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, highlighting some fresh news and rounding up key stories in the world (and industry) of legal U.S. sports betting.
Colorado sports betting aircraft approaches runway with even more passengers!
Colorado sports betting regulators on Thursday approved 18 sports betting licenses and decided to amend their “sports betting catalogue” in a meeting of the Limited Gaming Control Commission. The meeting was held by video conference.
Among the licenses approved were Temporary Operator and Internet Operator licenses for the SuperBook, BetFred, Churchill Downs (owners of BetAmerica) and Internet Sports International, which will operate retail and online sportsbooks for three different Colorado casinos. The SuperBook announced earlier this week that it will expand its breadth from Nevada into Colorado. Digital Gaming and WSI were also approved for Temporary Internet Operator licenses.
The LGCC also made a key change to its sports betting catalogue, which is a list of what sports and events can be bet on when sports betting goes live. As the state’s new law is written, prop bets on individual athletes in college sports will be prohibited, but several board members are concerned that some of the potential bets listed in the catalogue could be interpreted as prop bets on individuals, so an amendment to approve the bet list without approving the NCAA sections was proposed and passed. The amendment calls for temporary removal of all NCAA sections with the expectation that college sports will be back in the fall, and board members plan to discuss and resolve the NCAA question by their May meeting.
Given that the NCAA cancelled its spring season in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, board member Shawn Coleman said “I just see us making the best use of the time given to us.”
The commission also set FY 2020 operator fees at $54,000 for internet sportsbooks and $12,500 for retail sportsbooks after a presentation by Division of Gaming Director Dan Hartman explained how the numbers were derived.
Colorado regulators are aiming to meet a May 1 mandate to be ready for sports betting. The commission has said it will hit the mark should operators want to launch, and both FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook said earlier this month they do have plans to go live with their digital platforms on May 1. Colorado retail casinos were shut down March 16.
With no sports, what are we watching?
With no sports to watch, what are sports-crazy TV viewers watching? Nielsen sought to answer that question, and it’s probably no surprise that people are tuning into live news, movies and social media. Subscription video on demand has nearly doubled in the last month, according to Neilson. Sports programming still accounted for 10% of viewing time on Sunday at the end of March, even with no live sports to watch.
According to Nielsen charts on Deadline.com, heavy sports viewers are still watching more TV than the average viewer who is 18 or older.
“Even though live sports are on hold, fans are hungry for content,” the Nielsen report argues. “That’s why it’s crucial that brands and sellers of media know where, how and what these consumers are viewing as a way to reach and maintain relationships with them.”
More of the week’s most important, interesting stories
I believe we'll see less groupthink in the draft this year. At pro days, coaches & scouts (from diff teams) spend so much time around each other & they end up forming a consensus on players. Not the case this year. Some will be shocked at how high/low these guys go.
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) April 17, 2020
You wish you got texts as good as the ones I get. pic.twitter.com/jKXhdFEya7
— Aaron Kessler (@aaronkessler) April 16, 2020
AUTOPSY REPORT: A look at how the XFL attempted to hitch its wagon to sports betting, before COVID-19 ended the season [LA Times]
RETURN TO NORMALCY: Dr. Fauci discusses what return of pro sports would/will look like from practical perspective [ESPN]
PLAYING THROUGH: A June PGA Tour return would be very welcomed, but there would be limitations [SH]
March sports betting handle (in COVID-19 impacted, non-March Madness mostly sports-less month):
– Total handle: $181.9 million
– Hold %: 6.2
– Mobile/online handle: $163 million
– Percentage online: 90%
– YTD NJ handle: $1.22 billion@BergenBrennan story to follow.
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) April 15, 2020
SURVEY SAYS: Inside the first virus-impacted sports month, referenced above [NJOG]
OFF A CLIFF: Coronavirus results in steep drop off in Iowa’s monthly betting handle [Hawkeye]
SKILL, NOT GAMBLING!: The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that “the DFS contest at issue in this case does not fall under the current legal definition of gambling.” [Capitol News]
NEWEST FRONTIER: It’s not that easy to offer odds on eSports [Biz Insider]
IT’S NOW AT 9: Caesars opened Patriots with a win total of 8.5, their lowest since 2003 [Chalk]