Each Monday, our “What’s On Tap,” series will preview the week ahead in the world of sports betting. Come here for a summary of upcoming financial happenings, legislative and regulatory meetings, industry conferences, top games scheduled for the week, and much more. Also, check out our weekly review Get A Grip and Wide World of Gambling at US Bets for a look back at last week’s relevant news.
Monday, March 1
Winthrop highlights Big South quarterfinals
The month begins with four quarterfinals on Monday in the Big South basketball conference tournament. Winthrop enters the tournament with just one loss on the season, a two-point defeat vs. UNC-Asheville on Jan. 29. The Eagles (20-1) opened as a heavy 15-point favorite against High Point at PointsBet. Winthrop is led by Big South Player of the Year Chandler Vaudrin, a senior guard who is the NCAA’s active leader in triple-doubles. But with consensus odds of around -200 to win the tournament, Winthrop does not provide much value. Instead, consider a team under the radar such as UNC-Asheville. The Bulldogs handed Winthrop its only loss of the season and fell to the Eagles by four in the other matchup. UNC-Asheville has an 8% probability to capture the tournament, according to TeamRankings.com. In total, 13 conferences will hold tournament play throughout the week.
The leaders behind Winthrop basketball’s magical season have earned some due recognition. https://t.co/VXfxyN9cZG
— Rock Hill Herald (@RHHerald) February 26, 2021
Tuesday, March 2
Florida Legislative session begins
As the Florida Legislative opens on Tuesday, a trio of bills have been floated in an effort to legalize sports betting. A bill authored by Sen. Jeff Brandes, SB 392, allows individuals 21 years or older to wager money on sports events through the Department of the Lottery and approved licensees. Brandes’ bill authorizes the Lottery department to oversee and regulate sports betting operations across the state. Another bill authored by Brandes, SB 396, sets the application and renewal fee for a sports wagering license at $100,000 apiece. Separately, proposed legislation from Rep. Chip LaMarca calls for a 22.5% tax on the sports betting handle earnings of licensed Florida sportsbooks. LaMarca’s proposed bills also sets initial license fees of $7.5 million with an annual renewal of $1 million. The bill would allow for wagering at myriad professional sports venues, parimutuel-betting race tracks, and tribal casinos. Any effort to bring the activity to Florida will ostensibly need to include the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which may hold the keys on the future of legalized sports betting in the Sunshine State.
iGB Webinar on Sports Betting Marketing
As the sports betting industry nears the third anniversary of the Supreme Court’s historic PASPA ruling, it has become abundantly clear that a major operator cannot expand at a high rate without investing heavily into sales and marketing operations. Last week, DraftKings disclosed that the company spent nearly $500 million on marketing expenses in 2020 — a year when the company increased revenue by more than 145%. On Tuesday, iGB will host a webinar entitled “The Evolution of U.S. Sportsbook Marketing,” the second of its Path to Profitability series. The webinar will tackle critical questions on the evolution of the sports betting sector’s approach on customer acquisition and the role of a major media organization in advertising. The event will be moderated by Brendan Bussmann, partner and director of Government Affairs at Global Market Advisors.
Hearing in Connecticut on several sports betting-related bills
Eight separate gaming-related bills are on the docket when a joint standing committee of the Connecticut General Assembly meets Tuesday in Hartford. At Tuesday’s Public Safety and Security Committee hearing, the committee will review SB 146, an act that would give the state’s two tribes exclusivity for sports betting, and would allow for statewide mobile. A comprehensive budget bill introduced by Gov. Ned Lamont includes: sports betting, iGaming, iLottery, and iKeno. Lamont’s budget bill projects a windfall of $50 million for the state as early as next year.
Wednesday, March 3
Maryland Senate Budget & Taxation Committee meeting
Stakeholders in Maryland could receive further indication on whether legal sports betting will go live in The Old Line at some point this year when the Senate Budget & Taxation Committee meets on Wednesday. Last March, a bill sponsored by Sen. Craig Zucker passed in the Senate, before stalling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, Maryland voters overwhelmingly backed a referendum in November that allows legal sports betting to be offered in the state, with tax proceeds earmarked to initiatives on education. Zucker, whose bill calls for a 20% tax rate on a sportsbook operator’s gross gaming revenue, is hopeful that a Maryland sports betting regime can be in place by late-summer. The hearing will be held days after the House Ways and Means Committee heard from roughly 25 stakeholders last week during a meeting on sports betting. A House bill, HB 940, did not go to a vote last Thursday. Meanwhile, the Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA) continues to push forward with efforts to publish a set of sports betting regulations in an expeditious manner. Gordon Medenica, director of the MLGCA, has indicated that the agency has already begun the process of crafting the regulations.
Saturday, March 6
Adesanaya looks to remain undefeated at UFC 259
Middleweight champion Israel Adesanaya can become the fifth fighter in UFC history to hold championships in two divisions when he takes on little heavyweight title holder Jan Blachowicz on Saturday night in Las Vegas. Adesanaya is a -250 favorite at DraftKings over Blachowicz, who has odds of +200 to pull off the upset in the main event. There are two other title fights on Saturday’s main card. In the UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship, Amanda Nunes will defend her title against Australian fighter Megan Anderson. Nunes was scheduled to fight Anderson in November, but pulled out with an undisclosed injury. Nunes, who hails from Brazil, is the only fighter in UFC history to defend two titles while actively holding them. The bout will be preceded by the UFC Bantamweight Championship, where Peter Yan will face Aljamain Sterling.
Odds on other UFC bouts on Saturday’s main card
- Women’s Featherweight Championship: Amanda Nunes (-1250) vs. Megan Anderson (+750)
- Bantamweight Championship: Peter Yan (-100) vs. Aljamain Sterling (+100)
- Islam Makhachev (-335) vs. Drew Dober (+250)
- Thiago Santos (+138) vs. Aleksandar Rakic (-167)
Sunday, March 7
Potential Loyola-Drake matchup awaits in MVC finals
Two teams from the Missouri Valley Conference, Loyola-Chicago and Drake, appear safely in the NCAA tournament field at the moment. Ranked No. 21 in the nation, Loyola clinched the MVC regular season title on Saturday with a 65-58 win over Southern Illinois. The Ramblers finished one game ahead of Drake, which opened the season with 18 straight wins. Both teams spent a considerable amount of time in the AP Top 25. Drake, however, ended the regular season with three losses over its final 10 games. Of the two MVC rivals, Loyola likely has a better chance of making the tournament as an at-large team.
NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta
For the first time, the NBA will hold its annual Skills challenge and the All-Star Game on the same night during All-Star Weekend. The Skills challenge and 3-point contest will be held prior to tip off, while the Slam Dunk Contest will take place at halftime. Two rookies, New York Knicks forward Obi Toppin and Indiana Pacers guard Cassius Stanley, are expected to take part in the Slam Dunk contest, The Athletic reported. The NBA has yet to announce the participants for the 3-point contest. Portland Trail Blazers forward Derrick Jones is the defending Slam Dunk champion, while Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield won the 3-point contest last season. The total in the All-Star Game has surpassed 300 points in four of the last five years.
NBA All-Star 2021 to feature the Game and Skills competitions on one night for the first time on March 7. The NBA and NBPA are committing more than $2.5M toward HBCUs and provide support and awareness around equity and access to COVID-19 relief and vaccines.
A THREAD ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/doU1zWuuJq
— NBA (@NBA) February 18, 2021