Lawmakers Make New Push to Legalize Sports Betting in Florida

Odds Board and Money
Republican Rep. Chip LaMarca and Democratic Rep. Anika Omphroy are teaming up to push separate drafts that would legalize sports betting in Florida.

LaMarca will take charge of two bills that will implement the overall policy (HB1317) and set up the requirements for licensing (HB1321). Meanwhile, Omphroy will sponsor the legislation that will establish the tax structure surrounding the sports bets (HB1319).

This isn’t the first time that legislators are seeking to legalize Florida sports betting. But while previous attempts have not succeeded, lawmakers are looking for ways to augment the state’s revenues which have been ravaged by the ongoing pandemic.

Said LaMarca on Thursday:

“Right now, Floridians are sending millions of dollars out of the state every year, mostly overseas to foreign countries, because Florida has failed to bring legal sports wagering to our state. We have an opportunity to keep that money here in Florida. Allowing online and retail sports betting to operate legally translates into millions in revenue. That’s money from Floridians that should be invested in Florida.”

HB1317

According to the proposal, legal Florida sports betting licenses will be limited to tribal properties, casinos, pari-mutuel facilities, and professional sports venues. The license would allow those entities to set up sports betting via website and app, enabling customers to wager on games online. Betting kiosks where sports bets can be placed via touchscreen game stations are also mentioned in the bills.

Only persons aged 21 or older are allowed to place bets on Florida sports. Betting on the NFL and other professional sports will be permitted, as well as for college athletics. However, the bill specifically prohibits betting action on high school games. If passed, the Florida sports betting bill will provide prop bets on player statistics as well as parlays and other bets that combined multiple bets into one.

Sports and Tourism Destination

The NBA finished its 2020 season using a bubble format at Disney World in Orlando. Then this year’s Super Bowl was also played in Tampa Bay, with the home town Buccaneers upsetting the defending champions Kansas City Chiefs at Super Bowl LV.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been pushing for the Sunshine State to become a top sports and tourism destination in the United States. To do so, visitors would need entertainment choices, and sports betting could be one of those. Having a well-connected sports betting industry will help the state achieve that.

Ohio Grocers Association Wants to Be a Part of Ohio Sports Betting

Sportsbook
The Ohio Senate Select Committee on Gaming met for the third time on Wednesday, with statements from stakeholders who support the legalization of Ohio sports betting. But the hearing didn’t proceed without a surprise as the state’s groceries said that they want a piece of the Ohio sports betting pie – the supermarkets.

Lobbyist Joe Ewig, who spoke in behalf of Ohio Grocers Association, said that the members of his group want to be part of the action if the state legalizes Ohio sports betting.

According to Ewig, Ohio’s grocers are capable of taking sports bets. The supermarket trade association has roughly 500 members and last year, Ewig said that they sold more than 313 million lottery tickets.

Said Ewig:

“We recognize that in Ohio there are many different concepts and suggestions for how sports games should work and be structured. To that end, we are not here today to advocate the opening of a sports betting in every grocery store and setting up tables at our locations or on our islands. However, we ask you to consider making us part of the sports gaming system.

Sports Betting in Grocery Stores

Ewig wants the Ohio Lottery to create some kind of sports betting product that can be offered by the grocery stores. Ideally, Ewig said that sports betting can be done using the existing lottery terminals that are already in place and functioning in grocery stores and supermarkets.

This kind of model would work, per Ewig, because a large volume of customers enter supermarkets daily. According to Ewig, customers are often in these stores because these are considered “safe locations” by customer.

Other than Ewig’s group, the discussion focused on the main talking points of Ohio sports betting: the 8-10% tax rate, provision for three skins per casino, and how legalization of Ohio sports betting will protect state bettors from illegal offshore betting.

Ohio Sputters After Fast Start

Back in 2018, it looked like Ohio would be one of the first states to take advantage of the Supreme Court’s repeal of the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The then newly-elected Governor Mike DeWine indicated that he was open to the legalization of sports betting in the Buckeye State.

