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.
“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
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
The NHL’s 180° on the virtues of sports betting is causing whiplash among people who for two decades saw NHL commissioner Gary Bettman shout about the dangers of legal sports betting and its potential to ruin sports.
Following a flurry of recent NHL announcements including deals with MGM Resorts International to become an official sports betting partner, and a partnership with FanDuel to become the “exclusive official daily fantasy partner and an official sports betting partner of the NHL” — Los Angeles Kings president Luc Robitaille on Wednesday said that gambling revenue derived from such deals and other channels could actually lower ticket prices or at least prevent them from rising at the same rate.
Robitaille made the remarks during an appearance on ESPN’s On Ice podcast with Greg Wyshanski and Emily Kaplan on Wednesday, saying in part: “I’m not going to guarantee it’s going to bring down ticket prices, but it might hold the raise a little bit. If a team plans on raising ticket prices by 8 percent, they might only raise them by 5 or 4 percent. If there’s a lot more money at the table, it makes everybody’s life easier.”
We’ll put the likelihood of a reduction of prices and/or slowing of their incremental increases at 25-1. Let’s now explore the reason for that line a bit deeper.
FanDuel in its newly minted partnership with the National Hockey League (NHL) has additionally refocused attention on what was its core business as it continues its efforts to establish itself in emerging Nevada-style sports betting marketplaces.
On Monday, the number two DFS company announced a multi-year partnership with the NHL, making FanDuel the “exclusive official daily fantasy partner and an official sports betting partner of the NHL.” The new deal also allows FanDuel customers to gain access to what it calls “special prizing,” such as VIP experiences to NHL major events including its All-Star Game and Winter Classic outdoor hockey game.
National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman on Monday announced that the league struck a multi-year sponsorship agreement with MGM Resorts International (MGM), making the gaming and entertainment giant an official sports betting partner of the NHL. This follows a similar announcement by the National Basketball Association in July, where the NBA presented MGM as the NBA’s official gaming partner.
The NHL deal, aside from designating MGM as an official partner, will allow MGM use of the NHL’s trademarks in connection with sports wagering at its properties internationally, as well as access to “official league data” including advanced data — some of which is still getting hammered out in the lab.
“The data we’re in the process of inventing is a process that’s been ongoing,” Bettman said. “It wasn’t our vision to develop it for sports betting, but as a broadcast enhancement to bring fans closer to the game.”
Sportnet’s Chris Johnston, a Toronto-based hockey insider for the NHL Network and a senior hockey writer for Sportnet, a Canadian equivalent of ESPN, said via Twitter, “The NHL has decided to dive head-first into the sports betting business. Official partnership(s) to be announced at a Monday morning press conference in New York. Word I’m hearing is “we’re going all in.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman sent out a media advisory Friday alerting news outlets that he’ll speak at a Monday news conference in New York City.
No Further Information Yet Released on NHL’s Sports Betting Move, But Bettman’s Presence Appears to Guarantee Some Importance to the News Conference.
In July the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver announced at a news conference in New York a 3-year, $25 million marketing and data deal with MGM Resorts International. The non-exclusive arrangement largely focuses on marketing, but does grant MGM access to the league’s official data feed.
The William Hill Sports Lounge, located outside Section 18 on the Main Concourse of Newark’s Prudential Center, is the latest major marketing foray executed by the rapidly expanding U.S. bookmaking operation, William Hill US announced on Thursday.
ESPN reports that because the NHL is not comfortable with the venue being an actual sportsbook in which bets can be placed at windows and kiosks, instead, “company ambassadors” will assist bettors in downloading William Hill‘s betting app to make wagers online.
No opening date for the remodeled and rebranded space has been announced.
The venue, to be open during all New Jersey Devils NHL games, has been created in partnership with the Devils and the Prudential Center and will feature more than 20 digital screens showcasing the world’s most popular sporting events and displaying odds and betting propositions. The William Hill Sports Lounge will be also be open during more than 175 concerts and special events held at the arena annually.
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.
As the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations prepares to hosta hearing on Thursday titled “Post-PASPA: An Examination of Sports Betting in America,” a question comes to mind: As key sports betting stakeholders, including the American Gaming Association, individual states and lawmakers, casino operators and others push back against a “federal framework” for sports wagering, while the NFL and several other pro leagues lobby in favor, do the two sides have anything in common?
It appears they do.
And, according to AGA senior vice president of public affairs Sara Slane, the two sides have more in common than you might think. In fact, Slane thinks the professional leagues, the NFL in particular, and her group are “90 percent aligned.”