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Solid Numbers, Easy Launch Helps Set Groundwork for Future

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

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

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

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

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

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

No sports, no problem for Colorado sports betting

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

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

“We really didn’t see any or hear any (missteps or errors) that would have given us any issues or that would have given us any thought that there would have been,” Hartman recalled. Conceding that it appeared strange he wasn’t receiving any calls, he added: “I wasn’t really looking at my phone, but I was looking at it more than normal on a weekend.”

While casinos remain closed because of the pandemic, four operators introduced online sportsbooks the morning of May 1:

Two others originally anticipated joining that crowd, Hartman noted. However, they decided to put off their debuts to “iron out” technical aspects. As it stands, those two — Smarkets and Monarch Casino — expect to launch this week.

With their feet now wet, future operator and market integrations should also go smoothly, Hartman said. Funny how time and experience can affect one’s outlook, as Hartman’s recollection detailed.

“A month and a half ago when everyone started going home and we were starting virtual commission meetings and all the other things we had to do that we just don’t normally do, it was a bit stressful and concerning. I think I went back and forth on whether we were going to open or not open or on time.

“As I got more confident that everybody was using the technology and everything was working and the commission was meeting special to get licenses done, all of those things … played into lowering our curve, really, to get to that confidence level. We were ready to launch and ready to go.”

Limited betting offerings allow time to correct any issues

A few weeks prior to the introduction of Colorado sports betting, Hartman agreed that while fewer active sports limits operators and the state financially, it provides regulators and bookmakers an opportunity to avoid and even quickly correct any issues that arise.

After opening weekend, Hartman believes that is still the case.

“I think if we would have had more operators, we would have had more (markets and issues),” Hartman said. “I think everybody was curious, and a lot of people got on an app and signed up and looked at the different available options they had. I think they were able to do that smoothly and kind of ease into it a little bit. I think the operators did, too.

“Had we had a bunch of (operators) come on at the same time, we may have been putting out a few fires here and there. But I think the way it came up, everybody was able to just manage their own issues. It was actually pretty good for all of us.”

With seemingly a more controlled environment, Colorado sports betting went off with little — if any — stress.

“After Friday, about noon, it kind of really just leveled out, and it was OK,” Hartman related, adding that all systems appeared to be running smoothly. “I think the stress level went down. If you don’t have some of that (stress) going into launch, you probably don’t have a pulse. I’ve done these before, and this one was far less stressful because we knew what was coming in, we knew the operators that were coming in, and everybody wanted to make it a success and not to worry about overlooking things. They’re all pros and were ready to go.”

Plenty more sportsbook launches ahead in Colorado

No doubt, Hartman said, it seems strange that the long-awaited May 1 launch of legal sports betting has passed.

“But,” he emphasized, “We’ve got a lot of May 1’s coming up with 25 operators.”

More bookmakers will enter the fold in short order, starting this week with Smarkets and Monarch. Then, sports will begin to return, including UFCNASCAR and the PGA Tour in the near future, reportedly followed potentially by MLB.

Soon, hopefully, Colorado casinos will reopen to the public, thus allowing retail sportsbooks to make their introductions to the Centennial State.

Hartman said as properties prepare to and even after they reopen, regulators will go in and perform testing before the public can take part.

“But it’ll kind of be seamless,” Hartman said, “with whenever their opening is ready to go.”

In a way, retail sportsbooks might benefit from this shutdown, Hartman said.

“It might even work to their advantage a little bit, because they won’t be trying to open it too soon when it’s half-done. Hopefully that’s where they get, and you’ll see the book open in all its glory instead of halfway.”

How Colorado sports betting looked

As for how the actual wagering in Colorado went, it should come as no shock that the majority of bettors played hometown favorites.

One FanDuel market asked if the Denver Broncos would make the NFL playoffs; 97% of wagers believe that to be the case. The Broncos stood as the most bet-on team at DraftKings, followed by the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. The majority of bets also went on newly drafted Denver WR Jerry Jeudy to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year. And the most popular team wagered on to win the World Series? The Colorado Rockies.

