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 stories, highlighting some fresh news, and rounding up key stories. Also check out this week’s Wild World of Gambling at US Bets.
Top stories from around our network this week
Here’s a rundown on the stories and subplots that registered the biggest impacts from the past week.
Girding for ballot initiative battle of the week
BetMGM, FanDuel & Co. Begin With $100M War Chest For California Sports Betting Initiative
Controversies of the week
Arizona Event Wagering Injunction Hearing Set For Monday
Arizona Regulator Gives, Then Takes Away Tribal License
ESPN has entered the chat of the week
The Worldwide Leader In Sports Betting? ESPN Branding Deal Could Be Game Changer, But Multiple Hurdles Need To Be Cleared
Nobody would believe it five years ago of the week
Caesars Offers Renderings For Sportsbook Adjacent To Chase Field
Surprise, people love betting of the week
Ontario Clears $1M In Handle In First Week Of Legal Single-Event Betting In Canada
Shaqffleck of the week
Ben Affleck, Shaquille O’Neal Team Up For Fun WynnBET Spot
List of the week
On Eve Of ‘21 NFL Kickoff, The 21 Biggest US Sports Betting Developments Of Past Year
Revenue report report of the week
Colorado Sports Wagering Handle Drops To $181.3 Million For July
Gripe of the times of the week
NFL Moral Arbiter Tony Dungy Opposes NFL’s Embrace Of Sports Gambling
BetMGM first with Puerto Rico market access
BetMGM on Thursday announced that it has secured market access for sports betting in Puerto Rico through a partnership with Casino del Mar at La Concha Resort. Puerto Rico lawmakers legalized sports betting in January 2021, but operators are not expected to go live until sometime in 2022.
BetMGM will open a retail sportsbook and offer an online platform. The expansion into Puerto Rico marks the company’s first foray off the U.S. mainland.
“La Concha Resort is an ideal partner, and together we look forward to bringing BetMGM’s retail and mobile sports betting experiences to sports fans across Puerto Rico,” BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt said via press release.
Puerto Rico lawmakers have taken a winding road to legal sports betting, first approving it in 2019. But after a series of changes in governors and gaming chiefs, Gov. Rico Wanda Vázquez Garced signed off an amended Senate bill that requires in-person registration on Jan. 21.
“The Government of Puerto Rico welcomes this partnership for the economic development of our island,” Orlando A. Rivera Carrión, executive director of the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission, said in a press release. This new project will promote and encourage the growth of the gaming industry in Puerto Rico, all while implementing a public policy that encourages the development of new jobs and maximizing the income and resources of the Government of Puerto Rico. I trust in the success of this partnership and reiterate my total commitment to this initiative.”
— Jill R. Dorson
Fubo Gaming gets Arizona approval
While all eyes have been on a pair of lawsuits seeking an injunction to prevent Arizona’s sports betting launch next week, Fubo Gaming on Thursday got approval as a management services provider and will partner with the Ak-Chin Indian Community for retail and digital sports betting. Fubo Gaming is also licensed in Iowa and has plans to go live before the end of 2021, according to a company press release.
Though not live or approved in them, Fubo Gaming has also secured market access in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
“With the forthcoming launch of Fubo Sportsbook, we look forward to providing a seamless user experience that allows fans to wager while they watch their favorite sports,” Fubo Gaming President Mark Butera said in a company press release. “We believe Fubo Sportsbook will add another exciting layer to the sports entertainment experience – one that will bring increased interaction and engagement between sports viewing and betting.”
— Jill R. Dorson
South Dakota is coming next week
South Dakota’s Commission on Gaming will hold its next meeting Wednesday with plans to approve sports betting regulations, betting menu, and potentially some operators. Voters there legalized retail-only sports betting on the November 2022 ballot. Lawmakers have since set up a framework and the regulator has developed the rules. Sports betting will only be available at Deadwood-area casinos.
