Brick-and-Mortar Casinos Struggle To Court Millennials

casinos for millennials

There is a major crisis slowly brewing in the Nevada desert, and it looks to have implications for the rest of the United States in the years to come:

Millennials aren’t going to casinos.

In October at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, UNLV director of hospitality Robert Rippee hosted a presentation on the subject. In it, he discussed the problems that legitimate casinos face in attracting reliable repeat business from the next generation.

Rippee contends that the industry as a whole is missing the mark, with casino operators unified in their belief that – so far – they’ve been unable to profitably gain a foothold in the Millennial milieu.

“We see [Millennials] walk through our casino floor, and the stereotype is that they’re walking across the casino floor to go to the nightclub. So they’re doing a good job of building nightclubs and chaotic types of experiences that employ some of those features, but when it comes to the other elements that traditionally have defined a casino resort, it’s been problematic.”

How Can Casinos Attract Millennials?

Per the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Rippee believes that the answer to courting Millennials effectively may lie in another (more recent) Vegas mainstay: the Electric Daisy Carnival, or EDC.

The world’s largest electronic dance music (EDM) festival, the flagship EDC event has been held in Sin City every year since 2011, attracting upwards of 400,000 attendees annually.

According to Rippee, the EDC resonates with Millennials because of its focus on loud music, varied food options, social media sharing, laser light shows, and more, all contained in a venue on a gigantic scale.

Says Rippee of the EDC:

“It’s lots of different things. So what EDC tells me as a successful effort toward a younger generation is chaos. There are lots of things happening simultaneously that they make sense out of it and interpret it as experience and fun.”

As gambling hotspots continue to struggle to attract a more youthful clientele, they have to balance the needs of their current customers, as well. Nobody, for example, is turning the Bellagio gaming floor into a circus sideshow.

And while some outfits are spending a mint on market research to solve the conundrum – Caesars is building a technological testbed (in this case, an endeavor called Black Fire Innovation) to sort out potential avenues of interest – it may all be for naught.

Why Millennials Don’t Go To Casinos

There is, perhaps, a more straightforward reality to consider, and that’s that Millennials simply aren’t interested in patronizing brick-and-mortar gambling venues, whether those are in Las Vegas or anywhere else.

There are a few key reasons why Millennials and their modern connected lifestyles don’t lend themselves well to the traditional casino experience.

Firstly, Millennials live a mobile-first lifestyle. If something can’t be done conveniently on a smartphone or tablet, it will likely fall by the wayside.

Because of the Interstate Wire Act (1961), the gambling industry is already largely handcuffed in the breadth of its online service potential, with every venue’s Internet offerings geofenced to the state in which it operates.

This defies the logic of the borderless Millennial social culture, and it makes such gambling services unattractive to them.

Indeed, to date, there are only three states that offer traditional online casino gaming (though the pastime is pending in a couple of others): Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware.

In states that have legal sports betting, those without an online component are universally failing to meet revenue expectations, while those that offer online betting see more than 80 percent of their business derive from that market.

The second issue that brick-and-mortar casinos face in attracting Millennials is that – outside of “events” – these folks live in a virtual world. While this ties into the mobile-first lifestyle mentioned above, it goes further than that.

For example, the most popular casino on the planet is the Diamond Casino & Resort. Millennials patronize the Diamond Casino in droves, to the tune of millions of players per day!

But the Diamond Casino & Resort isn’t a real place – it’s part of a video game. And the money users spend, while real, doesn’t pay out in real-world currency.

How a physical casino can hope to compete with Grand Theft Auto or NBA 2K or countless other mobile apps and the overarching “loot box” culture seems to be an insoluble puzzle.

Perhaps if the Wire Act is overturned, casino brands can bring compelling, real-money virtual experiences into the home via mobile, computer, console, or VR.

That will eventually happen.

In fact, legitimate offshore casinos – unbound by the archaic and counterproductive Wire Act and other federal laws like the UIGEA – will likely lead the industry to that point.

But even that, of course, won’t solve the biggest problem of all:

Millennials just don’t have any money.

Atlanta Motor Speedway Unveils Vision For Legal Georgia Gambling

Atlanta Motor Speedway Casino Resort Concept

There are some big ideas in store for legalized Georgia casinos.

