So What’s Up With The SBTech Deal After DraftKings Extension With Kambi?

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Kambi announced early Thursday an extension of its New Jersey sports betting contract with DraftKings Sportsbook, as well as a major expansion.

The UK-based back-end operator provided little detail about the arrangement, declining to disclose either term or financial commitment. The new setup clearly solidifies Kambi’s position in the DraftKings Sportsbook universe though.

The most important piece of information, however, resides with DraftKings: what happened to the SBTech deal?

Is the SBTech purchase still on?

The Kambi news leaves the status of the deal in serious question. A DraftKings representative did not return a request for comment and a Kambi rep declined to discuss the situation.

Legal Sports Report learned in June of DraftKings’ plans to acquire SBTech. DraftKings did not deny the report when asked about it by LSR:

“DraftKings speaks to a variety of companies regarding various matters in the normal course of business, and it is our general policy not to discuss the specifics of any of those discussions.”

By acquiring platform provider SBTech, it appeared DrafKings could allow the operator to bring its trading services in-house. It also would provide DraftKings with full control of an online betting platform.

The purchase price reportedly would fall between $300-500 million.

Reading between the lines

A snippet from Kambi’s recent Q2 earnings call might provide a bit of insight into the company’s thought process:

Analyst: “… if we say, you wouldn’t have DraftKings, could you more easily take on-campus 50 new customers versus if you have DraftKings? Because I assume if the SBTech DraftKings then you actually would have pull-through SBTech would probably be the next — DraftKings would probably not let SBTech to the south of B2B Sportsbook in the U.S.”

Kristian Nylén, Kambi CEO: “Yes, that’s an assumption, and I think it’s possibly likely but we will waive out SBTech as comparative. I think we feel that so far, we have been winning a lot of very, very strong deals outside of DraftKings and I strongly believe that we will continue to be the B2B supplier that will win many of the attractive deals in new states to come.”

Kambi and DraftKings Sportsbook still good?

The first year of the Kambi arrangement with DraftKings Sportsbook proceeded with relatively little public attention beyond a snafu with the Sports Betting National Championship. Kambi helped DraftKings Sportsbook to open the first NJ sports betting app last year.

News of the rumored SBTech deal tanked Kambi stock close to 20% in June. After word arrived of its new contract with DraftKings, Kambi erased more than half of those losses in Thursday trading:

Kambi

Source: Tradingview.com

Interestingly, Kambi’s huge tie-up with Penn National did not provide nearly the same bump last month. DraftKings also made a deal of up to 20 years with Penn National within the casino group’s major set of moves, expanding into a handful of new states.

What’s in the Kambi deal with DraftKings

The extension of Kambi’s relationship with DraftKings Sportsbook in NJ sports betting represents the stabilizing force within the deal. Its reach could extend far beyond the Garden State though.

Kambi will back DraftKings Sportsbook’s trading in these new states, as they become legally approved:

  • Colorado
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia

Some of those could take shape almost immediately. For example, DraftKings could launch its WV sports betting app as soon as next week.

What they’re saying about the deal

Nylén:

“Over the course of the past 12 months, Kambi and DraftKings have developed a symbiotic relationship, working closely together to deliver a high-quality sportsbook, which has only improved over time.

“I’m delighted the extension of our relationship through this new agreement will enable players in other states to enjoy the same exciting sports betting experiences that have helped DraftKings become a market leader in New Jersey.”

Jason Robins, DraftKings Chief Executive Officer:

“Kambi has been a key partner for DraftKings, providing us with backend sportsbook technology that has enabled us to offer our customers an engaging product in a highly competitive market.”

The post So What’s Up With The SBTech Deal After DraftKings Extension With Kambi? appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook Apps Could Start Next Week In WV

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This is a developing story

After months without a mobile option, West Virginia could welcome industry heavies FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook by next week.

Sources tell LSR that DraftKings Sportsbook is ready to go, while a WV Metro News report indicates FanDuel Sportsbook could be as well.

“I can say we’re getting very close,” WV Lottery Director John Myers told Metro News on Wednesday. “Testing is completed on one and ongoing on another. I don’t have an official roll-out date yet.”

The sports betting app launches are months in the making for both state regulators and the operators. Sources first told LSR about a potential DraftKings launch for online WV sports betting two months ago.

The arrivals would provide the first mobile sports betting choices for West Virginia since the BetLucky app shuttered in March. Online WV sports betting came to a stop then because of a messy dispute among three companies.

FanDuel, DraftKings Sportsbook first into new pool

The DraftKings Sportsbook mobile launch for sports betting in West Virginia marks just the second state for the operator. DraftKings started the first NJ sports betting app last summer and enjoyed a month-long head start on the competition.

DraftKings partners with Hollywood Casino at Charles Town to offer its WV sports betting app.

Top competitor FanDuel operates a small retail sportsbook at The Greenbrier, a private resort owned by the family of Gov. Jim Justice, in West Virginia. FanDuel Sportsbook also features an app for sports betting in Pennsylvania. Its Greenbrier retail operation accounts for a very small amount of monthly sports betting revenue.

