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
No state can legalize and launch sports betting with the snap of a finger. It’s a process. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t frustrating for customers eagerly awaiting it, especially during the gambling shmorgishborg that is March Madness.
So where does your state stand, if you’re still on the outside looking in? We’ve got you covered.
Sports betting, war, and global politics
A tale of two gambling addicts
More problem gaming issues
Embrace the hate
Want to buy stock in athletes?
And the Oscar goes to …
Baffert moves top horses as suspension looms
It’s been a busy week for embattled horse trainer Bob Baffert.
On Monday, a Kentucky judge denied his request to stay his 90-day suspension for Medina Spirit’s drug positive in last year’s Kentucky Derby and set the sanction to begin April 4, if the ruling isn’t overturned in the Kentucky Court of Appeals. Then the California Horse Racing Board said the suspension in Kentucky, because of a reciprocity rule, would require him to essentially disband his racing operation in the Golden State during that time.
That has led Baffert to send his four hopefuls for this year’s Derby — Messier, Doppelganger, McLaren Vale, and Blackadder — to other trainers, which was announced Thursday by the trainer’s public relations team. Messier, Doppelganger, and McLaren Vale will be transferred to trainer Tim Yakteen, a former Baffert assistant, but will remain at Santa Anita Park. Blackadder will move to Kentucky to join trainer Rodolphe Brisset.
This move was necessary because Churchill Downs suspended Baffert for two years (although that is also being contested in court) and Baffert-trained horses cannot earn points in qualifying races, which are about to intensify on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby.” With new trainers, they will now be able to qualify, should they earn enough points in preps.
Second casino vote coming in Richmond?
Richmond moved closer to a second casino referendum in November, thanks to a recent court ruling. There’s been heated debate in and around the city about holding another referendum, after voters narrowly voted down a casino initiative last November.
While the court ruling makes a second referendum more likely, it’s still not guaranteed to appear on the ballot. If some lawmakers successfully include a provision against it in the state’s budget, it could override the recent court ruling and prevent Richmond from holding a second referendum.
Elsewhere in Virginia, casino developers in Norfolk are toying with the idea of implementing a temporary gaming facility inside Harbor Park, a minor league baseball stadium.
— Bennett Conlin
Tom Brady = money in NH
The New Hampshire Lottery reported Friday that Tom Brady’s announcement that he will “unretire” has resulted in a 1,000% rise in total bets and a 2,900% increase in money bet on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win the Super Bowl. The former Patriots quarterback had announced his retirement earlier this year, but on March 13 said he’d be back.
These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands. That time will come. But it’s not now. I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. Unfinished business LFG pic.twitter.com/U0yhRKVKVm
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) March 13, 2022
Ahead of Brady’s new announcement, 8% of all dollars wagered and 4% of bets on the state’s DraftKings platform were for the Bucs to win the Super Bowl. By Friday, those numbers rose to 11% and 6%.
In other news in the state, the town of Conway is considering putting before voters the question of whether to allow sports betting. Under New Hampshire law, the state can have 10 retail sportsbooks. There are currently three — in Dover, Manchester, and Seabrook. DraftKings has a monopoly in the state for both retail and mobile wagering.
— Jill R. Dorson
DraftKings to open sportsbooks in Illinois, Louisiana
DraftKings announced that it will open a 6,000-square-foot retail sportsbook Tuesday at the Casino Queen in East St. Louis, Illinois, which sits just across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Louis.
Former St. Louis Rams star Marshall Faulk will be on hand for a 2 p.m. local time ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday. With a 60-foot video wall and more than 30 betting kiosks, the sportsbook will replace a temporary facility that opened two years ago.
Thursday, DraftKings also revealed that it would open a temporary sportsbook at the Hollywood Casino in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. According to a press release, the interim venue will be replaced by a permanent, state-of-the-art sportsbook next year.
— Mike Seely
Paysafe partners with Resorts World in NY
Resorts World has reached a partnership with Paysafe to handle payments for its mobile sportsbook in New York, the companies announced on Thursday.
Resorts World has brick-and-mortar casinos in the Catskills and New York City and launched mobile operations in the state earlier this month. Resorts World is one of eight operators currently taking bets in the state. Bally Bet has signaled its intention to launch in April.
Paysafe enables gamblers to make deposits and receive payouts by debit card and ACH. The new platform is Resorts WorldBET.
“Resorts WorldBET will further contribute to the company’s development and paves a path to tap into the robust and growing mobile sports betting market in New York,” the companies said in a statement.
— Mark Saxon
Sightline partners with J.P. Morgan
Sightline Payments, a digital gaming payment provider, announced this week that its transactions will run through J.P. Morgan Payments, allowing for quicker payouts, according to a press release. Sightline, which has more than 80 gaming partners across 40 states, has played a key role in the move to cashless casinos, most recently proposing a Nevada regulatory change that allows for digital identity verification for casino accounts.
“We’re at a critical point in the gaming industry’s payments ecosystem. J.P. Morgan Payments will help us solve some of the biggest payments challenges our industry faces and provide real solutions to the millions of consumers who enjoy the modern, omnichannel gaming experience.,” Sightline Co-CEO Omer Sattar said in the press release.
— Jill R. Dorson
MaximBet offers Oscar prizes through free-to-play app
MaximBet is treating this Sunday’s Oscars like the Super Bowl, with a slew of creative prop bets and major category odds on its free-to-play app, MaximBet Play, where it’s offering $500 cash prizes to contestants who show the most cinematic savvy.
Among the featured props are how long the best actress acceptance speech will last and “What will be mentioned first: climate change, gas prices, Joe Biden, or Tom Brady?” Meanwhile, the Best Picture race is easily the most competitive of the biggies, with CODA (-150) and The Power of the Dog (-120) running neck and neck.
— Mike Seely
More of the most interesting stories
WELL THEN?: Majority of ‘Bama Rs want to legalize casinos, lottery, sports betting [Alabama Daily News]
BACK AFTER THIS: Mike Francesa launching podcast in partnership with BetRivers [BSM]
NIL: Ads featuring Drew Timme mark a new phase in leveraging college athletes’ images [WSJ]
LET’S MAKE A DEAL: FanDuel strikes content deal with White Hat Studios [CDC]
ON THE HHR TRAIN: Churchill Downs Inc. to acquire Chasers Poker Room in Salem, NH [GlobeNewswire]
TSK, TSK: New Jersey fines BetMGM for bets on prohibited college basketball games [AP]
ENJOY RESPONSIBLY: USFL joins AGA’s “Have A Game Plan, Bet Responsibly” campaign [CDC]
BUSTED: Two South Dakota sportsbooks fined for taking illegal wagers [RapidCityJournal]
VROOM, VROOM: F1 will make its Las Vegas debut in 2023 [FrontOfficeSports]
PROCESSING: Global Payments Gaming to provide services to SI Sportsbook [CDC]
DIRECT FLIGHT: Danville airport begins renovations to prepare for coming Caesars Casino [WSET]
OPENING: Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe to offer sports betting at 7 Cedars Casino [Peninsula Daily News]