The Week In Sports Betting News: Is The NFL Finally Embracing Wagering?

Posted on February 10, 2020

Happy Monday, everyone, and welcome back to our weekly sports betting news recap.

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Biggest sports betting news: NFL hiring VP of betting

Our Brad Allen broke the news that the NFL is finally moving toward the acceptance of sports betting with plans to hire a vice president of sports betting.

The job description focuses on four points:

  • Protecting integrity
  • Advancing the NFL’s brand
  • Driving fan engagement
  • Growing the value of its data and IP

It’s been a heck of a couple years for the NFL. Back in 2015, a fantasy football convention that was supposed to have more than 100 players in attendance was canceled after the NFL enforced its ban of players attending events at or sponsored by casinos.

Now, the league has a team in Las Vegas and an official casino sponsor in Caesars.

It’s probably best for all involved that the NFL is finally starting to embrace sports betting. Legal sports bets on the Super Bowl this year totaled nearly $270 million from 10 states. That will only grow as more states continue to legalize and markets mature.

It’s a maybe in Maine

It looked like Maine was going to miss out on legal sports betting this year after Gov. Janet Mills vetoed a bill to legalize it.

Mills vetoed it over fears that legalizing sports betting would justify legal betting on other competitions like spelling bees and school board election. Seriously. Read the veto letter, it’s shockingly not a joke.

Luckily, there are some in Maine’s legislature that see sports betting differently. A two-thirds majority in the Senate voted 20-10 to override Mills’ veto.

The veto now moves to a vote in the House. Rep. Scott Strom told LSR he’s confident the votes are there for an override in the house. A successful house vote would make Maine the 21st state with legal sports betting law on the books.

Maryland has robust sports betting bill

Sports betting proponents in Maryland praised Del. Eric Ebersole for a sports betting bill that would legalize sportsbooks at casinos and racetracks as well as 16 online licenses.

Nearly everyone at the House Ways and Means Committee supported HB 225, except for some of the casino operators.

Cordish Cos. and MGM Resorts would like to see sports betting allowed just at casinos. Cordish expects the state would get up to an additional $115 million in gaming revenue if sportsbooks were only operated by casinos due to sports bettors playing at tables and slots.

The Washington Redskins also praised the bill, with one condition: they want in. The team said it would build a year-round sports betting facility if granted a betting license.

New York DFS in danger

Daily fantasy sports fans who live in New York are in jeopardy of losing access to the contests – again.

The New York Supreme Court upheld a decision from Acting Justice Gerald W. Connolly that called DFS unconstitutional. The state illegally expanded gambling when it classified DFS as a game of skill in 2016, he said.

For now, DFS can continue as an appeal is expected. In a statement, DraftKings said it believes the legislative action authorizing fantasy sports was constitutional.

Flutter-Stars merger gets competition inquiry

The $6 billion merger between FanDuel owner Flutter and Fox Bet joint venture partner The Stars Group is now under routine inquiry in the UK.

That’s not as big of a deal as it sounds, however. The Competition and Markets Authority typically investigates when a merger would give a combined company more than 25% of market share.

Flutter and Stars Group would control an estimated 40% of the UK online betting market.

One analyst said he didn’t expect any significant changes to come as part of the review.

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Matthew Waters

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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