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.
CA’s changing political landscape
California’s Indian tribes have collected enough signatures to get a sports betting referendum on the 2022 ballot, but with the changes in the political landscape, will lawmakers try again for their own referendum? In 2020, Sen. Bill Dodd and Rep. Adam Gray in June attempted to push through a referendum that would have allowed for statewide mobil betting and retail wagering at tribal casinos, horse racetracks, and card rooms. The bill was at odds with tribal interests, and was withdrawn before getting to the Senate floor.
The tribal referendum calls for retail sports betting at tribal locations and horse racetracks only. California’s card rooms — which have long been at odds with the tribes — are shut out of the tribal initiative.
Since June, there has been plenty of political change — which may or may not have an impact on future gaming legislation, but we thought was worth pointing out. Jim Frazier will replace Gray at the Chairman of the Government Oversight Committee (where the legislative road to sports betting winds through) in 2020. Gray has long been a proponent of expanded wagering, and it’s unclear if Frazier will take up that mantle.
At the state level, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who hasn’t been all that friendly to the state’s card rooms, will be replaced if he passes confirmation hearings to be president-elect Joe Biden’s chief of Health and Human Services. As part of a deal from Becerra earlier this year, several card rooms were forced to sell.
The card rooms had already lost a champion earlier in the year when Kamala Harris was selected as Biden’s running mate. Harris, a preview California AG, was more of a friend to card rooms during her tenure, though she did impose some new regulations in 2016.
Remote registration starts in Iowa
When Iowa lawmakers legalized statewide mobile sports betting in 2018, they did so with the requirement that bettors register for mobile wagering at a brick-and-mortar casino for the first 18 months. That requirement sunset when the clock struck midnight Thursday, meaning bettors can now register from their mobile devices or computers. Since the Supreme Court struck down PASPA in May 2018, it’s been proven that not only do states with digital wagering bring in more handle, but that remote registration is a critical piece to bringing in that business.
PSA: Bettors in #Iowa will be able to sign-up on line starting at midnight. A look at 2020 in the Hawkeye State and the emerging 3-way fight among @WilliamHillUS, @DKSportsbook and @FDSportsbook brewing for 2021. #SportsBetting #SportsBiz #DraftKings #FanDuel #WilliamHill https://t.co/Aq0NhXMyLv
— Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73) December 31, 2020
Of all of Iowa’s neighbor states, only Illinois has legal sports betting, and Gov. J.B. Pritzer lifted the remote registration mandate there beginning in June via executive order due to COVID-19 restrictions, and handle and revenue have risen accordingly.
More important, interesting stories this week
WORTH IT? College football brought joy and revenue … but what else? [NYT Magazine]
SUNSHINE STATE: Sports betting bill filed, but Seminoles not included. [SH]
NO. 17: Sources: NFL will add a 17th regular-season week in ’21. [ProFootballTalk]
NEW RECORD: Nevada books set another record for handle in November. [USBets]
TAKING BIDS: City of Richmond opens RFP for casino project. [TimesDispatch]
STILL UNSETTLED: Federal judge to review NJ horsemen vs. sports leagues. [NJOG]
In just one year, sports betting has been a MASSIVE success in the Granite State with over $300 MILLION wagered, providing over $10 MILLION in funding for our public education system. NH made the right bet! pic.twitter.com/TourYUVnQ7
— Chris Sununu (@GovChrisSununu) December 30, 2020
NEW PARTNERSHIP: VSiN extends its reach through new deal with iHeartRadio. [CDCGaming]
SHORT SHRIFT? Why is DK backing off on promos in Pennyslvania? [PennBets]
BIG MONEY: Bids to implode Trump Tower in AC are up to $175,000. [PAC]
Dave Portnoy and Darren Rovell got into it on Twitter once again last week. The subject this time? Charitable donations, of course. @jeffedelstein breaks down the back-and-forth: https://t.co/JYadZ1Jkoe pic.twitter.com/QSw8CpnZIl
— US Bets (@US_Bets) December 28, 2020
GONE PUBLIC: RSI the latest sports betting company to go public via SPAC. [CDCGaming]
BETTING MORE? A look at if the pandemic has changed betting habits. [IndyStar]
FINAL RUN: The last greyhound race in Florida happened on NYE. [NBCNews]