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We’ve got some fresh gaming updates for you. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has replaced Nike with MPL Sports as the new kit sponsor and merchandise partner for the Indian cricket team. The three-year sponsorship contract cost MPL Sports ₹120 Crores, with BCCI to receive an additional 10% from every merchandise sold by MPL.
In international updates, the shareholders of UK-headquartered gambling giant William Hill have approved the company’s $3.7 Billion (£2.9 Billion) takeover of US casino giant Caesars Entertainment.
A fresh surge of COVID-19 cases has forced casinos across the US states of Michigan and Illinois to close down, with New Mexico and Pennsylvania casinos also following suit. On the other hand, Atlantic City casinos will continue to remain operational with COVID-19 safeguards in place.
In South Korea, authorities have imposed new safety restrictions on casinos, permitting them to operate at a maximum of 20% of their capacity.
In its efforts to make deeper inroads in the booming US gambling industry, Bally’s Corporation has acquired a US-based sports betting platform, Bet.Works for $125 Million. The Group already had a presence in the country with its recently rebranded US Bally’s, but it has added sports betting to its set of offerings with the takeover.
MPL Sports is the Official Kit Sponsor For the Indian Cricket Team
Mobile Premier League’s (MPL) sports merchandise brand MPL Sports has been roped in by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as its official kit sponsor and merchandise partner.
The sponsorship contract has been inked for three years, with MPL Sports paying BCCI ₹120 Crore, with an additional revenue share deal in place. This means 10% of the proceeds from every merchandise sold by MPL Sports will go to BCCI.
MPL Sports replaces Nike; the latter has been the official kit sponsor of the Indian Cricket team since 2006. Nike had paid BCCI ₹370 Crores along with a ₹30 Crore royalty for four years. Following the market slump during the lockdown months, Nike sought a concession in pricing, prompting BCCI to float fresh tenders.
Talking about the deal, BCCI president and former cricketer Sourav Ganguly said – “We look forward to MPL Sports adding a new chapter to the team’s kit, and bring the official BCCI licensed merchandise within easy and convenient reach for the billion-plus fans.”
Senior VP (Growth and Marketing), MPL and MPL Sports, Abhishek Madhavan, said, “We hope to partner closely with the BCCI and take all kinds of Team India merchandise to the masses – with offline as well as online distribution at affordable prices. Associating with the Indian national cricket team is a matter of huge pride for us, and we want every fan in the country to feel the same way and have access to the merchandise they can proudly flaunt.”
Starting out, MPL Sports will be providing the Indian cricket team with new jerseys for the upcoming Australia tour. It will also be selling licensed merchandise.
William Hill Shareholders Approve Caesars Takeover
In October, UK-based sports betting giant William Hill had confirmed that it was acquiring US casino major Caesars Entertainment for $3.7 Billion (£2.9 Billion). In a step forward in completing the transaction, the shareholders of William Hill formally approved the takeover.
On Thursday, William Hill announced that shareholders who control 86.6% of the company voted virtually in favor of the acquisition. Each of the resolutions relating to the transaction was approved by a majority of the shareholders.
CEO of Ceasars Entertainment, Tom Reeg, commenting on the development, said: “We are pleased to have received William Hill shareholder support for our recommended cash offer.” He added, “We continue to work towards satisfying the remaining regulatory conditions and look forward to completing the transaction next year and integrating William Hill US into our Caesars sports betting and i-gaming franchise.”
The deal is expected to conclude by the end of Q2 2021, possibly by March-end.
International COVID-19 Related Casino Updates
The COVID-19 pandemic kept casinos the world over shut for several months. In the US, casinos steadily began resuming operations since June. Many of them have been forced to shut down in fresh updates because of a fresh surge of COVID-19 cases.
Here’s a quick look at the latest COVID-19 related casino updates coming in from different parts of the world.
More U.S. States Shut Down Casinos
After the US state of Michigan shuttered its land-based casinos, Illinois will be shutting down its gambling market, including 10 casinos this week. While the shutdown has been stamped for 14 days, for now, chances of them reopening anytime soon are slim, given that the US state is currently reporting over 12,000 new COVID-19 cases daily.
Casinos in New Mexico have also started shuttering down in the wake of the sudden COVID-19 spike. While the Route 66 Casino Hotel shut down again in mid-October, the state has urged the 23 other tribal casinos to close down as well.
In Pennsylvania, even though a state-wide shutdown hasn’t been ordered yet, many prominent gambling establishments like the Rivers Casino and the South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbooks will be shutting down this weekend and are unlikely to open before January 2021.
New Jersey’s Atlantic City casinos remain one of the few gambling centers in the country to continue operations. In fact, Governor Phil Murphy has firmly discounted the possibility of closing the casinos. Murphy said, “We believe, based on the evidence that we have, that they’ve been able to responsibly manage their casino floors…there is not any evidence … that there is a big outbreak coming from participating on the floor.”
Moreover, while most locations have canceled Thanksgiving programs, casinos in Atlantic City have been running special promotions for gamblers to come over on the day.
South Korea Imposes New Restrictions as COVID-19 Cases Surge
On November 18, it was reported that South Korean authorities were imposing new restrictions on casinos given the significant spike of COVID-19 positive cases in the country. The affected areas include Seoul, Gyeonggi, Gwangju province, and parts of the Gangwon-do province.
Casinos have been mandated to operate at just 20% of their capacity.
Two out of three casinos operated by Grand Korea Leisure (GKL) are located in Seoul, while Paradise Co Ltd operates one casino in Seoul and Incheon.
GKL and Paradise don’t allow local residents on the gaming floors, and hence only tourists or dual citizens holding international passports are permitted.
Bally’s Corporation Acquires Bet.Works For $125 Million
Bally’s Corporation has acquired the US-based sports betting platform, Bet.Works for $125 Million. The takeover will help the company’s recently rebranded US Bally’s offer a full-fledged sports betting service.
The Group plans to unite both it’s physical and online gaming offerings in the US under a single brand. Founder and CEO of Bet.Works, David Wang will become the CEO of Bally’s Interactive once the transaction is closed.
In his official statement, Wang said, “We remain committed to creating the world’s best sports entertainment products, as well as delivering innovative and exciting solutions for sports betting and online gaming consumers across Bally’s national footprint.”
Talking about the move, Chairman of Bally’s Corporation’s Board of Directors, Soo Kim, said, “This is the next step in our company’s evolution. By combining our expanding national footprint of casinos, the recently acquired Bally’s brand, and Bet. Works’ proprietary technology stack, we have evolved in just a few short years from a regional casino operator into the first US gaming company committed to serving our customers with an omnichannel approach, combining the best of our physical properties with a superior online experience.