Texas Lottery Blasted Over Loophole That Let Syndicate Win $95M

A Texas legislative commission blames the state lottery for failing to plug a loophole that allowed a New Jersey-based lottery syndicate to walk off with a $95 million jackpot.

Texas Lottery, Rook TX, courier services, Sunset Advisory Committee, Hooked on Montana
The Texas Lottery is under fire for its “passive” reaction to courier services that create a loophole allowing the draw to be mathematically exploitable under certain conditions. (Image: CW39 Houston)

The Sunset Advisory Committee (SAC) is tasked with reviewing the performance of state agencies before recommending how they can be improved or even determining that they should be abolished. In a newly published report, the SAC reserves some harsh words for the Texas Lottery Commission (TLC) and especially its tolerance of “courier companies.”

It was thanks to the courier system that the shadowy New Jersey syndicate, known as Rook TX, was able to purchase 25.8 million tickets for a Texas Lottery draw, which guaranteed that it would win the jackpot and pretty much all of the other prizes as well.

The SAC said the TLC had become “stagnant” and “passive” in its failure to react to the loophole. This created a situation where ordinary Texans who entered that day’s draw were unaware they only had a shot at half the big prize, at best.

Lottery Becomes Exploitable

The April 22, 2023, Texas Lottery draw was one of those rare occasions when the lottery becomes mathematically exploitable, but only if you have the means to buy up all possible combinations of numbers, which just so happens to be 25.8 million.

After 93 rollovers, the jackpot had grown to $95 million. So, the syndicate realized that it would need to risk $25.8 million in $1 lottery tickets to be guaranteed a $95 million jackpot, which would be $57.8 million after state and federal taxes. Even if the syndicate was unlucky enough to share the first prize with another winner, it would still make a small profit.

A three-way split would have been a disaster, but considering the Texas lottery only sells one to two million tickets per draw, it was a very low-risk proposition – and hey, that’s why they call it gambling.

Meanwhile, the syndicate would also vacuum up 289 second prizes for matching five or six numbers, plus all the lower prizes, adding roughly another $2.5 million to the haul.

So, how was the syndicate able to buy 25.8 million tickets when the Lottery normally only sells 2 million on a good day? The answer is lottery couriers.

‘Hooked on Montana’

Lottery courier services are third-party outfits that sell tickets online through mobile apps. They fulfill orders from customers by purchasing tickets in bulk from licensed retailers. Generally, the courier service handles the process of collecting and distributing winnings to their customers.

After the draw, it was announced the winning ticket was sold by an outlet called Lottery Now, based in a shopping mall in Colleyville. But when reporters arrived, they found a business called “Hooked on Montana,” which organized fishing trips for tourists to the Big Sky State.

Nevertheless, Hooked on Montana was licensed to sell lottery tickets. Its owner, Richard Wheeler, told USA Today he had started doing some lottery couriering as a spin-off from his main business. He sold more than 11 million lottery tickets to Rook TX.

Currently, only two states, New York and New Jersey, have legalized and licensed courier businesses, but they are tolerated in many other states – too much so in Texas for the SAC’s liking.

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Vermont Responsible Gaming Program Debuts, as Thousands Struggle With Betting Issues

The Vermont Department of Mental Health last week launched its website dedicated to helping those afflicted with gambling disorders and addictions.

Vermont responsible gaming sports betting
Roommates at the University of Vermont in Burlington watch the Boston Celtics while betting on their smartphones and computers. Vermont recently launched a responsible gaming website, as the expansion of online sportsbooks in the state has reportedly increased problem gambling. (Image: Vermont Public Radio)

Gambling in the Green Mountain State remains relatively limited, as there are no commercial or tribal casinos, pari-mutuel wagering, or iGaming. However, Vermont does have a lottery, and in January, online sports betting began with three operators — DraftKings, FanDuel, and Fanatics.

