Category Archives: Esports

Single-game sports gambling bill finds success in Canada

The impossible has been made possible in Canada. The country has allowed certain types of sports gambling, but allowing wagers on individual games was a concept that never gained a lot of support. Last year, amid a global pandemic and a huge push to open the sports gambling market in Canada’s neighbor to the south, the country still didn’t want to accept the inevitable. As the year wore on and COVID-19 continued to batter away at long-standing revenue streams, Canada finally realized that it had to do something and the government launched a plan last November to bring single-event gambling to the country. That plan has now been fulfilled and Canada is now going to allow wagers on individual games.

Canadian parliamentary members saw the light yesterday when they approved Bill C-128, which was making its second appearance in the House of Commons. It was the brainchild of Member of Parliament Kevin Waugh and had no difficulty finding enough approval from other legislators, as well as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 303 members of parliament said yes to the measure, while just 15 don’t think Canada needs to get into the 21st Century. The bill now goes before the House of Commons justice committee and then on to the Senate.

Sports gambling operators are now chomping at the bit to get the race for market control started. One, Score Media and Gaming, is already established in the country and could be first out the gate. Its CEO, John Levy, is only waiting for the gates to open and explains in a statement, “We expect that the legalization of single event sports betting will facilitate the introduction by provinces and territories of a much-needed modernized sports betting framework in their respective jurisdictions that can include important consumer protections and the ability to generate new revenue streams for provincial and territorial governments.”

Score Media won’t be the only game in town. The usual suspects will likely make a run, including DraftKings, FanDuel and everyone else. DraftKings has already tried to give itself an advantage, launching a deal with the NFL to increase the content agreement already established between the two entities. There’s going to be a lot of action to go around, too, with some analysts predicting a market that could be worth as much as $5.4 billion a year.

Commercial gaming revenue in the US plummeted last year: AGA

The commercial gaming scene in the US last year suffered greatly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the American Gaming Association (AGA) has now put a number on the extent of the damage. According to a report published by the group yesterday, US commercial gaming operations lost 31% of the revenue they had seen a year earlier, recording the lowest level experienced since 2013. Everyone is now looking at 2021 to help them recuperate lost ground.

Commercial casinos were forced to cut out around 27% of their normal working schedules last year, opening for a combined 124,882 days. A year earlier, that figure was 170,484 across all properties. As a result of the reduction and states’ restrictions on casino activity, the US commercial gaming industry was able to generate just about $30 billion by the time the year closed. The crux of the damage came in the second and third quarters, with the fourth quarter finally seeing a slight rebound. It produced $9.2 billion for the country’s casinos, a sequential increase of 1.7% over the third-quarter results, but that was still off by 17% from the fourth-quarter activity of 2019.

Per the AGA’s report, President and CEO Bill Miller asserts, “COVID-19 devastated our business and the employees and communities across the country that rely on casino gaming’s success. We have persevered by leading responsible reopening efforts, supporting our employees, and extending a hand to our communities. Still, these numbers show the economic realities of COVID-19 and underscore the importance of targeted federal relief and ramped-up vaccine distribution to accelerate gaming’s recovery in 2021.”

As the industry started to rebound last summer, there has been a slow return to normal activity by casinos. Now, there are 911 open out of the total 998 in the country; however, many are still operating at greatly reduced capacities. Just this week, Nevada’s casinos were allowed to increase their occupancy to 35% of their normal levels after spending months at 25% or less. Even though there are still more casinos that could potentially reopen this year, the reality is that some of those are going to be permanently shuttered due to a lack of funds.

The blueprint for responsible streaming

This is a guest contribution by Karl Aadli, Chief Product Officer at Mr Gamble says that launching a streaming channel is a great way for operators, developers and affiliates to build brand awareness but channels must be run responsibly. If you would like to submit a contribution please contact Bill Beatty for submission details. Thank you.

Streaming is fast becoming a significant marketing platform for operators, suppliers and affiliates looking to drive brand awareness among the casino playing community and in particular the younger, lucrative demographic that makes up streaming audiences.

Popular streamers such as Let’s Give It A Spin, Chipmonkz and NickSlots have amassed large, global audiences across platforms like Twitch and YouTube and through commercial agreements allow operators to leverage the thousands of fans that tune in to their streams.

