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
Over the past few hours, we polled a select number of Sports Handle readers on which of the following they deemed the most significant news affecting the sports betting industry in this first full week of September:
- The return of the NFL season.
- Nancy Pelosi’s announcement that she will run for reelection to Congress, even though she is among just dozens of Americans older than Joe Biden.
To a person, our readers chose No. 1. Maybe if Pelosi could persuade Californians to legalize sports betting, it would be different. But that might not happen in her lifetime — or anyone’s.
So once more the NFL wins, as it always does. It got a great story line out of Thursday night’s season opener, with the downtrodden-since-forever Detroit Lions upsetting the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and moving up on all kinds of postseason odds boards. Another 15 games are to be played by Monday, and another 256 by Jan. 7, and Sports Handle has already been on top of wide-ranging angles relevant to sports bettors and sportsbook operators.
Those include the intensified education about gambling that the NFL has delivered to its personnel, the increased popularity of live betting among the public, and industry veteran Richard Schuetz’s cautions to bettors about how to avoid some serious pitfalls during football season. We’ve had articles about a special DraftKings season-long points bet and the overlay possibilities for Las Vegas-based Circa’s legendary season contests.
Other NFL stories have focused on the betting interest being generated by the Chicago Bears and the betting value attached to the Tennessee Titans’ opener. There have been football-related staples like our Ask a Bookmaker feature with noted Vegas oddsmaker Jay Kornegay and staffer Jeff Edelstein’s always-entertaining column cataloguing his own betting exploits and not-to-be-taken-too-too-seriously tips.
And then, just for good measure (???), there was our annual Sports Handle feature in which staffers who could never make a living by wagering offered up their best preseason futures bets. If you ask them four months from now how they did, they will claim to have no idea what you are talking about. That is because they are much better at writing and reporting on the industry — some of which has to do with football season but much of which goes far beyond it. The proof is in the stories linked below from the past week.
It only gets better, Kansas
The best thing in Kentucky since …
Iowa regulator calls for new playbook
Betr’s in a growth state
If you’ve ever been on tilt, you relate
Good news for keeping in control
You bet we love them both
What’s N. Carolina got up its sleeve?
No casino in Richmond, but plenty of talk
Kentucky governor places his bets
After backing legal sports betting for more than four years, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear reveled Thursday in the first day of legal wagering in his state. He attended grand openings of two sportsbooks, posted multiple times on social media about the milestone, and did any number of media interviews.
Beshear kicked off his day by placing the first bet at the Churchill Downs sportsbook in Louisville, where he placed a $20 parlay combining the “over” on wins for the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville football teams with the “under” on Duke’s football team. The governor then headed about 75 miles east to Lexington to wager at the new Caesars Sportsbook at the Red Mile
“Today is a great day to celebrate and have a little bit of fun doing so,” Beshear said via press release. “It has taken many years to get here, but sports wagering is finally a reality in Kentucky. This is a win-win for Kentuckians, who can enjoy a quality entertainment experience and benefit from funds staying right here in our state to help us build a better Kentucky.”
Digital wagering will go live in Kentucky Sept. 28. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has licensed nine operators, including Kambi, which will run a branded Churchill Downs platform. Among the other licensed operators are bet365, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and FanDuel, all of which are available for signups and are offering pre-launch promotions.
— Jill R. Dorson
Tweet of the week
The amount of attention high-level govt. officials give to sportsbook ribbon cuttings is hard for me to wrap my head around. It's a sportsbook, not a new cancer treatment center.
— Steve Ruddock (@SteveRuddock) September 7, 2023
More of the most important, interesting stories
INHALING THE NFL’S MIX WITH SPORTSBOOK ADS: A replay of the Marlboro Man and Joe Camel [CDC Gaming Reports]
THE RIGHT TIME TO ADD HELP: As sports betting spikes, help for problem gamblers expands in some states [Associated Press]
BIG ISSUE ON CAMPUS: NCAA demands help in the wake of soaring college gambling problems [iGaming Business]
LOOK WHAT DEION’S ALREADY WROUGHT: Colorado attracts huge betting interest, dramatic Heisman odds improvement [ESPN.com]
— Patrick Everson (@PatrickE_Vegas) September 7, 2023
ENTAIN RELIES ON EXPERIENCE: Entain Foundation U.S. works to educate athletes about responsible gambling practices [CDC Gaming Reports]
NO CELEBS MEANS NEW AD THINKING: Expect gambling ads to get more “creative” amid Ontario’s stricter rules [CBC News]
IT CAN’T GET ANY WORSE, MOST LIKELY: Rhode Island sports betting handle slips to three-year low in July [iGaming Business]
A FIGHT THE UFC MUST WIN: UFC enhances hunt to stop betting by fighters, others in MMA [ESPN.com]