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.
Illinois billionaire viewed as ‘obstructionist’
Billionaire Neil Bluhm has been flexing his muscles in Springfield over the last few weeks in asking lawmakers to penalize daily fantasy and sports betting operators DraftKings and FanDuel, should Illinois lawmakers legalize sports wagering. Bluhm contends the pair have been operating daily fantasy contests illegally in Illinois and should have to wait three years from the time sports betting is legalized to have the opportunity to enter the market.
Turns out DraftKings and FanDuel aren’t the only ones angry about the so-called “penalty box” and Bluhm’s actions. According to TheDailyLine.net reporter Hannah Meisel, an anonymous Democratic leader said Bluhm is being viewed as an “obstructionist,” and lawmakers don’t favor his suggestion. The penalty box has been a contentious issue in recent weeks, and with only one day left to legalize during the regular session, it seems the hope would be to get Bluhm to back down.
A senior Democratic lawmaker, who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, told me that not a lot of other lawmakers were on Bluhm’s side in the penalty box debate. Instead, the lawmaker said most other lawmakers have “viewed [Bluhm] as obstructionist in this process." https://t.co/3xmL69OTQm
— Hannah Meisel (@hannahmeisel) May 30, 2019
Lawmakers floated an amendment with the penalty box language in it earlier this month, but action from stakeholders was swift. DraftKings and FanDuel teamed on an advertisement ripping Bluhm’s Rivers Casino, but pulled the ad within 24 hours at the request of Governor J.B. Pritzker who is extremely eager for a sports betting measure to pass. DraftKings threatened legal action should the penalty box become law.
With only Friday left in the session, it’s still doable, just barely. The current sports betting vehicle is S 516, which is a more comprehensive gaming bill. The bill, which this week has been stripped of language and amended, has already made its way through the Senate. It now must get through a House committee, the House floor and then go back to the Senate. All of that could be done in one day, but it’s anyones guess what will unfold.
The latest iteration of sports betting doesn’t appear to have the penalty box in it, but lawmakers traded penalizing two potential mobile sports betting operators for penalizing all — the latest amendment calls for an 18-month hold on mobile should sports betting be legalized.
What will happen Friday? It’s wait and watch …
Text of Colorado sports betting referendum
The Colorado Secretary of State last week released the text of the sports betting referendum for the November ballot. If approved, sports betting will become legal in the state (background here).
To us, the language seems a bit confusing — after all the ballot measure starts with “shall state taxes be increased,” which for some voters might signal a new tax, rather than a new revenue stream.
Proposition DD: Authorize and tax sports betting
SHALL STATE TAXES BE INCREASED BY TWENTY-NINE MILLION DOLLARS ANNUALLY TO FUND STATE WATER PROJECTS AND COMMITMENTS AND TO PAY FOR THE REGULATION OF SPORTS BETTING THROUGH LICENSED CASINOS BY AUTHORIZING A TAX ON SPORTS BETTING OF TEN PERCENT OF NET SPORTS BETTING PROCEEDS, AND TO IMPOSE THE TAX ON PERSONS LICENSED TO CONDUCT SPORTS BETTING OPERATIONS?
For comparison, here is the language from Colorado’s Marijuana Legalization Initiative (Amendment 64), which voters approved by a 55-44 margin in 2012.
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning marijuana, and, in connection therewith, providing for the regulation of marijuana; permitting a person twenty-one years of age or older to consume or possess limited amounts of marijuana; providing for the licensing of cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, and retail stores; permitting local governments to regulate or prohibit such facilities; requiring the general assembly to enact an excise tax to be levied upon wholesale sales of marijuana; requiring that the first $40 million in revenue raised annually by such tax be credited to the public school capital construction assistance fund; and requiring the general assembly to enact legislation governing the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp?
There will be political advertisements!
More of the most important stories
BIG WIN: Rhode Island’s $2 million profit in April is highest to date. [AP]
LATE LAUNCH: Indiana Gaming Commission says a Sept. 1 sports betting launch may be too ambitious. [IBJ]
BUCKEYE BETTING: Ohio lawmakers are moving two sports betting bills. [ToledoBlade]
LET’S VOTE: Mass Speaker of the House wants sports betting to get to chamber floor. [CommonWealth]
SLIVER OF HOPE? NY Governor Andrew Cuomo appeared to offer a little earlier this week. [US Bets]
— John M. Schrieber (@jschrieber) May 28, 2019
POSITIVE THINKING: D.C. billionaire can’t wait for legal sports betting to start. [WashingtonTimes]
WORRY WARTS?: As legal sports betting proliferates, NCAA concerned its athletes will partake. [CDCGaming]
— Boston Herald (@bostonherald) May 30, 2019
ICYMI at Sports Handle
In the wider world of sports
Tiger Woods gives the only correct answer to being asked about the guy betting $85K on him to win the Masters pic.twitter.com/ePqqKalLOW
— NOTSportsCenter (@NOTSportsCenter) May 24, 2019
CUT BUCKNER A BREAK: After his death Monday, many say he didn’t deserve torment after ’86 WS. [WSJ]
TROUBLE AT SANTA ANITA: Sunday, a third horse died in nine days. That’s 26 since Dec. 26. [LAT]
BELMONT SHAPING UP: War of Will and Tacitus among eight-10 horse field. [BloodHorse]
50th ANNIVERSARY: The 50th World Series of Poker opened in Las Vegas this week. [AP]
BEST OF THE FINALS: ESPN ranks the Top 30 in the NBA Finals. [ESPN]
UCLA SUED: Three former Bruins football players sue Coach Jim Mora over handling of injuries. [LAT]
Have a good weekend, everybody.