Author Archives: joseph

MGM Online Casino Cyber Attack Blamed on Hackers

Online casinos are a great way for players to derive the whole casino experience from the comfort of their homes, and Americans are learning this at a rapid rate as more and more states legalize online casinos. With that said, the dawn of US online casinos has also presented hacking groups with opportunities to steal money and personal information. Though hacking events in the US online casino industry are far from rampant, they do happen. In fact, MGM was the recent victim of a hacking event and investigation has revealed that the people behind the recent hack are from a well-known hacking group based in the West.

Through a series of phishing attemps, a hacking group was able to infiltrate MGM servers and wreak havoc on the online casino operator. The hack was dealt with and is no longer a problem, but for MGM and online casino players alike, there is a lot more that needs to be found out.

Hacking Attempts Happening with Increased Frequency

The group behind the attack on MGM is known as Scattered Spider, and what this organization does is target employees and help desks in order to garner login credentials. Once the hacking group has credentials that get them into MGM’s private servers, they are able to see personal information of players, including banking information and personal details like social security numbers.

In response to this most recent successful attack, MGM was forced to shut down a number of internal networks so that the hackers who gained access to the networks were not able to inflict the damaged they inteded on inflicting.

While shutting down internal networks until the problem is identified and fixed seems easy and pain-free enough, the reality last weekend for both online and in-person gamblers was a nightmarish one. Slot machines did not work, online payments did not function, and even some room keys at MGM’s many hotels did not work. This meant that there were thousands of gamblers in Las Vegas this past weekend that could not gamble and, on occasion, could not even get back into their hotel rooms. Though the hacking event does not seem, at least initially, to have resulted in anyone’s personal or banking information being taken, it has cost MGM millions of dollars to deal with and rectify.

New Hacking Group Utilizing Tried and True Methods

In the realm of hacking groups, Scattered Spider is a new one. Though they have not even been active for two years, they are already making a name for themselves by way of targeting dozens, maybe even hundreds, of US and Canadian businesses. Unlike most other hacking groups that have ties to Russia, Scattered Spider seems to be a North American or European-based group. Though they are a new entrant, their methods of attack are not.

Scattered Spider works by gaining entry to the back-end of companies and then either locking parts of a network or holding personal information for ransom. Once the company pays the requested ransom, Scattered Spider will either unlock the frozen network and/or return the stolen information. This practice is a simple one, but is also one that can cost a company millions of dollars.

Hackers like this are sophisticated, so before ever launching an attack, Scattered Spider will find people who work for the intended target company, learn as much about them as possible, and use this information to trick the company into thinking the hackers are actually an employee. Unaware that the person they are dealing with is actually a hacking group, companies will help “employees” recover passwords and access to email accounts. In reality, they are simply handing over login credentials to the hacking group. Once in the network via approved credentials, the hackers get to work stealing and locking whatever it is they intend to hold for ransom. If the company does not pay the ransom, Scattered Spider will continue disrupting business.

Online casinos in the US and around the world employ robust methods in order to fight hackers, but as we see time and time again, hackers are successful in thwarting these safeguards. While the hacking event that targeted MGM has since been resolved, it is surely not the last we will hear of. As the United States continues to expand its online and in-person gambling networks, you can expect to hear more about Scattered Spider. Hacking will never go away, but it is situations like this that will help companies in their effort to stay one step ahead of phishing and ransomware attacks such as these.

NC Lawmakers to Weigh Adding More Casinos

Up and down the east coast, states are continuously expanding on their forays into the world of legalized gambling. In states like Maryland and Massachusetts this has come in the form of recently established online sportsbooks, and in states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey there seems to be new online and brick and mortar casinos coming into play every quarter. As you move further south, below Virginia for example, legalized and regulated gambling markets are more difficult to come by.

