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Gambling in the USA

Pace-O-Matic Granted Access to Additional Eckert Seamans Logs

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Pace-O-Matic (POM), the leading skill game developer who conducts significant business throughout Pennsylvania, yesterday released the following statement following an order from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The order grants POM additional access to Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellott, LLC’s privileged logs regarding the representation of casinos against skill games.

This decision overrules an appeal by Eckert Seaman Cherin & Mellot, LLC to exclude 120 documents from being produced. The Federal Court has ruled that 116 of those documents should be produced, 3 documents should be produced with redactions, and just 1 document shall not be produced.

“This is another victory for Pennsylvania small businesses and fraternal clubs, our skill game players, and POM as we work to uncover the extent of damage Eckert has done our business. We are pleased the court continues to rule in favor of openness and transparency concerning Eckert’s repeated attempts to shield their nefarious behavior.”

This news comes just days after skill games were declared legal games of skill by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.

“With the Commonwealth Court affirming POM’S Pennsylvania Skill’s legal status, Eckert’s actions are even more appalling. Eckert repeatedly misrepresented POM’s legal status in Pennsylvania, falsely asserting to lawmakers, local elected officials, regulators, and the public that our skill games were illegal slot machines. Eckert’s deliberate misrepresentation of our skill games has caused significant harm to our business and our industry. Thankfully the bright lights of justice are being shined upon their actions and we look forward to exposing the depths of their actions.”

POM’s lawsuit alleges that Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC, a Pennsylvania-based law firm deceived its client, POM, while at the same time representing a Pennsylvania casino that opposed POM’s operations in the Commonwealth and launched lawsuits against POM.  When confronted with the conflict of interest, Eckert first denied the conflict, then swore to a Federal District Court they would not engage in a conflict, then continued to work surreptitiously against POM and POM’s interests.

Eckert is a major law firm that has more than 300 lawyers across a network of 15 offices, including Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Boston, Washington, DC, and Richmond, VA.

The lawsuit contends that Eckert “took up arms” against POM on behalf of the Philadelphia-based Parx Casino; that Eckert “actively participated in and covertly manipulated litigation” in Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court adverse to POM’s interests; and that Eckert participated in a campaign intended to “destroy POM’s business by attempting to convince elected and appointed public officials that POM’s games are gambling devices that should be seized and outlawed.”  Eckert used its influence to improperly target the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

When confronted by POM’s allegation that Eckert was double-dealing and had breached its professional duties of loyalty and confidentiality, Eckert denied the claim, while seeking to shield the law firm’s emails with the Parx Casino. These emails, if made public, reveal that numerous lawyers at Eckert, led by Mark Stewart, co-chair of Eckert’s gaming practice group, were indeed simultaneously taking money from and representing the Parx Casino.

Parx Casino calls itself “the #1 casino in Pennsylvania” and is owned and operated by Greenwood Racing Inc.

Eckert, working at the behest of Parx Casino and its consultants, sought to block Pace-O-Matic from doing business in Pennsylvania.

The suit also alleges that Eckert “violated their most basic fiduciary duties and concealed and misrepresented material facts to POM’s great detriment.  As a result, POM is entitled to appropriate damages.”

In November 2021, US Magistrate Judge Joseph Saporito, Jr. found that Eckert acted in “bad faith” by seeking to withhold emails that demonstrated Eckert was representing both sides.

Eckert, Saporito ruled, “actively and clandestinely managed and participated in the representation of Parx in the Commonwealth Court litigation against its other client, POM. Moreover, based on our in-camera review of the purportedly privileged documents, it did so with full knowledge that the conflict asserted by POM precluded its active and continuing representation of Parx in the Commonwealth Court litigation.”

Saporito continued, “in light of the clear and obviously intentional subterfuge demonstrated in the purportedly privileged documents, we have no difficulty concluding that these documents evidence an intent by Stewart and Eckert to play fast and loose with the courts”.

Eckert appealed Jude Saporito’s ruling, which required Eckert to turn over to POM many internal emails. On July 5, 2022, Federal Judge Jennifer P. Wilson ruled for POM, declaring, “in making inconsistent representations to the court, Eckert has attempted to obstruct the discovery process as to the central issue in this case: whether Eckert breached its fiduciary duty to POM by representing Parx, a party with adverse interests, at the same time that it represented POM.”

POM is a leading developer of games of skill in the United States. Its games are played in thousands of small restaurants and bars, along with many social halls such as American Legion and Veterans of Foreign War posts.  POM games generated millions of dollars in revenue for businesses and clubs in Pennsylvania last year.

Gambling in the USA

AGA to Host State of the Industry Presentation, Release Report on Record-Breaking 2023 Commercial Gaming Revenue

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The American Gaming Association (AGA) will hold its annual State of the Industry presentation with AGA President and CEO Bill Miller today, February 20 at 11:30 AM ET/8:30 AM PT.

During the presentation, the AGA will release full-year 2023 commercial gaming revenue numbers, discuss gaming’s third consecutive record-setting revenue year, provide analysis on the current gaming landscape, and preview AGA priorities for 2024.

Media are invited to a press call immediately following the presentation for Q&A.

What: AGA State of the Industry: Gaming’s Look Ahead & 2023 Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker Release

Who: AGA President and CEO Bill Miller and Vice President, Research David Forman

When: Today, February 20, 2024 at 11:30 AM ET/8:30 AM PT

Where: WEBINAR REGISTRATION | PRESS CALL REGISTRATION

For questions about this event or AGA’s Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker, contact [email protected].

