Industry News of the Day for June 10, 2019

Industry News of the Day for June 10, 2019

Industry News:

  • Sports Handle, 6.7.19 – Get A Grip: The Week In Sports And Sports Betting: LA, CT, More
    • Amid intense storms, things inside the Louisiana capital were just a tumultuous up this week. After his sports betting bill got quashed for the second consecutive session, Senator Danny Martiny (R-District 10) staged a filibuster to kill a fantasy sports tax bill onto which he had tacked, yep, you guessed it, sports betting.

New York:

  • AP, 6.10.19 – NY Prepares To OK To Sports Betting In 4 Upstate Casinos
    • Gambling regulators in New York are close to giving their final OK to sports betting at four upstate casinos.
  • Forbes, 6.6.19 – New York Bill Could Bring Sports Betting To Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden
    • In a bill amendment filed yesterday, New York State Senator Joseph Addabbo, who heads that chamber’s Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, revised his mobile sports betting bill (S 17) to include in-person wagering at professional sports stadiums and arenas located in counties that do not have traditional gambling venues.
  • The Buffalo News, 6.6.19 – Albany’s Latest Online Betting Proposal: Yankee Stadium? Yes. New Era Field? No.
    • The owners of Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden could participate in online sports betting under a newly amended gambling bill introduced at the Capitol. But Terry and Kim Pegula, owners of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres? No dice.
  • New York Upstate, 6.10.19 – No Syracuse Sports Bets For You: NY To Bar Wagers On In-State Schools
    • As things stand today, no bet would be allowed in New York on any event involving a New York college team, no matter where the game is played. And you couldn’t bet on any collegiate event taking place in the state. Bets would be allowed on non-New York collegiate events and on almost all forms of pro sports.
  • New York Post, 6.6.19 – NY Could Approve Sports Betting Next Week, Just Not On Mobile Devices
    • New York casinos will soon be taking sports bets. Even as hopes dim for mobile betting, the state Gaming Commission is expected to approve a new set of rules on Monday to authorize sports bets at four upstate casinos: Resorts World Catskills in Monticello, Rivers Casino in Schenectady, del Lago Casino in Tyre near Rochester and Tioga Downs near Binghamton.

New Jersey:

  • Legal Sports Report, 6.7.19 – How NJ Sports Betting Set Up A Potential Constitutional Problem For Everyone
    • Prior to the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to legalize sports betting, the New Jersey argument that NJ sports betting was safe had a flaw. The state claimed legal sports betting does not pose an integrity threat to sports teams, yet chose to exempt NJ colleges and universities from the games being offered to bettors by bookmakers.

Pennsylvania:

  • Play USA, 6.7.19 – What’s Good & Bad About PA’s New Online Gambling Self-Exclusion Program
    • It wasn’t too long ago that responsible gaming was an afterthought in gambling legislation. Fortunately, times are changing. Responsible gaming policies are now accepted as a cornerstone of good gambling legislation. Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of work to be done. One example of both the good and the bad is the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s (PGCB) new online gambling self-exclusion program.
  • PA Online Casino, 6.7.19 – Pennsylvania Cashing In On Economic And Social Contributions Of Casinos
    • Winners aren’t just limited to inside the confines of a casino. Pennsylvania is experiencing a jackpot of jobs and an economic windfall as a result of the casino gaming industry.
  • Online Poker Report, 6.10.19 – SugarHouse Sportsbook Launch Is A Sweet Treat For Pennsylvania Bettors
    • Evidence of the omnibus gambling expansion Pennsylvania lawmakers approved in 2017 is showing up all across the Commonwealth. A new PA online lottery was one of the first signs last year and has since expanded to include keno and virtual sports at bars and restaurants. You’ll find video gaming machines at truck stops, too, and tablet-based gambling is coming to airport terminals soon.
  • Play PA, 6.6.19 – PA Lottery And State Police Teaming Up With Senator To Combat Illegal Games Of Skill
    • Pennsylvania is ready to fight back against skill-based games in the state. On Monday, Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, along with the Pennsylvania Lottery, the Pennsylvania State Police and senior groups, announced proposed legislation to combat these games.

West Virginia:

  • AP, 6.7.19 – West Virginia Sports Betting App Delayed
    • West Virginia lottery officials say the launch of a sports betting app has been delayed to ensure compliance with a federal law that deals with interstate gambling. Lottery Director John Myers says Wednesday that the Draft Kings sports wagering app has been put on hold.

