Connecticut Sets October 7, 2021 as Launch Date for Legal Sports Betting

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It may not have launched at its original target date but it’s not too late either.

Supporters of Connecticut spots betting wanted to launch earlier this month, or before the start of the NFL season. That did not happen. Instead, legal sports betting in the Constitution State will officially begin on October 7th. With the NFL adopting a 17-game regular season this year, there’s still plenty of football action to bet on.

In an interview with a local television network on Thursday, Paul Mounds, the Chief of Staff to CT Gov. Ned Lamont said:

“We are now focused on October 7, which is Thursday, which will be the full launch of online betting here in the state of Connecticut.”

State’s Revised Gaming Compacts Approved Last Week

One week ago, Gov. Lamont announced that the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs has approved the state’s revised gaming compacts with the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes. The approval paved the way for the Department of Consumer Protection to begin with the licensing and certification process needed before the launch.

The Tribes and the Connecticut Lottery have been working double time with their respective sports betting partners since last week but until today, no firm timetable was issued. Launching on October 7th means that Connecticut sports betting will be up and running when the betting for week 5 of the 2021 NFL season begins.

Sports Betting and iCasino Gaming

DraftKings, FanDuel, and Rush Street Interactive will all operate their respective platforms in the state. DraftKings has entered into a partnership with Foxwoods Casino while FanDuel has paired with the Mohegan Sun. Both are licensed to operate online sports betting and iCasino products. RSI meanwhile, will offer sports betting only.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe is building a retail DraftKings sportsbook at the Foxwoods Casino which will open in October. FanDuel is also planning to put up a brick and mortar shop at the Mohegan Sun. Meanwhile, the Connecticut Lottery awarded Sportstech a contract to operate 10 out of their allowed 15 retails sports betting shops in the state.

Fanatics Could be Aquiring a Sports Betting Company Soon

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Sports merchandise leader Fanatics is closing in on a deal to acquire a sports betting company as part of its expansion plans.

Fanatics officials refused to comment on the issue but industry sources say that meetings with Rush Street Interactive (RSI) and Swedish gaming company Betsson had positive results and Fanatics is likely to end up buying one of the two.

Rush Street Makes Sense

For Fanatics, Rush Sense makes sense. Despite having presence in 10 states including Illinois, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania and being among the Top 5 online revenue grossers, RSI has the weakest brand among companies of the same size. This means that they can change their name to an acquiring company like Fanatics.

There are also rumors that RSI is in the driver’s seat to land the rights to ESPN’s name in sports betting. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that ESPN was looking to sell its name to a sports betting package for $3B. That is supposedly one of the reasons why RSI worked to get the third skin in partnership with the Connecticut Lottery after DraftKings and FanDuel partnered with the state’s two Native American tribes.

On the other hand, Betsson has an excellent iGaming product but it does not operate in the United States and would be more of a back-end technology for Fanatics.

Fanatics Has Tripled its Value

Last month, it was reported that Fanatics had tripled its value to $18B over the past year. The company was valued at $13B last March before receiving a $325M funding from its existing owners while also adding funds from new investors like Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, SoftBank, Silver Lake , Eldridge, TWG Sports & Entertainment, MLB, and Insight Partners.

The company said that the additional funding would be used to transition from a vertical commerce company to an international digital sports platform while expand its technological and consumer databases to integrate new markets such as NFTs, gaming, media, and sports betting.

Before venturing to other businesses, Fanatics acquired some assets, inventory, and college licensing rights of Vetta Brands, including the Top of the World division. Last year, Fanatics also purchased the licensed sports merchandise company WinCraft.

Wynn Las Vegas Opens $3.5M Sports Podcasting Studio

Wynn Las Vegas

Wynn Las Vegas has built a $3.5M sports podcasting studio inside its property. The studio is part of Wynn’s three-year partnership with Blue Wire, a network that has an arsenal of 175 podcasts including ones that cover major sporting events like combat sports and the NFL. The deal is aimed at promoting Wynn Resorts’ WynnBET mobile betting app.

