Category: Gambling News

Some Important Poker Tips To Make Cash Out Of It

One of the best methods to earn large pots in buy in or totally free poker on-line video games is to know when and how much to bet. Simpler said than carried out of course and 1 of the biggest mistakes I see in relation to this lofty objective is over-betting. Right here are the kind of situations exactly where you may fall foul of this and my suggestions of how to perform them out well.

Another round of betting now ensues following which, another card is proven at the center of the table. This is now known as the turn. Another round of betting occurs once once more prior to the last card is revealed at the middle of the desk, known as the river. After the river, the last spherical of betting requires location and whoever “stayed in” for the GAME POKER IDN has to flip their playing cards face up. The one who hold the best five cards wins the sport. The 5 playing cards now consist of your two playing cards that involves your two “hole” playing cards. Remember, only five cards can be utilized.

One of the greatest benefits of POKER ONLINE is the fact you can perform any time you want, even if your nearby on line casino is shut for the night you can be sure of a sport on-line. It doesn’t take lengthy to get set up and poker websites allow players appreciate themselves seven days a 7 days 24 hours a working day.

The one.5″ Crimson Suited Compass Spinner truly can spin like a top–so if you’ve got some boring sluggish players sitting at the table with you you can move the time absent by taking part in with this sharp-searching “toy”. Gorgeous artwork and detailing in red, black, and gold features a compass rose in the center and 1 of the 4 fit symbols at each of the cardinal points. Show everyone that you know exactly where you’re heading with your sport.

Fourthly, to aid you there are various kinds of tools & software program available in the internet. This is an unique facility that you will by no means get in the real casinos. You will have to rely on your own wit to win the sport.

Firstly, the gamers should know that minimum four players are needed for playing this version of POKER CARD game. In addition, you require four decks of taking part in playing cards for Mexican Poker. If you want to add more individuals to the group, you need to add much more decks of cards as well. An easy rule to remember is to include one deck of cards for every two gamers.

This method does function and works extremely very well. If you would like to play poker on-line and make money, You are nicely on your way to performing so by utilizing some of these tips.

Play reduced poker limitations so that you can carry on playing for hrs for a little less than the cost of a movie ticket. This way, even if you free, think of it as an invoice for a good evening out.

Colorado Sports Betting Enjoys Profitable First Month

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As summer draws nearer, major sports are putting into place plans to return to action.

The NBA is ready to resume play July 31 in OrlandoFlorida. While still needing final approval for it, the NHL appears to have the intention to get players back on the ice around the same time.

Golf is back, while NASCAR and UFC are well underway.

In what would normally be a down time of the calendar year, summer 2020 holds the potential to be significant for legalized sports betting.

On to the Rewind:

Colorado sports betting starts hot in first month

When Colorado sports betting went live May 1, many expected a slow start. After all, the world was in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, sidelining most sports and closing casinos and retail sportsbooks.

Regardless, online books launched in the Centennial State. And the result is an opening month that is nothing to scoff at.

With six operators live in May, legal wagering in Colorado totaled $25.5 million in handle with an official release from regulators expected June 15.

Several major players helped kick off the state’s regulated industry:

  • BetMGM
  • BetMonarch
  • BetRivers
  • DraftKings Sportsbook
  • FanDuel Sportsbook
  • Fox Bet

While paling in comparison with the likes of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Colorado’s first month is not at all terrible. As Legal Sports Report noted, Oregon reported $7.3 million in handle during May, though it only features one online operator.

Still, Colorado enjoyed a solid first step, as semi-major events such as The Match 2, UFC, NASCAR, Bundesliga and Korean baseball carried the load.

Certainly, Colorado, as well as other states with legal sports betting, will benefit from the return of major sports. The NBA plans on returning July 31, and the NHL is closing in on a resuming play around the same time.

Is online sports betting on the way in Illinois?

Like many states without legal online gambling offerings, the gaming industry in Illinois has suffered amid the pandemic.

The Land of Lincoln already had plans to integrate online betting, which we expected by 2021. However, Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently issued an executive order that struck down the state’s requirement for in-person registration for mobile wagering.

This means that once operators are approved to operate online, those interested in betting via a mobile device can sign up from the comfort of their own homes.

The state requires in-person registration until the Illinois Gaming Board issues the first of three standalone online-only licenses, which, according to law, cannot be issued until 540 days after brick-and-mortar sportsbooks opened April 9. Pritzker’s latest order does not void the in-person requirement but rather suspends its enforcement.

That said, Illinois does not feature any operators licensed to operate online. Naturally, then, many wonder if Pritzker’s order will expire before the first mobile products go live. In this case, in-person registration returns as a requirement.

Regardless, the governor’s latest move could entice stakeholders to accelerate their negotiations to enter the Illinois online market, thus creating a more aggressive timeline for launching online products.

Potentially, if all things go right, Illinois could begin recouping lost revenue by launching the first legal online sportsbooks.

Welcome back, Las Vegas casinos

At long last, following weeks of closure, casinos in Nevada began reopening on June 4. By sunrise, the Vegas Strip was back open for business.

As a result, the first casinos in the mecca of American gambling made their reintroduction.

The likes of Caesars Palace, the Flamingo, the Cosmopolitan, BellagioMGM Grand and New York-New York, among others, welcomed enthusiastic guests.

The state requires all casino employees to wear protective masks while only recommending the attire for patrons. Many properties conducted temperature checks before admitting guests while also supplying touch-free sanitizing stations and even providing single-use masks.

Even with socially distant slots and limited seating at table games, Vegas made its return and seemingly started its way back to normalcy.

What matters is this becomes another sign that we are closer to reaching the end of the tunnel.

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From Gaming Tables To Masks, Recapping Las Vegas’ Big Reopening Weekend

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As the clock struck midnight on June 4, you could almost feel the electric anticipation of people getting ready to finally visit Las Vegas casinos again.

Casinos on the Vegas Strip opened at 8 a.m. and later on June 4. After a quick temperature check at many casinos, gamblers rushed in to place their first bets inside of a casino in nearly three months. While there were celebrations for the first guests at Caesars Palace and Bellagio, the scene was a bit more relaxed.

There was plenty of excitement to check into hotel rooms and hit table games and slot machines but visitors were cautious at first. That changed as the days continued and more guests arrived in Las Vegas from all over the world — and presumably, as the cocktails flowed.

Michael Trager, a visitor at Caesars Palace from London, told PlayUSA that he wanted to come to the reopening of Las Vegas because “I needed to see the reopening of Vegas. This is historic. In addition, in some ways, this pandemic has caused Vegas to change forever.”

The energy on the Las Vegas Strip

There are more than 100 casinos in the Las Vegas area. Only 30 of those casinos are located on the Vegas Strip and not all of those properties are currently open. Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International operate the majority of casinos on the Vegas Strip and are opening properties in phases.

MGM Resorts opened Bellagio, MGM Grand, and New York-New York with limited capacity. Excalibur will open later this week on June 11. MGM Resorts’ acting CEO Bill Hornbuckle tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal he’d like to open Aria by July 4th weekend. He’d like to continue opening MGM properties every two to four weeks after.

Caesars Entertainment started with Flamingo and Caesars Palace. The company opened Harrah’s and The Linq promenade on June 5 due to overwhelming demand. Caesars expects to open The Linq casino, but not the hotel, next. The properties that are open now can offer more hotels and amenities for guests should customer demand continue to increase.

While the atmosphere on opening day at Bellagio was somewhat subdued, Caesars Palace and the Cosmopolitan were just getting started. Guests from California started to arrive on Friday afternoon and they were much more exuberant. Here’s a quick scene from the casino floor at Cosmopolitan on Friday night into Saturday morning.

To mask or not to mask

MGM Resorts and Wynn Las Vegas are offering complimentary face masks for anyone entering their properties. However, most casinos in Las Vegas are not offering free masks for all guests. Casino employees are required to wear face coverings at all times. Casino operators recommend guests wear a face mask but do not require it.

The video above captures a young crowd almost exclusively not wearing face coverings. This wasn’t the case all day. When the sun was still up on the first days of Las Vegas reopening there were noticeably more guests on and off the Vegas Strip wearing masks.

There was one thing in common with the majority of the guests wearing a face covering: the guests wearing masks tended to be older and more susceptible to catching COVID-19. Dru Chai, a visitor from California staying at New York-New York told PlayUSA that he “felt safe after visiting all three MGM Resorts properties that re-opened on June 4, although my experience was different at Bellagio where there were significantly more people compared to MGM Grand and New York-New York.”

Safety at Las Vegas casinos

The Nevada Gaming Control Board gave casinos a detailed list of health and safety policy requirements for reopening. Casino operators aren’t required to share their health and safety plans although many decided to do so before reopening.

The first thing some guests will notice happens right at the doors to enter a casino. Some casinos in Las Vegas — not all — are taking the temperature of guests upon entry. Checking temperatures is a way to see if a guest might have some symptoms of COVID-19. The process takes a couple of seconds but as casinos become busier, there could be a short wait.

The starkest change guests will see are dealers, and all casino employees, wearing face coverings. Sitting down at the tables and machines is also a different experience. There’s more space for social distancing and it’s noticeable with only three seats at blackjack and similar table games.

Craps is limited to six players while roulette tables only have space for four players. Slot machines have either been rearranged to create more space or there are chairs missing from games that might also be turned off.

Social distancing while gambling seems to be off to a good start at the larger casinos that have more room and open tables. Smaller casinos off the Vegas Strip might have some problems with onlookers. The limited space at the table might make gamblers hover while waiting to hop onto a hot craps game.

Social distancing measures could change in the future. For the time being, gamblers didn’t seem to mind having extra elbow room. Gamblers also didn’t mind playing behind plexiglass barriers at the few casinos that have the extra protective measure.

Chai also told PlayUSA “I was impressed that there were hand washing stations, including free masks, gloves, and sanitizing wipes readily available throughout the casino floor. There was an increased level of security, especially at highly trafficked points of entry.”

Even though there are significant safety precautions today, he wonders how long it will last, saying “it will be interesting to see how social distancing will be regulated when crowds significantly increase.”

Las Vegas is reopening slowly

Social distancing on the casino floor is an attempt to keep gaming spaces capped at 50% of capacity. This is mostly an attempt to keep the spread of coronavirus to a minimum. It also affords casino operators the ability to ease into restart their businesses slowly

Casino restaurants also have a 50% capacity limit. Some eateries remain closed while others have limited hours. This should change in the future but the limits are allowing the casino operators to re-learn how to walk before they run on all cylinders again.

Today’s Las Vegas does not offer the same experience as the beginning of March. In addition to limited bars and restaurants, most of the entertainment options that visitors love in Las Vegas have not returned yet.

Nevada venues can only have gatherings of 50 or fewer people right now. Large shows and residencies might return later this year or next year depending on the venue. Nightclubs aren’t open yet either. Pools are open for guests but don’t expect to see dayclubs and pool parties return anytime soon.

While large shows aren’t open, small lounges like Petrossian at Bellagio still offer their signature piano player to entertain its guests.

Is it time to visit Las Vegas again?

Las Vegas casinos are taking reopening very seriously. The thorough health and safety plans are an indication of the measures they’re going through to keep guests safe. It takes two to tango and guests have to do their part to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Many, but not all, casino guests are choosing to go without a face covering since there isn’t a mandate to wear one. The casinos are cleaning surfaces often but that doesn’t mean every surface is germ-free 24-7. While there are sanitizing stations, guests have to use them to do their part.

Anecdotally, those who wear masks are also washing hands often and using sanitizer often. Those not wearing masks might not be washing as frequently.

Wearing masks and cleanliness are personal matters for everyone. The casinos are doing their part and many of the best restaurants are open, albeit with limited menus. Almost every casino employee we’ve come across in the past few days has been happy to be at work and looking to welcome guests back to Las Vegas.

In a strange way, closing down casinos might have led to a way to improve the experience. The great customer service that Las Vegas is famous for is firing on all cylinders and is as good as it has been in years. Casino operators have streamlined and automated many hotel processes so guests can get what they want quicker.

This may not be the same Las Vegas as a year ago but it’s on the way back to being better than ever. It’s just going to take some time to get there.



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From Gaming Tables To Masks, Recapping Las Vegas’ Big Reopening Weekend

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As the clock struck midnight on June 4, you could almost feel the electric anticipation of people getting ready to finally visit Las Vegas casinos again.

Casinos on the Vegas Strip opened at 8 a.m. and later on June 4. After a quick temperature check at many casinos, gamblers rushed in to place their first bets inside of a casino in nearly three months. While there were celebrations for the first guests at Caesars Palace and Bellagio, the scene was a bit more relaxed.

There was plenty of excitement to check into hotel rooms and hit table games and slot machines but visitors were cautious at first. That changed as the days continued and more guests arrived in Las Vegas from all over the world — and presumably, as the cocktails flowed.

Michael Trager, a visitor at Caesars Palace from London, told PlayUSA that he wanted to come to the reopening of Las Vegas because “I needed to see the reopening of Vegas. This is historic. In addition, in some ways, this pandemic has caused Vegas to change forever.”

The energy on the Las Vegas Strip

There are more than 100 casinos in the Las Vegas area. Only 30 of those casinos are located on the Vegas Strip and not all of those properties are currently open. Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International operate the majority of casinos on the Vegas Strip and are opening properties in phases.

MGM Resorts opened Bellagio, MGM Grand, and New York-New York with limited capacity. Excalibur will open later this week on June 11. MGM Resorts’ acting CEO Bill Hornbuckle tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal he’d like to open Aria by July 4th weekend. He’d like to continue opening MGM properties every two to four weeks after.

Caesars Entertainment started with Flamingo and Caesars Palace. The company opened Harrah’s and The Linq promenade on June 5 due to overwhelming demand. Caesars expects to open The Linq casino, but not the hotel, next. The properties that are open now can offer more hotels and amenities for guests should customer demand continue to increase.

While the atmosphere on opening day at Bellagio was somewhat subdued, Caesars Palace and the Cosmopolitan were just getting started. Guests from California started to arrive on Friday afternoon and they were much more exuberant. Here’s a quick scene from the casino floor at Cosmopolitan on Friday night into Saturday morning.

To mask or not to mask

MGM Resorts and Wynn Las Vegas are offering complimentary face masks for anyone entering their properties. However, most casinos in Las Vegas are not offering free masks for all guests. Casino employees are required to wear face coverings at all times. Casino operators recommend guests wear a face mask but do not require it.

The video above captures a young crowd almost exclusively not wearing face coverings. This wasn’t the case all day. When the sun was still up on the first days of Las Vegas reopening there were noticeably more guests on and off the Vegas Strip wearing masks.

There was one thing in common with the majority of the guests wearing a face covering: the guests wearing masks tended to be older and more susceptible to catching COVID-19. Dru Chai, a visitor from California staying at New York-New York told PlayUSA that he “felt safe after visiting all three MGM Resorts properties that re-opened on June 4, although my experience was different at Bellagio where there were significantly more people compared to MGM Grand and New York-New York.”

Safety at Las Vegas casinos

The Nevada Gaming Control Board gave casinos a detailed list of health and safety policy requirements for reopening. Casino operators aren’t required to share their health and safety plans although many decided to do so before reopening.

The first thing some guests will notice happens right at the doors to enter a casino. Some casinos in Las Vegas — not all — are taking the temperature of guests upon entry. Checking temperatures is a way to see if a guest might have some symptoms of COVID-19. The process takes a couple of seconds but as casinos become busier, there could be a short wait.

The starkest change guests will see are dealers, and all casino employees, wearing face coverings. Sitting down at the tables and machines is also a different experience. There’s more space for social distancing and it’s noticeable with only three seats at blackjack and similar table games.

Craps is limited to six players while roulette tables only have space for four players. Slot machines have either been rearranged to create more space or there are chairs missing from games that might also be turned off.

Social distancing while gambling seems to be off to a good start at the larger casinos that have more room and open tables. Smaller casinos off the Vegas Strip might have some problems with onlookers. The limited space at the table might make gamblers hover while waiting to hop onto a hot craps game.

Social distancing measures could change in the future. For the time being, gamblers didn’t seem to mind having extra elbow room. Gamblers also didn’t mind playing behind plexiglass barriers at the few casinos that have the extra protective measure.

Chai also told PlayUSA “I was impressed that there were hand washing stations, including free masks, gloves, and sanitizing wipes readily available throughout the casino floor. There was an increased level of security, especially at highly trafficked points of entry.”

Even though there are significant safety precautions today, he wonders how long it will last, saying “it will be interesting to see how social distancing will be regulated when crowds significantly increase.”

Las Vegas is reopening slowly

Social distancing on the casino floor is an attempt to keep gaming spaces capped at 50% of capacity. This is mostly an attempt to keep the spread of coronavirus to a minimum. It also affords casino operators the ability to ease into restart their businesses slowly

Casino restaurants also have a 50% capacity limit. Some eateries remain closed while others have limited hours. This should change in the future but the limits are allowing the casino operators to re-learn how to walk before they run on all cylinders again.

Today’s Las Vegas does not offer the same experience as the beginning of March. In addition to limited bars and restaurants, most of the entertainment options that visitors love in Las Vegas have not returned yet.

Nevada venues can only have gatherings of 50 or fewer people right now. Large shows and residencies might return later this year or next year depending on the venue. Nightclubs aren’t open yet either. Pools are open for guests but don’t expect to see dayclubs and pool parties return anytime soon.

While large shows aren’t open, small lounges like Petrossian at Bellagio still offer their signature piano player to entertain its guests.

Is it time to visit Las Vegas again?

Las Vegas casinos are taking reopening very seriously. The thorough health and safety plans are an indication of the measures they’re going through to keep guests safe. It takes two to tango and guests have to do their part to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Many, but not all, casino guests are choosing to go without a face covering since there isn’t a mandate to wear one. The casinos are cleaning surfaces often but that doesn’t mean every surface is germ-free 24-7. While there are sanitizing stations, guests have to use them to do their part.

Anecdotally, those who wear masks are also washing hands often and using sanitizer often. Those not wearing masks might not be washing as frequently.

Wearing masks and cleanliness are personal matters for everyone. The casinos are doing their part and many of the best restaurants are open, albeit with limited menus. Almost every casino employee we’ve come across in the past few days has been happy to be at work and looking to welcome guests back to Las Vegas.

In a strange way, closing down casinos might have led to a way to improve the experience. The great customer service that Las Vegas is famous for is firing on all cylinders and is as good as it has been in years. Casino operators have streamlined and automated many hotel processes so guests can get what they want quicker.

This may not be the same Las Vegas as a year ago but it’s on the way back to being better than ever. It’s just going to take some time to get there.



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Is Horse Racing The ‘Original Sports Bet’ With Long-Term Appeal For Gamblers?

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Alex Waldrop is as optimistic about the current and near-future state of the pari-mutuel industry as a president of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association could be after the Triple Crown has been postponed, reshuffled, altered.

But with the Kentucky Derby moved from the first Saturday in May until Sept. 5, the traditional Triple Crown-capping Belmont Stakes shortened and pushed back to June 20 and the Preakness Stakes now the finale on Oct. 3, Waldrop sees a chance for horse racing to sustain some of the sports betting interest it absorbed during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Horse racing is uniquely qualified in the endeavor of enduring after decades of decline, and Waldrop believes it’s poised now to establish a new foothold.

PlayUSA spoke to Waldrop about this old-school sport will gallop into a digital realm of modern sports betting.

What has helped horse racing raise its profile since the major four sports were forced to shutter in March?

Waldrop: A couple of the things that we have done probably the strongest over the last couple of months is the fact that we have been on two national cable channels, FOX Sports and NBC Sports on Saturday afternoons, which has given us visibility, which we don’t ordinarily get beyond TVG, which is the primary television channel for horse racing.

 It’s available widely, but not widely on cable, generally on streaming live on the internet. But FOX and NBC Sports have both been showing us. In fact, NBC Sports has been taking TVG and rebroadcasting it on their own channel through all of their subscribers, nationwide. FOX Sports has done the same for some of the same tracks. Churchill Downs has exclusively on Fox.

So you have big platforms now that are showing racing that’s giving us visibility to people who don’t ordinarily watch racing horse racing as a sport. And then just [last week] we rolled out a new marketing strategy, a new marketing awareness campaign that is going to be focusing not just on television but also on digital and social media.

 And we have our [advance-deposit wagering] platforms, those online platforms which allow people to watch and wager every day. But certainly, now that opportunity is at a premium because many sports bettors don’t have that opportunity. From what I can tell, it raises our profile.

How have race tracks gone about conducting race cards safely while much of sports is shut down?

We’re doing it in a safe and responsible manner because we can social distance on these expansive back stretches. We’re not allowing fans in the stands. We’re protecting anyone who has to work on a daily basis there with all the hygiene protocols and social distancing protocols.

And the horses themselves, fortunately, the primary athletes, are not susceptible to the virus, so they can compete safely. And, we, of course, have to be mindful of the jockeys themselves.

Besides just being available, what has made horse racing an attractive option for bettors recently?

One of the things we have noticed, one of the other things that has gone up significantly, is the average field size, more horses per race, which we also think is a big factor here because that makes for a much more attractive betting interest. Bettors like full competitive fields because it means that the payouts will be better, on balance. And so as average field size has gone up, we’ve seen that handle increase, which is frankly what we had always known, that field size is important, hard to parse out exactly how important, but it’s very important.

How important is it to exploit the exposure the Belmont Stakes should get on June 20 before other major sports return?

It was disappointing to lose our normal season, if you will. Horse racing season is really the lead-up to and including the Triple Crown. And it’s never good to lose that traditional season because that’s the one time of year when we were top-of-mind. The ability to come back now, later, is great. For the Belmont to be on a day when it’s the only game in town, literally, that’s also great. We’ll see how that field shapes up. It’s going to be a different race, a shorter race.

Is Monmouth Park’s foray into fixed-odds wagering in July potentially a game-changer for horse betting in a growing sports betting market? 

Well, it’s certainly going to be for a guy like [Monmouth operator] Dennis Drazin, who’s as creative as anybody in the business. We’ll see how that picks up across the country with other operators.

How crucial is bridging the two systems between sportsbook wagering and commission-based pari-mutuel wagering?

You have to have a high tolerance for risk. Horse racing thrived more than a century ago because of the commission-based structure that it had, which really for the operator removes that operator from the process, provides an element of security and also of integrity, but also makes it difficult for some of these operators to go back into this world where every wager they have to set a price.

They’re used to letting the people that set the price and that works. And while in theory, it seems great, we know that there are sports bettors out there, there are horse players out there that are really annoyed by the fact that they think they have one price when the horse goes out of the gate and then by the time that the race is over them, the price has dwindled some because of the late-changing odds on the board, which are not because of past posting, we call it, not because people are betting after the race starts, but it’s because we’re collecting wagering from some 2,000 sites around the country and that can’t be done instantaneously. It takes some time to collect all those wagers.

Then generally that late money is going to change the odds and smart guys wait until the very last to bet and so when that price goes down, it is sometimes the inclination of folks to think there’s some kind of shady dealing going on and in fact there are people out there just as smart as they are who figured it out and just put bet a little bit later than they did.

No one wants to think someone else had the same brilliant notion, especially if it came in late, right?

Right. Nobody wants that smart money. That’s why they love Derby day. That’s why people love the Triple Crown – bettors do – because there’s a lot of folks in the pools that aren’t as savvy as the everyday player.

Because dabblers with a julep in their hands are betting colors and their favorite horse names?

Yeah, so you get these massive win pools or just massive pools that are just there for the picking for the guy who can figure out exactly what’s going to happen. It makes for a great day of wagering, but day in and day out, it’s tough because there’s so much information available about our sport now. And so it’s hard to define that one nugget that the other guy’s not going to get and focus on.

We run the National Horseplayers Championship, NHC, which is conducted in Vegas every February. We deal with the best of the best because we name the horse player of the year and give that person an Eclipse Award. And, so, we see firsthand how savvy these guys are. They’re men and women. I say guys, I don’t mean to exclude women. Certainly there are many women who enjoy horseplaying as well. And so there’s a lot of folks that love our business and we’re trying to get more to understand the unique challenges.

Fixed-odd wagering is part of that. It’s hard for me to say right now just exactly how quickly that would catch on and to what extent that will take up what percentage of the handle. It’s hard to tell right now.

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DraftKings Sportsbook Lands Partner For Michigan Sports Betting

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A major player in the world of legal sports betting has found an entrypoint into Michigan.

DraftKings Sportsbook announced it has partnered with Bay Mills Indian Community, a tribe in the Upper Peninsula that operates two casinos in the state.

As a result, ahead of Michigan launching online sports betting, DraftKings gains an avenue to its eighth state to offer legalized online wagering.

DraftKings pads state sports betting portfolio

The daily fantasy sports giant began its quick rise to power in 2018 by making its debut in New Jersey. It has since taken over as a dominant force in the Garden State and has aggressively expanded as other states passed legislation to regulate wagering.

Since its New Jersey origins, DraftKings Sportsbook has started operations in the following states:

  • Pennsylvania
  • West Virginia
  • Indiana
  • New Hampshire
  • Iowa
  • Colorado

In addition, DraftKings boasts branded retail sportsbooks in Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Mississippi, and New York.

DraftKings, which recently started to offer DFS in Michigan, became a publicly traded company toward the end of April and has become quite successful as stocks have risen from $17 to $41 during that stretch.

The company certainly has high expectations for Michigan sports betting, as stated by Ezra Kucharz, chief business officer for DraftKings, in the press release.

“The Great Lakes State presents a number of gaming opportunities and we look forward to collaborating with Bay Mills to provide residents with the best-in-class experience DraftKings is known for.”

Bay Mills gets into the swing of sports betting

As indicated, DraftKings will operate a branded brick-and-mortar sportsbook at Bay Mills Resort & Casino, the longest-running casino in Michigan.

The Bay Mills tribe stood as one of 15 partnerships available for sportsbook operators and actually became one of the later land-based properties to land such a partner.

That said, while late, Bay Mills gained quite an asset in DraftKings.

After all, competing properties boasted renowned sportsbooks as FanDuelWilliam HillFox Bet, BetMGM and PointsBet.

With DraftKings, Bay Mills wields a powerful tool as the company features a wide customer base and great familiarity. For good reason, Bay Mills has expressed excitement for the next step.

“We are excited about our new partnership with DraftKings,” Bryan Newland, tribal chairman for the Bay Mills Indian Community, said in the release.

“Expanding on what entertainment options we can offer at Michigan’s longest operating gaming facility is always our goal. Our new on-site DraftKings Sportsbook will be one more great reason for Michiganders to vacation with us in the Upper Peninsula.”

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When Will The NBA Return? Here’s The Latest Proposed Schedule

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The sports world came to a screeching halt three months ago. As the coronavirus pandemic rapidly spread, a prominent player in the NBA tested positive for COVID-19.

After that player, Rudy Gobert, tested positive on March 11, the game between his Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed. Before the day ended, the NBA scrapped the remainder of the scheduled season with hopes of resuming it at a later date.

For weeks, uncertainty abounded as to whether the 2019-20 season would ever conclude — if the season would have a champion at all.

Now it appears we will, as the NBA will pick up play starting July 31 with an NBA Finals champion decided by October 12. As such, NBA betting will certainly become more active at legal sportsbooks across the country.

NBA plan to monitor, prevent coronavirus

The NBA’s board of governors approved the league’s proposal — by a whopping 29-1 margin — June 4 to resume the season in Orlando, Florida, with 22 of 30 teams expected to take part.

Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA, and the league’s advisory/finance committee pitched the idea to teams to play at the Walt Disney World Resort, a plan that would include 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference franchises.

Per Adrian Wojnarowski, Senior NBA Insider for ESPN, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association remain in negotiations regarding safety protocols and competition.

That said, players and coaches will need to maintain proper social distancing when out golfing or eating at restaurants. Beyond that, the NBA intends to conduct uniform, daily testing on campus at Disney. Any positive tests would result in those individuals to be quarantined and treated while the league continues to test other members of that team as play continues.

Disney employees must maintain similar protocols and will not be allowed in players’ rooms while hallways will be monitored to avoid crowding.

How the NBA will look in Orlando

Invited teams will start training at team sites in July before moving on to full training camps in Orlando. As noted, the format includes 13 teams from the Western Conference and nine from the Eastern Conference.

The list includes the top eight teams in each conference as well as any team that was within six games of eighth place when the season paused:

Western Conference Eastern Conference
Los Angeles Lakers Milwaukee Bucks
Los Angeles Clippers Toronto Raptors
Denver Nuggets Boston Celtics
Utah Jazz Miami Heat
Oklahoma City Thunder Indiana Pacers
Houston Rockets Philadelphia 76ers
Dallas Mavericks Brooklyn Nets
Memphis Grizzlies Orlando Magic
Portland Trail Blazers Washington Wizards
New Orleans Pelicans
Sacramento Kings
San Antonio Spurs
Phoenix Suns

As Wojnarowski reported ahead of the NBA announcement, teams will compete in eight regular-season games that will lead up to a play-in tournament featuring the eighth- and ninth-seeded teams in each conference. Such a scenario would only occur if the ninth seed finishes the regular season within four games of the eighth seed.

Should this situation arise, the No. 8 team would only need to win once to advance, while the No. 9 would need back-to-back victories.

NBA betting odds

As players get ready to report to training camps in anticipation of the resumed season, legal sportsbooks across the country have reposted futures odds for this year’s champ.

Certainly, not all lines will be the same, but the trend at the top will all look similar in terms of favorites:

  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Los Angeles Clippers

As for the full field of 22 teams, here are the odds as of June 5 courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook.

