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.
Don’t get too excited about Florida
The biggest news this week was that Florida lawmakers approved a sports betting law and a tribal compact during a three-day special session. But slow your roll, even the very lawmakers who ratified the compact say there are lawsuits to come — and that’s assuming the Department of the Interior signs off on it, which appears to be an open question.
— Shannon Clowe (@ShannonCwtsp) May 19, 2021
In the bill that included the compact, lawmakers also set Oct. 15, 2021 as a potential launch date for sports betting, Even though that’s halfway through the football season, Floridians should be super happy if they can, in fact, place a bet on Oct. 15. If the Dept. of the Interior doesn’t approve the compact or if lawsuits do materialize, Oct. 15 will look like a date we should have embraced. Any lawsuit could come with an injunction to further delay a launch.
Lawmakers passed three other sports-betting related bills, including SB 8A, which allows for “decoupling” at parimutuel facilities. There was heavy opposition to this bill, and the vote to pass it was the closest of the four. Many lawmakers argued it would force the closure of multiple parimutuel facilities. Check out this story from the Paulick Report for the horsemen’s take on the new law.
And here’s a look at our coverage of the special session:
And in CT, daily fantasy may be in trouble
When Florida lawmakers passed their package of bills on Wednesday, they left out a bill that would have required daily fantasy operators to be licensed in the state. But a day later and 1,000 miles away, lawmakers in Connecticut are heading in the opposite direction. The Connecticut bill that would legalize statewide mobile sports betting will effectively force DFS companies to pull out of the state until they can get licensed. That situation creates a host of problems that lawmakers maybe didn’t think about — including hurting the tax revenue windfall they’re aiming to get with legal wagering and a gaming expansion. Sports betting and DFS titans DraftKings and FanDuel use their DFS databases to build a base of sports betting customers. But if they’re not able to operate in the state when sports betting goes live, they’ll be starting from scratch, which could translate into a slower ramp-up in sports betting participation.
At 3.6 million people, Connecticut might not seem like a critical state, but given it’s proximity to both New York City and Boston, there’s plenty of crossover. The state is also demographically very attractive to operators given that it ranks No. 6 in terms of per capita income at $76,000. Washington, D.C., Maryland, and New Jersey make up the top three in that category, and digital sports betting is legal in all three jurisdictions.
South Dakota applications available
Applications for Sports Wagering Services Providers are now available on the South Dakota Department of Revenue website. Licenses are required for anyone “who maintains or operates the software or hardware of a sports wagering system or facilitates wagering on a sporting event by providing a service, including data aggregation, risk management, computer service, furnishing information or setting odds.” The application fee is $5,000 with license and annual renewal fees of $2,000.
On May 18, the Department of Gaming approved 13 proposed rules related to gaming and a 14th that tweaked how adjusted gross revenue will be computed, according to Keloland Media Group. Voters in South Dakota retail legalized sports betting in Deadwood only via referendum in November 2020, and the goal is for the first bets to be taken sometime after July 1.
Leaving the door open?
Nebraska this week became the most college-sports loving U.S. jurisdiction to approve legal sports betting but prohibit betting on the home team. At least 11 states with legal sports betting ban betting on local colleges. That prohibition, operators argue, leaves open the door for the black market to thrive. For the most part, states with major college football or basketball teams allow betting on college sports. Nebraska is the only state with a Big Ten team that prohibits wagering on in-state colleges. And bettors can drive to neighbors Iowa, Colorado, and soon Wyoming, if they want to place those bets.
Top stories around our network
If you still think Pennsylvania's gaming industry tax rate and fees are too high, you've been proven wrong, says Susan Hensel, the state's longest-running regulatory official in gaming, who is now moving into consulting: https://t.co/OkwRClqN3K
— Gary Rotstein (@GaryRotstein) May 17, 2021
More of the most important stories
BIG INVESTMENT: FanDuel spending $15 million, adding 900 jobs in GA. [BizJournal]
NEW PARTNERSHIP: Genius Sports makes a data deal with NBA Africa. [CNBC]
BAFFERT BLUES: Kentucky Derby winning trainer temporarily banned by NYRA for Belmont. [BloodHorse]
RAISING AWARENESS: Overview of sentencing guidelines for someone with a gambling addiction. [Judges.org]
JUMP BALL: NBA TV adds sports betting program, dubbed “NBA Bet.” [Sportico]
Sports Betting Is Rapidly Moving Into Top 5 Category At Radio. https://t.co/PFCj39M80i
— InsideRadio (@InsideRadio) May 19, 2021
BET ON IT: Louisiana Senate approves sports betting framework. [WWL]
IT’S OFFICIAL: MD governor signs off on sports betting framework. [BaltimoreSun]
GAME ON: Mass senators try again for sports betting with budget amendment. [BostonHerald]
DEAD ISSUE: Alabama session ends with no action on gaming. [Casino.org]
MISSOURI MOVEMENT: Four sports betting bills get committee assignment. [iGB]
Some Personal News™: I'm beginning work on a new book about gambling and risk! 🎲
It's in the very early stages, but looking forward to getting back to my roots—I was a poker player before I ever began covering politics—and meeting and interviewing lots of interesting people. pic.twitter.com/mGIRc3fi1S
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) May 19, 2021
SAFETY NET: ESPN sports betting anchor nets $300K on “first safety taken” bet at NFL Draft. [ActionNetwork]
NEW STRIP CASINO: Resorts World Las Vegas on track to open in June after license granted. [CDCGaming]
3…2…1: Sports betting skyrocketed during pandemic, but experts warn of “ticking time bomb.” [NBCNews]
WHOA BUBBA: DraftKings joins NASCAR star Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing. [NASCAR.com]
Today @DraftKings became the first Official DFS, iGaming, Free to Play & Sports Betting Partner of @23XIRacing & @BubbaWallace. Under the new deal, @DraftKings will be the primary partner of the No.23 Camry at the @NASCAR Cup Series Race on 6/27. For more: https://t.co/gO5G9PJCdI pic.twitter.com/wxjlOn4s3r
— DraftKings News (@DraftKingsNews) May 20, 2021
Matt Rybaltowski contributed to this report