Author Archives: Robert McCabe

UK-Based Smarkets Pushing for Expansion in US

Smarkets, a London sports betting startup, is hoping to start a major expansion into the United States after receiving a recent boost from a US investment firm. Smarkets was founded in London in 2008 and has operated primarily in the United Kingdom since then. The company offers a unique betting exchange but has most recently launched more traditional sportsbooks, which have become increasingly popular in the United States since the Supreme Court lifted the sports betting ban in 2018. Now Smarkets is looking to launch some of their latest products in the US, adding their name to the long list of sportsbooks in the country.

An Injection of New Funds

The foray into the US market has been inspired by a major investment from US-based Susquehanna Investment Group. SIG is a major global quantitative trading firm, and their Susquehanna Growth Equity investment fund is responsible for the latest investment in Smarkets. Scott Feldman, managing director at Susquehanna Growth Equity, shared that the investment was inspired by Smarkets’ focus on new technologies. The exact terms of the deal have not been revealed, but it marks the first time Smarkets has raised money outside of the company since 2013.

Smarkets has been profitable since 2014, and the latest investment shows their intent to increase their profitability in the coming years. It’s safe to assume that the terms of the latest investment are quite substantial, resulting in the company’s position to extend themselves beyond the UK for the first time. Jason Trost, Smarkets founder and CEO, cited the fact that the company owns their own technology as a huge advantage over potential competitors in the US.

A New Competitor

In the UK, Smarkets boasts more than 50,000 monthly active users. In the past year, the company handled more than $5.3 billion in bets on its platform. Their betting exchange allows users to wager against each other in a variety of markets, from sports like soccer and horse racing, to things as unique as politics and current affairs. Most recently, the company launched a more traditional mass market sportsbook, SBK.

The sports betting industry has been growing exponentially since the ban was lifted in 2018. Since sports betting became legal, more than half of the states have legalized some form of sports betting, attracting the attention of big names who are looking to generate millions in revenue. What’s more, the industry shows no sign of slowing down. Recently, professional sports teams and leagues have even begun making deals with major sports betting companies like FanDuel and DraftKings. Such a competitive industry may seem difficult to break into, but Smarkets have the advantage of owning the technology that their sportsbooks operate under, while other big-name competitors may not.

A Background in Finance, a Future Investment

Popular sportsbooks like DraftKings have made a serious effort to gain ownership over the technology that makes their applications tick. Overtime, DraftKings did successfully acquire its tech provider, SBTech, but Smarkets is unique in that they are responsible for both the sportsbooks they operate and the technology they operate with. While other sportsbooks may work to acquire the companies that offer this tech, much like DraftKings did, Trost has shared that his intention is to remain unique in the fact that Smarkets will not be striking any partnership deals with major sportsbook operators.

Trost previously worked as a stock trader before founding Smarkets in 2008 and believes that his background has given him the upper hand in identifying the similarities between the betting and financial markets. Evidence of this is apparent to anyone who has explored Smarkets sportsbooks, which offer a unique interface that more closely resembles a financial website or application rather than a traditional sportsbook. Trost believes that in 10 years the company’s expansion in the US will be part of a larger financial technology plan, that will be successful for many years to come.

Ohio Sports Betting Bill Introduced by Senate Republicans

On Thursday, Ohio senators proposed a sports betting bill that could bring a wave of sports betting options to Ohio residents in the near future. Ohio Senator Kirk Schuring introduced Senate Bill 176 during a press conference on Thursday afternoon, outlining the details of the bill which has taken months of planning and preparation. The Ohio Senate Select Committee on Gaming worked tirelessly to create what many state Senators believe is a comprehensive plan for rolling out sports betting in the Buckeye State. Supporters of the bill are now hopeful that legislation could be passed as early as this summer.

Details of the Bill

The proposed bill offers 40 three-year sports betting licenses; 20 of these licenses would be offered to applicants who have an existing brick-and-mortar gambling operation, such as the 11 casinos and racinos already operating in the state. These existing locations would be given permission to use their licenses to partner with popular online and mobile application sports betting companies like DraftKings or FanDuel. The proposed legislation would limit any given entity to five online licenses, to prevent them from gaining too much control over the industry within the state.

