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 stories and rounding up key stories in sports betting, gaming, and the world of sports at large. You may have missed them, and they are worth reading.
New Hampshire makes a move
The New Hampshire House got the ball rolling on sports betting on Tuesday, when it approved HB 480, which would legalize sports betting, allow for 10 sports betting licenses and state-wide mobile, and would prohibit betting on New Hampshire collegiate teams. The House passed the bill overwhelmingly, 269-82. The New Hampshire Lottery would be the regulatory body and would also be authorized to run its own sportsbook.
New Hampshire does not have a casino infrastructure, and the bill says retail sportsbooks “may be co-located with other commercial businesses or general commercial retail locations,” and that the voters of individual towns will decide if they want a brick-and-mortar sportsbook. Only a majority is required to approve a sportsbook location.
“Legal prohibition of sports betting has failed. House Bill 480 will bring sports betting out of the shadows, and provide appropriate rules of the road for all sports betting participants,” Richard Ames (D-Jaffrey) told New Hampshire Public Radio.
Rhode Island is the only New England state with legal sports betting, and New Hampshire is now the only one this year that has voted on a sports betting bill in at least one chamber. Multiple bills are circulating in both Massachusetts and Connecticut, but none have gained traction.
Montana on fast track?
Montana lawmakers heard from operators supporting SB 330, the sports betting bill that would allow for betting via kiosks at businesses already licensed for gambling, as well legalizing state-wide mobile. The bill is backed by the Montana Tavern Association.
#Montana would join a growing list of states with legalized sports betting if a bill proposed in the state Legislature passes. #mtpol #mtleg https://t.co/yg2WO47VTi
— Billings Gazette (@billingsgazette) March 20, 2019
The Senate Committee on Business, Labor and Economic Affairs on Tuesday heard testimony for multiple industry representatives who support the bill, including William Hill Head of Government Relations Danielle Boyd. William Hill already has a partnership with Golden Entertainment in Montana.
Boyd’s comments, which included speaking out against a payout to the professional leagues or a mandate to purchase “official league data” and in favor of a “reasonable” tax rate, echoed the comments of representatives from horseman’s groups and others in the industry. Support of mobile betting was also a key theme.
“From an industry standpoint, permitting the convenience of mobile betting is imperative to maximizing the potential of the legal market and the ensuing tax revenue to Montana,” Boyd said during the hearing.
At issue in Montana is in-person vs. remote registration. Tavern owners in the state believe that in-person registration is of paramount importance, as they believe it will drive customers into their establishments. But industry representatives say the convenience of remote registration will bring the most business — and ultimately the most tax revenue.
No one testified in opposition to the bill.
More of the most interesting, important stories
BRING IT ON: Owners of Bills, Sabres would embrace New York sports betting. [BuffaloNews]
I’LL HAVE ANOTHER: MGM adds MLS to its stable of pro sports partnerships. [SportsPro]
PA NEEDS MOBILE: Pennsylvania’s February revenue report screams for the launch of mobile sooner than later. [USBets]
PROGRESS IN CT? A joint committee voted to advance a bill that would bring sports betting to the state’s tribal casinos. [CTPost]
RULE BREAKER: Jack Evans, who was key in legalizing sports betting in D.C. is under investigation for a possible ethics violation. [WJLA]
SILVER IN SUPPORT: NBA chief says legal sports betting minimizes corruption. [60Minutes]
NCAA CONUNDRUM: With March Madness tipping off, NCAA still doesn’t support sports betting, but can’t deny it, either. [AP]
ICYMI from Sports Handle and US Bets
State-wide mobile? Integrity fee? Lottery in charge? Illinois lawmakers file batch of bills.
Indiana lawmakers weigh controversial gambling expansion package.
U.S. stakeholders still searching for ways to limit threat of off-shore markets.
Tennessee could be the first state with a mobile-only sports betting law.
Iowa lawmakers make a deal on betting on collegiate sports.
Maine bill features state-wide mobile, and in-person betting at tribal locations and racinos.
Rhode Island mobile sports betting headed to governor’s desk.
Mississippi was a Super Bowl loser.
March Money: AGA estimates $8.5 billion will be wagered on March Madness.
In the wider world of sports
Before I go to bed, let me just say this: I’m coaching at the Univ. of Kentucky. In my opinion, there is no better job in the world to coach basketball. My plan and my desire is to retire at Kentucky. I think the university feels the same as I do and we’ve talked openly about it.
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) March 21, 2019
DOWN ON DUKE: It’s really a great time to hate Duke basketball. [WSJ]
SAYONARA: Baseball great Ichiro Suzuki announced his retirement when the M’s played in Japan Thursday. [ESPN]
Last dance for Ichiro who is reportedly playing his final game. Time for the @Mariners to retire 51 and start working on that statue outside T-Mobile Park #MLB https://t.co/VtyQ1hzld4
— Adam Mertz (@AJMertz) March 21, 2019
BIG BUMP: The Toronto Blue Jays are giving their minor leaguers a 50% pay increase. [Axios]