As legislators started the legalization process, Ohio sports betting met its first challenge when the Assembly and Senate passed two different bills. The Assembly wanted to put the Ohio State Lottery in charge of Ohio sports betting However, the Senate wanted to place the Ohio Casino Control Commission as Ohio sports betting regulator.

Despite the delay, observers felt that Ohio would be able to legalize sports betting in 2020. But COVID-19 came and derailed those plans. Now they are starting from the bottom again.

North Dakota House Wants Voters to Decide Fate of Internet Gambling

Closeup of Man Making Sports Bets on His Phone

Highly conservative North Dakota is showing signs of relaxing its anti-gambling stand.

On Tuesday, the North Dakota House endorsed a pair of bipartisan resolutions and companion bills that will pave the way for legal internet gambling to operate in the state. The proposals will now move forward to the senate and if approved by both chambers, the measures could appear on the November 2022 ballot for voters to decide.

Rep. Kasper Pushing Since 2005

Although no income estimates were discussed by the proponents of the measure, supporters believe that state-sanctioned online poker and sports betting would create massive revenues for the state’s charitable causes, including its compulsive gambling treatment program.

Fargo Republican Rep. Jim Kasper has been pushing for internet poker in the Legislature since 2005 but has been unsuccessful with the Senate always killing his initiatives. Had Kasper’s early proposals succeeded, North Dakota would have been the first state to legalize online poker. Currently, a total of six U.S. states allow internet poker.

Rejecting Online Gambling Exclusively on Tribal Land

The Republican controlled House also rejected on Tuesday a proposal the Democrats that would have allowed the state’s five Native American Tribes to negotiate an agreement with the Governor to allow online poker and sports betting on Tribal land.

Under that measure, online gambling would only be operated by the five tribes, utilizing servers within the reservations. That proposal was not supported by the majority of the House members. The House also killed on Tuesday a bill that would have allowed betting on previously recorded horse races.

Taking Advantage of Supreme Court’s 2018 Decision

North Dakota is one of a dozen states that are trying to take advantage of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to repeal the 1992 Professional Sports and Amateur Act in 2018, which opened the door for the legalization of sports betting in the United States.

Once opposed to gambling, North Dakota voters and legislators have altered their beliefs over the years. Voters firmly approved a state lottery in 2002 after rejecting three lottery measures in the previous 12 years. Along with bingo, blackjack , pull-tab tickets and other charitable games, it has become a multi-million annual industry for the state.

Penn National Gaming Secures Partnership With NY Casino

New York

There has been a huge amount of attention placed on Penn National Gaming over the past few years. This company was founded in the 1960s and now owns and operates 43 different gambling venues around the United States. This week, news broke that Penn scored an exciting new partnership with a major NY casino.

This is a huge move for this company. New York is currently in the process of getting its online sports betting industry up and running. Today, we’ll talk about what Penn’s move into this state means moving forward.

Let’s get into it!

New York is Still Working to Approve Online Sports Betting Legislation

New York is home to a huge professional sports industry. It’s no surprise that many lawmakers here immediately began looking into sports betting regulations after PASPA was struck down in May of 2018. Finally, in 2019, the first legal sports wager was finally placed here.

Things weren’t perfect, though. New York went against many recommendations and only decided to legalize land-based sports betting. Sportsbooks opened in various casinos across the state, yet many of them struggled to generate revenue.

Online sports betting has proven to be a far more lucrative industry. Neighboring New Jersey has a regulated internet sports betting industry set in place. Throughout 2020, this state set numerous new sports betting handle records from its online betting operations.

Many have been pushing New York to finally begin allowing online sports gambling. Many lawmakers agree and have been working to draft legislation that allows this form of wagering. Even Governor Cuomo believes it’s a necessity, yet wants to ensure the state benefits from such a move.

A sports betting bill is currently making its way through the state’s legislative process. Under this bill, up to 14 different sports betting operators would have the ability to gain an online license here. There are some issues arising, yet most feel online sports gambling will finally become available in New York this year.

