Tag: Major

When Are Major Horse Racing Events Scheduled To Return?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When will horse racing hubs open nationally?

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

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

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

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

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

When are the Triple Crown races in 2020?

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

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

Kentucky Derby
Sept. 5 (originally May 2)

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

Horse industry launches national campaign to retain sports bettors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another reason horse racing and betting are still thriving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Horse racing resurgence amid COVID-19 shutdowns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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With Closed Casinos, Nevada’s March Gaming Revenue Suffered Major Drop

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Last week the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported that the amount of money won by Nevada casinos in March fell by almost 40% compared to the same period last year. Gaming revenue for the state was $618 million in March. That’s a decrease of 39.57% from March of 2019 when casinos won $1.022 billion.

The reason for the huge decrease in gaming revenue for Nevada is the closure of all casinos in the state on March 17 to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

Different drops for different regions

Nevada casinos in different parts of the state have different customers. In fact, even casinos in the Las Vegas area have different gambling guests. The Vegas Strip is dominated by high rollers and large casino corporations. Downtown Las Vegas and the suburban casinos cater to different tourists and local residents.

Not only are there different casino operators but the guests play varying games and have varying budgets. Casinos on the Vegas Strip won $299.9 million from gaming customers in March. That’s a decrease of 45.67% from last year.

Meanwhile, casinos in downtown Las Vegas weren’t hit as hard on a percentage basis. These casinos won $43 million. That’s only a decrease of 25.92% from the previous year.

Nevada sports betting demolished

The amount of money won by Nevada sportsbooks was crushed before casinos were even closed. The NBA suspended its season five days before casinos were told to close their doors. Other major sports, including the NCAA basketball tournament (AKA March Madness), followed the NBA’s lead.

March is chock full of college basketball games for bettors. Between the large volume of college basketball conference tournament games and the 63 games (plus play-in games) during March Madness, Nevada sportsbooks lost one of the largest cash generators of the year. For comparison, the entire NCAA basketball tournament typically sees as much money wagered as the Super Bowl.

Nevada sportsbooks saw a massive 76.3% decrease in its sports betting handle compared to last March. This was the lowest monthly handle for Nevada since 1993. March Madness typically draws less experienced sports bettors which means that sportsbooks typically win more of the wagers placed.

Without March Madness, Nevada sportsbooks only won $1.5 million from $141 million wagered in March. This is a 95.5% drop from a year ago.

April gaming revenue will be much worse

April’s gaming revenue in Nevada will be much worse. While casinos were closed in the middle of March, they’ve remained closed for the entire month of April. Additionally, video poker and slot machines in bars, taverns, supermarkets, and gas stations have also been turned off.

The only gaming revenue in Nevada for the month will come from one of the following sports wagering apps that remained open for the month.

  • BetMGM
  • Caesars
  • Circa Sports
  • William Hill

These four sportsbooks were only available to existing customers. Players must visit a brick and mortar casino to first set up a new sports wagering account. Since casinos were closed, no new accounts could be opened and funded.

Nevada doesn’t have full online casinos like New Jersey or Pennsylvania but it does have an online poker website. WSOP.com was also operational while brick and mortar casinos were closed in April.

Nevada casinos reopening

Nevada casinos won’t reopen on until mid to late May at the earliest. Governor Steve Sisolak says casinos will be able to open again during the third or fourth phase of his reopening plan.

Regardless of the opening date for brick and mortar casinos, the four sportsbook apps will have company. The Westgate SuperBook says the app will be turned on again on May 7.

When casinos do open for business again, don’t expect to see a return to normal business right away. During its first-quarter earnings call, MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle said the company would open properties in phases. Bellagio and New York-New York will be MGM Resorts’ first two Las Vegas casinos to reopen. There could be another casino opening depending on demand.

While MGM Resorts doesn’t have a health and safety plan for reopening yet the company will have one in the next two weeks. They say that casino floors will have to be reconfigured to allow proper spacing. This should mean fewer table games and machines will be available right away. As a result, gaming revenue should be lower even after casinos reopen.



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Why Colorado Could Be A Major Player When Online Betting Begins

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For the past two years, legalized sports betting has permeated the country. State-regulated industries have cropped up in bunches along the east coast and in the heart of the Midwest.

Forgotten, it seems, is the West. The American frontier. But soon, a gateway will open to what is otherwise an untapped region.

The western United States “has a very different vibe” from the east coast, as Eddie Motl, vice president of communications for Fox Bet, put it. Within a month, Fox Bet, along with several other sportsbooks, will experience that vibe firsthand. Because that gateway — that long-sought-after, ever attractive gateway — is set to open Friday, May 1 with the debut of Colorado sports betting.

Yet the pomp and circumstance will certainly be understated when the first legal sportsbooks go online. The coronavirus pandemic has sidelined sports and closed casinos. So how can incoming operators maintain such a rosy outlook when uncertainty looms like a storm cloud?