As streaming and casino streaming becomes more popular, the marketing power and value of these channels will only increase and that is why we are seeing more casino players become streamers, as well as affiliates launching their own channels.

Crown Resorts takes another blow as revenue slump continues

As if dealing with massive scrutiny from all sides wasn’t enough, Crown Resorts is also bleeding serious amounts of money. The embattled casino operator out of Australia that has admitted it can’t keep its house in order is on the verge of losing any shot of holding onto its casino licenses, but is now also scrambling as revenue continues to drop. Crown just released its figures for the first half of the new fiscal year and acknowledged that it took a 155.4% year-on-year hit as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to threaten Australia.

At the same time Crown is being told by regulators in New South Wales that it is unsuitable to hold a casino license, the embarrassed company was forced to report a half-year loss of AUD$120.9 million (U.S. $87 million). Revenue plummeted 62.1% as Crown only took in $581 million ($450.4 million), and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) was virtually wiped out from the prior year’s figure. It lost 99% from the same period a year earlier, coming in at just $4.4 million ($3.4 million).

Crown’s interim executive chairman, Helen Coonan, had to address the ongoing battle and try to rally the troops as they look at an almost definite defeat. She added with the release of the financials, “We recognise the need for immediate and swift action and I would like to reiterate my commitment to driving the necessary ‘root and branch’ change that is required. Crown has committed to working constructively with ILGA to advance reforms necessary to allow it to give effect to the Restricted Gaming Licence in Sydney. Crown also continues to work cooperatively with the Victorian and WA regulators as it works to restore public and regulatory confidence in its operations.”

Part of that restoration process involves the removal of several members of Crown’s top floor, including CEO Ken Barton, who resigned a few days ago. Another name is added to the growing list of executives to be interested in finding new ground, with General Counsel and Company Secretary Mary Manos having stepped down “with immediate effect.” The two roles will be assigned to two individuals going forward, but, for now, Chief Financial Officer Alan McGregor will serve as Crown’s interim Company Secretary.

Apple sued for offering social gambling games

Apple might not be a gambling company, but a new lawsuit alleges that they are involved enough in the business to face the same regulations. A class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Columbia alleges they should have to abide by the same laws as any online gambling operation, and pay for the damage they’ve done in states where that’s not legal.

In the suit, the plaintiffs allege “Zynga Casino Apps” violate gambling statues in as many as 25 states. By allowing the apps on their App Store, reaping rewards from microtransactions and providing iOS development tools, the plaintiffs believe Apple is also liable.

They note that Apple “permits and facilitates illegal gambling by operating as an unlicensed casino.” Although the games offer no real reward, by allowing real-money purchases of coins or chips on games like poker or blackjack, they believe Apple and Zynga are offering a form of gambling.

The suit may have a point where it concerns Zynga. Although no money can be won from the games, winning of course extends playing time. By also allowing microtransactions for more chips, the game developer may be violating anti-gambling laws in as many as 25 states.

Odds: How will Gina Carano be written off of The Mandalorian?

Gina Carano has been fired from the cast of The Mandalroian on Disney+. The one-time MMA fighter leaves the show in a storm of controversy that has once again ignited America’s culture war, but has Bodog asking what will happen to her character on the show, Cara Dune?

If you missed all of the controversy, well, there’s a bunch of it. Carano has always been the most controversial member of The Mandalorian’s cast due to her outspoken nature on social media. She’s been criticized for spreading misinformation regarding Covid-19, alleging voter-fraud in the 2020 U.S. elections, and for mocking people for posting their pronouns on social media. The last problem led Disney to demand Carano apologize, for which she refused.

But all of that pales in comparison to the last straw. Feeling persecuted for her conversative views, the actress shared a photo on Instagram that implied the criticism that she and other conservatives faced was like being Jewish during the Holocaust.

The bosses at Disney and Lucasfilm didn’t appreciate the post. “Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm and there are no plans for her to be in the future,” a Lucasfilm statement noted shortly after. “Nevertheless, her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.”

Caesars ditches South Korean development

Caesars Entertainment have reportedly decided that they’ve put as much effort as they’d like to into a South Korean resort. Local outlet MT reports the operator has withdrawn from the Midan City Complex Resort project in Yeongjong-do, leaving China’s Puri Group to go it alone.

