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
As the sports betting bonanza continues in the U.S., it stands to reason that not everything will go smoothly every step of the way. Stakeholders in many different spheres — including bettors, operators, legislators, regulators, vendors, and more — still have plenty to learn and change in the legalized sports betting world.
So, what issues popped up this week? Let’s dive in.
California’s war over sports betting gets hotter
Licensed Ontario operators frustrated with ongoing black market operations
NHL remains mum on Sportradar’s activities in Russia
American Gaming Association, sports bettors need to work together
Carousel Group fined for MaximBet’s 16 days of missed geolocation checks in Colorado
Is fixed-odds horse racing legal in Michigan? Maybe!
A different kind of free agent
Charlie Blackmon becomes first active MLB player to sign deal with a sportsbook
Bills, bills, bills
South Carolina politicians introduce another sports betting bill
Maine legislators take major step toward legal sports betting
Massachusetts Senate president, who opposes gambling, continues to slow sports betting process
Failure to launch
Maryland online sports betting launch likely still months away
Can’t spell Beto without bet
Beto O’Rourke voices support for legal sports betting in Texas
No new wagers for New York
Expansion of New York’s sports betting menu likely won’t happen in 2022
Sportsbooks, particularly FanDuel, cleaned up in New York last week
New Jersey sportsbooks’ betting handle back to a billion in March
Michigan sports betting handle in March was up nearly 23% from the same month a year ago
BetMGM vaulted ahead of DraftKings last month in handle
Pennsylvania sportsbooks rebounded nicely in March
Tennessee posts $370 million in sports betting handle for March
Louisiana sportsbooks clean up in March, gross nearly $31 million in revenue
Connecticut sportsbooks bounce back from sluggish February
Another blow for Oregon horse racing
HHR setback compels Grants Pass Downs to cancel meet, but the race may not be over
888 U.S. hires former Bleacher Report CEO
As 888 continues the expansion of its SI Sportsbook brand, the company made a splash earlier this week with the hiring of former Bleacher Report CEO Howard Mittman as president of its U.S. division.
Mittman, who served as CEO of Bleacher Report for a four-year period through 2020, oversaw the launch of B/R Betting, the site’s sports betting project, as well as the opening of a Las Vegas-based studio. In 2018, B/R Live hosted The Match, a made-for-TV, 18-hole match play event between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Held several months after the Supreme Court’s historic PASPA decision, The Match marked the first time a network partnered with a major sportsbook to integrate live odds into a sports broadcast.
“I have been hugely impressed by the people I’ve met within the business, particularly their passion for product and the customer experience, and I share their excitement about the significant opportunities ahead,” Mittman said in a statement.
In September, 888 launched the SI Sportsbook in its first U.S. state, with a rollout in Colorado. The company plans to launch in several additional states in the coming year.
“This key appointment comes at a hugely exciting point in our long-term growth strategy,” said Itai Pazner, CEO of 888.
— Matt Rybaltowski
News Corp to enter Australian betting market
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is reportedly primed to enter Australia’s hyper-competitive sports betting market in time for spring horse racing season, which gets underway in August.
According to The Wall Street Journal, BetMakers will provide technology for the venture, which has a working title of BetR. News Corp will be part of a consortium that includes Las Vegas-based Tekkorp Capital and Matthew Tripp, who has held executive positions with several Australian sports betting companies, including industry leader SportsBet.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that News Corp has been exploring an entry into the sports betting space for at least a year. But perhaps it got the idea from a scene in the most recent season of Succession, which is not-so-loosely based on the Murdoch family, in which the multimedia company Waystar Royco — akin to a fictional News Corp — declares its intent to expand into sports betting.
— Mike Seely
Standing Rock Sioux sportsbook authorized
Another South Dakota tribe received approval from the federal government to offer sports betting on its tribal land.
On Friday, the U.S. Department of the Interior published in the Federal Register final approval of the amended compact between the Standing Rock Sioux and the state of South Dakota, which expands the tribe’s authority to offer sports betting on all Indian lands.
Now that the amendment is official, the Standing Rock Sioux are free to open a sportsbook at their casino.
— Ted Dahlstrom
More of the most important, interesting stories
JUMPED THE GUN?: Fanatics denies Amelco sportsbook deal [iGB]
NEW FACE: DAZN Group announces strategic partnership to launch DAZN Bet [PR Newswire]
HELP WANTED: NFL seeks sports betting czar [Sportico]
TIME FOR CHANGE: National Indian Gaming Association drops “N” from acronym [Native News Online]
At the National Indian Gaming Association Association convention this week. In the first presentation, found this, uh, interesting… pic.twitter.com/tOR22MeOFj
— Jeremy Balan (@jeremybalan) April 19, 2022
DOWN TO THE WIRE: Vegas, Churchill optimistic about Derby betting deal [Horse Racing Nation]
VIOLATION: Illegal gambling ringleader admits violating terms of release [Nevada Independent]
WHAT’S NEXT?: The future of sports betting in North Carolina [Spectrum News]