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MGC Debuts Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program for Sports Wagering

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The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has announced that a Voluntary Self-Exclusion (VSE) list has been established specifically for sports wagering.

Since the first casino in Massachusetts opened in 2015, more than 1700 people have enrolled in a VSE program for casino gaming, and today there are 1329 individuals enrolled. The VSE programs are designed to allow those who want to regain control a means to restrict their access to gambling for a pre-determined amount of time. With the introduction of sports wagering, individuals will have the option to self-exclude from casino gaming floors, retail and digital sportsbooks, or both forms of gambling.

Individuals interested in excluding themselves from retail sportsbook locations or mobile/online sports wagering apps are able to enroll in VSE over the phone at 1.800.GAM.1234, online at gamesensema.com, or in-person at a GameSense Info Center at Plainridge Park Casino, MGM Springfield or Encore Boston Harbor.

Those currently on the casino VSE list will remain so and will continue to be excluded from the casino floor including the soon-to-be-opened sportsbooks.

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According to a 2022 study conducted by researchers at UMass Amherst, an estimated 13-20% of Massachusetts adults have engaged in sports betting ahead of the law that legalized sports wagering in the Commonwealth. The same study found evidence that the introduction of sports wagering and participation in sports wagering led to an increase in gambling harms.

“VSE programs are proven to be a successful tool for those who need a break from gambling to manage their own play. In light of research we have at our disposal, the MGC and our licensees are committed to offering these types of programs and a range of other resources to help gamblers in the Commonwealth,” said MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein.

An early evaluation of the VSE program in Massachusetts found that enrolees reported significant improvements in gambling problems, mental health, and relationship quality six months after enrolling.

“While VSE is one way to help people struggling with a gambling problem, we highly recommend they also seek treatment from a qualified clinician,” said Mark Vander Linden, MGC Director of Research and Responsible Gaming.

The Massachusetts Problem Gambling Helpline (800-327-5050) can provide callers with information about treatment and other resources.

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“Massachusetts has provided innovation and leadership in the realms of problem and responsible gambling. This early and comprehensive approach to VSE continues in that tradition. We hope that anyone in need of a conversation and some help with minimizing the impact gambling has on their life will consider this evidence-based program,” said Marlene Warner, CEO of the Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health.

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Plaza Hotel & Casino announces second Super Bingo $20,000 Giveaway

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Home to downtown Las Vegas’ only bingo room, the Plaza Hotel & Casino will again hold a $20,000 Super Bingo Giveaway. To qualify for the $20,000 Super Bingo Giveaway, players receive 10 drawing tickets for every Super Bingo 2-day event played in August 2024 through May 2025.

Upcoming Super Bingo dates in 2024 are Aug. 5-7, Sept. 9-11, Oct. 7-9, and Nov. 11-13. At the end of the year, the Plaza will hold its first-ever Super Bingo during the New Year’s holiday, Dec. 30 – Jan. 1. In 2025, Super Bingo events that count towards the $20,000 giveaway will be held Feb. 3-5, March 3-5, April 7-9, and May 5-7.

A group of people sitting at tables Description automatically generated with medium confidenceDuring the June 2025 Super Bingo event, the $20,000 giveaway drawing will occur before the coverall on day 2, June 4, 2025. Players must be present to win. Ten prizes will be awarded with a first prize of $10,000. All prizes will be paid in cash.

In addition, players who play three or more Super Bingo events from now through May 2025 will receive free registration for the June 2025 event.

Held in the Plaza’s ballroom, Super Bingo draws nearly 1,000 people from across the country and as far away as Hawaii and Canada for the opportunity to win big playing fun-filled games of bingo over two days, with a $50,000 super coverall both days while Bingo at the Plaza Hotel & Casinosocializing with like-minded bingo players.

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Bingo-only registration is $160 per person. Hotel-and-bingo packages start at $300 for a four-night stay with no resort fee.

All Super Bingo players receive one 6-on paper pack for both days, two daubers, free drinks via an open bar at all sessions, boxed lunch both days, and $10 in free slot play after the first day’s session.

The Plaza’s Bingo room offers six daily bingo sessions at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. and is located two floors above the main casino. By parking on the third floor of the Plaza’s self-parking garage, guests have convenient and direct access to the Plaza’s bingo room.

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Industry News

Penn Entertainment to Lay Off About 100 Employees

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Penn Entertainment plans to lay off about 100 employees as it focuses on growth for ESPN Bet.

CEO Jay Snowden told staff members in an internal email that the changes will enhance operational efficiencies following its 2021 acquisition of Canadian media and gaming powerhouse theScore.

The company employs about 20,000 people.

“When PENN acquired theScore, we hit the ground running with the build-out of our proprietary tech stack and the migration of our sportsbook to theScore’s best-in-class-platform,” Snowden wrote in the memo. “This led us to temporarily set aside any potential organizational changes that would typically follow a major acquisition.”

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Penn went on to say it’s embarking on a new phase of growth in its interactive business, which includes ESPN Bet, a $2 billion branding partnership with Disney’s ESPN. Snowden said the initiatives include product enhancements and deeper integration into ESPN’s ecosystem.

Investors are impatient for Penn to demonstrate its muscle with the rebranded sportsbook, and activist investor Donerail Group has called on the board to sell the casino company.

Rumors have swirled about the potential interest from many other online gaming and brick-and-mortar casino companies.

Truist gaming analyst Barry Jonas wrote in a note Thursday that a sale is unlikely in the near term because of the complexity of a transaction that would likely involve major divestitures.

Penn’s release of new ESPN Bet features this fall during football season should meaningfully improve its product, Jonas said, and a focus on costs indicate the company’s commitment to seeing its investment yield results.

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Penn shares have plummeted 25% year to date. It has missed earnings expectations the last two quarters and lowered guidance.

“Investors continue to wonder what an ESPN Bet success could look like, and how much more investment (beyond what’s guided) it’ll take to reach,” Jonas notes.

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Greenlite Ventures Completes Agreement with No Limit Technology

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Greenlite Ventures Inc. has announced the signing of a Reorganization Agreement with No Limit Technology Holdings Inc. (No Limit), a company involved in the sports betting and cryptocurrency markets. The agreement has been submitted to FINRA pursuant to its company-related action review process. Once the review is concluded, and FINRA advises the company that no further action is required, the acquisition will be deemed closed. However, the decision to conclude the review and determine that no further action is required is entirely within the authority of FINRA and no assurance can be given that such will be the case.

As a result of the acquisition, GRNL will own all physical assets and intellectual property previously owned and developed by No Limit. In consideration, No Limit has acquired majority shareholder control of GRNL, and No Limit founder and CEO Rafael Groswirt will be appointed as GRNL’s new CEO.

With this acquisition, GRNL seeks to create a decentralized sports betting ecosystem. Utilizing blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence, and peer-to-peer algorithms, GRNL plans to launch a sports betting exchange powered by its own cryptocurrency, the No Limit Coin. The platform is intended to offer financial benefits to users, including a greatly reduced house take and non-custodial wallets that allow users to always be in control of their funds.

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