The Week In Sports Betting News: DraftKings Finally Goes Public

Posted on April 27, 2020

Happy Monday, everyone, and welcome back from an exciting week. Last week included some of the biggest sports betting news the industry has seen since the coronavirus shut down sports in March.

Remember, this weekly recap isn’t the only resource LSR has to keep the industry up to date on what’s going on around sports betting. The most recent LSR Podcast expands on a number of last week’s top stories.

Meanwhile, follow @LSPReport on Twitter for the latest breaking news, updates and top stories.

Top sports betting news: DraftKings public launch

DraftKings dominated late-week headlines as the company traded publicly for the first time Friday.

Diamond Eagle shareholders overwhelmingly approved the $2.7 billion cash and stock acquisition of the sports betting and daily fantasy sports operator. Also included in the deal was the closing of the sportsbook tech supplier SBTech acquisition.

The stock received a positive reaction from the public, jumping 10.38% Friday on nearly 11.5 million trades. It appeared positioned for a positive Monday as well after the stock opened up more than 16%.

The deal took a little longer to close than expected, with the shareholder vote previously scheduled for early April. That might have been because of a cyberattack on SBTech, which knocked out all of its sportsbook partners at the end of March. Some of those partners didn’t come back online until mid-April.

That caused a change in the transaction and could have legacy SBTech owners on the hook for $30 million or more to cover claims from the attack.

DraftKings settles suit too

Making a smaller splash across headlines was the news that DraftKings settled a class-action lawsuit concerning the 2019 Sports Betting National Championship.

The company wound up paying out just $102,000, most of which went to lawyers. That’s far better than the $5.8 million in liabilities it previously warned the suit could bring.

Virginia sports betting could be legal soon

Virginia is just about ready to legalize sports betting.

This time, however, it should actually come. Gov. Ralph Northam returned sports betting bills to the legislature with a couple of recommendations he wanted to be included.

The legislature passed those easily during a one-day reconvened session to return the bills to his desk. Del. Mark Sickles told LSR that the bill should be approved within two weeks.

One of those recommendations looped in the state’s two NASCAR tracks either apply for a sports betting license or co-market with another licensee in the state.

The other significant recommendation could substantially raise the cost of entry into Virginia for sports betting operators. Northam called for $50,000 for each sports betting principal to cover background checks.

Sickles and Sen. Jeremy McPike both suggested the scope of who is impacted by those fees will be addressed during the regulation creation.

Oklahoma sports betting gets complicated

Where Virginia stands on sports betting is pretty clear after last week. That’s far from the truth for Oklahoma.

Gov. Kevin Stitt attempted to push through legal sports betting for two gaming tribes in renegotiated compacts. The compacts legalized event betting, which called for betting on any sports event other than those with in-state colleges and in-state collegiate events.

The state even doubled down within the compact language, essentially saying whether OK sports betting is legal doesn’t matter for the purposes of these compacts.

Attorney General Mike Hunter disagrees. He released a statement the same day the compacts were announced, saying Stitt has no authorization to approve games that aren’t legal within the state.

Stitt said the compacts were sent to the federal Department of Interior to be ratified.

Constitutional amendment for NY mobile betting?

One mobile sports betting backer in New York is looking for an alternative measure for approval.

Assemblyman Gary Pretlow said he’ll push for a constitutional amendment to expand NY sports betting to mobile, off-track betting parlors and sports facilities.

The push for a constitutional amendment would mean no one could use constitutionality as an argument against mobile betting, he said.

Pushing mobile through that way delays the process, however. The legislature would need to pass the amendment bill this year and next to get it on the November 2021 ballot for voters’ approval.

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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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