Tag: Sports

Colorado Sports Betting Enjoys Profitable First Month

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As summer draws nearer, major sports are putting into place plans to return to action.

The NBA is ready to resume play July 31 in OrlandoFlorida. While still needing final approval for it, the NHL appears to have the intention to get players back on the ice around the same time.

Golf is back, while NASCAR and UFC are well underway.

In what would normally be a down time of the calendar year, summer 2020 holds the potential to be significant for legalized sports betting.

On to the Rewind:

Colorado sports betting starts hot in first month

When Colorado sports betting went live May 1, many expected a slow start. After all, the world was in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, sidelining most sports and closing casinos and retail sportsbooks.

Regardless, online books launched in the Centennial State. And the result is an opening month that is nothing to scoff at.

With six operators live in May, legal wagering in Colorado totaled $25.5 million in handle with an official release from regulators expected June 15.

Several major players helped kick off the state’s regulated industry:

  • BetMGM
  • BetMonarch
  • BetRivers
  • DraftKings Sportsbook
  • FanDuel Sportsbook
  • Fox Bet

While paling in comparison with the likes of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Colorado’s first month is not at all terrible. As Legal Sports Report noted, Oregon reported $7.3 million in handle during May, though it only features one online operator.

Still, Colorado enjoyed a solid first step, as semi-major events such as The Match 2, UFC, NASCAR, Bundesliga and Korean baseball carried the load.

Certainly, Colorado, as well as other states with legal sports betting, will benefit from the return of major sports. The NBA plans on returning July 31, and the NHL is closing in on a resuming play around the same time.

Is online sports betting on the way in Illinois?

Like many states without legal online gambling offerings, the gaming industry in Illinois has suffered amid the pandemic.

The Land of Lincoln already had plans to integrate online betting, which we expected by 2021. However, Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently issued an executive order that struck down the state’s requirement for in-person registration for mobile wagering.

This means that once operators are approved to operate online, those interested in betting via a mobile device can sign up from the comfort of their own homes.

The state requires in-person registration until the Illinois Gaming Board issues the first of three standalone online-only licenses, which, according to law, cannot be issued until 540 days after brick-and-mortar sportsbooks opened April 9. Pritzker’s latest order does not void the in-person requirement but rather suspends its enforcement.

That said, Illinois does not feature any operators licensed to operate online. Naturally, then, many wonder if Pritzker’s order will expire before the first mobile products go live. In this case, in-person registration returns as a requirement.

Regardless, the governor’s latest move could entice stakeholders to accelerate their negotiations to enter the Illinois online market, thus creating a more aggressive timeline for launching online products.

Potentially, if all things go right, Illinois could begin recouping lost revenue by launching the first legal online sportsbooks.

Welcome back, Las Vegas casinos

At long last, following weeks of closure, casinos in Nevada began reopening on June 4. By sunrise, the Vegas Strip was back open for business.

As a result, the first casinos in the mecca of American gambling made their reintroduction.

The likes of Caesars Palace, the Flamingo, the Cosmopolitan, BellagioMGM Grand and New York-New York, among others, welcomed enthusiastic guests.

The state requires all casino employees to wear protective masks while only recommending the attire for patrons. Many properties conducted temperature checks before admitting guests while also supplying touch-free sanitizing stations and even providing single-use masks.

Even with socially distant slots and limited seating at table games, Vegas made its return and seemingly started its way back to normalcy.

What matters is this becomes another sign that we are closer to reaching the end of the tunnel.

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Is Horse Racing The ‘Original Sports Bet’ With Long-Term Appeal For Gamblers?

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Alex Waldrop is as optimistic about the current and near-future state of the pari-mutuel industry as a president of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association could be after the Triple Crown has been postponed, reshuffled, altered.

But with the Kentucky Derby moved from the first Saturday in May until Sept. 5, the traditional Triple Crown-capping Belmont Stakes shortened and pushed back to June 20 and the Preakness Stakes now the finale on Oct. 3, Waldrop sees a chance for horse racing to sustain some of the sports betting interest it absorbed during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Horse racing is uniquely qualified in the endeavor of enduring after decades of decline, and Waldrop believes it’s poised now to establish a new foothold.

PlayUSA spoke to Waldrop about this old-school sport will gallop into a digital realm of modern sports betting.

What has helped horse racing raise its profile since the major four sports were forced to shutter in March?

Waldrop: A couple of the things that we have done probably the strongest over the last couple of months is the fact that we have been on two national cable channels, FOX Sports and NBC Sports on Saturday afternoons, which has given us visibility, which we don’t ordinarily get beyond TVG, which is the primary television channel for horse racing.

 It’s available widely, but not widely on cable, generally on streaming live on the internet. But FOX and NBC Sports have both been showing us. In fact, NBC Sports has been taking TVG and rebroadcasting it on their own channel through all of their subscribers, nationwide. FOX Sports has done the same for some of the same tracks. Churchill Downs has exclusively on Fox.

So you have big platforms now that are showing racing that’s giving us visibility to people who don’t ordinarily watch racing horse racing as a sport. And then just [last week] we rolled out a new marketing strategy, a new marketing awareness campaign that is going to be focusing not just on television but also on digital and social media.

 And we have our [advance-deposit wagering] platforms, those online platforms which allow people to watch and wager every day. But certainly, now that opportunity is at a premium because many sports bettors don’t have that opportunity. From what I can tell, it raises our profile.

How have race tracks gone about conducting race cards safely while much of sports is shut down?

We’re doing it in a safe and responsible manner because we can social distance on these expansive back stretches. We’re not allowing fans in the stands. We’re protecting anyone who has to work on a daily basis there with all the hygiene protocols and social distancing protocols.

And the horses themselves, fortunately, the primary athletes, are not susceptible to the virus, so they can compete safely. And, we, of course, have to be mindful of the jockeys themselves.

Besides just being available, what has made horse racing an attractive option for bettors recently?

One of the things we have noticed, one of the other things that has gone up significantly, is the average field size, more horses per race, which we also think is a big factor here because that makes for a much more attractive betting interest. Bettors like full competitive fields because it means that the payouts will be better, on balance. And so as average field size has gone up, we’ve seen that handle increase, which is frankly what we had always known, that field size is important, hard to parse out exactly how important, but it’s very important.

How important is it to exploit the exposure the Belmont Stakes should get on June 20 before other major sports return?

It was disappointing to lose our normal season, if you will. Horse racing season is really the lead-up to and including the Triple Crown. And 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. 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 field shapes up. It’s going to be a different race, a shorter race.

Is Monmouth Park’s foray into fixed-odds wagering in July potentially a game-changer for horse betting in a growing sports betting market? 

Well, it’s certainly going to be for a guy like [Monmouth operator] Dennis Drazin, who’s as creative as anybody in the business. We’ll see how that picks up across the country with other operators.

How crucial is bridging the two systems between sportsbook wagering and commission-based pari-mutuel wagering?

You have to have a high tolerance for risk. Horse racing thrived more than a century ago because of the commission-based structure that it had, which really for the operator removes that operator from the process, provides an element of security and also of integrity, but also makes it difficult for some of these operators to go back into this world where every wager they have to set a price.

They’re used to letting the people that set the price and that works. And while in theory, it seems great, we know that there are sports bettors out there, there are horse players out there that are really annoyed by the fact that they think they have one price when the horse goes out of the gate and then by the time that the race is over them, the price has dwindled some because of the late-changing odds on the board, which are not because of past posting, we call it, not because people are betting after the race starts, but it’s because we’re collecting wagering from some 2,000 sites around the country and that can’t be done instantaneously. It takes some time to collect all those wagers.

Then generally that late money is going to change the odds and smart guys wait until the very last to bet and so when that price goes down, it is sometimes the inclination of folks to think there’s some kind of shady dealing going on and in fact there are people out there just as smart as they are who figured it out and just put bet a little bit later than they did.

No one wants to think someone else had the same brilliant notion, especially if it came in late, right?

Right. Nobody wants that smart money. That’s why they love Derby day. That’s why people love the Triple Crown – bettors do – because there’s a lot of folks in the pools that aren’t as savvy as the everyday player.

Because dabblers with a julep in their hands are betting colors and their favorite horse names?

Yeah, so you get these massive win pools or just massive pools that are just there for the picking for the guy who can figure out exactly what’s going to happen. It makes for a great day of wagering, but day in and day out, it’s tough because there’s so much information available about our sport now. And so it’s hard to define that one nugget that the other guy’s not going to get and focus on.

We run the National Horseplayers Championship, NHC, which is conducted in Vegas every February. We deal with the best of the best because we name the horse player of the year and give that person an Eclipse Award. And, so, we see firsthand how savvy these guys are. They’re men and women. I say guys, I don’t mean to exclude women. Certainly there are many women who enjoy horseplaying as well. And so there’s a lot of folks that love our business and we’re trying to get more to understand the unique challenges.

Fixed-odd wagering is part of that. It’s hard for me to say right now just exactly how quickly that would catch on and to what extent that will take up what percentage of the handle. It’s hard to tell right now.

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DraftKings Sportsbook Lands Partner For Michigan Sports Betting

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A major player in the world of legal sports betting has found an entrypoint into Michigan.

DraftKings Sportsbook announced it has partnered with Bay Mills Indian Community, a tribe in the Upper Peninsula that operates two casinos in the state.

As a result, ahead of Michigan launching online sports betting, DraftKings gains an avenue to its eighth state to offer legalized online wagering.

DraftKings pads state sports betting portfolio

The daily fantasy sports giant began its quick rise to power in 2018 by making its debut in New Jersey. It has since taken over as a dominant force in the Garden State and has aggressively expanded as other states passed legislation to regulate wagering.

Since its New Jersey origins, DraftKings Sportsbook has started operations in the following states:

  • Pennsylvania
  • West Virginia
  • Indiana
  • New Hampshire
  • Iowa
  • Colorado

In addition, DraftKings boasts branded retail sportsbooks in Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Mississippi, and New York.

DraftKings, which recently started to offer DFS in Michigan, became a publicly traded company toward the end of April and has become quite successful as stocks have risen from $17 to $41 during that stretch.

The company certainly has high expectations for Michigan sports betting, as stated by Ezra Kucharz, chief business officer for DraftKings, in the press release.

“The Great Lakes State presents a number of gaming opportunities and we look forward to collaborating with Bay Mills to provide residents with the best-in-class experience DraftKings is known for.”

Bay Mills gets into the swing of sports betting

As indicated, DraftKings will operate a branded brick-and-mortar sportsbook at Bay Mills Resort & Casino, the longest-running casino in Michigan.

The Bay Mills tribe stood as one of 15 partnerships available for sportsbook operators and actually became one of the later land-based properties to land such a partner.

That said, while late, Bay Mills gained quite an asset in DraftKings.

After all, competing properties boasted renowned sportsbooks as FanDuelWilliam HillFox Bet, BetMGM and PointsBet.

With DraftKings, Bay Mills wields a powerful tool as the company features a wide customer base and great familiarity. For good reason, Bay Mills has expressed excitement for the next step.

“We are excited about our new partnership with DraftKings,” Bryan Newland, tribal chairman for the Bay Mills Indian Community, said in the release.

“Expanding on what entertainment options we can offer at Michigan’s longest operating gaming facility is always our goal. Our new on-site DraftKings Sportsbook will be one more great reason for Michiganders to vacation with us in the Upper Peninsula.”

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Will Louisiana Sports Betting Hit The Ballot This Fall?

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What a magical day May 24 became.

Four of the greatest athletes in their respective sports took to the links at Medalist Golf Club in Florida, pitting Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady.

Through a downpour, these GOATs persevered. Not just for bragging rights (which went to Tiger and Peyton). Not only for our own entertainment (with cart cams and live mics on each player). Not just to jumpstart legalized sports betting (which as gone without major sports since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic).

On the eve of Memorial Day, these greats came together for a good cause, raising over $20 million for COVID-19 efforts.

Despite terrible playing conditions, The Match 2 became a silver lining. And it signified, potentially, that the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer.

Now, on to the Rewind:

Louisiana sports betting one step closer

Legalized sports betting in Louisiana appears close to hitting the November ballot, although one senator’s choice to include technical additions in the bill has delayed the bill’s passage in the House.

While legislation passed by a 73-23 vote, Speaker Pro Tempore Tanner Magee opted to include “participation in sports wagering … shall not be considered gambling by computer” in the bill. Such a choice would allow casinos to enter a bettor’s wager into a computer.

From here, the bill heads to the Senate, where a committee needs to sign off before sending it to the floor. The House expects to review details of a similar bill this week and could elect final passage, thus sending the bill to the November ballot.

Time is of the essence for Louisiana lawmakers, as the legislative session is scheduled to adjourn June 1.

Should parishes approve the legalization of sports betting, state lawmakers would craft additional details of the industry, such as regulations, next year.

Green-lighting regulated wagering in Louisiana would certainly provide a boost for casinos in the state, which already compete with properties in neighboring states that offer legalized sports betting.

Leagues still on hook for fighting legal sports betting

Two years later, and history again repeated itself.

The US Supreme Court ruled that it would not hear appeals over a Third Circuit ruling that major American sports leagues could owe restitution after the court struck down PASPA in 2018 and ultimately cleared the way for state-sanctioned sports betting.

Now the case moves to Third Circuit in New Jersey, where a decision could come down regarding how much leagues would owe the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, operators of Monmouth Park.

Initially, the association requested that the likes of MLBNBANCAANFL and NHL use their $3.4 million in bonds to cover a temporary restraining order. And on top of that: an additional $150 million in damages.

Those five leagues stood as the main opponents of New Jersey regulators attempting to legalize sports betting in 2014. And Monmouth was ready to become the first property with a sportsbook.

The horsemen’s association noted that leagues were already landing deals with daily fantasy sports operators at the time, a grey area for many that shades closer to gambling as players could win money based on sports.

Eventually, four years after the fact, Monmouth did become the first location in the Garden State to accept legal wagers. Yet the fight for more continues.

New casino on the way to Chicago

For years, lawmakers and stakeholders have laid the path to potentially bring a casino to Chicago.

Now, it seems one is on the way.

The Illinois General Assembly worked late into the night last week to sign off on a $41 billion budget plan that relies on borrowing money and potentially receives help from the federal government amid the coronavirus pandemic. Amid all this, the Illinois Senate approved the casino plan by a 42-14 vote.

Now it awaits approval from Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Sen. Bill Cunningham estimated that Illinois capital programs will receive $45 million in licensing fees before the casino even opens. To boot, Illinois would also receive $700 million in “a re-worked reconciliation fee.”

When the casino does open, revenue will help fund pensions for Chicago’s police and fire employees.

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

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The job was always going to require immunologists. Developing a plan to safely relaunch college and professional sports is requiring foot doctors, too. Or at least one.

Dr. Glenn Copeland is walking the immunologists, players and coaches toward what sports may look like during a post-COVID-19 pandemic.

It will not be a quick fix, Copeland told PlayUSA, but it’s doable. He is comforting and yet sobering with his assessment.

He even jokes when asked which sports will be easiest to return: “The one sport we could have back today is fencing. You get a mask, you get gloves and if somebody comes within 6 feet, you get to stab them.”  

Two decades spent in clubhouses and training rooms as a team podiatrist for the Toronto Blue Jays has instilled knowledge of how crucial support systems must operate. As a consultant for QuestCap, Copeland serves as a liaison between those developing and administering tests for the novel coronavirus and those trying to keep them from becoming patients.

Tough task, tough choices 

Reopening the sports industry (and thus, many more options for US sports betting) is as complicated as throttling up the global economy.  

Athletes have no luxury of social distance. Neither do the coaches and trainers who form the ancillary village around their every activity. Players sweat, expel vapor with every gulp for air, touch teammates, opponents, weights and equipment. There is no amount of janitors and bottles of disinfectant to squelch every potential contamination point.  

These microscopic interactions have mammoth implications for the way sports are contested, consumed and increasingly bet upon. 

A recent Major League Baseball proposal for conducting a truncated season outlined the billions of dollars in TV revenue at stake from networks broadcasting games. Meanwhile, data from Australia reveals that fans are less interested in watching televised games devoid of fans.

Such is the playing field with an unseen and highly contagious novel coronavirus responsible for more than 300,000 worldwide deaths lurking potentially everywhere.

Copeland sees the spaces surrounding these athletes and the pathway to commencing sports again as a matter of “zones.” 

Under QuestCap’s guidance, navigating each zone would ensure avoiding the transmission of the virus to a competitor, the support staff or a fan.

How did an investment firm become a COVID-19 warrior?

Copeland describes QuestCap as a “humanitarian company formed to address climate issues” that now trades in expertise and the IgG and IgM antibody tests. It secured the right to market with a South Korean supplier in April. 

These rapid tests are the means to establish viral moats around athletes and perhaps convince leagues and players that it is safe to resume play.

Though he won’t divulge the teams, Copeland told PlayUSA that QuestCap has consulted with around 20 MLB, NBANFL and NHL teams. Just two of those are NFL franchises and “three to four” have retained the company’s services.

Even with the Bundesliga, NASCAR and UFC back to live, albeit fanless, competition, there is much work to do. 

For TV networks, leagues, sportsbooks, fans, or bettors who simply want games back, a relapse would be demoralizing and costly.

UFC 249, which used its anticontamination protocols, proceeded last week even after a fighter tested positive for the virus.

“I think it was really positive, given that one of the fighters tested positive for coronavirus and that he was able to be self-quarantined. It just showed that the system worked and that the sport was able to move forward to do so in a healthy competitive way. I think that was maybe a good barometer for things moving forward,” said the Circa Sports sportsbook operations manager Jeff Benson

“You certainly don’t want to rush things back and get hit with a second wave of things, where you do close and it may be (that it) ultimately hurts us more so than the first time.”

How QuestCap aims restart of sports 

Copeland understands that games are not contested merely on fields and courts. They’re won or lost in weight rooms, training rooms and practice courts. 

Mitigating COVID-19 at the root is left to another QuestCap partner, Stanford Medicine neurologist and immunologist Dr. Lawrence Steinman.

In concert, and with their available supply of rapid and long-term antibody tests, they’ve established a system to insulate participants inside two zones of COVID-free security.

The so-called “outer zone,” Copeland said, “is the world. That’s where everybody exists.”

The middle zone, he said, “is usually taking place just inside or just outside the front door of the stadium where players and anybody coming to try and get into the inner zone has to go through.”

The inner zone, as much as testing can assure it, would be a pristine workspace.

“That middle zone is where the temperatures are taken, symptoms are done and the antibody testing is done and nobody gets into the inner zone until they’ve gone through the middle zone, the testing, the data collection, the review of the data, the temperature, the symptoms,” Copeland said. 

“Once they pass in that middle zone, then they’ve got a green light they’re then given if you will, a passport for 24 hours to go into the inner zone.

“Nobody gets into that inner zone until we’re convinced that by doing the testing the way we’re doing it, by doing the evaluation the way we’re doing it and it’s based on the data that we’ve got, that they’re COVID-free.”

Life inside the inner zone should provide, in theory, security and the comfort to work and play as normal. Colomba’s Categoria Primera became the first professional soccer league to begin using the system several weeks ago. 

They prepare to start training in June and resume games in August, according to that country’s Ministry of Work and Sport. The Bundesliga employed its stringent methodology to ensure the welfare of teams and officials before a fan-free slate of games was held.

While there is security inside the zones, there is no normalcy of the typical fraternal setting of a professional sports facility. And there is the understanding that an entire player’s life cannot be conducted there.

“Once in that inner zone, that, in essence, would be what we would consider to be, as best as we can, the COVID-free zone. And so they can play in that zone,” Copeland said. 

“They can work out in that zone. And, by working with the teams and starting slowly, where you have two players in the weight room, you’ll have two players in the trainers’ room, two players in the lunchroom.

“You might have two players at each end of the field. Bring them back the next day, do the exact same thing every single day because they leave the stadium, they go out to the other zone every evening. Then they come back the next day.

So, it’s day-to-day. Now, down the road, a month or two, when we start to see that we’re getting really good at this, that the data is showing that we don’t need to do the testing every day, we can punch it up to every two days. Maybe it’s every three days for testing, but every day for fevers and symptoms. So, this will be a moving target. It will be an evolving procedure and protocol,” said Copeland.

US pro teams likely to actively seek practice resumption in June

Movement in the US, Copeland said, could feasibly begin June 1 with the proper safeguards. The date of July 4 has been anecdotally cited as a potential return date for several US sports, including the MLB.

“I would guess — just knowing what I know on a day-to-day basis — that you’ll have a number of facilities up and running no later than the first of June for sure. I would say that you’ll probably have a few of them open probably by the Memorial Day weekend,” Copeland said.

“But again, there (are) so many things that come into play. It’s not just the league saying, ‘OK, you guys can open,’ because it’s the state and the city who will say, ‘Yeah, well, the league can say you can open, but we’re saying no.’ And, so we’ve run into that with three teams already in the NBA who want to get going. I must say too, that all the teams, all the teams are cooperating a hundred percent with all the authorities … There’s been no whining.”

Though proposals over a potential resumption have further exposed existing rifts between MLB and its players’ association, Copeland said QuestCap’s relationship with labor and management have been “unbelievably cooperative” in all pro leagues.

“There’s a huge cooperation everywhere. But what there is is this unknown,” he said. “And, until somebody does it, and until we can prove it can be done safely, there’s still that cautious, very cautious optimism.

“That’s where we’re at right now. We’re on the edge. I understand that there’s one or two NBA teams moving very, very slowly. One of the teams is doing the testing and the program, but you’re talking one-to-one, like two guys in the weight room having everything wiped down. In between, a player touching any machine gets wiped down immediately. Even though there’s that feeling that it’s as COVID-free as possible, we’re not taking any chances at all. So, it’s as I like to refer to it, it’s baby steps.”

Single-venue option not perfect, but may be a starting point

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is doubtful that sports will be played in his city this year. Also, the spikes of cases are likely to impact large urban areas as mitigation protocols are relaxed. As a result, the leagues are likely to require alternate venue options.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has proclaimed his state open for professional sports business without fans.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis deemed professional sports as “essential” entities, shilled for NASCAR and the PGA to come on down and finally landed a series of UFC bouts in Jacksonville.

Copeland believes games will ultimately resume this way, presenting more variables. The shutdown of the NHL quickly followed that of the NBA in mid-March in part because those league’s teams shared numerous venues and locker rooms. That’s a lot of players to test and safeguard.

Then, there’s the quality of life.

“One of the things I just ran into, you have a situation where if you do one venue and you have 50 teams in one venue,” Copeland said. “That means the inner zone is from the hotel to the ballpark and back to the hotel.

“That means there’s no room for spouses. There’s no room for kids; there’s no room for anybody else. So that means that the player is going to be without their family for three months, four months, six months, whatever it’s going to be. And are they prepared to do that? And, truly, how safe is that? How do you lock the front doors? How do you keep fans away from the front door? How do you keep people away?

So, you have to look at the realistic versus the practical approach versus a perfect-world approach. And that’s really been an issue for all of us. Most of the people we’ve spoken to recognize twofold: one, players — whether it’s girls or guys — have to take some major responsibility for self-regulation. You can’t go to a bar, you can’t go to a restaurant, you can’t do a number of things, you can’t have friends and widespread family around you.”

Copeland believes that leagues will be able to expand their venue choices once institutional knowledge is established from the opening months of play.

But what about sports fans and spectators?

Copeland fervently asserts that the safety and well-being of fans are as important as athletes and team personnel. Concocting a way to assure safety without a vaccine, herd immunity or treatment for COVID-19 will likely convert fandom to a remote event for the near future.

“The day of the fans in the stadium, for now, it’s not going to happen, in our opinion,” he said. “How do you control 20, 30, 50, 75,000 people coming in and saying that you can almost assure everybody that in that type of setting, that you’re not going to have anybody with COVID? I don’t see those days for this season, anyways. And rightfully so.

“It’s not a matter of freedom. It’s a matter of not being able to clearly protect the fans. Fans, for the most part, don’t get within 6 feet of the players, so that’s not the big issue. You have to protect the fans, and there’s no way I want them going to a stadium with 50,000 people where you might have five people unknowingly infected.

