Big news from Little Rhody and much more across the map

The Week In Sports Betting: A Small State, A Tiny District And Big Data

sports betting news

Hello again, Friday friends! We apologize for the tardiness and the brevity last week. Something something holidays and … well, you know. Frankly (and fortunately), though, there wasn’t a ton of news in need of recapping.

That is not the case this week. We are both on-time and long-winded this afternoon, with plenty of things to talk about from a post-holiday rush of sports betting news.

Let us get to it without any additional ado, then.

Rhode Island sports betting makes eight

OK, Rhode Island. You have earned your spot this week!

Better late than never, RI sports betting began Monday at Twin River Casino in Lincoln. It’s happening in a temporary space for now, with the permanent book slated to open in a couple of weeks. The other, newer property in Tiverton will also have its sportsbook up and running next week.

The regulated industry falls under the administration of the RI Lottery, with IGT and William Hill providing the tech. It is land-based, in-person only at those two casinos.

Welcome aboard, Lil Rhody. You are state No. 8 with legal sports gambling.

MGM + MLB (and NBA and NHL)

For the third time in recent months, a partnership between MGM and a US professional sports league stole the show.

This time, it is Major League Baseball.

MGM is now the official gaming partner for MLB in a deal which spans both the US and Japan. The union includes cross-promotion and the use of official league data and logos and such. So-called “next-gen” baseball stats will be exclusive to MGM and could power improved in-play betting.

While commonplace abroad, these sorts of alliances are sudden and new in the US. And MGM is owning the space so far. It is also an official league-level partner of both the NBA and NHL under similar agreements.

Incidentally, the NBA announced potentially important data deals with Sportradar and Genius Sports this week.

Oh, also! MGM CEO Jim Murren says he is “offended” by the concept of the integrity fee. Us, too.

News from The District

Well, look at what we have here — a standalone section for the District of Columbia.

A scheduled DC sports betting hearing on Wednesday suddenly became even more intriguing when a draft copy of the bill the evening prior. Sponsor and committee chair Jack Evans proposed the inclusion of an integrity fee on revenue, trading payment for the use of official league data.

The new language made for a spicy hearing, with Evans’ colleagues pushing back on the fee. Councilmember Vincent Gray proposed removal, and the committee advanced the bill minus that royalty section.

The possibility of legalization is suddenly pretty near at hand in The District. The first reading of Bill 22-944 is scheduled for next Tuesday.

What do you say, PA?

Pennsylvania sports betting launched earlier this month, and the market monopoly is about to expire for Hollywood Casino. The PA Gaming Control Board met this week, spawning a few noteworthy decisions:

  • Mohegan Sun Pocono is approved for online casino games, but it withdrew its poker application. It has not divulged its partner yet either, but Kindred Group seems like a possible match.
  • PokerStars is approved for PA online poker and online casino under the license of Mount Airy. It also announced a huge deal with Eldorado Resorts this week, which facilitates access into as many as 11 more states.
  • Kambi (Parx) and Rush Street Interactive (Rivers/SugarHouse) are approved to supply sports betting to their casino partners (in parenthesis).

Regarding that last bullet, Rivers and SugarHouse are just about ready to go. There were even rumblings of a potential Dec. 1 opening, but it now appears that it’ll be a matter of weeks rather than days — but coming soon, though.

Takes and tidbits

With lots of news this week; here’s some more:

  • SWIMA: US sports betting operators have banded together to create a private, nonprofit organization to safeguard the industry. Caesars and MGM Resorts are the founding trustees for this new Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association. A former NJ regulator is involved at the top level, too.
  • You reckon?: Hospitable Kentucky is among the clear favorites to pass a sports betting bill in 2019. It has three on file already, and the state attorney general recently professed support for gambling expansion in a broader sense.
  • Rock on!: Lovely Hard Rock Atlantic City has made it official with its partner, GiG. A new press release says they’ll launch their NJ sports betting platform(s) early next year.
  • Get connected: It looks like West Virginia sports betting could be online shortly. All five casinos are now licensed, and the last two plan to launch retail and digital sportsbooks in tandem.
  • Nevada wins again: For the umpteenth consecutive month (est.), Nevada sports betting won money in October. A hot streak for bettors, however, reduced the total haul to $29 million on $528 million in wagers.

That’s all she wrote.

Probably should have done this at the top, but if you’d rather hear your news than read it, TheLines Podcast is a decent way to do that. This week’s episode features a rousing discussion on Thanksgiving food, too, including my reasonably mean homemade cranberry sauce.

Have a good weekend, y’all — especially you, Rhode Island.

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