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
All eyes are on the hardwood as March Madness descends into first-round chaos and productivity plummets at workplaces across America. On Thursday, we witnessed a rare No. 15 over No. 2-seed upset when the 18-point underdog St. Peter’s Peacocks knocked off the Kentucky Wildcats 85-79 in overtime, sending Coach Cal’s crew packing. On deck: more upsets.
In more March-related madness, math, and musings …
Into the wild
The game has changed
Hold on to your hats
No betting (ads) here
The NCAA became the first major sports organization to ban sportsbook commercials during its marquee event when it announced this month that such ads would not be allowed during March Madness, according to ESPN’s David Payne Purdum. As sports betting has proliferated across the U.S., regulators have been hearing from residents that sportsbooks are flooding the airwaves with advertising, and some are considering putting limits on the amount of advertising books can do.
Commercials for sportsbook operators will not be permitted during NCAA tournament games, per NCAA.
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) March 16, 2022
While ads aren’t allowed during the broadcasts, sportsbook operators are offering plenty of March Madness specials via social media, on their own websites, and through other means, as well as offering betting on games in most states, though a handful — including New York, New Jersey, and Virginia — don’t allow wagering on in-state teams. Earlier this week, our own John Brennan shared the closest destinations to bet on your team if your state doesn’t allow it.
Joakim Noah joins BetRivers
On Wednesday, Rush Street Interactive announced that it had signed former Chicago Bulls star Joakim Noah to a “brand and content deal” with its BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse sports betting platforms. The announcement comes at a time when Rush Street is competing with four other finalists to build a casino and sportsbook in downtown Chicago, Illinois.
According to a press release, Noah will provide weekly videos covering everything from his thoughts on basketball to his charitable work with the Noah’s Arc Foundation, which “uses sports and art to provide kids with the opportunity to create positive change within themselves and their community.” Prior to playing with the Bulls, Noah helped lead the University of Florida to two national championships, which could bolster RSI’s prospects in the Sunshine State if and when the legal mess involving sports wagering there gets sorted out.
– Mike Seely
Movement in Maine, maybe?
Maine’s House Judiciary Committee this week moved forward a tribal-rights bill that would allow the state’s two commercial casinos to offer sports betting, but would limit Penn National Gaming to offering wagering at its harness track rather than at its Hollywood Casino. Gov. Janet Mills, who vetoed a commercially backed bill that would have allowed for statewide mobile wagering and an open marketplace in 2020, has her own version of a tribal-rights bill and did not immediately support LD 1626, according to the Bangor News.
Stakeholders, who have been trying to legalize sports betting for more than three years, and have plenty of support everywhere except the governor’s office. Mills’ move to include tribes in the mix this year has completely altered the landscape and taken commercial operators by surprise.
More of the most important, interesting stories
NO GO ON HORSE BETTING: Georgia Senate says no to constitutional amendment. [AP]
LOTTERY COMING? Alabama Senate passes bill that would legalize lottery. [AP]
HABLA ESPANOL? Fifth Street launches Spanish-language Latino sports site JefeBet. [CDCGaming]
CLOSER LOOK: Regulators in two states scrutinizing Barstool, PNG ahead of acquisition. [WSJ]
We are aware that players are currently experiencing issues with log-in and bet placement, and we are working on getting this resolved ASAP. Thank you for your patience here.
— DraftKings CX Team (@DK_Assist) March 17, 2022
$1 BILLION? NY Senate considers raising downstate casino license fee to $1 billion. [Politico]
I DIDN’T MEAN IT: Mass. Senator walks back “I’m fine” with gambling comment. [MassLive]
NEW RULES: Mass. regulators discuss updating ad regs ahead of sports betting legalization. [WBUR]
COMING SOON? In Arkansas, the Saracen Casino’s wagering app is being held up in testing. [KATV]
TRIBAL PARTNERSHIP: Brewers team up with Potawatomi Tribe, which owns a Wisconsin casino. [CBS58]