PA Unregulated Skill Games Back In Focus After Kentucky Ban

Kentucky is the second state to ban unregulated skill games. PA casinos haven’t been as lucky in the fight against them at home.

In Pennsylvania, “skill games” have been a hot-button issue for years. Other states are starting to ban the unregulated machines.

Kentucky became the latest to ban them, with the support of Governor Andy Beshear. Kentucky joins Virginia as the second state to ban such devices, which critics say have harmed the legal gambling industry.

Meanwhile, PA Casinos faced a recent setback in the fight against the machines.

Kentucky bans unregulated skill games

Earlier this week, Beshear signed Kentucky HB594 into law, which officially bans unregulated skill games throughout the state.

President and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA) Bill Miller released the following statement in an email:

“This win is a testament to what we can accomplish when we unite as an industry behind a common cause—and the American Gaming Association will use it as a springboard to pursue similar success in states throughout the country.”

Miller said unregulated skill games “pose an existential threat to our industry.”

AGA says unregulated games cost PA communities

According to the AGA, Americans wagered $511 billion with unregulated machines and illegal sportsbooks and online casinos. It has costed communities more than $13 billion in tax revenue.

The AGA estimates 580,651 unregulated machines in the country. The northeast corridor of the country, which includes Pennsylvania, accounts for 122,000+ machines.

There are 870,000 regulated machines in casinos and slot routes, which means 40% of all gaming machines in the country are unlicensed.

PA casinos face setback in legal ruling

Pennsylvania regulators are still grappling with unregulated skill games in the state.

The latest ruling gave the skill game operators a win. A Pennsylvania judge ruled in favor of Pace-O-Matic (POM), a manufacturer of skill game machines, after the Commonwealth wrongfully seized skill games in 2021.

The court found the games as legal and ordered the Commonwealth to return them to POM.

POM spokesman Mike Barley, in a much different tone than Miller, released a statement after the ruling:

“This is another tremendous victory for Pennsylvania skill games, powered by Pace-O-Matic, and our Pennsylvania small business and fraternal partners.”

He continued, “We applaud the court’s decision, especially regarding the matter of protecting Pace-O-Matic’s intellectual property. The prosecutor’s behavior, in this case, has been egregious, and we are deeply concerned about the motivation to disregard, bend and violate the law and our constitutional rights in a coordinated effort to harm our company and the small businesses, clubs and veterans groups that benefit from skill game revenue and support.”

Can PA casinos and skill games legally coexist?

The ruling gives skill game operators and manufacturers in the state a leg-up in the fight. Barley sees skill games as a legitimate part of PA’s gaming landscape, and welcomes fair regulation and taxation.

Barely said, “Every time the legality of our skill games has been called into question, the legal status of our games has been upheld by the judiciary. Pace-O-Matic stands out among our competitors as the active and driving force seeking additional regulation and taxation. We remain steadfast in our commitment to working with the state General Assembly and asking for legislation providing additional regulation and increased tax money for the state.”

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Caesars Employees File Class Action Complaint Against Pennsylvania Casino

Two Harrah’s employees filed a class action complaint against Caesars, alleging the PA casino paid employees less than they were due.

Former employees of Caesars Entertainment, which operates Harrah’s Philadelphia in Chester, are suing the company.

Two PA casino employees have filed a complaint against Caesars over wages that allegedly went unpaid. The plaintiffs claim that Harrah’s time clock also penalized multiple employees’ hours.

PA casino employees sue Caesars to recover wages and damages

Christopher Cvijic and Spencer McLaughlin have filed a collective and class action complaint against Caesars Entertainment.

The two have filed the complaint in an attempt to recover unpaid wages, liquidated damages, interest and more.