The remaining 20 licenses would be reserved for in-person sports betting operations. These licenses are called type B licenses and could be awarded to casinos, sports bars, and other locations. Professional sports teams in the state would also be allowed to apply for a license, giving them the opportunity to open live sportsbooks within their stadiums and professional venues. Other states have made similar decisions, opening the door for professional teams throughout the country to begin offering sports betting at live events.

The Senate’s proposal calls for the Ohio Casino Control Commission to regulate sports betting in the state. The Commission would also be responsible for imposing a 10% tax on all sports betting, directing the revenue toward both public and private schools, as well as gambling addiction services. The 40 available sports betting licenses come with a $1 million a-piece price tag, and the revenue generated from these would be directed to the same avenues as the tax revenue.

Pressure from Neighboring States

Since the Supreme Court lifted the ban on sports betting in 2018, more than half the states in the country have legalized or proposed sports betting legislation. In fact, every state neighboring Ohio, with the exception of Kentucky, has already legalized some form of sports betting. This has left many officials in the state of Ohio feeling as if they’re missing out on the action. Now that a proposal has materialized, it seems as though Ohio has taken inspiration from other states to help offer legal sports betting.

Schuring, who is responsible for crafting much of the Senate’s proposal, suggested that the bill is needed to prevent illegal sports betting from growing within the state. As more and more states legalize sports betting, states like Ohio become more susceptible to illegal gambling practices. Schuring feels that a well-structured proposal like his addresses these concerns and gives lawmakers the opportunity to take immediate action to help stop illegal practices, while also generating revenue for important programs in the state.

Time is of the Essence

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has already publicly shared that legal sports betting in the state is “inevitable.” DeWine has also acknowledged that Ohio does face a challenge when dealing with illegal sports gambling, meaning that sports betting legislation could be coming sooner rather than later. After reviewing Schuring’s proposal, House Speaker Bob Cupp shared that the goal is to make a decision about the bill before they recess on June 1st.

Before the decision is made, however, there are still a number of concerns that need to be addressed. Since the proposal was announced, 14 of the state’s public universities have asked lawmakers to exempt collegiate sports from gambling in the state. If officials are able to come to a consensus, sports betting could be available by Jan. 1st. There is the chance that the passing of sports betting legislation could face a legal challenge for violating the Ohio Constitution’s ban on gambling. However, given the support and the momentum the bill has gained, it seems that some form of sports betting will be arriving in Ohio in the very near future.

NFL Partners with Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings, and FanDuel

The National Football League has officially announced a new sportsbook partnership with Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings, and FanDuel. The partnership is both groundbreaking and unsurprising, as the NFL has previously taken a strong stance against sport betting but has recently adjusted their stance as many professional sports teams have come to embrace the budding industry. Now, as sports teams, stadiums, and professional leagues throughout the country strike lucrative sports betting deals, the NFL is looking to use a new deal to increase fan engagement and add to their existing revenue streams.

A New Perspective on an Age-Old Debate

Professional and collegiate sports leagues have been at odds with sports betting for decades. Many league officials, athletes and fans throughout the country have questioned whether or not gambling could damage the integrity of the games that they have grown to love. The NCAA, NBA, NHL, MLB, and the NFL even went as far to engage in a six-year battle with the state of New Jersey over sports betting legalization. The result of that debate was the decision in 2018 from the Supreme Court, which lifted the ban on sports betting, allowing states to begin planning their own legislation for legal sportsbooks.

Since the decision from the Supreme Court, professional sports leagues have skillfully repositioned themselves to not only accept legal sports betting but also embrace it. Throughout the country, professional sports teams are striking new deals with legal sports books; many electing to engage in lucrative partnerships that allow for sports betting at their very own venues. NFL chief revenue officer and executive vice president of NFL partnerships Renie Anderson announced this month that the NFL is looking forward to working closely with Caesars, DraftKings, and FanDuel to provide fans with a new way to engage with the sports that they love.

A New Consumer Experience

Details of the financials surrounding the new deal have not been made public, but sources have suggested that the new 5-year deal could be worth nearly $1 billion. That $1 billion gives Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings, and FanDuel the right to use NFL intellectual property and use its trademarks for betting promotions. This partnership is not only monumental in its price tag, but also the impact it could have on sports betting and the league itself.