A launch by next week for DraftKings and FanDuel would give the companies a clear playing field for the start of NFL and college football season. In a state crazed about college football with the West Virginia Mountaineers, that could provide a major advantage for them in 2019.

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Who Killed WV Sports Betting? Inside The Failure Of BetLucky

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Barely a year after the fall of PASPA, a small corner of US sports betting is staring down its first major failure.

It’s not match-fixing, nor is it point-shaving or insider-information leaking. It’s a “who-done-it” to answer the question: who killed West Virginia sports betting?

This is a high-tech, white-collar tale involving three companies once aligned to provide sports betting in West Virginia. Now they’re adversaries in court, wrestling for control of the failed product they once worked together to create.

The dispute froze both WV sports betting and the trio’s larger plans to build a commercial platform for widespread distribution.

A bit of BetLucky backstory

There are three companies around which this narrative orbits:

  • Delaware North iGaming, Inc. (DNG)
  • Miomni Gaming Ltd.
  • EnterG Software Solutions Ltd. (aka Entergaming)

It started smoothly for Miomni and EnterG as they entered into a 2017 agreement to develop a sports betting platform together. The companies planned to pair EnterG’s back-end technology with Miomni’s front-end products and services, then license “the Combined Solution” to third parties.

And so they did. Believing it would secure the EnterG source code for €750,000, Miomni subsequently formed its own alliance with Delaware North, a large US hospitality group in the market for a sportsbook supplier.

More on the timeline here.

Into the US they go

In addition to retail and online betting in West Virginia, DNG and Miomni agreed to jointly develop their own B2B platform for licensure all across the US under the BetLucky brand. Miomni had the legal right to pursue such opportunities under the terms of its agreement, according to a UK judge.

The ensuing source-code transaction is where things went awry.

A pricing dispute created a rift between EnterG and Miomni that ultimately left DNG without any solution for sports betting, effectively shuttering WV sports betting in March. Miomni never obtained the intellectual property it sought, and EnterG all but vanished from the radar.

Now it’s up to the courts to decide who’s at fault and which parties own which pieces of the puzzle.

Miomni fighting on home court and away

The fiasco quickly spawned legal proceedings in two countries.

Miomni first filed suit in the High Court of its native UK, alleging that EnterG breached its contract by maliciously disabling the Combined Solution via “kill switches.”

Judge David Edwards subsequently ordered the company to remove any malicious code by June 3, but it has not complied. EnterG instead called the decision unenforceable, countering that it legally disabled Miomni’s access due to “unauthorized use.”

The fight across the pond

On the offensive in the UK, Miomni simultaneously is defending itself in the US.

Delaware North filed its own suit, claiming that Miomni is in breach of the BetLucky contract. Portions of that agreement made public require Miomni to disclose any reliance on third-party products or services, which it allegedly did not do.

Barely a year after toasting their union, the two parties are now brawling over a broken platform in the Delaware Court of Chancery. BetLucky remains offline in the meantime.

Four sides to every story

The well-worn words of Robert Evans need some tweaking for disputes involving three parties.

The first step in finding the truth is getting everyone’s story down on paper, starting at the top with the operator most directly impacted by the outage.

According to Delaware North …

Delaware North says it was duped. Per its initial filing, it contends that Miomni — specifically CEO Michael Venner — breached their agreement with “inaccurate statements that fraudulently induced DNG to enter into the joint venture.”

The crux of DNG’s argument: Venner knew Miomni could not deliver an end-to-end solution as promised, instead relying on a third-party contractor (EnterG) to power the back-end. The complaint lays out the basics from DNG’s perspective:

The BetLucky License Agreement required Miomni to seek prior approval before retaining any third parties to perform services in connection with the Platform. The BetLucky License Agreement also required Miomni to identify all third-party products or materials that were included in, or required to operate, the Platform.

Miomni disclosed several entities that were providing such services, products, or materials, but Miomni… never disclosed, let alone obtained approval, for Entergaming to play any role with respect to the operation or support of the Platform.

According to DNG, Miomni’s contribution to the BetLucky venture was “illusory” from the start:

During negotiations for the joint venture, Miomni and Venner repeatedly represented to DNG that Miomni owned the intellectual property rights in the Platform, including the source code underlying the “front-end interface” and the “back-end” of the Platform.

The ensuing dispute with Entergaming ultimately caused the failure of DNG’s sports betting operations. It seeks declaratory judgment and damages, including transfer of Miomni’s stake in BetLucky.

But Miomni says …

The company at the center of the trouble has a different version of events.

According to Miomni, EnterG hacked into the system and maliciously disabled the platform. Venner further claims that EnterG attempted extortion, demanding €1.41 million for the source code — almost twice the agreed-upon price — after realizing the potential value of the BetLucky enterprise.

Edwards validated those allegations, ordering EnterG to reveal and disable the kill switch(es). The financials, on the other hand, are likely a matter for trial.

Regarding the Delaware North complaint, Miomni’s opposition is twofold:

  1. DNG fails to support the claims of breach of contract and fraud.
  2. Jurisdiction precludes DNG from pursuing a remedy in Delaware.

Having earned an injunction in the UK, Miomni might have better grounds to shed the claims of fraud in the US.

