It’s information overload everywhere, and there’s not time enough to sleep and eat and stay fully apprised of what’s happening on this crazy blue dot of ours (two out of three ain’t bad). Here’s the weekend Sports Handle item, “Get a Grip,” recapping the week’s top U.S. sports betting headlines, highlighting some fresh news, and rounding up key stories.
Top stories around our network this week
The preference at Sports Handle is to write about progress being made on the legalization of sports betting, and we scrupulously cover the drafting, debating, and decision-making that takes place in that regard in statehouses across the country. But it also becomes clear sometimes that for all their deliberating, lawmakers in some states just don’t want to take a step forward, so we cover that in detail as well.
Such was the case recently in Georgia, and it certainly seems it will be the case in Texas, though that big state’s legislature is giving more discussion to the gambling expansion topic than ever before. In both states, conservative legislative majorities that hold sway have been resistant to legalized sports betting, as well as other forms of gambling, and religious groups have vocally lobbied against such measures. The states have their own particular hurdles as well, such as the question in Georgia of whether a constitutional amendment is necessary and in Texas of how to address the interests of Indian tribes.
In Missouri, meanwhile, some very serious legislative discussions remain alive about legalizing sports betting this spring. The key holdup, as in past years, has been the position of state Sen. Denny Hoskins that video lottery terminals should be legalized along with sports betting. The Missouri Senate this week rejected a separate VLT amendment, and it’s unclear if that will clear the way for sports betting on its own to be authorized.
Rest assured that Sports Handle and its network of staff and sites will keep closely monitoring the sports betting discussions in all three states, as well as in others along the way, in addition to covering other gambling-related issues list these of the past week:
A fool and his money soon part
Stop these sore losers before it’s too late
Happy first birthday, Ontario
Profs at MSU miffed about Caesars deal
Teach your children well about gambling
Bet365 stands out from crowd in Virginia
Sports bettors could pony up at NY tracks
Skill games make for blurry picture
Lots to consider about future NYC casino
Football bettors are winners in Colorado
Low-scoring tournament still had its thrills
Baseball scoring heads in opposite direction
Could wagering in Kentucky start by fall?
A week after Kentucky lawmakers became the first in 2023 to legalize sports betting, one state senator told TV station WKRC that he’s hopeful wagering will start around football season less than five months away — and less than three months after the effective date of the new law in late June.
“I have spoken with Jonathan Rabinowitz, the chairman of the racing commission, and his hope is to move faster … and potentially have brick and mortar sports betting available by football season in the fall,” Sen. Damon Thayer told the TV station this week.
Such a timeline would be aggressive. Regulators in most states need six to 12 months to develop rules and license operators, though a few have been ready in four months or less. The law gives the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission six months from the effective date to launch wagering. Statewide mobile wagering and in-person betting at nine horse racetracks will be allowed.
— Jill R. Dorson
Rockies, bet365 announce partnership
Major League Baseball‘s Colorado Rockies announced a three-year partnership with bet365, a leading global sportsbook that has been taking wagers in the Centennial State since September as part of an aggressive push recently into the U.S.
In Denver, Coors Field will feature permanent bet365 signage in the outfield and along the first base line, as well as rotational signage behind home plate. Meanwhile, Colorado customers who sign up for a bet365 account will receive $365 in bet credits after depositing $10 and placing a bet of at least $1.
— Mike Seely
No Boston Marathon betting allowed
Commissioners were clearly uncomfortable with the request for wagering on the 10-year anniversary of the marathon bombings, and Commissioner Eileen O’Brien said she was “disappointed” that a company based locally would ask for the marathon to be added to the bet menu this year.
The Boston Athletic Association had submitted a letter saying that it did not feel it could protect the integrity of the event were wagering to be added on such short notice, and that DraftKings did not contact it before making the request. The Boston Marathon is set for Patriots Day on April 17.
— Jill R. Dorson
Puig’s legal team awaits ruling
A federal judge in Yasiel Puig’s gambling-related trial tabled a key defense motion Wednesday that would compel prosecutors to release a bevy of information to Puig’s defense team that could support the former baseball star’s claim of selective prosecution.
Last month, attorneys for the former MLB outfielder filed a motion to compel discovery of certain prosecutorial information, arguing that individuals of a “different race and cultural background” were not prosecuted on similar charges. Puig previously reached an agreement with federal prosecutors to plead guilty to one count of making false statements to law enforcement officials, but he abruptly withdrew the plea before a hearing.
Puig allegedly made false statements while meeting with federal investigators about his wagering activity with an illegal sports betting ring. Over a three-month period through September 2019, Puig allegedly placed nearly 900 wagers with the illegal operation.
— Matt Rybaltowski
Tweet of the week
Betting on the masters with zero context on 99% of the players or sport. pic.twitter.com/7bV0j7nHnR
— Luke Tak (@TakByDesign) April 6, 2023
More of the most important, interesting stories
NEW TERRITORY FOR THE TAKING: Puerto Rico Gaming Commission grants 9 new sports betting licenses [News Is My Business]
THIS ISN’T WHAT YOU PROMISED: Sports betting in D.C. was supposed to fund gambling addiction treatment. That hasn’t happened [DCist]
PLENTY OF COLOR, WOMEN: AGA report: Gaming companies more diverse than other U.S. industries [CDC Gaming Reports]
SO THAT’S WHAT A SPORTSBOOK LOOKS LIKE: A first look at Milwaukee’s first sportsbook at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino [OnMilwaukee]
— Milwaukee show (@Milwaukeeshow) April 3, 2023
IGT EXTENDS ITS REACH: IGT PlaySports enters New Mexico with sports betting at Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel [CDC Gaming Reports]
NORTH DAKOTANS MAY DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES: Lawmakers divided on sports betting but may put it to voters next year [Williston Herald]
MARYLAND MULLS CRACKING DOWN: Lawmakers consider limiting Md. universities’ sports betting agreements [Capital News Service]
AT THE HALFWAY TURN IN SC: South Carolina: Horse gambling beats long odds, passes House [Associated Press]