North Carolina is an interesting state when it comes to gambling because it is not entirely devoid of it, but it is also far from a gambling destination. The best illustration of this is the location of the state’s three casinos, all of which are owned and operated by Native American tribes. As it presently exists, North Carolina state law does not sanction the existence of casinos, whether online or otherwise. For this reason, the only casinos you will find are located far from major population centers like Raleigh and Charlotte, making them difficult to access for the overwhelming majority of North Carolinians. Lawmakers who are looking to secure both increased tax revenue for the state and reelection for themselves have taken note of the warming views on casino gambling and are beginning to discuss the steps needed to be taken to make North Carolina more competitive with its east coast neighbors, particularly Virginia.

Small First Steps Being Taken, Legislation Awaited

In the wake of the upcoming Labor Day holiday, North Carolina Republicans are planning to hold formal discussions about what legalizing casino gambling would look like. On its face this is exciting news, but North Carolina House Speaker, Tim Moore (R-Cleveland), was quick to temper expectations by making it clear that legalized gambling is still a long way away. Speaking to the infancy of this endeavor, Moore said, “At the end of the day, we haven’t had a definitive proposal laid on the table for caucus members to discuss, for them to weigh in one way or another. It’s all been a conceptual discussion.”

The discussion may be conceptual in its current form, but lawmakers have already begun throwing around plans that would allow for the establishment of casinos in Rockingham County (near Greensboro), Nash County (near Rocky Mount and home to a 10+ mile stretch of Interstate 95), Anson County (east of Charlotte), and on Lumbee tribal lands.

These particular counties were chosen strategically, of course. They are home to or located near large population centers and tourist thoroughfares, but also home to local lawmakers who have expressed interest in welcoming casinos. The phrase being used continuously within this discussion is “entertainment district”. The theoretical North Carolina casinos, once established, will exist within so-called entertainment districts, where there will be restaurants, shopping, and living spaces in addition to a casino location. This is not dissimilar to approaches taken by states like Maryland and is thought to have a higher likelihood for success because the plan focuses on economic development on the whole, rather than simply bringing gambling to North Carolina for the sake of doing so.

Also mentioned was bringing video lottery terminals to locations all over North Carolina. There is not much indication as to what this will look like, but the thought is something similar to Virginia, where these gaming terminals exist anywhere from bars and restaurants to gas stations and liquor stores.

More Organization Needed to Move Forward

As is so often the case, the plan for bringing casinos to North Carolina is one that looks and sounds good on paper but is much more difficult to bring to fruition in the real world. Chief amongst the challenges to expanding legalized gambling in North Carolina is the fact that it is still a divisive issue. Recent polls indicate that upwards of 55% of North Carolinians (and even higher percentages in the aforementioned counties) support expanding legalized gambling. This is a majority, but not one that can be relied upon. Especially when most citizens have expressed a desire for a referendum on gambling expansion, not a bill written behind closed doors and voted upon by only a few senators and representatives.

No matter what way you flip it, North Carolina needs more concrete steps forward before anyone can get overly excited at the prospect of more casinos being built. At its core, it is an encouraging sign that state lawmakers are entertaining the issue of expansion, but the reality is that a significant amount of work is needed before more casinos are sanctioned in North Carolina.

Atlantic City Casinos Remain Profitable but Face Uncertain Future

The second fiscal quarter of 2023 was another profitable one for Atlantic City’s nine casinos, but the near-term future is being called into question due to those profits trending in the wrong direction. Compared to the second quarter of 2022, when pent up consumer demand was in full swing, Q2 2023 profits fell by up to 20% across the board.

On its face, the waning year over year profits could seem to be a byproduct of American consumers tightening their wallets in the face of increasing prices and interest rates. When you dig a bit deeper though, there are many factors at play. Some of these are as simple as a more price-conscious consumer, but others may surprise you.

Worker Pay Pressures Profits

One of the biggest factors pressuring the bottom lines of Atlantic City’s casinos is something that has almost nothing to do with foot traffic on the casino floor. Compared to a year ago and thanks to a deal reached between casinos and casino workers, Atlantic City gambling establishments are paying their employees considerably more. Though this is an expected pressure, it has still been credited with being largely responsible for thinning profit margins.

