FanDuel Sportsbook PA launch leads a busy week of sports betting news
Legal Sports Report

The Week In Sports Betting: A New Deal For FanDuel; Two More For DraftKings

sports betting news

It’s a brand new week, ladies and gents, and the first one with a meaningful football game since February — unless you include the short-lived Alliance of American Football. But who counts that?

The imminent return of peak sports season is happy news for bookmakers, and there are more of them working legally in the US this year than ever before. Ten states now have legal sports betting, and another handful is working to launch regulated industries before the end of the year.

We do our best to rehash all of the recent sports betting news with one big lap around the room. The LSR Podcast returned from its summer break last week too, and Episode #17 makes for good background noise while you read. Have a listen:

Listen to “LSR Podcast Ep.17 – New York Sportsbooks Are Here (Kind of), and PA Online Gambling Arrives” on Spreaker.

DraftKings makes two more deals

DraftKings became an authorized gaming operator for Major League Baseball last week, a privilege which includes the use of official league data and logos. It was only a matter of time, really. The two have ties dating back to 2013, when MLB became the first league to invest in what was then a startup daily fantasy sports company.

DraftKings is now a full-fledged gambling enterprise, underpinned by a competitive platform and a strong roster of partners across sports and gaming.

That list grew again last week, as the company announced a content and marketing relationship with the PGA Tour. That’s a fancy name for a partnership, and it may have implications for sports betting despite the limitation to DFS on its face. The Tour has worked to monetize its ShotLink product for use in the gaming space.

The deal sent a small ripple through DFS Twitter when outspoken golfer Max Homa made a mess of his opening round at the FedEx St. Jude Invitational:

FanDuel Sportsbook goes live in Pennsylvania

July has been a big month for online gambling in Pennsylvania. The first PA online casinos opened on schedule July 15, and the PA online sports betting market added another heavyweight last week.

FanDuel Sportsbook is the newest contender in the ring, approved for soft launch last Monday. The website and mobile app completed testing Wednesday, so the platform is now fully open for business. It is the fourth online sportsbook to launch in PA — behind SugarHouse, BetRivers, and Parx — and the only one with a standalone iOS app right now.

It’s too early to make many bold predictions about online sports betting in Pennsylvania, but FanDuel certainly seems to have the inside track.

It is the runaway leader among sportsbooks in New Jersey — both in user experience and in revenue — and it has been chomping at the bit to serve its more-populous neighbor. Operators with a footprint in both states enter the new market with a leg up on those limited to just one.

FanDuel, by the way, also has a new partnership with the Breeders’ Cup and a new retail sportsbook at Tioga Downs in New York.

Legal sports betting coming to North Carolina

As of Friday afternoon, sports betting is legal in North Carolina.

Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill into law that adds sports betting to the list of approved Class III games for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The Cherokee own two casinos in the Appalachian Mountains, both of which are Caesars operations. Both will have legal sportsbooks on-site under the new law.

That’s the extent of authorization for NC sports betting, however.

The law is exclusive to those remote tribal properties, changing little for the majority of NC residents. Folks along the East Coast, for instance, will still be geographically closer to legal options in other states than their own. But a sportsbook does represent an extra amenity for those that trek to Cherokee on occasion.

Lawmakers are also considering a separate bill aimed at studying a statewide, state-administered sports betting product. It would create a new NC Gaming Commission tasked with exploring the possibilities for expanded gambling, and it is just one step away from the governor.

We’ll have another update on that bill early this week.

The state of US sports betting

That new law in North Carolina gave us a chance to update our sports betting map, which is filling out rather nicely. Here’s what it looks like today:

What a difference a year makes.

Eight states have new (or existing) laws awaiting regulatory action, seven of which passed in 2019. Oregon didn’t need one; the state lottery is preparing to move into sports betting with SBTech under existing statute. Maine could have been number nine if not for the governor’s decision to squat on the enrolled bill.

You can’t see the pale yellow dot representing Washington, D.C., but DC sports betting is legal pending launch in the nation’s capital too.

Meanwhile, 10 states that enacted laws before the end of 2018 have regulated industries up and running at this point. If you’re betting on who might be next, regulators in both Indiana and Iowa are pressing hard to launch before NFL season.

Sports betting takes and tidbits

There are just a few crumbs of news left on the plate, but they’re worth finishing up.

We need to mention Ohio, which is one of the few states in which we’re expecting legislative action later this year. A dispute between key lawmakers is stifling progress, though. Sen. John Eklund and Rep. Dave Greenspan see two different paths to Ohio sports betting, and that standoff will shape the proceedings when the legislature reconvenes in September.

We also have some non-state-specific coverage to share from the pending transaction between Caesars and Eldorado. PlayUSA analyst Steve Ruddock is three parts into his “Anatomy of a Merger” series, and it’s good reading for those interested in the nuts and bolts of mergers and acquisitions:

  • Part I: The world’s largest casino company
  • Part II: Online implications of the merger
  • Part III: What does it mean for sports betting?

That’s what we have from last week. Follow @LSPReport on Twitter if you’re not already doing that, and check back here for more coverage throughout the week.

Happy Monday, y’all.

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.
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