At the time of publication, no reason was given for Caesars decision to leave the project, although MT speculated it was to focus on their U.S. business. A more likely explanation would be that Caesars has determined they would not be able to salvage the troubled development of the Midan City project. The operator was threatened with loss of license by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Incheon Free Economic Zone Office.

Construction on the project was meant to be completed as early as March 2018, but funding problems and construction delays have left the property unfinished. Caesars was warned in January 2021 that if they did not have an approved plan to complete the location by March 17, they would lose their license entirely. That has Caesars now deciding to pull out early.

With only 25% of construction said to be complete, the $150 million initially put towards the project has run out. Puri is reportedly going to continue with the project, but must still provide a new plan to keep the license alive. “The approval of the project change, such as extending the completion period, will be decided through a review by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism,” said an official from the Incheon Economic Office. “If approved, the speed of the project will increase.”

Becky’s Affiliated: Transitioning from UK to US sports betting market, from one affiliate to another

Alex Windsor began his journey as a sports betting affiliate in 2012, starting off with a focus on the U.K. market and transitioning to the U.S. market after the repeal of PASPA. Now serving as the Director of Apps4 web media LTD, Windsor is happy to share his experience in the U.S. market thus far with other affiliates out there, especially for those who are nervous about the licensing process and building relationships with operators in a market they are not as familiar with.

A big thank you to the GPWA for introducing Alex and I, without this helpful iGaming affiliate community we would not be here today. Sharing best practices amongst friends and peers is exactly why the GPWA was launched many years ago, it’s amazing to see the forum is still representing its original purpose.

Becky Liggero Fontana: Thank you so much for joining me today, Alex. Let’s start with why you made the decision to shift your focus from the U.K. affiliate market to the regulated U.S. market?

Alex Windsor: When I heard PASPA had been overturned in 2018 I knew instantly I had to have a piece of the pie. Up until that point our focus had been on the U.K., Italy and Spain, but the U.S. opening up to sports betting was too good of an opportunity to not get involved in. I launched gamble-usa.com in July 2019 and we have been working on it since.

Gambling Industry Announcement and Partnership Roundup – February 18, 2021

In the fast-moving world of gambling, sometimes you might miss news that could be important to you. To make sure you’re all caught up on gaming industry news, be it online or brick and mortar, we’re rounding up the some of the announcements and partnerships from the last week that you might have missed.

Don’t miss out on all of the latest announcements from the gambling industry. Our Press Release section is updated constantly, and we publish roundups of the latest partnerships twice a week.

MOTO Renews Partnership with Inspired’s Playnation 

Contract with leading provider of gaming machines extended for further five years

New Jersey’s January iGaming revenue tops $100m for the first time

New Jersey’s online gambling market posted its first ever monthly revenue total over $100m in January, while basketball and the NFL playoffs pushed sports betting revenue to yet another record. 

Figures released Wednesday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) show the state’s licensed online casino and poker operators generated combined revenue of just under $103.8m in January, an 88.4% rise from the same month last year and nearly $4m better than the state’s previous iGaming record set in December 2020. 

January’s records were (as always) primarily due to the online casino vertical, which shot up 89.7% year-on-year to $101m all on their own. Online poker contributed $2.75m, up by nearly one-half from January 2020. Both verticals undoubtedly benefited from cross-selling to sports bettors who enjoyed a full slate of marquee matchups last month. 

Golden Nugget Online Gaming led January’s iGaming revenue pack with $31.2m (+47%) but the Borgata casino’s family of sites – which includes the BetMGM brand – wasn’t far back with $28.7m, which represented a stellar 176.8% year-on-year improvement. Around $926k of the Borg’s January total came via poker. 

Europa League sportsbetting preview

There’s something about the Europa League attracting British teams and in particular the English. Manchester United won the trophy just three years go for the first time in their history, before a 2019 final featured both Arsenal and Chelsea, The Blues eventually running away with it by winning 4-1 on the night.  

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewEC1YOS2uo?feature=oembed&w=640&h=360]

This week, four English sides are in action, but who’ll emerge from Thursday night’s ties victorious and which sides will have a mountain to climb in the second leg?  

Real Sociedad vs. Manchester United (5.55pm GMT kick-off) 

NBA Thursday betting: Lakers host the Nets

Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com

There are only three games on the NBA schedule this Thursday. Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks (7:30 p.m. ET) and Miami Heat at Sacramento Kings (10 p.m. ET) are solid enough matchups. The Bucks are legitimate title contenders but struggling right now, while the Raptors and Heat could make some noise in the Eastern Conference playoffs, presuming they get there.

