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 (or fashionably late) Sports Handle item, “Get a Grip,” recapping the week’s top U.S. sports betting stories, highlighting some fresh news, and rounding up key stories.
Also check out this week’s Wide World of Gambling at US Bets.
Tennessee train nears the station
Raise your hand if you’ve heard this before, but live, legal Tennessee sports betting is expected to be arrive soon in the Volunteer State, as reported by TN Bets. On Thursday, the Tennessee Education Lottery and its Sports Wagering Committee convened for a 30-minute meeting to iron out some remaining regulatory wrinkles to govern the four sportsbooks approved and prepared for the shotgun launch on Nov. 1, or perhaps a couple days sooner. (Next week!) Those four operators are BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and the Tennessee-based Action 247, which is rooting its appeal as the local guys who know Tennesseans. In a state with a population of roughly 7 million, the betting handle seems likely to trend toward Indiana levels, once it matures a bit more and adds a handful of additional operators.
Circa Sportsbook eye candy
At 12:01 a.m. next Wednesday, Oct. 28, the Derek Stevens-owned Circa Resort & Casino in Las Vegas will celebrate a ribbon cutting for its three-story, 1000-person capacity Circa Sportsbook that contains, among other things, a 123-foot TV screen.
Circa's sportsbook is decent-sized pic.twitter.com/pIdeXMu0E6
— Las Vegas Locally 🌴 (@LasVegasLocally) October 22, 2020
My colleague Matt Rybaltowski reported in July during its construction:
Circa is looking to raise the stakes. While Circa representatives declined to divulge the estimated square footage of the retail sportsbook, a company spokesperson told Sports Handle that Circa’s viewing boards, including its odds board, will be 40% larger than the SuperBook’s. Stevens, who maintains an amicable relationship with Superbook USA management, expects to have a little fun with their new rivals as each stake their claim to the title.
“It’s a one-of-a-kind viewing experience,” said Jeff Benson, sportsbook operations manager at Circa, when asked what is the defining characteristic of the space. “Being able to see every game from every seat in crystal clear view is incredible. When you walk into the sportsbook space it is a WOW moment between the screens, the odds boards, the stadium style seating, and the expansiveness of the room. We believe it to be the best sportsbook in the world and we can’t wait for all of our Circa Sports players to enjoy it with us.”
Understatement. Circa's sports book is so impressive, we walked in and started liking sports. Rumor is when the makers of the video screens saw it live, they wept, like people seeing the Sistine chapel for the first time. https://t.co/W0qstRXCve pic.twitter.com/dBo9FyWnEG
— Vital Vegas (@VitalVegas) October 22, 2020
Hey Dan! 👋 If laptop-friendliness is more important than a 123-foot screen and the ultimate sportsbook vibe, we've still got you covered. Wifi available. Laptops encouraged. All seats and booths have their own standard power jack and most have personal USB charging ports. 💻📱👍
— Circa Sports (@CircaSports) October 22, 2020
how it started: how it’s going: pic.twitter.com/GzPwyWiY8X
— Jeffrey Benson (@JeffreyBenson12) October 9, 2020
The majority of sportsbook lounges opening across the country in states like New Jersey (such as FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands), Illinois, and Iowa are quite nice, but they just don’t compare. That’s in part thanks to a $15 million-plus investment (my guess) for this theater. But this new sportsbook is proof positive of Las Vegas’ status as the U.S. sports betting mecca, despite New Jersey’s month after month record-breaking sports betting handle.
I’m not sure we’ll see a sportsbook like Circa’s and the Westgate’s SuperBook open in another state, given the trend toward chic, hightop-spotted lounges. Enough gushing, but, this is a book that will bring my nearing-40 group of friends back to Vegas for the first round of March Madness. (Prays for a 2021 tournament).
Virginia voters will get say in casinos, sports betting
While state regulators move toward launching online/mobile sports betting operators in Virginia, voters there will get a chance to decide if they want in-person gaming at casinos in five locales. According to ABC 13 News, more than 100 businesses are throwing their support behind a planned casino in Danville. The city has already signed a deal with Caesars Entertainment to run a casino there.
The city of Norfolk has a deal to sell a parcel of land to the Pawmunkey Tribe to run a casino there, but according to 13NewsNow, there is a vocal group opposing a casino deal. The group, “Informed Norfolk Vote No,” apparently has some heavy hitters behind it, including Waterside District neighborhood restaurants Blue Moon Taphouse, Guy Fieri’s Smokehouse, and PBR Norfolk. No casino partner has been announced yet.
Voters in Bristol, Portsmouth, and Richmond will also vote on whether or not to allow land-based casinos.
More of the most interesting, important stories of the week (and some sports stuff)
.@EquiLottery Games has reached an agreement with the National Basketball Association that will see @EquiLottery launch a new, officially-licensed lottery draw game based on the outcomes of NBA games. https://t.co/rIlj5qvizy
— Chris Sieroty (@sierotyfeatures) October 19, 2020
TAP THE ROCKIES: Colorado surpasses $200 million handle in September [CO Bets]
A BIT OF A STIR: Get both sides of the story after accusations from pro gamblers about alleged William Hill unfair practices. [Sports Handle]
LOOKING GOOD: MD’s referendum to legalize sports betting appears headed to victory. [Maryland Matters]
GREAT LAKES: Michigan zeroing in on iGaming, sports betting launch. [MI Bets]
GO WEST!: Wyoming slept on sports betting. Now, the Northern Arapaho Tribe is going all-in. [Star Trib]
IRS AT IT AGAIN: DFS operators prep for impact of latest IRS guidance regarding federal excise tax. [US Bets]
CASINO THEFT: Three armed robbers zip-tied patrons, stole $20K from underground casino. [Sports Grind]
Mike Vrabel is outstanding
1. he rushes in 46 late (12th man on D)
2. 33 is WTF
3. penalty for 12men
4. Vrabel fakes upset & brings 46 off
-penalty stops clock
-time > yds
-knows HOU will score
– w :04 left, TEN scores tying TD
– move saved 40 seconds & won game pic.twitter.com/wikWKtGuJD
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) October 19, 2020
TRANSFORMATIVE, PERHAPS: A look inside SimpleBet’s new artificial intelligence platform. [Sports Handle]
ADDICTION: PA survey will assess iGaming’s impact and link to problem gambling. [Penn Bets]
THE DC ‘LITTLE GUYS’: First independent retail sportsbook in U.S. prepping for opening. [Sports Handle]
And to the surprise of absolutely no one, it's @DCLottery offering the worst World Series futures of them all.
With 63 cent lines, I'm simply shocked that back alley bars in Montana are pulling in more revenue. 🤔 pic.twitter.com/xftrasA32g
— Robert DellaFave (@RobertDellaFave) October 20, 2020
COLLEGE BETTING IN NJ?: One lawmakers hopes so, and is proposing a constitutional amendment. [NJOG]
STILL TALKING: Arizona lawmakers and tribes trying to sort sports wagering details. [East Valley Tribune]