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
Promotion of responsible gambling should, obviously, be a 365-day-a-year goal in the industry covered by Sports Handle, but September is given special designation by the American Gaming Association as Responsible Gaming Education Month.
Why September? Maybe because football is the most popular sport for wagering and bettors with pent-up demand might have a tendency to overindulge without some helpful messaging. Or maybe it’s that it dovetails nicely with September also being Pain Awareness Month, considering every bettor has been stung trying to overcome a bookmaker’s vig.
Whatever the reason, the past week has provided a lot of healthy discussion about the dangers of excessive gambling and the industry’s role in helping keep things under control. One webinar we covered focused on precisely that point: the things operators can and should do to enhance player protection. A separate panel discussion stressed it’s not just operators but regulators who can do a better job of collaborating on best practices to promote responsible gambling. One improvement key stakeholders agree is needed is promotion of 1-800-GAMBLER as a national helpline for problem gamblers, rather than the existing patchwork system of state phone lines.
The personal stories of those addicted to gambling are always devastating — but important to hear — and we’ve gotten those this week from individuals connected to EPIC Risk Management or participating in a discussion on the topic arranged by New York state Sen. Joseph Addabbo, a leading proponent of legalized gambling. Certain quirks about the system to help problem gamblers have also been examined, such as how individuals who have self-excluded from iGaming can find to their unhappy surprise — and public embarrassment — that a brick-and-mortar casino might boot them off the property.
The latter story dealt with Pennsylvania’s system of multiple self-exclusion lists. In Colorado, meanwhile, there’s news that the state’s Department of Revenue will take over handling of the self-exclusion list from the Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado. Consumers concerned about their habits can sign up voluntarily to be excluded from gambling at casinos or betting on sports online for periods of one, three, or five years. Colorado is one state that has stepped up government efforts to prevent problem gambling, increasing funding from the former $130,000 per year to $3 million in May 2022 for programs.
At Sports Handle and our sister sites, we produce a great volume of stories that promote healthy aspects of sports betting and the broader gambling industry, with entertainment in mind. We don’t shirk responsibility, however, to also highlight issues surrounding how things can go wrong for a minority of individuals. We’ll continue covering all sides, as stories linked below from the past week show. And for additional gaming industry news, be sure to check out US Bets, including its weekly Double Down column and Gamble On podcast.
You bet the NFL is popular
Seminoles’ long, winding road at an end?
A chance to track the athletes who bet
Little Vermont draws the big guys
Another potential chance in Missouri
Wow, a sportsbook that likes bettors
Could Maryland go bigger?
Giving parlays a bad name
Let’s talk about this some more
Not to scare anyone, but this is scary
Don’t screw this up, New York
Crunching all the numbers
Another book coming to Cleveland
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Guardians have retail sportsbooks in the Ohio city’s downtown section, and next year the Cleveland Browns will too.
The Browns recently announced plans to be part of a combined sportsbook/sports bar development that will also involve Bally Bet and longtime Cleveland restaurateur Bobby George. Bally Bet is the Browns’ sports betting partner and recently launched its app in Ohio.
The retail sportsbook is planned to open in 2024 on East Fourth Street, about a mile from the Browns’ stadium. In addition to there being competition for sports bettors from the venues at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse and Progressive Field, the JACK Cleveland Casino is also located nearby with a sportsbook.
Circa Survivor field already whittled
The Las Vegas-based sportsbook announced that total entries ended up at 9,267, about 50% higher than a year ago. With all of the contestants’ money being given back as prizes, it means $9,267,000 will be awarded by season’s end, which is well beyond the $8 million guarantee Circa initially promised.
While that’s great news for most participants, it’s little solace to the 1,985 who were eliminated due to picking teams that lost in the NFL’s Week 1. Minnesota, Seattle, and Denver were the primary culprits knocking out contestants, who each week must successfully pick one team to win straight up, but without ever being able to pick the same team twice.
Props prove popular in Week 1
According to data shared by The Action Network, the NFL Week 1 bets tracked in its app showed a 67% increase in prop betting over the prior season’s opening week. (Full disclosure: The Action Network and Sports Handle share the same parent company, Better Collective.)
In 2022, one-fifth of all Week 1 bets tracked in the app were on props. In 2023, props accounted for almost one-third of all bets. Whereas just 33% of users in 2022’s Week 1 were making prop bets, half of all bettors on the app made at least one prop bet last week. The data also indicated that Anytime Touchdown Scorer markets were the most popular Week 1 player prop, increasing 90% year-over-year.
“The increased adoption of prop betting is an excellent indicator of more casual and fantasy sports players becoming bettors,” said Action Network CEO Patrick Keane via press release.
— Eric Raskin
Tweet of the week
Waiting for us to refund a losing bet pic.twitter.com/8FW8zC0D80
— Circa Sports (@CircaSports) September 13, 2023
More of the most important, interesting stories
BOOKS HAVE A LOT RIDING ON THE NFL: Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity [iGaming Business]
THESE AD WARS NEVER SUBSIDE: DraftKings, FanDuel increasing ad spend on radio & TV for football season [Barrett Sports Media]
WE’LL ALL LEARN ON THE JOB: Kentucky’s 10 new sports betting regulators have no prior experience in gaming [WCPO]
NO AARON? THEN I WANT MY MONEY BACK: Aaron Rodgers refunds cater to spoiled U.S. bettors market [Sportico]
Most sportsbooks refunded any bets associated with Rodgers, Vegas books, FanDuel and PointsBet stood strong.
The debate rages on…
Do gamblers deserve a mulligan when a key player gets hurt?https://t.co/WlKVpuJcV5
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 12, 2023
SOMETIMES IT PAYS TO TRAVEL: Sports betting is taking DC residents across state lines [Washingtonian]
SORRY, KID, NO SECOND CHANCE: NCAA rejects Iowa defensive lineman Noah Shannon’s appeal of season-long suspension for gambling [Associated Press]
A LOT OF PENT-UP DEMAND IN KENTUCKY: Lexington has “electric” first weekend of sports betting at Red Mile [FOX 56]
MORE ATHLETES HELP WITH HEALTHY MESSAGING: FanDuel adds Carli Lloyd and Tom Kim to RG program [SBC Americas]