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Virginia Lawmakers to Agree on Sports Betting Regulations

In the wake of legalization, Virginia legislators have presented a draft of the sports betting regulations for public comment. There has been a significant rebuttal from online sports betting platforms such as FanDuel and DraftKings. The companies see some of the proposed regulations as untenable and unrealistic in the current sports betting climate.

In early 2020 the Virginia Legislature legalized sports betting within the state (HB 896). The bill empowered the Virginia Lottery to approve no more than twelve sports betting licenses to both brick and mortar locations like Colonial Downs and online based platforms such as DraftKings. In a review done by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission on the profitability of online sports wagering, the commission estimated that tax revenue could be as high as $55 million per year.

The purposed regulations have now entered the public review phase. This period will determine how quickly legal sports betting is introduced to the state. But it will also shape the form that sports gambling takes in Virginia and several operators have expressed their concerns.

Advertising to Consumers

Under the current draft of the regulations, platform operators will be required to submit their advertising materials to the state lottery for prior approval. Marketing and promotional material will also need to be approved before platforms can deliver it to consumers. The aim is to prohibit sports betting platforms from branding content specifically tailored to minors.

The regulations would also prohibit advertising on any media that itself caters to minors. However, they do not specify which platforms specifically fall within the rule. Many sports betting platforms have countered with an offer of prior notice to the lottery rather than formal prior approval.

Penn National Gaming is not alone in seeing this formal ad review requirement as exceedingly burdensome. “By mandating an approval process for all advertising efforts, this will impact the ability to get promotions quickly posted, which is extremely important given the fast-paced nature of sports (e.g. playoff series being extended),” the company wrote in response to the proposed regulations.

The Olympics

Although not included in the legislature’s bill, the regulations include a provision which prohibits sports betting on the Olympics. The bill itself does prohibit betting on college sports games that involve Virginia schools. But the issue of gambling on the Olympics was left up to the Virginia Lottery to determine. Sports betting platforms, such as DraftKings, have expressed significant concern.

Their argument is plainly, to exclude certain sports defeats the purpose of legalizing sports betting. “In order to fully eradicate the illegal market, the legal market must be able to compete, which means including as wide an array of event and betting options for consumers.” DraftKings went on, “the International Olympic Committee is an international sports governing body that ensures integrity across the events it oversees and, as such, the board can be assured events comport with ethical standards.”

Displaying Odds and Handles

The proposed regulations are written to create a so called “Sports Bettors Bill of Rights.” One of those rights would require the various sports betting platforms to display the real time odds of winning a bet including how those odds were determined, the total amount wagered, and pay out amounts. Operators argue that sports betting odds differ greatly from the mathematical odds in other forms of gambling such as the lottery, card games, or dice based games.

Top sports betting platforms, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, gave significant pushback. Such regulations would be a first in any U.S. state to make sports gambling legal. “Sports betting apps are simply not built to provide and display this type of information,” wrote FanDuel in response to the proposed regulations. The company offered a recent example of an NBA Playoff game with twenty-four types of bets a customer could place. That gave a gambler more than 300 possible outcomes with an incalculable number of potential parlays. The processing power and screen space needed to display that information in real time could create huge logistical challenges, FanDuel wrote.

“As such, this requirement would force a re-engineering of the products, to create a demonstrably worse user experience, and all to provide information which is immaterial to the calculation of the odds and/or payout a bettor will receive.” FanDuel went on, “the actual odds that the Brooklyn Nets will beat the Toronto Raptors, and by how many points, is unknown.”

Consumer Exclusion Safeguards

The proposed regulations layout a detailed process by which consumers can voluntarily exclude themselves from sports betting if they feel they are becoming addicted and losing excessive amounts of money. The individual can ban themselves for periods of two years, five years, or for life. The self-identified addict would simply need to provide information such as address, date of birth, social security number, and description of their physical appearance. However, platforms have argued that the process is filled with flaws.

If a self-identified addict is found to have gambled on one of the various sports betting platforms, the platform is required to “seize the individual’s winnings and other things of value.” FanDuel responded, “it would be no more appropriate to require permit holders to seize the funds (not ascribable to winnings) in an individual’s account, any more than it would be for a casino operator to seize all the money in a self-excluded individual’s wallet if they were found to have entered the casino.”

