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 Sports Handle item, “Get a Grip,” recapping the week’s top U.S. 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.
Top stories of the week
Friday news dump from New York:
Feature story of the week
Congressional bill could clarify online tribal gaming
A federal bill that could clarify what exactly “tribal gaming” is in a virtual world was filed in Congress last week, but text of HR 4308 is not yet available. Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif., filed the bill, which he says would expand language in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to make it so “the location of the wager occurs at the location of the server, unless a state and Indian tribe otherwise agree.”
That language could potentially change how the U.S. Department of the Interior would look at a compact similar to the current tribal-state compact from Florida that it is reviewing — though the bill won’t become law before the 45-day review period ends in August. The compact between the Seminole Tribe and Florida allows for wagers to be placed online anywhere in the state and expressly states that if the wager goes through a server on Seminole land, then it is presumed to be a tribal wager.
While you were chilling this past weekend:
Parimutuel operator, poker room contend they're treated unfairly under improper Seminole compact that opens door for online sports betting.
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) July 6, 2021
There is some question about whether the DOI will approve the pact — or that portion of it — as IGRA does not currently contemplate iGaming. IGRA was written in 1988, before iGaming existed. Correa said the idea behind the bill is to prevent “frivolous lawsuits” going forward. It was filed a day before a gaming lawsuit was filed in Florida against the state’s new law.
In Correa’s home state, tribal interests have secured enough signatures to get a sports betting referendum on the 2022 ballot. The initiative would allow for wagering at tribal casinos and four horse racetracks, but it would omit online wagering in the nation’s most populous state.
Former U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi of New York filed a similar bill in 2019, but it didn’t get a committee hearing. Nevada Rep. Dina Titus this year again opened conversation about repealing the 0.25 federal excise tax on handle, but no bill has been filed.
Washington tribes aiming to go live in mid-fall
A tribal source on Friday told Sports Handle that 15 tribal-state compacts were approved by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and will now be sent to the U.S. Department of the Interior for approval. The goal is for the tribes to go live with retail-only sports betting sometime during the NFL season. Washington is the only state that has approved statewide tribal-only sports betting.
The DOI will have 45 days from when the compacts are received to either approve, deny, or take no action on them, with the latter resulting in tacit approval after 45 days. Once the DOI signs off, the pacts must be published in the Federal Register, which can take up to 90 days. Arizona’s pact was approved and published in about a month, however, so there is reason to hope the process will move quickly. The Washington State Gambling Commission approved the pacts on June 10.
Washington regulators continue to point toward July 28, when they expect to approve a final set of sports betting rules and then open the application process for the state’s 29 gaming tribes. Included in the meeting packet is an updated version of the rules, which address clarifications and technical changes requested by stakeholders. According to the WSGC, operators BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Rush Street Interactive all provided public comment, in addition to Sportradar, Sightline Payments, the Spokane Tribal Business Council, the Washington Indian Gaming Association, and several tribes.
The WSGC has been accepting “pre-licensing” packets for several months, and the list of those who have filed packets opens a window into which operators will be in Washington. As of June 29 (the latest update available), American Wagering (William Hill), Betfair International (FanDuel), BetFred, BetMGM, and Rush Street Interactive (BetRivers) have all submitted packets.
The WSGC on Thursday also approved a 16th pact, this one from the Skokomish Tribe, which owns the Lucky Dog Casino in Skokomish, north of Olympia.
More of the most important, interesting stories
New data from Illinois continued a trend in evidence across U.S. online sports betting in May, with FanDuel dramatically stretching its market-leading status. We estimate that FanDuel's national online market share soared to around 50% in May vs 36% in Q1 and 39% in 2020. pic.twitter.com/9HnCRMEiyo
— Daniel Stone (@DanielStoneGC) July 6, 2021
A couple of details on @bet_bash.
The open bar is top shelf, not some fugazi wine and beer only.
The hors d'oeuvres include sliders, tenders, egg rolls etc.
The Ashford is an incredible joint right in the heart of downtown Jersey City. We have the whole roof locked up.
— spanky (@spanky) July 7, 2021
Also: Politically-connected Emmanuel Bailey, whose Veterans Services Corp. is CBE partner on Intralot's $215 million lottery contract, has TWO, yes 2, employees. Well, that's up from just his mom in the last contract. And @DCLottery's Gambet app is an embarrassment. What a mess. https://t.co/xm4Re78LWW
— Elissa Silverman (@tweetelissa) July 7, 2021
CHANGEUP: DraftKings and MLB expand deal to include streaming games, sports betting. [Yahoo!]
UNMITIGATED DISASTER: Hiring practices show even more D.C. Lottery sports betting failures [WashPo]
PER CAPITA: Large spread in tax treatment of sports betting operators [Tax Foundation]
DUOPOLY: Connecticut’s sports gambling law shuts out all but DK, FD for daily fantasy sports [Forbes]
PRIVATE EQUITY: William Hill auction puts rivals Advent, Apollo at odds [The Times]
IGT IN LOUISIANA: Coushatta Casino signs on for PlaySports technology. [Indian Gaming]
MAYBE: Sports betting could get discussion at end of North Carolina session [Carolina Journal]
— WDRB News (@WDRBNews) July 8, 2021