Here are some of the complaints filed by Cvijic and McLaughlin:

  • Since 2019, Defendant used a time clock that penalized its casino floor employees who “clocked-out” after having worked more than eight hours. Despite having worked more than eight hours, employees would only be credited as if they worked seven hours and 45 minutes.
  • Within the past three years, this has happened to hundreds of Defendant employees at its Chester, Pennsylvania casino – including Cvijic and McLaughlin – on thousands of occasions.
  • Within the past three years, Defendant has also forced many of its employees at Harrah’s to perform work for which they were not compensated. This included performing post-shift card/dice inventories, providing post-shift assistance with jackpots and participating in mandatory off-the-clock trainings.
  • As such, Defendant employees had to perform work for which there was no accurate means of capturing their time. They were not fully compensated for their efforts.

Cvijic and McLaughlin state Caesars has violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act. Caesars allegedly also violated the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law.

Other Harrah’s Philadelphia employees entitled to wages not received

Cvijic and McLaughlin have their names on the complaint, but they are also representing a larger group of people.

The complaint is titled Filed on behalf of Plaintiffs: Christopher Cvijic, Spencer McLaughlin, & The Putative Collective/Class.

A putative class action is brought by one or more named plaintiffs on behalf of a potential group of similarly situated individuals (known as a class), who allegedly suffered a common mistreatment.

The complaint says:

“While working as a dual-rate supervisor, supervisor, and/or as a dual-rate assistant shift manager (DRASM) for Defendant, Cvijic, McLaughlin, and other similarly situated employees should have, at all times, received at least the minimum wage for all hours in which they worked.”

PA online casino will continue to update this situation further as more information comes forward.

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Pennsylvania Gambling Operators Report Strong Q4 Revenue Returns

PA online casino and sportsbook operators completed their Q4 earnings calls, showing quality revenue that can lead to profitability in 2023.

PA sportsbooks and online casinos have completed their 2022 Q4 earnings calls. Most operators had a strong Q4 and are eyeing profitability by some point in 2023.

Here’s a roundup of the top information from PA operators.

FanDuel remains the biggest player in the PA gambling industry

FanDuel has been dominating the gaming industry, especially in Pennsylvania.

It regularly maintains 40% market share in sportsbook handle in the Keystone State. According to FanDuel’s earnings presentation, the gaming company held a 50% market share across the country in sports betting and a 21% market share in online casinos in Q4.

FanDuel reached profitability in Q2 and Q4 in 2022, excluding the Maryland and Ohio launches.

Flutter CEO Peter Jackson has even higher hopes for 2023.

“We remain on track for US profitability for the full year in 2023,” Jackson said in an earnings presentation.

Flutter’s stock price has made up significant ground from July 2022 when the price sat at $45.35. Now, Flutter and its investors has worked the price up to $79.98.

Analyst predicts DraftKings’ profitability following massive 2022 growth

DraftKings had its 2022 Q4 earnings call last month and reported strong numbers.

The company posted $855 million in revenue in Q4, an 81% growth from Q4 2021. Over the full year, DraftKings’ revenue grew 73% compared to 2021.

On Feb. 17, DraftKings stock finished 15% higher than the start of the day at $20.54, after DraftKings CEO and Co-Founder Jason Robins announced that DraftKings was the No. 1 downloaded app since Super Bowl Sunday. The stock has since reduced slightly to $18.98.

Robins pointed to in-house live same-game parlay products and other iGaming features that have had success.

CFO Jason Park mentioned the app’s success in retaining customers who are less reliant on promotions.

Matt Farrell, research analyst at investment banking company Piper Sandler, wrote that there could be a path to profitability for DraftKings.

“While the top-line upside is impressive in the current environment, we believe the profitability dynamics are more impressive,” Farrell wrote. “It is very clear that the company is laser focused on reaching (and potentially exceeding) its profitability targets.”

BetMGM exceeded Q4 projections and moves toward profitability

BetMGM sees positive cash flow and profitability on the horizon.

The Las Vegas-based company reported quality earnings numbers from the January call. BetMGM recorded $1.44 billion in 2022 revenue, which was slightly ahead of projections.