Some major gaming companies are now making the move into this state. That includes Penn National Gaming, which is already banking on online gambling options becoming available here soon.

Here’s What We Know About Penn National Gaming Moving into New York

There has been a lot of media coverage on Penn National Gaming in recent years. Much of that has to do with the company’s investment into Barstool Sports. Back in January of 2019, this company invested an astounding $163 million into Barstool for a 36% stake in the company.

Penn Gaming has also been working hard to expand in recent years. In 2015, for example, it purchased the popular Tropicana Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas. In 2019, the company purchased two more major properties in conjunction with VICI Properties.

Now, Penn seems focused on New York. News broke this week that the company has agreed to a new partnership with Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady. This 20-year deal gives Penn access to the New York mobile sports betting and casino market.

Jon Kaplowitz, Penn National’s Sr. Vice President of Interactive Gaming, expressed his excitement about breaking into New York in an official statement this week.

“Gaining potential access to what could become one of the nation’s most lucrative sports betting markets has been a major priority for our Company,” he said. “We are hopeful that the New York State Assembly will follow those leading revenue producing states that allow for multiple skins for mobile sports betting. A state the size of New York certainly warrants open competition and a free market approach.” 

This is a huge move for Penn Gaming. This company has seen tremendous success breaking into new markets in recent months including Michigan. Most agree that New York has the largest online sports betting market in the US.

As of now, New York still has not approved any legislation to allow online sports betting. Once that changes, however, Penn Gaming will have the ability to launch an internet sportsbook here. Stay tuned for more updates over the next few weeks!

Online Sports Betting Revenue Continues Increasing Around the US

New York seems to be just months away from getting its online sports betting operations up and running. The states that have already done so are profiting in a big way. Online sports betting revenue is surging around the country right now.

That includes the aforementioned state of Michigan. Online sports betting didn’t become available here until the final ten days of January. In those ten days, the state saw an online sports betting handle of $113 million.

New Jersey is also seeing impressive online sports betting revenue figures right now. The regulated sportsbooks here earned an astounding $82.6 million in January. Analysts expect even higher figures in February due to the Super Bowl.

Many different states are now working hard to legalize and regulate their online sports betting industries. That includes California and Arizona. Many analysts expect nearly every state to have a sports betting industry set in place by 2025.

Penn National Gaming is getting ahead of the game by breaking into New York. It is likely to pay off as soon as online sports gambling gets approved here.

When do you think New York will begin allowing online sports betting? Let us know in the comments section below!

Georgia House Panel Pushes For Higher Sports Betting Tax Rates

Closeup of Man Making Sports Bets on His Phone

The Georgia House Economic Development and Tourism Committee has flip-flopped on the proposed tax rate for Georgia sports betting. After previously approving a bill that would tax bookmakers’ profits at 14%, the panel approved a revised version of House Bill 86 that would mandate payment of sports betting taxes at 20% of profits.

Committee chairman Ron Stephens, a Republican from Savannah, estimates that Georgia sports betting could bring in more than $30M per year to the state. That amount would greatly increase the funds for the HOPE college scholarships and increase subsidies for pre-kindergarten classes and child care.

House Bill 86

House Bill 86 or the Georgia sports betting bill mandates the Georgia Lottery Corporation to issue at least six licenses to companies who wish to offer sports betting activities in the state. These companies would be required to pay a licensing fee of $900,000 per year. After paying out bettors’ winnings, these sportsbooks would be taxed at a percentage of the remaining profits. The tax rate was previously set at 14% but the lawmakers now want to push it up to 20%.

The bill will also allow online sports wagering statewide with remote registration. Sports betting will be limited to professional sports while the state’s professional sports teams will be allowed to partner with sports betting operators. These operators will be mandated to purchase official sports data.

Legislative Deadline Nearing

Georgia’s General Assembly will be in session until April 2 and Bill 86 has a legislative deadline of the 28th session day to pass out of the chamber with Monday’s session being the 21st session already. The bill will now be directed to the Rules Committee and if it is passed there, it will go to the House Floor for a vote.

