When we wrote to you two weeks ago, Nevada was still the only place with fully legal sports betting.
The lag between the US Supreme Court decision and eastward expansion was short-lived, though. By last week, the count had grown to two with the addition of Delaware.
This week, there are three! New Jersey finally stormed through the doors on the one-month anniversary of the SCOTUS ruling. We now have, by informal definition, a crowd of states with legal sports betting.
Next week… well, no new states will have sports betting next week. Sorry. But a few continue to creep their way forward in various states of likelihood and progress.
Jump in the car real quick, and let us drive you around the landscape once more. Bring some water and your favorite podcast.
New Jersey has sports betting… finally!
The week’s biggest news was hard to miss.
New Jersey launched sports betting on Thursday, the culmination of a years-long fight against sports leagues that cost the state millions of dollars. The governor signed sports betting into law on Monday, the first regulations were published on Wednesday, and the windows were open the very next day.
Monmouth Park, the horse racing track in North Jersey, was the site of the most commotion on opening day. Dozens of media outlets and hundreds of bettors filled the William Hill Race & Sports Book starting around breakfast time.
State and industry representatives were in attendance, too, including Gov. Phil Murphy. He placed the very first legal bets, $20 each on Germany (7/2) and the New Jersey Devils (40/1) futures.
Borgata also opened its sportsbook, with NBA Hall of Famer Julius Erving calling out the first Atlantic City sports bet. Dr. J threw $5 on the Philadelphia Eagles to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
PlayNJ has a play-by-play account from Oceanport, if you’re interested in more on NJ sports betting.
Other NJ tidbits
- David Purdum of ESPN reports that the state’s three Caesars casinos (Ballys, Caesars, Harrahs) intend to launch NJ sports betting in August. More than half of the city’s casinos now have some sort of plan in place.
- Ocean Resort Casino is still waiting for its NJ gambling license. A hearing with regulators is scheduled for June 20, just eight days before the property is scheduled to open. It plans to offer sports betting from Day 1.
- Grant Lucas sizes up what the potential revenue from a mature NJ sports betting market might look like. Adam Candee does the same for other states flirting with the industry.
What the heck, New York?
Come on, New York. Why do you build me up (build me up) just to let me down?
The legislature is set to adjourn next week, and chatter suggests sports betting bills are unlikely to move in time. It’s a pity, too; there were tons of New Yorkers placing bets at Monmouth Park this week. At least we’re used to it. NY online gambling has been on the list of unfinished business for several years running.
Here’s what happened in a busy week for NY sports betting:
- Optimism: Bills in each chamber are modified to match each other. Getting the two bills to read the same is a good step toward expediting the proposal through the legislature.
- Pessimism: A spokesman for Assembly Democrats says there’s not enough support to proceed this session. The bills are on life support.
- Tribalism: The Oneida Indian Nation opposes NY sports betting, at least as the current law and proposals are written. Rumor has it the tribe is working on plans to offer sports betting, though.
- Indifference: A dormant bill seeking to add sports betting to the NY constitution is suddenly rekindled. This seems to do nothing but muddy the waters at this point, and prospects for movement are not good.
That being said, the last we heard from regulators was that they were considering moving forward under the existing law. If they do so, the state’s four commercial casinos could be allowed to offer sports betting this year.
And, it should be mentioned, NY has an uncanny habit of passing bills at the last possible second of a session.
Around the sports betting horn
There were things worth noticing in several other states — including one very large, very populous one in the West.
- Both Caesars and MGM have posted multiple job openings related to Mississippi sports betting. Each owns a pair of casinos in the state, and each operates sportsbooks in existing markets (Nevada and/or NJ). Tribes could move quickly on sports betting, too.
- Following its age-old tradition of making simple things complicated, Pennsylvania has “clarified” how accounts and skins will work for online gambling. It’s still a bit of a mess.
- A Michigan sports betting bill clears the House on the last day of the session. It’s good news, but the next steps will have to wait until lawmakers return the capital this fall.
- California stakeholders are making a new effort to get sports betting on an upcoming ballot. It’s still very early days in the conversation (which will be monumentally complicated), but it’s a start.
- The Rhode Island House passes a budget that includes authorization for RI sports betting.
This last item doesn’t really fit with state news, but there’s nowhere else to put it. And it involves a city, which is in a state. So here:
- William Hill and the Las Vegas Lights Football Club have partnered up to create “an enhanced match-day experience” (read: wagering). It’s the first post-PASPA partnership between a sportsbook and a sports team in the US.
Get your hot takes!
There were actually enough reasonable, sensible opinions this week to justify including some of them (unlike last week). Don’t worry, though, there were plenty of bad ones, too.
Do feel free to skip to the juicy stuff if you can’t help yourself.
- NJ Assemblyman Ralph Caputo asks the question many folks are wondering about the sports leagues: “What gives you the right to ask for an integrity fee other than your desire to get additional revenue?”
- Dustin Gouker says the NJ sports betting regs provide a decent template for other states to follow, with a few small exceptions.
- Poll: Expansion of sports betting will attract younger bettors. Yup, sounds right. One in five surveyed said they’d consider legally betting on sports.
- Batting leadoff, MLB says Nevada sports betting regulations suck, and operators should look to Australia as an example of how to cooperate with sports leagues. Seriously… a 70-year old, thriving market with a clean record is broken?
- Batting second… wait, it’s MLB again. The league says its teams are not permitted to solicit advertising from the sports betting industry. Meanwhile, it’s actively lobbying for direct influence over said industry, and it still has a stake in DFS-site-slash-sportsbook DraftKings. There’s a word for that sort of two-sided stance…
- The Action Network (which has a sports betting content partnership with ESPN) wants you to keep betting with offshore sites if some of the lines are better. Can we please stop saying this?
- You’d think retired US Sen. Bill Bradley would be educated about sports betting — PASPA was also called the Bradley Act stemming from his authorship. And yet, he’s still saying some epically dumb stuff about the industry. Like, too much dumb stuff to even list here.
- Popular sports radio host Mike Francesa says he’s invented an exciting new way to speculate on sports. And then he proceeds to literally just describe daily fantasy sports. It’d be a great idea if it didn’t already exist as a multimillion-dollar industry for the past decade.