CEO Bill Hornbuckle said during the call that BetMGM is “the leader in what is financially the most important segment in the nation, iGaming, and is making overall progress towards its profitability.”

According to an earnings presentation, BetMGM maintained a market share of 25-31% in the online casino space.

The company expects to be EBITDA positive in the second half of 2023. BetMGM’s stock price is $45.55, the highest it’s been since November 2021.

Rush Street Interactive displays efficient promotional programs

Rush Street Interactive (RSI), like most operators, delivered solid numbers in 2022 Q4. RSI reported revenue of $165.5 million during that time frame, an increase of 27% from 2021 Q4. RSI also reported a net loss of $31.1 million in Q4, down from 38.1 million in 2021.

Full year 2022 revenue for RSI was $592 million, up 21% year-over-year.

CEO Richard Schwartz has high hopes for 2023.

“We expect to achieve positive adjusted EBITDA for the second half of 2023 and continue to be selective as we prioritize investments in markets with higher returns,” Schwartz said in an earnings statement.

RSI has shown some efficient promotional programs in Q4 2022. RSI promotional credits accounted for 22.2% of gross revenue compared to the top four largest competitors, who combined for 33.7%.

One of RSI’s popular promotions is Squares. Prominent in NFL betting, Squares has been offered for NBA games due to the frequency of the schedule.

RSI’s BetRivers online casino PA is one of the leaders in the Keystone State in terms of revenue. BetRivers generated more than $28 million in revenue in January, which ranks third among operators.

More online casinos are expected to launch in 2023, leading to more competition. Schwartz addressed the increased competition.

“We make sure that we stay ahead by constantly innovating and developing better user experience. That’s what we can control,” Schwartz said. “We can’t control what the competitors do, we can control how well we execute and how well we innovate to create experiences and players want to stay with us and we’ve been very successful delivering that over the years. I have a lot of great ideas we’re working on that we think are going to really help us in that area.”

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Rivers Casino Philadelphia Now Hiring For New Martorano’s Prime Restaurant

Rivers Casino Philadelphia is hiring for the new Martorano’s Prime Italian steakhouse at a job event on Feb. 22.

Visitors to Rivers Casino Philadelphia will soon have a new high-end dining option.

Chef, author and South Philadelphia native Steve Martorano is opening Martorano’s Prime at the casino.

The menu is mostly set for the new Italian steakhouse. And for those in search of work, Rivers is currently looking for new employees.

Martorano’s Prime almost ready to open at Rivers Casino Philadelphia

In September, Rivers Casino announced plans to open the restaurant.

Visitors will be able to enjoy dining along the banks of the Delaware River with scenic views of the Ben Franklin Bridge.

Martorano’s is almost ready.

 “We’re close to announcing an opening date for Martorano’s Prime,” said Justin Moore, general manager of Rivers Casino Philadelphia, in a press release. “We’ve already filled many positions, and key personnel are currently training with Steve at his flagship location in Florida. Adding more cooks and servers will ensure we’re fully staffed for the grand opening.” 

Rivers Casino Philadelphia hiring on the spot

The casino is looking to hire cooks and servers for the new restaurant. Qualified candidates can receive on-the-spot job offers at the casino’s food and beverage hiring event on Wednesday, Feb. 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m

Interested candidates should visit Rivers Philadelphia’s career page before attending the event.

Compensation and benefits package includes:

  • Competitive pay rate
  • Healthcare
  • 401(k) vesting
  • Tuition reimbursement (for those who qualify)
  • Weekly paychecks
  • Free team member parking

Martorano’s Prime menu items

Martorano’s Prime describes their offerings as “elevated Italian-American cuisine.” A number of menu items are ready to go, including:

  • 16 oz. New York Prime Steak
  • Linguine and Clams
  • Bucatini Carbonara
  • Meatballs with Sunday Gravy
  • Spicy Penne Vodka
  • Veal Chop Parmesan
  • Filet Sinatra
  • Lobster Francaise

Another upscale dining option will be a welcome addition to the area and to Rivers, which is already home to solid dining options like Jack’s Bar + Grill, Geno’s Steaks and Mian.

