The Week In Sports Betting News: Making A Big Mess Even Bigger And Messier

Posted on July 27, 2020 - Last Updated on July 28, 2020

Happy Monday, everyone. Major sports are back with MLB‘s return last week, but sports betting enthusiasts are waiting impatiently to see what the news of a coronavirus outbreak in the Miami Marlins‘ clubhouse will mean for the season.

Last week included a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing featuring some out-of-touch takes on sports betting. Hear more about that in the LSR Podcast titled “Congress Makes Us All Dumber On Sports Betting.”

And make sure to follow us on Twitter @LSPReport where we post breaking news updates as our team covers the stories.

Top sports betting news: IL reverses course on remote registration

It seemed like sports betting in Illinois received a jump-start last month. Gov. JB Pritzker allowed IL sports betting operators to open accounts via remote registration through an executive order, which otherwise wouldn’t be allowed until the first mobile-only license is approved more than a year from now.

But Pritzker did not renew that executive order with his new Gubneratorial Disaster Proclamation on Friday. That means as of Monday, in-person registration is again officially required for all sports betting accounts in Illinois.

This could be seen as a major blow for the state. DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, and PointsBet all received temporary operating licenses earlier this month. The three were just waiting on their master license partners to be approved by regulators. DraftKings seemed to be the most motivated after announcing partner Casino Queen would be renamed to reflect the DraftKings brand.

Now, the incentive to spend big on marketing and jump into Illinois as soon as possible could be gone.

Rush Street‘s BetRivers is the only online sportsbook currently operating in the state.

Rhode Island reverses remote registration, too

Remote registration moved the other direction in Rhode Island last week.

Gov. Gina Raimondo signed off on bills legalizing remote registration after the state launched online betting in September. The online sportsbook, regulated by the Rhode Island Lottery, saw uninspiring activity since then. The platform took less than $50 million in handle and $4 million in revenue through May.

Now, the approximately 14,000 accounts that never finished their registration by visiting a Twin River casino will have the option to complete the process online.

Remote registration should be available in about a month, according to the Lottery.

Massachusetts considers sports betting late in session

With five days left in session, Massachusetts‘ legislature will consider a jobs bill that would legalize sports betting as well.

The bill includes some pro-DraftKings language, which makes sense as the company is headquartered in Boston. Along with sports betting operated by casinos and racetracks, DraftKings and FanDuel could both offer online sports betting through untethered licenses.

That’s because they’ve operated daily fantasy sports for more than one year in Massachusetts and offer sports betting in at least two other US jurisdictions.

Sports betting revenue would be taxed at 15%. Operators would pay $250,000 to apply for a five-year license and $100,000 to renew the license every five years. There are a few downfalls to the bill, including a requirement to pay Massachusetts sports venues 1% of betting revenue from events that take place at those venues.

Massachusetts would become the third state to outright legalize sports betting this year, following Washington and Virginia. Maryland and South Dakota will hold referenda in the fall to see whether voters want legal sports betting or not.

The bill is expected to pass the House but will face more scrutiny in the Senate, sources told the Springfield Republican.

Bill filed to end federal excise tax

Despite the so-so Senate hearing, there was one positive piece of sports betting news that came out of the federal government last week.

US Reps. Dina Titus and Guy Reschenthaler are sponsoring a bill that would end the 0.25% federal excise tax paid on every legal US sports betting.

Titus attempted to find where the funds went in 2014, when she sponsored a similar bill. No one could pinpoint where the funds exactly went, but her bill failed.

The American Gaming Association praised the bill after CEO Bill Miller called for the end of the tax during the Senate hearing. The tax amounted to less than $33 million in revenue for the federal government last year, according to the AGA.

Rush Street plans to go public

Taking online sports betting and gaming companies public in the US is en vogue right now. Rush Street Interactive apparently didn’t want to miss out.

Rumors that Rush Street Interactive will go public through a merger with a blank-check company were confirmed early Monday. The company will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the RSI ticker.

It marks the fourth US online gaming-related company this year that went or is going public, following DraftKings, GAN and Golden Nugget.

Oklahoma sports betting overturned by state’s top court

Sports betting in Oklahoma received a death knell before it ever started.

The state’s Supreme Court ruled against Gov. Kevin Stitt‘s attempt to bind the state to new laws, such as legal sports betting, in two recently negotiated compacts.

The Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribe were authorized to operate multiple games that are currently illegal under state law. That included event wagering, which would have allowed sports betting on everything except collegiate teams from Oklahoma and collegiate games played in the state.

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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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