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.
NFL and Genius Sports make exclusive data deal
Overshadowed by the developments in New York State’s budget talks that may finally bring some framework for mobile sports betting into the Empire State, which would be the largest U.S. market to date, the NFL has awarded U.K.-based data firm Genius Sports the exclusive right to distribute the NFL’s official data and its Next Gen Stats, and to provide sports betting data feeds to media companies and scores of sportsbooks internationally.
Put simply, this makes Genius the new gatekeeper of the NFL’s valuable data across numerous digital platforms. Genius’ main competitor, Sportradar, had been the NFL’s exclusive distributor since 2015 and in 2019 expanded the partnership to include sports betting data. This change is a significant blow to Sportradar, and we will cover it all in more depth next week.
“Genius will represent the NFL’s legalized sports betting advertising inventory across the NFL’s owned and operated digital platforms in the U.S. and international markets,” the NFL said in a statement. “These assets will equip Genius with the necessary tools to drive key sports wagering metrics of turnover and player acquisition over the lifetime of the deal.
The deal was announced “after a months-long bidding process that included Sportradar,” reports Sportico, which broke the news of the new deal. Terms of the agreement are not yet available, but according to Sportico it will last at least four years with options, and gives the NFL an equity stake in the company.
These developments come only six months after Genius announced a proposed business combination to go public in October via the special purpose acquisition company and tech firm dMY Technology Group II (DMYD), which jumped 24% in after hours trading following the news. Meanwhile, Sportradar is likewise in the process of going public via SPAC, through Horizon Acquisition Corp. (HZON), which fell 4.6%.
“Genius is proud and delighted to partner exclusively with the NFL to establish a new era of digital fan engagement for professional sports leagues everywhere,” said Mark Locke, CEO of Genius Sports. “Our technology leads the world in the convergence of official data, betting, streaming, and digital media and we are excited to bring our unique capabilities to the world’s preeminent sports league.”
Genius Sports for years has been engaged in often contentious and litigious battles with the Switzerland-based Sportradar, which has been viewed as the leading firm in the the sports betting data space. In the U.S., Genius also has non-exclusive deals with the NBA, MLB, as well as a long-term deal with the NCAA. Genius replacing Sportradar for the most popular and richest league in the U.S. represents a new chapter.
New York’s mobile betting future comes into focus
Matt Rybaltowski has been all over the developments in New York. At this point it seems more likely than not that all sides will settle on a framework that favors Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s vision for keeping systems and revenue closer to the state lottery — with a small number of commercial operators joining the fray through an RFP process.
Here’s the latest and check back for more: Voting on budget bills is underway on Friday, when negotiations stalled amid tribal pushback. The legislature won’t meet on Sunday due to Easter, or in other words, this probably will be settled next week.
After two years of continued frustration among industry stakeholders (and bettors), New York appears close to reaching a deal on mobile sports betting. @MattRybaltowski's coverage continues. https://t.co/Q7yVUU7Xe9
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) April 1, 2021
And the situation is evolving as we speak, so stay tuned:
Multiple sources today have said today a meeting among negotiators last night re: mobile sports betting legalization in NYS did not go well. But, they will again today, remotely, in Albany.
— Tom Precious (@TomPreciousALB) April 2, 2021
Two Central NY politicians, Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. @AJPicenteJr and Onondaga County Executive J. Ryan McMahon II are urging state leaders to not exclude the region from offering mobile sports betting due to a potential tribal dispute. @TurningStone pic.twitter.com/3gOjPDdaHt
— Matt Rybaltowski (@MattRybaltowski) April 2, 2021
.@SenJoeAddabbo, Senate sponsor of mobile sports betting measure, putting odds of its passage in looming NYS budget at 50-50. If not now, he says, it will be more than a year before idea could advance again this far (cuz of various politics around the issue).
— Tom Precious (@TomPreciousALB) April 2, 2021
Earlier New York coverage:
More of the top stories this week from our network
It appears @GovPritzker has NOT renewed Executive Order 2020-41, which means in-person registration to obtain mobile sports betting apps will be back in place effective Sunday. #Illinois #GamblingTwitter #SportsBetting pic.twitter.com/sYAaYPmI0L
— Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73) April 2, 2021
More licenses available in Virginia
On Wednesday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam approved an updated version of the state’s sports betting law that will increase the number of sports betting operators that can be licensed in the state and also refines the definition of amateur sports.