Online sports wagering officially began on Jan. 11. While Vermont’s 2023 sports betting bill allowed for up to six operators, only the three mentioned applied in the state that’s home to less than 700K people, ranking it the second-least most populated state in front of only Wyoming.

Vermont’s sports betting industry is regulated by the Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery.

Problem Gaming Resource 

The Vermont Department of Mental Health has published a webpage titled, “Problem Gambling Resources.” The website offers a gambling helpline — 1-800-522-4700 (1-800-GAMBER) — that provides immediate, around-the-clock support and referrals for in-state therapy.

The website additionally educates consumers about the warning signs of gambling problems and links to support communities like GamTalk, a 24/7 moderated online peer support forum where people who have battled gambling addictions come together.

Vermont’s Mental Health Department said the expansion of gaming has resulted in an uptick in gambling disorders among state residents. The agency estimates 11,600 people are struggling with gambling addiction, whether they know it or not.

We knew that when online sports betting went live that we would have a rise in individuals who were at least at risk for problem gambling or gambling addiction,” said Dr. Kelley Klein, the medical director of the state Mental Health Department.

Klein believes the state’s toll-free problem gambling helpline and online support communities will greatly help those seeking relief.

Online sports betting is on our phones, so if somebody is very linked to that and feels comfortable just chatting with someone, this provides that outlet to them,” Klein continued. “They can even just say, ‘I don’t know if I have a problem but I’m starting to notice some things. Can you walk me through it?’”

Vermont’s Department of Mental Health is offering free training sessions for the public to better understand gambling addiction signs and how to help combat it, whether it be self-exclusion or assisting a family member or friend to seek treatment.

Self-Exclusion Options 

Vermont is offering problem sports bettors or those who might think they’d be prone to participating more than they should to self-exclude themselves from the state’s three licensed online sportsbook operators. The state’s responsible gaming website allows state residents to prohibit themselves from accessing any state-regulated sportsbook for one year, three years, five years, or life.

A self-excluded person can only apply to have their sports betting privileges restored upon the completion of their originally intended excluded period. Self-exclusion is considered by many responsible gaming experts to be among the most effective responsible gaming strategies.  

Since sports betting began in January, Vermont’s three online sportsbooks through May have collectively won a little more than $10 million from bettors.

The Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery’s May sports wagering summary said 27,714 bettors made 554,263 bets totaling a little more than $12.6 million. That equates to an average bet of $22.75.

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Iowa Gaming Regulators Order Market Study Regarding Cedar Rapids Casino

Iowa gaming regulators announced Monday that they want a market study on how a casino resort in Cedar Rapids would impact the state’s commercial gaming industry.

Iowa casino bidding Cedar Rapids
An aerial view of the roughly 25-acre plot of land owned by the City of Cedar Rapids. The parcel has been entered into a right-to-purchase agreement with an investment group that wants to build a casino there. (Image: Google Maps)

During the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission’s (IRGC) Monday meeting at the Prairie Meadows Casino and Hotel in Altoona, commissioners passed a motion to conduct a review of allowing a casino in Linn County. The IRGC will soon issue a request for proposals for the market study report.

In the interim, the IRGC will hold a virtual meeting this Friday to unveil a rough timeline for when the gaming regulator might accept applications for a casino in Linn County.

Moratorium Ends, Development Group Ready

In 2022, the Iowa Legislature passed a bill that prohibited the IRGC from issuing new casino licenses for two years. The moratorium came after Iowa’s current 19 state-licensed casinos campaigned for a stoppage on additional competition as new casinos opened in neighboring Nebraska.

House lawmakers earlier this year voted to extend the casino moratorium by five years through June 2029, but the plan didn’t pass in the Senate. That was a major win for the Cedar Rapids Development Group (CRDG), a consortium of mostly local businesspeople who have sought a casino license for Cedar Rapids for more than a decade.

CRDG is partnered with Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E) for a project called Cedar Crossing. The development is targeting 25 acres of land currently owned by the city just north of Interstate 380, west of the Cedar River between F and I avenues and 1st and 5th streets.

