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 happenings.
Top stories around our network this week
Things tend to slow down during the summer in the sports betting world, just as things slow down in the sports world in general, but that doesn’t mean the gambling news has stopped.
Although there may been no blockbuster story this week, it still produced a steady stream of news. This edition of Get a Grip is jammed with fresh content, to go along with our weekly roundup of stories from our family of sites.
It took this long?
Buckle up, it’s going to be a wild ride
How’s it going over there?
Puff, puff, parlay
That was close
Ready or not, here comes HISA
In the same week that a group of operators — led by BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel — learned that it had enough signatures to get its mobile wagering initiative on California‘s November ballot, the group also started running its first media campaign, featuring the tribal chief of the Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians. The ad features Jose Simon talking about the 12,000-year-old history of his tribe and how digital sports betting will protect tribal sovereignty and contribute significant dollars to solving California’s homelessness problem.
One group opposing the operators’ mobile initiative, the Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming, announced that civil rights leader Dolores Huerta has endorsed the separate tribal initiative that would allow for in-person wagering only at tribal casinos and four racetracks. The group is opposed to the commercial mobile initiative.
“Latino and Indigenous communities have a deeply intertwined history of oppression and being treated as second-class citizens in California,” Huerta said. “Tribal gaming has given California’s Indian tribes the resources to fight through generational poverty, oppression, and disenfranchisement. The in-person, Tribal Sports Wagering Act will empower tribes to create new economic opportunities for their members and all Californians through safe, responsible sports wagering.
“The corporate online gambling proposition is misguided and dangerous. This measure is a direct attack on Indian self-sufficiency that would also expose youth and the disadvantaged to the perils of online gambling.”
— Jill R. Dorson
CO sportsbook under investigation after closure
On June 21, the sportsbook at the Monarch Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado, closed abruptly for several days because of an undisclosed “personnel matter,” according to the property’s director of marketing, Erica Ferris, who declined to provide further details.
Monarch’s sportsbook reopened June 24, prior to Game 5 of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals, which featured the Colorado Avalanche. Considering their involvement, the interruption to the retail book’s operations was undoubtedly more costly than if it occurred during another midweek period. BetMonarch’s mobile sportsbook app, however, suffered no interruptions and was able to take sports wagers.
Whatever the cause, the temporary shutdown is now the subject of an “active investigation,” said Suzanne Karrer, a spokesperson for the Colorado Division of Gaming. Like Ferris, Karrer said she could not elaborate on the situation.
— Mike Seely
Florida briefing schedule proposed
As of Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia had not yet responded to a proposed schedule offered by the Seminole Tribe and West Flagler Associates in the West Flagler v. Deb Haaland case, which could determine whether the Seminoles can again offer digital sports betting.
The appeals court in December upheld a district court ruling that the Seminole compact with the state, written to give the tribe exclusivity to digital sports betting, was illegal. The tribe and West Flagler proposed that opening briefs be filed 40 days after a schedule is posted and that the federal government file its response within 47 days of the opening briefs being filed. The proposal includes additional scheduling items, and if the times allotted are used in full, the court would have all briefs within about four months of the date the schedule is set.
If the schedule were set today, it would be Nov. 1 before the final response was filed, which means digital sports betting in Florida in 2022 is essentially off the table. Monterra MF LLC also filed an amicus brief in June that is pending response. The Seminoles in May stopped making payments to the state while the compact issue works its way through the courts.
— Jill R. Dorson
Fanatics sportsbook linked to Commanders
A recent report from the Washington Business Journal suggests a Fanatics sportsbook could be coming to FedEx Field, the home of the NFL’s Washington Commanders. Recent work orders included on multiple contractor lists mention a “Fanatics Sportsbook at FedEx Field,” according to the report.
Fanatics recently entered the Maryland sports betting market, receiving initial approval for retail sports betting. While neither the Commanders nor Fanatics have confirmed the plans for a Fanatics sportsbook at FedEx Field, the online sales giant does have a merchandising partnership with the Commanders spanning through 2029.
— Bennett Conlin
Cost of living related to gambling surge?
As the cost of living goes up and up in the U.S. from high inflation, it’s fair to ask if consumers are turning to new ways to earn a buck, whether that is walking dogs or wagering. The same question occurred to an addiction specialist in the U.K.
“Often, debt will become increasingly worse, as those who are already struggling financially will continue to bet to try and win back the money they have lost,” Martin Preston, an addiction specialist at Delamere, said in a press release. “Amid the rising cost of living, with bills increasing rapidly, those within with financial problems may find themselves gambling more than they have ever done before, to generate a higher income.”
Should you suspect you have or are developing a gambling problem, Preston suggests removing all devices (computers, phones, etc.) from your home, seeking support through family, friends, or an addiction group, and owning the problem and getting help. In the U.S., consumers can call the National Council on Problem Gambling’s helpline, at 1-800-522-4700.
— Jill R. Dorson
Paysafe forms partnership with BetSaracen
Saracen Casino Resort’s chief marketing officer, Carlton Saffa, recently told Sports Handle about intent to have Saracen’s mobile sports betting app provide more convenient deposit and withdrawal options. On Thursday, it was announced that the Arkansas casino will partner up with Paysafe, as they aim to address BetSaracen’s withdrawal and deposit issues.
BetSaracen will integrate Paysafe’s Skrill USA digital wallet to help users easily deposit money and receive payouts. Paysafe, which has iGaming payment products in more than 20 states, will enable Arkansas bettors to link their bank accounts directly with the Skrill USA digital wallet. Customers can also use debit or credit cards to fund the digital wallet.
— Bennett Conlin
More of the most important, interesting stories
M&A: 888 completes acquisition of William Hill’s non-US business [Morningstar]
BIG MOVE: NFL hires first executive dedicated to sports betting business [ESPN]
PRICE SLASH: Light & Wonder cuts sale price of OpenBet sports betting biz by $400M [iGB]
— Caesars Entertainment (@CaesarsEnt) June 29, 2022
ADD ANOTHER TO THE LIST: Digital lottery looks like next big sports sponsorship category [Sportico]
STRIKING A DEAL: Bally’s sells and leases back two Rhode Island casinos [CDC]
On Tuesday, the federal register will publish approval of the Nisqually Tribe's Class III Gaming Compact for its @redwindcasino, which means another sportsbook will soon be open in Washington state.https://t.co/Cm8iPsERuY
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) July 1, 2022
WELCOME TO THE CLUB: Third in-person sports betting facility to open in NC this fall [WRAL]
BOUNCE BACK: Deadwood casinos rebound in May after two months of loss [Rapid City Journal]