Similarly, BetRivers saw heavy action on the Broncos to win the AFC West as well as the AFC Championship and the Super Bowl. As for short-term future events, BetRivers COO Mattias Stetz expects UFC 249 in Jacksonville on May 9 “to be the most popular event next weekend by a wide margin.”

What about completed events?

At BetRivers, table tennis dominated, according to Stetz, as it accounted for just over 50% of the handle. One reason, he suggested, is that BetRivers live-streams matches, allowing for customers to watch along with and wager on them as they occur.

The largest bet placed at the site was on a Chinese Professional Baseball League game, which featured a $1,310 wager on the under 14.5 runs. The total came in at 12, paying the customer nearly $2,400.

As for FanDuel, one customer put down $882 on the Dallas Cowboys to win the Super Bowl, which would pay at just over $15,000. The biggest payout cashed in at $1,400, the result of a $500 wager on a Belarusian Premier League soccer match.

Opening weekend instilled extra optimism not only for regulators, but also for operators.

“We saw tremendous engagement after only a few days of sports betting in Colorado,” according to a spokesperson from DraftKings, noting all the local flavor among bets placed. “These popular futures, plus our current offers available in Colorado (table tennis, international soccer, etc.) are positive signs as we look forward to the return of major US sports leagues.”

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TN, VA Sports Betting Slowly Moving Toward Launch

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It remains incredible that each week, despite the lack of sports, we still find ample news surrounding legalized sports betting.

Casinos are still shuttered. Major sports are on hiatus. Understandably, sports betting handles and revenues are plummeting.

Still, states are powering ahead with legislation and pending launches. Sportsbooks are still landing partnerships. Apparently nothing can hold back sports betting progress.

On to the Rewind:

Tennessee sports betting ready to rock

After months of buildup, Tennessee sports betting has finally taken a step forward, closer to becoming reality.

The Tennessee Lottery Board finalized sports betting regulations and license application forms during a recent meeting. As a result, the state’s legal wagering industry could launch as soon as July 2020.

Nine months have passed since the state gave the green light for regulated betting. But finally, the board finalized rules to pave the way toward launch. The board also approved forms for sports betting licenses, applications that should become available to operators by week’s end.

While it remains unclear how long the lottery board will review applications, a summer launch of Tennessee sports betting seems more than reasonable.

That said, the board also voted on a 90% fixed payout cap, essentially requiring books to hold on to at least 10% of wagers each year.

That stipulation could limit wagering options offered by sportsbooks, which could understandably compensate by shortening odds or the like.

Regardless, Tennessee sports betting appears headed down the homestretch.

Governor amends Virginia sports betting bill

Ideally, Gov. Ralph Northam would have signed the bill to legal sports betting in Virginia by now. Alas, he has not. Rather, he made several recommendations for the legislation and sent it back to lawmakers.

Certainly, this delays the legalization further. However, this does not seem as if it would derail the bill’s passage. The legislature will pore over the governor’s suggestions at a reconvened session April 22.

Among Northam’s recommendations, one stands out from the others. Under the definition of a “major league sports franchise,” the governor included NASCAR tracks.

In this portion of the bill, teams located in Virginia would be eligible to obtain sports betting licenses. Now, the likes of Martinsville Speedway and Richmond Raceway could potentially have a path to opening their own legal sportsbooks.

Between four and 12 online-only licenses will be made available for operators, as well as five licenses for casinos in the state and any “franchise” that seeks licensing.

Virginia would prohibit betting on in-state colleges. However, one of Northam’s recommendations would permit wagering on tournaments involving those schools.

DraftKings teams with Inspired for virtual sports

With minimal sports on which to wager, DraftKings Sportsbook is certainly looking for ways to expand their offerings to customers.

The sportsbook appears to have found that solution courtesy of Inspired Entertainment.

DraftKings struck a deal with the virtual sports provider, allowing it to implement Inspired’s V-Play Plug & Play solution. As such, DraftKings will soon bring to its New Jersey customers 14 virtual sports.

