Goucher College Poll Shows Maryland Residents Divided Over Sports Betting

Sportsbook in CasinoAccording to a Goucher College poll released Monday, Maryland residents are almost evenly split down the middle when it comes to the legalization of sports betting in their state.

The Goucher College poll surveyed a total of 713 Maryland residents, by phone, and was conducted Feb. 13-18. The margin of error, of plus or minus, is 3.7 percent.

The results found that 49% of Maryland residents oppose expanding gambling that would allow sports betting to take place at racetracks, casinos or stadiums. On the other hand, 45% of Maryland residents are in favor of allowing it.

When it comes to allowing online sports betting, through the means of either placing wagers online or through an app as opposed to a physical casino sportsbook, those in favor slightly tip the scale with 47% of respondents in favor of it, compared with 43% of respondents who oppose it.

The Goucher College Poll comes during a time where Maryland lawmakers have been in serious consideration of legalizing sports betting. They have been considering uses for the tax revenue, and whether is would be best placed for the state’s K-12 education.

According to Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher, it’s unsure whether respondents know that lawmakers are discussing divvying up the tax revenue for the public school’s use. What’s clear, however, is that same level of division among respondents has been seen in previous polls.

“They are divided now,” Kromer said. “But my guess is that because public education is important to people, you’d see different numbers if they made that connection.”

State Pushes Forward, Will Need Public’s Approval

While state lawmakers are working toward passing through legislation that would permit sports betting in the state, according to the law, voters get the final stamp of approval. For legislation to pass, voters will need to approve it in a ballot referendum in November for it to get the green light to actually go through.

The General Assembly is also debating whether or not they should ask voters to remove themselves from the decision process completely, that’s if Maryland expands gambling in the future. Even still, voters get the final say in whether or not they want to be apart of that decision process.

Legalized Gambling in Maryland

Currently, on-site gambling is allowed in Maryland’s six casinos: Rocky Gap Casino Report in Flinstone, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, Hollywood Casino Perryville, Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover, Ocean Downs in Berlin, and MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill.

According to state analysts, Maryland’s total casinos are expected to generate nearly $1.8 billion in gross gambling revenue in the 2021 fiscal year. That revenue would allot $542 million to be used on the state’s Education Trust Fund.

While the support for education in the state is high, Marylanders get immediately turned off if they feel they’re being taxed too high, and it bleeds into their decision-making process for legalized sports betting.

“There is a high level of support for education. And then you see where the rub is. Marylanders feel like they are taxed too much,” Kromer said. “When asked about more services and more taxes, you see the plurality saying keep everything the same.”

Sports Betting in D.C. is Finally Starting to Gain Some Traction

Aerial View of Washington DC Over a year ago, sports wagering was first signed into law in Washington D.C. on Jan. 23. 2019. However, it’s been a long and winding road since then to get an official sports bet made. However, it looks like the tides are finally beginning to shift in 2020.

“We want to get it right, rather than fast,” said William Hill US chief executive Joe Asher. “It’s going to be there for a long time, so we’re much more focused on getting it right and having something truly special than any artificial date.”

Possible Hang-ups

A big point of contention in the legalization matter has been the divided opinions among those who wish to see the sports betting industry thrive in Washington D.C. While it’s generally agreed that sports betting will help boost the economy, as we’ve seen it done in neighboring states like New Jersey, it’s unclear whether D.C.’s existing infrastructure has the ability to sustain these programs.

The uncertainty has caused many to drag their feet.

Another roadblock was when a D.C. citizen filed a lawsuit over the council approving a sole-contract with their current Washington D.C. lottery operator, Intralot. The contract was created so that Intralot could function at the District’s sports betting program, but it was done in a hasty effort to beat out neighboring states who were introducing sports betting.

The D.C. citizen filed the lawsuit claiming that the council “violated the federal Home Rule Act through its award.” While the lawsuit is out of the courtroom, it hindered the process of legalization even further. Currently, the D.C. Lottery says that city-operated sports betting will only be available sometime in the first quarter of 2020.

