Just under half of the estimated net new economic activity projected over the next 10-year period.
Hold the phone
The crushing impetus for D.C. to move forward with such urgency stems from a purported first-mover advantage. West Virginia launched sports betting, and Maryland and Virginia discussed it, but never advanced bills to a point where it was likely to pass.
The urgency to pass the bill and not going through the normal Request For Proposal (RFP) process was two-fold, according to the Spectrum report.
The lottery provider “cannot be expected to make a substantial investment,” if they are limited to the duration of the existing contract.
The RFP process can take up to three years.
Based at least partially on these suggestions, the D.C. council moved forward without allowing competitors IGT and Scientific Games to bid.
As what happened in D.C. settled in, and there was time to digest the absurdity of a no-bid contract being awarded in a hyper-competitive market, the situation gained more attention.
DC sports betting contract becomes national news
Back in June, the Washington Post ran a story with the headline:
“Most of the District’s $215 million sports gambling contract to benefit companies with ties to city hall”
A former worker and her associate on Mayor Muriel Bowser‘s political campaigns;
Councilmember Brandon T. Todd; and
An executive who allegedly previously falsified documents related to bidding on a contract.
Councilmember David Grosso was quoted in the story as saying, “You don’t give a contract to your friends.”
Chairman Phil Mendelson argued that the awarding of subcontracts to politically connected groups was just the nature of D.C. business, as a result of a requirement that a certain amount of contracted work was to be performed by local entities.
The original D.C.-Intralot deal came about after a contractor with another provider was rejected as a result of connected parties being too close to the then-mayor. After the initial deal was rejected, the contract was sent out for a second round of bids, this time with Intralot as the sole bidder.
The 2009 Intralot contract generated significant federal law enforcement attention, including FBI investigation, a possible grand jury investigation, and the commissioning of a report by the Office of the Inspector General.
The request for the Inspector General to investigate the awarded contract originated from the D.C. Attorney General and the District’s then-Chief Procurement Officer.
What was the IG looking into?
The Inspector General’s office was looking into four related issues:
Should the lottery contract have been returned to the Contracting Officer after the Council became aware that Intralot was “adding major players to the team?”
Whether there was a sufficient “responsibility assessment of Intralot,” and their subcontractor partners, Emmanuel Bailey’s Veterans Service Corporation (VSC), and DC09, LLC.
Whether allegations of misrepresentations by VSC, reported in the Washington Times, relating to their business status and references are supported by evidence.
Whether councilmembers acted properly in reviewing and considering the awarding of “lottery contracts or drafting and enacting online gambling.”
The IG’s findings
In regard to the first question for inquiry, the Inspector General found that when major players were added to the team, that “changed the contract requirements in a material fashion.” This should have caused the issuing of an amended RFP and “allowed the three bidders to resubmit a best and final offer.” These should have then been resent to the council for review.
The second route of inquiry was regarding a sufficient review of a “responsibility assessment” by the Contracting Officer. The Inspector General found that the conduct was within the requirements of the D.C. Code.
In respect to the allegations mentioned in the article, the Office of the Inspector General determined:
“even though the purported misrepresentations largely were substantiated, there was insufficient evidence that [the Chief Financial Officer] was aware of the misrepresentations let alone considered them.”
The big question
Did D.C. councilmembers act improperly in the eyes of the Office of the Inspector General? No, or at least there was insufficient evidence that the councilmembers had:
“violated standards of conduct in the Council’s review and consideration of either awarding of the lottery contracts or drafting and enacting of online gambling.”
The song remains the same
The 2012 report, which concluded that councilmembers had not acted improperly, ruffled some feathers but ultimately resulted in the Intralot deal remaining in place.
The circumstances are different this time around for DC sports betting. No longer are we talking lottery contract and iGaming. Now we are looking at sports betting, but many of the same characters are involved in yet another questionable contract.
That includes Intralot and Bailey. There is one cast member that has not been confirmed for the DC sports betting sequel: the Office of the Inspector General.
Whether the Inspector General will take a look at this contract — let alone reach a different conclusion than the one reached in 2012 — is unknown. There certainly appears to be a lot of smoke generated any time the D.C. Council and Intralot get together, even if there is not an obvious fire.
