Online Gambling Tips, Trick And Strategy


Poker Superstars Highlighted In Poker Following Darkish

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Gambling News

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


In May 2018, the US Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, opening the door for state-sanctioned legal sports betting.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Less than a month after SCOTUS repealed PASPA, Delaware became the first state to accept a legal wager outside Nevada.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


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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Gambling News

Las Vegas Casinos Prepare For June 4 Reopenings


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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Gambling News

When Are Major Horse Racing Events Scheduled To Return?


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?

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

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.

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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Gambling News

Will Louisiana Sports Betting Hit The Ballot This Fall?


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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Gambling News

Odds & How To Watch ‘The Match’


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 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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Gambling News

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


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


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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These chat lines are becoming more popular each working day. There are numerous various traces that you can use so you want to make sure that you select the one you want to use cautiously. So what are the advantages to using telephone lines that make them so popular?…