Potential Roll-Out Date

Despite the delays and roadblocks, Class B operators remain hopeful. Beth Bresnaha, Lottery Executive Director, says the office is looking to expedite the process and push things through, in a fair and transparent way.

The lottery is drafting proposed rules to D.C. retailers this spring, that will hopefully put them on track for an official rollout this fall. In the meantime, infrastructural upgrades will be made to retailers supporting sports wagering in order to handle the volume.

While geolocation requirements are causing some cost restraints, the Bet D.C. consortium (which boasts almost 30 bars and restaurants) has agreed to share some of the financial burden.

Capital One Arena Sports Book

As of now, the William Hill application for a sports book at the Capital One Arena is the only Class A or B application submitted. Asher said their goal for the Capital One Arena sports book and restaurant is to be able to have its doors open in 2020, ideally around the start of football in September, but no target dates have been set in stone.

The restaurant will have two working floors to work with, and William Hill may have an as-of-yet-unnamed restaurateur running the food operation. Their goal is to create a versatile location that offers an incredible sports book, and not just a location known for its sports book, plus a few extra amenities.

“It’s going to be in the nation’s capital, in between the White House and the Capitol, on top of one of the busiest Metro stations in the system, one of the busiest subway stations in the country,” said Asher. “There’s gonna be a lot of people coming and we want it to be something that people can get really excited about.”

Should Sports Betting in Georgia Become Legalized?

SportsbookThanks to an alliance of Atlanta’s big-league sports teams, there’s been a recent push for legalization of sports betting in Georgia. In fact, we could see the first legislation proposed as soon as next week.

Those teams, which make up what’s called The Professional Sports Integrity Alliance, is made up of the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United, the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Hawks.

The group has been busy lobbying lawmakers to legalize mobile sports betting. That’s wagering done on a phone, all cash, no credit.

There’s been some opposers, however, including Atlanta Falcons President and CEO Rich McKay, who thinks sports franchises wouldn’t make a dime off legalized betting.

Where does he say profit will go instead? It would become tax revenue that would go to the state of Georgia. Although he does believe the individual franchises would profit from increased fan engagement, something he believes is important in modern sports.

“With the younger fans, we need more engagement,”McKay said. “What we’ve seen from all the numbers is how much sports gambling there is going on from that age of 23 to 40, and this becomes an engagement opportunity for us.”

A European Betting Model

McKay said teams would base the betting on the European Model, where bets are made over a phone or mobile device.

Because it would not use credit cards, only cash in an account, he believes most bets would be made in the $10 to $20 range. He also said all the leagues and sports teams would take measures to ensure the integrity of the game.

The Alliance claims that the state of Georgia already has $1.5 billion worth of revenue due to underground or illegal gambling.

“They’re doing it now,” McKay said. “They’re doing it offshore, and they’re doing it illegally. So why wouldn’t we put some restrictions around it? Legalize it. Regulate it, and have the state make revenue off it.”

The Case for Gambling in the State

Georgia lawmakers are studying the potential economic benefits of expanding gambling in the state, which supporters say would bring thousands of jobs and pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the struggling Georgia Lottery-funded HOPE scholarship.

Jennifer Roberts, associate director of the International Center for Gaming Regulation at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a gaming law expert who has represented major hotel chains, said factors such as Georgia’s relative isolation from other gaming make a valid case for expanding the industry.

“In general, gambling does bring economic benefit to states,” Roberts said. “But any form of gambling is a policy decision for each state. Policymakers have to decide what the smartest approach is for their state.” Supporters for years have tried different ways to expand gambling in Georgia, through casinos or horse racing, but a recent call from Governor Brian Kemp to cut down budgets has renewed energy around the topic.

Georgians will need to approve a constitutional amendment to allow the expansion of casino gambling or horse racing betting within the state.

Kemp has said that while he opposes casino gambling, he will not stand in the way of putting an amendment before voters as long as it guarantees the revenue will benefit HOPE. Georgia Lottery officials have said improved performance by high schoolers and rising tuition have made it increasingly difficult to fulfill HOPE’s goal of providing full scholarships to the state’s top students.