Almost six years after first becoming legal, New York sports betting became reality Tuesday.
Rivers Casino in Schenectady launched its sportsbook with a grand opening ceremony including athletes and politicians. Rivers Sportsbook becomes the first location for NY sports betting, though it likely will be joined by a number of others in the coming weeks.
Sen. Joe Addabbo and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow remain committed to clearing mobile sports betting at next year’s legislature. They might ultimately need to push for another referendum to go before voters in Cuomo maintains his opposition to a legislative solution.
Rivers runs through it
Rivers ranked atop the list of favorites to launch first in NY sports betting. The Rush Street Interactive property shares technology and infrastructure with SugarHouseSportsbook and BetRiversSportsbook in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Rivers will have competition in the market before long. Tioga Downs appears close to launch as well, while three Oneida Nation properties operated by Caesars announced opening dates prior to the September 5 start of the NFL season as well.
The sportsbooks will remain hamstrung in terms of revenue potential without mobile wagering though. Schenectady sits a three-hour drive from New York City, a similar distance to other upstate sportsbooks authorized under NY law.
More than 80% of New Jersey sports wagers are placed on a mobile device, with many coming from New York residents making the short trip across the border to bet. FanDuel Sportsbook in New Jersey says a quarter of its registered accounts belong to NY residents.
Rivers will offer in-person wagering both over the counter and via kiosk. While the sportsbook will not be open 24 hours, the kiosks will be available at all times. The casino plans to offer both pre-game and in-game betting options.
North Carolina is now extremely close to having legal sports betting after the legislature passed a bill on Monday.
The House voted to authorize North Carolina sports betting at two Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian casinos by a vote of 90-27. The bill to add sports betting to Class III games offered by the Cherokee now heads to Gov. Roy Cooper‘s desk.
Another bill to create a North Carolina Gaming Commission and task it with studying NC sports betting is in the Senate for concurrence, which it could get as soon as Tuesday. It was withdrawn from consideration Monday to give the Senate more time to go through language that hadn’t previously been vetted
Passed by the Senate in April, S 154 was pushed for by Rep. Kevin Corbin and Sen. Jim Davis, who have Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel in their districts.
“I’ve been a champion for expanding gaming opportunities for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians for years,” Davis said. “They’ve been a great economic generator for the Western region of our state, and I’m happy to play a small part in the good they do for this region.”
How sports betting in North Carolina got done
Davis had S 154 on a path to be the first sports betting bill passed by a state this year. But a week after the bill’s Senate passage, H 929 was introduced by Rep. Harry Warren and complicated matters.
As the bill calling for a study advanced through the committee process, House representatives were confused about what to do with legislation attempting to authorize NC sports betting when a study of it was pending.
Warren and Davis ultimately made a deal to support each other’s bills, facilitating passage for both. Warren added language to his bill codifying that the gaming commission will not have the authority to oversee or regulate tribal gaming.
Moving at an accelerated pace
Davis agreed to shepherd the gaming commission bill through the Senate next week and provided Warren with a vehicle to accelerate the process. S 574 started as Davis’s bill related to modifying the definition of physical therapy, but its companion bill in the House is the one that moved.
Warren repurposed S 574 with the gaming commission language, allowing it to go right to the Senate floor for concurrence rather than starting from scratch in the second chamber.
“There was no time before the session ends to put it through the committee process,” Warren said. “We needed to get this done now in order to give the commission time to do the sports betting study.”
Let’s NC what’s out there …
Davis’ S 154 only permits NC sports betting at the tribal casinos with no mobile or online wagering.
The North Carolina sports betting study, which would also look at steeplechases, is meant to analyze the impact the statewide authorization of sports betting would have on NC, as well as the Cherokee Nation and its gaming activities.
“I’m trying to put the horse in front of the cart to establish a committee and have it do a study that would be able to report to our existing Joint Legislative Lottery Oversight Committee on the impacts and feasibility of expanding and allowing sports betting in North Carolina,” Warren said.
The initial report would be due in February 2020, with a final report set for that April.
Amendment to ban college betting attempted on NC bill
When S 154 was up for passage Thursday, Rep. Julia Howard attempted to add an amendment to prohibit wagering on all college games.
