West Virginia Casino Operator Suing Over Sports Betting Debacle

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This is a developing story and will be updated.

Casino operator Delaware North is suing the company that was providing its sports betting platform in West Virginia, after it was forced to shut down all wagering last month.

The basics of the WV sports betting shutdown and lawsuit

Miomni had been the supplier for WV sports betting for Delaware North at its two casinos — Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island casinos — as well as the BetLucky sports betting app.

But all of those been shut down as part of what has been called a dispute between Miomni and one of its vendors.

According to a press release from Delaware North, the lawsuit alleges “that Miomni Gaming and its chief executive officer fraudulently misrepresented its ownership of a key part of the BetLucky sports-wagering platform and breached the companies’ joint-venture contract.”

It’s a quick turnaround from a relationship that was heralded publicly just six months ago.

Delaware North had apparently been looking to deploy sports betting via the JV in Arkansas, as well.

The Delaware North lawsuit

You can see the full lawsuit here, which names both Miomni and CEO Michael Venner:

Delaware North iGaming, Inc. v. Miomni Gaming Ltd., et al. – Verified-Complaint

The lawsuit was filed in the Court of Chancery for Delaware.

Allegations from the WV sports betting lawsuit

At the core of the lawsuit is what exactly Miomni was supposed to offer as part of the sports betting joint venture. Delaware North, for its part, says it believed it was getting a full sports betting solution; the fact that a third-party dispute could lead to the shutdown was news to Delaware North, at least if you believe their lawsuit.

A recent freedom of information request shed a bit of light on the relationship between Delaware North and Miomni.

While the contact between the two parties was heavily redacted, part of the public record from the West Virginia Lottery makes it clear that Miomni does not have end-to-end sports betting capability in-house, at least not one as robust as other gambling operators.

It was also well-known that Miomni works with hird parties to help supply sports betting apps in Nevada, for instance.

More from the lawsuit:

“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.

“DNG relied on those representations when it decided to contract with Miomni. In the (joint-venture agreement), Miomni represented that it owned and controlled the platform and that Miomni’s performance would not be impaired by any third-party contracts.”

Entergaming and Miomni

Delaware North, throughout the lawsuit, alleges that Miomni misrepresented how it was operating sports betting and its ability to do so outside of third-party contracts.

Central to the case is the relationship with a company based in Cyprus called Entergaming and how it relates to Miomni.

Here’s how a June 2018 letter from Miomni to DN is characterized in the lawsuit:

… Entergaming stated that it had agreed to sell and transfer to Miomni the software, source code, object code, and all other rights in the Platform.

In his cover email, Venner advised DNG representatives that the Entergaming letter “outlin[ed] the Miomni ownership of the back office for N. America” (emphasis added), thereby representing that Miomni had acquired all rights in the “back-end” from Entergaming.

The lawsuit continues that “Venner’s written representations of ownership in his June 14 and June 15 emails were consistent with the oral representations of ownership that he made to DNG in June and July.”

Deal or no deal?

But apparently that deal between Entergaming and Miomni never materialized, and Entergaming continued to operate as a third-party vendor.

Miomni never notified DNG or its affiliates that Miomni was utilizing Entergaming as a subcontractors, and Miomni never sought approval from DNG or its affiliates to utilize Entergaming to perform services as required under the PSA.

DNG and its affiliates later learned that Miomni was utilizing Entergaming as a subcontractor and that Entergaming was providing services required under the PSA.

And:

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 failed to disclose Entergaming. Miomni never disclosed, let alone obtained approval, for Entergaming to play any role with respect to the operation or support of the Platform.

More on the timeline of WV sports betting being shut down

Some of the details of the how and why the WV sportsbooks from Delaware North shut down had never been known. But the lawsuit sheds some more light on things.

According to the lawsuit:

  • “On February 5, 2019, the Platform stopped working for several hours. Miomni representatives told DNG that they did not know the cause of this loss of functionality.”
  • “On March 6, 2019, the Platform ceased working again. This time, service was not restored.
  • “When the March 6, 2019 outage occurred, Miomni personnel initially represented to DNG that they did not know the cause of this loss of functionality.”
  • “As DNG continued its investigation and pressed for answers, Miomni claimed, for the first time, that Entergaming had been providing ongoing “technical support” for the “back-end” of the Platform. Miomni, through Venner, also alleged that Entergaming had caused the recent Platform failures as part of a “scheme” to “extort” Miomni and that Entergaming had engaged in “criminal” activity by “hacking” into the Platform.”