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Live! Casino Philadelphia Announces New Vice President And GM

Cordish Gaming recently addressed several executive roles within its company and Live! Casino Philadelphia, appointing two new leaders.

A new year means new leadership at Live! Casino Philadelphia.

The PA casino announced changes to its leadership team that are effective immediately, pending Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approval.

Joe Bilhimer, who has served as Executive Vice President of PA Casinos for Cordish Gaming since 2020, has accepted the role of Chief Operating and Development Officer.

Craig Clark has been named Executive Vice President and General Manager of Live! Casino Philadelphia.

PA casino veterans take on new roles with Cordish Gaming

Both Bilhimer and Clark have a wealth of experience in the gaming industry.

Bilhimer was instrumental in leading Cordish Gaming Group’s expansion into Pennsylvania with the launch of Live! Casino Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. He will now oversee the Cordish Gaming Group’s portfolio and identify growth opportunities in other jurisdictions including Maryland.

Bilhimer has 35 years of experience in the gaming industry. He’s made stops at Eldorado Resorts, Inc. in Reno, Nevada, MTR Gaming and Premier Entertainment. Bilhimer has also held leadership positions at:

  • Foundation Gaming Group
  • Caesars Entertainment’s Grand Casino Resort in Gulfport, Mississippi
  • Casino Magic Bay in St. Louis, Missouri

Meanwhile, Clark brings more than 30 years of experience into his new role as Executive Vice President and General Manager of Live! Casino Philadelphia. Clark will oversee the day-to-day operations of the casino.

Clark has previous experience working in the Pennsylvania region, as well. He was the General Manager of Rivers Casino Pittsburgh where he won the 2014 Diamond Award from the Pittsburgh Business Times honoring top CEOs.

In addition, Clark’s career also includes leadership roles as:

  • President of Hard Rock Ottawa
  • General Manager of Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California
  • Senior Vice President and General Manager of Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York

“As the company prepares to experience exponential growth in the coming years, these appointments position us to maximize results at our existing operations, while pursuing development and management opportunities in other gaming jurisdictions,” Rob Norton, President, Cordish Gaming Group, said in a statement. “Joe and Craig are well suited to maintain the same level of excellence and customer service our guests have come to expect at Live! Casinos and Hotels.”

Events happening at Live! Casino properties in PA

The Live! properties in PA have some noteworthy events happening soon.

Banachek, a world-famous mentalist and mind reader, will perform two shows on March 11 at Live! Casino Pittsburgh. As part of a TV special in 1987, Banachek escaped from being chained, handcuffed, locked in a coffin and buried six feet underground.

Live! Casino Philadelphia is going to be busy this weekend, with the Eagles hosting the Giants in the NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Bryan Newman, General Manager of FanDuel Sportsbook at Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia, is expecting “near records for foot traffic on Saturday.”

If the Eagles keep winning, Live! Casino Philadelphia will be the place to be in late January and possibly February.

Live! Casino Philadelphia broke the state record for handle in October by recording $10.05 million thanks to the Phillies’ World Series run. It beat Rivers Pittsburgh’s mark of $10.02 million reported in December 2021.

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PA Online Casinos Spark Annual Revenue Record Over $5.2 Billion

PA online casinos set a new record for iGaming revenue last month, pushing the total gaming earnings for the calendar year past $5.2 billion.

It was another record-setting month for Pennsylvania online casinos in December.

PA online casinos reported gross revenue of $166.9 million in December, which not only set another monthly record, but it also helped the Keystone State reach $5.2 billion in gaming revenue for the 2022 calendar year.

Pennsylvania recorded just shy of $475 million in total gaming revenue for December, the highest total for any month.

