Each week, our “What’s on Tap” series previews the week ahead in the world of sports betting. Come here for a summary of upcoming financial happenings, legislative and regulatory meetings, industry conferences, top games scheduled for the week, and much more. Also, check out our weekly review “Get a Grip” for a look back at last week’s notable news.
Tuesday, February 21
Investors look for signs of profitability on Caesars’ earnings call
A year ago at this time, Caesars Entertainment CEO Tom Reeg sent shockwaves through the sports betting industry when he announced that the company would abandon an ambitious $1 billion plan to grow its online gaming division. After temporarily shelving a popular Manning Brothers ad campaign and greatly reducing its marketing budget, Caesars’ sports betting segment produced improved results for the remainder of 2022.
With several competitors forecasting they’ll turn a profit later this year, Caesars Interactive could guide to profitability in the fourth quarter of 2023. Caesars Entertainment is projected to report 2022 fourth-quarter revenues of $2.81 billion, an increase of 8.9% from the year-ago quarter. Caesars is also expected to report a net loss of $0.18 per share, according to Zack’s Consensus Estimate, compared with a per-share loss of $1.14 in the same quarter in 2021.
Georgia lawmakers to consider sports betting bills
Sports betting proponents in Georgia are feeling the heat to pass a bill before the legislature adjourns on March 30. This week, the legislature will hear multiple bills, beginning on Tuesday with debate of HB 380 in the Georgia House of Representatives. The sponsor, Rep. Marcus Wiedower, suggests the bill could bring the state an estimated $50 million to $90 million in first-year tax revenue.
Then on Thursday, the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries and Utilities will debate a bill from Sen. Bill Cowsert that would create a Georgia Gaming Corporation, appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the House, to regulate sports betting throughout the state. Cowsert’s bill seeks to legalize sports betting through a constitutional amendment.
Here's the latest on Georgia, as there's multiple bills in the air and debate continues over whether constitutional amendment is necessary.
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) February 16, 2023
Elsewhere, the Missouri Senate Committee on Appropriations is scheduled to hear three sports betting-related bills at a hearing on Wednesday. One bill, SB 30, authored by Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, modifies the definition of a “gambling game” to include sports wagering. The bill also authorizes wagering on esports.
Thursday, February 23
MGC to finalize temporary licenses for digital sportsbook operators
The launch of mobile sports betting in Massachusetts is approaching next month, ahead of March Madness. On Thursday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is scheduled to finalize the temporary licensing process for Category 3 operators. Operators awarded an untethered Category 3 license may accept sports wagers through a mobile app or other digital platforms. While as many as nine digital sportsbooks could go live on March 10, Fanatics will not be one.
In Massachusetts, Fanatics confirms it won't debut its online sportsbook in universal start, but up to nine others are approved and appear ready to go:
– Bally Bet
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) February 17, 2023
Category 1 licensees tethered to in-person gaming establishments have accepted sports wagers since Jan. 31. The MGC is scheduled to hear another matter on Thursday surrounding a potential compliance violation with the commission’s sports events wagering catalog. Last week, MGM Springfield reported that it had mistakenly accepted two bets on Harvard basketball games. Under MGC regulations, sportsbooks are not allowed to take wagers on in-state college teams.
As of Monday, BetMGM, WynnBET, and Barstool Sportsbook are live with retail sports betting in the Bay State. Eleven digital operators are approved for the March 10 universal launch date, with DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, PointsBet, and Bally Bet among them.
Incoming Bally’s CEO faces questions on company’s sports betting plans
Speaking of Bally’s, investors will watch Thursday’s quarterly earnings call closely for signs of improvement under incoming CEO Robeson Reeves. Last week, Bally’s announced a succession plan coinciding with next month’s departure of current CEO Lee Fenton.
The beleaguered company is facing pressure after Diamond Sports Group opted to skip a $140 million debt payment last week, raising concerns that it may enter bankruptcy. DSG is the nation’s largest owner of regional sports networks, many of which carry local professional events on Bally’s branded networks.
