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United Arab Exit

The latest story in Unusually Timed Business Decisions came from Bloomberg this week, as it reported on Caesars Entertainment’s decision to relinquish its resort in the UAE.

The casino giant currently operates Caesars Palace Dubai after opening in 2018, but the property is set to be rebranded as a Banyan Tree property from November as Caesars prepares to leave the UAE behind.

The decision has raised eyebrows not least because the country, where all forms of gambling are currently prohibited, recently made a major announcement about the formation of its very own Gaming Commission.

Developments towards a regulatory framework for gambling in the country has seen Wynn commit to building a brand new resort in the Ras Al Khaima emirate, while MGM continues to work on the construction of its own resort in Dubai.

With the associated uptick in revenue that integrated resort operators could find from opening casino operations in the country, Caesars’ decision to leave at this point doubtless struck many as rather odd.

Especially given that during a 2022 earnings call, Caesars CEO Tom Reeg said: “That was the original thought when Caesars struck that deal in Dubai, that maybe ultimately, the UAE would have gaming.

“If there’s an opportunity, you should expect that we would be active and our brand and building is already open.”

Given that the opportunity is now becoming clearer on the horizon, is Caesars missing a trick by leaving its UAE operations behind?

Or does it know something we don’t?

Fixed match bettor avoids jail time

The latest in the world of match-fixing came from The Guardian this week, as it reported that Australian former leading table tennis player Adam Michael Green has narrowly avoided jail time related to previous fraudulent betting activity.

In court, Green admitted to placing 1,170 bets on fixed international table tennis tournament matches, winning himself and his overseas associates $473,000 in the process.

Newcastle (New South Wales) district court judge Peter McGrath said “he was satisfied Green was genuinely remorseful and ashamed for what he had done and the impact it had had on the game he loved,” according to The Guardian.

In addition, a psychological report suggested that Green needed ongoing treatment for a gambling disorder – a service that woud not have been made available to him in prison.

In lieu of a custodial sentence, Green was placed on a three-year intensive correction order and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service.

He was also prohibited from holding any betting account for the next three years.

Green’s bets on fixed matches took place over a seven-month period, up until his eventual arrest in December 2020.

He pleaded guilty in court to one count of using corrupt information to bet on an event and one count of knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.

“Persons placing bets are likely to be defrauded or suffer losses when individuals in possession of corrupt information use it to their own advantage,” the judge said.

“All players in the market, those who set the markets and those who bet on them, are entitled to expect it is a level playing field.”

Green’s arrest was the result of investigations by New South Wales detectives alongside Sport Integrity Australia.

The case marks one more step towards ensuring a level playing field for all.

Competition hots up as NFL season begins

As the NFL season gets underway in the US, Business Insider this week treated us to its view on how new competition could “shake up” the betting industry.

The American football season is no time for complacency among US operators, as they battle it out for their share of customer spend across the country.

And while FanDuel and DraftKings continue to lead the charge, “everyone’s kind of fighting for that third and fourth spot,” according to Macquarie gambling analyst Chad Beynon.

Among the main challengers for a podium position are Stoke on Trent-based bet365, Insider suggests, which many have called the “sleeping giant” of US betting.

As one of the most popular gambling brands globally, the firm’s lacklustre approach to the US since the repeal of PASPA in 2018 has had many guessing at when it will go full throttle on the still-nascent betting market.

The firm’s US app has made significant gains this year, driven by “marketing spend and product quality,” according to Eilers and Krejcik’s Chris Krafcik.

And while it has long since missed its chance at a first mover advantage, the company’s highly regarded product and reputation could see it challenge rivals for a top spot among US operators.

Elsewhere, two non-endemic betting companies in Fanatics and ESPN also have a chance to shake things up, Insider suggested.

“All eyes will be on” the companies as they enter the fray this autumn, “with consumer-facing brands that could be powerful enough” to challenge the status quo.

In spite of it all, though, the piece suggests that market leaders FanDuel and DraftKings are hardly likely to run scared from the competition.

With more than 70% market share between them, the firms remain laser focused on improving their profitability while maintaining their effective duopoly on the market.

On the other hand, operators like BetMGM and Caesars “should be worried,” as newcomers threaten to steal market share away from the third and fourth biggest brands in the sector.

Readers are encouraged to set aside a few minutes to get the full rundown of the change of dynamics taking place in US betting this NFL season.

By the time the tournament concludes in January, the industry could look very different to the way it does today.

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