Because, as FanDuel CMO Mike Raffensperger said: “Entertainment is important, particularly in challenging times.

“People need opportunities to entertain themselves. And frankly, a diversion in difficult times is something that’s important for mental health.”

Significance of Colorado sports betting not lost on operators

The addition of Colorado sports betting carries weight that extends beyond its own boundaries.

Robert Walker, the director of sportsbook operations at Nevada firm USBookmaking, told Legal Sports Report that, more than New Jersey, “Colorado is the first real battleground for US sports betting.”

Johnny Aitken, CEO of the Denver-based PointsBet, added that “Colorado could be a domino state. They’ve listened to operators about what we need to successfully compete with the black market. Hopefully, new states take notice as they open up.”

“Expansion into any new state is exciting because it’s an opportunity for us to showcase our unique approach to gaming and engage with sports fans,” Motl said. “Sports in America are tribal and so anytime we get to communicate with a new community, in this case Colorado, it’s an opportunity to learn from those fans and serve them with content tailored to their style.”

Sustainable tax rate sets up successful future

Even only within state lines, Colorado going live means much more than padding an operator’s portfolio.

For the likes of FanDuel Sportsbook, which expects to go live May 1, the Centennial State will become its fifth state in which it operates regulated wagering. But there’s much more significance with Colorado.

Specifically, as laid out by Raffensperger, the state “enacted legislation that we feel is conducive to a healthy and productive legal and regulated sports betting marketplace.”

That means a sustainable tax rate (10%) that sets up a competitive industry while also helping fund state initiatives. It means all-inclusive access to online wagering, from sign-up to cashing out, for the public. Such traits have helped New Jersey, where FanDuel remains a sports betting power, truly flourish.

As a result, New Jersey has become something of a template, one that operators are thrilled to see followed by Colorado.

Original outlook of Colorado sports betting

When New Jersey first went online, its model closely resembled one that paid dividends in Europe. By focusing on the everyday players, by capitalizing on digital marketing, and by offering in-play wagering and a wide array of markets, said model sets the table for a thriving industry.

The 18th state to introduce some form of legal sports betting, and whether purposefully or not, Colorado set itself up for success by following that model.

“For us, the regulators have been great to work with,” said Jamie Shea, head of sportsbook digital for DraftKings Sportsbook. “It’s just been really some good back and forth, working together. We all want to see the sports betting industry flourish in every way. … We all have the same goal. Working with the legislators and regulators in Colorado, it’s been great to see their enthusiasm.”

Its 10% tax rate allures, like a radiant light that leads one out of the darkness and into the promised land. It sets Colorado up to potentially accept as much as $6 billion in wagers, according to PlayColorado projections, in addition to $400 million in gross operator revenue and $40 million in tax revenue.

New Jersey, for perspective, taxes retail operations at a 9.75% rate and levies a 13% tax on mobile wagering.

The tax rate alone, Raffensperger said, “incentivized our investment.” But then you add in online access; a state that features franchises from MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL; a reasonably large population total; and a culture, as he put it, that features “a great independent spirit” that pairs well with sports betting.

Indeed, Raffensperger emphasized, “we get really excited about the commercial opportunity.”

Coronavirus pandemic has shifted plans of operators

The launch of Colorado sports betting, at least commercially, obviously comes during an inopportune time.

The COVID-19 crisis essentially sidelined sports entirely, aside from a few niche markets. It’s not lost on incoming operators that sports betting offerings will remain slim once they go live.

“It has presented us and many other sportsbooks planning to launch in Colorado with added challenges,” Motl said of the coronavirus. “We’ve spent this additional time learning about our future customers in Colorado, understanding their tendencies and appetite for sports betting content as a whole. Operationally, we’ve worked to ensure that our infrastructure and process with state regulators is seamless once sports return.”

Operators remain bullish on Colorado sports betting future

Therein lies the optimism and persistence of bookmakers: This pandemic will not disrupt our plans.

Like Henry Ford said: “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”

“We’re very optimistic on Colorado,” Shea said. “We’re so excited to be launching in that state. Nobody can predict how long this (the coronavirus pandemic) is going to take. But what we can say is we will be there. … We are very cognizant of the seriousness of the nature of the world. We don’t want to take that away at all.

“We want to make sure everyone’s staying safe and following the guidelines of the government. We’re just an entertainment company but we hope to provide that little bit of light in the day.”

Flexibility is key during a time of zero sports

Fox Bet still intends to make its Colorado debut in May, though after the state’s go-live date. And, like many of its counterparts, it continues to exhibit flexibility in this time of uncertainty.