Currently, however, Georgia is one of the few states that features no form of traditional commercial gambling. It has the Georgia Lottery, but outside of that, there are no casinos, tribal casinos, racetracks, or cardrooms to speak of.

Historically, Georgia has been opposed to legal gambling, driving residents to offshore legitimate casinos accessible over the Internet. However, in the wake of 2018’s overturn of PASPA (the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992), nearly 20 states have already legalized local domestic sports betting operations.

More importantly, considering the low margins associated with sports wagering, several of these states have taken the opportunity to either legalize much more profitable homegrown casino gaming endeavors or further expand their lucrative existing casino markets.

In order for Georgia to install legal casino gaming, sports betting, and horseplaying in the state, the issue would have to be passed by both chambers of the state legislature, after which it would move to a statewide voter referendum.

Such a process, at its most efficient, would take at least another year to bear fruit before construction could even start on Georgia’s latest proposed casino venue.

And is that proposal ever a doozy!

Unveiled on Wednesday, a rendering of a planned casino resort complex shows just how big some pro-gambling hopefuls are dreaming.

Ed Clark, president of the famed Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS), has released his spectacular vision for the future of the venue, which you can see in the header above.

The AMS, which hosts a variety of NASCAR league events and drag races, was opened in July 1960, and its 1.54-mile track is considered one of the fastest on the NASCAR circuit. With seating for over 71,000 spectators, the venue remains successful and profitable.

But with the potential for Georgia gambling, Clark and his team are speeding toward a future that’s more than just racing.

Should the plan be allowed to go through, the development would offer a hotel, condominiums, timeshares, shopping malls, restaurants, a go-kart track, a concert arena, a theme park, and a waterpark.

Atlanta Motor Speedway Casino Resort Sketch

Most interestingly, the development would be in partnership with the Connecticut-based Foxwoods Resort Casino owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Nation. As a result, the gaming and entertainment bona fides of the project would be undeniable.

Indeed, it’s the Foxwoods design team that brought Clark’s new vision to life in the released renderings and conceptual work. That synergy makes sense, as Foxwoods is one of the sponsors of NASCAR events at AMS’ sister facility, the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Says Clark about the pairing with Foxwoods:

“They’ve expressed interest in doing business with us. They’re a great partner at New Hampshire, and they’ve got a resort in Connecticut that does very well.”

But despite the apparent casino focus of the proposal, that’s not the foundational commercial purpose of the development. In fact, according to Clark, the casino would merely be an ancillary attraction in a much larger family-focused experience.

“We’re talking a full destination that caters to the entire family, and not just for people to come and gamble. As a matter of fact, the casino footprint would probably be 10 percent or less of the square footage of the entire operation…We would have no interest in [the project] if it was just a casino.”

While the associated cost of the AMS project has not been itemized specifically, it is expected that the entire facility would call for a construction budget of at least $1 billion.

Statistics on direct and down-market economic impacts have not been released, though hundreds – if not thousands – of jobs would likely be created in the immediate region.

Here’s hoping the Georgia legislature and resident voters get this show on the road!

Zelle Lets Online Casino Players Purchase Bitcoin Quickly And Easily

zelle online casino funding

At most legitimate offshore gambling sites, players are given a variety of options for funding their accounts. And while credit and debit transactions remain in popular use, Bitcoin (BTC) is now the gold standard.

If there’s a problem with Bitcoin, however, it’s in the initial acquisition of the stuff. As opposed to other banking methods, Bitcoin takes a bit of setup before you can actually use it, and that setup takes time.

Most mainstream BTC buy-ins – sites like Coinbase or major exchanges that accept USD for conversion to the cryptocurrency – require customers to wait up to 10 days before they can get their hands on their Bitcoin. For Internet gambling, such a wait is far from ideal, and that wait can push online gamers away from embracing this superior monetary medium.

But there’s finally a solution: Zelle.

What Is Zelle?

Zelle is an instant-pay platform developed and owned by a consortium of the largest US banks and financial institutions. In fact, the chances are good that you already have access to Zelle through your bank or online banking app.

