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
Launching legal sports betting is a two-step process — it must first receive approval from a state’s legislature and governor (or in some cases, state residents by referendum), and then await completion of rules and operator licensing by the designated regulatory agency.
The timing of that latter process can be as different in each state as the distinctions between their state songs, flowers, and insects.
In Nebraska, for instance, the state’s first retail sportsbook finally opened this week in Lincoln, a full two and a half years after voters approved a referendum allowing for sports betting. The WarHorse Casino Lincoln’s sportsbook for now represents the only such betting in a state where digital wagering has not been authorized.
Less than four months after a Kentucky bill became law, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission intends at a July meeting to approve necessary regulations that offer potential for digital and retail betting to be available well ahead of the law’s Dec. 28 deadline. Gov. Andy Beshear has been pushing for betting to be available as soon as possible in the football season, which is the busiest time of year for sportsbooks and presents the biggest revenue-generating potential for the state.
Officials in Vermont’s Division of Lottery were involved in legislative discussions of the state’s new law and began work on the rules to implement it even before it was enacted. They’ve got more work to do than in some states, in that their review of potential operators includes determining the revenue share the state will get as opposed to a fixed tax rate set by law. Still, the head regulator expects to see digital-only wagering live in the state before year’s end.
Things will progress a little more slowly in North Carolina, where the law says new mobile betting will be available no sooner than Jan. 8. But it also requires betting to begin no later than June 14, well ahead of the kind of timeline represented in Nebraska, and there’s a good chance that the Lottery Commission there will have things ready before then to take advantage of events like the Super Bowl and March Madness.
Count on Sports Handle to keep you abreast of all developments in those states before and after launch, as well as all other news in the sports betting industry, as the stories below show from the past week. 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.
Player betting: location, location, location
This time, the sportsbooks lose money
Schuetz remembers the Stardust well
This show will go on, fortunately
Patience, Marylanders, more is coming
Mountaineers get WynnBET option
Process ties up Massachusetts track
Bally’s in a reinvention phase
Ballpark sportsbooks also transitioning
Genius Sports wins in soccer field
Big markets turn up big numbers
Sportsbooks having a historic May
May is shaping up to be a historic rout by sportsbook operators, whose nationwide hold for gross revenue is bumping 12%. The house has claimed more than $600 million from $5 billion handle for the month, and the first 20 states of the 29 that conduct commercial wagering had holds of 10.07% or higher.
South Dakota is the smallest jurisdiction when it comes to handle, but bettors there came up big last may in limiting the eight brick-and-mortar books in Deadwood to a 4.3% hold, according to the state’s Commission on Gaming. There were sub-6% win rates on the two largest sources of handle — Major League Baseball and the NBA — while bettors came out more than $2,500 ahead in golf in addition to wins in other sports.
Due to its small size, South Dakota did not move the national gross revenue hold all that much — it dropped the number eight ten-thousandths of a percentage point to 11.9652%. May’s numbers have been so lopsided in the house’s favor nationally that they has moved the all-time post-PASPA hold on gross revenue above 8%.
— Chris Altruda
Give the gift of sports betting
GameOn, a sports betting gift card that was introduced in 2020, is newly available in Kansas, Maryland, and Wyoming, according to a press release from parent company Blackhawk Network. The gift cards, already available in in 11 other legal wagering states, can be used with BetMGM, BetRivers, DraftKings, and FanDuel sportsbooks.
The card has a $400 limit and can be funded using the forms of payment accepted by the sportsbook for which it is purchased. In general, cash, credit cards, and debit cards are acceptable, though some operators and states do not allow funding via credit card.
Each GameOn card is essentially single use, in that additional funds — including winnings — cannot be added to it. The card could be considered a responsible gambling tool, as there is a dollar limit and it creates a means for consumers to check spending.
— Jill R. Dorson
Big West signs on with U.S. Integrity
The Big West Conference, best known for Hawaii volleyball and Cal State-Fullerton baseball, this week agreed to a partnership with U.S. Integrity, joining other college conferences including the Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC. U.S. Integrity will provide integrity monitoring services that help to identify suspicious wagering activity as well as education for student-athletes, coaches, and administrators, according to a press release.
“USI’s commitment to their integrity monitoring team, as well as their proactive approach, will provide the Big West with the tools to manage a rapidly changing landscape,” Big West Commissioner Dan Butterly said via press release.
— Jill R. Dorson
Tweet of the week
JUST IN: A bettor placed a $400,000 wager on Victor Wembanyama to be the 1st overall pick at -20000 odds 😳
Would win $2000.
— DraftKings Sportsbook (@DKSportsbook) June 22, 2023
More of the most important, interesting stories
NO PRAISE FOR NFL’S HANDLING OF GAMBLING: NFL continues to tiptoe through minefield of inconsistency, hypocrisy on gambling [Pro Football Talk]
AGENT PILES ON, TOO, AGAINST LEAGUE: NFL agent: League policy on gambling sponsorship is “hypocritical” [Front Office Sports]
MORE TALK OF CANADIAN CRACKDOWN ON ADS: Senator hopes government will regulate “torrent” of sports gambling ads [CTV News]
BETTING ON THE A’S MOTIVATIONS: Was gambling the deciding factor in A’s move to Las Vegas? [Bay Area News Group]
The Oakland Athletics plan to build an MLB stadium with a retractable roof on just nine acres along the Las Vegas Strip.
Is that even possible? https://t.co/QvZhIGZVlL
— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) June 23, 2023
IF YOU BET ON SNOOKER, READ THIS: Snooker match-fixing scandal: Five players have bans increased by Chinese governing body [BBC.com]
GOOD THINGS SEEN FOR CAESARS: Analyst predicts higher Caesars Q2 earnings, citing Las Vegas and sports betting [CDC Gaming Reports]
NEW HAMPSHIRE MIRRORING OTHER STATES: NH reports further handle decline in May [iGB North America]