Among those who have applied for licenses are IGT, BetMGM, Black Diamond Capital (Gold Dust Casino), and ISI. The projected go-live date is Thursday at 10 a.m.
— Jill R. Dorson
Feds approve compacts for 9 Washington tribes
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of the Interior approved sports gambling compacts for nine Washington State tribes, with applications still pending for six additional tribes.
The tribes whose compacts are now listed on the Federal Register are: Cowlitz, Lummi, Puyallup, Snoqualmie, Spokane, Squaxin, Stillaguamish, Suquamish, and Tulalip. The seven that are still awaiting approval are: the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Jamestown S’Klallam, Kalispel, Muckleshoot, Shoalwater Bay, Swinomish and Skokomish.
Sports Handle heard from industry sources that at least two tribes are well into the build-outs of their sportsbooks and have internal controls and operators in place. One of the pair is most certainly the Snoqualmie Tribe, which announced in June that it was partnering with International Game Technology, one of two sports betting operators that has already been approved by the state. (The other is Geocomply Solutions Inc.) The Snoqualmies bear the distinction of operating the tribal casino that’s located closest to Seattle’s central core, in addition to Bellevue and the populous East Side suburbs.
Most tribes don’t yet have operator agreements in place, making it likely that few, if any, will be ready to launch with on-premises mobile. Mobile betting is geofenced and limited to tribal sportsbook properties in Washington state.
While it seems possible that the Snoqualmies could open their sportsbook sometime in October, Tulalip Chairwoman Teri Gobin told The Everett Herald that her tribe’s two properties are aiming to launch between Nov. 1 and New Year’s Day. Back in July, 7 Cedars Casino (Jamestown S’Klallam) CEO Jerry Allen told US Bets that Thanksgiving was a realistic start date.
— Mike Seely
More of the most important, interesting stories
Sportsbook @BetMGM will air TV spots nationally for the first time this #NFL season, debuting its ad buy during the league’s prime-time season kickoff Sept. 9 on @nbc.
📺 10 spots spread across Sunday night games:
− two in Sep.
− one in Oct.
− five in Dec.
− two in Jan. pic.twitter.com/sw5zBgTxJv
— Sports Business Journal (@sbjsbd) August 30, 2021
NFL announces FOX Bet, BetMGM, PointsBet, and WynnBET as Approved Sportsbook Operators for 2021 season. The companies will be eligible to purchase in-game commercials, gain access to official league data and adhere to NFL’s core integrity policies. [First-reported by @sbjsbd]
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) August 30, 2021
HIGH STAKES: Who will control sports betting in California? [Cal Matters]
ET TU, BRUTE?: Caesars Sports fires longtime Las Vegas bookmaker [LV-RJ]
DESANTIS PILES ON: FL joins Seminoles in asking for lawsuit dismissal. [Sun Sentinel]
DELETE YOUR ACCOUNT: Introducing Facebook Fantasy Games [Facebook]
But don't expect 'Facebook Sportsbook' anytime soon.
“We have no aspiration to make this into a betting product,” an exec told @sportico.
— ✏️Jacob Feldman (@JacobFeldman4) September 1, 2021
FLEX: Seminoles say lawsuit to toss gaming compact should be dismissed. [FL Phoenix]
ALABAMA PUSH: Dog tracks support sports betting, gaming expansion. [AL.com]
MAN VS. HOUSE: Bettors looking to bounce back in 2021 after a losing 2020 NFL season [Chalk]
LOOKING AROUND: AZ sports betting fuels the age-old question: ‘Will Las Vegas be hurt?’ [NV Indy]
MARKET WATCH: Elys Game Technology pops after landing DC sports betting license [Seeking Alpha]
BIG PLANS: MA racehorse owner proposes sportsbook in historic Sturbridge. [Telegram]
SLO-MO WRECK: D.C.’s sports betting app keeps underperforming, with lots of finger-pointing about what’s to blame [WashPo]
Have a good long weekend, folks!