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,” rounding up top stories in sports betting and gaming, and the world of sports at large. You may have missed them, and they are worth reading. This is meant to be brief, so that’s it.
First Applicant Emerges for Pennsylvania Sports Betting Licenses; Penn National and William Hill Making Moves; MS Sports Betting Map Lighting Up; New Jersey July Revenue.
Let’s jump from the starting gate with some of the biggest news of the preceding week and that is the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s receipt of its first application for a PA sports wagering license.
Gaming Control Board has received first petition to request offering sports wagering from Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing, operator of @HollywoodPenn
— PGCB (@PAGamingControl) August 17, 2018
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Penn. is owned by Penn National Gaming. It should not shock anyone that the board received this application, however given the weight of the application fee required by the state’s law — $10 million — coupled with the 36 percent state and local tax rate on gross gaming revenue, it wasn’t a certainty that the board would receive any applications, perhaps as a show of solidarity amongst the 13 potential licensees to force the legislature to (very reluctantly) revisit the law. But following the passage of new regulations on Wednesday, this application has come.
From Mountainview’s 107-page submission, we learned that it and Penn National would be teaming up with William Hill as its supplier. On Friday we also got confirmation that William Hill is indeed Penn’s sports betting partner at the Hollywood Casino at the Charles Town Races in W.Va., , which had been known but not yet publicly confirmed by either company. The property will take its first bet on Sept.1.
But back in PA, the lawmaker who’s spoken out about the steep licensure price and taxation rate, Representative Robert Matzie (D-Beaver County) basically said there will be too much pressure for casinos not to jump in and start offering sports betting, whether they like the tax rate or not.
Keep in mind even the NFL has written to the board that the state’s taxes and fees structure may “render legal market participants unable to effectively compete with the illegal market,” and suggests that lawmakers “reconsider laws and regulations that could have unintended consequences of advancing illegal sports betting.”
PNG’s vice president and general manager Daniel Ihm wrote in a letter to the board in June that they estimated the company “could lose approximately 40 cents on every $100 wagered on sporting events.”
But if we go back to an earnings call in April, we can see that PNG may be viewing the opportunity in PA purely as an amenity. And if that 40 cents on the 100 dollars is right, basically a loss leader.
“I said previously that we are excited about this opportunity,” President and COO Jay Snowden of PNG said on the Q1 call about U.S. sports betting broadly. “It’s not a significant revenue opportunity for us, specifically, as a standalone business of sports betting. But we do see the benefit of driving incremental visitation to our properties.”
The nature of the opportunity in every state will be different and a by-product of tax rates, fees, demographics and regulations of course. William Hill as the supplier cannot be thrilled by the state’s rake into revenue in PA, but prospects are much brighter elsewhere in the country (more on that).
So, will Penn’s application (which will take some time to get approved) now create a domino effect and should we expect a the other potential licensees will now apply for a sports betting certificate? At least a couple probably will — Mt. Airy Casino and Parx Casino, both of which have recently reached agreements for sports betting software/operations.
At least for the Pennsylvania consumer who wants to make legal bets and wager away in that environment… after we sounded a false alarm on Wednesday during the live board hearing, the PA Gaming Board’s Director of Communications, Doug Harbach, confirmed that approved mobile sports betting apps and online betting platforms will be accessible to players throughout the state. Of course, given the tax rate — compared to the 10 percent in W.Va. and 8.5 percent in New Jersey (retail, and 13 percent online) — we just don’t know what the sportsbooks will and will be able to offer in Pennsylvania. We shall see.
And speaking of New Jersey… it feels like a while ago but on Tuesday we learned that New Jersey sportsbooks grossed $3.8 million revenue in July on $40.6 million handle. The Meadowlands and the FanDuel Sportsbook led the way (amongst the four books operational) with $1.36 million in gross revenue after its July 14 launch. And oh yeah, both the the Resorts Casino and Golden Nugget sportsbooks opened Wednesday in Atlantic City.
Down South and Back to William Hill.
WilliamHill likewise received approval from the Mississippi Gaming Commission on Thursday, which will put the company in charge of 11 sportsbooks at licensed casinos in Mississippi. Likewise this week Penn Gaming announced it was set to launch sportsbooks (or kiosks) at five locations starting yesterday and over the course of the next week, at Hollywood Casino Gulf Coast and Boomtown Casino Biloxi, Hollywood Casino Tunica, 1st Jackpot Casino Tunica, and Resorts Casino Tunica.
Logically, William Hill will be the partner for all or at least some of these sportsbook lounges which, remember, can offer retail wagering and mobile betting on premises only, according to the regulations as presently constituted. Now let’s get to the rest.
The Other Most Important Stories of the Week in Sports Betting and U.S. Gaming.
‘Happy F****** Birthday’: In which The Action Network’s CEO represents his company poorly (and by association some in the sports betting industry) — and demonstrates a startling, severe lack of awareness [Slate]
Line Moves: Understanding smart money and how it moves betting lines [US Bets]
Office Space: DraftKings opens San Francisco office, plans Las Vegas expansion [BizJournals]
Grievances: FanDuel’s founder didn’t make a dime when his company was acquired. Now he’s suing for millions. [recode]
Mythbusting: 8 misconceptions about professional sports bettors [BTB]
Self-control: Got a gambling problem? Now banks let you block payments to betting shops and online sites [TiM]
Death and Taxes: Op-Ed: States should tread carefully in setting sports betting tax rate [Watchdog]
The Feds: Imagining a scandal that could prompt Congress to act on sports betting [Chalk]
Gulf Coast: Sports betting heating up at Mississippi’s casinos [MS Today]
Omaha!: Sports betting at Nebraska racetracks? [OW-H]
Pick ‘Em: Here’s a list of football contests at Las Vegas sports books [LV-RJ]
The Links: As Tour heads to N.J., legalized gambling comes into focus [Golf]
Elsewhere in the Wild World of Sports
This hasn’t happened since 1912!
On Thursday, the Rangers turned a triple play in which the batter was not one of the outs. The ball hit the ground, so Jurickson Profar tags third (for the force out), then tags the runner around third (who should have been advancing home, but could have stayed on the bag), then Profar tosses the ball to Rougie Odor to make the out at second, so the runner who began on first was forced out for the triple play.
Salary Cap: Building the perfect 53-man roster [Barnwell]
Goldilocks: College football start times, ranked [TBL]
Friday Night Stripes: Twitter is partnering with adidas to stream eight high school football games this year [AA]
Tweets of Note (that may have nothing to do with sports):
Interesting that @RUAthletics sends a sports betting information sheet with it's season tickets this year. Times have changed since last football season. @ACPressMartucci @ACPressDanzis @DustinGouker pic.twitter.com/kA7vnzDVRn
— Nicholas Huba (@ACPressHuba) August 16, 2018
Sports betting may have a positive affect on Mississippi overall https://t.co/mWgDv35x50
— WLOX (@WLOX) August 18, 2018
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) August 14, 2018
— SI Gambling (@SIGambling) August 13, 2018
guy on the left was the ceremonial first bettor at golden nugget AC … put a bean on the giants to win the supe. at 40-1, “i just did it for the longshot”… he’s with Tom Pohlman, GN senior VP pic.twitter.com/AZJUr92u51
— ed barkowitz (@edbarkowitz) August 15, 2018
The Browns have to get a win in order for these various fridges full of free beer to be opened in Cleveland.
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) August 14, 2018
ICYMI at Sports Handle:
Have a great weekend, all!