On top of this pay increase, casinos are now employing significantly more workers than they were a year ago thanks to an increase in visitors. The management teams of AC’s top casinos may be worried about the prospect of slowing or even vanishing profits, but the silver lining to all of this is that profits can still be found in abundance everywhere. This points to thriving tourism that is still showing its face in the wake of the COVID-19 shutdown of 2020 and 2021.

A Look Into the Rest of 2023

In Atlantic City and elsewhere, 2023 has been a year of resurgence. Gambling destinations across the country are reporting substantial increases in visitorship and, by extension, profits. Up until this point we have seen a consumer that is eager to get out of the house and experience…experiences. More recently though, rising prices on everyday household goods coupled with rising borrowing rates have some concerned that the resurgence seen through the first half of 2023 may soon be a thing of the past.

It is difficult to determine the fates of individual casinos, but with each passing year the gambling industry in the United States grows stronger. Whether this comes in the form of states establishing online casino networks or the construction of new brick and mortar casinos in places like Las Vegas and Atlantic City, the US remains the world’s top gambling destination, and that is not something that is likely to change anytime soon.

A few years ago, the biggest issue was that of online casinos and where they would be legalized next. As we look forward to the rest of 2023 however, the focus seems to be much more on physical casinos than online. Chicago, Virginia, Louisiana, and many other jurisdictions are dipping their toes in or expanding the brick and mortar casino realm. The construction of new physical casinos is something that is always met with controversy, but as time passes it seems as though the general opinion on gambling is changing for the better in the United States.


Chinese Online Gambling Suspect Arrested in Thailand

Whether they have been there or not, most gamblers around the world have heard of Macao, the special region of China where gambling is not only legal, it flourishes much like in Las Vegas. While this is the case, most people are not aware that gambling–in all forms–is illegal throughout the whole of the rest of China. For this reason, many Chinese citizens turn to illegal online gambling operations in order to scratch the gambling itch.

Many different people and organizations run illegal online gambling operations in China, but few have gained the attention of Chinese authorities like She Zhijiang. Zhijiag has been wanted by Chinese authorities for the better part of the last decade due to his alleged advertisement and supplying of online gambling to Chinese citizens.

Caught by Interpol and Extradition to China

She Zhijiang is a 40 year old Chinese national who also holds a Cambodian passport. Though the details surrounding the arrest and apprehension are not immediately clear, it appears as though Zhijiang was arrested thanks to a ‘red notice’ issued by Interpol. A red notice is something that allows police from essentially any jurisdiction in the world to apprehend a subject for a variety of different criminal activities. Being sought after by Interpol is a big deal, and in most parts of the world it is only a matter of time until you are caught, especially if the Chinese government is after you.

Wang Webin, a spokesperson for for the Chinese foreign ministry, did not confirm or deny the arrest in Thailand and supposed pending extradition, but simply said, “No matter what corner of the world a criminal suspect runs to, China will initiate law enforcement cooperation with relevant countries and bring the suspect to justice.”

Massive Presence in Southeast Asian Gambling

Across southeast Asia, the subject of online gambling is looked upon different by varying governments. In addition to China, countries like Cambodia also forbid online gambling in all its forms. With that said, gambling at physical casinos is something that generally gets a pass. She Zhijiang is accused of operating various online gambling websites (both legal and illegal depending on the jurisdiction), and while this is going to be the subject of future Chinese criminal proceedings, Zhijiang does have a public connection with physical gambling.

She is the reported chairman of Yatai International Holdings Group, a company that has made millions of dollars worth of investments in Cambodia, the Philippines, and Myanmar. In fact, the gambling facility that was recently built in Myanmar is rumored to be worth more than $15 billion.

