Expanded Sports Betting Bill Filed in North Carolina

North Carolina Flag
North Carolina just launched sports betting in the state. Now Senators want to expand the bill, allowing online sports betting to take place in the Tar Heel state.

Last week, Senators Paul Lowe Jr., a Democrat from Winston Salem and Republican Jim Perry of Kinston filed Senate Bill 688 which would legalize online and mobile sports betting in the state.

Senate Bill 688

Senate Bill 688 would allow the North Carolina State Lottery Commission to issue gaming licenses to at least 10 online gaming operators but not to exceed 12. These licenses would allow the operators to accept online bets on both professional and collegiate sports, esports, and amateur sports such as the Olympic games.

Application for license would cost $500,000 although the amount would be refunded if the applicant is not approved. The permit would be valid for five years after which, the operator will be required to pay another $100,000 for the next five years. Operators will be required to remit 8% of adjusted gross revenues as state tax.

Although the bill is focused on North Carolina online sports betting, it also allows owners of sports facilities that hold professional events and can accommodate at least 17,000 spectators to have computer betting facilities either inside the sports venue or anywhere within a quarter-mile of the facility.

First NC Sportsbook Opened in March

North Carolina passed in 2019 a legislation that allowed the state’s Native American tribes to open casinos in their jurisdiction. That resulted in the Cherokee Band of Indians to partnering with William Hill to put up retail sportsbook locations in their two Harrah’s themed casinos in the state. These sportsbook opened last month as the first in the state.

The ongoing Kings Mountain Resort project of the Catawba Indian Nation will also be allowed to establish their own retail sportsbook once the casino commences its operations.

Under Senate Bill 688, these tribal casinos are also permitted to join North Carolina Sports betting activities, without counting as one of the 10-12 online sports betting operators allowed under the legislation.

Maryland Sports Betting Bill Moves One Step Closer to Passage

Sportsbook Board Image Cut Into Closeup Image of Man Working on Laptop

Maryland’s Senate passed an amended version of the House’s Maryland sports betting bill via voice vote on Thursday morning, moving the state’s sports betting bill industry one step closer to becoming a reality.

While the senate already passed the bill, they will still have to take it to a roll call vote to have the numbers on record before sending it back to the House for a concurrence vote due to the amendments made by the Senate.

Amended HB 940

House Bill 940 was originally passed in the House on March 11. That draft provided for a total of 37 licenses within three areas of the market. However, the Senate chose to amend the bill and include no cap on mobile sportsbooks or Class B licensing, which includes any number of retail locations. The amendment also called for the prioritization of giving licenses to women and minority businesses.

The Senate also set the tax rate for Class A operators to 15% of gross gaming revenue as compared to the tiered proposal by the House. As for Class B Maryland sports betting operators, the tax rate is 13%. Application fees for licenses were priced at $2M with a renewal cost of $500,000 for Class A licenses and $1M in application fee plus $300,000 in renewal for Class B licenses.

What’s Next for HB 940?

The Maryland sports betting bill now moves to a third reading, likely on Friday, and then it will be sent back to the House for for a vote on the latest draft on the measure. Time is of the essence for HB940 as the General Assembly ends their 2021 session on Monday. If the bill is passed, Maryland sports betting could go live before the start of the 2021 NFL season.

Maryland sports betting stands to become the largest and most competitive sports betting regulated sports betting industry in the United States with no limit as to the number of legal Maryland sports betting operators. Maryland is known as the Free State and if this Maryland sports betting bill is approved, the state will live up to its nickname

Maxim Enters Sports Betting Industry via Partnership With Carousel Group

Odds Board and Money

Lifestyle brand Maxim is venturing into the sports betting industry by partnering with the Carousel Group.

The global strategic partnership will be called MaximBet which will encompass a market-leading sports betting and casino website at MaximBet.com. It will also be available to Android and IOS users in a betting app that will allow its users to bet on sports and casino games all over the world.

Said Daniel Grazier, the CEO of Carousel Group:

“Maxim has established itself as a preeminent lifestyle brand over the last 25 years, and with Carousel’s strong experience in the online betting space, together we will be able to establish a powerful new gambling brand.”

Getting Early Market Shares

With the sports betting industry booming in the United States, sportsbook companies have been partnering with sports teams, casinos, and other companies just to get the early market shares. For Carousel, tapping Maxim’s vast audience base is their way of marketing their product.

According to marketing agency Direct Action Media, Maxim is the third-most circulated men’s lifestyle magazine in the United States, behind only Men’s Health and GQ. With seven annual issues read by more than 1.4 million and a subscriber base of 250,000, Maxim has the huge network to give Carousel a big potential market.

