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Gambling News

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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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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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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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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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

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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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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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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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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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