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Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Extends Support for Governor’s Economic Initiatives and State of the State Address

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Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) Executive Director Henry Williams has issued the following statement after Governor Gretchen Whitmer delivered her sixth annual State of the State address at the Michigan State Capitol Building this evening, during which she outlined priorities for the year to state legislators and leaders:

“As a native of Detroit, lifelong Michigander and dedicated gaming regulator, I am pleased to express my support for the Governor and her commendable economic initiatives as outlined in her recent State of the State address. Governor Whitmer has demonstrated a sincere commitment to promoting economic growth and revitalizing our great state and Michigan’s gaming industry is a significant contributor to that effort.

“Our commercial and tribal operators are already on a roll in 2024, fueled by momentum from 2023; a year that saw Michigan’s total iGaming and sports betting gross receipts hit a record $2.3 billion. The state continues to receive hundreds of millions of tax dollars from gaming operators and the casinos, which is much-needed funding that goes back into supporting our local communities and their citizens.

“Despite the fact that Michigan only recently launched online gaming three years ago, it has since become an emerging powerhouse and the country’s second leading iGaming market, just ahead of New Jersey and behind Pennsylvania, proving that we’re well on our way to being simply the best.

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“It is through the collaboration of government, businesses and communities that we owe our collective success and through which we can achieve continued economic growth and development that creates a better future for all Michiganders. I am proud to be a part of it and pledge my support to collaborate with the Governor and her administration in achieving our shared goals.”

Gambling in any form is for entertainment purposes only. If someone has a gambling problem, please call the state’s 24-hour, toll-free helpline at 1-800-270-7117 or the MGCB’s responsible gaming section at 1-888-223-3044. Visit the Responsible Gaming page of the MGCB website for information on self-exclusion programs including the Disassociated Persons List and the Internet Gaming and Sports Betting Responsible Gaming Database and DontRegretTheBet.org for additional tools to game responsibly.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board shall ensure the conduct of fair and honest gaming to protect the interests of the citizens of the state of Michigan. Learn more at Michigan.gov/MGCB.

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MGM Resorts International and Playtech Announce Strategic Partnership

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Playtech and MGM Resorts International announced a strategic partnership that will offer new and unique live casino content to operators in the iGaming industry.

Streamed directly from the gaming floors of two of MGM Resorts’ most iconic Las Vegas Strip properties, the live casino content, branded as “MGM Live,” will be available for licensing in regulated markets worldwide, outside of the US.

The live casino offering will include single and double-zero roulette and baccarat games. These games will be broadcast live from the casino floors at both MGM Grand and Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

As the partnership evolves, the plan is to broaden the portfolio with exclusive access to a variety of Playtech games, branded TV game shows, celebrity-hosted trivia shows, and the one-of-a-kind entertainment experiences for which Las Vegas and MGM Resorts are known.

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“The launch of this new and exciting live casino offering, in partnership with Playtech and directly from Bellagio and MGM Grand in Las Vegas, furthers our strategic vision to be the world’s premier gaming entertainment company. This collaboration amplifies our commitment to providing unparalleled experiences and expands our global reach to our customers. We believe the content, celebrity talent and sophisticated gaming experience that we will offer – all from the trusted and highly reputable brands of MGM Resorts – will be unmatched in the industry,” Bill Hornbuckle, CEO and President of MGM Resorts, said.

“We are thrilled to partner with MGM Resorts, a world-renowned gaming and entertainment brand. This alliance combines the strength of MGM Resorts’ global prestige with Playtech’s extensive international market knowledge and innovative games. As a leading technology provider in regulated markets, we are delighted that this partnership is pioneering a new live entertainment category and product offering for players in these regulated territories. Our alliance is built on a shared vision to create an innovative and unique customer experience alongside our commitment to safer gambling. Both Playtech and MGM Resorts are dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of player protection and ensuring our offerings are enjoyed responsibly,” Mor Weizer, Chief Executive Officer at Playtech, said.

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Compliance Updates

NJ Governor Murphy Establishes Task Force to Support Responsible Gaming

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed Executive Order No. 360, establishing a Responsible Gaming Task Force responsible for providing advice and recommendations to the Governor’s Office and to the Attorney General regarding reforms to support responsible gaming and to address problem gambling in New Jersey.

A rise in problem gambling has been observed over the past few years, according to a 2023 report from the Rutgers University Center for Gambling Studies. The Rutgers study estimated that 6% of New Jersey residents are at high risk for problem gambling, which is significantly higher than the national average of 1-2%, with the highest rates affecting Black/African American or Hispanic residents.

“New Jersey is known to be a gaming destination with historic locations like Atlantic City, amusement gaming at the Jersey Shore, notable horse racing venues, and more. This Task Force will see to it that we maintain our global leadership in gaming by ensuring that we have the tools needed to address problem gaming for our residents,” said Governor Murphy.