CRDG has a right-to-purchase agreement with the city for the land should it gain a casino license from the state. The development group last year paid the city $165K for first dibs on the property. The selling price will be based on an independent assessment.

P2E President Jonathan Swain told state commissioners this week that they’ve paid more than $800K on design plans for Cedar Crossing. A new rendering will be accompanied by the group’s forthcoming casino application.

Referendum First 

Iowa’s casinos continue to stress that the state gaming industry has reached market saturation and that another casino will further strain their operations, reduce state tax revenue, and put jobs in jeopardy. CRDG argues a casino in Iowa’s second-most populated city would only grow the state gaming industry and provide Iowans with a true Las Vegas experience closer to home.

With the casino moratorium over, the IRGC can expand the state gaming industry. The agency denied casino applications for a Cedar Rapids casino in 2014 and 2017 on cannibalization worries. However, the five IRGC members who voted against the Cedar Rapids bids in those years are no longer serving on the commission.

Iowa’s casino law requires host counties to hold countywide referendums asking local voters if they support allowing a casino in their hometown.

Linn County held successful casino referendums in 2013 and 2021. Since the county held two casino referendums within eight years with positive support, a subsequent referendum to allow the IRGC to consider casino bids isn’t needed.

Iowa’s gaming law additionally requires casino licenses to be held jointly by nonprofit organizations and their casino operating partners.  

The CRDG has formed the Linn County Gaming Association, a nonprofit, that will bid for the Cedar Rapids license in conjunction with P2E. If approved, the development group has pledged to allocate 8% of its annual gross gaming revenue to local and state charities.

Commercial casinos in Iowa must donate a minimum of 3% of their gaming revenue to charity. The state tax on gross gaming revenue varies from 5% to 22%, based on annual win.

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Death Valley Tribe Gets BIA Approval on California Casino

The Death Valley-based Timbisha Shoshone Tribe has received approval from the US Interior Department to build a casino in Inyokern, Calif. That’s two years after its effort to build one in the nearby city of Ridgecrest collapsed spectacularly.

Timbisha Shoshone, Death Valley, Inyokern casino, Ridgecrest, California casino
The Timbisha Shoshone have lived in Death Valley, which reached record temperatures yesterday, for 1,000 years. The tribe wants to build a casino 130 miles away from its reservation, but the process has not been easy. (Image: NBC)

According to a July 8 entry in the Federal Register, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs has agreed to take land earmarked for the casino into trust, a prerequisite for tribal gaming, as first reported by The Ridgecrest Daily Independent.

Inyokern is a census-designated place about eight miles west of Ridgecrest, which is a two-hour drive east of Bakersfield, Calif. The small tribe of around 300 members plans to build a 20,000-sq-ft casino with a 10,000-sq-ft gaming floor and a three-story hotel tower there. The site is 130 miles away from the tribe’s reservation in Furnace Creek, Death Valley.

Ridgecrest Opposition

The Timbisha are unable to host a casino on their existing reservation because it forms part of the Death Valley National Park and so is subject to federal restrictions. The tribe has been trying to build a casino in the Ridgecrest area for the best part of a decade.

Initially, the project was largely supported by the city council, although some councilmembers were opposed. In 2016, the city signed a municipal services agreement (MSA) with the Timbisha in support of the casino as the tribe sought approval from the BIA.

However, local opposition began to grow because of social concerns and anxieties about water resources.

In late 2018, council officials voted to terminate the agreement, claiming the project had become divisive to the community. It argued the MSA had expired in October 2018 because no land-sale had occurred.

The Timbisha argued that the city was still legally bound to sell the plot under the terms of the MSA and threatened to sue.

Lawsuits Fly

Meanwhile, the tribe also claimed the BIA was deliberately delaying approval on the project. In May 2019, it sued the bureau asserting “undue political influence.”

Eventually, the tribe received a letter from the BIA showing the project had in fact been approved on September 27, 2018, shortly before the city council claimed the MSA had expired. The tribe claimed someone linked to the BIA was buying the council time to back out by suppressing the approval letter.

