Industry News of the Day for May 20, 2019

Industry News of the Day for May 20, 2019

Industry News:

  • Sports Handle, 5.17.19 – Get A Grip: The Week In Sports Betting: Hope For CT Sports Betting, NH Making Moves, More
    • Maybe legal sports betting isn’t a dead issue in Connecticut for this year after all. A week after Governor Ned Lamont said “I don’t think we’re going to see it happen this session,” while standing beside Mashantucket Pequot Council Chairman Rodney Butler at a tourism conference, Butler said he hasn’t given up hope while at the ICE North America Conference in Boston this week.

Ohio:

  • Gongwer, 5.16.19 – Bill Sponsors Say Ohio In ‘Good Place’ To Legalize Sports Betting (full article text below)
    • Two lawmakers outlined their plan to legalize sports wagering on Thursday, cautioning House colleagues that they should expect plenty changes to their proposal in the coming weeks. Rep. Dave Greenspan and Rep. Brigid Kelly are already working off the 10th draft of their bill (HB 194) to permit wagering on professional, amateur and collegiate sports in casinos and racinos as well as at fraternal and veterans’ organizations that meet certain requirements.
  • Hannah Capital Connection, 5.16.19 – House Sports Gambling Bill Includes Annual $100K License Fee For Casinos, Racinos (full article text below)
    • Casinos and racinos offering sports betting under HB194 (Greenspan-Kelly) would be required to pay an application fee of $100,000, as well as an annual renewal fee of $100,000 or 1 percent of the sportsbook’s “handle” over the previous one-year period, whichever is less.
  • The Columbus Dispatch, 5.20.19 – Column: Sales By Lottery Retailers Would Boost Funding For Education
    • As Ohio debates the best path to enter the legal sports betting arena, it is imperative that we do it right the first time. That means crafting a system that maximizes money for the state and enhances the business climate.
  • The Columbus Dispatch, 5.20.19 – Column: Gambling Establishments Have Monitoring, Control Features
    • If the General Assembly decides to legalize sports wagering in Ohio, I am sure the best way to do it is through Senate Bill 111, which legalizes, regulates and taxes sports wagering under the administrative authority of the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

Pennsylvania:

  • Online Poker Report, 5.20.19 – Mohegan Sun Pocono Racing Toward Pennsylvania Online Gambling
    • The addition of online gambling and sports betting presents Pennsylvania casinos with a golden opportunity to climb the leaderboard in the market. But which are best-positioned to take advantage of the chance? In this new series, we’ll explore the prospects for the PA online gambling industry and what to expect from each of its participants.

Louisiana:

  • WWL, 5.18.19 – Bill Restricting Fantasy Sports Betting In Louisiana Heads To House Floor
    • A bill regulating online fantasy sports betting has been amended to restrict the activity solely to over-21 card checking establishments like video poker stops, bars, or casinos. A video poker lobbyist had pushed for the amendment, saying legalization of the activity without restrictions would provide no benefits to Louisiana businesses.

Washington:

Michigan:

Iowa:

  • The Gazette, 5.18.19 – Commission Works To Set Rules On Iowa Sports Betting
    • Now that Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed Senate File 617 into law legalizing wagering on professional, college, international and fantasy sports, it falls to the state Racing and Gaming Commission to set the rules regulating the activities.

New York:

  • Spectrum News, 5.17.19 – Is Mobile Sports Betting Coming To New York Soon?
    • State lawmakers say progress was made this week on a bill that could clear to way for placing bets on sporting events from your mobile phone or tablet. But more work needs to be done. “This is a cement that is nearly not yet hardened, and it’s not yet molded, and hopefully we can mold it to be more inclusionary,” said Joe Addabbo (D — Queens).

iDEA Growth Member News:

Overall Industry News:

  • Legal Sports Report, 5.17.19 – View: A Commitment To Responsible Advertising Of Sports Betting
    • Last spring, the US Supreme Court ruled to allow states the chance to protect consumers through safe, legal sports betting markets. The argument was clear – the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was a resounding failure, sparking explosive growth in the illegal market.
  • Sports Handle, 5.17.19 – Tempers Flare At Panel On Official Sports Betting Data Requirements
    • Industry observers who have attended a sports betting conference over the last year have come to expect that one subject will spark a fiery debate regardless of the participants involved. At this week’s ICE North America global gaming conference in Boston, a thoughtful panel discussion quickly became heated when participants disagreed on the pricing conditions that dictate official data requirements in the legal U.S. market.