“I know there’s always those opposed to gambling — and it is a policy decision,” Roberts said. “But there are definitely benefits from having a regulated legal (gambling) system. Part of that is having responsible gambling methods and consumer protections. That’s in addition to revenue benefits.”

Roberts said Georgia’s relative isolation from most forms of gambling creates an economic opportunity.

 

Online Sports Betting in Michigan Likely Delayed Until 2021

Mobile Sports Gambling, Computer In BackgroundMichigan regulators, who are familiar with the previous implementation of new gambling regulations in Michigan, expect it to take approximately one year to solidify the rules for the industry – online poker, online casino games, sports betting, and fantasy sports.

The targeted 2021 completion of the online rules are based on the time it took to develop other rule sets in the past, said Mary Kay Bean, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

While Detroit’s three commercial casinos, as well as the state’s 24 tribal casinos, will all need to obtain the proper mobile sports bettor operating licenses for online gambling, it’s the agency’s goal to launch on-site sports betting this spring.

“We are at a very early stage of this process,” Bean said, according to the Associated Press. “The agency must establish several sets of administrative rules, which pass through many levels of review. The timing of implementation depends not only on our agency but also on decisions other departments, agencies and the Legislature make along the way.”

The rules process could require public hearings, public comments, and regulatory impact statements. In addition, the rules must then lead to a licensing process, which will include vetting and ultimately issuing those licenses.

How Michigan Is Preparing for Legalized Sports Betting

MGM Grand Detroit has prepared for the update by opening their $6 million sports bar, Moneyline, last October. It will have betting windows and self-service kiosks once approved. But Detroit won’t be the only place it will be available.

“We view sports betting as another nice entity that will drive more people to our property,” Mike Bean, the CEO of Saginaw Chippewa Gaming Enterprises with locations in Mount Pleasant and Standish, said, according to the news wire. “Our biggest question right now is when is it all going to be ready?

Penn National Gaming Inc. is the new operator of the Greektown Casino. There have been decades-long agreements with four internet gaming operators because the organization aims to bring sports betting to its 41 locations in 19 states. Two of their locations could potentially operate in the state of Michigan.

“We’re envisioning what (sports betting) could look like if it were passed,” said Eric Schippers, Penn National senior vice president of public affairs. “Michigan is leaving a lot of money on the table it could be generating in tax revenue and benefits that could be funded from this. There’s natural pressure to strike while it’s hot. We’re hopeful Michigan won’t allow itself to get left behind.”

How Does Michigan’s Timeline Fare With Other States?

Pennsylvania, as a point of reference, took approximately two years before its first online poker site was able to launch, but that was on the long-tail of the required amount of time, almost excessively so. One year is more realistic, according to most industry analysts and experts.

The timeline largely is the standard in other states that have legalized online gaming and sports betting, said Rep. Brandt Iden, R-Oshtemo Township, who spearheaded the online gaming package. A similar package took six to eight months to implement in Indiana, he said.

“I’d like it to be a little bit quicker, but that’s probably the timeline,” Iden said.

The in-person sports betting timeline is a good step forward, he said, but it’s not likely the state will experience significant tax revenue until online gambling piece is up and running.

“Until we’re fully integrated online, I don’t think we’ll be able to capitalize on revenue. But from a consumer protection standpoint, from getting players interested, certainly getting up and going in person is helpful,” Iden said.

Detroit Casinos Report Record-Breaking $1.454 Billion in Revenue for 2019

MGM Grand Detroit CasinoDetroit’s three casinos set a record for adjusted gross revenue last year, earning $1.454 billion in 2019. According to the state, that amount tops the record $1.444 billion set in 2018, or a $10 million increase in revenue. Those three casinos are MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino and the Greektown. It was record-breaking years for both MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino Hotel.

This record casino revenue is also good news for the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit. The state saw just over $117.8 million in gaming taxes in 2019. This number was $800,000 more than what they accrued the previous year. Detroit was paid $184.2 million in wagering taxes and development agreements, compared to $182.9 million in 2018.

