Japan Legalizes Casinos and December’s Gambling Industry News Recap
The new year is finally here and 2017 promises to be exciting – or at least very interesting – in the gambling industry. We already know that the daily fantasy sports landscape is going to undergo serious change, as DraftKings and FanDuel have agreed to a merger.
Will that huge DFS merger call for a total rebranding? Will one powerhouse daily fantasy site reapproach college fantasy gaming? And perhaps most importantly, will we see further development in the legalization and regulation of daily fantasy sports, nationwide?
Questions like that leak into our constant look at online poker and the legalization of all online betting, as well. With Congress seemingly taking a closer look at online gambling, it’s not crazy to think we could see some serious progress across the board in 2017. The mere possibility makes 2017 a year of optimism – for now.
While that is yet to be determined, it’s only January and at the moment we can at least reflect on the big gambling industry stories that dominated the month of December. Let’s take a look back at the casino and gambling news stories in the month that was:
Baazov Ends Bid For Amaya
David Baazov’s bid to take back the company that was once his is finally over. Amaya Gaming won’t go back to Baazov following months of power control and scandal talk.
Baazov relinquished control of the company after being involved in a scandal last year. With Amaya shareholders reportedly demanding “too high” of a price for Baazov to purchase the company, talks died down. Baazov looks to end his pursuit to buy back his company in full, but still owns a significant chunk (roughly 17%) of Amaya Gaming.
NBA and FanDuel Announce InPlay App
The NBA and FanDuel are changing (or enhancing) how their fans look at daily fantasy sports. The two sides announced an innovative app in December that will allow NBA and DFS fans alike to play along with live NBA contests.
The new app, dubbed “InPlay”, allows NBA fans to “play live” with NBA games that have already started. Regular NBA DFS games require locked-in lineups before games start, but the new app will focus on one player from a selected team and fans can apply a “turbo boost” at a time of their choosing in an effort to maximize their points.
FanDuel has been very public about their desire to widen the scope on daily fantasy sports, and that includes lending new insight on how we view the DFS world, as a whole.
CPO of FanDuel, Tom Griffiths, suggested the fan is being put first with this exciting new product:
“Our mission is to offer sports fans exciting new ways to engage with the players and teams they love, through innovative sports entertainment products.
The new NBA fantasy app is free to download.
The big takeaway here? The daily fantasy sports world is ever growing and what we see now may very well be just the beginning. The fact that major sports leagues like the NBA are so heavily involved and supportive of daily fantasy sports only bolsters the notion that DFS isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, as well.
Macau Gaming Revenue Sees 8% Spike
Macau Gaming had a fine December, as the company is reporting a strong 8% rise over the past month. December marks a fifth month of steady growth for Chinese gambling, but also marks the end of a rough 2016, overall.
Per reports, the December saw an 8% rise in gross revenue compared to a year ago, while November was also successful with a 14% increase from the last year.
The numbers still weren’t great across the board in 2016, as casino revenue plummeted 3.3%.
The good news? The second half of 2016 showed positive momentum, which has experts eyeing a complete turnaround going into 2017. A roughly 7% increase for next year is anticipated, per Bloomberg gambling experts.
Trump Taj Mahal For Sale
Per the New York Post, billionaire investor Carl Icahn is said to be gearing up to sell the Trump Taj Mahal. Icahn has reportedly been in talks to give up control of the famous Atlantic City casino since mid-December.
The reason? Because he had previously shut the casino down in order to find a way to pay his employees less money. That didn’t work out so well, and now a recent bill (passed 60 to 17) is threatening to strop Icahn’s gaming license for doing just that.
It remains to be seen how quickly (or effectively) Icahn can move on from the Trump Taj Mahal, but odds are he’ll be doing all he can to set a sale in motion in early 2017.
Casinos Coming to Japan?
Japan’s long battle against live casinos will finally be ending. In December, the beginning of a new era looked to start, as Japanese casino legislation finally took a giant (and positive) step forward.
Due to a struggling economy, Japan is reportedly finally moving towards legalizing casinos. Casinos have been illegal in the world’s third largest economy, but positive momentum has been made and serious potential for earnings could be coming.
The huge news sparked serious interest from casino conglomerates from all over the world. Japan will now entertain proposals and could start planning towards their first legal casino in the coming years.
5 Years For Bovada
One of the best betting sites online is celebrating five years of being active. Bovada, which is impressively among the top gambling sites despite going live in 2011, marked the feat in the middle of December.
Bovada also had an impressive online poker room, but ditched that aspect of their product line shortly after the summer. While that was a bummer for their loyal customers, Bovada continues to offer an elite sportsbook and a litany of online casino products.
Not only has Bovada risen to great heights in terms of success and popularity, but it’s also among the most respected and trusted betting sites online. Bovada is notorious for speedy payouts and also provides elite customer service. The 5-year run gives way to exceptional bonuses, which new users can take full advantage of via the refer-a-friend bonuses.
Unibet = Kindred Group
Unibet’s plight to continue the company’s evolution continued with a rebranding in December, as the company formerly known as Unibet Group officially announced a name change to Kindred Group.
The rebranding is designed to put a better focus on an evolving company that has unified various brands. Kindred Group specifically has 10 consumer facing brands in their portfolio and drives their multi-brand strategy.
Unibet executives highlighted growth, development and unity for the company and brand moving forward.
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