FanDuel Sportsbook DraftKings Sportsbook
Milwaukee Bucks +240 Los Angeles Lakers +250
Los Angeles Lakers +270 Milwaukee Bucks +250
Los Angeles Clippers +340 Los Angeles Clippers +333
Houston Rockets +1200 Houston Rockets +1300
Boston Celtics +2000 Boston Celtics +2200
Toronto Raptors +2400 Toronto Raptors +2200
Denver Nuggets +2500 Denver Nuggets +3000
Miami Heat +2700 Miami Heat +3000
Philadelphia 76ers +2700 Philadelphia 76ers +3000
Utah Jazz +2900 Utah Jazz +3300
Dallas Mavericks +3600 Dallas Mavericks +4000
Brooklyn Nets +6000 Brooklyn Nets +8000
Indiana Pacers +10000 Indiana Pacers +10000
Oklahoma City Thunder +10000 Oklahoma City Thunder +10000
New Orleans Pelicans +12000 New Orleans Pelicans +12500
Memphis Grizzlies +21000 Portland Trail Blazers +17000
Portland Trail Blazers +21000 Memphis Grizzlies +25000
San Antonio Spurs +21000 San Antonio Spurs +25000
Orlando Magic +25000 Orlando Magic +30000
Phoenix Suns +25000 Phoenix Suns +30000
Sacramento Kings +25000 Sacramento Kings +30000
Washington Wizards +25000 Washington Wizards +30000

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In Post-Shutdown US, Will A Bigger Value Be Placed On Legal Online Gambling?

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In May 2018, the US Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, opening the door for state-sanctioned legal sports betting.

That was just two years ago, but doesn’t it feel like much longer? It feels as if legalized wagering (outside Nevada) has existed as long as the traditional casino.

There’s no doubt that perceived longevity stems from the country embracing and expanding sports betting with such vigor that it seems as if decades of industry growth has been crammed into a brief window.

Indeed, legalized sports betting in America has grown rapidly over the past two years, particularly online. Without question, it will follow the same trend over the next two years. And the acceptance of online gaming — sports betting, casino and poker — will help states capitalize even more.

Sports betting has had rapid-fire expansion in US

Less than a month after SCOTUS repealed PASPA, Delaware became the first state to accept a legal wager outside Nevada. New Jersey followed soon after and quickly became a power player that now keeps see-sawing back and forth with Nevada for the most lucrative sports betting state.

Its operator-friendliness fueled the fire, and the state’s readiness to allow online gaming resulted in some 84% of $4.6 billion in legal wagers placed over the internet in 2019. Not to be outdone, online casinos and poker have perked up in 2020, as the two verticals have combined for nearly $210 million this year.

Since the PASPA repeal, 18 states and Washington, D.C., have gone live with legalized wagering with 13 of them featuring some variation of online betting. They have combined for more than $20 billion in handle since May 2018, a total that expects to grow exponentially in the near future.

More states appear ready to offer legalized sports betting

Four other states have enacted wagering legislation and await launch. And 16 states have active legislation, a total that seemingly continues to increase with each passing day.

All told, all but 12 states in the country are at least exploring regulated betting.

In late 2019, expansion began out west. Since that time, Oregon and Montana joined Nevada as states with legal sports betting. After Washington passed legislation to do the same, Colorado launched online wagering in May 2020. Then, a big domino fell, as California introduced a bill that, theoretically, would appeal to cardrooms and tribal casinos — though the jury is still out on how successful that compromise will become.

Back east, activity abounded as Virginia and Tennessee targeted summer launches for their respective sports betting industries while Louisiana and Ohio pushed legislation forward.

This all came after Michigan and Illinois introduced retail wagering and as the nation’s capital debuted its mobile platform.

Even before summer officially starts, the nation is abuzz with legalizing wagering, many of which are including the online aspect.

That vertical holds significance, and it is one that states still considering legalization or that already have operational industries need to consider implementing.

Pandemic sheds light on value of online gambling

Without question, the coronavirus pandemic has sent shockwaves around the world. It has hit both the US retail and online gambling industry hard.

Across the US, hundreds of properties were forced to shutter for the better part of two months. Only recently have they begun to reopen. Major sports leagues and organizers elected to suspend and cancel seasons and events, such as the NCAA tournament, the Masters and the Kentucky Derby.

The pandemic caused an experience no one wanted, but one that added more proof to the value of legalized online gambling.

Land-based casinos take a big hit

Consider Michigan and Illinois, two states that unfortunately went live with legalized retail sports betting just before the coronavirus pandemic — and two states that legalized but have yet to launch online platforms.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board announced revenue numbers for the first four months of 2020, and they were not pretty: reflecting a 39.2% drop compared with the same timeframe of 2019. Similarly, the state pocketed $24.2 million in taxes from its three commercial casinos — nearly $16 million less than the first four months of last year.

Land-based casinos that were closed hurt Michigan. And the same went for Illinois, where the state’s Casino Gaming Association estimated that casinos lost $100 million during the shutdown since mid-March.

Certainly, states in similar situations felt the same blow.

Online gambling shoulders the load elsewhere

While online sports betting provided just a drop in the bucket compared with previous months, what with sports being sidelined, other verticals have picked up the slack.

Only three states offer legalized online casinos and four have online poker. Those areas have seen massive spikes in recent weeks.

In April, New Jersey watched as monthly online sports betting revenue dropped nearly 90% year over year. Again, a byproduct of few sports on which to wager.

The state’s online casinos, though, saw their numbers skyrocket. In March, for example, New Jersey operators collected a whopping $64.8 million to set a state record. Online poker also peaked, coming in at $5.1 million in April. Nearby Pennsylvania experienced a similar trend.

Sports betting handle in the Keystone State plummeted 65% from March to April. And while land-based casino revenue dropped 51% from February to March, online operators combined for a state-record $43.1 million in April. Of note, online poker drew $5.3 million to set a US record for single-month revenue — beating New Jersey’s April total.

Of course, these totals will not make up for the massive losses properties have taken in recent months, but obviously they ease the blow.

Experts weigh in on the need for online gambling expansion

For years, stakeholders and some lawmakers have advocated for online expansion. The common argument against this move has long been the fear of cannibalizing land-based casinos; the fear that a mobile product would prevent potential customers from visiting brick-and-mortars.

Really, though, digital platforms will create more footfall.

“If you produce a good online experience, they’re going to be much more associated to your brand … than if not,” Max Meltzer, COO of Kambi, said during a recent teleconference. “I just think there’s more of an educational piece, and I think COVID’s done a bit more of a kick-start to that.”

Yaniv Sherman, head of commercial development for the online gambling company 888 Holdings, told the Associated Press that the coronavirus pandemic “has highlighted the need for revenue diversification. “The future is around online growth, and it’s right now, not in 5 or 10 years. We hope to get additional states on board.”

Matt King, CEO of FanDuel, agreed with that sentiment and even went further with it.

“When legislatures return in earnest, we firmly believe the number of states ready to consider accelerating mobile sports betting and online gaming legislation to drive tax revenue will expand substantially,” King told ESPN. “And we also see the industry recognizing this is a unique moment in time, and working more collaboratively to set aside minor differences and get bills across the finish line. Across the board, it’s a time for pragmatism, and we see that producing a real opportunity for significantly expanding the map.”

More states could consider expanding online

Over the next two years, online expansion will accelerate, as estimated by Chris Krafcik, a managing director with Eilers & Krejcik Gaming. “Both activities provide states, whose economies have been massively disrupted by the outbreak, the opportunity to capture new revenue immediately in the form of upfront license fees, and over time through taxes.”

While sports betting and other forms of online gambling reflect a minute percentage of most states’ budgets, that small portion — as well as other forms of online gambling — is much preferred to nothing.

The perception of online gambling has shifted, assured Meltzer during a recent teleconference. The “real trailblazers” have shown an understanding that moving online will generate more revenue and even attract more foot traffic at land-based casinos.

“I think people should be grasping onto the fact that, either way, however you want to run it, there’s a huge opportunity to generate revenues,” Meltzer said. “If I was having a strong coffee with someone … I’d certainly recommend to consider the revenues, just to consider what it can do in terms of retaining staff and growing an environment to attract more customers into your casino. That’s regardless of size. Regardless of size, there’s a model out there that can work for you. That’s my strong belief.”

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When Will NHL Return? There’s A New Plan In Place

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The Chicago Blackhawks are returning to the playoffs! Well, them and 24 other teams when the National Hockey League (NHL) resumes play. Much like other major sports leagues, the NHL has been on hiatus since March but a return is possible by late July.

Commissioner Gary Bettman recently announced the ‘Return To Play Plan’ which will abandon the rest of the regular season and transition directly into the playoffs. This is great news for fans who have been patiently waiting for hockey’s return and those looking for NHL betting.

This is also exciting for teams like the Arizona Coyotes (74pts), Blackhawks (72pts), and Montreal Canadiens (71pts), who narrowly squeaked in.

Although Bettman and the NHL have agreed on what hockey would look like when it returns, the NHL Players Association (NHLPA) has not formally approved the return nor has an exact date been set.

The NHL’s eventual return

During a live broadcast on May 26, Bettman laid out a few plan specifics and stressed the importance of precautions and safety measures.

“The health and safety of our coaches, players, and essential support staff — are paramount,” Bettman said. “However, we will not move forward with the plan — until we are approved to do so.”

Cornerstones of the Return To Play plan include:

  • Fans, players want NHL to resume
  • Guidance from civil and medical authorities
  • NHL-NHLPA partnership and cooperation
  • Health and safety are priorities

A phased rollout for NHL

For awards purposes, the 2019-20 NHL regular season has been complete. Additionally, the plan includes several complex details on the NHL draft order that are still being worked out.

But when it comes to post-season play, Bettman was very specific. Each conference (East and West) will be assigned a hub city, with “secure hotels, arena, practice facilities, and in-market transportation” to be announced at a later date.

Other restrictions include:

  • Teams will be limited to 50 personnel
  • All will undergo a comprehensive system of testing

Phase 2, which will begin in early June, allows teams to return to practice facilities for on and off ice training. Phase 3 which will be no earlier than July 1, will allow for formal training camps to start.

The final phase is when teams report to designated hub cities to resume play. Again, timing and locations are still TBD.

“This is all determined by developing circumstances, things are evolving rapidly,” Bettman said.  “We want this choice to be made with the best available information at the time.”

Bettman said should everything go as planned, the NHL will play early summer and into the fall.

Potential site locations for NHL games

As announced, the NHL playoffs will take place at two hub cities. Bettman and the NHL did provide a list of candidates which include major metropolitan areas like Chicago and Los Angeles. One interesting city, at least from a sports betting perspective is Las Vegas.

Considerations include:

  • Chicago, IL
  • Columbus, OH
  • Dallas, TX
  • Edmonton, AB
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
  • Pittsburg, PA
  • Toronto, ON
  • Vancouver, BC

NHL post-season format

As stated, the postseason will look entity different this year with 24 teams — 12 in the East and 12 in the West — having the chance to hoist the Stanly Cup trophy.

The top 4 teams in each conference will play a round-robin (mini-tournament) to determine seeding (1-4).

Top teams in the Eastern Conference:

  • #1 Boston Bruins
  • #2 Tampa Bay Lightning
  • #3 Washington Capitals
  • #4 Philadelphia Flyers

Top teams in the Western Conference:

  • #1 St. Louis Blues
  • #2 Colorado Avalanche
  • #3 Vegas Golden Knights
  • #4 Dallas Stars

While the top four teams in each conference are busy deciding seeding, the remaining 16 teams (eight in each conference) will battle it out in a qualifying round. This will be a best-of-5 to advance to the next round of the playoffs.

It’s at this stage where things get tricky. The NHL has yet to determine if the next round, following the round-robin games and the qualifying round, will be a best-of-5 or a best-of-7.

The one concrete fact is, the Stanly Cup Finals will be a best-of-7.

NHL betting implications

While hockey is not the most popular sport to bet on, it’s a bit more lucrative than Russian table tennis. According to research from the American Gaming Association released in 2018, the NHL was projected to receive $65 million in additional revenue from gambling. This was on top of the $151 million generated from fan engagement, bringing the league’s estimated total revenue to $216 million.

The four-month hiatus has netted little to no money from gambling, with most sportsbooks only offering futures bets.

But now, even though exact dates have not been released, major operators like DraftKings, FanDuel, and William Hill are beginning to release odds for the first set of games.

Currently, the hometown Chicago Blackhawks are +135 against the Edmonton Oilers (-167) over at DraftKings Sportsbook.

FanDuel Sportsbook and William Hill have yet to release individual game odds but team futures are still available.

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Las Vegas Casinos Prepare For June 4 Reopenings

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After what seems like months of quarantining, states across the country have started allowing businesses to reopen. Closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, casinos have begun resuming operations.

Normalization is well underway. But that does not mean we can stop being safe and smart. If anything, we need to emphasize it more.

On to the Rewind:

Las Vegas casinos ready to reopen

After weeks of closure, casinos in Nevada have received the go-ahead to begin reopening.

Gov. Steve Sisolak announced last week that brick-and-mortars in the Silver State can resume operations starting June 4 as part of his “Roadmap to Recovery” plan.

As a result, a number of properties appear ready to take advantage of that authorization.

Many aim to open immediately, including:

  • Caesars Entertainment: Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah’s
  • MGM Resorts: Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand
  • Station Casinos: Red Rock, Green Valley Ranch, Palace Station, Santa Fe Station, Boulder Station, Sunset Station
  • Boyd Gaming: The Orleans, Gold Coast, Suncoast, Aliante, Cannery, Sam’s Town, Fremont, California, Jokers Wild

Many casino ownership groups have spent that past month piecing together new health and safety plans, ones that meet requirements set forth by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

These guidelines include limiting business to 50% capacity and enforcing social distancing on casino floors.

California sports betting bill emerges

Among states where it seems unlikely legalized sports betting will lay roots, California is high on the list. While that might remain the case, the Golden State has pushed forth a bill that provides a compromise for retail and online sports betting.

Six months after Sen. Bill Dodd and Assemblyman Adam Gray introduced constitutional amendment bills, lawmakers last week completed the legislation with additional details.

Included is the authorization for legalized wagering at tribal casinos and racetracks. And while cardrooms were omitted, those establishments would be allowed to offer designated player games that have generated contention from tribes.

This move comes as lawmakers seek additional revenue during a financially difficult time created by the coronavirus pandemic and as they attempt to limit $14 billion in proposed cuts from the governor.

The sports betting bill would result in a 10% tax on gross revenue for retail betting and a 15% tax on mobile betting while also requiring a $5 million initial licensing fee and $1 million annual fee for online sportsbooks.

California faces a budget deadline of June 15, though this bill has until June 25 to receive approval and land on the November ballot. Dodd told Legal Sports Report that he expects the Senate Governmental Organization Committee to vote on the bill June 2.

That said, lawmakers face a challenge from tribes, who might not be as accepting of this bill, specifically as they relate to cardrooms. The proposed legislation would effectively legalize designated-player games after tribes have long attacked what are now illegal operations.

As one spokesman told LSR: “The notion of authorizing cardrooms to conduct Nevada-style games is an absolute non-starter that repeals tribal gaming rights.”

DC sports betting launches without apps

Legalized sports betting soft-launched in the nation’s capital. Yet even as it gets off the ground two months after it initially intended, wagering in Washington DC faces quite the uphill battle.

The Gambet DC product starts with a web browser-based product only, as its iOS and Android apps are not expected to go live until early June.

Sure, with limited sports on which to wager, a slow rollout of such platforms is not incredibly terrible. The odds, though? That’s another story.

Out in Big Sky Country, Intralot powers Sports Bet Montana, which debuted earlier this year with miserable odds. Apparently, the group did not learn much, as it did the same in DC.

For example, many of the opening week point spreads for NFL games feature -118 lines on both sides. Even UFC Fight Night odds via Intralot cannot even compare with more favorable lines at other legal US sportsbooks.

Sports betting in Washington could expand soon. Along with this official lottery platform, stadiums, arenas and sports bars are qualified to offer legalized wagering. (William Hill, for example, will power the retail sportsbook at Capital One Arena.)

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When Are Major Horse Racing Events Scheduled To Return?

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If it’s not already trademarked, Alex Waldrop should consider it.

“We were the original sports bet. We’re still here. And we’re still going strong.”

And with COVID-19 keeping sports contested by humans off their fields of play, the chief executive officer of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association earnestly hopes one of the United States’ original sporting passions can extend a moment it has inherited since major professional and college sports went dormant in mid-March.

While new-age virtual games such as eSports and iRacing have also had their moment, horse racing — for one of the first times since its slow decline in popularity began decades ago — has so far had the bandwidth to satisfy a national appetite for betting markets.

Horses can’t contract the novel coronavirus that has led to more than 100,000 deaths in the US. Expansive track facilities and a relatively small amount of humans needed to conduct the sport has allowed track operators to hold meets that were generally an online wagering enterprise and devoid of spectators anyway.

So while Russian table tennis has found a novelty following and a virtual NFL Draft flared and faded, the national pari-mutuel industry has so far surged. While national handle figures for May are not yet available, April revealed that horse racing had made some hay.

According to Waldrop, pari-mutuel wagering handle was down 24 percent from April 2020 as compared to April 2019, “but that is remarkable,” he told PlayUSA, “because we had a 72-percent decline in the number of races and race days. That tells you that we had much less racing product out there for horse players to bet on, but they were betting a lot more.”

The average wagering per race day, he added, was up 176 percent to $7.5 million. That was with a small collection of tracks including Gulfstream Park, Fonner Park, Oaklawn Park, Tampa Bay Downs and Will Rogers Downs. Now larger venues are about to open with social-distancing restrictions and governmental sign-off.

“Larger tracks, like Churchill Downs, Santa Anita has been back and operating for the last week or so, Maryland starts this weekend, [New York] starts sometime in early June,” Waldrop added, “so the major race tracks are about to crank back up and we should see an increase in the number of races and race days, which hopefully will translate into recovery, putting handle back to where it was or above last year.”

Attempting to maintain this momentum, the Breeders’ Cup and Jockey Club on Thursday launched a national campaign specifically targeted at sports bettors that are bolstering its coffers.

And at Monmouth Park in New Jersey, where a horseman’s lawsuit was the first maneuver in the campaign that eventually made legal sports betting a national possibility, track operator Dennis Drazin is about to unveil the device he has long seen as the bridge from sports bettors to horse players: fixed odds wagering.

Even with the Kentucky Derby rescheduled for just the second time since 1875 and its signature Triple Crown scrambled and delayed, horse racing is generating promise.

When will horse racing hubs open nationally?

California
Del Mar: July 18-Sept. 7
Santa Anita: underway through June 21

Florida
Gulfstream: underway through Sept. 27
Tampa Bay: underway through May 30, then Monday and Wednesday in June after an extension was granted by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Kentucky
Churchill Downs: underway through June 27; Sept. 1-5
Ellis Park: June 28-Aug. 30
Keeneland: July 8-12

New Jersey
Monmouth: July 3-Sept. 27 (not yet approved by state of New Jersey)

New York
Belmont Park: June 3-July 20.
Saratoga (NY) – July 16-Sept. 7

When are the Triple Crown races in 2020?

Belmont Stakes
June 20 (moved back two weeks and from final leg to opener)

*Note: The longest race of most thoroughbreds’ careers will not be on the resume for this crop of 3-year-olds. To alleviate injury concerns in a disjointed approach to the Triple Crown, stewards have reduced the race distance from 1 ½ half miles to 1 ⅛ miles. The Belmont goes from the longest to shortest Triple Crown race for this season. The Kentucky Derby is 1 ¼ miles and the Preakness 1 3/16. … The purse will drop from $1.5 million to $1 million because no spectators will be allowed.

Kentucky Derby
Sept. 5 (originally May 2)

Preakness Stakes
Oct. 3 (originally May 16, second leg)

Horse industry launches national campaign to retain sports bettors

The “Still. Running. Strong.” campaign, launched in conjunction with the NTRA, TVG network, which is an affiliate of the FanDuel Group; the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association will attempt to leverage “broadcast, digital, and social media elements,” according to a release to exploit heightened exposure even with the Triple Crown delayed more than six weeks. NBC Sports and FOX Sports have already filled programming gaps with live racing, providing a natural entry point for the effort.

A focal point of the digital and social media campaign is legal online horse betting, centered around educational materials at a new America’s Best Racing website.

“We’re going to be turning sports bettors, because we know there are lots of sports bettors out there that are desperate for content. They’re not able to bet right now. There’s not enough sports,” Waldrop said. “But horse racing is still going strong. And we have our ADW platforms, those online platforms which allow people to watch and wager, do it every.

“Certainly, now that opportunity is at a premium because many sports bettors don’t have that opportunity. It raises our profile. That’s the purpose of the awareness campaign. It’s the oldest form of sports betting.”

Horse racing getting a leg up as human sports shelter in place

Johnny Avello would have preferred that horse racing’s renaissance as a betting market was spurred by something besides COVID-19.

As head of sportsbook for DraftKings, he fully comprehends the impact of the pandemic shutting down the sports that would normally have comprised the vast bulk of his sports betting and daily fantasy sports company’s offerings. But even as a Las Vegas transplant, the product of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., longs for his annual pilgrimage to the Saratoga summer meet, and with MLB, the NBA and NHL still in the planning stages of a return to play, Avello hopes horse racing can capitalize on the opportunity. Because so far, he told PlayUSA, that’s worked well for the industry at large at a crucial time.

“Horse racing was getting dinged pretty good there with all those deaths of horses at San Anita, and I was really frightened for the game, especially in California,” he said. “California racing has been such a great product for many years. You’ve got Del Mar and then you got Santa Anita and then they go to the fairs during the summer.

“But I was concerned and I thought that this could be a good thing for horse racing because it could isolate them and as long as things went well, which they pretty much have, with the isolation, people could just concentrate on betting on horse racing because it was one of the few games that they were very familiar with.

Crucial, Avello said, is that the Belmont Stakes, traditionally the final leg of the Triple Crown, but now the opener, has the weekend of June 20 relatively to itself in terms of other major events.

“Talk about isolation. There won’t be a lot of sports going on, most likely,” Avello said. “So, I think that race is going to get a lot of exposure.

“And as we move forward here, you’ll have the Belmont, you’ll get a couple other races in between. You’ll have the Travers, which is normally in the end of August, probably going to shift the dates there and that’s probably going to be a prep for the Kentucky Derby. Hopefully, some younger people have gotten involved lately. Let’s hope that momentum continues. I can’t say it will for sure, but I’m hopeful that it will.”

Another reason horse racing and betting are still thriving

Though the disruption of the one annual period when horse racing becomes at least a passing mainstream interest represented a loss for the sport, Waldrop said, horse racing still holds an industry-wide advantage on professional team sports. Though its classics have been impacted, it’s daily business has been able to restart quicker despite local shutdowns.

“It’s never good to lose that traditional season because that’s the one time of year when we were top of mind. The ability to come back now, later, is great,” Waldrop said. “For the Belmont to be on a day when it’s the only game in town, literally, that’s also great. We’ll see how that feels shapes up.

“Our awareness campaign is really focused mostly on sports bettors than the casual fans who generally learn about us on national television. But it’s all about converting people from casual fans to fans who’ve watch and wager.”

DraftKings has a license to offer pari-mutuel wagering through its association with the Scarlet Pearl sportsbook in D’Iberville, Miss., but couldn’t capitalize on the rush because the state hasn’t legalized mobile and online wagering.

A report released last week by Infiniti Research claims that the “horse and sports betting market is poised to grow” by $139.52 billion, progressing by a nine-percent compound annual growth rate through 2024.

The first day of the delayed Churchill Downs, contested without fans posted a 183% increase in handle as compared to the same night, one replete with customary Louisville opening festivities, in 2019, according to WDRB television.

The home venue of the Kentucky Derby wasn’t the only park awash in interest. The handful of tracks open and running without fans – Gulfstream Park, Fonner Park, Oaklawn Park, Tampa Bay Downs and Will Rogers Downs exploded by 129 percent through the first few weeks of the meet.

At Santa Anita, the total handle for nine races on May 15 was $11,207,076, a 61-percent increase from an eight-race card on the same date a year ago.

While an increase of interest is a boon for the tracks, it has hardly been a financial windfall, with tracks being hit with the type of financial loss the major pro leagues could face with fanless games. The reason: tracks receive only a percentage the handle their tracks generate via simulcast and away from their betting windows.

The boom is also being experienced internationally with a Swedish government minister noting that “horse betting has exploded” during COVID-19 while debating regulations on the online casino industry there.

Horse racing resurgence amid COVID-19 shutdowns

Various sports and events have experienced an increase in exposure during the novel coronavirus pandemic. There was the wildly popular virtual NFL Draft, eNASCAR and eSports.

That horse racing — a vestige of America’s 17th-century agrarian past — and eSports, a digital vanguard of our presumed gaming future, were key among them created a fascinating spectrum for sports’ ecosystem. Both became focuses because they happened to be left standing for differing reasons when college and professional team sports were forced to go dormant. eSports can be conducted in relative confinement even though large arenas are being erected to present the spectacle of events like the Fortnite World Cup, pre-pandemic. Horse racing, which has fallen into a sad state of decline, where the Kentucky Derby is generally the only event to resonate with the general public, didn’t have many fans to turn away.

A collection of tracks remained open during the shutdown, notable among them Oaklawn Park, which hosted an expanded Arkansas Derby on the day the Kentucky Derby was originally scheduled.

In a perverse sign that business seemed to be as usual, the Bob Baffert-trained Charlatan, a runoff winner in one of the two races that comprised the event is said to have tested positive for illegal substances.

Can fixed-odds wagering bridge gap from sportsbooks to horse tracks?

Drazin knows their frustration. He’s absorbed it through their emails and voice messages: Dabbling horse player bets a filly at Monmouth Park at long odds. Filly wins. Dabbling horse player is surprised to find a pedestrian payout waiting at the window. Late money had come in on her, the odds plummeted. The payout decreased.

That quickly, a winning bettor and potential repeat customer had a bad experience.

Standing at the nexus of sports betting and pari-mutuel wagering, Drazin has long advocated for fixed-odds wagering as a means to appease those dabblers and perhaps retain sports bettors disinclined to accept that a lot of late money generated online and as smart as theirs ruined a payday. And their fun.

“They bet the horse at 7-1, then it’s 5-1, at the gate and 8-to-5 and by the time it breaks out of the gate it’s 3-to-5,” Drazin said. “They say ‘What happened?’ And that’s not because there’s anything improper going on, it’s just all these wagers that are made by computer and otherwise the last minute being added to the pools. But I don’t think it gives the public a good feeling. I think the public would feel better if they’d bet at 2-to-1 and they got 2-to-1. So I think that will help bring some people back to racing.”

So in February, the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Darby Development LLC, which operates Monmouth Park, entered a 10-year deal with BetMakers Technology Group to facilitate fixed-odds wagering for that track. The Australian company will initially offer just win, place and show bets.

Fixed-odds betting has been credited with stimulating the horse racing industry in Australia and is expanding worldwide, but has been resisted in the United States because of the differences in takeout structure between sportsbooks and pari-mutuel pools. Tracks often hold up to 20 percent of handle to feed pools, while sportsbooks take less. Proponents of fixed-odds horse wagering assert that players will make up for the shortfalls with their increase volume of wagering.

“These are issues that happen not just on a state by state basis, but really on an operator-by-operator basis. People are moving cautiously in the sports betting arena,” Waldrop said. “It’s too early to tell whether the fixed-odds wagering will gain traction.

“It should, it absolutely should. It provides some certainty to players, the kind of certainty they’re used to getting in the sports betting arena. But I can’t predict how quickly that happens. The revenue factors that have to be considered. The risk factor is not an element for parimutuel because you’re basically commission-based wagering and how to convert a sports wager into DraftKings offered fixed-odds betting on the Haskell Invitational card at Monmouth Park last year.

Any vendor with a skin in a New Jersey sportsbook, Drazin said, is eligible to contract for fixed-odds horse wagering. Waldrop said that TVG, whose parent company is Flutter Entertainment, is also “looking at” fixed-odds wagering.

Horse racing provides boost to sports betting, needs a residual effect

It was once ironic that the campaign that ultimately led to the possibility of legal sports betting in the entirety of the United States began with a horsemen’s association lawsuit in New Jersey. All those new consumers would have even less reason to turn their attention to an afternoon program at Monmouth Park. But now there’s a symmetry.

The horse racing industry collectively hoped after the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018 that newly cultivated sports bettors would turn the occasion dollar toward the flagging pari-mutuels industry, and for now, they have. While the industry faces the same sustainability questions as eSports and Russian table tennis markets once the “big four” return, the present is heartening.

“We love it,” Waldrop said. “We love it.”

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Will Louisiana Sports Betting Hit The Ballot This Fall?

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What a magical day May 24 became.

Four of the greatest athletes in their respective sports took to the links at Medalist Golf Club in Florida, pitting Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady.

Through a downpour, these GOATs persevered. Not just for bragging rights (which went to Tiger and Peyton). Not only for our own entertainment (with cart cams and live mics on each player). Not just to jumpstart legalized sports betting (which as gone without major sports since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic).

On the eve of Memorial Day, these greats came together for a good cause, raising over $20 million for COVID-19 efforts.

Despite terrible playing conditions, The Match 2 became a silver lining. And it signified, potentially, that the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer.

Now, on to the Rewind:

Louisiana sports betting one step closer

Legalized sports betting in Louisiana appears close to hitting the November ballot, although one senator’s choice to include technical additions in the bill has delayed the bill’s passage in the House.

While legislation passed by a 73-23 vote, Speaker Pro Tempore Tanner Magee opted to include “participation in sports wagering … shall not be considered gambling by computer” in the bill. Such a choice would allow casinos to enter a bettor’s wager into a computer.

From here, the bill heads to the Senate, where a committee needs to sign off before sending it to the floor. The House expects to review details of a similar bill this week and could elect final passage, thus sending the bill to the November ballot.

Time is of the essence for Louisiana lawmakers, as the legislative session is scheduled to adjourn June 1.

Should parishes approve the legalization of sports betting, state lawmakers would craft additional details of the industry, such as regulations, next year.