In 2020, the council settled with the tribe and its developer, Global Investment Enterprise Ridgecrest (GIER). The city agreed to sell the land to GIER for $5.5 million in return for the cessation of all litigation.

But then the pandemic struck, and unfortunately for the tribe, financing for casino projects dried up. The revived land-sale agreement expired in February 2022.

Conspiracy or not, the BIA’s approval of the new location is a major step forward for the tribe’s plan to move the project eight miles west.

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New Hampshire Embattled Casino May Have Found a Buyer

A Las Vegas company is among the several entities interested in acquiring the controversial Concord Casino. State officials have ordered the owners to sell the New Hampshire gaming property.

Andy Sanborn
Andy Sanborn, pictured above. He’s in the process of finding a buyer for Concord Casino in New Hampshire. (Image: WMUR)

One of the five interested buyers is Full House Resorts Inc., based in Las Vegas. It owns seven gaming properties which are in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, and Nevada. Among its casinos is Stockman’s Casino located in Fallon, Nev.

Representatives from Full House Resorts met with New Hampshire Lottery Commission (NHLC) members last month.

But the NHLC remains skeptical a potential purchaser is close to closing the deal, according to the Concord Monitor news outlet.

There is simply no evidence that either party intends to close the deal,” Jessica King, New Hampshire senior assistant attorney general, was quoted by the Monitor.

“The respondent is hedging its bets and keeping all options open to any potential deal that may come its way.”

Yet, it was revealed that “there was potentially a $30 million deal on the table” as outlined by one of the buyers, according to Mark Dell’Orfano, another New Hampshire senior assistant attorney general, the Monitor reported.

Four of the possible buyers actually submitted bids for the gaming property, the Monitor said.

Debate Over ‘Pending Sale’

A key legal issue before officials is whether a sale is actually pending.

Last month, Gregory Albert, who has taken over as hearing officer on the case, said a pending sale “requires evidence of a clear intent from both seller and buyer to close the transaction,” the Monitor revealed.

So far, Andy and Laurie Sanborn, current owners of the casino, were given an extension until July 18 to sell the business. Previously, they were supposed to sell the casino by June 27.

If they miss the deadline, the casino license is likely to be revoked.

Also, the entity that owns Concord Casino, Win Win Win LLC, has yet to prove a completed sale could be finalized within the required three months, according to Dell’Orfano.

In December, state officials ordered the Sanborns to sell the operation following fraud allegations. The casino must not be reopened for at least six months under a new owner.

If  Andy Sanborn fails to sell the gaming property, he will lose his license for two years, according to the New Hampshire Bulletin.

If a new buyer is named, the person or entity must be approved by the NHLC before the sale is made final.

Alleged Misuse of COVID Loan

Andy Sanborn, a former state senator, and his wife, state Rep. Laurie Sanborn, R., allegedly improperly applied for and misspent money from a federal COVID relief loan.

They allegedly used some of the $844K loan on a Ferrari and two Porsche race cars that were earmarked for personal use. Other funds were spent on what was described as rent.

The Sanborns failed to say in the loan application they owned a casino. Casinos were not eligible for COVID relief loans.

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GambleAware Survey Finds Robust Public Support for Firmer Advertising Rules

New research commissioned by GambleAware, the UK’s leading nonprofit committed to educating the public on gambling harms and tailoring prevention and treatment programs, finds there’s robust public support for stricter regulations for gambling advertisements.

UK gambling advertisements GambleAware
Betting sponsors are seen on the front of Everton’s and West Ham’s jerseys during a 2022 Premier League match. Though gambling ads are going away on Premier League jersey fronts, GambleAware says the UK government should do more to restrict the prevalence of gambling ads in sports. (Image: Shutterstock)

Market research firm Ipsos found that 67% of the public thinks there are too many gambling adverts in the media, and 66% say they’re concerned about how gambling ads impact children.