While there are still a lot of unknowns surrounding both Zhijiang and his arrest, there is little doubt that She has made a career in the gambling industry. You might be wondering why someone with the wealth Zhijiang reportedly has would take a risk offering online gambling services in China, but the answer to that comes down to one thing; money. Even though online gambling has been banned in China for virtually as long as the internet has existed, the country is so vast and so connected that it is nearly impossible for Chinese authorities to shut down every site. In much the same way that offshore sites operate in the United States and Canada, there are a plethora of gambling sites offering their services to Chinese citizens day in and day out.

Being that Zhijiang is worth millions and has a heavy presence in the Asian gambling landscape, you can bet that there will be plenty more details emerging in the coming days and weeks.

Virginia To See Expansion of Slot Machines

Rosie’s Gaming will be opening its latest slot machine parlor in the town of Dumfries in southern Prince William County. The facility will host over 100 machines and marks a continued expansion of gambling in the state.

The machines are know as historic horse racing slots. They function exactly the same as traditional slot machines with the same look and feel as those on the Vegas strip. The odds and results however, are based on the outcomes of old horse races. The terminals offer a rarely used feature which allows users to wager based on stats of the horses’ odds and previous results.

Gambling expansion in Virginia has had a tough time getting a foothold. Voters in the state have long rejected the practice. However, the Virginia State Legislature approved the use of such slot machines and since 2018, they have seen a steady rise in popularity. The slot terminals at Rosie’s are operated by the same company that is currently running slot machines at Colonial Downs racetrack located in New Kent County and a portion of those proceeds are devoted to the purses for races at Colonial Downs as a way to boost the horse racing industry in Virginia. Gamblers in the state have responded positively to the machines in places where they are active. At Colonial Downs off of Midlothian Turnpike in Richmond as well as in Winton and Hampton, patrons have helped make the HHR slots a Virginia success story. Revenues are up and in November the machines paid out total winnings of $155 million of roughly $170 million wagered.

Competition Abounds

This is an encouraging sign for Rosie’s which will face top competition from larger casinos in the area. Currently, Virginia residents can travel a short distance across the Potomac River to MGM National Harbor. Located in Maryland, it is one of the biggest casinos on the east coast. Alternatively, patrons can travel to West Virginia to place their wagers at the Hollywood Casino at the Charles Town racetrack. Both locations are a short travel distance for Northern Virginia residents and offer additional casino amenities such as table games.

Rosie’s will see increased competition in the coming months as well. The Virginia Lottery is set to approve a number of commercial licenses for online sports betting. In addition, four other Virginia cities have voted to open new casinos which are expected to launch in the next few years.

Optimistic Outlook

Management of Rosie’s is confident that they will be able to offer Virginians an enticing gambling location. Rick Casagrande is the general manger for Rosie’s Dunfries location. “In every jurisdiction, the people that come out are looking for an entertainment option that’s clean, safe, and friendly. And we provide that,” he said.

Mayor of Dunfries, Derrick Wood, and other town officials took a tour of the new facility as the final slot terminals arrived and the finishing touches were added. Wood stated that he was impressed with the effort Rosie’s is making. He is also optimistic for what the facility will do for the community. Rosie’s will be hiring over 100 local residents at $15 per hour and has made substantial commitments to assist local groups like the Boys and Girls Club.

In 2019 voters in Dunfries passed gambling 468 to 306. Mayor Wood suspects that those opposed to the expansion will remain so despite the new Rosie’s facility. “Everybody ain’t gonna like you, everybody ain’t gonna like me, and everybody ain’t gonna like every business that comes to town,” he said. However, some opponents could be won over as they start to see the improvements that Rosie’s plans to bring to the town he said. Rosie’s will be the biggest employer to establish itself in town in a few years. Conservative estimates place increases in revenue to the town at roughly 20% to start. “Dunfries has always been a place people drive through. Now we are trying to create a sense of destination,” says Wood.

