Business By The Books: Can Carjitsu Fill Sports Betting Calendar Gaps?

Written By

Updated on


If all goes according to plan for Bill Yucatonis and Mike Salvaris, sports betting content will include jiujitsu fighters getting choked out by a car’s seat belt sometime next year in a sport called Carjitsu.

Carjitsu is just part of the portfolio of sports that the co-founders of Pro League Network hope can fill gaps in the betting calendar. PLN is already live with DraftKings and offered betting on a live SlapFight Championship event earlier this month.

More sports, more content and, the founders hope, more sportsbook partners will come in 2023. PLN works on a revenue share with sportsbook partners so they believe it is within reach for any size operator. Yucatonis said content like carjitsu can be used as an acquisition tool because it is differentiated.

PLN provides data and live streams, and can assist with odds. The intent is to provide in-play markets on the niche sports as well, which should improve margins, Yucatonis said.

Making content to fill holes in calendar

The concept is simple, even though the execution is far from that: find niche sports with established fanbases and turn them into something sportsbooks can offer during slow times in the betting calendar. PLN hopes to offer three or four hours of content a week during daytime or off-hours for the major sports.

The founders have had talks with “everyone you can imagine,” Yucatonis said, but admitted it is hard to find the right time for a full pitch. Sportsbooks right now are focused on NFL betting, with March Madness betting right around the corner and significant state launches in Ohio and Massachusetts.

Tthere are positive signs for interest. When the two started pitching this idea in June, Yucatonis said one of the “big operators” said they would “take all you got” if they could produce content for primetime slots on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during the slow summer months.

The current focus for the founders is building up that content portfolio. Another bettable SlapFight Championship event will be held in January, followed by a seven-event series from the Pro Mini Golf Tour after the Super Bowl in February.

But will regulators be up for carjitsu?

PLN’s pitches to regulators are not always met with straight faces, but they tend to see the appeal by the end, Yucatonis said.

“Not everyone appreciates slap fighting or mini golf or whatever, it’s not the NFL so you’ll get some chuckles,” Yucatonis said. “But the reality is at the end of the day it is a sport with professional athletes, it abides by all those check-the-box rules.”

SlapFight is available to bet in five jurisdictions with more approvals likely coming in January, according to Salvaris:

What a time for Barstool violations

PENN Entertainment has had an interesting December thanks to its Barstool Sportsbook.

It started when Barstool, its personalities and its events came under scrutiny from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. The MGC ultimately decided to postpone voting on a retail sportsbook license for PENN’s casino until it was satisfied with some of its concerns.

One of those concerns was over the college football shows Barstool produces at or around college campuses. PENN argued that was all above board, but clearly, not everyone agrees. One of those shows led to two violations in Ohio for potentially targeting underage audiences with promotional offers, with a pending $250,000 fine.

Later in the week, another PENN violation came to light in Michigan. The Barstool online casino offered games before they were approved by regulators, which led to a $30,000 fine.

Will MGC eye Barstool, BetMGM sports betting violations?

It will not be a long wait to see what, if anything, Massachusetts commissioners have to say about the recent violations. The MGC intends to discuss PENN’s retail and mobile applications Monday.

PENN might not be the only operator under watch at Monday’s meeting. BetMGM‘s mobile application is also on the agenda and may have to explain how its app went live five days too early in Maryland.

PlayUp believed Ohio operation legal

PENN’s fine was far from the biggest issue presented at the most recent Ohio Casino Control Commission meeting. Pending a hearing that could sway opinions, the commission intends to deny PlayUp a mobile license because of illegal betting operations.

Those operations concern its slots+ program, which uses historic horse racing events instead of RNG for its online slot portfolio. PlayUp told LSR it thought it was operating legally and has pulled the product from Ohio since regulators brought the issue to their attention:

PlayUp received the Commission Notice for Opportunity for Hearing and is reviewing its provisions with legal counsel. At all times, PlayUp believed it was operating within the bounds of Ohio law. As noted by the Executive Director, PlayUp acted diligently to come into compliance with the Cease-and-Desist Order. PlayUp remains committed to compliance with all Ohio laws.

Other gaming commissions are keeping an eye on the proceedings in Ohio, multiple people told LSR.