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.

Mississippi Sports Bettors Crush It in Football, Causing Drop in Taxable Revenue

Mississippi sportsbooks saw a slight rise in handle in October, up to $32.8 million against $31.8 million in September. The Gulf Coast-area sportsbooks continued to account for more than half of handle across the state, writing $21.8 million in wagers. And football remains king, accounting for $22.5 million of the total handle.

Like both New Jersey and Delaware, Mississippi’s hold, or win percentage, dropped significantly from September to October. During the first full month of football, the Magnolia State had a whopping 17.3 percent win percentage, but that plummeted to 3.59 percent in October. New Jersey’s October hold fell to 4.4 percent and Delaware’s fell to 3.5 percent.

For comparison, in Mississippi, the hold was 10 percent in August and Nevada traditionally has a 5 to 7 percent hold, so while 3.5 percent looks low, it’s not as alarming in context or as if the sportsbooks overall landed in the red.


Read more Mississippi Sports Bettors Crush It in Football, Causing Drop in Taxable Revenue on SportsHandle.

Get a Grip: The Week in Sports Betting & Sports: SVP, G2E & New Mexico’s a ‘Go’

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.

New Jersey Adds Additional 1.25% Tax on Sports Betting Revenue

Less than five months after New Jersey won the Supreme Court battle that allowed its casinos to offer sports betting, taxes are going up. According to the Press of Atlantic City, Governor Phil Murphy signed off on a 1.25 percent sports betting tax increase last week to benefit the state’s ailing Casino Reinvestment Development Agency. That brings the tax on net sports betting revenue to 9.75 percent at brick-and-mortar sports books and 13 percent on mobile and online sports betting.

For comparison, Nevada taxes its sports betting revenue at 6.75 percent, West Virginia at 10 percent and Mississippi at 12 percent. Sportsbooks haven’t opened in Pennsylvania yet, but the rate there will be 36 percent, while Delaware and Rhode Island (which expects to open for sports betting next month) effectively pay more a more than 50 percent tax rate under partnership programs with their state governments.

The CRDA will earmark the funds for “marketing and promotion.” According to the Press of Atlantic City, the additional tax from casino sportsbooks will be used to market Atlantic City specifically while the additional tax revenue generated from Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands Racetrack will be funneled directly to the towns in which the tracks are located.

Read more New Jersey Adds Additional 1.25% Tax on Sports Betting Revenue on SportsHandle.

Scientific Games Acquires Don Best Sports


The parade of change continues in the nation’s nascent sports wagering industry with today’s announcement that Scientific Games Corporation is acquiring Las Vegas-based Don Best Sports Corporation and DBS Canada Corporation for an undisclosed purchase price.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

The purchase became public knowledge early Tuesday and a key Don Best executive confirmed the sale to Sports Handle, saying he would provide a company statement soon, but cannot comment further right now because of “public company sensitivities.”

Scientific Games Buys Don Best Sports, Expands Company’s Sports Betting Offerings, Particularly in the U.S. 

Don Best has been a major sports wagering information provider for decades, orchestrating worldwide sports betting through its “Official International Rotation” listing games for all major U.S. sports leagues, time changes, game locations and betting numbers in a specific order or rotation.

USBookmaking Partners With Tribal Casino to Offer New Mexico Sports Betting

In what could be a precedent-setting advancement of sports wagering, a New Mexico tribal casino says it will begin offering sports betting next week.

Las Vegas-based USBookmaking said Monday it has an agreement to provide Nevada-style sports betting services to the Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel, a tribal gaming operation in near Albuquerque.

Although sports wagering is not currently legal in New Mexico, this is believed to be the second state tribal operation to move forward with sports wagering plans by taking the position that sports betting is permissible under its current compact with the state.

PGCB Grants Hollywood, Parx Casinos PA Sports Betting Licenses


The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board unanimously approved sports betting petitions for Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing (Hollywood Casino) and Greenwood Gaming (Parx Casino and South Philadelphia Turf Club) at its regular meeting Wednesday morning, paving the way for sports betting to go live in the state as early as November.

Greenwood Gaming, which owns the Parx Casino and the South Philadelphia Turf Club, is targeting November to roll out sports betting at its facilities while Mountainview representatives were less specific, and aiming for a rollout later this year.

The PGCB held hearings prior to voting and, in general, things went smoothly. Both companies reviewed their history and experience in sports betting and shared plans for what their sportsbooks will look like (more below). In addition, both groups discussed their desire to roll out mobile and internet sports betting sooner than later, though neither will do so for their initial launch.


Read more PGCB Grants Hollywood, Parx Casinos PA Sports Betting Licenses on SportsHandle.

Week 5 College Football Picks: Middle Tennessee, Army, Indiana And More

The post Week 5 College Football Picks: Middle Tennessee, Army, Indiana And More appeared first on SportsHandle.

Each week we’ll be providing our top college football picks.

This week we look at Georgia Tech as a big favorite and why it’s not too late to cash in on woeful Rutgers.

Middle Tennessee +3 over Florida Atlantic

I really like the Blue Raiders in this spot. Middle Tennessee comes into the game 1-2 but their two losses are to SEC teams (Georgia and Vanderbilt). The Blue Raiders had a week off to prepare for this game, while FAU is coming off a 56-36 loss to UCF last Friday night.

Middle Tennessee had taken nine straight in this series before FAU won at home, 38-20, last year. However, the Blue Raiders were without starting quarterback Brent Stockstill (shoulder), who is completing 69 percent of his passes, despite the tough early season schedule. Stockstill should have his way against an FAU pass defense that ranks 97th in the country.

Head coach Rick Stockstill is 22-7 SU at home since 2013. The line hasn’t moved off three but I’ll gladly take a field goal at home and call for the outright win by the Blue Raiders.


Read more Week 5 College Football Picks: Middle Tennessee, Army, Indiana And More on SportsHandle.

PGCB Agenda Likely to Include Two Sports Betting Applications

The post PGCB Agenda Likely to Include Two Sports Betting Applications appeared first on SportsHandle.

Two Pennsylvania casinos are poised to become the first to get approval for sports betting when the state’s Gaming Control Board meets on Oct. 3. The Hollywood Casino, owned by Penn National and operated by Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing LLC, and the Parx Casino, owned by Greenwood Racing, were the first to apply for sports betting licenses in Pennsylvania when they did so in August.

According to the PGCB’s Director of Communications, Doug Harbach, “it is highly likely that sports wagering petitions from both Penn National and Parx casinos will be up for consideration by the Board at its October 3rd meeting.” If the petitions are on the agenda, hearings will be held at the front end of the meeting.

Pennsylvania has 13 sports betting licenses available, one for each of the 13 casinos operating in the state. To date, 11 remain available, and the state will not auction off any that are not claimed. Pennsylvania approved sports betting nearly a year ago, but the state has not moved as swiftly as others to bring sports betting to market. The PGCB released its temporary regulations in August. The state’s legislature imposed a 36 percent tax (34 percent state and 2 percent local) on operators’ sports betting revenue and a $10 million application fee. Both are significantly higher than any other state that has legal sports betting. As examples, West Virginia has a 10 percent tax rate, New Jersey 8.5 percent and Nevada 6.75 percent.