Green-lighting regulated wagering in Louisiana would certainly provide a boost for casinos in the state, which already compete with properties in neighboring states that offer legalized sports betting.

Leagues still on hook for fighting legal sports betting

Two years later, and history again repeated itself.

The US Supreme Court ruled that it would not hear appeals over a Third Circuit ruling that major American sports leagues could owe restitution after the court struck down PASPA in 2018 and ultimately cleared the way for state-sanctioned sports betting.

Now the case moves to Third Circuit in New Jersey, where a decision could come down regarding how much leagues would owe the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, operators of Monmouth Park.

Initially, the association requested that the likes of MLBNBANCAANFL and NHL use their $3.4 million in bonds to cover a temporary restraining order. And on top of that: an additional $150 million in damages.

Those five leagues stood as the main opponents of New Jersey regulators attempting to legalize sports betting in 2014. And Monmouth was ready to become the first property with a sportsbook.

The horsemen’s association noted that leagues were already landing deals with daily fantasy sports operators at the time, a grey area for many that shades closer to gambling as players could win money based on sports.

Eventually, four years after the fact, Monmouth did become the first location in the Garden State to accept legal wagers. Yet the fight for more continues.

New casino on the way to Chicago

For years, lawmakers and stakeholders have laid the path to potentially bring a casino to Chicago.

Now, it seems one is on the way.

The Illinois General Assembly worked late into the night last week to sign off on a $41 billion budget plan that relies on borrowing money and potentially receives help from the federal government amid the coronavirus pandemic. Amid all this, the Illinois Senate approved the casino plan by a 42-14 vote.

Now it awaits approval from Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Sen. Bill Cunningham estimated that Illinois capital programs will receive $45 million in licensing fees before the casino even opens. To boot, Illinois would also receive $700 million in “a re-worked reconciliation fee.”

When the casino does open, revenue will help fund pensions for Chicago’s police and fire employees.

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Odds & How To Watch ‘The Match’

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Golf — and betting on golf — is back, thanks to Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

Golf and gambling have gone together like golf and the nineteenth hole since duffers first pulled wood clubs from “bags” made of twine.

The pace and segmentation of play, granular to the shot and the hole allows for the concoction of friendly little wagers between participants, and in a modern, broadcast-in-high-definition sports entertainment world, for sports bettors in real-time.

The first time Woods and Mickelson tangled, there was criticism of the much-publicized match play event last November between Woods and Mickelson was there wasn’t enough of that making-it-interesting chat, especially considering Mickelson’s proclivity for a flutter.

They get their chance again on Sunday, in a staged-for-television event that will generate a $10 million donation to COVID-19 relief efforts: The Match: Champions for Charity. Oh, and their teammates will be NFL greats Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

Betting on Tiger vs. Phil

Sportsbooks, groping for familiar content as most sports remain dormant because of the pandemic, eagerly await the proceedings.

“The last time they faced off in The Match you heard sort of the gaming banter that you often hear when you’re out on the course with your buddies,” PointsBet sports content manager Andrew Mannino told PlayUSA. “I think that as legalized gambling expands to more states, as more people get used to it and get involved, I think there’s a really a great opportunity to continue to expand on that kind of event and it’s going to let people infuse their sports experience with their sports betting experience.”

With the “big four” professional sports leagues in the United States continuing to formulate a return, golf takes its return at the fore, even with the PGA Tour not scheduled to return until June 11.

“Golf’s popularity in the US is undeniable; both in terms of playing and watching,” Mattias Stetz, chief operating officer of Rush Street Interactive, which operates BetRivers Sportsbook and PlaySugarHouse.com told PlayUSA. “There is no reason why the betting product cannot thrive.

“The sport very much lends itself to betting with a wide variety of markets both pre-match and live. Enthusiasts have ample opportunity to wager pre-event with PGA Tour events priced up on Mondays, while the live product being more popular for those who want to see a quick turnaround in their wager.”

Where, When and how of ‘The Match: Champions for Charity’

  • When: 2 p.m. EST, May 24
  • Where: Medalist Golf Club, Hobe Sound, Fla.
  • On TV: TBS, TNT, truTV, HLN.
  • Format: Team of Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning vs. Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady.

Each team member plays 18 holes. Fourball play with the best individual score for each team used on the front nine.

Teams will use the best drive on the back nine and alternate shots, keeping one scorecard, known as a modified alternate shot format.

Mannino said betting volume on the match will be greater than the TaylorMade Relief charity event from last weekend and roughly equal “to a busy NHL game.”

Stetz said that over the last five days, handle has increased five-fold, with 60 percent of tickets written for Mickelson/Brady even though they are +180 underdogs.

Interesting prop bet for Woods-Mickelson

Longest Tee Shot, Third Hole: Brady -134, Manning +100 at PointsBet

Though Manning and Woods are favored to win, the odds are slanted toward the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback on the 540-yard par-5. Interestingly, the odds were diametrically opposite and DraftKings, which had Manning (-134) as the favorite over Brady (+100) on Tuesday.

“Some of the ones I really like are nearest to the whole after tee shot,” Mannino said. “We have them separated into Woods versus Mickelson and Manning versus Brady. So you can bet on those individual guys if you have a lean on Peyton Manning’s tee shot, then that really gives you an opportunity to put that to the test.”

At BetRivers and PlaySugarhouse, Stetz said, there will be specific holes where for Manning and Brady closest-to-the-pin or longest-tee bets. On the 12th hole, the company will offer whether Brady will hit the green in regulation on the par 3, and if Manning can find the fairway in regulation on 18.

Are Peyton Manning and Tom Brady good golfers?

Mickelson on teammate Brady: “I have confidence in Tom. I’ve seen him play some of his best golf when he wasn’t expecting to play well. Sometimes expectations get in the way of performing well and so going in here to a foreign site on their home course without his A-game, would lead anyone to think that we wouldn’t have much of a chance and I think we might even lull these two to sleep a little bit. We might even let them win a hole or two and get up early, try to lull them to sleep and then finish strong.”

Manning playing with Brady (they have partnered numerous times in tournaments): “The last time we played, we got beat by an 84-year-old and a 77-year old. Like, closed out on 15.”

Stetz said lines are made mostly on Woods vs. Mickelson, but noted some intel on the quarterbacks which has solidified the Manning tandem as favorites.

“The bulk of the price comes down to how you would price Tiger versus Phil, however, given the back nine will be based on an alternate shot format, Brady and Manning will clearly have a large bearing on the outcome,” Stetz said.

“It is well-publicized that both players are a good standard with Peyton Manning having a 6 handicap and Tom Brady an 8 handicap. It is currently unclear if Brady will have a shot on Manning, however the impact on price would be minimal.

“The front 9 will likely be dominated by the performance of the pros, however our golf experts will be keeping a close eye on how Manning and Brady are playing for pricing on the back 9. As you’d expect, everyone is in the dark to some extent, which certainly adds to the spectacle.”



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How Can US Sports Return? Analyzing How To Get Back In The Safe Zone

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The job was always going to require immunologists. Developing a plan to safely relaunch college and professional sports is requiring foot doctors, too. Or at least one.

Dr. Glenn Copeland is walking the immunologists, players and coaches toward what sports may look like during a post-COVID-19 pandemic.

It will not be a quick fix, Copeland told PlayUSA, but it’s doable. He is comforting and yet sobering with his assessment.

He even jokes when asked which sports will be easiest to return: “The one sport we could have back today is fencing. You get a mask, you get gloves and if somebody comes within 6 feet, you get to stab them.”  

Two decades spent in clubhouses and training rooms as a team podiatrist for the Toronto Blue Jays has instilled knowledge of how crucial support systems must operate. As a consultant for QuestCap, Copeland serves as a liaison between those developing and administering tests for the novel coronavirus and those trying to keep them from becoming patients.

Tough task, tough choices 

Reopening the sports industry (and thus, many more options for US sports betting) is as complicated as throttling up the global economy.  

Athletes have no luxury of social distance. Neither do the coaches and trainers who form the ancillary village around their every activity. Players sweat, expel vapor with every gulp for air, touch teammates, opponents, weights and equipment. There is no amount of janitors and bottles of disinfectant to squelch every potential contamination point.  

These microscopic interactions have mammoth implications for the way sports are contested, consumed and increasingly bet upon. 

A recent Major League Baseball proposal for conducting a truncated season outlined the billions of dollars in TV revenue at stake from networks broadcasting games. Meanwhile, data from Australia reveals that fans are less interested in watching televised games devoid of fans.

Such is the playing field with an unseen and highly contagious novel coronavirus responsible for more than 300,000 worldwide deaths lurking potentially everywhere.

Copeland sees the spaces surrounding these athletes and the pathway to commencing sports again as a matter of “zones.” 

Under QuestCap’s guidance, navigating each zone would ensure avoiding the transmission of the virus to a competitor, the support staff or a fan.

How did an investment firm become a COVID-19 warrior?

Copeland describes QuestCap as a “humanitarian company formed to address climate issues” that now trades in expertise and the IgG and IgM antibody tests. It secured the right to market with a South Korean supplier in April. 

These rapid tests are the means to establish viral moats around athletes and perhaps convince leagues and players that it is safe to resume play.

Though he won’t divulge the teams, Copeland told PlayUSA that QuestCap has consulted with around 20 MLB, NBANFL and NHL teams. Just two of those are NFL franchises and “three to four” have retained the company’s services.

Even with the Bundesliga, NASCAR and UFC back to live, albeit fanless, competition, there is much work to do. 

For TV networks, leagues, sportsbooks, fans, or bettors who simply want games back, a relapse would be demoralizing and costly.

UFC 249, which used its anticontamination protocols, proceeded last week even after a fighter tested positive for the virus.

“I think it was really positive, given that one of the fighters tested positive for coronavirus and that he was able to be self-quarantined. It just showed that the system worked and that the sport was able to move forward to do so in a healthy competitive way. I think that was maybe a good barometer for things moving forward,” said the Circa Sports sportsbook operations manager Jeff Benson

“You certainly don’t want to rush things back and get hit with a second wave of things, where you do close and it may be (that it) ultimately hurts us more so than the first time.”

How QuestCap aims restart of sports 

Copeland understands that games are not contested merely on fields and courts. They’re won or lost in weight rooms, training rooms and practice courts. 

Mitigating COVID-19 at the root is left to another QuestCap partner, Stanford Medicine neurologist and immunologist Dr. Lawrence Steinman.

In concert, and with their available supply of rapid and long-term antibody tests, they’ve established a system to insulate participants inside two zones of COVID-free security.

The so-called “outer zone,” Copeland said, “is the world. That’s where everybody exists.”

The middle zone, he said, “is usually taking place just inside or just outside the front door of the stadium where players and anybody coming to try and get into the inner zone has to go through.”

The inner zone, as much as testing can assure it, would be a pristine workspace.

“That middle zone is where the temperatures are taken, symptoms are done and the antibody testing is done and nobody gets into the inner zone until they’ve gone through the middle zone, the testing, the data collection, the review of the data, the temperature, the symptoms,” Copeland said. 

“Once they pass in that middle zone, then they’ve got a green light they’re then given if you will, a passport for 24 hours to go into the inner zone.

“Nobody gets into that inner zone until we’re convinced that by doing the testing the way we’re doing it, by doing the evaluation the way we’re doing it and it’s based on the data that we’ve got, that they’re COVID-free.”

Life inside the inner zone should provide, in theory, security and the comfort to work and play as normal. Colomba’s Categoria Primera became the first professional soccer league to begin using the system several weeks ago. 

They prepare to start training in June and resume games in August, according to that country’s Ministry of Work and Sport. The Bundesliga employed its stringent methodology to ensure the welfare of teams and officials before a fan-free slate of games was held.

While there is security inside the zones, there is no normalcy of the typical fraternal setting of a professional sports facility. And there is the understanding that an entire player’s life cannot be conducted there.

“Once in that inner zone, that, in essence, would be what we would consider to be, as best as we can, the COVID-free zone. And so they can play in that zone,” Copeland said. 

“They can work out in that zone. And, by working with the teams and starting slowly, where you have two players in the weight room, you’ll have two players in the trainers’ room, two players in the lunchroom.

“You might have two players at each end of the field. Bring them back the next day, do the exact same thing every single day because they leave the stadium, they go out to the other zone every evening. Then they come back the next day.

So, it’s day-to-day. Now, down the road, a month or two, when we start to see that we’re getting really good at this, that the data is showing that we don’t need to do the testing every day, we can punch it up to every two days. Maybe it’s every three days for testing, but every day for fevers and symptoms. So, this will be a moving target. It will be an evolving procedure and protocol,” said Copeland.

US pro teams likely to actively seek practice resumption in June

Movement in the US, Copeland said, could feasibly begin June 1 with the proper safeguards. The date of July 4 has been anecdotally cited as a potential return date for several US sports, including the MLB.

“I would guess — just knowing what I know on a day-to-day basis — that you’ll have a number of facilities up and running no later than the first of June for sure. I would say that you’ll probably have a few of them open probably by the Memorial Day weekend,” Copeland said.

“But again, there (are) so many things that come into play. It’s not just the league saying, ‘OK, you guys can open,’ because it’s the state and the city who will say, ‘Yeah, well, the league can say you can open, but we’re saying no.’ And, so we’ve run into that with three teams already in the NBA who want to get going. I must say too, that all the teams, all the teams are cooperating a hundred percent with all the authorities … There’s been no whining.”

Though proposals over a potential resumption have further exposed existing rifts between MLB and its players’ association, Copeland said QuestCap’s relationship with labor and management have been “unbelievably cooperative” in all pro leagues.

“There’s a huge cooperation everywhere. But what there is is this unknown,” he said. “And, until somebody does it, and until we can prove it can be done safely, there’s still that cautious, very cautious optimism.

“That’s where we’re at right now. We’re on the edge. I understand that there’s one or two NBA teams moving very, very slowly. One of the teams is doing the testing and the program, but you’re talking one-to-one, like two guys in the weight room having everything wiped down. In between, a player touching any machine gets wiped down immediately. Even though there’s that feeling that it’s as COVID-free as possible, we’re not taking any chances at all. So, it’s as I like to refer to it, it’s baby steps.”

Single-venue option not perfect, but may be a starting point

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is doubtful that sports will be played in his city this year. Also, the spikes of cases are likely to impact large urban areas as mitigation protocols are relaxed. As a result, the leagues are likely to require alternate venue options.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has proclaimed his state open for professional sports business without fans.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis deemed professional sports as “essential” entities, shilled for NASCAR and the PGA to come on down and finally landed a series of UFC bouts in Jacksonville.

Copeland believes games will ultimately resume this way, presenting more variables. The shutdown of the NHL quickly followed that of the NBA in mid-March in part because those league’s teams shared numerous venues and locker rooms. That’s a lot of players to test and safeguard.

Then, there’s the quality of life.

“One of the things I just ran into, you have a situation where if you do one venue and you have 50 teams in one venue,” Copeland said. “That means the inner zone is from the hotel to the ballpark and back to the hotel.

“That means there’s no room for spouses. There’s no room for kids; there’s no room for anybody else. So that means that the player is going to be without their family for three months, four months, six months, whatever it’s going to be. And are they prepared to do that? And, truly, how safe is that? How do you lock the front doors? How do you keep fans away from the front door? How do you keep people away?

So, you have to look at the realistic versus the practical approach versus a perfect-world approach. And that’s really been an issue for all of us. Most of the people we’ve spoken to recognize twofold: one, players — whether it’s girls or guys — have to take some major responsibility for self-regulation. You can’t go to a bar, you can’t go to a restaurant, you can’t do a number of things, you can’t have friends and widespread family around you.”

Copeland believes that leagues will be able to expand their venue choices once institutional knowledge is established from the opening months of play.

But what about sports fans and spectators?

Copeland fervently asserts that the safety and well-being of fans are as important as athletes and team personnel. Concocting a way to assure safety without a vaccine, herd immunity or treatment for COVID-19 will likely convert fandom to a remote event for the near future.

“The day of the fans in the stadium, for now, it’s not going to happen, in our opinion,” he said. “How do you control 20, 30, 50, 75,000 people coming in and saying that you can almost assure everybody that in that type of setting, that you’re not going to have anybody with COVID? I don’t see those days for this season, anyways. And rightfully so.

“It’s not a matter of freedom. It’s a matter of not being able to clearly protect the fans. Fans, for the most part, don’t get within 6 feet of the players, so that’s not the big issue. You have to protect the fans, and there’s no way I want them going to a stadium with 50,000 people where you might have five people unknowingly infected.

“The high-fiving, the hugging, lining up for beer, people hugging each other, they’re not doing anything that they wouldn’t normally do and it’s not trying to be malicious. But they hug the wrong guy or girl; guess what? The transmission is easy.”

But the communal experience of attending games, the infusion of the type of energy that was notably absent on Saturday with only players and coaches’ calls echoing off empty grandstands in Germany. It will not be lost forever, Copeland believes. Fans will first be allowed to return, and after a period of apprehension sure to be endured by the airline and movie theater industries, patrons will return.

“I think fans are going to get used to you watching at home,” he said, “But I really do think that if everybody’s a little bit patient and accepts that at least you can turn the TV on and not watch the 1997 World Series and watch live sports, take that first step.

“But until we get the vaccine, I don’t think we’re going to be real comfortable with a whole bunch of people in a given room.”

Players, owners feeling their way in this unknown landscape

Copeland conceded that the coterie of ownership and league commissioners and player unions are “constantly going around in circles” about their responses is understandable.

It is new territory. Lengthy conversations and consultations seem to yield a consensus or plan, but upon consultation, more questions.

“They just don’t know what to do. We’ll talk about the outer circle, inner circle, and then, they go back to the owner and the GM or whoever, and then they’ll say, ‘Well, can we extend the outer circle?’ or ‘Do we have to do testing every day?’” Copeland related.

“So, everybody’s trying to figure out how you do it. And then the player’s association will call and say, ‘So, OK, that sounds like a great idea. Should we do this? Could we do that?’ And there’s just so many variables of that until you do it and say this is what’s worked and this is what’s worked for 20 teams or eight teams or this is what worked for the NHL or NBA.”

What sports are more or less conducive to quick and safe return?

The Bundesliga returned on Saturday. NASCAR returned after a 10-week layoff to a Darlington Raceway devoid of spectators on Sunday. UFC has already returned, as has rodeo. Still, the leaders of the “big four” North American sports continue to wade through everything from health guidelines to labor acrimony in finding their path.

“It’s hopeful that we will have some Major League Baseball this summer. We are making plans about playing in empty stadiums,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told CNN on Thursday as tensions rise with players.

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell drew the ire of fans last week when he said in a Twitch stream that he would not accept a pay cut this season because “the risk is through the roof.”

Added the 2018 Cy Young Award winner: “Bro, I’m risking my life. What do you mean it should not be a thing? It should 100% be a thing. If I’m gonna play, I should be getting the money I signed to be getting paid.”

It was never going to be easy. In the case of MLB, which already faced brewing labor unrest, the economics have gotten messy. MLB projects a $4 billion loss if it doesn’t play a season. But the medical aspect of the return must be a source of consensus. In his interactions, it has been so far, Copeland said.

But some sports will inherently be more difficult to usher back safely.

Contact sports like football, hockey, boxing and basketball will be expectedly nettlesome. According to the New York Times, UFC reportedly shirked safety protocols even after fighter Ronaldo Souza and two handlers were quarantined after testing positive before UFC 249. Baseball is less contact-laden, though the home plate is hardly a model of social distancing.

“Outside of fencing, we don’t have the perfect sport, but tennis and golf to me, NASCAR, I’m pretty comfortable,” Copeland said. “Again, if a guy’s crew and the people in each crew are minimized and tested, I think you can bring up a fair bit of safety to that.

“I’m pretty comfortable with the inner circle for swimming, golf, tennis. It’s when you get into the contact sports or areas that you’re going to have, even in baseball, when you’re in the field is pretty much social distancing. But not at the plate. You have the umpire, you have the catcher, and you have a batter and they are within 4 or 5 feet of each other.

“So, is it a perfectly safe sport? No. But again, if everybody’s tested properly and you can get into the inner circle and have passed your test, we think that you have a very strong chance that COVID is not going to rear its ugly head.”

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Want To Bet On MLB? July Return Could Be A Possibility

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At this very moment, if anyone says they know definitively when Major League Baseball is returning, take it with a grain of salt. The truth is, while there have been many dates floating around all of it remains speculation.

What is certain, and what we do know, is there are plans floating around to bring baseball back. The necessary people are having conversations, developing policies and standards, and ball clubs are preparing for an eventual return.

But the exact date on when the season begins and when sports betting can resume is still a mystery.

Early July is possible

The MLB Players Union received a proposal from Commissioner Rob Manfred, approved by team owners, that would have baseball back by early July.

That lengthy proposal would reshape the MLB landscape with new rules, new financial stipulations, and a list of safety and health standards. The 2020 MLB season depends on both sides overcoming these financial roadblocks which are the current topic of discussion.

Portions of the plan include:

  • A shortened 82 game season
  • 14 team playoff
  • June spring training
  • Universal DH (designated hitter)
  • Geographical schedules for teams

Safety protocols will change baseball

A 67-page draft of the MLB’s health-and-safety manual, obtained by ESPN, outlines new procedures that will change baseball during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new rules were written by MLB senior vice presidents Patrick Houlihan, Bryan Seeley, and Chris Young and VP Jon Coyles.

While portions of the document are missing, there are a few details to share, including:

  • No high-fives, fist bumps, or hugging
  • No spitting, tobacco or chewing sunflower seeds
  • First-and-third base coaches can not approach baserunners or umpires
  • Players should not socialize with opponents
  • Processing more than 10,000 COVID-19 tests per week

Teams have been asked to respond to the proposal by Friday, May 22 with input.

Should a proposal of this magnitude be implemented it would be a drastic change from the baseball played pre-pandemic. Discussions continue but there is only 11-days left before the proposed start of spring training 2.0.

Major League Baseball betting for now

While betting on actual games has yet to resume, at least here in the US, several sportsbooks are still offering MLB bets in the form of futures wagers.

FanDuel Sportsbook and Draftkings Sportsbook to name a few, have some betting options available including:

  • 2020-21 World Series Champion
  • South Korean Baseball
  • Taiwan Baseball

All sportsbooks around the US have curated a list of betting options during the pandemic, all with their own odds in place, so browse accordingly.

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The PGA Tour Returns – Get The Revised Tournament Schedule

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The first round of the Players Championship, the flagship tournament of the PGA Tour, came to a close March 12.

By that point, the coronavirus pandemic was growing. Tour higher-ups were adamant about continuing the event, though without spectators. Hours later, though, there was a change of heart. The championship was scrapped.

And since that time, there has been no golf, which obviously affected legalized sports betting surrounding the sport.

Soon, though, that will change. Golf — and with it golf betting — is returning.

PGA Tour with coronavirus-preventing plan

The PGA Tour has a plan in place to return golf to the links beginning with the Charles Schwab Challenge, scheduled for June 11-14.

Tyler Dennis, senior vice president and chief of operations for the tour, said the “layered approach” of the PGA Tour revolves around social distancing.

“That layered approach will include plenty of testing. Players and caddies will be expected to comply with medical questionnaires, thermal (temperature) readings and RT-PCR nasal swabs. It will start before they travel to tournaments and continue when they arrive.

“We’re excited about how the PGA TOUR can play a role here in the world’s return, if you will, to enjoying things we love and doing so in a responsible manner.”

Detailed to players May 12, the tour’s plan came after two months of brainstorming and included input from PGA Tour medical adviser Dr. Tom Hospel, the Federal Coronavirus Task Force, as well as other specialists and in consultation with other pro leagues.

Tournament sites will have masks and sanitizer, and the tour will keep tabs on capacity inside structures. On top of it all, when it comes to players and caddies, there will be pre-travel and upon-arrival testing.

Any testing, as tour officials emphasize, can only occur without taking resources away from local communities.

The revised PGA Tour schedule

Majors

Three of the four major championships will still take place in 2020, if the revised schedule holds.

The British Open, originally scheduled for July 16-19, was scratched as organizers followed “guidance from the UK Government, the health authorities, public services and the R&A’s advisers.”

It will mark the first time since 1860 that the original championship will go unplayed.

Tournament Date Original Date
British Open Canceled July 16-19
PGA Championship Aug. 6-9 May 14-17
U.S. Open Sept. 17-20 June 16-19
Masters Nov. 12-15 April 9-12

Other tournaments

Among noteworthy tourneys, the Tour Championship expects to tee off as originally scheduled, Sept. 4-7 at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

The big non-major tournament, however, is the Ryder Cup, staged at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. Similar to the Tour Championship, the Ryder Cup will stick to its original slot: Sept. 25-27.

As for the remaining schedule (dates are as originally scheduled unless otherwise noted):

Tournament Date
Charles Schwab Challenge June 11-14 (May 21-24)
RBC Heritage June 18-21 (April 16-19)
Travelers Championship June 25-28
Rocket Mortgage Championship July 2-5 (May 28-31)
John Deere Classic July 9-12
Memorial Tournament July 16-19 (June 4-7)
3M Open July 23-26
WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship July 30-Aug. 2 (July 2-5)
Barracuda Championship July 30-Aug. 2 (July 2-5)
Wyndham Championship Aug. 13-16
Northern Trust Aug. 20-23
BMW Championship Aug. 27-30
Tour Championship Sept. 4-7
Safeway Open Sept. 10-13
Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship Sept. 24-27 (March 26-29)
Ryder Cup Sept. 25-27
Sanderson Farms Championship Oct. 1-4
Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Oct. 8-11
The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges Oct. 15-18
Zozo Championship Oct. 22-25
WGC-HSBC Championship Oct. 29-Nov. 1
Bermuda Championship Oct. 29-Nov. 1
Houston Open Nov. 5-8
The RSM Classic Nov. 19-22
Hero World Challenge Dec. 3-6
Mayakoba Golf Classic Dec. 3-6
QBE Shootout Dec. 11-13

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Casinos Beginning To Reopen Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

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It appears the light at the end of the tunnel is nearing.

Following weeks of social isolation and distancing, closed businesses and schools, shuttered casinos and sportsbooks, normalization has begun.

A number of states across the country have authorized select businesses to resume operations. For some, that includes the reopening of brick-and-mortar casinos, which, for the most part, have had their doors closed since March.

In addition, sports leagues and associations have started or developed plans to resume action, thus allowing legal sports betting to kick back into gear.

On to the Rewind:

US casinos are reopening

What a time spring is supposed to be for casinos across the country, what with weekend getaways, spring break, warm weather.

Alas, it did not happen in 2020. Rather, the coronavirus pandemic resulted in properties closing their doors to prevent the spread.

Now, casinos are ready to get back in the game.

Of note, Arizona casinos seemed to break the mold, as five brick-and-mortars welcomed guests May 15, albeit with “partial” reopenings.

Nonetheless, the dominoes began to fall. Louisiana became the first major gambling market to announce reintegration plans, allowing its casinos to resume operations May 18, pending approval from state police of the properties’ social distancing and health policies.

Not to be outdone, California got in on the action, as Viejas Casino & Resort went back online the same day. This week, two more casinos — Sycuan Casino Resort and Valley View Casino & Hotel — intend to enter the fold. By May 27Soboba Casino Resort expects to join the mix.

Arkansas casinos also received authorization to reopen May 18, potentially followed three days later by properties in nearby Mississippi. Come early June, another group of states could return to operations, highlighted by Florida, where six Hard Rock Seminole casinos could reopen.

Indeed, it appears as if the industry is ready to bounce back.

Michigan online gambling by Thanksgiving?

If you live in Michigan or are planning to visit over Thanksgiving, picture this: You sit down to a hearty meal of turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing — the works. You complete your traditional over-indulgence of carbs and wine. You walk to your favorite spot on the couch and take out your phone to take part in the newest addition to Michigan gambling: legal, active online casinos and sports betting.

According to one state regulator, that could become reality.

Despite lacking emergency rules, Richard Kalm, executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, told PlayMichigan that the state could launch iGaming earlier than its original 2021 projection.

“We’re trying to start the licensing process a little bit ahead of the rules,” Kalm said. “We’ve been doing this a long time, we know some of the things we’re going to need.”

While Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has not signed off on emergency rules to expedite the introduction of online gambling, stakeholders have long held discussions regarding the aforementioned rules. The MGCB sent a draft to operators in April, regulations that share traits with those in Indiana, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

This has allowed regulators and stakeholders to work toward the launch of iGaming and potentially speed up the industry’s introduction.

With its 26 casinos still closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, thus preventing retail sportsbooks from accepting any wagers, Michigan could certainly use some good news about the future of the state’s gambling industry.

Sports betting gets big boost with events returning

Sports. Are. Back.

And it is the “other” category that is doing the heavy lifting for legal sports betting operators.

It began with UFC 249, an event that was relocated three times but ultimately went off seemingly without a hitch on May 9 in front of an empty VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in JacksonvilleFlorida.

Since then, NASCAR returned to the racetrack, Korean baseball has picked up steam, golf was back on the links, and Bundesliga soccer hit the pitch once again. These were among the sports you can still bet on.

All told, this past weekend was easily the busiest and most promising for bookmakers across the nation since the coronavirus pandemic brought the sports world to a grinding halt in mid-March.

Notably, the Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina (run in front of zero fans) attracted betting interest akin to the Daytona 500 at some books.

Not to be overlooked, the TaylorMade Driving Relief Match, a for-charity golf event pitting Rory McIlory and Dustin Johnson against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff, resulted in double the wagers of a typical PGA Tour event at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Similar spiked interest was enjoyed by most of the heavy-hitters in the legal sports betting landscape.

At BetRivers, for example, UFC 249 — the landmark event — was especially notable.

“We received more betting action on UFC 249 than we have for any regular season NFL game,” said Mattias Stetz, COO of Rush Street Interactive, which operates BetRivers. “It was even 33% more popular than Conor McGregor’s return to UFC this past January. The bettors are delighted to see the UFC again.”