Millions of people across the country have been coming together this summer, excited to watch the Euros. However, our research shows that most of them feel there is too much gambling advertising in the media and around football,” said Zoë Osmond, chief executive at GambleAware. “Exposure to gambling advertising normalizes gambling, and makes it seem like just ‘harmless fun’ without showing the risks of gambling addiction and harm.”

The GambleAware survey aligns with recent research conducted by The Football Supporters’ Association that found that more than seven in 10 football fans are concerned about the amount of gambling marketing they see in and around the game.

Action Points 

The UK ushered in its next government yesterday with a landslide victory for Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party, who became prime minister today. Labour candidates assumed 412 of Parliament’s 650 seats and returned the party to control for the first time since Tony Blair ran things around the turn of the century.

Osmond is calling on the new government to implement narrower gambling advertising regulations.

The GambleAware report recommends that gambling marketing at sporting events be prohibited, including gambling sponsorships on footballer jerseys. The study also suggests that the government ban all gambling advertising on television, streaming services, and radio during sports programming.

GambleAware also thinks gambling marketing materials should be required to come with health warnings similar to tobacco and alcohol products.

Our survey data shows a large majority of fans are concerned about the prevalence of gambling advertising around football, whether that’s shirt sponsors, pitch side hoardings, or on TV coverage,” said David Rose, deputy chief executive of The Footballer Supporters’ Association. “Our partnership with GambleAware helps us to highlight those concerns, and allows us to show supporters where they can get help if they feel like their gambling has become a problem.”

The Premier League last year announced clubs would no longer be allowed to offer sponsorships to gambling companies for the front of players’ jerseys. The rule becomes effective for the 2026-27 season, though many clubs have already done away with gambling ads on jersey fronts.

Industry Pushback?

GambleAware is primarily funded by the industry it seeks to restrict how it advertises. As Casino.org reported in May, GambleAware received £46.5 million (US$59 million) from operators in the 2022-23 financial year.

GambleAware has been criticized for being too close to the industry due to its reliance on the operators to keep its nonprofit afloat. Proposing that the new UK government pass stricter laws to limit how the gambling industry attracts and retains customers could face pushback from the industry.

Along with GambleAware, the former UK government faced criticism from the public after it dropped legislation to strengthen advertising rules around gambling. Lawmakers at the time said there was “little evidence” that such advertising was causing public harm.  

Dr. Matt Gaskell, who runs the NHS Northern Gambling Service, which provides specialized therapy for gambling addicts, said the government simply folded to the gaming interests.

There is clear evidence that gambling advertising drives consumption, which increases harm,” Dr. Gaskell said. “This is well known internationally, and as a result, many European countries have taken action to protect their communities with stringent advertising curbs.”

“Our children, young people, and those experiencing harm or in recovery continue to be exposed to ubiquitous gambling advertising, and the government has chosen to expose them to harm,” Dr. Gaskell added.

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Rivers Casino Portsmouth Surveillance Shortcomings Result in $545K Fine

Rivers Casino Portsmouth in Virginia has agreed to a $545,000 fine to settle several regulatory violations.

Rivers Casino Portsmouth Virginia Lottery
Rivers Casino Portsmouth has been hit with two more fines for regulatory violations. The casino paid $545,000 to the Virginia Lottery after failing to deny access to underage and self-excluded individuals and failing to properly monitor its table games. (Image: WAVY)

Investigative and compliance officials with the Virginia Lottery, which regulates commercial gaming in the commonwealth, recently negotiated a settlement with the casino owned and operated by Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming to resolve a slew of regulatory failures.

In September, it was discovered that underage people in August had been granted access to the 24/7 casino floor that has more than 1,400 slot machines, 24 live dealer table games, a poker room, and a BetRivers Sportsbook. Lottery reps agreed to accept a $40,000 fine to settle the lawbreaking and avoid the matter moving to a formal hearing before the lottery board.