 

Background

AGA’s Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker provides state-by-state and cumulative insight into the U.S. commercial gaming industry’s financial performance based on state revenue reports. This issue highlights full-year 2023 figures and Q4 2023 results. Tribal gaming revenue is released annually by the National Indian Gaming Commission.

35 states and the District of Columbia featured operational commercial gaming markets in 2023, including casino gaming, sports betting and iGaming.

AGA’s State of Play Map charts gaming’s economic impact, industry regulations and casino locations on a state-by-state basis for both the commercial and tribal gaming sectors.

 

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Gambling in the USA

2023 Commercial Gaming Revenue Reaches $66.5B, Marking Third-Straight Year of Record Revenue

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Industry Contributes All-Time High $14.4B in State and Local Gaming Taxes.

U.S. commercial gaming revenue reached an annual record of $66.5 billion in 2023, according to the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker. The total surpasses 2022’s previous high of $60.5 billion by 10 percent, marking the industry’s third-straight record revenue year.

The year was punctuated by all-time high quarterly revenue of $17.4 billion in Q4 2023, anchored by $6.2 billion in revenue in December, the highest grossing month in industry history.

“From the traditional casino experience to online options, American adults’ demand for gaming is at an all-time high,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “Sustaining our momentum will take unified industry efforts around combating pernicious illegal operators and growing responsible gambling efforts in tandem with the growth of the legal market—both of which the AGA is committed to lead on throughout 2024.”

The commercial gaming industry continues to evolve, with online gaming making up nearly one-quarter (24.7%) of nationwide commercial gaming revenue in 2023, a new annual high. Looking at each sector:

Traditional Gaming: Brick-and-mortar casino slots and table games grossed a record $49.4 billion in 2023, up 3.3 percent over 2022. On a state level, 19 out of 27 traditional gaming markets saw record annual revenue.
Sports Betting: In 2023, sports betting achieved new records for handle ($119.8B) and sportsbook revenue ($10.9B), up 27.8 and 44.5 percent respectively. This growth was largely fueled by continued maturation across most existing markets as well as several new markets, particularly in Massachusetts and Ohio.

iGaming: 2023 online casino revenue grew 22.9 percent year-over-year to $6.2 billion in the six states with full-scale legal iGaming.

In 2023, 12 of the top 20 commercial casino gaming markets reported revenue growth compared to the previous year, with the top market—the Las Vegas Strip—seeing the strongest year-over-year gains. New Jersey maintained its spot as the second-highest grossing market, while Chicagoland (third) flipped rankings with the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. market (fourth) and Mississippi Gulf Coast (fifth) rounded out the top five.

The commercial gaming industry also contributed more to state and local governments’ coffers than ever in 2023. Throughout the year, commercial gaming operators paid an estimated $14.4 billion in direct gaming revenue taxes, an increase of 9.7 percent year-over-year. The industry also contributes billions of additional tax dollars to states each year in the form of income, sales, payroll and various other corporate taxes.

“Gaming’s success translates directly to the success of the states, cities and towns in which we operate,” continued Miller. “We are proud to be in 47 U.S. jurisdictions, acting as economic drivers, creating jobs and providing the funding that makes critical public education programs, infrastructure projects, problem gambling resources and more possible.”

Miller will make additional remarks on full-year 2023 commercial gaming revenue figures and preview AGA’s priorities for the year ahead in AGA’s annual State of the Industry webinar on Feb. 20 at 11:30 AM ET/8:30 AM PT.

For additional information about (AGA) Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker visit americangaming.org

For registration visit bigmarker.com

 

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Gambling in the USA

Internet Vikings Strengthens its Disaster Recovery Capability in Delaware with Second Data Center

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Internet Vikings, a leading provider of licensed in-state hosting solutions in the United States, has opened its second data center in Delaware. This strategic expansion strengthens the company’s position within the iGaming and sports betting market, enabling it to deliver reliable and always-on disaster recovery services to operators across the state of Delaware.

According to Internet Vikings’ official statement, the opening of a second data center in Delaware is a company response to increasing industry demands for stability and reliability within the region.

In September of 2023, Internet Vikings became the first hosting provider to implement full redundancy in West Virginia, responding to industry demands for disaster recovery in light of the increased risk of ransomware attacks. By opening a second data center in Delaware, the company underscores its commitment to meeting the evolving needs of the iGaming and sports betting sectors with reliable hosting solutions.

“Our clients require absolute assurance that their platforms will operate seamlessly, irrespective of unforeseen circumstances,” the Chief Technology Officer for Internet Vikings, Kristoffer Ottosson, said. “This impelled our decision to bolster our presence in Delaware with a second data center, providing premium redundancy and performance.”

“Considering the heightened risk posed by ransomware attacks and the significant financial losses they incur, disaster recovery has emerged as a strategic priority for numerous gaming companies,” the founder and Chief Executive Officer for Internet Vikings, Rickard Vikstrom, said. “Our second data center in Delaware strengthens the disaster recovery capacity in the region, offering the industry the highest level of security and infrastructure.”

With its commitment to security, reliability, and client success, Internet Vikings is charting its own course in the iGaming and sports betting landscape across the United States.

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