“The high-fiving, the hugging, lining up for beer, people hugging each other, they’re not doing anything that they wouldn’t normally do and it’s not trying to be malicious. But they hug the wrong guy or girl; guess what? The transmission is easy.”

But the communal experience of attending games, the infusion of the type of energy that was notably absent on Saturday with only players and coaches’ calls echoing off empty grandstands in Germany. It will not be lost forever, Copeland believes. Fans will first be allowed to return, and after a period of apprehension sure to be endured by the airline and movie theater industries, patrons will return.

“I think fans are going to get used to you watching at home,” he said, “But I really do think that if everybody’s a little bit patient and accepts that at least you can turn the TV on and not watch the 1997 World Series and watch live sports, take that first step.

“But until we get the vaccine, I don’t think we’re going to be real comfortable with a whole bunch of people in a given room.”

Players, owners feeling their way in this unknown landscape

Copeland conceded that the coterie of ownership and league commissioners and player unions are “constantly going around in circles” about their responses is understandable.

It is new territory. Lengthy conversations and consultations seem to yield a consensus or plan, but upon consultation, more questions.

“They just don’t know what to do. We’ll talk about the outer circle, inner circle, and then, they go back to the owner and the GM or whoever, and then they’ll say, ‘Well, can we extend the outer circle?’ or ‘Do we have to do testing every day?’” Copeland related.

“So, everybody’s trying to figure out how you do it. And then the player’s association will call and say, ‘So, OK, that sounds like a great idea. Should we do this? Could we do that?’ And there’s just so many variables of that until you do it and say this is what’s worked and this is what’s worked for 20 teams or eight teams or this is what worked for the NHL or NBA.”

What sports are more or less conducive to quick and safe return?

The Bundesliga returned on Saturday. NASCAR returned after a 10-week layoff to a Darlington Raceway devoid of spectators on Sunday. UFC has already returned, as has rodeo. Still, the leaders of the “big four” North American sports continue to wade through everything from health guidelines to labor acrimony in finding their path.

“It’s hopeful that we will have some Major League Baseball this summer. We are making plans about playing in empty stadiums,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told CNN on Thursday as tensions rise with players.

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell drew the ire of fans last week when he said in a Twitch stream that he would not accept a pay cut this season because “the risk is through the roof.”

Added the 2018 Cy Young Award winner: “Bro, I’m risking my life. What do you mean it should not be a thing? It should 100% be a thing. If I’m gonna play, I should be getting the money I signed to be getting paid.”

It was never going to be easy. In the case of MLB, which already faced brewing labor unrest, the economics have gotten messy. MLB projects a $4 billion loss if it doesn’t play a season. But the medical aspect of the return must be a source of consensus. In his interactions, it has been so far, Copeland said.

But some sports will inherently be more difficult to usher back safely.

Contact sports like football, hockey, boxing and basketball will be expectedly nettlesome. According to the New York Times, UFC reportedly shirked safety protocols even after fighter Ronaldo Souza and two handlers were quarantined after testing positive before UFC 249. Baseball is less contact-laden, though the home plate is hardly a model of social distancing.

“Outside of fencing, we don’t have the perfect sport, but tennis and golf to me, NASCAR, I’m pretty comfortable,” Copeland said. “Again, if a guy’s crew and the people in each crew are minimized and tested, I think you can bring up a fair bit of safety to that.

“I’m pretty comfortable with the inner circle for swimming, golf, tennis. It’s when you get into the contact sports or areas that you’re going to have, even in baseball, when you’re in the field is pretty much social distancing. But not at the plate. You have the umpire, you have the catcher, and you have a batter and they are within 4 or 5 feet of each other.

“So, is it a perfectly safe sport? No. But again, if everybody’s tested properly and you can get into the inner circle and have passed your test, we think that you have a very strong chance that COVID is not going to rear its ugly head.”

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A Look Back On How US Sports Betting Became Legal, Two Years Later

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Editor’s note: The federal ban on sports betting in the United States was struck down on May 14, 2018. This is a look back at how that day arrived in the US from a member of the sports betting industry.

Over the lifetime of the American republic, the Supreme Court of the United States, the court of last resort, has issued landmark rulings that have altered the course of US history.

The court makes fewer than 100 decisions every year that have sweeping effects on American life. Over generations, the court’s decisions have changed race relations for the better, empowered women, given the press freedom to operate, guaranteed a person’s right to expression, or reiterated that the president is not above the law.

So on a bright December morning in 2017, as I trotted up the steps of the Supreme Court, I couldn’t help but cast a wry smile as a herd of people I’d got to know over the previous three years joined me in line.

Sports betting gets its day in court

As we waited patiently to hear the verdict that was to change the sports and betting industries forever a familiar member of sports betting panelists anonymous called out to me “Hey Chris, where’s your tie…this is the Supreme Court of the United States of America you know…show some respect.”

His words of encouragement epitomized the welcome that I had received from fellow “industry stakeholders” when I started work at Betgenius back in late summer 2014. Back then, he agreed to meet me at his lavish law office on K Street and, as I sipped my bottled water, he chided “Why are you here? You guys must be seriously deluded if you think sports betting will be made legal here in the US. You ever heard of Sheldon Adelson?”

As I left the building, I recalled how Churchill once said that lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.

As the gates opened, we filed past the Corinthian columns through the Great Hall before taking a seat at the back of the courtroom. I remember looking around and seeing faces that had become familiar to me drawn from the sports leagues, the casinos, daily
fantasy sports, the American Gaming Association, New Jersey regulators, DC insiders as NCAA vs. Christie was about to play out the final act in front the nine Supreme Court justices.

The sports betting case: against the odds

For most of us, the stage had been set back in October 2017, when seemingly out of nowhere and against the Solicitor General’s recommendations, SCOTUS had granted New Jersey’s petition to hear the case – an act rarely taken by the Supreme Court.

The crux of the petition hinged upon whether the now 1992 federal law called the Professional and Amatuer Sports Protection Act (PASPA) — which had effectively outlawed sports betting in the US outside of Nevada — was unconstitutional.

So after a select number of attorneys were sworn into the Supreme Court Bar, the state of New Jersey’s attorney, Ted Olson, eventually stepped up to the plate to argue that PASPA violated the Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution, which reserves to the states all rights not explicitly granted to the federal government such as gambling regulation.

Not being member of the legal profession myself, I watched the body language of the justices and line of questioning for any
signs as to how the court my rule on this and reflected on three years of my working life that led up to this moment.

Living with a federal ban

Up until that point the US leagues held the view that it was unlikely that PASPA would ever be overturned, a move that would that could clear the way for legalized sports betting in the United States.

Those were heady days when the UK and European operators, armed with colorful presentations, welcomed these visiting ambassadors with open arms. I will never forget the buttoned-up league representatives jaws drop as they watched a bet placed on their sport from a phone in the pub.

That said, in private the UK operators still remained skeptical that the US would ever be open for business and that the AGA’s estimated $150 billion black market was fantastical. Oftentimes we would be a lone voice in the UK industry telling the operators that “there be gold in that them thar hills” in the hopes that cynicism, that is often a trademark British trait, might begin to lift.

The cynicism extended to my work colleagues in the London who frequently asked “what does that bloke do” whilst jabbing a finger in my direction before muttering “oh he’s getting sports betting legalized in the US.”

Ready for a change

Caution prevailed as the leagues went quietly about their business to minimize any unwanted scrutiny from the US sports media in the run-up to the hearing. The leagues immersed themselves in a crash course in sports betting and trans-Atlantic fact-finding missions to gain a better understanding how the lucrative relationship between the teams and leagues and the sports betting industry functioned.

Equally on the other side of the pond, there were concerns that US sports might been seen to be acting in a hypocritical manner given their historic public opposition to sports wagering.

This initial phase of irrational exuberance or “shuttle diplomacy” was not unlike how countries often seek to strengthen political ties by building up trade deals. In the run-up to the December 2017 oral arguments, both the leagues and the operators amicably discussed areas of mutual commercial interest (such as lucrative sponsorship deals) while both sides agreed upon the rigorous enforcement of sports integrity measures.

The ban falls

However, on May 14, 2018, everything changed. The Supreme Court struck down PASPA as unconstitutional and the value of companies behind sportsbooks, casinos and daily fantasy sports soared within seconds of the verdict being handed down. The largest sports betting market in the world was now open for business and the gold rush had begun.

Today, we live in a very different world and both sports and betting face a hard six months to get back on track.

The next round in the sports betting battle has only just begun, and as we reflect on a transformational two years, the stakes are now higher than ever.

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Horse Racing Bets Supplementing Minimal Sports Betting Options

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Welcome to another week of quarantine. Potentially, though, it won’t last much longer.

States across the country have started reopening select businesses and easing isolation restrictions as they pertain to the coronavirus pandemic. They have developed policies and guidelines for the public and industries to follow in order to resume operations.

In due time, it appears, casinos will reopen their doors after being closed, for the most part, since March.

Along those lines, major sports are reportedly close to returning. As such, legalized sports betting across the country could pick back up. For now, though, we continue to wait. Hopefully, not for much longer.

On to the Rewind:

Sports betting down, horse betting up in US

As spring turns to summer, any other year, we’d be coming out of one of the busiest times of the sports calendar, what with March Madness and playoff pushes in the NBA and NHL, not to mention the start of MLB and the Masters.

Of course, as it has been well-publicized, the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the suspension and cancellation of major sports schedules and events, starting March 11. Notably, the NCAA tournament was scratched, which certainly hurt the wallets of bookmakers.

So it should come as no surprise that a virtually sports-less March included sports betting handle in the US plummeting by 65% as it relates to the previous month and reflects a year-over-year decline of 45%. Similarly, overall revenue dropped nearly 60% month to month.

Nevada took the brunt among states with legalized wagering, as its handle and revenue from February to March nose-dived by 71.1% and 96.2%, respectively. For the Silver State, the lack of March Madness delivered a blow, as basketball in March 2019 accounted for 83% of Nevada’s handle.

That said, it appears bettors may have found another outlet: horse betting.

In April, while year-over-year handle dropped 24.4%, horse racing attracted more than $639 million in wagers last month. Consider, though, that many tracks across the country remain closed and just 746 races took place — a 71.4% drop.

Most notably, the average race day boasted a whopping $7.5 million in handle. Compared with April 2019, that’s a 176.5% spike.

Michigan casinos closed until vaccine developed?

Since March 22, casinos in Michigan have been shuttered due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Some tribes have targeted reopening as early as this month. That’s not the case in Detroit, where properties might not open back up until a coronavirus vaccine is introduced.

As told to The Detroit News, city Mayor Mike Duggan noted that while reported COVID-19 cases and deaths in the state have declined, “[w]here we are today is where we’re going to be in September and is likely to be where we are in January.”

Duggan added that the virus will continue to exist until a vaccine is developed.

That said, Duggan related a potential world in which casinos potentially operated “at 25%-30% capacity” until a vaccine is introduced. He continued, saying he wouldn’t push for anything “before it’s medically safe” and that casinos might not welcome customers for a “few months.”

Closed casinos certainly hurt Detroit, which pocketed adjusted gross receipts of $1.45 billion from casinos in 2019, resulting in more than $184 million for the city.

Louisiana sports betting bills come to light

While sports remain sidelined, lawmakers in Louisiana have introduced three bills to potentially land legalizing sports betting on the ballot and in the hands of the public.

Sen. Cameron Henry, as he told Legal Sports Report, expects the Senate to vote on his bill in short order.

That bill, S 130, simply requests the legalization of the industry to hit the November ballot. This strategy provides Louisiana legislators to take a step forward toward potentially regulating sports betting by gauging the interest of state residents.

It also gives lawmakers ample time to develop regulations, as Henry said, ones that “we’ll have months to work on rather than days or weeks.”

But it won’t be a statewide legalization. Individual parishes decided to approve sports betting via referendum. As an example, 47 of 64 parishes green-lit daily fantasy sports.

To reach the ballot, legislators must pass a referendum bill by June 1. If approved by voters, Louisiana then implements language for a bill in 2021. Finally, a revenue bill with tax rates and fees must pass the legislature by a two-thirds supermajority and receive governor approval.

The other two proposed bills also aim to get in front of voters and include regulatory language for legal sports betting at 15 riverboat casinosone land-based casinos in New Orleans and four racetracks. Both proposals limit online wagering to casino properties.

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Horse Racing Bets Supplementing Minimal Sports Betting Options

[ad_1]

Welcome to another week of quarantine. Potentially, though, it won’t last much longer.

States across the country have started reopening select businesses and easing isolation restrictions as they pertain to the coronavirus pandemic. They have developed policies and guidelines for the public and industries to follow in order to resume operations.

In due time, it appears, casinos will reopen their doors after being closed, for the most part, since March.

Along those lines, major sports are reportedly close to returning. As such, legalized sports betting across the country could pick back up. For now, though, we continue to wait. Hopefully, not for much longer.

On to the Rewind:

Sports betting down, horse betting up in US

As spring turns to summer, any other year, we’d be coming out of one of the busiest times of the sports calendar, what with March Madness and playoff pushes in the NBA and NHL, not to mention the start of MLB and the Masters.

Of course, as it has been well-publicized, the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the suspension and cancellation of major sports schedules and events, starting March 11. Notably, the NCAA tournament was scratched, which certainly hurt the wallets of bookmakers.

So it should come as no surprise that a virtually sports-less March included sports betting handle in the US plummeting by 65% as it relates to the previous month and reflects a year-over-year decline of 45%. Similarly, overall revenue dropped nearly 60% month to month.

Nevada took the brunt among states with legalized wagering, as its handle and revenue from February to March nose-dived by 71.1% and 96.2%, respectively. For the Silver State, the lack of March Madness delivered a blow, as basketball in March 2019 accounted for 83% of Nevada’s handle.

That said, it appears bettors may have found another outlet: horse betting.

In April, while year-over-year handle dropped 24.4%, horse racing attracted more than $639 million in wagers last month. Consider, though, that many tracks across the country remain closed and just 746 races took place — a 71.4% drop.

Most notably, the average race day boasted a whopping $7.5 million in handle. Compared with April 2019, that’s a 176.5% spike.

Michigan casinos closed until vaccine developed?

Since March 22, casinos in Michigan have been shuttered due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Some tribes have targeted reopening as early as this month. That’s not the case in Detroit, where properties might not open back up until a coronavirus vaccine is introduced.

As told to The Detroit News, city Mayor Mike Duggan noted that while reported COVID-19 cases and deaths in the state have declined, “[w]here we are today is where we’re going to be in September and is likely to be where we are in January.”

Duggan added that the virus will continue to exist until a vaccine is developed.

That said, Duggan related a potential world in which casinos potentially operated “at 25%-30% capacity” until a vaccine is introduced. He continued, saying he wouldn’t push for anything “before it’s medically safe” and that casinos might not welcome customers for a “few months.”

Closed casinos certainly hurt Detroit, which pocketed adjusted gross receipts of $1.45 billion from casinos in 2019, resulting in more than $184 million for the city.

Louisiana sports betting bills come to light

While sports remain sidelined, lawmakers in Louisiana have introduced three bills to potentially land legalizing sports betting on the ballot and in the hands of the public.

Sen. Cameron Henry, as he told Legal Sports Report, expects the Senate to vote on his bill in short order.

That bill, S 130, simply requests the legalization of the industry to hit the November ballot. This strategy provides Louisiana legislators to take a step forward toward potentially regulating sports betting by gauging the interest of state residents.

It also gives lawmakers ample time to develop regulations, as Henry said, ones that “we’ll have months to work on rather than days or weeks.”

But it won’t be a statewide legalization. Individual parishes decided to approve sports betting via referendum. As an example, 47 of 64 parishes green-lit daily fantasy sports.

To reach the ballot, legislators must pass a referendum bill by June 1. If approved by voters, Louisiana then implements language for a bill in 2021. Finally, a revenue bill with tax rates and fees must pass the legislature by a two-thirds supermajority and receive governor approval.

The other two proposed bills also aim to get in front of voters and include regulatory language for legal sports betting at 15 riverboat casinosone land-based casinos in New Orleans and four racetracks. Both proposals limit online wagering to casino properties.

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Handle19 Sportsbook Moving Forward With 2020 DC Sports Betting Plans

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The Coronavirus pandemic has affected the gambling industry across the world in many ways. Handle 19 sportsbook, which aims to be the first Class B operator for Washington, DC sports betting, is undeterred. In the current COVID-19 world, their goal remains unchanged.

Handle19 still plans to open a brick-and-mortar location in the District later this year. The brand is looking at expansion as well. A recent development on the other side of the Potomac River plays a large part in such growth.

Handle 19 sportsbook, DC sports betting and the COVID-19 impact

As casinos begin to work on plans to reopen, Handle19 looks at the pandemic situation from a different perspective. Ian G. Thomas, an attorney for Offit Kurman in Washington, D.C., who represents Handle19, shares his perspective.

“While Covid-19 has affected almost every facet of public life, believe it or not, it has had a limited impact on Handle19’s timeline,” Thomas said. “The goal was, and has always been, opening our doors by the start of the NFL season. That remains the same. Of course, the start of the NFL season appears to be a moving target at the moment. Regardless we are targeting a late summer/early fall launch.”

The pandemic has had some impact on Handle19’s opening process. Thomas shares that meetings went “socially distant” and walkthroughs at the future site went the same way. A change in location, favoring a site near Capitol Hill near Nationals Park over the original location in Adams Morgan, happened prior to the pandemic.

Thomas believes the biggest challenge may be making guests feel safe after Handle19 opens. Currently, a stay-at-home order remains in place in the District. While it’s possible that the situation may be different in August, the uncertainty makes planning difficult.

The virus’ potential impact after Handle19’s launch date

A Reuters poll showed only 27% of its respondents plan to visit venues where crowds might gather as soon as governments allow. A full 40% of respondents indicated they wouldn’t do so until a vaccine is available. Another 40% of those people also said they would wait regardless of how long the wait endures.

It’s unclear how many of the respondents live in or regularly travel to the District. It’s also not evident how many of the respondents are potential Handle19 customers. Regardless, that data suggests part of Handle19’s messaging upon opening should be safety.

“I think every business is struggling with these questions of safety in dealing with a virus that we are constantly learning more about and for which much still remains unknown,” Thomas added. “This challenge is made even more difficult by the fact that we are planning for an opening that is set to occur four months from now when circumstances could be entirely different. That said, we are evaluating a whole host of safety protocols and will be developing policies to adhere to the recommendations of the relevant federal and local agencies, including the CDC and the District of Columbia Department of Health. We also plan to closely track what others in the hospitality and retail gaming industry are doing to learn what safety measures are effective at protecting patrons while limiting any adverse effect on the user experience.”

Federal and local restrictions are out of Handle19’s control. Another key component of its business is similarly beyond its direct influence. In order to offer sports wagering, sports must exist. There’s reason for both caution and optimism for Handle19 in that regard.

Live sports are a big part of the equation

In the Steven Spielberg hit film, “Jurassic Park,” the park tour results in several no-shows of the dinosaur attractions. The scene gives birth to one of the most well-known moments of sarcasm in the movie. Dr. Ian Malcom, portrayed by Jeff Goldblum, spins the line perfectly.

“Ah, now, eventually, you do plan to have dinosaurs, on your dinosaur tour, right?”

In the same way, launching Handle19 without a new and shiny NFL season would be a disappointment. The potential upside, however, is that absence could make the heart grow fonder.

When major North American sports do resume/start, the demand for wagering upon those sports could be historic. Handle19 plans to be there whenever the action starts.

“As we have been seeing over the past few days, to a certain extent throughout this crisis, the appetite for sports fans to wager on athletic contests is still there,” Thomas explained. “Whether it was wagering on a Bulgarian Soccer match, table tennis, or more recently, on Korean Baseball, the metrics indicate that the desire to engage in recreational sports gambling is still very much present. It also appears that while North American sports leagues remain in limbo at the moment, European sports, particularly soccer, are slowly starting to return. As such, while delays in the return of U.S. sports leagues may alter the scope of Handle19’s launch, we do not anticipate it altering the timeline to launch.”

North American sports leagues are watching their European counterparts to glean insight. In the same way, Handle19 is casting its view beyond its current focus. The brand isn’t blind to recent events on the other side of the Potomac.

Handle19 eyeing opportunities across the river

Virginia recently became the second state to legalize sports betting within its borders this year. The law there doesn’t allow Handle19 to simply mimic its current Las Vegas-style concept. That doesn’t mean Handle19 can’t see an opportunity in Old Dominion, however. The VA law does allow for up to 12 online-only licenses.

“Handle19 has been monitoring the developments in VA closely and is exploring ways to enter the market in that jurisdiction,” Thomas commented. “While VA is going to be a primarily mobile market, Handle19 has already begun to explore strategic partnerships that would allow it to provide mobile offerings. It is also worth noting that Handle19 is a small minority-owned business that is fairly rare in the gaming space. This is important because the VA law provides a commitment to try to increase the participation of these types of businesses in the sports gambling industry. We believe that fact, combined with the know-how Handle19 has developed in the regional market will uniquely position the company to submit a strong application for a license in VA.”

For the time being, however, the focus is on D.C. The brand continues to work on the same timeline despite the pandemic. What the “new normal” will require is more flexibility and the ability to adapt to changing situations quickly. Handle19 seems to have a great handle on the situation.

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Handle19 Sportsbook Moving Forward With 2020 DC Sports Betting Plans

[ad_1]

The Coronavirus pandemic has affected the gambling industry across the world in many ways. Handle 19 sportsbook, which aims to be the first Class B operator for Washington, DC sports betting, is undeterred. In the current COVID-19 world, their goal remains unchanged.

Handle19 still plans to open a brick-and-mortar location in the District later this year. The brand is looking at expansion as well. A recent development on the other side of the Potomac River plays a large part in such growth.

Handle 19 sportsbook, DC sports betting and the COVID-19 impact

As casinos begin to work on plans to reopen, Handle19 looks at the pandemic situation from a different perspective. Ian G. Thomas, an attorney for Offit Kurman in Washington, D.C., who represents Handle19, shares his perspective.

“While Covid-19 has affected almost every facet of public life, believe it or not, it has had a limited impact on Handle19’s timeline,” Thomas said. “The goal was, and has always been, opening our doors by the start of the NFL season. That remains the same. Of course, the start of the NFL season appears to be a moving target at the moment. Regardless we are targeting a late summer/early fall launch.”

The pandemic has had some impact on Handle19’s opening process. Thomas shares that meetings went “socially distant” and walkthroughs at the future site went the same way. A change in location, favoring a site near Capitol Hill near Nationals Park over the original location in Adams Morgan, happened prior to the pandemic.

Thomas believes the biggest challenge may be making guests feel safe after Handle19 opens. Currently, a stay-at-home order remains in place in the District. While it’s possible that the situation may be different in August, the uncertainty makes planning difficult.

The virus’ potential impact after Handle19’s launch date

A Reuters poll showed only 27% of its respondents plan to visit venues where crowds might gather as soon as governments allow. A full 40% of respondents indicated they wouldn’t do so until a vaccine is available. Another 40% of those people also said they would wait regardless of how long the wait endures.

It’s unclear how many of the respondents live in or regularly travel to the District. It’s also not evident how many of the respondents are potential Handle19 customers. Regardless, that data suggests part of Handle19’s messaging upon opening should be safety.

“I think every business is struggling with these questions of safety in dealing with a virus that we are constantly learning more about and for which much still remains unknown,” Thomas added. “This challenge is made even more difficult by the fact that we are planning for an opening that is set to occur four months from now when circumstances could be entirely different. That said, we are evaluating a whole host of safety protocols and will be developing policies to adhere to the recommendations of the relevant federal and local agencies, including the CDC and the District of Columbia Department of Health. We also plan to closely track what others in the hospitality and retail gaming industry are doing to learn what safety measures are effective at protecting patrons while limiting any adverse effect on the user experience.”

Federal and local restrictions are out of Handle19’s control. Another key component of its business is similarly beyond its direct influence. In order to offer sports wagering, sports must exist. There’s reason for both caution and optimism for Handle19 in that regard.