Senator Scott Surovell has supported the town’s plan to bring Rosie’s Gaming to Dunfries. He stated that while he does not personally gamble, he is excited at the prospect of keeping gamblers in the state. “From where I live, I can walk a few blocks and look out over the Potomac and see $150 million in Virginia money going across the bridge. I’ve always said I’d be supportive of keeping Virginia’s money here in a responsible way.”

Native American Casinos Remain Open In California Despite Pandemic Lockdowns

Despite shutdowns in many different industries across the state, Native American casinos in Southern California are able to stay open to patrons. This past week, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indian Casino in Rancho Mirage was open and bustling with customers playing a wide variety of games and enjoying the facility’s many dining options.

Casinos Remain Open

The Morongo Casino Resort and Spa, located in Cabazon, was running several dining promotions in celebration of its 16th anniversary. In Highland, the San Manuel Casino stated on its social media platforms that it had decided to stay open and felt confidently that the decision was the right one in light of the safety protocols it had in place. The Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio went as far as to continue to host live outdoor music despite live music events being restricted throughout the country.

The decision to enact the latest round of Covid-19 related shutdowns in California have come due to the severe increase in infections and the low capacities in the state’s intensive care units. The new order, in effect for a three-week period, will cover most of the lower half of California. Californians are prohibited from any gatherings. Grocery stores in the state will be reduced to a 35% capacity. Restaurants and bars are forced to shutter their doors. In addition, churches will be forced to conduct their services outside.

However, as sovereign nations, Native American tribes are not legally required to adhere to the California stay at home order.

Indoor Congregation Equals a Hotspot

The state has seen six individual outbreaks of cases occurring at the Riverside County casinos and officials confirmed that the highest numbers of outbreaks locally have come from grocery stores where people are most likely to congregate. But experts in the health industry have expressed concern over the continued operation of casinos. “In my opinion, any crowded indoor activity is a terrible idea at this point,” says Juliet Morrison, a virologist at the University of California Riverside. She went one, “we are in a pandemic, and we are already seeing new and higher cases of Covid-19. So I don’t think they should be open at all.”

Clifford Trafzer is a professor of American Indian Affairs at the University of California Riverside and agrees with Morrison about the severity of keeping casinos open. “I believe in tribal sovereignty; I also believe all people of the United States have a civic duty to join in the nationwide fight against Covid-19. This is a war against a virus and every citizen must do their part to fight our common enemy.”

Varied Approaches

Earlier this year, as the pandemic made its first sweep across the southern California region, all of the state’s tribal casinos participated in the voluntary shutdowns. Many expressed a willingness to help stop the spread of the virus despite the potentially crippling fallout of a lengthy shutdown. However, since reopening, each of the state’s tribal casinos has taken a varied approach to health and public safety protocols.

The Agua Caliente Rancho Mirage has elected to continue to open its spacious, outdoor function area for private events and meetings. The East Valley Republican Women Federated hosted a lunch there in early November and then an election night party as well.

Fantasy Springs, owned by the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, has hosted live concerts several nights a week, albeit with mask and social distancing protocols in place. In addition, the casino and concert venue have instituted a 50% capacity restriction. Fantasy Springs also opened their special event center to be used as a Covid-19 testing site. AS such, all of the casino’s employees have been tested weekly for the virus. “The Cabazon Band of Mission Indians enjoys sovereignty, just like all tribes do,” says Michael Felci, the Public Relations Manager for the casino. “However, our guests, our employees are obviously the most important thing – their health, their safety. So we’re following the news, we’re getting the latest reports just like everybody else. Everything we’ve seen up until this point has not looked promising for large indoor gatherings.”

A Regulatory Framework

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act sets a “public health and safety” requirement to every tribal gaming ordinance enacted by a tribe. The National Indian Gaming Commission will not approve a casino’s ordinance unless a health and safety provision is included. Meaning that there are “health and safety standards that the tribal casino and management must adhere to,” says Michael Anderson, founder of Anderson Indian Law located in Washington D.C. and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of Interior. “But there’s essentially no role from the state of California in regulating that conduct.”

