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
No one’s ever said the legislative process is perfect in any state, and there’s no exception for that when it comes to developing all the details that go into creation of a regulated sports betting industry. Each of the some three dozen jurisdictions (including Washington, D.C.) to legalize has done it differently — some better than others — and this week’s news brought reminders of what can go awry. That seems particularly true when competition is severely limited by lawmakers’ choice.
In the nation’s capital, the near-monopoly on mobile betting given to Intralot’s GambetDC platform at the outset seems to have drawn nothing but criticism since it started. The complaints finally led to introduction this week of a D.C. Council bill proposing to widen the market in Washington, so that nationally known mobile operators could fully be available to consumers, considering that several already have retail and limited mobile operations in the District. There’s no telling if or when the bill will advance, but it’s unlikely the discontent with the initial framework for sports betting in D.C. will just disappear.
In Arkansas, where legal mobile betting got underway this year, the big national operators like FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM have effectively, economically been shut out of the competition by a unique provision of state law specifying that brick-and-mortar casinos must receive the majority of revenue from any partnership with an online operator. It’s meant that three smaller operators are all that’s available to consumers, and plenty of people have commented that they’re lacking in various aspects.
Massachusetts has a different issue: There will eventually be plenty of competition when sportsbooks launch next year, but DraftKings doesn’t like the state regulator’s position that a retail launch will precede mobile operators’ start by about six weeks. Despite its big brand, DraftKings contends it will be at an unfair disadvantage to competitors with retail sportsbooks, but the Massachusetts Gaming Commission was unmoved by its plea.
There are sure to be plenty more things that either operators or consumers don’t like as remaining states debate legalization, which is certain to occur in multiple capitals in 2023. Our network of reporters and state and national sites will keep you updated on all of those discussions, just as with the rest of sports betting industry developments, as these stories from the past week demonstrate:
You gotta start somewhere, after all
This is different, I like it!
It’d be nice if media would get things right
Georgia’s just full of mixed feelings
Maryland’s so close you can almost touch it
A baby step forward in Nebraska
Canadians get something Americans can’t have
If politics is involved, controversy follows
Caesars wants everyone to take notice
$75M can probably buy a lot of ottomans
Speaking of sports betting money …
California: Newsom officially says No on 27
Executives of mobile wagering giants DraftKings and FanDuel on Oct. 11 waved the white flag, admitting defeat for their statewide digital sports betting initiative in California. Just over two weeks later, Gov. Gavin Newsom officially announced that he opposes the measure.
“Proposition 27 is bad for California,” Newsom told Politico. “It would hurt California’s Indian tribes, increase the risks of underage gambling, and push billions of dollars out of California and into the pockets of out-of-state corporations. Vote No on 27.”
The statement was just one more during a week in which the No on 27 campaign released a Spanish-language advertisement featuring civil rights and labor leader Dolores Huerta. The No on 26 campaign, meanwhile, hosted an event in Los Angeles featuring Los Angeles politicians and union leaders opposed to the retail-only measure proposed by tribal casinos. Both initiatives will be on the Nov. 8 ballot, with polling suggesting both will fail.
— Jill R. Dorson
SuperBook now live in Iowa, its sixth state
The SuperBook brand got its start as a brick-and-mortar operation in Las Vegas in 1986 and evolved into what it claims is the world’s largest sportsbook, with 35,000 square feet. (Circa, located in downtown Vegas, may dispute this claim.) Besides Nevada and Iowa, the mobile sportsbook is also available in Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, and Tennessee.
“From the Cyclones and Hawkeyes to the Field of Dreams, Iowa has one of the best sports traditions in the country,” SuperBook CEO Mark Lipparelli said in a press release. “Many sports fans from Iowa have undoubtedly visited our iconic Las Vegas sportsbook, and now they can access those same great betting options from home.”
— Mike Seely
Meanwhile, Unibet is leaving Iowa
As the same time SuperBook has planted a flag in Iowa, Kindred Group plc announced Thursday that Unibet will be leaving the sports betting market in the state by year’s end.
Last month, Unibet handled $165,960 in online sports wagers in Iowa, generating gross gaming revenue of $16,330. The totals ranked among the lowest of internet sportsbook operators in both categories. The Iowa departure is part of Kindred’s strategy to focus on states where it can maintain a multi-brand approach, according to the company.
Kindred will also delay the launch of a new proprietary sports betting platform in New Jersey, the company confirmed. Washington state, however, represents expansion for the company, as it announced that it would be opening a Unibet sportsbook at Swinomish Casino & Lodge, a tribal casino in Anacortes. On a long-term basis, Kindred does not anticipate breaking even across its U.S. properties until 2026 at the earliest.
— Matt Rybaltowski
Kambi also enters Washington state
With the Oct. 20 opening of ilani Resort’s Stadium Sports Bar & Grill, southwest Washington’s Cowlitz Tribe became the 11th in the Evergreen State to launch a brick-and-mortar sportsbook. Opened in partnership with Kambi, the venue — which sits a short drive across the state line from Portland, Oregon — features a sports betting lounge with what Kara Fox-LaRose, ilani’s president and general manager, is calling “the largest video wall in the region.”
— Mike Seely
More of the most important, interesting stories
WHAT, THIS IS ALL WE GET?: Underwhelming first month of sports gambling isn’t enough to lure the Chiefs to Kansas [Kansas City Star]
NOPE, NO WORRIES HERE: Boyd Gaming reports strong third quarter; no signs of inflation slowing revenue [CDC Gaming Reports]
SORRY, THINGS GOT A LITTLE OUT OF HAND: Apple pauses gambling ads on App Store product pages after developer outcry [TechCrunch]
MAYBE IT’S THE YEAR WE FINALLY LIKE SOCCER: Sportsbooks poised for record World Cup handle in U.S. [Yahoo Sports]
⚽️ Are you ready for 2022 FIFA World Cup? ⚽️
If you're in the #sportsbetting industry, you know you should be thinking about how to keep your business running effectively throughout the #worldcup2022 as betting activity is going to skyrocket🔥#digitalidentity #biometrics
— Blinking (@blinkingid) October 24, 2022
YEP, SOUTH DAKOTA’S JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE: Deadwood sees sports betting revenue increase [KELO]
VIP STATUS ALWAYS SOUNDS GOOD: Tennessee: Action 24/7 implements Global Payments VIP Preferred [CDC Gaming Reports]
SMOOTH SAILING IN BUFFALO: Tally Technology renews its free-to-play prediction platform with Buffalo Sabres for a third year [SportTechie]
DON’T WORRY, HON, I’LL WIN IT BACK AT CRAPS: Las Vegas visitors paid highest room rates ever in September [Las Vegas Review-Journal]