Miomni allegedly breached its contract with Entergaming

So why did sports betting get shut down? According to Delaware North’s version of events, Entergaming shut down its services when Miomni didn’t live up to an “option agreement between the two companies:

Under the Option Agreement, Entergaming retained all ownership rights in the “back-end” of the Platform. The Option Agreement also restricted Miomni’s ability to purchase a perpetual license to use (but not to own) the source code for €750,000 (the “Option Fee”) to a limited option-exercise window.

Miomni never paid Entergaming any portion of the Option Fee, and Miomni never executed a perpetual license agreement with Entergaming for the source code.

That led to Entergaming ending its services. But the story gets even worse from there, Delaware North alleges:

Miomni did not disclose Entergaming’s February 25, 2019 letter to DNG or to any of DNG’s affiliates or representatives until March 12, 2019, several days after the Platform outage.

Miomni instead misrepresented the cause of the March 6, 2019 Platform outage to DNG. Entergaming’s disabling of the Platform was not the result of any “criminal” behavior or “hacking,” and Miomni knew that all along.

What’s next in the WV sports betting case?

Miomni will obviously have a chance to reply to the case and fight it in court.

It’s at least feasible the case gets settled, as well, if much of what Delaware North alleges is true.

Contract law is in the details, though, so Miomni could believe it did not breach the contract, and could hope that a judge agrees.

No matter what, the breakup of Miomni and Delaware North is messy, and it remains a black eye on the early days of legal sports wagering outside of Nevada.

The post West Virginia Casino Operator Suing Over Sports Betting Debacle appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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Tennessee Rep Refers To Sports Betting Addiction As ‘Slavery’ During Committee Hearing

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Tennessee sports betting narrowly escaped the House Finance Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday after a tense discussion of H 1.

The shape-shifting bill now featuring hefty license fees and revenue taxes passed on a 10-9 vote, hours after clearing a related subcommittee. It will head to the House floor Monday and if passed, could be taken up in the Senate as early as Tuesday.

Discussion of the TN sports betting bill took an uncomfortable turn in committee when Rep. Andy Holt questioned HB 1 sponsor Rep. Rick Staples. During 15 minutes of questioning, Holt, who is white, equated addiction to sports betting to “slavery” in addressing Staples, who is black:

“Well I personally believe — and I think there are others on this committee who believe — that this legislation has been rushed through. I believe that the potential ramifications of this legislation are life altering. I believe that this leads down a path toward, in essence, slavery — slavery to an addiction. The state is playing into that addiction, unfortunately.”

Holt chairs the Finance Ways and Means subcommittee that HB 1 passed through earlier Wednesday.

The Republican from Dresden, Tenn. previously attracted media attention for refusing to cancel an AR-15 giveaway after the Orlando mass shooting in 2016 and wanting to fine Memphis “millions of dollars” for removing Confederate monuments last year.

Staples, a Democrat from Knoxville, recently resigned a House caucus leadership position after violating the chamber’s sexual harassment policy.

TN sports betting discussion tense at times

Staples responded to the question with a defense of the process for his Tennessee sports betting bill:

“Let me say to the chair’s comments, whom I respect and appreciate … We spent — including the subcommittee of the Policy Committee — we spent seven weeks vetting this legislation, dealing with the AG, stakeholders, other interested parties, several individuals.

“We addressed committee members’ issues. We had a lot of meetings and dialogues. We were truly, truly vetted in the Policy Committee, and we present a document coming out of that Policy Committee that has a strong, positive fiscal note.

“We’ve worked really hard for right at a year to make sure we would have a good document to present before this legislative body.”

Additional questions answered in TN sports betting

Staples also fielded other concerns in the legal sports betting discussion:

Verifying and protecting consumers

To Hall’s concerns about this, Staples responded:

“Unfortunately, Mr. Chairman, there are nefarious and criminal individuals that seek to take advantage of something that is meant to be positive and controlled. There will always be a criminal element.

“Currently without this piece of legislation, online gaming is taking place in this state, and those dollars are going to offshore accounts …”

Rep. Cameron Sexton also answered this concern:

 “If you’re worried about the children, you have bookies all across the state of Tennessee who have no regulations. There is no oversight …

“So with this scenario, at least from this perspective, there is more oversight, more regulation to ensure that children can not do this online compared to what they currently can do right now without any oversight or any regulation.”

