Posts by Brett Smiley

Football Contests of Old Helped Create Today’s Massive Sports Betting Popularity

The post Football Contests of Old Helped Create Today’s Massive Sports Betting Popularity appeared first on SportsHandle.

As US gambling legislation produces new sports betting states and markets for legal sports wagering, more and more prospective bettors will have the long-awaited opportunity to join one or more now-legal “cash

The post Football Contests of Old Helped Create Today’s Massive Sports Betting Popularity appeared first on SportsHandle.

As US gambling legislation produces new sports betting states and markets for legal sports wagering, more and more prospective bettors will have the long-awaited opportunity to join one or more now-legal “cash entry” football betting contests.

Such contests have a rich and vibrant history in the world of sports wagering and continue to occupy a somewhat understated historical position in the massive explosion of sports betting interest and wagering that followed.

Credit for the first high-stakes, football betting contest in Nevada is generally given to the late Julius “Sonny” Reizner, as described by Arne K. Lang in his book “Sports Betting and Bookmaking –An American History, “an affable and impish man in his mid-fifties (in 1978) who appeared in TV ads that captured his personality, bringing the vibe of a good neighbor to an industry in need of facelift.”

NFL Betting Contest Origins and Impact: ‘Friendly Frank’ Popularizes the ‘No Spreads’ Contest

sports betting stories nfl betting contest royal inn history
Courtesy Gaming Today

Also emerging in that year in Las Vegas was a mass-appeal, no-spread football contest called “Friendly Frank’s Pick the Pros” at the Royal Inn and the Barbary Coast, operated at the time by current South Point owners Michael Gaughan and partner Frank Toti. The entry fee ran $100 with a cash prize of $25,000 for the entrant picking the most winners over the course of the NFL season. The entrant who picked the fewest number of winners received $5,000.

Forty years later, many elements of Reizner’s contest are an integral part of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest, and the Gaughan/Toti concepts are still in play at most of the Boyd Gaming casino/resorts in Las Vegas.

Reizner, almost always nattily attired in a sport coat and tie, ran the hole-in-the-wall book at The Castaways, one of the early hotels in Las Vegas. The Castaways, along with the Stardust and the Union Plaza, casinos marked the beginning of the migration of the standalone sports and racebook into mainstream Las Vegas, with designated spaces inside prominent hotel/casinos on the Strip and Downtown.

Strictly confined to NFL games, Reizner’s brainchild wasn’t inexpensive to enter: $1,000 when it began in 1978, with a prize fund growing each year. The first year of Castaways’ event, the winner was Gary Austin who defeated 55 others and who took home $42,000 and the title “Castaways World Champion of Pro Football Handicapper.” (I invite you to read up about the controversial Austin at your leisure.)

Eight years later, in 1986, $137,000 was up for grabs in the contest and in 1987, The Castaways advertised a $250,000 prize pool. Known and trademarked as the “Pro-Football Handicap,” the contest was a promotional home run for Castaways and Reizner in particular and sport betting in general.

Reizner gave out extra money for early entrants who won and even ran a preseason contest with a $50.00 entry fee at The Silver Slipper, a sister property through which he promoted his Castaways’ event.

Legacy of The Castaways’ Contest

nfl betting contest live odds castaways contests legacy
Courtesy Gaming Today

The Castaways was shuttered in July 1987 and demolished soon after to make way for the construction of The Mirage, which opened in 1989, on the prime Strip frontage. Despite The Castaways’ rich history — it was once owned by Howard Hughes — most remember it for the pioneering football contest conceived by Reizner.

The high price to enter The Castaways contest ($1,000) was significant and it utilized a point spread. The robust entry fee and big-buck prize pool made sure only the serious players took part. However, the ancillary benefit came when Reizner would post the various plays and consensus plays of the entrants for the public to see.

There was great interest in the plays of entrants like professional gamblers Lem Banker, Jim Feist and Austin. Both serious and casual players would come to the book when the plays were posted to see what games Banker, Feist and the others liked on Sunday and would then go to the windows to bet many of the NFL teams the entrants endorsed.

The significance of the contest can be viewed on a number of levels. It increased interest in betting, it created foot traffic for the casino and it served as the forerunner Westgate’s Supercontest (formerly known as the Hilton SuperContest and the LVH SuperContest), in which the 2017 winner took home $1.3 million.

[Also See: Breaking Down The 2017 Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest Winner’s Picks]

Just like football coaches, if a scheme works, others will play copycat. Nearly every other Nevada sportsbook took a page from Castaways and Reziner’s contest and Gaughan’s, including Caesars Palace, The Imperial Palace, Circus Circus and its other outlets including the Excalibur. In Reno, the Cal-Neva as well as other sportsbooks gave Northern Nevadans a chance to get in on what was becoming a highly competitive segment of the sports betting business. Entry fees varied and so did the rules. Some had point spreads, others did not.

Local taverns also began contests, offering up cash and prizes to customers who picked the most winners each week. A perfect card against the point spread and including some totals, especially on the Monday night game could net a participant $10,000. Newly opened casinos in Mississippi in the 1990’s also began contests, and just like the local taverns, entry was free to avoid any problem with state regulators. A contest was also offered at least one Trump property in Atlantic City. Because it was free to enter, as were contests at Nevada taverns, it was not illegal.

Making Contests Bigger and Better

nfl betting contests pick em contests nfl odds
Courtesy Gaming Today

Over the years, some sportsbooks targeted casual players by lowering the entry fee and guaranteeing a bigger prize pool that offered bigger money for weekly winners, as well as total regular season handicapping performance. Gaughan and Toti opened up the football contest for everyone by gradually reducing their initial $100 entry fee and emphasizing that no point spread was used. Now, even the most casual player could get involved and dream about the “Pick the Pro’s” big cash awards, if you were the lone weekly winner or if you had the most wins at the end of the season.