The Kings have the longest playoff drought in the NBA, last playing extra basketball in 2006. They might sneak in this year but it will be tough in the much-deeper Western Conference.

However, the clear matchup of the night is Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Lakers with a 10 p.m. ET tipoff and nationally televised by TNT. That’s a potential NBA Finals preview and the odds-on favorite to be the exact matchup. The Lakers are favored to repeat as NBA champions, while the Nets are second-favorites to win their first championship and also favored to come out of the East.

Digital bank Monzo doubles down on gambling safeguards

Monzo made a name for itself as a pioneer in mobile-only banking in the U.K. It also has made a splash with its anti-gambling controls, becoming one of the first financial institutions to allow its customers to prevent their accounts from being used for gambling activity. Now, the bank is doubling down on its gambling stance, pushing for changes on the part of the U.K. government to take gambling safeguards to a new level. It wants the government to require gaming operators to give up their banking details and to implement a single solution that would give individuals a streamlined process to stop themselves from spending money on gambling.

SBC News explains that Monzo’s CEO, TS Anil (Tummalapalli Sai Anil), is behind the initiative, authoring an open letter to the U.K. government to request additional consumer safeguards. Responding to the ever-changing gambling environment in the U.K., and the continued rewrite of the 2005 Gambling Act, Anil singled out Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Sport, Heritage and Tourism Nigel Huddleston to place an emphasis on “self-exclusion increasingly seamless and efficient covering all gambling operators and businesses that transact with the sector.” Huddleston is also behind the review of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which is expected to provide major changes to U.K.’s gambling laws.

Amil believes that gambling companies should provide their banking details in order to create a “universal blocking of transactions” for those individuals who want to be excluded from gambling. This would essentially enable a one-click stop for those who feel they may have a gambling problem, and Amil adds, “We believe the government should take the opportunity afforded by the Gambling Act review to make sure every consumer in the U.K. can access these blocks, regardless of who they bank with. These tools are simple to build, proven to work, and will help protect hundreds of thousands of people.”

Banks across the U.K., as well as in other parts of the world, provide mechanisms that allow their customers to block their accounts from being used for gambling spend. However, Amil thinks the country can raise the bar on safeguards and wants to have the government provide the control. He’s already getting support from some within the industry, including the Betting and Gaming Council, which told The Guardian, “We support all forms of blocking capabilities and are encouraged by the continued uptake by banks of these functions.”

Crown faces scrutiny in Western Australia; region’s casino boss exits

It’s official. Crown Resorts is no longer the jewel of gaming in Australia. The Bergin inquiry launched in New South Wales (NSW) to determine whether the casino operator was worthy of holding a license determined that it was, in fact, not as reputable an organization as it wanted everyone to believe. Victoria, while not launching a full-scale inquiry, has begun to scrutinize the company, which might now be looking at strike three. Western Australia has announced that it is now investigating Crown through a royal commission. 

The inquiry in Western Australia comes not only because Crown has been found inept at preventing money laundering through its casinos and letting warlords gamble at its properties, but also because of a questionable relationship between the brass and a government official in the region. Specifically, with the man who was charged with overseeing the gaming industry in Western Australia. Michael Connolly, the Deputy Director General of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) and chief casino officer, admitted to having social relationships with some Crown employees, and even took some from Crown Perth on a fishing trip.

As a result, the Gaming and Wagering Commission (GWC) in Western Australia will explore “the suitability of close associates” and “the appropriateness of Crown Perth’s responses to the GWC prior to and during the Bergin inquiry.” It will also look at its own ability to properly manage its duties “in the discharge of its regulatory responsibilities inclusive of any perceived conflicts of interest.” 

The fallout from the NSW inquiry has been far-reaching, with several key executives, including CEO Ken Barton, already stepping down. However, that might not be enough to put Crown back in a positive light, and the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA), which spearheaded the investigation, wants to see more extricate themselves from the company. The ILGA believes that crown director Harold Mitchell, and possibly John Poynton, need to go. 

