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.
Add Missouri to the growing list of states set to consider sports betting legislation in 2019.
“I certainly anticipate it being out there (in 2019) for discussion before the House and the Senate,” Representative Dean Plocher, (R-Des Peres) told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this week.
Plocher sponsored legislation last spring that did not advance in either legislative chamber. Multiple drafts of legislation were circulating even before the May U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned the law banning states from offering Nevada-style, single-team sports betting.
Expect Sports Betting to Be on 2019 Legislative Agenda and Missouri May Consider a Payout to the Professional Leagues
Read more Missouri Lawmakers Will Continue Push for Sports Betting on SportsHandle.
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.
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.”
The Indiana Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a decision in favor of DraftKings and FanDuel in a case brought by three former collegiate football players, who argued that the daily fantasy sports operators violated the players’ “right of publicity” under Indiana law.
Indiana’s highest court found that the DFS operators (and now sportsbook operators in some states) committed no such violation, because their use of player data, statistics and names falls within an exception to the rule, because that information falls within the meaning of “material that has newsworthy value,” the court writes. It made no difference that DraftKings and FanDuel were using the stats and information commercially — in contests requiring entry fees and awarding cash prizes.
The court made it clear they were answering only a limited question based on the set of facts presented. That said, the net effect of this ruling, which leaned on precedent from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, may streak into the national conversation about data within the context of legal sports wagering.
Read more DraftKings, FanDuel Victory In Indiana Supreme Court Has Sports Betting Implications on SportsHandle.
Indiana on Friday became the latest state to hold a sports betting hearing, when lawmakers heard from various corners of the industry — a technology provider, the NBA, an anti-gambling group and small business owner Patrick Doerflein, who owns an app called “Burn and Bet,” referred to himself as a “hillbilly guy from Brown County” and asked legislators not to over regulate.
While the session had moments of levity, it was a very different sort of hearing in Illinois on Wednesday. Indiana state lawmakers put forth several sports betting bills in 2018 and the Gaming Commission signed on with a market analysis firm, but Hoosier State legislators on the Interim Joint Public Policy Committee still appeared to be in the early learning stages of learning about sports wagering.
One lawmaker asked if a technology professional had said “toad system” when he was referring to a “tote system,” and another asked NBA executive Dan Spillane if any states that have legalized sports betting passed a law granting the league an “integrity fee.” (None have.) This was in stark contrast to contract with gaming entities independently?”
The American Gaming Association on Thursday released the results of two more Nielsen studies, showing how America’s professional sports leagues stand to benefit from legal, regulated sports betting. The latest studies indicate that Major League Baseball will see a revenue increase of $1.106 billion, and the NBA is look at a $585 million bump. Combined with research from previous studies on the NFL and NHL, U.S. professional sports leagues can expect an overall combined revenue boost of $4.23 billion.
The increased revenue won’t come from the “integrity fee” or “royalty” that some of the professional sports leagues have been lobbying for, but rather from increased fan engagement (media rights, sponsorships, merchandise, tickets) and through gaming (TV advertising, sponsorships, data packages).
According to the studies, MLB will net $952 million from increased fan engagement and $154 million from gaming-related revenue. The NBA should see increases of $425 million and $160 million, respectively. Results of previous studies showed that the NFL will see the biggest benefit, an overall increase in revenue of $2.33 billion, and the NHL can expect an increase of $216 million.
Read more Study: MLB, NBA to Yield Combined $1.7 Billion From Legal Sports Betting on SportsHandle.
Expect Kentucky to among the first movers on sports betting when the state legislature goes back into the session in January. On Friday, state lawmakers heard from a bevy of sports betting and gaming professionals during a hearing before the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations. It was the second such meeting before an interim joint committee ahead of Kentucky’s 2019 session.
“I think you definitely will see one if not multiple bills in Kentucky,” said Global Market Advisors’ Director of Government Affairs Brendan Bussman. “There is definitely a will within some of the active members there who want to bring this up, and there is no reason why they shouldn’t.”
Though the hearing was comprehensive and there were plenty of questions from legislators, it’s unlikely that much will happen in the next month ahead of mid-term elections. That said, a sports betting bill was pre-filed earlier this year, a second is in the works, according to a source, and there could be more to come.
Read more KY Lawmakers Closing In On Sports Betting Bill to Pass in ’19, Hone In On Final Key Issues 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,” 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.
SVP: Legal Sports Betting Just ‘Common Sense’
ESPN personality Scott Van Pelt didn’t pussyfoot around his thoughts on sports betting at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas earlier this week. Nope, the sometimes irreverent, always hip late-night sports jock just said it like it is on why sports betting should be legal.
“Because I have common sense,” he said in answer to a question from the American Gaming Association’s Sara Slane, per CDC Gaming Reports. “I live in a state (Connecticut) where I can buy lottery tickets at a gas station, go to a casino and play blackjack, but I can’t bet on the Red Sox or the Yankees? People bet. They are adults. I’m in favor of adults doing adult things.”
Van Pelt shared his thoughts on how fast states across the nation would legalize sports betting — “Maybe six months, a year, we’ll get to a point where everyone, even grandma, is out on the dance floor.” And if that would compromise the integrity of games — “You have to be vigilant. You have to be concerned, but you just can’t listen to the conspiracy theorists and the idiots on Twitter”.
Read more Get a Grip: The Week in Sports Betting & Sports: SVP, G2E & New Mexico’s a ‘Go’ on SportsHandle.
It was a busy summer for sports betting in Kentucky and it’s about to get even busier. Next week, the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupation will hold an extensive hearing exploring sports betting, according to co-chairman Adam Koenig. It will be the second interim joint committee meeting since Aug. 30.
On top of that, the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball and PGA Tour have registered lobbyists in Kentucky, according to the latest update of the state’s registered lobbyists, dated Sept. 26. The move shows that the leagues believe that the Kentucky legislature will move on legalizing sports betting in 2019, and that they want a piece of the action, which means requiring sportsbooks to purchase “official league data,” among other things.
“I think they know there are going to be efforts and how successful we are is yet to be seen,” Koenig told Sports Handle on Tuesday. There will likely be “multiple bills and they want to be ready.”