Davis and Corbin opposed the amendment. They argued that, in a state where college sports are hugely popular led by Duke and the University of North Carolina, removing college wagering would eliminate more than half of the betting expected at the tribal casinos.
House leadership pulled the bill off Thursday’s agenda to give members time to work out the issue, and the sponsors were able to get the amendment withdrawn by Monday’s vote.
Why North Carolina needs a gaming commission
Warren’s bill takes all current forms of gaming in the state, including lottery, boxing, bingo and raffles, and puts them under the oversight of one commission.
“The bill doesn’t expand gambling at all,” Warren said. “What it does is organize current gaming activities in the state, bring them all under one roof and make it easier to regulate them by streamlining the process.”
While the bill doesn’t expand gaming, Warren contends that the commission is necessary to handle possible future gambling expansions in the state, including sports betting:
“North Carolina is growing very rapidly the last few years and they’re moving from states that offer more gaming activities than we do. At some point, there will be petitions made to expand the types of gaming we’re doing, in particular with sports betting, and I think it’s critical we act now to establish a gaming commission that will be experienced in how to vet and regulate any type of activities the General Assembly might elect to expand into.”
Daily fantasy sports left out of final NC bill
When first introduced, Warren’s bill instructed the new commission to regulate daily fantasy sports. The final bill removed that portion.
“The bill as it was initially would have legitimized daily fantasy sports, and various members on both sides of the aisle weren’t willing to go there without more discussion,” Warren said. “I didn’t want to hold up the bill because the important thing is to establish this commission.”
Warren agreed that DFS was better left to another time, as this bill was not meant to expand on any legal gambling allowed in the state.
“Fantasy sports will continue to operate in the state,” Warren said. “We just haven’t decided to address it yet.”
What’s next for NC sports betting bills
Davis and Warren are confident their bills will get by Cooper’s desk without a veto. In North Carolina, the governor has 30 days to act on legislation.
The final version of the commission bill left out video lottery terminals (VLT) as the third area of study, with the governor in mind.
Warren indicated that, during the committee process, he heard Cooper didn’t like the inclusion of VLTs and might veto the bill if they were included.
Party politics increase the possibility of a veto. Cooper is a Democrat while both chambers of the legislature are led by Republicans. However, as evidenced by the votes, there is support from both parties.
“I expect the governor will sign the bills,” Davis said. “They are not controversial and we have strong bipartisan support.”
We turn our attention to the Northeast this week, where a craving has spread through the region like a brush fire. Rhode Island was the first New England state to legalize sports betting in 2018, and it finally has some competition on the block.
We’re looking at you, New Hampshire.
New Hampshire legalizes sports betting
Gov. Chris Sununusigned the bill to legalize sports betting in New Hampshire last Friday, making his state the sixth to pass a law this year. The structure for NH sports betting is about as good as it gets in the US.
The new law authorizes both in-person and statewide online sports betting, with remote registration available. Regulators will award up to 15 licenses to qualified operators — 5 retail and 10 online — via a competitive bidding process later this year.
Restrictions on in-state collegiate betting and in-play wagers at retail sportsbooks represent the only hiccups in an otherwise favorable framework.
While Sununu included $10 million in associated revenue in his budget for the upcoming fiscal year, state officials expect no profit until 2021. The note attached to the bill targets July 1, 2020 for launch.
The timeline might be in flux in these early days, but the legislation itself is set in stone.
DC Council does as DC Council does
Sports betting is also legal in Washington, D.C. under a law approved late last year. Last week, officials in the District took a significant and misguided step toward implementation.
A black cloud hangs over the deal. The vendor has business ties to elected officials, including a sponsor who’s the subject of an FBI investigation. Nothing about the sports betting situation seems ideal from an outside view.
Is it really sports betting?
Calling the District’s product sports betting is a misrepresentation of reality, for that matter.
Intralot will provide a fixed-payout sports lottery that holds around 30%, skimming an inordinate amount of money from the ecosystem. An eagerness to launch before the end of the year and a misleading sales pitch from the vendor allowed it to shoehorn itself into the sweetheart deal without competition.
Fortunately for discerning bettors, DC’s stadiums and arenas will eventually offer traditional sports betting using suppliers that already operate in other markets.