A Senate version of the Georgia Sports Bill had a hearing with the Committee on Regulated Industries Utilities last week. The difference between the two bills is that Senate bill 142 provides for a 10% tax rate and that wagering using credit cards and debits cards will be allowed.

Alabama Gambling Bill Expected to be Debated in Senate This Week

Alabama State Seal With a Casino Background

Alabama Gambling Bill Expected to be Debated in Senate This Week

Republican senator Del Marsh expects that the senate will debate on his Alabama gambling bill next week. The discussion is aimed at pushing casino gaming and sports betting before the voters for the first time in 22 years.

The senate debate, which is expected to happen on Tuesday, is the bill’s first major test.

Said Marsh:

“I do believe we will have a bill that will get out of the Senate this week. Then we’ll just work it in the House.”

Establishment of Lottery and Casino Games

The bill, which was filed by Sen. Del Marsh earlier this month, would allow Alabamians to vote on he establishment of a lottery and the expansion of gaming in the state. It proposes the establishment of an education lottery that would generate revenues for scholarships. A gaming trust fund is also to be created to receive gaming funds and commissions and regulate gaming activities within Alabama.

It also seeks to limit gaming to five locations: a new site in Jackson or Dekalb counties, Birmingham Race Course, Victoryland in Shorter, Greenetrack in Eutaw, and Mobile Greyhound Park. The locations would be allowed to conduct “casino-style games” including slot machines and table games. Sports wagering could also be allowed in the five locations, subject to a compact, on land held in trust for the Poarch Bank of Creek Indians.

Sen. Marsh’s Focus on Gambling Bill

Marsh stepped down as president pro tem of the senate to focus on legislation, particularly the Alabama gambling bill. In order for Marsh’s proposal to pass, it needs to be approved by a three-fifths majority of each chamber of the Alabama legislature and then by a majority of voters in a statewide ballot.

Alabama is just one of five states in the U.S. that does not operate a state lottery. Alabamians last voted on gambling in 1999 when they rejected a proposal by then Gov. Don Siegelman. Since then, gambling bills have come up short due to a conservative opposition to gambling and a turf war on which entities could operate casino games or electronic bingo machines.

Casinos Are Hoping to See Sports Betting in MA Soon

MGM Springfield

Massachusetts is home to a growing land-based casino industry. Some of the most powerful gaming companies in the country own casinos here. Unfortunately, they’ve been struggling to generate revenue for nearly a year. These casinos are now hoping to see sports betting in MA sometime in the near future.

Several lawmakers are pushing to get sports betting legalized and regulated here, as well. Many believe 2021 is the year this finally happens. Today, we’ll talk about how a sports gambling industry could help the state’s casinos.

Let’s get into it!

Casino Revenue in Massachusetts Increased in January

For decades, lawmakers in Massachusetts took steps to prohibit casinos. The state had a long history of anti-gambling legislation and pushed against even allowing tribal casinos. Finally, in 2018, the first casino opened its doors here.

That was the MGM Springfield, owned and operated by MGM Resorts International. This venue instantly became a massive success with gambling fans around the state. It was one of the most popular gambling venues on the East Coast.

A year later, Wynn Resorts opened the Encore Boston Harbor. This was a state-of-the-art casino resort built not far from Boston. It became the next big thing in the state and quickly captured a huge percentage of MGM Springfield’s patrons.

In March of 2020, all of the progress being made here came to a halt. State officials ordered all of the casinos in the state to shut their doors. It would be months before any of the state’s casinos were able to operate again.

Even after reopening, revenue was dropping throughout 2020. Things are beginning to improve, though. This past January, the casinos in Massachusetts brought in $57.6 million in revenue. That’s a more than 15% increase when compared to December.

When compared to January of 2020, however, these revenue figures are still very low. Many of the casinos here are now hoping to see legal sports betting become available to make up for some of these losses.