Entrants soon found out that even without the point spread, picking NFL winners is infinitely more difficult than it appears.

When Gaughan sold the Royal Inn, his hugely popular contest moved to the Barbary Coast on the Las Vegas Strip and as Gaughan and Toti’s Coast Casinos expanded to include the Gold Coast, Suncoast and The Orleans, this contest and the one offered by Station Casinos became a bonanza for the weekly and season-long winners as well as for the casinos because of the high player traffic they generated.

Local Las Vegans saw contest hysteria ramping up throughout the 1980’s and beyond as the all the major local-centric operators, which included Boyd Gaming, as well as Stations Casinos and Coast Casinos, targeted residents through these contests.

All of the properties gearing their marketing towards locals rewarded the best handicappers with multiple entries costing less money with a chance to win as much as $25,000 in a weekly contest as well as a prize in the $100,000 range for the most wins over the course of the regular season. Just one entry in one of these contests could be as low as $25.00 for the entire season. Often, if a player bought four, they received a fifth one free.

In the 1990’s it was not uncommon at a Station, Coast Casino (before its merger with Boyd) or a Boyd property to have long lines late on Friday night as the bowling leagues wrapped up for the evening and the bowlers would adjourn to the sportsbook to put in their selections.

The contest concept spread to free contests for employees at many casino/resorts and was used as a team-building incentive and further helped plant the seeds for today’s massive sports betting handle in Nevada.

The season-ending prize was based on total wins, thus requiring entrants to visit the casino each week to enter. If you missed a week, it was impossible to win the big, year-end prize because a “no play” was considered a loss.

Stations took the contest idea to a new level with cash prizes for the player(s) with the most losses and those who came closest to having half correct and half wrong, calling it “Fiddle in the Middle.” Stations for several years offered a free house option as first prize for the most winners, if the winner wanted that instead of the cash. That’s right, you won an actual house if you wanted that instead of the cash.

Syndicates created teams of entrants coaxing friends and relatives to enter and would submit hundreds and even thousands of entries each week, a practice technically against the rules, but impossible to enforce.

Today, contests remain in vogue in and around Las Vegas. Participants usually are required to use a kiosk to make their bets, thus making syndicate action a little less significant. However, just as when they were conceived forty years ago, it takes more than a little luck to win.

The Westgate’s SuperContest even promotes the option of proxy play, in which an entrant can designate a friend or a proxy service to make the plays in place of the registered entrant. Using a proxy allows an entrant to visit Las Vegas to register and then make the selection from another state or country.

If there’s a way to make a contest bigger and better, Las Vegas will think of it.  


Next time in Part II: what you need to know and consider when entering a new “cash entry” football contest where you live.

Robert H. Mann, a 31-year resident of Las Vegas, is the industry writer and columnist for Gaming Today newspaper and GamingToday.com. His opinions are his own and may not reflect those of Sports Handle.

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Examining Brent Musburger’s Expected Return to Broadcast Booth With Raiders

The post Examining Brent Musburger’s Expected Return to Broadcast Booth With Raiders appeared first on SportsHandle.

Brent Musburger is apparently the new radio voice of the Oakland Raiders. However, a spokesperson for the Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSiN) has declined, in an e-mail and telephone conversation with Sports Handle, to

The post Examining Brent Musburger’s Expected Return to Broadcast Booth With Raiders appeared first on SportsHandle.

Brent Musburger is apparently the new radio voice of the Oakland Raiders. However, a spokesperson for the Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSiN) has declined, in an e-mail and telephone conversation with Sports Handle, to confirm or deny their afternoon host and managing editor’s new position.

It’s believed Musburger’s VSiN program, My Guys in the Desertwould continue with the veteran sports personality as host, even if he accepts the new job.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal citing unnamed sources says the 79-year-old Hall-of-Fame broadcaster will replace longtime Raider radio voice Gary Papa. The Raiders are expected to relocate in Las Vegas in time for the 2020 NFL season. A new $1.9 billion stadium for the team near the Las Vegas Strip is currently about 15 percent complete, but is expected to be ready in time for the move.

Legendary Broadcasters Brent Musburger Expected Return to Radio Broadcast Booth With Oakland Raiders, Soon-to-Become Las Vegas Raiders

Industry observers speculate the delay in a formal announcement could be the result of the possibility of the NFL’s need to examine the specifics of Musburger’s deal with the team. In his prominent role at VSiN, Musburger is now a major advocate of the growing business of sports betting.

The NFL has laid out its “core principles” on the expanding enterprise of sports wagering now underway thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May, which overturned the federal law essentially banning Nevada-style sports betting in the other 49 states. The league calls for consumer protections, for protections of its intellectual property, and would prefer a federal framework for sports betting, as opposed to regulation by the separate states. The league’s longstanding policy prohibiting players and team employees from wagering on its contests is unlikely to change. 

With respect to Musburger and the NFL Compliance Plan — consider the third and sixth bullets from the document dated January 2018 and signed by Commissioner Roger Goodell:

nfl betting policy gambling sportsbooks rules
Section K of the NFL Compliance Plan

Compass Media Networks has exclusively managed the Oakland Raiders’ radio broadcast rights since 2010. It’s unclear if Musburger would face any restrictions in terms of real or perceived gambling content in his new role or even if he could cross promote or advertise the Raiders’ games on VSiN and the VSiN broadcasts and products, such as its newsletter, during the Raiders’ broadcasts.

VSiN, which began operations in February 2017, is not a gambling site. Its stated mission when founded by Musburger’s brother, Todd Musburger and his son Brian Musburger, is to provide “actionable” information for prospective bettors. It is located at the South Point Hotel Casino Spa in Las Vegas and provides its information via video and voice streaming and over the Sirius/XM satellite radio network.  