 

Bill Sponsors Say Ohio In ‘Good Place’ To Legalize Sports Betting

By Gongwer

Two lawmakers outlined their plan to legalize sports wagering on Thursday, cautioning House colleagues that they should expect plenty changes to their proposal in the coming weeks.

Rep. Dave Greenspan and Rep. Brigid Kelly are already working off the 10th draft of their bill (HB 194) to permit wagering on professional, amateur and collegiate sports in casinos and racinos as well as at fraternal and veterans’ organizations that meet certain requirements.

Sponsors highlighted potential changes in interviews earlier in the week. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, May 14, 2019) They foreshadowed other forthcoming modifications during sponsor testimony before the House Finance Committee Thursday.

About 10 states have enacted sports gaming laws in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision one year ago that paved the way for legalized sports gambling, Rep. Greenspan (R-Westlake) said. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, May 14, 2018)

“We’re toward the front end,” he said. “I would say we’re in a position that’s a good place to be because we’re learning from the trials and tribulations of other states.”

The measure would charge the Ohio Lottery Commission with oversight while the Casino Control Commission is tasked with regulating and investigating those wagering at the OLC’s direction. It would be up to Lottery officials to determine whether online and mobile betting comply with federal law. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, April 17, 2019)

Each casino and racino would pay a $100,000 non-refundable fee and in most cases an annual $100,000 renewal fee, while fraternal and veterans’ organization will see fees of $1,000, sponsors said. A 10% tax will be imposed to mostly fund the Lottery Profits Education Fund, with 2% of those taxes dedicated to the Problem Gaming and Addiction Fund. (Sponsor Presentation)

The proposal would expand the OLC’s membership from nine to 11 members, requiring no fewer than three of them to have knowledge in sports gaming. It would also create a Sports Gaming Advisory Board to develop recommendations on the topic. The board would consist of seven members appointed by the governor – no more than four or which can be from the same party – and two members of each party appointed by the House speaker and Senate president.

Rep. Kelly (D-Cincinnati) said an idea being considered for a forthcoming sub bill would downsize the board to five members, requiring no more than three from the same party.

Other potential changes include language allowing more flexibility for the commission to authorize new and emerging games and to provide sports leagues with an appeal process to protest events or sports they wish to be considered ineligible.

In that latter case, Rep. Greenspan said, the NCAA frowns in particular on in-play betting and that minor league baseball leagues are considered more developmental then competitive and therefore may not lend themselves as well to wagering.

Sponsors also said they anticipate language being added to clarify the nature of the 10% tax to be placed on wagers.

Rep. Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) questioned how the legislation would tackle disagreements over in-play betting. He voiced concern about whether two people could make the same wager at two different places resulting in one winning and one losing.

“That’s the type of integrity I think we also have to worry about,” Rep. Edwards said.

Sponsors agreed, with Rep. Kelly saying, “We’re trying to be really thoughtful.”

Rep. Greenspan said it’s a difficult issue and that they don’t want to require books to coordinate with specific leagues because there is a cost to that information and “then those who hold the data set the price.”

Responding to Rep. Jim Hoops (R-Napoleon), Rep. Greenspan said the pair has had several meetings with sports leagues and Ohio-based professional teams.

“We’re working very closely with them…to see what we can do on some of these integrity issues,” Rep. Greenspan said.

The director of the Casino Control Commission previously told lawmakers the panel is not picking sides between HB194 and a separate Senate plan (SB 111).

 

House Sports Gambling Bill Includes Annual $100K License Fee for Casinos, Racinos

By Hannah Capital Connection

Casinos and racinos offering sports betting under HB194 (Greenspan-Kelly) would be required to pay an application fee of $100,000, as well as an annual renewal fee of $100,000 or 1 percent of the sportsbook’s “handle” over the previous one-year period, whichever is less.