High-Profile Location

The Blue Wire Studio is in a high-profile location inside the Wynn Las Vegas. It is constructed at a former jewelry store that in a retail corridor connecting the Resort to the Wynn Golf Club. Wynn Las Vegs is on the east side of the Strip where the demolished Desert Inn stood for decades.

It is constructed with a glass front so that hotel guests and passers by will be able to see the podcasts broadcasted live. Popular podcasts from Blue Wire include Green Light with Chris Long, the Pack-a-Day Green Bay Packers podcast, and The Codcast which is about the esports game Call of Duty.

Blue Wire also has shows featuring retired sports stars like WR1 with Chris Carter. The network also has other general sports betting podcasts and sports history shows which focus on specific pro sports teams like the Houston Texans and the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

Betting Big on WynnBET

Wynn is currently very aggressive in promoting its sports betting app WynnBET. The company recently launched a $100M ad campaign including commercials featuring stars such as Ben Affleck and Shaquille O’Neal.

The Wynn Casino also houses the Wynn Race & Sport Book as well as the Encore Race & Sportsbook which are two of the most popular retail betting places in the industry.

The Blue Wire Studio though is not the first of its kind in Sin City. The Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN) was launched by broadcaster Brent Musburger in 2017. VSiN operates from Southpoint Hotel, Casino, and Spa and the Circa Resort and Casino. The network was recently purchased by DraftKings.

Feds Approve Sports Betting and Online Gaming in Connecticut

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The Federal Government has signed off on the plans for the legalization of sports betting and online gaming in the state of Connecticut.

According to Gov. Ned Lamont on Thursday, the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs of the Department of Interior informed him that the gaming compacts between the state and the Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Peqout Tribe have been approved.

Said Lamont via Twitter:

“I just received a call from @USIndianAffairs informing me that they have given final approval to the revised gaming compacts between the State of Connecticut and the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes, allowing for sports wagering and online gaming. This critical step in the process of modernizing our gaming landscape here in Connecticut ensures that our state will have a competitive, nation-leading marketplace for wagering both in-person and online.”

“I thank @USIndianAffairs for approving these revisions, as well as the efforts of the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes. Today’s announcement puts CT on the cusp of providing a modern, technologically advanced gaming experience competitive with our neighboring states.”

Waiting to Be Published in the Federal Register

Earlier this year, the Connecticut General Assembly passed the legislation to legalize sports betting and online gambling in the state, which Lamont signed into a law. The law allows only the Connecticut Lottery Corporation and the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes to conduct online and in-person sports wagering.

Thursday was the deadline for the Department of Interior to approve the compacts. While they are approved, they were not yet published in the Federal Register on Thursday and will only take effect once they are. Aside from that, the state’s Department of Consumer Protection still has to approve the vendors and suppliers that will be used by the operators.

Targeting October Launch

Once approval is secured, the operators will give the Department of Consumer Protection a 10-day notice of when they intend to go live. After that, there will be a seven-day soft launch where operations are monitored to iron out possible kinks. Once those tasks are complete, BetRivers ( Connecticut Lottery ), DraftKings( Mohegan Sun ), and FanDuel
( Foxwoods ) will be ready to launch, and according to sources, they will go live at the same time.

Back when the law was passed, supporters were hoping to launch on September 9th when the NFL’ opened its 2021 season. But since that has already passed and given the activities that still need to happen, the operators are looking to go live next month. The retail DraftKings sportsbooks at Foxwoods is also expected to open simultaneously with the launch of online sports betting while the Mohegan FanDuel brick and mortar sportsbook won’t be ready until winter.

FanDuel, Penn National Gaming Announce Approved Sports Betting License in Arizona

Arizona State Flag and an Arizona Casino

Industry sources have revealed that FanDuel and Penn National Gaming have both received event gaming licenses from the Arizona Department of Gaming last week. Both gambling companies were licensed as designees while their partner sports franchise/organizations were licensed as operators.

FanDuel was the first sports betting company to partner with a pro sports team in Arizona when they cut a deal with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns last fall. Arizona intends to launch legal sports betting on September 9th when the NFL’s 2021 season opens. However, FanDuel and Penn National can begin marketing campaigns and customer sign-ups on Saturday.

