Casino News Roundup: West Virginia, Relax Gaming, Melco Resorts

It was a busy week of news in the casino world as it looks like another American state is moving closer to legalizing sports betting in casinos. That’s where we’ll start our weekly roundup of the news: 

West Virginia Takes Big Step Toward Legalization

West Virginia made big strides in getting sports betting legalized in its casinos this week. The house judiciary committee voted 18-6 to start looking at bills about legalizing sports betting. West Virginia would be the first mid-Atlantic state to offer sports betting and the thinking is that this could be a jolt to the state’s casinos. That would help keep 4,000 people employed as it has been tough times there recently. Nearby Pennsylvania has a sports betting law that has been passed but the winnings are taxed at 34 percent. West Virginia’s tax would be at 10 percent, which is much more enticing to players. 

Neighboring Maryland has also been in the mix to legalize sports betting but has to change its state constitution to make it happen. That will keep them off the scene for a few years as they can’t even have a vote on the matter until 2020. West Virginia is trying to get in front of the action and get a large piece of the pie before everyone else legalizes gaming too. 

Relax Gaming Signs Extension With Kindred

Relax Gaming Limited has signed an extension to have its games featured at sites that are operated by the Kindred Group. These sites include 32Red.com, Unibet.co.uk and MariaCasino.co.uk. This deal is an extension of an agreement that saw Relax Gaming’s poker and bingo games being used by the Kindred Group’s network. After seeing positive results, Kindred will also offer roulette and blackjack games from Relax Gaming. This is proving to be a great partnership for the Kindred Group, which was known as the Unibet Group until 2016. 

Look for some even closer ties as these two move forward – especially with the upcoming changes in leadership. Patrik Osteraker, the current CEO for Relax Gaming, will be replaced on April 1 by Daniel Eskola, who is the chief product officer for the Kindred Group. 

Melco Named Operator of the Year

The International Gaming Awards took place in London this past week and a big winner was Melco Resorts and Entertainment, named the Gaming Operator of the Year. Melco is the operator of such properties as the City of Dreams in Manila and Macau, as well as Mocha Clubs, which is also located in Macau. This award was specifically for the Australia/Asia region. 

It wasn’t a huge surprise as Melco is viewed as having some of the best facilities in the area. Its resorts have received high marks from those into betting and those into entertainment. The City of Dreams in Macau is home to The House of the Dancing Water, which is the biggest water-based production in the world, while visitors can also ride the Golden Reel, which is a 430-foot gondola ride at Studio City in Macau, and the Melco properties offer several world-class dining experiences.