Tag: Set

Solid Numbers, Easy Launch Helps Set Groundwork for Future


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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Responsible Gambling Measures Set Now Could Benefit Post-Pandemic Industry


The shutdown of most sporting events due to COVID-19 presents problems and possibilities for the nascent legal gaming industry in the US.

Most importantly, whether responsible gambling initiatives will take root or set back measurably during this critical time.

So what makes this a potentially dangerous period? Bettors venturing into markets to wager on sports they’ve never seen and can’t even watch on television. Online casino gamblers with newfound free time because of sheltering orders or unemployment. Some unscrupulous operators picking at the edges of unethical business practices. That’s all according to Amani Toomer, a former New York Giants wide receiver and member of the GVC Holdings Global Foundation, which is tasked with addressing such issues as problem gambling.

“I just imagine people at home, with lots of free time, and sometimes people let things get out of hand,” Toomer told PlayUSA.com. “I think that could be a problem because people have more time to waste and it’s more exposure to a person who is prone to these types of illnesses. It just can really snowball because it just opens people up to more opportunities to fall into a trap.

“We feel like there’s a good opportunity to have people become aware of it and want to get help out there for people with all this extra time or find themselves getting in a hole that they don’t want to and we don’t want them into, just getting to a point where it’s just not productive and not entertainment anymore. We want it to remain entertainment.”

Toomer says problem gamblers, including those who may not realize or admit a problem could soon fall into peril if they “think irrationally that they could make up their extra income by gambling online and start gambling in patterns that are irregular to them.” Many people now have copious amounts of unoccupied time either because of sheltering orders or because they’re among the more than 17 million laid off in the United States in the current economic morass.

Exotic options problematic for bettors and books?

Sportsbooks themselves are hammered by the economic fallout. Global power GVC Holdings estimated COVID-connected losses could total 150 million pounds by July. The American Gaming Association (AGA) estimates that around 625,000 casino and resort employees have lost jobs.

Sportsbooks have turned to the unusual and scant few options to attempt to maintain some semblance of volume until mainstream sports return. That’s meant Russian table tennis, Nicaraguan soccer, sumo wrestling and esports so far.

Whereas many bettors have probably played ping-ping, bet on an English Premier League game or humored a few minutes of Sumo wrestling highlights at some point in their lives, they’re not as versed in these sports as the NFL, NBA or college football in terms of what they know and how they could be reasonably assumed to wager astutely.

“People like to bet what they know,” observed William Hill trading director Nick Bogdanovich.

They don’t know Russian ping pong, and this, Toomer said, creates more concern.

“If you find yourself betting on stuff you know nothing about, you’re gambling on Russian table tennis, you might want to think about the relationship you have with responsible gambling,” he said, “because it’s just one of those things where you find yourself doing things that you ordinarily wouldn’t do, not because of boredom, but out of because of a need to fill a hole in something that should be entertaining, should be fun.

“And it becomes more than that when you are looking outside of your normal comfort zone, or trying just to get that fix. The problem gambling becomes bigger than everything else. And that’s kind of one of the definitions of a problem, is when you start taking chances that are detrimental to your lifestyle and your life.”

GVC Foundation hopes to advance responsibility now

GVC Holdings, which owns Ladbrokes Coral Group in the United Kingdom and in 2019 formed Roar Digital with MGM Resorts in the U.S., launched a global foundation in September.

They began to address multiple issues pressing the gaming industry and drilled down specifically on responsible gambling in October by forming a group in conjunction with the National Council on Problem Gambling. Toomer, Martin Lycka, director of regulatory affairs at GVC Holdings, and William J. Pascrell, III, partner at Princeton Public Affairs Group were named trustees.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has hammered the gaming industry, there is something to be made of the grinding halt, Lycka said. And, he added, this period underscores the industry’s need to engender responsibility in its customers.

GVC has burnished its pre-existing “Markers of Harm” problem gambling-evaluation with two additional elements specifically germaine to the COVID-19 situation and increased communications with customers, Lycka told PlayUSA.

The “Markers of Harm,” Lycka explained, are a collection of data points GVC or any other company could use to identify potential reckless behavior. This includes the frequency of a customer’s play, whether they tend to play after midnight, have a strong tendency to play on payday or chase losses.

“All these triggers give us a very, very good overview of behavior patterns of individual customers and based on those triggers, we take action in relation to the individual account,” Lycka told PlayUSA. “But the practical upshot is that if a customer triggers out of those nine, let’s say two off those alert mechanisms, then somebody in GVC’s responsible gambling or customer services team picks up a phone to the customer and checks on the customer to find out that everything’s all right. There could be a perfectly logical explanation for the change in the customer behavior. They could be shift workers and these people may for legitimate reasons bet after midnight, for example, or if it turns out that a customer has started spending more money on our sites, the customer might have had a pay rise, for example. So that would be an example of a perfect legitimate explanation of perfectly legitimate reasons for the change in customer behavior.”