A quick reading, however, doesn’t lend much support to the second point regarding jurisdiction. A redacted clause from the JV agreement seems to indicate that both parties consented to litigate any disputes in Delaware, where BetLucky is incorporated.

Miomni moved to dismiss the DNG suit July 12, after which the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint. The public version of the updated filing is heavily redacted, but it seeks to provide additional support for its claims while rejecting the UK inunction as “inconsequential.”

Meanwhile, EnterG goes dark …

EnterG has left us with precious few details to piece together its side of the story. The company did not send a representative to its defense in the UK, and its two known shareholders have disappeared from public view.

The names of those owners and their respective stake in the company came to light during the litigation:

  • Evangeli Alopoudi (67%)
  • Athanasios Marinos (33%)

The latter is a former employee of Greek lottery supplier Intralot, which tried to popularize the term “Entergaming” in 2009. The two companies are otherwise unrelated.

According to the DNG filing, EnterG claims the purported “kill switches” were merely anti-theft protections activated due to a breach of the 2017 contract. The amended complaint contains excerpts from EnterG’s response to the High Court, including this passage:

“Miomni does not own any intellectual property rights to the sports betting platform nor does Miomni currently have any license or other right to use and access EnterG’s [Entergaming’s] sports betting platform.”

Neither Marinos nor EnterG responded to requests from LSR for comment.

Sources tell LSR

The troubled “third party” from Cyprus isn’t the only one keeping quiet. None of the parties involved were willing to speak to LSR, nor were representatives from the WV Lottery.

A source familiar with Miomni’s operations was, however, able to fill in some of the blanks.

According to the source, EnterG at one point tried to bypass the agreement with Miomni and work directly with Delaware North. From an exchange with LSR:

“It is clear from the documentation submitted that Delaware North continues to liaise with the perpetrator Entergaming in this matter, which in itself is baffling given they have been judged by the High Courts in the UK to have acted wrongly on a contract which was written based on UK law.”

The amended filing indicates that DNG engaged EnterG in some capacity. Miomni developers, meanwhile, found and removed the malicious code and offered to restore services to DNG and rekindle their joint venture. DNG declined, says the source.

This person accuses DNG of grasping for a cause to terminate the joint venture once it began to realize revenue. Miomni argues that EnterG pulled a similar trick.

EnterG: ‘The cooperation had stopped’

What transpired between Miomni and EnterG might or might not rise to the level of criminal conduct, but the court proceedings reveal a pugnacious undertone.

The relationship between the two parties began to sour in February, when the BetLucky system showed its first signs of trouble. Seeking to end their union out of the blue, EnterG served Miomni with a notice of termination later that month. It alleged “material breaches” of contract but did not elaborate further.

Communications between the two companies, however, seem to indicate EnterG was holding Miomni at ransom. According to Venner’s testimony, Alopoudi proposed three paths to peace via a March 1 e-mail:

  1. Keep the current deals as equal partners ensured with a new agreement.
  2. Allow Miomni to buy the source code while EnterG exits the project.
  3. Immediate termination of cooperation.

BetLucky fully failed five days later, and the root cause was no mystery. A Skype exchange between Miomni and EnterG on March 6 led to this message from Alopoudi: “The cooperation had stopped.”

UK judge orders EnterG to comply

Edwards ruled that “the balance of convenience” favored an injunction for Miomni.

“In my judgment,” he said, “there is plainly a serious issue to be tried.”

The first step, though, is bringing the figureheads to court. Alopoudi and Marinos effectively vanished, and two separate inquiries had trouble establishing tangible evidence of EnterG in 2019.

Here’s an excerpt from the InfoCredit report:

“We have been unable to locate any offices for the subject and believe they do not maintain offices in Cyprus. Under these circumstances no staff is employed and companies may utilize certain staff (2-3 people) from their auditors or lawyers offices … We believe that the subject is an International Business Company (IBC) with no offices of its own in Cyprus.”

A subsequent investigation from System Day reinforced that finding a month later:

“They do not operate owned offices in Cyprus and the address and telephones given are those of the law office of M/S ‘M. Eliades & Partners LLC’ which effected registration and looks after their affairs in Cyprus.”

Public records indicate the co-owners founded EnterG in 2010 and registered the company in Cyprus in late 2016.

Future implications for all involved

Miomni still powers existing US sports betting operations elsewhere, presumably with an independent supply chain. LSR sources indicate it has access to a clean version of the BetLucky source code, minus the kill switches.

Still, it and/or DNG might have to rebuild some components from the ashes of the former EnterG partnership to move forward. They won’t be doing it together, though.

A company representative indicated this week that DNG has begun the process of finding a new sports betting partner.

Failure in West Virginia could jeopardize future licensing opportunities, however, particularly if Miomni misrepresented its supply chain to regulators. In its complaint, DNG expressed concerns over its own suitability going forward:

In a March 25, 2019 Written Consent of its Board of Managers, BetLucky determined that Miomni’s breaches of the JV Agreement were reasonably likely to have jeopardized the regulatory approval required for the business operations of DNG, DNG’s affiliates, and BetLucky …

That passage is among those redacted in the amended filing.

WV sports betting revenue tanking

The ongoing feud punched a hole in the state budget and left West Virginia bettors mostly frustrated.