Live sports are a big part of the equation

In the Steven Spielberg hit film, “Jurassic Park,” the park tour results in several no-shows of the dinosaur attractions. The scene gives birth to one of the most well-known moments of sarcasm in the movie. Dr. Ian Malcom, portrayed by Jeff Goldblum, spins the line perfectly.

“Ah, now, eventually, you do plan to have dinosaurs, on your dinosaur tour, right?”

In the same way, launching Handle19 without a new and shiny NFL season would be a disappointment. The potential upside, however, is that absence could make the heart grow fonder.

When major North American sports do resume/start, the demand for wagering upon those sports could be historic. Handle19 plans to be there whenever the action starts.

“As we have been seeing over the past few days, to a certain extent throughout this crisis, the appetite for sports fans to wager on athletic contests is still there,” Thomas explained. “Whether it was wagering on a Bulgarian Soccer match, table tennis, or more recently, on Korean Baseball, the metrics indicate that the desire to engage in recreational sports gambling is still very much present. It also appears that while North American sports leagues remain in limbo at the moment, European sports, particularly soccer, are slowly starting to return. As such, while delays in the return of U.S. sports leagues may alter the scope of Handle19’s launch, we do not anticipate it altering the timeline to launch.”

North American sports leagues are watching their European counterparts to glean insight. In the same way, Handle19 is casting its view beyond its current focus. The brand isn’t blind to recent events on the other side of the Potomac.

Handle19 eyeing opportunities across the river

Virginia recently became the second state to legalize sports betting within its borders this year. The law there doesn’t allow Handle19 to simply mimic its current Las Vegas-style concept. That doesn’t mean Handle19 can’t see an opportunity in Old Dominion, however. The VA law does allow for up to 12 online-only licenses.

“Handle19 has been monitoring the developments in VA closely and is exploring ways to enter the market in that jurisdiction,” Thomas commented. “While VA is going to be a primarily mobile market, Handle19 has already begun to explore strategic partnerships that would allow it to provide mobile offerings. It is also worth noting that Handle19 is a small minority-owned business that is fairly rare in the gaming space. This is important because the VA law provides a commitment to try to increase the participation of these types of businesses in the sports gambling industry. We believe that fact, combined with the know-how Handle19 has developed in the regional market will uniquely position the company to submit a strong application for a license in VA.”

For the time being, however, the focus is on D.C. The brand continues to work on the same timeline despite the pandemic. What the “new normal” will require is more flexibility and the ability to adapt to changing situations quickly. Handle19 seems to have a great handle on the situation.

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UFC Events In May Could Be The Injection Sports Betting Needs Right Now

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Dana White doesn’t get his Fight Island. At least not yet. So for now, the empty arena a few blocks from the St. John’s River will suffice for the impresario of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

And for sports bettors eager for something else familiar.

The UFC’s bout is scheduled for Saturday, May 19 at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL, the first of three cards planned for the venue. The premier bout at UFC 249 will be a tussle between Tony Ferguson and replacement Justin Gaethja, who took the fight just two weeks ago because Nurmagomedov hasn’t been able to return to the United States after retreating to Russia when his previous card was canceled.

UFC 249 will mark the re-emergence of major professional sports in North America, preceding a Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson charity golf match and NASCAR’s return on May 17.

Thoroughbred horse racing has continued at a handful of venues, but that sport’s grip on mainstream America’s attention span was tenuous even in what would have been the run-up to a Kentucky Derby that should have been held on May 2.

UFC, while still a niche, is an ardent one and the weekend card marks a return to some semblance of normalcy for fans watching on television, as none will be allowed inside the arena. Bettors are finally presented with something more recognizable than table tennis, far-flung pro soccer leagues or Korean professional baseball.

“As one of the first major sporting events since COVID-19 caused a nationwide cancellation of major US sports leagues, we could not be more excited ahead of this weekend’s UFC 249 fight,” DraftKings Sportsbook Director Johnny Avello told PlayUSA. “Thus far, the card has seen significant volume and as the week goes on, we expect to see continued engagement around the highly anticipated match up.”

William Hill US trading director Nick Bogdanovich told PlayUSA that UFC betting volume has been “okay” through Tuesday, but also expects it to heighten as the bout approaches.

“I firmly believe come Friday and Saturday, action will be heavy,” he said. “It’s a great card in a great time zone and it’s the first step to having sports fans get excited about U.S. sports again.”

Sports and betting public has been awaiting UFC 249 card

White had originally balked at all attempts to curtail his business plan even as major pro and college leagues responded with varying speed and vigor to government moves to mitigate the spread of a COVID-19 virus.

He first planned to hold UFC 249, featuring a lightweight title fight between champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, on April 23 at Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in California when the Barclays Center in Brooklyn became unviable.

This so-called “Fight Island,” a tribal island property on which the hotel is built, is exempt from the surrounding county’s shelter order, but White was eventually forced to yield to pressure from ESPN, which was to broadcast the event, and parent company Disney.

Though he still plans to field matches on an island, Florida became an amenable stopgap because of Gov. Ron DeSantis’s declaration that professional sports are “essential” services – the WWE has held fanless events in its Orlando Performance Center – meaning that the Florida State Boxing Commission also will oversee the proceedings as a regulated event.

What are the popular bets in UFC249?

Top-ranked Ferguson has won 12 fights consecutively and is a -177 favorite at DraftKings.

Gaethje is listed at +150 underdog at DraftKings, with the fight at -400 to last less than 4.5 rounds. Ferguson, who has won six of his last eight bouts by stoppage, is +260 at DraftKings to win by knockout, technical knockout or disqualification.

FanDuel has Ferguson as a -174 favorite (with Gaethje at +148), and at +260 to win by knockout or TKO. He’s at +600 there to win on points.

Reflecting Ferguson’s run of stoppages, FanDuel has Gaethje at +1400 to win in points.

In the co-main event, bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo (-220) is favored over challenger Dominick Cruz (+183) at DraftKings. Cejudo is listed at -210 at FanDuel, with Cruz at +176.

UFC takes its swing (and kick) as the next best thing for sports betting

When North American sports began shuttering on March 1 after NBA when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, sports fans, sports bettors and sportsbooks began groping for alternatives.

Most options, including the incredibly popular and lucrative NCAA Tournament, were quickly gone, replaced by the likes of Nicaraguan soccer, briefly Australian rules football, table tennis and eSports, notably eNASCAR.

The NFL Draft was a well-received return to taste of home, with anecdotal evidence from gaming operators claiming business was brisk. State revenue reports should reflect those assumptions after being a crushing April.

UFC now takes its turn with additional events: May 13 with a main event between Anthony Smith vs Glover Teixeira and May 16 with a main event between Alistair Overeem vs Walt Harris.

While not as much of a mainstream diversion as the NFL – but honestly, nothing is – the bloodsport brings a fervid fanbase hungering for content and a community of sports bettors who will likely feel more comfortable handicapping a mixed martial arts bout than Oleg Kutuzov vs Igor Smirnov in table tennis.

It’s not Fight Island, but it’s a port in a storm.



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UFC Events In May Could Be The Injection Sports Betting Needs Right Now

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Dana White doesn’t get his Fight Island. At least not yet. So for now, the empty arena a few blocks from the St. John’s River will suffice for the impresario of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

And for sports bettors eager for something else familiar.

The UFC’s bout is scheduled for Saturday, May 19 at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL, the first of three cards planned for the venue. The premier bout at UFC 249 will be a tussle between Tony Ferguson and replacement Justin Gaethja, who took the fight just two weeks ago because Nurmagomedov hasn’t been able to return to the United States after retreating to Russia when his previous card was canceled.

UFC 249 will mark the re-emergence of major professional sports in North America, preceding a Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson charity golf match and NASCAR’s return on May 17.

Thoroughbred horse racing has continued at a handful of venues, but that sport’s grip on mainstream America’s attention span was tenuous even in what would have been the run-up to a Kentucky Derby that should have been held on May 2.

UFC, while still a niche, is an ardent one and the weekend card marks a return to some semblance of normalcy for fans watching on television, as none will be allowed inside the arena. Bettors are finally presented with something more recognizable than table tennis, far-flung pro soccer leagues or Korean professional baseball.

“As one of the first major sporting events since COVID-19 caused a nationwide cancellation of major US sports leagues, we could not be more excited ahead of this weekend’s UFC 249 fight,” DraftKings Sportsbook Director Johnny Avello told PlayUSA. “Thus far, the card has seen significant volume and as the week goes on, we expect to see continued engagement around the highly anticipated match up.”

William Hill US trading director Nick Bogdanovich told PlayUSA that UFC betting volume has been “okay” through Tuesday, but also expects it to heighten as the bout approaches.

“I firmly believe come Friday and Saturday, action will be heavy,” he said. “It’s a great card in a great time zone and it’s the first step to having sports fans get excited about U.S. sports again.”

Sports and betting public has been awaiting UFC 249 card

White had originally balked at all attempts to curtail his business plan even as major pro and college leagues responded with varying speed and vigor to government moves to mitigate the spread of a COVID-19 virus.

He first planned to hold UFC 249, featuring a lightweight title fight between champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, on April 23 at Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in California when the Barclays Center in Brooklyn became unviable.

This so-called “Fight Island,” a tribal island property on which the hotel is built, is exempt from the surrounding county’s shelter order, but White was eventually forced to yield to pressure from ESPN, which was to broadcast the event, and parent company Disney.

Though he still plans to field matches on an island, Florida became an amenable stopgap because of Gov. Ron DeSantis’s declaration that professional sports are “essential” services – the WWE has held fanless events in its Orlando Performance Center – meaning that the Florida State Boxing Commission also will oversee the proceedings as a regulated event.

What are the popular bets in UFC249?

Top-ranked Ferguson has won 12 fights consecutively and is a -177 favorite at DraftKings.

Gaethje is listed at +150 underdog at DraftKings, with the fight at -400 to last less than 4.5 rounds. Ferguson, who has won six of his last eight bouts by stoppage, is +260 at DraftKings to win by knockout, technical knockout or disqualification.

FanDuel has Ferguson as a -174 favorite (with Gaethje at +148), and at +260 to win by knockout or TKO. He’s at +600 there to win on points.

Reflecting Ferguson’s run of stoppages, FanDuel has Gaethje at +1400 to win in points.

In the co-main event, bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo (-220) is favored over challenger Dominick Cruz (+183) at DraftKings. Cejudo is listed at -210 at FanDuel, with Cruz at +176.

UFC takes its swing (and kick) as the next best thing for sports betting

When North American sports began shuttering on March 1 after NBA when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, sports fans, sports bettors and sportsbooks began groping for alternatives.

Most options, including the incredibly popular and lucrative NCAA Tournament, were quickly gone, replaced by the likes of Nicaraguan soccer, briefly Australian rules football, table tennis and eSports, notably eNASCAR.

The NFL Draft was a well-received return to taste of home, with anecdotal evidence from gaming operators claiming business was brisk. State revenue reports should reflect those assumptions after being a crushing April.

UFC now takes its turn with additional events: May 13 with a main event between Anthony Smith vs Glover Teixeira and May 16 with a main event between Alistair Overeem vs Walt Harris.

While not as much of a mainstream diversion as the NFL – but honestly, nothing is – the bloodsport brings a fervid fanbase hungering for content and a community of sports bettors who will likely feel more comfortable handicapping a mixed martial arts bout than Oleg Kutuzov vs Igor Smirnov in table tennis.

It’s not Fight Island, but it’s a port in a storm.



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Colorado Sports Betting Officially Launches; DraftKings Offers Broncos Promo

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Colorado has become the 18th state with legal sports betting, going live today, May 1.

Though the state’s physical casinos — located in rural Cripple Creek, Black Hawk, and Central City — are closed until May 8 due to recent extended shutdown, bettors can take advantage of the state’s online sports betting and place their bets.

Despite launching during the looming COVID-19 pandemic, operators recently told PlayUSA how optimistic they are about Colorado’s future as a US betting power player.

There are four CO sports betting apps live today, including DraftKings. To mark the occasion, it has released a new promo boost through May 5 that might entice even the most die-hard Denver Broncos fans.

Read on for more Colorado sports betting info and how to take advantage of this limited offer.

Colorado sports betting basics

Colorado has an impressive and expansive list of brands on tap. Draftkings is expected to be a dominant force in the Colorado market once things begin to normalize around the country. But the company will also have to compete with other top-tier brands like FanDuel Sportsbook and William Hill.

As PlayColorado notes, patrons will have four CO sports betting apps to choose from on launch day. Other sportsbooks are expected to roll out mobile applications in due time.

  • FanDuel
  • DraftKings
  • BetMGM
  • BetRivers

Additionally, the state has approved 11 online operators which vary from operators like Rush Street Interactive to Fox Bet.

Approved sportsbooks:

  • theScore
  • PointsBet
  • Fox Bet
  • Circa Sports
  • Smarkets
  • Roar Digital
  • William Hill
  • Rush Street Interactive
  • Penn Sports Interactive
  • FanDuel Sportsbook
  • DraftKings Sportsbook

Not only will customers have access to traditional sports leagues (NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA), they will also be able to bet on in-state colleges like the University of Colorado and Colorado State. However, books are not authorized to offer individual collegiate prop bets.

DraftKings Sportsbook Colorado promo

For a limited time, DraftKings Sportsbook will be offering Colorado users +100 odds on the Denver Broncos to win over 6.5 games.

The Broncos went 7-9 last year finishing second in the AFC West with quarterback Drew Lock going 4-1 as a starter. Denver invested heavily in offensive weapons to help their young QB for the 2020 campaign, selecting top wide receiver Jerry Jeudy with the 15th overall pick and wideout KJ Hamler in the second round. Couple this group with emerging stars like tight end Noah Fant, wideout Courtland Sutton and newly acquired running back Melvin Gordon and +100 odds look very nice.

Denver Broncos CO Boost

  • Boost excludes: no parlays, free bets, cashout bets, void bets, live bets
  • Boost odds must be placed in the state of Colorado as individual bet slip
  • Max bet $50
  • One bet per user
  • Odds were -305, now +100

Bettors have until May 5 at 11:59 PM ET to place wagers.

Mobile Colorado betting at a glance

A significant CO sports betting rule is the ability for customers to register for accounts remotely. With the pandemic sweeping the country and quarantine measures in place, remote registration is beneficial.

Another benefit to mobile registration is its ability to drawn in potential customers from neighboring states. Residents from Wyoming, Nebraska, and Utah only need to cross the Colorado border to be able to register for an account and place a wager. With geolocation, once a player exits the state, they will no longer be allowed to bet.

The current list of available sports to bet on may be limited. But major sports leagues are continuing to discuss ways some seasons can be salvaged (NBA, NHL) or begin on time (NFL).

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Virginia Sports Betting Is Officially Legal After Delays

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Legalized Virginia sports betting is ready to colonize.

Lawmakers enacted into law a pair of bills, HB 896 and SB 384, that take effect July 1, thus legalizing regulated wagering in Old Dominion.

This comes after both the state House and Senate approved the bill in early March and then had the proposal sent back by Gov. Ralph Northam in mid-April.

Though a timeline remains unknown for an official launch, the Virginia Lottery Board must complete regulations by Sept. 15.

Virginia joins Washington as the first two states to enact legislation in 2020.

Virginia bill just beats the buzzer

Just to get the bill in front of the governor is something of a miracle.

Legislators were up against the clock and appeared at odds when it came to Virginia sports betting. Days waned to hours, which waned to minutes. The Senate and House discussed two main sports betting bills. However, neither chamber could agree on which to put forward.

Hence an 11th-hour conference between the two groups.

The House discarded a bill proposal during the final day of the session. A day later, however, essentially in extra innings, the two sides came to an agreement and in the final vote pushed the bill forward to the governor’s desk.

Northam then threw something of a curveball, developing several recommendations to be included in the bill. Lawmakers approved of those suggestions with little (or even any) disagreement, which one bill’s sponsor described as “largely administrative.”

Once legislators approved of the amended version, it became law.

What Virginia sports betting will look like

While regulators will still need to create a regulatory framework for Virginia sports betting, we know of some details of the future industry.

First, it appears that lawmakers will prohibit wagering on Virginia college sports. Any game involving an institution from Virginia or staged in the state will be off-limits.

Additionally, operators will not accept wagers on college prop bets.

That said, there will potentially be no shortage of Virginia sports betting options.

The Virginia Lottery, which will regulate the industry, will determine how many licenses to award operators based on what would best benefit the state. However, the lottery could potentially award up to 12 online-only licenses to bookmakers.

The state’s five casinos would receive preferred consideration for an online sports betting license, as would any professional sports team that relocates its facilities to Virginia. That last bit could be the state’s attempt to lure the Washington Redskins.

$250,000 check would provide a three-year license to an operator, which would have revenue taxed at a 15% clip.

Governor’s recommendations agreed upon by legislators

Among Northam’s suggestions in the bill was the inclusion of NASCAR facilities under the definition of a “major sports franchise.” As it stands, teams from pro leagues such as MLBNBA and NFL can offer legalized retail and online sports betting if they are located in the state.

The result is the authorization of Martinsville Speedway and Richmond Raceway to accept regulated bets.

Additionally, while wagering on in-state colleges is prohibited, Northam recommended that operators be allowed to take bets on tournaments involving those colleges.

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US Sports Betting Industry Will Recover

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The future of the American sports betting industry remains promising, perhaps even record-setting next year, said gaming industry analyst and SpringOwl Asset Management CEO Jason Ader.

This year, though, amid a COVID-19 pandemic that has shut down sports with cascading detriment to sportsbooks and sports networks, is about mitigating damage and learning lessons on how to safeguard that future. This applies to sports leagues, broadcasters, gaming companies and state legislators.

Among the means is for states without legalized online gaming and casinos and online poker to get it immediately, says Ader in an expansive PlayUSA interview,

The industry will come back, he said. That includes Las Vegas, which will be priced to move, he said, whenever coronavirus allows.

Q: How is the sports betting and gambling industry doing to respond and maintain itself during the COVID-19 shutdown?

JASON ADER: I think it’s been very tough. I mean, the world has much bigger problems than gambling. The whole sports and broadcast industry has been turned upside down. And from that perspective, there’s just no sports, so there’s just no sports betting at all. And you can see, there’s been some effort to find obscure sports and even eSports, the NBA obviously doing eSports with some of the top players, but the lack of sports betting has been pretty devastating for the online gambling companies.

I don’t know what more I can say about the land-based companies. I mean, they’re closed. I think it’s pretty staggering and I think this number may be low, but I do think that the unemployment rate in Las Vegas was pretty close to 50%. They’re the people who work in the casinos, the people who service the casino, the limo drivers and the companies that do the linen washing. It’s just all completely out of work and just devastating to the economy and obviously devastating for the state. [Gaming] is a source of tax revenue which is important without a state income tax [in Nevada].

The gaming industry has been a pretty good partner to the municipalities that have legalized it.

I think just about every state that has some form of gaming, it’s a top-five – and it may even be top three- – contributor in terms of overall state revenue after obviously sales tax and income tax.

Is this the biggest challenge the industry has faced?

At this moment in time, it’s as bad as we’ve ever seen and because so much of the infrastructure is closed and honestly, I don’t think it’s clear to anybody when things will reopen and what life will be like.

Is everybody going to be rushing to Las Vegas to sit at a crowded blackjack table or sweaty nightclub or busy convention center? I don’t think right away. I mean that’s something that will take a little bit of an adjustment.

I do have some fascinating statistics that I’m gonna share with you: Italy is kind of the worst-hit market in the world, maybe, in terms of death and shutdown, certainly one of the worst and still heavily concentrated. For the month of March, online casino was up 30%. Three-zero. Online poker cash games were up 89% and tournament poker revenues were up 123%. So that’s pretty amazing online statistics. So one of the things I’ve been thinking about, will land-based companies who’ve been forced to close go out and start buying online companies? You see statistics like this and they’d be crazy not to.

I mean, you’d be crazy to have literally your entire business dependent upon land-based business where you see online growth, when everybody’s forced to stay at home and you don’t know how long this is going to last. Is this going to come back in the spring time and if it’ll come back next year if you’re not going to be able to leave your home?

How big a factor was online casino and poker in relation to the Italian market before gamblers there had no sports on which to bet?

It’s a pretty big business in Italy. It’s a legal business and PartyPoker recently sort of had come back into the market, but PokerStars is one of the dominant players. People are at home and so they’re playing more, playing more poker. Italy is a relevant market. It’s a top-10 market in the world for gaming. Most people don’t realize that.

Can you estimate the monetary impact of multiple months of lost sports betting in the United States, particularly March and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament?

Right now it’s down 90-plus percent. I’ve seen a lot of different numbers in terms of total revenue, but what I think the legal sports betting was on a pretty good clip to be $10 billion monthly, so $120- ish [in a year]. I really think it’s going to take several months to sort of get back, but I do think that there’ll be pretty decent pent-up demand.

I think that the U.S. sports betting, and this is for 2019 was just about billion [monthly], so the whole year was $11 billion.

There’s no really new state activity. So if you think about last year alone, it was $11 billion from sports betting and this yea it could be less than half that, but I do think next year it could very well exceed, if things normalized. 2021 could be bigger than 2019 because you’ve got the Olympics now, you’ve got the Euro Cup, you just got a lot of people who have learned how to use online gaming. You have a lot of states now that need revenues that are probably going to accelerate their plans to legalize online.

Will sports betting’s momentum as a business and a pastime more available to more people in the United States allow it to pick right back up where it left off when this is over?

It’s not going to be like that, because I think it’s been a bit too long. You’ve got a lot of people out of work, you got a lot of people who had economic damage. So the business, you can sort of flip a switch and say, ‘OK, the business is open,’ but demand is going to take some time.

Now there’s a lot of government programs that are in place. You’ve got very cheap money, you have the system flushed with liquidity. You can have follow-on Congressional activity to help small businesses. You’re going to see people get hired back, but it’s going to be like when you turn up a dimmer as opposed to a light switch.

I think we’ll get back to very strong, especially given the government fiscal and monetary stimulus that’s in place. But if everything sort of goes as planned and things in May are turned back on we could be by elections, in a much more normalized environment. We could be well on our way to a pretty strong recovery. But it’s going to take several months for that dimmer that’s almost off right now to come back on and to be producing bright lights again.

Given how bad the timing of this was in terms of March Madness, would you agree it’s crucial for sportsbooks is a return of the NFL in some capacity this fall?

I think that’s right. And again, I wouldn’t just frame this in the context of sports betting either. I mean, you’ve got gigantic television contracts, gigantic. The TV broadcasters need this and want this, too, because there’s advertisers that have made sales and there’s been advances to teams and there’s already discussions with the [soccer] teams and the clubs in Europe to pay back some of their broadcasts advance. So gaming, it’s like a derivative industry to a much bigger industry, which is broadcasting and advertising. And they all want it and they want it for their own selfish economic reasons.

And don’t lose sight of the fact that the sport is not about betting. The sport is about the broadcast and the business of sports. And, to some extent the gaming industry is the first and second derivative around that gigantic economy, which is FOX and Sky and NBC and ESPN and everything else.

What’s the forecast for the recovery of the Macau casino market?

They opened the border and there was this video that I saw with thousands of people rushing the border to get in. And they actually got pretty clean for a couple of days with COVID-19 cases, even no new cases. Everything seemed to be going great with Macau in the context of trying to make a comeback, but there was a re-emergence of some cases and it was hard to track because it’s Chinese statistics.

But borders opened up just to Chinese and Hong Kong residents. And when the borders opened up to Chinese and Hong Kong residents only, the people that got infected had been in Europe or elsewhere within the last 14 days. So what’s happened in Macau now is if you go over, it’s a pretty long border control.

Usually, you’d get through in an hour or less, maybe even a half hour if it’s not busy. And the border control is a bit extreme now. I’m seeing reports it’s taking six hours to get through the border. Nobody wants that.

But the bigger issue is the borders have tightened up again. If you leave Macau, you’re required to quarantine for 14 days. I don’t know if you’re required or suggested, but that’s sort of the deal-killer.