A slow but steady improvement in responsible gambling

Lycka acknowledged that the American market is “getting there” in terms of responsible gambling measures, but remains not as “sophisticated” as its more mature and expansive European counterpart.

Sports betting is currently legal in 23 American states or jurisdictions and underway in 18 (nine with full mobile), bringing market share and tax revenue away from unlicensed offshore operators. This is also a facet of the problem and solution, Lycka said.

“US regulation has not necessarily captured the most recent responsible gambling trends just yet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not not trying to blame anyone,” he said. “I believe that to some extent it actually makes sense because the market is potentially not yet sophisticated enough for all those tools. So definitely the focus needs to be on channeling the previously unlicensed offer into the regulated market. And of course that needs to go hand-in-hand with consumer protection that can be progressively ramped up.

“I believe that the US industry is on the right track, but it will still need some time to get there. I don’t mean to sound cynical, but perhaps the current crisis provides the US with an opportunity to step up its efforts in that regard as well, all linked to … people being isolated at home and potentially being tempted to play online.”

The industry must also do better, Lycka said, in policing the handful of operators who sought to exploit the crisis in its early stages.

“There has been some exploitation of the current crisis for greedy revenue purposes by some operators,” Lycka said. “They are usually much smaller operators whom I would call rotten apples in our little industry barrel that would simply choose to not have any responsible gambling tools.”

Measures taken now can later benefit the industry and gamblers

Eventually this will be over. It will not happen instantly, but at some point, the 989 casinos now closed nationally (according to the AGA) will reopen and customers will be allowed to return.

Some may be reticent, as they would be with a restaurant or movie theater. Some will toe-tap at the front door awaiting the deadbolt to be clicked open. Whether their state had a legal online option for their casino, poker or sports betting tastes will likely factor into their response.

Like GeoComply CEO David Briggs, Lycka thinks mobile gambling can be a responsible gambling tool because it allows for better monitoring of player habits, specifically destructive ones.

“I also see it as an opportunity from the responsible gambling best practice standpoint. And, hopefully that’s also a part,” he said. “I believe it may help the potential floodgate issue that we could have at the end of the crisis. In a state that has not yet regulated online, punters who would normally go to a casino but now are confined to their home, they would have an opportunity to open an online account, which would also mean that they would get access to do additional information about how to gamble in a responsible way.

“They would familiarize themselves with [responsible gambling] tools and perhaps when they’re back in the casino, I would think, perhaps naively, when they come back to their favorite slot machines, they might be thinking, ‘All right, I can limit myself online. So how about I try to self-impose those restrictions when playing in a casino?’”


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


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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Jamison Set To Carry Wizards Alone With Butler And Arenas Injured


The entire load of upsetting the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs now rests solely on Antawn Jamison.

The reason behind is out of the Big Three in Washington Wizards, two are injured and these days Jamison is the key player for the team.

Forward Jarvis Hayes said that Jamison is the leading scorer for the Wizards now and he would have to be a lot more aggressive in the offense. The other players’ main job to now is to make things as easy as possible for Jamison on the court. Hayes expects things to get difficult as teams would now be targeting Jamison more than before.

Every player on the Wizards’ team has had his role changed ever since Gilbert Arenas injured his knee and Caron Butler his hand. However, it appears that Jamison has been affected the most by the injuries. He does not have the luxury to bide for time and find open spaces as defenders of opposing team are concentrating elsewhere. No longer can Jamison have a night off as his two team mates are not there to fill in for him.

Coach Eddie Jordan said with Butler and Arenas out with injuries, Jamison would have to take on added responsibility of being the passer, the setup player and also the scorer.

Jamison was in a similar situation for several season when he was with the Golden State Warriors. As a matter of fact, he managed to score 51 points in back to back games way back in 2000.

He joined the Wizards in 2004 and has primarily played the wise veteran to young Arenas’ impulsiveness. This statistics have been quite consistent in the last few years. He usually scores 20 points and 8 rebounds in each game. In the regular season this year, Jamison has averaged 19.4 points and 8 rebounds.

Jamison knows that he cannot carry the Wizards alone. He said that it was too much pressure and a player could get into trouble trying to do it because it was impossible to the things that Arenas and Butler do all by himself.

For the Game 1 against the Cavaliers, even though Jamison knows he cannot alone defeat them, his team will look up to him for more points, rebounds and on-court leadership.


Source by Kum Martin

Categories: Sports Betting