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.
NY sports betting may be on the way
Last Friday the incoming New York Senate Racing, Gaming & Wagering Committee Chair Joe Addabbo became the new sponsor of a New York sports betting bill that was introduced by his predecessor in 2018, John Bonacic, who has retired. In a report for the Albany Times-Union, David Lombardo outlines some of the challenges ahead for this or a similar bill legalizing sports betting in New York to make it Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk in 2019, which include the Democratic governor’s lack of enthusiasm for sports wagering.
In another report filed today, Lombardo reports on Addabbo’s optimism for legalization happening. “I do think sports betting will be done in the budget,”Addabbo said.
So, our panel that recently ranked New York as the state most likely to see legalization in ’19 should have some confidence in the No. 1 seed.
The pro sports leagues would celebrate this bill, as written, for it includes a 0.20 “royalty” payable to the leagues merely for existing, and a mandate for sportsbooks to purchase official data from the leagues. No state legislature (nor Washington, D.C.) of the eight to legalize so far has passed a bill paying the leagues any such fee, or include such a mandate, some of them rejecting the “integrity fee” with hostility.
But there are regulatory and state constitutional issues and wrinkles to iron, explored here. Perhaps the biggest issue Addabbo appears ready to solve is how to makes sure legal NY sportsbooks can offer mobile sports betting.
“Online gaming is going to be the issue” Addabbo said. And he wants to leave no room for a legal challenge, such as the one that the New York daily fantasy sports legalization bill is now facing in court. “I don’t want to go around the hurdle. We need to clear the hurdle.”
West Virginia goes mobile, two more sportsbooks open
Delaware North has opened its two #WestVirginia casino sportsbooks and launched its https://t.co/Vc8x0UulVJ online and mobile app for statewide sports wagering: https://t.co/F0tq1acOAe @WheelingCasino @MardiGrasWV pic.twitter.com/F4qRstNnJZ
— Delaware North (@delawarenorth) December 27, 2018
Delaware North on Thursday launched the first mobile sports betting app in West Virginia and the Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack and Mardi Gras Casino & Resort near Charleston opened, as well. The openings will bring the total number of casinos with sports betting to five, including The Greenbriar Resort’s FanDuel Sportsbook, the Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort, and the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Racetrack.
Delaware North, which also owns a racetrack that will offer sports betting in Arkansas, launched BetLucky.com, available for state-wide mobile and internet sports betting. West Virginia now becomes the second state to have have launched mobile/internet sports betting. New Jersey did so over the summer, and it’s legal in Pennsylvania, but no sportsbook has yet launched online.
With the openings, all five of West Virginia’s sportsbooks will be able to catch the tail end of the college football season and the NFL playoffs. The openings were scheduled just a day before West Virginia kicked off against Syracuse at the Camping World Bowl, and two days before the College Football Playoff semifinals. It is legal in West Virginia to bet on college teams, including those within the state.
“It’s exciting to see West Virginia finally be at the forefront of something instead of being last in line,” Delegate Shawn Fluharty (D-Ohio) told MetroNews. “With sports betting we are truly competing against neighboring states while raising revenue without raising taxes on West Virginians. I’m proud to see it come to fruition.”
In addition to the launches, DraftKings announced earlier this week that it will expand into West Virginia with the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, as part of a bigger deal the company has with Penn National Gaming.
MGM doesn’t want to wait in Massachusetts
Massachusetts lawmakers haven’t made a firm move toward legalizing sports betting, but when they do, they’ll have a giant on their side. MGM, which earlier this year opened in the western part of the state, is “anxious” to offer sports betting at its Springfield location, according to a report from WAMC.
While MGM’s sports betting app/revenue in New Jersey is about fourteen lengths behind DraftKings and FanDuel, it has already partnered with three of the four major professional leagues in data-sharing deals and apparently is looking to distinguish itself as the most official or credible sportsbook choice.
It opened its Massachusetts location in August, just three months before neighboring Rhode Island became the first New England state of launch sports betting. While it’s a bit of a drive to Springfield from Rhode Island, the city is just minutes over the Connecticut border, and that state has been seriously talking about and trying to hammer out a sports betting plan since early 2018.
“That is something we plan on tackling with the legislature right after the first of the year and we’ve been doing some of the prep work for that,” MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis said.
In 2018, the state gaming commission released a white paper that explores sports betting in Massachusetts and after the legislative session ended, several lawmakers said they were going to study and prepare to make a push for sports betting in 2019.
ICYMI at Sports Handle
More of the Most Interesting, Important Stories
NBC SPORTS BETTING? The network reportedly registered for multiple sports betting domain names. [RotoGrinders]
DEBUTS: Gamblers wager nearly $683K in first week of Rhode Island sports betting [AP]
THESE GUYS LIKE TO BET: New study shows Millenial men like to bet on sports … even more than we thought. [US Bets]
MARYLAND LAWMAKERS MOVING: The state’s governor and two lawmakers hope to legalize sports betting in 2019. [WashPo]
OOPS: Caesar’s and the Golden Nugget, both in Atlantic City, reportedly accepted illegal sports bets on college teams. [Press of AC]
AHEAD OF THE CURVE: A Maryland casino is looking for a sports betting exec, but sports betting isn’t legal there. [Baltimore Sun]
COMPETITION: Will legal PA sports betting take a bite out of New Jersey and Delaware? [Penn Bets]
The issue about ownership rights (or lack thereof) in sports statistics is a far hotter topic than many people recognize. My guess is this will be a major issue in both the sports and intellectual property worlds in 2019. https://t.co/RmJRRSdOSa
— Marc Edelman (@MarcEdelman) December 27, 2018
In the Wider World of Sports
DON’T BET ON CLEMSON: Three players, including a projected first-round NFL draft pick, were suspended ahead CFBP semifinal [ESPN]
KICK IT: Alabama’s only flaw might be place kicking. Here’s a look at why. [WSJ]
CHECK IT OUT: An inside look at the best offense in college football. [SBNation]
REDSKINS FAN? SORRY: Washington’s having a tough season — on and off the field. [NYT]