The Week In Sports Betting News: Michigan, Virginia Go Mobile

Posted on January 25, 2021
sports betting news

Happy Monday, everyone. Even during a presidential inauguration, sports betting managed to make significant news headlines last week.

The latest LSR Podcast breaks down the two big stories of last week: mobile launches in Michigan and Virginia.

While both states officially launched online last week, not all operators are live. Follow @LSPReport on Twitter for updates as more sportsbooks launch.

Top sports betting news: Michigan, Virginia launch mobile

Legal mobile sports betting is now available in 15 US jurisdictions after both Michigan and Virginia launched last week.

Michigan’s launch completed its rollout of sports betting that began last March. Going mobile expanded MI sports betting from three retail sportsbooks in Detroit to 10 mobile apps with five more on the way.

The market includes all the expected heavy hitters but outgoing Entain CEO Shay Segev contends BetMGM could be the market leader. That’s assuming the BetMGM partners, Entain and MGM Resorts, continue to play nicely after MGM’s stalled takeover attempt of Entain.

Virginia, meanwhile, caught everyone off-guard when FanDuel Sportsbook announced Wednesday it would go live Thursday. FanDuel got a jump on the market because of the preferred status of its partner via state law, the Washington Football Team.

The secrecy around the Virginia Lottery‘s rollout will only continue from here. Remember, we still have no idea who all 25 applicants even are. We do at least know more operators are expected to launch in time to take Super Bowl bets, a lottery spokesperson said.

VA already expanding?

Some legislators want an even bigger VA sports betting market than last year’s legislation allows.

That’s because the changes in this year’s legislation were supposed to be in last year’s bill, Del. Mark Sickles said.

Sickles wants the essentially guaranteed five sports betting licenses for the state’s eventual casino operators to be excluded from the cap of 12 mobile-only licenses.

NY mobile betting bills on the move

Both the New York Senate and Assembly versions of a mobile sports betting bill were voted out of committee last week. It’s a small first step on a potentially arduous journey.

The proposal would allow two skins per casino operator in the state for a total of 14 licenses.

It’s not the only mobile NY sports betting proposal, though. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing for a state-run style that would include one or more operators sharing a significant portion of sports betting revenue with the state.

Wire Act only for sports betting, court rules

The Wire Act finally got the ruling the online gaming industry hoped to see.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the Wire Act only pertains to sports betting. The Trump administration’s Department of Justice opinion said the Wire Act was for all online gambling, which contradicted an opinion from 2011.

The ruling should be the end of this issue for now. The 2011 opinion was written while President Joe Biden was Vice President, so his administration is not expected to appeal.

Meanwhile, former PresidentTrump made some sports betting waves on his way out of office. He pardoned Casey Urlacher for his part in an illegal gambling ring in Illinois. Sports bettor Billy Walters, meanwhile, had his sentence for insider trading commuted.

Another record month for PA

The return of the NBA and the end of the NFL regular season led to another month of record handle in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania bettors wagered $548.6 million last month, which brought in $12.3 million in tax revenue for the state.

More than 97% of December’s PA sports betting handle came online. Pennsylvania is typically above 90% mobile share but got an extra boost with casinos closed for most of December because of the coronavirus.

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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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