The proposed process also requires a self-identified addict to ban themselves by going to the betting apps rather than through the lottery site. In addition, an individual who would like to ban themselves for life would need to appear in person. “This is akin to requiring an individual to enter a casino in order to ban himself from a casino,” said a representative from Caesars Entertainment.

The self-exclusion process would allow an individual to cancel their current bets and receive a refund. This has operators concerned that gamblers could use the process to get out of high-risk bets. Penn National Gaming wrote, “a patron may have a future wager on a team to win the Super Bowl, as soon as they know the team will not make the playoffs, they self-exclude in order to get a refund.”

Upcoming

The public comment period for the proposed regulations ended last week and the Virginia Lottery is scheduled to convene to discuss finalizing the regulations this week. Once the regulations are in place, the Lottery will begin accepting applications for sports betting licenses.

Illinois Sports Betting Goes Live

Sports betting has slowly but surely been creeping its way from east to west across the United States, and Illinois is the latest to join the ranks of legal and regulated sports betting states. Unlike many other states, most of which had a casino or sportsbook presence even before the Federal Government paved the way for nationwide, legal sports betting, Illinois is new to most forms of gambling. Having undergone one of the biggest legislative changes of any state, Illinois is now poised to be a gambling powerhouse in the Midwest, joining and perhaps surpassing states like Iowa and Indiana.

FanDuel Joins the Action

FanDuel is the latest online based, sports betting platform to go live in Illinois. Launching this past week, FanDuel joins DraftKings and BetRivers to bring citizens of Illinois a sports betting outlet. The platform has partnered with Par-A-Dice Casino in Peoria due to the state’s co-branding rules which require an online sports betting app to pair with a physical, brick and mortar casino.

Mike Raffensperger, the CMO of FanDuel Group said, “We have been waiting for this day for quite some time. Sports are back, so we are going to show sports fans in Illinois an innovative sports betting app experience with industry leading promotions and consumer protections that have made FanDuel the #1 sportsbook in the U.S.”

In addition, the sports betting bill Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law in June 2019 included an in-person registration requirement for all patrons looking to utilize the online sports books. However, due in large part to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting health guidelines, Governor Pritzker has issued several Executive Orders suspending this requirement. The latest is in place and will not lapse until September 19 of 2020.

DraftKings Offers Another Option

Earlier this month, DraftKings partnered with Casino Queen in East St. Louis. Rebranded as the DraftKings at Casino Queen, it offers both brick and mortar and online sports betting.

Jason Robins is a co-founder and the CEO for DraftKings. He expressed joy and optimism for the future in a recent press release. “Illinois is home to some of the most passionate sports fans and most iconic sports teams in the entire country. DraftKings’ dedication to innovation and providing customers with a premier sports betting experience has made our app the top-rated option and we can’t wait for fans in Illinois to discover why.”

DraftKings is uniquely poised to take advantage of this new opportunity in Illinois. Their physical location at Casino Queen is located across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri. Missouri currently does not offer legal sports gambling. The only other competitor in the area, Argosy at Alton, a Penn National affiliate, does not currently have a live online platform.

Terry Downey is the president of DraftKings at Casino Queen said, “We are excited to bring sports betting to Illinois and the St. Louis community. The marriage of two iconic brands promises to create an unforgettable experience that can only be found at DraftKings at Casino Queen.”

What is Next?

Hawthorne Race Course is expected to be the next location to go live with an online platform. Hawthorne was awarded its sports wagering license at the Illinois Gaming Board meeting on July 30 of this year. They are expected to partner with PointsBet. Also, on the horizon is a partnership between William Hill and Grand Victoria Casino. They hope to have an online platform live in time for the start of the NFL season.

Massachusetts Sports Bettors Delivered Another Delay

Last month, the Massachusetts House delayed making a decision on legalizing sports betting. As part of a proposed economic development plan, proponents of sports betting see it as a way to generate much needed revenue for the state. In addition, as a state that is home to some of the most popular sports franchises in the country, sports betting in Massachusetts is poised to generate huge profits for investors. Industry experts as well as the Massachusetts Gaming Commission estimate potential profits to be in the $40 million range with a ceiling as high as $61 million.

