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 US sports betting stories, highlighting some fresh news, and rounding up key stories. Also check out this week’s Wild World of Gambling at US Bets.
Says House Speaker @ChrisSprowls "I have felt very strongly that that is not something that we were willing to take up during the course of the regular session. As we have a lot of policy for the people of Florida…and continues to be our focus over the next several days."
— Mary Ellen Klas (@MaryEllenKlas) April 23, 2021
Impasses are made to be broken. In a story that was true at the time, with 10 days left in Florida’s regular session this past Monday, we published:
Fruit ripened in the middle of the week as word spread that state officials and the Seminole Tribe of Florida had agreed in principle to a new compact that would usher in an era of legal sports betting. And then on Friday, ink met paper:
No doubt there are challenges ahead before any systems go — legal, constitutional, technical, unforeseen, otherwise. But the signing of a new compact that will allow some version of an online sports betting market in Florida, with the Seminoles in control, but parimutuel operators having some seat at the table, marks a breakthrough that few expected this year.
More to come on the Florida front in this upcoming week.
More top stories from around our network
Arizona regulator releases timeline
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a sports betting bill into law on April 15 and a day later, it was submitted to the U.S. Dept. of the Interior, starting a timeline that will take months to complete before sports betting operators can go live in the state. The Dept. of Gaming released a timeline this week that shows the Dept. of the Interior has 45 days to approve the pact, and then it must be published in the Federal Register. The Register has 90 days after approval to publish, meaning it could be September before the pacts are what’s considered “operational” in Arizona.
On the regulatory side, the Dept. of Gaming has 60 days from April 15, when Ducey signed the law, to draft proposed rules. From there, a public-comment period opens (usually 30 days). Once the public-comment period closes, the Dept. of Gaming may or may not amend the proposed rules, which then must be approved. Comparing to other states that have gone through a similar process, it could take as little as three months for the Dept. of Gaming to have rules approved or as long as a year. The chart lists the go-live date for operators as “to be determined,” but lawmakers and Ducey have publicly said they’re hoping to be able to have live sports betting by the start of the 2021 football season.
The new law allows for statewide mobile wagering and retail wagering at tribal casinos and professional sports venues. National platforms DraftKings, FanDuel, and William Hill already have market access, and it’s likely that BetMGM, Barstool Sports, or Wynn will announce partners in the coming weeks.
Unibet gets Virginia license; FanDuel dominates
The Kindred Group’s Unibet on April 21 became the 10th sports betting platform to be licensed in Virginia. The site is not yet live, but Unibet does have active sites in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, and plans to open a corporate office in Virginia. The Virginia Lottery launched its first operator, FanDuel, in late January, and got 25 operator applications for about 14 licenses. Unibet joins Bally’s, Golden Nugget, and Penn National/Barstool as operators with temporary permits that are not live.
Also this week, the Virginia Lottery released preliminary betting data for the period of Jan. 21-March 31, which showed that FanDuel captured 53% of market share, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. FanDuel was the first platform to go live, beating out rival DraftKings by three days. DraftKings took 24% of all bets, followed by BetMGM (14%) and Caesars/William Hill (8%).
On Thursday evening, pro-gaming advocates in the Canadian Parliament cleared a major procedural hurdle when the House of Commons passed a bill that aims to legalize single-event sports betting.
The bill, C-218, seeks to modify the Criminal Code of Canada, which prohibits single-game sports betting nationwide. While bettors up north are able to wager on parlays through a handful of Canadian sport lotteries, the parlays are limited in scope. The bets are capped at six-leg parlays, with a maximum of $100 a wager.
The passage of single-game sports betting in Canada could generate annual gross gaming revenue for operators of approximately U.S. $11 billion a year, according to Kevin Waugh, a Conservative Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Grasswood. Waugh, a former sports broadcaster in Saskatoon, authored the bill.