Variants such as virtual basketball, football, horse racing, soccer and car racing will become available via DraftKings’ desktop and mobile sportsbooks.

Among the headlining products, V-Play NFLA Legends football will hit the DraftKings airwaves soon. Officially licensed with the NFL alumni, the game pits all-time legends against one another.

So while real sports remain sidelined, virtual sports will soon provide some sort of respite.

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With Operators Lined Up, Colorado Sports Betting Still Set For May 1 Launch

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Administratively, Colorado is ready. By all accounts, May 1 remains a realistic target date for the launch of legalized sports betting in the Centennial State.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic causing mass shutdowns nationwide, despite major sports remaining sidelined, regulators in Colorado such as Division of Gaming Director Dan Hartman agree: “May 1 certainly is, as I see it, our launch date.”

“We are well on track, administratively, with licensing, with all the pieces we need to have in place for that,” Hartman said, noting that some details of the incoming industry will be finalized during the April 16 meeting of the Limited Gaming Control Commission.

“Administratively, we’re right on track for May 1. The operators I’ve been talking to are looking for that start.”

Coronavirus not stalling CO sports betting plans

Earlier this month, Gov. Jared Polis announced a statewide stay-at-home order that lasts through at least April 26, four days shy of the federal recommendation. The reason being: Polis’ concern for the state economy.

Still, regulators and stakeholders maintain optimism that casinos could reopen to the public by May 1 — that same day Colorado sports betting is expected to go live. The focus right now, Hartman said, “is getting casinos open first and then having brick-and-mortar (sportsbooks) open as they’re ready.”

Retail operations might resemble more of a rolling launch, as casinos will likely prioritize opening gaming floors before sportsbooks. That said, Hartman noted, “we’ve always contemplated launching both online and brick-and-mortar at the same time. So May 1 for online is certainly doable for us.”

Testing well underway

Testing has already begun, Hartman confirmed. That process is actually sped up for some operators, particularly those who are up and running in other states. After all, before launching elsewhere, those operators had to complete independent testing. Hartman said Colorado benefits from that.

He detailed how regulators receive a certification letter from labs that have conducted testing. Per Hartman, Colorado can then “bring (the tech) in here and put it into place and follow up within the next 90 days after they’ve opened to do all the intrusion testing and all the other things that we need to do.”

Obviously state regulators will “take a lot more time” with operators that have not undergone independent testing in the US.

“As we’ve said all along,” Hartman said, “if they meet all the qualifications, if they do all the things we ask them to do, we’ll put everybody who’s ready May 1 on the starting gate and open at the same time.”

What Colorado sports betting will look like

When things begin to normalize, certainly bettors in the Centennial State will see familiar betting markets.

Of course bookmakers will offer major sports such as MLBNBANFL and NHL, among others. The public will also have access to lines involving NCAA action, including events featuring in-state colleges. Books, though, are not authorized to offer individual collegiate props.

Hartman pointed out that regulators have considered integrating the allowance of esports betting. This comes on the heels of NASCAR introducing virtual races as well as the rise in popularity surrounding other video games. Such inclusions bring potential revenue during a time without sports.

“It’s got the same process for approval,” Hartman said of esports. “We’ll put it on the sports catalog, we’ll get as many of those that we already have targeted approved by the commission. … As long as they have a governing body, they have a league, and they can show us how it works, then we’ve got the ability to bring it up.”

From a macro standpoint, Colorado will feature an array of brands, including well-known and well-established bookmakers. To date, the LGCC has approved 11 online operators, including a half-dozen at a recent meeting.

The list of incoming sportsbooks includes rising operators such as DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook, as well as traditional powers such as William Hill.

Other approved sportsbooks include:

  • Roar Digital
  • Rush Street Interactive
  • Smarkets
  • Penn Sports Interactive
  • Circa Sports
  • Fox Bet
  • PointsBet
  • theScore

A slow build is a good thing for CO sports betting

While attempting to articulate the craziness of the past few weeks, Hartman chuckled while settling on the term “interesting.” Even as leagues suspended seasons, as organizers canceled events, as virtually every potential offering of a Colorado sportsbook went on hiatus, Hartman maintains confidence in the state’s industry debut.

