Mobile Growth Continues, Financial Updates From GVC & Kindred
Legal Sports Report

The Week In Sports Betting News: NJ, PA Sports Betting Show Mobile Gains

sports betting news

Happy Tuesday, everyone, and welcome to your weekly sports betting news recap.

Legislatures are in full swing, which means there are plenty of sports betting stories to go over. Aside from bill news, companies started reporting their earnings and 2019 sports betting results are flowing.

Make sure to follow Legal Sports Report on Twitter @LSPReport and subscribe to the podcast for up-to-date news and insight.

With that, let’s jump into what happened last week.

NJ, PA sports betting results show growth

The first full year of NJ sports betting figures prove there’s still plenty of growing demand for wagering.

New Jersey took more than $4.5 billion in bets last year, the vast majority of which came online. December’s share was the highest yet with 88% of handle coming from online.

The Garden State set a few records throughout football season, which was encouraging to see as neighboring Pennsylvania also ramped up its sports betting operations.

Online PA sports betting didn’t have a whole year of operations like retail did, but it was obviously a catalyst. The Keystone State had $1.49 billion in handle all year with more than 70% of all handle coming from online. December’s record handle of $342.6 million saw 86.8% of the money bet online.

GVC, Kindred on US momentum in Q4

Two sports betting operators trying to find their way in the US are still experiencing some growing pains.

GVC Holdings stated its online revenues grew strongly throughout the fourth quarter and the company excited for 2020. GVC is the joint-venture partner of MGM Resorts in Roar Digital, which operates the BetMGM app.

GVC specifically pointed toward BetMGM’s agreement with Yahoo Sports, which gives BetMGM access to 60 million customers. The partnership currently is live in New Jersey with five more states expected this year.

It’s still too early to say if BetMGM is falling behind GVC’s projections. The company forecasted a 10% to 15% New Jersey market share by March. The company had roughly 7.7% of revenue in December.

Kindred, the parent company of Unibet, mentioned its $8 million loss for US operations in the fourth quarter matched internal expectations.

The company launched the brand in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania during the quarter, so a lot of those costs are for licensing and marketing. Lower losses are expected in coming quarters as revenue is picking up, CEO Henrik Tjarnstrom said.

Washington sports betting not likely to move

Maverick Gaming helped to craft an inclusive Washington sports betting bill but CEO Eric Persson doesn’t expect legalization this year.

The bill would include online WA sports betting and give a license to each cardroom, racetrack and tribal casino operator in the state. That would create 44 sports betting licenses.

It also includes a ban on any game involving Washington’s college teams or any college event in the state, which Persson said was the likeliest path to success.

But Persson is also a realist and understands sports betting might not be at the top of Gov. Jay Inslee‘s list currently. Inslee is in an election year and has a shortened 60-day legislature to get important topics tackled.

The Maverick-supported bill isn’t the only initiative in the state. One supported by the tribes, which would only allow sports betting at tribal casinos, was also introduced.

Kentucky sports betting gets gubernatorial support

New Gov. Andy Beshear said he fully supports the Kentucky sports betting bill submitted by Rep. Adam Koenig and wants to get it passed this year during his State of the Commonwealth address.

That bill also got a couple of important tweaks last week as it passed through committee that make better for the industry as a whole.

The first was the removal of a ban on in-state college betting, which is crucial for states with no professional teams. The second is adding an 18-month limit to the in-person registration requirement.

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- Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.
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