The new deal between the popular sportsbooks and the NFL will bring a number of immediate changes to the upcoming NFL season. The betting companies will now have access to a content-sharing model with the league. Through this model, the betting sites will be able to use NFL highlights and Next Gen Stats data to help set betting lines and help push promotional content on their sites and betting apps. The NFL confirmed that Caesars will keep it league sponsorship, while DraftKings and FanDuel could get more brand exposure on league media properties like the NFL Network and NFL RedZone channels. Fans could even see point spreads integrated into coverage, with additional evidence of sports betting influence throughout each broadcast.

The New Partnership

Anderson cited that the new deal will not only prove to be lucrative, but it will also evolve and change to amplify consumer engagement. The league recently agreed to media rights for the upcoming season as well, partnering with NBCUniversal, Fox Sports, ESPN, CBS Sports and Amazon for an 11-year deal worth over $100 billion. The NFL ultimately hopes that the new sportsbook deal will provide the already football-obsessed fanbase with a new take on the game they love. Under the deal, the NFL has exit options at the end of the third and fourth years.

Sources close to the deal said that the revenue structure will not be tied to the outcome of bets on league games, and that the deal resembles a more traditional sponsorship partnership. The announcement has already had a big impact on DraftKings, whose stock rose 4% on Thursday. As the season approaches, the NFL may continue to use the deal to make changes to integrate sports betting into the fold of day-to-day life in the NFL, as fans continue to help the sports betting industry grow throughout the country.

Wyoming Lawmakers Move Forward with Sports Betting

A bill that could bring legal sports betting to the state of Wyoming is making its way through the House and Senate and many believe Wyoming residents to place wagers within the year. On Monday, Wyoming HB 133 passed in the Senate after receiving a 24-5-1 approval vote. The Cowboy State is typically known for its rural landscape, scenic views, and breathtaking national parks. Now Wyoming, like many other states in the country, is looking to capitalize on the budding sports betting industry.

A Bump in the Road

Wyoming’s sports betting bill has already faced a number of challenges, but it has made some significant progress after a relatively rocky start. Earlier this month, the House voted against the bill, leaving many doubtful about sports betting’s immediate future in the state. However, Rep. Landon Brown, a bill co-sponsor, called for a reconsideration vote and promised to answer any lingering questions that officials had about the proposal. Initial concerns about the bill were related to whether or not the state’s tribes would have the opportunity to voice their opinion about introducing a new form of gambling revenue into the fold. In a somewhat miraculous turnaround, the reconsideration vote passed by a count of 32-28, as representatives vowed to give tribes a voice in the new legislation.

After passing in the House, the bill progressed seemingly unopposed through the Senate Appropriations Committee and also the full Senate. A few minor amendments were made to address some concerns surrounding gaming license applicants, like those that were brought to the table regarding the state’s tribes contributing to the new legislation. Now that the bill has passed in the Senate, it will face two more votes before being forwarded to Gov. Mark Gordon. Many believe that in the coming months lawmakers will be able to iron out the rules and guidelines for legal sports betting, with residents placing wagers before the new year.

Details of the Bill

Wyoming’s sports betting bill is unique in that it exclusively offers online sports gambling. Under the bill, anyone over the age of 18 would be able to place wagers on their favorite sports teams. The Wyoming Gaming Commission will be responsible for regulating all online sports betting, which could launch as early as July 1. In a recent committee hearing, Wyoming Gaming Commission Director Charles Moore stated that a more realistic launch date would be September 1.

Bettors in the state could have access to a minimum of five sportsbook operators. In order to be considered for a license to operate in Wyoming, applicants must have active sportsbooks in at least three other states. To operate, sportsbooks must pay a $100,000 new permit fee, with a $50,000 renewal fee. All sports betting revenue would be taxed at a rate of 10%, and the revenue generated would go toward the state’s general fund and county health programs. Early estimates from the Gaming Commission suggest that the sports betting market in the state could bring in nearly $450 million annually.

Existing Gambling Laws

Those opposed to the bill argue that the introduction of sports betting could lead to significant gambling addiction in harm, while others believe the pros outweigh the cons. Sen. Jeff Wasserburger, R-Gillette was quoted in the Star Tribune suggesting that the introduction of a legal sports betting market could help mitigate issues surrounding the black market of sports betting. Others noted that the bill does more than enough to help address gambling addiction, by directing revenue toward gambling addiction programs.

As states throughout the country continue to roll out sports betting legislation, Wyoming residents may be turning elsewhere to place wagers on their favorite sporting events. Neighboring states, including Colorado and Montana, have already embraced sports betting, causing residents from Wyoming to cross state lines to place wagers. Many lawmakers in Wyoming view this as revenue waiting to be had and are looking to capitalize with this new bill.

