The Week In Sports Betting News: West Virginia Shocked Us For Minutes

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For those not keeping track anymore, let us remind you: It’s Monday. And somehow, a month after the leagues started to shut down because of the coronavirus, there’s still plenty of sports betting news.

The LSR Twitter account, @LSPReport, remains to be your best resource to keep up with breaking news all around the sports betting world.

And, check out last week’s edition of the LSR podcast, in which our faithful hosts discuss the hottest topic of last week.

Biggest sports betting news: WV launches, cancels

If you bet that election betting would go live at some point at a legal US sportsbook, then you won. But barely.

One of the top sports betting stories of 2020 took place last week when FanDuel Sportsbook launched election betting in West Virginia, then quickly reversed course.

The West Virginia Lottery gave FanDuel the go-ahead to launch election betting. The lottery quickly asked the sportsbook to pull the odds hours later, then received a smackdown of WWE proportions from various political figures

It turns out, neither the governor nor the Secretary of State thinks election betting has any place in West Virginia.

Election betting does not appear legal in the US. And with the quick shutdown in West Virginia, it’s unlikely any other state tries to launch a similar product any time soon.

WV’s unique coronavirus timeline for sports betting

While West Virginia gambled and lost on election betting, its reporting method for sports betting helped show the slowdown of gambling in the state.

Sportsbooks had less than $1 million in handle in each of the two weeks ending March 21 and March 28, which makes them the worst weeks in West Virginia sports betting history.

That is, of course, because there were very few sports available to bet on as sports around the world shut down for the coronavirus pandemic.

SBTech shutdown could cost millions

The West Virginia fiasco also helped an update fall through the cracks on one of 2020’s other biggest fiascos.

SBTech‘s current owners have to set aside at least $30 million of the $600 million being paid by DraftKings to help cover costs relating to its outages than began March 27.

Some US sportsbooks are still not live, while international partners were down for about six days. Everyone is going to want compensation.

The shutdown even delayed the shareholder vote from Diamond Eagle, which is buying DraftKings and taking it public. The vote was supposed to take place last Thursday.

NJ, NV allow NASCAR iRacing bets

Unique times call for unique measures, and the sports betting world is no different. So, when NASCAR decided to let its professional drivers compete in a video game while off the track, sportsbooks took notice.

Regulators in both New Jersey and Nevada authorized their books to take bets on the races. It was nothing new for Nevada, which authorized betting on various Counter-Strike leagues prior to the NASCAR approvals. But it’s the first esports betting approval in New Jersey since the League of Legends World Championship Final last November.

Rahul Sood, CEO of esports betting operator Unikrn, told LSR last month that he expects more esports betting approvals throughout the US.

Michigan online betting sooner than expected?

Michigan originally planned to start online gambling, including mobile sports betting, next year. The coronavirus pandemic might have changed that.

Rep. Brandt Iden, who introduced the bill legalizing online gambling and sports betting last year, said everyone is working on getting the online piece of the puzzle up and running.

His comments come after Michigan launched retail sports betting just days before sports around the world shut down. Sports betting revenue from the three Detroit casinos was $105,548 in those few days before casinos were closed.

Massachusetts still has a chance to legalize

While most states might be done considering opportunities to legalize sports betting this year, it looks like Massachusetts could be an outlier.

A bill that would legalize up to eight online sportsbooks and retail sports betting has until July 31 to pass the state’s legislature.

Duane Morris’ Gaming Industry Group expects the bill to pass both chambers this year.