The Week In Sports Betting News: VA Sportsbooks Continue Piecemeal Rollout

Posted on February 1, 2021

Happy Monday, everyone. There was plenty of interesting sports betting news last week despite GameStop and retail stock market investors dominating headlines.

The latest LSR Podcast discussed the two recent US sports betting launches in Michigan and Virginia. The team also discussed the recent trend of buying daily fantasy sports companies.

Make sure you’re following @LSPReport on Twitter as well for breaking news updates.

Top sports betting story: Virginia sports betting continues slow rollout

Sports betting in Virginia launched Jan. 21, but there still are just four operators live.

BetMGM and BetRivers joined FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook in the market last week. BetMGM received an untethered mobile license while BetRivers launched under Rush Street’s eventual casino license.

It would appear William Hill is next in line, with Caesars Virginia receiving its permit Wednesday. After that, who knows when we’ll get the next bit of sports betting news from the state: The Virginia Lottery is keeping the process very secretive with licensee information only available as its website updates.

Tennessee gets two more sportsbooks as well

It’s go time for William Hill and WynnBET in the hot Tennessee sports betting market – but not until after the Super Bowl.

Both operators received approval at Friday’s Tennessee Education Lottery special meeting but have more to do before they can launch. Tennessee is also still waiting for Churchill DownsTwinSpire to join the market.

The four launched sportsbooks – Action 24/7, BetMGM, DraftKings and FanDuel – are likely thrilled to be the only operators so far. Tennessee’s online-only market set a launch record with $131.4 million in handle in November followed by $180.9 million in December.

Those two months combined for $27.1 million in operator revenue.

Northeast states staying busy on sports betting

Maybe there’s something more to the water in the Northeast than just making perfect bagels and rolls.

Connecticut and Massachusetts are both trying to legalize sports betting while New York is taking a step forward and back simultaneously.

Sports betting in Connecticut is a bit tricky because of the gaming exclusivity granted long ago to the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes. All sides called for compromise at a hearing last Tuesday, but no one seems ready to make a sacrifice first.

Massachusetts sports betting is again supported by Sen. Brendan Crighton, who reconfigured his 2020 bill with higher upfront fees that would generate tens of millions for the state.

And then there’s New York. Sports betting in New York is already legal, but only through retail casinos. For questionable reasons, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his team think the best option is to limit the market to potentially just one mobile operator.

Nevada sports betting handle falls in 2020

Fewer people traveling and an upended sports calendar because of the coronavirus handed Nevada‘s sportsbooks a 20% dip in annual revenue and 19% decrease for handle.

Revenue for the full year was $262.8 million, about $7 million behind the leader, Pennsylvania. Handle was $4.3 billion.

Part of the decline can be blamed on Nevada’s market since it requires in-person registration for mobile wagering accounts.

Investor Ader talks gaming SPACS

Jason Ader called FanDuel and PokerStars parent company Flutter the potential Tesla of the gaming industry, and detailed some of his potential SPAC targets in an LSR Q+A.

Ader, who had two SPACs more than a decade ago and recently raised $275 million through Capital 26, is currently considering four targets.

Ader also touched on why he thinks MGM Resorts will eventually buy its BetMGM partner, Entain, and likened some current SPAC management teams to old Fords instead of Ferraris or Rolls Royces.

Elsewhere, LSR’s Brad Allen also dove into how mergers and acquisitions could change the shape of US sports betting this year.

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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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