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
New York had its moment, and it continues to be the focus in the sports betting universe while other states are still trying to get there. Ohio sports betting should be a puzzle piece added relatively soon to the wagering landscape after legalized sports betting was signed into law Dec. 22. It’s just a matter of time.
Ohio’s digital sports betting to start by Jan. 1, 2023, but possibly sooner
Louisiana sees liftoff…
… but Arkansas can’t get off the ground
Florida continues its struggle
Still a long way to go in MO
Aloha or onerous?
Permission to launch…
…not so fast
Buyers and sellers
NFL betting options and angles
Poker on the outside looking in
A big week in horse racing
That’s a good question
Things’ll go your way, if you hold on for one more day
More MGM news
Virginia is for… bettors?
Canadian Gaming Association elects four new board members
Potential problem gaming solutions
Celebrate in the Great Lakes State
The retail experience in Maryland
Hard Rock gaining position
More Hoosier news
Maxim making moves
Tennessee, Tennessee, there ain’t no place I’d rather be
Two wagering bills filed in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has joined the list of states that will consider legal sports betting in 2022, with two bills that would allow for limited retail wagering prefiled ahead of the legislative session that opens Feb. 7.
Luttrell’s bill would only allow for wagering at tribal facilities where live horse racing or simulcasts take place and would require a minimum of four tribes to compact to offer sports betting. Under the bill, the tribes would pay the state 10% of net revenue and the Oklahoma Racing Commission would be the regulator.
There has long been a rift between the tribes and Gov. Kevin Stitt’s office, so it’s unclear how that could affect the legislation. According to the Tulsa World, the bill doesn’t look too attractive to tribes.
“You can add supplements [to compacts], but it has to be proposed by the state. The offer has to come from the state to the tribes,” Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association Chairman Matthew Morgan told the newspaper. “The offer has to make economic sense. If it doesn’t make economic sense, I don’t see tribes taking up the offer.”
Bergstrom’s bill would allow for limited wagering through charitable organizations and would limit winnings to $1,000 per person per 90-day period. The bill sets the legal wagering age at 18 and allows for “one-day-only in-person private” wagering events where participants must be present not only to bet, but to win.
— Jill R. Dorson
Baffert hearing comes to a close
After four days of testimony, the New York Racing Association’s hearing to assess whether it will suspend trainer Bob Baffert from racing at its facilities came to a close Friday.
There was nothing groundbreaking in the closing arguments, which reiterated points made during opening statements and in testimony, but the process now shifts to hearing officer O. Peter Sherwood, a former New York State Supreme Court justice.
Sherwood will submit a report that will “contain findings of fact, conclusions, and a recommended disposition” to a panel that will eventually decide Baffert’s fate. The panel, which will be selected by NYRA President David O’Rourke, can “adopt, modify or reject any or all of the hearing officer’s report including, but not limited to, the appropriate disposition of the proceeding,” according to NYRA’s hearing rules and procedures. A NYRA official said that panel has not been selected.
NYRA initially suspended Baffert from racing at its tracks in mid-May, after Medina Spirit came up with a positive drug test from the Kentucky Derby, but a federal judge cited the absence of a hearing and due process in ruling in July that NYRA’s suspension was unconstitutional. That ruling led NYRA to create procedures for hearings to address such cases.
Louisiana revenue going up
In its second and final revenue report that covers exclusively retail wagering, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board reported $39.5 million in handle for December.
Overall, 11 retail sportsbooks were accepting wagers, as Treasure Chest Casino and racetracks Delta Downs and Evangeline Downs opened for sports wagering business in the final month of the year.
The additional venues helped bump handle 42.9% higher than November’s $27.6 million, but improved bettor performance resulted in a 22.9% decline in gross gaming revenue. The 11.1% win rate was barely more than half of November’s robust 20.6% hold, resulting in nearly $4.4 million in revenue. Parlays again were the primary driver of operator revenue as the 11 locations collected more than $2.4 million on such wagers, lifting the two-month parlay total to $6.1 million of the nearly $10.1 million in overall operator revenue.
— Chris Altruda
DraftKings names new chief marketing officer
DraftKings has tapped one of Adweek’s “Most Powerful Women in Sports,” Stephanie Sherman, to be its new chief marketing officer.
Sherman joined the sportsbook and DFS operator in 2013 as one of its first 15 employees, and most recently served as the company’s senior vice president of marketing.
“When I started at DraftKings nine years ago, there was a genuine and collective sense that we were building something special, and zooming out to today, that has been validated more than I could have ever imagined,” she said in a press release. “For all the accomplishments we’ve celebrated and adversity we’ve overcome, I take on this new position knowing there is still so much opportunity ahead along with brilliant people ready to deliver.”
— Mike Seely
PointsBet launches iCasino in West Virginia
On Wednesday, PointsBet announced it has launched a “proprietary online casino product” in West Virginia, which makes the Mountaineer State the third (after Michigan and New Jersey) to have access to its iGaming platform.
As noted in a press release, PointsBet gained online casino access to West Virginia through its relationship with the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. With the new iCasino product, PointsBet users will have access to 15 games, including blackjack and slots such as 88 Fortunes and Monopoly Megaways.
According to figures compiled by Sports Handle‘s Chris Altruda, more than $2.3 billion in iCasino wagers have been placed in West Virginia since its July 2020 launch, resulting in more than $69 million in revenue and $10.3 million in gross taxes for the state.
— Mike Seely
Full House raising funds for Waukegan casino
Full House Resorts announced Wednesday it has commenced a solicitation among its consents to amend its 8.25% Senior Secured Notes due in 2028. The goal is to raise $100 million that would go toward the construction and operation of the company’s temporary casino, called The Temporary by American Place, in Waukegan, Illinois. It would also provide the ability for Full House to increase its borrowing potential from $15 million to $40 million.
More of the most important, interesting stories
MOMENTUM?: Georgia gambling bill gaining traction [11 Alive]
FAIR WARNING: Al Michaels has a message for sports bettors [ForTheWin]
BIG MONEY: NFL earned record $1.8B from sponsorship deals for 2021-22 season [UPI]
Julian Edelman is now a brand ambassador for the site and will be partnering with it on a podcast.
— Bill Speros (@billsperos) January 27, 2022
NEW GROUND: Nevada looking to expand eSports wagering [CDC]
UP AND RUNNING: First DRF Sportsbook launched in Iowa [Business Wire]
Picture time from the book:
Seen a lot of bets over the years. Some good, some bad. Notable at times, others not so much.
Five guys to score the first basket parlayed together.
It’s not a “good” bet but it’s $10 & won 100k.
— Sportsbook Consigliere (@SportsbkConsig) January 26, 2022
READY FOR PRIMETIME: Deadwood casinos gear up for Super Bowl Sunday [Keloland]