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
On the list of sports betting issues that are here to stay is the controversy around athletes wagering on the sports they are involved in.
For much of this week, the sports betting world was consumed with the case of Calvin Ridley, whom the NFL suspended for betting on its games, which brought all kinds of reactions. The most recent news revealed he wagered more than he initially admitted. Ignorance isn’t a defense, but are we to believe he was the only NFL player betting on games this season? Or is he just the only one who used his name and got caught?
One of a few elephants in the room
That’s a good question
Baseball is back, so let’s have a bet
Looking at New York’s future
Launches around the country
FanDuel on Thursday became the latest operator this month to launch a new mobile platform, as it went live in Wyoming at 7 a.m. local time.
The launch was one of several in the last week around the country — Caesars and BetMGM went live in Illinois earlier in the week, Betfred and Betway became the 13th and 14th mobile sportsbooks to go live in Arizona, and Betly became the first platform to take wagers in Arkansas last weekend.
Wyoming became FanDuel’s 15th state where it takes sports bets since the fall of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. With the BetMGM and Caesars launches, there are now seven platforms available in Illinois ahead of March Madness. Caesars is offering an $1,100 first-bet match, meaning that if you lose your first bet, the company will give you a free wager of the same amount, up to $1,100.
In Arizona, Betway is offering a $3,000 sign-up bonus.
Betfred is partnered with the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort, while Betway gained market access in the state through its collaboration with the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe.
— Jill R. Dorson and Mike Seely
Speaking of Betfred …
The company is still awaiting licensing approval in Nevada, where its sportsbook at the Mohegan Sun Casino inside Virgin Hotels’ off-strip property in Las Vegas has been fully constructed and ready to go for nearly a year.
According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, Betfred’s application is still pending and doesn’t appear on the board’s upcoming agenda. While Betfred’s Vegas book has yet to accept its first wager, it has served as a tranquil work space for the likes of Las Vegas Journal-Review columnist John Katsilometes.
— Mike Seely
California card rooms trying again
Two weeks after California’s Supreme Court declined to block the retail tribal sports betting initiative that has qualified for the ballot, Hollywood Park Casino and Cal-Pac Rancho Cordova have refiled their case in Los Angeles Superior Court, according to Pechanga.net. The card rooms are seeking to have the initiative removed from the ballot on the grounds that it breaks the state’s single-subject rule.
“What this sports-wagering ballot initiative really does is to surreptitiously destroy competition with California’s card rooms by granting more rights to Tribal casinos, including the right to file a stream of lawsuits against card rooms,” Deven Kumar, general manager of Hollywood Park, was quoted as saying on Pechanga.net. “This is not what the initiative process was designed to do and certainly not what this initiative is advertised to do.”
— Jill R. Dorson
Ontario announces eSports scholarship program
The Ontario government announced Friday morning it will invest $1 million (CAD) over two years in a scholarship for postsecondary students in eSports and gaming-related programs. The Ontario eSports Scholarship program will offer financial assistance to students enrolled in programs related to game design, development, marketing, and innovation in the industry.
“As the first province in Canada to recognize the educational value of eSports design and development in this way, we will support students who are building skills that can lead to discoveries, innovation, training opportunities, and economic benefits for Ontario,” said Jill Dunlop, Ontario minister of college and universities. “This investment will help students pursue their passion and prepare for careers in the highly lucrative video game and eSports sector, and to develop transferable skills valued by employers across countless industries.”
Dunlop noted the booming gaming industry in Canada contributed more than $5.5 billion to the Canadian economy in 2021. The gaming industry supported roughly 55,000 full-time jobs in Canada last year, and Ontario is home to nearly 300 video game companies.
The first scholarships will be handed out this fall.
— Greg Warren
More of the most important, interesting stories
JOB POSTING: NFL looking to fill new sports betting position [Sports Business Journal]
TECH SUPPORT: Can AI help casinos cut down on problem gambling? [New York Times]
STATUS UPDATE: DK and FD elites can get Caesars Rewards ‘Diamond’ status [Miles to Memories]
When them parlays don’t hit. This is for years of slander from nba fans, im grateful I have this much power now. 😁 https://t.co/RSFaryY7Sc
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) March 9, 2022
BAD BEHAVIOR: 888 fined for breaching responsible gambling measures in UK [Poker Industry PRO]
MORE WORDS IN MASS: Key lawmaker says he’s ‘fine’ with legal wagering [MassLive]
A GO IN NO: New Orleans City Council approves sports betting at Fair Grounds [Mid-City Messenger]
If you sold #DKNG today, just be aware that my team and I are on a mission to make you regret that decision more than any other decision you’ve ever made in your life
— Jason Robins (@JasonDRobins) March 9, 2022
LOCKED UP: Head of Chicago-area sports gambling ring sentenced to 18 months in prison [AP]
HOOPS FIRST: ESPN to launch first full-scale fantasy women’s basketball game [ESPN Press Room]
NEW OPTION IN SD: Dakota Nation opens retail sportsbook with kiosks [Indian Gaming]