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Players’ Claim of ‘Serious Consequences’ of Sports Betting Is A Hail Mary

The post Players’ Claim of ‘Serious Consequences’ of Sports Betting Is A Hail Mary appeared first on SportsHandle.

Professional athletes are hungry for competition and compensation, and they’re now seeing the same thing as leagues, owners and gaming businesses. With an expansion of legal sports wagering taking root in

The post Players’ Claim of ‘Serious Consequences’ of Sports Betting Is A Hail Mary appeared first on SportsHandle.

Professional athletes are hungry for competition and compensation, and they’re now seeing the same thing as leagues, owners and gaming businesses. With an expansion of legal sports wagering taking root in the U.S., players want a nice piece of the sports betting pie.

But same as the leagues that employ them, players’ unions for the major professional sports organizations are seeking some cut of the revenue based on a faulty, self-serving premise. The leagues, of course, are asking for a direct cut of sports betting revenue based on a claim in two dozen states for a poorly-received request for a sports betting “integrity fee” or “royalty.” Now, the players’ associations are taking the position that legal sports wagering poses a pernicious threat to athletes.

As reported by ESPN’s David Purdum, Casey Schwab, Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs for the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), said last week of expanded legal wagering: “There are serious consequences, particularly for the athletes. Because of those consequences, the athlete’s voice must be heard, particularly as we contemplate sports betting in the country.”

With The Number of Legal Sports Betting States Set to Increase, Now All of a Sudden Players’ Unions Change Claim ‘Serious Consequences’ Afoot.

nfl sports betting states nflpa claims consequences
NFLPA president and free agent lineman Eric Winston

Per Purdum, Schwab said the unions are concerned foremost with player privacy, data and their public perception — moreso than sports betting monetization opportunities. But now after years of being public figures, of having injury reports an accepted reality and of having reporters in their faces, for the players associations to now get amped up is ridiculous. When it comes down to it, nothing will be changing for the players or players’ unions in a world with expanded legal sports betting.

Wagering on games and specific player events has long existed in the form illegal wagering (a humongous market that will continue to exist), regular fantasy sports and daily fantasy sports. With a legal sports wagering expansion, it’s business as usual for the players. They will not be required to do anything differently. They want a piece of the pie — and naturally they would, business is business —  but their argument is a Hail Mary and Aaron Rodgers isn’t at quarterback.

The argument is an extension of an April joint statement put out on behalf of all four of the major pro sports leagues. They wrote:

“The time has come to address not just who profits from sports gambling, but also the costs. Our unions have been discussing the potential impact of legalized gambling on players’ privacy and publicity rights, the integrity of our games and the volatility on our businesses.”

The unions are making an obvious emotional appeal.

The above “consequences” position boils down to the claim that fantasy sports and bettors already “dehumanize” athletes on social media after games, per NFLPA president Eric Winston, and that expanded legal sports wagering will exacerbate that.

Meanwhile, the widely accepted (and celebrated) reality is that fantasy sports and sports betting has helped explode the popularity of NFL games. There is empirical evidence on this front, and as a consequence, the engagement has helped generate incredible NFL TV contracts that increase every cycle (ditto for the other major U.S. pro leagues).

Numerous players have embraced fantasy sports and encouraged fantasy players to draft them, while some appear on fantasy-focused shows. Former Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew and Chargers tight end Antonio Gates guest starred on FX’s “The League.”

nfl fantasy football sports betting states legal what now

Jones-Drew now co-hosts “NFL Fantasy Live.” And of course, the NFL provides its own platform for fantasy football and a plethora of fantasy sport content. If players truly have a problem with player privacy, data and their public perception, they should take it up with The Shield.

On the legal front, the notion that “publicity rights” would prohibit certain wagers or data usage on has been litigated in federal court in a fantasy sports context. The case reached the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which found that information from sports contests is part of the public domain, and therefore that MLB team owners and the players’ union could not bar names and stats from being used commercially.

In the sports betting context, unions will try to distinguish wagers such “proposition bets” — for example the number of receptions Antonio Brown would have in a certain game. It’s a losing argument that will provide as much leverage as a single palm against a sled stacked high with 45-pound plates.

What about injury reporting and privacy? First of all, they were created for people wagering on sports. The league freely provides the information and if that’s now objectionable, unions can try to negotiate it away with the leagues. Nevada bettors, bettors in Europe and those wagering in other “offshore” jurisdictions where wagering is legal have been relying on this information for a long time. Why the sudden claims of privacy issues?

The availability of such information is part of being a public figure and a professional athlete. Injury reports are crucial information for fantasy sports, sports wagering, and likewise people who don’t give a damn about either. Before season-ticketing-holding Joe Fan shows up at Heinz Field, he wants to know if Ben Roethlisberger is going to be suiting up.

Players for a long time have accepted that certain health information, even the kind they probably would prefer keep private, is part of the deal. In the past, leagues have disclosed everything from weird injuries (it’s always MLB players, such as the Clint Barmes deer meat incident) to mental illnesses to quasi-health matters like domestic disputes.

Players have long gotten booed off the field for bad performances because they’re just bad performances — not because they failed to go “over” on a reception total or otherwise doom a wager. Everyone is subject from criticism at work. Getting booed is part of the game.

Ultimately, the Claim of “Serious Consequences” Is About Money.

“There needs to be a way for those of us, the players and the owners who create this game, to enjoy some of that revenue,” said NBA Players’ Association executive director Michele Roberts in an interview with ESPN’s Dan Le Batard in March. “We haven’t yet aligned ourselves to the extent we are, but I certainly don’t disagree that’s a conversation worth pursuing.”