Wyoming is already home to a number of legal gambling activities, including blackjack and poker rooms, as well as racetracks and pari-mutuel wagering. In the near future, Wyoming lawmakers hope to add online sports betting to that list.

Illinois Embracing Sports Betting with New In-Person Sportsbook

Over the past two years, the gambling landscape in Illinois has evolved to welcome a number of new wagering options for residents, including the introduction of online and in-person sports betting. The trend is a reflection of a national acceptance and embracing of sports wagering throughout the United States, as the industry continues to boom. A year after the first sports wager was placed in the state, Illinois is now opening a new sportsbook at Fairmount Park, just in time for the NCAA March Madness Tournament.

FanDuel at Fairmount Park

FanDuel, one of the most popular online sportsbooks in the budding industry, held an opening ceremony on Monday for its new sportsbook at Fairmount Park in Collinsville, Illinois. Over the past year, in-person sports wagering has fallen to the wayside due to sweeping health restrictions put in place to combat the pandemic. Now, as the country slowly begins to rebound and many people are getting vaccinated, restrictions are loosening, and businesses are beginning to reopen. Although Monday’s opening ceremony was not a traditional grand opening, it was a step in the right direction for the new sportsbook, which is officially accepting wagers.

Fairmount owner William Stiritz and Associates agreed to a partnership with FanDuel back in November. Under the agreement, the two pledged to expand the horse track and rebrand it as “FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing.” FanDuel agreed to a multimillion-dollar investment that includes the sportsbook, and a number of other upgrades that they have since made to the facility. Many improvements have already been made, and the horse track and sportsbook now span nearly 2,500-square-feet, with a 98-inch video screen, 24 65-inch video displays, five live betting windows and 22 self-service betting kiosks.

The ceremonial first bet was officially placed by Baseball Hall-of-Famer Ozzie Smith, who placed a $20 bet on the St. Louis Cardinals to win the 2021 World Series at +2200. If the bet hits, the total payout would be $460.

A Budding New Industry

The timing of the opening FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing could not have been better, and it’s a savvy move from an industry-leader like FanDuel. Jeff Lowich, FanDuel’s senior director of retail operations, referred to the opening as a way to “strike while the iron is hot,” referring to the March Madness tournament, which starts late this week. The tournament is one of the most lucrative opportunities for sports betting in the calendar year, and after last year’s tournament was canceled due to the pandemic, many people are eager to make up for lost time. According to the American Gaming Association, nearly 47 million Americans are expected to make wagers on the March Madness tournament, and Fairmount Park is going to be one of the many places they can place their wagers.

Three years ago, betting on the tournament would not have been possible. The legislation for sports betting in Illinois was official signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in June 2019, paving way for the first wagers to first be placed on March 9, 2020. The timing of the first wager seemed to bode well to the start of a new industry that could hit the ground running with March Madness starting. The COVID-19 Pandemic had other plans, however, and health restrictions limiting in-person betting led to another change in Illinois gaming laws, permitting bettors to create online sports betting accounts through an executive order signed by Pritzker. Now Illinois hopes that the 10 retail locations for sports betting can finally begin to open safely, so that residents can finally take advantage of the relatively new legislation.

Illinois has already had a record-breaking start to 2021 in terms of sports betting. In January, the state handled $581.5 million in wagers, generating $49.4 million in revenue. From that, the state was able to collect $7.2 million in taxes. Although sports betting is still in its infancy in the state of Illinois, many big contenders are already making a name for themselves. DraftKings, BetRivers, PointsBet, and Barstool Sportsbook have already gained a foothold and contributed to the big revenue numbers in 2021, and many believe that these numbers will continue to grow, as Illinois gaming expands throughout the year.

Multiple Sports Betting Bills Move Through Arizona House and Senate

Sports and gambling enthusiasts in Arizona have a reason to be hopeful, as two separate bills for sports betting legislation are now moving through both the House and Senate. Arizona is one of many states working to pass new sports betting legislation, as the United States continues to welcome what has become a booming industry, after the Supreme Court lifted the ban on sports betting in 2018. In Arizona, this legislation presents a unique challenge, as it needs to overcome a number of hurdles associated with the Arizona Tribal-State Gaming Compacts established in 2002. Despite these hurdles, many believe the opportunity to place wagers at Atlanta Braves’ Chase Field or at the Phoenix Suns’ Suns Arena could become a reality in the very near future.