Al Ko, CEO of the service, breaks down Zelle’s current adoption rate:

“More than 64% of U.S. demand deposit accounts…have access to Zelle through the 480 financial institutions contracted to join the Zelle Network. We continue to see double-digit increases in new customer [gains] each month, demonstrating continued demand for Zelle from national and regional banks and credit unions.”

At heart, Zelle is a competitor in the space previously dominated by PayPal and PayPal’s Venmo service. And though the latter has more mindshare in the marketplace, Zelle transactions account for far more volume. In the last quarter alone, US customers undertook 171 million Zelle transfers for over $44 billion.

The key difference between Zelle vs. Paypal/Venmo is that Zelle is a US-only product, good for transactions exclusively between US bank account holders. PayPal is a global brand, and many non-US casino sites offer PayPal support, which has been a point of significant annoyance for US-based gamblers.

Zelle fixes that.

There is one caveat, however: You can’t use Zelle to transfer funds to your favorite casino sites directly. Instead, Zelle is a quick, easy entry point to Bitcoin, which you then use to load up your gambling account.

How To Buy Bitcoin With Zelle

Several casino sites – like Bovada and Ignition Casino, among others – offer primers on their cashier pages for how to use Zelle to fund member accounts. That said, you aren’t limited to these operators if you want to go the Zelle-to-Bitcoin route.

No matter which offshore gambling site you prefer, they all support Bitcoin as a matter of course. In effect, then, all these venues are essentially Zelle casinos – you just have to do a little legwork at the outset. Namely, that legwork involves setting up a free account at a site called LocalBitcoins.

The process is outlined in detail at the previous link, but in a nutshell, here’s how you can use Zelle to fund your online gambling hobby:

  1. Sign up at a legitimate online casino that offers BTC deposit options. (All of the most reputable sites fall into this category, so you have several good providers at your disposal.)
  2. Make sure your bank already offers Zelle support. Alternatively, you can download the official Zelle app for iPhone or Android and link it to your Visa or Mastercard account, as these companies are Zelle partners.
  3. Sign up at LocalBitcoins.com.
  4. Use Zelle to purchase BTC from any private seller on LocalBitcoins. You will receive your BTC at the crypto wallet of your choice in just a few minutes.
  5. Bitcoin in hand, simply log on to your casino site, choose the BTC deposit method, and transfer your gambling funds to the site’s provided BTC address.

That’s the entire process, start to finish. Instead of having to wait a week or two to gamble with Bitcoin, Zelle lets players buy that BTC – and transfer it to their chosen gaming sites – in under an hour.

And that means you never have to miss out on a good hand of poker, a progressive slots payout, a sure-thing pony in this afternoon’s race, or an attractive betting line on tonight’s ballgame.

What Is LocalBitcoins?

LocalBitcoins.com is the gateway that makes Zelle work for offshore gamblers. The site is a major global BTC marketplace serving more than 240 countries around the world, and it was founded in Finland in 2012. Because LocalBitcoins links private BTC buyers with private BTC sellers, you can bypass the typical red-tape rigmarole associated with purchasing cryptocurrency through FDIC-insured frontends.

Despite a lack of government licensing and regulation, however, LocalBitcoins is inherently safe to use. This is because the site employs an encrypted escrow system.

In other words, when you use Zelle to buy Bitcoin at LocalBitcoins, the site takes immediate custody of the seller’s BTC as your payment is processed. Once your Zelle payment clears, LocalBitcoins releases the agreed-upon quantity of Bitcoin into your possession, eliminating any opportunity for bait-and-switch scams on the network.

LocalBitcoins is a proven, trusted platform that has processed billions of dollars in BTC over the years, and you can feel safe using the site any time you want to purchase Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Is Even Better With Zelle

Bitcoin is the preferred way to deposit into your betting account for a number of reasons. You can get better welcome bonuses and deposit perks, for one thing. For another, your deposit will never be declined by the likes of the UIGEA, which guarantees success for every banking transaction.

The biggest benefit of going the Bitcoin route, of course, is that BTC is the only way to get same-day payouts at offshore betting and gambling sites. However, to get these same-day payouts via BTC, you have to deposit with BTC to begin with.

There’s also another thing to consider about legitimate Bitcoin casinos, and that’s that no domestic online casino site or brick-and-mortar gambling venue in the US currently supports BTC. If you want to enjoy the anonymity and security of using decentralized currency to keep your gambling activities private, Bitcoin is the answer, and it’s only supported by offshore gaming sites.