Slices of the Billion-Dollar Pie

With nearly 43% market share in 2019, MGM Grand Detroit blazed the trail in the Motor City. The casino made $623.5 million in revenue, 0.7% more than its record the year prior, according to the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

MotorCity Casino Hotel took the second-largest portion at 34% market share. Its revenue was $493.6 million, which is about 0.8% higher than the record it had set in 2018. And while MotorCity was in second place, the property still experienced year-over-year revenue growth on its way to record turnover.

The rest was from Greektown, which had revenue of $337.2 million and covered about 23% of the market share. That was up 0.6% from the previous year but fell short of its $352.8 million record in 2011, when the three casinos achieved a then-record of $1.4 billion.

Each casino saw a year-over-year uptick in fourth quarter revenue in 2019. Greektown’s increased 3.4% to $87.1 million, MotorCity’s rose 2.9% to $123.4 million and MGM’s ticked up 0.2% to $157.2 million.

MGM Grand Detroit Opens ‘Moneyline’ as a Money Move

The MGM Grand opened their new sports lounge, Moneyline, last October to position themselves on the future of sports betting in the state.

They designed Moneyline Sports Lounge to look and feel like a sports book you would see in Las Vegas. They did this to bring the Vegas experience to Detroit, and while sports gaming isn’t an option right now, that may not be the case for much longer.

Michigan house representative Brandt Iden has been pushing for legislative changes in sports betting for years. His efforts will go a long way when Moneyline will be able to achieve its full potential, as a Sports Book taking wagers for gamblers legally.

This was another smart, forward-thinking move for the industry-leading MGM Grand, one that if coupled with the legalization of sports betting, will undoubtedly garner in an even higher increase of revenue for the year.

A Good Year on the Horizon, Possibly

Michigan approved sports betting last December, and online and mobile wagering are part of that package.

Industry observers are divided on exactly when the sports betting will be ready for public consumption in the state. Some of the more ambitious timelines indicate its availability in the spring, sometimes after March Madness. Some of the more realistic estimates indicate that it could likely take all of 2020 for Michigan to get the sports betting bill ready.

But if sports betting in the state becomes available sooner rather than later, then Michigan is expected to see over $19 million in annual revenue solely from sports wagering.

Could California Become America’s Sports Betting Capital?

SportsbookIt’s been two years since the U.S. Supreme Court has removed legal barriers to sports betting, and in November, Californians may be asked to join 14 other states in allowing legal wagers on sports.

Should this go through, it would create an even more lucrative gambling industry in the state, worth upwards of billions of dollars and effectively creating competition among rival gambling interests in the state.

On Tuesday, 18 of California’s key Indian gaming tribes were given the green light to petition a statewide ballot initiative that would allow sports betting at tribal casinos and horse racing tracks, but not at rival card clubs or the internet.

Sen. Bill Dodd, who chairs the Senate Governmental Organization Committee that oversees gaming, told Legal Sports Report this:

“Frankly, I didn’t expect it, but it really wasn’t a surprise,” Dodd said. “They obviously have firm beliefs on what they see should be happening in this area, and that’s their right. But I represent all the people in the state of California, not just the tribes. And I think our approach to this should be more holistic.”

Senator Dodd says he and Assembly counterpart, Adam Gray, will proceed with holding hearings to fill out ACA 16. The ACA 16 is a bill that is a constitutional amendment to permit sports betting in the nation’s most populous state.

The first sports betting hearing on the ACA 16 was originally scheduled for Nov. 20, 2019 at Staples Center, but it didn’t happen. The hearing was re-scheduled for Jan. 15 in Sacramento.

Tribes Unrelated to Earlier Sports Betting Hearing Delays

Despite the state’s Native American tribes opting to break off and file their own amendment, the earlier hearings were not cancelled on account of this. The biggest cause behind the earlier postponement was the California wildfires, and rescheduling constraints.

While the Native American tribes aren’t responsible for the hearing postponements, they have added extra stress to the discussion, according to Dodd.

Dodd expressed that he and Gray wanted to go into hearings with an empty slate and hear from all sides before putting together a plan for offering sports betting in the state. Now that battle lines have been drawn, that slate is all but clear.