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Las Vegas Casinos Detail Reopening Dates And Safety Plans

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Las Vegas casinos and non-essential businesses were ordered to close in March to help slow the spread of coronavirus. We can’t say with 100% certainty when Las Vegas casinos will reopen but we have an idea of dates and how they’ll approach opening for guests once again.

The largest casino operators in Las Vegas recently shared plans on how the properties will reopen. Many of these casino operators have also released health and safety plans to provide specific details on how the companies plan to protect guests.

Las Vegas casino openings

Las Vegas casinos were ordered closed in the middle of March by Gov. Steve Sisolak to help slow the spread of coronavirus. The entire state is slowly allowing businesses to reopen. Phase 1 of the “Roadmap to Recovery For Nevada” is currently underway.

Reopening casinos is not part of the first phase of the reopening of Nevada. In fact, the Governor won’t give details on when casinos will reopen. The Nevada Gaming Control Board will announce the dates Las Vegas casinos can reopen. Once a date is announced it will be up to the casino operator to reopen.

Las Vegas casinos keep moving the goal post to take reservations again based on dates they’ve been told already. The casinos with open reservations are just trying to prepare for reopening. There’s nothing set in stone just yet. Every casino operator is taking a different approach to opening.

Here are the current estimated opening dates for some Las Vegas casinos:

  • Caesars Entertainment – May 22
  • Cosmopolitan – June 4
  • MGM Resorts – June 1
  • The Orleans (select Boyd Gaming properties) – June 1
  • Station Casinos – June 1
  • Treasure Island – May 22
  • The Venetian – June 1
  • Wynn Las Vegas – May 26

Remember, these dates are all subject to change.

Slowly reopening Las Vegas casinos

Las Vegas casinos won’t look the same when they reopen. Everything at the casinos — including the properties themselves — will open in phases. The Nevada Gaming Control Board approved that measure last week along with a slew of health and safety requirements for reopening casinos.

The gaming floor will only allow for up to 50% occupancy when casinos reopen. There will be fewer guests allowed in the most popular casinos than usual. This is just a maximum occupancy requirement. A casino can choose to allow fewer guests if they wish.

The NGCB recommends casinos either turn off or remove chairs from every other video poker and slot machine. Table games will also have a limited number of seats available for players.

  • Blackjack: Three (3) players per table
  • Craps: Six (6) players per table
  • Roulette: Four (4) players per table

All games played on a blackjack-sized table like 3 card poker should have the same number of seats available. Poker tables will only be allowed to have four players per table. It’s unclear which poker rooms will reopen alongside the rest of the casinos.

Las Vegas casinos will reopen a limited number of restaurants and bars at first and add more as demand warrants. Entertainment will also be slow to return to Las Vegas casinos. During MGM Resorts’ recent earnings call, the acting CEO Bill Hornbuckle mentioned that he can see smaller shows like Carrot Top returning before large events at T-Mobile Arena.

The gaming control board is also dictating a couple of popular amenities won’t return to Las Vegas casinos reopen. Dayclubs (and pool parties) along with nightclubs will remain closed as casinos open for business.

Phased property openings for Las Vegas casino companies

Just about every Las Vegas casino will reopen in phases. Larger companies will reopen with just a few properties. Each property will offer different amenities and services depending on demand.

The two big operators on the Vegas Strip will approach reopening similarly. Both MGM Resorts and Caesars will only open two casinos to start. Coincidentally or not, each company will open its most iconic property along with a less expensive property. Representatives for both companies also say they can open up to four properties quickly if there’s enough demand.

MGM Resorts will open Bellagio to compete with other luxury properties like Wynn and The Venetian. The company will also open New York-New York to more budget-conscious travelers.

Caesars will open Caesars Palace and a “value property” on the east side of the Vegas Strip. There are rumors that the “value property” will be Flamingo but that hasn’t been confirmed by Caesars Entertainment yet.

The Venetian, Wynn Las Vegas, and other individually operated casinos will reopen with limited hotel room capacity.

Phased reopening for off-Strip properties

The large casino corporations off the Vegas Strip are also taking a phased opening approach for their properties.

Boyd Gaming representatives say the company will only open it’s Las Vegas locals casinos as soon as they’re allowed:

  • Aliante
  • Cannery
  • Eastside Cannery
  • Gold Coast
  • The Orleans
  • Sam’s Town
  • Suncoast

Boyd Gaming representatives said it will open each property with limited restaurants and bars. The company hasn’t released details on specific venue openings for each property but it’s possible that some casinos could open without hotels at first.

Boyd is not expected to open its downtown Las Vegas properties right away. The company will take a wait and see approach for opening The California, Main Street Station, and Fremont Hotel and Casino. These three casinos depend more on tourists traveling to Las Vegas than locals who just want to visit the closest casino.

Station Casinos is also taking a phased opening approach. While most of the company’s high-end properties will reopen right away, Palms will remain closed. Station Casinos will re-open only the following properties in its first phase of reopening.

  • Boulder Station
  • Green Valley Ranch
  • Palace Station
  • Red Rock Casino
  • Santa Fe Station
  • Sunset Station

Smaller casino operators off the Vegas Strip are waiting on the go-ahead to reopen before revealing any specifics. For example, the future of Rampart Casino in Summerlin is in doubt as the property recently laid off most of its employees. However, the company hasn’t said if they will or won’t reopen.

Las Vegas casino health and safety plans

The Nevada Gaming Control Board approved minimum requirements for casinos reopening. Many of the individual plans from casino operators are similar and adhere to the recommendations made by the board.

All casinos will increase how often they clean gaming machines and table game areas. In addition to limiting the number of people in each part of the gaming floor casinos will have hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes for guests to use.

Every part of the table games will be cleaned regularly including tables, chairs, rails, chips, cards, dice, and tiles for Pai Gow. The pits themselves will also be cleaned more often. Casino employees will all be taught best practices in social distancing and cleaning. All casino staff will wear masks. Most casinos will recommend that guests also wear masks.

Here are specific health and safety plans to peruse before visiting your favorite Las Vegas casino:

When casinos reopen they should be cleaner and more streamlined than ever before. MGM Resorts, for example, is offering touchless check-in for its hotels. Guests can check into their rooms via a mobile device. The same device can be used as a key. This has been available for a while but will be promoted more as social distancing and touching fewer objects is more important than ever for many customers.



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Las Vegas’ Innovative Drive-thru Sportsbooks Let Bettors Sign Up And Deposit

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Las Vegas drive-throughs have long been embodied by a burger the East Coasters lust over or weddings for lusty couples.

Now they’re a means for Nevada sportsbooks like Circa Sports, South Point and William Hill to infuse business into retail shops darkened by casino shutdowns forced by the COVID-19 pandemic and hindered by archaic regulations.

And maybe, Circa Sports Operations Manager Jeff Benson hopes, the ‘valet’ service sprouting in Las Vegas will provide an impetus for the United States’ former lone bastion of legal sports betting to modernize — two years after the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act enabled the enterprise nationally.

While states such as Colorado, where Circa will soon launch its first extra-Nevada operation, Indiana, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, allow for online registration, Nevada requires it be conducted in-person at retail sportsbooks. With those shops shuttered, curbside service was born at a small collection of sportsbooks last week. Benson would like to see them become an obsolete innovation with Nevada joining the full digital domain.

“Given the technological advances of the modern-day times we’re living in, it certainly, makes sense that we go that route,” Benson told PlayUSA. “And I think, obviously the coronavirus situation has certainly maybe accelerated that, given the fact that there’s regulations and social distancing guidelines and all that kind of stuff in terms of being around other people and being in casinos.

“So, I think that will certainly spearhead some of these legislators or operating groups working together to come to an agreement of some sort similar to what has taken place, in New Jersey or Colorado, given how successful they have been with it. I can’t imagine that that would be something put in place by the end of the year, but here in the next couple of years, I think it really forces the gaming control board to take a hard look at it and see if there’s any improvements they can make on the process, given how well it’s gone in other jurisdictions.”

Thank you, please pull forward …

Business has been encouraging at Circa, Benson said, with 120 registrations and “well over six figures in deposits” in the first three days of implementation preceding the UFC 249 card last weekend. Circa opened its curbside service on May 7.

A William Hill spokesperson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal business was “steady at all five locations” preceding the bout, also, and the company is considering expanding service in the future, according to a spokesperson.

Lines were longer and slower at South Point, according to anecdotal reports on social media.

“We’ve done similar things in the sense that we’ve done special events or valet locations for Super Bowl betting stations, things like that,” Benson said. “So in that sort of sense, it gave us a little bit of a blueprint. For us, we just tried to focus on the speed and efficiency of the operation, making sure we had enough people, just making sure we were organized, and doing things that cut down the wait time for our guests.”

Benson estimated customers have usually been accommodated within 10 minutes, constituting a “big win for us in terms of maybe some of the logistical challenges given that the casino’s not open and we don’t currently don’t have a cage.”

And therefore, no cash. Amid an odd scene of facemasks and gloves and drive-through betting, an unexpected snag came in the form of making change.

“So if somebody did come up and they wanted to deposit $340, for example, and they only had $400, we didn’t have the ability to obviously make $60 worth of change,” Benson explained. “So, for us, it was quickly something where we were telling people, ‘exact deposits only’, things of that nature.”

And then there was the matter of older uncashed tickets.

“We provided that flexibility just by depositing that entire amount into their account or making them an account and then obviously deposit the entirety of those winnings or refunds from those physical tickets into the account,” Benson said, “given that we weren’t able for security and compliance reasons, able to take cash from the casino to the curb.”

What can patrons do at a curbside Las Vegas sportsbook?

Customers have three services available at Circa’s curbside:

  • Registration and funding.
  • Funding of existing accounts.
  • Registration for other events such as its Circa Sports Million II or Circa Survivor contests.

(Services are similar at the William Hill and South Point).

“That has certainly been very, very helpful,” Benson said. “The reason that we’re doing the drive-through functionality is two-fold. First is because it allows new users to sign up and deposit, whereas with this remote fund funding, people who have never signed up for our app don’t have that luxury.

“And then the other thing is, Play+ functionality does come, in terms of the deposits, with a 3% service fee that is passed along to the consumer. And if you’re doing it, obviously curbside, there is no fee because it’s basically similar to if you were coming into the casino and depositing at the counter.

According to press releases, Circa’s curb will be open for business from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST daily. South Point’s location will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST. William Hill opened five locations for limited service preceding UFC 249.

“Ahead of the largest sporting events of the month, we wanted a safe way to meet the current demand from our customers,” CEO Joe Asher said in a press release.

William Hill offered a $65 bonus for bets for new and existing mobile customers.

How this Las Vegas sportsbook project came together

Benson said his company’s valet service at Golden Gate Hotel & Casino on Fremont Street was enacted quickly from its germ as an idea he discussed with sportsbook director Matt Melcalf. They saw it formalized in three days by a compliance team and pitched to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Circa has kept its risk room and mobile app operating during the shutdown mandated by Gov. Steve Sisolak while numerous others have gone dormant in the state. Circa’s launched was enabled by a new online payment system it brought online last month.

Bet MGM, Caesars, Circa and William Hill are the online sportsbooks currently operating.

“I kind of touched on the idea of doing curbside services once. A lot of these other restaurants started to do it, and I’ve seen how successful they were with it,” Benson said. “Then, obviously, there were a couple of other places, William Hill and South Point, who did curbside services as well.

“So, for us, it was just a combination of our management team coming up with this idea and giving our patrons another funding mechanism – especially new patrons given that there’s no remote registration here in Nevada. … It’s just something that given some of the antiquated sports betting laws here in the state and that remote registration isn’t possible.”



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Las Vegas’ Innovative Drive-thru Sportsbooks Let Bettors Sign Up And Deposit

[ad_1]

Las Vegas drive-throughs have long been embodied by a burger the East Coasters lust over or weddings for lusty couples.

Now they’re a means for Nevada sportsbooks like Circa Sports, South Point and William Hill to infuse business into retail shops darkened by casino shutdowns forced by the COVID-19 pandemic and hindered by archaic regulations.

And maybe, Circa Sports Operations Manager Jeff Benson hopes, the ‘valet’ service sprouting in Las Vegas will provide an impetus for the United States’ former lone bastion of legal sports betting to modernize — two years after the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act enabled the enterprise nationally.

While states such as Colorado, where Circa will soon launch its first extra-Nevada operation, Indiana, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, allow for online registration, Nevada requires it be conducted in-person at retail sportsbooks. With those shops shuttered, curbside service was born at a small collection of sportsbooks last week. Benson would like to see them become an obsolete innovation with Nevada joining the full digital domain.

“Given the technological advances of the modern-day times we’re living in, it certainly, makes sense that we go that route,” Benson told PlayUSA. “And I think, obviously the coronavirus situation has certainly maybe accelerated that, given the fact that there’s regulations and social distancing guidelines and all that kind of stuff in terms of being around other people and being in casinos.

“So, I think that will certainly spearhead some of these legislators or operating groups working together to come to an agreement of some sort similar to what has taken place, in New Jersey or Colorado, given how successful they have been with it. I can’t imagine that that would be something put in place by the end of the year, but here in the next couple of years, I think it really forces the gaming control board to take a hard look at it and see if there’s any improvements they can make on the process, given how well it’s gone in other jurisdictions.”

Thank you, please pull forward …

Business has been encouraging at Circa, Benson said, with 120 registrations and “well over six figures in deposits” in the first three days of implementation preceding the UFC 249 card last weekend. Circa opened its curbside service on May 7.

A William Hill spokesperson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal business was “steady at all five locations” preceding the bout, also, and the company is considering expanding service in the future, according to a spokesperson.

Lines were longer and slower at South Point, according to anecdotal reports on social media.

“We’ve done similar things in the sense that we’ve done special events or valet locations for Super Bowl betting stations, things like that,” Benson said. “So in that sort of sense, it gave us a little bit of a blueprint. For us, we just tried to focus on the speed and efficiency of the operation, making sure we had enough people, just making sure we were organized, and doing things that cut down the wait time for our guests.”

Benson estimated customers have usually been accommodated within 10 minutes, constituting a “big win for us in terms of maybe some of the logistical challenges given that the casino’s not open and we don’t currently don’t have a cage.”

And therefore, no cash. Amid an odd scene of facemasks and gloves and drive-through betting, an unexpected snag came in the form of making change.

“So if somebody did come up and they wanted to deposit $340, for example, and they only had $400, we didn’t have the ability to obviously make $60 worth of change,” Benson explained. “So, for us, it was quickly something where we were telling people, ‘exact deposits only’, things of that nature.”

And then there was the matter of older uncashed tickets.

“We provided that flexibility just by depositing that entire amount into their account or making them an account and then obviously deposit the entirety of those winnings or refunds from those physical tickets into the account,” Benson said, “given that we weren’t able for security and compliance reasons, able to take cash from the casino to the curb.”

What can patrons do at a curbside Las Vegas sportsbook?

Customers have three services available at Circa’s curbside:

  • Registration and funding.
  • Funding of existing accounts.
  • Registration for other events such as its Circa Sports Million II or Circa Survivor contests.

(Services are similar at the William Hill and South Point).

“That has certainly been very, very helpful,” Benson said. “The reason that we’re doing the drive-through functionality is two-fold. First is because it allows new users to sign up and deposit, whereas with this remote fund funding, people who have never signed up for our app don’t have that luxury.

“And then the other thing is, Play+ functionality does come, in terms of the deposits, with a 3% service fee that is passed along to the consumer. And if you’re doing it, obviously curbside, there is no fee because it’s basically similar to if you were coming into the casino and depositing at the counter.

According to press releases, Circa’s curb will be open for business from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST daily. South Point’s location will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST. William Hill opened five locations for limited service preceding UFC 249.

“Ahead of the largest sporting events of the month, we wanted a safe way to meet the current demand from our customers,” CEO Joe Asher said in a press release.

William Hill offered a $65 bonus for bets for new and existing mobile customers.

How this Las Vegas sportsbook project came together

Benson said his company’s valet service at Golden Gate Hotel & Casino on Fremont Street was enacted quickly from its germ as an idea he discussed with sportsbook director Matt Melcalf. They saw it formalized in three days by a compliance team and pitched to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Circa has kept its risk room and mobile app operating during the shutdown mandated by Gov. Steve Sisolak while numerous others have gone dormant in the state. Circa’s launched was enabled by a new online payment system it brought online last month.

Bet MGM, Caesars, Circa and William Hill are the online sportsbooks currently operating.

“I kind of touched on the idea of doing curbside services once. A lot of these other restaurants started to do it, and I’ve seen how successful they were with it,” Benson said. “Then, obviously, there were a couple of other places, William Hill and South Point, who did curbside services as well.

“So, for us, it was just a combination of our management team coming up with this idea and giving our patrons another funding mechanism – especially new patrons given that there’s no remote registration here in Nevada. … It’s just something that given some of the antiquated sports betting laws here in the state and that remote registration isn’t possible.”



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A Look Back On How US Sports Betting Became Legal, Two Years Later

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Editor’s note: The federal ban on sports betting in the United States was struck down on May 14, 2018. This is a look back at how that day arrived in the US from a member of the sports betting industry.

Over the lifetime of the American republic, the Supreme Court of the United States, the court of last resort, has issued landmark rulings that have altered the course of US history.

The court makes fewer than 100 decisions every year that have sweeping effects on American life. Over generations, the court’s decisions have changed race relations for the better, empowered women, given the press freedom to operate, guaranteed a person’s right to expression, or reiterated that the president is not above the law.

So on a bright December morning in 2017, as I trotted up the steps of the Supreme Court, I couldn’t help but cast a wry smile as a herd of people I’d got to know over the previous three years joined me in line.

Sports betting gets its day in court

As we waited patiently to hear the verdict that was to change the sports and betting industries forever a familiar member of sports betting panelists anonymous called out to me “Hey Chris, where’s your tie…this is the Supreme Court of the United States of America you know…show some respect.”

His words of encouragement epitomized the welcome that I had received from fellow “industry stakeholders” when I started work at Betgenius back in late summer 2014. Back then, he agreed to meet me at his lavish law office on K Street and, as I sipped my bottled water, he chided “Why are you here? You guys must be seriously deluded if you think sports betting will be made legal here in the US. You ever heard of Sheldon Adelson?”

As I left the building, I recalled how Churchill once said that lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.

As the gates opened, we filed past the Corinthian columns through the Great Hall before taking a seat at the back of the courtroom. I remember looking around and seeing faces that had become familiar to me drawn from the sports leagues, the casinos, daily
fantasy sports, the American Gaming Association, New Jersey regulators, DC insiders as NCAA vs. Christie was about to play out the final act in front the nine Supreme Court justices.

The sports betting case: against the odds

For most of us, the stage had been set back in October 2017, when seemingly out of nowhere and against the Solicitor General’s recommendations, SCOTUS had granted New Jersey’s petition to hear the case – an act rarely taken by the Supreme Court.

The crux of the petition hinged upon whether the now 1992 federal law called the Professional and Amatuer Sports Protection Act (PASPA) — which had effectively outlawed sports betting in the US outside of Nevada — was unconstitutional.

So after a select number of attorneys were sworn into the Supreme Court Bar, the state of New Jersey’s attorney, Ted Olson, eventually stepped up to the plate to argue that PASPA violated the Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution, which reserves to the states all rights not explicitly granted to the federal government such as gambling regulation.

Not being member of the legal profession myself, I watched the body language of the justices and line of questioning for any
signs as to how the court my rule on this and reflected on three years of my working life that led up to this moment.

Living with a federal ban

Up until that point the US leagues held the view that it was unlikely that PASPA would ever be overturned, a move that would that could clear the way for legalized sports betting in the United States.

Those were heady days when the UK and European operators, armed with colorful presentations, welcomed these visiting ambassadors with open arms. I will never forget the buttoned-up league representatives jaws drop as they watched a bet placed on their sport from a phone in the pub.

That said, in private the UK operators still remained skeptical that the US would ever be open for business and that the AGA’s estimated $150 billion black market was fantastical. Oftentimes we would be a lone voice in the UK industry telling the operators that “there be gold in that them thar hills” in the hopes that cynicism, that is often a trademark British trait, might begin to lift.

The cynicism extended to my work colleagues in the London who frequently asked “what does that bloke do” whilst jabbing a finger in my direction before muttering “oh he’s getting sports betting legalized in the US.”

Ready for a change

Caution prevailed as the leagues went quietly about their business to minimize any unwanted scrutiny from the US sports media in the run-up to the hearing. The leagues immersed themselves in a crash course in sports betting and trans-Atlantic fact-finding missions to gain a better understanding how the lucrative relationship between the teams and leagues and the sports betting industry functioned.

Equally on the other side of the pond, there were concerns that US sports might been seen to be acting in a hypocritical manner given their historic public opposition to sports wagering.

This initial phase of irrational exuberance or “shuttle diplomacy” was not unlike how countries often seek to strengthen political ties by building up trade deals. In the run-up to the December 2017 oral arguments, both the leagues and the operators amicably discussed areas of mutual commercial interest (such as lucrative sponsorship deals) while both sides agreed upon the rigorous enforcement of sports integrity measures.

The ban falls

However, on May 14, 2018, everything changed. The Supreme Court struck down PASPA as unconstitutional and the value of companies behind sportsbooks, casinos and daily fantasy sports soared within seconds of the verdict being handed down. The largest sports betting market in the world was now open for business and the gold rush had begun.

Today, we live in a very different world and both sports and betting face a hard six months to get back on track.

The next round in the sports betting battle has only just begun, and as we reflect on a transformational two years, the stakes are now higher than ever.

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When Gambling Hot Spots Reopen Casinos, How Will Things Look Different?

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It’s been a hellish two months for the land-based gaming industry following wide-spread casino closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Though online casinos seem to be picking up some of the slack, people are out of work, state and local economies are holding on by their fingertips, and people are left wondering when and if things will ever return to normal.

In states like Nevada, where the gambling and entertainment industry are pillars of economic security and held together by travel, the situation is a bit more complex. The numbers speak for themselves: 219 casinos closed and over 206,000 gaming workers jobless.

Other areas of the US, where the gambling industry also provides necessary capital needed to fund state budgets, are also searching for answers. Lawmakers, health officials, and gaming executives are scrambling to figure out how and when doors can reopen safely.

As consumers of entertainment, and those employed by it, we must trust that our questions will be answered. When will Vegas casino doors open? Will all casinos around the country have similar guidelines? These types of specifics are still being sorted out across the US but a picture is beginning to take shape as to when and how things might look.

When will Las Vegas casinos reopen?

Many properties including some on the Las Vegas strip are considering Memorial Day as a (very) tentative reopening date. MGM Resorts International said it plans to reopen in early June. However, nothing is set in stone, given the approval process.

First, each property must create a plan to ensure safety for customers and employees. Casinos must implement new guidelines adopted by the Nevada Gaming Commission into their plans, which among them include half the occupancy and frequent cleaning of surfaces and gaming devices.

Joe Bertolone, executive director of the UNLV International Center for Gaming Regulation, expect Las Vegas to open at a slower pace than other gaming markets.

“Clearly, the association with air travel in Las Vegas and other integrated resort markets like Singapore and Macau that have transportation as a key component to their gaming offerings, they are just going to open more slowly than other markets,” Bertolone said in an interview.

Caesars Entertainment Chief Executive Officer Tony Rodio echoed this statement during the companies quarterly earnings call.

“I think we’re all in agreement that we think regional markets are going to bounce back quicker because of the lack of needing to fly,” Rodio said. “When the governor in Las Vegas announced the move toward Phase 1 and the Raiders schedule came out, we actually had a pretty significant bump in reservations booked for the fourth quarter of this year.”

Right now there is no exact date or time when Las Vegas casinos will reopen.

Nevada operating and safety protocols

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) released both operating guidelines and health and safety policies that casino properties must follow prior to reopening. The policy memorandum specifically states a “plan must be submitted at least seven days before reopening occurs or as soon as reasonably possible thereafter.”

A few of the operational policies include:

  • A schedule for the replenishment of funds, including cash, chips, and tokens in all areas of casino accountability.
  • Licensees must take measures to pay receipts and wagers that may have expired during temporary closures.
  • Club venues will be allowed to reopen in compliance with any directive issued by the Governor’s office.
  • Licensees must comply with all prescribed local, state, and federal COVID-19 health requirements.

A complete list of all operating guidelines can be viewed here.

NV Governor Steve Sisolak issued policies and procedures to notify gaming operators of new operational requirements to “mitigate and reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19 for all employees, patrons, and other guests.” According to the release, these constitute the “minimum” requirements that should be followed and does not stop operators from implementing their own additional requirements.

Here are a few, but not all, of the new safety and health policies:

  • Occupancy will be limited to no more than 50% in each gaming area.
  • All reopening plans must include how disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer will be available to everyone.
  • Floor plans for slot machines must meet social distancing requirements.
  • Table games maximums: only three players per blackjack table, six players per craps table, four players per roulette table, and four players per poker table.
  • Extensive cleaning of all items including, dice, chairs, chips, and numerous other items when a new player or employee comes in contact with any item.

A complete list of all health and safety guidelines can be viewed here.

Bertolone said one of the important takeaways from the new guidelines is their ability to change.

“The thing that stands out the most is the recognition by regulators that this is a dynamic and fluid situation. While today there might be these standards, tomorrow they may change. Regulators are putting plans in place that allow for change,” he said.

Health and safety protocols are determined by local and state health officials, not the gaming board.

A new look at the casino experience

All of these new rules — which will likely become universal, give or take — bring us to how the whole casino experience will initially change for gamblers. At least, in the beginning, gone will be the dozen people hovering around a craps table rooting for someone on a hot streak. No longer will there be 10-12 high rollers sitting at a poker table stacking chips to look like city skylines. There won’t be groups of friends playing slot machines side by side or lines forming to enter new night clubs and eateries.

Based on the guidelines released by the NGCB, noise levels will be reduced by the lack of customers, spacing will be mandatory, and sanitation best practices will be heavily enforced.

George Rover, managing partner at Princeton Global Strategies and former deputy director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, anticipates similar policies around the US.

“All properties must comply with whatever executive order is handed down by their governor,” Rover said in an interview. “I can see maybe two out of every three slot machines closed or only three people at a blackjack table.”

Many of the policies in states like Nevada and Louisiana have mirrored Rover’s assessment. Expanding upon his comments, Rover said one thing that may cause a hold up in properties reopening is physical space.

“Some will be limited by their physical architecture,” he said. “They are all on equal footing but depending on their layout, some may be on better positioned when it comes to adopting what the executive order requires.”

Regional regulators weigh in

Experts may be focused on Las Vegas, but when reopening casinos begins, it will begin in the South. As first reported by Bloomberg, Louisiana casinos are set to begin reopening May 18, subject to approval by state-police.

“It will be a slow start and a conservative approach,” said Ronnie Jones, chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB). “I think what will be proposed here will mirror Nevada and is pretty much what was proposed in Mississippi.”

According to plans released by LA Gov. John Bel Edwards, which can be viewed here, guidelines in Louisiana do in fact mirror some of the policies implemented in Nevada with a few exceptions.

Some but not all of the LA guidelines include:

  • Gaming positions will be reduced to 25%
  • Casino capacity will be reduced to 25%
  • Customers will be offered masks and be encouraged to wear them on the gaming floor
  • Temperatures will be taken by gaming employees

Fielding a workforce

Another potential issue is rallying employees to come back to work. According to a first-hand account written by Jones in Fantini’s Public Policy Review, he notes how severe Louisiana was hit by the pandemic.

“On a per capita population basis, Louisiana ranks 3rd behind New York and New Jersey in the number of infections and the number of deaths. In fact, one parish actually has the highest per capita death rate in the country, even higher than New York. Of the 25 counties throughout the country with the highest per capita death rate, ten are Louisiana parishes.”

In an interview, Jones said he continues to speak with general managers throughout the crisis and some a fearful even if they wanted to get to 100 percent, they don’t think they could.

“I’ve been speaking with general managers and a few are nervous their employees won’t be coming back to work,” he said. “They are either concerned for their own health or they are getting more from unemployment.”

Expected outlook on the casino industry

As with the reopening of any industry, policies and procedures will change. But according to Bertolone, “it’s too early to tell what will be the new norm.”

“Consumers are smart. Gambling is a very practical industry and without safety, the industry won’t recover,” he said. “The basic feelings of safety and cleanliness will be revisited whether you own a casino or a restaurant.”

Rodio said the company continues to work closely with regulators, and government and tribal officials to ensure operations upon reopening follow their directives.

“We will ensure that our operations are in compliance with applicable government directives and tribal mandates,” Rodio said. “While we don’t know the duration or the severity of the economic downturn — we recognize that recovery will take time.”

For now, the best the gambling industry or any industry affected by the pandemic can do is wait. In the grand scheme of things, two months is better than two years.

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Horse Racing Bets Supplementing Minimal Sports Betting Options

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Welcome to another week of quarantine. Potentially, though, it won’t last much longer.

States across the country have started reopening select businesses and easing isolation restrictions as they pertain to the coronavirus pandemic. They have developed policies and guidelines for the public and industries to follow in order to resume operations.

In due time, it appears, casinos will reopen their doors after being closed, for the most part, since March.

Along those lines, major sports are reportedly close to returning. As such, legalized sports betting across the country could pick back up. For now, though, we continue to wait. Hopefully, not for much longer.

On to the Rewind:

Sports betting down, horse betting up in US

As spring turns to summer, any other year, we’d be coming out of one of the busiest times of the sports calendar, what with March Madness and playoff pushes in the NBA and NHL, not to mention the start of MLB and the Masters.

Of course, as it has been well-publicized, the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the suspension and cancellation of major sports schedules and events, starting March 11. Notably, the NCAA tournament was scratched, which certainly hurt the wallets of bookmakers.