Rivers Portsmouth’s compliance mishaps, however, didn’t end there. The lottery’s investigative bureau in May said additional underage people, as well as those on the state’s voluntary exclusion list, were allowed to enter the casino.

The probe additionally concluded that the Rivers Casino Portsmouth surveillance team lacked adequate controls to supervise the casino properly. Investigators found that table game revenue wasn’t accurately accounted and minimum standards to monitor entry access points were not up to par.

Penalties Pile Up

After paying the $40,000 fine in September, the Virginia Lottery hit Rivers Casino Portsmouth with a $505,000 penalty for the additional regulatory failures. Rivers was fined $275,000 in May 2023 for cases that also involved underage people accessing the casino and a self-excluded person being granted entry.

We take these matters very seriously and respect the decision of the Virginia Lottery,” said Rivers Casino Portsmouth General Manager Roy Corby.

Since May 2023, Rivers Portsmouth has paid $820,000 in fines to the lottery. Under Virginia’s Casino Gaming Law, casino money from regulatory fines is directed to the commonwealth’s General Fund.

In January 2023, Rivers became the first permanent casino to open in Virginia. In its first full year in operation, the casino generated gross gaming revenue (GGR) of approximately $250 million — or more than $20 million a month.

Portsmouth receives 6% of the monthly GGR, or about $15.5 million for the casino’s first 12 months. The casino outpaced preopening revenue projections despite early criticism from some players who found the strong presence of tobacco smoke to be a turn off.

In response, Rivers modified its casino to allow smoking on half of the floor in designated areas. Rush officials said other changes in year one included the modifying of alcohol service and the establishment of a Portsmouth Police substation at the casino.

Regional Attraction 

Rush Street Gaming officials say Rivers Casino Portsmouth isn’t only relying on locals but attracting regional visitors. The company said of the two million visitors who patronized the casino last year, about 36% were nonlocals, and many came from out of state.

Corby said the casino has welcomed visitors “from all 50 states as well as countries around the world.”

Rivers Portsmouth does not have an on-site hotel, meaning most of its nonlocal guests are day visitors who continue to their final destination. Rush has floated the idea of adding a hotel but isn’t expected to act until the Norfolk casino development is finalized.

Rush’s development agreement with Portsmouth requires the casino to eventually build a hotel, but that condition becomes annulled if the Norfolk casino resort comes to fruition.

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Gulfside Casino Partnership Sue Arkansas Officials Over Pope County License

Gulfside Casino Partnership alleges in a lawsuit filed in Arkansas’ Pulaski County Circuit Court that state officials colluded with a rival bidder regarding a gaming license earmarked for Pope County.

Gulfside Casino Partnership Arkansas Pope County
Members of the Arkansas Racing Commission and Cherokee Nation Entertainment talk after the Pope County casino license was awarded to the company. A lawsuit from rival bidder Gulfside Casino Partnership challenges whether the issuance was just. (Image: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

Mississippi-based Gulfside is controlled by riverboat pioneers Terry Green and Rick Carter. The businessmen own the Island View Casino in Gulfport.

Gulfside alleges in its complaint that Pope County Judge Ben Cross and the Pope County Quorum Court used coercive tactics to handpick the winner of the Pope County casino license. The 2018 ballot referendum statewide voters approved that authorized a single casino license in Pope County came with the requirement that applicants obtain a letter of support from the county judge or a resolution of support from the county quorum court to qualify for consideration before the Arkansas Racing Commission (ARC).

The lawsuit claims that Cross and a majority of the Pope Quorum Court conspired to disqualify Gulfside’s $405 million pitch called River Valley Casino Resort in Russellville to resolve the years-long legal dispute regarding the license.

Lawsuit Claims

Cross and the Pope Quorum Court by a 7-5 vote backed a competing casino bid from Cherokee Nation Entertainment, a subsidiary of Cherokee Nation Businesses (CNB), the commercial arm of the Cherokee Nation tribe in Oklahoma. The Cherokees proposed a $300 million casino called Legends Resort & Casino, also in Russellville.

