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Gaming CEOs Remain Positive on Current Business Climate, Reserved on Future Outlook

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The majority of gaming executives report a positive view of current business conditions, while economic uncertainty is tempering future industry growth expectations, according to the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Gaming Industry Outlook presented in partnership with Fitch Ratings.

Overall, nearly every gaming executive surveyed characterizes the current business situation as good (62%) or satisfactory (35%). However, panel participants report a more cautious outlook moving forward, with only 20 percent expecting future conditions to be better than today and two-thirds (64%) expecting future conditions to be the same.

“Gaming’s record momentum has continued into 2023 and that is clearly reflected by the attitudes of gaming executives around the country,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “While projections of slowing growth across the American economy are muting expectations for gaming in the medium term, our industry is well-positioned to weather any potential headwinds.”

Current Conditions Index
The Current Conditions Index of 106.0 shows strong growth in casino gaming-related economic activity in Q1 2023 relative to Q4 2022, the commercial gaming industry’s highest-grossing quarter to date. Over the last three quarters, industry activity has been expanding at an annualized pace of approximately 8.4 percent, reflecting real underlying growth, controlled for the effects of inflation. Comparatively, the national U.S. economy grew 2.9 percent over the last two quarters of 2022, the most recently available quarterly data.

Future Conditions Index
The Future Conditions Index decelerated to 97.1 in Q1 2023, indicating annualized industry economic activity is expected to decrease moderately over the next six months. This is partially driven by Gaming Executive Panel results—which remain positive but have softened relative to six months ago—as well as the current Oxford Economics forecast which predicts the U.S. economy will experience mild recession in the second half of 2023.

Gaming Executive Panel

Results from the Gaming Executive Panel show more cautious attitudes for growth over the next six months, with a greater share of executives expecting the pace of new employee hiring, revenue growth and customer activity to decrease over the next three to six months than to increase. Competition for current employees also continues to be a challenge, with talent retention cited as another area of concern by the panel.

Operators and suppliers both express outsized optimism across certain segments of their businesses:

More operators expect capital investment (21% net positive) and gaming units in operation (14% net positive) to increase over the next three to six months than decrease.
Gaming equipment manufacturers are particularly positive, with almost all supplier executives expecting sales of gaming units for replacement use to increase (88% net positive) and most expecting units for new or expansion use to increase (63% net positive). No gaming manufacturer expected the pace of sales to decrease.

Concerns around interest rates and inflation (cited by 69% of respondents) and economic uncertainty (38%) remain top concerns for industry executives. Meanwhile, supply chain delays have fallen out of the top five concerns of executives, replaced with geopolitical risk (31%). Concerns around availability of credit have also eased in the past six months, with the share of executives reporting access to credit as tight (20%) equally balanced by the share that view it as easy (20%).

About the Outlook

The AGA Gaming Industry Outlook is presented in partnership with Fitch Ratings and prepared biannually by Oxford Economics. It provides a timely measure of recent industry growth and future expectations. The Q1 2023 survey was conducted between March 29 – April 10, 2023. A total of 26 executives responded, including executives at the major international and domestic gaming companies, tribal gaming operators, single-unit casino operators, major gaming equipment suppliers, and major iGaming and/or sports betting operators.

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THE MONEYMAKER TOUR RETURNS TO HARD ROCK CINCINNATI WITH MORE THAN $1 MILLION UP FOR GRABS

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Following a hugely successful first event in Cincinnati, Ohio in September 2023, the Moneymaker Tour is returning to the Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati on September 17 – 30, 2024 with a packed schedule that will guarantee more than $1 million across 15 trophy events. 

In September 2023’s inaugural stop at Hard Rock Cincinnati, the $1,500 Main Event was contested by 788 players and won by Joseph Bakun for $208,034. He was joined at the final table by Chris Moneymaker himself and WSOP Champion Joseph McKeehen and as well as the top cash prize, he also took home a crystal Moneymaker Tour trophy and a guitar trophy.

The Moneymaker Tour was created in 2023 by 2003 WSOP Champion and ACR Team Pro, Chris Moneymaker and Moneymaker Tour Executive Manager, Tony Burns. The Tour was conceived as a way for Moneymaker to give poker players opportunities to have their own ordinary to extraordinary moments as he did.

