Almost All's Well In A Slower Sports Betting Week
Legal Sports Report

The Week in Sports Betting: The Big Piece, Uncle Brent, And Captain Comeback

Sports betting news

Hey, look everybody — it’s Friday!

To be blunt, not much has changed between this week and last. We still have three states with legal sports betting and a couple more on the verge. Partnerships continue to fall into place and folks are upset at FanDuel. Pretty much a standard week around here.

Our forever goal is to keep this weekly rundown as brief as possible, and we typically don’t do a very good job. More often than not, there’s just too much news to deal with in a concise way. This week trotted along at a relatively relaxed canter, though, spawning a list that’s more manageable than usual.

Shall we go?

Scenes from New Jersey

Once again, NJ sports betting provided the majority of the headlines for us this week.

  • SBTech: Look out for these guys. The ambitious gaming supplier added Golden Nugget to its list of NJ clients, alongside standing deals with Resorts AC and Churchill Downs.
  • Unibet: During a Kindred Group earnings call, executives disclosed plans to deploy the Unibet brand in US markets, both for sports betting and online casino/poker.
  • Caesars: Temporary sportsbooks at Bally’s and Harrah’s are nearly finished, and parent company Caesars expects to open the betting windows at those properties next week.
  • Tourism: New numbers from “traffic data experts” reveal that Atlantic City hosted about a million visitors during the grand re-opening of its two newest properties, Ocean Resort Casino and Hard Rock AC.
  • PointsBet: An innovate wagering platform out of Australia is coming to this half of the world. PointsBet announced a partnership with Meadowlands this week.

Let’s talk a little more about Meadowlands while we’re here.

The property’s new FanDuel Sportsbook took in about $3.5 million in wagers through its first nine days of business, which seems pretty good. Launch hasn’t been without its hiccups, though, including excessive lines on opening day.

This week, some bettors were unable to cash their tickets when an extra-innings baseball game ended after closing time. Depending on whom you ask, it’s either no big deal or the worst thing that’s ever happened.

The truth sits somewhere in the middle, but it’s certainly not a good look for a new sportsbook in a newly regulated market.

News from other states

With ears to the ground, we picked up some sports betting vibrations in several other states this week.

  • Rhode Island & Delaware: Fairly big news out of two smallest states here. Twin River and Dover Downs announced plans to merge into a single, publicly traded company. Delaware sports betting is already live, and Rhode Island sports betting is in the on-deck circle.
  • Pennsylvania: During its earnings call, Penn National firmed up plans to offer PA sports betting at the appointed time. No rush. The group owns properties in three states with legal sports betting, including …
  • Mississippi: Everyone is just about ready for Mississippi sports betting, but there’s a kink in the hose somewhere. Casinos and bettors are in a holding pattern while they wait for the regulatory go-ahead. Timeline? Likely a matter of days or weeks.
  • Tennessee: The two Democratic candidates for governor fielded questions about Tennessee sports betting during a debate this past weekend. Both seemed keen on helping lawmakers explore the topic in 2019, if elected.
  • Ohio: A state representative pre-filed an Ohio sports betting bill for the House calendar next year, matching a Senate bill prefiled earlier. The matching bills express intentions to legalize sports betting in 2019.

Takes and tidbits

We only got one warm-ish take from an old ballplayer this week, which is mildly disappointing. Still, there’s a big plate of intriguing leftovers worth picking over.

  • VSiN: Former MLB slugger Ryan Howard is among the new investors in VSiN, the 24/7 sports betting media network anchored by Brent Musburger. Expect to hear a lot from VSiN going forward.
  • NCAA: The governing body for collegiate athletics announced that an internal team of “subject matter experts” is set to review the sports betting landscape. Cue the patronizing slow clap.
  • DFS: Pennsylvania daily fantasy sports revenue took a tumble in June, which is to be expected when you glance at the sparse sports summer calendar. Come on, football season.
  • Lawmaking: The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States met last week, spawning some useful discourse about so-called integrity fees and other considerations for the lawmaking process.
  • Super Live: A pair of former poker pros are involved with Metric Gaming, which has created the most-granular golf betting platform out there. The PGA Tour has begun to emerge as one of the most progressive leagues regarding sports gambling, except that whole integrity fee thing.
  • Captain Comeback: Former NFL quarterback and current Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh offered some strong words on sports betting: “Avoid it like the plague.” Michigan lawmakers considered multiple sports betting bills this year.
  • Oh Captain: Former Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes said captain Derek Jeter was known to make small locker-room bets with teammates … and then pay out his losses in pennies. Not cool, Jeets.

That appears to be all we have for you fine folks this week. As always, you should subscribe to TheLines Podcast if you’d prefer to get your highlights in audio form.

Happy Friday to those who celebrate such things.

Eric Ramsey
- Eric is a reporter and writer covering poker, sports betting, and DFS. He comes from a poker background, formerly on staff at PokerNews and the World Poker Tour.