To maximize the convenience of online and mobile casino gaming, Bitcoin is the way to go.

And since Zelle makes Bitcoin more accessible for gamblers than ever, this new funding model is just one more way that the offshore providers continue to one-up domestic operators.

If you’ve been waiting for a quick, convenient way to buy into Bitcoin for your gambling needs, Zelle is the answer.

California Cardroom Scandal Proves Online Poker Is Safer?

postle poker cheat

While online casinos and poker rooms have long had a comparatively undeserved reputation for being a bastion of frauds and cheaters, one of the biggest scandals in the industry is unfolding at a major California-regulated cardroom.

Stones Gambling Hall, located in Citrus Heights, CA, is currently the setting of a major poker scandal, as a joint $30 million lawsuit has been filed by 24 players.

According to the suit, professional poker player Mike Postle was the main benefactor of the scheme, which saw the player receive information about his competitors’ hole cards during several different Stone Live Poker events.

The allegations further accuse a heretofore unnamed accomplice of Postle working in the cardroom’s employ. The task of this individual, according to the suit, was to use the livestream’s RFID card-identifying system to effectively tell Postle what cards his opponents had.

As a result, Postle was able to string together a series of improbable wins over several tournaments.

Per the lawsuit, the wins themselves have been analyzed, and they defy rational probability. The text of the suit lays out the boldness of the scheme, with analysis showing

“statistics not only unfathomable in the world of professional poker, but, too, situation decision-making in which almost every so-called guess to be made by Mr. Postle is done so in a manner that optimally benefits his monetary interest.

In short, Mr. Postle’s poker winnings – considered in the prism of both metrics and hand-for-hand decision making – on Stones Live Poker have been not merely outliers but, in fact, exponential outliers, representing a quality of play multiple degrees higher than that achieved by the best poker players in the world.”

Postle’s suspected accomplice has not been named, but according to Casino.org, those bringing the suit have a good idea of who the defendant – currently referred to as John Doe 1 – actually is.

The plaintiffs are holding off on publicly naming the suspect, “cognizantly refraining from making such an allegation…until further information can be gleaned through the discovery process.”

In addition to the case against Postle, the lawsuit is also taking a position against Stones Gambling Hall on the grounds that John Doe 1 was employed by the venue and was instrumental in the scheme.

Even more damning for the card room, the plaintiffs have accused the California venue of systematically rejecting player complaints about Postle’s potential cheating while at the same time promoting the player in question – and his ill-gotten “skills” – in various marketing materials.

Consequently, the suit alleges fraud on the part of Justin Kuraitis, the Stones Gambling Hall poker room manager, as well as gross negligence on the part of the cardroom itself.

While Postle is alleged to have earned roughly $250,000 through the scheme, the plaintiffs in the case are seeking damages of $10 million apiece from Postle, the Stones Gambling Hall, and Kuraitis.

One of the bloggers who covered (or rather, uncovered) this story is Doug Polk, who runs a YouTube channel and website dedicated to poker tips and strategies. Polk offers a compelling play-by-play breakdown of Postle’s difficulties when he wasn’t privy to all of his opponents’ hole cards.

In the grand scheme, poker cheats are not unusual. As long as there has been gambling, there has been fraud. In the early days of online poker, a few notable scandals event threatened to break the industry.

In 2007, Absolute Poker’s POTRIPPER scandal made waves, as did another scandal at a site called UltimateBet, care of disgraced poker pro Russ Hamilton. And, of course, such fraud isn’t limited to poker.

In 2004, Realtime Gaming (RTG), one of the most respected fair play software designers on the Internet, were allegedly cheated out of $1.3 million by a Caribbean 21 player using an outlawed automated playing program.

However, it’s been over a solid decade since there’s been a major scandal – or even the hint of a major scandal – at any legitimate offshore casino site, while domestic operators seem to have found no real reprieve.

While this alone won’t necessarily convince potential players that the online model is better (or sway purists who insist on the live human element when it comes to poker), it’s certainly worth considering that just because a system is online-only, that doesn’t mean it’s inherently more susceptible to fraud.

