It’s information overload everywhere, and there’s not time enough to sleep and eat and stay fully apprised of what’s happening on this crazy blue dot of ours (two out of three ain’t bad). Here’s the weekend Sports Handle item, “Get a Grip,” recapping the week’s top U.S. sports betting headlines, highlighting some fresh news, and rounding up key stories.
Top stories around our network this week
Florida’s population of nearly 22 million is about 15 times as many as reside in Maine. Thus, it may be 15 times less important that wagering on sports betting apps arrived in the nation’s sparse northeastern tip Friday, while bettors in the decidedly more dense Eastern state 1,500 miles to the south are still on indefinite hold.
But any progress is good news to those in the sports betting industry. Where New England was not long ago mostly a desert for those wanting to place a sports bet, Maine’s launch with two online operators, DraftKings and Caesars Sportsbook, leaves just Vermont without legal sportsbooks — and regulators there are working to enable their launch by year’s end.
At the same time, it’s not all bad news for those wanting to engage in Florida sports betting. While it likely won’t be possible by phone or computer until federal and state court challenges are resolved — and no one knows how long that will take — the Seminole Tribe announced that in-person sports bets will be taken at its six Florida casinos starting next month. That’s in addition to the craps and roulette games the Seminoles will gain at their casinos through the compact with Florida, as those haven’t stirred the same controversy as the monopoly on digital sports betting the agreement provides to the tribe.
Amid this week’s developments in the two Atlantic Coast states, there’s been speculation of what will happen in nearly a dozen other states with no legal sports betting. Though you can’t actually bet on it, the sharpest money for the next legalization appears to be on Florida’s neighbor Georgia, as Sports Handle’s legislative specialist Jill R. Dorson ran down the list of non-legal states and assessed their chances for changing things next year.
You would be hard-pressed to find a better source of information about state-by-state developments than what Dorson and the rest of the Sports Handle staff provide, just as we broadly cover everything in the sports betting industry (as links below to this week’s stories show). And for additional gaming industry news, be sure to check out US Bets, including its weekly Double Down column and Gamble On podcast.
ESPN BET’s right around the corner
ESPN BET set to launch Nov. 14
Sign Up For The Sports Handle Newsletter!
PENN gearing for heavy volume, strong “first impression” with upcoming ESPN BET
ESPN BET will be harvesting ESPN Fantasy’s database, but some question the upside
PENN’s casinos are shedding their Barstool identity, but what’s next?
Not threatened by ESPN, but very interested
DraftKings takes victory lap, vows to remain “disciplined” amid ESPN BET launch
This micro stuff is no small thing
Sportsbooks are beginning to get the hang of microbetting
Doing well and cutting back
Despite robust growth, Sportradar unveils plans to reduce workforce by 10%
An apparent California non-starter
Indian Country dismissive of California sports betting proposal
Mississippi mulling expansion
Mississippi task force examines mobile betting legalization pros and cons
More picking on pick’ems
Colorado regulator appears poised to ban all fantasy pick’em contests
It’s another in-state mistake
PointsBet accidentally takes in-state college bets in New York
Doug Kezirian’s new venture explained
Media notebook: Kezirian finding own lane with his new site, Only Players
A scathing review of AGA research
Schuetz: How much skill does it take to shape a study of “skill games”?
About those NHL, PGA suspensions …
NHL falls far short on transparency with Pinto suspension
Suspended Korn Ferry players address their gambling suspensions
OK, who made money? Oh, everyone
FanDuel smashes New York weekly mobile handle record
Nevada sportsbooks claim $62.3 million in revenue for September
Two-horse online sportsbook race in Ohio is tight as can be
Virginia sports wagering handle balloons to $520.3 million for September
Oklahoma governor shares sports betting plan
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt released a “fact sheet” Thursday outlining what he believes legal digital and retail sports betting should look like in the state. Stitt’s proposal would give in-person wagering to the state’s tribes, taxed at 15%, and would allow for statewide mobile betting taxed at 20%.
The digital application fee would be $500,000, and it appears that any tribal or commercial operator could get a license. Betting would be allowed on professional and college sports, though betting on college players’ individual statistics or placing prop bets on them would be prohibited.
