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
How much are PointsBet’s U.S. operations worth? Would its shareholders be better off selling to DraftKings than Fanatics? What’s DraftKings’ primary motivation in bidding to snatch PointsBet away from Fanatics’ clutches?
These are among the most prominent questions raised Friday by the unexpected news that DraftKings had made a $195 million offer to purchase the U.S. assets of PointsBet, just two weeks in advance of a scheduled vote by the Australian-based company’s shareholders on selling to Fanatics. It was only a month ago that a $150 million Fanatics-PointsBet deal was announced as potentially the biggest shakeup in several years in the sports betting industry.
It remains to be seen whether the DraftKings bid will interfere with Fanatics’ ambitious plan to gain quick market access by football season in a multitude of key states, through taking over PointsBet’s existing operations. For now, Fanatics is only offering sports betting on a limited basis in four states. Sports Handle’s Bennett Conlin was able to test out the new site in Maryland and gave a somewhat mixed review, while allowing for the potential for Fanatics’ early platform to work out kinks and compete well with the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel.
Count on Sports Handle to closely track the upcoming developments in the Fanatics-PointsBet-DraftKings three-way drama, as well as provide all of the other news related to the sports betting industry, as the past week’s articles below show. And for news in the broader gambling world, check out our partner site US Bets, including its weekly Double Down column and the latest Gamble On podcast.
The governors and their mighty pens
On the iGaming side of things …
A note about integrity
Checking in with Kornegay
Tale of an underdog of sorts
Big addition ahead in Illinois
Lawmakers face a taxing situation
Jersey always looking to lead
New twist delayed in Colorado
Rarely good news around D.C.
Racetrack on the right path
Following up on NFL betting issues
Monthly money reports abound
Changes coming in Tennessee
The Tennessee Sports Wagering Advisory Council, which officially drops “advisory” from its name on July 1, approved emergency rules related to vendor renewals and registrations at a Thursday meeting. There wasn’t much discussion before approval.
The SWAC is to draft permanent rules this summer, which are expected to be approved and filed in September before going into effect at the end of 2023. Given the necessary steps of approval, the SWAC expects permanent rules to be drafted by July 10. Sportsbook operators are likely to share feedback on the proposed rules later in the summer.
The bigger shift for Tennessee’s sports betting market relates to official league data mandate removal and the new tax structure for mobile sportsbooks. Both of those changes take effect July 1, with the tax removing a controversial 10% hold provision and instead taxing operators on their handle.
— Bennett Conlin
Executive director in Massachusetts moving on
Karen Wells, who led the staff that crafted and implemented Massachusetts’ new wagering rules, is leaving the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. Wells has been executive director for three years, overseeing launch of legal sports betting in the state six months after it became law.
In a press release, the MGC did not announce what Wells’ next stop would be, but it said discussions on the search for a new executive director will begin in the near future. Wells joined the MGC in 2013 as director of the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau.
“Karen is the model of a leader, and her influence can be seen in everything the MGC does,” MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein said in the press release. “The MGC’s effectiveness as a regulator is a direct reflection of Karen’s efforts and her ability to build, motivate, and direct the MGC team.”
— Jill R. Dorson
Delaware exploring digital wagering
Digital sports betting is legal in Delaware, but it has never been live. Lawmakers are hoping to change that. The Internet Sports Lottery Legislative Working Group this week had its first meeting to discuss what online wagering could look like in the state.
The working group came about after the state opened the bid process for digital wagering earlier this year, but none of the major operators applied. Members heard from the Sports Betting Alliance, a lobbying group that represents BetMGM, DraftKings, Fanatics, and FanDuel and argued that a competitive market would serve the state well, while lottery executives argued for a single-platform system.
Delaware was among the first adopters of wagering after the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was overturned, and sports betting is currently offered at three brick-and-mortar racetrack casinos in partnership with the state lottery, William Hill, and Scientific Games.
— Jill R. Dorson
Tweet of the week
NCAAF: 73 Days
NFL: 85 Days
NHL: 101 Days
NBA: 126 Days
NCAAB: 148 Days
We are officially in the dog days of sports betting 😢 pic.twitter.com/Cq5IliC0Pk
— BettingPros (@BettingPros) June 14, 2023
More of the most important, interesting stories
THE FEDS HAVE AWOKEN: Congress eyes uptick in sports betting controversies [ESPN.com]
OPERATORS NEED THEIR OWN AWAKENING: Sports betting apps: Why change is long overdue [iGaming Business]
THEY’VE GOT THEIR GUARD UP: The Guardian bans all gambling advertising [The Guardian]
A REQUEST TO BACK OFF: First Nation chief writes to Gretzky, other stars over appearances in gambling ads [CTV News]
— SaneinOne (@mytechbyme) June 12, 2023
IT’S GAMBLING THE VIRTUAL WAY: The horse isn’t real. People are betting on it anyway. [Vice]
BALLPARK BETTING SITE FALLING SHORT: Sources: Cincinnati Reds looking to relocate BetMGM sportsbook from GABP [WCPO]
A MIXED REPORT FROM IOWA: Iowa sports betting revenue up despite further handle decline in May [iGB North America]
LOUISIANA SEEMS A LITTLE DOWN: Louisiana: May gaming revenue totals $202.8 million, down slightly year-over-year [CDC Gaming Reports]