Despite its relative newcomer status, the Moneymaker Tour has made a name for itself, recently being voted the third most popular live poker tournament series behind only the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour, in a State of Poker survey. Since its inception, there have been eight events throughout Florida, Cincinnati and Houston.

The Tour has also recently announced new venues including a first visit to the birthplace of the Moneymaker boom with an event in Las Vegas from June 28 – July 6 at MGM Grand and its first international Main Event at Casino Aruba in October.

“Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati will team up with the Moneymaker Tour for a return in 2024” said Christopher Herbert, Hard Rock Cincinnati Manger of Poker & Sportsbook. “Hard Rock Cincinnati is grateful to be a part of the fastest growing poker tour in 2023. Chris Moneymaker, Tony Burns and their staff delivered an incredible experience for our guests during the 2023 Moneymaker Tour stop. There’s no better place to be in September 2024 than Cincinnati Ohio!”

“After an amazing series last September, we are excited to return to Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati”, said Tony Burns, Executive Manager of the Moneymaker Tour. “Continuing to partner with one of the most recognisable brands in the world amplifies our reach, resonates with our audience, and rocks our business to a whole other level.”

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Zenni Optical Announces Partnership with ESL FACEIT Group (EFG)

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Zenni Optical, the world’s leading online eyewear retailer, announced a partnership with ESL FACEIT Group (EFG), the leading esports and video game entertainment company. Designed to integrate eye health education with innovative eyewear solutions for the esports community, the partnership will officially launch at DreamHack festival in Dallas, taking place from May 31 to June 2.

This collaboration will showcase a co-branded collection of lifestyle and competitive eyewear and accessories, highlighting Zenni Optical’s commitment to promoting overall eye health, particularly in addressing issues like eye fatigue and strain. Additionally, the initiative will incorporate essential eye health education across various DreamHack Festivals, in alignment with EFG’s broader mission to foster inclusive gaming worlds and engaged, supported communities.

“DreamHack and ESL represent some of the most community-centric and prestigious competitive events in the world. In their own unique ways, they embody esports for everyone. By partnering with these incredible brands across the gaming and esports spaces, we aim to create engaging experiences that combine eye-health education with innovative eyewear solutions for players and fans at all levels,” said Robb Chiarini, Head of Gaming, Sports, & Events at Zenni Optical.

“We are thrilled to partner with Zenni Optical as the Official Eyewear Partner of DreamHack and ESL. The genuine passion that Zenni has for the esports industry is a refreshing sight to see, and a major driving factor for the decision behind our partnership. Zenni’s ongoing commitment to provide eyewear for everyone mirrors our own drive to create worlds beyond gameplay for gamers everywhere,” Craig Levine, Co-CEO at EFG, said.

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Circa Sports Launches Mobile App in Kentucky

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Circa Sports has expanded its operations into Kentucky with the launch of its popular mobile betting app. Debuting via a licensing agreement with ECL Corbin LLC at its Cumberland Run harness track, the brand will take the highest betting limits in the industry along with offering tight money line splits, transparent odds, exceptional customer service, and more.

Marking the fifth state for Circa Sports, the app is now available for download through partnership with the Cumberland Run property in Corbin, Kentucky. The Circa Sports Kentucky app can be downloaded and funded remotely from anywhere. Bettors will have access to transparent and fair limits, made possible with a business model of providing betting lines and odds that are more favorable for the customer.

“We are thrilled to launch Circa Sports in the great state of Kentucky. We’ve always had our sights set here as we know it is a major hub for college sports, horse racing and more. We are looking forward to providing Kentucky bettors with some of the best odds and expertise out there,” Derek Stevens, CEO of Circa Sports, said.

The Circa Sports Kentucky app was designed by players, for players. Available to patrons ages 18 and over, highlights include high betting limits, tight money line splits, transparent odds, exceptional customer service, option to browse the complete menu and live odds from anywhere at any time, and aggressive, higher-than-most betting limits for everyone – even winners.

The Circa app also includes future bets in parlays, two-sided Yes/No future betting, remote registration that can be done from anywhere on a mobile device and deposits and withdrawals that can be done through the app from anywhere.

Marc Falcone, co-owner of the ECL Corbin LLC properties, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Circa Sports to the Commonwealth as a sports-betting partner. They allow us to offer another amenity to complement our existing gaming.”

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