WV sports betting has been practically non-existent since March, generating less than $500,000 in tax revenue from the three active sportsbooks. With retail operations at Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island suspended, the state collected less than $1.3 million (of a projected $5.55 million) in sports betting taxes for the entire fiscal year.

BetLucky was the only online platform available in WV sports betting when it failed, and no replacement has since appeared in the market.

WV sports betting handle - Lifetime

So what will West Virginia do now?

Perhaps snakebitten by the fiasco, regulators have demonstrated a lack of urgency in licensing additional operators to fill the void. In recent comments to WV News, Director John Myers expressed doubts about the revenue potential from sports betting and referred to his oversight duties as “a pain in the butt.”

The WV Lottery did not return a request from LSR for comment, but Myers did provide a public response this week. Speaking to PlayWV, the top regulator insisted that those blaming the state for the holdup are “misinformed.”

Lawmakers including Del. Shawn Fluharty are among those blaming the regulator for leaving WV sports betting in the lurch despite being one of the first states to legalize. New lottery officials, Fluharty says, did not sufficiently investigate Miomni’s supply chain before issuing its license.

On the cusp of the busy season for sportsbooks and with regional competition growing fast, WV sports betting shows no signs of life. States like New Jersey with robust mobile industries, meanwhile, continue to meet or exceed their projections.

Delaware North + Miomni + EnterG timeline

Here’s the relevant sequence of events, compiled from public documents and previous reporting on LSR and PlayWV.

Partnering up

  • Jan. 11, 2017: Miomni and EnterG enter into a three-year Platform and Source Option Agreement.
  • June 15, 2018: Venner forwards DNG a letter from EnterG, stating its intentions to transfer ownership to Miomni.
  • July 9: DNG and Miomi first enter into a Professional Services Agreement to develop and test a new sports betting platform.
  • Oct. 30: DNG forms BetLucky as a Delaware limited liability company.
  • Oct. 31: Miomni exercises option to license the source code for “Miomni Branded Platform” from EnterG.BetLucky WV sports betting app
  • Dec. 14: Delaware North and Miomni enter into an Amended and Restated Joint Venture Limited Liability Company Agreement for BetLucky.
  • Dec. 27: BetLucky launches in West Virginia alongside retail sportsbooks at the two DNG casinos.

Falling out

  • Feb. 5, 2019: First service issues with BetLucky appear.
  • Feb. 25: EnterG sends Miomni a notice of termination.
  • March 6: BetLucky fails across three instances, timestamped 12:36, 12:39, and 13:37. Miomni asks EnterG to restore services. Alopoudi: “The cooperation has stopped.”
  • March 11: Miomni informs DNG of the EnterG dispute. Eight days later, DNG informs the WV Lottery of the Miomni dispute.
  • March 29: DNG releases a statement declaring its intent to cut ties with Miomni.

Filing suits

  • April 5: Miomni files suit against EnterG in UK court.
  • April 18: DNG files suit against Miomni in Delaware court.
  • May 24: UK judge orders EnterG to comply with the injunction.
  • July 12: Miomni files a motion to dismiss in Delaware.
  • Aug. 8: DNG files an amended complaint in Delaware.

Amended Delaware North complaint

Amended Delaware North complaint

The post Who Killed WV Sports Betting? Inside The Failure Of BetLucky appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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Our View: Why FanDuel Sportsbook Will Dominate Pennsylvania Like It Did New Jersey

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If you’re running an online sports betting app in Pennsylvania or planning to start one, you’re hoping to avoid history repeating itself.

Unless you’re FanDuel Sportsbook, of course.

FanDuel accounts for a huge percentage of the total revenue and wagers in the New Jersey sports betting industry in its first year — around 50% of all retail and online sports wagering in the state.

And there’s a good case it can replicate at least a measure of that success in PA. Why? Here’s a look at some of why its PA competitors should be paying attention.

The FanDuel brand is bigger than state lines

At least part of FanDuel’s success with its NJ sports betting app comes from its work from years before. FanDuel is a trusted brand for daily fantasy sports, and that has translated over to sports betting.

That brand — in part because of its retail sportsbook near New York City — has taken off in the past year. While DraftKings was the bigger and more popular brand for DFS, that trend has been flipped in the early days of online US sports betting. Here’s a Google Trends chart to show FanDuel’s search popularity in the US:

Now let’s look at FanDuel vs. SugarHouse Sportsbook, the top brand in the early days of PA online sports betting. (Note that any of these search metrics aren’t perfect; it’s not the only way people search to get to SugarHouse for sports betting.)

Here’s the Google Trends graph, but just for PA:

When it launched first, SugarHouse obviously had the lead. But in the early days of FanDuel going live, it quickly surged ahead. Even just in Philadelphia, where SugarHouse is based, the split for search is about 50-50.

You can repeat this exercise and find similar results for Parx Casino‘s sportsbook, which launched earlier and then faded next to interest in FanDuel.

The question, of course, is if FanDuel will maintain this advantage in PA against strong regional casino brands. It’s already aggressively marketing in the state in addition to its widespread brand recognition; Parx and SugarHouse are stronger as just regional brands in the Philly area.