So it should come as no surprise that a virtually sports-less March included sports betting handle in the US plummeting by 65% as it relates to the previous month and reflects a year-over-year decline of 45%. Similarly, overall revenue dropped nearly 60% month to month.

Nevada took the brunt among states with legalized wagering, as its handle and revenue from February to March nose-dived by 71.1% and 96.2%, respectively. For the Silver State, the lack of March Madness delivered a blow, as basketball in March 2019 accounted for 83% of Nevada’s handle.

That said, it appears bettors may have found another outlet: horse betting.

In April, while year-over-year handle dropped 24.4%, horse racing attracted more than $639 million in wagers last month. Consider, though, that many tracks across the country remain closed and just 746 races took place — a 71.4% drop.

Most notably, the average race day boasted a whopping $7.5 million in handle. Compared with April 2019, that’s a 176.5% spike.

Michigan casinos closed until vaccine developed?

Since March 22, casinos in Michigan have been shuttered due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Some tribes have targeted reopening as early as this month. That’s not the case in Detroit, where properties might not open back up until a coronavirus vaccine is introduced.

As told to The Detroit News, city Mayor Mike Duggan noted that while reported COVID-19 cases and deaths in the state have declined, “[w]here we are today is where we’re going to be in September and is likely to be where we are in January.”

Duggan added that the virus will continue to exist until a vaccine is developed.

That said, Duggan related a potential world in which casinos potentially operated “at 25%-30% capacity” until a vaccine is introduced. He continued, saying he wouldn’t push for anything “before it’s medically safe” and that casinos might not welcome customers for a “few months.”

Closed casinos certainly hurt Detroit, which pocketed adjusted gross receipts of $1.45 billion from casinos in 2019, resulting in more than $184 million for the city.

Louisiana sports betting bills come to light

While sports remain sidelined, lawmakers in Louisiana have introduced three bills to potentially land legalizing sports betting on the ballot and in the hands of the public.

Sen. Cameron Henry, as he told Legal Sports Report, expects the Senate to vote on his bill in short order.

That bill, S 130, simply requests the legalization of the industry to hit the November ballot. This strategy provides Louisiana legislators to take a step forward toward potentially regulating sports betting by gauging the interest of state residents.

It also gives lawmakers ample time to develop regulations, as Henry said, ones that “we’ll have months to work on rather than days or weeks.”

But it won’t be a statewide legalization. Individual parishes decided to approve sports betting via referendum. As an example, 47 of 64 parishes green-lit daily fantasy sports.

To reach the ballot, legislators must pass a referendum bill by June 1. If approved by voters, Louisiana then implements language for a bill in 2021. Finally, a revenue bill with tax rates and fees must pass the legislature by a two-thirds supermajority and receive governor approval.

The other two proposed bills also aim to get in front of voters and include regulatory language for legal sports betting at 15 riverboat casinosone land-based casinos in New Orleans and four racetracks. Both proposals limit online wagering to casino properties.

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Horse Racing Bets Supplementing Minimal Sports Betting Options

[ad_1]

Welcome to another week of quarantine. Potentially, though, it won’t last much longer.

States across the country have started reopening select businesses and easing isolation restrictions as they pertain to the coronavirus pandemic. They have developed policies and guidelines for the public and industries to follow in order to resume operations.

In due time, it appears, casinos will reopen their doors after being closed, for the most part, since March.

Along those lines, major sports are reportedly close to returning. As such, legalized sports betting across the country could pick back up. For now, though, we continue to wait. Hopefully, not for much longer.

On to the Rewind:

Sports betting down, horse betting up in US

As spring turns to summer, any other year, we’d be coming out of one of the busiest times of the sports calendar, what with March Madness and playoff pushes in the NBA and NHL, not to mention the start of MLB and the Masters.

Of course, as it has been well-publicized, the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the suspension and cancellation of major sports schedules and events, starting March 11. Notably, the NCAA tournament was scratched, which certainly hurt the wallets of bookmakers.

So it should come as no surprise that a virtually sports-less March included sports betting handle in the US plummeting by 65% as it relates to the previous month and reflects a year-over-year decline of 45%. Similarly, overall revenue dropped nearly 60% month to month.

Nevada took the brunt among states with legalized wagering, as its handle and revenue from February to March nose-dived by 71.1% and 96.2%, respectively. For the Silver State, the lack of March Madness delivered a blow, as basketball in March 2019 accounted for 83% of Nevada’s handle.

That said, it appears bettors may have found another outlet: horse betting.

In April, while year-over-year handle dropped 24.4%, horse racing attracted more than $639 million in wagers last month. Consider, though, that many tracks across the country remain closed and just 746 races took place — a 71.4% drop.

Most notably, the average race day boasted a whopping $7.5 million in handle. Compared with April 2019, that’s a 176.5% spike.

Michigan casinos closed until vaccine developed?

Since March 22, casinos in Michigan have been shuttered due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Some tribes have targeted reopening as early as this month. That’s not the case in Detroit, where properties might not open back up until a coronavirus vaccine is introduced.

As told to The Detroit News, city Mayor Mike Duggan noted that while reported COVID-19 cases and deaths in the state have declined, “[w]here we are today is where we’re going to be in September and is likely to be where we are in January.”

Duggan added that the virus will continue to exist until a vaccine is developed.

That said, Duggan related a potential world in which casinos potentially operated “at 25%-30% capacity” until a vaccine is introduced. He continued, saying he wouldn’t push for anything “before it’s medically safe” and that casinos might not welcome customers for a “few months.”

Closed casinos certainly hurt Detroit, which pocketed adjusted gross receipts of $1.45 billion from casinos in 2019, resulting in more than $184 million for the city.

Louisiana sports betting bills come to light

While sports remain sidelined, lawmakers in Louisiana have introduced three bills to potentially land legalizing sports betting on the ballot and in the hands of the public.

Sen. Cameron Henry, as he told Legal Sports Report, expects the Senate to vote on his bill in short order.

That bill, S 130, simply requests the legalization of the industry to hit the November ballot. This strategy provides Louisiana legislators to take a step forward toward potentially regulating sports betting by gauging the interest of state residents.

It also gives lawmakers ample time to develop regulations, as Henry said, ones that “we’ll have months to work on rather than days or weeks.”

But it won’t be a statewide legalization. Individual parishes decided to approve sports betting via referendum. As an example, 47 of 64 parishes green-lit daily fantasy sports.

To reach the ballot, legislators must pass a referendum bill by June 1. If approved by voters, Louisiana then implements language for a bill in 2021. Finally, a revenue bill with tax rates and fees must pass the legislature by a two-thirds supermajority and receive governor approval.

The other two proposed bills also aim to get in front of voters and include regulatory language for legal sports betting at 15 riverboat casinosone land-based casinos in New Orleans and four racetracks. Both proposals limit online wagering to casino properties.

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Handle19 Sportsbook Moving Forward With 2020 DC Sports Betting Plans

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The Coronavirus pandemic has affected the gambling industry across the world in many ways. Handle 19 sportsbook, which aims to be the first Class B operator for Washington, DC sports betting, is undeterred. In the current COVID-19 world, their goal remains unchanged.

Handle19 still plans to open a brick-and-mortar location in the District later this year. The brand is looking at expansion as well. A recent development on the other side of the Potomac River plays a large part in such growth.

Handle 19 sportsbook, DC sports betting and the COVID-19 impact

As casinos begin to work on plans to reopen, Handle19 looks at the pandemic situation from a different perspective. Ian G. Thomas, an attorney for Offit Kurman in Washington, D.C., who represents Handle19, shares his perspective.

“While Covid-19 has affected almost every facet of public life, believe it or not, it has had a limited impact on Handle19’s timeline,” Thomas said. “The goal was, and has always been, opening our doors by the start of the NFL season. That remains the same. Of course, the start of the NFL season appears to be a moving target at the moment. Regardless we are targeting a late summer/early fall launch.”

The pandemic has had some impact on Handle19’s opening process. Thomas shares that meetings went “socially distant” and walkthroughs at the future site went the same way. A change in location, favoring a site near Capitol Hill near Nationals Park over the original location in Adams Morgan, happened prior to the pandemic.

Thomas believes the biggest challenge may be making guests feel safe after Handle19 opens. Currently, a stay-at-home order remains in place in the District. While it’s possible that the situation may be different in August, the uncertainty makes planning difficult.

The virus’ potential impact after Handle19’s launch date

A Reuters poll showed only 27% of its respondents plan to visit venues where crowds might gather as soon as governments allow. A full 40% of respondents indicated they wouldn’t do so until a vaccine is available. Another 40% of those people also said they would wait regardless of how long the wait endures.

It’s unclear how many of the respondents live in or regularly travel to the District. It’s also not evident how many of the respondents are potential Handle19 customers. Regardless, that data suggests part of Handle19’s messaging upon opening should be safety.

“I think every business is struggling with these questions of safety in dealing with a virus that we are constantly learning more about and for which much still remains unknown,” Thomas added. “This challenge is made even more difficult by the fact that we are planning for an opening that is set to occur four months from now when circumstances could be entirely different. That said, we are evaluating a whole host of safety protocols and will be developing policies to adhere to the recommendations of the relevant federal and local agencies, including the CDC and the District of Columbia Department of Health. We also plan to closely track what others in the hospitality and retail gaming industry are doing to learn what safety measures are effective at protecting patrons while limiting any adverse effect on the user experience.”

Federal and local restrictions are out of Handle19’s control. Another key component of its business is similarly beyond its direct influence. In order to offer sports wagering, sports must exist. There’s reason for both caution and optimism for Handle19 in that regard.

Live sports are a big part of the equation

In the Steven Spielberg hit film, “Jurassic Park,” the park tour results in several no-shows of the dinosaur attractions. The scene gives birth to one of the most well-known moments of sarcasm in the movie. Dr. Ian Malcom, portrayed by Jeff Goldblum, spins the line perfectly.

“Ah, now, eventually, you do plan to have dinosaurs, on your dinosaur tour, right?”

In the same way, launching Handle19 without a new and shiny NFL season would be a disappointment. The potential upside, however, is that absence could make the heart grow fonder.

When major North American sports do resume/start, the demand for wagering upon those sports could be historic. Handle19 plans to be there whenever the action starts.

“As we have been seeing over the past few days, to a certain extent throughout this crisis, the appetite for sports fans to wager on athletic contests is still there,” Thomas explained. “Whether it was wagering on a Bulgarian Soccer match, table tennis, or more recently, on Korean Baseball, the metrics indicate that the desire to engage in recreational sports gambling is still very much present. It also appears that while North American sports leagues remain in limbo at the moment, European sports, particularly soccer, are slowly starting to return. As such, while delays in the return of U.S. sports leagues may alter the scope of Handle19’s launch, we do not anticipate it altering the timeline to launch.”

North American sports leagues are watching their European counterparts to glean insight. In the same way, Handle19 is casting its view beyond its current focus. The brand isn’t blind to recent events on the other side of the Potomac.

Handle19 eyeing opportunities across the river

Virginia recently became the second state to legalize sports betting within its borders this year. The law there doesn’t allow Handle19 to simply mimic its current Las Vegas-style concept. That doesn’t mean Handle19 can’t see an opportunity in Old Dominion, however. The VA law does allow for up to 12 online-only licenses.

“Handle19 has been monitoring the developments in VA closely and is exploring ways to enter the market in that jurisdiction,” Thomas commented. “While VA is going to be a primarily mobile market, Handle19 has already begun to explore strategic partnerships that would allow it to provide mobile offerings. It is also worth noting that Handle19 is a small minority-owned business that is fairly rare in the gaming space. This is important because the VA law provides a commitment to try to increase the participation of these types of businesses in the sports gambling industry. We believe that fact, combined with the know-how Handle19 has developed in the regional market will uniquely position the company to submit a strong application for a license in VA.”

For the time being, however, the focus is on D.C. The brand continues to work on the same timeline despite the pandemic. What the “new normal” will require is more flexibility and the ability to adapt to changing situations quickly. Handle19 seems to have a great handle on the situation.

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Source link

Handle19 Sportsbook Moving Forward With 2020 DC Sports Betting Plans

[ad_1]

The Coronavirus pandemic has affected the gambling industry across the world in many ways. Handle 19 sportsbook, which aims to be the first Class B operator for Washington, DC sports betting, is undeterred. In the current COVID-19 world, their goal remains unchanged.

Handle19 still plans to open a brick-and-mortar location in the District later this year. The brand is looking at expansion as well. A recent development on the other side of the Potomac River plays a large part in such growth.

Handle 19 sportsbook, DC sports betting and the COVID-19 impact

As casinos begin to work on plans to reopen, Handle19 looks at the pandemic situation from a different perspective. Ian G. Thomas, an attorney for Offit Kurman in Washington, D.C., who represents Handle19, shares his perspective.

“While Covid-19 has affected almost every facet of public life, believe it or not, it has had a limited impact on Handle19’s timeline,” Thomas said. “The goal was, and has always been, opening our doors by the start of the NFL season. That remains the same. Of course, the start of the NFL season appears to be a moving target at the moment. Regardless we are targeting a late summer/early fall launch.”

The pandemic has had some impact on Handle19’s opening process. Thomas shares that meetings went “socially distant” and walkthroughs at the future site went the same way. A change in location, favoring a site near Capitol Hill near Nationals Park over the original location in Adams Morgan, happened prior to the pandemic.

Thomas believes the biggest challenge may be making guests feel safe after Handle19 opens. Currently, a stay-at-home order remains in place in the District. While it’s possible that the situation may be different in August, the uncertainty makes planning difficult.

The virus’ potential impact after Handle19’s launch date

A Reuters poll showed only 27% of its respondents plan to visit venues where crowds might gather as soon as governments allow. A full 40% of respondents indicated they wouldn’t do so until a vaccine is available. Another 40% of those people also said they would wait regardless of how long the wait endures.

It’s unclear how many of the respondents live in or regularly travel to the District. It’s also not evident how many of the respondents are potential Handle19 customers. Regardless, that data suggests part of Handle19’s messaging upon opening should be safety.

“I think every business is struggling with these questions of safety in dealing with a virus that we are constantly learning more about and for which much still remains unknown,” Thomas added. “This challenge is made even more difficult by the fact that we are planning for an opening that is set to occur four months from now when circumstances could be entirely different. That said, we are evaluating a whole host of safety protocols and will be developing policies to adhere to the recommendations of the relevant federal and local agencies, including the CDC and the District of Columbia Department of Health. We also plan to closely track what others in the hospitality and retail gaming industry are doing to learn what safety measures are effective at protecting patrons while limiting any adverse effect on the user experience.”

Federal and local restrictions are out of Handle19’s control. Another key component of its business is similarly beyond its direct influence. In order to offer sports wagering, sports must exist. There’s reason for both caution and optimism for Handle19 in that regard.

Live sports are a big part of the equation

In the Steven Spielberg hit film, “Jurassic Park,” the park tour results in several no-shows of the dinosaur attractions. The scene gives birth to one of the most well-known moments of sarcasm in the movie. Dr. Ian Malcom, portrayed by Jeff Goldblum, spins the line perfectly.

“Ah, now, eventually, you do plan to have dinosaurs, on your dinosaur tour, right?”

In the same way, launching Handle19 without a new and shiny NFL season would be a disappointment. The potential upside, however, is that absence could make the heart grow fonder.

When major North American sports do resume/start, the demand for wagering upon those sports could be historic. Handle19 plans to be there whenever the action starts.

“As we have been seeing over the past few days, to a certain extent throughout this crisis, the appetite for sports fans to wager on athletic contests is still there,” Thomas explained. “Whether it was wagering on a Bulgarian Soccer match, table tennis, or more recently, on Korean Baseball, the metrics indicate that the desire to engage in recreational sports gambling is still very much present. It also appears that while North American sports leagues remain in limbo at the moment, European sports, particularly soccer, are slowly starting to return. As such, while delays in the return of U.S. sports leagues may alter the scope of Handle19’s launch, we do not anticipate it altering the timeline to launch.”

North American sports leagues are watching their European counterparts to glean insight. In the same way, Handle19 is casting its view beyond its current focus. The brand isn’t blind to recent events on the other side of the Potomac.

Handle19 eyeing opportunities across the river

Virginia recently became the second state to legalize sports betting within its borders this year. The law there doesn’t allow Handle19 to simply mimic its current Las Vegas-style concept. That doesn’t mean Handle19 can’t see an opportunity in Old Dominion, however. The VA law does allow for up to 12 online-only licenses.

“Handle19 has been monitoring the developments in VA closely and is exploring ways to enter the market in that jurisdiction,” Thomas commented. “While VA is going to be a primarily mobile market, Handle19 has already begun to explore strategic partnerships that would allow it to provide mobile offerings. It is also worth noting that Handle19 is a small minority-owned business that is fairly rare in the gaming space. This is important because the VA law provides a commitment to try to increase the participation of these types of businesses in the sports gambling industry. We believe that fact, combined with the know-how Handle19 has developed in the regional market will uniquely position the company to submit a strong application for a license in VA.”

For the time being, however, the focus is on D.C. The brand continues to work on the same timeline despite the pandemic. What the “new normal” will require is more flexibility and the ability to adapt to changing situations quickly. Handle19 seems to have a great handle on the situation.

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Big NASCAR Betting Anticipated As Races Return May 17

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NASCAR is set to become one of the first major sports to return after a two-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. Action is set to begin on May 17, with three races at Darlington Raceway followed by two weeks of scheduled events.

As with the return of any major sports, the main goal is to keep competitors safe. In order to do this, league officials have changed up a few things that fans might not notice. However, races will still look the same.

NASCAR schedule for May

Sports bettors eager to place some bets on NASCAR races will be happy to know there will be seven races over an 11-day span beginning Sunday, May 17.

Here is what the schedule looks like thus far.

  • May 17 — Darlington Raceway — Cup Series
  • May 19 — Darlington Raceway — Xfinity Series
  • May 20 — Darlington Raceway — Cup Series
  • May 24 — Charlotte Motor Speedway — Cup Series
  • May 25 — Charlotte Motor Speedway — Xfinity Series
  • May 26 — Charlotte Motor Speedway — Trucks Series
  • May 27 — Charlotte Motor Speedway — Cup Series

New procedures for NASCAR

According to ESPN, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and state health officials, held conversations with NASCAR to determine the best and safest way racing could return.

One of the most noticeable differences with all May races will be the absence of fans.

Some, but not all, of the new procedures include:

  • Teams will be limited to 16 total members, including the driver.
  • Only licensed NASCAR team members will be permitted onto the racetrack and will be required to wear a cloth face mask at all times.
  • Garage work areas will be spread out to comply with social distancing requirements.
  • Pit crew members will use face screens in addition to normal gear.
  • There will be random temperature checks of everyone working in the garage area.
  • Anyone determined to be a potential virus threat will be required to leave and be replaced with another crew member.

NASCAR’s vice president of racing operations John Bobo said drivers and crew members will not receive COVID-19 tests because they are not widely available to the public.

Through a series of tweets, several high profile drivers like Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson, and Brad Keselowski have expressed their excitement for NASCAR’s return.

League officials have said there is a tentative schedule in place for June but anything past the May 17 return is subject to change.



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UFC Events In May Could Be The Injection Sports Betting Needs Right Now

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Dana White doesn’t get his Fight Island. At least not yet. So for now, the empty arena a few blocks from the St. John’s River will suffice for the impresario of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

And for sports bettors eager for something else familiar.

The UFC’s bout is scheduled for Saturday, May 19 at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL, the first of three cards planned for the venue. The premier bout at UFC 249 will be a tussle between Tony Ferguson and replacement Justin Gaethja, who took the fight just two weeks ago because Nurmagomedov hasn’t been able to return to the United States after retreating to Russia when his previous card was canceled.

UFC 249 will mark the re-emergence of major professional sports in North America, preceding a Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson charity golf match and NASCAR’s return on May 17.

Thoroughbred horse racing has continued at a handful of venues, but that sport’s grip on mainstream America’s attention span was tenuous even in what would have been the run-up to a Kentucky Derby that should have been held on May 2.

UFC, while still a niche, is an ardent one and the weekend card marks a return to some semblance of normalcy for fans watching on television, as none will be allowed inside the arena. Bettors are finally presented with something more recognizable than table tennis, far-flung pro soccer leagues or Korean professional baseball.

“As one of the first major sporting events since COVID-19 caused a nationwide cancellation of major US sports leagues, we could not be more excited ahead of this weekend’s UFC 249 fight,” DraftKings Sportsbook Director Johnny Avello told PlayUSA. “Thus far, the card has seen significant volume and as the week goes on, we expect to see continued engagement around the highly anticipated match up.”

William Hill US trading director Nick Bogdanovich told PlayUSA that UFC betting volume has been “okay” through Tuesday, but also expects it to heighten as the bout approaches.

“I firmly believe come Friday and Saturday, action will be heavy,” he said. “It’s a great card in a great time zone and it’s the first step to having sports fans get excited about U.S. sports again.”

Sports and betting public has been awaiting UFC 249 card

White had originally balked at all attempts to curtail his business plan even as major pro and college leagues responded with varying speed and vigor to government moves to mitigate the spread of a COVID-19 virus.

He first planned to hold UFC 249, featuring a lightweight title fight between champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, on April 23 at Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in California when the Barclays Center in Brooklyn became unviable.

This so-called “Fight Island,” a tribal island property on which the hotel is built, is exempt from the surrounding county’s shelter order, but White was eventually forced to yield to pressure from ESPN, which was to broadcast the event, and parent company Disney.

Though he still plans to field matches on an island, Florida became an amenable stopgap because of Gov. Ron DeSantis’s declaration that professional sports are “essential” services – the WWE has held fanless events in its Orlando Performance Center – meaning that the Florida State Boxing Commission also will oversee the proceedings as a regulated event.

What are the popular bets in UFC249?

Top-ranked Ferguson has won 12 fights consecutively and is a -177 favorite at DraftKings.

Gaethje is listed at +150 underdog at DraftKings, with the fight at -400 to last less than 4.5 rounds. Ferguson, who has won six of his last eight bouts by stoppage, is +260 at DraftKings to win by knockout, technical knockout or disqualification.

FanDuel has Ferguson as a -174 favorite (with Gaethje at +148), and at +260 to win by knockout or TKO. He’s at +600 there to win on points.

Reflecting Ferguson’s run of stoppages, FanDuel has Gaethje at +1400 to win in points.

In the co-main event, bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo (-220) is favored over challenger Dominick Cruz (+183) at DraftKings. Cejudo is listed at -210 at FanDuel, with Cruz at +176.

UFC takes its swing (and kick) as the next best thing for sports betting

When North American sports began shuttering on March 1 after NBA when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, sports fans, sports bettors and sportsbooks began groping for alternatives.

Most options, including the incredibly popular and lucrative NCAA Tournament, were quickly gone, replaced by the likes of Nicaraguan soccer, briefly Australian rules football, table tennis and eSports, notably eNASCAR.

The NFL Draft was a well-received return to taste of home, with anecdotal evidence from gaming operators claiming business was brisk. State revenue reports should reflect those assumptions after being a crushing April.

UFC now takes its turn with additional events: May 13 with a main event between Anthony Smith vs Glover Teixeira and May 16 with a main event between Alistair Overeem vs Walt Harris.

While not as much of a mainstream diversion as the NFL – but honestly, nothing is – the bloodsport brings a fervid fanbase hungering for content and a community of sports bettors who will likely feel more comfortable handicapping a mixed martial arts bout than Oleg Kutuzov vs Igor Smirnov in table tennis.

It’s not Fight Island, but it’s a port in a storm.



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UFC Events In May Could Be The Injection Sports Betting Needs Right Now

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Dana White doesn’t get his Fight Island. At least not yet. So for now, the empty arena a few blocks from the St. John’s River will suffice for the impresario of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

And for sports bettors eager for something else familiar.

The UFC’s bout is scheduled for Saturday, May 19 at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL, the first of three cards planned for the venue. The premier bout at UFC 249 will be a tussle between Tony Ferguson and replacement Justin Gaethja, who took the fight just two weeks ago because Nurmagomedov hasn’t been able to return to the United States after retreating to Russia when his previous card was canceled.

UFC 249 will mark the re-emergence of major professional sports in North America, preceding a Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson charity golf match and NASCAR’s return on May 17.

Thoroughbred horse racing has continued at a handful of venues, but that sport’s grip on mainstream America’s attention span was tenuous even in what would have been the run-up to a Kentucky Derby that should have been held on May 2.

UFC, while still a niche, is an ardent one and the weekend card marks a return to some semblance of normalcy for fans watching on television, as none will be allowed inside the arena. Bettors are finally presented with something more recognizable than table tennis, far-flung pro soccer leagues or Korean professional baseball.

“As one of the first major sporting events since COVID-19 caused a nationwide cancellation of major US sports leagues, we could not be more excited ahead of this weekend’s UFC 249 fight,” DraftKings Sportsbook Director Johnny Avello told PlayUSA. “Thus far, the card has seen significant volume and as the week goes on, we expect to see continued engagement around the highly anticipated match up.”

William Hill US trading director Nick Bogdanovich told PlayUSA that UFC betting volume has been “okay” through Tuesday, but also expects it to heighten as the bout approaches.

“I firmly believe come Friday and Saturday, action will be heavy,” he said. “It’s a great card in a great time zone and it’s the first step to having sports fans get excited about U.S. sports again.”

Sports and betting public has been awaiting UFC 249 card

White had originally balked at all attempts to curtail his business plan even as major pro and college leagues responded with varying speed and vigor to government moves to mitigate the spread of a COVID-19 virus.

He first planned to hold UFC 249, featuring a lightweight title fight between champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, on April 23 at Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in California when the Barclays Center in Brooklyn became unviable.

This so-called “Fight Island,” a tribal island property on which the hotel is built, is exempt from the surrounding county’s shelter order, but White was eventually forced to yield to pressure from ESPN, which was to broadcast the event, and parent company Disney.

Though he still plans to field matches on an island, Florida became an amenable stopgap because of Gov. Ron DeSantis’s declaration that professional sports are “essential” services – the WWE has held fanless events in its Orlando Performance Center – meaning that the Florida State Boxing Commission also will oversee the proceedings as a regulated event.

What are the popular bets in UFC249?

Top-ranked Ferguson has won 12 fights consecutively and is a -177 favorite at DraftKings.

Gaethje is listed at +150 underdog at DraftKings, with the fight at -400 to last less than 4.5 rounds. Ferguson, who has won six of his last eight bouts by stoppage, is +260 at DraftKings to win by knockout, technical knockout or disqualification.

FanDuel has Ferguson as a -174 favorite (with Gaethje at +148), and at +260 to win by knockout or TKO. He’s at +600 there to win on points.

Reflecting Ferguson’s run of stoppages, FanDuel has Gaethje at +1400 to win in points.

In the co-main event, bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo (-220) is favored over challenger Dominick Cruz (+183) at DraftKings. Cejudo is listed at -210 at FanDuel, with Cruz at +176.

UFC takes its swing (and kick) as the next best thing for sports betting

When North American sports began shuttering on March 1 after NBA when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, sports fans, sports bettors and sportsbooks began groping for alternatives.

Most options, including the incredibly popular and lucrative NCAA Tournament, were quickly gone, replaced by the likes of Nicaraguan soccer, briefly Australian rules football, table tennis and eSports, notably eNASCAR.

The NFL Draft was a well-received return to taste of home, with anecdotal evidence from gaming operators claiming business was brisk. State revenue reports should reflect those assumptions after being a crushing April.

UFC now takes its turn with additional events: May 13 with a main event between Anthony Smith vs Glover Teixeira and May 16 with a main event between Alistair Overeem vs Walt Harris.

While not as much of a mainstream diversion as the NFL – but honestly, nothing is – the bloodsport brings a fervid fanbase hungering for content and a community of sports bettors who will likely feel more comfortable handicapping a mixed martial arts bout than Oleg Kutuzov vs Igor Smirnov in table tennis.

It’s not Fight Island, but it’s a port in a storm.



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Solid Numbers, Easy Launch Helps Set Groundwork for Future

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By noon on Friday, Dan Hartman sensed reality settling in.

Legalized sports betting in Colorado was two hours old. Four operators had live online sportsbooks. By that time, he recalled with a laugh, Hartman felt relief. The much-anticipated launch had occurred. What’s more, it went as smoothly as regulators, operators and the public could have wanted.

That trend carried through the weekend. Few, if any, hiccups arose. Hartman’s cell phone remained relatively quiet. All indications were Colorado sports betting was humming.

Optimism already abounded for the future of regulated wagering in the state. But for Hartman, the director of the Colorado Division of Gaming, as well as for bookmakers and bettors, that seemingly flawless opening weekend instilled even more confidence.

“We as a division were excited about it,” Hartman said of the launch. “I think we were excited by what we saw, and I think the operators were the same way. I think they were excited it came off without any issues. Everybody thought it was a success.”

That said, Hartman assured, while May 1 is now in the rearview mirror, there are plenty more “May 1’s” ahead.

No sports, no problem for Colorado sports betting

Certainly from a revenue standpoint, business could have been better with major sports alive and well. Obviously that did not happen, as the coronavirus pandemic has temporarily canceled all major sports.

From an execution perspective, though, the industry got off the ground with ideal grace.

“We really didn’t see any or hear any (missteps or errors) that would have given us any issues or that would have given us any thought that there would have been,” Hartman recalled. Conceding that it appeared strange he wasn’t receiving any calls, he added: “I wasn’t really looking at my phone, but I was looking at it more than normal on a weekend.”

While casinos remain closed because of the pandemic, four operators introduced online sportsbooks the morning of May 1:

Two others originally anticipated joining that crowd, Hartman noted. However, they decided to put off their debuts to “iron out” technical aspects. As it stands, those two — Smarkets and Monarch Casino — expect to launch this week.

With their feet now wet, future operator and market integrations should also go smoothly, Hartman said. Funny how time and experience can affect one’s outlook, as Hartman’s recollection detailed.