Oklahoma’s tribes have exclusivity for Class III gaming and evidently weren’t consulted, which makes Stitt’s proposal a bit confounding. He’s offering the tribes retail betting but is opening up digital wagering — which across the U.S. accounts for more than 90% of revenue — to commercial operators as well. “I think he’s a little out of his wheelhouse on what he thinks he can do, [with] granting the mobile portion to an outside vendor,” state Rep. Ken Luttrell told The Oklahoman.
— Jill R. Dorson
CEO of ZenSports and KeyStar resigns
Mark Thomas announced via X/Twitter this week that he’d be stepping down as CEO both of ZenSports, the crypto-friendly sports betting company he co-founded, and KeyStarCorp, the company that acquired ZenSports a little more than a year ago.
“As a large shareholder with a significant portion of my net worth in the company, and after more than 7 years since I co-founded the product, it’s time for a leadership change,” Thomas wrote, adding that he’ll continue to do consulting work for the company, which is licensed for Nevada and Tennessee sports betting.
Board Chairman Bruce Cassidy will take over as interim CEO as a search for Thomas’ permanent replacement commences.
— Mike Seely
BetMGM makes New Mexico debut
BetMGM has opened a brick-and-mortar sportsbook at the Isleta Resort and Casino in Albuquerque. The 4,900-square-foot venue opened this week with 35 televisions, five teller windows, and four kiosks, according to a press release.
Owned by the Pueblo of Isleta, the casino now has one of five brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in New Mexico. Lawmakers in the state have not formally legalized sports betting, but tribes there have been offering it through their on-reservation casino sportsbooks since 2018.
— Jill R. Dorson
Tweet of the week
George Pickens fantasy owners
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) November 3, 2023
More of the most important, interesting stories
WHAT, ME WORRIED? How Adam Greenblatt is sharpening BetMGM’s competitive edge [iGaming Business]
GOVERNOR’S ALL-IN ON IOWA PROBE: Iowa Gov. Reynolds supports state’s sports betting investigation [Sioux City Journal]
A NEWCOMER IN NEBRASKA: Sports betting window opens at Horsemen’s Park in Omaha [Omaha World-Herald]
BRITISH REGS ARE COMPLICATED: Anthony Joshua: Betfred’s boxer tweets broke gambling rules, says ASA [BBC]
Betfred adverts featuring boxer Anthony Joshua banned https://t.co/rUZLN752bP
— BusinessLive (@businesslive) November 1, 2023
CIRCA GROWS ITS CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE: Las Vegas: Circa Sports taking over race and sportsbook operations at Silverton Casino [CDC Gaming Reports]
LET’S TALK ABOUT GAMBLING: “The Dove” replaced by sports betting-focused “The Ace” in southern Oregon [Inside Radio]
GOOD TIMES IN RHODE ISLAND: Rhode Island sports betting handle hits six-month high in September [iGaming Business]
AND LITTLE SOUTH DAKOTA WEIGHS IN: Deadwood gamblers wager $140 million in September [South Dakota Searchlight]
John Sommers is a distinguished figure in the world of gambling expertise, known for his deep knowledge and insightful analysis of the gaming industry. As a seasoned author, he has contributed extensively to the reputable gambling news site, TwinCasinos, focusing on providing valuable insights to English-speaking gamblers worldwide.
With a career spanning over a decade, John has honed his expertise in various aspects of gambling, from strategic gameplay to industry trends and regulatory developments. His articles are revered for their blend of comprehensive research, astute observations, and a knack for demystifying complex concepts for both novice and seasoned players.
Beyond his writing prowess, John has established himself as a trusted authority, often sought after for his expert commentary on the ever-evolving landscape of the casino and betting industry. His passion for responsible gambling and commitment to ensuring players make informed choices are evident in his work, making him a beacon of integrity in an industry that demands such values.
Whether you’re a casual gambler or a dedicated enthusiast, John Sommers’ contributions to TwinCasinos promise to be an invaluable resource for navigating the dynamic world of gambling.
Latest posts by John Sommers (see all)