In fact, given the pace of technological development and the cottage market of watchdogs that have sprung up to police offshore sites for fair play compliance, it’s possible that – going forward – you’ll always get the fairest shake online.

Indiana Online Sports Betting Launches In Time For MLB Playoffs

indiana mobile betting draftkings

Indiana legalized sports betting on May 8, 2019, allowing the practice to take place at any of the state’s 13 riverboat casino venues. Less than four months later, on September 1, the first wagers were accepted.

Now, online sports betting is finally in play, too.

On Thursday, right in time for the heart of the NFL season and the start of the 2019 MLB playoffs, Indiana casinos were formally enabled to offer their gambling patrons betting odds over the Internet.

Though the approval for online gambling was in the text of SB 552 passed earlier this year, it’s taken several months for Indiana to set up a regulatory rubric to oversee that aspect of the industry.

Fortunately, it’s been worth the wait, as Indiana’s mobile betting situation appears to be reasonably customer friendly. While some states require bettors to be on the physical premises of a given gaming venue to participate in their mobile betting options, Indiana law allows for bettors to wager from anywhere in the state.

The typical KYC (Know Your Customer) and geo-fencing hurdles are in play in Indiana, with the latter being in line with the Interstate Wire Act of 1961.

In order to use online betting apps, Indiana customers will have to prove that they’re at least 21 years old and are physically located inside the state’s borders. Luckily, the technology for this is reasonably mature and shouldn’t be a hindrance to the rollout of the industry.

Currently, all of the established Indiana casinos are planning to offer mobile sports betting apps, but book launches will be staggered. The bigger companies, like DraftKings and Rush Street Gaming, are first in line.

Richard Schwartz, president of Rush Street Interactive, explained that the company’s primary goal is to attract Indiana-based bettors.

The vast majority of [Rush Street] marketing will be targeted to people within the state who are going to have access to begin playing with us as soon as they’re interested.

But thanks to the reach of mobile, that audience might extend to gamblers in nearby cities outside of Indiana, like Cincinnati and Chicago. Sports bettors from these areas could simply drive across the border into Indiana, use their chosen books’ apps to verify their locations, and place wagers freely.

As Indiana is the first state to offer sports wagering in the Midwest, their mobile implementation should attract this outside clientele. After all, such is the case in New Jersey, and there’s no reason the model won’t see a successful parallel in Indiana.

That said, mobile sports betting is just a small piece of the puzzle.

All of Indiana’s casinos intend to offer online sports betting eventually, but one thing they can’t offer any time soon is legal online casino gaming or poker.

Many industry analysts view these latter pastimes as the real reasons behind the rise in domestically regulated Internet-based sports wagering, as traditional gambling has a much higher margin.

By successfully offering online sports betting, Indiana hopes to convince its legislators to draft rules for and approve online casino gaming. It’s a long-haul proposition, but with Thursday’s developments, Indiana is well on its way.

Nevertheless, it could be years before Indiana and most other states offer their own legitimate online casinos. The barriers are higher, and regulators are far more wary of digital slots and table games than they are of sports betting.

As is commonplace in the context of US gambling laws, however, Indiana legislators have not addressed external competition in structuring their state statutes. For example, despite legalizing land-based and domestic online sports betting, Indiana did not simultaneously bar offshore casino gambling or sports wagering.

The logistics of doing so are possibly prohibitive, but until the state is able to keep all Indiana betting inside Indiana, local venues and online operations will continue to lose out to bigger and better options offshore.

Today, if you want to wager on sports online in the Hoosier State, you can do so with a local provider. However, if you want to enjoy any other kind of casino or cardroom action, you’ll need to see what the unregulated market has to offer.

And right now, that unregulated market is much bigger and much better.

NJ Allows NBA Betting At Golden Nugget Despite Owner’s Team Stake

golden nugget nba betting

In May 2018, New Jersey made history as the winning party in the Supreme Court case that led to the overturn of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA, 1992).

Last week, some 15 months later, New Jersey is again making history. This time, the Garden State has set a new standard on transparency that has positive implications for the entire American gambling market.

On Friday, September 13, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed A-5463 (aka S-3972) into law.

Here’s why that matters.