“As leagues and sanctions adapt to this new environment, so do sportsbook operators like us,” Motl said. “We’ve offered NASCAR’s iRacing, the NFL draft, as well as other smaller sports and competitions in accordance with (New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement) via the Fox Bet app. We’ve also gotten creative, for example coming up with the best sports movie bracket challenge. As sports leagues and governing bodies across the globe re-open competition, we will have more to offer.”

It appeared as if the coronavirus pandemic really hit home for the public when sports went off the air. When the NBA postponed its season, Raffensperger said, “it felt pivotal in a lot of ways in how this crisis came to bear for this country.”

For the FanDuel CMO, when sports return, the healing can begin. The light at the end of the tunnel becomes more clear.

“I think that’s an important moment of feeling like it’s a step forward for the country,” Raffensperger said, “a moment of catharsis. … I think it’s going to be, not to be too highfalutin about it, the start of a moment of healing and something we’re really excited about certainly commercially but also just our role within sports culture at large.”

When leagues and event organizers postponed and even canceled seasons and events, operators did not sway from their Colorado plans.

If anything, at least for FanDuel, there was more of an obligation to move forward as planned.

“I would say the reaction was we need to stay the course,” Raffensperger said. “I think we recognized we needed to shift our plans a little bit, in the manner and the means in which we launched. … I think whether it’s free-to-play gaming, some of the things that we’re doing on our fantasy sports platform, I do think it’s important. I think it’s the role that FanDuel Group plays, kind of in our commercial role at large.”

Plans to launch in Colorado remain on track

Before COVID-19, some incoming Colorado bookmakers — such as FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and BetRivers — circled May 1 as launch date. Others, like Fox Bet, sometime that month.

Those plans have gone unchanged.

“We are of course giving full consideration to the current circumstances regarding the disruption to the sports calendar, but our pre-existing timelines and goals for the multi-state expansion of theScore Bet remain on schedule,” John Levy, CEO of theScore, said. “We are pressing ahead with product development and regulatory initiatives and — subject to receiving all relevant licenses and approvals — are excited to introduce theScore’s unique integration of media and gaming to sports fans in both Colorado and Indiana later this year.”

Perhaps now more than ever, Shea noted, the public needs some kind of respite. And platforms such as DraftKings provide just that.

“Especially now, people need entertainment,” Shea said. “We are a sports company, a gaming company, an entertainment company. People need to be able to blow off some steam. … I think it’s nice to have that stability, that confidence that not everything has shut down, that there are still some movements going on. Some new and exciting things. It’s nice for the fans to have some levity at this time.”

Obviously operators will not have many betting markets to offer customers right away. Hopefully, though, the sports calendar will fill out in short order. That would certainly benefit bookmakers. But it would also provide a sense of normalcy for bettors, fans and the general public.

Companies like FanDuel are hoping to fast-track the latter.

“The reason that we’re launching on May 1 relative to the plan we had prior,” Raffensperger said, “is because we think it is important to demonstrate to Colorado our innovative spirit. … I think we’re still really optimistic and eager to introduce ourselves to Colorado, to do it in a way that adds value to consumers and bettors and fans. Again, we’re eagerly awaiting the return of major American sports alongside every other sports fan in Colorado and frankly around the country.”

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Coronavirus Slamming Major Vegas, Macau Casino Stocks

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The country has quickly fallen into a panic as the coronavirus continues to spread.

Shoppers are cleaning out stores while wrapped head to toe in plastic; schools and businesses are shutting down. Even the future of the Olympics and March Madness has come into question.

Pro leagues have issued memos to franchises with ideal ways to interact with fans, such as fist bumps instead of high fives and not taking pens directly from fans when signing autographs.

Even the casino industry has suffered. Particularly in Las Vegas.

On to the Rewind:

Coronavirus delivers hit to casino stocks

Around the world, countries are ailing from the coronavirus in more ways than one. From a business standpoint, travel restrictions in China, for example, come back to affect Vegas. Fear surrounding the toll it takes on Sin City has grown, especially after learning that Macau, Asia’s gambling capital, closed casinos for two weeks after the coronavirus outbreak.

After all, about 4% of international visitors to Vegas in 2018 hailed from China. Additionally, California residents made up about 21% of domestic visitors in 2018. California recently declared a state of emergency following its first coronavirus-related death.

All told, casino companies such as MGM Resorts InternationalWynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands Corp. have warned investors that travel restrictions, both internationally and domestically, could hurt Vegas.

Indeed, casino stocks took a sharp downturn last week, dropping as much as 14% around the same time Nevada health officials announced an individual tested positive for coronavirus. Among the companies taking hits (stats are as of March 5):

  • Red Rock Resort: down 13.86%
  • MGM Resorts: down 11.5%
  • Wynn Resorts: down 9.5%
  • Boyd Gaming: down 9.3%
  • Caesars Entertainment: down 5.69%
  • Las Vegas Sands: down 4.14%

Unfortunately, analysts and experts are predicting that this trend will continue so long as the number of new cases continues to rise. For now, playing online casinos may be as close of a gambling experience as people want to have.