“A month and a half ago when everyone started going home and we were starting virtual commission meetings and all the other things we had to do that we just don’t normally do, it was a bit stressful and concerning. I think I went back and forth on whether we were going to open or not open or on time.

“As I got more confident that everybody was using the technology and everything was working and the commission was meeting special to get licenses done, all of those things … played into lowering our curve, really, to get to that confidence level. We were ready to launch and ready to go.”

Limited betting offerings allow time to correct any issues

A few weeks prior to the introduction of Colorado sports betting, Hartman agreed that while fewer active sports limits operators and the state financially, it provides regulators and bookmakers an opportunity to avoid and even quickly correct any issues that arise.

After opening weekend, Hartman believes that is still the case.

“I think if we would have had more operators, we would have had more (markets and issues),” Hartman said. “I think everybody was curious, and a lot of people got on an app and signed up and looked at the different available options they had. I think they were able to do that smoothly and kind of ease into it a little bit. I think the operators did, too.

“Had we had a bunch of (operators) come on at the same time, we may have been putting out a few fires here and there. But I think the way it came up, everybody was able to just manage their own issues. It was actually pretty good for all of us.”

With seemingly a more controlled environment, Colorado sports betting went off with little — if any — stress.

“After Friday, about noon, it kind of really just leveled out, and it was OK,” Hartman related, adding that all systems appeared to be running smoothly. “I think the stress level went down. If you don’t have some of that (stress) going into launch, you probably don’t have a pulse. I’ve done these before, and this one was far less stressful because we knew what was coming in, we knew the operators that were coming in, and everybody wanted to make it a success and not to worry about overlooking things. They’re all pros and were ready to go.”

Plenty more sportsbook launches ahead in Colorado

No doubt, Hartman said, it seems strange that the long-awaited May 1 launch of legal sports betting has passed.

“But,” he emphasized, “We’ve got a lot of May 1’s coming up with 25 operators.”

More bookmakers will enter the fold in short order, starting this week with Smarkets and Monarch. Then, sports will begin to return, including UFCNASCAR and the PGA Tour in the near future, reportedly followed potentially by MLB.

Soon, hopefully, Colorado casinos will reopen to the public, thus allowing retail sportsbooks to make their introductions to the Centennial State.

Hartman said as properties prepare to and even after they reopen, regulators will go in and perform testing before the public can take part.

“But it’ll kind of be seamless,” Hartman said, “with whenever their opening is ready to go.”

In a way, retail sportsbooks might benefit from this shutdown, Hartman said.

“It might even work to their advantage a little bit, because they won’t be trying to open it too soon when it’s half-done. Hopefully that’s where they get, and you’ll see the book open in all its glory instead of halfway.”

How Colorado sports betting looked

As for how the actual wagering in Colorado went, it should come as no shock that the majority of bettors played hometown favorites.

One FanDuel market asked if the Denver Broncos would make the NFL playoffs; 97% of wagers believe that to be the case. The Broncos stood as the most bet-on team at DraftKings, followed by the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. The majority of bets also went on newly drafted Denver WR Jerry Jeudy to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year. And the most popular team wagered on to win the World Series? The Colorado Rockies.

Similarly, BetRivers saw heavy action on the Broncos to win the AFC West as well as the AFC Championship and the Super Bowl. As for short-term future events, BetRivers COO Mattias Stetz expects UFC 249 in Jacksonville on May 9 “to be the most popular event next weekend by a wide margin.”

What about completed events?

At BetRivers, table tennis dominated, according to Stetz, as it accounted for just over 50% of the handle. One reason, he suggested, is that BetRivers live-streams matches, allowing for customers to watch along with and wager on them as they occur.

The largest bet placed at the site was on a Chinese Professional Baseball League game, which featured a $1,310 wager on the under 14.5 runs. The total came in at 12, paying the customer nearly $2,400.

As for FanDuel, one customer put down $882 on the Dallas Cowboys to win the Super Bowl, which would pay at just over $15,000. The biggest payout cashed in at $1,400, the result of a $500 wager on a Belarusian Premier League soccer match.

Opening weekend instilled extra optimism not only for regulators, but also for operators.

“We saw tremendous engagement after only a few days of sports betting in Colorado,” according to a spokesperson from DraftKings, noting all the local flavor among bets placed. “These popular futures, plus our current offers available in Colorado (table tennis, international soccer, etc.) are positive signs as we look forward to the return of major US sports leagues.”

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Could The Impact Of COVID-19 On The Gaming Industry Spell Wire Act’s Demise?

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Fifty-nine years after the Wire Act was passed and 16 months after a Department of Justice re-interpretation of it sent a spasm through the burgeoning US gaming industry, stakeholders and entrepreneurs continue to debate over the extent to which the 20th-century law will impact their high-tech business opportunity.

Such was the case at the SBC Digital Summit, with Wayne Kimmel of SeventySix Capital sounding bullish on the Kennedy Administration’s anti-mob law being “done in the next couple of years.” But Adam Greenblatt, CEO of Roar Digital, pushed back as hard as cordiality would allow in telepresence.

Both Greenblatt and Kimmel appeared as part of a panel entitled “M & A and Investing in Sports Betting Companies.” During the panel, the Wire Act was only one of the topics on which Kimmel and Greenblatt disagreed.

The whole discussion spurred a bit of a debate on the pandemic’s potential impact on entrepreneurship in the US gaming industry and the controversial Wire Act.

COVID-19’s potential impact and where the Wire Act comes in

Kimmel believes COVID-19’s hammering impact on land-based gaming has revealed an opportunity for mobile and online business. And the Wire Act, depending on the interpretation, hampers that opportunity.

“I think a lot of the regulations, the laws, the blockers, the things that are happening or that we have in the United States right now, I think some of those things are going to go away,” he asserted. “I’ve been out there talking about the Wire Act and thinking that … I’m sorry, that’s done in the next couple of years.

“My team and I at SeventySix Capital, we believe that’s gone and I think that’s going to really, really affect a lot of players in this industry and will allow more innovation and allow more entrepreneurship. So, believing those kinds of things, looking out to the future and not just saying the world’s going to be like it is right now – because no one would have believed that all these casinos and sportsbooks would be dark – I mean, who could have ever imagined this? And I think coming out of this, other types of things are going to happen and that’s where I believe a lot of the opportunity will come from.”

Countered Greenblatt: “If you’re right and we see the end of the Wire Act, I’m taking us out for dinner and we’re drinking the most expensive champagne, my friend. But I can’t see it.”

Litigation will ultimately determine which is correct.

Kimmel: many new opportunities for entrepreneurs

Founded by Kimmel in 1999, SeventySix Capital specializes in sports tech venture capital, according to its website, including multiple gaming projects. Roar is the global collaboration between MGM Resorts International and GVC Holdings.

Kimmel compared the nascent American sports betting industry with the Internet landscape of the early ’90s — and how these opportunities of the time period made bold-thinkers into billionaires.

“There was this opportunity,” Kimmel said, “where entrepreneurs came in and really disrupted the way we not only did business but the way we lived and the way we do things. Similar to what happened then, I believe that same kind of thing is going to happen here within sports betting.

“I believe that there will be a lot of M and A’s, but at the same time there will be players that will come out of nowhere that you have never heard of before. You’ll see there will be the next Steve Jobs or the next Mark Zuckerberg, there will be those types of players in the industry.”

Greenblatt’s counter-argument: lots of hurdles for newcomers to break through

In a business environment increasingly laden with consolidation and the emergence of massive alliances such as the just-completed Flutter Entertainment acquisition of Stars Group, start-ups and mid-level players will struggle, Greenblatt countered. He seemed to be casting an eye on the players who didn’t come out of the dot.com bubble as well as Jobs and Zuckerberg.

“I disagree, actually, with some of the views previously expressed not because they are not logical, but because they underestimate the role of compliance and the impact of state-by-state as this market rolls out,” Greenblatt said. “Whereas in the early stages of the Internet what, as a global collective, we were doing was breaking new grounds enabled by technology, the US is just really a new geographical frontier where that really mature industry is able to penetrate, to roll out.

“It’s not like there is no Amazon. We have Amazons in our space. We’ve got the GVCs and the Bet365s and the Flutters and to unseat any of those will take number one, any enormous amount of capital. In fact, I don’t think it’s possible.”

Establishing the resources to win at compliance at a state level and quickly applying “product, marketing tools, affiliate tools, KYC tools, responsible gaming tools” without friction — as well as high-level corporate rivals — will be a daunting task for newcomers, Greenblatt added.

“I think it is not possible in this generation for a startup to unseat the global market leaders. I think M and A will take place at the very highest level, as we’ve seen now with Stars and Flutter, there will be some vertical integration taking place as we’ve seen with [DraftKings] and [DK and SB Tech], he said. “But, I think to bring together a collection of disparate assets or grow from grassroots into something which can compete for leadership, I think, is too difficult.”

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Could The Impact Of COVID-19 On The Gaming Industry Spell Wire Act’s Demise?

[ad_1]

Fifty-nine years after the Wire Act was passed and 16 months after a Department of Justice re-interpretation of it sent a spasm through the burgeoning US gaming industry, stakeholders and entrepreneurs continue to debate over the extent to which the 20th-century law will impact their high-tech business opportunity.

Such was the case at the SBC Digital Summit, with Wayne Kimmel of SeventySix Capital sounding bullish on the Kennedy Administration’s anti-mob law being “done in the next couple of years.” But Adam Greenblatt, CEO of Roar Digital, pushed back as hard as cordiality would allow in telepresence.

Both Greenblatt and Kimmel appeared as part of a panel entitled “M & A and Investing in Sports Betting Companies.” During the panel, the Wire Act was only one of the topics on which Kimmel and Greenblatt disagreed.

The whole discussion spurred a bit of a debate on the pandemic’s potential impact on entrepreneurship in the US gaming industry and the controversial Wire Act.

COVID-19’s potential impact and where the Wire Act comes in

Kimmel believes COVID-19’s hammering impact on land-based gaming has revealed an opportunity for mobile and online business. And the Wire Act, depending on the interpretation, hampers that opportunity.

“I think a lot of the regulations, the laws, the blockers, the things that are happening or that we have in the United States right now, I think some of those things are going to go away,” he asserted. “I’ve been out there talking about the Wire Act and thinking that … I’m sorry, that’s done in the next couple of years.

“My team and I at SeventySix Capital, we believe that’s gone and I think that’s going to really, really affect a lot of players in this industry and will allow more innovation and allow more entrepreneurship. So, believing those kinds of things, looking out to the future and not just saying the world’s going to be like it is right now – because no one would have believed that all these casinos and sportsbooks would be dark – I mean, who could have ever imagined this? And I think coming out of this, other types of things are going to happen and that’s where I believe a lot of the opportunity will come from.”

Countered Greenblatt: “If you’re right and we see the end of the Wire Act, I’m taking us out for dinner and we’re drinking the most expensive champagne, my friend. But I can’t see it.”

Litigation will ultimately determine which is correct.

Kimmel: many new opportunities for entrepreneurs

Founded by Kimmel in 1999, SeventySix Capital specializes in sports tech venture capital, according to its website, including multiple gaming projects. Roar is the global collaboration between MGM Resorts International and GVC Holdings.

Kimmel compared the nascent American sports betting industry with the Internet landscape of the early ’90s — and how these opportunities of the time period made bold-thinkers into billionaires.

“There was this opportunity,” Kimmel said, “where entrepreneurs came in and really disrupted the way we not only did business but the way we lived and the way we do things. Similar to what happened then, I believe that same kind of thing is going to happen here within sports betting.

“I believe that there will be a lot of M and A’s, but at the same time there will be players that will come out of nowhere that you have never heard of before. You’ll see there will be the next Steve Jobs or the next Mark Zuckerberg, there will be those types of players in the industry.”

Greenblatt’s counter-argument: lots of hurdles for newcomers to break through

In a business environment increasingly laden with consolidation and the emergence of massive alliances such as the just-completed Flutter Entertainment acquisition of Stars Group, start-ups and mid-level players will struggle, Greenblatt countered. He seemed to be casting an eye on the players who didn’t come out of the dot.com bubble as well as Jobs and Zuckerberg.

“I disagree, actually, with some of the views previously expressed not because they are not logical, but because they underestimate the role of compliance and the impact of state-by-state as this market rolls out,” Greenblatt said. “Whereas in the early stages of the Internet what, as a global collective, we were doing was breaking new grounds enabled by technology, the US is just really a new geographical frontier where that really mature industry is able to penetrate, to roll out.

“It’s not like there is no Amazon. We have Amazons in our space. We’ve got the GVCs and the Bet365s and the Flutters and to unseat any of those will take number one, any enormous amount of capital. In fact, I don’t think it’s possible.”

Establishing the resources to win at compliance at a state level and quickly applying “product, marketing tools, affiliate tools, KYC tools, responsible gaming tools” without friction — as well as high-level corporate rivals — will be a daunting task for newcomers, Greenblatt added.

“I think it is not possible in this generation for a startup to unseat the global market leaders. I think M and A will take place at the very highest level, as we’ve seen now with Stars and Flutter, there will be some vertical integration taking place as we’ve seen with [DraftKings] and [DK and SB Tech], he said. “But, I think to bring together a collection of disparate assets or grow from grassroots into something which can compete for leadership, I think, is too difficult.”

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PA, NJ See Uptick In Online Poker Championship Entries

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While we’re not out of the woods yet, states across the country are beginning to ease restrictions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Some will soon allow select businesses to reopen, of course with capacity limitations and social distancing guidelines in place.

Online poker and online casinos have thrived during the shutdown, but major sports remain sidelined and casinos remain closed.

On that note, on to the Rewind:

Online poker tourneys crush in PA, NJ

We expected online poker to pick up steam as stay-at-home orders permeated the country. Perhaps no better example of this occured via PokerStars in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The inaugural Pennsylvania Spring Championship of Online Poker, featuring 50 distinct events, boasted prize pools totaling a whopping $3.2 million. Prior to the championship’s start, PokerStars dog-eared guarantees up to $2 million.

With more than 56,000 players and over 23,000 re-entries, PASCOOP finished with a total nearing 80,000 entries. The Main Event (High) carried a $200,000 guarantee, one that was easily topped as 1,315 entries pushed the prize pool to $368,200. The winner left with a cool $57,000.

Days later, the New Jersey Spring Championship of Online Poker, also hosted by PokerStars, posted similar figures.

Nearly $1.8 million was awarded in 96 events that featured over 33,000 entries, easily becoming the most successful tourney in the championship’s five-year history in the Garden State.

New Jersey’s Main Event itself included 620 entries that led to a $173,600 prize pool. The champ pocketed more than $30,000.

Michigan casinos struggling amid pandemic

It’s no secret that the nation’s retail gaming industry has suffered immensely since the coronavirus forced shutdowns. Michigan provides a microcosm of the struggle.

Bridge Magazine published a report detailing the continued closures of the state’s 23 tribal casinos, which have been shuttered since March 22 and will remain as such until at least May 15.

While other states have benefited from online gambling to at least maintain some sort of revenue stream, Michigan has land-based gaming only, for now. As such, the tail end of March and April concluded without a single legal wager made.

Without operational casinos, tribes are unable to fund services such as health, education and law enforcement, among other areas. Really, casinos provide a vast majority of funding for tribes.

For example, Bridge noted that as much as 60% of the budget for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community stems from the Ojibwa Casino. Similarly, some 75% of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe is backed by gaming revenue.

The rest of the state certainly misses casinos, considering those properties have contributed more than $30 million to local governments and over $54 million to the state in 2019.

Some relief coming for smaller casinos

While the pandemic has made it difficult for businesses to stay afloat, the Small Business Administration recently updated its guidelines for Payroll Protection Program loans that exclude small US gambling businesses.

Translation: Smaller casinos could receive loans to pay wages, utilities and rent during the shutdown.

The update came as Congress funneled $310 billion to fund the program.

Initially, “small businesses” were defined as establishments with less than 500 employees, which makes them available to receive up to $10 million or 2 ½ months of payroll, whichever is less. The trouble, however, stemmed from the SBA classifying gambling businesses as risky and “of poor character,” thus preventing that industry from receiving aid.

Now, though, guidelines dictate that any business eligible for a loan is not be overlooked based on gambling-related income.

That said, those businesses must vie with many, many others in various industries to acquire such help. Some 30 million small businesses exist in the country, and the money released by Congress is enough for just 31,000 loans at the max payout.

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PA, NJ See Uptick In Online Poker Championship Entries

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While we’re not out of the woods yet, states across the country are beginning to ease restrictions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Some will soon allow select businesses to reopen, of course with capacity limitations and social distancing guidelines in place.

Online poker and online casinos have thrived during the shutdown, but major sports remain sidelined and casinos remain closed.

On that note, on to the Rewind:

Online poker tourneys crush in PA, NJ

We expected online poker to pick up steam as stay-at-home orders permeated the country. Perhaps no better example of this occured via PokerStars in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The inaugural Pennsylvania Spring Championship of Online Poker, featuring 50 distinct events, boasted prize pools totaling a whopping $3.2 million. Prior to the championship’s start, PokerStars dog-eared guarantees up to $2 million.

With more than 56,000 players and over 23,000 re-entries, PASCOOP finished with a total nearing 80,000 entries. The Main Event (High) carried a $200,000 guarantee, one that was easily topped as 1,315 entries pushed the prize pool to $368,200. The winner left with a cool $57,000.

Days later, the New Jersey Spring Championship of Online Poker, also hosted by PokerStars, posted similar figures.

Nearly $1.8 million was awarded in 96 events that featured over 33,000 entries, easily becoming the most successful tourney in the championship’s five-year history in the Garden State.

New Jersey’s Main Event itself included 620 entries that led to a $173,600 prize pool. The champ pocketed more than $30,000.

Michigan casinos struggling amid pandemic

It’s no secret that the nation’s retail gaming industry has suffered immensely since the coronavirus forced shutdowns. Michigan provides a microcosm of the struggle.

Bridge Magazine published a report detailing the continued closures of the state’s 23 tribal casinos, which have been shuttered since March 22 and will remain as such until at least May 15.

While other states have benefited from online gambling to at least maintain some sort of revenue stream, Michigan has land-based gaming only, for now. As such, the tail end of March and April concluded without a single legal wager made.

Without operational casinos, tribes are unable to fund services such as health, education and law enforcement, among other areas. Really, casinos provide a vast majority of funding for tribes.

For example, Bridge noted that as much as 60% of the budget for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community stems from the Ojibwa Casino. Similarly, some 75% of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe is backed by gaming revenue.

The rest of the state certainly misses casinos, considering those properties have contributed more than $30 million to local governments and over $54 million to the state in 2019.

Some relief coming for smaller casinos

While the pandemic has made it difficult for businesses to stay afloat, the Small Business Administration recently updated its guidelines for Payroll Protection Program loans that exclude small US gambling businesses.

Translation: Smaller casinos could receive loans to pay wages, utilities and rent during the shutdown.

The update came as Congress funneled $310 billion to fund the program.

Initially, “small businesses” were defined as establishments with less than 500 employees, which makes them available to receive up to $10 million or 2 ½ months of payroll, whichever is less. The trouble, however, stemmed from the SBA classifying gambling businesses as risky and “of poor character,” thus preventing that industry from receiving aid.

Now, though, guidelines dictate that any business eligible for a loan is not be overlooked based on gambling-related income.

That said, those businesses must vie with many, many others in various industries to acquire such help. Some 30 million small businesses exist in the country, and the money released by Congress is enough for just 31,000 loans at the max payout.

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With Closed Casinos, Nevada’s March Gaming Revenue Suffered Major Drop

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Last week the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported that the amount of money won by Nevada casinos in March fell by almost 40% compared to the same period last year. Gaming revenue for the state was $618 million in March. That’s a decrease of 39.57% from March of 2019 when casinos won $1.022 billion.

The reason for the huge decrease in gaming revenue for Nevada is the closure of all casinos in the state on March 17 to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

Different drops for different regions

Nevada casinos in different parts of the state have different customers. In fact, even casinos in the Las Vegas area have different gambling guests. The Vegas Strip is dominated by high rollers and large casino corporations. Downtown Las Vegas and the suburban casinos cater to different tourists and local residents.

Not only are there different casino operators but the guests play varying games and have varying budgets. Casinos on the Vegas Strip won $299.9 million from gaming customers in March. That’s a decrease of 45.67% from last year.

Meanwhile, casinos in downtown Las Vegas weren’t hit as hard on a percentage basis. These casinos won $43 million. That’s only a decrease of 25.92% from the previous year.

Nevada sports betting demolished

The amount of money won by Nevada sportsbooks was crushed before casinos were even closed. The NBA suspended its season five days before casinos were told to close their doors. Other major sports, including the NCAA basketball tournament (AKA March Madness), followed the NBA’s lead.

March is chock full of college basketball games for bettors. Between the large volume of college basketball conference tournament games and the 63 games (plus play-in games) during March Madness, Nevada sportsbooks lost one of the largest cash generators of the year. For comparison, the entire NCAA basketball tournament typically sees as much money wagered as the Super Bowl.

Nevada sportsbooks saw a massive 76.3% decrease in its sports betting handle compared to last March. This was the lowest monthly handle for Nevada since 1993. March Madness typically draws less experienced sports bettors which means that sportsbooks typically win more of the wagers placed.

Without March Madness, Nevada sportsbooks only won $1.5 million from $141 million wagered in March. This is a 95.5% drop from a year ago.

April gaming revenue will be much worse

April’s gaming revenue in Nevada will be much worse. While casinos were closed in the middle of March, they’ve remained closed for the entire month of April. Additionally, video poker and slot machines in bars, taverns, supermarkets, and gas stations have also been turned off.

The only gaming revenue in Nevada for the month will come from one of the following sports wagering apps that remained open for the month.

  • BetMGM
  • Caesars
  • Circa Sports
  • William Hill

These four sportsbooks were only available to existing customers. Players must visit a brick and mortar casino to first set up a new sports wagering account. Since casinos were closed, no new accounts could be opened and funded.

Nevada doesn’t have full online casinos like New Jersey or Pennsylvania but it does have an online poker website. WSOP.com was also operational while brick and mortar casinos were closed in April.

Nevada casinos reopening

Nevada casinos won’t reopen on until mid to late May at the earliest. Governor Steve Sisolak says casinos will be able to open again during the third or fourth phase of his reopening plan.

Regardless of the opening date for brick and mortar casinos, the four sportsbook apps will have company. The Westgate SuperBook says the app will be turned on again on May 7.

When casinos do open for business again, don’t expect to see a return to normal business right away. During its first-quarter earnings call, MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle said the company would open properties in phases. Bellagio and New York-New York will be MGM Resorts’ first two Las Vegas casinos to reopen. There could be another casino opening depending on demand.

While MGM Resorts doesn’t have a health and safety plan for reopening yet the company will have one in the next two weeks. They say that casino floors will have to be reconfigured to allow proper spacing. This should mean fewer table games and machines will be available right away. As a result, gaming revenue should be lower even after casinos reopen.



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Colorado Sports Betting Officially Launches; DraftKings Offers Broncos Promo

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Colorado has become the 18th state with legal sports betting, going live today, May 1.

Though the state’s physical casinos — located in rural Cripple Creek, Black Hawk, and Central City — are closed until May 8 due to recent extended shutdown, bettors can take advantage of the state’s online sports betting and place their bets.

Despite launching during the looming COVID-19 pandemic, operators recently told PlayUSA how optimistic they are about Colorado’s future as a US betting power player.

There are four CO sports betting apps live today, including DraftKings. To mark the occasion, it has released a new promo boost through May 5 that might entice even the most die-hard Denver Broncos fans.

Read on for more Colorado sports betting info and how to take advantage of this limited offer.

Colorado sports betting basics

Colorado has an impressive and expansive list of brands on tap. Draftkings is expected to be a dominant force in the Colorado market once things begin to normalize around the country. But the company will also have to compete with other top-tier brands like FanDuel Sportsbook and William Hill.

As PlayColorado notes, patrons will have four CO sports betting apps to choose from on launch day. Other sportsbooks are expected to roll out mobile applications in due time.

  • FanDuel
  • DraftKings
  • BetMGM
  • BetRivers

Additionally, the state has approved 11 online operators which vary from operators like Rush Street Interactive to Fox Bet.

Approved sportsbooks:

  • theScore
  • PointsBet
  • Fox Bet
  • Circa Sports
  • Smarkets
  • Roar Digital
  • William Hill
  • Rush Street Interactive
  • Penn Sports Interactive
  • FanDuel Sportsbook
  • DraftKings Sportsbook

Not only will customers have access to traditional sports leagues (NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA), they will also be able to bet on in-state colleges like the University of Colorado and Colorado State. However, books are not authorized to offer individual collegiate prop bets.

DraftKings Sportsbook Colorado promo

For a limited time, DraftKings Sportsbook will be offering Colorado users +100 odds on the Denver Broncos to win over 6.5 games.

The Broncos went 7-9 last year finishing second in the AFC West with quarterback Drew Lock going 4-1 as a starter. Denver invested heavily in offensive weapons to help their young QB for the 2020 campaign, selecting top wide receiver Jerry Jeudy with the 15th overall pick and wideout KJ Hamler in the second round. Couple this group with emerging stars like tight end Noah Fant, wideout Courtland Sutton and newly acquired running back Melvin Gordon and +100 odds look very nice.

Denver Broncos CO Boost

  • Boost excludes: no parlays, free bets, cashout bets, void bets, live bets
  • Boost odds must be placed in the state of Colorado as individual bet slip
  • Max bet $50
  • One bet per user
  • Odds were -305, now +100

Bettors have until May 5 at 11:59 PM ET to place wagers.

Mobile Colorado betting at a glance

A significant CO sports betting rule is the ability for customers to register for accounts remotely. With the pandemic sweeping the country and quarantine measures in place, remote registration is beneficial.

Another benefit to mobile registration is its ability to drawn in potential customers from neighboring states. Residents from Wyoming, Nebraska, and Utah only need to cross the Colorado border to be able to register for an account and place a wager. With geolocation, once a player exits the state, they will no longer be allowed to bet.

The current list of available sports to bet on may be limited. But major sports leagues are continuing to discuss ways some seasons can be salvaged (NBA, NHL) or begin on time (NFL).

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Virginia Sports Betting Is Officially Legal After Delays

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Legalized Virginia sports betting is ready to colonize.

Lawmakers enacted into law a pair of bills, HB 896 and SB 384, that take effect July 1, thus legalizing regulated wagering in Old Dominion.

This comes after both the state House and Senate approved the bill in early March and then had the proposal sent back by Gov. Ralph Northam in mid-April.

Though a timeline remains unknown for an official launch, the Virginia Lottery Board must complete regulations by Sept. 15.

Virginia joins Washington as the first two states to enact legislation in 2020.

Virginia bill just beats the buzzer

Just to get the bill in front of the governor is something of a miracle.

Legislators were up against the clock and appeared at odds when it came to Virginia sports betting. Days waned to hours, which waned to minutes. The Senate and House discussed two main sports betting bills. However, neither chamber could agree on which to put forward.

Hence an 11th-hour conference between the two groups.

The House discarded a bill proposal during the final day of the session. A day later, however, essentially in extra innings, the two sides came to an agreement and in the final vote pushed the bill forward to the governor’s desk.

Northam then threw something of a curveball, developing several recommendations to be included in the bill. Lawmakers approved of those suggestions with little (or even any) disagreement, which one bill’s sponsor described as “largely administrative.”

Once legislators approved of the amended version, it became law.

What Virginia sports betting will look like

While regulators will still need to create a regulatory framework for Virginia sports betting, we know of some details of the future industry.

First, it appears that lawmakers will prohibit wagering on Virginia college sports. Any game involving an institution from Virginia or staged in the state will be off-limits.

Additionally, operators will not accept wagers on college prop bets.

That said, there will potentially be no shortage of Virginia sports betting options.

The Virginia Lottery, which will regulate the industry, will determine how many licenses to award operators based on what would best benefit the state. However, the lottery could potentially award up to 12 online-only licenses to bookmakers.

The state’s five casinos would receive preferred consideration for an online sports betting license, as would any professional sports team that relocates its facilities to Virginia. That last bit could be the state’s attempt to lure the Washington Redskins.

$250,000 check would provide a three-year license to an operator, which would have revenue taxed at a 15% clip.

Governor’s recommendations agreed upon by legislators

Among Northam’s suggestions in the bill was the inclusion of NASCAR facilities under the definition of a “major sports franchise.” As it stands, teams from pro leagues such as MLBNBA and NFL can offer legalized retail and online sports betting if they are located in the state.

The result is the authorization of Martinsville Speedway and Richmond Raceway to accept regulated bets.

Additionally, while wagering on in-state colleges is prohibited, Northam recommended that operators be allowed to take bets on tournaments involving those colleges.

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Why Colorado Could Be A Major Player When Online Betting Begins

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For the past two years, legalized sports betting has permeated the country. State-regulated industries have cropped up in bunches along the east coast and in the heart of the Midwest.

Forgotten, it seems, is the West. The American frontier. But soon, a gateway will open to what is otherwise an untapped region.

The western United States “has a very different vibe” from the east coast, as Eddie Motl, vice president of communications for Fox Bet, put it. Within a month, Fox Bet, along with several other sportsbooks, will experience that vibe firsthand. Because that gateway — that long-sought-after, ever attractive gateway — is set to open Friday, May 1 with the debut of Colorado sports betting.

Yet the pomp and circumstance will certainly be understated when the first legal sportsbooks go online. The coronavirus pandemic has sidelined sports and closed casinos. So how can incoming operators maintain such a rosy outlook when uncertainty looms like a storm cloud?

Because, as FanDuel CMO Mike Raffensperger said: “Entertainment is important, particularly in challenging times.

“People need opportunities to entertain themselves. And frankly, a diversion in difficult times is something that’s important for mental health.”

