Legal Sports Report

The Week In Sports Betting: Penn National Wheels And Deals, Iowa Races Indiana To The Start

Sports betting news

Not every week is dense enough with sports betting news to warrant a full-sized recap. But frankly, last week was not one of those weeks. The story that broke Wednesday was the largest in some time.

We’ll start with the basics for now, though, available in both visual and audio form. The crew of the LSR Podcast spent the majority of its most recent episode dissecting the big announcement, too.

Listen to “LSR Podcast Ep.18 – Is This The Last Big Partnership Left For US Sports Betting? Plus, More States Live!” on Spreaker.

Penn National drops a bombshell

It’s no exaggeration to say that last week’s news from Penn National will shape the future of US sports betting. On Wednesday, the company unveiled an expansive long-term blueprint, including major new partnerships.

Penn will use Kambi to power its sportsbooks going forward, both retail and online. The deal encompasses its entire portfolio of 41 properties in 19 states, eight of which have legal sports betting today. Kambi supplants William Hill as Penn’s supplier and primary partner.

It’s not the only new partner, though.

Penn also announced market-access deals with four competing operators, a list that includes some of the biggest names in the game. It’ll be some time before we understand how all of the pieces fit together, as each partner holds a different priority in each state.

A few things are clear, though:

  • DraftKings Sportsbook gets access to six new markets and 17 in total. Most notably, it will soon enter Pennsylvania via the license of Meadows Casino.
  • TheScore gave up some equity in exchange for increased access to the US. Its immediate points of entry under Penn include Indiana, Iowa and Mississippi.
  • PointsBet also surrendered equity to more than double its total access to the US market. It has direct paths into Indiana and West Virginia.
  • The Stars Group now has two large deals, this one bringing it access to 20 states. It has skin priority No. 1 in Illinois and Indiana.

Iowa sports betting draws nigh

Penn is among the casino operators waiting to christen sports betting in Iowa, and it’s almost showtime.

Regulators approved emergency rules last week, then issued 18 of the 19 operating licenses. With college football driving the urgency, the first casinos should begin opening sportsbooks — or betting windows, at least — on-property on Aug. 15. That’s barely three months after sports betting became law.

Online and mobile betting might not be available at launch, though. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission still needs to license digital suppliers, some of which are new to the US sports betting market entirely. Most are active in other jurisdictions, though, and should be able to expedite their approvals.

The new law of the land also authorizes daily fantasy sports (DFS), and regulators are moving on that front, too. DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo have each applied for DFS licenses.

NCAA football season kicks off on Aug. 24, by which time brick-and-mortar sports betting should be available in Iowa. There will not be, by law, any prop betting on in-state collegiate teams or players.

Indiana sports betting coming, too

It will likely lose the race to the start among the “I” states in the Midwest, but Indiana is right behind Iowa.

The Indiana Gaming Commission also issued licenses to some operators, and the regulator plans to finalize emergency rules Aug. 28. That should deliver IN sports betting in time for NFL season, at least. Week 1 starts Sept. 5.

Like those in Iowa, operators in Indiana expect to open brick-and-mortar sportsbooks before launching online and mobile platforms. The latter involves far more moving pieces — things like data integrity, know-your-customer (KYC) and self-exclusion protocols and geolocation.

The law in Indiana similarly bans in-play prop betting on in-state collegiate athletes, but just about everything else will be on the board. Expect retail launch as soon as Sept. 1.

Elsewhere in US sports betting

Connecticut lawmakers continue to search for the recipe to legalize sports betting, an endeavor that has, so far, been unsuccessful.

A new proposal dubbed the Connecticut Jobs and Revenue Act moves for a comprehensive expansion of gambling including sports betting, online gambling, an online lottery and a new land-based casino. Legislative leaders say they have an agreement, per a subsequent report from WSHU, but Gov. Ned Lamont does not support the bill as written.

We also seem to touch on North Carolina every week, so let’s do it again.

Gov. Roy Cooper previously signed the tribal sports betting bill into law, but a parallel effort is also close to passage. The Senate, however, is not expected to approve House changes to the bill that would establish an NC Gaming Commission to study statewide wagering. Presuming the standoff continues, the issue seems destined to wind up in conference.

Takes and tidbits

Sports law scholar John Holden had a couple of good entries last week, chronicling the rise and fall of Legendz Sportsbook.

A few other things from the recent news cycle worth touching on:

Speaking of which: This seems like a good place to plug our new sports betting revenue page. It tracks handle and revenue for every month across every state, and it’s updated through June at the moment.

That’s all we have this time, lads and ladies. Stay tuned for more sports betting news and views throughout the week, and follow @LSPReport on Twitter for updates in your timeline.

Have a happy Monday, 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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