The Tribal-State Gaming Compacts

Arizona has the most Native American land in the United States. This land makes up about 27% of the land in the state, a total of more than 20 million acres. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), a federal law, gives tribes in the state the opportunity to operate casinos on these lands. The law permits gambling on Indian reservations through compacts established between the tribes and the state. There are 16 tribes in the state, and they are responsible for operating 22 casinos. All gaming revenue is required to be used for tribal governmental and charitable ventures only. Now lawmakers are weighing options for introducing sports betting into the fold.

Gambling in the state of Arizona has been limited to tribal casinos, horse and dog racing, and the official state lottery. Gambling is regulated by the state and is illegal at locations that have not been designated by the state. The Arizona Tribal-State Gaming Compacts of 2002 established rules for tribes to operate casinos on tribal lands. At the time, sports betting was prohibited throughout the state, but much has changed since then.

Two Bills with a Common Goal

The two major bills that are moving through the House and Senate are HB 2772 and SB 1797. The bills both propose event wagering and online sports betting, with up to 10 tribes and 10 professional teams licensed to provide online betting platforms. Both of these bills would open the door for online sports betting options like FanDuel or Draft Kings, and they would give fans the opportunity to place wagers at major professional sporting events. There are currently eight professional sports teams in Arizona, including franchises in the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA.

The proposed legislation is similar to the many other plans that states across the country have rolled out, as the sports betting industry continues to grow. For example, the Washington Nationals recently announced their plans to open the first sportsbook in an MLB stadium. Many believe that these are the first steps toward a nationwide shift in the way Americans view sports betting, opening the door for many to follow the lead.

Challenges on the Path Ahead

There is still some speculation surrounding the number of licenses these bills could issue. The most confusing point of contention is that the bills allow for 10 licenses for professional teams, when there are only 8 professional teams in the state. On the other hand, the proposed legislation would only allow 10 licenses for the 16 tribes within the state. While both bills are progressing, through the House and Senate, they have faced their fair share of challenges and even more lie ahead.

HB 2772 was introduced by Rep. Jeff Weninger (R.) of LD 17 Chandler, Sun Lakes, and Gilbert. Weninger believes that this bill will do wonders to modernize gaming in the state and it will do so with the support of Gov. Doug Ducey. SB 1797 was already pulled and added as an amendment to a previous horse racing bill. After passing on a 5-4 party line vote, it moves to another vote on March 10. The current bill, which is now 1794, finds itself up against an old foe, in the form of the 2002 gaming compact between the tribes and the state. Many feel that the compact would have to be renegotiated in order for this bill to pass.

It is too early to tell whether or not either of these bills will be passed, but so far HB 2772 has gained the most traction. Once approved by the House, this bill would then go to the Senate for a vote. At the earliest, residents of Arizona could see sports betting in 2022. At this time, complications surrounding tribal gaming compacts seem to be the biggest threat to the passing of either bill. As it stands, the tribes pay roughly 8% of their casino revenue to the state. If the sports gambling bills pass, that number would decrease. The month of March will reveal whether or not either bill has the legs to move forward.

Louisiana Weighing Sports Betting Options

Like many states, Louisiana is pushing for sports betting legislation in the near future, but the when and how still leaves many questions unanswered. Sports betting hopefuls envision legal wagering for football, basketball, and many other sports within the calendar year. The Legislature is set to convene on April 12, and a sports betting bill could be introduced and passed as early as June 10. Sen. Ronnie Johns, a Republican from Lake Charles, is considered the go-to legislator for all gambling-related proposals. Johns believes that now is the perfect time for Louisiana to go all-in with sports betting.

Time is of the Essence

Legislators will certainly feel that time is an important factor in making a decision surrounding sports betting. Louisiana is already behind more than half of the country’s 50 states who have already legalized or proposed sports betting legislation. This number includes southern states like Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama. If a bill fails to materialize and pass before legislators leave Baton Rouge on June 10, Louisianans will have to wait two more years, as tax measures can only be considered in odd-numbered years.

Some legislators fear that if a bill isn’t passed, neighboring Texas could pass a gambling expansion that would legalize sports betting, drawing Louisianans across state lines to place their wagers. That fear, however, seems like a stretch considering Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick was recently quoted saying gambling expansion bills have been halted by feuds between special interest groups.