Bally’s maintained last week that it does not face any liabilities if DGS declares bankruptcy. At the same time, Bally’s disclosed a $390 million impairment charge related to two online gaming acquisitions — sports betting platform Bet.works and fantasy sports operator Monkey Knife Fight. After disclosing plans to reduce 15% of its U.S. online workforce last month, Bally’s may be forced to revamp its sports betting division considerably.
Friday, February 24
LIV Golf 2023 debut in Mexico
Ahead of Friday’s season debut, LIV Golf has added Belgian golfer Thomas Pieters, one of the top players on the DP World Tour, according to ESPN.com. Earlier last week, LIV announced the signings of South Americans Mito Pereira and Sebastian Munoz. Two former PGA Tour winners, Brendan Steele and Danny Lee, are also expected to join Pieters.
LIV begins its second season with a three-day event at El Camaleon Golf Club in Mexico. Of the top 20 choices at SuperBook Sports to win The Masters in April, only two are LIV Golf participants: Cam Smith is the fourth choice at 18/1, while 2020 Masters champion Dustin Johnson has steeper odds at 30/1. Jon Rahm, No. 1 in the world after his weekend win in the Genesis Invitational, is the favorite for The Masters at 7/1.
Bucks look to extend 12-game winning streak
Milwaukee returns from the NBA All-Star break on a 12-game winning streak, along with a 4.5-game lead in the Central Division. The Bucks face the Miami Heat on Friday in Milwaukee, before taking on the Phoenix Suns on Sunday in a potential NBA Finals preview. Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will travel to New York on Monday to receive additional testing on his injured wrist.
Antetokounmpo scored two points in the first 20 seconds of Sunday’s All-Star Game before sitting out the remainder of the game. A lengthy absence by the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player could impact the Bucks’ futures odds. At BetMGM, the Bucks are currently the second choice to win the Eastern Conference (+185) and the third choice to win the NBA title (+550).
"The advice of the specialist [that] comes out today could really impact the instant future of the Eastern conference."
The latest on Giannis' Antetokounmpo's wrist injury 👀
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) February 20, 2023
The Celtics are favored to win the championship at +275, followed by the Suns (+425), whose odds improved at the trade deadline following the acquisition of Kevin Durant. Phoenix has odds of +230 to win the West, ahead of the Nuggets and Clippers at +350 and +500, respectively. The Clippers plan to sign nine-time NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook, ESPN reported on Monday. Despite the report, the Clippers’ NBA title odds remained unchanged at +1000.
Saturday, February 25
Astros open preseason against the Mets
After helping the Houston Astros win two World Series titles in six years, Justin Verlander stunned the defending champs in December by signing a two-year, $86 million deal with the New York Mets. The Astros will face the Mets, of all teams, on Saturday afternoon in the preseason opener for both teams. Mets manager Buck Showalter has not announced if Verlander will face his old team in Saturday’s matchup.
Steve Cohen & the birthday boy, Justin Verlander, chatting it up at Mets Camp today. pic.twitter.com/HCq1xTFcKx
— Metsmerized Online (@Metsmerized) February 20, 2023
Although spring training baseball can be a difficult wagering proposition, it gives bettors a chance to assess various futures wagers before the regular season begins on March 30. The Astros are a +650 favorite at BetMGM to repeat as World Series champions, ahead of the Mets, Dodgers, and Yankees, which each have odds of +750. An MLB team has not repeated as World Series champion since 2000, when the Yankees defeated the Mets for their fourth title in five seasons.
Paul takes on Tommy Fury in Saudi Arabia
Jake Paul returns to the ring for the first time since a unanimous decision over Anderson Silva in October. Paul (6-0) will look to remain undefeated when he takes on Tommy Fury in an eight-round fight in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Paul is a -165 favorite over Fury (+145) at FanDuel, with odds of +1400 on a draw. Paul is a co-founder of Betr, a microbetting platform that is live in Ohio. Betr does not accept wagers on boxing.
Have a good week, everyone!