The Week In Sports Betting News: Is It Too Late For Ohio, Massachusetts?

Posted on November 23, 2020
Written By on November 23, 2020

Happy Monday, everyone. Sports betting news might be slim during this shortened holiday week but plenty happened last week to make up for that.

One of the top stories continues to be sports betting records falling in various states. The team dove into some of those top and growing markets in the latest Legal Sports Report Podcast.

Make sure to couple the podcast with following @LSPReport on Twitter for the latest breaking news updates.

Top sports betting news: Ohio, Massachusetts head different directions

The remaining two states that could legalize sports betting this year are on different paths.

Members of both parties are working hard to pass Ohio sports betting before the end of the year. A short hearing on an old version of a Senate sports betting bill detailed that the two sides are still working on the final bill.

“We have been working assiduously, as my joint sponsor has said,” Sen. Sean O’Brien said. “[We’re] working across the spectrum and across the board to make sure this, most importantly, that this is not a forbidden fruit. We will bring it soon to fruition.”

Massachusetts, meanwhile, is a different story. The Senate’s now shot down legalizing sports betting in MA on two separate occasions: over the summer with the economic development bill and last week with the fiscal 2021 budget.

Businesses that would benefit from sports betting aren’t ready to call it a year, however. Two joint letters have been penned to ask for action. One came from Penn National and Wynn asking for the casinos to control the industry. The other is from local professional teams, DraftKings and FanDuel urging for inclusion in the economic development bill.

The competing lobbying for different models would not appear to make a quick solution likely.

Former Twin River makes huge sports betting splash

The company formerly known as Twin River is preparing for a significant sports betting push.

The new Bally’s bought sportsbook platform supplier Bet.Works for $125 million. It also expanded its new brand significantly with the purchase of the naming rights for 21 regional sports networks owned by Sinclair.

Bally’s plans to launch sports betting in four states – Colorado, Indiana, Iowa and New Jersey – by the second quarter of 2021.

Bally’s wasn’t the only non-sports betting company to buy a sportsbook platform last week. GAN acquired Nordic operator Coolbet for $177 million.

FanDuel Sportsbook investing big in Illinois

FanDuel Sportsbook is already switching partners in Illinois.

The top US sports betting brand will dump millions of dollars into Fairmount Park to transition it into a racino called FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing.

The switch gives FanDuel a much better retail location in the St. Louis market compared to the current location at Par-A-Dice in the middle of the state.

Retail positioning for Illinois sports betting was much more important before the market launched. The coronavirus pandemic changed the dynamics of the state completely as Gov. JB Pritzker opened up remote registration first in June and again in August.

Mobile has since spurred the market to early success with $305 million bet in September, 93% of which came from mobile.

Tennessee sees strong first week

The first sports betting report out of Tennessee shows residents were ready to go as soon as the state opened.

Local bettors wagered $27.4 million in the first week of legal Tennessee online sports betting. That includes $5.1 million bet on the first day, which was an NFL betting Sunday.

There are still just four operators live in the state though more are expected this year. The Tennessee Education Lottery expects BetAmerica, William Hill and WynnBET to be approved by year’s end.

William Hill still owns DC market

Here’s a bit of unlikely sports betting news we’ve all come to expect: the Washington DC sports betting market is still dominated by its only retail operator.

William Hill again led the way with $14.4 million bet in October compared to $4.2 million taken by GambetDC, which has a mobile platform.

While most in the industry see a clear issue when a temporary retail book is taking more than three times the handle of a mobile book, the DC Lottery claims everything is working just as it hoped.

“While there is a disparity in the handle between the private operated and lottery operated sports books, as expected, the lottery operated is returning a higher revenue to the District, also as expected,” a spokesperson said.

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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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