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.
SugarHouse, Rivers Launch In PA, And Presque Isle Downs Latest Applicant
Ready to get in the game? Live #sportsbetting is now here! Be among the first to place your #bets during our test period today and tomorrow from 2PM – MIDNIGHT.
Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-Gambler. pic.twitter.com/LHItHxYGn8
— SugarHouse Casino (@WinAtSugarHouse) December 13, 2018
As you read this, the new sportsbooks at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia and Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh have soft launched and are going through live testing phases with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, both with the intent of official opening Saturday. SugarHouse will be first sportsbook to open in Philadelphia and Rivers the first — and only one that has applied — in Pittsburgh.
The Parx Casino, which is planning two locations, was approved for sports betting ahead of SugarHouse and Rivers, but has not yet opened at either its casino or South Philadelphia Turf Club location. Harrah’s has also been approved, but no start date has been released.
— Marcie Cipriani (@MCipriani_WTAE) December 13, 2018
As with the Hollywood Casino before them, SugarHouse and Rivers were open to the public for limited hours Thursday-Friday, as the PGCB and the casinos reviewed procedures, tested equipment and worked with staff to make sure they’re ready for more formal opening on Saturday.
In other news in Pennsylvania sports betting, Presque Isle Downs, which is owned by Churchill Downs, Inc., on Dec. 7 became the seventh Pennsylvania casino to apply for a sports betting certificate. Located in Erie, in the northwestern part of the state, Presque Isle downs already has a full-service casino and live horse racing. The public version of the application released by the PGCB shows that Presque Isle will partner with SB Tech to provide sports betting software and technology, and the company is proposing to offer land-based, mobile and interactive sports betting. At this time, according to the petition, Presque Isle is only applying to use its certificate at a single location, but could add another in the future.
For the previous five sports betting applications, there has been about a five- or six-week gap between the date the application was filed and when the PGCB puts it on its meeting agenda for approval. The next meeting is Dec. 19, and neither Valley Forge Casino, which made application in mid-November, is on the agenda. The first meeting of 2019 is scheduled for Jan. 9.
Count Indiana In, Too
Indiana lawmakers don’t want to be left behind and two said this week that they would bring sports betting bills for the 2019 session. Senator Jon Ford told WANE.com this week that he’ll have a sports betting well, as will his counterpart, Representative Alan Morrison.
We want to “try to bring some of the black market betting we know is going on,” he said. “They say it’s about a $300 million illegal sports betting market here in Indiana. Bring that into a regulated industry, so we can take some of that element off the street.”
Ford promises betting on professional and college sports in his bill, but did not specify any other particulars. In 2018, Indiana failed to legalize sports betting, but did have informational hearings in the fall. The hearings, which were before the Interim Joint Public Policy Committee, showed that Hoosier State lawmakers are still learning about sports betting, and the committee did not make a recommendation about whether or not sports betting should be considered in 2019.
Indiana is surrounded by states that will likely move on sports betting in 2019 — Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio. Lawmakers in Kentucky has already filed at least one sports betting bill ahead of their 2019 session, and legislators in both Kentucky and Illinois held comprehensive hearings over the summer and into the fall. Michigan and Ohio lawmakers have been quietly laying the groundwork for bills in their states.
ICMYI At Sports Handle
More of the Most Interesting, Important Stories
MIXED MESSAGES: Is the NBA really protecting the integrity of the game? [NBC Sports]
BIG CITY: Inside SugarHouse’s historic debut in Philadelphia [PennBets]
SCANDAL: Creating a “fix”: The story of point-shaving at ASU [Cronkite]
BOTH SIDES OF HIS MOUTH: Mark Emmert claims NCAA isn’t trying to monetize sports, but that’s exactly what it’s doing. [Forbes]
NFL officials will tell owners today at league meeting that it will begin process of securing a national casino sponsor. NBA, NHL and MLB already have national deals with gaming company MGM
— daniel kaplan (@dkaplanSBJ) December 12, 2018
HALLO, MATE: New Jersey’s DGE gives an Australian company the initial go-ahead for interactive gaming. [CDC Gaming]
LEAVING FEDS BEHIND: Connecticut lawmakers propose bill to bypass feds in opening of new casino. [Journal Inquirer]
BASEBALL’S COURTSHIP OF BETTING: Here’s how MLB went from loathing betting to falling in love with the idea. [SB Nation]
SAY YES: A recent study shows 63 percent of Virginians support legal sports betting. [USBets]
In the Wider World of Sports
ZEBRAS: Chargers’ game-winning TD vs. Chiefs was an officiating mess [TBL]
FUTURE OF PIMLICO: Check out this in-depth study on where the famed racetrack is headed. [Baltimore Sun]
YOUNG GUNS: Baseball favors youth over experience lately when it comes to managers. [SI]
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: In the lull before bowl games start, a look a the toughest schedules in … 2019. [B/R]
SWOOSH!: How come NBA players are trading in their Nikes? [NYTimes]