Owners of the SportsBetting.com Brand

The Carousel Group was established in 2017 as an iGaming and sports betting company. The Carousel Group entered the U.S. market last year and has secured market access to four states. It’s most popular brand is SportsBetting.com which launched in Colorado last September.

Last February, Carousel entered into an agreement with Caesars Entertainment to help it provide access to three other states. Pending the required regulatory approvals, the pact with Caesars will allow Carousel to operate in Indiana, Iowa, and New Jersey. It announced a $50M funding round from xSigma Entertainment Limited which will be used to place MaximBet into states with legal sports betting and online casino games.

In-Person Registration for Sports Betting Accounts in Illinois is Now Required

Man on Laptop With a Sportsbook Board and Football Stadium

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has recalled an order that allowed online registration for Illinois sports bettors. According to a statement from the governor’s office, the suspension of in person sports betting registration is “no longer needed”:

“Illinois is currently in phase four with vaccination rates rapidly increasing and casinos around the state have reopened with safety guidelines in place, so the suspension of in person sports betting registration requirements is no longer needed.”

Giving Land-Based Casinos a Head Start

The Illinois sports betting law, signed by Pritzker in 2019, was written with the in-person registration requirement in order to give land-based casinos a headstart over online gambling giants FanDuel and DraftKings. But when the COVID-19 pandemic struck last year, Pritzker issued an executive order allowing Illinoisans to register online because brick and mortar casinos were ordered closed.

When these casinos re-opened in July, Priztker ended the provision. However, after an uptick in COVID-19 cases in the state, he once again allowed online registration. Last Sunday, the governor’s office issued a statement saying online registration is “no longer needed” and that in-person registration will be required before one can place a sports bet in Illinois.

Putting the Brakes on Illinois Sports Betting

Industry analysts were quick to say that Pritkzer’s new order “puts the brakes” on a fast growing Illinois sports betting market that could’ve easily make it as among the Top 5 in the industry. Legal Illinois sports betting fetched more than $1.6B in bets since its launch in March 2020. These bets have given the state more than $28M in tax revenues.

DraftKings and Fanduel, which held 72% of the total market during the month of January, were quick to tie up with casinos and racetracks to avoid delay. Although this latest move by the governor will not knock off either FanDuel or DraftKings from their lofty places, their inability to register new users could hinder their growth.

A Premature Move?

However, Pritzker’s move may be a premature one as COVID-19 cases are currently on the rise in Illinois. According to the Illinois Department of Health, the number of new cases daily has reached 2,000 for every day since March 24th, with the number of hospitalization cases also increasing.

Officials in Cook County, the largest in the state, said that they have over 600 new cases of COVID-19 in their jurisdiction alone, According to Cook health official Dr. Rachel Rubin, the state could be entering another phase of a “surge” in COVID-19 cases.

Legal Georgia Sports Betting Dies on House Floor

Closeup of Man Making Sports Bets on His Phone
Legal Georgia Sports Betting died at the House Floor on Wednesday, after failing to make it through the state General Assembly.

The legislation would have legalized betting on the 2022 ballot, allowing Georgia residents the deciding votes. However, because of the controversial election reform bill signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, state democrats blocked a number of bills, including the two sports betting bills in protest of the election one.

Two Pieces of Legislation

Georgia senators approved two pieces of legislation, SB 135 and SB 142 last March 5th and sent both to the house. SB 135 proposed a change to the state constitution to legalize mobile sports betting. Such constitutional change needed a two-thirds vote in both legislative chambers and public approval in a statewide vote.

SB 142 meanwhile, would have placed the Georgia Lottery Corporation in charge of regulating legal Georgia sports betting. At least six mobile sports betting operators would’ve received licenses under the legislation with each one paying a $100,000 annual licensing fee and remitting 20% of their revenues to the state.

Politics Ended the Legal Georgia Sports Betting Bill

Originally, the legal Georgia sports betting bill had bi-partisan support. But after Gov. Kemp signed a bill that reduced voter rights in the state, the Democrats withdrew their support for the legal Georgia sports betting bill. And despite the majority controlling the Georgia House 103-76, the matter requires a constitutional amendment, which needs a two-thirds vote.

While the legal Georgia sports betting bill died without action, the legislature ended its 2021 session spending the final parts of the day discussing the state budget. Among the bills that made it through were the rewrite of the citizen’s arrest law, a human trafficking bill that allows victims or state officials to file civil case against illegal traffickers, and the controversial election reform bill that added a new restriction to mail voting. As for the legal Georgia sports betting bill, it will have to wait to be revived in 2022 during the second-year of the General Assembly’s cycle.

theScore Gains Access to Illinois Market via Caesars Entertainment

Person Browsing a Sports Betting Site on a Tablet
A deal with Caesars Entertainment’s Harrah’s Joliet Hotel and Casino has given Canadian-based betting operator Score Media and Gaming Inc. access to the Illinois sports betting market. Although theScore still needs to get the necessary regulatory approval from the Illinois Gaming Board, the company expects to start accepting online sports bets via its theScore Bet online sportsbook during the second half of 2021.