I’d say business is still down 88 to 90%. But you scrape a lot of travel and tourism data on Macau and the bookings, the interest in bookings from Chinese and throughout the Asia market is just extraordinary. When Macau does green-light this, I think it’s going be like a Chinese New Year demand, which is one of the strongest periods for the Macau market.

There’s just a lot of interest in returning as soon as the Chinese markets can and, obviously, Macau has built itself up now where it’s gone well beyond gaming and has the new spectacular entertainment there and restaurants and non-gaming activities have been a push by the Chinese government.

What will be the apprehension level of the gaming public or non-gaming tourists in returning to casinos or shows in Las Vegas?

I think it’s mixed. I think that the casino operators that I talked to are far too optimistic. I think they’re all hoping there will be some Memorial Day open. The rates are going to be spectacular. You’re going to be able to get gigantic rooms for like $100. And I think everybody has to drop rates to the absolute lowest level they’ve ever sold for as long as they need too.

And I think what you’ll see with Las Vegas is that you’ll see a complete sale this summer. Like, airfare, hotel, $200, over multiple nights, and then that’ll move up over time just to get people out there. So I’m sort of hearing the pricing strategies of Las Vegas as they think about reopening this summer and the prices are going to be amazing, if you don’t mind being in Las Vegas in the summer – and I’ve done it – it’s pretty hot. Even sitting by the pool can be uncomfortable.

But I do think there’s going to be a lot of people who want to go and get out and the deals they’re going to get are unbelievable. You could take a whole family to Las Vegas for like a week and have airfare included and it could be under a thousand dollars and that might even include the buffet, one or two buffet meals.

So we’re back to that, which is sort of how Vegas recovered post-financial crisis and post-recession in 2002. That’s the playbook. That’s the Vegas playbook. And price as a means for recovery becomes very compelling to conventions and meetings because conventions and meetings look at New York, look at Orlando. [You] can put the whole convention in Las Vegas and look at the room prices and look at the rates and people say, ‘Yeah, Vegas is pretty fun, let’s do that.’ So price as a weapon has always Las Vegas’s means to a recovery.

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US Sports Betting Industry Will Recover

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The future of the American sports betting industry remains promising, perhaps even record-setting next year, said gaming industry analyst and SpringOwl Asset Management CEO Jason Ader.

This year, though, amid a COVID-19 pandemic that has shut down sports with cascading detriment to sportsbooks and sports networks, is about mitigating damage and learning lessons on how to safeguard that future. This applies to sports leagues, broadcasters, gaming companies and state legislators.

Among the means is for states without legalized online gaming and casinos and online poker to get it immediately, says Ader in an expansive PlayUSA interview,

The industry will come back, he said. That includes Las Vegas, which will be priced to move, he said, whenever coronavirus allows.

Q: How is the sports betting and gambling industry doing to respond and maintain itself during the COVID-19 shutdown?

JASON ADER: I think it’s been very tough. I mean, the world has much bigger problems than gambling. The whole sports and broadcast industry has been turned upside down. And from that perspective, there’s just no sports, so there’s just no sports betting at all. And you can see, there’s been some effort to find obscure sports and even eSports, the NBA obviously doing eSports with some of the top players, but the lack of sports betting has been pretty devastating for the online gambling companies.

I don’t know what more I can say about the land-based companies. I mean, they’re closed. I think it’s pretty staggering and I think this number may be low, but I do think that the unemployment rate in Las Vegas was pretty close to 50%. They’re the people who work in the casinos, the people who service the casino, the limo drivers and the companies that do the linen washing. It’s just all completely out of work and just devastating to the economy and obviously devastating for the state. [Gaming] is a source of tax revenue which is important without a state income tax [in Nevada].

The gaming industry has been a pretty good partner to the municipalities that have legalized it.

I think just about every state that has some form of gaming, it’s a top-five – and it may even be top three- – contributor in terms of overall state revenue after obviously sales tax and income tax.

Is this the biggest challenge the industry has faced?

At this moment in time, it’s as bad as we’ve ever seen and because so much of the infrastructure is closed and honestly, I don’t think it’s clear to anybody when things will reopen and what life will be like.

Is everybody going to be rushing to Las Vegas to sit at a crowded blackjack table or sweaty nightclub or busy convention center? I don’t think right away. I mean that’s something that will take a little bit of an adjustment.

I do have some fascinating statistics that I’m gonna share with you: Italy is kind of the worst-hit market in the world, maybe, in terms of death and shutdown, certainly one of the worst and still heavily concentrated. For the month of March, online casino was up 30%. Three-zero. Online poker cash games were up 89% and tournament poker revenues were up 123%. So that’s pretty amazing online statistics. So one of the things I’ve been thinking about, will land-based companies who’ve been forced to close go out and start buying online companies? You see statistics like this and they’d be crazy not to.

I mean, you’d be crazy to have literally your entire business dependent upon land-based business where you see online growth, when everybody’s forced to stay at home and you don’t know how long this is going to last. Is this going to come back in the spring time and if it’ll come back next year if you’re not going to be able to leave your home?

How big a factor was online casino and poker in relation to the Italian market before gamblers there had no sports on which to bet?

It’s a pretty big business in Italy. It’s a legal business and PartyPoker recently sort of had come back into the market, but PokerStars is one of the dominant players. People are at home and so they’re playing more, playing more poker. Italy is a relevant market. It’s a top-10 market in the world for gaming. Most people don’t realize that.

Can you estimate the monetary impact of multiple months of lost sports betting in the United States, particularly March and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament?

Right now it’s down 90-plus percent. I’ve seen a lot of different numbers in terms of total revenue, but what I think the legal sports betting was on a pretty good clip to be $10 billion monthly, so $120- ish [in a year]. I really think it’s going to take several months to sort of get back, but I do think that there’ll be pretty decent pent-up demand.

I think that the U.S. sports betting, and this is for 2019 was just about billion [monthly], so the whole year was $11 billion.

There’s no really new state activity. So if you think about last year alone, it was $11 billion from sports betting and this yea it could be less than half that, but I do think next year it could very well exceed, if things normalized. 2021 could be bigger than 2019 because you’ve got the Olympics now, you’ve got the Euro Cup, you just got a lot of people who have learned how to use online gaming. You have a lot of states now that need revenues that are probably going to accelerate their plans to legalize online.

Will sports betting’s momentum as a business and a pastime more available to more people in the United States allow it to pick right back up where it left off when this is over?

It’s not going to be like that, because I think it’s been a bit too long. You’ve got a lot of people out of work, you got a lot of people who had economic damage. So the business, you can sort of flip a switch and say, ‘OK, the business is open,’ but demand is going to take some time.

Now there’s a lot of government programs that are in place. You’ve got very cheap money, you have the system flushed with liquidity. You can have follow-on Congressional activity to help small businesses. You’re going to see people get hired back, but it’s going to be like when you turn up a dimmer as opposed to a light switch.

I think we’ll get back to very strong, especially given the government fiscal and monetary stimulus that’s in place. But if everything sort of goes as planned and things in May are turned back on we could be by elections, in a much more normalized environment. We could be well on our way to a pretty strong recovery. But it’s going to take several months for that dimmer that’s almost off right now to come back on and to be producing bright lights again.

Given how bad the timing of this was in terms of March Madness, would you agree it’s crucial for sportsbooks is a return of the NFL in some capacity this fall?

I think that’s right. And again, I wouldn’t just frame this in the context of sports betting either. I mean, you’ve got gigantic television contracts, gigantic. The TV broadcasters need this and want this, too, because there’s advertisers that have made sales and there’s been advances to teams and there’s already discussions with the [soccer] teams and the clubs in Europe to pay back some of their broadcasts advance. So gaming, it’s like a derivative industry to a much bigger industry, which is broadcasting and advertising. And they all want it and they want it for their own selfish economic reasons.

And don’t lose sight of the fact that the sport is not about betting. The sport is about the broadcast and the business of sports. And, to some extent the gaming industry is the first and second derivative around that gigantic economy, which is FOX and Sky and NBC and ESPN and everything else.

What’s the forecast for the recovery of the Macau casino market?

They opened the border and there was this video that I saw with thousands of people rushing the border to get in. And they actually got pretty clean for a couple of days with COVID-19 cases, even no new cases. Everything seemed to be going great with Macau in the context of trying to make a comeback, but there was a re-emergence of some cases and it was hard to track because it’s Chinese statistics.

But borders opened up just to Chinese and Hong Kong residents. And when the borders opened up to Chinese and Hong Kong residents only, the people that got infected had been in Europe or elsewhere within the last 14 days. So what’s happened in Macau now is if you go over, it’s a pretty long border control.

Usually, you’d get through in an hour or less, maybe even a half hour if it’s not busy. And the border control is a bit extreme now. I’m seeing reports it’s taking six hours to get through the border. Nobody wants that.

But the bigger issue is the borders have tightened up again. If you leave Macau, you’re required to quarantine for 14 days. I don’t know if you’re required or suggested, but that’s sort of the deal-killer.

I’d say business is still down 88 to 90%. But you scrape a lot of travel and tourism data on Macau and the bookings, the interest in bookings from Chinese and throughout the Asia market is just extraordinary. When Macau does green-light this, I think it’s going be like a Chinese New Year demand, which is one of the strongest periods for the Macau market.

There’s just a lot of interest in returning as soon as the Chinese markets can and, obviously, Macau has built itself up now where it’s gone well beyond gaming and has the new spectacular entertainment there and restaurants and non-gaming activities have been a push by the Chinese government.

What will be the apprehension level of the gaming public or non-gaming tourists in returning to casinos or shows in Las Vegas?

I think it’s mixed. I think that the casino operators that I talked to are far too optimistic. I think they’re all hoping there will be some Memorial Day open. The rates are going to be spectacular. You’re going to be able to get gigantic rooms for like $100. And I think everybody has to drop rates to the absolute lowest level they’ve ever sold for as long as they need too.

And I think what you’ll see with Las Vegas is that you’ll see a complete sale this summer. Like, airfare, hotel, $200, over multiple nights, and then that’ll move up over time just to get people out there. So I’m sort of hearing the pricing strategies of Las Vegas as they think about reopening this summer and the prices are going to be amazing, if you don’t mind being in Las Vegas in the summer – and I’ve done it – it’s pretty hot. Even sitting by the pool can be uncomfortable.

But I do think there’s going to be a lot of people who want to go and get out and the deals they’re going to get are unbelievable. You could take a whole family to Las Vegas for like a week and have airfare included and it could be under a thousand dollars and that might even include the buffet, one or two buffet meals.

So we’re back to that, which is sort of how Vegas recovered post-financial crisis and post-recession in 2002. That’s the playbook. That’s the Vegas playbook. And price as a means for recovery becomes very compelling to conventions and meetings because conventions and meetings look at New York, look at Orlando. [You] can put the whole convention in Las Vegas and look at the room prices and look at the rates and people say, ‘Yeah, Vegas is pretty fun, let’s do that.’ So price as a weapon has always Las Vegas’s means to a recovery.

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Tennessee Sports Betting Could Arrive In July, But Here Are Some Critical Facts

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A skilled journalist once wrote, “I think there is a terrible angst on the land, a sense that something ugly is about to happen, an hour-to-hour feeling of nervous anticipation.” That was a bit of correspondence from Hunter S. Thompson to a friend in 1965. Though he was referring to Richard Nixon and not the anticipated launch of Tennessee sports betting, the similarities are there if you look hard enough.

Online sports betting in Tennessee is expected to make its official debut in July. However, it will come with a stain, at least in the eyes of experts who analyze the markets.

Tennessee sports betting rules at a glance

As reported by Play Tennessee, embedded within the rules and regulations is a clause that caps the amount a bettor can win at 90 percent. This means Tennessee will be the first state to mandate that sportsbooks generate a 10 percent hold.

But the rules established by the TN Education Lottery Corporation don’t stop there. Operators must also pay an annual licensing fee of $750,000 and will be taxed at 20 percent.

Here are those numbers compared to other states:

  • Nevada — 6% hold
  • New Jersey — 7% hold / $100,000 licensing fee
  • Pennsylvania — $10 million licensing fee / 36% tax rate
  • Illinois — $20 million licensing fee / 25% tax rate

While some states may have outrageous tax rates and substantial licensing fees, the main constant is none require a 10 percent hold.

But there is a safety valve of sorts. Rules can be revisited in a year’s time so if everything turns to ash, there is a way to rebuild.

The benefit of the doubt

One must understand, a politicians’ first duty is to the state. How much tax revenue can a product bring in? How many jobs can it create? These are fundamental questions asked by lawmakers across the country.

A detailed report from Eilers & Krejcik, an independent research and consulting firm, predicted a $10.9 million annual loss as a result of the initial 15 percent hold requested by the lottery corporation. That is a hefty chunk of change. In the current economic climate, it would be wise not to leave such a massive sum on the table.

But upon further analysis, several models in the report show total revenue significantly declining, going from as high as $55.5 million to as low as $30.7 million.

However, total tax revenue jumps from as low as $23.2 million to as high as $45.3 million, and that is the key.

Tax revenue is what makes elected officials salivate. Money brought into the state creates praise. Praise creates money for state coffers. The more money in state coffers means more political clout. And with more clout, means more votes. And votes are what keep elected officials in power.

Is the TN sports betting launch two months away?

While the exact date of launch has yet to be revealed, Tennessee residents have a little over two months to prepare for a version of sports betting that will be completely mobile. Yes, another first. Tennessee will only have online sports betting with no retail options available.

But like the rest of the country, they’re waiting for the return of sports. For now, there are limited options in the gambling sphere.

As mentioned before, the unfortunate stain will be the limited winning payout and an operator’s ability to offer competitive pricing. Think of it this way, if the odds on the legal sports betting market are -125, that means a bettor must wager $125 to win $100. If they can get better odds on the illegal market on the same match, which do you think they will go for?

The one thing bettors have going for them is geographical location. Arkansas and Mississippi are to the south, and Illinois to the north, all with legal, regulated sports betting to some capacity. It’s highly expected that some bettors, not all, will take advantage of these gaming markets.

In the end, sure, some politicians may genuinely want to cut into the black market. Some may even want to implement stronger consumer protections and give generously to responsible gaming initiatives. But the bottom line will always be: how many jobs will be created and how much money will be brought in.

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So, What Sports Can You Bet On Legally During The Shutdown?

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My dog, a 1-year-old French bulldog named Gunther, has been meticulously judging me, wondering why I spend so much time looking for sports betting options when the industry is on hold. That’s because despite the pause of NBA and NHL seasons, the postponement of the start of MLB, and the uncertain start of NFL season, there are some things people can still bet on.

You must remember, things are in short supply. A better part of the options, at least for the four pillars of sports (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB), are futures bets.

However, many sportsbooks around the country are offering very niche sports to bet on. Not every item will be referenced here, but below are some of the sports and activities professional and casual bettors can still wager on at legal sportsbooks in the US.

For am extensive list of betting options, head over to each sportsbook’s website such as FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, and William Hill Sportsbook.

NFL & NCAA Football betting

The 2020 NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 23, which means expect sportsbooks to offer a variety of NFL Draft betting options. Customers can also lay down several traditional futures bets, some of which include:

  • 2020-21 SuperBowl Champion (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020-21 Pro Football Regular Season MVP (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 NFL Draft (FD, DK, William Hill, and more…)
  • 2020-21 College Football National Champion (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 Heisman Trophy Winner (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)

NBA & NCAA Basketball betting

March Madness may have been scrapped this year, but you can still bet on who will be next year’s champion. Should the NBA season resume later this year, you can also bet on who will win the 2019-2020 NBA Title in addition to the upcoming 2020 NBA Draft.

  • Taiwan Basketball (DK)
  • Chinese Taipei (DK)
  • 2020 NBA Draft (FD, DK, BetMGM, and more)
  • 2020-21 NCAA Basketball Champion (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 WNBA Champion (William Hill)

Baseball betting

America’s pastime is tricky — and yes, baseball is still America’s pastime. But until MLB returns, a few international games are being played.

  • 2020-21 World Season Champion (FD, DK, BetMGM, William Hill, and more)
  • Taiwan Baseball matches (William Hill)
  • South Korean Baseball matches (William Hill)

Soccer betting

Many soccer matches continue to be played overseas, which baffles even me. To that extent, several sportsbooks offer single-game bets, except for William Hill, which is only offering bets in Nevada.

  • 2020 FIFA World Cup (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 UEFA Euro (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • Belarusian Premier League (FD, DK, William Hill-NV only, and more)
  • Taiwan Premier League (FD, DK, William Hill-NV only, and more)

Golf betting

Several PGA tour events, including The Masters, have been postponed due to the pandemic. This means golf betting has been reduced to futures options until further notice.

  • 2020 Masters (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 Ryder Cup (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 US Open (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 Cactus League Women’s Golf matchup (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)

Table Tennis

Perhaps the most bet-on sport during the coronavirus pandemic has been table tennis. The most competitive leagues are based in the Czech Republic, Russia, and Ukraine, with matches streamed on setka.cup.com.

  • Moscow Liga Pro matches (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • Setka Cup Men’s matches (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • Czech TT Star Series (William Hill)
  • Ukraine Win Cup matches (William Hill)

Additional options

On top of everything listed above, there are several other sports and events customers can wager on. In no particular order they include:

  • Call of Duty League (William Hill-NV only)
  • League of Legends Europe (William Hill-NV only)
  • 2020 Premier League Darts (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • Magnus Carlsen Inv Futures – Chess (William Hill)
  • 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Futures (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 ICC Cricket World Cup Futures (DK)

The list of betting options may not be what we are used to. By now, I should have attended a handful of Chicago White Sox baseball games. The NBA and NHL playoffs would be heating up, and in-depth discussions on NFL training camp would be flooding TV screens.

Some things will continue, but they may look different. One change will be witnessed soon with the first-ever remote NFL draft. But as I tell Gunther, during these challenging times, we must work with what we got.

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So, What Sports Can You Bet On Legally During The Shutdown?

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My dog, a 1-year-old French bulldog named Gunther, has been meticulously judging me, wondering why I spend so much time looking for sports betting options when the industry is on hold. That’s because despite the pause of NBA and NHL seasons, the postponement of the start of MLB, and the uncertain start of NFL season, there are some things people can still bet on.

You must remember, things are in short supply. A better part of the options, at least for the four pillars of sports (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB), are futures bets.

However, many sportsbooks around the country are offering very niche sports to bet on. Not every item will be referenced here, but below are some of the sports and activities professional and casual bettors can still wager on at legal sportsbooks in the US.

For am extensive list of betting options, head over to each sportsbook’s website such as FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, and William Hill Sportsbook.

NFL & NCAA Football betting

The 2020 NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 23, which means expect sportsbooks to offer a variety of NFL Draft betting options. Customers can also lay down several traditional futures bets, some of which include:

  • 2020-21 SuperBowl Champion (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020-21 Pro Football Regular Season MVP (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 NFL Draft (FD, DK, William Hill, and more…)
  • 2020-21 College Football National Champion (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 Heisman Trophy Winner (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)

NBA & NCAA Basketball betting

March Madness may have been scrapped this year, but you can still bet on who will be next year’s champion. Should the NBA season resume later this year, you can also bet on who will win the 2019-2020 NBA Title in addition to the upcoming 2020 NBA Draft.

  • Taiwan Basketball (DK)
  • Chinese Taipei (DK)
  • 2020 NBA Draft (FD, DK, BetMGM, and more)
  • 2020-21 NCAA Basketball Champion (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 WNBA Champion (William Hill)

Baseball betting

America’s pastime is tricky — and yes, baseball is still America’s pastime. But until MLB returns, a few international games are being played.

  • 2020-21 World Season Champion (FD, DK, BetMGM, William Hill, and more)
  • Taiwan Baseball matches (William Hill)
  • South Korean Baseball matches (William Hill)

Soccer betting

Many soccer matches continue to be played overseas, which baffles even me. To that extent, several sportsbooks offer single-game bets, except for William Hill, which is only offering bets in Nevada.

  • 2020 FIFA World Cup (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 UEFA Euro (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • Belarusian Premier League (FD, DK, William Hill-NV only, and more)
  • Taiwan Premier League (FD, DK, William Hill-NV only, and more)

Golf betting

Several PGA tour events, including The Masters, have been postponed due to the pandemic. This means golf betting has been reduced to futures options until further notice.

  • 2020 Masters (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 Ryder Cup (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 US Open (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 Cactus League Women’s Golf matchup (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)

Table Tennis

Perhaps the most bet-on sport during the coronavirus pandemic has been table tennis. The most competitive leagues are based in the Czech Republic, Russia, and Ukraine, with matches streamed on setka.cup.com.

  • Moscow Liga Pro matches (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • Setka Cup Men’s matches (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • Czech TT Star Series (William Hill)
  • Ukraine Win Cup matches (William Hill)

Additional options

On top of everything listed above, there are several other sports and events customers can wager on. In no particular order they include:

  • Call of Duty League (William Hill-NV only)
  • League of Legends Europe (William Hill-NV only)
  • 2020 Premier League Darts (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • Magnus Carlsen Inv Futures – Chess (William Hill)
  • 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Futures (FD, DK, William Hill, and more)
  • 2020 ICC Cricket World Cup Futures (DK)

The list of betting options may not be what we are used to. By now, I should have attended a handful of Chicago White Sox baseball games. The NBA and NHL playoffs would be heating up, and in-depth discussions on NFL training camp would be flooding TV screens.

Some things will continue, but they may look different. One change will be witnessed soon with the first-ever remote NFL draft. But as I tell Gunther, during these challenging times, we must work with what we got.

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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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In A Post-Pandemic World, Future Of Legal Sports Betting Is Bright

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The future of legal sports betting is bright – and mobile – in spite of society’s struggles, according to Daniel Kustelski, CEO and co-founder Chalkline Sports.

US betting and gaming will re-surface from the current COVID-19 crisis stronger than ever, and with a ‘hard shift’ towards mobile and online betting, according to Kustelski.

The industry faces an unprecedented challenge. Land-based casinos are closed and the country’s nascent online sportsbooks are betting on emergency rations, having been starved of live sports.

And yet Kustelski is backing his fellow operators and suppliers to weather the storm and use it to their advantage when it comes to betting legislation progress.

Changes for the legal betting industry

Kustelski also believes it will power a renewed drive towards online and mobile-based wagering which will have far-reaching implications for all concerned.

He said: “I know that we are in for some rough days ahead, but we will emerge stronger than before. I believe that there will be a material change to the gaming industry, with a hard shift to towards online and mobile.

“With much of our team having come from a land-based casino group, we’re acutely aware of the challenges that lay ahead. But I’d suggest that online and mobile options will be table stakes for any gaming bill in any state that has not yet regulated, and states with regulated gaming options will face pressure to open up mobile quickly.

“There will undoubtedly be small delays in legislative sessions, but overall, this will drive the industry forward. States will need revenues, the industry can provide jobs, and sports fans are going to find ways to engage with their favorite sports, teams and players.”

Chalkline Sports offers mobile and personalized live-odds competitions that engage sports bettors of all experience levels. In the absence of most live sports in recent weeks, they have run a series of free play games, including horse racing, Tom Brady’s free agency, and NBA 2K Players’ tournament.

Kustelski, who was general manager of sports betting at Sun International in South Africa before joining WatchandWager.com as chief operations officer, is now set to speak at the forthcoming ICE North America Digital, which takes place virtually on May 11-15.

Connecting with customers

He is also convinced that now is not the time for operators to quit their marketing efforts, despite sensitivities around the impact of the global pandemic.

He said: “The opportunity for you and your customers is different from what it was even one month ago, but sports fans crave distractions now more than ever, and when you work in sports betting, your job is to provide people with the engagement they love.

“We’ve always loved the Jeff Bezos quote about engaging with the end user: ‘The most important single thing is to focus obsessively on the customer. Companies that have built a strong and authentic relationship with customers will find ways to communicate with them.

“Today is your company’s opportunity to tap into the seeds you’ve planted in the past and have an authentic conversation with your customers, even in the worst times.”

Kustelski believes those times will be made a whole lot better with the help of one of the industry’s leading bodies. He added: “One thing cannot be overstated: the strength of the American Gaming Association, and what they can do to help the industry. From the days of Frank Fahrenkopf and Jim Murren, to Tim Wilmott, Trevor Croker and Bill Miller — the AGA will get us back on track.”

