Skip to content

Industry News of the Day for May 15, 2019

Industry News of the Day for May 15, 2019

iDEA Growth in the News:

  • ESPN, 5.14.19 – Why A New Hampshire Legal Case Is Vital To U.S. Sports Betting Growth (iDEA Growth founder J. Ifrah interviewed for article)
    • New Hampshire — not New Jersey — is the new epicenter for legal drama that could shape the expansion of sports betting and fantasy one year after the Supreme Court paved the way for state-by-state legalization. Earlier this year, the New Hampshire Lottery sued the U.S. Department of Justice after a governmental shift in policy involving a federal law known as the Wire Act of 1961.
  • Gongwer (full text below), 5.14.19 – Amendments Eyed For House’s Sports Gambling Bill (iDEA Growth founder J. Ifrah interviewed for article)
    • A measure to legalize sports gambling in Ohio is teed up for its first hearing Thursday. The House Finance Committee will hear sponsor testimony on the measure (HB 194) and likely adopt a substitute version to clarify that it allows for mobile betting on personal devices such as phones, according to Rep. Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake).

Industry News:

New Jersey:

iDEA Growth Member News:

Overall Industry News:

  • Sports Handle, 5.14.19 – Caesars, ESPN Jump Into Sports Betting Content Bed Together
    • Caesars and the Disney-owned ESPN on Tuesday announced a new partnership for sports gambling. The deal calls for a content arrangement, including building a new ESPN-branded studio at Caesars’ LINQ Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The studio is expected to be completed sometime in 2020. Caesars will provide odds to ESPN’s sports betting-related content, including the recently created show Daily Wager.

 

Amendments Eyed For House’s Sports Gambling Bill

A measure to legalize sports gambling in Ohio is teed up for its first hearing Thursday.

The House Finance Committee will hear sponsor testimony on the measure (HB 194) and likely adopt a substitute version to clarify that it allows for mobile betting on personal devices such as phones, according to Rep. Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake).

“Now is the right time for us to have sponsor testimony and start the process,” the bill’s sponsor said in an interview.

The delay on holding hearings on the bill was due to the House’s attention being focused on the transportation budget (HB 62) and the two-year operating budget (HB 166).

Rep. Greenspan said there was no thought of folding the measure into the operating budget, saying it is a “heavy lift.”

“This is too big of an issue,” he said.

Sen. Sean O’Brien (D-Bazetta), co-sponsor of the Senate version (SB 111), expects the upper chamber’s bill to receive hearings soon. However, he also does not anticipate it being folded into the budget.

“I think it’s going to have to go through the committee process,” he said in an interview.

The House hearing comes on the heels of lawmakers meeting with an online gaming trade group last week that pushed for the House and Senate version to include a provision allowing for mobile gaming.

Both measures would allow sports betting in the state’s casinos and racinos, while the Senate version (SB 111) would also permit wagers to be placed on digital and mobile platforms.

The current House version (HB 194) would leave it to the Ohio Lottery Commission to determine whether online and mobile betting complies with federal law. The Senate bill would assign sports gambling oversight duties to the Casino Control Commission.

“What we really want to see is a reconciliation between these Senate and House bills as it applies to mobile gaming,” Jeff Ifrah, founder of iDEA Growth, said in an interview.

In other states that have been hesitant to enact online gaming, Mr. Ifrah said the concerns typically center around federal law.

“Sometimes the communicated concerns are not the real concerns,” he said. “But the communicated one has to do with confusion around the Department of Justice’s view of the Wire Act and how that might impact online gaming. It doesn’t really make sense as a concern.”

Five states, Mr. Ifrah added, currently operate mobile gaming in some form. “Obviously, they’re not doing that illegally,” he said.

Mr. Ifrah said the concerns often come from casinos.

“Most of the time the real concern – even though it’s not necessarily a spoken one – is cannibalization. Sometimes the casinos are just worried that they’ll lose foot traffic if certain things become available online,” he said.

In the states where mobile gaming has been implemented, the fears have turned out to be unfounded, according to Mr. Ifrah.

“Their experience in the past six years has actually been that people that stay at home and play games on the computer are not the same people that come into their casinos, anyway,” he said. “So, it actually turned out to be a win-win.”

The states that do utilize online gaming each have unique aspects. For instance, Nevada requires users to register in a casino before taking part.

However, Mr. Ifrah said the more hoops one is required to jump through to take part means less share taken away from illegal online gaming.

“The main thing to remember is people can use their phone to bet right now,” he said.