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 stories and rounding up key stories in sports betting, gaming, and the world of sports at large. You may have missed them, and they are worth reading.
Federal bill would alter IGRA for sports betting
A bill filed in the U.S. House of Representatives late last month would essentially allow tribal casinos to offer mobile sports betting without going against the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The bill, HB 5502, was introduced by Representative Anthony Brindisi (D-22) of Central New York. Eight federally recognized tribes call New York home, but only three currently operate casinos.
The first tribal sportsbook went live in New York in July 2019, however none of the tribal books offer mobile sports betting, because they are not clearly permitted to do so. The bill, which has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, would change IGRA to reflect that a person placing a mobile wager doesn’t have to be located on Indian lands, as long as the bettor and “server or other computer equipment through which the sports wager is accepted are in the same State.”
The proposed text for Section J of IGRA is:
“(j) Subsection (b)(5) and subsection (c) shall not apply to a management contract entered into between an Indian Tribe and a person or entity to the extent such person or entity offers lawful sports wagering over the internet, including through an internet website or mobile application.”
The bill could help to smooth the way for tribal sports betting across the country, though many tribes nationwide have been resistant mobile sports betting. Michigan in late December became the first state with a significant tribal presence to legalize mobile sports betting, but in other states, including California, the tribes don’t seem to want a mobile component. In fact, the ballot initiative proposed by California tribes doesn’t include mobile.
Maryland: Third time a charm?
A Maryland sports betting bill that was pre-filed in September is now scheduled for a first reading on the Jan. 8, the day the state’s General Assembly goes into session. SB 0058 calls for a voter referendum that would allow the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission to issue sports betting licenses. But as US Bets explains, the bill is only two pages long, does not include a mobile component, and doesn’t lay out any kind of structure for sports betting.
Maryland lawmakers have considered sports betting in each of the last two legislative sessions, but have yet to pass a law effectuating a ballot referendum to amend the state constitution, nor have officials coalesced around a plan to find a workaround. Maryland, home of the MGM National Harbor Hotel & Casino, is surrounded by states with legal sports betting, including Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, three of the first to go live after the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was struck down. The District of Columbia has legal sports betting, though it has not launched yet.
More of the most important stories
GOAT: Sports bettor “Jeopardy! James” to compete with fellow legends Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter for $1M and glory [KSN]
SITTING ON HANDS: Mass lawmaker says his state may not legalize in 2020. [Boston Herald]
FAREWELL: Former Mass gaming chief heads back to Orrick’s regulatory practice [Bloomberg]
BRING ‘EM ON: NH Lottery officials say thousands have registered for sports betting. [AP]
Over 6,000 ppl registered to bet on sports in New Hampshire & more than $250k was wagered in 1st day of legalization. NH state lottery said many Massachusetts residents registered in NH. States like NJ & NH benefit while neighbor states are slow to change. https://t.co/wNxCAdMzTt
— Darren Heitner (@DarrenHeitner) January 2, 2020
LIGHTS OUT: Nearly a year after sports betting was shut down, Wheeling Island sIS till dark. [Intelligencer]
BARKING: Underdogs have value in NFL playoffs. [LAT]
TURF WAR: Virginia close to legalizing casinos as lawmakers mull online sports betting, too [CDC]
In the wider world of sports
ROAD TO MIAMI: Barnwell’s guide to the 12 NFL playoffs teams [ESPN]
BLAME GAME: The Patriots’ receivers aren’t as lousy as advertised. [BostonHerald]
REST IN PEACE: Former NBA commissioner David Stern died weeks after a brain hemorrhage. [WSJ]
SAYING GOODBYE: Don Larsen, the only pitcher to throw a perfect game in the WS dies. [NYT]
Hard Knocks 2020 will come down to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Denver Broncos. Two heavyweights when it comes to fan bases. HBO can’t go wrong with either one.
I’m not a betting man, but I am 99.99999 percent sure it will be the Steelers.
— Josh Carney (@ByJoshCarney) January 2, 2020