Said John Levy, chairman and chief executive officer of theScore:

“Gaining market access to Illinois is a significant development that will bring our award-winning mobile sportsbook to one of the most populous states. Caesars is a giant in the casino-entertainment industry and we’re thrilled to have reached this agreement to extend theScore Bet’s footprint into another key new market.”

Ten-Year Partnership

The partnership is initially valid for 10 years but is renewable, at the option of Score Media and Gaming Inc. Under the agreement, Caesars Entertainment will also reimburse Score Media and Gaming Inc. with certain costs and licensing fees.

The deal also provides that Caesars Entertainment will receive a percentage of the revenue from theScore Bet’s Illinois sports betting operations. That amount is subject to certain annual minimum guaranteed amounts.

theScore Scores Access to a Fifth State

By joining the Illinois sports betting industry, Score Media and Gaming Inc. now has access to five different states in the U.S. Currently, the Canadian sports betting operator is live in New Jersey, Colorado, Indiana, and Iowa. Using its homegrown theScore Bet mobile app, theScore provides cross-state experiences for sports bettors as it expands across the United States via a single mobile app.

Score Media and Gaming Inc. operates theScore which is one of the most popular sports media apps in North America, delivering its user fans personalized live scores, news, stats, and betting information. The company launched its sports betting app theScore Bet on September 3, 2019, becoming the first media company in North America to operate a sportsbook in the United States.

Cleveland Cavaliers and Betway Forge Multi-Year Sports Betting Agreement

Sportsbook
The Cleveland Cavaliers have entered into a sports betting partnership with Betway in anticipation of the legalization of Ohio sports betting.

Because Ohio sports betting isn’t legal yet, Betway will launch a free-to-play game called “Betway Big Pick” where fans can compete to win cash prizes during every week of the season.

Per Betway chief executive Anthony Wekman:

“We are honoured to enter into a partnership deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs have proved to be one of the most consistent and exciting teams in the NBA in recent years and we’re looking forward to seeing the Betway brand associated with them.”

Multi-Year Integrated Marketing Campaign

The agreement, which will start during the 2021-22 NBA season, includes a multi-year integrated marketing campaign where the Betway brand will be displayed in broadcast-visible signage and commercial reads during Cavaliers’ games at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse plus in an out-of-bounds space on the court surface.

Betway will also be advertised via the team’s official digital and social channels while also serving as the official presenting partner of the CavsHQ magazine style TV program on Fox Sports Ohio. In addition, Betway will also be a supporting partner of the Cleveland Wheelchair Cavaliers.

Sports Betting Inevitable in Ohio

Earlier this month, governor Mike DeWine boasted that it is only a matter of time before Ohio sports betting is legalized. A bill to legalize Ohio sports betting is was passed in the Ohio house in May 2020, its timeline has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 National elections. The Ohio Senate also introduced its own sports betting bill way back in March 2019 but it has not seen any movement in over one years.

Last January, Senator Matt Huffman announced the formation of an Ohio gambling committee to oversee the state’s gambling industry and to prepare the Buckeye state for the coming change. Committee chairman Sen. Kirk Schuring has made it clear that the state’s sports betting legislation before everyone’s voice is heard.

State Regulators Suspended Tennessee Action 24/7 For Suspected Fraudulent Activities

Closeup of Man Making Sports Bets on His Phone
Online sportsbook Tennessee Action 24/7 was suspended by state regulators last Friday on suspicion of money laundering and fraud.

Lottery investigator Danny Di Rienzo from the Tennessee Education Lottery’s Sports Wagering Advisory Council told the regulating body that traces of money laundering and fraud were found on Tennessee Action 24/7’s betting app. Action 24/7 is the only Tennessee-based sportsbook in the state.

Various Issues Found at Tennessee Action 24/7 Mobile App

Di Rienzo detailed the allegations, highlighting one Action 24/7 account which was opened with a $10 balance but was deposited successfully 124 times from seven different credit cards. According to Di Rienzo, there was little betting action on the account yet multiple withdrawals worth tens of thousands of dollars were made to the account after the deposits.

The former secret service officer also identified Action 24/7 as one of the Tennessee sportsbooks which accepted illegal bets related to Super Bowl LVI. A total of 41 out of state residents placed a proxy bet through an individual in Tennessee on Action 24/7’s website to circumvent geolocation requirements of being present in Tennessee to place legal Tennessee sports bets.

