Massachusetts Sen. Brendan Crighton Refiles Sports Betting Bill

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After last year’s sports betting bill was left out in the final version of the state’s economic development bill during the previous session, Lynn Democrat Sen. Brendan Crighton has refiled a new Massachusetts sports betting bill.

With the state needing additional revenues due to the pandemic, Crighton is confident that his latest bill will be passed this year. Combined with the pressure from the neighboring legal markets in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and possibly Connecticut, Crighton believes that those could convince enough lawmakers to pass the bill in 2021.

Left out of the Economic Development Bill

Last summer, the Massachusetts House included sports betting in the original version of the economic development bill and voted 156-3 to pass it. However, the Senate never held a vote on the policy and it was left out in the final version of the economic development bill.

At that time, Sen. Eric Lesser, the lead negotiator in the senate and a Democrat from Longmeadow, said that the Senate would “like to do sports betting”. However, Lesser added that the economic development bill was not the venue to do it while preferring a stand alone bill, like the one that Sen. Crighton has filed this session.

Changes in the New Bill

While Crighton’s refiled bill is the same in most aspects. Only player aged 21 or older can place sports bets at the state’s casinos, slots parlors, horse racing tracks, simulcast facilities, and via legal online Massachusetts sports betting. However, there are several changes in some provisions, most notably in the revenue figures.

Last year’s bill proposed an application fee of $1M while the new bill provides for a $10 payment. The tax rate to be imposed on gambling companies was increased from 12.5% to 15% or revenues. Also a 1.25% renewal fee will charged to the operators every five years. These revenue changes are expected to bring in $100M in initial application fees and $45M in annual recurring revenues.

Legal Sports Betting Has Support From Stakeholders

Crighton started working on the Massachusetts sports betting bill right around the time that the U.S. Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateurs Sports Protection Act in 2018. Since then, he has been in contact with the stakeholders of legal Massachusetts sports betting and says he doesn’t see any deal breakers.

Massachusetts legal sports betting has the backing of the state’s major professional sports teams. Last November, the Bruins, Celtics, Patriots, Revolution, and Red Sox all co-signed a letter to the Economic Development Conference Committee showing their support for sports betting. Boston-based gambling companies DraftKings, FanDuel, and MGM Springfield also signed that letter.

New York’s Online Sports Betting Bill on the Move After Committee Aproval

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The New York online sports betting bills that Lawmakers favor over Governor Andrew Cuomo’s state-run model has begun its legalizations process.

The bills, S1183 and A1257, sponsored by Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, have gotten the needed support from both chambers and are on the move.

Support from Both Chambers

The New York Senate voted S1183 out committee on Tuesday while The Assembly followed by voting A1257 out of committee the following day. Getting both chambers to vote them out of committee is the first step in the legalization process for any law in New York and it represents a big win for New York mobile sports betting.

After this, the New York legislative will start the discussion process and hopefully, it will lead to a vote on the floor. According to sources, both the Governor and the members of the senate and assembly are confident that not only will the bill be passed but also expedited.

With the way the bill was voted out of committee in the Senate and the Assembly, it appears like lawmakers are hastening the legalization of New York online sports betting. At this rate, it is very possible that New Yorkers can bet on their mobile devices before the start of the 2021 NFL season in September.

Details of NY Online Sports Betting Bill

The current bill permits New York’s four commercial casinos and three tribal casinos to partner with two sportsbooks each. This means that there will be up to 14 sports betting operators in New York even before the proposed downstate casinos are included. This also means that top sportsbooks like FanDuel and DraftKings, which already have physical sportsbooks in the state will have the opportunity to launch their mobile apps in the Empire State.

Each online sportsbook operator will be required to pay a one-time fee of $12M. That would mean a total of $168M for the state is all 14 slots are taken. Meanwhile, sports betting will be taxed at 8.5% from retail bets and 12% for online bets. Professional sports stadiums and off-track betting facilities will be allowed to partner with a casino to host betting kiosks.

The proposed bill also allows online registration which means that the ongoing pandemic won’t affect the number of bettors and the total amount of bets placed. Operators are also obliged to pay 0.2% of their handle wagered on a specific sport to that sport’s governing body as an “integrity fee”.