FanDuel previously said it plans to launch online sports betting as soon as possible and then build a retain sportsbook at the Suns’ Footprint Center. Meanwhile, Penn National Gaming is also expected to launch the Barstool Sports App first before building a sports betting shop at the Phoenix Raceway.

A Total of 10 Sports Betting License Applications Received

The Arizona Department of Gaming previously said it received a total of 10 sports betting license applications including one which they announced as rejected last week.

The ADG has not officially named the applicants, although there have been a total of six gambling entities which have aligned themselves with a partner Arizona sports team/organization in recent months.

FanDuel and Penn Gaming are two of the six, pairing with the Suns and Phoenix Raceway, respectively. Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals teamed up with BetMGM while the Arizona Diamondbacks entered into a deal with Caesars Entertainment. Bally’s is a sports betting partner of the he WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and DraftKings paired with the golf’s TPC Scottsdale.

The Coyotes Don’t Have a Sports Betting Partner Yet

With Arizona’s six professional sports teams and organizations already tied up with a sports betting partner, only the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes have not named their official sports betting partner to date.

The franchise is still on the hunt for a new home after the city of Glendale said last Thursday that it won’t renew the team’s lease past the 2020-21 NHL season. One day later, the Coyotes sent a notice to their season ticket holders that they intend to stay in the metro Phoenix area.

Arizona’s sports betting law allows up to 20 retail sports betting licenses. 10 of the licenses will be allotted to the state’s professional teams and organizations while the other 10 are to be given to the Northern American tribes. In a recent announcement, the ADG said that it received a total of 16 applications from the tribes and that they are in the process of evaluating and selecting the 10 approved applicants.

North Carolina Sports Betting Bill Advances After Senate Vote

North Carolina Flag

The North Carolina senate voted 26-19 on Thursday to pass a legislation that would allow legal mobile sports betting and sports betting shops located at or near major spots venues.

Senate Bill 688 now advances to the North Carolina House of Representatives for action. A companion been has been stuck in the House for months but the bill’s proponents hope that the Senate’s vote will push their counterparts in the House of Representatives to help push it forward.

If the bill passes out of the Republican party controlled General Assembly, it would still have to go through the office of Gov. Roy Cooper for his signature before it becomes a law.

North Carolina Sports Betting Will Have One of the Lowest Tax Rates in the Country

If the bill is signed to a law, it will permit 10 to 12 online spots betting operators in the state. Owners of the state’s major sports venues like the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Hornets, and Carolina Hurricanes will also be allowed to open a retail sportsbook at their venues. The host of the PGA Tour can also establish its own brick and mortar shop.

The initial licensing fees for mobile operators would be $500,000 with a renewal fee of $100,000 every five years. Gross gaming revenue would be taxed at 8%, which is one of the lowest tax rates in the country. Because of the low tax rates, competition for the limited licenses is expected to be stiff.

Only eligible bettor aged 21 or over are allowed to register make deposits, and place bets from anywhere within the state’s borders. In-person registration is not required and bettors can place bets on in-state college programs and eSports events as approved by the regulators.

Tribal Online Sports Betting License Will Not Count Against the Total

The North American Tribes in the state could also apply for a mobile gaming license since their current compact with the state only permits in-person wagering.

Currently, legal North Carolina sports betting only takes place at its two casinos, the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Cherokee Valley River via retail sportsbooks operated by Caesars Entertainment. A third casino, which is owned by the Catawba Nation and is still under construction, is also expected to offer legal sports betting when it commences operations.

If the Cherokees and the Catawba both apply for a mobile sports betting license, which is expected, and get approved, their licenses will not count against the sports betting bill’s 10-12 limit.

Massachusetts House to Debate Sports Betting Bill on Thursday

Two Laptops Showing Sports in Front of a Pile of Money

The Massachusetts House is getting ready for a debate on the legislation that would legalize sports betting in the state.

According to a memo sent by the office of House Speaker Ronald Mariano to the House of Representatives, legislators were told to prepare for a debate at Thursday’s formal session on the revised version of Rep. Dan Cahill’s sports betting bill.