And back to the NFL, said Schwab: “I look at the landscape for commercial opportunities, and I don’t see a pot of gold.”

[Also See: Pittsburgh Pirates Take Sports Betting ‘Integrity Fee’ to Whole New Level]

This conversation about sports betting needs to be had between the leagues and players during the next negotiations of their collective bargaining agreements. The NFL CBA discussion is expected already to be  a contentious round of talks with a work stoppage regarded as likely.

The leagues may not find an overflowing pot of sports betting gold, but they are in the process of selling “official data” — player performance data, that is — to sports betting operators. There will be more partnerships and sponsorships to be had, TV contracts will become more valuable and the pie will invariably grow, and player salaries along with it.

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Another Wave of Casinos Apply to Join New Jersey Sports Betting Picture

The post Another Wave of Casinos Apply to Join New Jersey Sports Betting Picture appeared first on SportsHandle.

Wary of getting stuck on the sidelines for football season’s kickoff, five new applications arrived on Monday for a New Jersey sports betting license.

According to the Associated Press, the state’s

The post Another Wave of Casinos Apply to Join New Jersey Sports Betting Picture appeared first on SportsHandle.

Wary of getting stuck on the sidelines for football season’s kickoff, five new applications arrived on Monday for a New Jersey sports betting license.

According to the Associated Press, the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) received two applications for brick-and-mortar licenses and three for mobile sports wagering before a Monday deadline. DGE Director David Rebuck previously announced a deadline in connection with football season to allow state regulators enough time to evaluate applications.

While the DGE did not identify the applicants, CDC Gaming Reports has learned that the applications came from Caesars Entertainment — to offer retail wagering at Harrah’s and Bally’s in Atlantic City. In addition, Ceasars applied for licensed to offer mobile sports wagering at all three of its Atlantic City properties, the other being Caesars Atlantic City, which would be “serviced” by the adjacent Bally’s. The other identified applicant is Golden Nugget, which applied for both retail and mobile wagering.

New Jersey Sports Betting Scene Set to Add Ceasars Entertainment Properties, Golden Nugget Atlantic City, All Looking to Get Up and Running Before Football Season

nj sportsbook at harrahs and other caesars properties for atlantic city new jersey sports betting

The remaining applicants likely came from a pool of Hard Rock Atlantic City (seeking to partner in some way with bet365), Tropicana, Resorts Casino or Freehold Raceway.

“I fully expect that by Aug. 1 we will see additional properties up and running,” Rebuck said.

The application fee for the sports wagering certificate is $100,000 and there’s a five-digit difference in tax rate on sports wagering revenue: revenue derived from in-person wagering is taxed by the state at 8.5 percent while mobile wagering faces a 13 percent tax.

We know a bit about the Golden Nugget’s sports betting plans. Shortly before the Supreme Court struck down the federal law allowing this sports betting land rush, Churchill Downs Incorporated and Golden Nugget Atlantic City announced a partnership to offer sports betting and online gaming markets.

Potential licensees yet to apply will not entirely miss the boat for the college football and NFL seasons: the DGE will just not make any promise to give a rubber stamp before kickoff or any week in particular.

So far in NJ sports betting, Monmouth Park and Ocean Resort Casino have sportsbooks up and running with operations managed by William Hill; also the Borgata, owned and operated by MGM, went live on June 14 like Monmouth Park. And this past Saturday, Meadowlands Racetrack in northern New Jersey cut a ribbon, introducing the first FanDuel Sportsbook.

[Also See: Odds Shift in Race for Operator Dominance in Legal U.S. Sports Betting Market]

Revenue for operators and the state so far has been pretty good. Through just 17 days of operations in June Monmouth and Borgata plus three days at Ocean, the total handle registered $16.4 million with a $3.5M win by the books (on a cash basis that counts futures wagers as revenue at the time of the wager), with $293,000 revenue yielded by the state. The FanDuel Sportsbook at Meadowlands, pricing controversy aside at its debut, saw over $1 million in wagers in its first weekend.

So far no facility has rolled out mobile wagering, but that is expected to happen in the coming days.

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FanDuel Sportsbook Launch is Another Legal Sports Betting Milestone

The post FanDuel Sportsbook Launch Marks Another Legal Sports Betting Milestone appeared first on SportsHandle.

The metamorphosis from daily fantasy to sports betting operator became complete on Saturday when the FanDuel Sportsbook launched at Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on the same premises as MetLife Stadium,

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The metamorphosis from daily fantasy to sports betting operator became complete on Saturday when the FanDuel Sportsbook launched at Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on the same premises as MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Giants and Jets. FanDuel will remain in the DFS business, but this new sports betting opportunity in the U.S. is much bigger with the vast majority of the market yet to be captured.

A nervous excitement pulsed through the recently-remodeled Victory Sports Bar & Club where 10 ticket windows were staffed by employees wearing collared shirts emblazoned with a FanDuel Sportsbook patch. Some of the employees at the New Jersey sportsbook are brand new hires who received about two weeks of intensive training prior to Saturday.

“I was actually able to sleep last night,” Meadowlands Racetrack General Manager Jason Settlemoir said before the facility opened. “The first thing I do in the morning is turn the TV on and I saw ‘FanDuel Sportsbook set to open’ up at Meadowlands Racetrack. When I came in it was everything I envisioned for this part of it, so I’m excited and ready to go.”

FanDuel Sportsbook Launches at Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey On Same Grounds as Giants and Jets’ MetLife Stadium and Only 8 Miles From New York City

Executives and officials on hand for the occasion included Matthew King, appointed CEO of FanDuel in November 2017; also lawmakers Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29th District), Senate President Pro Tempore, and Assembly Member Ralph Caputo (D-28th District), a co-sponsor of the bill that legalized sports wagering in the state.

