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 year of 2021 featured the “good” news that 11 states went live with sports betting, but 2022 may not be so kind for other states, where customers and some legislators are eager to enter the legalized market. After Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed sports betting into law Wednesday, it brought the total number of states that legalized this year to seven. A day later, Rush Street Interactive announced it has partnered with the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which will make it the first such venue anywhere in the U.S. to have a book. Ohio’s law allows for nearly any business in the state to get involved in sports betting.
Three-and-a-half years have passed since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was overturned and states were granted the right to legalize. There have been many successes — and mistakes — in that time, and lawmakers recently heard about potential pitfalls to avoid in states that are considering legalization.
Is sports betting coming to your state next year? Probably not, if you’re in Kentucky, Texas, or Alabama.
Casino players also feeling left out
But not if you already have an account…
Continued progress in sports betting states
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Seems Christmas ‘tis the season to debut new ads, as BetMGM, Caesars, and FanDuel have new campaigns heading into the holiday. Caesars leveraged its partnership with the Mannings and rolled out this new responsible gaming ad:
At BetMGM, NBA star Kevin Garnett will get some face time on one of the league’s premiere days: Christmas. The NBA has a slate of five games, including two that feature teams Garnett formerly played for. The spot features Garnett taking a little time to smell the roses — and place bets — in his retirement:
And at FanDuel, Santa Barkley is back, stuck in a chimney and giving away $7 million over seven days:
Tis the season 🎄
Santa Barkley is back, and he’s giving away more than ever!
— FanDuel (@FanDuel) December 21, 2021
DraftKings to take lead at Oregon Lottery
DraftKings, which has essentially been running the Oregon Lottery’s Scoreboard wagering app, will soon be front and center. The lottery contracts with SBTech to operate its app, and DraftKings bought SBTech in 2020, so the lottery is starting the rule-making process to bring DraftKings out from the shadows.
Late last week, the lottery board approved a temporary order to begin the process of altering the rules to accommodate the branding change. According to a lottery memo, “The Lottery determined that contracting with DraftKings would benefit the Lottery, sports betting players, and public programs that rely on Lottery funds. Benefits include, but are not limited to, improved customer experience, more attractive interface and features, simpler flow of funds through the player account, and reduced need for third-party vendors to conduct certain activities.”
The lottery commission will take up the issue at its Jan. 28 meeting.
New places to wager in Maryland, Arizona
After two days of successful controlled demonstrations this week, Hollywood Casino Perryville (Barstool Sportsbook) launched its retail sports betting option in Maryland Thursday afternoon. The casino became the fifth in Maryland to launch retail sports betting this month, when legal sports betting launched in the state.
The launch was the latest across the country in the last week, as two books went live in Arizona, and in Washington State, BetMGM opened a retail casino at the Emerald Queen. Meanwhile, SuperBook Sports had a soft launch in Arizona last weekend ahead of a planned weeklong grand opening Dec. 27-Jan. 3. Arizona, where SuperBook is partnered with the Fort Mohave Indian Tribe, will be the fourth state in which SuperBook is live, joining Colorado, Nevada, and New Jersey.
Also in Arizona, FuboTV launched its second digital site in a month, following a go-live in Iowa. The streaming platform is partnered with the Ak-Chin Indian Community and brings the total number of operators live in Arizona to about a dozen.
In Maryland, Hollywood Casino joins MGM National Harbor (BetMGM), Live! Casino (FanDuel), Horseshoe Casino Baltimore (Caesars), and Ocean Downs (TwinSpires) as Maryland casinos with live retail sports betting. The casino started a promotion for its grand opening, giving the first 100 Club Hollywood members to place a bet at the sportsbook $50 worth of free “SlotPlay” or promo chips.
That wasn’t the only news in Maryland this week, as the Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission also awarded Greenmount OTB a retail sports betting license on Monday. Greenmount is expected to be among a few Maryland off-track betting facilities to launch retail sports betting in early 2022.
More of the most interesting, important stories
ANOTHER FL APPEAL?: Feds have until Jan. 22 to appeal in Seminole case. [WUSF]
GETTING PHYSICAL: More reports of violence around gaming petitions. [TampaBay.com]
Inbox: @GovRonDeSantis announces appointments of Julie I. Brown, Michael Yaworsky and Charles Drago to new Florida Gaming Control Commission.
Brown will be Chair; Yaworsky is Vice Chair. #FlaPol pic.twitter.com/JTPn1GhLN7
— Jim Rosica (@JimRosicaFL) December 22, 2021
CALIFORNIA LAWSUIT: Card rooms sue SOS, claiming tribal initiative illegal. [Yogonet]
PING PONG RENAISSANCE? Pro sports hitting pause on games. [Bloomberg]
UP NEXT: St. Croix Chippewas and Ho-Chunks next in line for WI wagering. [BeloitDaily]
MINORITY REPORT: Ontario Lottery names minority party chief. [TorontoStar]
NEWEST CAESAR: Book partners with hooper, TV personality Rachel DeMita. [CDC]
Jeremy Balan and Bennett Conlin contributed to this report