Cahill’s bill was redrafted by the Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies and favorably reported out by the committee over the weekend. It could still be edited by the House Ways and Means Committee before it hits the debating floor on Thursday.

In-Person and Mobile Sports Betting

Under the 38-page bill reported by the committee, legal sports betting in Massachusetts would be regulated by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission with casinos, slot parlors, simulcasting facilities, and horse racing tracks in the state allowed to apply for licenses to accept in-person sports wagering.

Operators will be allowed between one to three mobile sports betting platforms. Those who wish to offer mobile-only sports betting are also welcome to apply for licenses and all bettors must be at least 21 years old and physically present in Massachusetts to make place a legal bet.

Entities who wish to apply for a sports betting license will be required to pay an application fee of $100,000. Approved applicants will pay an initial $5M in initial fee for the license and another $5M to renew after five years. The first time fee will be reduced to $4M for companies which paid $1M for a temporary license to start taking bets while their request is pending with the commission.

Details of Massachusetts Sports Betting Bill

Bets on professional and collegiate sports contests would be allowed. However, wagers on the individual performances of college sports athletes are not permitted. The provision to allow bets on college sports has been a recurring theme in the three years that lawmakers have been discussing sports betting.

Although fantasy sports isn’t covered by the legislation, it also permits legal bets on motor race events, e-sports, competitive video games, and any other sporting event that is approved by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

Mobile bets will be charged 15% under the bill while in-person wagers will be taxed at 12.5%. An additional 1% tax would be levied for bets made on events in Massachusetts and this additional fee will be distributed proportionately between the facilities that hosted the said events to be utilized for “sports wagering security and integrity.”

Magic City Casino Owners Challenge Florida Gambling Compact With Seminole Tribe

Florida State Seal With a Casino Background

Florida’s gaming compact with the Seminole tribe has been challenged by a federal lawsuit from the owners of Magic City Casino.

The lawsuit alleges that the sports betting component in the compact is based on legal fiction and that it violates the federal law.

It was filed last Friday at the U.S. District Court or the Northern District of Florida by the Havenick family owned Southwest Parimutuels. It argues that the agreement authorizing sports betting outside Florida’s tribal lands is in violation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and asks the Court to stop the implementation of sports betting.

Said Isadore Havenick, vice president for public affairs of Southwest Parimutuels:

“While we are fully supportive of Gov. DeSantis and his work to secure a new Seminole Compact, the lawsuit focuses on a very narrow aspect of the Compact — the legality of off-reservation and online sports wagering.’’

The company claims that it stands to lose “millions” in revenues if Florida residents are allowed to make sports bets from their homes using the internet or mobile apps. It adds that this will significantly or even completely hinder their ability to compete with the tribe.

Online Bets on Sports Events

The compact, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and Seminole Tribe chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr. last May, would allow online bets on sports events using the internet or web applications from anywhere withing Florida beginning October 5th. All transactions however, would have to go through servers located on tribal lands to bypass both federal and state law which prohibit sports betting in Florida.

It also allows sports bets to be placed at six of the tribe’s reservations but also permits the state’s existing race tracks an jai alai frontons to develop their own mobile apps to conduct off-reservation bets if they are picked by the Tribe as its partners. Under this agreement, the parimutuel would get 60% of the bets’ proceeds while the tribe will receive the remaining 40%.

Bets “Deemed” to Bet Placed on Tribal Land

The main issue is the provision in the compact that says that a bet is “deemed” to be placed on tribal land just because of the location of the operator’s server. The lawsuit argues that this violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the Wire Act, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, and other court decisions interpreting those mentioned laws.

In its 67-page complaint, Southwest Parimutuels argues that “contrary to the fiction that the 2021 Compact and Implementing Law, a bet is placed both where the bettor and the casino are located”. It also claims that such a compact between the state and Tribe can only “occur on Indian lands”. Furthermore, it says that the deal clearly allows bets to be placed outside tribal lands.

Pending Federal Review

The deal is currently awaiting approval from the U.S . Department of Interior which has 45-days to decide after the compact is submitted. A representative from the office of the governor said that it was mailed to the approving authority last June 3rd, although the lawsuit states that it was presented to the DOI on June 21st.