Existing Gambling Laws in the Bayou State

While Louisiana may be lagging behind competitors when it comes to sports betting, the state has offered a wide variety of gambling opportunities for its residents. The state is currently home to 13 riverboat casinos, which draw visitors from across the country. New Orleans is also home to a land-based casino, as well as four racinos that offer a wide variety of slots and table games.

The idea to add sports betting to the list of available gaming options became a reality when voters in 55 of the 64 parishes in the state voted in favor of the proposal. Operators of video poker devices at truck stops, bars, and restaurants are hopeful that they can cash in on the potential sports betting opportunities. Now legislators are set to work throughout the spring to set tax rates and create a concrete plan for sports betting.

Following in the Footsteps of Others

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board is now faced with a challenge that has an expiration date. Johns is already drafting a bill, but he admits that there are many moving parts to consider. Wade Duty, the executive director the Baton Rouge Louisiana Casino Association has also shared that he is actively working on a draft for new legislation. While the drafting process can prove to be a tall task, officials have the benefit of looking toward many of the other states throughout the country for models of success.

One of the most important decisions that legislators must consider is whether or not sports betting should be permitted online or restricted to in-person bets inside a casino. Online betting, of course, opens the door to mobile wagers placed on bettor’s cell phones. A number of states have already successfully rolled out mobile sports wagering through geo-fencing technology. Through this technology, bettors would be permitted to place a wager in one of the 55 parishes that voted in favor of sports betting. Bets would not be able to be placed the nine rural parishes that voted against sports betting. This is similar to the system in place in New Jersey. New Jersey and many other states have also used brick-and-mortar casinos to help successfully roll out their sports betting plans. Casino operators in a number of states are responsible for contracting sports betting mobile apps, making it easy to introduce a gaming expansion that is rooted in existed regulations and guidelines.

Other states, like Mississippi, have opted for a sports betting model that only permits in-person sports wagering. In Mississippi, bettors must visit one of the 26 brick-and-mortar casinos to place their wager. Louisiana could do the same, but they have significantly fewer casinos. One option would be to allow sports betting at bars and other places that secure a license. Given the number of in-person options are limited, and the current restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, an in-person model seems unlikely.

Tax Considerations

After ironing out the decisions surrounding mobile and in-person betting, legislators need to consider how sports betting will be taxed in the bayou state. As it stands, Louisiana is struggling to finance its operations, due to the ongoing effects of COIVD-19. Many believe that sports gambling could help provide additional revenue and jobs to help alleviate some of this pressure. Fantasy sports betting, which is already legal in the state, has already brought in an estimated $375,000 in taxes in its first year. Officials believe that sports betting could generate a significantly larger figure.

The tax rates for sports betting largely depends on whether or not Louisiana chooses to go with a mobile or in-person sports wagering model. Back in 2019, an effort to legalize sports betting set the tax rates at 20%, which many felt was much too high. Most casino-based games in the state are taxed at a rate of 21.5%. If the state chooses to model their sports betting similarly to states like New Jersey, they will have to make it profitable for casinos pairing with mobile sportsbooks. Johns believes that anything higher than a 10% tax rate would make it unfeasible for casinos to maintain interest.

Officials will have to weigh all of their options in the next few months in hopes of solidifying sports betting legislation before the June 10 deadline.

Washington Football Team Lands Sports Betting Deal with FanDuel

On Wednesday, January 20, the Virginia Lottery issued a sports betting permit to the Washington Football team, making them the first franchise in the National Football League to receive a sports betting license. Thanks to its partnership with FanDuel, the Washington Football Team was able to launch a mobile sportsbook in the Commonwealth on Thursday, just in time for bettors to get in on the AFC and NFC championship games on Sunday. As it stands, the sportsbook is launching exclusively online, as the possibility of future retail sportsbooks is still being discussed.

The Evolving Stance on Sports Betting

The past five years has brought an ever-evolving stance on sports betting throughout the United States. The Supreme Court’s 2018 decision to lift the ban on sports betting in the United States has led to a wave of sports betting legislation across the country. The most-recent example of this is Virginia’s first ever sportsbook is the first to ever partner with and NFL team. The partnership offers another dimension to the growing sports betting industry in the country, as the league, who once stood in opposition to the idea of sports betting, is now welcoming partnerships like FanDuel and the Washington Football Team.