Michigan to Launch Online Sports Betting on January 22

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Bettors in the Wolverine State will finally be able to place legal online sports bets on January 22 after officials revealed the launch on Tuesday.

In a statement, the Michigan Gaming Control Board authorized nine gambling operators to start accepting online sports bets at noon of Friday, January 22nd. Per MGCB executive director Richard S. Kalm:

“The Michigan Gaming Control Board and the state’s commercial and tribal casinos will begin a new era Jan. 22 with the launch of regulated online gaming and sports betting. Michigan residents love sports and, judging by inquiries we’ve received, eagerly anticipate using mobile devices to place bets through the commercial and tribal casinos. Online gaming and sports betting will provide the casinos with new ways to engage with customers while the state and local communities will benefit from taxes and payments on wagering revenue.”

Just in Time For the NFL Conference Championship Games

Michigan legalized sports betting in 2019 but up until 11:59 a.m. of Friday, January 22nd, punters had to place their bets in person at retail venues. However, that will change later this week with the launch of legal Michigan online sports betting which is just in time for Sunday’s NFL Conference championship games.

The nine legal Michigan online sports betting operators that are set to go live on Friday are DraftKings, WilliamHill, FanDuel, Golden Nugget Online Gaming, Rush Street, BetMGM, Wynn, and Barstool Sports. According to the MGCB, more operators are expected to receive authorization in the coming weeks.

A Lucrative Revenue Source

Friday’s launch comes 12 months after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill to legalize online gambling in the Wolverine State. The commencement of legal Michigan sports betting should be a lucrative revenue source for the state’s casino industry which struggled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The three casinos in Detroit saw a 56% decrease in combined annual revenue in 2020. The MGCB says that legal Michigan sports betting and online gaming could be a way for casinos to make up for the losses they suffered due to the pandemic. At the same time, it will generate tax revenue for Detroit and the state.

Online Tax Rates

Legal Michigan online sports betting will be taxed at 8.4% which is one of the lowest in the United States. The tax rate and payment rate for internet gaming ranges from 20% to 28%. For Detroit casinos, 30% of all online gambling taxes will be allocated to the city while 65% will be allocated to the state Internet Sports Betting Fund or the state Internet Gaming Fund. The other 5% will go the Michigan Agriculture Equine Industry Development, capped at $3M per year from each tax source.

Meanwhile, 90% of legal Michigan online sports betting tax collections of Tribal casinos will go to the Internet Sports Betting Fund while 10% will go to the Michigan Strategic Fund. As for Tribal online gaming payments, 20 % will go to local jurisdiction governing body for services, 70% to the Internet Gaming Fund, and 10% to the Michigan Strategic Fund.

New Jersey Sports Betting Fetches $996.3M in Total Bets For December 2020

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New Jersey had another banner month for sports betting .

Figures released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement on Wednesday revealed an 8.9% year-on-year increase in revenue for December 2020 with players gambling almost $1B on sports last month.

A total of $996.3M worth of sports bets were placed in December, a record for the most amount of money bet on sports in a single month and the second consecutive month that sports bets topped the $900M mark in the Garden State.

Setting National Records

It represents a 78.6% increase from the previous year and a 6.9% increase from the state’s November 2020 numbers. New Jersey sports betting revenue for December reached $66.4M which beat out Nevada’s $61.8M November figures for the national record. It is a massive 125.6% increase from December 2019 and a significant 31.3% better than November 2020’s $50.6M.

Of the total amount wagered, $929.3M were online bets ( also a national record ) and only $67.0M were wagered at retail locations. Online bets for December were up by 6.6% versus November 2020 and up 90.1% from December 2019. Internet Gaming Win was $99.5M in December compared to $49.3M in the prior period or an increase of 101.6%.

Internet gambling revenue for the month of December 2020 amounted to $99.5M up 101.6% from December 2019. Online casino and slot games revenue totaled $96.4M for the month while online poker win was at $3.0M.

Lifting Gambling Revenues

Online gambling in 2020 help lifted New Jersey’s tax collections in a year where the coronavirus crippled the casino industry. Although the state’s nine land-based casinos have reopened last July after a four-month shutdown, business has not been back to normal. These brick an mortar casinos generated $1.5B in total gambling revenue which is down 44% from the prior year.