Added addiction concerns

Rep. Jason Zachary likened sports betting to drug problems in opposing the bill:

“We do not have a revenue problem. But what we do have is a drug crisis and an opioid problem. And the last thing we need to do is add gambling to that problem.”

A House amendment from a previous committee directed a percentage of revenue to problem gambling assistance:

5 percent shall be distributed by the Corporation for use by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to develop programs for gambling addiction and compulsive gambling

What’s now in Tennessee sports betting bill

The Tennessee sports betting bill looks quite a bit different than it did when introduced. That’s nothing unusual of course, as legislation often receives tweaks as it winds through committees.

The nature of the changes, though, merits mention because many are significant:

  • Annual license fee increased from $7,500 to $750,000
  • Tax rate increased from 10 to 20 percent, with another amendment to move it 22.5 percent of sports betting revenue
  • Brick-and-mortar sports betting eliminated; bill is online-only now
  • Cap of 10 licenses removed; no limit imposed
  • Official data requirement for in-play betting added

Lawmakers anticipate TN sports betting will increase state revenue by $20 million in its first year and $40 million in its second year.

Legal Sports Report’s Eric Ramsey contributed to this report.

The post Tennessee Rep Refers To Sports Betting Addiction As ‘Slavery’ During Committee Hearing appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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24-Hour Sports Betting Network Coming From SportsGrid, Sportradar

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Ready or not, here comes the nation’s first free 24-hour sports betting network.

On Thursday, Sportradar and SportsGrid announced an ambitious new programming partnership in the overlap between sports and gambling. The joint venture will include around-the-clock sports betting content broadcast via a proprietary platform.

From the press release:

The partnership marries Sportradar’s ad tech, OTT technology and data with SportsGrid’s engaging original programming providing fans with accurate coverage and analysis of stats and odds across professional sports.

Like many companies rooted in daily fantasy sports, those associated with sports data and content are all aboard the legal sports betting bandwagon in 2019.

Sportradar + SportsGrid

Sportradar is one of the worldwide giants of the sports betting industry. Its primary business involves collecting and distributing official data for leagues — including all of the big four in the US.

That information has never been as valuable as it is today, and bookmakers aren’t the only ones who want it.

SportsGrid is a fantasy-focused media outlet founded in 2017, and the library of DFS content the company has created dovetails perfectly with sports betting. Its digital portfolio includes DailyRoto, RotoExperts, and the FNTSY Sports Network, all of which have been tinged by non-fantasy gambling.

President Louis Maione called the Sportradar deal “game changing” for his company.

“This partnership showcases our combined vision of delivering the true convergence of content, data, and gaming to the millions of sports fans craving this informative and entertaining programming. Joining forces with Sportradar instantly affords SportsGrid with the ability to provide unquestionable best of breed sports wagering programming.”

Want to know more about SportsGrid and their plans for sports betting content? Tune into to the LSR Podcast on Friday to catch an interview with Maione.

Sports betting content in demand

As with sports betting itself, broadcast content tied to the emerging industry has enjoyed many firsts in recent memory.

Early in 2017, for example, Brent Musburger debuted his subscription-based Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSiN) with one clear focus. The press release announcing the launch referred to VSiN as the first “multi-channel network dedicated to sports gambling information.”

Larger media companies are now delivering streaming shows to their audiences, too, including I’ll Take That Bet on ESPN+ and CBS SportsLine Edge.

Breaking into the mainstream

More recently, standalone sports betting programs have begun to appear on major television networks. Both Fox Sports and ESPN have allocated daily time slots to gambling with Lock It In and The Daily Wager, respectively.

SportsGrid has turned its sails into the breeze, too.

It has, in recent months, brought sports betting programming to top-40 radio with Elvis Duran and helped FanDuel power a brand new content delivery platform. Now, in partnership with Sportradar, it hopes to solidify its reputation as one of the leaders in the space.

If you’re wondering where this is all headed, check out this LSR story from less than four year ago.

The post 24-Hour Sports Betting Network Coming From SportsGrid, Sportradar appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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A Trader’s View On How The NCAA Should Approach Legal Sports Betting

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Editor’s note: this is a guest column from Scientific Games.