These, and other officials, offered remarks from a podium at the front of the house about an hour before the sportsbook opened to the public.

“We have a great opportunity here in the State of New Jersey to preserve and create jobs and provide dollars for vital programs that our citizens needs,” Caputo said from the lectern. “This is an economic shot in the arm. And this will be ongoing revenue — not a one shot deal.”

The deal began exactly one month ago on June 14 when Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. became the first sportsbook to open, under the direction of operator William Hill. The MGM-owned Borgata began taking bets shortly thereafter in Atlantic City. Together those two properties (with some help from three days of wagering at Ocean Resort, also operated by William Hill), generated $3.4 million in gross revenue (on a cash basis accounting method). New Jersey collected $293,000 for the state.

This all comes after New Jersey won its Supreme Court case Murphy v NCAA in May against the NCAA and major pro sports leagues. The two parties together had blocked efforts to legalize for a decade under the now-extinct federal law banning sports wagering outside Nevada, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

“[Legal sports betting] is going to make something that’s been in the shadows and taking place illegally, and make it legal,” said Meadowlands Racetrack Chairman Jeff Gural.

Resources and Training From Paddy Power Betfair, and Their Selection as a Partner

The Meadowland has been preparing for this moment for a while. So has FanDuel, whose acquisition by the powerful Ireland-based bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) was completed just this past week.

PPB has been instrumental in preparing the FanDuel Sportsbook for launch but FanDuel serves as the face of the collective operation. The abundance of signage around the property makes that clear. The sportsbook will be undergoing an expansion and remodeling before football season that will increase the number of ticket windows, televisions and more.

“The betting software is good, it’s simple, quick and accurate,” one ticket writer said. “I like it. “ But no doubt there are some jitters. One employee who booked a $500 wager was “almost shaking,” he told a colleague.

“We’re leveraging the entire global resource base,” FanDuel CEO Matt King told Sports Handle, regarding the collaboration between FanDuel and PPB. “We have their expertise helping to build the mobile app. We’re also using their pricing and their risk-management. And what that means for fans is that we’re going to be able to offer more markets, more bet types than really anybody else out there.”

King is mindful that while the U.S. sports betting opportunity is tremendous, the competition for market share will be fierce. FanDuel beat fellow DFS giant DraftKings to the initial punch, but DraftKings is in the game too as they partnered with Resorts Casino in Atlantic City, which is expected to begin operations before football season.

“This is going to be a very competitive market,” King said. “We think that we’re in a great position because The FanDuel Group is the largest online gaming operator by almost a factor of two. And we think that’s an incredibly powerful position when coupled with the resources we have with Paddy Power behind us.”

Speaking of Paddy Power, there are questions around the industry about why U.S.-based sportsbook operators appear to be idling as European companies make inroads in the U.S. market.

“We put out a request for proposals and received seven or eight,” Gural said of their selection of PPB/FanDuel. “Mostly from abroad.” He said the process of choosing their partner, which has now formed the FanDuel Group, took about a month.

Engaging Clients and Fans Online and in Retail.

One patron at the sportsbook came from Philadelphia just to take in the scene. He didn’t realize until he got there that this was a FanDuel sportsbook.

“Oh really?” he asked. “I think it’s good business, especially in this area. You’d think that’s the logical step for [FanDuel]. They kind of made DFS legal, so once legalized, it’s easier for them jump into this.”

“I don’t even know what I’m wagering today,” said his friend, who hails from Garfield, about nine miles north of the Meadowlands in New Jersey. “I just want to see what the similarities are here to Las Vegas, see what the lines are like. I might play some World Cup.”

Another open question is how the leagues will embrace legal sports betting, or create distance from it. The leagues have been pushing for a controversial “integrity fee” or “royalty,” in which they would take a percentage off the top of all wagers booked legally in states that would grant them such a request. But so far no state has imposed such a cost upon its licensed operators.

The FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands is in a unique position given its proximity to an NFL stadium, MetLife. ESPN’s David Purdum reported that there has been talk about a shuttle between the stadium and the sportsbook.

“We’re deep in the conversation of how this is going to work on a number of fronts,” King said. “We’re looking forward to being great partners in and around the area.”

On the digital front, FanDuel — which has operated exclusively online until Saturday — is close to introducing its online sportsbook product and mobile app.

“We’re weeks away from launching,” King said. “Obviously it’s important we do that with the regulators, so we’ve had people furiously working on it for more than six months, and we’re getting very close.”

Mississippi sports betting and West Virginia sports betting will be next to move. Both states are preparing operators to open up shop before football season. FanDuel also secured a partnership The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, which is one the Mountain State’s five licensed properties gearing up.

The U.S sports betting opportunity is vast, and the opportunity and experience in each state and venue will be at least a little bit unique. And ever changing.

“Greenbrier will be a bit different because they don’t have a facility quite like this,” King said. “It will be interesting to see in a lot of casinos that don’t historically have sportsbooks, how we end up outfitting them and what’s the right retail experience. There’s also going to be additional technology like self-service betting terminals that will coming out. So you’re going to see an evolution of our retail format over time.”

Indeed, the evolution has only just begun.

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Get a Grip: Week in Sports Betting and Sports: New Jersey, FanDuel Sportsbook, Ohio

The post Get a Grip: Week in Sports Betting and Sports: New Jersey, FanDuel Sportsbook, Ohio appeared first on SportsHandle.

It’s information overload everywhere, and there’s not time enough to sleep and eat and stay fully apprised of what’s happening on this crazy blue dot of ours (two out of three

The post Get a Grip: Week in Sports Betting and Sports: New Jersey, FanDuel Sportsbook, Ohio appeared first on SportsHandle.