The financial details of the partnership are not yet clear. Per the NFL’s policy, NFL franchises cannot directly participate or provide sports betting. That being said, in states where sports betting is legal, teams can partner with existing sportsbooks who have a license to operate. Sports betting in Virginia was made legal after Gov. Ralph Northam signed it into law in July 2020. Six months later, the first sportsbook has officially gone live, just weeks before Super Bowl LV.

The Virginia Lottery expects to launch additional sportsbooks before the big game, but for now residents will have to wait. Large sports betting companies such as MGM, Draft Kings, and Barstool Sports have all applied for licenses in the state, but none have been approved.

A Change of Scenery

The Washington Football Team plays at FedEx Field in Maryland; however, its team headquarters and practice facility are located in neighboring Virginia. As it stands, the team pays nearly $14 million in taxes each year, and is rumored to be considering locations for a new stadium. With the new partnership, Virginia could offer the perfect location for the next stadium.

Virginia’s interest in building the new stadium has been no secret. In fact, the sportsbook is a result of the state’s sports betting legislation, which give preferential treatment to the team so that FanDuel can be the first sportsbook in the state. For now, FanDuel will display signage at FedEx Field while displaying the Washington Football Team’s logo across their mobile sportsbook.

Potential for Similar Partnerships

While the Washington Football Team and FanDuel are the first sportsbook and franchise partnership in the NFL, they certainly won’t be the last. Illinois and the District of Columbia have already taken steps toward allowing other professional teams and stadiums to receive sports betting licenses. Capital One Arena, home of the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals, already has a retail sportsbook. Nationals Park is the next professional sports venue in Washington D.C. expected to add some type of sports betting. Elsewhere, the Chicago Cubs hope to add a sportsbook of their own.

Since the lift on the ban of sports betting in the United States, nearly every state has passed legislation or are at least considering legislation for regulated betting. Idaho, Utah, and Wisconsin are the only states that have not welcomed the idea of sports betting. Such a trend suggests that additional partnerships between professional sports franchises and big-name sports betting companies will become commonplace in the near future.

Michigan Unveils Sport Betting at Four Winds Casinos

On Monday, July 13, Michigan’s Four Winds Casinos officially launched their Four Winds Sportsbook. The three Michigan locations marked this momentous event with special guest Steve Mongo, Super Bowl Champion and ESPN personality, who appeared at Four Winds New Buffalo to place the ceremonial first bet at the new sportsbook. Mongo, a former defensive lineman for the Chicago Bears, put $20 on the Bears to win the Super Bowl this season. The bet marks the official launch of the Four Winds Sportsbook at the New Buffalo, Dowagiac, and Hartford locations. The new sportsbook gives resident access to sports betting for the first time, as professional sports begin to start again after a lengthy hiatus due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Details About the New Sportsbook

A month ago, the Four Winds Casinos reopened their doors after an unprecedented closure caused by fears surrounding the coronavirus. The casinos closed in mid-March when they were originally planning to launch their sportsbook alongside the NCAA March Madness Tournament. Now, as the casino reopens and sports are returning to play, guests can visit the sportsbook and begin placing wagers on popular sports, such as basketball, football, hockey, baseball, soccer, and much more. The launch of the new sportsbook comes at the perfect time, as many of the professional sports leagues throughout the United States are prepping for their return to play after the coronavirus pandemic brought all leagues and preseasons to a halt back in March.

The Four Winds casinos, which are owned and operated by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, have chosen to partner with Kambi to deliver their new product. Kambi is a well-known provider of sports betting services and is renowned for their excellence in providing software that offers odds compiling, as well as risk management. The company has partnered with other industry leaders, including DraftKings, Rush Street Gaming, and Penn National. The partnership between Four Winds and Kambi was approved by the Pokagon Gaming Commission and the Pokagon Gaming Authority. Tribal Council Chairman and CEO of the Pokagon Gaming Authority Matthew Wesaw expressed his excitement in adding the new sportsbook to the list of amenities at the existing Four Winds locations.

In order to place a wager at the Four Winds Sportsbook, bettors must scan a QR code on their phone. This QR code will give them access to another code that they can present at any of the three Four Winds locations in order to place a bet with their account. Guests can also place wagers at the 18 kiosks at the New Buffalo location or at the six kiosks at Dowagiac or Hartford locations. Frank Kennedy, Four Winds senior vice president of casino operations, praised the new sportsbook as an opportunity to tap into a new demographic of bettors.