December continued the upward trend for PA online casinos

Pennsylvania online casinos are continuing to grow. December marks the third straight month PA online casinos topped the US iGaming record, surpassing the previous month’s number. The previous two months were as follows:

  • October: $151.7 million
  • November: $155.9 million

Since launching in 2019, iGaming has continued to gain popularity while increasing its revenue each year. 2020 revenue was likely boosted due to temporary casino closures and other pandemic-related events that year. Here are the revenue statistics since 2019:

  • 2019: $33.6 million
  • 2020: $565.8 million
  • 2021: $1.1 billion
  • 2022: $1.4 billion

In 2022, the online casino category in PA generated the second-largest amount of revenue, after retail slot machines, which took in $2.4 billion.

With this also being the fourth year of online casinos and PA sports betting, Pennsylvania set a new record in total gaming revenue, recording $5.2 billion. That figure marks an increase of $500 million YoY. In 2021, the state reported $4.7 billion.

PA online casinos benefit from new game features and pandemic closures

There are many reasons online casinos are continuing to grow, and the growth might not stop anytime soon.

In 2022, PointsBet Casino launched in April to become the 18th online casino in PA. The plentiful options represent a mature market, but PA is expected to add several new online casinos in 2023

WynnBet is next in line after gaining PGCB approval in December. In addition, Bally’s Casino recently petitioned for Qualified Gaming Entity status. If granted, QGE status would allow it to launch without a partnership with a land-based casino.

Golden Nugget was previously granted QGE status, but is yet to be fully licensed. 

The pandemic is also another key factor in why online casinos have skyrocketed.

In 2019, the first year of online casinos, Pennsylvania only generated $33.6 million in revenue. In 2020, iGaming revenue increased to $565.8 million, a percentage increase of 1,583.9%. With retail casinos closed that year, players had no other choice but to get comfortable using online casinos.

Live dealer online games have also helped revenue surge over the years. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) credited live dealer games with approximately 50% of online table games revenue generated in Pennsylvania in the fiscal year 2021/2022. Of course that only represents six months of 2022, but still shows the impact live dealer games have had. 

In addition to PA casinos adding new features, they are constantly adding new and exciting games for players. Most sites now offer well over one hundred slot titles, plus dozens of table games.

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High 5 Games Launch On BetRivers And PlaySugarHouse PA Online Casinos

High 5 Games partnered with Rush Street Interactive to debut its games on the PlaySugarHouse and BetRivers PA online casinos.

The largest independent casino games provider has formed a new partnership. High 5 Games has entered an agreement with Rush Street Interactive (RSI) to launch its online casino games on the operator’s PlaySugarHouse and BetRivers Casino brands in Pennsylvania.

High 5 Games is also operating in New Jersey, Michigan, Connecticut and now the Pennsylvania online casino market.

RSI brings High 5 Games to PA online casinos

In addition to operating in four states, High 5 Games serves more than 150 countries, while offering more than 500 games worldwide.

High 5 Games CEO Anthony Singer doesn’t see his company stopping here.

“Over the last few years, we’ve had an excellent relationship with Rush Street Interactive,” Singer said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to solidify our partnership by directly integrating our games into their platform.”

“The direct integration gives us the power to expand into new markets faster and be wherever Rush Street Interactive is currently and in the future. We’re now fully migrated to their platform in Michigan and New Jersey, recently launched in Pennsylvania and Ontario, with more markets to come.”

RSI CEO Richard Schwartz also provided a statement:

“We’re so pleased to have extended our partnership with High 5 Games to now be live with their casino content in Pennsylvania,” he said. “We’re confident our players will thoroughly enjoy the fantastic portfolio of games this well-respected global casino tech company has to offer. We look forward to going live with them in other RSI markets.”

High 5 Games available on BetRivers Casino PA

High 5 casino games appears to be starting out slow on BetRivers online casino. Only a few games are available so far. They include:

  • Da Vinci Extreme

  • Green Machine Deluxe

  • Dangerous Beauty

  • Majestic Cats

  • Majestic Sea 2

  • Secrets of the Forest
  • Shadow Diamond Nior