It’s been more than ten days since the US Supreme Court relegated PASPA to the trash heap of outdated laws, right alongside the one that prohibits folks in Arizona from intentionally tripping donkeys.
All right, that one’s actually still on the books, but the federal ban on sports betting is not! States now have free rein to regulate the activity at their discretion, and a handful will likely be taking wagers by the end of the year.
The news hasn’t really let up since last Monday, and this week was packed with more must-read headlines across the industry.
Here’s the rundown, quick as we can:
Paddy Power Betfair + FanDuel
Dustin Gouker (from a site called, let’s see here… looks like Legal Sports Report dot com?) broke the week’s biggest story. European bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair and daily fantasy sports site FanDuel are now one.
The parties confirmed the marriage this week after a few days of rumored courtship. The deal will close in Q3 pending final regulatory approval.
Expect the combined group to seize control of the overlap between sports betting and DFS.
DraftKings made some headlines, too, rolling out its inaugural sports betting ad campaign across the New Jerseey transportation network. It will do what it can to challenge PPB/FanDuel in the arena, but it still needs a casino partner. And a platform.
Token New Jersey rundown
As we did last week, it makes sense to spend some time where all the sports betting momentum originates.
When last we spoke, June 7 looked like the date for final NJ sports betting regulations. And Dennis Drazin was talking about suing the leagues for hundreds of millions of dollars. Those two things haven’t really changed in the last seven days, but new sh… new stuff has come to light, man.
A lot of new stuff:
- A new partnership. Ocean Resort Casino hires bookmaking giant William Hill to run its sports betting operations.
- State regulators offer revenue projections of $13 million from a first-year sports betting market. This both sounds small and is a reasonably sound guess. Related but not: NJ online casino revenue is looking good.
- The first possible day. That’s when both Monmouth Park and Borgata say they’ll be ready to take bets. There may be a slight hiccup for the latter, though…
- A new bill from Senate President Steve Sweeney would deny sports betting licenses to operators with ties to sports leagues/franchises. This could affect as many as five NJ casinos.
- Telegram from Sweeney. The Senate boss sends a letter to all 50 state governors, urging them to shun “league extortion” in the form of integrity fees.
- More bad news for the leagues: The insatiable Sweeney says he intends to pursue restitution from sports leagues on behalf of the state.
- Even worse news for the leagues: The NJ Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association actually files suit in court, seeking almost $140 million in damages.
Speaking of which…
Hey, sports leagues… how is it going?
The leagues got most of their gripes in last week, but there was some carryover chatter this week, too.
- The NFL offers its four “core principles” for federal sports betting legislation. There’s no mention of integrity fees, but the framework includes other mechanisms by which the league would profit.
- Pro Football Talk reports that the NFL will bring the Super Bowl to Las Vegas — the sports betting capital of the world — as soon as 2025.
- Sources tell LSR that the NBA and MLB are promising individual colleges a cut of their fees if they’ll voice support for their lobbying efforts at the state level.
Some updates from around the map, as the states closest to sports betting mount up:
- New York officials say they’re moving forward with sports betting regulations under the existing statutory language. A draft will be ready “in the near term.”
- Pennsylvania still has no timeline for sports betting regulations, but the lottery expansion is off to a flying start.
- IGT is the only bidder for the sports betting contract with the Rhode Island Lottery. The state agency is targeting October for rollout at the two Twin River casinos.
- Late Friday afternoon, Illinois leapt back into the conversation with an amended bill containing placeholders to legalize sports betting, online gambling, and DFS. Next week’s scheduled hearings could be interesting.
- Tribal-state relationships are central to sports betting in many states; Adam Candee peered across the landscape.
Another week of takes, hot and cold
In general, this week’s headlines were a little less reactionary and a little more in line with long-term roadmaps and expectations. That left some room for our own reactions, having had a bit of time to digest the news.
Here were some of the best takes this week:
- US Sen. Orrin Hatch is a lying liar about sports betting. His attempts to pass a federal bill through Congress this year will probably fail. And then he will retire. (That part’s not really a hot take; he is actually retiring.)
- For all their concerns over sports betting, NBA and MLB still own have ownership positions in two DFS sites poised to become sportsbooks.
- The NCAA shouldn’t even be allowed to utter the word “integrity,” let alone collect any sort of fees to purportedly shield it from sports betting.
- Illegal sportsbooks still have a great many advantages over legal, regulated ones in the marketplace.
With the good takes come the bad, of course. Here were some of the worst opinions being spouted around the country:
- A sports consulting firm likens integrity fees to the rake in a poker game.
- The American Gaming Association voices support for mobile sports betting while maintaining a “no position” regarding online poker and online casino games.
- Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart is worried about the SCOTUS ruling, because people will now be betting on UK games.
- Disgraced NBA referee (and NBA bettor) Tim Donaghy warns of the dangers of legal sports betting. Spare us, Timmy.
- An author of that act that’s now rotting on the trash heap, Sen. Hatch says PASPA was an “indisputable success.” We’d care to depute that, senator.