Significance of Colorado sports betting not lost on operators

The addition of Colorado sports betting carries weight that extends beyond its own boundaries.

Robert Walker, the director of sportsbook operations at Nevada firm USBookmaking, told Legal Sports Report that, more than New Jersey, “Colorado is the first real battleground for US sports betting.”

Johnny Aitken, CEO of the Denver-based PointsBet, added that “Colorado could be a domino state. They’ve listened to operators about what we need to successfully compete with the black market. Hopefully, new states take notice as they open up.”

“Expansion into any new state is exciting because it’s an opportunity for us to showcase our unique approach to gaming and engage with sports fans,” Motl said. “Sports in America are tribal and so anytime we get to communicate with a new community, in this case Colorado, it’s an opportunity to learn from those fans and serve them with content tailored to their style.”

Sustainable tax rate sets up successful future

Even only within state lines, Colorado going live means much more than padding an operator’s portfolio.

For the likes of FanDuel Sportsbook, which expects to go live May 1, the Centennial State will become its fifth state in which it operates regulated wagering. But there’s much more significance with Colorado.

Specifically, as laid out by Raffensperger, the state “enacted legislation that we feel is conducive to a healthy and productive legal and regulated sports betting marketplace.”

That means a sustainable tax rate (10%) that sets up a competitive industry while also helping fund state initiatives. It means all-inclusive access to online wagering, from sign-up to cashing out, for the public. Such traits have helped New Jersey, where FanDuel remains a sports betting power, truly flourish.

As a result, New Jersey has become something of a template, one that operators are thrilled to see followed by Colorado.

Original outlook of Colorado sports betting

When New Jersey first went online, its model closely resembled one that paid dividends in Europe. By focusing on the everyday players, by capitalizing on digital marketing, and by offering in-play wagering and a wide array of markets, said model sets the table for a thriving industry.

The 18th state to introduce some form of legal sports betting, and whether purposefully or not, Colorado set itself up for success by following that model.

“For us, the regulators have been great to work with,” said Jamie Shea, head of sportsbook digital for DraftKings Sportsbook. “It’s just been really some good back and forth, working together. We all want to see the sports betting industry flourish in every way. … We all have the same goal. Working with the legislators and regulators in Colorado, it’s been great to see their enthusiasm.”

Its 10% tax rate allures, like a radiant light that leads one out of the darkness and into the promised land. It sets Colorado up to potentially accept as much as $6 billion in wagers, according to PlayColorado projections, in addition to $400 million in gross operator revenue and $40 million in tax revenue.

New Jersey, for perspective, taxes retail operations at a 9.75% rate and levies a 13% tax on mobile wagering.

The tax rate alone, Raffensperger said, “incentivized our investment.” But then you add in online access; a state that features franchises from MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL; a reasonably large population total; and a culture, as he put it, that features “a great independent spirit” that pairs well with sports betting.

Indeed, Raffensperger emphasized, “we get really excited about the commercial opportunity.”

Coronavirus pandemic has shifted plans of operators

The launch of Colorado sports betting, at least commercially, obviously comes during an inopportune time.

The COVID-19 crisis essentially sidelined sports entirely, aside from a few niche markets. It’s not lost on incoming operators that sports betting offerings will remain slim once they go live.

“It has presented us and many other sportsbooks planning to launch in Colorado with added challenges,” Motl said of the coronavirus. “We’ve spent this additional time learning about our future customers in Colorado, understanding their tendencies and appetite for sports betting content as a whole. Operationally, we’ve worked to ensure that our infrastructure and process with state regulators is seamless once sports return.”

Operators remain bullish on Colorado sports betting future

Therein lies the optimism and persistence of bookmakers: This pandemic will not disrupt our plans.

Like Henry Ford said: “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”

“We’re very optimistic on Colorado,” Shea said. “We’re so excited to be launching in that state. Nobody can predict how long this (the coronavirus pandemic) is going to take. But what we can say is we will be there. … We are very cognizant of the seriousness of the nature of the world. We don’t want to take that away at all.

“We want to make sure everyone’s staying safe and following the guidelines of the government. We’re just an entertainment company but we hope to provide that little bit of light in the day.”

Flexibility is key during a time of zero sports

Fox Bet still intends to make its Colorado debut in May, though after the state’s go-live date. And, like many of its counterparts, it continues to exhibit flexibility in this time of uncertainty.

“As leagues and sanctions adapt to this new environment, so do sportsbook operators like us,” Motl said. “We’ve offered NASCAR’s iRacing, the NFL draft, as well as other smaller sports and competitions in accordance with (New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement) via the Fox Bet app. We’ve also gotten creative, for example coming up with the best sports movie bracket challenge. As sports leagues and governing bodies across the globe re-open competition, we will have more to offer.”

It appeared as if the coronavirus pandemic really hit home for the public when sports went off the air. When the NBA postponed its season, Raffensperger said, “it felt pivotal in a lot of ways in how this crisis came to bear for this country.”

For the FanDuel CMO, when sports return, the healing can begin. The light at the end of the tunnel becomes more clear.

“I think that’s an important moment of feeling like it’s a step forward for the country,” Raffensperger said, “a moment of catharsis. … I think it’s going to be, not to be too highfalutin about it, the start of a moment of healing and something we’re really excited about certainly commercially but also just our role within sports culture at large.”

When leagues and event organizers postponed and even canceled seasons and events, operators did not sway from their Colorado plans.

If anything, at least for FanDuel, there was more of an obligation to move forward as planned.

“I would say the reaction was we need to stay the course,” Raffensperger said. “I think we recognized we needed to shift our plans a little bit, in the manner and the means in which we launched. … I think whether it’s free-to-play gaming, some of the things that we’re doing on our fantasy sports platform, I do think it’s important. I think it’s the role that FanDuel Group plays, kind of in our commercial role at large.”

Plans to launch in Colorado remain on track

Before COVID-19, some incoming Colorado bookmakers — such as FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and BetRivers — circled May 1 as launch date. Others, like Fox Bet, sometime that month.

Those plans have gone unchanged.

“We are of course giving full consideration to the current circumstances regarding the disruption to the sports calendar, but our pre-existing timelines and goals for the multi-state expansion of theScore Bet remain on schedule,” John Levy, CEO of theScore, said. “We are pressing ahead with product development and regulatory initiatives and — subject to receiving all relevant licenses and approvals — are excited to introduce theScore’s unique integration of media and gaming to sports fans in both Colorado and Indiana later this year.”

Perhaps now more than ever, Shea noted, the public needs some kind of respite. And platforms such as DraftKings provide just that.

“Especially now, people need entertainment,” Shea said. “We are a sports company, a gaming company, an entertainment company. People need to be able to blow off some steam. … I think it’s nice to have that stability, that confidence that not everything has shut down, that there are still some movements going on. Some new and exciting things. It’s nice for the fans to have some levity at this time.”

Obviously operators will not have many betting markets to offer customers right away. Hopefully, though, the sports calendar will fill out in short order. That would certainly benefit bookmakers. But it would also provide a sense of normalcy for bettors, fans and the general public.

Companies like FanDuel are hoping to fast-track the latter.

“The reason that we’re launching on May 1 relative to the plan we had prior,” Raffensperger said, “is because we think it is important to demonstrate to Colorado our innovative spirit. … I think we’re still really optimistic and eager to introduce ourselves to Colorado, to do it in a way that adds value to consumers and bettors and fans. Again, we’re eagerly awaiting the return of major American sports alongside every other sports fan in Colorado and frankly around the country.”

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US Sports Betting Industry Will Recover

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The future of the American sports betting industry remains promising, perhaps even record-setting next year, said gaming industry analyst and SpringOwl Asset Management CEO Jason Ader.

This year, though, amid a COVID-19 pandemic that has shut down sports with cascading detriment to sportsbooks and sports networks, is about mitigating damage and learning lessons on how to safeguard that future. This applies to sports leagues, broadcasters, gaming companies and state legislators.

Among the means is for states without legalized online gaming and casinos and online poker to get it immediately, says Ader in an expansive PlayUSA interview,

The industry will come back, he said. That includes Las Vegas, which will be priced to move, he said, whenever coronavirus allows.

Q: How is the sports betting and gambling industry doing to respond and maintain itself during the COVID-19 shutdown?

JASON ADER: I think it’s been very tough. I mean, the world has much bigger problems than gambling. The whole sports and broadcast industry has been turned upside down. And from that perspective, there’s just no sports, so there’s just no sports betting at all. And you can see, there’s been some effort to find obscure sports and even eSports, the NBA obviously doing eSports with some of the top players, but the lack of sports betting has been pretty devastating for the online gambling companies.

I don’t know what more I can say about the land-based companies. I mean, they’re closed. I think it’s pretty staggering and I think this number may be low, but I do think that the unemployment rate in Las Vegas was pretty close to 50%. They’re the people who work in the casinos, the people who service the casino, the limo drivers and the companies that do the linen washing. It’s just all completely out of work and just devastating to the economy and obviously devastating for the state. [Gaming] is a source of tax revenue which is important without a state income tax [in Nevada].

The gaming industry has been a pretty good partner to the municipalities that have legalized it.

I think just about every state that has some form of gaming, it’s a top-five – and it may even be top three- – contributor in terms of overall state revenue after obviously sales tax and income tax.

Is this the biggest challenge the industry has faced?

At this moment in time, it’s as bad as we’ve ever seen and because so much of the infrastructure is closed and honestly, I don’t think it’s clear to anybody when things will reopen and what life will be like.

Is everybody going to be rushing to Las Vegas to sit at a crowded blackjack table or sweaty nightclub or busy convention center? I don’t think right away. I mean that’s something that will take a little bit of an adjustment.

I do have some fascinating statistics that I’m gonna share with you: Italy is kind of the worst-hit market in the world, maybe, in terms of death and shutdown, certainly one of the worst and still heavily concentrated. For the month of March, online casino was up 30%. Three-zero. Online poker cash games were up 89% and tournament poker revenues were up 123%. So that’s pretty amazing online statistics. So one of the things I’ve been thinking about, will land-based companies who’ve been forced to close go out and start buying online companies? You see statistics like this and they’d be crazy not to.

I mean, you’d be crazy to have literally your entire business dependent upon land-based business where you see online growth, when everybody’s forced to stay at home and you don’t know how long this is going to last. Is this going to come back in the spring time and if it’ll come back next year if you’re not going to be able to leave your home?

How big a factor was online casino and poker in relation to the Italian market before gamblers there had no sports on which to bet?

It’s a pretty big business in Italy. It’s a legal business and PartyPoker recently sort of had come back into the market, but PokerStars is one of the dominant players. People are at home and so they’re playing more, playing more poker. Italy is a relevant market. It’s a top-10 market in the world for gaming. Most people don’t realize that.

Can you estimate the monetary impact of multiple months of lost sports betting in the United States, particularly March and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament?

Right now it’s down 90-plus percent. I’ve seen a lot of different numbers in terms of total revenue, but what I think the legal sports betting was on a pretty good clip to be $10 billion monthly, so $120- ish [in a year]. I really think it’s going to take several months to sort of get back, but I do think that there’ll be pretty decent pent-up demand.

I think that the U.S. sports betting, and this is for 2019 was just about billion [monthly], so the whole year was $11 billion.

There’s no really new state activity. So if you think about last year alone, it was $11 billion from sports betting and this yea it could be less than half that, but I do think next year it could very well exceed, if things normalized. 2021 could be bigger than 2019 because you’ve got the Olympics now, you’ve got the Euro Cup, you just got a lot of people who have learned how to use online gaming. You have a lot of states now that need revenues that are probably going to accelerate their plans to legalize online.

Will sports betting’s momentum as a business and a pastime more available to more people in the United States allow it to pick right back up where it left off when this is over?

It’s not going to be like that, because I think it’s been a bit too long. You’ve got a lot of people out of work, you got a lot of people who had economic damage. So the business, you can sort of flip a switch and say, ‘OK, the business is open,’ but demand is going to take some time.

Now there’s a lot of government programs that are in place. You’ve got very cheap money, you have the system flushed with liquidity. You can have follow-on Congressional activity to help small businesses. You’re going to see people get hired back, but it’s going to be like when you turn up a dimmer as opposed to a light switch.

I think we’ll get back to very strong, especially given the government fiscal and monetary stimulus that’s in place. But if everything sort of goes as planned and things in May are turned back on we could be by elections, in a much more normalized environment. We could be well on our way to a pretty strong recovery. But it’s going to take several months for that dimmer that’s almost off right now to come back on and to be producing bright lights again.

Given how bad the timing of this was in terms of March Madness, would you agree it’s crucial for sportsbooks is a return of the NFL in some capacity this fall?

I think that’s right. And again, I wouldn’t just frame this in the context of sports betting either. I mean, you’ve got gigantic television contracts, gigantic. The TV broadcasters need this and want this, too, because there’s advertisers that have made sales and there’s been advances to teams and there’s already discussions with the [soccer] teams and the clubs in Europe to pay back some of their broadcasts advance. So gaming, it’s like a derivative industry to a much bigger industry, which is broadcasting and advertising. And they all want it and they want it for their own selfish economic reasons.

And don’t lose sight of the fact that the sport is not about betting. The sport is about the broadcast and the business of sports. And, to some extent the gaming industry is the first and second derivative around that gigantic economy, which is FOX and Sky and NBC and ESPN and everything else.

What’s the forecast for the recovery of the Macau casino market?

They opened the border and there was this video that I saw with thousands of people rushing the border to get in. And they actually got pretty clean for a couple of days with COVID-19 cases, even no new cases. Everything seemed to be going great with Macau in the context of trying to make a comeback, but there was a re-emergence of some cases and it was hard to track because it’s Chinese statistics.

But borders opened up just to Chinese and Hong Kong residents. And when the borders opened up to Chinese and Hong Kong residents only, the people that got infected had been in Europe or elsewhere within the last 14 days. So what’s happened in Macau now is if you go over, it’s a pretty long border control.

Usually, you’d get through in an hour or less, maybe even a half hour if it’s not busy. And the border control is a bit extreme now. I’m seeing reports it’s taking six hours to get through the border. Nobody wants that.

But the bigger issue is the borders have tightened up again. If you leave Macau, you’re required to quarantine for 14 days. I don’t know if you’re required or suggested, but that’s sort of the deal-killer.

I’d say business is still down 88 to 90%. But you scrape a lot of travel and tourism data on Macau and the bookings, the interest in bookings from Chinese and throughout the Asia market is just extraordinary. When Macau does green-light this, I think it’s going be like a Chinese New Year demand, which is one of the strongest periods for the Macau market.

There’s just a lot of interest in returning as soon as the Chinese markets can and, obviously, Macau has built itself up now where it’s gone well beyond gaming and has the new spectacular entertainment there and restaurants and non-gaming activities have been a push by the Chinese government.

What will be the apprehension level of the gaming public or non-gaming tourists in returning to casinos or shows in Las Vegas?

I think it’s mixed. I think that the casino operators that I talked to are far too optimistic. I think they’re all hoping there will be some Memorial Day open. The rates are going to be spectacular. You’re going to be able to get gigantic rooms for like $100. And I think everybody has to drop rates to the absolute lowest level they’ve ever sold for as long as they need too.

And I think what you’ll see with Las Vegas is that you’ll see a complete sale this summer. Like, airfare, hotel, $200, over multiple nights, and then that’ll move up over time just to get people out there. So I’m sort of hearing the pricing strategies of Las Vegas as they think about reopening this summer and the prices are going to be amazing, if you don’t mind being in Las Vegas in the summer – and I’ve done it – it’s pretty hot. Even sitting by the pool can be uncomfortable.

But I do think there’s going to be a lot of people who want to go and get out and the deals they’re going to get are unbelievable. You could take a whole family to Las Vegas for like a week and have airfare included and it could be under a thousand dollars and that might even include the buffet, one or two buffet meals.

So we’re back to that, which is sort of how Vegas recovered post-financial crisis and post-recession in 2002. That’s the playbook. That’s the Vegas playbook. And price as a means for recovery becomes very compelling to conventions and meetings because conventions and meetings look at New York, look at Orlando. [You] can put the whole convention in Las Vegas and look at the room prices and look at the rates and people say, ‘Yeah, Vegas is pretty fun, let’s do that.’ So price as a weapon has always Las Vegas’s means to a recovery.

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US Sports Betting Industry Will Recover

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The future of the American sports betting industry remains promising, perhaps even record-setting next year, said gaming industry analyst and SpringOwl Asset Management CEO Jason Ader.

This year, though, amid a COVID-19 pandemic that has shut down sports with cascading detriment to sportsbooks and sports networks, is about mitigating damage and learning lessons on how to safeguard that future. This applies to sports leagues, broadcasters, gaming companies and state legislators.

Among the means is for states without legalized online gaming and casinos and online poker to get it immediately, says Ader in an expansive PlayUSA interview,

The industry will come back, he said. That includes Las Vegas, which will be priced to move, he said, whenever coronavirus allows.

Q: How is the sports betting and gambling industry doing to respond and maintain itself during the COVID-19 shutdown?

JASON ADER: I think it’s been very tough. I mean, the world has much bigger problems than gambling. The whole sports and broadcast industry has been turned upside down. And from that perspective, there’s just no sports, so there’s just no sports betting at all. And you can see, there’s been some effort to find obscure sports and even eSports, the NBA obviously doing eSports with some of the top players, but the lack of sports betting has been pretty devastating for the online gambling companies.

I don’t know what more I can say about the land-based companies. I mean, they’re closed. I think it’s pretty staggering and I think this number may be low, but I do think that the unemployment rate in Las Vegas was pretty close to 50%. They’re the people who work in the casinos, the people who service the casino, the limo drivers and the companies that do the linen washing. It’s just all completely out of work and just devastating to the economy and obviously devastating for the state. [Gaming] is a source of tax revenue which is important without a state income tax [in Nevada].

The gaming industry has been a pretty good partner to the municipalities that have legalized it.

I think just about every state that has some form of gaming, it’s a top-five – and it may even be top three- – contributor in terms of overall state revenue after obviously sales tax and income tax.

Is this the biggest challenge the industry has faced?

At this moment in time, it’s as bad as we’ve ever seen and because so much of the infrastructure is closed and honestly, I don’t think it’s clear to anybody when things will reopen and what life will be like.

Is everybody going to be rushing to Las Vegas to sit at a crowded blackjack table or sweaty nightclub or busy convention center? I don’t think right away. I mean that’s something that will take a little bit of an adjustment.

I do have some fascinating statistics that I’m gonna share with you: Italy is kind of the worst-hit market in the world, maybe, in terms of death and shutdown, certainly one of the worst and still heavily concentrated. For the month of March, online casino was up 30%. Three-zero. Online poker cash games were up 89% and tournament poker revenues were up 123%. So that’s pretty amazing online statistics. So one of the things I’ve been thinking about, will land-based companies who’ve been forced to close go out and start buying online companies? You see statistics like this and they’d be crazy not to.

I mean, you’d be crazy to have literally your entire business dependent upon land-based business where you see online growth, when everybody’s forced to stay at home and you don’t know how long this is going to last. Is this going to come back in the spring time and if it’ll come back next year if you’re not going to be able to leave your home?

How big a factor was online casino and poker in relation to the Italian market before gamblers there had no sports on which to bet?

It’s a pretty big business in Italy. It’s a legal business and PartyPoker recently sort of had come back into the market, but PokerStars is one of the dominant players. People are at home and so they’re playing more, playing more poker. Italy is a relevant market. It’s a top-10 market in the world for gaming. Most people don’t realize that.

Can you estimate the monetary impact of multiple months of lost sports betting in the United States, particularly March and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament?

Right now it’s down 90-plus percent. I’ve seen a lot of different numbers in terms of total revenue, but what I think the legal sports betting was on a pretty good clip to be $10 billion monthly, so $120- ish [in a year]. I really think it’s going to take several months to sort of get back, but I do think that there’ll be pretty decent pent-up demand.

I think that the U.S. sports betting, and this is for 2019 was just about billion [monthly], so the whole year was $11 billion.

There’s no really new state activity. So if you think about last year alone, it was $11 billion from sports betting and this yea it could be less than half that, but I do think next year it could very well exceed, if things normalized. 2021 could be bigger than 2019 because you’ve got the Olympics now, you’ve got the Euro Cup, you just got a lot of people who have learned how to use online gaming. You have a lot of states now that need revenues that are probably going to accelerate their plans to legalize online.

Will sports betting’s momentum as a business and a pastime more available to more people in the United States allow it to pick right back up where it left off when this is over?

It’s not going to be like that, because I think it’s been a bit too long. You’ve got a lot of people out of work, you got a lot of people who had economic damage. So the business, you can sort of flip a switch and say, ‘OK, the business is open,’ but demand is going to take some time.

Now there’s a lot of government programs that are in place. You’ve got very cheap money, you have the system flushed with liquidity. You can have follow-on Congressional activity to help small businesses. You’re going to see people get hired back, but it’s going to be like when you turn up a dimmer as opposed to a light switch.

I think we’ll get back to very strong, especially given the government fiscal and monetary stimulus that’s in place. But if everything sort of goes as planned and things in May are turned back on we could be by elections, in a much more normalized environment. We could be well on our way to a pretty strong recovery. But it’s going to take several months for that dimmer that’s almost off right now to come back on and to be producing bright lights again.

Given how bad the timing of this was in terms of March Madness, would you agree it’s crucial for sportsbooks is a return of the NFL in some capacity this fall?

I think that’s right. And again, I wouldn’t just frame this in the context of sports betting either. I mean, you’ve got gigantic television contracts, gigantic. The TV broadcasters need this and want this, too, because there’s advertisers that have made sales and there’s been advances to teams and there’s already discussions with the [soccer] teams and the clubs in Europe to pay back some of their broadcasts advance. So gaming, it’s like a derivative industry to a much bigger industry, which is broadcasting and advertising. And they all want it and they want it for their own selfish economic reasons.

And don’t lose sight of the fact that the sport is not about betting. The sport is about the broadcast and the business of sports. And, to some extent the gaming industry is the first and second derivative around that gigantic economy, which is FOX and Sky and NBC and ESPN and everything else.

What’s the forecast for the recovery of the Macau casino market?

They opened the border and there was this video that I saw with thousands of people rushing the border to get in. And they actually got pretty clean for a couple of days with COVID-19 cases, even no new cases. Everything seemed to be going great with Macau in the context of trying to make a comeback, but there was a re-emergence of some cases and it was hard to track because it’s Chinese statistics.

But borders opened up just to Chinese and Hong Kong residents. And when the borders opened up to Chinese and Hong Kong residents only, the people that got infected had been in Europe or elsewhere within the last 14 days. So what’s happened in Macau now is if you go over, it’s a pretty long border control.

Usually, you’d get through in an hour or less, maybe even a half hour if it’s not busy. And the border control is a bit extreme now. I’m seeing reports it’s taking six hours to get through the border. Nobody wants that.

But the bigger issue is the borders have tightened up again. If you leave Macau, you’re required to quarantine for 14 days. I don’t know if you’re required or suggested, but that’s sort of the deal-killer.

I’d say business is still down 88 to 90%. But you scrape a lot of travel and tourism data on Macau and the bookings, the interest in bookings from Chinese and throughout the Asia market is just extraordinary. When Macau does green-light this, I think it’s going be like a Chinese New Year demand, which is one of the strongest periods for the Macau market.

There’s just a lot of interest in returning as soon as the Chinese markets can and, obviously, Macau has built itself up now where it’s gone well beyond gaming and has the new spectacular entertainment there and restaurants and non-gaming activities have been a push by the Chinese government.

What will be the apprehension level of the gaming public or non-gaming tourists in returning to casinos or shows in Las Vegas?

I think it’s mixed. I think that the casino operators that I talked to are far too optimistic. I think they’re all hoping there will be some Memorial Day open. The rates are going to be spectacular. You’re going to be able to get gigantic rooms for like $100. And I think everybody has to drop rates to the absolute lowest level they’ve ever sold for as long as they need too.

And I think what you’ll see with Las Vegas is that you’ll see a complete sale this summer. Like, airfare, hotel, $200, over multiple nights, and then that’ll move up over time just to get people out there. So I’m sort of hearing the pricing strategies of Las Vegas as they think about reopening this summer and the prices are going to be amazing, if you don’t mind being in Las Vegas in the summer – and I’ve done it – it’s pretty hot. Even sitting by the pool can be uncomfortable.

But I do think there’s going to be a lot of people who want to go and get out and the deals they’re going to get are unbelievable. You could take a whole family to Las Vegas for like a week and have airfare included and it could be under a thousand dollars and that might even include the buffet, one or two buffet meals.

So we’re back to that, which is sort of how Vegas recovered post-financial crisis and post-recession in 2002. That’s the playbook. That’s the Vegas playbook. And price as a means for recovery becomes very compelling to conventions and meetings because conventions and meetings look at New York, look at Orlando. [You] can put the whole convention in Las Vegas and look at the room prices and look at the rates and people say, ‘Yeah, Vegas is pretty fun, let’s do that.’ So price as a weapon has always Las Vegas’s means to a recovery.

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Storm the Court, Nadal, Charlatan Aim for Derby Position in Arkansas

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The first Saturday in May should have brought the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby. Then COVID-19 intervened.

Instead, May 2 will bring an important Derby prep race, albeit four months before the Run for the Roses’ new date on Sept. 5. And it will bring a wrinkle.

Oaklawn Park officials will split the 1 ⅛-mile Grade I into two 11-colt divisions with $500,000 in prize money and 170 points good for Kentucky Derby entry available in each segment. Each winner will earn 100 entry points, with subsequent finishers taking 40, 20 and ten.

The Arkansas Derby on Saturday was originally scheduled for April 11. Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas has been one of the few tracks in the United States to maintain a live meet without spectators.

“We’re trying to make the best of a very, very difficult situation,” Oaklawn President Louis Cella said. “On the one hand, it is the worst of times to be racing without fans in our grandstand. On the other, we have a large number of exceptional 3-year-olds wanting to run in our Arkansas Derby. We simply did not want to see anyone lose that opportunity.”

Arkansas Derby details

The second race, which is slated to go to post at 6:43 p.m. CST, features greater star power in Breeder’s Cup juvenile champion Storm the Court and unbeaten Nadal, trained by Bob Baffert. The five-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer has untested and undefeated Charlatan in the first race, which is scheduled for 5:29 p.m. CST on Fox Sports 1, TVG and NBC Sports.

Nadal has already won at Oaklawn, having claimed the Grade II Rebel Stakes on March 14.

For Arkansas Derby betting, Charlatan will break from the first post as the even-money favorite. Nadal, starting in the fifth slot, is the 5-2 favorite in the second race with Storm the Court third pick from the third gate in what is currently the last Derby prep scheduled. Churchill Downs officials are exploring adding more with so much time remaining until the rescheduled date.

“We’re in the midst of an unprecedented year,” Churchill Downs racetrack President Kevin Flanery said. “We recognize that there are numerous 3-year-olds currently in training with limited racing opportunities, and our prominent partner Oaklawn Park is in a unique and important position to immediately fill a void for horsemen. An extension of the Road to the Kentucky Derby will continue to evolve in the weeks ahead.”

Much to the dismay of horse bettors, this year will mark just the second time that the Derby has been moved from its traditional May slot.

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DraftKings Acquires SBTech And Finally Goes Public

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Another week of social distancing and quarantining is in the books. Another week closer, hopefully, to the light at the end of the tunnel.

We hope everyone is staying safe, smart and sane in these trying times.

It used to be that sports provide an outlet from reality. Alas, they remain sidelined. Even casinos could offer an escape. Similarly, they are still shuttered. But US gambling news persists. So at least there’s something.

On to the Rewind:

DraftKings acquires SBTech, goes public

Following years of building up its daily fantasy sports pedigree and rising as a legal sports betting powerhouse, DraftKings has now become a publicly traded company.

Shareholders last week approved the company’s acquisition of SBTech, setting up DraftKings’ announcement a day later that it completed various transactions to complete the reverse merger.

Then, under the DKNG ticker symbol, DraftKings made its Nasdaq debut.

The details of the deal feature Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp. paying $2.7 billion in cash and stock for both DraftKings and SBTech, a sports betting tech supplier. DraftKings is expected to receive $2.055 billion in the transaction.

For clarity, this does not mean a change of ownership for DraftKings. Rather, the deal was merely a method for the company to go public.

Diamond Eagle projects DraftKings revenue would increase by $460 million by 2021. This is partly due to the combination of DraftKings Sportsbook and SBTech, which will become one of the largest online sports betting, iGaming and DFS platforms.

A path for online sports betting in New York?

One of the biggest advocates for expanding legalized sports betting in New York showed a bit of his hand to finally bringing online wagering to the Empire State.

Assemblyman Gary Pretlow told Legal Sports Report that he would push for a constitutional amendment bill to do just that.

This decision comes during a time featuring uncertainty surrounding lawmaking sessions because of COVID-19 and on the heels of another failed effort to convince Gov. Andrew Cuomo to include mobile betting in the state budget.

Additionally, Pretlow said the amendment would allow legal wagering at off-track betting parlors and sports facilities.

With an obstacle-free path, such a proposal would require legislative passage in each of the next two years before hitting the public ballot in November 2021.

The state has obviously shut down due to the coronavirus, which will certainly affect overall revenue. It is believed that when lawmakers reconvene, they could piece together a supplementary revenue bill. And as Legal Sports Report detailed, that bill could create an opening for online sports betting in New York.

While Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. stands against an amendment, he conceded that he would get behind one “as a last resort. If the revenue package doesn’t materialize, I’ll do the amendment.”

Twin River acquires three Caesars, Eldorado casinos

Casinos may remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that has not stopped Twin River Worldwide Holdings, Inc. from padding its portfolio.

The group announced two agreements last week, one to acquire a pair of casinos owned by Eldorado Resorts as well as one with Caesars Entertainment to take on Bally’s Atlantic City in New Jersey.