In contrast, revenues from online gambling doubled to $970M. New Jersey sports betting, despite sports being halted for four months too, still increased by 33% to $398M. And although the increase in online wagers didn’t make up for the lost revenues in the brick and mortar casinos, they were able to mitigate the losses because online wagers are taxed higher than their retail counterparts.

Kentucky Passes New Legislation to Legalize Sports Betting

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After last year’s bill was stalled and sent back to the committee, Rep. Adam Koenig has once again filed a new bill to legalise sports betting in the state of Kentucky.

The new legislation, House Bill 241, is sponsored by 17 Representatives, led by Koenig. It similar to the one that Koenig sponsored during the 2020 legislative session, in that it core is to legalize sports betting in Kentucky. However, the new bill also lays out proposals to regulate online poker and fantasy sports.

Kentucky Horse Racing Commission as Regulator

The sports betting aspect of the bill would permit online, mobile, and on site wagering. The state’s racetracks and professional venues which have a capacity of 50,000 or more people would be eligible to receive licenses that would allow them to host sports betting at their sites. Initial licenses would cost $500,000 with an annual renewal fee of $50,000.

If passed into a law, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will be named as an independent body to regulate the conduct sports racing as well as horse racing and pari-mutuel betting in the state. Meanwhile, the state’s Public Protection Cabinet would oversee daily fantasy sports while the Kentucky Lottery Corporation will administer online poker activities.

Surrounded by Sports Betting States

Last year’s sports betting legislation, House Bill 137, unanimously advanced through the Kentucky House Licensing, Occupations, and Administrative Regulations (LOAR) Committee which is chaired by Koenig. However, it did not receive a single floor vote in the state House of Representatives.

Kentucky’s legislature has long been reluctant to expand gambling in the state but it is surrounded by neighboring states that offer sports betting. Five of Kentucky’s border states-Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia all offer sports wagering. The other two-Missouri and Ohio, want to legalize. With its neighbors enjoying tax dollars, Kentucky may be about to reconsider its position.

BetMGM to Open Physical Sportsbook at Nationals Park

BetMGM announced on Monday that it has entered into a multi-year agreement with MLB’s Washington Nationals to open a brick and mortar sportsbook at Nationals Park in Washington D.C.

The partnership includes the use of BetMGM’s mobile betting app within the area surrounding the ballpark. BetMGM will have its signage inside Nationals Park with the gambling company designated as the MLB team’s official sports betting partner.

Said BetMGM Chief Revenue Officer Matt Prevost in a statement:

“This new partnership with the Nationals is our most in-depth partnership with a team and showcases the multitude of ways we’re able to engage fans in and out of stadiums.”

Sportsbook inside the Arena

The brick and mortar sportsbook inside Nationals Park will be the second of its kind in the market. In 2018, William Hill opened a temporary physical sportsbook at the Capital One Arena which is the home of the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals. A permanent sportsbook is currently under construction and is expected to open in early spring.

The Nationals Park sportsbook will be located in the space which is currently the Center Field Social, across Center Field Plaza from the Nationals Team Store. That means that the 4,400 square foot Las Vegas Style sportsbook won’t be accessible to fans inside the stadium but that’s where the sports betting app comes in.

BetMGM Sports Betting App

The BetMGM sports betting app will let fans inside the stadium place bets. Per the District’s sports betting regulations, the mobile app will be accessible to bettors from withing two blocks of Nationals Park. BetMGM is targeting the launch of the app for the start of the 2021 MLB season.

Under the District’s sports betting regulations, sports betting apps that are connected to a venue’s physical sportsbook can only operate within a few blocks from the surrounding venue. Only Gamebet DC, the mobile app operated by the D.C. Lottery can be accessed throughout the entire city.

BetMGM Gets Foothold of the Region

The deal with the Washington Nationals will likely give BetMGM a foothold of the region. BetMGM currently operates in 11 states. It already has a sports betting facility in West Virginia and is expected to launch in Virginia this year. BetMGM is also the likely sports betting operator at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland once the state approves its sports betting regulations.

