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In this edition of our PokerGuru Gaming Report, we bring three important developments from the sports betting and gaming industry.
The first update is on the historical judgment by Supreme Court of the USA that has ruled in favor of state of New Jersey in an appeal against the existing legal prohibition on sports betting. New Jersey will permit casinos to operate soon and more US states may now formulate their own laws to make sports betting legal.
In our second report we move to Japan where the lawmakers have finalized the long pending legislation to ensure creation of an operational structure for casinos and gaming. Likely to be approved this year, the bill will clear way for Japan to finally have casinos operating in the country.
We conclude our update with latest developments in Atlantic City where two casinos, The Trump Taj Mahal and Revel are reopening albeit under new names. Poker fans will be disappointed to learn that the former will not offer poker anymore.
In what comes as a huge respite for the sport betting industry in the US, the US Supreme Court has struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) declaring it unconstitutional by a 6-to-3 vote. The Court’s ruling came during the hearing in the state of New Jersey’s challenge to PASPA.
The landmark judgment has opened the gates for sports betting not only in New Jersey but also in any other state in the US, wishing to do so. Under the PASPA, sports betting was legal only in Nevada and there were certain forms of sports betting legal in Delaware, Montana and Oregon as well.
According to industry experts, Delaware is most likely to jump onto the sports betting bandwagon very soon. Mississippi, Pennsylvania and West Virginia may follow suit, with West Virginia already having passed legislation to approve sports betting last month. More US states are expected to join in. According to Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, LLC, a gambling research firm, 14 US states including Nevada will offer sports betting within the next two years and the number will increase to 32 in five years.
The US Supreme Court ruling has brought forth a mixed response from various spectrums of the sports industry. The National Football League (NFL) expressed strong reservations about the US Supreme Court’s decision and so did the National Basketball Association (NBA) that favored the need to set up a “federal framework that would provide a uniform approach to sports gambling in states that choose to permit it.”
Reactions of other sports leagues like Major League Baseball and National Hockey League and National Collegiate Athletic Association have been several shades cooler.
President and CEO of American Gaming Association Geoff Freeman welcomed the decision. “Today’s decision is a victory for the millions of Americans who seek to bet on sports in a safe and regulated manner”, Freeman said.
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy and his office are reportedly working to pass a regulatory and legal structure for sports betting at casinos, online and on horse tracks. New Jersey had passed legislation to approve sports betting in 2014, which became the legal basis for the state to appeal to the US Supreme Court challenging PASPA.
In a recent statement, Governor Murphy said he looked forward to enact a new version of a “law authorizing and regulating sports betting in the very near future.”
Meanwhile, Poker Hall of Famer Phil Hellmuth tweeted how poker can be left out and it was time for it to be legal again. –
Every Major sport (NBA, NFL, MLB) is behind the legalization of sports betting, and all of them will profit by it. But how can Sports Betting online be legalized w/out online poker being legalized (clearly more skill than sports betting)? The time is NOW to legalize online poker!
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) May 14, 2018
A new legislation in Japan may soon put the legal framework for opening of new casinos in place and when it does, three massive casino complexes will be developed in Japan for gaming and gambling.
In a recent development, Japanese lawmakers have moved forward the Integrated Resorts Implementation Bill (IRIB) that seeks to create the structure for gaming and licensing, operation of casinos in the country.
The IRIB when passed will clear the way for the establishment of three casino complexes in Japan. Subsequent licensing and regulatory mechanism for casinos is also expected to be setup soon. Gambling setups would incur a tax of 30% in addition to entry fee for locals. Access to casinos and gaming would be partially restricted, with a pre-fixed number of times they can visit casinos and play.
The IRIB has been formulated after years of assessment and evaluation by the Japanese government. Though Japan legalized casinos in 2016, there was no specific legislation containing the rules for implementation of this decision. The Japanese parliament may clear the bill by July.
The move has reportedly attracted the interest of American gaming companies like Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts International who may set foot in Japan to explore the vast gaming potential the country holds. If all goes well, the first casino could open up in Japan by 2023.
Much to the disappointment of poker fans, former Trump Taj Mahal, a casino in Atlantic City that had shut down in 2016 will be reopening again as Hard Rock Hotel & Casino but without a poker room. On the other hand, Casino Revel is also reopening as Ocean Resort Casino and will have a poker room.
The 48-table poker room of Trump Taj Mahal, aka ‘The Taj’ has been one of the most iconic poker rooms in America. The famous poker games played by Matt Damon and Edward Norton in the cult movie ‘Rounders’ was in fact filmed here. At one point, The Taj also hosted the ‘United States Poker Championship’.
The Taj shut down its poker room in 2015, re-opened it for a short while in 2016 to shut down the entire Casino operations. The casino is making a comeback now as ‘Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’ and is set to open its doors on June 28. It will have 120 table games and more than 2000 slot machines for the gaming enthusiast. Poker however, will not be offered.
The same day another casino in Atlantic City, the Revel will also reopen to pubic. Once a happening destination for high-stakes poker on East coast, Revel is coming back under a new name ‘Ocean Resort Casino’. While it had a 37-table poker room, the casino closed poker offerings in 2013 and shut its doors completely in 2014. The casino will have a poker room again, but with how many tables, is not clear yet.