As a federal agency, should the operation of a gaming facility threaten public health and safety, the National Indian Gaming Commission has the authority to issue a temporary shutdown order to the facility. During the current Covid-19 pandemic, the NIGC has issued guidelines for tribal casinos in line with current CDC recommendations for safe operation of business.

Katherine Spilde is a professor and chair of the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming at San Diego State University. She has continually held that tribal governments are just as concerned with protecting public health and safety as all other levels of government. “Tribal governments have the same public health mandates that any government would have, which would be to protect their citizens and residents, protect their employees who come to work at their properties, and to, of course, protect guests who come to have an experience in Indian Country.”

Time will tell if the recent outbreaks and continued rise in cases of Covid-19 in the state of California will force tribal governments to take more drastic action.

Arkansas Casinos Are Exempt From New Health Restrictions

Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas has issued new health restrictions in relation to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The health restrictions stipulate that bars, restaurants, and other locations with licenses to distribute alcohol are required to close no later than 11 pm. This order will be in effect through January 3 and the hope is that this curfew on alcohol will help to stop the spread of coronavirus in the state.

But not for Casinos

Thankfully, to many of Arkansas residents, the health restrictions will not extend to casinos. According to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration casinos will continue to be allowed to function from 9 am to 2 am in accordance with the health order issued last May. Industry leaders were also happy to hear the news of this exclusion.

Carlton Saffa is the Chief Market Officer at the Saracen Casino Resort. According to him, the exclusion of casinos from this recent health related order was not a mistake nor an oversight. “We are licensed as a casino,” said Saffa. “Obviously, we’re inclusive of some subsets of hospitality but this property is a gaming facility, just like Oaklawn and just like Southland. Since the onset of Covid-19 and the government’s first reactions to it, casinos have been regulated uniquely, and we should be.” The Department of Finance has issued guidance that confirms this opinion.

Amendment 100 to the Arkansas constitution allowed for the operation of four casinos in the state. According to the text, “Casino licensees shall be permitted to sell intoxicating liquor or provide complimentary servings of intoxicating liquor, only for on-premises consumption at the casinos, during all hours in which the casino licensees conduct casino gaming. To that extent, casino licensees shall not be subject to Ark. Code Ann. §3-3-211, which prohibits the sale of intoxicating liquor on Christmas Day, and Ark. Code Ann. §3-9-201, et seq. and other applicable Arkansas law requiring the residents of a dry county or city to vote to approve the sale of intoxicating liquor.”

Still doing their part

Therefore, casinos fall outside of the purview of the recent health restrictions. However, Saffa has taken the initiative to assist the state in attempting to stop the spread of Covid-19. The dine-in restaurants at the Saracen Casino will close at 11 pm as will the casino’s bar venues. On the gaming floor, drink service will continue until the casino closes daily operation at 2 am. In addition, all of the other health related measures practiced at large across the country will continue to be observed. Disposable drinkware, social distancing, sanitation stations, and mask requirements will all still be in place. “Outside of that, we’ll continue to do what we have been doing, which is to continue to implement a robust contact tracing protocol. The casino industry has been asked by the state to participate in contact tracing for all patrons, so thousands of people enter this building every day and every one of their IDs are scanned, so we have a running log of who comes in the building,” says Saffa.

Wampanoag Chairman Charged In Casino Bribery Scheme

Cedric Cromwell has been the long-time chairman of the Wampanoag Tribe in Massachusetts. He has been charged, along with David DeQuattro, in a bribery scheme in relation to the Tribe’s casino development plans. The charge accuses the two of colluding with each other, Cromwell as chairman of the Wampanoag Tribe and DeQuattro as owner of an architecture and design firm, to extort tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for construction contracts.