The physical BetMGM sportsbook will include betting windows, electronic betting, and betting kiosks. It will be open all-year round even before or after the MLB season. The sportsbook will not be governed pandemic-related stadium restrictions because it is not a ticketed space. Instead, it will follow all D.C. regulations.

Las Vegas Sands to Throw Hat in SportsBetting Arena

Las Vegas Sands Casinos

Las Vegas Sands is making a push into sports betting. A report from Bloomberg last week said that its acting chief executive officer Robert Goldstein is in the early stages of private talks with potential partners in the sports betting industry.

The company has long operated a retail sportsbook at its Venetian and Palazzo casinos in Las Vegas. However, these were outsourced to Cantor Gaming which is now a part of William Hill US, which in turn was acquired by Sands’ rival Caesars Entertainment Inc.

One of the strongest Balance Sheets

Often praised by industry analysts as having one of the strongest balance sheets among peer casino operators, Las Vegas Sands has enough resources to become a big player in the sports betting industry. It has a market capitalization of $44.42B and if Adelson’s proposal to sell the Venetian, Palazzo, and Sands Convention Center in the Las Vegas Strip, that would potentially be another $6B of assets.

Las Vegas Sands is the biggest casino company in the world. However, it is the only United States-based casino operator which has not yet adopted a sports betting plan despite the U.S. sports betting market expanding rapidly since the U.S. Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 over two years ago.

Adelson’s Opposition to Online Gaming

Venturing into sports betting may mean embracing online gaming which has often come along with it. It can be recalled that Las Vegas Sands founder and longtime CEO Sheldon Adelson, who recently took a medical leave of absence, was always opposed to online gaming. The billionaire has always been among those who lobbied to prevent the legalization of online betting based on moral ground. Adelsen believed that online games like virtual slots made it very easy for players to lose money.

But like all the other casino operators, Las Vegas Sands is struggling to cope with the limitations brought about by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has substantially affected the casino industry since March 2020. Even Sands’ properties outside the U.S. like Macau and Singapore are struggling with their bottom line figures. With no end to the pandemic yet in sight, online gaming has been viewed as one of the best ways for land-based casinos to diversify operations and generate more income.

PointsBet Named as Sports Betting Partner of Detroit Pistons

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Fast growing sportsbook PointsBet announced on Thursday that is has become a sports betting partner of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons team.

PointBet was one of the 15 gambling operators to receiver a provisional license to launch legal Michigan online sports betting ahead of the state opening its legal internet sports wagering market.

Said PointsBet USA CEO Johnny Aitken:

“PointsBet is thrilled to partner with the Pistons, aligning with a first-class organisation supported by particularly passionate fans. We’re proud to increase our investment in the Detroit and greater Michigan sports community after joining forces with the Detroit Tigers last July. Michigan is a fantastic sports state, and we look forward to the opportunity to soon serve Michigan sports bettors on a personalised platform with unrivalled speed and ease of use, now alongside both the Pistons and brand ambassador Rip Hamilton – a storied champion at both the collegiate and professional levels who’s work ethic and spirited style embodies the PointsBet philosophy.”

Rip Hamilton as Brand Ambassador

Three-time NBA All-Star and member of the Pistons’ 2004 championship team Richard “Rip” Hamilton has been named as PointsBet brand ambassador. Hamilton, who led the Pistons to six straight appearances in the NBA Conference Finals and back to back trips to the NBA Finals, will also be the face of the gambling company’s Michigan-based sports betting products as it prepares for the expected launch of Michigan legal sports betting.

According to PointsBet, they will leverage Hamilton’s knowledge of basketball and his familiarity with the Detroit sports atmosphere and align his insights with the company’s product offerings. His addition to the team will complement PointBet’s aim to provide the highest quality and most comprehensive sports betting experiences to its customers.

PointsBet Branding

With the partnership, PointsBet will have the rights to in-game, broadcast-visible signage opportunities. PointsBet branding will also be displayed at the team’s website as well as in its mobile app, and the team’s social media channels. The deal also gives PointsBet the full usage of Detroit Pistons IP, marks, and logos plus sponsorship opportunities

Michigan legal sports betting is expected to be launched later this month. However, PointsBet is expected to release soon its market-leading sports betting app for sports bettors within Michigan.Those who are interested can participate in the company’s free-to-play challenge, the PointsBet Pick 6, which is a contest-style game that allows sports fans in the country to experience PointBet’s top of the line service and technology while having the opportunity to win $25,000 per week.

