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We’ve reached the end of another dense week of sports betting news, and a three-day weekend has arrived for those of us in the US. Some of you might even have snuck out the door a few minutes early to get ready for the evening’s college football games. And who could blame you?
We’ll see if the news machine decides to honor the holiday, but the smart money doesn’t see it happening. If next week is anything like this one, it won’t. This recap tries to hit the highlights in a relatively concise way, so keep reading if that sounds like your cup of tea.
There’s no question where we should begin this week. As of Thursday, beautiful West Virginia is the fifth state with a legal sports betting industry.
Let’s go there …
Things have happened briskly for WV sports betting. Although it was the first state to legalize sports betting this year, things were mostly quiet until this month. In the span of a few weeks, however, regulators published rules for sports betting, vetted applications for four casinos and multiple suppliers, and began issuing licenses.
And now, the betting windows are officially open.
Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races opened its William Hill sportsbook two days ahead of schedule Thursday morning. No surprise: the state’s first legal ticket was a bet on WVU football to win the National Championship this season.
NFL legend and commentator Joe Theismann will be Hollywood’s guest of honor for the opening ceremonies Saturday. Neither Lawrence Taylor nor Gov. Jim Justice are likely invited to the proceedings.
Welcome aboard, West Virginia.
Of note, both FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook have received interim licenses to offer WV sports betting. The former is partnered with The Greenbrier, while the latter is still looking for a dance partner.
There’s just the right amount of NFOS to lump it all together into one section. Here’s what happened outside of West Virginia this week:
The two largest daily fantasy sports operators are neck-and-neck in the race to capture a sports betting audience.
FanDuel has a retail sportsbook open in New Jersey and market-access deals into well over a dozen states. This week, sources told PlayPennsylvania that it has partnered with Valley Forge in PA, capitalizing on its new partnership with Boyd Gaming.
It is, however, still lacking an online/mobile product that it could have introduced into two states by now. Legal Sports Report demoed the FanDuel Sportsbook early this week — so it must be nearly ready — but launch did not come before the holiday weekend.
FanDuel also had a strange false start with the rollout of its new content delivery platform, The Duel.
DraftKings does not have its logo on a retail sportsbook yet, but it was the first NJ operator to launch an online/mobile betting client. Its short-term reach appears to be limited, though, lacking the requisite combination of license and casino partner in all states not named New Jersey.
What it does have — or is about to have — is cash. DraftKings is reportedly approaching its goal of raising $200 million at a $1.5 billion valuation. The investor(s) is/are unknown, but DraftKings will no doubt use the funding to strengthen its sports betting position.
Another thing it has is a partnership with Buffalo Wild Wings. Rumors of a sports betting alliance have not materialized, but DraftKings will create a custom Blazin’ Fantasy Football DFS game for all 1,200 BW3 locations.
There are actually a ton of leftovers this week, the crumbs that we like to scrape together down here at the bottom. Some of this week’s crumbs were pretty substantial, too.
And now you know … the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say.
That’s all we’ve got for you this week because football is about to start. Enjoy your holiday weekend. We’ll see you on Monday or Tuesday or something.