“I applaud Governor Murphy for his leadership in elevating responsible gaming initiatives through the establishment of a statewide task force. New Jersey has been a national leader in casino and sports wagering for many years, and we owe it to our residents to review and expand our existing efforts on problem gambling. This task force demonstrates that ‘responsible gaming’ is not merely a buzzword in New Jersey, but a critical issue that demands the attention of government entities, industry, and stakeholders. As Chair of the task force, I’m eager to get underway in examining ways to help bring attention to and support the prevention and treatment of gambling disorder,” said Attorney General Platkin.

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The responsibilities of the Responsible Gaming Task Force will be to review several areas of the problem gambling landscape, including the effects on underage and vulnerable communities; develop strategies to achieve responsible gaming; and make recommendations for policy changes to address the issue of problem gambling.

Members of the Task Force will consist of seven government representatives or their designees, including:

The Attorney General, who shall serve as Chair;

The Chair of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission;

The Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs;

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The Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement;

The Director of the Division of State Lottery;

The Executive Director of the New Jersey Racing Commission; and

The Commissioner of the Department of Human Services.

The Task Force may consult with experts, representatives of regulated entities, or other knowledgeable individuals in the public or private sector with respect to any aspect of its mission.

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Interblock Gaming Installs its Award-winning Smart Pit at Boomtown Casino Biloxi

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Interblock Gaming, the developer and supplier of luxury Electronic Table Games (ETGs), has installed its award-winning Smart Pit at Boomtown Casino Biloxi, a PENN Entertainment Inc. property.

This state-of-the-art gaming setup, prominently positioned at the casino’s entrance, went live on Tuesday, June 11.

To celebrate the innovative addition, Boomtown Casino Biloxi will host a Grand Opening event on Thursday, June 27 from 3 pm to 5 pm. The event will feature delicious hors d’oeuvres, exciting giveaways, and a variety of activities for guests to enjoy. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 3:30 pm, marking the official launch of the Smart Pit.

“We are thrilled to partner with Boomtown Casino Biloxi for the launch of our Smart Pit technology. This installation marks a significant milestone in our mission to revolutionize the gaming experience, combining advanced technology with traditional gaming elements to enhance both player engagement and operational efficiency,” John Connelly, CEO of Interblock, said.

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The Smart Pit at Boomtown Casino Biloxi provides players with an unmatched gaming experience, featuring Live Craps, Dual Roulette, and two Blackjack tables. This cutting-edge setup merges the excitement of traditional table games with the advantages of sophisticated technology. The chip-less technology ensures seamless play and accurate payouts. Players can anticipate immersive gameplay with interactive dealer experiences, a variety of side bets, and the thrill of participating in multiple games simultaneously. The Smart Pit is designed to appeal to both seasoned players and newcomers, guaranteeing a captivating and enjoyable gaming experience for all.

Barry Regula, VP and GM of Boomtown Casino Biloxi, said: “We are excited to launch Boomtown’s EZ Play Zone, powered by Interblock’s Smart Pit solution. The EZ Play Zone offers our guests the convenience and flexibility of wagering electronically on Blackjack, Roulette, and Craps while still having the fun and camaraderie of interacting with a real dealer and other guests.”

Interblock’s Live Craps transforms the traditional game by allowing players to step into the shooter’s role, adding the excitement of live dice recognition for a truly immersive experience. Dual Roulette heightens the action with two synchronized, color-coded wheels, offering up to 120 spins per hour for a fast-paced and engaging game. For Blackjack enthusiasts, the Smart Pit tables include a variety of thrilling side bets, making each hand more exciting and interactive than ever before. This innovative setup allows players to enjoy more game time, quicker rounds, and smarter gameplay, redefining their casino experience.

“Once again, PENN Entertainment’s properties on the Gulf Coast are proud to be the first to offer cutting-edge gaming technology with the first regional installation of an integrated Smart Pit suite. In addition to being the first to offer linked multi-property table games baccarat progressive jackpots and the first property in Mississippi to offer cashless gaming at Hollywood Gulf Coast, we are now the first property outside of Las Vegas to offer Smart Pit blackjack, roulette, and craps,” Tosha Tousant, VP of Casino Operations at Boomtown, said.

“The launch of Smart Pit at Boomtown Casino Biloxi showcases our commitment to transforming the gaming landscape. By integrating advanced technology with classic table games, we are setting a new industry standard. This innovation is a game-changer that both players and dealers will enjoy,” Jeff Kowalchuk, SVP of Innovation at Interblock, said.

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The Smart Pit also enhances the dealer experience, making operations more intuitive and streamlined. The system’s dealer console provides clear instructions, reducing the need for extensive training and enabling a broader hiring pool. Dealers can manage multiple games simultaneously, increasing efficiency and player interaction. This user-friendly approach ensures that new dealers can quickly adapt and thrive in a dynamic casino environment.

Mandy Ladner, VP of HR at Boomtown Casino Biloxi, said: “Smart Pit opens the door to new potential team members who may have been intimidated by the handling of cash, chips, and the requirement to perform real-time calculations as a ‘live’ dealer. Now, if you are interested in a career in the fun, fast, and social environment of the casino, you don’t need months of dealer’s school and practice to break in, just a great personality and desire to entertain and delight our guests.”

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