That — and the benefits of easing into legalized sports betting as opposed to cannonballing into the deep end.

“It gives us a chance to iron out any bugs that we didn’t see,” Hartman said. “I think it gives the operators the same ability to do that. We’re not slammed with a hundred things all at once. It comes up slowly, we see some things that we may have missed and/or the operator may have missed in their startup.

“I think engineers love it, because they can put their software out and get it going and do it slowly without being hammered every single minute, 24/7. I think accountants for the big companies probably don’t love it as much because they’re not bringing in as much revenue. But I think this is a great way to launch it, slowly, for us to do some of those things.”

Certainly anticipation and excitement abound in Colorado. It will become the 18th state to feature regulated sports betting, an industry that could lead to as much as $6 billion in handle and $40 million in taxed revenue.

Hartman, though, will reserve celebration for a later date.

“The reality of the excitement, I think, is really being overshadowed and rightfully so by what’s going on in the world right now,” he said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic. “I think that’s the catch is that it will probably launch without a lot of hype and a lot of other things just because it may not be the perfect time to be pumped and excited about it.

“There’ll be a day for the fanfare and some of the other stuff, but I think right now, the way things are in the world, it’s probably not the proper time for the fanfare and excitement.”

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Why It Looks Like Montana Sports Betting Will Launch In Time For March Madness

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The terminals are packed up. They’re powered up, in essence. Within days, drivers will begin delivering them to more than 150 locations throughout the state.

Get ready, Montana. Potentially within a week, legalized sports betting will kick off in Big Sky Country, courtesy of Sports Bet Montana.

“There’s a robust gambling market already in Montana,” said Jennifer McKee, communications manager for the Montana Lottery. Powered by Intralot, sports betting in the state will be overseen by the lottery.

“Mostly what we’ve heard from people is why (sports betting) isn’t already up and running. It’s almost unilateral excitement and people really want it to be out right now.”

Fear not, Treasure Staters: Sports Bet Montana is in its final stages of preparation. And just in time for March Madness.

Sports betting terminals ready for delivery in Montana

After some delays, Montana sports betting is about to kick into overdrive.

Within the past few weeks, the Montana Lottery Commission approved bet types and sports, the lottery installed “communication beacons” at locations that will house betting terminals, and the lottery readied said terminals for delivery, which begins March 9.

Theoretically, within two weeks, Montana sports betting could be operational.

“The limiting factor for us is just the size of the state of Montana,” McKee said. “We’re going to be delivering equipment as quickly as possible and getting as many installed as possible.”

Not only does Montana’s size affect the speed at which the lottery can fulfill deliveries, so, too, does the over 150 locations that have signed up to host betting terminals.

Hope is for little lag time after deliveries

As McKee emphasized, the betting terminals will already be functioning before the lottery even delivers them.

“But because this is a completely new activity,” she added, “they’ll be delivered and very soon after that there will be a lottery crew training on how the equipment works.”

Once again citing the sheer size of Montana (it is the fourth-largest by area in the US), as well as the number of locations expecting deliveries, McKee could not provide a built-in timeline for when sports betting will launch. But the anticipation, she said, is “very soon.”

“We didn’t want to do an all-at-once launch, just because of the geographic concerns,” McKee said. “It can take so long, we didn’t want to have dark terminals.”

What Montana sports betting will offer

The upside for bettors: Montana will accept wagers on professional and college sports. On top of that, Montana university athletics are also in play.

From basketball to baseball, football to hockey, soccer to tennis, golf to boxing, and MMA to motor sports, Sports Bet Montana will have a decent variety of betting offerings.

That said, the lottery has instituted betting limits for those placing wagers both at kiosks and via the Sports Bet Montana app and website.