During sponsor testimony before the House Finance Committee on Thursday, Rep. Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) said the proposed fees are similar to those required in West Virginia.

The “handle” is the total amount of money wagered by bettors at a sportsbook over a given period, while “revenue” is the amount of money a sportsbook retains after paying out winners.

HB194’s fees would likely be higher than those proposed under SB111 (Eklund-O’Brien). While the Senate’s sports gambling legalization bill also charges an initial $100,000 for a license, it only requires a $100,000 payment every five years thereafter to continue offering sports gambling.

Greenspan also said casinos and racinos would be required to agree to a minimum capital investment as approved by the Ohio Lottery Commission (OLC). Additionally, casinos and racinos would make an agreement with OLC to hire a certain number of full-time employees in the sports gambling business.

“We want to make sure there’s an investment in Ohio. We know that these facilities are going to need to build out within their current structure a facility to be a sportsbook. If you’ve ever been to Las Vegas or seen Ocean’s Eleven, you’ll know what a sportsbook looks like,” Greenspan said. “We left the language vague, though, and just said a ‘minimum investment’ because every facility is going to have different requirements. The flexibility is there for the OLC to determine what an appropriate amount for JACK in Cleveland is, versus Hollywood, versus a racino. That flexibility is there, but we want to make sure there is a capital investment in our state.”

He said the requirement to hire a certain number of Ohioans in this industry is also important.

“Once again, the discretion is at the OLC to negotiate that with the casinos and racinos as to what that appropriate number shall be. We left that number open for discussion,” Greenspan said.

He said the fees are much lower for fraternal and veteran organizations wishing to offer sports wagering at their facilities.

“They pay a $1,000 application fee and a $1,000 renewal fee,” Greenspan said, noting they would also have to hold a class D liquor license and that only organization members would be allowed to use the sports gambling terminals at those facilities. Greenspan has said there are currently 1,275 fraternal and veteran organizations that would qualify. (See The Hannah Report, 5/8/19.)

“We will have more brick-and-mortar options for our residents that wish to engage in sports wagering than any other state in the country,” Greenspan said.

Answering questions from the committee, Greenspan told Rep. Jim Hoops (R-Napoleon) that gambling on high school sports would remain prohibited under the bill, although he is aware that such wagering currently takes place on the black market. Greenspan told Rep. Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) that wagering would be allowed on professional, collegiate, and amateur sports, which includes the Olympics.

Rep. Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) said he’s worried about disputes arising from in-game betting, during which gamblers bet on what will happen during the next play during a football game, for example.

“One facility may say you won this bet and the other facility may say you lost, and it’s the same exact bet. That’s the kind of integrity we also have to worry about,” Edwards said.

Greenspan said that question has to do with data currently monitored by the sports leagues.

“They provide that data and make it available right now,” Greenspan said. “There are disputes that come up when in a football game — is it a pitch or a forward pass? That can change the outcome. One book may refer to it as a forward pass, and the other is a pitch, or a lateral. So you run into issues. We know the leagues compile this data and serve as the official depository. Tennessee is the only state that I’m aware of that is requiring that their sportsbooks coordinate with the leagues to come up with a definitive answer on a situation like that. Our bill doesn’t contemplate that, and no other states does either, including Nevada.”

Greenspan said he’s spoken with sportsbooks and the leagues about that issue, and will continue to hold discussions. Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati), the bill’s co-sponsor, said about 70 percent of the sports gambling in Europe is categorized as in-game betting, noting integrity in that area is very important to her.

Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) asked if the veteran and fraternal organizations could be targeted for theft, as they won’t have the same level of security as the casinos and racinos. Kelly said those organizations will not have large amounts of cash on-hand, so if a participant wins a large bet at one of these facilities they will have to collect it from the OLC.

Rep. Steve Hambley (R-Medina) asked about legislation being considered by the General Assembly that would require agencies to cut their number of regulations, referring to SB1 (McColley-Roegner). He asked if OLC should be exempted from that requirement, noting the agency will need to adopt a large number of new rules to stand up this new program. Greenspan said there would be an appeals process OLC could go through anyway, but said he would consider an amendment from Hambley exempting OLC if he wants to submit it.