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
The latest gambling-related reverberations around the NFL centered on the Indianapolis Colts, and Sports Handle’s Matt Rybaltowski was the first to report it. He learned from sources that a player was under investigation for “pervasive” wagering on NFL games in violation of league policy. That player was subsequently identified in news reports as defensive back Isaiah Rodgers Sr., who acknowledged on his Instagram account that he had “made mistakes,” without referring specifically to gambling.
The news comes during an offseason when the NFL was already roiled by a investigation that resulted in suspensions of five members of the Detroit Lions and Washington Commanders for wagering that ran afoul of the league’s rules. While NFL officials stress there’s nothing to indicate the integrity of any football games has been affected by the betting, the series of incidents has put the league’s embrace of legalized sports betting squarely in the spotlight.
The league has tapped the star power of Tom Brady to try to head off further problems, having him record a video message that will be mandatory viewing in training camps this summer, warning players not to bet on NFL games. The last thing America’s most popular sports league wants is another cautionary tale along the lines of former Colts quarterback Art Schlichter, a projected star in the early 1980s whose football career and subsequent life were derailed by gambling addiction.
One other note of caution from the Rodgers story this week: Be careful what you believe from scrolling Twitter. Deliberately false — but believable — information about the betting allegations was circulated. It’s best to stick with proven and credible sources, be it Sports Handle, ESPN, or other outlets with trained and trustworthy journalists.
In addition to being first on the latest NFL gambling saga, Sports Handle has continued covering additional issues in the sports betting industry, as the past week’s stories below show. And to keep abreast of developments in the broader world of gambling, check out our partner site US Bets, including its weekly Double Down column and the latest Gamble On podcast.
Three states, we got three states
Bettors ain’t always the biggest brains
Not sure about endorsing this loan
It’s a Carolina day!
Schuetz is speaking, so listen up
When is ‘satire’ actually satire?
New York’s where the money’s at
A tale of two close states
Waiting on new territory
Shocking golf stuff, but no bet changes yet
Makes sense for these two to marry
Some mind-boggling numbers
Bet365 available in Iowa
Bet365 launched in its fifth state this week, with mobile bettors in Iowa now able to access a site previously available in Virginia, Ohio, New Jersey, and Colorado. The Iowa operation comes through a partnership with Casino Queen Marquette.
The privately owned, British-based bet365 has long been a force in sports betting globally and has gradually been increasing its U.S. presence, most recently in Ohio with a significant amount of promotional offers to new customers. In Iowa, the company said, first-time players will be able to take advantage of a “Bet $1, Get $365 in Bonus Bets” offer.
“We’re thrilled to work with bet365 to provide players with an in-demand and trusted source for safe online wagering,” Sean Bateman, general manager of Casino Queen Marquette, said in a press release. In Iowa, Bet365 joins a competitive, nearly 4-year-old market for mobile sports betting where 18 operators got a head start on it.
— Gary Rotstein
BetMGM app launches in Puerto Rico
BetMGM announced this week that it has launched its digital platform in Puerto Rico in partnership with Casino del Mar. BetMGM went live with retail wagering in February 2022. Caesars Sportsbook and its partner, Casino Metro, are preliminarily licensed for digital wagering, but they have not received go-live approval as yet.
Puerto Rico’s wagering law requires in-person registration for digital users, meaning that players will have to visit Casino del Mar in San Juan to register.
— Jill R. Dorson
SoBet takes step forward
Wagering advice website SoBet announced this week that it will join the Techstars Sports Accelerator, an intensive program for tech companies that allows startups to connect with mentors, corporate partners, investors, and other stakeholders to learn how to access funding, develop new business models, and the like. The acceptance of a wagering company to the program is unusual and is a key step in the growth of SoBet, which was founded by former Army Ranger Cooper Lycan.
“We’ve proven market fit and are driving significant revenue, lowering our burn rate, and rapidly shortening our path to profitability,” Lycan said. “Being accepted into this prestigious program allows us to gain access to a network of industry experts and leaders at the intersection of technology and sports. We’re excited to gain insights that help us diversify our revenue streams and scale faster and better.”
— Jill R. Dorson
Tweet of the week
So do you have any hobbies?
Yea sports betting I love it.
Me 2-5 times a day watching. My bets:pic.twitter.com/2jqqLBCu9F
— Keg (@GratefulKeg) June 9, 2023
More of the most important, interesting stories
SEEMS ABOUT TIME FOR A 360: NCAA President Charlie Baker on NIL legislation this year, sports betting “opportunity” [USA TODAY]
MAYBE NOT WHAT THEY EXPECTED: New Tennessee gross wager gambling tax could cost state tax money [The Center Square]
TRIBE HOPES TO TAKE ADVANTAGE, TOO: “We are hopeful”: Local casino adjusting to future of sports betting in NC [WSOC]
FLORIDA CASE IMPACT COULD BE WIDESPREAD: Prairie Band Potawatomi OK’d for sports betting, but this court case could change the game [The Topeka Capital-Journal]
" The amended compact for the Prairie Band Potawatomi says that if federal law is interpreted to allow an arrangement similar to what is proposed in Florida, than the tribe also would be able to conduct sports betting statewide." https://t.co/Q6tpYE9gd7
— Victor Rocha (@VictorRocha1) June 5, 2023
KIOSKS NOT DELIVERING THE BUCKS: Ohio Lottery losing money on sports gambling [WBNS]
LOWER BETTING AGE RAISES HACKLES: Ohio casino regulator blasts Kentucky’s sports betting law [WCPO]
MORE MESS IN NATION’S CAPITAL: Scoop: Civil war inside D.C. sports gambling [Axios]
IN CASE YOU GUYS DIDN’T HEAR …: NFL teams “hammer” gambling rules to players in wake of latest betting controversy [USA TODAY]