The DFS database

FanDuel’s years of operation in DFS created a database of players that has proven to be quite valuable. In fact, it’s given both it and DraftKings a head start in NJ that has been hard for anyone to overcome in the first year.

Casinos in PA have extensive databases of bettors and past visitors. But are their databases as valuable for creating a potential sports bettor? Almost certainly not.

Until someone proves FanDuel (and/or DraftKings) otherwise, its database is better than a casino’s database. Or it’s at least leveraging its database more effectively.

Early returns for FanDuel Sportsbook PA look good

We have an extremely small sample size of what the PA sports betting market will look like with FanDuel in it — just nine days of operation in the July numbers Pennsylvania just released. But it paints quite a picture.

In that limited timeframe, FanDuel Sportsbook PA generated more than $3.3 million in wagers. That’s just a few hundred thousand dollars behind what Parx did in an entire month of operation.

Part of the reason is because of how easily accessible FanDuel is:

  • If you already had the app in New Jersey, you use the same app in Pennsylvania. That’s a pretty big advantage, especially for folks already in the Philly area that were betting at FanDuel.
  • The app was available right away in the App Store, something none of the other PA sportsbook apps accomplished upon launch. (Parx solved that problem recently, but after launch.)
  • You can use PayPal to fund your account, another advantage over some of the other sportsbooks.

Why FanDuel Sportsbook PA might not perform as well

Not absolutely everything is stacked in FanDuel’s favor in Pennsylvania.

  • Its physical presence near New York City is not the same as its sportsbook in Valley Forge, well outside of Philly. Its brand being close to NYC has certainly helped in NJ, and it won’t enjoy that in PA.
  • Cross-sell between the Betfair online casino in NJ and FanDuel Sportsbook has been brisk. No online casino is live in PA related to FanDuel via Valley Forge yet.

Still, there are far more positives in handicapping how FanDuel will do in the PA market than negatives. And it’s a fair guess that a year from now, FanDuel could be dominating PA like it does NJ.

The post Our View: Why FanDuel Sportsbook Will Dominate Pennsylvania Like It Did New Jersey appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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The Week In Sports Betting: Iowa Launches; West Virginia Still Lags

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Hello again, ladies and gents, and welcome back to your regularly scheduled recap of last week’s sports betting news.

There’s not a ton to touch on, so we should be able to keep it brief this week. As always, the LSR Podcast serves as an appropriate audio accompaniment for this recap — listen while you read:

Listen to “LSR Podcast Ep.20 – Iowa Enters the Mix, NFL Partners Up, & Rational Commentary on July NJ Handle” on Spreaker.

No, it’s Iowa sports betting

The list of states with regulated sports betting goes to 11.

Iowa kicked off its new industry on Thursday, barely three months after Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the enabling bill into law. In a conversation with LSR, administrator Brian Ohorilko discussed the ways the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission expedited the path from passage to launch.

Eight brick-and-mortar sportsbooks are open for business so far, including two powered by B2B startup Bet.Works. The IA sports betting market will be a competitive one, with each of the 19 casinos allowed to deploy two online skins apiece.

The first of those launched Thursday too, making Iowa the first US market to go live across both channels in tandem. Although William Hill is the only operator that’s online today, at least two others are on the cusp of approval.

Regulators expect the remaining sportsbooks to open within the coming weeks, and most online/mobile options should be live before the end of the year.

The numbers are in

New Jersey and Pennsylvania both filed their July reports last week, and both look impressive in context.

The Garden State is is the star. NJ sports betting operators handled $251.3 million in wagers for the month, a new July record in the US. We don’t have numbers for Nevada yet, but it has never before recorded a July with more than $244.6 million (2018) in handle.

Competition next door, however, could siphon away some of that growth over time.

Sportsbooks in the Commonwealth wrote more than $60 million in tickets themselves last month, setting a new PA record during the dog days of summer. The new PA sports betting market still has plenty of space to fill out, including the anticipated launches of DraftKings Sportsbook and Fox Bet this year.

Newcomer FanDuel Sportsbook is going to be an online end-boss, too. It saw almost as much action through its first nine days of life ($3.3 million) as Parx Sportsbook did for the whole month. It also leads by a mile in New Jersey, responsible for more than half the total revenue among all operators.

Data from both states underscores the criticality of online betting. The internet accounted for about two thirds of the total bets in Pennsylvania and almost 85% in the maturing New Jersey market.

Meanwhile in West Virginia …

More than five months after online sports betting failed in West Virginia, we still don’t have many good answers about it. Speaking with PlayWV this week, the state’s top regulator worked to dispel reports that the WV Lottery is responsible for the delay.

“There is no holdup from the state side,” said John Myers. “The lottery has told [operators] how a mobile system needs to be set up since 2018.”

Myers insists that the timeline for the return of online sports betting in WV is in operators’ hands and could come before football season. Lawmakers like Del. Shawn Fluharty, on the other hand, place the blame squarely at the feet of Myers and his staff.

“I’ve seen little to no interest from state regulators in getting mobile sports betting up and running,” Fluharty said. “They have shown zero urgency.”