Gamblers at terminals cannot bet more than $250, while mobile wagers will be capped at $1,000. This is part of the lottery’s ongoing pursuit to “contribute to the common good” of Montana gaming, as McKee put it. With these limits, sports betting operates under a more controlled environment.

So, too, is the lottery’s decision pertaining to mobile wagering.

Montana sports betting goes mobile… kind of

In a sense, Montana will offer online sports betting via the Sports Bet Montana app and website.

But bettors will only have access to these mobile options within establishments that house betting terminals. These sites feature “communication beacons” that interact with the Sports Bet Montana app and website.

At the door of each location, however, exists “null-beacons” that prevent the signal from getting outside.

Already, McKee said, more than 70 locations have been outfitted with communication beacons.

Pending lawsuit will not delay Montana sports betting

Several months after HB 725 passed to legalize sports betting in the state, the Montana Lottery included an addendum that required businesses to possess a specific alcohol license in order to be qualified to offer regulated wagering.

As the legislature didn’t initially require such a stipulation, a lawsuit was filed against the lottery. Not only did the plaintiff request it be awarded a sports wagering license despite not owning an alcohol license, it also asked for the court to issue a restraining order until a ruling is made.

While McKee could not comment on the lawsuit, as it remains pending, the request for an injunction was denied.

Despite the pending lawsuit, Montana sports betting chugs along.

What kind of future does Montana sports betting have?

Excitement abounds for regulated wagering in the Treasure State, at least from McKee’s perspective — and not only from businesses that will house terminals, but also from the public.

Even the state’s colleges have expressed support, according to McKee. (Interview requests to several universities either went unreturned or were denied.)

“We’ve worked with the Commissioner of Higher Education here,” McKee said. “Part of our system is colleges and universities have their own standards for who can and who can’t bet. So what we’ve done to help them, and to help anyone who wants assistance with not gambling, is you can go into our system and put yourself on a self-exclusion list.”

McKee noted that several athletic directors in the state raised “very legitimate questions” about how the Montana Lottery would be able to control sports betting. Already, the lottery has displayed the controlled environment it has created: betting terminals at select locations, communication beacons to allow for mobile wagering within these establishments, and limits on how much bettors can wager.

While over 150 businesses are licensed to host betting terminals, upwards of 1,400 locations are eligible to offer regulated sports betting. That, combined with Montana’s hunger for gambling, should make the state’s sports betting industry relatively successful, per McKee.

“From our perspective as the lottery,” she said, “we’re really focused on putting out a product that people will really enjoy and make it successful.”

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Why Illinois Sports Betting Has A 50/50 Shot For A March Launch Date

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The excitement surrounding Illinois sports betting and when it will make its official debut is causing a frenzy amongst casual and expert bettors.

I’d imagine fans of the New Orleans Pelicans had a similar feeling waiting patiently for first-round draft pick Zion Williams to step on the hardwood. But with something so delicate, like Zion and sports betting, you must proceed with caution.

So while three casinos have been granted temporary operating permits, this doesn’t mean sports betting has finally arrived. However, it does mean the necessary steps are being taken to ensure these properties can be the first to begin receiving wagers once the green light is given.

Let the madness begin

March has been designated as the target date for sports betting to launch.

But is it conceivable?

Cory Aronovitz, a seasoned gaming attorney with Casino Law Group in Chicago, IL, is optimistic sports betting can launch in March because these gaming operators have done this in other jurisdictions.

“Managing expectations is crucial, and there is a demand for the product. So, target dates with contingencies are appropriate,” Aronovitz said in an email.

The likely three casinos to launch first are:

  • Argosy Casino Alton – Penn National
  • Grand Victoria Casino Elgin – Eldorado
  • Rivers Casino Des Plaines – Rivers

“These properties all have sports wagering experience, and aside from tweaks for unique aspects of Illinois regulations, the software has been vetted and utilized in other markets,” Aronovitz said.

Other experts on the subject of Illinois sports betting

Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association, told Legal Sports Report, “I think you’ll see something up and running before March Madness, at least at these three facilities.”