For more information on ICE North America and to register for free, click here.

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In A Post-Pandemic World, Future Of Legal Sports Betting Is Bright

[ad_1]

The future of legal sports betting is bright – and mobile – in spite of society’s struggles, according to Daniel Kustelski, CEO and co-founder Chalkline Sports.

US betting and gaming will re-surface from the current COVID-19 crisis stronger than ever, and with a ‘hard shift’ towards mobile and online betting, according to Kustelski.

The industry faces an unprecedented challenge. Land-based casinos are closed and the country’s nascent online sportsbooks are betting on emergency rations, having been starved of live sports.

And yet Kustelski is backing his fellow operators and suppliers to weather the storm and use it to their advantage when it comes to betting legislation progress.

Changes for the legal betting industry

Kustelski also believes it will power a renewed drive towards online and mobile-based wagering which will have far-reaching implications for all concerned.

He said: “I know that we are in for some rough days ahead, but we will emerge stronger than before. I believe that there will be a material change to the gaming industry, with a hard shift to towards online and mobile.

“With much of our team having come from a land-based casino group, we’re acutely aware of the challenges that lay ahead. But I’d suggest that online and mobile options will be table stakes for any gaming bill in any state that has not yet regulated, and states with regulated gaming options will face pressure to open up mobile quickly.

“There will undoubtedly be small delays in legislative sessions, but overall, this will drive the industry forward. States will need revenues, the industry can provide jobs, and sports fans are going to find ways to engage with their favorite sports, teams and players.”

Chalkline Sports offers mobile and personalized live-odds competitions that engage sports bettors of all experience levels. In the absence of most live sports in recent weeks, they have run a series of free play games, including horse racing, Tom Brady’s free agency, and NBA 2K Players’ tournament.

Kustelski, who was general manager of sports betting at Sun International in South Africa before joining WatchandWager.com as chief operations officer, is now set to speak at the forthcoming ICE North America Digital, which takes place virtually on May 11-15.

Connecting with customers

He is also convinced that now is not the time for operators to quit their marketing efforts, despite sensitivities around the impact of the global pandemic.

He said: “The opportunity for you and your customers is different from what it was even one month ago, but sports fans crave distractions now more than ever, and when you work in sports betting, your job is to provide people with the engagement they love.

“We’ve always loved the Jeff Bezos quote about engaging with the end user: ‘The most important single thing is to focus obsessively on the customer. Companies that have built a strong and authentic relationship with customers will find ways to communicate with them.

“Today is your company’s opportunity to tap into the seeds you’ve planted in the past and have an authentic conversation with your customers, even in the worst times.”

Kustelski believes those times will be made a whole lot better with the help of one of the industry’s leading bodies. He added: “One thing cannot be overstated: the strength of the American Gaming Association, and what they can do to help the industry. From the days of Frank Fahrenkopf and Jim Murren, to Tim Wilmott, Trevor Croker and Bill Miller — the AGA will get us back on track.”

For more information on ICE North America and to register for free, click here.

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Disappointing News For New York And DC Sports Betting

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The quarantine continues. Day… something. We’ve lost count.

Though sports are sidelined and casinos are trying to assess reopening plans, the NFL Draft remains on as scheduled (though continuing on as a virtual draft).

We have persevered through trying times, and rest assured, the light at the end of the tunnel is out there. The following stories reflect just that.

On to the Rewind:

Cybersecurity threat forces SBTech-related shutdowns

Online gambling sites powered by SBTech received quite the scare recently.

cybersecurity threat forced the tech provider to inform clients it had been targeted as part of an attempted ransomware attack, which involves hackers seeking company data and code. SBTech, though, assured that no customer data was compromised.

Partner of brands such as Oregon LotteryBetAmericaGolden Nugget and Resorts Atlantic City, SBTech contacted a third-party group of cybersecurity experts as well as law enforcement agencies to investigate the incident. SBTech-related products operate in six states:

  • Arkansas
  • Indiana
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania

Before its partners can relaunch their sites and sportsbooks, SBTech will need to receive clearance from respective state regulators. Any other year, the timing would be brutal as the likes of March Madness and the Masters tournaments would be well underway. Not to mention playoff pushes in the NBA and the onset of MLB.

However, the coronavirus pandemic has forced the suspensions and cancellations of schedules and events.

No online sports betting in New York… again

Stop us if you’ve heard this before: New York sports betting will move forward without online sportsbooks.

State lawmakers finalized the New York state budget. The glaring omission: Gov. Andrew Cuomo elected not to expand the state’s sports betting industry.

The timeline for lawmakers proposing mobile wagering was expedited due to the coronavirus pandemic. Rather than having an opportunity to include betting expansion in Senate and Assembly budget proposals, the legislature aborted one-house budgets and went straight to negotiations with Cuomo.

The governor did not include online betting in his executive budget, essentially sealing the fate for expansion in the final budget.

Cuomo has expressed constitutional concerns regarding online sports betting. He has noted that gambling via mobile devices should not be allowed, while also pointing out such expansion would result in limited state revenue.

While lawmakers will certainly continue advocating for online expansion, Cuomo did, in a way, expand New York sports betting. The state will no longer require casinos to limit sports betting to designated lounges.

DC sports betting launch delayed

The targeted launch date for sports betting in Washington, D.C., has come and gone. And the country’s capital is still without legalized wagering.

The Office of Lottery and Gaming announced that DC sports betting is officially delayed until sports in the US return to action.

Powered by Intralot, the lottery’s sports betting product aimed to debut by March 31. Of course, professional leagues, the NCAA and other major leagues and organizers have since suspended schedules and even canceled events due to coronavirus. As uncertainty abounds regarding the return of sports, decision-makers in the nation’s capital made an audible.

Nicole Jordan, director of marketing and communications for the lottery, said her team is “revising our sports wagering launch strategy based on the current state of world events” and added that the lottery is “prepared to launch the platform when it is safe for the sports world to return.”

Per Jordan, and as reported by Legal Sports Report, the sports betting app and website have been tested and approved. Without the pandemic, GambetDC, as the product is named, would have launch April 1.

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Disappointing News For New York And DC Sports Betting

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The quarantine continues. Day… something. We’ve lost count.

Though sports are sidelined and casinos are trying to assess reopening plans, the NFL Draft remains on as scheduled (though continuing on as a virtual draft).

We have persevered through trying times, and rest assured, the light at the end of the tunnel is out there. The following stories reflect just that.

On to the Rewind:

Cybersecurity threat forces SBTech-related shutdowns

Online gambling sites powered by SBTech received quite the scare recently.

cybersecurity threat forced the tech provider to inform clients it had been targeted as part of an attempted ransomware attack, which involves hackers seeking company data and code. SBTech, though, assured that no customer data was compromised.

Partner of brands such as Oregon LotteryBetAmericaGolden Nugget and Resorts Atlantic City, SBTech contacted a third-party group of cybersecurity experts as well as law enforcement agencies to investigate the incident. SBTech-related products operate in six states:

  • Arkansas
  • Indiana
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania

Before its partners can relaunch their sites and sportsbooks, SBTech will need to receive clearance from respective state regulators. Any other year, the timing would be brutal as the likes of March Madness and the Masters tournaments would be well underway. Not to mention playoff pushes in the NBA and the onset of MLB.

However, the coronavirus pandemic has forced the suspensions and cancellations of schedules and events.

No online sports betting in New York… again

Stop us if you’ve heard this before: New York sports betting will move forward without online sportsbooks.

State lawmakers finalized the New York state budget. The glaring omission: Gov. Andrew Cuomo elected not to expand the state’s sports betting industry.

The timeline for lawmakers proposing mobile wagering was expedited due to the coronavirus pandemic. Rather than having an opportunity to include betting expansion in Senate and Assembly budget proposals, the legislature aborted one-house budgets and went straight to negotiations with Cuomo.

The governor did not include online betting in his executive budget, essentially sealing the fate for expansion in the final budget.

Cuomo has expressed constitutional concerns regarding online sports betting. He has noted that gambling via mobile devices should not be allowed, while also pointing out such expansion would result in limited state revenue.

While lawmakers will certainly continue advocating for online expansion, Cuomo did, in a way, expand New York sports betting. The state will no longer require casinos to limit sports betting to designated lounges.

DC sports betting launch delayed

The targeted launch date for sports betting in Washington, D.C., has come and gone. And the country’s capital is still without legalized wagering.

The Office of Lottery and Gaming announced that DC sports betting is officially delayed until sports in the US return to action.

Powered by Intralot, the lottery’s sports betting product aimed to debut by March 31. Of course, professional leagues, the NCAA and other major leagues and organizers have since suspended schedules and even canceled events due to coronavirus. As uncertainty abounds regarding the return of sports, decision-makers in the nation’s capital made an audible.

Nicole Jordan, director of marketing and communications for the lottery, said her team is “revising our sports wagering launch strategy based on the current state of world events” and added that the lottery is “prepared to launch the platform when it is safe for the sports world to return.”

Per Jordan, and as reported by Legal Sports Report, the sports betting app and website have been tested and approved. Without the pandemic, GambetDC, as the product is named, would have launch April 1.

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Who Needs Sports? QuickPicks Offers Fantasy Games On Historical Data

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The dearth of live sporting events during the COVID-19 pandemic has left television networks broadcasting vintage games and sportsbooks and daily fantasy operators scrambling to developing markets from the margins.

SportAD might have found a solution to its DFS void in emulating those networks.

The gaming platform-provider, which this year began offering traditional head-to-head daily fantasy games as QuickPicks, has now launched similar propositions using NBA players from different stages of their careers as the real-life market has sheltered in place.

There’s action for the more ardent player, with the understanding that randomness plays a large factor in the outcome. There is fast gratification for the dabbler. Whether QuickPicks Classic can be something for everyone remains to be seen. It could become its own sub-category of DFS once real sports return, or it could just be a placeholder.

“The standard game lends itself to someone who considers themselves sharper, rather than not,” SportAD head of marketing and analysis Larry Everling said. “The Classic version, where it’s a randomly-generated, it’s super-fast and can be a little broader. Sharps may not love it, but it’s something. We’ve got the bones of something that can extend into a pretty big downtime in terms of action.”

How does QuickPicks work?

QuickPicks offers a menu of head-to-head matchups featuring players from different seasons by tapping into Sportradar data.

They can be the same player from different stages of their career, as evidenced by an Al Horford 16-17 vs. Al Horford 17-18 matchup on Friday afternoon. The players’ average per-game fantasy points for the season being utilized are displayed.

An algorithm then randomly selects a game from that particular season for consideration. If it’s Steph Curry 2014-2015 vs. James Harden 2017-2018, the Warriors’ guard figures to have a better chance to prevail in fantasy points most nights. Therein lies the hopeful allure for sharps. But the randomness of the game could select an off night for Curry or any player.

“Right now, our data is through 2013. What we’re aiming for down the road, if we feel that this thing has legs to go back even further,” Everling explained, “pit Dan Marino, the rare gunslinger in the ‘80s and ‘90s versus, a Drew Brees from today or Walter Payton versus Ezekiel Elliott. That type of thing.”

Players choose between two and 10 matchups per ticket. If a player makes three choices, odds improve for perfect parlay depending on the size:

· 3 out of 3 = 5:1

· 4 out of 4 = 10:1

· 5 out of 5 = 18:1

· 6 out of 6 = 35:1

· 7 out of 7 = 70:1

· 8 out of 8 = 125:1

· 9 out of 9 = 250:1

· 10 out of 10 = 500:1

QuickPicks company history

The germ of QuickPicks began in 2015 with Fast Fantasy in what were heady times for the DFS industry. By July of 2017, the company had morphed its approach and entered a business-to-business licensing agreement with Resorts Casino in New Jersey.

The platform legally qualifies as a game of skill and/or daily fantasy in now 28 states, Everling said, because “we’re pitting player one versus player two and you pick at least three sides of either a match up or over/under based on projected average fantasy points for that game that evening.”

Of course, the DFS industry has been plagued by legal questions over the years, but QuickPicks has a legal opinion for why it operates these games in those states.

The nullification of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May of 2018 brought legal sports betting to New Jersey and the pressure of FanDuel and DraftKings in paying a premium for customer acquisition.

While those original DFS companies acquired casino licensing agreements and set about dominating the New Jersey market, QuickPicks executives began to move, Everling said, on discussions regarding a new direction. States with large populations and amenable DFS laws but no sports betting, at the time, became opportunities.

“We saw as other states were going into sports betting, there are vast swaths of the country like California, Florida, Texas, Massachusetts, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan [which have since legalized sports betting], Maryland that really don’t have that much regulation standing in the way of offering a daily fantasy sports game,” he said. “And ours is a bit more of a hybrid. It’s not pool-based like DraftKings and FanDuel classic are where you’re going one against 10,000 other people. Ours is a house-backed game.

“We’ve just added New York, which is huge. New York has a bit of a licensing hurdle, but we successfully climbed that mountain. So now we’re in 28 states. And we said, ‘Okay, what can we do with our platform to keep the momentum going?’”

Virtual matchups

COVID-19 was absolutely not the answer. But it provided the impetus.

“Necessity is the mother of invention,” Everling quipped.

Everling was watching NBA games on March 12 when a positive coronavirus test by Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert prompted the clearing of the court before the opening tip and set in motion the cascading shutdown of sports in North America.

Betting markets dried up everywhere, sending sportsbook to esports, tables tennis, and Ukranian soccer matches.

QuickPicks’ cache of Sportradar data tracing to 2013 had suddenly become a real-time opportunity.

“We don’t know when live sports are going to come back. Everybody’s banking on the NFL really carrying the day,” Everling said. “Sportradar has its product, soccer that it runs in Europe, which is an animated shortened game of three minutes. They’re going to launch a similar version of MLB.

“DraftKings is running simulated Madden [DFS games]. So, as we started to think about it, we said, ‘We all listen to sports talk radio. Everybody has an argument [about] who’s better in their prime? This a way to fill that void.’”

Pulling historical data, QuickPicks can post a new set of matchups every hour without pause, creating an around-the-clock market. The company plans to add NFL propositions this week. That, in theory, mitigates the absence of action for, particularly, in-play bettors.

“Previously you were just making your picks based on that night’s live schedule,” Everling said. “Now, we’ll run 24 sets of matchups every day and we think that fulfills a frequency void that people were having.

“We lost a handful of guys who wanted to withdraw and stop playing, but 99.6% of our players stayed and now they’re back into it.”

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Good Sports Betting News For Esports And The NFL Draft

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The coronavirus pandemic has sent shockwaves across the gaming world.

As it has been well-documented, the majority of — if not all — casinos in the US have closed their doors. Sports leagues suspended games, canceled seasons and postponed major events.

Operators have scrambled to unearth ways in which to at least partially make up for lost revenue.

Enter, esports betting. And on the horizon, NFL Draft betting. The silver lining has shown itself.

On to the Rewind:

Esports betting gets green light in Nevada

The entertainment world has had a void for several weeks due to the coronavirus. No games. No sports. No avenue for legalized sports betting.

Gaming regulators in two states, however, have signed off on esports betting.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board approved wagering on the Counter-Strike ESL Pro League at each of the state’s sportsbooks. How many more events receive the green light in Nevada — or in any other state, for that matter — obviously depends on how much action is drawn.

Another state has dipped its toes into the esports betting waters.

Like Nevada, New Jersey requires operators to request approval from the Division of Gaming Enforcement before taking bets on esports. The Garden State saw its first esports betting action late last year by allowing bettors to place wagers on the League of Legends World Championship Final.

As Rahul Sood, CEO of esports betting operator Unikrn, told Legal Sports Report, state regulators “are willing to move quickly” to approve esports betting — especially if “real” sports continue to be sidelined.

Oregon sports betting fleeced by SBTech

Before Oregon sports betting launched in late-2019, the Oregon Lottery projected confidence and optimism that the state’s regulated industry could flourish.

Alas, it appears as if the lottery underestimated the costs of having partner SBTech in its corner.

A monthslong court battle ultimately ended with SBTech releasing details of its contract with the Oregon Lottery. And as it turns out, the sports betting provider has billed its partner for at least $2.9 million, causing the lottery to potentially lose $5.3 million over the first nine months of the 2020 fiscal year.

This despite the Scoreboard betting app helping generate a net revenue of nearly $6 million.

As Legal Sports Report detailed, “Managed Service Fees” have led to most of the SBTech-related costs. Among them:

  • SBTech gets 16% of net revenue and minimum monthly payments of $300,000 for the first six months and $350,000 thereafter
  • After 36 months, the “Minimum Managed Service Fee” increases to 17%

Certainly, this all becomes convoluted and even confusing to many, so consider the following: At full maturity, Oregon sports betting revenue gets handcuffed by SBTech costs. For example, as laid out by LSR, in a $5 million month of gross gaming revenue, SBTech would receive more than $1 million.

NFL Draft still on, NFL Draft betting still a go

Wrapping up the Rewind on a positive note is a conscious effort. With pro sports still sidelined, the news of the NFL Draft still expecting to go on as scheduled provides some much-needed joy.

While all events originally planned for Las Vegas have been scrubbed, the draft will still take place. As such, draft betting is still alive and well at legal sportsbooks.

Details of how the event will play out are reportedly still being worked out. For now, though, we can keep April 23-25 scheduled.

At many sportsbooks, operators are accepting bets on a variety of draft-related topics:

  • No. 1 overall pick
  • Order of first three picks
  • Over/under players selected by team and conference
  • Round of first kicker selected
  • Round of first punter selected

Far and away, LSU QB Joe Burrow remains the favorite to go No. 1 overall (FanDuel Sportsbook lists him at -3500) to the Cincinnati Bengals. Perhaps, though, the unexpected could happen, like Ohio State DE Chase Young taking the top spot. That’s good for a +1400 payout with FanDuel.

From esports to the NFL Draft, not all is lost for bettors.

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Good Sports Betting News For Esports And The NFL Draft

[ad_1]

The coronavirus pandemic has sent shockwaves across the gaming world.

As it has been well-documented, the majority of — if not all — casinos in the US have closed their doors. Sports leagues suspended games, canceled seasons and postponed major events.

Operators have scrambled to unearth ways in which to at least partially make up for lost revenue.

Enter, esports betting. And on the horizon, NFL Draft betting. The silver lining has shown itself.

On to the Rewind:

Esports betting gets green light in Nevada

The entertainment world has had a void for several weeks due to the coronavirus. No games. No sports. No avenue for legalized sports betting.

Gaming regulators in two states, however, have signed off on esports betting.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board approved wagering on the Counter-Strike ESL Pro League at each of the state’s sportsbooks. How many more events receive the green light in Nevada — or in any other state, for that matter — obviously depends on how much action is drawn.

Another state has dipped its toes into the esports betting waters.

Like Nevada, New Jersey requires operators to request approval from the Division of Gaming Enforcement before taking bets on esports. The Garden State saw its first esports betting action late last year by allowing bettors to place wagers on the League of Legends World Championship Final.

As Rahul Sood, CEO of esports betting operator Unikrn, told Legal Sports Report, state regulators “are willing to move quickly” to approve esports betting — especially if “real” sports continue to be sidelined.

Oregon sports betting fleeced by SBTech

Before Oregon sports betting launched in late-2019, the Oregon Lottery projected confidence and optimism that the state’s regulated industry could flourish.

Alas, it appears as if the lottery underestimated the costs of having partner SBTech in its corner.

A monthslong court battle ultimately ended with SBTech releasing details of its contract with the Oregon Lottery. And as it turns out, the sports betting provider has billed its partner for at least $2.9 million, causing the lottery to potentially lose $5.3 million over the first nine months of the 2020 fiscal year.

This despite the Scoreboard betting app helping generate a net revenue of nearly $6 million.

As Legal Sports Report detailed, “Managed Service Fees” have led to most of the SBTech-related costs. Among them:

  • SBTech gets 16% of net revenue and minimum monthly payments of $300,000 for the first six months and $350,000 thereafter
  • After 36 months, the “Minimum Managed Service Fee” increases to 17%

Certainly, this all becomes convoluted and even confusing to many, so consider the following: At full maturity, Oregon sports betting revenue gets handcuffed by SBTech costs. For example, as laid out by LSR, in a $5 million month of gross gaming revenue, SBTech would receive more than $1 million.

NFL Draft still on, NFL Draft betting still a go

Wrapping up the Rewind on a positive note is a conscious effort. With pro sports still sidelined, the news of the NFL Draft still expecting to go on as scheduled provides some much-needed joy.

While all events originally planned for Las Vegas have been scrubbed, the draft will still take place. As such, draft betting is still alive and well at legal sportsbooks.

Details of how the event will play out are reportedly still being worked out. For now, though, we can keep April 23-25 scheduled.

At many sportsbooks, operators are accepting bets on a variety of draft-related topics:

  • No. 1 overall pick
  • Order of first three picks
  • Over/under players selected by team and conference
  • Round of first kicker selected
  • Round of first punter selected

Far and away, LSU QB Joe Burrow remains the favorite to go No. 1 overall (FanDuel Sportsbook lists him at -3500) to the Cincinnati Bengals. Perhaps, though, the unexpected could happen, like Ohio State DE Chase Young taking the top spot. That’s good for a +1400 payout with FanDuel.

From esports to the NFL Draft, not all is lost for bettors.

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Sports Betting World Heavily Shaken By Coronavirus

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The virus known as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on our country and the world.

Confirmed cases continue to pile up, causing global panic and contributing to free-falling stocks.

Sports have long provided an escape from reality. Now, the ever-expanding sinkhole created by coronavirus has swallowed them up, leaving online casinos as some of the only gambling alternatives for now.

On to the Rewind:

NBA sets off a domino effect of cancellations

Even as coronavirus landed stateside, sports persevered. The NBANCAA, and NHL powered forward toward the postseason. Then, Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus. So, too, did Utah Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell.

Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA, quickly made a decision regarding his league’s immediate future: postpone the rest of the season.

The NBA’s counterparts did not wait long to follow a similar path.

Spring training was scrapped by MLB, which also postponed Opening Day. The NHL and MLS both suspended operations. The PGA Tour, one round into the Players Championship, canceled the event as well as the following three tournaments. Even August National put a pin in the Masters, which was originally slated for April.

While it allowed free agency and the new league season to begin as scheduled, the NFL eventually opted to have the league Draft closed off to the public. It remains scheduled for April 23-25, but the historic nature of being held in Las Vegas is likely to be aborted. (The NFL said it is “exploring innovative options” for the Draft.)

Seemingly in the blink of an eye, a slew of events and legalized sports betting options were taken away from us.

And not only that…

March Madness turns to March Sadness

Conference tournaments were well underway when the news of Gobert and Mitchell surfaced. Some teams had already punched their tickets to March Madness.

Then, once again, the inevitable occurred:

Tournament officials allowed games to go on but without fans. They then canceled tourneys altogether. Domino after domino fell, until it appeared as if only one tournament remained. Finally, at halftime of a Big East matchup, the last hat dropped. And later that day, the NCAA announced that March Madness — the non-Super Bowl pinnacle of sports and sports betting — was canceled.

Initially, the association planned on continuing with the NCAA tournament with games played in front of empty stands. Organizers even considered whittling down the tourney to 16 teams as opposed to 68. It was a good effort, but alas, March Madness is no more.

To boot, the NCAA put the kibosh on all spring championships, which, among others, includes the College World Series, which has been played every year since 1946.

As a result, for the first time since Oregon won the inaugural tourney in 1939, the NCAA tournament will not take place.

Illinois, Michigan sports betting launch

The timing was supposed to be ideal for Illinois and Michigan sports betting. Launch ahead of the NCAA tournament, slingshot into the Masters, and dive headlong into the NBA playoffs.

Indeed, both states saw their regulated industries get off the ground, although both then suspended operations due to the outbreak.

In Illinois, BetRivers Sportsbook in Des Plaines accepted its first wagers March 9. Online sports betting in the state remains a ways away, but Greg Carlin, CEO of Rush Street Gaming, noted that customers can register for online accounts with the BetRivers Sportsbook. This would allow for seamless and quick transitions to online wagering for those bettors.

