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.
More conversation, possible action in Connecticut
The push to legalize sports betting in Connecticut continued this week — as did the inability for the state and its two tribes to come to an agreement. During a three-plus hour hearing on Tuesday, the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes reiterated their position that they have the exclusive rights to sports wagering, and that the system created by a pact dating to the 1990s works just fine, thank you.
“This is a government-to-government discussion between the two tribes and your governor in a process, quite frankly, that you set up,” Mohegan Chief of Staff Chuck Bunnell said, according to the Connecticut Times. “We are pretty clear that no one new should come into this market. It’s an excellent arrangement that’s working and we should protect the relationship that employs thousands of people.”
Bunnell’s Mashantucket Pequot counterpart Rodney Butler said negotiations with Gov. Ned Lamont’s office are “at the one-yard line, and we just have to punch it in.”
Lawmakers say negotiations with the tribes are moving in a positive direction, and Lamont offered up this vignette, according to the CT Times, “The tribes have been great partners for the state of Connecticut going back 25-plus years. I have no doubt we’re going to get this deal done. … Knock on wood.”
The question all along has been when.
Georgia lawmakers going hard for gaming
Senator Ron Stephens this week filed the second in what is expected to be a trio of gaming bills, this one sending the decision about whether or not to allow brick-and-mortar casinos to the voters. Stephens’ latest offering follows SB 86, which would legalize sports betting. That bill has been sent to the House Economic Development and Tourism committee. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, while the casino bill would require voter approval, legal sports wagering would not. Stephens is also expected to file a referendum bill that would legalize horse racing. The Georgia legislature remains in session until April 2.
Mobile in Mississippi?
Lawmakers have filed a trio of bills that would expand Mississippi sports betting to allow for statewide mobile. Similar legislation was introduced last year, but didn’t advance. All three bills allow for one “skin” per casino and require the platforms to be tethered to existing casinos. Rep. Jay McKnight’s HB 1402 and Sen. Philip Moran’s SB 2732 both allow for remote registration, meaning patrons can open and fund accounts via mobile device or computer. A third bill was filed by Sen. Scott Delano. SB 2396 is a slimmer version of the other two, though it does not appear to allow for remote registration.
— Focus Gaming News (@FocusGamingNews) January 25, 2021
Mississippi was the third state to go live with sports betting after PASPA fell in 2018, and the only one to limit wagering to brick-and-mortar locations. In 2020, Mississippi’s northern neighbor, Tennessee became the first state go live with mobile platforms, but without and retail or physical locations. The Mississippi legislature is in session until April 4. All three bills have been sent to the gaming committees in their respective chambers.
Next up in Tennessee
Churchill Downs (TwinSpires), William Hill, and WynnBET were all approved for sports wagering in Tennessee Friday morning, during a Sports Wagering Committee meeting. It appears that none of the approved operators will be able to launch ahead of the Super Bowl, due to outside issues, including the Christmas bombing in Nashville.
WOW. TN Lottery just said that one of the upcoming sportsbooks can't launch in time for the Super Bowl because its servers were on 2nd Ave. where the Xmas day bomb went off…
— Brian Pempus (@brianpempus) January 29, 2021
Four operators — BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Tennessee Action 24/7 all launched on Nov. 1, 2020, and remain active in the state. The committee also approved 10 vendors and suppliers, some that work with the approved operators. Also in Tennessee this week, the Lottery released its December sports betting numbers, and bettors wagered $180.9 million, for a year-to-date total of about $312 million in wagers.
Even more legislative happenings
- Mass mayhem again? Bill would allow statewide mobile.
- Three Nebraska sports betting bills filed.
- Alabama sports betting bill filed.
- First Kansas bill in 2021 has some quirks.
- Hawaii lawmakers file slew of gaming bills.
- Minnesota lawmakers drop quirky sports betting bill.
- North Dakotans may get a chance to vote on sports betting in 2022.
And three revenue reports released
- Illinois handle hit $447 million for November, $41M operator revenue
- Nevada handle dropped 20% in December to $588M, $40.5M revenue
- Tennesseans wagered 37% more in December than November, $13.M operator revenue
More important, interesting stories this week
VIRGINIA:@CaesarsEnt on Thursday morning became the fifth operator approved for sports betting in Virginia.
The company's mobile @WilliamHillUS sportsbook will join BetMGM, BetRivers, DraftKings, and FanDuel when it goes live.
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) January 28, 2021
NOW LIVE IN VIRGINIA: DraftKings, BetMGM, BetRivers follow FanDuel. [Sports Handle]
NOW PLAYING: Google announces policy shift, will allow real-money wagering app downloads in Play Store beginning March 1. [US Bets]
WOLVES OF WALL STREET: Jeff Edelstein on the GameStop fiasco. [Sports Handle]
BIG DONATION: CEO scores big on GameStop bet, then donates to Barstool Fund. [Newsweek]
PRIMATES IN MANY STATES: Bally’s to buy DFS player Monkey Knife Fight. [US Bets]
FUNDING ROUND: DFS company PrizePicks announces new capital. [WFMZ]
INTO THE WILD: The Athletic has partnered up with BetMGM in sports betting [Athletic]
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) January 28, 2021
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) January 28, 2021
$2.3 MILLION on Bucs +3.5 (-115)
— Ben Fawkes (@BFawkes22) January 29, 2021
— Entercom (@Entercom) January 25, 2021
How two old college buddies turned pro bettors won big on the Bucs with bets they placed last February. https://t.co/lr0Fd5OYNv
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) January 28, 2021
Here come the sharpies huddling near where the line starts. My first year on this side of the counter of this annual tradition. Rules: Two bet max, $2k max, then to back of line. Panels will rotate every 30 seconds. Three panels dedicated to it all the time. @SuperBookNV pic.twitter.com/JVks13fH0g
— Rex Beyers (@Rex_Beyers) January 29, 2021
ABOUT FACE: New CEO says Sands considering sports betting, iGaming. [CDCGaming]
TOP ROPE: Ex-NBA ref Tim Donaghy debuts on Major League Wrestling. [SI]
WHERE’D THEY GO? Stories of NFL players who opted out. [ESPN]
COOL PROPS: Indiana approves bevy of Super Bowl prop bets. [HSB]
HERE WE GO AGAIN: Another MLB labor fight coming? [WSJ]
EDUCATION: Epic, Entain partner to help NCAA athletes deal with sports betting pressure. [Sportico]
— GT’s Cash Considerations (@GTCashConsider) January 29, 2021