Takes and tidbits

As always, we’ll finish up with a few crumbs of news that merit a quick mention. The leftovers happen to be league-centric this week, as governing bodies prepare their organizations for the busy season.

  • OK, NCAA: The NCAA Board of Governors last week voted not to standardize injury reporting, citing concerns over the “purpose” and “effectiveness” of informing the public. Guarding student-athletes from those who seek such information surreptitiously is, apparently, not on the league’s list of valid purposes.
  • NBA betting: The NBA gets it, though. Based on a broad review of policy, the association is considering releasing starting lineups a full hour before tipoff. MLB similarly updated its rules in 2019 to require teams to submit lineups to the league office before releasing them anywhere else.
  • NFL betting: The NFL took a step closer to legal sports betting last week, signing a new partnership with Sportradar. The deal includes the distribution of data for gambling purposes and could facilitate more granular betting options for league partners.
  • Check theScore: Media outlet theScore is officially in the game in New Jersey. Its new online sports betting platform, powered by Bet.Works, made its long-awaited debut last week under the license of Monmouth Park.

That’s it, y’all. Check back for more news throughout the week, follow @LSPReport on Twitter, bet responsibly, drive safely, etc.

Have a happy Monday.

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PA Sports Betting Hits New High With Almost $60 Million In Bets, Two-Thirds Of It Online

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This is a developing story and will be updated.

The era of Pennsylvania online sports betting is officially here. The latest in PA revenue and handle figures reflect just how much the market will grow with the presence of mobile betting.

New record for PA sportsbooks

The state saw $59.3 million in bets placed in July, a new monthly high for the state. Given that this is just the second full month of online wagering being legal in PA, that should shock no one. New records will be set each month for the foreseeable future.

Already, online wagering has displaced betting at physical sportsbooks as bettors’ preferred method of doing business. Online betting accounted for $38.9 million of the total or roughly two-thirds of all bets in the state.

The state’s operator generated more than $5 million in sports betting revenue for the month, although that number shrinks to $2.8 million when taking into account promotional credits given out by the sportsbooks. The state collected almost a million dollars in taxes.

The previous high for amount bet came last month at $46 million.

It’s SugarHouse and everyone else

SugarHouse Sportsbook PA is the early leader for online betting.

Just under half of all sports betting in the state is taking place at SugarHouse, either at its retail sportsbooks or online: $26.4 million. The vast majority of — $22 million — is taking place online.

SugarHouse had just about $2 million in revenue, although that number decreases to $1 million when you take out promotional money given out.

When you combine it with the BetRivers brand, which is also operated by Rush Street Interactive, the dominance becomes even more pronounced. Rivers Casino generated $14.3 million in handle online and in-person, meaning it and SugarHouse combine right now for two-thirds of the market.

Here comes FanDuel Sportsbook … and the rest of the market

FanDuel Sportsbook was only open for a few days in July, but it’s apparent it’s going to be a major player quickly.

FanDuel, under the license of Valley Forge Casino, generated $3.3 million in handle in just nine days of operation. And some of those days were during a testing phase.

That’s almost as much handle as the online sportsbook from Parx Casino did all month: $3.6 million. FanDuel had the advantage of being in the Apple App Store for iPhones from launch, something that Parx did not have at launch.

You can see the full handle and revenue numbers from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board here.

The post PA Sports Betting Hits New High With Almost $60 Million In Bets, Two-Thirds Of It Online appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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Media Heavyweight theScore Jumps Into NJ Sports Betting Marketplace

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Another new contender will enter the competitive NJ sports betting marketplace in the coming days.

After receiving regulatory approval, theScore will launch its NJ sports betting app with “a select group of sports bettors.” That information comes from a press release sent Friday by the Canada-based tech company.

Monmouth Park Racetrack provides the license under which theScore will operate in New Jersey sports betting. Fellow newcomer Bet.Works will partner with the operator to back the technology in theScore sports betting app.

Required by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), the limited soft launch will proceed for a few days. As long as no major problems arise, theScore will release its app to the public thereafter.

TheScore makes its play for NJ sports betting

Primarily recognized as a media and tech company, theScore became one of the first in its space to foray into sports betting. The company announced its plans late last year:

  • The deal ranges up to 15 years. There is an initial term of five years, which then is extendable for two more five-year terms at theScore’s option.
  • The Bet.Works arrangement is an “exclusive nationwide multiyear agreement.”

In the news release, theScore CEO and Founder John Levy hinted at what he sees as his market edge:

“This is a huge milestone and a result of the tireless hard work that has gone into getting our sportsbook ready for launch. We can’t wait to debut a best-in-class sports betting offering in New Jersey, delivering a truly unique and holistic sports media and wagering experience for fans.”

Holistic appears as a key terminology. The company enjoys wide market recognition as a news source for sports scores and information. Adding the NJ sports betting option into its existing platform could provide a one-stop-shop for bettors.

More about theScore’s potential reach

Last December, theScore touted just how broad its market penetration could become:

  • More than 4 million active users for its sports app.
  • Reached 50 million sports fans on social and emerging platforms in 2018’s third quarter.
  • Sent out 1.5 billion sports-related alerts out to users each month.
  • More than 3.4 million Facebook followers and 1 million Instagram followers.

