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 headlines, highlighting some fresh news, and rounding up key stories.
Top stories around our network this week
With Maryland seemingly off to a healthy start with its modern era of sports betting by phone and computer, the focus shifts to Ohio, which has about 5 million more residents and is thus a more attractive market for operators. It celebrates the new year by letting Ohioans engage legally in digital and retail betting at the same time, at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1.
Sports Handle reported this week that as many as 18 digital sportsbooks may be ready to launch on the first day, with all or nearly all of the major players in the industry lined up. Of note compared to other states, Ohio’s regulator is embracing esports as a potential betting option, while setting odds on events outside of athletic competitions — such as on the Academy Awards or a coin flip or Gatorade color (popular Super Bowl betting options in some places) — will largely be prohibited.
As casinos and other venues make final preparations to have their on-site betting parlors ready by month’s end, reports surfaced that former Ohio Speaker of the House Larry Householder has been accused by federal prosecutors of involvement in a “pay-to-play” scandal connected to discussion of the state’s sports betting legislation. That remains to be adjudicated or proven, but regardless, Ohioans are going to have a wide range of betting options immediately after the state’s launch, including a full NFL slate on Sunday, Jan. 1.
Sports Handle and its network of sites, including OH Bets, will be on top of everything relating to the state’s launch between now and Jan. 1, in addition to much more, as this past week’s articles show.
For more from ESPN, stay tuned
My bookie’s got most of that
This is another fine mess, Elon
Not your father’s Facebook
Puig displeased by original plea
Cars and gambling: a profitable mix
There’s no accounting for this
College kids to the RG rescue
OK, MGM, we’ll let you in
Maryland already set to expand
Look what you started, NYT
Lots of things going on above border
Is iCasino expansion too much to ask?
No one’s in it for the money, but …
Massachusetts application review begins
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission passed a group of sports betting rules related to applications, definitions, taxes, and vendors on Thursday. It also made public redacted versions of the Category 1 wagering applications submitted by the state’s three casinos — Encore-Boston Harbor, MGM-Springfield, and Plainridge Park. All three are eligible for one brick-and-mortar sportsbook and two digital skins.
The commission will hold three public meetings next week during which representatives of each casino company can present information related to the applications and there will be a question-and-answer period. The MGC will hear from representatives of PENN Entertainment (Plainridge Park) on Tuesday, from MGM on Wednesday, and from Encore/Wynn on Thursday. The meetings are the first in an aggressive schedule during which it will hear from digital applicants later this month and in the first two weeks of January.
The commission’s goal is to get the casino retail sportsbooks open by late January ahead of the Super Bowl and the digital platforms launched by early March ahead of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
— Jill R. Dorson
Hoskins ready for another try in Missouri
As he’s done in the past, Missouri state Sen. Denny Hoskins filed a sports betting bill on Thursday, the first available day to pre-file for the new session starting on Jan. 4. This year’s iteration again includes legalizing video lottery terminals, a provision that historically has been a non-starter for the casino industry.
The bill would allow for retail sportsbooks and statewide mobile wagering. The platforms would be tethered to existing casinos and professional sports venues, which would be allowed to create an exclusion zone that would prohibit other digital platforms from offering their services. A similar situation exists in Washington, D.C.
Pro teams would be entitled to one digital skin, while casinos would entitled to up to two. Licensing fees would range from $100,000 to $500,000 per year and the tax rate would be set at 10%. The proposal also includes an official league data mandate.
— Jill R. Dorson
NHL gets initial BetCast treatment
The first hockey-themed BetCast of MSG Networks will air Monday for the game between the New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues. The special simulcast brings to an NHL contest the same type of DraftKings-sponsored commentary and analysis that MSG Networks has used previously for those interested in betting who are watching Knicks games.
The initial hockey BetCast will feature the announcing duo of Rangers reporter Michelle Gingras and former Rangers and Devils center Scott Gomez, in addition to appearances from on-air personalities presented by DraftKings. The sportsbook’s odds will be integrated into the program, with information highlighted about specific bets and parlays.
— Gary Rotstein
PENN extends STEM aid for HBCUs
While success as a bettor often depends on no small amount of luck, having a firm grasp of the math and science behind various lines and odds is to the extreme benefit of counterparts on both sides of a wager. To this end, PENN Entertainment, which operates Barstool Sportsbook, announced it has awarded more than $4 million in STEM scholarships to expand efforts to develop gambling industry professionals at six Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Joining Norfolk State (Virginia), Bowie State (Maryland) and Wilberforce University (Ohio) as participants in PENN’s STEM scholarship program are Jackson State in Mississippi, Prairie View A&M in Texas, and Southern University and A&M College in Louisiana.
— Mike Seely
20th Washington tribe to get sports betting
The Yakama tribe recently became the 20th Washington tribe to have its tribal compact amended to include sports betting. Approval for the updated compact was published in the Federal Register on Nov. 25. The Yakama tribe operates the Legends Casino Resort located in Toppenish, a small city in central Washington about 20 minutes from Yakima, which was named after the tribe and shared the same name until the tribe changed its name to Yakama in 1994 to reflect its historic pronunciation.
— Ted Dahlstrom
More of the most important, interesting stories
AND IT’S ALL ON MOROCCO TO WIN IT ALL: World Cup provides a $35 billion betting boon for bookmakers [Bloomberg]
LIONEL SURE DOES NEED THE MONEY: Poland goalkeeper Szczesny: I lost bet with Messi over penalty [ESPN.com]
IS THERE MORE TO LIFE THAN JUST DRAFTKINGS?: As sports betting takes hold nationally, Oregon lawmakers ponder what comes next [Willamette Week]
THESE UFC GUYS ARE TAKING A BEATING: Ontario’s regulator bans gambling on UFC due to betting integrity concerns [Canada Sports Betting]
Betting on UFC fights is banned in Ontario.
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) December 1, 2022
SHOCKED, SHOCKED TO FIND GAMBLING PROMOTED: U.S. tennis coaches Fish, Bryan fined for promoting gambling [The Associated Press]
L’IL NEW HAMPSHIRE WILL GET TO $100M SOMEDAY: Betting handle in New Hampshire hits $91.3 million in October [Gambling News]
A TEAM WORTH A WAGR OR TWO: WagerWire and Wagr partner to bring community and user experience to the forefront of sports betting [Yahoo Finance]
YOUR MONEY’S NOT NEEDED HERE: Sightline Payments announces enhancements to cashless tech at Resorts World Las Vegas [CDC Gaming Reports]