Illinois:

Connecticut:

Louisiana:

  • Legal Sports Report, 6.7.19 – It’s Bye Bye Bayou As Louisiana Sports Betting Bill Falls Short
    • The people of Louisiana will not have the opportunity to approve legal sports betting in their state this year. After straddling the fence for a few days, lawmakers failed to pass a Louisiana sports betting bill on the final day of the session. Even worse, failure to approve for the daily fantasy sports tax mechanism seems to leave that industry in limbo too.
  • AP, 6.7.19 – Louisiana Fantasy Sports Betting Rules Fail To Win Passage
    • Louisiana voters agreed to legalize fantasy sports betting in three-quarters of the state’s parishes months ago, but they won’t actually get to compete for online cash prizes anytime soon.
  • KSLA, 6.7.19 – State Lawmakers Reject Fantasy Sports Betting
    • The Louisiana legislative session comes to close with lawmakers agreeing on a state budget. That takes a costly special session off the state. However, it left several bills on the table — like fantasy sports betting.

Oregon:

Federal News:

  • Play NJ, 6.6.19 – The Wire Act Court Case Is A Win For NJ Online Gambling, But How Big Of A Win?
    • When the Department of Justice issued a new Wire Act opinion in January, legal online gambling in the US suddenly found itself in dire straits. Initial takes on the new opinions impact ran the gamut. Some speculated it was meaningless. Others believed it could bring about the end of all legal online gambling in the US, and possibly even retail lotteries.

Sports League News:

  • AP, 6.8.19 – NBA, MLB Using Data To Try To Get A Cut Of Sports Betting
    • For NBA and MLB executives, a cut of sports betting revenue is pretty much a no-brainer. The wagers wouldn’t even exist, they argue, without their teams playing the games, so they should be paid and sportsbooks should be required to use their data to determine the outcomes of bets.

iDEA Growth Member News:

  • The Wall Street Journal (full article text below), 6.10.19 – ESPN And Fox Ante Up For Sports-Betting Jackpot (iDEA Growth member Chris Grove quoted)
    • ESPN is covering the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors from every conceivable angle. In addition to the heroics of Warriors superstar Stephen Curry and the antics of rapper and Raptors superfan Drake, the network is devoting a significant amount of airtime to bettors with such details as points individual players scored and whether the favored team won by enough to beat the spread.
  • Gambling News, 6.8.19 – SBTech and Oregon Lottery Sign to Launch Mobile Spots Betting
    • iLottery supplier SBTech has signed a multi-year contract with the Oregon State Lottery. As a result, SBTech will be powering the retail and mobile sportsbook offering in the Beaver State. The moves comes just a few months ahead of the National Football League (NFL) season in September, which is tied to heighten betting activity and better windfall for business.

Overall Industry News:

  • Online Poker Report, 6.7.19 – The Online Gambling Industry Better Act Fast To Address Its Apple Problem
    • We encounter so many terms and conditions and fine print that most people don’t even bother reading them. You’re going to want to pay attention to what Apple added to its App Store terms of service, though. The company rolled out updated rules on Monday, including this new protocol that has a massive impact on legal online gambling.
  • The Baltimore Sun, 6.8.19 – Sinclair Sees A Future In Growth Of Sports Betting
    • Sinclair Broadcast Group aims to eventually be the nation’s biggest media company and expects a significant boost from legalized sports betting as it spreads across the United States, the company’s CEO told shareholders Thursday.
  • SportTechie, 6.7.19 – Clippers’ CourtVision Could Soon Power Sports Betting Broadcasts
    • One season into using their new broadcast platform CourtVision, the Los Angeles Clippers are already imagining how they might soon evolve the platform to feed odds and opportunities to sports bettors.

ESPN and Fox Ante Up for Sports-Betting Jackpot

The Wall Street Journal, 6.10.19

ESPN is covering the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors from every conceivable angle.

In addition to the heroics of Warriors superstar Stephen Curry and the antics of rapper and Raptors superfan Drake, the network is devoting a significant amount of airtime to bettors with such details as points individual players scored and whether the favored team won by enough to beat the spread.

This spring the Walt Disney Co. unit started airing “Daily Wager,” a one-hour show aimed at sports gamblers, on its ESPNews channel. “We approach this like ‘SportsCenter’ with betting,” host Doug Kezirian said.