For more than a year, gamblers and sports bettors in New Jersey have not been allowed to wager on NBA games at the Golden Nugget Atlantic City.

Now, with the passage of A-5463, that’s finally changing.

Of course, this entire episode might sound like a curious and unfair exclusion. All the other casinos and racinos in the Garden State have had NBA betting since Day One, after all. So what’s the deal?

Well, the Golden Nugget is owned by Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta, who also owns the NBA’s Houston Rockets franchise.

As a result, even as the rest of the AC Strip, The Meadowlands, and Monmouth Park welcomed sports betting and profited immensely from the pastime, the Golden Nugget was left without professional basketball wagering thanks to that potential conflict of interest.

And though football commands the lion’s share of sports betting action in the US, a lot of money is also bet on NBA games. Overall, the league sees billions of dollars of betting handle nationwide, second only to the NFL and collegiate football. In other words, the Golden Nugget has lost out on a non-trivial amount of money.

For anyone paying attention to the legal casino industry in the United States, it’s interesting that this development took as long as it did, particularly given the scope of most professional team owners’ portfolios.

That said, perceived conflicts of interest go hand-in-hand with discussions about legitimacy, and the latter is of chief importance for casinos looking to maintain good faith with both their local governments and clientele.

In this context, it makes sense that it took New Jersey over a year to clarify the state’s stance on the Golden Nugget’s ownership status and gambling eligibility.

The new rules, per A-5463, as fairly straightforward: If a casino owner also owns at least 10 percent of a professional sports team, his or her casino may take bets on the sport in which their team is a member club. However, the casino may not take bets on games involving the specific team in question.

Thus, Golden Nugget patrons can now wager on NBA action, though they will not be allowed to bet on any Rockets games. Given that Houston is 1600 miles from Atlantic City, that shouldn’t be a big deal.

What is a big deal, however, is what the new law means going forward.

While it only affects casinos and racinos in New Jersey, states have a tendency to model their own US gambling laws on other states’ legislation, and that could have huge implications for other teams and owners going forward.

Indeed, the two highest-profile team owners in America – Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys and Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots – also have gambling interests. In fact, Jones’ hospitality company is looking to actively develop an Arkansas casino, which is doubly relevant given that Arkansas’ first legal sports bets were taken just last week.

All in all, team owners (or partial team owners) having stakes in casino enterprises isn’t uncommon. Boston Celtics partial owner Gary Loveman sits on the Caesars Entertainment Board of Directors, while the Maloof family – who previously owned the Sacramento Kings and had various casino interests – now own a part of the Vegas Golden Knights (and may pursue new casino ownership in the future).

Heck, the Mohegan Tribe owns the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA, and the team plays its home games at the Mohegan Sun casino.

If New Jersey’s A-5463 has legs and is adopted by more municipalities in the future, the Garden State may have planted yet another seed that’s here to stay.

2K Games Takes Down NBA 2K20 MyTeam Trailer With Illegitimate Casino

NBA 2K20 prize wheel

Upon initially viewing the newest trailer for NBA 2K20, it’s easy to mistake one of the world’s most popular basketball video game franchises for a new online casino.

The flashing neon lights, daily bonuses, slot machines, pachinkos, prize wheels, and unique theme—basketball in this case—are routinely part of the pomp and circumstance whenever a new legitimate online casino launches in either the U.S. or international gambling market.

Except this is a basketball game; not a casino game.

And with marketing directed at anyone who’s at least three years old and up—indicated by the PEGI 3 rating—it’s a far cry from a legit casino.

Due to the backlash on YouTube, which garnered 3K likes and 11K dislikes on the U.S. channel and a staggering 212 likes to 26K dislikes on the U.K. channel, 2K Games took down the Las Vegas-style gambling “MyTeam” trailer.

However, the damage had already been done, and YouTubers—like YongYea, who frequently covers the latest video game industry news—were quick to inform the public of 2K Games and Take-Two Interactive, the game publishers parent company, of the asinine decision made by the Triple-A video game giants to include literal gambling in a basketball game for 3-year-olds.

The trailer is now unlisted, but here is YongYea watching the video and breaking down each of the NBA 2K20’s new gambling features.

The main reason for why this is illegitimate gambling stems from the randomized number generator (RNG) mechanic commonly found more and more in video games known as the “loot box.”