It’s information overload everywhere, and there’s not time enough to sleep and eat and stay fully apprised of what’s happening on this crazy blue dot of ours (two out of three ain’t bad).

Here’s the weekend Sports Handle item, “Get a Grip,” rounding up top stories in sports betting and gaming, and the world of sports at large. You may have missed them, and they are worth reading. This is meant to be brief, so that’s it.

New Jersey Sports Betting Revenue Reports; FanDuel Sportsbook Set to Open at Meadowlands

meadowlands sports betting racetrack new york new jersey

Off the top rope: The results are in for the first month — rather, 17 days — of live NJ sports betting operations. The revenue reports are/will be different than those offered by Nevada regulators. Those reports record profits and losses based on an accrual method of accounting. For sports wagering in New Jersey, we’re looking at a cash method.

The main difference is that bettors’ wagers or “futures” bets, such as on the Super Bowl winner, or on anything not yet decided, gets counted as revenue when wagers are placed. Winning tickets will be deducted in the month in which they are redeemed.

Recall that the William Hill Race & Sportsbook at Monmouth Park in Oceanport took the first wager from Governor Phil Murphy at its June 14 launch (his bet on Germany to win the World Cup is a loser; he also bet on the New Jersey Devils to win the next Stanley Cup). The MGM-owned Borgata Race & Sportsbook within the hotel and spa in Atlantic City, opened up shop later that morning. William Hill is also operating the sportsbook at Ocean Resort Casino on the site of the former Revel. That sportsbook opened on June 28.

Here’s the gross revenue figures and other numbers of note (go here for further discussion)

  • Monmouth: $2,279,166
  • Borgata: $986,831
  • Ocean Resort: $192,671
  • Total revenue across all three: $3,458,688
  • Revenue derived strictly from all three from completed events (not futures): $1,203,700
  • Total gross hold percentage across all three, based on complete events results: 7.8 percent
  • Total gross handle across all three (including futures): $16,409,619
  • Tax derived by state of New Jersey (8.5 rate on in-person wagering): $293,863

Elsewhere, in the Northeast Corridor just a hop, skip or a black car from New York City, the FanDuel Sportsbook is set to open at The Meadowlands Racetrack on the same grounds as the home of the Giants and Jets, MetLife Stadium. Read all about what to expect and what it means right here.


The Other Most Important Stories of the Week in Sports Betting and U.S. Gaming

Quite a Headline: Gambling and drugs may be the cure for Connecticut’s ailing economy [CNBC]

Midwest: Even money says Colorado will take it slow and steady with sports betting [CPR]

States’ Rights: Federalism comes out as the winner in Murphy v NCAA [Reg Review]

Wishful Thinking: Here’s how sports gambling could become legal in Texas [Caller]

Everywhere, Man: Projecting when legal sports betting will arrive in 25 biggest U.S. cities [Action]

Silver Blues: NBA Commish Adam Silver on ‘integrity fees’: Not a point of progress [LSR]

Low Tax Rates Would Help:  New sports betting laws won’t stop illegal gambling [Herald]

Shuttle Bussing: Possible shuttle between MetLife and FanDuel Sportsbook? [Chalk]


Now in the Wider World of Sports:

pittsburgh steelers offensive line

Big Men: NFL offensive line rankings: All 32 team’s units entering 2018 [PFF]

Guts and Glory: Brandi Chastain on the Olympics and famous penalty kick [ESPN]

Los Angeles: LeBron James and Luke Walton have been texting, ignore the noise [TBL]

Broken System: Blake Snell snub may change the way MLB players selected to All-Star Game [SB Nation]

Betting Should Help: Fox’s NASCAR viewership dropped 19 percent from 2017, 29 percent from 2016 [AA]


Video of the Week:

Quote of the Week:

His quads are the size of my waist and whole upper body. I’ve never quite seen anything like it. I don’t often stare at another man’s legs, but in that case, you just can’t quite help it.

— Giants QB Eli Manning on running back and first round draft pick (No. 2 overall by NYG) Saquon Barkley‘s lower body. Audio here:

Comment Section of the Week:

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Three New Jersey Sportsbooks Collects $3.4M in First Half-Month

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New Jersey sports betting went live on June 14 at Monmouth Park in Oceanport and at the MGM-owned Borgata Resort Casino in Atlantic City, and the first month of operations has shown that the

The post Three New Jersey Sportsbooks Collects $3.4M in First Half-Month appeared first on SportsHandle.

New Jersey sports betting went live on June 14 at Monmouth Park in Oceanport and at the MGM-owned Borgata Resort Casino in Atlantic City, and the first month of operations has shown that the state’s costly fight for legal sports betting will be well worth with it.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement on Thursday released the first batch of sports betting revenue figures, which are based on a cash method of accounting, not on an accrual method as in Nevada, showing the three separate locations operating in June took in a collective $3,458,688, producing $293,863 in tax revenue for the state of New Jersey. That’s based on a total handle of $16.4 million across the same properties.

Those figures come with an 8.5 percent tax rate. Mobile sports wagering tax rate is 13 percent, which is likely to begin at a few properties set to roll out their apps/online platforms in the coming weeks. Anyone in state can set up an account remotely and deposit without having to register in person at a licensee.

New Jersey Sports Betting Numbers and Handle From First Weeks of Live Operations Show Big Win.

nj sports betting numbers handle for june from monmouth park sportsbook

Keep in mind the $3.4 million is based on a cash method of accounting, which counts as revenue wagers on futures events such as the World Cup and Super Bowl winner.

According to the DGE, “$1.2 million in gross revenue was reported from Completed Events, which approximates accrual basis revenue that can be compared to the win reported of Nevada casinos.”

The total handle across the three locations was $16.4 million. 