Ahead of his appearance at Betting on Sports America, Benjie Cherniak, Managing Director of Don Best Sports, Scientific Games’ U.S. managed trading service, outlines the steps required to ensure a safe environment for college sports betting:

Even in the months leading up to the repeal of PASPA in May 2018, we saw a flurry of activity from the professional sports leagues. From lobbying efforts for integrity fees, to official data rights deals, to multiple partnerships with established sports betting operators, each of the NBA, MLB, NHL and NFL publicly planted seeds to position themselves for the new reality thrust upon them.

The one visibly notable exception? The NCAA.

NCAA works differently

Of course, while college football and basketball are part of what we in North America informally refer to as the “Big 6”, the NCAA itself is not a professional sports league. Given that universities are institutions of higher learning, it is not surprising that the NCAA’s rules of engagement deviate somewhat from their pro sport counterparts.

The challenge of course is that while the NCAA’s student athletes are not allowed to be paid and the majority will never play competitive sports after their college years come to an end, the U.S. public is just as passionate in supporting their college sports teams and athletes as they are their professional counterparts.

With the first post-PASPA seasons of NCAA football and basketball now complete, the figures from the regulated states confirm that the public’s passion for college sports clearly extends to the betting space.  

So what happens next? How should the NCAA navigate the tricky waters moving forward as more states regulate sports betting and legalized wagering continues to grow?  Here are some suggestions:

Accept – and embrace – the new reality

Legislated sports betting is here to stay, so ducking heads in the sand is not going to accomplish a whole lot. The leaders within the NCAA and the universities need to educate themselves as to the ins and outs of the betting industry.

Understand that increased betting activity is designed not to corrupt the games but rather to increase fan engagement, TV viewership, attendance, and overall interest in their sports and by extension their universities.

Embrace these positives and what it can mean not just for Division I football and basketball, but for other college sports that are sure to see increased betting handle in the years ahead.

Educate and protect student-athletes

The repeal of PASPA presents the NCAA with an opportunity to do what it should have been doing a better job of all along: protecting the integrity of its games via increased education.  

Betting scandals are nothing new to big time college athletics. From the Toledo scandal to San Diego to others, the pattern is consistent. Criminal syndicates befriend a player or group of players, take them to fancy dinners, show them a taste of the good life, and in turn work their way into the inner circle.

Once part of the inner circle, they get the player to do them a one-time favor by shaving points in a given game.

None of these betting scandals should surprise us given the realities. The players in question are in many instances 18-year-old kids and many come from well below middle-class backgrounds. They aren’t being paid, yet they help generate huge dollars for their programs.

Education of the players is sure to increase in a post-PASPA environment, and well it should. The players need to understand the process by which wrongdoers will approach and befriend them. They need to understand how one bad decision can have long term repercussions, including jail time.

Players not the only ones who need education

It’s not just the players who need to be educated but coaches, trainers, officials and anyone associated with the athletic program.  

This is not to say that all college conferences and universities do a poor job of educating players and stakeholders, because some have excellent programs in place. Let’s learn from those leaders and ensure consistent standards across the board for all teams and conferences.  

Moreover, while education should be the focus to prevent fraudulent activity altogether, the NCAA should also establish a standardized monitoring program to detect betting irregularities. This can be done independently, in conjunction with the states, or via an established integrity monitoring partner.

Make official data available for trading purposes

With legislated wagering here to stay, the NCAA should make its official data available to the industry for betting purposes, primarily in-game wagering.

The result will be sharper lines that make the NCAA events easier for the public to bet on, which increases fan engagement. Betting line consistency, resulting from official data, will also allow for improved integrity monitoring.

Granted, there is a financial aspect here, as that official data is worth a lot of money to the betting industry. The NCAA can take some of that money and use it to educate players and related stakeholders. They can also improve athletic facilities for the student athletes, create scholarships or establish programs to combat addictive gambling among its students.

In closing, these are all complex issues. The one certainty, however, is that while the college basketball championship is behind us, college football starts up again in three months and betting handle will continue to grow. This train will keep rolling down the track whether the NCAA jumps on board or not.

Benjie Cherniak, Managing Director of Don Best Sports, SG Digital, will be appearing at Betting on Sports America, the largest sports betting trade show in the U.S., from April 23-25.