NC sports betting on the move
Legislative overtime might be the key that unlocks sports betting in North Carolina this year.
Gov. Roy Coopervetoed the budget before the July 1 deadline, forcing lawmakers to work into the summer months in Raleigh. That extension reopened the door for a number of bills which stagnated near the end of session, including S 154.
Barely a page long, the tribal bill from Sen. Jim Davis simply adds sports betting to the list of approved Class III games. What previously looked like an either-or proposition now looks like a best-of-both-worlds situation.
A second bill is also a favorite to pass — likely as S 574 — to study the feasibility of state regulation via a new NC Gaming Commission. The plan is to allow the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to offer sports betting at its Appalachian casinos in the short term, while commissioners explore a future statewide implementation.
That one is very close to the finish line, lacking just a Senate concurrence on House amendments. The unamended tribal bill is through the Senate and awaiting a final vote on the House floor.
Caesars, incidentally, operates Harrah’s Cherokee for the tribe.
Regulatory tidbits for your appetite
Iowa is among the six states with a 2019 sports betting law on the books, and regulators there are putting the pieces in place. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commissionheld a public hearing last week to discuss the specifics of implementation, which are largely noncontroversial.
Like neighboring Indiana, Iowa hopes to launch its regulated industry before the upcoming football season. The IRGC meets twice more between now and then, and we’re expecting to see rules emerge from one of those sessions.
And finally, New York is now standing on the doorstep of legal, regulated sports betting. Finally. Everything is in place except for final approvals, and LSR understands that at least one of the state’s commercial casinos plans to open its sportsbook this week.
The percentage of handle coming from retail sportsbooks looks like it will permanently reside at less than 20% in the state. That should be informative for any state planning to legalize only physical sportsbooks.
New Jersey sportsbook operators are also hitting the dead part of the calendar. While the NBA playoffs and finals wrapped up in June, there is increasingly little for bettors to bet on, with much of the action coming on baseball, golf and tennis.
Meanwhile, here’s a look at the first year of sports betting in NJ in terms of handle and revenue:
That likely had some amount of negative impact around the PA border and in Philadelphia, as bettors may have moved some of their action to PA betting apps.
It’s difficult to read too much into the impact; after all, we don’t really have a great comparison point for what June will usually look like in NJ. Sports betting just went live in June last year, and there were no apps until later in the summer.
New Hampshire sports betting will join the national party today.
Gov. Chris Sununu will sign H 480 into law Friday morning, legalizing and regulating sports betting in his state.
Lawmakers passed the enabling language prior to adjourning in June, but it took the better part of a month for the bill to make its way to the governor’s desk.
His approval makes New Hampshire the sixth US state to get a sports betting bill across the finish line this year. Nine states already have regulated industries up and running, and another seven — plus Washington, D.C. — have laws in place pending launch.
NH sports betting becomes law
The new law will create a Division of Sports Wagering within the NH Lottery Commission charged with regulating the industry. State lotteries are becoming increasingly involved in the expansion of legal sports betting, and this framework borrows heavily from the one in West Virginia.
NH sports betting will be widely accessible, available in brick-and-mortar shops and statewide via mobile. Regulators will award as many as 15 licenses — 5 retail and 10 online — to operators via a competitive bidding process. Rather than codifying a revenue-sharing agreement, the law allows the lottery to negotiate terms with each prospective licensee.
A few other specifics worth highlighting:
Legal betting age is 18 years old.
Remote registration is authorized.
In-play betting is only available online.
In-state collegiate betting is off the board.
Local NCAA betting bans have popped up in a number of states over the past year despite being objectively counterproductive to regulation. The concept traces its roots back to New Jersey, oddly enough.
Apart from that little sticking point and the cap on licenses, the NH sports betting law looks like a pretty good package overall. Rep. Timothy Lang, who sponsored the bill and attended the signing, is already keen on removing those caps via a future legislative update.
What to expect from NH sports betting
Though it’s a small market, the licensing process in New Hampshire should generate plenty of interest.
The two Rhode Island casinos are the only legal spots to bet on sports in New England at the moment. The availability of mobile platforms should help NH operators draw customers from neighboring states.
