Welcome back to another edition of what the heck happened in sports betting this week. As usual these days, the answer is “a lot.”
Football season has appeared in the windshield, and casino operators and sportsbook companies are scurrying into position in states with legal wagering. That includes New Jersey, of course, where the landscape is filling in just in time.
Let’s start our weekly recap there in the Garden State, then.
What’s new in New Jersey?
A couple of brand-new sportsbooks launched online NJ sports betting, that’s what’s new.
DraftKings Sportsbook was, of course, the first to do so way back on Aug. 1. It had a monopoly on the market for more than three weeks, but competition finally has arrived.
Two more clients went live this week, bringing the total to three.
- playMGM: Three weeks after teasing the launch prematurely, MGM rolled out its standalone sports betting client in NJ. There’s no visible evidence of the NBA partnership yet, but you’d expect the league logo to pop up at some point.
- SugarHouse: A day after MGM, SugarHouse sportsbook joined the market. The platform, created with the help of Kambi, is the first one to serve up a unified online casino/sportsbook in NJ.
Playtech adds yet another large gambling company from Europe to the list of US suitors. During a presentation this week, Playtech revealed that it filed an application for NJ sports betting with the state.
Catch up on the rest of what we know about online sports betting in NJ to date by clicking that link you just passed. You’ll notice no firm timeline for FanDuel Sportsbook, but you have to believe it’s coming soon.
News from other states
Summer is a quiet time in state capitals around the country, especially during an election year. Even the few statehouses that remain in session can be reluctant to address major issues this time of year.
That being said, NFOS was at high tide this week. Regulators are hard at work in a couple, and officials in a few others made their own bits of sports betting news.
- West Virginia: The start of WV sports betting is just eight days away and things seem to be moving ahead smoothly. Four of the state’s five casinos have received interim licenses, and William Hill, FanDuel and DraftKings are all approved as providers. The latter doesn’t have a partner in WV, though.
- Pennsylvania: PA sports betting is legal pending launch, but the process has been far from smooth. This week, a group of casinos filed a lawsuit to challenge the legality of the new PA iLottery games. They look a lot like slot machines. Casinos are also peeved about the new virtual sports betting product that launched this week.
- Connecticut: There will be no CT sports betting this year. Gov. Dannel Malloy called off plans to hold a special session, officially shelving the issue until 2019. The state has a partial law in place, but tribal complications and a case of bad timing have scuttled progress.
- Illinois: Lawmakers held the first of two hearings on a Chicago casino bill, rekindling the discussion on IL sports betting and online gambling. The group didn’t make a ton of progress, but the second hearing in October should provide a better sense of the legislative appetite.
- California: A new lobbying group is working to gather signatures for CA sports betting, but the country’s largest market also has one of its most complicated gambling situations. The earliest you could see an in-state bet on the Lakers would be following the 2020 election.
- Nevada: Now is the time to root out shoddy operations, and NV sports betting regulators are considering the ultimate penalty for one of the major suppliers. CG Technologies is in hot water amid a string of gaming violations, facing at least a fine and potentially a license revocation.
Getting wordy about sports betting
You may have noticed that the conversation surrounding sports betting has begun to graduate to the next level. People are still spouting plenty of uninformed takes, mind you, but we’ve moved beyond the basics. Now we’re starting to hear more about the real nuts and bolts of the industry, the mechanics of how sports betting does and should happen.
Here are a few deeper dives that you may find interesting:
- Steve Ruddock spoke at length with David Rebuck, the director of the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement. Nobody is as connected to NJ sports betting as Rebuck, and his comments provide deep insight into what’s involved in regulating the industry.
- John Holden is seven episodes into his series explaining case law related to sports data and intellectual property. This week’s case was a big one, the CBC v. MLB Advanced Media suit involving the use of stats for fantasy sports products.
- Chops digs into one of the topics that has the undergarments of hardcore bettors in a bunch: bookmakers who cut off or limit action from winning bettors. You probably won’t like his stance if you’re among that small group, but that doesn’t mean he’s wrong.
If that’s not wordy enough for you, the guys on TheLines Podcast spent the better part of an hour talking about all of the news this week, including a few things not mentioned in this recap. Click Play and keep reading.
Daily fantasy sports!
Just so we’re on the same page, DraftKings and FanDuel are actually daily fantasy sports companies at heart. Crazy, right?
It’s a rare week when there’s enough DFS news to justify a dedicated section in this recap anymore, but these are rare times. Daily fantasy football season is mouth-wateringly close, and fantasy chatter is ramping back up for players and operators alike.
The ‘big two’ dropped big news week:
- FanDuel rolled out a series of updates, a couple new game formats, and a new advertising campaign in preparation for the fall surge. They’ve been busy in the lab, and pretty much every change is designed to make the product more approachable to casual players.
- DraftKings announced that it’s bringing college football back for the upcoming season. The major sites stopped offering them 2016 amid pressure from the NCAA, but now … well, screw it. CFB contests are available in the 26 states that don’t have an explicit prohibition.
Boom Fantasy also sent customers an e-mail announcing CFB contests this season.
Takes and tidbits
That’s the bulk of the pressing news, but as usual, there are plenty of crumbs left over. Here are the rest of the stories that tried to slip through the cracks this week:
- BREAKING: Popular sports radio host Mike Francesa is at it again. In pitching his new mobile app to CNBC, Francesa offers the not-so-bold prediction that sports betting will change the way we consume sports in the US. The $8.99/month subscription is a real bargain for takes that fresh.
- Survey says: Sports betting surveys are a dime a dozen these days, and most of them lead to similar conclusions. A new one from the AGA/Nielsen reinforces that existing bettors are likely to gravitate toward regulated options. Prospective bettors tend to be younger and less affluent than the current base. Their ranks could swell as legal sports betting expands.
- Fake sports: Sorry, virtual sports. The PA Lottery and Scientific Games successfully launched XPress Sports, a virtual sports betting product available at bars and retail locations throughout the Commonwealth. Still can’t bet on real sports yet, though …
- UnderDawg Pound: The public is driving down futures prices for the Cleveland Browns, who have won total of one game over the past two seasons. Widespread recreational sports betting should have sharps licking their chops as bookmakers adjust for the influx.
- AML: More from Holden here, because he’s a very smart person. Holden muses on how anti-money-laundering safeguards may slow the rollout of sports betting. And that’s okay.
- STOP IT: Folks who cover sports continue to cite lines from offshore sites, and it’s really ticking us off. Some of these sites are entirely unregulated. And all of them are operating illegally if they’re taking bets from US customers. Stop. Citing. Offshore. Lines. We have oddsmakers providing services legally at home.
All right, they’ve gone and gotten me all worked up late on a Friday afternoon, so let’s just call it a week right there. Chances are good we’ll do it again next week, and chances are good we’ll have to copy/paste that last bullet and use it again.
Enjoy your weekend, and remember to bet responsibly.