After a brief hiatus, ‘Get a Grip’ makes a triumphant return. 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.
PA Sports Betting Sportsbook Field Grows to Five; NHL Goes “All In” With MGM Resorts International; More and More Deals; Virginia Entering Mix?
Never a slow week these days as we count a half-dozen new deals this week bringing the pro sports leagues together with gaming and hospitality groups, and directly with sportsbook operators, unlike ever before. Times they are a changin’.
But first: More movement in Pennsylvania, where last Wednesday the state gaming control board granted three more sports wagering certificates. This trio joins fellow licensees Hollywood Casino and Parx Casino (and its South Philadelphia Turf Club). Some details about their immediate sportsbook plans:
– Harrah’s Philadelphia — Affiliated with Caesars Entertainment. The company is planning a renovation of an existing 4,322-square foot food-and-beverage area, which will include 40 flat-screen televisions, multiple odds boards, six teller windows, self-betting kiosks, two horse-racing terminals, and stadium-style seating.
– Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh — Aiming for a Dec. 1 launch of its retail sportsbook and early ‘19 for mobile-web platforms. Plans are to move the sportsbook to a permanent location in the center of the gaming floor in the spring of 2019.
– SugarHouse Casino in the Philadelphia area — Has plans for a 1,800-square foot temporary sportsbook that will feature club chairs and table seating for 70 people, in addition to a 14-foot by 7-foot video wall. A dozen flat-screen televisions will be spread around the sportsbook and food-and-beverage service will be available.
In the professional sports arena, on Oct. 26, the National Hockey League teased a forthcoming major announcement in New York City related to sports wagering. About 60 hours later, we learned that the NHL had struck a multi-year sponsorship agreement with MGM Resorts International (MGM), making the gaming and entertainment giant an official sports betting partner of the NHL.
The NHL deal, aside from designating MGM as an official partner, will allow MGM use of the NHL’s trademarks and intellectual property in connection with sports wagering at its properties internationally, as well as access to “official league data” including advanced data — some of which is still getting hammered out in the lab.
The deal is similar (but different) than the one the NBA and MGM announced in late July. You can read more about the NHL-MGM agreement here. We think the stuff about the “advanced data” is most interesting, and will tell us how much value there is in“advanced” information — in knowing it or betting on it — like skating and puck speed and other information originally intended to enrich (or clutter) broadcasts with such information.
You Get a Deal, You Get a Deal, You Get a Deal!
The New York Jets this week joined together with MGM in a deal described as “the most comprehensive and integrated gaming partnership in the NFL to date.” The deal involves the sponsorship of a quasi-sports betting Jets app, which will bring those users close to MGM’s casino gaming, which lives adjacent to its sports betting platform. NFL rules currently prohibit a direct connection/sponsorship between sportsbooks and teams. Getting closer. The Jets also announced a deal with 888, which runs an online casino and sportsbook in New Jersey. The agreement has come under some scrutiny that you can read about here (at the bottom).
More deals: Details about the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers (via Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment) arrangements with Caesars Entertainment at SportsBusiness Daily.
Previously the Devils inked a sponsorship/marketing agreement with William Hill US, which will bring the William Hill Sports Lounge to their home rink at Newark’s Prudential Center.
Heading to the NFL, more from Caesars:
.@CaesarsEnt becomes the first founding partner of the #LasVegas Stadium, future home to the @Raiders via an unprecedented 15-year deal. We look forward to bringing the Caesars experience to the fans of #RaiderNation through a variety of stadium events. https://t.co/tzzHAlshFv pic.twitter.com/e7n3HLeSL7
— CaesarsEntertainment (@CaesarsEnt) November 1, 2018
Many more such deals to come in the next few months and weeks (and years). There’s 123 professional sports teams across the big four in the U.S.!
Will Virginia Really Keep Up With the Joneses?
According to Fox5 in Virginia, one state lawmaker is ready to open the conversation on sports betting. Delegate Marcus Simon (D-Falls Church) said he plans to craft and introduce a bill when the next general assembly session opens in January.
Virginia does not have any casinos or active racetracks, so a key question that would have to be answered is where sports betting would take place. And despite Simon’s enthusiasm, other states have found that sports betting is a complex issue and requires extensive study before a passable bill can be crafted. Illinois and Kentucky have been actively examining sports betting for more than six months, and lawmakers in those states still haven’t coalesced around a bill.
Virginia is surrounded by states that have either legalized sports betting (West Virginia, Delaware) or are much further down the road to doing so (Kentucky), as well as the District of Columbia, where the city council is poised to legalize sports betting before the end of the year.
“I think there will be some appetite for this,” Simon told Fox5. “I think there is certainly a revenue opportunity in Virginia. We already see a lot of our residents’ dollars go across the river to the MGM casino (in Maryland), and we lose out on a lot of opportunities to capture some of that revenue.”
More of the Most Important Stories in Sports Betting and Gaming:
STILL KING: Nevada sportsbooks see both record handle and record revenue for one month [US Bets]
“EXPERTS”: Know-nothing sports wagering experts crawling out of woodwork since PASPA fell [GGB]
O CANADA!: Sports betting (single-game) still illegal north of border; will NHL’s new stance change that? [Nat’l Post]
SCHEDULE LOSSES: Which games will your team lose because of the NBA schedule? [ESPN]
LEGAL EVERYTHING: Colorado lawmakers are gambling that voters want sports betting [CO Record]
BACK TO PA: Are Pennsylvania casinos viewing sports betting as a loss leader? [Penn Bets]
FISCAL POLICY: States jump at chance to boost revenue with sports betting [Pew]
NEW ERA: How NBA sparked the American sports gambling gold rush [Chalk]
Tweets of Note (That May Have Nothing to Do With Sports):
Hey @DKSportsbook, despite how sharp the customer is, if you can not book a dime on an NFL side 1 hour to game time, you should not be licensed to practice bookmaking in the United States of America. 10 fvuckin dollars!!! Can someone out there save us from this tyranny?!?! pic.twitter.com/yEWmlfwxBP
— spanky (@spanky) October 30, 2018
I have so many great Dr. Z stories from my days editing his online column in the early 2000s. Whenever I'd change something w/o telling him, he'd call, yell at me & hang up on me. Then he'd call back 5 mins later as if nothing happened & ask what games I was betting that week. https://t.co/aqfpkhuvtM
— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) November 1, 2018
ESPN Modified the Booger Mobile After Backlash https://t.co/RgbVCE1WW1
— The Big Lead (@thebiglead) October 30, 2018
The streak continues…for the past four seasons the head coach that drafts the first QB in the #NFLdraft gets fired during or after the same year the QB was drafted. Lovie/Winston, Fisher/Goff, Trubisky/Fox, and Mayfield/Hue #Buccaneers #Rams #Bears #Browns
— Mark Dominik (@MarkdominikNFL) October 30, 2018
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 30, 2018