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Gaming Report: MPL Sports Foundation Contributes ₹5 Crores to “Virushka”s COVID-19 Relief Campaign & More

Gaming Report - Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma, Las Vegas Casi. US Casinos and LeoVegas
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  • Namita Ghosh May 18, 2021
  • 4 Minutes Read

Mobile Premier League brand ambassador and the skipper of the Indian cricket team, Virat Kohli’s COVID-19 relief initiative with wife Anushka Sharma has received an overwhelming response. The couple’s call for contributions towards COVID-19 relief received their most enormous response from MPL Sports Foundation, which donated a massive ₹5 Crores to the campaign.

Even though casinos in India won’t be opening anytime soon, the situation in the U.S seems to be falling back to normal. In the country’s gambling capital, Sin City, Nevada, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB), adopting the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, has permitted casinos to operate at 100% occupancy. At the same time, vaccinated patrons can enter business establishments without a mask.

Even though Nevada casinos have just started functioning at total capacity, the figures released by the American Gaming Association indicate that Q1 of 2021 was a record-breaker for the U.S. gaming sector. The industry is on the path of rapid recovery from the COVID-19 led slump in business and collected over $11.13 Billion in the first quarter this year.

The U.S. gaming market is obviously becoming the hot-new playground for gaming companies, and LeoVegas has become the latest brand to mark its entry in New Jersey through its platform Rhino.


MPL Sports Foundation Contributes 5 Crore to Virat Kohli & Anushka Sharma’s COVID-19 Relief Campaign

Bengaluru-based Mobile Premier League (MPL) recently contributed a massive sum of ₹5 Crore to the COVID-19 relief campaign by cricketer Virat Kohli and his wife, Bollywood actor Anushka Sharma. The Indian cricket team captain has also been a brand ambassador for the e-gaming platform since March 2019. In January, MPL renewed Kohli’s sponsorship for another year.

Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli COVID-19 relief campaign

On May 6, Kohli and Sharma took to social media to announce that they had started a campaign to raise funds for COVID-19 relief in partnership with Ketto called “#In This Together.” All proceedings for the campaign would be donated to ACT Grants, an organization working to fill in the oxygen shortage in India.

In a video posted across social media platforms, the star couple said, “It pains us to see our country suffer. We are grateful to all the people who are fighting to save India, but they need our help now.”

Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli


While “Virushka,” as the couple is fondly called by the media, contributed ₹2 Crores to the campaign, their call for donations evoked an overwhelming response, with the campaign collecting almost ₹3.60 Crores in under 24 hours. Soon, MPL Sports Foundation stepped in and made a contribution of ₹5 Crores, helping the duo exceed their initial target of ₹7 Crores.

Kohli tweeted the news on May 12. Expressing gratitude towards the MPL Sports Foundation, Kohli announced that he and Anushka have increased their target to ₹11 Crores.

Kohli and Sharma managed to raise ₹11.39 Lakhs for COVID-19 relief.


Nevada Casinos Now Back to 100% Capacity, Vaccinated Guests Can Enter Mask-Free

Anyone fully vaccinated can visit gambling venues in Nevada without having to wear a mask. Sound`s hard to digest for all those stuck in India, right?! Well, it`s true.

With Nevada officially adopting the CDC guidelines, fully vaccinated customers no longer need to wear masks or adhere to social distancing in casinos.

Most poker rooms in Las Vegas have started relaxing the COVID-19 related restrictions. Nearly all of them have already removed the plexiglass dividers installed on the gaming tables, including poker tables.

Nevada officially permitted business establishments, including casinos, to function at 100% capacity earlier this month. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak subsequently signed a directive authorizing commercial set-ups to follow the new guidelines released by the U.S CDC.

On May 12, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) also adopted the CDC measures, noting that it was impractical to enforce the wearing of masks on vaccinated people. The NGCB has granted casinos the authority to decide their own mask policies.

However, the NGCB guidelines do not mandate casino operators to verify the vaccination status of their customers. While many are questioning this move, casino giant Wynn came out with a statement saying it “trusts guests to take the appropriate precautions based on their personal vaccination status.”


Poker Rooms in Las Vegas Resuming Old Ways

Most of the poker rooms in Las Vegas, including the Wynn and Encore poker rooms have removed the plexiglass barriers. Until last week, The Venetian, Golden Nugget, and the Orleans were the only prominent poker rooms still functioning with plexiglass barriers on the poker tables.

Most casinos have also returned to 100% occupancy. This includes MGM, Station Casinos, Silverton properties, Wynn’s other properties, including The Cosmopolitan and The Strat.

Caesars Entertainment has also confirmed that Caesars is now working at 100% occupancy.


U.S. Casinos Register Record-Breaking Quarter

With casinos opening up in the U.S., the country’s casinos have reported record-breaking revenue collection in the first quarter of 2021. The trend indicates a massive return to live gaming floors, the COVID-19 pandemic notwithstanding.

According to figures released by the American Gaming Association (AGA) that launched its Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker last summer, the U.S. commercial gaming sector, including retails casinos, sportsbooks, and iGaming, raked in over $11.13 Billion in revenue in Q1 of 2021. The figure falls marginally short of setting an all-time record for the industry set in Q3 of 2019.

Moreover, 12 U.S. states reported their highest-ever gambling revenues in March of 2021.

According to AGA, online gambling and sports betting were the major drivers of growth and revenue for the U.S. gambling industry. Both sectors have grown more than three times since Q1 last year, in part because several new U.S. states commenced legalized online gaming in the past year.

That said, traditional brick-and-mortar casinos also recorded 6.7% revenue growth, which is higher than their average growth rate historically. This, even though most casinos operated at limited 50% occupancy.

The American Gaming Association reports that the casino industry has been on a recovery path these last three months since most casinos across the U.S. have resumed operations. The only exceptions here are tribal casinos in remote areas.

AGA CEO Bill Miller opined that there is a considerable pent-up demand for in-person entertainment.

The ongoing trends bear well for the rest of the year, and experts surmise that 2021 could turn out to be the best year on record for the U.S. gambling industry.


LeoVegas Enters New Jersey Through Deal With Caesars Entertainment

An agreement with Caesars Entertainment has opened the doors for LeoVegas to enter the U.S. market for offering online casino services. The company will soon start offering online casino services in New Jersey via its proprietary site Rhino.

The strategic partnership with Caesars allows LeoVegas complete control over the product to be certified by the New Jersey regulator.

The brand’s flagship website Rhino is currently handling over 10 brands and is licensed in seven jurisdictions. It offers over 60 game integrations from various casino providers and sportsbooks.

Talking about the move, CEO of LeoVegas, Gustaf Hagman, said, “We are proud to finally be able to share our plans to establish ourselves in the USA. We think the time and partner are right to launch ‘The King of Casino’ in the USA. The American market has immense growth potential, and players are just now discovering online gaming. In the USA, too, we will focus on what we are best at – offering an innovative, world-class gaming experience directly on mobile phones.”

New Jersey was one of the first U.S. states to permit real-money online gambling in 2018. The online gaming market in Garden State currently has over 20 brands competing to offer online casino offerings.

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