What Legalized Sports Betting in California Could Mean

A legal sports betting market could bring in $2.5 billion in gross revenue annually in California, the largest market in the country, according to Chris Grove, a managing director for Eilers and Krejcik Gambling LLC, a research and consulting firm that has provided estimates to California lawmakers.

The market could generate $250 million to $500 million in tax revenue for the state based on whether the tax rate is 10% or 20%, Gray said.

At a hearing earlier this month, Gray said:f

“It is clear that we are quickly heading in the direction of a well-thought-out, legal sports betting framework here in California. We need to create this framework to ensure regulatory oversight and provide consumer protections to get this long-standing and emerging activity out of the shadows of the illicit or black market.”

Sports Betting Must Become Legal Online, Too

California’s system should also seek to allow betting over the internet and smartphones using state-licensed sites so the legal system can compete and reduce the black market, league officials say.

The MLB has five teams in California. This is the most of any state in the US, so “it’s really important that California get it right, particularly because this will be the largest betting market in the country and it will be a state that other states look to,” Brian Seeley, a senior league vice president and deputy general counsel for Major League Baseball, told lawmakers this month.

Senator Dodd elaborated on the importance of an online sports betting market further:

“It’s clear that if we truly want to take illegal sports betting out of the shadows, there needs to be an online component for those who won’t patronize brick-and-mortar outlets.

Without that, it will remain largely unregulated, continue to pose the risk of fraud and fail to generate funds for education or help with problem gambling.”

Tribal leaders dispute that mobile betting should be allowed and their initiative would only allow betting at racetracks and at casinos, where patrons might be more likely to participate in other gambling activities as well.

“Though sports betting remains illegal in our state, the fact remains that Californians have and will continue to wager billions of dollars every single year on their favorite sport,” Dodd said.

 

Ohio Sports Betting Bills Face Stalemate, While Neighboring States Advance

Ohio State FlagAs of Spring 2019, two sports betting bills have been sitting, unmoved, in Ohio legislature:

  • OH SB 111 resides in the state Senate and aims to have the Ohio Casino Control Commission in charge of regulating sports betting.
  • OH HB 194 is in the state House and if legalized would appoint the Ohio Lottery as the regulatory authority over sports betting.

While it’s clear that these two Ohio sports betting bills have been locked in stalemate for months, the path to get out of it is unclear. With the Super Bowl only weeks away, sports wagering’s peak season, it comes as a shock that there hasn’t been a bigger push to move these bills forward, given the sensitive timeline.

Sen. John Eklund gave this statement last month, regarding the status of the legislature to this issue:

“The heavy lifting in terms of educating members, gathering info, caucusing, I think in my opinion, we’re coming to the end of that line. I know it’s taking a long time, but that doesn’t mean nothing’s going on. We’re working very hard to get this just so.”

Comments from the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, Larry Householder, however, seemed to indicate different views:

 “The Senate at this point seems pretty committed to keeping it with the casinos. So we’ll just have to figure it all out.”

Ohio Falls Behind Neighboring States

Since Eklund’s comments last month, Ohio’s northern neighbor, Michigan, officially legalized both retail and online sports wagering. Kentucky, Ohio’s southern neighbor, has also sent a sports betting bill to their House floor and the bill looks to be in prime position to be signed into law with the governor supporting the bill.

Ohio now sits in between three states with active mobile betting that does not require in-person registration. That means that residents who live near the borders of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, or Indiana can all hop over the state line, place their bets, and come back to Ohio. This issue will seemingly only be accelerated when Michigan launches its own sports wagering apps.

Meanwhile, OH HB 194 has had a total of eight hearings conducted in the House Finance Committee since being introduced and has yet to reach the House Floor. Similarly, OH SB 111 has had two hearings in the Senate committee of General Government and Agency Review with no luck of obtaining a full vote from the Senate.

What’s the Hold Up?

What the hold up is really coming down to a disagreement over which state agency should regulate betting on sports.

Senate President Larry Obhof and Gov. Mike DeWine said they’re in favor of making it legal in Ohio’s 11 casinos and racinos, so long as it’s overseen by the Ohio Casino Control Commission. It would levy a 6.25% tax, with proceeds going into the state’s general fund. The Senate bill has only received two hearings so far.

