Jan/Feb 2021

Editors Letter

As stand-up comedian Dave Attell once said, “You know what I always say: New Year, new toothbrush.” While that sentiment might not be shared with you or anyone you know (hopefully not) we are hopeful for a fresh start after 2020. So far it’s been a mixed bag with a pandemic still raging and an unsettling political landscape. Despitea rocky start, there are some positives from which to draw inspiration. Most notable is our cover feature on the feel-good comeback story we all need right now.
New Jersey has been headline news for years in terms of its motivation to turn gambling into a win-win, and with insight from The Innovation Group and the AGA, we examine this proverbial phoenix, starting on page 16, as it experiences a renaissance that brought in a record handle of $996m at sportsbooks in December, bringing the state’s annual 2020 handle to more than $6bn. Overall, the state itself generated $50m in tax revenue from sports wagering last year. Nothing to sneeze at. But if these numbers and trends are what other states are seeing and trying to emulate, a greater share of the country will inevitably catch the fever; New York, Colorado, Indiana, Pennsylvania and California already have the sniffles.
Not to sound biased, but we have even more good things to tell about New Jersey.
On page 24, we feature a couple of prominent leaders in Atlantic City. It just so happens they’re both women. This isn’t breaking news or some antiquated notion of a cultural or industry revolution (or revelation) but Borgata president & COO Melonie Johnson and Ocean Casino Resort CEO Terry Glebocki are shining examples of how to apply patience and perseverance in equal measure to ride out the pandemic, and come out of it stronger than before. But we can’t get ahead of ourselves, as we’re still in the throes of lockdowns, case spikes and vaccine admin, not to mention a new administration in Washington settling in. We’ll see how the New Jersey momentum builds across the country as democratic leadership interprets gambling opportunities. We also have to consider how the death of Sheldon Adelson might influence the Republican minority and its approach to gambling initiatives. He leaves the GOP without a primary source of donations that were integral to the party’s former success. We’re talking over $500m to campaigns and super PACs since 2010. There are a lot of moving parts still in play for US gambling. As much as it might hurt to admit, we could all benefit if we fall in line behind New Jersey.

In The Magazine

With contributions from The Innovation Group and the American Gaming Association, Tim Poole profiles the revitalization of New Jersey’s gaming industry – a recovery that was far from certain in the not-too-distant past.


Bill Pascrell, III, partner at Princeton Public Affairs Group, has also been a strategic gaming advisor and consultant across the US, Canada Europe and Australia. Here, he gives an overview of what we can expect to see in the US sports betting market this year.


Ezra Amacher pores over UNLV gaming historian David Schwartz’s book on the Sands and how the property anchored itself in Las Vegas royalty and became the template for future properties in the city.


Brandon Walker, head of Amelco USA, gives Gaming America his sports betting industry predictions for 2021, focusing on how player habits will change in the US.


The truth is, if you take gambling out of Las Vegas, the city would probably survive. But if you took conventions away, the city would have a serious problem. Oliver Lovat of the Denstone Group consultancy, which has a focus on casino resorts, details the extent of the reality that post-pandemic numbers might not return.


Swedish start-up Triggy is expanding its personalized in-play sports wagering products to the US market, as the pandemic forces bettors to consider new ways to engage.


Ezra Amacher examines the ongoing debate of whether smoking in casinos has overstayed its welcome, or if it’s still a fix to help maintain a bottom line.


Tim Poole speaks with Borgata president & COO Melonie Johnson and Ocean Casino Resort CEO Terry Glebocki, two of Atlantic City’s leaders at the forefront of gaming’s resilient stand during the COVID-19 pandemic.


In December, G2E hosted a webinar on the post-election landscape for the gaming industry. Ezra Amacher analyzes what was discussed and what it means at state and federal levels as a new administration gets sworn in.


Jim Allen, CEO of Seminole Gaming and chairman of Hard Rock International, speaks to Tim Poole about 2020 and looking ahead as part of the GI Huddle podcast.


Dickinson Wright’s Jeff Silver, Of Counsel, and attorneys Greg Gemignani and Patrick Sullivan discuss severing ties with 2020, and assess the lay of the land in a new year and a new administration.


With New Jersey’s gaming figures for November demonstrating monumental sums, Tim Poole takes a closer look at the numbers consistently setting the bar in the Garden State.

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