Sports gambling is only legal in a handful of states yet many of the major sports broadcasters are grabbing a piece of the action.

Turner Sports, part of AT&T Inc.’s WarnerMedia, earlier this year struck a partnership with Caesars Entertainment Corp.  to produce sports-betting content, including video segments shot from a newly built studio inside Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. For its part, Fox Corp. debuted a show for sports bettors last year and is working on launching its own betting app.

The broadcasters are trying to capitalize on a Supreme Court ruling in 2018 that elements of a law banning sports betting in most states were unconstitutional. Sports gambling is now active to varying degrees in eight states, and bills to legalize the practice have been passed in several others.

Odds of Expansion

There are only seven states that haven’t introduced legislation to legalize sports betting.

If sports betting was legal nationally, it would generate more than $17 billion annually, with media companies making between $3 billion and $5 billion in additional revenue, according to Chris Grove, the managing director for sports and emerging verticals at research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.

Besides selling ads in programming, media companies see promise in cutting brand-licensing deals with casinos and generating revenue by referring potential bettors to sports books. Some of the ads on ESPN’s “Daily Wager” are bought by Caesars, which is often mentioned on the air as the show’s official oddsmaker.

Taking bets and paying wagers are off the table for ESPN, according to Justin Connolly, executive vice president of affiliate sales and marketing at Disney and ESPN Media Networks.

“We are not interested in doing something in exchange for short-term revenue opportunities if it’s not right for the brand or the sports fan,” Mr. Connolly said.

ESPN parent Disney acquired a small stake in fantasy-sports operator DraftKings through its purchase of 21st Century Fox’s major entertainment assets, though a person familiar with the matter said ESPN isn’t involved with DraftKings’ daily operations.

DraftKings and FanDuel, both of which started out as fantasy-sports platforms, have emerged as two of the most popular mobile sports-betting services in the U.S. Both use geofencing, meaning they only accept bets where online sports-betting is legal.

Fox Corp. is looking to compete with apps including FanDuel and DraftKings directly by launching Fox Bet, which is expected to go live this fall and will be powered by Stars Group, an online sports-betting company in which Fox agreed to buy a 4.99% stake for $236 million last month. Fox’s FS1 channel caters to sports bettors with “Lock It In,” a daily, hourlong show.

Executives at Fox believe that helping sports fans place wagers will give the company access to a valuable revenue stream, according to a person familiar with the matter. Fox avoided exceeding 5% ownership of Stars Group, which could have required the company to acquire gambling licenses in some states. Fox has common ownership with News Corp, parent of The Wall Street Journal.

At WarnerMedia, the sports site Bleacher Report has become the AT&T unit’s primary outlet for sports-betting information. WarnerMedia’s Turner Sports has included segments from the Bleacher Report studio in its postgame coverage on “Inside the NBA.”

Caesars is buying ads from Bleacher Report and ESPN and is paying to sponsor content across ESPN, Bleacher Report and programming on Turner networks including TNT. The casino operator is using the deals with ESPN and Turner to increase revenue, reinforce the company’s brand and create an additional attraction for guests, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Sinclair Broadcast Group has said it is positioned to capitalize on legalized sports betting after the company agreed to acquire regional sports networks from Fox for $10.6 billion.

Media companies were producing content aimed at sports bettors well before the Supreme Court’s decision, including CBSSports.com and Yahoo, which is owned by Verizon Communications Inc. But there is new momentum.

“The floodgates are starting to open, not only for more gambling-focused content, but entirely new data products that appeal to people trying to gain an edge,” said Jim Lanzone, chief executive officer of CBS Interactive.

Mr. Grove of Eilers & Krejcik Gaming said growth of the sports-betting business is being hindered by states’ piecemeal and often inconsistent legislation, which is difficult for national players to navigate.

“It’s one of the hardest advertising markets I’ve seen in the 20 years I’ve been in the business,” said Patrick Keane, CEO of sports-betting analytics provider Action Network.

For the NBA Finals, Mr. Kezirian of “Daily Wager” has kept things light, comparing studio analysts to determine whose betting record is best, occasionally ribbing his guests for blowing predictions and critiquing their sense of style.

There is news, too. Halfway through a show last week, Mr. Kezirian reported that Illinois passed a bill that would regulate sports betting.

“I guess the times are changing, my friend,” he said.