More Are Pushing to Regulate Sports Betting in MA

Casino revenue has been dropping across the United States for almost an entire year. That doesn’t mean people aren’t gambling, though. Sports betting revenue has been on a steady incline since major sports leagues resumed their operations in mid-2020.

This is proving to be very profitable for states with regulated sports betting industries set in place. It’s also been a valuable source of money for casinos, most of which are seeing large drops in their land-based gaming revenue right now. Many are now pushing to see sports betting in MA sometime soon.

Richard McGowan, a professor in the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, also believes online sports betting is a necessity for MA’s casino industry to survive. He gave his take on this situation to the media earlier this week.

“If they don’t get sports gambling at the casino or online, I don’t see much of a future,” he said. “They are in way too much debt. The future of gambling looks like it’s online. What will make or break MGM Springfield is what the Massachusetts Legislature decides to do with sports gambling.”

McGowan may certainly have a point. The land-based gambling industry was changed forever after the events that unfolded in 2020. Many people are no longer willing to play in-person and instead want to make their bets from the comfort of home.

Lawmakers in Massachusetts continue to discuss sports betting legislation. We’ll be sure to offer updates on the progress being made here over the next few months!

States Report Big Sports Betting Earnings in January

It’s no wonder why casinos and lawmakers are pushing so hard to get regulated sports betting in MA. This industry is a proven money-maker. It benefits virtually everyone and can now be found in more than half the country.

The revenue isn’t slowing down, either. Many states reported huge sports betting earnings for the month of January. It’s clear that this industry will continue to bring in large revenue earnings for the foreseeable future.

Michigan is seeing large earnings from this industry right now. This state didn’t launch its online sports betting operations until January 22. In just ten days of being live, the state saw an astounding $115.2 million in sports betting handle.

Pennsylvania also saw massive sports betting revenue figures this past January. This state saw a sports betting handle of $615.3 million. Sportsbooks here brought in $33.9 million in revenue.

Las Vegas has a struggling casino industry. Tourism rates are beginning to increase and more entertainment options are coming here, yet land-based casino revenue remains low. Fortunately, a huge amount of money will come in here from Super Bowl wagers.

Do you think we’ll see sports betting in MA anytime soon? Let us know in the comments section below!

Bally’s Becomes Sports Betting Partner of the NHL

Bally's Atlantic City

Land-based casino operator Bally’s Corporation has entered into an agreement to become an official sports betting partner of the NHL.

The deal enables Bally’s to use the official NHL marks and logos as well as the league’s official data for use in its expanding range of sports betting offerings. Bally’s recently purchased Bet.Works for $125M to launch its sports betting business later this year.

It also allows Bally’s to create NHL content that will be integrated to the game coverage on 19 regional TV networks operated under the Sinclair Broadcast Group which is being rebranded to Bally’s. Sinclair broadcasts the games of 12 NHL teams including the last two Stanley Cup winners in the Tampa Bay Lightning and St. Louis Blues.

Said Bally’s Corporation President and CEO George Papanier:

“We are thrilled to enter into this partnership with the NHL, which represents an important milestone in our strategy to become a leader in the online sports betting and iGaming space. With access to the NHL’s official logos and brands, together with our first-of-its-kind media partnership with Sinclair, we will continue on our path to transform how fans engage with their favorite hockey teams.”

NHL Embraces Sports Betting

The NHL has been one of the most progressive pro sports leagues when it comes to embracing sports betting in the last couple of years. The NHL has partnered with the American Gaming Association to bring responsible gaming messages directly to fans via an extensive public service campaign inside arenas.

Last month, the NHL entered into a deal with an Eastern European sports betting company covering the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Most recently the Detroit Red Wings entered into a sports betting partnership with online gambling operator PointsBet.

First Time for Bally’s

While this kind of partnership isn’t new to the NHL, this deal represents the first time that Bally’s has forged a sports betting deal with a major professional sports league, making this a landmark deal for the company.