FanDuel Sportsbook on its way to Michigan

Once again, the Michigan sports betting landscape has expanded.

Just in time for March Madness, FanDuel Sportsbook announced market access it acquired courtesy of a partnership with MotorCity Casino in Detroit.

The deal allows FanDuel to operate the property’s retail sportsbook as well as launch an online betting app later on. While the mobile solution will likely have to wait until next year, FanDuel could potentially open a retail sportsbook much sooner.

Brick-and-mortar betting could happen as soon as March 11 at some locations, nearly a week ahead of March Madness.

MotorCity was the last of three Detroit commercial casinos to land a sports betting partner. MGM Resorts will leverage Roar Digital (a joint venture with GVC), while Greektown Casino-Hotel will benefit from its owner Penn National.

FanDuel becomes the latest brand-name bookmaker to gain entry to Michigan, joining the likes of William Hill, PointsBet, Fox Bet and Scientific Games.

Could Maryland sports betting be on the way?

On the threshold of soaring through the Senate: a bill to legalize sports betting in Maryland.

Not only is it legislation to regulate wagering, but it’s also a proposal that appears more inclusive than past drafts.

Changes to S 4 in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee allows for six casinos to acquire sports betting permits as well as three racetracks and a stadium for the Washington Redskins.

Sen. Craig Zucker, who amended the bill, expressed his confidence to Legal Sports Report that the legislation would pass.

As LSR detailed, the original bill called for casinos to receive sports betting exclusivity and features some of the highest fees and tax rates in the country: $2.5 million for initial licensing, 20% taxation.

While the tax rate remains the same, licensing fees have been tiered, from $2.5 million for casinos with 1,000 or more video lottery terminals down to $1.5 million for casinos with less than 1,000. The Redskins’ stadium would obtain a license for the higher amount.

Should S 4 pass through the Senate, it would need to succeed in the House and then receive a signature from the governor. After these steps, the legislation would go to the voters in November. Legalizing sports betting requires voter approval of a constitutional amendment.”

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How To Rate An Major League Baseball MLB Pitcher

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There are many different ways of measuring a pitcher's effectiveness. Earned Run Average is a popular method, as is walks + hits divided by innings pitched (WHIP). While those may carry some weight for baseball fans, they don't necessarily have much merit for baseball bettors, who are solely concerned with which team wins the game.

A pitcher's win-loss record only tells half the story in that it just specify the games in which the pitcher received a decision. As a bettor, it makes no difference which pitcher is credited with the win. As long as you win your bet, it does not matter if the starting pitcher earned the win or one of the relief pitchers.

For bettors, instead of looking at a pitcher's win-loss record, a better statistic is known as Team Record in Games Started, which is often abbreviated as TRGS. It credits a pitcher with a win when his team wins the game, regardless of which pitcher earned the decision, while it hands the pitcher a loss when his team loses, even if the bullpen gave up a four-run lead in the eighth inning.

Using TRGS instead of the traditional win-loss record will often allow you to find pitchers who are likely to be slightly over-valued or under-valued depending on their team's record in games where they did not earn a decision. Many times a pitcher's win-loss record and TRGS will be fairly equal in that a pitcher with a 10-10 record will have a TRGS of 14-14, but there are also times where they can differ greatly. This is where bettors who incorporate TRGS into their handicapping can gain a bit of an advantage.

2013 was considered a bit of an off year for Detroit's Justin Verlander, who finished the season with a 14-13 record and a respectable 3.32 ERA. But Detroit was 1-9 in games where Verlander did not get the decision and his TRGS was a poor 15-22, which gave him a flat-bet loss of 23.4 units, which was the first time a pitcher had shown a flat- bet loss of over 20 units since David Cone did so in 2000. It was also the second time Verlander has led the league in money lost, having pulled off the dubious feat in 2008.

Other pitchers, such as Matt Cain (8-10 win-loss record, 11-19 TRGS) and Felix Hernandez (12-10 win-loss record, 14-17 TRGS) also were among the league leaders in money lost.

Likewise, there are pitchers who see a great improvement in TRGs over their win-loss record, such as Ryan Dempster. In 2013, Dempster was just 8-9 with a 4.64 ERA, but his TRGS of 17-12 allowed him to show a modest flat-bet profit despite posting dismal traditional numbers. Derek Holland had a 10-9 win-loss record, but a 20-13 TRGs, making him a decent bet, while Arizona's Pat Corbin had a solid 14-8 win-loss record, but an even more impressive 23-9 TRGS, making him one of the top money earning pitchers for the year.

TRGS is a better way of looking at a pitcher and those who use it in their handicapping have an advantage over those who do not, and as you know, bettors can use every advantage that they can get.

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Source by Robert Holiday

Categories: Sports Betting

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