The majority of residents in the region are closer to the NH state line than to an RI casino. New Hampshire does not have any casinos, so there’s not much existing competition for customers.
Lotto or bust
Lottery is the only legal form of gambling in the state, and the agency has chosen to administer sports betting rather than operate it in-house. This should be good news for bettors and prospective operators alike, as the structure will keep the majority of revenue in the gambling ecosystem.
Regulators will award licenses via a competitive bidding process starting in January, targeting companies that can return the most value to the state. Knowing very little about anyone’s plans at this early stage, you’d to have to expect leaders elsewhere — like FanDuel Sportsbook and William Hill — to seek licensure in New Hampshire.
The fiscal note attached to the bill projects at least $11.25 million in annual state revenue from sports betting beginning in FY 2021. Target launch date is July 1, 2020.
The path to passage
The NH sports betting bill endured some changes in the months after its introduction, and passage was never a sure thing. A separate, more controversial effort to authorize casino gambling in New Hampshire even threatened to sink the ship for a while before lawmakers decoupled the issues from each other.
With the measure from Sen. Lou D’Allessandro out of the way, the NH sports betting law came together quickly.
One of the smallest, most important changes involved adding a single letter to the license provisions. As initially drafted, the bill only allowed the lottery or its singular “agent” to conduct sports betting. Pluralizing that word into “agents” opened up the market to multiple operators as Lang intended.
Here comes the cap
The updated bill did not include a limit on licenses, and Sen. Bob Giuda sought to reinforce that capitalistic mindset with an amendment allowing regulators to determine how many operators the market could bear. Giuda’s proposal was turned aside, though, and a House committee insisted on codifying the cap in the final version.
True to its Midwest roots, Iowa continues to advance toward legal sports betting with quiet, steady movement as it aims for a late-summer launch.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) held a public hearing Thursday to discuss its proposed regulations to govern Iowa sports betting. Sources told Legal Sports Report the meeting went largely without issue, an unsurprising case given regulations that closely mirror Iowa’s recently passed sports betting law.
The draft regulations largely codify what’s already laid out in the bill that moved through the Iowa state legislature this spring. The law strikes a reasonable balance of fostering healthy market competition and addressing concerns of various interest groups:
$45,000 license fee, $10,000 renewal
6.75% tax on sports betting revenue to the state
Mobile betting statewide
A maximum of two skins per licensee
In-person registration for mobile apps until Jan. 1, 2021
Ban on prop bets involving in-state college teams, though wagering allowed on college games.
Those hoping to see Iowa sports betting prior to the September 5 start of the NFL can take heart in the IRGC schedule. The commission meets on July 30 and August 22, and it’s possible it could finalize sports betting regulations at either meeting.
The law also establishes oversight of daily fantasy sports by the IRGC as well. DFS certainly does not carry the cache it did in the pre-sports betting days, but the commission will carry responsibility for it as well.
As many as 19 casinos could become involved in Iowa sports betting in a fully mature market. In a state of more than 3 million people with populous neighboring states including Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois, Iowa could be poised to grow into a surprisingly robust market for both bettors and operators.
A reasonable tax structure and eventual statewide coverage of mobile sports wagering set up Iowa as a potential model for other states to look toward.
More than six months after passing an enabling law, the District of Columbia is finally on the road to regulated sports betting.
Council members voted on Tuesday to approve the sole-source, no-bid contract covering lottery and sports betting operations for the next five years. According to city officials, the $215 million deal with Intralot provides the most expedient solution with the greatest return on its investment.
Industry sharps and stakeholders argued otherwise right up until the last vote, but the Greek company had more than just its technology working in its favor. A string of ethical questions surrounding the bill’s sponsor and his alleged ties to the troubled contractor still linger over the new DC sports betting law.
DC Council accepts Intralot deal
Interested observers peeking into the legislative process were treated to quite a spectacle on Tuesday.
The ongoing investigation into Councilmember Jack Evans dominated the hearing, calling into question every law he’s touched. The representative from Ward 2 is both the chief proponent of expedited DC sports betting and a man with a few too many connections to Intralot. His business dealings, both in gambling and in other industries, has been the subject of much reporting and at least one FBI raid in recent weeks.
