Can you believe it’s been almost a month since the US Supreme Court overturned the federal ban on sports betting? Time flies when you’re having fun.
The pace of news has finally begun to taper off just a bit, but there were still significant developments every day this week. As is our Friday custom in this post-prohibiton era, let’s take a lap around the recent sports betting headlines.
Delaware goes first… er, second
Delaware sports betting went live on Tuesday at the three casinos, making it the first state outside of Nevada sports betting to book a legal, single-game wager. Which, you know… makes it the second to enter the market. But “first” just sounds so much sexier. It is the first new state to launch in many decades, at least.
Gov. John Carney was at Dover Downs to place the ceremonial first bet for the media. A Delaware native and a die-hard Philadelphia sports fan, Carney put down $10 on the Phillies +200 against the Cubs. The underdog Fightin’ Phils won 6-1, so the governor gets to decide whether he wants a $30 payout or a $10 souvenir from his first wager.
Here are some photos from the scene:
As it turns out, I have many things in common with the governor of Delaware. I was at Dover Downs, too, chatting with stakeholders before placing a legal, winning bet on a baseball game. (I chose to exchange my souvenir for actual monies.)
Read through the play-by-play coverage if you’re interested in the proceedings. Total betting handle for launch day: $322k
For now, despite some questionable linemaking, little ol’ Delaware is the sports betting capital of the East Coast. Its regional monopoly won’t last long, though…
New Jersey not quite there yet
Despite leading the crusade against PASPA, New Jersey still hasn’t finalized its sports betting law. Still! We don’t mean to get on its case — it hasn’t been a month yet — but it’s surprising that there’s not even a timeline for launch. The holdup is in the governor’s office right now.
Here’s what happened this week in NJ sports betting:
- On Monday, a handful of committees advanced matching bills onto the floor in both chambers.
- On Thursday, those chambers quickly and unanimously approved the bills — 73-0 in the Assembly and 37-0 in the Senate.
- Those votes sent the final draft to the desk of Gov. Phil Murphy, and his signature is the last step left. Murphy’s timeline is TBD, and there’s some concern he’ll use sports betting as leverage in budget negotiations.
- The bill is mostly noncontroversial, but it does contain one restriction that affects the Golden Nugget alone. Since Tilman Fertitta owns both the Nugget and the Houston Rockets, his casino will not be allowed to book NBA action. It’s certainly not ideal, but the fate could have been much worse.
- With its grand opening less than three weeks out, Ocean Resort Casino still doesn’t have a gambling license. The property has plans in place for online casino and sports betting products, too, all pending licensure.
New York, Pennsylvania getting closer
The northeast is the beating heart of sports betting momentum, with Pennsylvania and New York sports betting both on the horizon. Here are the rest of the regional headlines to round out the news:
- Is DFS gambling? Betfair US (part of Paddy Power Betfair) inks two more sportsbook agreements — one with Meadowlands Racetrack in NJ and another with Tioga Downs in NY. Company reps say the group is “very likely” to use FanDuel as its primary brand in the US.
- The train to Albany drops off another local sports star at the station. MLB executive and former New York Yankees skipper Joe Torre visits the capital to make his pitch for league-friendly legislation.
- Assemblyman Gary Pretlow finally introduces his sports betting bill. It includes money payable to the leagues, but it replaces the terminology. The integrity fee is now a royalty fee.
- The application process for PA sports betting licenses is open, but as expected, operators aren’t exactly climbing over each other to pay the $10 million/36 percent numbers.
Looking back on the week, almost all of the news came from those few states above. Here are some of the other tidbits from elsewhere on the map:
- Sources say that the US Congress may hold a sports betting hearing in June. Progress seems unlikely in an election year, and passage faces increasingly long odds as time goes on and more individual states regulate the activity.
- Sports technology giants Sportradar and Sportech team up to provide comprehensive betting services.
- The guys on TheLines podcast talk about what the future of in-play betting might look like in the US.
- Las Vegas sportsbooks dodge a medium-caliber bullet when the Las Vegas Golden Knights lose the NHL Stanley Cup Final. Books stood to drop several million dollars on combined futures wagers if the Knights had won.
Bad sports betting takes
We’re going to just skip the good ones and go straight for the juicy stuff this week.
A month into life after PASPA, the sports betting conversation is still littered with uninformed, malicious opinions, exaggerations and lies. As Steve Ruddock put it, “everyone even peripherally involved seems to have lost their collective mind.”
Ruddock runs through some of most of the most egregious takes, but here are a few more to round out your week:
- An MLB official says the league would help curb offshore betting if lawmakers grant the integrity fees. That’s great and all, but the tone of the conversation came across like soliciting a bribe rather than acting in good faith.
- Former NCAA executive and new XFL commissioner Oliver Luck says maybe it’s time to reconsider the ban against student-athletes betting on sports. Wait, huh?
- The take that just won’t go away: States are going to be rolling in money from sports betting before long. Billions of dollars. Trillions, maybe, who knows?