On Monday, the US Supreme Court overturned the federal sports betting ban that had stood for more than 25 years. PASPA is off the books, and the matter is now in each state’s hands to decide individually. Dual sovereignty, bro.
What followed was a week of unrelenting headlines that brought some news we expected plus a few compelling twists. Here’s our best stab at hitting everything that happened. Most of what happened. Some of it.
SCOTUS rules! Congress notices
It was shaping up to be just another week until the clock struck 10 a.m. on Monday. SCOTUS interns trotted out three decision boxes! One of them contained dozen of pages about good ol’ Murphy vs. NCAA, and Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion kicked the gaming industry into overdrive.
Many, many things then proceeded to happen.
One of the first: US Sen. Orrin Hatch announced plans to introduce a federal sports betting bill in Congress the very same day as the decision. It’s not clear what will be included, but it will attempt to install a superseding framework for the industry. Hatch was one of the original authors of PASPA, so infer from that what you will.
Unless and until that happens, though, states are free to do as they see fit. A few existing laws were activated on Monday, and states considering sports betting bills are now clear to proceed.
New Jersey starts doing things
As the title litigant in the SCOTUS case, New Jersey sports betting is the epicenter of the fallout. Here’s what happened this week:
- Monmouth Park follows through on its “two weeks” claim, setting a tentative date for launch: May 28.
- State officials tell operators to chill for just one dang second while they type up some regulations.
- Dennis Drazin says Monmouth wants to sue sports leagues for hundreds of millions of dollars for acting in bad faith.
Other states do, too
The chatter also revealed that a few other states are closer to sports betting than we might have thought a week ago:
- Delaware officials confirm that there are no legal obstacles standing between the state and expanded sports betting. It may win the race to market, eying up an early-June launch.
- Mississippi drafts a full set of proposed regulations. The state’s 28 casinos could be offering sports betting by the end of the summer.
- Rhode Island solicits proposals for a sports betting vendor to serve as a partner for the lottery. Target date for the two Twin River casinos: Oct. 1.
A handful of others are getting there but not quite ready for an imminent launch.
- Pennsylvania and West Virginia have fully legal sports betting, but they still need regulations.
- Connecticut lawmakers have adjourned, but Gov. Dannel Malloy may call them into a special session on sports betting.
- New York also has an existing law on the books that requires some additional work.
Let the games begin
Overnight, the US became the new frontier for sports betting. Several of the industry’s current and future players made moves this week.
- Gaming stocks across the industry ride a Monday surge, with many posting double-digit gains.
- Rush Street Interactive partners with Kambi to provide the tech for Rivers and SugarHouse in PA, plus PlaySugarHouse online casino in NJ most immediately.
- That partnership also gives the Rivers property in NY a path to market. The casino recently added an OTB branch on premises and will explore sports betting quickly when the time comes.
- Churchill Downs enters into large partnerships with Golden Nugget and SBTech. The deals facilitate online gambling and sports betting operations across MS, NJ and PA in the short term.
Sports leagues hunker down
New Jersey’s victory is a “loss” for sports leagues, their first in the years-long fight with the state. The NCAA, NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB were the plaintiffs, and they’d won every single battle before losing the war in the highest court.
Every US league released a statement in the wake of the ruling, and the conversation engulfed the sports industry.
- The NFL offers what appears to be reluctant approval (or acceptance), stepping forward in support of federal sports betting regulation.
- The NCAA does, too, which would be a complete 180 from its long-held stance. It also temporarily suspends a policy banning states with legal sports betting from hosting championship events.
- Genius Sports becomes the NCAA’s official partner for real-time data, which could have implications on sports betting down the road.
- Steve Kerr talks betting lines on the Golden State Warriors; coaches and owners start speaking the language of sports betting more publicly.
- Hot takes from Mark Cuban! The Dallas Mavericks owner says the value of every sports franchise doubled overnight. That’s some hyperbole, but you won’t find franchises on the list of losers this week, that’s for sure.
DFS cozies up to sports betting
After years of distancing themselves from sports betting, daily fantasy sports operators are suddenly embracing the potential. With arms wide open; now everything has changed. There’s no legal reason to hide it anymore.
This week in #DFS:
- UK bookmaking giant Paddy Power Betfair announces plans to acquire FanDuel. Rumors of the deal escalated quickly in the days leading up to confirmation.
- FanDuel expands its partnership with the WNBA. Given the vision for the product (and the new owner), there may be crossover in the future.
- DraftKings makes an apparent pitch for the RI contract, which would indicate that it has a platform almost ready.
We wrote about a great many things this week, and some stories still slipped though the cracks:
- Officials in many states try to light a fire under their legislatures. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is among them. It’s probably too late for Minnesota, but Rep. Pat Garofalo is setting the stage for next session.
- Sports leagues appear to have called off their fight in WV. Lawmakers expressed no interest in revisiting their new law despite Gov. Jim Justice lobbying for a special session on behalf of the leagues.
- The NHL basically says this decision doesn’t change much. Former commissioner Gary Bettman, however, thinks it creates a “fair amount of opportunity.”
- NBA commissioner Adam Silver has lauded the potential benefits of sports betting, but he reaffirms his preference for unified, federal regulation.
- The sky-is-falling crowd proclaims that folks will soon be betting on their children’s high school football games. This is… a bad take. Far worse than Cuban’s take, but not as bad as this one:
- An opinion piece in the USA Today envisions rampant match-fixing and death threats aimed at players and officials. Because that’s what happens if you let people bet on sports…