Industry News of the Day for December 5, 2023

Industry News

  • CDC Gaming Reports: 888 Holdings Rejected $890 Million Takeover Bid From Playtech
    • According to a report released by the Sunday Times, 888 Holdings rejected a £700 million (approximately $890 million) bid from software provider Playtech in the summer. 888 Holdings helps operate the US betting platform SI Sportsbook. At the time, Playtech made a written bid to acquire the company at 156p (approximately $1.97) per share on the London Stock Exchange. The report estimated the overall value of the company at roughly £300 million (approximately $379 million). The slump resulted in 888 Holdings being removed from the FTSE 250 last week.
  • Sports Handle: Breaking Down September’s Record $11.55 Billion National Sports Wagering Handle
    • It took just about every state that now offers commercial sports betting to push the total over the line, but together those states managed to combine for a record monthly handle of $11.55 billion (and counting) in the month of September. The total is still incomplete as the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has yet to publish figures following the Bluegrass State’s retail launch Sept. 7 and mobile launch three weeks later. But with all other jurisdictions reporting, the handle number edged past the $11.49 billion worth of accepted wagers accumulated across the country in January.


  • PlayUSA: Amended California Sports Betting Initiative Increases Tribal Revenue Share
    • California sports betting initiative proponents submitted changes to their proposal to the state attorney general on Monday. The amended initiative increases revenue sharing to limited- and non-gaming tribes while removing provisions that larger tribes found problematic. Kasey Thompson told PlayUSA the final sports betting initiative language incorporates changes suggested by tribes, regulators and out-of-state operators. “This is now the best California sports betting initiative ever because of the way it benefits all tribes,” said Thompson, spokesperson for the California sports betting initiative and CEO of Eagle 1 Acquisition Co., the company behind the initiative.


  • Legal Sports Report: Gov. DeSantis Files Florida Sports Betting Response
    • Gov. Ron DeSantis filed his response Friday to West Flagler Associates’ writ petition in the ongoing state Supreme Court case over Florida sports betting. Separately on Friday, Chief Justice John Roberts granted West Flagler’s request for an extension to file a federal Supreme Court petition on Florida sports betting from Dec. 11, 2023 to Feb. 9, 2024.  The Seminole Tribe of Florida relaunched online sports betting via the Hard Rock Bet app on Nov. 7 to existing customers. Meanwhile, six Seminole casinos will debut in-person sports betting from Dec. 7-11.
  • SBC Americas: Proposed Bill Would Legalize Wide Swath Of Fantasy Sports In Florida
    • Fantasy operators are still open to the Florida market despite receiving a cease and desist letter from the state Attorney General. A new bill filed for the 2024 legislative session could clear up the uncertainty for the industry. Republican Rep. Jason Shoaf has pre-filed HB 679, which would broadly legalize fantasy sports under a definition that seemingly allows both roster-style fantasy games and fantasy versus the house. The bill would also explicitly prohibit fantasy sports involving college athletes. Anyone who violates these laws would face a misdemeanor charge and a $1,000 fine.


  • Gaming Today: Maine Sports Betting Debut Surpasses $37 Million In Opening Month
    • The recently published sports wagering report by the Maine Gambling Control Unit has shed light on the state’s burgeoning betting landscape, revealing an impressive handle exceeding $37 million in its opening month. Maine’s entry into the legal sports betting scene has seen an impressive start, with bettors wagering a total handle of $37.6 million in its inaugural month. Legal sports betting in Maine was set in motion when Governor Janet Mills signed the legislation in May 2022, marking a significant milestone for the state’s gambling scene. 


  • PlayMaryland: Gaming Expert Drops Maryland In Rankings Of States Primed To OK Online Casinos
    • Maryland may no longer be the next US state to legalize online casinos. So says veteran casino industry analyst Steve Ruddock. In “Straight to the Point” on Substack, Ruddock, a former Catena Media employee and current editor-in-chief of Gaming Law Review, cites the data point in The Innovation Group report to the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency showing a $200 million loss in land-based casino revenue in the state if online casino gaming is legalized. Ruddock called it “extremely startling.” In his rankings of states that are close to legalizing online gambling, he dropped Maryland down from first (in September) to fourth, behind New Hampshire, Iowa and New York.

North Carolina

  • NC Sharp: A Third Round Of North Carolina Sports Betting Rules Looks Likely
    • The NC Lottery expects a third round of sports betting and parimutuel rules to be necessary before the launch of online sports betting. Van Denton, director of corporate communications at the NC Education Lottery, told NCSharp, “The expectation is there will be a third rules package. The committee and commission are focused on the second package right now. Like other state regulators that have implemented sports betting, the commission will examine its needs and the requests of the regulated public to determine what additional rules may be needed.”


  • PlayVirginia: Sports Betting Continues Surge In Virginia With October’s $571 Million Handle
    • The arrow keeps pointing up for sportsbooks in the Old Dominion. In October, $571 million was wagered with sports betting operators in Virginia. That amount tops September’s revenue by 10%. As a result of this upward trend, more than $8.5 million went to the state’s coffers in taxes. October’s total is an 8.1% increase from October 2022’s number of $528 million. The Lottery does not break down numbers by operator. In September, the state reported that $520 million was wagered as professional and college football was in full swing. August’s amount was $319 million.