D.C. Council Quashes Pro-League Fee, But Sports Betting Bill Moves On

The professional sports leagues struck out again on Wednesday when the D.C. City Council opted to remove language from its sports betting bill that would have payed the leagues a royalty. Entering Wednesday’s “mark-up” hearing in the Finance and Revenue Committee, a revised version of Bill 22-944 included a one-quarter of 1 percent cut of gross sports wagering revenue as a payout to the professional leagues. But the council unanimously agreed to cut the amendment that added that fee.

The net result is that the committee agreed to move the bill along to a first reading, set for Dec. 4. The goal is to get the bill voted on at a Dec. 16 meeting.

During the one-hour hearing, several other bills were discussed, but the committee spent about half an hour discussing sports betting. Key changes to the original bill included creating a two-block no-competition zone around designated gaming facilities; removing the mandate that sportsbooks use official league data and replacing that with the royalty; language reaffirming that the D.C. Lottery would regulate sports betting; and allowing mobile bettors to use the D.C. Lottery sports betting app around the city, but requiring them to use only the app approved by a gaming facility in said facility.


Read more D.C. Council Quashes Pro-League Fee, But Sports Betting Bill Moves On on SportsHandle.

DraftKings CEO Robins Reveals Sports Betting Already Crushing For Company Overall

The numbers are beginning to show that DraftKings’ metamorphosis from a daily fantasy sports operator to sportsbook-first company is moving at Ludicrous Speed. The DFS aspect of the company isn’t going anywhere, but the revenue and obviously growth potential in the U.S. is in legal sports betting.

At the ICE Sports Betting USA conference in Manhattan on Wednesday, DraftKings Co-Founder and CEO Jason Robins told Darren Rovell (who himself switched jerseys from ESPN to Action Network mid-conference) that 20 percent of the company’s business is currently being generated through sports betting. In New Jersey, where the DraftKings Sportsbook was first to market in the state in August, Robins said sports betting represents 80 percent of the company’s revenue.

In other words, the sports betting revenue being generated in just one state*, roughly four months post-launch, is currently accounting for 20 percent of the company’s overall revenue coming nationwide via daily fantasy sports contests.

DraftKings Sportsbook Already Driving 20 Percent of Company’s Revenue; Full Speed Ahead For Familiar Players As Expansion Continues



Read more DraftKings CEO Robins Reveals Sports Betting Already Crushing For Company Overall on SportsHandle.

MGM Adds MLB to Its List of ‘Official Partners’

Major League Baseball is following in the footsteps of the NBA and NHL, and on Tuesday announced a partnership with MGM, which now becomes baseball’s official gaming and entertainment partner. MGM already has similar deals with the NBA and NHL, and now will have access to official data and sponsorship rights from three of the four U.S. professional sports leagues.

The deal gives MGM non-exclusive rights to the MLB’s official stats, but the company will have exclusive rights to some of the league’s advanced stats.

“We are pleased to partner with MGM Resorts International, a clear industry leader in the sports gaming area, to work together on bringing innovative experiences to baseball fans and MGM customers,” said baseball commissioner Robert Manfred in an press release. “Our partnership with MGM will help us navigate this evolving space responsibly, and we look forward to the fan engagement opportunities ahead.”

MLB Falls Into Line With NBA, NHL in Naming MGM Its ‘Official Partner’ in a Non-Exclusive Deal



Read more MGM Adds MLB to Its List of ‘Official Partners’ on SportsHandle.

They’re Off: Rhode Island Becomes First New England State to Take Legal Sports Bets

Five months after legalizing sports betting and nearly 60 days after the projected opening date, a group of lawmakers and a corporate executive placed the ceremonial first sports bet at Rhode Island’s Twin River Sportsbook on Monday. In so doing, Rhode Island became the sixth non-Nevada state post-PASPA to open up for legal sports betting, and the first in New England.

Rhode Island Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, House Speaker Nicholas Matiello and Twin River Worldwide Holdings Chairman John Taylor Jr. placed the first bets after making remarks.

The sportsbook officially opened at 3 p.m. local time with an opening ceremony — in time for Monday Night Football. Rhode Island has only two casinos, Twin River and Tiverton, both owned by the same company. The Tiverton sportsbook is scheduled to open in December.

Rhode Island Becomes First in New England to Offer Sports Betting as Twin River Casino Hotel Opens Sportsbook

Read more They’re Off: Rhode Island Becomes First New England State to Take Legal Sports Bets on SportsHandle.

Get a Grip: The Week In Sports Betting: More Things Keep Happening, Everywhere

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,” recapping the week’s top stories, and rounding up key stories in sports betting, gaming, and the world of sports at large. You may have missed them, and they are worth reading.

Top happenings and developments this week:

Keepin’ it brief this week because you people are either unplugged this weekend, shopping, avoiding shopping,  watching college football, de-fatting from Thanksgiving, or some combination.

1) After some stops, starts, testing and unrealized projections, sports betting is finally set to launch in Rhode Island on Monday at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln.

2) This week in Virginia, home to zero casinos and a few racetracks, emerged a bill pre-filed for 2019 that would grant the state lottery authority to licenses up to five sportsbooks (and itself). The lottery would have regulatory authority and would have to decide how it’ll work. In other words, whether to permit online-only operators and/or allow them to establish a brick-and-mortar presence as well. Very early stages here but we didn’t expect Virginia to enter the conversation heading  in 2019.

3) The Mississippi Gaming Commission released the October revenue report his week and while the betting handle was static at about $32.8 million, the hold dropped to just 3.59 percent as the Gulf Coast casinos got hammered on football, losing a combined $600,000.