Card packs—the loot box mechanic in the NBA 2K series MyTeam mode—allow players to create a fantasy-like team from collecting cards of real-life NBA players. Gamers can then compete against each other’s fantasy basketball teams in online multiplayer matches.

These cards can be earned slowly just by playing the game or more importantly, the grind can be completely skipped if you’re willing to shell out the cash.

And there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the player you want, and card drop rates for top players, like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, or Stephon Curry, have been extremely low in the past with estimates being in the 0.1% to 2% range.

Despite all legitimate and regulated brick-and-mortar and online casinos clearly displaying the odds of winning and payout rate on RNG-based gambling games, such as slot machines, the video game industry is finally requiring these companies to inform players of their chances thanks to Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.

But that’s far from the biggest issue.

The ESRB, the video game rating board in the United States, clearly states on its site that games with “gambling with real currency” should receive an Adults Only 18+ rating.

With digital currency being purchasable with real money and the game clearly featuring literal slot machines, pachinko, and prize wheels that accept digital currency, one must ask:

Why did NBA 2K20 receive an E for Everyone rating?

Some have pointed out that because you can’t “cash-out” of these loot box video games, it can’t be considered gambling.

Fair point, but doesn’t that make it worse? At least—if your age 18 to 21 depending on the jurisdiction—you can win money when gambling at a casino or sportsbook.

And with that in mind, let’s call the loot box by what it really is: Theft.

What you’re paying for is a digital good, whether it be a player card or cosmetic shoes for said player, that will be worthless when NBA 2K21 is inevitably released next year.

These items contain no value after a year, and it could be argued that they don’t contain any value right from the start because there is no payout option.

NBA 2K20 and any other game that uses loot boxes have essentially created a black hole that entices players, most of whom simply want to play a fun basketball video game, to chuck money into it in the hopes of getting a competitive advantage online.

Fortunately, there is some good news: The black hole may soon be closed.

The lawmakers at the federal level of the U.S. government are now looking into the issue, and the U.S. Senate has introduced a bill to classify loot boxes as gambling.

The big game companies will fight and attempt to lobby there way out of this mess, but with our nation’s children targeted in the marketing, it’d be hard to imagine them weaseling out of this one—especially when illegitimate casino games are on full display in a basketball game made for everyone ages 3 and up.

Connecticut Tribes Reject Governor’s Bizarre Gambling Proposal

Tribal-winds-casino

Controversy and combat remain apace in the Connecticut statehouse as the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes have rejected Gov. Ned Lamont’s bizarre gambling expansion proposal.

Per the Hartford Courant, Lamont presented the tribes with a plan that would allow them to operate sportsbooks, open a casino in Bridgeport, and take over custodianship of Hartford’s XL Center sporting arena.

In exchange, the tribes would agree to abandon their years-long $300 million East Windsor casino project.

That plan has been rejected by the tribes.

Speaking for the tribes’ MMCT joint development group, spokesman Andrew Doba briefly explained management’s thinking.

“They are not willing to walk away from the Tribal Winds Casino in East Windsor, a project where they’ve invested nearly $20 million,” said Doba.

That’s hardly surprising, since the federal government approved construction and development of the Tribal Winds project back in March.

And while community altruism might not be the biggest motivating factor here, that project in East Windsor is expected to be a positive boon for the region.

In addition to supporting 2,000 construction jobs, 2,000 on-site staffing jobs, and a further 1,000 down-market jobs, at least 650 of those would be earmarked specifically for residents of the East Windsor region.

Further, the Tribal Winds Casino is expected to generate up to $75 million in annual tax revenue for Connecticut, and East Windsor would receive $8.5 million per year from the facility. Given that East Windsor’s annual budget is $42 million, that increase is hardly trivial.

Aside from the projected economic impact for East Hartford and the legal authority to proceed there, the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes were likely uninterested in the XL Center.

Rather than the cherry on top, the inclusion of the XL Center in Lamont’s proposal was more like a poison pill.

The roughly 16,000-seat venue, built in 1975, is the home of the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. Additionally, the University of Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball teams play there part-time, as does the UConn men’s hockey team.

But the property – in dire need of major renovations – is a notorious black hole, with former state senator Joe Markley calling the whole thing a “waste of Connecticut’s money.”