“The whole thing stinks,” as Councilmember Elissa Silverman pointed out, but Evans has friends in high places.
Councilmember Phil Mendelson is the city’s key figure, the chairman of the Committee of the Whole and a supporter of Evans and his efforts to install legalized, monopolized sports betting. As the overseer of the schedule, Mendelson did everything he could to garner the requisite seven votes.
Seeing a potential swing candidate in the chamber, the chairman rearranged the calendar to push a bill from Councilmember Vincent Gray to the top. Gray was eager to point out that his proposal to reallocate the revenue from sports betting had nothing to do with any specific operator and urged passage.
Despite his claims, it appeared that his vote on the contract hinged on adoption of his amendment.
The committee rejected their colleague’s proposal, but he did not reject the Intralot contract. Gray ultimately cast the deciding vote as expected, but it was a surprise yes to bring the tally to 7-5 in favor of the deal.
Coming soon: DC sports lottery
Anyone who’s spent any time watching the nascent US sports betting market will understand the broad effects that come from competition — both for bettors and for the industry as a whole.
Look no further than New Jersey, where a competitive framework has facilitated more than $3 billion in total wagers through the first year of operation. Even DraftKings and FanDuel, which compete with each other there and elsewhere, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post urging DC lawmakers to open up the market.
In the end, though, a desire to beat sports betting ghosts in Virginia and Maryland to market clouded the logic of enough city officials to land Intralot the gig in the nation’s capital. And that’s a real shame for bettors.
What lawmakers have authorized — whether they realize it or not — is a fixed-payout sports lottery product that won’t look anything like traditional sports betting. Intralot’s proud claim that it will hold as much as 30% of all wagers was likely the main factor that earned it the contract.
“We did not see the other bill coming and were kind of blindsided by the fact that it held our bill up,” Corbin said. “The problem was that people thought we should have a discussion on if we are going to study sports betting before we let it out.”
Introduced a week after Senate passage, H 929 seeks to establish a North Carolina Gaming Commission to oversee all gambling in the state. It would authorize the new commission to regulate daily fantasy sports and conduct a feasibility study on legal sports betting.
Understandably, representatives questioned passing a bill that allowed for NC sports betting while a feasibility study was pending.
Corbin clears debris from the track
Corbin assured leadership in the House that it made sense to move both bills forward at once. The Eastern Band could have wagering while the state studied whether to expand NC sports betting outside the casinos.
“I tried to convince them that these were two completely different things,” Corbin said. “The casinos are already there. This doesn’t create more gambling in North Carolina; it just allows them to offer one more activity.”
The assignment is an indication that he succeeded.
Corbin added that the tribe does not oppose H 929, and he thinks both bills could pass.
North Carolina legislative session in OT
North Carolina’s legislative session was expected to end by July 1, when the budget for the next fiscal year was needed.
However, Gov. Roy Coopervetoed the budget passed by both chambers of the legislature for not including a Medicaid expansion that he favors.
As the state continues to operate under the previous budget, the impasse created an opportunity for additional time to consider the NC sports betting proposal.
“Sometimes nothing is easy, but I think we’re getting it done,” Corbin said.
Last week was surprisingly busy considering it was such a quiet week of sports betting news. Everything is relative, of course.
We actually have a fair amount to cover in this Monday morning recap, including a sudden situation in northern New England and the launch of the first new market in 2019. We’ll swing through a couple states in the Midwest, too, before checking in on our friends in California. Hope y’all are staying safe out there.
As usual, the guys on the LSR Podcast were on the front edge of the chatter throughout the week. Subscribe, rate, review, and listen to the latest episode while you read on:
What seemed to be a foregone conclusion in Maine is suddenly full of question marks.
Gov. Janet Millsdecided not to sign the bill that would legalize sports betting in her state, leaving the operation entirely in limbo. According to the sponsors, Mills cited concerns over expanded gambling as her primary reason to put their efforts on ice.
It would be a real shame to see this one end in a full veto. Had Mills signed it, Maine’s sports betting law would be among the very best in the US.
There’s no guarantee the bill will become law now, though, nor a certainty that it will retain its current posture if it does. The next action could come via a special session this summer, but it will likely have to wait until lawmakers reconvene next year.
