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
Our three stories of the week that concern the most widely impactful events go to (1) the launch of brick-and-mortar sportsbooks on Thursday in Connecticut; (2) Endeavor Group Holdings entering a definitive agreement to acquire the OpenBet sports betting division from Scientific Games for $1.2 billion, which would lead to the creation of a sports betting division that would combine Endeavor’s IMG ARENA and Sci Games’ OpenBet in a play for a big piece of the global sports betting data pie; and (3) further analysis by Matt Rybaltowski of DraftKings’ $20 billion cash-and-stock proposal to acquire UK-based Entain plc, a move confirmed by both sides.
The company that stands to suffer from the potential takeover is MGM Resorts, which in 2018 entered a 50/50 joint venture with Entain (then GVC Holdings). Writes Rybaltowski:
MGM Resorts can ill afford to lose BetMGM to DraftKings or any other top competitor. In response to DraftKings’ proposal, MGM Resorts said that maintaining “control of the joint venture” represents an important step toward achieving its “strategic objectives.” MGM Resorts also believes that any transaction which results in Entain or its affiliates owning “a competitive business in the U.S.,” i.e. BetMGM, requires the consent of the parent company.
Full coverage of Connecticut, where online sports betting is expected to begin with a soft launch next week and likewise iGaming/iCasino offerings on Oct. 7, here:
Gov. Ned Lamont kicked off Connecticut in-person sports betting with a $50 wager on the WNBA's Connecticut Sun at the @FanDuel sportsbook at the Mohegan Sun this morning.
"Money in the bank," he declared after receiving his ticket. https://t.co/RKjEbhfXT6
— RLinnehanXL (@RLinnehanXl) September 30, 2021
Louisiana delay; WynnBET announces access
Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc on Louisiana and the Gulf Coast in late August, and as a result the Louisiana Gaming Control Board says the start of legal sports betting is being pushed back to mid-October. The state police are handling licensing, and they lost about two weeks of time processing applications during and in the aftermath of the hurricane, which shut down casinos across the South.
Louisiana Casino Association Executive Director Wade Duty told KTAL this week not to expect temporary license approvals until the middle of October. Louisiana’s new law allows for 20 licenses for both retail and statewide mobile sportsbooks, all tethered to existing casinos or horse racetracks. The LGCB approved a set of temporary regulations in August, and in September, the state police said the licensing process would be delayed.
While WynnBET did not announce who its partnership is with, rumors have the company tethered to one of the three Caesars properties in the state. WynnBET’s digital platform is currently live in six states and the company has some level of market access in 17 U.S. jurisdictions.
Two more WA tribes reveal sportsbook partners
Two Washington state tribes, the Suquamish and Stillaguamish, revealed this week who their sportsbook operators will be.
The Suquamish Tribe, which owns the Clearwater Casino Resort near Bainbridge Island, selected FanDuel as its sportsbook partner. According to a press release, the FanDuel Sportsbook at Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort will feature three live betting windows and 12 self-service kiosks. Three of those kiosks will be located in the casino’s Beach Rock Music and Sports Lounge, which features 11 screens and has capacity for over 250 people. The main sportsbook will boast a high-definition video wall with 17 screens and club chair seating.
A FanDuel spokesperson told Sports Handle that the partners don’t have a projected opening date for the sportsbook and are not yet sure whether on-site mobile will be available when the first wagers are placed. (Per state law, all wagering, in-person or otherwise, must be conducted on tribal casino grounds.)
The Suquamish Tribe is the first to opt for a sportsbook partner other than IGT, which counts the Snoqualmie, Kalispel, and Stillaguamish tribes among those that have selected the white-label operator. The latter of those three announced this week that IGT would handle sportsbook operations at its Angel of the Winds Casino Resort in Arlington, Wash., about 45 minutes north of Seattle.
“We’ve been looking for a long time, trying to narrow it down, and obviously we do other business with IGT,” said Jeff Wheatley, Angel of the Winds’ chief operating officer. “We feel very comfortable with them as a company.”
As with Clearwater, Angel of the Winds does not yet have a target date for when it expects to open its sportsbook, with Wheatley explaining, “We want to make sure we’re methodical and don’t rush it and want to get everything right.”
In addition to traditional retail windows and six self-serve kiosks, Angel of the Winds will feature half a dozen of IGT’s CrystalBetting Terminals, where an individual bettor can watch and bet on sporting events without having to get out of their seat.
— Mike Seely
More top stories from around our network
Biggest betting bonanza of the week
Rounders of the week
Hourglass of the week
Milestone of the week
They’ve seen and heard enough of the week
Grays Sports Almanac of the week
Lawyering up of the week
Possible moving trucks of the week
Nothing is sacred of the week
Sometimes the house wins only a little of the week
And more important, interesting stories:
MARYLAND: State regulator releases all comments submitted on the proposed sports betting rules. See who commented and what they said here: https://t.co/2ZpHCbXXQ4
— John A Pappas (@yanni_dc) September 30, 2021
Boxing bouts fixed at Olympics, inquiry finds https://t.co/mPVbEwKL2c
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) October 1, 2021
INEXPLICABLE: Top Massachusetts lawmaker says sports betting might not fit into “bandwidth” [State House News]
YOU’RE HIRED: Joe Asher named president of IGT Sports Betting [CDC Gaming]
RISK MANAGEMENT: Sharp books, soft books: inside the sportsbook ecosystem [Plus EV]
STAND-UP: BetMGM partners with Bill Burr and All Things Comedy. [PR Newswire]
THIS IS EASIER: PaySafe makes a deal with fuboTV to streamline payments. [BusinessWire]
BUY, BUY, BUY!: New report reveals analyst very bullish on sports betting. [CDC Gaming]
WAGERING ON THE MENU? NY restaurant association partners with Elys. [Restaurant Biz]
NAY SAYERS: Even at 3-0, Raiders still biggest longshot to win AFC West. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
VOTE: Early voting has started in Virginia and a new Richmond casino is on the ballot. [WTVR]