Two days later, Michigan went live with its first brick-and-mortars. Like Illinois, Michigan launched without mobile betting.

Retail sportsbooks at Greektown Casino and MGM Grand Detroit opened their doors to the public March 11, followed a day later by FanDuel Sportsbook at MotorCity Casino. Just like that, the number of US states with live (at the time) and regulated sports betting grew to 16.

Unfortunately, like many US states, both Illinois and Michigan closed all casinos for two weeks beginning March 16.

No doubt that number will increase. But coronavirus might prevent some states (like Colorado) from launching when they initially intended.

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Why Is Oregon The Only State Losing Money On Sports Betting?

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Few expected Oregon sports betting to wow the world with its lone online sportsbook.

The Scoreboard app, produced by Oregon Lottery and powered by SBTech, enjoys a mobile monopoly in the state. It launched in fall 2019 following months of delays. Plus, it prohibits wagering on college sports — not just in-state college sports but all college sports.

Yet the lottery maintained a rosy outlook, one that included a revenue projection of $6.3 million from sports betting in its first year.

That optimism has since taken quite a hit. According to a memo from lottery director Barry Pack to the Oregon Lottery Commissioners, after “examining contracts and reviewing expenses” since Scoreboard launched “and establishing revenue run-rates and based on actual results,” the lottery expects to suffer a loss of $5.3 million for the first nine months of the 2020 fiscal year.

Oregon Lottery analyzes sources of setbacks

During the lottery’s Board of Commissioners meeting near the end of February, Pack cited several reasons as to why Scoreboard has vastly underperformed.

For one, Pack noted that “a new sales channel and a new product” needs ample time to reach profitability. “So, there is no big surprise here that we aren’t at profitability at four months. We did a three-year forecast (in summer 2019) because we weren’t sure exactly where in that first three years we’d hit profitability.”

That forecast estimated a $6.3 million net profit in the first year of Scoreboard’s existence, a total that would increase to $13.9 million and $23.4 million over the next two years.

However, costs apparently became insurmountable for the Oregon Lottery: some $16 million in direct and indirect expenses. A bulk of that, Pack explained, could be attributed to start-up costs that “were higher than we anticipated.” Add in legal fees, “fairly significant” testing costs and higher-than-anticipated geolocation fees. Not to mention increased labor costs because of issues relating to the app’s launch.

Because of these costs, in essence, Scoreboard has operated out of a hole from the start.

The Scoreboard hold percentage

This is all without mentioning Scoreboard’s less-than-ideal take on bets placed. That margin, as Pack described, has drastically fallen short of expectations.

“We built that original forecast on an 8% margin and actuals for the first four months are more around 7 percent,” Pack said. “And that 1% actually makes a fairly significant difference in terms of profitability.”

Of the $66.2 million wagered via Scoreboard through January, the lottery netted $4.5 million in revenue, reflecting a less-than 7% hold. Further, the state has lost $2.3 million during that time.

Pack closed by emphasizing his dissatisfaction with the deficit and how he and his team are committed to keeping costs down and “finding creative ways to boost the margin” to help reverse the app’s fate.

Oregon sports betting has issues to address

Certainly, the Oregon Lottery faces myriad obstacles in its attempt to turn things around with the Scoreboard app.

Chief among them, however, are two issues that seem insurmountable but would assuredly get Scoreboard on the right track.

Monopoly sportsbook does not pay off

Of the 15 states with legalized sports betting, 10 offer mobile wagering in some form. Of those 14 states, only four are monopolized aka lottery-run: Oregon, New Hampshire, Rhode Island (all three of which have authorized online betting) and Delaware.

And of those 14 states, only one would end its first fiscal year in the red: Oregon.

While complete control of the market allows for Scoreboard to capture 100% of all legal online wagers made in Oregon, the positives essentially stop there.

Without competition, Scoreboard does not truly need to worry itself with friendly prices or even frequent bonuses or promotions. Arguably the lottery is not pressured to fix any technical issues users face — at least not as quickly. On a larger scale, fewer operators equates to fewer platforms that can potentially lure bettors away from offshore sites, or attract new bettors.

The goal of state-sanctioned wagering, lawmakers across the country have agreed, is to take business away from and ultimately shut down illegal sports betting. In a monopoly, Oregon cannot do enough to acquire customers and accomplish that feat.

For the record, the state could have other online sportsbooks active via partnerships with tribal casinos. It’s likely, though, those apps would only be accessible while on site.

It could also just open up a more open model of competition, something the lottery is tasked with in Tennessee.

Adding college sports betting would help

In the call with the Board of Commissioners, Pack noted how Scoreboard could gain more traction.

The availability of collegiate wagering,” he said, “is still up in the air … which would bring that margin up fairly substantially because of the interest in college sports and the fact that we could turn it on with really no costs.”

Oregon launched Scoreboard with the stipulation of only accepting wagers on professional sports. Some states, such as New Jersey, have prohibited betting on college events staged within respective state lines or on colleges located within the borders. Oregon outlawed college betting altogether.

That means taking away college football (up there with the NFL for most popular sport to wager on) and betting on March Madness, among others. That’s quite a lot of money left on the table.

An Oregon Lottery spokesman has indicated that lottery officials are working toward integrating collegiate betting.

“The ability to offer collegiate wagering would speed our progress towards profitability — increasing revenue with very little additional expense,” the spokesman told Willamette Week. “But there doesn’t seem to be much appetite for that in the Legislature.”

Some legislators in the state have backed House Bill 4057, which would ban gambling on college sports for good.

Indeed, much is to be desired with Oregon’s lone online sportsbook. And much work remains to fulfill the lottery’s desire to make Scoreboard profitable.

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Illinois Sports Betting Kicks Off March 9 At This Casino Sportsbook

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The moment many thought would never come is finally arriving: Illinois sports betting has a start date.

Rivers Casino in Des Plaines announced the BetRivers Sportsbook will open Monday, March 9 at noon. This will mark the first brick-and-mortar sportsbook in the state following a long and rocky path to legalization.

“The BetRivers Sportsbook will take March Madness out of the office pool and into an exciting, elevated live sports wagering experience,” said Corey Wise, senior vice president and general manager of Rivers Casino. “We are grateful to the Illinois Gaming Board staff for their work approving our sportsbook in time for the college basketball tournament—one of the greatest sports events of the year.”

Greg Carlin, CEO and co-founder of Rush Street Gaming, Rivers parent company had this to say:

“Whether you are a seasoned sportsbook player or a casual sports fan interested in this new entertainment option, we’re dedicated to an environment where all customers will enjoy themselves in this great venue within our premier casino.”

What to expect at BetRivers Sportsbook

According to the release, the sportsbook will feature a number of amenities including:

  • 4,840 square foot sports bar
  • 47-foot-wide Ultra HD LED video wall
  • 10 86-inch HD televisions
  • 4 75-inch HD television
  • 5 betting windows
  • 30 sportsbook kiosk
  • 1 full-service island bar with 32 seats
  • 26 bar-top video poker machines
  • 29 leather lounge chairs with additional table seating

“BetRivers Sportsbook meets the high bar established by the team at Rivers Casino Des Plaines as one of the most successful and unique regional gaming destinations in the country,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Incorporated, the racing, online wagering and gaming entertainment company which co-owns Rivers. “We’re excited to add this top-flight amenity to what is already a premier destination.”

What about mobile wagering and who’s next?

Unfortunately for those traveling outside the Chicago land area, mobile sports betting will not be available until later this year.

Many experts anticipated the start of the NCAA Basketball tournament would be the defacto launch date. With Rivers launching Monday, March Madness betting will be in full swing.

Additionally, the Illinois Gaming Board has announced a number of temporary permits in the past few days so there are several properties that might follow Rivers lead.

Argosy Casino Alton, owned by Penn National Gaming and Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, owned by Eldorado, are the most likely to launch next.

Other casinos receiving temporary permits are:

  • Hollywood Casinos in Aurora and Joliet
  • Par-A-Dice Hotel and Casino in Peoria

For those looking for alternative options traveling from the southern part of Illinois, Horseshoe Casino and Ameristar Casino in Hammond, Indiana, each have full-service sportsbooks.

Expect fierce competition for gambling dollars between Illinois and Indiana once the Prairie State is completely up and running. Also, don’t forget about the Wolverine State which recently announced Michigan sports betting will commence on Wednesday, March 11.

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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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Sporting KC President Is Bullish About Legalizing Sports Betting In Kansas

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As Major League Soccer side Sporting KC embarks on the 2020-21 season, the landscape for legalizing sports betting in Kansas has never been more favorable. The club has been one of the biggest proponents of that push as the only professional sports team in the state.

Sporting KC president Jake Reid is not only on board with a bill that the Kansas Senate recently approved but says his organization is ready to pounce on the opportunity to include it in fans’ gameday experiences. The question right now is how soon that opportunity will become a reality in the Jayhawk State.

Sporting KC is ready to act on the fruits of its efforts

Reid says Sporting KC has been working with a lobbyist on gambling expansion in Topeka for about three years now. The club not only approves of the language in SB 283 but is bullish about its possible implementation.

“Ultimately, I think it’s great,” Reid said. “I lived in England for two years and worked over there. I saw how it’s part of the game-day experience. It’s something people looked forward to. We’re very bullish on it. We’re going to roll it out. We feel excited about being the only team in Kansas who could do that right away.”

What Reid refers to is language in the bill that would allow venues like Children’s Mercy Park, where Sporting KC plays its home matches, to host gaming lounges. While these lounges would not feature betting kiosks or windows, they would bear branding for a casino or sportsbook partner.

Such a partner could present special odds and/or bonuses unique to customers accessing the sportsbook online from the location. There is already somewhat of a framework for such a lounge at Children’s Mercy through a long-standing partnership with Hollywood Casino.

Hollywood Casino lies mere feet away from Children’s Mercy Park. The club is featuring that partnership in a new way this season regardless of whether SB 283 becomes law by updating an entrance to the park. The Hollywood Casino East Gate will now be accessible to all fans.

Like the gate, Reid hopes that all fans of age will be able to take part in legal sports betting in Kansas. He is optimistic about the passage of SB 283.

Reid’s optimism and current attitudes in Topeka

Reid has cautious optimism about SB 283’s chances to clear the KS House and become law with Gov. Laura Kelly‘s signature. Although he described the bill’s chances in the House as a “coin flip” right now, he thinks there are positive signs.

“I think it’s good but my experience is you never know until it’s done,” Reid commented. “From reading the tea leaves, it seems positive. Everyone is saying the right things. We’re optimistic but we reserve enthusiasm until it gets done.”

Regarding Gov. Kelly’s position, Reid stresses the club hasn’t had any direct conversations with her office. There may be less reason for optimism there.

KS Rep. Don Hineman says that Gov. Kelly won’t support the Senate’s bill as currently composed. That’s because she feels the framework doesn’t produce enough tax revenue for the state.

Kelly’s office seems concerned with expanding the state’s lottery to include an online component. There are also concerns about the tax rate for sports betting in the Senate bill, which House members would like to see increased.

While it may not hold up sports betting legalization, the Senate may have to loosen restrictions on online lottery sales in SB 283 to ensure it survives to a concurrence with the House and gets Kelly’s signature.

Sporting KC has more to consider than just Kansas law, however. The club also has to contend with league rules governing gambling partnerships.

 Rules for clubs in MLS are murky but evolving

For MLS clubs considering partnerships with gambling companies, the rules have been more like guidelines. At times, they have been confusing as well.

For example, the league issued a ruling last year that clubs could sell kit sponsorships to gambling companies. Earlier this year, MLS also allowed clubs to start selling sponsorships to companies outside of Canada and the United States, but restricted such partnerships to exclude gambling companies.

Where that can get murky is in regards to US sportsbook brands like FanDuel. While FanDuel operates in and is licensed by several US states, it is owned by UK-based Flutter.

So could Sporting KC partner with such a company or not? Even Reid is uncertain right now.

“It’s really tricky and I don’t have the right answer,” Reid stated. “You get into jurisdictions and the laws of countries along with the state that you’re operating in. I credit the league as pretty dialed-in to this. I understand it’s an opportunity. It isn’t a great answer but we’re figuring it out as we go. Everyone is just in kind of a let’s get it done and we’ll figure it out afterward which isn’t the greatest thing but it is what it is.”

Sporting KC is also in an interesting position geographically. Although Children’s Mercy Park is firmly on Kansas soil, the border with the state of Missouri is very close and much of its fan base resides on the other side of that border.

Because of that, Reid says he remains very cognizant of what’s happening in Missouri in this regard as well. Like in Kansas, the legalization of sports betting appears to have a tie-in with another gambling component.

What’s happening where a lot of Sporting KC fans live

Just as KS legislators have tied sports betting legalization to online lottery expansion, Missouri legislators are trying to use the same to get their colleagues on board with legalizing video lottery terminals.  That issue is effectively putting a damper on any progress there.

If the MO government ever does finalize a sports betting law, Reid says the club is looking for ways to take advantage of that market as well. Partnerships with gambling companies in MO may come in addition to the current deal with Hollywood Casino.

There are several casinos on the MO side of the border. It’s also possible that national sportsbook brands could factor in.

“We’ve had a great, long-term partnership with Hollywood Casino well before all this kind of bubbled up,” Reid added. “It would make a lot of sense to expand upon that. Like with most of our partnerships, however, we don’t make anything an exclusive opportunity. We would have a discussion with them first just because they have been here the longest but you can talk with national companies and international companies. We’re not naive enough to think that if there’s someone who comes in from a national level and is interested, that we wouldn’t be open to those conversations.”

Reid’s foremost concern is a stadium-based component for his club

What’s most important to Reid, regardless of what brand the space bears or many other aesthetic qualities is the fan experience. Reid considers a physical component integral for that.

“For us, it needs to be in the stadium,” Reid elaborated. “If not, folks are going to stay home and that isn’t good for our experience. Our driver has always been, help us out. We want this to work for everybody so let’s make sure that in-stadium works. That includes mobile and some kind of kiosks. All that needs to be worked out still but ultimately we want fans to come in and be a part of it. We feel pretty good about where it’s at. You never know until it’s done, it’s still politics but it’s in a better place than it was last year.”

How quickly and ultimately whether the government in Topeka and the MLS league office in New York City finalize the landscape for Sporting KC’s partnership with legal gambling entities is largely out of Reid’s hands. Whenever that happens, the club will be ready to maximize the benefits of such deals.

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Hard Rock CEO Jim Allen weighs in on US sports betting markets

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When Jim Allen, CEO of Hard Rock International, talks about the company’s expanding casino portfolio, sports betting is bound to come up.

With 21 states with live sports betting bills, the topic is hard to ignore. Not to mention the 14 legal states and the seven (including Washington, DC) others where launch is pending.

PlayUSA caught up with Allen to talk sports wagering. 

Seeing how far the industry continues to grow since the demise of PASPA comes as no surprise to him. 

“Well, I think everyone has literally known for decades. People have been talking about an expansion of legalizing sports betting for at least 20, 25 years,” Allen said. “I don’t think there is any secret. I believe it will do extremely well.” 

Hard Rock + regulated sports betting

Allen visited Hard Rock Atlantic City in January for a town hall meeting with its employees. The multimedia presentation highlighted Hard Rock casino properties from around the world. 

The $400 million Hard Rock Casino and Hotel opening in Gary, IN, is among those coming soon.

Besides being a joint venture with Spectacle Entertainment, it provides an entry point into the Indiana sports betting market. 

The plans include opening a retail sportsbook, too.

Furthermore, Hard Rock will extend its online business beyond New Jersey and Iowa

The Biloxi, MI, location has a retail operation, but mobile sports wagering legislation has yet to be approved in the state. 

Allen said that Hard Rock is hopeful that Ohio reaches a conclusion, too, and for a good reason. Hard Rock owns the Jack Cincinnati Casino.

But no matter which Hard Rock property, he said, much like in New Jersey, “It becomes an added form of entertainment that we all know has been going on for generations.”

“You can’t go to a local bar or join an office pool or whatever it is that doesn’t have very out, open, front and center of people making a bet on a game, whether it’s fun or someone seriously trying to create that environment,” said Allen.

“We think the more it becomes legalized and regulated, the better it is. Just candidly, it’s happening anyway, so (we) might as well make it as strong of a product and regulate it as a product in the right way as possible.”

Sports betting destinations

As more states launch sports betting, the majority will likely never come close to reaching the level of Las Vegas. Sure, the revenue and handle numbers may be strong throughout the US, but the Silver State has several more decades of experience. 

The American Gaming Association reported that a record $13 billion was legally wagered in the US last year. And, outside of New Jersey, there is a wide margin between Nevada and other states: 

  1. Nevada: $5.3 billion 
  2. New Jersey: $4.6 billion
  3. Pennsylvania: $1.5 billion
  4. Indiana: $436 million
  5. Mississippi: $369 million
  6. Rhode Island: $246 million
  7. West Virginia: $226 million
  8. Iowa: $212 million

Hard Rock offers sports betting in three of the states, with a fourth on the horizon. 

One thing that separates Nevada from the rest of the pack is the fact that it’s a destination for NFL betting and March Madness wagering. Bettors will book a long weekend in Vegas when there is a major sporting event on the calendar.

Super Bowl betting beyond Vegas 

For this year’s Super Bowl, the Atlantic City property hosted a party inside of Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena. It even included opening temporary betting windows in the concessions area. Wagering via the sportsbook app was encouraged, too. 

As a whole, NJ bettors wagered over $54 million on the big game. 

But weather-wise, the Jersey Shore is not exactly a go-to destination in early February. However, Allen says he wouldn’t be surprised to see other states starting to benefit when major sports betting events come around. 

“I think Las Vegas has always had the excitement because it was the only game in town.”  

Allen continued, “I think as it becomes legalized in other jurisdictions, it will start to diminish the excitement of going to Las Vegas because, frankly, people will be able to do it in their own jurisdiction.” 

New Jersey and sports betting integrity 

There is no denying the fact that New Jersey has set the bar when it comes to sports betting regulations.

The mobile sports betting market currently includes 17 apps, one of which is the Hard Rock-branded appUnibet and Bet365 also operate under its license.

It’s the online success that puts the Garden State in a league of its own. For January, handle came in at $540.1 million (of which $471.1 million was wagered via mobile devices). It’s a 40% year-over-year increase.

Allen refers to the Garden State regulatory environment as “world class.”

“I think New Jersey’s done an excellent job, understanding the integrity of the industry, understanding what is needed from a regulatory mindset, but also very respective and working with the operators to create something that becomes an amenity that’s very entertaining.”

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Hard Rock CEO Jim Allen weighs in on US sports betting markets

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When Jim Allen, CEO of Hard Rock International, talks about the company’s expanding casino portfolio, sports betting is bound to come up.

With 21 states with live sports betting bills, the topic is hard to ignore. Not to mention the 14 legal states and the seven (including Washington, DC) others where launch is pending.

PlayUSA caught up with Allen to talk sports wagering. 

Seeing how far the industry continues to grow since the demise of PASPA comes as no surprise to him. 

“Well, I think everyone has literally known for decades. People have been talking about an expansion of legalizing sports betting for at least 20, 25 years,” Allen said. “I don’t think there is any secret. I believe it will do extremely well.” 

Hard Rock + regulated sports betting

Allen visited Hard Rock Atlantic City in January for a town hall meeting with its employees. The multimedia presentation highlighted Hard Rock casino properties from around the world. 

The $400 million Hard Rock Casino and Hotel opening in Gary, IN, is among those coming soon.

Besides being a joint venture with Spectacle Entertainment, it provides an entry point into the Indiana sports betting market. 

The plans include opening a retail sportsbook, too.

Furthermore, Hard Rock will extend its online business beyond New Jersey and Iowa

The Biloxi, MI, location has a retail operation, but mobile sports wagering legislation has yet to be approved in the state. 

Allen said that Hard Rock is hopeful that Ohio reaches a conclusion, too, and for a good reason. Hard Rock owns the Jack Cincinnati Casino.

But no matter which Hard Rock property, he said, much like in New Jersey, “It becomes an added form of entertainment that we all know has been going on for generations.”

“You can’t go to a local bar or join an office pool or whatever it is that doesn’t have very out, open, front and center of people making a bet on a game, whether it’s fun or someone seriously trying to create that environment,” said Allen.

“We think the more it becomes legalized and regulated, the better it is. Just candidly, it’s happening anyway, so (we) might as well make it as strong of a product and regulate it as a product in the right way as possible.”

Sports betting destinations

As more states launch sports betting, the majority will likely never come close to reaching the level of Las Vegas. Sure, the revenue and handle numbers may be strong throughout the US, but the Silver State has several more decades of experience. 

The American Gaming Association reported that a record $13 billion was legally wagered in the US last year. And, outside of New Jersey, there is a wide margin between Nevada and other states: 

  1. Nevada: $5.3 billion 
  2. New Jersey: $4.6 billion
  3. Pennsylvania: $1.5 billion
  4. Indiana: $436 million
  5. Mississippi: $369 million
  6. Rhode Island: $246 million
  7. West Virginia: $226 million
  8. Iowa: $212 million

Hard Rock offers sports betting in three of the states, with a fourth on the horizon. 

One thing that separates Nevada from the rest of the pack is the fact that it’s a destination for NFL betting and March Madness wagering. Bettors will book a long weekend in Vegas when there is a major sporting event on the calendar.

Super Bowl betting beyond Vegas 

For this year’s Super Bowl, the Atlantic City property hosted a party inside of Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena. It even included opening temporary betting windows in the concessions area. Wagering via the sportsbook app was encouraged, too. 

As a whole, NJ bettors wagered over $54 million on the big game. 

But weather-wise, the Jersey Shore is not exactly a go-to destination in early February. However, Allen says he wouldn’t be surprised to see other states starting to benefit when major sports betting events come around. 

“I think Las Vegas has always had the excitement because it was the only game in town.”  

Allen continued, “I think as it becomes legalized in other jurisdictions, it will start to diminish the excitement of going to Las Vegas because, frankly, people will be able to do it in their own jurisdiction.” 

New Jersey and sports betting integrity 

There is no denying the fact that New Jersey has set the bar when it comes to sports betting regulations.

The mobile sports betting market currently includes 17 apps, one of which is the Hard Rock-branded appUnibet and Bet365 also operate under its license.

It’s the online success that puts the Garden State in a league of its own. For January, handle came in at $540.1 million (of which $471.1 million was wagered via mobile devices). It’s a 40% year-over-year increase.

Allen refers to the Garden State regulatory environment as “world class.”

“I think New Jersey’s done an excellent job, understanding the integrity of the industry, understanding what is needed from a regulatory mindset, but also very respective and working with the operators to create something that becomes an amenity that’s very entertaining.”

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Missouri Sports Betting May Be Long Shot Because ‘Politics Are So Messy’

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The Show-Me State may not have much to show for attempts to legalize sports betting within its borders in 2020. If Missouri State Representative Wes Rogers is reading the situation accurately, those prospects are very slim.

Rogers attributes that to lobbying interests who are effectively holding sports betting legalization “hostage” right now. He is pessimistic about any attempts to liberate it as well.

Video lottery terminals and sports betting in Missouri

Rogers, who served on the House Special Interim Committee on Gaming last year, is one of the biggest proponents of legalizing sports betting in Missouri’s lower legislative chamber.

One of the issues that committee held hearings on was the expansion of the state’s lottery to include legal video terminals in places like gas stations and truck stops.

The lobbying for legislation to expand that has been somewhat successful. Legislators have introduced two bills (SB566 and SB936) in the Missouri Senate and one in the House. The House bill, HB2030, made it out of committee.

For Rogers, the prospect of opening the state up to VLTs is unappetizing. Most of his concerns focus on responsible gaming pertaining to both minimum age requirements and protecting those with compulsive gambling issues.

“Legalized gambling needs to be highly regulated,” Rogers said. “It needs to be in a safe environment. The casinos have been doing this for decades. They know what they’re doing. You’re asking someone who isn’t an expert to take on the same roles as these casinos. You’re going to run into all sorts of trouble.”

Rogers says that he believes the leadership in the upper chamber of the Missouri legislature is “hostile” to VLTs. Because of that, he doesn’t see VLT legalization in the state this year.