The post A Trader’s View On How The NCAA Should Approach Legal Sports Betting appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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This Is The One Issue That Could Still Derail NC Sports Betting Bill

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An effort to expand sports betting statewide through the lottery could doom efforts in North Carolina, warns the Senate sponsor.

Sen. Jim Davis got S 154 passed in the Senate last week. It’s an NC sports betting bill that authorizes wagering at two casinos on the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians reservation in his district.

The bill now moves to the House, where Davis sees a potential obstacle.

“I’ve heard that there could be a push in the House to expand sports betting statewide with the lottery,” Davis said. “No one has spoken in the Senate that they wanted to open it up statewide.

“If that is offered as an amendment in the House, I think that will be the death knell of the bill so I don’t anticipate it happening.”

NC typically moves slowly on gambling

North Carolina has minimal gaming compared to most states. The only legal gambling within its borders are the two casinos on tribal land and the lottery, and North Carolina was the last state in the South to approve a lottery in 2005.

Given that reluctance to expand legal gambling options, it’s impressive that NC sports betting passed by a 42-7 vote in the Senate.

Davis says the success was due to the limited scope of the bill, which simply adds sports betting and parimutuel wagering to the Class III games permitted at the Indian casinos.

“It actually passed by a larger margin than I anticipated,” Davis said. “I think we educated the people as to what the bill does, that it’s not a statewide issue. It takes place on the Eastern Band tribal lands and they’re a sovereign nation. Some people may have been worried that this would open up to statewide, and that was not the scope of this bill.”

NC sports betting specifics not in bill

Davis’ bill does not set up a tax rate, regulations or consumer protections specific to NC sports betting. The senator believes those issues are covered under the current compact between the state and Eastern Band.

“I presume that would all be addressed with present law,” Davis said. “If the law needs to be expanded, we’ll have to work on that. I’m not aware of any additional law that will be required because of this addition.”

The compact includes:

  • No person under the age of 21 may purchase a gaming ticket or otherwise participate in any Class III game.
  • No Class III game may be played by a player who uses a credit card rather than currency or coin to participate in the game.
  • A monthly payment to all Local School Administrative Units and Charter schools within the state on a sliding scale that currently sits at 5 percent of gross revenue, specifically for live table gaming. It increases periodically, reaching 8 percent for the last 10 years of the 30-year compact.

Leagues strike out

Though there is no tax rate in the bill, Davis noted that didn’t stop sports leagues in North Carolina from showing up at committee hearings to request an integrity fee.

“I heard there were some sports teams in North Carolina that were interested in levying an integrity tax to ensure that sports wagering was on the up and up,” Davis said. “That just seems to me to be an additional potential revenue source for the sports team owners.”

Path forward for NC sports betting

A companion bill to the one passed by the Senate, H 302, sits in the House. Since the Senate bill crossed over first, Davis indicated that he expects the House sponsors, including Rep. Howard Hunter and Rep. Kevin Corbin, to usher S 154 through the committee process and on to the House floor.

The House is still introducing its own bills until April 23 and has a deadline to pass bills to the Senate by May 9. Davis expects it will be sometime in May before the House takes up bills that crossed over from the Senate.

The NC legislative session will end in late June or early in July.

“I don’t think there’s going to be a problem in the House,” Davis said. “There will be a few people who vote against it on supposed moral issues, but it’s a legal enterprise. The feds deemed it legal, so it’s up to the states to affirm that.”

The post This Is The One Issue That Could Still Derail NC Sports Betting Bill appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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Iowa One Step Closer To Sports Betting, As Senate Easily Passes Bill

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An Iowa sports betting bill passed the Senate comfortably on Wedensday, setting up the state possibly to have legal wagering this year.

The bill passed 31-18 with bipartisan support, and now heads to the House.

Progress coming for Iowa and sports gambling

A new amendment appears to be a compromise that could lead to legislation being enacted into law.

Sources close to the process confirmed the amendment’s contents to Legal Sports Report. The Iowa Senate passed the amendment to SF 617 that would bring retail and mobile sports betting to the state. The bill also would legalize daily fantasy sports in Iowa.

The House is likely to consider the bill early next week. A passed bill would give Iowa sports betting a chance to ramp up within 2019. The amendment appears to be a compromise that can help the bill get to the finish line.

What’s in the Iowa sports betting bill

There’s a little something for everyone in this IA sports betting bill. It’s clearly legislation that seeks to appease various factions without inserting anything that would destroy it.