Growth of Gambling in Michigan

Much of the gambling available in the state of Michigan is possible due to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Under this act, residents can enjoy Native American casinos on land that is owned by the tribes within the state. In addition to the Native American casinos throughout the state, residents have the ability to place wagers on horse racing at tracks and primutuels throughout the state. Although the Supreme Court lifted the national ban on sports betting in 2018, it wasn’t until recently that Michigan added legal sports betting to the mix of available gambling options.

In December, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill that legalized sports and online gambling. The bill allows for sports betting, but only on wagers that are placed in-person at licensed casinos. Residents who are interested in online or mobile sports betting will have to wait for the time being, but officials believe that those options could become available in the near future. There has also been speculation that the Four Winds casino located in South bend could add a sportsbook to their casino before the end of the year, but officials do not have an update on the status of that at this time. In the meantime, bettors will have to take advantage of the newest sportsbook at the three Four Winds casino locations.

Vegas Bookmakers Make Costly Sportsbook Error

Last Sunday marked one of the biggest sportsbook losses in Las Vegas history, all thanks to an error made by bookmakers. Nearly a quarter of a million dollars in winning wagers were placed at MGM Resorts on Sunday, and all of these bets were made after the sporting events had started. Bookmakers are calling this the largest loss in the history of Vegas sportsbooks, but the error that was made is more common than some may think. Now, some people are questioning whether there will be any repercussions for those who took advantage of the mistake.

The Error

When entering the odds for various sporting events, oddsmakers often enter the start times of manually; this was the case for a number of Korean and Chinese baseball games that were open for wagers on Sunday. The issue arose when the start times were entered incorrectly, giving bettors the opportunity to place wagers that were supposed to be available only before the game after the game had started.

The error presented bettors with the unique opportunity to take a look at the games in play and determine the outcome of the games based on the live scores and events taking place in each match. Although many sportsbooks typically offer live betting, they do so with odds that are adjusted to account for the events taking place within each match. This time, however, the odds remained static, due to the fact that the manual start time entry made it seem as though the games had not begun. Bettors were quick to spot the error and did everything they could to capitalize on the mistake.

Easy Money

Nearly 50 bets were placed in order to take advantage of this mistake, many of which were placed through the self-serve kiosks at the Bellagio resort between 1:30 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. The games in questions were baseball games from the KBO League and the Chinese Professional Baseball League. The games start times were 1 a.m. and 2 a.m., but the books had them listed much later, making it easy for bettors to hand-pick the bets that were most likely to hit.

In the game between KT Wiz Suwon and Hanwha Eagles, the over was set to 9.5 runs. When Suwon scored five runs in the first inning, many bettors realized that the over was likely to hit, and so they placed their wagers. Over 9.5 runs hit in the seventh inning, and the game ended 8-4 in favor of Suwon. The NC Dinos and the Doosan Bears were being shown on ESPN, with the under set a 9 runs for -110. The game was 0-0 until the 5th inning, and bettors again took advantage of the opportunity by taking the under.

Single bets were the least of bookmakers’ concerns. One $250 wager on a 10-leg parlay ended up paying out more than $137,100 to one lucky bettor. Another $100 eight-leg parlay won $11,156.60. These creative parlays are just a few examples of how bettors were able to cash out on one of the biggest bookmaking errors in the history of Las Vegas.

Winnings Hang in the Balance

Errors from manual entry occur quite frequently, but not with losses of this magnitude. A number of bookmakers in the industry spoke out about the incident, claiming that the occurrence is quite common. The issue, of course, is that a loss this great can hardly be chalked up as a typo from which bookmakers can move on. Now, The Nevada Gaming Control Board is stepping in, and many are wondering whether or not these winnings will be rescinded.

Whenever a dispute in excess of $500 occurs, The Nevada Gaming Control Board is required to launch an investigation. In these circumstances, the board will conduct their investigation, ultimately deciding whether or not bookmakers need to payout the bets in dispute. This could mean that the opportunistic bettors that took advantage of this mistake could be left with no winnings from the wagers they placed. It is common practice within the industry to give patrons the option of refunding their tickets or keeping their winnings under the condition that they will be permanently banned from the sportsbook. Given the choice, one would think that these lucky bettors would gladly take their winnings to another sportsbook, but for the time being they must wait for the decision from the board.