Boyd Gaming expands cashless effort to Nevada

Cashless gaming is quickly becoming the norm across North American casinos. Boyd Gaming have announced the BoydPay Digital Wallet, which was previously available at Indiana and Ohio locations, will now be starting a test run at the Aliante Casino + Hotel + Spa in North Las Vegas, Nevada.

The new cashless wallet is technically only entering a field trial for the moment, with regulators monitoring it’s use. If everything goes well, Boyd expects they could roll it out to all of their Nevada locations by the summer of 2021.

BoydPay is linked to a player’s B Connected card, the operator’s loyalty program, and can be used to play or cash out on slots. The initiative began when Boyd partnered with Aristocrat in October, 2020.

If Nevada approves its use, Boyd is also hopeful that the technology could then be spread to all of their 28 gaming properties in 10 states.

Osaka, Nagasaki and Yokohama all consider new partners for Japan IR

With a lot of time between now and whenever the first Japanese integrated resort (IR) is expected to open, there’s plenty of changes happening in Osaka, Nagasaki and Yokohama, three of the leading cities to gain licenses. Each made news recently, opening up new possibilities for Japan’s casino future.

In Osaka, a bid previously though to be a lock for MGM might now be competitive again. With news that Osaka’s IR likely won’t open until the late 2020s, the city and prefecture have announced that the application process has now been reopened. “Following this policy change, Osaka Prefecture and Osaka City have ensured fairness and fairness,” the governments announced, as per NHK news “Therefore, we will accept applications from other businesses as well.”

The news must come as a shock to MGM, who’ve been the only potential partner for an Osaka IR since February 2020. With a tough year passed, and knowing there’s no longer a rush to meet a 2025 opening date, Osaka is willing to take more time and consider other options.

Nagasaki, which has come on strong as an IR contender in recent weeks, have revealed their 5 potential partners for an IR license. Casinos Austria Japan, Current Group, Niki Chau Fwu (Parkview), One Kyushu (TTL Resorts), and the Oshidori consortium were listed by the prefecture. With their own plans citing a late 2020’s opening, the prefecture added: “The prefecture is aiming to attract IR by utilizing the site of the large resort facility “Huis Ten Bosch” in Sasebo City.”

CNY visitation in Macau fails to meet expectation

Everyone expected the Chinese New Year (CNY) holiday to not bring a lot of action to Macau, especially since the city, as well as China, recommended locals forego their travel plans. The constant threat of COVID-19 has forced the old playbooks to be tossed into the fire as a “just wing it” approach is necessary. Still, Macau had hoped to see at least 100,000 tourists descend on the city during the CNY period, but that hasn’t happened. In fact, the actual figures are well below even the already-reduced expectations.

The Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) had hoped to see around 16,000 to 20,000 visitors each day as the CNY got going. So far, as of yesterday, total visitation was just 62,894 since February 11, the start of the annual holiday, and is well below what everyone would have liked to have seen. On February 11 and 12, less than 10,000 people arrived in the city on each of the two days, much to the disappointment of tourism officials. The best day was this past Monday, when 17,357 visitors were recorded. That was 52% fewer than what had crossed into Macau last year on the same day.

As would have been expected, most of the arrivals came from mainland China, with 57,226 travelers crossing over into Macau from the country. They preferred land-based transportation, as only 4,844 of the total visitation numbers came via air. That virtually nonexistent air travel segment might soon see some improvements, though, even if CNY was essentially a bust.

According to Macau International Airport (MFM), which shared its predictions with GGRAsia, flights into Macau could be on the rise for what’s left of this month. It explained that the airport might handle a total of 1,128 commercial flights before February ends, which would represent about 40 a day. This is much better than what was recorded last month, when an average of just 28 a day – 870 in total – was recorded. If the numbers hold up, February’s MFM movement will have increased by 29.7% since the start of the year, which was down 12.6% from last December’s figures. 

Entain’s $2.3 billion offer to buy Tabcorp ops likely misses the mark

Entain announced recently that it was possibly interested in buying TAB, the racing and sports gambling unit operated by Australia’s Tabcorp. At the time, it was still crunching the numbers to determine how much it was willing to put up, and the results are in. However, even though it has put a $2.3-billion cash offer on the table, it might find Tabcorp unimpressed with the amount. 