Both men have plead not guilty to the bribery charges via a video conference held last week. Cromwell has also plead not guilty to the extortion charges. They were both released by a Boston federal court judge on a $25,000 unsecured bond until they appear for their next court date.

The Charges

Prosecutors allege that the two had been working together since at least 2014. Between 2014 and 2017, DeQuattro made payments to Cromwell and provided other benefits totaling roughly $60,000. In return, Cromwell had awarded construction contracts to DeQuattro’s architecture firm worth nearly $5 million. The money is alleged to have been used by Cromwell personally and was accompanied by lavish gifts such as a home gym system and hotel reservations.

United States Attorney for Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling, said, “many American Indians face a host of difficult financial and social issues. They require, and deserve, real leadership. But it appears that Cromwell’s priority was not to serve his people, but to line his own pockets.” Lelling’s office is currently prosecuting the case. According to Cromwell’s lawyer, Timothy Flaherty, he denies any such allegations and added that his client “is a man of principle, a man of faith, and he is a transformational leader.”

The Wampanoag Tribe’s council voted in an emergency meeting on Friday. They voted unanimously to remove Cromwell as the Tribe’s chairman. “We take the charges brought against Cedric Cromwell very seriously. The Tribe’s focus remains on ensuring that our land remains in trust and supporting our tribal sovereignty,” said Jessie Baird, Vice chair for the Tribe’s council.

The Project

The Wampanoag Tribe, located on Cape Cod, traces its lineage back to the Native Americans who shared their fall harvest with the Pilgrims in 1621. In 2007, the Tribe gained federal recognition and was awarded over 300 acres placed into federal trust. This land was declared as a sovereign reservation in 2016 under President Barrack Obama’s administration. The Tribe then moved immediately to break ground on a casino development project in Taunton, Massachusetts, on Boston’s south shore. The Tribe partnered with Genting Group, a casino developer based out of Malaysia to construct the $1 billion First Light Casino.

The project was almost immediately delayed by significant political and legal challenges. Namely, a challenge by President Donald Trump’s administration to take back land designated under the Obama administration. In early 2020, the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs stated that it intended to rescind the 300 acre tribal reservation and also remove the land under federal trust. In June of this year, a federal judge was able to halt that decision. The judge ordered that the Department of the Interior review the Bureau’s plan and issue any new findings. The Bureau of Indian Affairs has appealed the current ruling.

The Trump administration also fought legislation passed in the House of Representatives, currently led by the Democrats, that sought to protect the Tribe’s reservation. The President has been dismissive of the effort, calling it a “special interest casino bill.” Both the Wampanoag Tribe and others across the country have watched the administrations actions with interest and concern. Many have complained that such decisions set a dangerous precedent and a possible legal means of taking away a tribe’s federally protected lands.

States Across the Union Approve Expansions In Gambling

The gambling industry in the US saw positive results at the polls this November. Three states approved measures authorizing legal sports gambling. In addition, three more states approved and/or expanded their casino gambling market.

Sports Betting

South Dakota, Maryland, and Louisiana authorized ballot measures to introduce sports gambling into their states. With these additions, more than half of the states in America will have some form of legalized sports betting. This is no small feat after less than three years have passed since the US Supreme Court ruled the practice no longer illegal under federal law.

Sports gamblers likely will not be able to place legal bets in their respective states until at least 2021 and possibly into the year 2022. The state legislators in South Dakota, Maryland, and Louisiana are now tasked with creating a legal framework for the industry. The next steps will be rules and a regulatory structure for licensing private operators. Only then will legal sports books start taking their first bets.

Casino Expansions


The state of ? Voters in Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth, and Norfolk, Virginia approved measures bringing casino gambling to their communities. “We look forward to fulfilling the trust the voters have placed in us by bringing 1,300 good-paying jobs, tourism dollars and economic development to the city, and we are incredibly excited to begin construction,” said Tom Reeg, Chief Executive Officer of Caesars Entertainment, of the successful Danville proposal.