Although a pre-football launch is advantageous, it’s a challenging time for theScore to enter the NJ sports betting market. New Jersey continues its rapid ascent among US states with legal sports betting, posting more than $251 million in handle and $18 million in revenue in July.

Those figures outpace the best July on record in Nevada, the granddaddy of US sports betting markets.

The post Media Heavyweight theScore Jumps Into NJ Sports Betting Marketplace appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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How State Regulators Met Speedy Iowa Sports Betting Timeline

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Iowa sports betting will launch today, which is an amazing statement given the quick timeline to get here.

The Iowa Legislature initially tasked the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) with an ambitious target to have legal sports betting up and running by Aug. 15. That’s just three months after Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a sports betting bill into law.

The NFL season begins early in September, setting up a dynamic that will continue to play out in future years. Industry operators and states want to be ready for the most wagered-upon games in the country, but there’s not much time to do so.

A small group of ambitious states target the NFL start

Iowa and Indiana are the only states among those that legalized sports betting this year trying to make NFL’s opening kickoff.

For Iowa, there was an earlier target. The NFL is popular, but the league has no team in the state. As IRGC administrator Brian Ohorilko said, “college football is king here in Iowa.”

Here is how the IRGC managed to expedite sports betting preparations so eight casinos and seven mobile apps could offer Iowa sports betting by Thursday’s launch.

Thus far, the IRGC has issued authorization letters to begin retail sports betting at noon Thursday to:

  • William Hill
    • Prairie Meadows
    • Lakeside Casino
    • Isle Waterloo
    • Isle Bettendorf
  • Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs
  • PointsBet
    • Catfish Bend Casino
  • Elite/Bet.Works
    • Rhythm City
    • Riverside

Getting ready ahead of time

Ohorilko said that the most important aspect in Iowa’s preparation is that the IRGC began preparing soon after the fall of PASPA, which opened it up for states to legalize sports betting.

The IRGC took its first step toward regulating sports betting last year by seeking regulations to review from other states and jurisdictions.

“We got familiar with all of the states that drafted regulations and made contact with a number of those jurisdictions just so we had those relationships started,” Ohorilko said.

Begin the application process early

Once a bill is introduced, regulators have a good idea if it is going to pass and a blueprint for the large strokes of regulations. They can begin working on filling out the rest of the regulations from what they learned works in other jurisdictions and figure out what they need from an applicant to issue a sports betting license.

Within a week of the bill being signed into law, the IRGC began drafting regulations, putting out licensing applications and letting industry stakeholders know about the process for getting those applications turned in.

“The legislature really was thorough, so a lot of the more controversial issues in regard to integrity fees, official league data and other areas like that all were addressed through the legislation,” Ohorilko said. “What the commission had to do was just figure out how to implement sports wagering. It’s been authorized, here are the rules, now let’s work toward implementation.”

Do Iowa sports betting controls in phases

The bulk of the work in preparing for launch is verifying that licensees have the proper controls and processes in place. The IRGC began soliciting controls based on draft regulations before they received approval.

“In order to launch within the first few months, which the operators asked for, we had to make some assumptions on what those regulations might be,” Ohorilko said.

The IRGC issued controls in three phases, every two weeks. There were 18 total criteria, including mobile review, processes for account registration and problem gambling policy review.

Staff members were assigned to learn everything about controls, then to work individually with applicants as their subject-matter expert on that control.

“Operators sitting in a real good place right now essentially are the ones who completed those as they came out,” Ohorilko said.

Provide leeway on rule implementation

Increasingly as states legalize, operators already know what they’re doing because they offer sports betting elsewhere.

They have procedures in place to address many controls. Making them unnecessarily change what works to adapt to rules in Iowa sports betting would slow down the preparation.

As long as requirements are met, Ohorilko said that the commission is flexible with how operators get there:

“If you look at the rules closely, there are specifics in terms of what should be considered by the operators but the commission did not specifically dictate how those controls should be written. That was critical because many of the licensees in Iowa do business in other states. As states are starting to authorize sports betting one-by-one, if there is some consistency or flexibility in compliance to regulations, it allows for an environment where compliance can be met in an efficient manner.”

The final step and operators who have taken it

In the final eight days leading up to launch, the IRGC met individually with every applicant to go over any licensing issues or controls that might be deficient.

The operators then have the opportunity to finish checking boxes to get authorization to launch retail and/or mobile sports betting.

The William Hill properties are the only ones thus far to get authorization to launch mobile. Bet.Works, the mobile partner for the three Elite properties, is still trying to get approval for mobile but is open for retail except at Grand Falls.

The post How State Regulators Met Speedy Iowa Sports Betting Timeline appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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Iowa Sports Betting Launch: What You Need To Know

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Just 94 days after the Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the enabling legislation, Iowa sports betting joins the list of regulated US markets.

The first sportsbooks opened Thursday at noon local time, ushering in a new era for the region’s gambling industry. The timeline from passage to launch is among the quickest of the states which have so far sculpted sports betting from scratch.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) did one better, though, authorizing online betting in tandem with the retail launch. The first Iowa sports betting mobile apps are up and running, though registration requires a trip to the casino for the time being.

