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
The end of the calendar year is always a good time to look back and ahead, and we’ve done plenty of that over the last week or so. What were the biggest stories around our network this year and what can we expect in 2022?
Making moves in the Golden State
Online casino blossoming in NJ, but…
Can anybody make a good ad?
Battling back from COVID
Want to bet? Get vaccinated
COVID bowl cancellations aplenty
The end of the harness racing saga?
AR regulators approve statewide mobile
The Arkansas Racing Commission on Thursday morning unanimously approved expanding sports betting to digital platforms, but with 51% “profit sharing” between operators and the casinos they are tethered to, which operators vehemently opposed, according to the Arkansas Times. The tax rate would be highest anywhere in the country outside of New York for non-lottery regulated wagering. The regulations now move to the Legislative Council for approval. That group could meet as early as January.
Wagering could go live before the Super Bowl, according to multiple media outlets.
Arkansas could soon allow online sports betting https://t.co/gmSEIieyFn
— Ozarks News – Branson News – Harrison AR News (@MyOzarksNews) December 30, 2021
Thursday’s meeting was heated, and Arkansas regulators suggested that operators that are willing to pay 51% to do business in New York should be willing to do the same in Arkansas. But the landscape — from the number of professional sports teams (none in Arkansas, more than a dozen in New York) to the population (3 million in Arkansas, 19.2 million in New York) — isn’t comparable.
“It’s not ‘us versus them,’” said a lobbyist representing operators during the meeting. “We view it as an opportunity to bring into a [legal] marketplace — through the casinos — revenue and a player who’s generally being unregulated and un-utilized now … and untaxed.”
Some highlights of the approved regulations:
- Statewide mobile wagering would be allowed with operators tethered to existing gaming locations.
- Two skins per retail location would be permitted, which means up to eight in the state.
- Remote registration would be allowed.
- Wagering on professional, college, and amateur sports would be permitted.
- There does not appear to be an official league data mandate.
Parlay of the year
In a year-end review of its sports betting business, DraftKings disclosed the longest-odds parlay payout of 2021. The wager featured four prop bets during the NFL’s Divisional Round on Jan. 16-17 and paid $85,652 for a $2 bet (+4282500).
On Jan. 16, the bettor needed Davante Adams to score the first touchdown and Packers to win against the Rams (+600), then Stefon Diggs to score the first touchdown and Bills to win against the Ravens (+1300).
With those two legs locked in, the bettor struck with the same wager type on Jan. 17. The bettor got Patrick Mahomes to score the first touchdown and the Chiefs to win against the Browns (+1800), then closed out the parlay with Mike Evans to score the first touchdown and the Buccaneers to win against the Saints.
Not bad for a couple bucks.
— Jeremy Balan
A fifth Missouri sports betting bill was filed late last week, this one by Rep. Dan Shaul, who also championed sports betting last year. Shaul’s bill looks similar to ones filed by Sen. Denny Hoskins earlier in December. HB 2080 would allow for statewide mobile wagering with remote registration, and bettors could wager on professional, college, amateur, and eSports while sports governing bodies would have the right to request that certain bet types or events be prohibited. The bill calls for a 6.75% tax on adjusted gross revenue, with most of the money earmarked for a “Gaming Proceeds for Education” fund. The Missouri Gaming Commission would be the regulator and the application fee would be set at $50,000.
Interestingly, the bill calls for the creation of a Player Benevolence Fund and an advisory committee made up of four political appointees and one representative from each of the five professional sports leagues. One percent of tax revenue would be earmarked for the fund, and moneys would distributed to “organizations that benefit current and former professional sports players or their charitable foundations.”
Besides the new bills, nine proposed ballot initiatives backed by Missouri’s professional teams are being circulated for enough signatures to get on the November 2022 ballot. According to the secretary of state’s website, signatures must be submitted six months before the election, meaning by May 8. Petitioners must gather signatures of 8% of registered voters in six of the state’s eight congressional districts. According to Ballotpedia, that number is 171,592.
More of the most interesting stories
Sports-betting campaign bets to win as deadline to gather signatures approaches – Florida Phoenix https://t.co/gVhkKbwjsO
— Florida Gaming Watch (@FLGamingWatch) December 30, 2021
BIG SPEND: Operators spend billions on customers [FrontOfficeSports]
OREGON TRAVAIL: Grants Pass owner wants casino at racetrack [OregonLive]
— Jeremy Balan contributed to this report