improvements flooded federal courtrooms. Analysts stated it’s too early to find out if lawsuits over cashless gaming know-how would spawn related authorized tussles.At final 12 months’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, main gaming tools suppliers displayed a multitude of new cashless gaming and digital payment products. The know-how, together with cell wallets — smartphone apps that retailer cost playing cards and different data in a digital format – is being heralded as a transition for one of many final cash-dependent industries.


Sands Macau. Photo through Wikimedia Commons

Macau casinos headed for an additional dismal month following COVID outbreak

The Macau authorities didn’t impose a shutdown of its struggling on line casino trade following the particular administrative area’s most up-to-date COVID-19 outbreak.

But it would as properly have.

The government-ordered testing of greater than 600,000 residents got here with stay-at-home orders and the closures of most eating places and different companies in Macau. China has a “zero-COVID” coverage and seeks to remove any outbreaks, irrespective of the financial toll.

Gaming income from Macau casinos has declined 44 % over the primary 5 months of 2022, in contrast with the identical 5 months of 2021.

“Macau gaming revenue should hit new year-to-date lows,” Jefferies gaming analyst Andrew Lee, who is predicated in Hong Kong, advised buyers in a analysis notice Sunday. “We believe (this action) removes any prospects for Macau relaxing quarantine policies further ahead of summer.”

The newest outbreak got here instantly and has been spreading quickly with the supply nonetheless unknown, Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng, the area’s high political official, stated in a press release on the federal government’s web site.

According to Reuters, Macau reported 21 preliminary-positive circumstances in the area people as of Sunday night. The shutdown was in impact by Tuesday to permit time for the mass testing. People going to Macau through Zhuhai-Macao had been required to current proof of a damaging results of a PCR take a look at inside 48 hours of arrival.

On Tuesday, one constructive case of COVID was discovered on the Macau Hotel Fortuna, which led to the lockdown of your entire resort and the quarantine of some 500 to 700 visitors and staff, in keeping with Inside Asian Gaming.

In May, Macau casinos reported gaming income of $410 million, the second-lowest quantity the Chinese gaming market had seen since September 2020. Analysts had expressed hope that June would supply a lift to Macau casinos after COVID-19 restrictions had been lowered in Shanghai and Beijing.

“With ease of travel the key driver, we believe this is another bump along the road for eventual Macau recovery,” Lee wrote. 

Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International have on line casino holdings in Macau.

Ahead of the outbreak, Fitch Ratings Service downgraded its view of Las Vegas Sands’ unsecured debt. At the tip of March, Las Vegas Sands had complete debt of just about $15 billion. The firm didn’t say how a lot is unsecured (loans not backed by any collateral and carry larger rates of interest).

In a analysis notice, Fitch gaming analyst Colin Mansfield wrote the advisory agency’s confidence within the restoration of Macau’s gaming trade has been lowered. The agency blamed the Chinese authorities’s strict COVID-19 insurance policies and continued weak visitation to Macau.

“Las Vegas Sands’ leverage trajectory is no longer consistent with an investment-grade rating,” Mansfield wrote.

Shares of Las Vegas Sands have fallen virtually 11 % within the final six months and are down greater than 18 % 12 months thus far.

Macau casinos collected $10.8 billion in gaming income in all of 2021, a rise of 43.7 % over the almost $7.6 billion collected throughout pandemic-ravaged 2020.

But the 2021 complete was greater than 70 % under pre-pandemic 2019, when casinos within the area produced $36.6 billion. The gaming revenues produced in 2020 and 2021 are the bottom single-year back-to-back totals since 2006 and 2007.

Macau’s all-time gaming income document was $45 billion in 2013.

On Tuesday, the Macau Legislative Assembly voted 32-1 to undertake the area’s new gaming regulation, which permits for six new 10-year gaming licenses to the present operators together with three-year extensions underneath sure circumstances.


Entrance to the BetMGM sportsbook at ParkMGM on the Strip. (Courtesy photograph)

Sports betting, on-line gaming set sail in deal between MGM and Carnival

Passengers aboard the U.S. branded luxurious ships operated by Carnival Corp. will quickly be capable of gamble on-line and wager on sports activities in worldwide waters by an settlement with MGM Resorts International.

In a deal introduced final week, greater than 50 ships ported within the U.S. protecting Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises, will supply the net gaming and sports activities betting platform operated by BetMGM. In a press release, BetMGM stated the wagering system will roll out over the following few months.

BetMGM is a 50-50 three way partnership between MGM Resorts International and Entain Plc. 

“This is another great opportunity for us to further expand BetMGM’s footprint,” stated firm CEO Adam Greenblatt. BetMGM operates in 18 states, Washington, D.C., and Ontario, Canada.

Financial phrases for the deal weren’t disclosed.

The information was initially properly obtained by Carnival buyers, who despatched the corporate’s shares up virtually 10 % on Friday after the settlement was introduced. The pandemic grounded the cruise trade and fears over outbreaks on self-contained cruise ships precipitated a slowdown within the trade’s restoration.

Carnival’s inventory worth is down greater than 55 % 12 months thus far.

In a press release, Carnival Senior Vice President Marty Goldman instructed gaming may very well be a approach to deliver clients aboard the corporate’s ships.

“We’re very proud to have the ability to ship the joy and engagement of sports activities betting and that iGaming to our visitors by our partnership with BetMGM,” Goldman stated.

In the 4 years since a U.S. Supreme Court resolution allowed states to legalize and regulate sports activities betting, the exercise has grown to greater than 30 states. Since June 2018, greater than $125 billion has been wagered on sports activities, in keeping with GamingToday.com.


G2E attendees play Wheel of Fortune slots on the IGT sales space on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

Wheel of Fortune Casino coming to the web, however not in Nevada

International Game Technology has created greater than 250 variations of the Wheel of Fortune slot machine because the recreation was launched greater than twenty years in the past.

Now, in a partnership with BetMGM and Sony Pictures Television, IGT is launching Wheel of Fortune Casino, a web based gaming website primarily based on the syndicated tv recreation present that’s getting into its fortieth season.

The website will open in New Jersey, one among six states that permit authorized and controlled on-line on line casino gaming. MGM Resorts owns Borgata Resort in Atlantic City.

Nevada has one on-line poker website and doesn’t permit for regulated on-line on line casino gaming.

“Once dwell, Wheel of Fortune Casino will supply gamers the joy of their favourite recreation present and actual cash wagering within the palm of their hand,” BetMGM Chief Revenue Officer Matt Prevost stated in a press release.

The Wheel of Fortune Casino will embody on-line variations of Wheel of Fortune slot video games and on-line variations of different themed slot video games produced by IGT.

IGT CEO of Digital Enrico Drago credited BetMGM’s digital platform and the corporate’s promotional capabilities in serving to create the net on line casino.

“The Wheel of Fortune brand has been synonymous with slot gaming for more than 25 years, and this unprecedented brand-led online casino is well-positioned to engage and entertain new and long-time players,” Drago stated.


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https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/indy-gaming-scotus-ruling-favoring-texas-tribal-casinos-has-wider-implications
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