Here’s more of the breakdown:

Also keep in mind that Ocean Resort, a property formerly known as Revel, only opened on June 28, meaning it produced its handle and hold in three days.

People had a nice time betting on baseball! It represents $10.1 million of the $16.4 million in handle:

Further consider that mobile wagering has not yet begun, which will be coming soon through William Hill and the Borgata. Sources say that the MGM-owned Borgata’s mobile app will be introduced next week.

These numbers are pretty, pretty good, considering only baseball and soccer events (with some other events such as UFC 226) were occurring during this half-month stretch.

Welcome to the game, New Jersey, and Garden State sports bettors.

This is story is developing and will be updated.

[Also See: What to Expect at the Meadowlands’ FanDuel Sportsbook Launch]

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Paddy Power Completes FanDuel Acquisition, Forms ‘FanDuel Group’

The post Paddy Power Completes FanDuel Acquisition, Forms ‘FanDuel Group’ appeared first on SportsHandle.

Just in time for Saturday’s grand opening of sports wagering at The FanDuel Sportsbook at The Meadowlands in northern New Jersey, Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) and FanDuel confirmed today that they have closed their

The post Paddy Power Completes FanDuel Acquisition, Forms ‘FanDuel Group’ appeared first on SportsHandle.

Just in time for Saturday’s grand opening of sports wagering at The FanDuel Sportsbook at The Meadowlands in northern New Jersey, Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) and FanDuel confirmed today that they have closed their previously announced merger. The new entity in the U.S. will be officially known as FanDuel Group, the company said.

The Meadowlands deal, in which FanDuel will operate and risk manage the sportsbook, marks FanDuel’s, first foray into Nevada-style, single-team sport betting. FanDuel is generally regarded as the number two Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) outlet, trailing only DraftKings.

The combination creates the largest online sports destination in the United States, according to the company. FanDuel will also operate The Meadowlands mobile sports betting operation in New Jersey when regulators approve their app and online platform.

FanDuel Sportsbook Set to go Live at Meadowlands Racetrack as Paddy Power Betfair Completes Merger of FanDuel, Combining Operations

the fanduel sportsbook's victory sports bar and club
Inside the Victory Sports Bar & Club at the Meadowlands Racetrack

PPB under its Betfair US umbrella and the FanDuel brand name, will also operate at Tioga Downs in New York, subject to enabling legislation in the Empire State, which may come in early 2019. There also remains the possibility that Tioga Downs and three other commercial casinos in New York can move forward with sports betting under a 2013 law. State regulators indicated they are crafting rules in accordance with that law but it’s as yet unknown if the casinos will get a green light.

Jeff Gural is owner/operator of both Tioga Downs and Meadowlands Racetrack. Tioga Downs has a casino element. The Meadowlands, near New York City, only operates as a racetrack.

[Also See: What to Expect at the Meadowlands’ FanDuel Sportsbook Launch]

FanDuel has also partnered with The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia to provide sports betting services, expected to be available in late August or early September.

FanDuel CEO Matt King will serve as CEO of the newly-combined company and Betfair US. CEO Kip Levin will become President and COO, and remain in his role as CEO of TVG. TVG is a horseracing television network with about 45 million subscribers via cable, satellite systems and online. Paul Rushton, currently Commercial Finance Director of Paddy Power Betfair, will become the CFO of FanDuel Group.

The newly combined business says it will have a presence across 45 states, 8 million customers, and $265 million in annual revenue. As of now, the company is continuing operations at DRAFT, the distant number three DFS company, purchased by PPB in May of 2017.

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What to Expect at the Meadowlands’ FanDuel Sportsbook Launch

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The New Jersey sports betting scene will gain a new player Saturday morning when the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, N.J., introduces the FanDuel Sportsbook at Victory Sports Bar & Club in a soft launch.

The post What to Expect at the Meadowlands’ FanDuel Sportsbook Launch appeared first on SportsHandle.

The New Jersey sports betting scene will gain a new player Saturday morning when the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, N.J., introduces the FanDuel Sportsbook at Victory Sports Bar & Club in a soft launch.

The sportsbook will open at 9:30 a.m. for dignitaries and then to the general public at 11 a.m. “There will be 27 television screens and 10 sports betting stations,” FanDuel spokesman Kevin Hennessey said in an email Tuesday. “It features high-top tables, a VIP area, leaning rails, bar stools, sofas, and dining chairs.”

Patrons will be able to wager on baseball, bet futures and proposition wagers on football, wager on Wimbledon and on the World Cup finals taking place on Sunday night between France and the winner of Wednesday’s England-Croatia match. The sportsbook’s opening is significant for a number of reasons, especially those related to geography.

FanDuel Sportsbook Will Launch at Meadowlands Racetrack as New Jersey Sports Betting Scene Plants a Flag a Short Trip From New York.

the fanduel sportsbook's victory sports bar and club
Inside the Victory Sports Bar & Club.

Before we go into geography, one major milestone here is the official introduction of a heretofore daily fantasy sports operator into the legal U.S. sports betting market.

Either the 1B or 1A to DraftKings in the daily fantasy business, while DraftKings has also landed a couple partnerships, FanDuel’s foray will come first.

Tuesday, Meadowlands COO/general manager Jason Settlemoir confirmed in a conversation with Sports Handle that is indeed the FanDuel Sportsbook — and will not be branded in any way by the powerful Ireland-based bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair (PPB, or Betfair US), which in May announced its (pending) acquisition of FanDuel and the combining of their operations.

“There will be 10 towers or windows with live tellers for sports betting, plus spots for parimutuel horse racing,” Settlemoir said of the physical setup of the facility, which is temporary for now and will expand by the end of August. “And two self-service terminals in there for parimutuel as well,” he added.

