It’s information overload everywhere, and there’s not time enough to sleep and eat and stay fully apprised of what’s happening on this crazy blue dot of ours (two out of three ain’t bad). Here’s the weekend (or fashionably late) Sports Handle item, “Get a Grip,” recapping the week’s top legal U.S. sports betting stories, highlighting some fresh news and rounding up key stories.
California compromise? Not so much
Weeks before the state of California begins discussion on its 2020-21 budget, two lawmakers revived ACA 16, the sports betting bill that has been bouncing around the state legislature for the last few years. Amendments include statewide mobile and retail sports betting at tribal locations and horse racetracks.
In past versions, the tribes have been left out of the mix. In fact, the tribes were working on their own referendum, which would have allowed for retail sports betting only at tribal locations and horse racetracks, but it appears that the COVID-19 crisis has killed any chance for the tribes get enough signatures to get the initiative on the ballot. As of late February, the tribes had collected 25% of the nearly 1 million signatures needed, but with the ongoing lockdown in California, it’s unlikely they’ll make the late June-July deadline.
According to multiple sources, Rep. Adam Gray and Sen. Bill Dodd dropped the amendments on Thursday without talking with stakeholders, many of whom were surprised. The tribes likely will oppose the amendments, in large part because of the mobile piece, but also because the lawmakers propose to tax sports betting at a rate of 10% for retail and 15% for digital. The tribes can’t be directly taxed, so the amendment calls for taxing operators, and tribal interests aren’t enthusiastic about partnering with mobile sports betting firms like FanDuel.
This is why you can't allow CA cardrooms to be anywhere near legal sports betting and must halt the illegal games they have been dealing for years. https://t.co/1xam2a1a3B
— Roger Gros (@GlobalGamingBiz) May 29, 2020
With the amendments, lawmakers are seeking to close a long and deep rift between California’s card rooms and the tribes. The card rooms wouldn’t have access to sports betting, but the language of the bill essentially has the tribes promising they will stop pursuing lawsuits against the card rooms. A source in the card-room industry on Friday said the California Gaming Association (card rooms, horse racetracks) will support the measure.
The lawmakers claim the amendments could bring as much as “hundreds of millions a year” into state coffers via sports betting tax revenue. Though the state cannot tax tribal entities, it can tax operators, and language in the amendments apparently calls for just that. Other details:
- Operators are required to use “official league data”;
- The state’s four licensed racetracks could offer retail sports betting on-site as well as at one additional facility;
- Each tribal casino, racetrack and satellite facility are entitled to one online skin; and
- Tribal casinos could add craps and roulette.
“Even if you don’t bet there is good reason to support this bill,” Dodd said in a statement. “Revenue from sports wagering will help us avoid teacher layoffs and painful cuts. At the same time, it will allow us to regulate a practice that happens anyway.”
A hearing is set for Tuesday in the Senate Government Organization Committee.
Curb your enthusiasm
New bettors in D.C. These odds (prices) are like paying $2 for a gallon of gas, while other states are only charging a $1.
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) May 28, 2020
The D.C. Lottery on Thursday launched its “GamBetDC” sports wagering app. The app is the only one that consumers may use legally in the District of Columbia, though bettors will eventually be able to use other apps or bet in person at the city’s professional sports venues and licensed sports bars. The launch is nearly two months later than officials had hoped, after they delayed in late March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unfortunately for folks in the D.C. area, the “GamBetDC” app represents a horrifying, Twilight Zone version of sports wagering, which anyone who is discerning or possesses a clue will quickly discover. It’s the shambolic app that resulted from a completely corrupt process awarding the gambling company Intralot the ability to be the one and only (horror) show in town. For a complete numerical illustration of the folly of “GamBetDC,” check out this explanation by The EV Chief.
Elsewhere in the region, West Virginia operators were among the first to launch in the summer of 2018 after PASPA was overturned. Between then and now, neighboring Virginia has legalized retail and statewide mobile sports betting, and Maryland lawmakers are sending a ballot referendum on sports betting to voters in November. In Virginia, regulators hope to have mobile platforms open for business by December.
Other industry news …
The groundswell is growing – bettors want to at least TRY to win. Some sites have incentive to encourage reckless behavior. So instead, experienced bettors are putting out the content aspiring bettors really want.
— Captain Jack Andrews (@capjack2000) May 28, 2020
NO SPORTS, NO PROBLEM: In the stock market, that is. Sports betting stocks surge despite covid-19 conditions [AXIOS]
OUCH: Nevada gaming revenue down 99.6% in April. [CDCGaming]
BATTLE LINES DRAWN: Ohio House sends bill to Senate, setting up fight over regulator. [SportsHandle]
TRAJECTORY: Exploring PA’s path toward becoming top state for sports betting, iGaming. [PennBets]
319 PENN: One of the first applications for a Class-B retail sportsbook license made in D.C. [Bisnow]
REAL DEAL? Lots of people are betting on table tennis, but are the matches legitimate? [ESPN]
— Jeff Hwang (@RivalSchoolX) May 18, 2020
BIG BUY: DraftKings reportedly looking at acquiring Bleacher Report. [FrntOfficeSport]
VOTE ON IT: Louisiana lawmakers send a sports betting referendum bill to governor. [SportsHandle]
WATER WAGER: Limited revenue from CO sports betting won’t stop water initiatives. [CO-Bets]
WE WON’T BOTHER YOU: Feds say they’re not a threat to state lotteries. [SportsHandle]
MAYBE NEXT YEAR: TN bill that would have made oversight committee the regulator withdrawn. [TNBets]
In sports …
WE’RE BACK: NHL will return to action with a 24-team playoff Stanley cup in two cities. [NHL.com]
BRING IT ON: NBA Board of Governors to vote on restarting season in Orlando. [ESPN]
SKY SPORTS: English Premier League will be back in action starting June 17. [SkySports]
Huge TV numbers for “The Match:” Champions for Charity:
* 5.8 million viewers; most-watched golf event in cable TV history, TNT says.
* Peak of 6.3 million viewers (5:45-6p ET).
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) May 25, 2020
METS’ MOCKERY: Minor leaguer rips team for saddling it with Tim Tebow. [USAT]
FOREVER CHANGED? Will surviving coronavirus have alter careers of athletes? [NYT]
TAKING THEIR MEDICINE: Meet the NFL’s doctor and his team of ‘badasses.’ [WSJ]
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 29, 2020