As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and he writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports. More articles by DanIppolito

Casino Citys Friday Five: The Wire Act and sports wagering edition


There are changes and updates being made constantly in the gaming industry, and this week was no different. In addition to two U.S. states working on the legalization of sports betting, we have a new blackjack game being introduced and the Department of Justice announcing the reverse of an opinion regarding the Wire Act that could result in some serious reverberations for online gambling in the U.S. Lets start with sports betting: 5. Governor Bakers plan to legalize sports wagering in Massachusetts Yesterday, Governor Charlie Baker announced plans to file legislation that would permit people in Massachusetts to wager on professional sports, both in existing land-based casinos and online. The proposal would authorize the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to issue newly created sports wagering licenses to the current Category 1 resort casino licensees (MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor in Everett) as well as the Category 2 licensee (Plainridge Park Casino). Additionally, holders of newly created gaming licenses would be able to provide sports wagering online, or contract with an entity to provide the service. Online sports pool operators would need to be licensed as gaming vendors, and the agreement would need to be approved by the MGC. Expanding Massachusetts developing gaming industry to include wagering on professional sports is an opportunity for Massachusetts to invest in local aid while remaining competitive with many other states pursuing similar regulations, said Governor Baker. Our legislation puts forth a series of commonsense proposals to ensure potential licensees are thoroughly vetted and safeguards are in place to protect against problem gambling and illegal activity. We look forward to working with our colleagues in the Legislature to pass this bill into law. Gov. Baker was far from alone in beating the sports betting drum in Massachusetts on Thursday. Senator Brendan Crighton (D-Essex) filed a separate bill that would call for both mobile and land-based sports wagering, but the two would not have to be connected. Bill SD 903 would not allow college sports to be wagered on. Meanwhile, Senator Michael Rushs (D-Suffolk-Norfolk) proposal (SD.1110) would offer royalty fees to the professional sports leagues, and sportsbooks would also be forced to purchase official betting data from the leagues. The bill would also require online companies to establish partnerships with a land-based facilities. In addition, Senator James Welch (D-Hampden) introduced SD 882, which would authorize provisions for retail land-based sports betting as well as mobile sports betting and a tax rate of 6.75% on sports betting revenue for establishments that hold a Category 1 or Category 2 license. Finally, Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Essex and Middlesex) introduced SD 908, which would create a study of 11 individuals to explore the different aspects of legal sports betting in Massachusetts. 4. Rhode Island receives mobile sports betting legislation President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio submitted legislation (2019-S 0037) in the Senate yesterday afternoon to allow mobile sports wagering through Twin River Casino and Tiverton Casino Hotel, the two Rhode Island casinos that introduced legalized sports betting back in late 2018. The legislation would enable the creation of an app consumers could use to access the sports gaming offerings at Twin River from anyplace within the parameters of the state of Rhode Island. Consumers must initially set up their accounts in person at Twin River, and thereafter could place a wager from anywhere in the state. They must be physically in Rhode Island to wager. The state of Rhode Island would continue to receive 51% of all winnings from sports wagering, among the highest rates in the country. Revenue from sports gaming supports critical state services, like road and bridge repairs, education and human services. This revenue offsets reliance on taxes for state needs, said President Ruggerio. It is estimated that 97% of sports betting takes place illegally. This is an opportunity to give Rhode Islanders and visitors a legal avenue to participate in an activity they enjoy, while providing a very tangible benefit to our state. 3. Seminole Hard Rock Tampa launches new blackjack table On Wednesday, the new One Card Blackjack was unveiled at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa. The object of One Card Blackjack is to achieve a higher card count than the dealer without exceeding a total of 11. To play against the dealer, guests must make a bet in the designated area. The king, queen and jack count as 10, the ace counts as either 1 or 11, and all other cards count as their face value. Suits are of no significance. If the players initial card is an ace, it is considered a blackjack, which is paid even money. When both the dealers and players initial card is an ace, this constitutes a push. One Card Blackjack also features an optional Bonus Bet wager. This wager will be paid at odds of 10 to 1, if the players initial card dealt is an ace. One Card Blackjack is an exciting addition to our lineup of table games, said Paul Mollo, vice president of table games. Were confident our guests will gravitate to this new game. 2. Circa Resort and Casino to debut in 2020 Last week in Las Vegas, Developers and brothers Derek and Greg Stevens officially unveiled plans for Circa Resort & Casino, a brand-new integrated gaming resort in Downtown Las Vegas, slated to open in December 2020. "There is a lot of unmet demand for fun in Las Vegas," said Derek Stevens. "At Circa, our goal is to create a destination resort in a historic part of the city, while showing guests the time of their lives. We plan to double down on the world-class service Las Vegas has always been known for while bringing personalized experiences to a new level." Circa will boast 777 rooms and suites and a collection of amenities, including a range of restaurants, the longest outdoor bar on Fremont Street Experience, a spa and a two-level casino with state-of-the-art slot and table gaming options. Another signature element will be a multi-level, stadium-style sportsbook, equipped with the biggest screen in sportsbook history. Construction is already underway on the 1.25 million-square-foot property. 1. New US Department of Justice opinion says Wire Act applies to all online gambling Back in 2011, the U.S. Department of Justices Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion that interpreted the Wire Act of 1961 as only pertaining to online sports betting. On Monday, a new opinion from the DOJ declared that the Wire Act prohibits passing bets and wagers across state lines, as well as assisting in placing sports wagers thus applying the Act to not only sports betting, but any form of gambling crossing state lines. The states who have legalized online gambling since the 2011 decision may now have legitimate concerns if the new opinion is implemented into an enforcement action. Christopher Soriano, a partner in the gaming group in the Cherry Hill, New Jersey, office of Duane Morris LLP, gave Casino City a breakdown on the matter. From a practical perspective, if a state has solely intrastate online gaming, this is unlikely to have a major effect because if the bets or wagers dont cross state lines they dont fall under the Wire Act, Soriano said. The issue comes up in interstate online lotteries or interstate sharing or online games, which requires further analysis at this point." It is still not completely clear who is at risk because of the wording and placement of phrasing in the Wire Act, according to Soriano. This will most likely have to be interpreted and determined before any further action can be completed. The 2011 opinion led several U.S. states to introduce intrastate online lottery, but more than seven years later, that may be changing.

Casino Citys Friday Five: The Wire Act and sports wagering edition is republished from