Unfortunately for Rogers, that also means the chances of legalizing wagering on sporting events is unlikely this year as well. That’s because lobbying efforts have succeeded in marrying the two interests.

Why legislators are holding sports betting legalization ‘hostage’ right now

Rogers feels that enough of the legislators in his state are unwilling to legalize sports betting without also enacting legislation on VLTs to kill any standalone sports betting bill to expand Missouri gambling this year.

“That’s crazy, they’re apples and oranges,” Rogers explained. “We can pass a clean sports betting bill, start generating revenue, take something off the black market. There’s just no reason to tie it to something that’s so controversial. I think if you were to take a straight up and down vote on just sports betting right now, I don’t think it would pass because the politics are so messy.”

Because the issue is currently tied to the VLTs, Rogers puts the chance of enacting legislation on sports wagering this year at less than five percent. He hasn’t given up all hope, however.

“I told my friends on the other side if we can’t get a sports betting bill done I will make it partisan because I don’t think we’re doing a very good job of listening to our voters on this,” Rogers added. “I get calls to my office pretty regularly to see if we’re getting this done.

“An older man at the YMCA approached me and told me that during the football season, a member of a group of his buddies drives to Iowa every Friday to place bets there,” Rogers continued. “I don’t think a lot of people realize how close we are to getting this done and how much different it would be from the black market.”

There is a reason for Rogers’ optimism on being close. He supports one of the standalone sports betting bills in committee right now.

A clean Missouri sports betting bill

HB2318, introduced by Rep. Phil Christofanelli on Jan. 29, has Rogers’ backing. It’s superior to other bills like SB567 because it doesn’t require future potential legal sportsbooks to pay a royalty to professional sports leagues, for example.

Rogers said that he believes that private tax is dead in the legislature but there is still support for an official data mandate. Rogers opposes that and such language is not present in Christofanelli’s bill.

It’s easy to see why Rogers supports HB2318. Not only does it avoid the traps of restricting wagering to retail sportsbooks or the in-person registration requirement that two of Missouri’s neighboring states have fallen into, but it makes Missouri’s market competitive with a tax rate of just 6.75%.

Regardless of the quality of Christofanelli’s bill, it appears it will languish in committee for the rest of the legislative term, even though the sponsor is more optimistic than Rogers. Because of that, groups like those which Rogers spoke about will have to continue to travel beyond Missouri’s borders to legally wager on sports.

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Could NFL’s Washington Redskins Offer Legalized Sports Betting?

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What a week. Where to begin?

The XFL is off to a hot start (one that exceeded the AAF in no time). More and more legalized sports betting platforms continue to pop up. So, too, are more and more bills to regulated wagering.

As such, it seems like we barely have time to keep our heads above water long enough to catch our breath.

Just like we like it.

On to the Rewind:

Could NFL Redskins land a sports betting license?

States across the country are rolling out legalized sports betting or introducing legislation to accomplish such a task. And, of course, much of these discussions surround economic impact, among other things.

But we may have our first example of states potentially bidding to be the host of a professional franchise.

In a paragraph of a Virginia sports betting bill, language included hinted that the tenant of a newly built stadium in the state could offer retail wagering.

Per the bill, the state can issue a permit to operate a sports betting facility “only if the applicant (i) is a major league sports franchise, (ii) will conduct sports betting operations at a sports betting facility on which construction began on or after July 1, 2020, and (iii) is otherwise qualified under the provisions of this article.”

The timing of this inclusion comes at an interesting moment, whether coincidental or not. After all, Daniel Snyder, owner of the NFL’s Washington Redskins, appears to be on the hunt for a new stadium location. While his team is headquartered in Virginia, the owner has visited with Maryland lawmakers to discuss allowing FedEx Field to offer legalized wagering. (The team’s least with the Maryland stadium expires in 2027.)

With Virginia including exactly what Snyder seeks, perhaps it could become the frontrunner for a new Redskins home.

William Hill, CBS Sports headline latest media merger

The next craze amid the ever-expanding world of legal sports betting appears to involve the media.

The latest example of this trend came courtesy of a partnership formed between CBS Sports and bookmaker William Hill.

Following months of speculation as to how William Hill could widen its reach, a “strategic partnership” emerged between the two entities, making William Hill the official sportsbook and wagering data provider for all CBS Sports platforms.

The first signs of this partnership will start cropping up in March, and a full rollout is expected in time for the NFL season.

According to the deal, William Hill gains access to promote its brand across CBS Sports’ digital platforms. William Hill will also have its data, odds and markets used by CBS, which stands as the second-largest sports property in the US with over 80 million users per month.

William Hill and CBS, of course, are not the first to bridge the gap between bookmaking and media. Similar past deals include those between MGM and YahooThe Stars Group and Fox Sports, and Penn National and Barstool Sports.

Time will tell how far these types of partnerships will go.

NJ sports betting takes over top spot

In just the second-ever January with legalized sports betting in New Jersey, the Garden State has already usurped Nevada.

Reflecting a mammoth 40% increase from January 2019, a total of $540.1 million was wagered in the Garden State last month. Not only does that represent three straight months with more than a half-billion handle, but it also set a milestone:

After all, the granddaddy of them all – Nevada sports betting – has never eclipsed $500 million in January wagers.

As it as long been, online wagering in New Jersey carried the load. Some 87% of bets placed in the Garden State came via betting apps. Funny enough: That is actually DOWN from December, during which time 88% of wagers were made online.

This gives New Jersey a jump-start its efforts at toppling last year’s record of nearly $4.6 billion in handle. The next few months provide more fodder, what with March MadnessThe Masters and the beginning of the MLB season.



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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

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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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The Worst Super Bowl Predictions & NFL Predictions From Sports Media

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Nobody, least of all anyone attempting to forecast an upcoming NFL season, is perfect. But when someone has a platform for the whole world to see, they should be held accountable for their constant failed attempts to predict the NFL season, which are seasoned with irrational hot takes and opinion-based nonsense.

But let’s face it, it’s not about being right or wrong, it’s all about one-liners and attention-grabbing statements that fuel the viewers.

The losers of sports media

But right here, days after Super Bowl 54, we’re calling out the top three biggest losers in sports media when it came to predictions and hot takes this NFL season.

You know who you are.

  • You’re the biggest TV personalities in sports media who can’t get enough of our glorified hot-take culture.
  • You always take the most extreme positions regardless of what the facts say.
  • You’re smug, combative and irrationally overreactive consistently.
  • You cling to your petty opinions with hyperbolic ramblings that are wrong, year after year, and the 2019-20 NFL season was no different.

No matter how ridiculous or irrelevant their arguments may have been, these “shock-jock” sports media personalities always attempt to paint their versions of the truth throughout the entire NFL season.

So, after doing a little research, I found some of the more obnoxious and idiot predictions of the season. It’s time to expose how wrong these so-called experts really were. Enjoy!

No. 1 Skip Bayless

Skip is the king of bad takes. Although he dominates the ratings, he is, without question, the most obnoxious sports media personality on TV. He rarely makes a valid point without contradicting himself and feeds off his ability to instigate at all costs.

Skips 2019-20 overly bias NFL predictions and takes:

  • “It will be a New England-Dallas Super Bowl.”
  • “Cowboys will go 12-4, only losing to Saints, Pats, Bears, Birds.”
  • When Shannon Sharpe told Bayless that the Cowboys would miss the playoffs, he laughed in Sharpe’s face.
  • Bayless repeatedly states that Dak Prescott is better than Mahomes and Carson Wentz:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TW8oTRWSkhQ

Even Stephen Smith chimes in on the Cowboys:

No. 2 Colin Cowherd

Colin Cowherd is all bark and no bite.

He’s louder than everyone else in the room, but what he shouts is usually utter nonsense. He hangs up on anyone who disagrees with him, and he is prone to embrace the most brain-dead sports cliches.

Cowherd takes a few more Ls

Early in the NFL season, Cowherd stated that:

  • “Buffalo are pretenders, and they won’t go anywhere this year.” (Loser)
  • And, the “Cowboys are the real deal this year.” (Loser)
  • In a Nick Wright versus Colin Cowherd NFL pick’em bet, Cowherd barely finished above .500.

No. 3 Max Kellerman

Kellerman is the No. 1 Carson Wentz hater in the world. He may have a decent amount of knowledge of boxing, but as you can see below, he has no business being in the NFL media space.

Dan Orlovsky was beating up on Kellerman all season on the subject of Wentz, but the victory celebration didn’t stop there. Following the Eagles’ win over the Cowboys to help them win the NFC East, Orlovsky appeared on Get Up! for an airing of grievances aimed at his dumbfounded colleagues.

Smith destroys Kellerman:

Kellerman being wrong about Tom Brady:

 



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PlayUSA’s ‘On The Record:’ Don’t Jinx NY Mobile Sports Betting Or The Mets

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You would think New York, one of the country’s most liberal states, would embrace a new progressive movement like mobile sports betting. The Empire State does a lot of talking on other progressive issues such as pushing ‘tax the rich’ initiatives, so one would think allowing gamblers to place sports bets on their phones would be a no brainer.

However, it appears there are more lucrative issues to deal with for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his legion of Democrats.

So, unfortunately, for those who live in Queens looking to place a bet, the odds of New York mobile wagering happening anytime soon are, by my estimate, 4 to 1. Or about as good as the Mets winning the division in 2020 season.

Keeping New York mobile wagering at bay

The NY state senate has been on board with mobile wagering for quite some time. Even Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, a Democrat and chairman of the NY Racing & Wagering Committee, is in favor of legislation to permit mobile wagering. Pretlow has also publicly stated that he “has the votes” on both sides of the aisle.

So what gives?

When you look closely, there has been one man, one constant, that has held mobile sports betting at bay. And it’s not the governor but rather his gatekeeper, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

Heastie told reporters in December, the only way to fix the $6 billion budget deficit is to cut spending or raise revenue.

“Unless money is going to fall from the sky, you’re always going to have to try to do things. And so when there’s a concern about having enough money, the two options always are, do you cut spending or do you raise revenue, and for us, in the Assembly, we always believe in raising revenue.”

Looking for free money?

Clearly, the money traveling across the border into New Jersey–where bettors can easily place a mobile wager on if the Mets will win more than 86 games this upcoming season–is of zero importance.

According to figures from the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement, roughly 88% of sports wagers came via mobile or online platforms. To put that in terms of money, that’s over $557 million in sports betting handle and revenue of $29.4 million in December.

To take it a step further, last year, NJ sports betting accounted for more than $4.58 billion in handle, $300 million in revenue, and over $36 million going to state taxes.

“All that revenue [going to New Jersey] some have said, as much as a quarter of NJ sports betting revenue is coming from NY State,” said David O. Klein, a gaming attorney with Klein Moynihan Turco in New York City. “We are just giving that money away. Why not take the proverbial bite of the taxpayer pie and keep it here. That’s a great way to make up the shortfall.”

When asked what is more likely, a Mets winnings season or mobile wagering becoming legal, Klein, a native New Yorker and Mets zealot, was hesitant to answer.

“It’s a toss-up. Don’t want to jinx either,” he said.

What Cuomo says…goes?

When Cuomo called mobile wagering “irresponsible,” his legion of followers backed their king.

In his 2020 budget address, Cuomo said, “this is not the time to come up with creative although irresponsible revenue sources to solve a problem which doesn’t really exist.”

But according to Klein, money from sports betting is a lot more than chump change.

“Cuomo spoke that whatever is done is not going to make up the shortfall, and I respectfully disagree,” Klein said. “It’s more than just a drop in a bucket, it’s a little bit of a stream, and it certainly would help.”

Klein took his theory a bit further and said it’s not unimaginable to think NY sports betting could outdo New Jersey in time.

“I’d be shocked if New York didn’t surpass, very quickly, the annual sports betting revenue that New Jersey is able to realize. But obviously, it takes time and needs to be done correctly and carefully,” he said.

There was one thing Cuomo did do; he made sports betting in New York almost a mirror image of Mississippi sports betting by amending the Sports Wagering Lounge restrictions. It is unknown precisely what the rules will look like, but in theory, bettors might only have to make it on casino grounds to place wagers. This means, much like in Mississippi, customers are not limited to placing bets within the confines of a physical sportsbook, but rather the whole casino grounds.

It’s only January, but mobile sports betting is already looking like the Mets did during the first half of the 2019 season — lifeless.

“[Cuomo] has indicated in the past that to expand into mobile betting it may require a constitutional amendment to the state constitution, some agree, some disagree — I don’t want to say one way or the other,” Klein said.

With the clout Heastie wields as Assembly Speaker, and a Governor not willing to think outside the box, I’d say 4 to 1 odds are better than expected. But with a former Cy Young winner and a homerun champion on the roster, maybe the Mets have a shot. And maybe there’s a chance for a bill to make it to the governor’s desk — but probably not.

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Barstool Sports News, NV Betting Stays On Top & More

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This is the holiday season of legalized sports betting.

The Super Bowl followed by the Oscars. A new football season, that of the XFL, kicks off. Before you know it, conference basketball tournaments are tipping off and March Madness will arrive.

New states will debut regulated sports betting industries within the next few months, others will introduce legislation to legalize wagering, while others will continue to bolster their existing verticals.

With such rapid expansion, stakeholders are champing at the bit to pad their portfolios.

Speaking of which, let’s get to the Rewind.

Big bet on Barstool Sports

A gaming giant out of Pennsylvania is expanding its reach. And not in the traditional sense.

Penn National Gaming landed a deal to acquire a 36% stake in the well-known media platform Barstool Sports. Penn National will reportedly shell out a cool $163 million in cash and stock. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.

In return, Barstool – widely known for its male-centric and often controversial content – becomes the recognizable brand longed for by Penn for its online casino app and mobile sportsbook. All told, Barstool Sports will serve as Penn National’s exclusive gaming partner for up to 40 years.

Penn National intends to leverage the Barstool brand for online table games as well as an online sportsbook. According to Legal Sports Report, the first Barstool Sportsbook could crop up in West Virginia in early 2020.

Penn National boasts 14 retail sportsbooks nationwide, which could increase to 20 by year’s end.

Nevada sports betting soars again

The hits just keep on coming for Nevada sports betting.

Despite growing competition throughout the country, Nevada continues to set state records. In 2019, the first full year of state-sanctioned wagering outside the Silver State, Nevada exceeded $5 billion in handle for just the second time. Its total of $5.3 billion represents a 6.2% increase from the previous year’s total.

As a result, revenue for the year also set a record, a total of $329.1 million that reflects a 9.3% spike.

This all comes courtesy from a strong December, during which Nevada sportsbooks combined for $571.1 million in handle and $36.3 million in revenue.

While certainly justified for celebrating, Nevada will definitely have its hands full moving forward. After all, New Jersey just closed out a $4.6 billion year – its first full calendar year with legal sports betting.

Regardless, Nevada has proven that the growth of state-sanctioned wagering will have no effect on its industry.

Super Bowl betting bigger than ever

Ahead of Super Bowl LIV, the American Gaming Association announced that about 26 million American adults would wager on the Big Game. According to AGA projections, a jaw-dropping $6.8 billion would stem from Super Bowl betting.

Bill Miller, president and CEO of the AGA, noted why, and it’s no secret. The country boasts 14 states with legal sports betting in operation.

The AGA survey estimated that nearly 4 million Americans would visit a retail sportsbook to bet on the Super Bowl. Some 5 million would wager via legal and illegal online sportsbooks. And, of course, millions more expected to participate in office or family pools or lay money down with local bookies.

Compared with 2019 estimates, the AGE calculated a 25% increase in visitation to regulated retail operations and a 19% jump in legal online sportsbook visits.

And there is no sign of this pace slowing, as Miller believes that legal sports betting will operate in as many as 30 jurisdictions by 2021.

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Revised Nevada Sports Betting Data Could Reveal Deeper Revenue Breakdown

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Nevada was once the only face on the Mount Rushmore of US sports betting. 

When the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was repealed in 2018, some thought this stature could change as more sports betting markets launched around the US.  

It won’t be a surprise when more populous states with major markets surpass the Silver State’s sports betting handle. For the time being, Nevada remains the top dog when it comes to the amount of sports wagers. Nevada even broke a new record when it took in $614.1 million in wagers in November.

But New JerseyPennsylvania and other new legal sports betting states are gaining traction. Besides increasing pressure on Nevada’s handle, the competition is pushing NV gaming regulators and sportsbooks to stay up on technology. We’ll get back to that in a bit, but let’s first look at mobile sports betting in Nevada overall.

Mobile sports wagering in Nevada

Nevada has offered mobile sports betting since 2012. However, its sportsbook operators are slipping behind newcomers in terms of technology. 

For starters, mobile bettors in NJ and PA can sign up for a sports wagering account without ever stepping into a brick-and-mortar casino. Nevada still requires in-person registration, and PA and NJ sportsbooks offer new players the ability to sign up online. 

It’s no coincidence, then, that mobile and online wagering in these states has taken off quickly. More than 80% of handle in New Jersey and Pennsylvania is from online and mobile wagering. 

PA and NJ both share their revenue reports monthly (by the states’ gaming control boards.) While Nevada has been offering mobile wagering for more than seven years, its numbers have all been anecdotal. 

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) doesn’t offer official information like the states that recently started taking online sports wagers. However, that could be changing soon.

Nevada considers changes to sports betting revenue reporting

NGCB Senior Research Analyst Michael Lawton recently told CDC Gaming Reports that the board hopes to provide reports on separate mobile and retail sports betting in the new year.

These numbers will provide greater context to compare Nevada sports betting revenue with other states. 

For reference, Lawton estimates that 48% of Nevada sports bets in 2018 were from mobile devices. That’s not too much of a surprise as anecdotally different sportsbooks have been saying mobile handle is anywhere from 35% to 60%

The sports betting handle in NV will be easier to compare with other states starting with its January 2020 report.

Baby steps to new reporting

Every state with legal sports betting has its own set of rules, and Nevada isn’t any different.  However, Nevada has a history with casino operators, so it must keep these companies in mind on how to approach all forms of gaming.

Nevada hasn’t been under pressure to change how it does business until now

Since the repeal of PASPA, there’s more national focus on the US sports betting industry. With all eyes watching, Nevada has to be as concerned with perception as it is gaming revenue.

Nobody wants to be seen as a relic. This small change to revenue reporting is a small step for Nevada to stay in line with the newcomers. It likely won’t be the only change.

More possible changes for Nevada sports betting

Most of the Nevada sports betting apps use technology from MiomniStadium Technology or both. 

If the Silver State wants to keep up with the competition, this will have to change, too. New Jersey and Pennsylvania host more sports betting technology companies that offer better (and worse) platforms than in Nevada.

The NGCB appears to be taking another step in the right direction. 

It recently gave preliminary approval to MGM Resorts and its sports betting partner, GVC, to operate BetMGM. The venture only operates in New Jersey right now. Once this receives full support, BetMGM will replace the current IGT-powered PlayMGM app.

Another huge step forward will be when the NGCB allows mobile registration on sports betting apps. Currently, anyone who wants to set up a sports betting account must do so at a Nevada sportsbook, which is inside of a casino. 

Mobile registration will allow customers to register from anywhere within Nevada state lines. Bettors could also use a credit card, debit card, or other online payment solution.

Once mobile sign-up comes to fruition, FanDuel could launch with its Boyd Gaming partnership. This shift could also open the door for other online sportsbook operators, including DraftKings and PointsBet.

With every advancement, Nevada could remain atop the sports betting landscape.

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These Two Operators Scored The First MI Sports Betting Partnerships. Who’s Next?

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Michigan got its first pair of sports betting partnership deals just over a week into the new year.

On Jan. 6, both PointsBet and The Stars Group announced partnerships. They will create entries into the Michigan sports betting and general gaming market.

With the two heavy hitters breaking the mold, the race for the remaining 24 land-based partners has begun. And as a result, it would appear as though Michigan bettors will have no shortage of retail and online sports betting options.

Brand names set for Michigan sports betting

The holiday celebration in Michigan included a signature from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The bill legalized retail and online sports betting, online casinos and online poker. As such, it joined DelawareNew Jersey and Pennsylvania as the only states to offer all three verticals.

Quick to get in on the ground floor, PointsBet announced a 20-year access deal with the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.

Per the release, PointsBet will work alongside the tribe to create a betting app as well as an online casino. To boot, the two parties remain in negotiations to bring in PointsBet to power the retail sportsbook at the tribe’s Northern Waters Casino Resort in Watersmeet.

The Stars Group, meanwhile, teamed with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. It is providing the operator an avenue into another state for its Fox Bet sports betting brand.

With “first skin market access,” The Stars Group will have the right to operate and brand online betting, casino and poker in Michigan.

PointsBet and Fox Bet both already operate in New Jersey. In addition, PointsBet has expanded into Iowa, while Fox Bet has done the same to Pennsylvania.

Michigan online gaming deals have only just begun

These two partnerships serve as the starting gun. Surely many more similar deals will come across the wire in short order. That means only good things for Michigan bettors, as the state will likely boast a plethora of brands.

After all, consider how many land-based properties remain. Whitmer’s signature in late 2019 allowed for Michigan’s three commercial and 23 tribal casinos to incorporate sports betting, online casinos and online poker. There will be one skin for each vertical.

Indeed, gambling real estate abounds. As for which brands one might see, that is a picture without a clear image at this point.

That said, MGM Resorts operates out of Detroit, creating an opportunity for Roar Digital to step into the gaming environs. Penn National, meanwhile, recently acquired a Detroit casino that could become part of Penn’s aggressive gaming expansion.

No doubt, DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook will work toward Michigan market access. Where one goes, the other seems to follow.

Michigan boasts fertile ground, which is why the state will assuredly see ample interest from an array of operators. And soon.

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PlayUSA’s ‘On The Record:’ DraftKings Co-Founder Talks Sports Betting Domination, Plans

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Welcome to 2020 and a new volume of the PlayUSA series On The Record!

To kick off this new decade, I wanted to explore the explosive way DraftKings ended the year and attempt to understand what this means for the future of sports betting.

Ideally, you too ended 2019 with a merger announcement, a new partnership in New York, and the addition of New Hampshire to the sports betting portfolio — right?

You probably didn’t, but DraftKings sure did. Now, some might say — New Hampshire a state with a population of 1.356 million, what’s so significant about that?

Excellent question.

With the addition of the Granite State, Draftkings firmly establishes itself as one of the top sports betting providers in the Northeast. The company now has operations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia and is starting its conquest of the Midwest with Indiana.

DraftKings now has five sports betting states, an established network of daily fantasy sports players, and on top of that, a new exclusive partnership with Madison Square Garden that includes the NY Knicks and NY Rangers.

And that’s not all.

The company is merging with sports betting technology provider SBTech, and both are being acquired by Diamond Eagle Acquisition, which is already listed on Nasdaq. Is that too much to process? If so, don’t worry. I found someone to help clarify all this information.

A brief discussion with DraftKings co-founder Matt Kalish

In addition to co-founder, Matt Kalish is also the chief revenue officer for DraftKings. I reached out to him and asked if he could answer a few pressing questions for me.

The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

What does the launch in New Hampshire mean for the company?
As a New England-based company with our HQ in Boston, as well as a good number of employees who either live in New Hampshire or a short drive away, we were excited to win the opportunity to establish a presence in the Granite State. We are excited to have the opportunity to work with the New Hampshire lottery as the exclusive mobile provider in the state.

Are there any retail sportsbook locations you are looking to open in 2020?
As part of the deal with the New Hampshire Lottery, we will be opening some retail locations in the state. We are in the process of identifying appropriate sites for retail sportsbooks. Ultimately, we believe the mobile and retail sports betting experiences are complementary and work well together.

What is the next sports betting frontier? Is DraftKings monitoring any specific states?
We are keeping a close eye on every state that is considering legalizing or has legalized sports betting. We were excited to see bills progress in states like Michigan and Colorado. Our goal is to get a path to market, apply for a license, work to get regulatory approval for launch, and then go live as quickly as possible.