In 2017, Markley wrote that the XL Center is a “dead zone” comprising “four city blocks where nothing happens all day long, every day.”

It’s not surprising that the tribes took a hard pass on resurrecting and taking responsibility for such an unpopular state boondoggle.

Rather than acquiescing to Lamont’s plan, the tribes have instead rallied behind last week’s competing legislative proposal.

Introduced by Sen. Cathy Osten (D-19), the bipartisan legislation honors the state’s tribal compacts, allowing the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot nations to build their Tribal Winds casino in East Windsor, to build more USA casinos in Bridgeport, and to operate land-based and online sports betting at all their gaming venues.

For the tribes, the choice wasn’t a difficult one.

How Provably Fair Gambling is Changing The Online Gambling Industry

betting online

Provably fair gambling is using an open-source algorithm to analyze and verify the fairness of games and random number generators. It is considered a technical solution resulting from blockchain technology that ensures fair play of online casino games.

For this to work properly, the service operator must publish their method for verifying each action in the game. Once the game has been played and the results have been posted, players can use the open-source algorithm to test the game’s response to their in-game decisions.

Provably fair casinos first appeared in 2012 alongside legitimate bitcoin casinos. The method has grown in popularity but has not become the standard worldwide due to how hard it is for regular bettors to implement and understand.

One benefit of using a provably fair system is that no outside or third party regulators are needed to audit or verify the games for fairness. Players can see for themselves which operators are offering provably fair legitimate casinos to online players around the world.

This technological development is changing minds around the world about online gambling, and more people are starting to trust online wagering games now that they can see how the random number generators work.

The most common implementation of the provably fair protocol uses three variables: a server seed, a client seed, and the nonce (increased by one each turn). Before the game begins, the client will be given an encrypted hash of the server seed from the casino. The client’s browser will generate a client seed for the casino operator.

Once the game is complete, you can use these variables to calculate the results. You will have to request a new server seed to view the previously encrypted server seed. Then you can use a provably fair calculator to determine the results according to the nonce.

As cryptocurrency gets more popular, we expect to see more online casinos offer provably fair games and calculators on their site. Gambling laws around the world generally have not imposed restrictions on crypto or offshore casinos. However, it is smart to check your local restrictions before buying cryptocurrency or betting online.

Maryland On Its Way to Passing Online Casinos and Sports Betting

Maryland Dying Casino Industry

Expanded forms of gambling are coming to Maryland via pending bills in the state legislature but is the state ready?

New enterprises in Maryland often take a long time to come to fruition. A law permitting casinos in the state has been on the book for eleven years. However, success for land-based casinos in MD come few and far between and now a new enemy threatens these physical venues – online casino gambling platforms licensed domestically, and offshore.

The geography of the state has not made getting Marylandians out of their house to one of the six casinos offered easy. The state’s population is split in two by the Chesapeake which divides the community, where the most significant share resides in the Washington-Baltimore area.

The state has long tried to raise attendance by expanding forms of gaming allowed in these legitimate casinos. At first, only electronic games like video poker and slots were permitted. In 2012, the state expanded their allowed casino gaming list to include table games like poker, roulette, and blackjack. Through examining the first seven years of Maryland’s casino operations, we can see a steady revenue stream and gaming tax revenue allocation of $1.7 billion to the state’s Education Trust Fund.

Some critics, economic experts, and lawmakers’ reason that while physical casino has not produced the same wealth of success it has in other states, online applications could remedy some of these attendance and spending issues. The idea is that online casinos licensed and regulated by the state of Maryland would reach people in rural areas too far to reach any of the six-current land-based casinos.

Nearby states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania have seen their gambling revenue increase dramatically once online gaming was legalized and introduced.

Maryland is not just betting on online casino gambling to improve its revenue and attendance. The state has also considered a bill introduced in February of 2019 which would allow the Maryland Lottery to oversee sports gambling operations.

However, the likeliness of expanded gambling coming via legislature and seeing swift implementation is zero to none as the state’s voters approved of a measure which only allowed commercial gambling expansion to go on the ballot. In that case, Marylandians looking for legal online casino gambling right now can enjoy licensed offshore online legitimate casinos.