Highlights of the compromise amendment include:

  • 6.75 percent tax rate on sports betting revenue, plus 0.75 percent additional to charitable groups and causes
  • $45,000 license fee, $10,000 renewal fee
  • Mobile betting via intrastate means only (this appears targeted at Wire Act compliance)
  • Up to two skins per licensee
  • In-person mobile registration until Jan. 1, 2021
  • Ban on prop bets involving in-state college teams
  • Regulated by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission

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Mobile PA Sports Betting Finally Set To Arrive In Next Three Weeks

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The wait is (almost) over: PA sports betting will go mobile within three weeks.

A spokesman for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) confirmed Wednesday to Legal Sports Report that at least one Pennsylvania sports betting operator will turn on its app shortly.

“We expect to begin live testing of the online sports betting app for at least one of the approved casino vendors within the next two-three weeks,” said Doug Harbach, PGCB communications director.

The identity of that vendor is not yet clear, but here are the potential candidates:

Property Supplier/Partner Sportsbook
Hollywood Casino William Hill November 16, 2018
SugarHouse Casino Kambi December 13, 2018
Rivers Casino Kambi December 13, 2018
Parx Casino Kambi January 10, 2019
South Philadelphia Turf Club Kambi January 16, 2019
Harrah’s Philadelphia Scientific Games January 24, 2019
Valley Forge FanDuel Sportsbook March 12, 2019
Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook Kambi March 13, 2019
Presque Isle Downs CDI TBA

Mobile PA sports betting is a game-changer

Pennsylvania sportsbooks generated more than $44 million in wagers in March. On its face, the number looks great — it’s a record handle for any state outside New Jersey and Nevada.

Accounting for the more than 12 million people in the Keystone State, though, that handle pales in comparison to what NJ sports betting is producing. The Garden State approached $400 million in handle in March in a state with more than 3.5 million fewer people.

The difference is obvious: mobile sports betting. For three consecutive months, more than 80% of legal sports betting in New Jersey came via a mobile device.

Adding mobile to the mix in Pennsylvania should drive similar growth in the coming months. It could affect the New Jersey market as well.

Timeline to launch for Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania legislators approved a sports betting bill in 2017 in preparation for a potential repeal of PASPA. When that happened last May, Pennsylvania began preparing for a launch of retail and online sportsbooks, both of which are legal.

The first Pennsylvania sports betting shop opened in November 2018 when Hollywood Casino launched its sportsbook. Seven others followed since, but the PGCB continued a slow testing phase and rollout plan for mobile PA sports betting.

In part, that attributes to the new Wire Act opinion from the federal Department of Justice and its murkiness about the legality of online gaming. But Pennsylvania also tends to move cautiously, leading to the wait for mobile that is just about over.

The post Mobile PA Sports Betting Finally Set To Arrive In Next Three Weeks appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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Apparently Two Montana Sports Betting Bills Are Better Than One

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Montana Gov. Steve Bullock could find two sports betting bills among the Easter eggs on his desk next week.

With the sponsors supporting each other’s Montana sports betting bills, S 330 and H 725 are poised to receive final legislative approval this week.

The House bill, which authorizes the Montana Lottery to operate sports betting, passed the Senate on second reading Tuesday by a vote of 32-18.

MT sports betting gets dual support

Senate President Mark Blasdel, who sponsors S 330, rose to speak in support of H 725 prior to Tuesday’s vote.

“Myself and the sponsor of this bill spoke about these bills before and we agreed that we think both should go forward,” Blasdel said. “I think competition creates opportunity as far as what products are out there, but it’s also better to keep it on an even playing field for the bettors and the taverns to have choices.

“I think this is just as good a product as the one that is in my bill, and so I’d like to see both of them go through.”

Montana legislative rules require a follow-up vote on third reading, generally a formality, which will occur Wednesday. Then it’s off to the governor’s desk.

House MT sports betting bill will get company

The House passed an amended version of S 330 on Monday by a vote of 90-9. The Senate’s Montana sports betting bill gives licensed gambling operators in the state a choice of sportsbook partners.

Blasdel tells Legal Sports Report he approves of the House changes, and the Senate is expected to concur with the changes by the end of the week.

In Montana, gambling is incorporated into liquor licenses issued by the state. There are about a thousand bars, restaurants and taverns in the state offering video gaming terminals with slot-like play, video poker and keno, as well as lottery kiosks.