If other sports betting companies attempt to follow and become publicly traded companies, what does that mean for the future of sports betting as a product?
I can’t speculate on what other companies might or might do. But we think the US has the potential to become the world’s biggest sports betting market. Upon closure [of the deal], DraftKings will become the only vertically-integrated pure-play sports betting and online company based in the US. DraftKings is well-positioned to play a leadership role in the US market.

Where do we go from here?

Kalish is right when he said DraftKings is “well established to play a leadership role,” as the company is basically writing the playbook. You monitor a state, provide some testimony on a bill, apply for a license, and boom — you become the dominant force in the sports betting space. That makes the future of sports betting is anything but dim.

With Michigan now in play, and Illinois coming to the table, the Midwest is well-positioned to challenge any region as a sports betting hub. Expect it to become the next primary market as expansion steadily moves West.

The northeast market is far from done; there are still a few places that might get their five minutes of fame — Massachusets and mobile wagering in New York, to name a few.

The south will, eventually, become the crux of college football betting, which leaves us with Nevada and the west coast. So far, Oregon and Colorado have been soaking up the spotlight. But until the Golden State decides that it too wants to be part of the sports betting conversation, California will remain a glistening gem off in the distance.

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New Hampshire Sports Betting, Maryland On Deck, 2019 Numbers

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The year 2020 wasted little time making headlines.

States have already made rapid movement toward legalizing sports betting. Or, in the case of one state, beat New Year’s Day altogether in launching a regulated industry.

That was 2019 in a nutshell: proposed legislation, quick ratification and rapid growth of a newly legalized vertical.

As such, and to paraphrase Chandler Bing, could this week’s PlayUSA Rewind BE any more fitting?

Crowning New Hampshire sports betting

It’s like the Granite State didn’t want to exit 2019 without legalized sports betting.

As ceremoniously rung in by Gov. Chris SununuNew Hampshire sports betting kicked off Dec. 30, 2019. The governor wagered $82 on the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl. (Whoops.)

Regardless, New Hampshire became the sixth state to launch regulated sports betting in 2019, as the New Hampshire Lottery leveraged its partnership with DraftKings Sportsbook to roll out an online sportsbook just before the new year.

Unlike its counterpart states, New Hampshire actually beat its initial timeline for launch; the Granite State anticipated a betting app hitting the market in January. That came after the state approved the contract between the NH Lottery and DraftKings in November.

DraftKings will split gross revenue 50/50 with the lottery, and it will have the opportunity to power up to 10 retail sportsbooks throughout the state.

Is Maryland sports betting on deck?

Technically, no. But discussion about legalizing the industry is about to pick up.

Sen. Chris West pre-filed SB 58, a bill that would allow horse tracks and casinos in Maryland to offer regulated sports betting. That said, the bill does not include online wagering.

Still, state legislators might pass–and state voters could approve–the bill this year, per Legal Sports Report. New forms of gambling in the state, after all, require constitutional amendments via referendums.

The pre-filed bill itself is brief. The two pages detail that five horse tracks and six casinos in the state would be eligible for sports betting licenses. West indicated that Maryland would tax wagering at a 20% rate, which is the same as table games.

As estimated by West, sports betting in Maryland would generate between $40 million and $60 million annually.

It’s still early in the year, obviously. Certainly, state lawmakers will hear/propose about money potentially being left on the table by not including online wagering. As West told Legal Sports Report, there will almost definitely be more bills proposed down the line. Though West cited that “all kinds of issues” could be raised with online sports betting; issues that could kill bills attempting to legalize wagering.

Sports betting 2019 will not be forgotten

The world changed in spring 2018. The US Supreme Court repealed PASPA. Several states, including New Jersey, launched the country’s first state-sanctioned sports betting industries outside of Nevada.

Yet the first signs of maturation came in 2019. And 2019 will seemingly forever be the foundational year of regulated sports betting in the United States. It was a blockbuster year of launches and record-breaking revenue, to say the least.

Between PASPA repeal and the close of 2019, 14 states rolled out legalized wagering, including 10 states with online betting. During that time, the public has wagered more than $15 billion via legal channels. That’s right, $15 billion. All but $4 billion came in 2019 alone.

And the craziest part of it all–aside from daily fantasy sports giants DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook becoming sports betting powerhouses–is that the country has not come close to full maturation.

So if you thought 2019 was a banner year for wagering, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

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Sports Handicapping Services Gear Up for Pro Football and College Football

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Every business has a peak season, even businesses that the average person does not think about on a regular basis. For sports handicapping services, that peak season is right around the corner. Pro football and college football drive the sports betting industry and the handicappers that live off that industry. Handicappers around the country and online are waiting in breathless anticipation of the upcoming football season.

You may be wondering how businesses can legally sell sports picks when sport betting is illegal in most states. That's easy. Sports handicapping services sell only their opinion of who is going to win a game based on the current odds. The handicappers do not take bets so they are only selling information about sports. In fact, they are very similar to all the services that help people with their fantasy football teams. They simply sell their research and information about a topic they are interested in. Think of them like your stock broker. You could pick your stock portfolio yourself, but are you more likely to make money if you take professional advice? These handicappers put in time and effort to make sure their clients have the best chance to win.

To get ready for the pro football season that starts on August 5th handicapping services are planning their advertising, researching injury updates and paying attention to every detail that relates to the NFL in any way. To you or I the news that some obscure lineman is holding out in Green Bay might mean nothing, but to a handicapping service company, this may be the tidbit of information that leads to a winning prediction in week 1. Then by selling that pro football Winner, their customers may buy a full season of pro football picks from their service or site.

These hard working handicapping services don't just wait for the regular season. According to TodaysPicks, the pro football preseason is the best value in betting. So if you are anxious to try out a sports handicapping service, no need to wait for pro or college football to get into their regular games. You can start buying football picks or packages as early as right now for the upcoming season.

Who would have thought that sports betting could have spawned an entire niche market on the internet? The sports handicapping services even have police, the Handicappingpolice.com that is. So not only are their sports handicappers, but sports handicapping monitors that keep track of the handicappers to see if they win or lose. This will help you determine who the good online handicapping sites are and who is a Scamdicapper as this article explains.

If you want to win your office football poll, maybe buying a season long football handicapping package is the way to go. All your office mates will think you are a football genius when they see your picks each week, but you will have the knowledge of a true professional, a handicapping consultant behind each and every one of your picks. Who knows, if you win a couple weeks of your office poll it may pay for your handicapping services completely. Then you will know that you found a good handicapper and not the dreaded SCAMdicapper!

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Source by Jeff Schroeffel

Professional Poker Player Transition to Sports Betting – Where's the + EV in Horse Racing Systems?

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EV or Expected Value is a widely used term in poker terminology to determine if the outcome of a play is +, 0 or – in terms of profitability. This article is aimed for Poker Players who also like to punt on UK and Irish horse racing. It never ceases to amaze me how many good poker players are terrible at betting on horse racing. If they can spend so much time on their poker game then why not also put in the effort when placing a bet to ensure that you have the most + EV decision that you can possibly make with all the information at hand. The title of the post is actually a small bit misleading as I personally believe that all horse racing systems are doomed and the way to consistently profit at betting on horse racing is to have a horse racing method not a system.

The following article will lay the ground work for anyone who wants to start taking their punting to the next level. There is no better satisfaction then spending an hour or two analysing a race and 1 horse just stands head and shoulders above the rest when you compare all the different factors that I will explain below. Of course the toughest part is having the discipline to only wait for when these such occasions occur when placing a bet, and some times, this may mean you do not bet for up to a month. (This may help explain why I moved into playing poker from sports betting as the results of your actions are known instantaneously, and you can play a game anytime of any day). I also think you can compare a MTT player to a professional sports bettor – you can go long periods without a win and then score a few big results and then rinse and repeat and hopefully over the course of the year you will have been profitable.

1. You must specialize. All the most profitable professional sports bettors pick not only 1 sport but only a small niche in that sport. Patrick Veitch, who has won over 10 million punting on horse racing in the UK only bets on UK flat racing. He even has a massive team of researchers who do a lot of the work for him, but he as he also works 18 hours days during the flat season he is naturally burnt out by the end of the season.

For the beginner though, what I mean by specialize is concentrate on an area of ​​horse racing where you can get the most information. Information is power so unless you own a shed load of 2 year old horses or are the nephew of Aidan O Brein, there is no point in specializing in 2 year old horse races as you just wont have enough information to go on. Therefore it makes more sense to specialize on handicap races, where each horse in the race must of least have run 3 times to qualify but mainly are run by the same horses year in, year out until they are retired.

The best races then to specialize in are 4 year old plus handicaps in flat and national hunt racing as you have the most information available and you can start to see patterns in horses and therefore pick out some very + EV selections when you have spotted this pattern and the majority of the racing public haven't. This is the bread and butter of successful punting, going against the crowd.

Personally I used to specialize in 4 year old plus UK flat handicaps in the summer, and UK and Irish National Hunt handicap chases and hurdles in the Winter.

2. In your specialized area, when you select a race to analyze, you must go through every horse in the race to develop a shortlist. Below are my 5 essential criteria that every horse must have when you are placing a bet.

a) Going – The horse must be proven on going conditions.

b) Distance – The horse must be proven on the trip

c) Course Type – The horse must be proven on similar type of course

d) Fitness – The horse must have shown that it can operate at optimal levels since its last number of days off the track.

e) Class – The horse must have either won at the class he is currently competing in before or else gave a very good showing in a previous race at the similar or higher class level.

Going and Distance

With regard to going and distance and to a lesser extent course type, I will not fully discount a horse who has never raced on the going if he has extremely good sire stats (15% + strike rate) however I would always give precedence to another horse in a race who has won on for example soft going compared to a horse who has never raced on soft but has sire stats of 18% strike rate for soft going conditions.

With distance, I would also use sire stats if a horse is moving up or down in trip by 1 furlong on the flat, and 2 furlongs in national hunt. With experience, you can tell by looking at a race if a horses needs the extra trip or not and the sire stats can be a great way to back up that visual piece of information.

Course Type

This often overlooked by the general racing public. The best thing about UK and Irish racing is the different types of race courses you will encounter. Cheltenham (left-handed, galloping, undulating and testing track with stiff fences) is totally different to Stratford (left Handed, flat & Sharp) as it is to Sandown (right-handed, galloping, testing track)

A horse who has won twice in Cheltenham will probably never win a race at Stratford and vice versa. Bigger sized horses are more suited to galloping tracks as they can take the turns easier and can maintain a strong galloping pace for longer whereas a smaller sized horse is better suited to sharp tracks (ie less than 10 furlongs) as most of the running will be going around bends and therefore the bigger horses will not be able to maintain their top galloping speed for long on the stretches.

Also some horses can only run to their best at left handed courses and vice versa. You would actually wonder why trainers persist to run horses which clearly will not win on a certain turning race track, but then you realise by doing this, they will get their official rating down as horse will appear to be trying but will be hanging left or right the whole way through. You have to be aware that trainers will be trying to manipulate the handicapper a lot of the times in the lower grade races by running horses on unsuitable ground, at the wrong distance, on the wrong course type, or running the horse with a different style During the race all to try and reduce their rating so that they can set up a better chance for themselves to win in the future at a decent price.

I love Cheltenham race meet in March for the simple fact, the course is a stiff testing course which straight away rules out a lot of other horses in the race as they just cant handle it, the grade of racing and pirze money on offer means that everyone is trying to win, and you can nearly always guarantee what the going will be. Therefore if you just use the criteria above and select horses who are proven on the 5 factors (and this applies to the non handicap graded races too, you will see huge profits)

Fitness

To determine a horses fitness, you must look at its previous patterns of how it performed when it returns after a certain number of days off the track. The beauty of handicap races is you have loads of past information to go on and you can see if a horse is 0-5 when returning after an 80 day lay off, whereas he is 3-2-5 when he returns between 15 and 30 days.

Class

A horses class is often overlooked by the racing public. Statistically horses who are moving up in grade / class do not have a good strike rate, however the public will back it blindly if it sees it has won by 5 lengths in its previous race in a lower grade. Analyze past races to see if a horse has won or come close in the grade of race it is racing in today. You can discount a horse if it has failed 2 times at the grade when having all other conditions to suit except for when it is running for a new stable which has a good record at rejuvenating horses.

Also keep in mind that a horse who has placed in a black type race (ie grade, 1,2,3) will have a more class than a horse who has a good winning record in Class 2 (B) handicaps, so if it It is racing in a Class 2 handicap for the first time, do not discount just because it has never won a race.

3. Once you have created your shortlist based on the above criteria, you can now get down to the real dirty work of finding the eventual winner. Sometimes you might only be left with 1 horse, sometimes with 8, you must then start applying other filters to see if you can narrow down the list more. Sometimes the odds will allow to dutch 3 horses left if you can not narrow it down anymore. Then go for it as it is a plus EV move.

However be aware that every time you discount you must have a very valid reason backed up by a decent sample size. Here's a list of filters to reduce the shortlist.

Weight

Some horses as stated earlier have a bigger frame then others, therefore having top weight doesn't make much difference to them, whereas the smaller horse will struggle. Again by studying previous races you will spot a pattern

OR

This is the official rating that the horse racing board's in house handicapper assigns to a horse to determine what weight it should carry in its next horse race. The OR is updated weekly, therefore you sometimes see trainers turn out a horse 3 times in a week to try and take advantage of this before the handicapper reassigns it a higher rating. For an excellent explanation of official hores racing handicapping see this article written by good friend Malcolm Smith over at www.UKhorseracing.co.uk .

After a while, horses will reach their peak and start to hover around a certain OR mark. Therefore it will be unlikely that it will win if its OR mark is higher than its highest winning mark unless the horse is an improving progressive sort. But for older horses, this OR mark becomes more important and can be more relied upon.

Field Size

Some horses will not race unless they are covered in the pack, other horses need room otherwise they get into trouble during the race. The trick is to identify these type of horses. You will start to spot where some horses only win in races with less than 8 runners, but never figure in races with more than 12. You can safely assume that he needs the perfect ride in a big runner race but more than likely will not get that (This is when you can factor in the Jockeys ability to see if its OK to rule out this horse or not) The field size matters more in National Hunt, as some horses prefer seeing the jumps early / later and as they are pack animals prefer chasing a leader than actually leading

Seasonal

A lot of horses prefer to run in certain times of the year. This could be down to how a trainer prepares the horse over the course of the season and aims it to be at full fitness come March time for example, but other times horses just perform better in certain months. Again by looking at past patterns you will begin to spot these trends.

Trainer Statistics

8 years ago it was a very profitable trend to follow certain trainers at certain race tracks for certain race types. This edge has slowly eroded since the markets have caught on, however it still needs to be factored in when trying to finalize your short list.

Trainer – Jockey combinations

If you try and follow this blindly by backing winning Trainer-Jockey Combos, you will most likely end up with a loss. However it is a good tool to have when you are trying to reduce the shortlist as some stats are just too good to ignore.

Jockey Booking

This is actually a powerful indicator. However this again does not mean much if the horse does first qualify for the 5 essential criteria above. Also if you only ever back horses with the top jockeys on board you are forgoing on EV as, the odds will drop on a horse with the likes of Ruby Walsh or Tony McCoy on board, but odds will still remain good on a horse if for example the jockey booking was Graham Lee, who is a very underrated performer. Look back over past races and see how the horse has performed under their guidance before. You will start to see profitable trends and indicators.

Gambling Stables

There are a few ways to do this. One is manually record stables where horses have been heavily backed and won. Another way is to look at a horses previous wins and see what the average odds were. The lower the winning odds, the bigger chance that the stable money only goes down when the horse has a good chance of winning (Kevin Ryan is an example of a gambling stable). The higher the odds, means the horse has won races that they weren't fully expecting to win and therefore less likely a gambling stable (Veneita Williams comes to mind here for being an honest stable).

Post Race Comments

This is often overlooked. If you see what trainers, jockeys and owners have said to the press after a horse has won (See the racing post website for all the comments), you can pick up some useful information which can help you lean one way or the other on a selection.

Pace of the race.

To understand the pace of the race you first need to figure out what is each horse's preferred running style. They can be broken down into front runners, prominent runners, Hold up horses. Here's is a fantastic article which details the breakdown of winning% of different horses running styles compared to the actual number of race entries of horses with different running styles.

It shows that you should really be concentrating on front running and prominent horses as it accounts for 65% of winners compared to being only 50% of entries in races. Front runners in particular account for 20% of winners even though they only supply 11% of runners in a race.

You can use this to your advantage once you get to know all of the different course types. By backing a front running horse that satisfies the 5 essential criteria on a race course which has a sharp track with a short run in, you have added a few% EV points to your selection.

Another factor here is analyzing the previous 3 races the horse has ran in and check out the in running comments. Especially look at the horses who came placed or came outside the top 4 but were close near the end. Keep and eye out for comments like "finished strongly", "kept on well", "stayed on well", "kept on final furlong" and for other tidbits like "hampered" but then "finished strongly". These can point towards a horse who is on the upward curve and given the perfect conditions in the next race will have a very good chance of winning.

Another thing to factor in is if a race does not have any natural front runners, then the race will not be run at a true pace, therefore could throw up some very unusual results. It may mean that the horse who has the best speed on a flat track will win when it drives all out in the last furlong.

When the pace of the race is guaranteed, the classier horse which satisfies the essential criteria will more often than not win the race.

4. Resources

For 6 years, before getting lured into the world of Online Poker, I punted successfully on horse racing and I used the following resources

Ratings from ukhorseracing.co.uk.

The ratings are based upon advanced pure mathematics but are presented in a an easy to read pdf. The main feature in my view that sets this service apart from a lot of pretenders is the 'Class' filter they derive using their mathematical approach. Fantastically accurate for Non Handicap graded races in both National Hunt and Flat racing in the both UK and Irish racing. They also have a great forum where you can exchange ideas with the other members and have recently introduced a Racing Bot where you plug in all your profitable racing systems and sit back and watch.

Stats and ratings from ukracestats.com

I only found this website 4 years into my sports betting career, and it was free for nearly 2 years after that. It is without doubt the biggest time saving tool when it comes to analysing a race using all the criteria and filters I have mentioned above in the article. The only negative is that they only cover UK horse racing.

Racing Post Website- Last year they introduced a subscription service and I suppose it was about time considering all the information that it provides. It is essential for anyone serious about racing. I used it to confirm my findings from the ratings and stats mentioned above.

At The Races Website – Good for watching previous races and offers different race analysis from the Racing Post. As far as I know this is still free.

I hope that after reading the above that you will now not just throw money blindly at the favorite when you have a punt on the horses. Put a bit of time and effort into the selection process and give yourself a + EV chance of winning.

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Source by Paul Redfern

Are the Spurs the Best Team in Pro Sports? Gregg Popovich Joins the 1,000 Victory Club

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Gregg Popovich joined an exclusive group for NBA coaches when he achieved his 1,000th victory against the Indiana Pacers. He is the third fastest coach to achieve the milestone, only behind Pat Riley and Phil Jackson. Any time you are in a group with those two coaches, you know you are doing something right. And Popovich has done it in a small market in San Antonio. Jerry Sloan, formerly of the Utah Jazz, is the only other coach to win 1,000 games all with one team. However, Popovich is the only one to accomplish such a feat while also winning an NBA championship. With the way things are today, it's unlikely that this feat will ever happen again, much less someone winning five titles with the same team and winning 1,000 games.

When you look back at Popovich's career in San Antonio, it was not always smooth sailing. When he was hired in the mid-nineties to be the new coach, there was a lot of push back from the fan base. Popovich was coming from a front office job to the sideline and not many fans approved of that.

However, once David Robinson arrived and Tim Duncan came later on, that animosity quickly diminished. The Spurs won their first NBA championship in 1999, but no sports betting experts predicted that they would become a dynasty over the next decade. They have since won four more championships under Popovich and have consistently been one of the top teams in the Western Conference during his tenure.

Young Spurs fans today probably don't remember how bad things were in San Antonio before Popovich arrived. The Spurs weren't exactly a consistent contender, but "Pop" was able to turn that around quickly. Good coaches seem to be like a father figure to players, and that's exactly what Popovich is. It's no wonder why guys like Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have stayed with him for so many years.

With longevity and loyalty almost non-existent in the NBA nowadays, the Spurs have been a rare franchise in those terms. There's no telling how that could change when Pop finally decides to stop coaching, but the culture that he has created is second to none.

Popovich may not coach long enough to surpass Jackson or Riley for total wins as a coach, but you can argue that his career accolades is right up there with theirs. With an aging team, his core players may not have many years left. He has built up guys like Kawhi Leonard to be stars in the league, so that may keep him going. A lot of experts predict that he will stop coaching when Duncan decides to retire, but I wouldn't be so certain about that. He still has the fire and passion on the sideline so I would expect him to coach at least a couple more years after Duncan hangs it up. One thing we know for sure is that there won't be another "Pop" in the league for a long time.

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Source by Jimmy Reilly

Categories: Sports Betting

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The Myth of the Hot Sports Betting Handicapper

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The most prevalent means of sports service marketing is some variant on the theme that so and so is "red hot" and you should therefore pay him your money and follow his plays. The crooked services do this by coming up with all sorts of confusing and contradictory rating systems and hyperbolic descriptions for their games. How many times have you heard a handicapper brag about being "16-2 on his 500 star MWC underdog plays of the month" or saying that his "Southern Conference total of the month is 60% lifetime"?

Basically, the bottom feeders of this industry can slice and dice their statistics all sorts of ways to make themselves seem "hot". Or they can do what a lot of them do, and simply lie about their performance. When I was first starting out as a sports handicapper there was no such thing as the Internet (at least as it exists today) and I had to rely on a scorephone for line and score updates. This scorephone was sponsored by a group of touts not noted for their veracity, and you had to sit through a few pitches for their 900 numbers before you got to the scores. A bit of a Faustian bargain, to say the least, but it was an effective way of keeping up with scores in the pre-Internet dark ages.

So one night we're at a party thrown by some kid that we did not like too much. My crew and I were racking our brains to think of some mean pranks to pull on the guy. Someone got the idea to rack up some 900 # charges on our mark's phone bill. Since there's no such thing as 900 # directory assistance, I resulted to the only 900 # I could remember – one of the touts from the scorephone that had drilled his digits into my memory through the sheer force of repetition.

For the sake of argument, I decided to write down the tout's NBA plays. I had less faith in his handicapping ability than I would in a prognostication based on a divining rod or Ouija Board, but since I was not paying for the call I figured I'd just see how the guy did. I wrote down his plays and checked his performance the next morning.

To his credit, the tout went 5-3 on his 8 plays. By any criteria a 5-3 night is a solid performance. Later that day I called the scorephone and waited for the tout to start crowing about his 5-3 night. Much to my surprise, the tout did say a word about his 5-3 night. That's because he was too buy bragging about his mythical 7-1 performance the preceding day.

Now, I understand that the revelation that boiler room touts like about their performance is on par with "pro wrestling is fake" or "the games at the fair aren't on the up-and-up" as self evident truths. The point I'm trying to make, however, is that the desire to be the "hot handicapper: is so great that the tout felt he had to embellish a solid performance the night before.

So despite the fact that some handicappers like about their performance, what's wrong with trying to ride the hot handicapper? Plenty-it's not only an ineffective way to evaluate a handicapper's abilities, it also has a number of statistical and theoretical shortcomings.

The simplest way to explain what I'm talking about is to borrow a disclaimer that you'll hear on every commercial for a mutual fund: "Past performance is no guarantee of future results". The sports gambling milieu, like those of stocks, commodities and other financial instruments, is a marketplace and subject to a number of the same tendencies of other financial institutions (what economists call "market dynamics").

The fact that a sports wager's success or failure is dependent to a degree on the "whims" of a marketplace (of odds and pointspreads) and to a greater degree on other external events outside of the bettor's control exacerbates what is already a matter of simple logic: what a handicapper does over a period of time (be it a day, week, month or season) has no intrinsic correlation between a handicapper's performance one year and the next. In other words, the sports gambling marketplace and the random patterns of events that act upon them don't care if I hit 60% last year. If I don't do my work, crunch the numbers, get good prices to bet into, and catch a few breaks along the way I may end up beaten regardless of how well I performed in a subsequent period of time.

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Source by James Robert Murphy

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