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
Sports Handle is among various media entities dedicating the past several years to chronicling the massive expansion of legal sports betting (not to mention other once-frowned-upon gambling activities) across the U.S. Rarely have we had a need to focus our writing on cutbacks in anyone’s plans regarding that.
And then came FuboTV, with its unexpected announcement this week that it was shutting down Fubo Sportsbook operations in Iowa, Arizona, and New Jersey. And as for plans for future Fubo Sportsbook operations in Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, forget about those, too.
FuboTV CEO David Gandler called it a “difficult decision to exit the online sports wagering business effective immediately,” which was due to the drag the business has on “longer term profitability goals.” In general, the numerous online sportsbook operators launching in recent years have yet to turn profits because of the time it takes to recover customer acquisition and marketing costs.
No one can say yet if other smaller operators will close operations as well, which has been frequently predicted. But in the short term, one collateral victim is the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise, which had a deal for Fubo Sportsbook to serve as its mobile sports betting partner when Ohio launches its industry on Jan. 1. It was not immediately clear when and how the NBA team will be able to line up with a new partner.
Sports Handle’s stable of writers and sites will continue to cover fully both the positive and negative developments in the sports betting and broader gambling industries, as stories below from the past week demonstrate.
That ESPN is one coy suitor
Guess that’s why they call it gambling
Don’t bet on your favorite team — spin it
Betting sure is a funny business sometimes
Plenty of opportunity ahead in Canada
Shockingly, everyone wants more money
You want customers, but not this way
New numbers look good for the house
Are bettors just getting worse, or what?
Bettors took it on the chin in historic fashion in August as the nationwide hold of more than 10.3% on gross revenue was the third highest in 51 months of wagering in the post-PASPA era.
Arizona’s revenue report released Thursday closed the ledger on August, which saw $4.9 billion handle generated and operators claiming more than $507 million in gross revenue. It was the first time the nationwide hold percentage reached double digits since October 2019, and the only occasions prior to that were in September 2018 and September 2019. Only 12 states were accepting wagers in October 2019 — when the total handle was $1.6 billion — compared to the 26 that did so in August.
In year-over-year metrics, gross revenue more than doubled compared to August 2021, when the $217.2 million won by operators represented a year low from $3.1 billion handle. This all appears to be mere prelude to September as an unprecedented rout of the betting public, as all 15 states that have reported full handle and revenue figures thus far have posted a hold of 11.3% or higher.
— Chris Altruda
The time is nigh in Maryland
Sports betting operators had until 5 p.m. Friday to apply for a mobile sports betting license in Maryland. Up to 60 mobile sports betting licenses are available in the state, although far fewer than 60 applicants are expected. As of Wednesday morning, 10 entities had applied for mobile licenses.
Caesars Sportsbook announced via press release that it applied for a license, and Barstool Sportsbook and BetMGM each confirmed with Sports Handle that they applied for mobile licenses. FanDuel declined to comment, but it’s expected to be among the group of applicants, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see PointsBet and BetRivers also apply for mobile licenses, given that both operate retail sportsbooks in the state. DraftKings is another likely entrant into the state’s mobile sports betting market.
— Bennett Conlin
Looking ahead in Vermont, Missouri
A Vermont legislative committee this week suggested that the state should set a 20% tax rate in legalizing sports betting and should set the minimum number of platforms at two. The Sports Betting Study Committee also suggested capping the number of platforms at six. The study committee was created by the legislature and is set to report back to lawmakers in December.
In Missouri, lawmakers can pre-file bills for the 2023 session as early as Dec. 1, and those supporting sports betting have done so on that date every year for the last four years. This year will likely be no exception, with Rep. Dan Houx, who carried a bill supported by local casinos and professional sports teams, saying earlier this year he would file. If the past is any indication, Sen. Denny Hoskins will also file.
Gov. Mike Parson said he won’t get involved until any legal wagering bill lands on his desk. “The day is going to happen, but that needs to go through the legislative process, and it goes in there year in and year out,” Parson told FOX2Now this month.
— Jill R. Dorson
FanDuel tied to NBA League Pass, Ringer
Introducing a collaborative, colorful wrinkle to the world of sportsbook promotions, FanDuel began this week offering new and existing customers three free months of NBA League Pass — basically a $60 value — if they placed a $5 pre-game NBA wager.
For current customers, placing that modest bet was all that was required to take advantage of the promo, which gives NBA fans live access to virtually all games through cable TV and other viewing platforms. New customers had to sign up for a FanDuel account and make an initial deposit of $10 to get both the League Pass deal and $150 in free bets.
Also this week, FanDuel announced that it had extended its partnership with Spotify and The Ringer. The multi-year deal will include more of FanDuel’s sports betting content appearing across Bill Simmons’ popular podcasting network, as well as syndicated Ringer content airing on FanDuel TV.
— Mike Seely
More of the most important, interesting stories
GETTING READY FOR THE BIG GAME: Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin completes divestment in company that owns 76ers, Devils, sources say [ESPN.com]
SORRY, SUIT FAILED TO CASH: FanDuel co-founders’ lawsuit vs Flutter dismissed by New York court [SBC Americas]
DO THE MATH, BE A PLAYER: Sports betting firm adopts oil-trading tech to fine-tune predictions [Yahoo Sports]
Circa Sports Awards First Quarterly Payout of $105,000 in Circa Million IV Pro Football Contest https://t.co/GD0JugHy2h by @Vegaspublicity_ @CircaSports @CircaLasVegas #prize #football #payout #sports #Circa #sportsbook pic.twitter.com/zrFXckBv9m
— VegasPublicity.com (@VegasPublicity_) October 18, 2022
WHAT IN SAM HILL?: Mississippi sports wagering revenue drops in staggering percentage [WBLT]
LABOR PEACE IS A WONDERFUL THING: Bally’s Chicago comes to project labor agreement [Yahoo Finance]
SO HAPPY TOGETHER: Sightline Payments announces funding round with J.P. Morgan Payments [CDC Gaming Reports]