Colorado has expanded the types of games allowed on its casino floors while at the same time eliminating certain limits on wagers. Casinos in Black Hawk, Cripple Creek, and Central City will be introducing new games on their gambling floors. Baccarat, Keno, and a spinning wheel will all be available for state residents to play. In addition, state casinos are eliminating betting limits which restricted maximum bets to $100.


Nebraska authorized a measure which will add casino gambling in its horse tracks. Casino games will be added to horse racing facilities at Horsemen’s Park in Omaha, Lincoln Race Course, Fonner Park in Grand Island, Ag Park in Columbus, and Atokad in South Sioux City. Supporters of the state’s casino expansion say that taxing the industry could add nearly $65 million annually to state coffers. That revenue is slated to go to property tax relief for state residents.

A Positive Future

“It appears that Americans are becoming increasingly comfortable with legalized gambling,” says David Schwartz. Schwartz is a gambling historian at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He went on, “the addition of casinos in Virginia and racetrack casinos in Nebraska indicates that casino-style gambling is on the upswing as well. We have reached a point where voters seem satisfied that legalizing gambling will offer positive returns for their state.”

Leaders in the country’s gaming industry are optimistic about what these expansions mean for the future of the gambling market. The American Gaming Association is the main trade group for the casino industry. Bill Miller, the AGA’s Chief Executive Officer, praised the decisions of voters in expanding gambling legislation. “As a result of successful ballot measures in six gaming states, more Americans will have access to much needed job opportunities, dedicated tax revenue, and safe, regulated entertainment options closer to home.”

New Live Dealer Games Launch In Pennsylvania

Rush Street Interactive is leading the online gaming market and is set to be the first to launch a Live Dealer Casino in Pennsylvania. Rush Street Interactive operates and They have now teamed up with a world leader in the live dealer and table games industry, Evolution. The live dealer sector combines the social aspect of betting at a casino with the ease and mobility of gambling from a laptop or smartphone. Evolution will offer patrons in Pennsylvania a competitive mix of live table games such as Blackjack, Roulette, and Slingshot Roulette.

The Live Casino games are operated in real time. Players get to feel the excitement of interacting with the dealer, placing their preferred bet, and watching the table action unfold. Payouts are also calculated in real time giving players a real feel for the pace of play even from their living room.

“Many online players prefer live dealer options because they watch the action as it happens, which gives them a higher level of trust in the outcome,” states Richard Schwartz, President of Rush Street Interactive. “A live dealer game is the closest you can get online to playing in a land-based casino and we’re thrilled to be the first to offer players in Pennsylvania the opportunity to virtually sit and play on Evolution’s world-renowned live tables.” Schwartz went on, “the Evolution hosted Live Dealer Casino has proven very popular with players at in New Jersey. We are confident players in Pennsylvania will love these live action table games too. Extending our partnership with Evolution into PA supports our mission to continually offer our loyal online players the best mix of innovative and entertaining games available.”

Perfect Timing For Mobile Options

The expansion into online, Live Dealer Casino play comes at an opportune time. With the health restrictions in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many would be casino patrons have decided to avoid the risk and hassle. Many of the nations gambling halls operating at a reduced capacity due to occupancy restrictions. Coupled with the explosion of the online sports betting market and it is not hard to see how Live Dealer Casinos could change the nature of the casino gaming industry.

Johan Nordstrom is the Chief Executive Officer at Malta and the Chief Commercial Officer for Evolution. He stated, “RSI is well established as the #1 online gaming operator in Pennsylvania and we are thrilled to partner with the acclaimed online gaming leader and are confident that the Evolution hosted Live Dealer Casino will be a big hit in this market.” He went on, “on top of an exceptional range of world class live game show style games, classic casino games and exclusive content, we have extensive experience with multiple state of the art Live Casino studios worldwide. At the player interface level, our Blackjack is the fastest, slickest online Live Blackjack available anywhere, so players get more game rounds and exciting play in every gaming session.”