Rhode Island based Bally’s currently operates in seven states with a total of 11 casino properties. It has pending deals that will add four new properties in three different states to its existing portfolio.

North Dakota Legislative Committee Endorses Sports Betting Resolution

Closeup of Man Making Sports Bets on His Phone

A House Committee endorsed a resolution on Wednesday that would allow North Dakotans to vote if legal sports betting should be allowed in the state.

The bipartisan resolution was given a “do-pass” recommendation and will now head to the Full House for consideration. If it is approved by both chambers, the North Dakota sports betting bill could appear in the 2022 ballot. A bill that will set the rules for the operation of gambling in the state will be forwarded to the Full House by the legislative committee without an endorsement.

Said the sponsor of the resolution, West Fargo Republican Rep Michael Howe:

“The only way to legalize this is to put this to a vote of the people of North Dakota. I feel the majority of North Dakotans want this.”

Change of Position

North Dakota lawmakers and voters were once hostile to expanding gambling in the state. However, they’ve had a change in position since the United States Supreme Court repealed the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018. In recent years, the Peace Garden State has allowed more games of chance. However, a North Dakota sports betting bill was rejected in the Legislature two years ago.

The matter could also be put to a vote by North Dakotans themselves using an initiated measure. The state’s constitution gives it citizens the right to bypass the Legislature and place a constitutional amendment directly in on the ballot.

Generate Revenues

Supporters of legal North Dakota sports betting say that the measure would generate revenues for the state and its charitable causes, including its compulsive gambling treatment program. On the other hand, those opposed to the proposal, including GOP Bismarck Rep. Larry Klemin who is the chairman of the judiciary committee, worry that expanding gambling in the state would cause more gambling addiction problems in the state.

A spokesman for Gov. Doug Burgum said on Wednesday that the governor will not stand in the way of any attempt to legalize North Dakota sports betting but added that he won’t advocate it either.

Genius Sports Secures Data Partnership with WynnBET

Wynn Resorts Las Vegas
Genius Sports Group announced on Tuesday a multi-state official data partnership with Wynn Resorts’ online sportsbook brand WynnBET.

Under the deal, Genius Sports will supply WynnBET with its LiveData and LiveTrading Services in the three states where WynnBET currently has access to, namely Colorado, Michigan, and New Jersey. Genius Sports will also provide WynnBET with official data content for hundreds of sporting events including the English Premier League, Euroleague Basketball, and the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series which WynnBET is an authorized online gaming operator.

Per Jack Davidson, Chief Commercial Officer at Genius Sports Group:

“Along with its broad market-access and nationally-recognizable brand name, Genius is an ideal partner to enhance WynnBET’s expanding online sportsbook and in-game betting offering. With growing numbers of states introducing online betting regulation, in-game handle is quickly rising – and WynnBET recognizes the direct engagement and revenue benefits of official data in this landscape.”

Genius Sports Has Been Very Busy

Genius Sports has been very busy in the past months. Last November, it announced that its standing relationship with the NBA will stay in place. At the start of the year, Genius also expanded its partnership with Grupo Caliente. The company also purchased Sportscast, giving it access to the latter’s Scorebot data system. In an announcement last week, Genius also announced a deal with Australia’s National Basketball League.

With the recent approval of its online gaming licenses in Michigan and Virginia, Genius Sports now operates in 11 different U.S. states. Genius Sports also has partnerships with North American sports bodies such as the NCAA, PGA Tour, as well as the global basketball organization FIBA.

WynnBET Expansion in 2021

Meanwhile, WynnBET is determined to undergo a rapid expansion in 2021. The Wynn Resorts-owned gambling firm currently operates in Colorado, Michigan, and New Jersey. Last month, it received a conditional approval for an online gaming license in Tennessee.

New Jersey based Wynn BET also announced that it has secured market access and has submitted an application in Indiana. It also gotten market access in Iowa and Ohio and have submitted an application for licensing in Virginia. Launched in 2020, WynnBET is the authorized gaming operator of NASCAR since 2020.