Sure, it’s possible casinos can be up and running in time for the big dance, but there are still miles of red tape to go through. Properties still need to complete rigorous testing on internal control systems, betting software, and other compliance operations outlined by the emergency rules. That doesn’t happen overnight.

But it appears all the work rests in the hands of the casinos.

According to Joe Miller, director of policy at the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB), “we’ve given them the tools, and now they can finish the job.”

“It’s on [the casinos] on how fast they want to go to become compliant with the rules and offer sports wagering to their customers,” Miller told LSR.

More gambling, more gambling dollars

Illinois is no stranger to milking gambling dollars from its residents.

The state already has more video gaming terminals (VGT)  than Las Vegas 385,945 to be exact. In 2019, Illinois collected $444,384,459 in taxes from gaming terminals. Municipalities collected a combined $83,833,498, according to a report from the IGB.

The addition of sports betting will only solidity the state as a gambling powerhouse not only in the Midwest but in the country. According to some estimates, the state could record an annual sports betting handle of $5.3 billion by 2023.

To say that IL residents are hungry for sports betting would be an understatement. Residents have been bolting across the border into Indiana to hand over wads of cash in order to place bets. Only time will tell if they can empty their pockets at local casinos in time for March Madness.

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Why Illinois Sports Betting Has A 50/50 Shot For A March Launch Date

[ad_1]

The excitement surrounding Illinois sports betting and when it will make its official debut is causing a frenzy amongst casual and expert bettors.

I’d imagine fans of the New Orleans Pelicans had a similar feeling waiting patiently for first-round draft pick Zion Williams to step on the hardwood. But with something so delicate, like Zion and sports betting, you must proceed with caution.

So while three casinos have been granted temporary operating permits, this doesn’t mean sports betting has finally arrived. However, it does mean the necessary steps are being taken to ensure these properties can be the first to begin receiving wagers once the green light is given.

Let the madness begin

March has been designated as the target date for sports betting to launch.

But is it conceivable?

Cory Aronovitz, a seasoned gaming attorney with Casino Law Group in Chicago, IL, is optimistic sports betting can launch in March because these gaming operators have done this in other jurisdictions.

“Managing expectations is crucial, and there is a demand for the product. So, target dates with contingencies are appropriate,” Aronovitz said in an email.

The likely three casinos to launch first are:

  • Argosy Casino Alton – Penn National
  • Grand Victoria Casino Elgin – Eldorado
  • Rivers Casino Des Plaines – Rivers

“These properties all have sports wagering experience, and aside from tweaks for unique aspects of Illinois regulations, the software has been vetted and utilized in other markets,” Aronovitz said.

Other experts on the subject of Illinois sports betting

Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association, told Legal Sports Report, “I think you’ll see something up and running before March Madness, at least at these three facilities.”

Sure, it’s possible casinos can be up and running in time for the big dance, but there are still miles of red tape to go through. Properties still need to complete rigorous testing on internal control systems, betting software, and other compliance operations outlined by the emergency rules. That doesn’t happen overnight.

But it appears all the work rests in the hands of the casinos.

According to Joe Miller, director of policy at the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB), “we’ve given them the tools, and now they can finish the job.”

“It’s on [the casinos] on how fast they want to go to become compliant with the rules and offer sports wagering to their customers,” Miller told LSR.

More gambling, more gambling dollars

Illinois is no stranger to milking gambling dollars from its residents.

The state already has more video gaming terminals (VGT)  than Las Vegas 385,945 to be exact. In 2019, Illinois collected $444,384,459 in taxes from gaming terminals. Municipalities collected a combined $83,833,498, according to a report from the IGB.

The addition of sports betting will only solidity the state as a gambling powerhouse not only in the Midwest but in the country. According to some estimates, the state could record an annual sports betting handle of $5.3 billion by 2023.

To say that IL residents are hungry for sports betting would be an understatement. Residents have been bolting across the border into Indiana to hand over wads of cash in order to place bets. Only time will tell if they can empty their pockets at local casinos in time for March Madness.