Under the original law, the Virginia Lottery could approve up to 12 operator licenses, in addition to approving operators who were partnered with professional sports teams, meaning the total number of licenses could be about 14. (The Washington Football Team and DC United MLS team both have headquarters in Virginia. WFT has already partnered with FanDuel, and it’s unclear if DC United’s Virginia headquarters meet the specifications for a license). The intent of the law was for there to be 12 licenses available not including both pro sports teams and brick-and-mortar casinos. The new language in HB 1847 and SB 1254 accomplishes that, and increases the number of available licenses to 18 or 19, if DC United qualifies.
The Virginia Lottery had 25 applications for operator licenses last October, and so far has issued nine. FanDuel was the first to go live in January, followed soon after by DraftKings, BetMGM, and BetRivers. Since then, Caesar’s, WynnBET, Golden Nugget, Bally’s, and Penn National/Barstool Sports have all been approved.
The new language also clarifies that wagering on Olympic sports is legal, and beefs up language on minority business participation.
— Jill R. Dorson
RFP for Chicago casino coming
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she had some ideas for where a potential casino could be located as Chicago continues its progress towards having one in the downtown area. The city is expected to release its Request for Proposal to potential suitors this month, with hopes of having the casino operational by 2025.
“We need to create an entertainment district, so that we have good-paying jobs not only on the front end, through the construction, but on the back end,” Lightfoot said according to Fox 32 Chicago. “A tourist destination for people all over the world to come see this latest attraction in the great city of Chicago.”
Lightfoot helped move the project along last year during the pandemic, getting an extensive revision of the gaming tax rates for a downtown casino included in the Illinois state budget bill. Despite having Rivers Casino in Des Plaines just outside the city limits and a third casino opening in Northwest Indiana in May, Chicago is considered an underserved market when it comes to casino gaming.
— Chris Altruda
Wyoming sports betting bill sent to governor
On Tuesday, the Wyoming legislature became the first in the nation this year to send sports betting legislation to its governor for approval. HB 133, a mobile-only bill that allows for wagering on all professional, college, and Olympic sports, passed out of the Senate, 36-20-4. The bill calls for a minimum of five operator permits, sets the tax rate at 10% of gross gaming revenue, and makes 18 the legal wagering age. The bill also has an aggressive timeline — regulations must be approved by July 1, 2021, giving the Wyoming Gaming Commission only three months to promulgate rules.
The bill took a winding path that included being rejected on third reading by the full House on March 9 before being reconsidered and passed on March 10.
— Jill R. Dorson
More of the most important, interesting stories
Today we released the National Detailed Report and customized state-specific reports for the NGAGE 1.0 survey. It is the most comprehensive look at gambling attitudes in America. Read the press release here: https://t.co/GhBIEhj2wn pic.twitter.com/4PwQ8385cp
— NCPG (@NCPGambling) March 31, 2021
DIAMOND NOTES: The crack of the bet: MLB 2021 season sports betting preview
EXCISE: Federal legislation introduced to end an antiquated tax on sports wagers [CDC Gaming]
MOVIN’ ON: Proposed sportsbook drops fight to open on Capitol Hill Inbox [WTOP]
PROFILES: Is this the future face of legalized sports gambling in Mass? [Boston Globe]
DOWN ON THE BAYOU: Louisiana lawmakers prepping to work out sports betting framework [AP]
MORE D.C. DRAMA: Auditor won’t make May deadline for sports betting review [WTOP]
MLB has announced that they are moving the All-Star Game and Draft out of Georgia, after the voter suppression laws were passed.
— Scott Stedman (@ScottMStedman) April 2, 2021
Whoa. MLB announces it is pulling this year's All-Star game and the amateur draft from Georgia. pic.twitter.com/QqJzR3lAcy
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) April 2, 2021
LOST AND FOUND: MMA fighter suffers severed finger during match, undergoes surgery [ESPN]
PROGRAMMING NOTE: MLB to host daily sports betting program on MLB.TV [PennBets]
REGULATIONS: Newly approved TN sportsbook appears to be allowing banned bets [TN Journal]
OPINION: New Jersey needs a gambling court [Star-Ledger]