The minimum gambling age in Montana is 18, which would continue for sports betting. Each Montana sports betting bill allows for mobile and online play only within the confines of the gaming facility.

By passing both bills, legal sports betting kiosks run by the lottery and contracted sportsbooks could sit side-by-side, offering different types of betting.

Montana sports betting bills complementary

Blasdel said three or four prominent companies expressed interest in running sportsbooks in Montana, including William Hill and MGM. Their machines would include a more complete array of sports betting options, including in-game wagering.

For sports betting, Blasdel indicated that odds on outcomes of single games would be similar to other models but the terminals would push parlay bets at longer odds to casual bettors interested in the possibility of turning a little money into a lot.

“If the lottery version is the only game in town, people who aren’t satisfied with that product will have nowhere else to turn,” Blasdel said. “With both models in place, the sports bettor will have more options to choose from and it will keep the odds more in check.”

He added:

“A sports bettor is a different type of gambler. They look at the odds, and if the odds are not realistic then they’ll search for other avenues to place their bets. The reality is there’s so much already happening on the black market, and if they don’t come into the light they’ll stay doing what they’re doing.”

Which bill(s) will the governor sign?

Blasdel said he’s spoken with Bullock directly on the topic, and that the governor favors the lottery bill because it’s within his administration.

“We’re trying to get the governor to understand there’s opportunity for all of them here, and that will ultimately be better for the sports bettor and the state,” Blasdel said.

There is a third Montana bill involving sports betting, H 475, which would provide limited parimutuel-style sports wagering at horse tracks and off-track betting facilities. Blasdel explained that money bet would go into a pool and odds would rise or fall as if placing an exacta bet.

It is in the Senate after passing the House, and Blasdel indicated that he will support its passage.

A co-sponsor of S 330, Sen. Kenneth Bogner, tells LSR that he’s confident the governor will sign the bill after seeing the legislative support it is receiving.

“With these vote counts, I would think he’ll be fine with it,” Bogner said. “It got 90 votes in the House, so that’s pretty hard for the governor to veto.”

The post Apparently Two Montana Sports Betting Bills Are Better Than One appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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March Gladness For PA Sports Betting As Revenue Climbs, But Lack Of Mobile Still Hurting

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PA sports betting performed well last month as March Madness betting buoyed bookmakers throughout the nation.

Keystone State bettors put up more than $44.5 million in March and PA sportsbooks held better than $5.5 million. That hold of nearly 12.5 percent triples the $1.9 million in revenue Pennsylvania operators made in February.

Cutting into that robust hold is the heavy tax rate on PA sports betting. With an effective 36 percent tax on legal sports betting revenue, the state collected nearly $2 million from PA operators. That’s in addition to the initial $10 million license fee.

PA sports betting by the numbers

Overall handle and revenue in PA sports betting benefitted from two new books opening in March: Valley Forge Casino and Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook. Those Philadelphia-area shops combined for about $2.7 million in handle and $570,000 in revenue.

Here’s the overall breakdown of PA sports betting revenue for March 2019:

Casino March Handle March Revenue February Revenue
Total $44,527,574 $5,519,340 $1,946,816
Rivers Casino $11,901,967 $1,344,398 $627,521
SugarHouse Casino $9,223,827 $1,237,301 $522,308
Parx Casino $7,965,932 $984,339 $369,996
Hollywood Casino $5,337,483 $521,864 $13,914
South Philly Race and Sportsbook $3,550,264 $534,253 $137,201
Harrah’s $3,794,014 $326,752 $103,569
Valley Forge Casino (opened March 13) $2,047,998 $449,597 N/A
Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook (opened March 14) $706,089 $120,836 N/A

All’s well down by the Rivers

Having the western PA sports betting market all to itself looks pretty sweet for Rivers Casino right now.

Rivers led the pack in Pennsylvania for the second consecutive month with more than $11.9 million in handle and $1.3 million in revenue. The only Pittsburgh sportsbook outdistanced second-place SugarHouse Casino by more than $2.7 million.

SugarHouse continues to set the pace for the expanding Philadelphia sports betting market with $9.2 million in wagers and $1.2 million in hold.

Strong competition within its own market could keep SugarHouse behind Rivers moving forward though. Five Philadelphia-area casinos operate sportsbooks and Mt. Airy will capture traffic from north of Philly when it opens as well.

