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.
WA lawmaker: Gambling is fun, but witnesses say ‘don’t exclude us’
Washington Representative Eric Pettigrew (D-District 37) thinks gambling is fun. And sports gambling is even more fun. To that end, Pettigrew believes that sports betting should be added to the menu of gaming options currently offered at Washington state tribal casinos.
“In addition to baseball games, concerts and plays, one of the fun things we do as a family is put a little money down at the gambling tables,” Pettigrew said during an informational hearing before the House Commerce and Gaming Committee for his HB 1975 on Thursday. “One of the things that I like in going to a casino is that I get to lose my money slower.
“Now, instead of going to a machine or the blackjack table, and dropping my money in 15 minutes, I get a whole two or four or six hours, and all that time, I’m eating and drinking and spending money. … It’s just another opportunity for those facilities to add another tool to their toolbox, as a way to drive dollars into their buildings, as well as driving those dollars back out into the community.”
Pettigrew’s bill would limit sports betting to tribal locations and would only allow on-site mobile. A colleague asked if Pettigrew would be open to adding the Emerald Downs racetrack to his bill, but Pettigrew declined, saying the track was not on tribal grounds. Multiple representatives asked about expansion to convenience stores or other locations, as well, but Pettigrew stood firm that Washington voters clearly want gaming only on tribal lands.
‘You’ll wound us so badly, that we’re going to die and go away pretty soon’
During the public witness portion of the hearing, the committee heard scathing comments against legalizing sports betting on tribal lands only.
Among those who offered testimony were the Washington Hospitality Association and Washington horsemen’s groups. Zach Lindahl, state government affairs coordinator for the hospitality association, characterized the bill as offering “an unfair advantage to those who can.”
Pat LePley, president of Washington Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association put an even finer point on his concerns, saying: “If we’re left behind and not allowed to add our toolbox as tribes are trying to do here, you won’t fatally kill us right away, but you’ll wound us so badly, that we’re going to die and go away pretty soon.”
Of those who oppose the bill in its current form, all testified that they would support sports wagering were it open to all and preferably if it included a more broad mobile option.
Tribal representatives testified that they would back a bill that allows for sports betting on tribal lands only. Among the public witnesses was Rebecca Kaldor, executive director of the Washington Indian Gaming Association.
Rebecca Kaldor says the WA Indian Gaming Assn supports legalization of #sportsbetting in WA as long as it is conducted pursuant to Class III Tribal-State gaming compacts. #waleg
— Chris Stearns (@stearnsseattle) February 14, 2019
Pettigrew, as well as tribal representatives, are interested in moving quickly to legalize sports betting in Washington, noting that southern neighbor Oregon is preparing to launch sports betting through its lottery later this year.
Missouri: Lots of talk, no action so far
Missouri lawmakers spent plenty of time talking about sports betting this week, but didn’t take any meaningful action.
In particular, Senator Denny Hoskins’ (R-District 89) SB 44, which includes an integrity fee to be paid to the state for upkeep on sports venues, got a lukewarm reception on the Senate floor Tuesday. The bill, which also includes video lottery terminals, came under fire for the quasi- “integrity fee,” which at least one lawmaker found curious in light of pro players still protesting during the national anthem, according to the Columbia Missourian.
I spoke this week with #moleg Sen. @DLHoskins about sports betting, fake service animals and losing his gubernatorial running buddy. Check out our great conversation on this week’s Statehouse Blend Missouri from @kcur https://t.co/zhu9BFTImW
— Brian Ellison (@Ptsbrian) February 8, 2019
The bill was held over for more discussion.
Senator Lincoln Hough’s (R-District 30) SB 222 got a better reception during discussion in the Senate Economic Development Committee, with the professional sports leagues opposing the bill because it does not include a payout for them, with industry representatives in favor. Hough’s bill calls for a 6.75 percent tax on adjusted gross revenue, and allows for statewide mobile. A source from Hough’s office said he’s feeling “positive” as the bill moves forward. From here, the bill should be forwarded to the full Senate for discussion.
And HB 859, which appears to be the House version of Hough’s bill, got a second reading on Monday, but has not yet been referred to committee.
Missouri’s state legislature meets through May 17.
Legislative analysis from Sports Handle and US Bets
Rhode Island Senate overwhelmingly approves mobile sports betting.
New Washington state bill would legalize sports betting at racetracks, support horse community.
Minnesota lawmaker says he’ll file a bill that would legalize sports betting at tribal casinos only.
Maryland lawmakers may have found a workaround to avoid having to wait until 2020 for a sports betting referendum.
More of the most interesting, important stories
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— Rivers Casino (@WinBigRivers) February 14, 2019
RECORDS: New Jersey sports betting industry sees record wagering, fueled almost [NJOG]
NOT BUYING IT: A new study says Colorado could bring in $361 million from sports betting. But not everyone believes. [ColoradoPublicRadio]
ALL IN: NASCAR is embracing sports betting. [AP]
GOING TO THE VOTERS?: The South Dakota Senate approved a bill that would put sports betting before voters in 2020. [ArgusLeader]
MONEY IN THE BANK: New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu has included sports betting in his budget. [AP]
BEST BETS: If you’re in New Jersey, it’s now legal to bet on the Oscars. [Vulture]
BIG MONEY IN KENTUCKY?: An analysis of a Kentucky bill estimates the state could take in $20 million. [HeraldLeader]
"We did a poor job of explaining to teams and players what is legal (blocking) and what is not (pinning)…Our apologies to our teams and players […] for our miscommunication." – LCS Commissioner @IAmGrza pic.twitter.com/ZVqRpR1kdZ
— Unikrn (@UnikrnCo) February 11, 2019
ICYMI at Sports Handle
Oops! Radio talk-show host inadvertently promotes off-shore sports betting.
It took Indiana four years and untold resources to arrest a single bar owner for sports betting.
Tribal gaming interests will be critical to shaping sports betting in the U.S.
Bar and restaurant owners the latest group to want a slice of the sports betting pie.
In the wider world of sports
NFL TRYING TO POACH SILVER?: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says he’s not paying any mind to reported NFL interest. [ESPN]
FRANCHISE ME!: How each NFL team can take most advantage of the franchise tag. [SI]
WOW, REALLY? A look at which pro sports league has the most ridiculous All-Star Game. 
TAKING A STAND: After refusing to sell Nike products, a Colorado sporting goods store closed its doors. [LATimes]