Householder supports putting the Ohio Lottery Commission in charge, which could grant permission to small businesses like bars and restaurants and fraternal organizations to have sports betting terminals. It calls for taxing betting receipts at 10%, dedicating the net proceeds for education and gambling-addiction programs. The House version got eight committee hearings, but hasn’t gotten a hearing since December, with Householder saying it wasn’t quite ready for a full vote.

Both the Senate and House versions would allow for mobile betting, with neither version raising much money for the state. Casino companies generally prefer that the Casino Control Commission regulate the industry, though they’re not too pressed about which bill gets passed.

 

Sports Betting Revenue in Mississippi Surges in September

Mississippi is one of the 19 US states with an active sports betting market. This industry is proving to be massively successful here, particularly with the help of the NFL’s 2019/2020 season. New reports indicate that sports betting revenue in Mississippi surged during the month of September.

Hundred Dollar Bills Laid Out

It’s great news for betting operators here. Mississippi has always been thought of as a US casino hub and is now beginning to gain a reputation as a major sports betting destination. Let’s look at exactly how much sports betting companies managed to bring in last month.

Mississippi’s Gambling Market Continues to Expand

For centuries, all forms of gambling were banned in Mississippi. The state took this matter seriously, issuing harsh punishments to anyone caught playing inside an illegal gambling house. In 1990, lawmakers here decided to make a change.

State politicians decided to legalize traditional casino gambling. Within just a few years, several land-based and riverboat casinos began operating here. Today, there are a huge number of land-based gambling venues, most of which are very successful.

It’s clear that lawmakers wanted to bring in more revenue from the gambling industry. In 2018, shortly after PASPA was removed, Mississippi officially approved sports betting. Two MGM Resorts-owned casinos took the state’s first sports wagers in August of that year.

Since this time, almost all casinos in this state have begun offering sports gambling options. Many of these casinos are earning millions in additional revenue from this industry.

September was a massively successful month for sports betting operators in this state. Here’s how much money was brought in.

September Brings an Increase in Sports Betting Revenue in Mississippi

This state continues to rack in money from its sports betting market. New reports indicate that that September was one of the biggest months of the year in terms of revenue. There are clearly a huge number of passionate sports fans here.

The state’s Gambling Commission claims that sports betting revenue in Mississippi increased by 19.2% year-on-year to $37.9 million. The state itself took in $5.6 million in tax earnings. Interestingly, most of the year-on-year growth came from the state’s central region.

Handle from this region increased by 75.6% in this area compared to the same month last year. The state earned $780,798 in taxes from this region, with bookmakers recording a 15.29% win rate.

Unsurprisingly, the Coastal region contributed the most to sports betting revenue in Mississippi last month. This area brought in $25.4 million, representing a 14.7% increase from the same month last year.

This industry is showing no signs of slowing down. Last month, casinos in this state brought in massive revenue earnings, as well.

Soon, Mississippi could have one of the most lucrative sports gambling markets in the country. The rise in sports betting revenue could push other nearby states to legalize and regulate this market, as well.

Nearby States Considering Sports Betting Legalization

As of today, 19 states have legalized sports gambling. Many more have pending legislation to open their sports gambling markets. Several states in near proximity to Mississippi are currently considering allowing this form of gambling.

Several already have, too. Lawmakers in both Tennessee and North Carolina have both recently passed sports gambling legislation bills. The “Tennessee Sports Gambling Act” became legal on May 25th of this year. On July 26th North Carolina approved a bill that “allows sports and horse race wagering on tribal lands.”

Several other nearby states are working to legalize sports betting. Politicians in Louisiana and Alabama have both recently presented sports betting bills. Unfortunately, none of them have been approved during their state legislative sessions.

In time, it’s likely that almost every US state will allow sports betting. It’s a massively profitable industry that’s popular with individuals across the country.

Sports betting revenue in Mississippi continues to increase. We’ll need to wait and see whether or not October brings even better results.

Stay tuned for more US sports betting news over the next few months!