The two Eldorado properties include Eldorado Shreveport Resort and Casino in Louisiana and Mont Bleu Resort Casino & Spa in Nevada.

According to the release, Twin River acquires both Eldorado casinos for $155 million, while the Bally’s deal will cost the group $25 million in cash.

As a result, Twin River adds three more states to its reach.  It already owned and managed properties in Rhode Island, Mississipi, Delaware and Colorado.

Recall that Caesars and Eldorado have a merger pending, which will obviously include three fewer properties.

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Tennessee Sports Betting Could Arrive In July, But Here Are Some Critical Facts

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A skilled journalist once wrote, “I think there is a terrible angst on the land, a sense that something ugly is about to happen, an hour-to-hour feeling of nervous anticipation.” That was a bit of correspondence from Hunter S. Thompson to a friend in 1965. Though he was referring to Richard Nixon and not the anticipated launch of Tennessee sports betting, the similarities are there if you look hard enough.

Online sports betting in Tennessee is expected to make its official debut in July. However, it will come with a stain, at least in the eyes of experts who analyze the markets.

Tennessee sports betting rules at a glance

As reported by Play Tennessee, embedded within the rules and regulations is a clause that caps the amount a bettor can win at 90 percent. This means Tennessee will be the first state to mandate that sportsbooks generate a 10 percent hold.

But the rules established by the TN Education Lottery Corporation don’t stop there. Operators must also pay an annual licensing fee of $750,000 and will be taxed at 20 percent.

Here are those numbers compared to other states:

  • Nevada — 6% hold
  • New Jersey — 7% hold / $100,000 licensing fee
  • Pennsylvania — $10 million licensing fee / 36% tax rate
  • Illinois — $20 million licensing fee / 25% tax rate

While some states may have outrageous tax rates and substantial licensing fees, the main constant is none require a 10 percent hold.

But there is a safety valve of sorts. Rules can be revisited in a year’s time so if everything turns to ash, there is a way to rebuild.

The benefit of the doubt

One must understand, a politicians’ first duty is to the state. How much tax revenue can a product bring in? How many jobs can it create? These are fundamental questions asked by lawmakers across the country.

A detailed report from Eilers & Krejcik, an independent research and consulting firm, predicted a $10.9 million annual loss as a result of the initial 15 percent hold requested by the lottery corporation. That is a hefty chunk of change. In the current economic climate, it would be wise not to leave such a massive sum on the table.

But upon further analysis, several models in the report show total revenue significantly declining, going from as high as $55.5 million to as low as $30.7 million.

However, total tax revenue jumps from as low as $23.2 million to as high as $45.3 million, and that is the key.

Tax revenue is what makes elected officials salivate. Money brought into the state creates praise. Praise creates money for state coffers. The more money in state coffers means more political clout. And with more clout, means more votes. And votes are what keep elected officials in power.

Is the TN sports betting launch two months away?

While the exact date of launch has yet to be revealed, Tennessee residents have a little over two months to prepare for a version of sports betting that will be completely mobile. Yes, another first. Tennessee will only have online sports betting with no retail options available.

But like the rest of the country, they’re waiting for the return of sports. For now, there are limited options in the gambling sphere.

As mentioned before, the unfortunate stain will be the limited winning payout and an operator’s ability to offer competitive pricing. Think of it this way, if the odds on the legal sports betting market are -125, that means a bettor must wager $125 to win $100. If they can get better odds on the illegal market on the same match, which do you think they will go for?

The one thing bettors have going for them is geographical location. Arkansas and Mississippi are to the south, and Illinois to the north, all with legal, regulated sports betting to some capacity. It’s highly expected that some bettors, not all, will take advantage of these gaming markets.

In the end, sure, some politicians may genuinely want to cut into the black market. Some may even want to implement stronger consumer protections and give generously to responsible gaming initiatives. But the bottom line will always be: how many jobs will be created and how much money will be brought in.

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Global Poker Home Series Awarding Largest Online Poker Prize Pool

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The largest purse in the history of Global Poker awaits this weekend.

On April 26, the sweepstakes-based online poker site wraps up its Global Poker Home Series with the biggest guarantee it has ever offered: a prize pool of SC500,000 during the SC540 Sunday Scrimmage.

Not a bad payday during a time of quarantine.

What is Global Poker?

Legalized online poker is limited to a select few states — Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware — but Global Poker provides an avenue for the vast majority of the country as well as Canada.

A social poker site that made its debut in 2016, Global Poker allows players to purchase Gold Coins and receive Sweeps Coins to compete in tournaments. Sweeps Coins are redeemable for cash.

Additionally, players can compete in various styles of poker, including Texas Hold’em and Omaha.

Global Poker has flourished since launching four years ago, building its base to more than 1 million registered players.

Win big in the Home Series

Over the past few events, Global Poker has handed out larger and larger prizes. For example, Gold Coin events have already paid out some GC120 million, and Sweeps Coin players have shared a whopping SC1.22 million.

Those totals will increase Sunday.

After shelling out the SC540 to buy into the tournament, players will have a crack at the largest prize pool in Global Poker history. Not only that, but winners will also receive Home Series trophies complete with their inscribed names.

Certainly, the event will draw ample participation. Consider last week, when the Sunday Teaser and Scrimmage events featured more than 1,100 players.

A bright spot after WSOP news

The poker world could use a strong weekend finish, especially after a rocky middle of the week.

The World Series of Poker announced it postponed the 51st installment of the Las Vegas event due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused mass casino closures across the country.

On the upside, the event is expected to return in fall 2020, dates of which Caesars Entertainment will announce at a later time.

Then again, not all news was bad: the WSOP online poker site remains operational for players in the aforementioned four states that regulate the game.

Online poker itself has seen an uptick in participation since the health scare began. So, too, have legalized online casinos. It only makes sense, really, when you consider the absence of sports and sports betting.

Fortunately for players needed to scratch a gambling itch, legal operators have stepped in to fill the void.

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New Jersey, Pennsylvania Online Gambling Revenue See Big Uptick In March

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This was supposed to be a landmark time of the year.

Two of the biggest and flourishing legal sports betting industries were supposed to be reaping the rewards of one of the sporting year’s busiest times: March MadnessMLB, the Masters, and postseason pushes for the NBA and NHL.

What an incredible month — certainly one that would produce record-breaking sports betting handle and revenue numbers for both New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Yet we were left wanting. The coronavirus pandemic shut it all down. All that’s left is what could have been.

That said, online gambling did not completely suffer. Rather, both online casinos and online poker saw an uptick. And last month, industries in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania seemingly compensated for a lack of sports.

New Jersey online gambling flourishes

Believe it or not, online gambling has been a mainstay in New Jersey for going on seven years. No month, however, has ever been as prosperous as March 2020.

Online casinos and poker operators reported a jaw-dropping $64.8 million in revenue. How big is that? Well, it sits nearly $13 million more than the previous month, for starters. More important, though, that total is the industry’s first month exceeding $60 million. And it’s actually nearly $10 million more than the state’s previous best monthly report.

If those feats aren’t enough, March 2020 numbers reflect an astonishing 65.6% increase year over year.

The kicker, though, lies with online poker. Entering March, this sector had not eclipsed $2 million in monthly revenue since August 2017. It hadn’t seen more than $3 million since October 2016. In January 2014, the state enjoyed its best poker month with $3.4 million in revenue.

You see where this is going: In March 2020, New Jersey online poker posted a whopping $3.6 million in revenue. Month over month, that’s a 101% spike.

All told, all but one online casino in the state reported record-setting revenue figures in March.

Certainly, these online platforms benefited from stay-at-home orders. Gov. Phil Murphy ordered the closure of Atlantic City casinos midway through the month. And when leagues began suspending and canceling events, online casinos and poker filled the void.

PA online gambling shows a similar trend

New Jersey was not alone in rewriting the history books.

Neighboring Pennsylvania was coming off a record-setting February. As the Keystone State nears the anniversary of its first online casinos, the industry put up yet another historic month.

Already trending upward, what with revenues up over 31% month to month since December, operators in March reported some $24.3 million in online revenue, marking a 24.5% increase from February. That total breaks down to a $12.4 million/$8.8 million/$3.1 million slash line for online slots/table games/poker.

It’s not just the revenue that stands out, but also the action. Consider players in Pennsylvania accounted for $871.6 million in total wagers, up nearly $170 million from the previous month. Staggering.

Like in New Jersey, the uptick in Pennsylvania can assuredly be attributed to mass shutdowns. With casinos closing down amid the coronavirus pandemic, overall gambling revenue in Pennsylvania actually dropped by 51%.

Takeaways from NJ, PA online gambling reports

Leagues and organizers suspending and canceling events sent a shockwave across not only the country but the world. What were fans and bettors to do?

From jump street, operators who integrated online casinos with online sportsbooks or vice versa made sure to cross-promote. The two industries appeal to different demographics. Get your slot players to notice the NFL lines, for example, or market table games to the everyday sports bettor.

March 2020 emerges as the most significant example of such strategies paying off.

What’s more, online gambling in New Jersey and Pennsylvania could open the eyes of lawmakers in other states. After all, those states could certainly use revenue from somewhere, right?



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So, What Sports Can You Bet On Legally During The Shutdown?

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My dog, a 1-year-old French bulldog named Gunther, has been meticulously judging me, wondering why I spend so much time looking for sports betting options when the industry is on hold. That’s because despite the pause of NBA and NHL seasons, the postponement of the start of MLB, and the uncertain start of NFL season, there are some things people can still bet on.

You must remember, things are in short supply. A better part of the options, at least for the four pillars of sports (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB), are futures bets.

However, many sportsbooks around the country are offering very niche sports to bet on. Not every item will be referenced here, but below are some of the sports and activities professional and casual bettors can still wager on at legal sportsbooks in the US.

For am extensive list of betting options, head over to each sportsbook’s website such as FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, and William Hill Sportsbook.

NFL & NCAA Football betting

The 2020 NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 23, which means expect sportsbooks to offer a variety of NFL Draft betting options. Customers can also lay down several traditional futures bets, some of which include:

  • 2020-21 SuperBowl Champion (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020-21 Pro Football Regular Season MVP (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 NFL Draft (FD, DK, William Hill, and more…)
  • 2020-21 College Football National Champion (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 Heisman Trophy Winner (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)

NBA & NCAA Basketball betting

March Madness may have been scrapped this year, but you can still bet on who will be next year’s champion. Should the NBA season resume later this year, you can also bet on who will win the 2019-2020 NBA Title in addition to the upcoming 2020 NBA Draft.

  • Taiwan Basketball (DK)
  • Chinese Taipei (DK)
  • 2020 NBA Draft (FD, DK, BetMGM, and more)
  • 2020-21 NCAA Basketball Champion (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 WNBA Champion (William Hill)

Baseball betting

America’s pastime is tricky — and yes, baseball is still America’s pastime. But until MLB returns, a few international games are being played.

  • 2020-21 World Season Champion (FD, DK, BetMGM, William Hill, and more)
  • Taiwan Baseball matches (William Hill)
  • South Korean Baseball matches (William Hill)

Soccer betting

Many soccer matches continue to be played overseas, which baffles even me. To that extent, several sportsbooks offer single-game bets, except for William Hill, which is only offering bets in Nevada.

  • 2020 FIFA World Cup (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 UEFA Euro (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • Belarusian Premier League (FD, DK, William Hill-NV only, and more)
  • Taiwan Premier League (FD, DK, William Hill-NV only, and more)

Golf betting

Several PGA tour events, including The Masters, have been postponed due to the pandemic. This means golf betting has been reduced to futures options until further notice.

  • 2020 Masters (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 Ryder Cup (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 US Open (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 Cactus League Women’s Golf matchup (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)

Table Tennis

Perhaps the most bet-on sport during the coronavirus pandemic has been table tennis. The most competitive leagues are based in the Czech Republic, Russia, and Ukraine, with matches streamed on setka.cup.com.

  • Moscow Liga Pro matches (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • Setka Cup Men’s matches (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • Czech TT Star Series (William Hill)
  • Ukraine Win Cup matches (William Hill)

Additional options

On top of everything listed above, there are several other sports and events customers can wager on. In no particular order they include:

  • Call of Duty League (William Hill-NV only)
  • League of Legends Europe (William Hill-NV only)
  • 2020 Premier League Darts (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • Magnus Carlsen Inv Futures – Chess (William Hill)
  • 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Futures (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 ICC Cricket World Cup Futures (DK)

The list of betting options may not be what we are used to. By now, I should have attended a handful of Chicago White Sox baseball games. The NBA and NHL playoffs would be heating up, and in-depth discussions on NFL training camp would be flooding TV screens.

Some things will continue, but they may look different. One change will be witnessed soon with the first-ever remote NFL draft. But as I tell Gunther, during these challenging times, we must work with what we got.

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So, What Sports Can You Bet On Legally During The Shutdown?

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My dog, a 1-year-old French bulldog named Gunther, has been meticulously judging me, wondering why I spend so much time looking for sports betting options when the industry is on hold. That’s because despite the pause of NBA and NHL seasons, the postponement of the start of MLB, and the uncertain start of NFL season, there are some things people can still bet on.

You must remember, things are in short supply. A better part of the options, at least for the four pillars of sports (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB), are futures bets.

However, many sportsbooks around the country are offering very niche sports to bet on. Not every item will be referenced here, but below are some of the sports and activities professional and casual bettors can still wager on at legal sportsbooks in the US.

For am extensive list of betting options, head over to each sportsbook’s website such as FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, and William Hill Sportsbook.

NFL & NCAA Football betting

The 2020 NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 23, which means expect sportsbooks to offer a variety of NFL Draft betting options. Customers can also lay down several traditional futures bets, some of which include:

  • 2020-21 SuperBowl Champion (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020-21 Pro Football Regular Season MVP (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 NFL Draft (FD, DK, William Hill, and more…)
  • 2020-21 College Football National Champion (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 Heisman Trophy Winner (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)

NBA & NCAA Basketball betting

March Madness may have been scrapped this year, but you can still bet on who will be next year’s champion. Should the NBA season resume later this year, you can also bet on who will win the 2019-2020 NBA Title in addition to the upcoming 2020 NBA Draft.

  • Taiwan Basketball (DK)
  • Chinese Taipei (DK)
  • 2020 NBA Draft (FD, DK, BetMGM, and more)
  • 2020-21 NCAA Basketball Champion (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 WNBA Champion (William Hill)

Baseball betting

America’s pastime is tricky — and yes, baseball is still America’s pastime. But until MLB returns, a few international games are being played.

  • 2020-21 World Season Champion (FD, DK, BetMGM, William Hill, and more)
  • Taiwan Baseball matches (William Hill)
  • South Korean Baseball matches (William Hill)

Soccer betting

Many soccer matches continue to be played overseas, which baffles even me. To that extent, several sportsbooks offer single-game bets, except for William Hill, which is only offering bets in Nevada.

  • 2020 FIFA World Cup (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 UEFA Euro (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • Belarusian Premier League (FD, DK, William Hill-NV only, and more)
  • Taiwan Premier League (FD, DK, William Hill-NV only, and more)

Golf betting

Several PGA tour events, including The Masters, have been postponed due to the pandemic. This means golf betting has been reduced to futures options until further notice.

  • 2020 Masters (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 Ryder Cup (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 US Open (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 Cactus League Women’s Golf matchup (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)

Table Tennis

Perhaps the most bet-on sport during the coronavirus pandemic has been table tennis. The most competitive leagues are based in the Czech Republic, Russia, and Ukraine, with matches streamed on setka.cup.com.

  • Moscow Liga Pro matches (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • Setka Cup Men’s matches (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • Czech TT Star Series (William Hill)
  • Ukraine Win Cup matches (William Hill)

Additional options

On top of everything listed above, there are several other sports and events customers can wager on. In no particular order they include:

  • Call of Duty League (William Hill-NV only)
  • League of Legends Europe (William Hill-NV only)
  • 2020 Premier League Darts (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • Magnus Carlsen Inv Futures – Chess (William Hill)
  • 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Futures (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 ICC Cricket World Cup Futures (DK)

The list of betting options may not be what we are used to. By now, I should have attended a handful of Chicago White Sox baseball games. The NBA and NHL playoffs would be heating up, and in-depth discussions on NFL training camp would be flooding TV screens.

Some things will continue, but they may look different. One change will be witnessed soon with the first-ever remote NFL draft. But as I tell Gunther, during these challenging times, we must work with what we got.

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WSOP Officially Postponed Due To Pandemic, But May Return This Fall

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The 51st running World Series Of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas has been postponed. The move comes after weeks of rumors and speculation that the largest poker tournament of the year will be delayed or canceled.

Caesars Entertainment, operators of WSOP, says the postponement of the tournament is due to the public health emergency involving COVID-19 which has closed all US casinos. The company says that they would like to have the WSOP return later this year if and when the coronavirus pandemic concerns have lessened.

World Series of Poker is postponed — not canceled

WSOP 2020 has not been canceled. Caesars is targeting dates sometime in the fall of 2020 for the return of the poker tournament. The company will announce the exact dates in the future. Depending on the timeline they may have to reduce the number of events for the WSOP.

Last year more than 180,000 players participated in 90 events at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. This year the annual WSOP was set to run from May 26 to July 15, 2020. The original WSOP schedule included 117 events.

Regardless of how many events could be canceled this year, WSOP will include poker’s world championship, the $10,000 buy-in Main Event championship. This is the most prestigious event and richest prize pool on the poker calendar every year.

“We are committed to running the World Series of Poker this year but need additional time to proceed on our traditional scale while prioritizing guest and staff well-being,” said Ty Stewart, executive director of the World Series of Poker.

WSOP.com still operating

Stewart continued saying “in the interim, official WSOP competitions are expected to be played online this summer, and we will soon announce details of an expanded series of tournaments to be played on WSOP.com and through a partnership with international operators, which will allow players to chase WSOP glory from their homes.”

WSOP.com is still operating so poker players can keep their skills sharp while remaining quarantined. The online poker website shares liquidity in the following states:

  • Delaware
  • New Jersey
  • Nevada

There are still more than 40 tournaments taking place in the WSOP Spring Online Championships which runs through May 3. Additionally, there are Sunday tournaments with a guaranteed prize of $100,000.

The big news of all is that the WSOP.com online bracelet events will continue as planned this summer. There will be a total of 14 online WSOP tournaments this summer. Buy-ins range in price from $400 to $10,000.

New Caesars could mean changes for WSOP

Eldorado Resorts is still in the process of closing a merger deal with Caesars Entertainment. The deal should be completed by June. Eldorado Resorts will operate the new company which will keep the name “Caesars” – without the entertainment.

While Caesars has a two-year lease to operate the Rio, the new company could decide to relocate the WSOP elsewhere in Las Vegas this year. It’s expected that Las Vegas casinos could re-open in stages. The Rio could remain shuttered for longer than other Caesars properties in Las Vegas since it’s located off the Vegas Strip and away from the other properties.

Even if Rio opens, Caesars could decide to relocate WSOP anyway. This could be an opportunity to showcase the new Caesars Forum convention center opening behind The Linq and Harrah’s. The new convention center was supposed to host the 2020 NFL Draft which was turned into a virtual event as Las Vegas shuttered all non-essential businesses for April.

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TN, VA Sports Betting Slowly Moving Toward Launch

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It remains incredible that each week, despite the lack of sports, we still find ample news surrounding legalized sports betting.

Casinos are still shuttered. Major sports are on hiatus. Understandably, sports betting handles and revenues are plummeting.

Still, states are powering ahead with legislation and pending launches. Sportsbooks are still landing partnerships. Apparently nothing can hold back sports betting progress.

On to the Rewind:

Tennessee sports betting ready to rock

After months of buildup, Tennessee sports betting has finally taken a step forward, closer to becoming reality.

The Tennessee Lottery Board finalized sports betting regulations and license application forms during a recent meeting. As a result, the state’s legal wagering industry could launch as soon as July 2020.

Nine months have passed since the state gave the green light for regulated betting. But finally, the board finalized rules to pave the way toward launch. The board also approved forms for sports betting licenses, applications that should become available to operators by week’s end.

While it remains unclear how long the lottery board will review applications, a summer launch of Tennessee sports betting seems more than reasonable.

That said, the board also voted on a 90% fixed payout cap, essentially requiring books to hold on to at least 10% of wagers each year.

That stipulation could limit wagering options offered by sportsbooks, which could understandably compensate by shortening odds or the like.

Regardless, Tennessee sports betting appears headed down the homestretch.

Governor amends Virginia sports betting bill

Ideally, Gov. Ralph Northam would have signed the bill to legal sports betting in Virginia by now. Alas, he has not. Rather, he made several recommendations for the legislation and sent it back to lawmakers.

Certainly, this delays the legalization further. However, this does not seem as if it would derail the bill’s passage. The legislature will pore over the governor’s suggestions at a reconvened session April 22.

Among Northam’s recommendations, one stands out from the others. Under the definition of a “major league sports franchise,” the governor included NASCAR tracks.

In this portion of the bill, teams located in Virginia would be eligible to obtain sports betting licenses. Now, the likes of Martinsville Speedway and Richmond Raceway could potentially have a path to opening their own legal sportsbooks.

Between four and 12 online-only licenses will be made available for operators, as well as five licenses for casinos in the state and any “franchise” that seeks licensing.

Virginia would prohibit betting on in-state colleges. However, one of Northam’s recommendations would permit wagering on tournaments involving those schools.

DraftKings teams with Inspired for virtual sports

With minimal sports on which to wager, DraftKings Sportsbook is certainly looking for ways to expand their offerings to customers.

The sportsbook appears to have found that solution courtesy of Inspired Entertainment.

DraftKings struck a deal with the virtual sports provider, allowing it to implement Inspired’s V-Play Plug & Play solution. As such, DraftKings will soon bring to its New Jersey customers 14 virtual sports.

Variants such as virtual basketball, football, horse racing, soccer and car racing will become available via DraftKings’ desktop and mobile sportsbooks.

Among the headlining products, V-Play NFLA Legends football will hit the DraftKings airwaves soon. Officially licensed with the NFL alumni, the game pits all-time legends against one another.

So while real sports remain sidelined, virtual sports will soon provide some sort of respite.

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NFL Draft Betting Is White Hot As It Goes Virtual, Gems Could Still Abound

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The NFL Draft was supposed to have been held on a virtual island constructed within the fountain pool of the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Instead, it will be held in an archipelago of virtual spaces around the United States, another bi-product of the COVID-19 pandemic impacting daily lives and daily distractions. Even America’s favorite sport and betting pastime.

This will be weird, as commissioner Roger Goodell curates the online proceedings from his basement in Bronxville, free (at least in person) of the jeers. After all, those congratulatory handshakes would require so much soap afterwards.

But in many ways, this draft will represent a return to normalcy, or, at least, new-normalcy with the prospect of actual games — for the NFL or any league — still a speculative exercise.

And that’s in part why the draft, which commences on Thursday, April 23, has mushroomed as a betting market in the absence of most any other live action, other than obscure European soccer or table tennis or esports.

The draft schedule is as follows: Round 1, April 23, 8 p.m. ET.; Rounds 2-3, April 24, 7 p.m. ET.; Rounds 4-7, April 25, 12 p.m. ET. It will air live on ESPN, ABC, NFL Network.

Excitement around NFL Draft betting

Typical draft intrigue combined with loads of free time for sharps and dabblers to apply to analysis could lead to some lucrative opportunities for bettors.

“No matter how many mock drafts you read, no matter how much you’re around what the general consensus is, there are always surprises. There’s always picks we didn’t see coming or a team that valued a player much higher than everyone else,” PointsBet Sports Content Manager Andrew Mannino told PlayUSA. “So, I think that in this time where people have more, sort of, space and mental time to devote to thinking this out, there are definitely some gems out there.

“And I think that when we see those usual surprises that we see in the early picks of round one, I think that there’ll definitely be some people who find some gems.”

Mining for them has been brisk on both coasts.

PointsBet has taken more than double the amount of NFL Draft bets as this time last season.

For sports-starved bettors, an NFL Draft like never before

That the now-virtual event represents one of the first tangential connections to a beloved American sport since the COVID-19 lockdown broadens the importance of those extra offerings, he said.

FanDuel and DraftKings representatives told ESPN that betting volume was markedly higher than last year, also, and Fox Bet traders told PlayUSA that they expect volume for the upcoming draft to be “four to five times” a normal year.

William Hill director of trading Nick Bogdanovich said his company had planned on posting “five or six times” more draft proposition bets than usual – they’ve only been allowed by the Nevada Gaming Control Board since 2017 – because of expected interest in a Las Vegas-based ceremony.

“Betting is definitely way up,” he told PlayUSA. “I don’t know what the exact number is. Is it up three times, four times, eight times? But it’s going to be quite substantial.

“We were going to originally [post more bets] just because the draft was in Las Vegas and it was going to be 800,000 crazies here for three days and it was going to be off the hook. So, I knew that we had to get a bigger and better menu up for this year on that alone. But when all that fell through, just the sheer demand for it was there still there.”

PointsBet has launched 210 markets compared to 120 last season. That’s both to accommodate customer demand for something familiar, and because traders don’t have the other major sports to cover, Mannino said.

“As we get more experienced, as legalized sports betting in New Jersey continues to evolve, we’ve got more experience to look back on. There definitely would’ve been an uptick in our offerings, but we would’ve had a lot more on our plate in the meantime and we would have been spending a lot of time on college basketball, the NBA and NHL,” he said. “So, we certainly wouldn’t have as much attention to devote to it. I think the bettors have more time too.”

Tua Tagovailoa speculation a popular betting market

Not even poor broadband can prevent the Cincinnati Bengals from selecting former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow first-overall.

Maybe.

The national-title-winning, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback has been heavily critiqued, as expected, in the weeks preceding the proceedings, but also elicited praise from the likes of Hall of Famer Brett Favre. Bogdanovich considers Burrow such a lock at number one that his company isn’t offering any prop bets on the first-overall pick.

“It’s not really a viable booking proposition. It might be worth some publicity or something,” he said. “They’ve already declared it, that they’re going to take him, so no one’s going to lay it.”

Burrow is a staggering -100000 to be the first player taken at FanDuel, but a relative bargain at -10000 at PointsBet and DraftKings, which even has a market on where his supposed predecessor, Andy Dalton, will play next season.

Multiple outlets have markets on whether the last player selected, the so-called ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ will be an offensive or defensive player. Draftkings posted a potentially lucrative trifecta of sorts in asking the exact order of the first three running backs selected.

Multiple sportsbooks are offering matchplay bets asking which player will be taken first. Former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa opened at -150 at William Hill to be drafted ahead of Washington counterpart Justin Herbert (+130) and has lost public favor despite recent public discourse regarding his history injury.

Meanwhile at DraftKings, in a prop pitting two of Tagovailoa’s former targets, wide receiver Jerry Jeudy is heavily favored (-225) to be taken before teammate Henry Ruggs III (+225).

FanDuel has a market on first “Hog Molly” taken, with another Crimson Tide product, offensive lineman Jedrick Willis Jr., the clear favorite.

Ohio State defensive end ChaseYoung is the runaway favorite for first defensive player taken, standing at -3000 to go second at FanDuel and -10000 at PointsBet

Virtual draft has changed virtually everything

While Bogdanovich considers Burrow a lock at the top spot and Young a near-cinch to Washington at No. 2, the rest of the draft, he said, has become a fascinating case study in decision-making in a vacuum.

That includes team player personnel and bettors.

“Everything’s changed for all the people preparing for the draft. All you’re hearing is a lot of rumor and innuendo on social media and Twitter and people running with it,” he observed. “It’s really the most wide-open crapshoot of all time.

“The draft starts at [pick] three. At three you never know. For the longest time, everyone talked about Tua, somebody trading up and taking him in the three hole and now there’s talk of him dropping out of the top ten. So that goes to the wildness of this whole situation. I mean, it’s great theater.”

Bogdanovich likened the situation to two years ago when the first experiment of allowing betting on the Academy Awards in New Jersey was briefly halted after social media buzz suggested the winner of the Best Director category had leaked, swinging betting volume toward away from the favored eventual winner.

“Maybe some team started the rumors so they could get [Tagovailoa] at an earlier spot. You really don’t know,” Bogdanovich said. “I mean, obviously, we’ll tune in on Thursday and we’ll all find out.

“But like I said, it’s all speculation and if you’ve done any research at all in this mock draft, it’s so all over the place. It’s not even funny. I mean some people got [Utah State quarterback] Jordan Love going six and some going 28. It’s interesting and it’s good. Everyone’s getting a little taste of the NFL right now.”

Rumor-prompted market volatility has kept PointsBet traders busy, Mannino said, with Tagovailoa at the center in the New Jersey market, also.

“We’ve seen case after case where a rumor starts and then it’s reflected in the mock draft. And then there’s smoke and then bettors are coming for it,” he said. “It’s keeping us on our toes for sure and the odds are fluctuating all the time.

“At the end of March we had Tua as -650 to be the second quarterback drafted and Herbert at +500. Today they’re both at -115 and it’s a coin toss. We’ve seen rumors come out or you see a new mock draft and people chasing it, getting in on it. And as those rumors circulate, it certainly can be having an impact in the betting community.”

Vegas misses another party in a lost spring

A vacant Strip has been strange enough to process for Bogdanovich, a Las Vegas native. The lost opportunity for the city to host its own house-warming party for the NFL has left him equally disappointed. He’ll still be in his office, as usual, for the draft, but he would have ducked out if the bash had gone on as planned.

“It was going to be crazy,” he said. “People just absolutely love the NFL Draft and there’s not a better place in the world to hold an NFL Draft than in Las Vegas. So it would have been worth going down to see the scene.

“We have to shut betting off at a certain time anyway, so I probably would have driven down to The Strip and from a distance watched the wildness.”

It’s still going to be wild. And a little weird. But there are gems to be found.



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