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DraftKings Sportsbook Aims For Jan. 2020 Online Launch In New Hampshire

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It has become official: DraftKings Sportsbook is on its way to the Granite State.

Mere days before Thanksgiving, the New Hampshire Executive Council approved the contract between DraftKings and the New Hampshire Lottery. Thanks to that Nov. 25 approval, New Hampshire and DraftKings can begin legal sports betting plans in earnest.

“Fresh off a victory in New Hampshire,” as he put it, DraftKings Chief Compliance Officer Tim Dent said the bookmaker could launch the state’s online sportsbook “some time” in January, thus making New Hampshire the ninth state with regulated mobile wagering.

Movement in New Hampshire sports betting is a win for all

Dent called it a win, and it certainly was for DraftKings. But New Hampshire also pockets a victory, as Gov. Chris Sununu noted in a press release.

“We moved fast to get this done, and the deal is a win for New Hampshire,” Sununu said. “We are partnering with a world-class company to provide a first-rate customer service experience. With today’s vote, everyone will now be able to bet on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in time for this year’s Super Bowl.”

Added New Hampshire Lottery Executive Director Charlie McIntyre:

“The introduction of sports betting will broaden the appeal of the New Hampshire Lottery and engage new and existing customers, while generating millions of dollars in additional revenue to support education. We are working directly with DraftKings to implement a sports betting system that both engages players, while also ensuring all appropriate safeguards are in place.”

DraftKings offered what New Hampshire Lottery couldn’t refuse

DraftKings was selected as the lottery’s sports betting partner following a competitive bidding process.

The field of bidders appears as a who’s who of top bookmakers in the country, as the likes of KambiFanDuel SportsbookWilliam HillBetAmerica and Roar, among others, were also considered.

Using a scoring system that values each company’s mobile, retail and lottery capabilities, the New Hampshire Lottery determined DraftKings as the most suitable partner based on the “best financial package, the most highly rated mobile sports betting app, and the fastest implementation timeline,” per the release.

Under the approved contract, the state lottery would land 50% of gaming revenue from sports betting sales, which would go toward New Hampshire education. DraftKings intends to integrate New Hampshire into its singular app that runs in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Indiana, thus allowing customers to use the DraftKings shared wallet.

Of course, DraftKings will have to configure its app to meet the regulations set forth by the lottery, such as an age restriction that requires users to be at least 18 years old to wager.

Additionally, as in New Jersey, New Hampshire prohibits betting on college events featuring universities from the state or on events staged in New Hampshire.

What about retail sports betting in New Hampshire?

In July 2019, Sununu signed legislation that allowed the New Hampshire Lottery to conduct sports betting, not only online, but also in as many as 10 physical locations around the state.

Certainly, the mobile app will launch first in New Hampshire, and Dent said the retail aspect still has some figuring out to do.

“We committed to a minimum of four retail locations, but there may be more to that,” Dent said. “We just completed a tour of various cities in New Hampshire and looking at potential partners and locations. It’s still being formulated as it relates to the retail configuration. It may be that there will be different configurations in different locations.”

In the meantime, DraftKings — based out of nearby Boston — will set up a local office in New Hampshire. Down the road, this will allow DraftKings personnel to be closer to the New Hampshire action should issues arise with the online or retail products.

Sports betting on the way to New Hampshire

The sports betting legislation signed by Sununu allows individual communities in the state to ask voters if they should incorporate regulated retail wagering. So far, six cities have given the thumbs-up:

  • Berlin
  • Claremont
  • Franklin
  • Laconia
  • Manchester
  • Somersworth

“We look forward to collaborating further with the New Hampshire Lottery to bring the DraftKings experience to sports fans in the Granite State,” Matt Kalish, co-founder of DraftKings, said in the release. “Our best-in-class mobile sportsbook and several retail locations throughout the state are sure to be a hit with all types of customers as legalized sports betting continues to expand across the country.”

Now, New Hampshire can begin its sprint toward a DraftKings mobile launch.

Said Dent: “It’s a win for New England.”

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