NY Governor Cuomo Says He Will Push For Online Sports Betting

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is now willing to bet on online sports wagering. After long opposing to the legalization of online sports betting in New York, the governor now says that he will push for it during his upcoming annual address to the state.

Said Cuomo in a statement:

“New York has the potential to be the largest sports wagering market in the United States, and by legalizing online sports betting we aim to keep millions of dollars in tax revenue here at home, which will only strengthen our ability to rebuild from the COVID-19 crisis.”

A Focal Point of State of the State Address

On Wednesday, Governor Cuomo said that legal online sports betting will be a focal point of his policy proposals when he addresses his constituents and fellow lawmakers during his State of the State address next week.

Added Cuomo:

“At a time when New York faces a historic budget deficit due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the current online sports wagering structure incentivizes a large segment of New York residents to travel out of state to make online sports wagers or continue to patronize black markets.”

Under the governor’s proposal, mobile sports operator will have to obtain a state-issued license and be tied to a legal gaming facility. He will reportedly ask the New York Gaming Commission to look for proposals or offering legal online sports betting and to ensure that gaming operators include protection against addiction and abuses.

Change of Heart

For much of 202, Cuomo remained opposed to online sports betting and argued that its legalization would need a constitutional amendment. However, with the state facing a looming budget deficit and revenue shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor started to warm to the idea of legal online sports betting last month.

During a remote briefing last month, the governor said:

“Are there other ways to get revenue? How about marijuana? How about sports betting?”

Residents in neighboring New Jersey have been able to place wagers using mobile devices and computers since 2018. Today, the Garden State is poised to overtake Nevada as the United States’ largest sports betting market. In November 2020, a total of $872 online bets were placed in New Jersey, generating $30M in taxes. That amount brought the overall 2020 haul of the state from legal online sports betting to $268.8M, with the final numbers expected to be revealed next week.

MGM Offers to Buy UK Gambling Group for $11B

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MGM Resorts International has made an $11B offer to buy Entain, the U.K. gambling group that owns the British brand Ladbrokes.

According to Entain, it received an £8.09 billion takeover proposal from MGM. The offer represents a 22% premium over the company’s closing price as of December 31st but it added that the offer “significantly undervalues” the company’s shares and its prospects.

Full Control of U.S. Venture

In a statement released on Monday, Entain said that its board has asked MGM to provide additional information in respect of the strategic rationale for a combination of the two companies. Under the proposal, Entain said that its investors would exchange stock for 0.6 of a share of MGM and would hold about 42% of the merged business.

A consolidation would give MGM full control of its U.S. venture with Entain. The two gambling companies are joint owners BetMGM, an online sports betting entity which operates in more than one dozen U.S. states. Entain, whose other brands include Eurobet and SportingBet, operates both retail and online businesses.

The proposed merger comes at a time when the U.S. legal sports betting market is seeing a dramatic growth. According to a separate statement from MGM Resorts International, the takeover would expand and diversify the company’s operations, product offerings, and earnings.

Sports Betting Boom

The online sports betting industry in the United States has experienced a boom since the U.S. Supreme Court repealed the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018. That decision paved the way for the legalization of sports betting in the U.S. and since then, a significant number of states have opened their doors to legal sports betting. With the pandemic forcing casinos and betting shops to close or operate at a limited capacity, online gambling has accelerated even more.

Per the consulting firm Vixio Gambling Compliance, the U.S. legal sports betting market is expected to quintuple to $8.24B in size in 2024. This year alone, the American Gaming Association expects 13% American adults or 35 million people to place wagers on the NFL alone.

With these developments, the U.S. legal sports betting industry has seen the consolidation of some major players. Caesars announced last September that it was buying William Hill. Flutter Entertainment, the owners of Paddy Power, Betfair, and Pokerstars, recently increased its stake in FanDuel. Meanwhile, shares of DraftKings have soared since an initial public offering last April.