Settlemoir would not speak to PPB’s and FanDuel’s discussions on branding, but noted PPB’s sizable investment in FanDuel and of the company’s value.

“From an operator standpoint,  the FanDuel name is totally recognizable within sports to people here in the United States,” he said.

Proximity to New York City — and Proximity to an NFL Stadium in the U.S. Unlike Ever Before.

As for geography, the Meadowlands is located in a very advantageous spot in the swamps of Jersey.

“We’re only eight miles away [from midtown Manhattan], and that really makes us, at this point in time, the only game in the area where you can make a legal sports bet,” Settlemoir said. “This is exciting and a welcome opportunity for us here.”

Previously, Jeff Gural, chairman of New Meadowlands Racetrack LLC and Tioga Downs LLC, expressed his thrill with the New York legislature’s failure to pass a bill legalizing sports wagering before the close of its session on June 20.

“New York did me such a favor by not passing sports betting,” Gural told the Associated Press in June. “That leaves me the entirety of New York City, Long Island, Westchester County. There are 15 million people that live within 20 miles (32 kilometers) of the Meadowlands. They gave me a tremendous gift.”

As as a result, the Meadowlands will stand alone in the highly-populated area at least through the football seasons and likely through March Madness in 2019.

Also in the Meadowlands’ backyard — literally — is MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants and New York Jets, roughly 0.4 miles away.

Another twist is that barring any oversight here, New Jersey will become the first state in which sports wagering is legal to host a regular season NFL game. While the Oakland and to-be Las Vegas Raiders have broken ground on their Nevada stadium, the Raiders will play at least one more season in California.

 

fanduel sportsbook at the meadowlands racetrack location
Alternatively, about a 9-minute walk.

For our younger and/or non-northeastern readers, MetLife Stadium was formerly Giants Stadium and briefly the New Meadowlands Stadium when it opened in 2010. Both the stadium and the Meadowlands Racetrack are part of The Meadowlands Sports Complex.

As recently as December 2017, the NFL argued publicly and in the United States Supreme Court that sports wagering was a threat to the integrity of, and a scourge on their game. Meanwhile the league also held regular season contests in London, where there’s sports betting kiosks on nearly every street corner.

The NFL has since “evolved” on sports betting, put simply. Will the Giants and Jets get the league’s blessing to allow advertising of or to promote the Meadowlands sportsbook at their games?

[Also See: What Happens When Everyone Bets the Home Team?]

Promotions or events would make a lot of sense, maybe informational booths during tailgating parties or game day giveaways. Settlemoir indicated that the Meadowlands is not ready to make any such announcements on that front.

“Mr. Gural and the FanDuel and Betfair personnel management have a great relationship with the guys at the stadium,” he said. “And they’re currently working with the Jets and Giants ownership, and we’ll have to see how that goes, and where we go from here.”

How the FanDuel Sportsbook Will Grow.

First of all, Meadowlands/FanDuel-branded mobile sports wagering is in works. As of July 11, as permitted by the enabling legislation signed by Governor Phil Murphy, any licensed operator may allow mobile betting. So far, none are prepared to do so, which may just mean that the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) has not signed off on their software.

“We’re looking to try to roll that out by football season,” Settlemoir said.

Once it’s live, anyone located in the state — even temporarily, hey New Yorkers — will be able to establish an account deposit remotely via the app or online, based on our understanding of New Jersey’s bill.

And the FanDuel physical sportsbook space will expand as well.

“We’re still working on the exact square footage but it will have a much larger footprint by NFL season,” Hennessy explained. “We have plans for 65 television screens and 15 sports betting stations, making the retail location the ideal place to place bets for the upcoming NFL season and for the MLB playoffs. “

It’s not all about sports betting at the Meadowlands, though. They recognize sports betting as a distinct opportunity, but also one to introduce a new and probably younger crowd to harness or horse racing.

As for numbers, the facility is expecting big crowd on a Saturday that coincides with Meadowlands Pace Night — one of the biggest racing nights on the calendar, which Settlemoir says typically draws about 12,000-15,000 visitors.

“Hopefully the sportsbook will be able to help the horse racing side as well, exposing a completely different demographic,” he said. “People that bet sports coming here and being able to see horse racing, and hopefully we’ll see some crossover.”

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How Will Nevada Answer New Questions About Legal Sportsbook Regulation?

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Last week the Nevada Gaming Control Board posted the following notice:

“The Board recognizes the potential impact the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Murphy v. NCAA could have on Nevada’s sports wagering industry. In

The post How Will Nevada Answer New Questions About Legal Sportsbook Regulation? appeared first on SportsHandle.

Last week the Nevada Gaming Control Board posted the following notice:

“The Board recognizes the potential impact the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Murphy v. NCAA could have on Nevada’s sports wagering industry. In addition, various divisions of the Board are presently reviewing Regulation 22 (Race Book and Sports Pools) to determine which, if any, regulations need changes. As such, the Board would like comments from the industry regarding changes it feels are appropriate for Regulation 22. Please submit your comments no later than August 6, 2018.”

In the past when I would read these type of notices, I would chuckle, knowing most of the time the agency had already decided what they wanted to do and were simply following the state’s requirements to notice the industry. This time though, they might just be listening as to what regulations need to change to accommodate those Nevada bookmakers who are looking to centralize the management of their sportsbook operations, and I sincerely hope they do listen.

Sportsbooks have always been a challenge for regulators – lines made based on opinions; movements made based on recent and expected action and/or changes in team/player information; diverse lines between books – no simple basic math for the reviewing regulators to rely on, so confusing for the inexperienced.

Please click here to read the remainder of the column at Gaming Today.

RelatedMailbag Mythbusting: The Wire Act and Sports Betting, Explained

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