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.
Top stories around our network this week
The sports betting puzzle pieces in the Midwest are starting to fill in, and Ohio appears to be next on the list. A sports betting bill has been sent to Gov. Mike DeWine’s desk, and all he has to do is sign.
Plenty of movement in other states, too
Maryland, my Maryland…
Just over 30 minutes until MGM National Harbor (BetMGM) starts taking retail sports bets. First legal sports bets in Maryland. pic.twitter.com/4JmCtwfdFE
— Bennett Conlin (@BennettConlin) December 9, 2021
Tweaks at the city level could be coming
DraftKings staying in the news
Who picked up their Tom Brady Mystery Box??? I got one! First time trying the DraftKings NFT drop. pic.twitter.com/LtE0crGnUf
— goldfish ⭕️ (@Ashpic20) December 9, 2021
Problem gaming in the spotlight
Bright lights, big city
Bowl madness coming, but first, Army-Navy
A rough week for horse racing
Jokic Enjoys A Night Of Racing At The Meadowlands Racetrack!!
“I wanted to get to know the sport here in the U.S. so I texted Tim about two months ago,” said Jokic. “This experience has been great.” @NBA @nuggets https://t.co/6mDxaly2hZ pic.twitter.com/Dz7CVMpO44
— Meadowlands Racing (@TheMeadowlands) December 4, 2021
Who is still betting table tennis?
Let’s not forget Canada
Multiple, competing bills filed in Missouri
Four sports betting bills have been filed in Missouri so far, with more to come. And as in previous years, there is little common ground in the bills, which have varying tax rates, regulators, and official league data requirements.
Missouri lawmakers have been trying to legalize sports betting since 2018, and several bills have made it to the Senate floor, but none have gotten a vote. It looks a bit like that’s where things are headed again for 2022.
All the bills would allow statewide mobile wagering, with digital platforms tethered to existing gambling boats, and allow for up to three digital skins or platform partners.
Sen. Denny Hoskins, who has been championing legal sports betting from the start, has pre-filed two bills ahead of the session, one of which also includes legalizing the state’s “gray machines,” or video lottery terminals. In the past, Hoskins has been unable to pass bills that include VLTs. His sports betting-only bill, SB 643, would make the Missouri Lottery the regulator, would impose a 21% tax on gross gaming revenue, and would require the use of official league data for Tier 2 wagers. Hoskins’ SB 906 also includes VLTs but is otherwise similar to 643. The major difference on the sports betting side is that the use of official league data would not be mandated.
Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer filed SB 764, which comes with a far more operator-friendly tax rate of 6.25% and does not require the use of official league data. State revenue in Luetkemeyer’s bill would be earmarked for a newly created Gaming Proceeds for Education Fund.
— Jill R. Dorson
Ex-Sportradar exec to head pro tennis venture
A new joint venture between the ATP Tour and ATP Media hired former Sportradar executive David Lampitt on Wednesday to serve as the first chief executive officer of the group.
Lampitt, former managing director of sports content and partnerships at Sportradar, was named CEO of Tennis Data Innovations (TDI) effective Jan. 1. Lampitt will be responsible for overseeing the central management of tennis data in a variety of downstream markets, including betting and performance analytics.
The ATP created the TDI group in 2020 to manage the aggregated rights to ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour match data, as men’s professional tennis contemplates a proposed landmark 31-year digital rights plan that may take effect as early as 2023. From a betting standpoint, a number of top sportsbook operators already offer live streaming of global sports events outside the U.S. PointsBet expanded a content partnership with Genius Sports in October 2020 to begin offering livestreams of a wide range of sports, including tennis.
The TDI under Lampitt will also manage certain streaming rights, as the joint venture looks to develop new data products to enhance the fan experience for consumers.
“As a lifelong tennis fan, I’m delighted to be joining TDI at such an exciting juncture, as tennis looks to transform the way its data and content is leveraged across the modern game,” Lampitt said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to building out the team at TDI and supporting the ATP and ATP Media’s joint mission to deliver the best experiences to tennis fans around the world.”
In October, Sportradar signed a three-year extension with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to continue serving as the federation’s official data partner. Under the partnership, which began in 2012, the ITF gained access to Sportradar’s universal fraud detection system, a platform that has the ability to detect irregular betting patterns throughout global sports betting markets.
Last week, the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) banned Albina Khabibulina of Uzbekistan from professional tennis for life, after the agency determined that she violated multiple rules of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP). Following a lengthy investigation, an independent hearing officer found Khabibulina guilty of match-fixing and approaching other players in attempts to fix matches, among several other charges.
Over a three-month period that ended Sept. 30, the ITIA sanctioned five players, including two who were banned for life. There were 38 betting alerts over the quarter, four of which occurred during the year’s two final grand slams — Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
— Matt Rybaltowski
Ontario track reports record foreign handle
Woodbine Entertainment announced Thursday the 2021 thoroughbred racing season produced an all-sources handle of $505,348,339, the third-highest season total in the track’s history. Additionally, Woodbine enjoyed its highest single-season foreign wagering handle ever, at $420,666,755.
These numbers are impressive for Woodbine, located near Toronto, Ontario, as the thoroughbred meet did not begin until June 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 season only included 99 race dates, 34 fewer than a typical season.
“Although our gains in the U.S. are considerable, we’re intently focused on revitalizing wagering in our home market area for 2022,” said Woodbine Entertainment CEO Jim Lawson. “Through evolving restrictions, we now have our racetracks and off-track locations operating, while also sporting our largest number of HPIbet users ever. Our task now is to leverage all options available in 2022 to push this area towards sustainability.”
The Ontario Provincial Government retains 0.5% on all bets placed via Woodbine Entertainment in Ontario. The Canadian government retains 0.8% on all wagers placed in Canada for the provision of drug control and audit services.
Woodbine, which opened in 1881 as the Ontario Jockey Club, hosts Canada’s most prestigious annual thoroughbred race, the Queen’s Plate. Its 2022 thoroughbred season is tentatively scheduled to begin on April 16 and will be headlined by the 163rd running of the Queen’s Plate on Aug. 21.
— Greg Warren
Genius Sports, CFL agree to partnership
The Canadian Football League and Genius Sports have agreed to a sports data and global technology partnership, both organizations announced Friday.
Genius Sports will revamp the entire CFL digital operation, improving the areas of broadcast, data tracking, fan engagement, streaming capabilities, and data collection technology, among others.
📊 The @CFL's new data ecosystem will be powered by official play-by-play statistics captured by our leading LiveStats tech.
— Genius Sports (@GeniusSports) December 10, 2021
The partnership should also help the CFL expand its product into the North American sports betting market.
Genius Sports partnered with MEDIAPRO Canada this summer to expand the interests of Canada Soccer and the Canadian Premier League.
— Greg Warren
More of the most important, interesting stories
BIG, WARM HUG: NASCAR finding multiple ways to incorporate sports betting. [Forbes]
RECORD MONTH: Rhode Island latest state to have a big month in October. [IGB]
GROUNDBREAKING: Building of Portsmouth, Va., casino underway. [WAVY]
READY TO START: Bristol, Va., casino officials submit demolition plan. [WCYB]
PORTNOY PROBLEM?: Nevada wants information from Penn National on Barstool founder. [CDC]
HIGH RISK: Study reveals English speakers at highest risk for gambling problems. [SBC]
3:10 TO YUMA?: Sports betting goes live in Arizona-California border town. [KYMA]
BITCOIN AND BETTING?: New York casino pitch includes crypto trading floor. [Bloomberg]
EXTENDED: Sportradar and Kambi renew partnership deal for sports data. [CDC]