It's official! Bill C-218 has passed third reading in the House of Commons! Now onto the Senate! pic.twitter.com/e4ykGwwj6p
— Kevin Waugh (@KevinWaugh_CPC) April 22, 2021
During Thursday’s session, C-218 passed third reading while receiving all-party support. The bill, known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, was introduced by Waugh last year in an effort to push forward what he deemed as a “common-sense change to an outdated restriction.”
“The Justice Committee’s study on this bill highlighted the fact that legalizing single-event sports betting will create great economic opportunities for Canadian workers, businesses, and employees,” Waugh said in a statement. “It will also ensure that provincial governments have access to the tools necessary to properly regulate sports betting and implement consumer protection and problem gambling programs to protect Canadians.”
Waugh’s bill has received widespread support from numerous professional sports leagues, most notably the cash-strapped Canadian Football League (CFL). It has also received backing from Toronto-based sportsbook operator theScore, which recently began a U.S. listing on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.
“We commend the members on all sides of the House of Commons for quickly passing this much-needed legislation. Today’s development is a major step forward and we are increasingly encouraged by the widespread industry and strong cross-party support that Bill C-218 has garnered,” Score Media and Gaming Inc. Founder and CEO John Levy wrote in a statement released on Thursday.
In February, Waugh’s private-member bill advanced to the House Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, after passing by an overwhelming 303-15 margin. Shortly after, a competing government-sponsored bill was removed after it failed to receive unanimous consent.
The bill now moves to the Senate, where it must pass through a similar process before it is given to the Governor General (or an appointed representative) for Royal Assent. The current session runs through June 25 before the Senate breaks for a 12-week summer vacation.
— Matt Rybaltowski
More of the most important, interesting stories
Updated: Caesars completes $4 billion acquisition of sports betting operator William Hill; Joe Asher stepping down as William Hill US CEO https://t.co/1O26EETa2Z @CDCNewswire @CaesarsEnt @williamhillus #sportsbetting
— Howard Stutz (@howardstutz) April 22, 2021
AS WRITTEN: NFL game betting-line typo costs BetMGM $10K [Chalk]
VIPS IN THE SEA: The VIPs betting offshore set to continue for foreseeable future [CDC Gaming]
ARKANSAS ONLINE: New bill calls for statewide mobile, up to 12 skins. [Saturday Down South]
TIME RUNNING OUT: Alabama House has until April 30 to move Senate gaming bills. [News4]
LOBBY ON: Ohio pro teams to lawmakers: Break impasse and legalize it. [Statehouse News]
NFL LAUNCH?: Now that WA has one tribal pact done, go live could be this fall. [Casino.org]
We included this chart in our new U.S. Sports Betting Tracker report. FanDuel's leading position in the emerging Illinois market is largely a result of its advantage in high-margin parlay bets, which represent an ever more important battleground in U.S. sports betting. pic.twitter.com/M9T2dn7SpD
— Daniel Stone (@DanielStoneGC) April 21, 2021
The Tennessee Senate passed a bill on Thursday that would shift power in the state’s sports-betting regulatory efforts from the Tennessee Lottery's board of directors to an independently appointed sports wagering council. @GamblingComp
— Chris Sieroty (@sierotyfeatures) April 23, 2021
BETS FOR BOOKS: NC lawmakers argue for legal sports betting to fund schools. [WCNC]
THE MOB SAYS: Ex-mob boss Michael Franseze “worried’ about legal CT sports betting. [NH Register]
STRETCH THE FIELD: CFP considers expanding football playoff from four to 16. [ESPN]
NY LAWSUIT: The Seneca Nation on Friday files gaming lawsuit in federal court. [WFBO]
This is real life
"It's all about injury. Picking baseball games is all about injuries and all about pitchers," baseball legend Pete Rose has some tips for baseball gamblers. "Who's hot right now, who's not? Baseball seems to carry trends. The trends usually stay intact for days at a time." pic.twitter.com/F9h6vjjJBx
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) April 23, 2021