The launch of IA sports betting makes it the 11th US state with legal sports betting and the fifth with statewide mobile wagering. It is also the only one that managed to make online options available alongside brick-and-mortar sportsbooks from day one.

Where can you bet on sports in Iowa?

Here are the casinos which offer sports betting in Iowa today:

Property Retail? Online? Partner(s)
Ameristar Y N Kambi
Catfish Bend Y N PointsBet
Isle Bettendorf Y Y William Hill
Isle Waterloo Y Y William Hill
Lakeside Y Y William Hill
Prairie Meadows Y Y William Hill
Rhythm City Y N Bet.Works
Riverside Y N Bet.Works

Placing a sports bet in Iowa is as simple as walking into one of those properties and asking where the new sportsbook is located. Provided you’re of-age, you won’t need anything else. IRGC Administrator Brian Ohorilko expects the state’s remaining sportsbooks to open before the NFL season starts in three weeks.

The initial setup for online betting, however, is not optimal.

The law requires new bettors to visit the licensing property to establish an account in person prior to placing a wager. Although the exact process may vary from casino to casino, it will always include some form of identity verification. This temporary inconvenience will remain in effect through 2020, after which registration will be available entirely online.

Hoping to ease the burden at launch, regulators did approve pre-registration for all active operators earlier this week.

Operators establish foothold in Iowa sports betting

For William Hill, it’s more of the same. Its four IA sports betting partners are the most of any company in the market.

The UK-based operator has been on the leading edge of launch in most US states, including an exclusive retail position in Delaware and Rhode Island. The future of its American empire did, however, take a recent hit with the announcement that Penn National chose Kambi as its new long-term partner.

With the works, please

Bet.Works, on the other hand, is celebrating a big milestone.

Iowa is its first jurisdiction, powering two sportsbooks for Elite Casino Resorts. The upcoming online rollout additionally will provide the first look at its proprietary new software, backed by an ambitious team assembled from within the industry.

Although its position as a B2B supplier keeps its brand behind the scenes, Bet.Works did make big headlines via an innovative partnership with theScore. The duo is currently working to debut that platform in New Jersey sports betting, while theScore also has a point of entry into Iowa under the license of Ameristar.

Elite will also facilitate US entry for prolific UK sportsbook operator Betfred. The English company will eventually power retail operations for Grand Falls and deploy a mobile product under its license.

The emerging leaders elsewhere — namely DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook — will be along soon.

IA sports betting specifics

If you’re looking to bet on sports in Iowa, there are a couple of things to know.

First, bettors must be at least 21 years old and physically located in the state to get down action. Online betting might require downloading or approving additional geolocation tools, by which operators verify a customer’s location.

Apart from in-state collegiate props, most sports and markets are on the board in Iowa. Provisions in that regard are more focused than those in states which chose to ban additional forms of NCAA betting.

The financial structure is comparatively kind, too.

Licenses to offer Iowa sports betting cost just $45,000 apiece, and operators pay back 6.75% of revenue to the state — the same as the established tax rate in Nevada. Each property can deploy up to two online brands apiece, facilitating as many as 38 “skins” from the 19 casinos.

The post Iowa Sports Betting Launch: What You Need To Know appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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No Summer Swoon: Quarter-Billion In Handle Shows NJ Sports Betting Momentum

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A slow month on the sports calendar did not slow the year-long surge of NJ sports betting.

The July revenue report released Wednesday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) shows $251.3 million in handle. While that pales compared to what is anticipated during the upcoming NFL season, that amount wagered breaks Nevada’s single-month record for July.

The Silver State set that mark last July at $244.6 million, besting its previous high of $221.5 million set in July 2016. Nevada does not release its monthly financial information until the end of the month, so the comparison to July 2019 will wait.

New Jersey sportsbooks posted $17.9 million in revenue in July. That pencils out to a 7.1% hold for operators.

Online share grows again in NJ sports betting

The NJ sports betting marketplace continues to tilt heavily toward mobile and online wagering. The July revenue report shows bettors placed more than $213 million of wagers via NJ sports betting apps.

That equates to nearly 85 percent of all sports bets placed in New Jersey for the month. Throughout 2019, monthly reports indicated roughly 80 percent of wagers coming via app in New Jersey sports betting.

That online share dwarfs what other states report — either officially or anecdotally — as a revenue split. Last month began to show movement in that direction in PA sports betting, but its online options remain in the early stages of their life cycle.

FanDuel Sportsbook alone on the throne

DraftKings Sportsbook enjoyed a month-long head start on the NJ sports betting field in 2018. After that early edge faded, FanDuel Sportsbook surged ahead of its competitors and stayed there.

FanDuel Sportsbook posted the overwhelming majority of more than $9 million in sports betting revenue for July 2019 at Meadowlands Racetrack. That represents more than half the total revenue for sports betting in New Jersey.

DraftKings Sportsbook put up the bulk of $3.7 million in revenue via its partner Resorts AC. That falls behind FanDuel Sportsbook by quite a bit, but still puts DraftKings Sportsbook comfortably in second place in New Jersey.

Nearly $13 million of the state’s roughly $18 million in July revenue came in via the two one-time daily fantasy sports giants.

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