The tribe is also threatened by a constitutional amendment for the 2022 ballot which would authorize online sports betting at all Florida parimutuels, professional sports stadiums, and anywhere else in the state using a mobile sports betting platform. This was proposed by FanDuel and DraftKings.

BetMGM Inks Deal to Become LPGA’s Official Betting Partner

MGM Resorts Lawsuit
Almost three years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, the LPGA has entered the gambling space.

On Wednesday, the tour announced a multi-year agreement with BetMGM to become its Official Betting Operator and Partner. LPGA senior vice president of global media distribution Brian Carroll said in a statement:

“As a leading sports and entertainment company and already a supporter of women’s golf, BetMGM is uniquely positioned to join the LPGA family as an Official Betting Operator. Sports betting and digital gaming are key elements of the future of sports, and BetMGM is on the forefront of both opportunities. We are happy to partner with them as we look to provide more opportunities for our fans to interact with the LPGA and learn about our incredible athletes.”

Engaging the LPGA Fanbase With BetMGM Products

As part of the agreement, BetMGM will feature LPGA betting odds in the online sportsbook’s betting menu alongside the PGA Tour, European Tour, and other global golfing events. Likewise, BetMGM will be given exclusive access to use the Official Tour Partner logo in connection with its advertising and promotion of their online sports betting products and services.

BetMGM chief revenue officer Matt Prevost said that his company looks forward to engaging the LPGA fanbase with its market-leading products. According to Prevost, BetMGM’s advanced betting technology will give LPGA fans a user-friendly experience and multiple betting options to choose from.

MGM Resorts’ Commitment to Golf

Through its partnership with MGM Resorts, BetMGM also has access to existing sponsorship relationships with some of the world’s best athletes who are in the LPGA. Existing MGM Ambassadors in the LPGA include Natalie Gulbis, Danielle Cang, Cristie Kerr, Alison Lee, Anna Nordqvist, and Michelle Wie West.

Earlier this year, MGM Resorts also partnered with the LPGA Tour for the latter’s first match play event since 2017- the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play Hosted by Shadow Creek. With the latest betting partnership with the women’s professional golf tour, MGM Resorts’ commitment to golf has been further strengthened.

Wynn Online Sports Betting Business Going Public Via SPAC Merger

Wynn Las Vegas

Wynn Resorts Ltd.’s online sports betting business is going public by merging with a special purpose acquisition company.

According to a press release from Wynn Resorts on Monday, the company is merging Wynn interactive division with Austerlitz Acquisition Corp.I, a blank-check company established by title-insurance magnate William P. Foley II. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.

The new entity will trade on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the name Wynn Interactive Ltd., with the trading symbol WBET.

Said Wynn Chief Executive Officer Matt Maddox in a statement:

“We are confident that this transaction will unlock the tremendous potential of Wynn Interactive to further accelerate growth and enable the business to capture the massive opportunity in North America.”

Online Projections

Wynn Interactive projected an online revenue of $708M for 2023, based on a 5% to 7% share of the U.S. market. The company’s current annual run rate is $100M per executives during a conference call for investors. Wynn Resorts shares gained as much as 3.1% to $129.67 in after-hours trading. They were up 11% this year through the close of Monday transactions in New York.

The Wynn merger follows the route that other big gaming companies have undertaken in recent times. DraftKings Inc., Golden Nugget Online Gambling Inc., and Rush Street Interactive have gone public after merging with a SPAC company. The deal is expected to fetch $640M in cash for Wynn Resorts.

About the Companies

Wynn Interactive is currently operating via WynnBet in six U.S states: New Jersey, Colorado, Michigan, Virginia, Indiana, Indiana, and Tennessee. The company says that it has market access opportunities in a total of 15 states that covers an estimated 15% of the United States population.

Austerlitz is one of six blank check companies founded by Foley through his Cannae Holdings and has reportedly created more than $140B in value. Foley, whose net worth was listed by Forbes at $1.9B, has holdings in the Las Vegas Golden Knights of the NHL, Fidelity National Financial, and software provider Black Knight.