Action 24/7 Says it Curbed the Illegal Activity

Tennessee Action 24/7 co-founder Tina Hodges admitted to the suspicious activity at its betting app. However, Hodges said that an Action 24/7 employee discovered the scheme and the company immediately suspended the player accounts. Hodges added that Action 24/7 has instituted additional control measures to curb such illegal activities and none has has happened since that isolated incident. The company says that it will appeal the suspension.

Action 24/7 was founded by Advance Financial executives. Although the lending company initially said that the two businesses are not linked, they secured permission earlier this year to allow customers at Advance Financial’s over 100 Tennessee locations to deposit funds to their betting accounts. However, a bipartisan bill currently in the General Assembly is looking to prohibit deposits made at the payday lender for fears that the company is using Action 24/7 winnings to pay off debts at Advance Financial.

Nebraska Sports Betting Bill Gets Past Round One

Nebraska On US Map

Lawmakers advanced the Nebraska sports betting bill on Wednesday, with state senators approving legislative Bill 561 by a vote of 37-5.

The measure would regulate sports betting and casino gambling in the Cornhusker State. Under the bill, the Nebraska Gaming Commission, which will merge with the State Racing Commission, will be created to undertake that task.

A Clear Mandate

Bill author Sen. Tom Briese of Albion said that he is personally opposed to legalizing Nebraska sports betting and casino gambling. However, he argued that lawmakers received a clear mandate from the people who voted to approved the constitutional amendment. Briese says they need to pass the bill to give guidance to the industry in Nebraska.

LB 561 includes three ballot measures approved by Nebraska voters during last November’s election: Casino gambling would be allowed at the state’s six licensed horse tracks, sports betting would only be allowed in the casinos, and prohibiting betting on high school events, minor leagues, and other sporting events involving athletes under 18 years old. The bill will now move to the second round of consideration. It needs two more votes before heading to the office of Gov. Pete Ricketts.

Some Provisions of LB 561

The legislative bill prohibits patrons from using credit cards in casinos and also includes a voluntary ban on risk-gamblers. The age requirement for horse racing betting patrons was raised to 21 to match that of Nebraska sports betting and casino players. The measure also prevents prop bets on individual performances by athletes from Nebraska.

Purchase of keno tickets from a mobile device or the use of electronic tickets would be authorized at keno operators by persons 19 or older. This change was designed to help protect a revenue stream that currently is the source of funds for community improvement projects.

Michigan Online Sports Betting Took in $301.9M in Wagers During February 2021

Closeup of Man Making Sports Bets on His Phone
The Michigan Gaming Control Board revealed the state’s internet gaming and sports betting revenues for the month of February on Tuesday and the figures were solid.

According to the MGCB, the Wolverine State’s online sportsbooks took in a total of $301.9M in wagers during February 2021, including Super Bowl LV bets. The online handle was 130% higher than the retail handle of $23.7M for the same month.

The MGCB reported that the state’s 12 online betting operators had a total of $79.7M in gross receipts from internet gaming for February 2021 while also accumulating $9.5M in gross receipts from online sports betting. These resulted in a total of $14.1M in tax revenues for the state.

Said Michigan Gaming Control Board executive director Richard S. Kalm:

“Michigan residents and visitors continued to show strong interest in internet gaming and sports betting during a snowy and cold February. “The internet gaming taxes more than tripled, but that’s what we expected with a full month of gaming. This means more funding for the City of Detroit, K-12 education, economic development and tribal communities.”

Little Revenue from Sports Betting

MotorCity Casino Hotel, which has FanDuel as its platform provider, collected the most bets for February 2021 with a total of $87.2M. MGM Grand Detroit, powered by BetMGM, came in second with $75.7M in total bets. The DraftKings powered Bay Mills took in $72.9M while Barstool Sports at Greektown Casino had an online handle of $40.3M last month.

Interestingly, only BetMGM posted positive receipts among the Top 3 with $5.3M in gross receipts and $2.4M in adjusted gain or $140,000 in tax payments. FanDuel reported an adjusted loss of $5.4M for February while DraftKings posted a $5.1M adjusted loss for the same month. Neither Fanduel and DaftKings reported any state tax payments for the second consecutive month.

Emerging as a Top Market

Combined with retail sports betting in casinos around the Wolverine State, Michigan sportsbooks saw a total of $325.6M in sports bets during the month of February. That’s the fifth largest total for any state for the month of February, making Michigan the 5th largest sports betting market in the United States, at least for the month.

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins raved about his company’s early iGaming success in Michigan. Per Robins, Michigan’s iGaming handle per capita on Super Bowl Sunday was nearly twice the per capita handle New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia iGaming Apps for their first Super Bowl despite the three states going live for for an average of 179 days and Michigan going up for only 17 days on the average.