Happy Monday, everyone. We’re surging toward the end of 2019 with some surprisingly big happenings for the typically slow holiday season.
Last week included news that another state could legalize sports betting before the end of the year, new bills with familiar foes and a shakeup in Washington, DC. Let’s recap the biggest stories.
Racing toward Michigan sports betting legalization
It looked like it would be another year of failed Michigan sports betting efforts in the Great Lakes State. Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. appears to have helped to change that outcome.
Hertel assisted in bringing Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to the negotiating table. Hertel told LSR he fully expects multiple gaming bills to be signed by Whitmer before Christmas.
Whitmer and Republican Rep. Brandt Iden had been unable to compromise all year over the proposed tax rates in Iden’s gaming bills.
The first step to legalization for the MI sports betting bills, which would also legalize online gaming, is to vote them out of committee Tuesday to the Senate floor.
Show-Me State shows integrity fees
Integrity fees reared their ugly head in two prefiled Missouri sports betting bills that are similar to two that failed last year.
The inclusion of those fees was a bit surprising. The House held a Special Interim Committee on Gaming over the past few months to look into sports betting among other issues.
At a meeting with operators, Chairman Dan Shaul noted sportsbook operators clearly opposed any mandated payment to the leagues.
But that didn’t stop Sen. Denny Hoskins and Sen. Troy Luetkemeyer from including the fees in their proposed bills.
Hoskins’ bill includes 0.25% of handle for the leagues while Luetkemeyer wants 0.75% of handle paid to the leagues. That puts the effective revenue tax at 14% for Hoskins and 21.25% for Luetkemeyer.
The special interim committee would like to see MO sports betting legalized so no revenue is lost to other states. The committee took no stance on integrity fees.
California moving on with sports betting hearings
Sen. Bill Dodd and Assemblyman Adam Gray will proceed with hearings to flesh out a California sports betting bill beginning in January.
ACA 16 would put sports betting on the voting ballot to be approved by California residents.
The two originally planned to hold the first hearing in November but a competing plan led to a delay. Eighteen key Indian gaming tribes filed their own initiative for voters to approve CA sports betting at just tribal casinos and statewide racetracks.
The tribes’ initiative would not legalize mobile or online sports betting, and would also permit them to offer craps and roulette at their casinos.
Hit the road, Jack
One of the key members that landed Intralot a no-bid contract to operate sports betting in Washington, DC is on the way out the door.
The DC Council voted unanimously to recommend expelling Jack Evans for ethics violations. He’ll be formally booted next week if he doesn’t resign first.
Evans helped push through the exclusive contract for Intralot, which prevented other lottery suppliers like IGT and Scientific Games from bidding for the contract. He reportedly used his public office to benefit private consultancy clients and employers for economic gain.