The 2020 Election has managed to take over COVID-19’s place as the most discussed topic. Even in the casino world, everyone seems to be talking about Trump vs. Biden square-off. Offshore sportsbooks are getting 10x more wagers than usual, rich casino owners are donating millions to the candidates – these are just some of the stories from last week.
Of course, there were other casino stories emerging that have nothing to do with US politics. Over in Europe, Germany has taken a giant leap towards the legalization of online gaming, Greece is getting a megacasino, and Russia is building its own version of Las Vegas.
Offshore Bookies Handling Ginormous Volumes of US Election Bets
In an interview for Las Vegas Review-Journal, the director of Westgate Sportsbook in Las Vegas talked about American operators missing out on the action in regards to US Election betting.
According to him, sportsbooks based offshore are getting as much as 10x the betting volume on the Presidential race than they did in February when the Super Bowl game took place. Traditionally the most popular sporting event among American bettors, Super Bowl LIV made $18.8 million for Nevada-based sportsbooks.
If you’re wondering why aren’t they harvesting money from US Election bets, the answer lies in the US sports betting regulation. In short, it’s illegal for US-based sportsbooks to deal with these sorts of wagers.
Actually, this isn’t only the rule when politics betting is concerned, but in fact, all proposition bets. You want to bet on the Gatorade color? You can’t do it in America. Place a bet on where LeBron James is going to play next? You won’t find that bet anywhere in the US.
Trump Reelection Odds Continue to Slide
Donald Trump has not been the favorite to win the 2020 US Election since before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. His odds plummeted even further in summer after it became clear Joe Biden was going to be the Democratic candidate. As you can see from the table below, the Democrat is a strong favorite to win.
|Offshore Sportsbook||Donald Trump||Joe Biden|
*Odds taken Friday, October 16.
The same, however, was the case four years ago when Trump went toe-to-toe with Hillary Clinton. Despite being a major underdog, he ended up moving into the White House. Is he going to upset the odds once again?
He might, but he needs money for that. The fact is that his opponent has been spending a lot more money on TV ads than the current President. According to the New York Times, Biden’s campaign has $432 million left to spend in the final days before the election.
Sheldon Adelson Coming to Trump’s Rescue With $75 Million
Time is ticking away for Trump, but he might save his job with a little help from his old ally, Sheldon Adelson. The casino magnate who owns Las Vegas Sands has donated $75 million into Trump’s election effort. The question is whether the cash-injection has come too late?
Trump reportedly asked for the money a long time ago, which led to an argument between the two back in August. Although the rumor remains uncomforted, Trump berated Adelson for not putting enough effort into the campaign.
Previously, the two billionaires had a wonderful relationship, with Trump even presenting Adelson’s wife Miriam with the Presidential Medal of Honor in 2018. An even bigger reason for Adelson to love the current President is that under Trump’s administration, the Justice Department to issue an opinion that the US Wire Act applied to all forms of online gambling.
Adelson who’s a passionate proponent of the Wire Act would certainly love to see it in action, although it seems unlikely courts would agree to it. Speaking of online gaming legality, Germany has just joined a list of countries that are changing its stance on this activity.
Online Casino Transition Period Starts in Germany
Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertrag – no, no one’s banging the head on the keyboard – this is the name of the German regulatory body in charge of online gaming. With lawmakers passing the laws that would make online casinos legal and regulated, it’s up to the regulatory body to pave the way.
Germany is expanding its online gaming landscape beyond sports betting, with online casino gambling planned to launch on July 1, 2021. However, until then, the industry is going to go through a transition period, which is going to involve some online casinos running certain types of casino games.
Over this period, German gamers will be allowed to play online slots, but only at a €1 per spin stake cap. In US dollars, this is somewhere in the ballpark of $1.20. Furthermore, a player will not be allowed to spend more than €1,000 per month on online gaming. The spending cap will take into account sports wagers, as well as wagers made on proper casino games.
Russia Working On Its Own Las Vegas
In 2009, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin signed a decree banning gambling everywhere in the county apart from four areas. The areas in question are Kaliningrad, Krasnodar, Altai, and Primorsky Krai. The latter is thought of as the most ambitious casino project in Russia, which is not surprising knowing where it’s located.
The casino-friendly area is situated in the Far East, just across Japan’s second-largest island, Hokkaido. Knowing that gambling remains illegal in Japan, Primorsky Krai seems like a nice traveling destination for Japanese gamblers.
Furthermore, this area is also very close to China. Actually, this region shares the border with the world’s most populous country. Northeast China a.k.a. Manchuria, is a region where more than 40 million people live. The region is located far away from Macau, China’s only gambling hub, making Russia’s new casino kingdom very tempting for Manchurians.
It’s obvious that Russia’s plans aren’t at all crazy, but the development of what’s dubbed as Russian Las Vegas seems to be going too slow. Still, that might change, as a brand-new 56,000-square-feet casino has just started accepting patrons. The Casino Shambhala as it’s called accepted its first bets on Friday, October 16.
Mohegan Gaming Wins Greek Casino License
It’s official – Mohegan Gaming is going to build a megacasino in Greece. Earlier this week, the Hellenic Gaming Commission accepted MGE’s bid for a casino license. As a result, the tribe can start constructing an integrated resort casino, which is expected to cost more than a billion dollars.
The location of the megacasino is what used to serve as the Athens International Airport in the past. The Hellinikon International Airport was turned into an Olympic complex in 2004 for the Summer Games, before being practically abandoned.
MGE’s investment is expected not only to put the area to use, but also to revive the local economy. It’s estimated that the new complex is going to bring more than 75,000 job opportunities to the region. Simultaneously with their Greek project, the tribal organization is also working on a casino in South Korea. Meanwhile, its Canadian casinos remain closed due to COVID-19, while their US venues keep working at reduced capacity.