NEW YORK, March 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Online gambling and sports betting continues to gain traction as more states are altering their rules and becoming more favorable towards such services. For example, according to a report by Hartford Courant, a rewrite of gambling law in Connecticut, agreed to by Gov. Ned Lamont and the two tribal casinos, passed its first test in the General Assembly on Wednesday with committee approval of sports betting, online wagers and a casino in Bridgeport. The more friendly attitude towards such services can be explained by their high demand and potential for tax revenue. For instance, online gambling and online sports betting brought in USD 42.7 Million in gross receipts during the first 10 days of legal play in Michigan, state regulators recently announced. Bragg Gaming Group Inc. (OTC: BRGGF) (TSX-V: BRAG), Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited (NASDAQ: MLCO), Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS), MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM), Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ: PENN)
Last year was crucial for the development of the legal infrastructure for sports betting. Three states had measures on the ballot to legalize sports betting: Maryland, Louisiana and South Dakota. All voted yes. And before the election, Tennessee sports betting became effective. Additionally, the law stipulates that 80% of the tax revenue raised from sports betting in Tennessee will go to help fund education; 15% will be allotted for local government infrastructure projects, and 5% will go towards improving mental health in the state, according to a report by the Martinsville Bulletin.
Bragg Gaming Group Inc. (OTCQX: BRGGF) (TSX-V: BRAG) announced yesterday that, "Founder and interim CEO Adam Arviv has appointed Richard Carter to the role of CEO of Bragg Gaming, effective May 1, 2021.
Mr. Arviv is a Founder of Bragg and remains among the largest shareholders in the Company. In early 2020, disappointed with the negative effects of continued underperformance and missteps on the share price of the Company, Mr. Arviv elected to take on an activist role in the Company and petitioned the Board to place him in the role of CEO in September 2020. At this time, the company was trading at approximately C$.30, with a market cap of C$19.5M and carrying $50M of debt.
Mr. Arviv strategically recruited prominent gaming industry executive Richard Carter as Board Chair. Mr. Arviv led the negotiations and settlement of the ORYX earn-out and guided the team in the raise of C$58M, including forcing the conversion of all warrants. Now boasting a strong balance sheet with recurring positive cash flow and no debt, Bragg graduated recently from the TSX Venture Exchange to the Toronto Stock Exchange.
'We've made significant progress in our strategic goals over the past months, and Richard is the ideal person to advance our plans - expanding our current market overseas and aggressively moving into the U.S. market,' said Mr. Arviv. 'Richard is a recognized authority in the online sports and casino betting industry, with a proven record helping launch SBTech in the U.S. market, before the successful sale of the company to DraftKings. We're working together to make the necessary adjustments as we transform Bragg into a major player.'
'I'm excited to lead Bragg on our mission to become a significant force in the B2B gaming space,' Mr. Carter responded. '2020 has been a very successful year for the Company and we are well positioned to maintain this momentum into 2021 and beyond. We will continue to grow and broaden the business in our core European markets, while at the same time starting to accelerate our investment and focus on the fast-growing North American iGaming market. Now is the right time to break into this market, and we look forward to building our cutting-edge technology, data insights and exclusive casino gaming content to the market.'
Previous to joining the Board of Bragg, Richard Carter held the role of CEO of interactive sports betting solutions and services provider SB Tech for the past five years, until the company's merger with digital sports entertainment and gaming company DraftKings through a three-way deal with Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp in April 2020. The transaction was valued at US $3.3 billion, and the combined entity has a current market cap of US $27.5 billion.
'On behalf of Richard and the other members of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank Adam for his continued commitment to Bragg,' said Bragg Board Member Paul Godfrey. 'As the founder and largest strategic investor in the Company, Adam stepped into the CEO role and led the transformation of Bragg to date. He's now handing over a company perfectly positioned to win under Richard Carter's leadership. Adam will continue on in his capacity as chief advisor to the board and CEO.'"
Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited (NASDAQ: MLCO) is a developer, owner and operator of casino gaming and entertainment casino resort facilities in Asia. In recent years the company has partnered with digital entertainment platform Garena to host the 2018 League of Legends Master Series (LMS) Spring Final at Studio City Macau. Realizing Melco's mission to shape the future of entertainment, the LMS tournament was held in Macau yesterday for the first time as one of the enclave's largest eSports events before an audience of 2,000. Mr. Geoff Andres, Property President of Studio City Macau at Melco Resorts & Entertainment said, "We are always looking for fresh ideas to diversify the entertainment experience offered to our guests. In recent years, we have kept a close track of the increasing demand in Asia for new and unique tech-based entertainment, where eSports is now a fast-growing and major segment. We are excited by this partnership with Garena to bring the Legends Master Series Spring Final to Macau for the first time, where the event has raised the bar for destination sporting events in Cotai. In the mid-term, we look forward to further introducing highly innovative entertainment events to our customers in Macau as well as to tourists from around the region."
Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) ventured into sports entertainment when it has announced in 2019 that five-time Major Champion Phil Mickelson and rising star Li Haotong will be the company's guests in Macao on October 21st. The visit will be highlighted by a youth clinic conducted by the two golfers. The trip will be first visit to Macao for Mickelson, the World Golf Hall of Famer. "We are excited to have Phil and Haotong in Macao and look forward to them interacting with our guests and the local community," said Rob Goldstein, the company's president and chief operating officer. "This is yet another opportunity to put a spotlight on Macao as a world-class leisure and business tourism destination. Phil Mickelson has a tremendous international following and Haotong's popularity is only going to continue to rise, especially as he plays in events like the 2019 President's Cup later this year. It will be great to have them both in Macao." This event is just one example of Las Vegas Sands role in bringing world-class sporting events and professional athletes to Macao. Sands has demonstrated its commitment to increasing access to opportunities for young people in Macao through its partnerships with ambassadors like British football icon David Beckham.
MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) announced last month a new partnership centered around an integrated sports betting and entertainment experience. The two companies will collaborate on marketing and promotional offers through the BetMGM platform at select Topgolf venues and within WGT by Topgolf, the leading online golf game which has been part of the Topgolf family since 2016. "We look forward to introducing Topgolf guests to the immersive sports betting experience that only BetMGM can provide," said BetMGM's Chief Revenue Officer Matt Prevost. "Topgolf is known for offering unique and interactive entertainment options, which our loyal BetMGM users can now access through a variety of exclusive and customized packages."
Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ: PENN) announced last month that the Michigan Gaming Control Board ("MGCB") has approved the Company's applications to offer online sports wagering and iCasino products in Michigan. Penn National intends to officially launch its Barstool Sportsbook mobile app on iOS and android, as well as desktop at 12:00pm EST on Friday, January 22nd, 2021 and its iCasino products will follow shortly thereafter, subject to final regulatory approvals. This follows the opening of the Company's retail Barstool Sportsbook at Greektown Casino Hotel in downtown Detroit on December 23rd, 2020. "This is an exciting time to be launching our online Barstool Sportsbook in Michigan," said Jay Snowden, President and CEO of Penn National. "We have been incredibly pleased with the success of the mobile app since launching in Pennsylvania in September. Our customers have thoroughly enjoyed engaging with Dave Portnoy, Dan 'Big Cat' Katz and other Barstool fan favorites, and we expect more of the same in Michigan. As the only gaming operator with a fully integrated sports media and entertainment partner, Penn can provide our customers the opportunity to interact with Barstool personalities online and also in-person at our new Barstool Sportsbook at Greektown."
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