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.
Top stories around our network this week
Well, it happened. As expected by even the biggest pessimists among us, New Jersey sportsbooks have officially handled in excess of $1 billion of wagers in a single calendar month.
The billion-dollar figure, coming in Month 39 of an NJ legal sports wagering market that’s coexisted with COVID-19 for about half its life, came close to binary code in September 2021: $1,011,114,311, state regulators announced Monday.
The previous single-month record also belonged to New Jersey: $996.3 million in wagers in December 2020. Based on population alone, it seems likely that New York will one day surpass New Jersey’s heights, while also saving some New Yorkers a bike, train, or automobile trip into the Garden State to get their bet down.
At our sister site NJ Online Gambling, John Brennan traced the history of the market going back to the first month, June 2018, when a trio of in-person ribbon cuttings set the stage. Here’s a chart from Chris Altruda showing the largest single month of handle in each active “legal” jurisdiction.[table “241” not found /]
Unnecessarily complicated regime of the week
Welcome to the party of the week
Headline we never thought we’d write of the week
Feature story of the week
Put up or shut up of the week
Federal court fisticuffs of the week
theScore is final of the week
On-deck circle of the week
It’s a new age, baby, of the week
Changing of guard of the week
The Garden of sports betting programming
Operators building support in California
Mayors from Fresno, Long Beach, Oakland and Sacramento as well as two advocacy organizations for the homeless this week lent their support to a proposed California ballot initiative that would allow for statewide digital sports betting. The initiative, being run by a group of seven major wagering operators, would require that platforms be tethered to tribal casinos. Currently titled the California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act, the proposal is under review by the state attorney general’s office.
“I’m joining my fellow mayors in endorsing this important initiative because this is an all-hands-on-deck moment in our fight against homelessness,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said via press release. “To solve California’s homelessness crisis over the long term, we need sustainable sources of funding to house those experiencing homelessness and provide them the medical and mental health services they need. That’s what this measure provides.”
Proponents of the initiative say legal digital sports betting will generate hundreds of millions of dollars for California to begin to seriously address its homeless problem. In the proposed initiative, the money would be earmarked for “the purpose of delivering permanent and interim housing, including rental assistance, supportive services, and operating subsidies and reserves.” The funds would be earmarked for “cities, counties, and continuums of care.”
It’s expected that the AG’s office will issue a title and summary on or about Nov. 5, and proponents can then begin collecting the nearly 1 million signatures needed to get the initiative on the November ballot. The initiative could be one of three — a tribal proposal that would legalize in-person wagering at tribal casinos and four horse tracks has already qualified for the ballot, and a proposal from a group of cities that would allow wagering at card rooms, professional stadiums, and other locations is being review by the AG’s office.
Here’s what you can bet on in Louisiana
The Louisiana Gaming Control Board on Thursday released its bet catalog, which spells out exactly what wagers will be accepted when sports betting goes live in the state. The menu includes wagering on everything from baseball to football to snooker, but also includes some events that aren’t available in most of the rest of the country.
According to the new menu, wagers will be accepted on the Academy Awards, the Emmys, and the Nathan’s hot-dog eating contest. Interestingly, the Heisman Trophy and other sports awards (like Cy Young winner) are not specifically listed as available to wager on, but also are not included on the exclusion list. The menu also says that wagering on eSports will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
As the LGCB was releasing the bet menu, Caesars this week was preparing to be the first digital platform to go live in Louisiana. On Wednesday, sources told Sports Handle that Caesars would launch its platform within the next week, and on Friday, the company put out a release saying that the app is available to download and customers could sign up and begin funding accounts. A spokesman from the state police, the agency tasked with issuing licenses, told Sports Handle Thursday that none had been issued. Caesars Sportsbook has not yet announced a date on which it plans to go live.
More of the most important, interesting stories
— Sportico (@Sportico) October 20, 2021
LET’S ROLL IT BACK Kentucky Rep. Adam Koenig will try again with sports betting bill. [WTVQ]
IRONY: Seminoles launch a “don’t sign gambling petitions” campaign. [Florida Politics]
EYEBALLS: Wagering operators want NBA broadcast rights. [FrontOfficeSports]
SETTING UP SHOT: Operators are prepping for betting in Canada. [Toronto Star]
SPEAKING OF: FanDuel Group puts Dale Hooper in charge of Canada business. [SBC Americas]
NH EXPANSION: DraftKings opening another retail location in Granite State. [Yahoo!]
LOVING IT: More and more proof that America is embracing sports betting. [Yahoo!]
ON THE WATER: First sports bet on a cruise ship placed. [Princess Cruises]