Gulfside was initially deemed the winner for the Pope County casino concession in 2019 based on ARC commissioners’ grading of each bid. ARC later determined that one of its commissioners had a bias in grading the Gulfside plan a perfect 100/100 while only giving 29 points to the Cherokee proposal.

A Cherokee appeal reached the Arkansas Supreme Court, which ruled that Gulfside was not a qualified bidder because its letter of support came from a former county judge — not the current sitting county judge. ARC then gave the license to Legends, but Gulfside successfully appealed on grounds that the Cherokees also violated bidding rules by applying as a consortium and not as a single applicant.

The license was again returned to ARC and another bidding round ensued. Gulfside wrote in its complaint that Cross and the county quorum court conspired to make sure only the Cherokee plan could move forward. Gulfside attorneys say Cross and the quorum court developed an “Economic Development Agreement” with the Cherokees that assured the company with the support of the judge and court in exchange for a $38.88 million “economic development fee” that is to go to Pope County’s “related governmental entities.”  

Judge Cross and the Quorum Court have used their power to issue a letter of support as a way to thwart the Racing Commission’s ultimate authority to select and award the casino gaming license,” the lawsuit declared.

The filing explained that the constitutional amendment voters passed did not limit county judges or county quorum courts from issuing more than one letter or resolution of support.

“The wording of the Amendment and the rules subsequently adopted by the Racing Commission recognizes that there would be multiple casino applicants each with a letter of support,” the lawsuit added.

Declaratory Judgment

Gulfside says it offered the better casino plan for Pope County and a richer economic development fee of $65 million. Compared with the Cherokees’ Legends project, Gulfside’s River Valley proposed 20,000 square feet of more gaming space, 300 more slot machines, 18 more table games, and 100 more hotel rooms.

Despite Gulfside’s proposal being superior in every aspect, because of the CNB EDA’s exclusivity requirement, the Quorum Court and County Judge refused to issue a resolution of support or letter of support to Gulfside,” the complaint continued.

The lawsuit asks the court to void the CNB EDA on grounds that it goes against public policy and to annul Cross’ letter of support and the quorum court’s resolution for the Cherokee bid. The lawsuit additionally asks the court to rescind ARC’s declaration that the Pope County casino license be awarded to Cherokee Nation Entertainment.

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Nevada In-Person Requirement Hampering Sports Betting Revenue

When the Supreme Court handed down its ruling on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, it was widely known that Nevada would lose its monopoly on regulated sports wagering in the US.

Circa Survivor
Circa Sportsbook in downtown Las Vegas. Experts say Nevada’s in-person registration requirement for sports betting accounts is harming revenue. (Image: Las Vegas Weekly)

What wasn’t known to industry observers at that time was the extent to which draconian regulations would relegate Nevada to being a regional player while hindering the state’s ability to generate more tax revenue from the sports betting boom. But that’s exactly what’s happening. Nevada’s sports betting industry is being hindered by the state’s in-person registration requirement.

That means residents must physically enter a casino to fill out paperwork to open a mobile sports betting account, and that process must be repeated for each account they want. In a hypothetical scenario, a bettor wanting access to BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, and Circa Sports would need to go to three casinos to sign up for those apps.

On its face, this seems like a minor annoyance for potential consumers, but that minor annoyance actually has a tangible impact on the local market,” wrote Michael Schaus, founder of Schaus Creative LLC, in an op-ed for The Nevada Independent.

He’s right. April was the first time since online sports betting went live in Arizona that sportsbook operators in that state booked more bets than their counterparts in Nevada, and the gap was wide at $87 million. Last year, Nevada sportsbooks booked about $1.7 billion more in bets than equivalent operations in Arizona, but Arizona books took in nearly $77 million more in revenue, highlighting the advantages of mobile registration.

Nevada Regs Create Disadvantages

Nevada’s in-person registration requirement for mobile sports betting accounts has been decried by the industry and it has noticeable drawbacks.