4) Last Friday DraftKings opened a brick-and-mortar sportsbook in Mississippi (near Biloxi), and this week, on Tuesday, it opened its second U.S. physical sportsbook, at Resorts Casino in Atlantic City. The leader so far in New Jersey’s online sportsbook handle and revenue, DraftKings had been working on the project with Resorts (quietly) for at least a couple months. One interesting footnote: The small, Resorts-branded, SB Tech-run book that opened in the summer closed up shop, coinciding with the launch of the DK book.

5) Like Mississippi, Delaware’s October handle dipped a bit, too. Perhaps they should both consider regulations allowing patrons to make wagers via mobile devices/online, not exclusively on premises.


Read more Get a Grip: The Week In Sports Betting: More Things Keep Happening, Everywhere on SportsHandle.

Expect North Carolina Lawmakers to Talk Sports Betting in ’19

North Carolina lawmakers haven’t officially broached the subject of legal sports betting, but that doesn’t mean ideas and conversations about the topic aren’t circulating around the state.

“This is an issue that’s on people’s minds, but I don’t know where our caucus stands, particularly the new members. I expect that the proper role for the state will be discussed as we enter the new session next year,” North Carolina senator Phil Berger told the Charlotte Observer in an email.

Several North Carolina lawmakers introduced legislation in 2018 to legalize daily fantasy sports, but none got to a vote. In neighboring South Carolina, at least one sports betting bill was filed in the state legislature, but did not reach a vote. Lawmakers, there, though, are enthusiastic about the possibility of legalizing sports betting.


Read more Expect North Carolina Lawmakers to Talk Sports Betting in ’19 on SportsHandle.

Virginia Sports Betting Bill Filed Ahead of 2019 Session

The post Virginia Sports Betting Bill Filed Ahead of 2019 Session appeared first on SportsHandle.

Virginia on Tuesday became the latest state to make an earnest move toward legalizing sports betting in 2019 when Delegate Mark Sickles (D-District 43) prefiled HB 1638 ahead of the opening of the legislative session on Jan. 9, 2019. The bill, which will be referred to committee for discussion, calls for a 15 percent tax rate on sports betting adjusted gross revenue, and a $250,000 licensing fee. There is no mention of a “royalty” or “integrity fee” to be paid to the professional sports leagues.

Lawmakers in Tennessee and Kentucky have also prefiled bills ahead of their sessions and several other states, including Michigan, Maryland and Massachusetts have publicly discussed sports betting recently.

Since the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May, seven states states outside of Nevada have either legalized or seen its authorized licensees begin accepting sports bets. Although Virginia is very much not a gaming state as casinos are prohibited by law, apparently sports betting may be on the table.


Read more Virginia Sports Betting Bill Filed Ahead of 2019 Session on SportsHandle.

Swanky New DraftKings Sportsbook Opens At Resorts Casino In Atlantic City

New York Giants Hall of Fame linebacker Harry Carson bet the New York Yankees to win the 2019 World Series on Tuesday morning, the first wager at DraftKings Sportsbook located at the Resorts Casino in Atlantic City.  It’s DraftKings’ first physical location in New Jersey and the first on the East Coast, as the Boston-headquartered company continues its push from an online-only operation into physical spaces.

The sportsbook is the second of two at Resorts. The first is Resorts-branded, run by SB Tech and opened earlier this summer. 

The new sportsbook features 135 50-inch televisions and a video wall that is more than 1,000 square feet. Rows of club chairs sit in front of the video screen, with a bank of teller windows to the right, and a VIP Lounge to the left. According to the Nov. 14 DraftKings press releasethe facility has five teller windows, a full bar, charger stations at each seat and bar-top electronic slot games. The chairs are set stadium-style to allow for unobstructed viewing.  The risk-management and trading operation, as well as the 12 sports betting kiosks, are powered by U.K.-based supplier Kambi Sports, which also powers DraftKings’ online sportsbook.


Read more Swanky New DraftKings Sportsbook Opens At Resorts Casino In Atlantic City on SportsHandle.

Legal Sports Betting in Pennsylvania Officially Launches Near State Capital

Legal, regulated sports wagering in Pennsylvania moved out of the hanger, onto the launch pad achieving blast off Saturday morning at the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville. It’s now the first venue to accept legal sports bets in the Keystone State, situated about 100 miles northeast of Philadelphia, near Harrisburg.

William Hill US, a subsidiary of UK-headquartered bookmaker William Hill, is running the casino’s sportsbook operations. As part of its deal with Hollywood Casino’s parent company, Penn National Gaming, the sportsbook conducted what it called “live wagering test day” on Thursday to certify the staff and equipment are in compliance with state regulatory requirements.  Additional testing was scheduled Friday from 2 p.m. to midnight, satisfying the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) to subsequently authorize the facility to officially open at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Although without fanfare or a ribbon cutting seen at official launches in Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi or West Virginia (at least not one visible from afar), the sportsbook indeed went live on Saturday morning. Two William Hill officials confirmed to Sports Handle that the sportsbook at Hollywood Penn opened and is open for business.


Read more Legal Sports Betting in Pennsylvania Officially Launches Near State Capital on SportsHandle.

Michigan Could Become First State to Pay Leagues Sports Betting ‘Integrity Fee’

So far the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and PGA Tour are 0-for-7 in persuading state lawmakers to mandate payment of an off-the-top “integrity fee” or “royalty,” putting a percentage of legal sports bets into league coffers.

Now, a key lawmaker in Michigan sponsoring a bill that would legalize sports betting and iGaming in the state could give a win to the leagues.

According to a report from Reuters, following a U.S. Sports Betting Policy Summit in Washington D.C. this week, Michigan state representative Brandt Iden (R-District 61) changed his mind on the fees after “spending significant time with the leagues.”