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.
Monday, August 21
Massachusetts meeting on Raynham Park continues
Raynham Park has a (mostly built) physical sportsbook but no partner to run it and no license to operate it after Caesars Sportsbook terminated its relationship with the Massachusetts track. Raynham Park’s licensing situation is suddenly quite complicated, and seven hours of Massachusetts Gaming Commission meeting time Friday was not enough to resolve it, so the conversation, deliberation, and debate continue Monday.
Tuesday, August 22
Billy Walters book release
Widely considered the greatest sports bettor ever, 77-year-old Billy Walters is finished trying to keep a low profile, as Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster publishes his autobiography, Gambler: Secrets From a Life at Risk.
The book has garnered attention prior to its release due in large part to excerpts containing details of golfer Phil Mickelson’s alleged betting habits. The two were once friends and, according to Walters, betting business partners, but these days … not so much. Will Mickelson be tearing up Walters’ front yard with his 3-iron on Tuesday? No regulated mobile sportsbook is offering a market on that, but we’d be betting the “yes” if offered at plus-money.
In wide-ranging interview ahead of his book release, the greatest sports gambler, Billy Walters, reflects on his against all odds life, miscalculating Phil Mickelson, challenging today’s bookmakers and on the Super Bowl line that didn’t make sensehttps://t.co/CQtjZM5Jtk
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 21, 2023
Kentucky regulator reviewing/approving applications
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is set to vote on applications for the seven operators that have applied for digital licenses — bet365, BetMGM, Caesars, Circa, DraftKings, FanDuel, and PENN — as well as the seven horse tracks that have applied for retail licenses.
Retail wagering in the Bluegrass State is scheduled to begin Sept. 7 (opening day of NFL season), while mobile betting is to start three weeks later, on Sept. 28.
Wednesday, August 23
ACAMS event in Ohio on financial crimes and gambling
The anti-crime organization ACAMS is focusing on gambling with its event at Hollywood Casino in Columbus, discussing money laundering concerns pertaining to brick-and-mortar casinos and online sports betting. The presentation begins at 5:45 p.m. local time and is scheduled to end at 7 p.m.
Be on the lookout for possible further conversation about Walters’ new book and his relationship with Mickelson, as Walters alleged that starting in 2010, “Unknown to the public, Mickelson was involved in a separate money-laundering investigation.”
Thursday, August 24
PGA Tour Championship tees off
The FedExCup playoffs conclude with the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, where the greens are already tilted in the battle for the $18 million first-place prize. FedExCup points standings afford certain players a lead coming into these final 72 holes, so Scottie Scheffler starts at -10, Viktor Hovland at -8, defending champ Rory McIlroy at -7, Jon Rahm at -6, Lucas Glover at -5 — and the rest of the field with substantial work to do.
Accordingly, BetMGM makes Scheffler the favorite at +150, followed by McIlroy, Hovland, and Rahm. Everyone else in the field is at least 20/1:
Sporttrade seeking license at Colorado meeting
The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission meeting agenda includes, among other concerns, the first “temporary sports betting internet operator license” for Sporttrade Colorado LLC. Sporttrade is one of two operators offering exchange wagering in New Jersey, and now seeks to become the first such stock-trading-style sportsbook to receive a license in Colorado.
Saturday, August 26
College football season begins
Saturday’s kickoff to the NCAA football season includes seven Division I-A games, highlighted by No. 6 USC hosting San Jose State. The game itself offers little intrigue — the Trojans are favored by an even 30 points at Caesars Sportsbook — but there’s plenty of interest in what sort of numbers USC quarterback Caleb Williams puts up.
Last year’s Heisman winner is the clear frontrunner to repeat, with oddsmakers listing him between +500 and +600 to win the award. Nobody else is shorter than +1000. The last back-to-back Heisman winner was Archie Griffin in 1974 and ’75.
Notre Dame QB Sam Hartman, a Heisman candidate himself with odds ranging from +1400 to +1800, also sees action Saturday, as the Irish (-20.5 at Caesars) play host to Navy in the first game of the afternoon.
Usyk defends heavyweight boxing belts
Though Tyson Fury is boxing’s lineal heavyweight champion and is generally regarded as the man to beat, undefeated former cruiserweight champ Oleksandr Usyk has accumulated three of the division’s alphabet straps while the enigmatic Fury is busying himself with exhibitions vs. MMA stars. And the Ukrainian defends those belts Saturday in Wroclaw, Poland, against Daniel Dubois, who was touted by many as the future of the division prior to an upset stoppage loss to Joe Joyce in 2020.
Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs) is a prohibitive favorite against the challenger (19-1, 18 KOs), who’s coming back from an ACL tear, with FanDuel Sportsbook listing Usyk at -1450 and Dubois at +770. Usyk by KO/TKO is the chalk outcome at -230, while bettors can get +280 on Usyk defeating Dubois on points.
Mage, Arcangelo, Forte to face off in Travers
The summer’s biggest horse race for 3-year-olds, the Travers Stakes in Saratoga, New York, will feature Kentucky Derby winner Mage, Belmont Stakes winner Arcangelo, and Jim Dandy winner Forte — the latter sitting atop the latest Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings.
Odds for the 154th running of the Travers Stakes will be posted after Tuesday’s draw.
Sunday, August 27
Verstappen aims for Vettel’s record at Dutch Grand Prix
With a win at the Dutch Grand Prix, Max Verstappen can tie Sebastian Vettel’s record for consecutive Formula 1 victories with what would be the 25-year-old Belgian’s ninth win in a row. At bet365, Verstappen sits at -400 to win the race, with Sergio Perez his nearest competitor at +900.
Have a good week, everyone!
Matt Rybaltowski contributed to this article.