For example, Las Vegas locals are often loathe to go to the Strip, but that’s exactly where they have to go to sign up for BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, or SuperBook accounts, among others. For locals who don’t want to go to the Strip or downtown, their sports wagering app options are essentially confined to offerings from Boyd Gaming and Red Rock Resorts.

Until Nevada scraps the in-person registration requirement, it’s likely the gap between it and Arizona will grow, with the latter potentially reaching annual revenue advantages of $100 million to $200 million over the Silver State, according to some experts. That’s to say, Arizona is operating in the 21st century and Nevada regulations are costing the state money.

“And while that might be frustrating for consumers, and a bit puzzling for tourists, it also means Nevada operators and state coffers are missing out on their share of the online gaming gold rush taking place in markets all around us,” added Schaus.

Nevada In-Person Regs Keeping Big Players Out

Nevada’s in-person registration requirement has also kept the two largest online sportsbook operators, FanDuel and DraftKings, out of the state. Speculation as to when that could change is long-running, and those companies have options, including potentially buying land-based casinos.

Still, some professional sports bettors in the Las Vegas area will make the trek to the Arizona border to access DraftKings and FanDuel because those apps offer larger betting menus than Sin City-based sportsbooks, indicating that Southern Nevada sportsbooks don’t have geographic moats.

Nevada retains some geographic advantages because the other states that border it — California, Idaho, and Utah — don’t allow sports betting, while Oregon is home to a DraftKings monopoly and is close to just a small percentage of Nevada’s total population.

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Singapore Casinos Get New Cash Rules to Fight Dirty Money, Terrorism

Singapore is to lower the reporting threshold on casino cash transactions as part of new measures to combat terrorism financing and money laundering, the island nation’s Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) said Monday.

Singapore, money laundering, terrorism, Resorts World Sentosa, Marina Bay Sands, FAFT
Resorts World Sentosa, above, was fined $1.7 million last year for failing to do its due diligence on cash transactions of S$5K. Later this year, the threshold will drop to S$4K. (Image: Straits Times)

Due diligence checks will be conducted on cash deposits of S$4K (US$3K), down from the current S$5K threshold (US$3.6K), and significantly lower than in the US casinos where transactions of US$10K or more will trigger a currency transaction report (CTR).

Singapore is home to two casino complexes, both sprawling integrated resorts — the Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa. Together, they form Asia’s second-biggest gaming market after Macau.

In December 2023, the GRA fined Genting’s Resorts World Sentosa S$2.25 million (US$1.7 million) for failing to perform due diligence on cash transactions above the $5K threshold. It was the biggest fine the regulator had ever imposed on an operator.

Terror Threat

The new rules will bring Singapore in line with FATF (Financial Action Task Force) standards. FATF is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to combatting money laundering globally.

The GRA said the changes would be implemented this year without revealing a precise date. They were among several new strategies against money laundering laid out in Singapore’s updated National Strategy for Countering the Financing of Terrorism, published Monday.

The report noted that Singapore’s status as an open international financial, business, and transport hub makes it a target for money laundering and terrorist financing. It identified key terrorism financing threats as Jihadist groups, such as ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Jemaah Islamiah, as well as self-radicalized individuals sympathetic to their cause. Far-right extremism was also a growing security concern, it stated.

$2.2B in Dirty Money

Actual terrorist attacks on Singapore soil are extremely rare. In 2021, a 21-year-old national serviceman in the Singapore Armed Forces, Amirull bin Ali, planned to attack worshipers at a local synagogue after becoming radicalized online, but the plot was foiled by authorities.

In the same year, a plot by a far-right extremist to attack a mosque in the city was also disrupted.

However, Singaporeans were recently shocked by the scale of a money laundering operation that involved a network of Chinese nationals moving at least US$2.2 billion through the country’s banking system.

The network was able to hold the proceeds of overseas scams and illegal online gambling in Singapore bank accounts before converting it into high-end real estate, cars, and jewelry. The case has sparked reviews of banking regulations in the financial hub.

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