It’s Monday, which means we’re a couple of days behind in the sports betting news cycle. What’d we miss?
Oh, wait, right, that’s our job. Of course. Let’s see here; it looks like … yep, much has happened since last we spoke. Isn’t that always the case?
The US sports betting industry increasingly resembles a book of Mad Libs these days, equal parts predictable and absurd. We had another “[league] partners with [gambling company]” announcement last week, for instance, plus a [mattress store owner] in [Texas] who bet [$4 million] on the [Astros] in [New Jersey].
We always seem to have some data to report too, and this week is no exception either. Here’s what’s been happening across the sports betting landscape over the past week or so.
Indiana sports betting ready for online debut
Indiana began rolling out its regulated sports betting industry last month, and it’s just about ready for the next phase.
Regulators issued a go-live authorization last week for Rush Street Gaming, which will christen online sports betting in Indiana on Oct. 3, if everything goes according to plan. Rush Street opened its retail sportsbook at French Lick early this month using Kambi trading.
The inaugural online launch will come via the BetRivers brand, and it will need to capitalize on any headstart it gets.
Nearly every US sports betting operator is preparing to enter the market behind Rush Street, including emerging leader FanDuel Sportsbook. Some of those competitors want/expect approval within a month, according to the state’s top regulator.
Presuming everything goes to plan, news of a successful mobile launch in Indiana should lead this recap once again next week. The Hoosier State isn’t the only one approaching the start of online betting, though.
Oregon Lottery ready for sports betting
The wait for statewide sports betting in Oregon is almost over, too.
Regulators have finished testing the SBTech platform, hoping to launch the official Oregon Lottery Scoreboard app on or before Oct. 7. Final approvals from banking partners and payment processors are the last items left on the to-do list.
Should the Lottery meet its target, online betting will launch about six weeks after the state’s first sportsbook opened at Chinook Winds.
Existing compacts do not authorize tribes in Oregon to offer gambling statewide, so the Lottery won’t face broad competition. The Scoreboard app will, however, only offer wagering on professional sports.
Depending on Indiana’s timing, Oregon will likely become the eighth state with full-scale mobile betting. We don’t count Mississippi, which only allows online wagering within the walls of its casinos.
Is New Jersey the king of US sports betting?
Don’t look now, but New Jersey once again topped Nevada in sports betting handle and revenue in August.
Both impressed, but the exact numbers are less important than the finishing order. NJ sports betting has now worn the crown for two consecutive months and three out of the last four, making it seem more like a long-term trend than a flash in the pan.
August marks the start of the busy season for all US sportsbooks, and the first signs of the surge are evident in the August reports.
NJ operators combined to book $293.5 million in wagers for the month, yielding a win of more than $25 million. Those numbers for the Nevada books were $288 million and $18 million respectively. That’s not bad at all — it’s almost an August record, in fact — but it’s not better than New Jersey.
Any time we talk about the performance of these two states, though, it comes with a look ahead.
Online sports betting is ramping up quickly in Pennsylvania, and the young PA sports betting industry should eventually surpass both of the current leaders. Operators there turned in their first $100 million month in August.
And then there’s Illinois sports betting, if that ever gets off the ground.
DraftKings & NFL partner up for sports gambling
Perhaps the biggest news of the week was the new NFL partnership with DraftKings.
It’s not a sports betting deal, though. This alliance, at least on paper, is expressly limited to daily fantasy sports (DFS). It takes a long lens to spot the difference any more given the explosive growth and marketing prowess of DraftKings Sportsbook.
The exclusive daily fantasy partnership includes NFL branding and sponsorship for DFS purposes, plus joint support across each other’s content network. That means, for example, that the NFL will assist in creating content for placement within the DraftKings app.
The press release does not mention official league data.
Despite saying words to distance itself from sports betting, the NFL’s actions include league-level partnerships across the casino, betting data and fantasy sports industries. And lest anyone try to tell you differently, paid-entry fantasy sports are just a catchy form of gaming.
If you’ll grant that separation, though, the NFL is still the only one of the four major US leagues without an actual sports betting partner.
Sports betting takes and tidbits
This last category usually ends up collecting a bunch of tidbits, but we actually have a few takes to cover this time around.
- What does Fox Bet say?: Few operators have the pieces in place to compete nationwide, but Fox Bet is on that shortlist. LSR recently had the chance to sit down with CEO Robin Chhabra for a Q&A about how the BetStars rebrand fits into the broader US roadmap for The Stars Group.
- Dear Mr. Silver: Now and then, Adam Silver makes comments that betray his true motivations. Despite being an early advocate for sensible regulation, the NBA commissioner is still hung up on the (legally unsubstantiated) argument that leagues are the creators of intellectual property — and are, therefore, due an integrity fee.
- What the puck?: The American Gaming Association announced last week that Gary Bettman would headline a panel on new industries at this year’s G2E conference in Las Vegas. We’ll let you write your take on that one, but the fact that the NHL commissioner led the push for the 1992 federal ban (which SCOTUS overturned last year) makes him a curious choice. Sara Slane, who recently vacated the AGA’s top role, is now an NHL consultant.
- Mattress Mack: We kept you on the hook for this one. You should definitely read about the Houston entrepreneur who is hedging his mattress promotion with a huge World Series futures bet.
Anything sports law scholar John Holden writes is worth reading, and his latest contribution is no exception. Last week, Holden discussed the lessons we should glean from the recent epidemic of esports match-fixing.
Congratulations, you’re all caught up. Keep an eye on LSR for more news and analysis throughout the week, and follow @LSPReport on Twitter for updates in your timeline.
Happy Monday, y’all.