PA sports betting market grows overall

Possibly the most encouraging development in the PA sports betting revenue report is across-the-board growth for operators.

Every operator in the state posted gains in March revenue. While the Super Bowl did not take the toll on Pennsylvania operators that it did on those in New Jersey, March Madness betting certainly appears to have boosted both states. NJ sports betting handle stopped just short of $400 million in February.

When comparing population, though, Pennsylvania’s absence of mobile sports betting glares.

The Keystone State is larger in population but posted just more than 10 percent of the Garden State‘s handle in March. Not coincidentally, more than 80 percent of NJ sports bets were placed via a mobile device in each of the past three months.

Pennsylvania legislators approved mobile PA sports betting two years ago, but launch continues to prove elusive. State regulators say they are in the process of testing apps from operators, though the new Wire Act opinion appears to have sown caution throughout Pennsylvania as well.

The latest projection from regulators for the launch of PA mobile wagering is mid-2019.

The post March Gladness For PA Sports Betting As Revenue Climbs, But Lack Of Mobile Still Hurting appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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March Gladness For PA Sports Betting As Revenue Climbs, But Lack Of Mobile Still Hurting

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PA sports betting performed well last month as March Madness betting buoyed bookmakers throughout the nation.

Keystone State bettors put up more than $44.5 million in March and PA sportsbooks held better than $5.5 million. That hold of nearly 12.5 percent triples the $1.9 million in revenue Pennsylvania operators made in February.

Cutting into that robust hold is the heavy tax rate on PA sports betting. With an effective 36 percent tax on legal sports betting revenue, the state collected nearly $2 million from PA operators. That’s in addition to the initial $10 million license fee.

PA sports betting by the numbers

Overall handle and revenue in PA sports betting benefitted from two new books opening in March: Valley Forge Casino and Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook. Those Philadelphia-area shops combined for about $2.7 million in handle and $570,000 in revenue.

Here’s the overall breakdown of PA sports betting revenue for March 2019:

Casino March Handle March Revenue February Revenue
Total $44,527,574 $5,519,340 $1,946,816
Rivers Casino $11,901,967 $1,344,398 $627,521
SugarHouse Casino $9,223,827 $1,237,301 $522,308
Parx Casino $7,965,932 $984,339 $369,996
Hollywood Casino $5,337,483 $521,864 $13,914
South Philly Race and Sportsbook $3,550,264 $534,253 $137,201
Harrah’s $3,794,014 $326,752 $103,569
Valley Forge Casino (opened March 13) $2,047,998 $449,597 N/A
Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook (opened March 14) $706,089 $120,836 N/A

All’s well down by the Rivers

Having the western PA sports betting market all to itself looks pretty sweet for Rivers Casino right now.

Rivers led the pack in Pennsylvania for the second consecutive month with more than $11.9 million in handle and $1.3 million in revenue. The only Pittsburgh sportsbook outdistanced second-place SugarHouse Casino by more than $2.7 million.

SugarHouse continues to set the pace for the expanding Philadelphia sports betting market with $9.2 million in wagers and $1.2 million in hold.

Strong competition within its own market could keep SugarHouse behind Rivers moving forward though. Five Philadelphia-area casinos operate sportsbooks and Mt. Airy will capture traffic from north of Philly when it opens as well.

PA sports betting market grows overall

Possibly the most encouraging development in the PA sports betting revenue report is across-the-board growth for operators.

Every operator in the state posted gains in March revenue. While the Super Bowl did not take the toll on Pennsylvania operators that it did on those in New Jersey, March Madness betting certainly appears to have boosted both states. NJ sports betting handle stopped just short of $400 million in February.

When comparing population, though, Pennsylvania’s absence of mobile sports betting glares.

The Keystone State is larger in population but posted just more than 10 percent of the Garden State‘s handle in March. Not coincidentally, more than 80 percent of NJ sports bets were placed via a mobile device in each of the past three months.

Pennsylvania legislators approved mobile PA sports betting two years ago, but launch continues to prove elusive. State regulators say they are in the process of testing apps from operators, though the new Wire Act opinion appears to have sown caution throughout Pennsylvania as well.

The latest projection from regulators for the launch of PA mobile wagering is mid-2019.

The post March Gladness For PA Sports Betting As Revenue Climbs, But Lack Of Mobile Still Hurting appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

Read about freestyle options review and make profit