Arkansas sports betting in action
Voters in Arkansasapproved expanded gambling at the ballot box last November, and their first legal sportsbook is taking bets less than eight months later. Not too shabby. The Natural State is the first new state to launch a regulated sports betting industry this year.
It’s Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort that did the deed, opening its betting windows on July 1 as planned. The property also began offering casino games earlier this year as part of a $100 million expansion facilitated by that referendum.
AR sports betting is limited to the state’s four gambling establishments — the two that already exist plus one new casino apiece in Pope and Johnson counties. Southland Racing and Gaming also has plans to open a sportsbook near Memphis, but the Delaware North property is stuck until the BetLucky fiasco is resolved.
Of the US jurisdictions that legalized sports betting in 2018, only the District of Columbia has yet to go live. The delay for DC sports betting is symptomatic of larger issues in the district tied, in part, to last year’s passage.
California sports betting update
LSR got a first-hand update last week from the sponsor of an effort to bring legal sports betting to California.
Sen. Bill Dodd indicates that he and his co-sponsor, Assemblyman Adam Gray, will conduct a series of hearings to hammer out the details prior to putting the issue on the ballot next fall. Gray has accumulated some recent insight as the sponsor of a previous CA sports betting bill that never moved.
Passage would require deft maneuvering through what is arguably the most complicated landscape in the country.
Tribes control most forms of gambling in California, but perceived infringements on exclusivity have soured their relationship with the state. Look no farther than the years-long lack of progress toward online poker for evidence of the standoff. Stakeholders from the horse racing industry and private cardroom operators will want a seat at the table when sports betting comes up for discussion too.
The proposed referendum requires a two-thirds vote in each chamber, then a simple majority approval from resident voters. The tribes might hold the keys to California sports betting, however.
Indiana sports betting rules
It looks like Indiana is on target to launch its regulated industry before football season.
Regulators published the rules for IN sports betting last week, codifying the provisions signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb in May. They allow the state’s casinos and tracks to offer both in-person and online betting, the latter of which was a key sticking point during the legislative process.
A temporary requirement for in-person registration represents one of the few blemishes on an otherwise sound bill.
The Indiana Gaming Commission notably imposed no restrictions on available data sources, a decision that fell under its discretion by law. Only Tennessee and Illinois require the use of official league data to settle some bets.
There’s an appetite for sports betting in Ohio, but there’s not yet a clear picture of how it might happen.
While the governor supports regulation through the Casino Control Commission, lawmakers contend that the only legal path runs through the state lottery. Sports betting, the Legislative Service Commission opines, is not a casino game by definition.
Lottery involvement would likely complicate things if the legislature ends up going that route. More than 1,200 fraternal organizations act as partners to the state agency, as do thousands of convenience stores, bars, and bowling alleys — all of which will lobby for inclusion.
Ohio lawmakers return to their seats in September.
Takes and tidbits
Legislation and regulation continue to drive the bulk of our reporting, but there were a few bits of industry news worth mentioning this week too. Here’s what’s been going on in the business of sports betting:
AAF Tech: We took a fresh look at the AAF this week in the wake of its proposed settlement with MGM. The giant casino company is poised to acquire the proprietary sports betting technology it helped the league develop before bankruptcy at a sizable discount.
More.Bet.Works.News: Former NFL players Richard Seymour and Ronnie Lott are now investors in — and advisors to — B2B startup Bet.Works. The company made industry headlines last month when it lured Jay Rood away from MGM, and its first client (TheScore) plans to launch in New Jersey before football season.
NFL betting: It’s no longer too soon to bet on the upcoming NFL season in Nevada. Extending its streak, CG Technology was once again the first sportsbook to post lines for every regular-season game.
Flash Bet: Tennis is well-suited to live betting, and DraftKings Sportsbook rolled out a new feature for Wimbledon. “Flash Bet” is essentially a graphical shot tracker wrapped in a point-by-point betting interface that issues immediate payouts. DraftKings, by the way, also has a new New Jersey office.
That’s the end of the list from last week, but the new one is already off to a hot start. Keep your browser here for more coverage like this, and follow @LSPReport on Twitter for updates in your timeline.