Entain is responding to rumors that Tabcorp might consider dividing its house as TAB has not been performing to expectations. It was the first to submit a proposal and asserts that the figure is in line with the market valuation provided by analysts with the Australian Securities Exchange. However, history has shown that companies will rarely sell assets at market value unless they’re desperate for cash. Based on Tabcorp’s just-announced earnings report, it isn’t.

The company just released its latest financial report today and showed a group-wide decline of just 1.5% for the first half of fiscal year 2021. The bottom line was $2.22 billion for the period, with a 6.2% decrease in EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization). Much of that centered on Tabcorp’s Gaming Services division, which saw a 51% drop in revenue to $57 million. However, other areas, such as Lotteries/Keno and Wagering/Media, increased. 

CEO and Managing Director David Attenborough acknowledged that it had received a number of proposals, but didn’t provide details on the players or the amounts. He only offered, “There has been considerable commentary in the market about our wagering and media business. We have confirmed we have received a number of proposals and unsolicited approaches in relation to a potential transaction involving this business. They are also highly conditional and subject to numerous requirements such as due diligence, financing and various regulatory and racing industry approvals. The board will take the appropriate time to carefully consider all of the relevant issues and strategic options that arise in respect to these matters.”

Genius Sports scores another coup with WynnBET hookup

Genius Sports continues to take the sports gambling industry by storm. It is on a tireless mission to be the go-to sports data providers for anything and everything related to sports, and just picked up another big deal. Wynn Resorts, through its WynnBET sports gambling arm, drafted the company to provide its data services to the company in a new multi-year deal.

Going forward, Genius Sports will use its official data channels to give WynnBET access to hundreds of sports organizations, including NASCAR, EPL and plenty of international options. A statement by the company explains, “The new partnership will also involve Genius’ ultra-fast, reliable official data content for hundreds of international soccer, basketball, ice hockey, table tennis and volleyball federations and leagues, including the English Premier League, Italian Serie A, German Bundesliga, LigaMX, Euroleague Basketball, and Argentine soccer.”

WynnBET will be able to take full advantage of Genius Sports and its LiveData and LiveTrading platforms, offering in-game gambling action where the operator is currently licensed, including Colorado, Michigan and New Jersey. Wynn continues to work on securing new licenses and already has several options in the works. It is close to being able to offer sports gambling in Iowa and Ohio, where it has recently gained access, has received conditional licensing in Tennessee and has applications pending in Indiana and Virginia.

Adds Jack Davison, Genius Sports’ Chief Commercial Officer, “Along with its broad market-access and nationally-recognizable brand name, Genius is an ideal partner to enhance WynnBET’s expanding online sportsbook and in-game betting offering. With growing numbers of states introducing online betting regulation, in-game handle is quickly rising – and WynnBET recognizes the direct engagement and revenue benefits of official data in this landscape.”

Malta contemplates issuing a fifth casino license

Malta now has four casinos in its roughly 122-square-mile territory, including Casino Malta, the Dragonara Casino, Oracle Casino and Portomaso Casino. It might soon have a fifth gambling property, though, if a government plan currently in the works is accepted. A request for proposals (RFP) for a new casino is underway, but any suitors will have to be prepared to accept some restrictions.

Malta published in the government’s official newspaper, the Malta Gazette, an RFP yesterday regarding a “concession to open and operate a casino in Malta.” The country’s Privatization Unit (PU) is overseeing the process and all submissions must be made in public no later than noon on April 7.  From now until then, several milestones are already in place to facilitate the process, including a cutoff date of March 1 for any requests for clarification on the RFP. Responses to those requests will be delivered no later than March 17, which will give candidates only about two weeks to make their final submissions.

The PU explains on its website, “The Privatisation Unit, acting on behalf of the Ministry for the Economy and Industry​, is hereby inviting Prospective Proponents to submit Proposals for the opening and operation of a casino in Malta. Prospective Proponents are reminded that for the opening and operation of a casino in Malta, the Successful Proponent must, in addition to holding the Concession, also hold a valid Casino Licence issued by the Authority in terms of the Gaming Authorisations Regulations.”

All proposals must come from companies that are established and registered in the European Economic Area and the entity that wins the concession must be fully-owned by that company. The casino will need to be built in a tourist area that has been designated as such by the Malta Tourism Authority, but two specific areas are off-limits. No casino will be allowed in either Gozo or Comino. Both are small islands that are part of Malta’s larger archipelago of 21 islands.