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
Whether you want to compare it to the first day of school, Christmas morning, or whatever other monumental occasion, a new state’s sports betting launch always stirs excitement in the gaming industry. While Kansas’ arrival Thursday as the 32nd state to place a legal bet could hardly compare with the interest surrounding New York’s digital launch in January, it represented one more domino to fall since the U.S. Supreme Court made all of this possible with its PASPA decision in May 2018.
The Sunflower State’s revenue impact won’t be known for many weeks, and it will be nothing like New York’s and likely not even that of Louisiana (the other newcomer this year), but six digital operators were quick to launch on the first day permitted and six more are to follow before long. Kansans could take advantage of special welcome offers and had the chance to begin betting in person within the state’s casinos while watching games.
Although Kansas could represent the end of new states to implement sports betting in 2022, waiting in the on-deck circle are Ohio, Massachusetts, and Maine, which have all legalized and are working out their various regulations. In addition, Maryland is prepping to move as New York did, from just retail into the far more lucrative digital betting era. Any state launch is big news, of course, but our stable of news sites and reporters has all kinds of industry developments covered, as shown below.
Not to make anyone nervous, but …
We guarantee they’re having fun up there
Exchanges are here, presumably for good
It’d be nice if these things didn’t happen
It’s nice that these things happen
Challenges keep mounting in California
Hey, we want that money!
And our nod(s) to the bean counters
Massive interest in Massachusetts
As of Thursday, 42 entities had submitted Notices of Intent to participate in sports betting in Massachusetts, according to the state’s gaming commission. That means the state’s process for awarding seven mobile-only licenses will be competitive. Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, and WynnBET all have market access via brick-and-mortar casinos. Any other entities wanting access would have to partner with one of two horse racetracks or be awarded a stand-alone mobile license.
The list of potential applicants is wide and varied, and includes national operators DraftKings (which is based in Boston), Bally’s, Caesars Sportsbook, FanDuel, and PointsBet. It also includes Fanatics, the sports merchandise company that has been growing its sports betting division but doesn’t have a platform, and Fubo Sportsbook, whose parent company announced in August that it is considering spinning off the wagering platform. Among the smaller or more local operators that have expressed interest are BlueBet, MaximBet, and Mohegan Digital, which is live in Connecticut and partnered with FanDuel.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed sports betting into law Aug. 1 and since then the gaming commission has been working on promulgating rules and holding meetings with stakeholders.
— Jill R. Dorson
DraftKings, Caesars open Louisiana locations
DraftKings on Thursday opened its retail sportsbook at the Golden Nugget Casino and Resort in Lake Charles, Louisiana. At 12,000 square feet, the new book is the biggest in Louisiana, according to a DraftKings press release. The space includes 3,200 square feet of LED TV screens, 300 lounge chairs, 30 wagering kiosks, 16 video poker machines, five teller windows, and three blackjack tables. There’s also a full-service restaurant inside the book.
Louisiana’s biggest sportsbook will open tomorrow inside @GoldenNuggetLC.
— Matt Faye (@mattGfaye) September 1, 2022
The sportsbook is open from 10 a.m.-11 p.m. CT Monday-Friday, and from 9 a.m.-midnight on Saturdays and Sundays.
Caesars announced on Friday that it had opened “state-of-the-art” sportsbooks at its Harrah’s New Orleans and Bossier City properties during the week. The company also opened the biggest poker room, dubbed the “World Series of Poker Room,” in the state in New Orleans. Archie and Cooper Manning and former New Orleans Saint Rickey Jackson were on hand for the New Orleans opening, and Jackson placed a ceremonial first bet of $1,000 on the Saints to win the Super Bowl at 40/1 odds. Any potential winnings would go to the United Negro College Fund. In Bossier City, the first bet was “$200,000, placed by a VIP and well-known guest.”
— Jill R. Dorson
Responsible gaming month: Caesars, AGA
Caesars Sportsbook is continuing its relationship with the NFL’s Manning family and has released another responsible gaming ad ahead of the start of the NFL season, which kicks off Sept. 8. The ad is the first of many to come during this NFL season. According to a press release, Caesars will “debut additional RG spots to highlight the resources that Caesars Sportsbook provides bettors to stay in control of their gaming. The new spots will feature appearances by more talent from The Empire, including JB Smoove, Henrik Lundqvist, and more.”
Responsible Gaming Education Month began Thursday, marking the first time it’s been a month rather than a week, according to the American Gaming Association. Each week has a different theme: empowering customers to play responsibly; legal, regulated gaming protects players; employees — the RG front line; advancing responsible gaming with technology.
— Jill R. Dorson
Betfred opens Washington state sportsbook
Betfred formally entered the Washington state market Wednesday with the public opening of its sportsbook at Silver Reef Casino in Ferndale. (The sportsbook, located near the Canadian border, soft-launched the week prior.)
Warren Moon, who starred at quarterback for both the University of Washington Huskies and Seattle Seahawks, made the ceremonial first bet at the property, which is owned and operated by Lummi Nation in Washington’s tribal-controlled market. Betfred is now live in Arizona, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Washington, and Colorado, with regulatory approval pending in Ohio, Nevada, Maryland, and Virginia.
Betfred’s sportsbook at Silver Reef is the 10th to take sports wagers in Washington since such betting commenced nearly a year ago. The Tulalip Tribes are believed to be close to opening a pair of DraftKings books at their two casinos about 45 minutes north of Seattle.
— Mike Seely
CEO says BetFanatics could launch by year’s end
Michael Rubin sold his stake in the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils on June 22, mainly due to league rules prohibiting the Fanatics CEO from maintaining ownership in pro sports franchises while running a gambling operation.
Rubin wasn’t — and still isn’t — running a gambling operation, but at the time it was clear that Fanatics intended to eventually launch its own sportsbook, BetFanatics. And on Monday’s Colin Cowherd Podcast (sponsored by FanDuel, interestingly enough), Rubin revealed when “eventually” might be, projecting that “Fanatics could start taking bets on the Sixers before the end of 2022.”
— Mike Seely
More of the most important, interesting stories
FOR RICHER, FOR POORER, I THEE WED: The marriage of sports betting and media [Front Office Sports]
WHO YOU LIKE SUNDAY, WOODSTEIN?: Legal sports betting is booming. Let us be your guide [The Washington Post]
GUILTY AS CHARGED: Sportsbook fined thousands for allowing use of credit cards [Radio Iowa]
OH, WAIT, I KNOW HIM: VSiN announces new fall lineup featuring Broadcast Hall of Famer Brent Musburger [CDC Gaming Reports]
Congrats to @brianmusburger @Bill80 @JonGoulet & all involved with @VSiNLive on their new weekday schedule and the addition of @brentmusburger to NFL Sunday's. https://t.co/NDD9kh9DYu pic.twitter.com/XUmZ3LH2JR
— Barrett Sports Media (@BSMStaff) August 29, 2022
YEAH, IT’D BE A GAMBLE, BUT …: Editorial: Should Oregon open up state monopolies on gambling? [The Bend Bulletin]
LISTEN UP, CLASS, DON’T BET PARLAYS: Michigan Gaming Control Board urges adding responsible gaming awareness to students’ lessons [Michigan.gov]
MAKING A SPLASH IN THE ROCKIES: Operator bet365 launches Colorado sportsbook, goes big on new customer offer [Gambling Insider]
BALLY’S FINDS A GENIUS: Genius Sports announces partnership with Bally’s Interactive [SportBusiness]