From a Legal Standpoint

The House met in July to discuss and decide upon a statewide economic and employment support plan. This is in response to the Covid-19 shutdowns that have emptied both private and public coffers. The bill, House Bill 4887, was passed in a 156-3 vote in the State House of Representatives. However, the issue of sports betting caused dispute in the State Senate. The bill was eventually passed unanimously but with the sports betting sections removed entirely.

State Senator Michael Rodrigues said that the “time is not now, nor is this the proper vehicle to do so in.” He was not alone. Many in the State Legislature expressed concerns of deciding the issue of legalized sports betting within a bill aimed at providing relief amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Future of Sports Betting in Massachusetts

To many in the State Legislature, sports betting in Massachusetts has a bright future. The House Bill was aimed at allowing sports betting within casinos and racetracks around the state in the near future. In the long term, the bill provided for an online facet in order to infuse competition and options for consumers in the budding market. Notably, Massachusetts decided to drop the requirement of partnering online sportsbooks with physical casino locations. This would have allowed the state to provide one of the most competitive online offerings in the country, had the bill passed.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said, “We wanted to give Massachusetts the ability to have people play here rather than playing elsewhere.” He went on, “I absolutely believe that, in addition to sort of the cross-border competition issues that would be addressed by doing something here in Massachusetts, it would certainly generate revenue and it would be something that a lot of people would be interested in here at home as opposed to doing across the border; we would like to see that happen.”

The House Bill also had provisions which called for a 1% Venue Fee. One percent of the gross revenue earned from a betting event in the state of Massachusetts would go to the owner of the event’s location. A controversial provision and the first of its kind, many believe any such proceeds should benefit the towns and communities where the events take place.

The Massachusetts legislative deadline has been extended until the end of 2020. This gives lawmakers time to construct a dedicated sports betting bill aimed at legalizing the practice in line with the state’s financial goals. In the meantime, Massachusetts residents will be forced to travel to nearby states like Rhode Island and New Hampshire to place legal sports bets.

Post Covid-19 restrictions, Indiana Sports Betting is Back

After Covid-19 closures and restrictions, Indiana casino gambling and sports betting is nearly back to normal. After a never before seen three-month closure, gambling and sports betting in the Hoosier state is coming back to life. In July, the state reported total sports wagers topping $1 billion. Indiana casinos also reported roughly the same gambling revenues as this time last year according to the Indiana Gaming Commission; despite Covid-19 shutdowns and restrictions.

Dan Nita, General Manager of the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond and Regional President of its parent company Caesars Entertainment Inc. said he is very pleased with July’s results. He went on, “we continue to work very hard on providing a great entertainment escape for our guests, and over the last several weeks we continue to find ways to add to the experience.”

Indiana casinos reopened on June 15 in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, patrons of Indiana’s casinos have been subjected to body temperature checks and other Covid-19 screenings, face mask requirements, and very strict capacity limits. Such capacity limits include a table capacity of no more than four players per table and nearly every other slot machine turned off in an effort to keep guests socially distant.

Revenues are Holding

However, even with the Covid-19 restrictions, Indiana casino win for July came in at just $10.1 million shy of $175.8 million reported for July of 2019. According to the Indiana Gaming Commission, Horseshoe Casino led the state reporting $30.5 million in July win. That is down just $2 million for the same period last year, operating without this year’s capacity limits and safety protocols. According to Dan Nita, such revenues were made possible by creatively spacing out slot machines, repurposing temporarily unused spaces, and making sure in-demand games remained available within current health protocols.

The Horseshoe has also seen a lot of traffic from players seeking entertainment in the absence of professional sporting events, movies, and other forms of entertainment. “Where we were from June 15 to where we are almost two months later, we have definitely learned a lot along the way, and are trying to provide a great entertainment experience for our guests,” says Nita.

Indiana’s other casinos are also keeping pace. Ameristar Casino in East Chicago is up $4.3 million in win compared with July of 2019. At $20.8 million in win, Ameristar ranked third in the state. Majestic Star Casino in Gary reported $11.4 million last month, down from $12.6 million in 2019. Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City reported $9.2 million compared to $13.2 million in 2019. This is due in large part to daily closings for cleaning.

Statewide, Indiana Gaming Commission data reports that July sports wagers pushed total wagers over $1 billion dollars in the 10 months since sports gambling was made legal last September.

Potential for Online Sports Betting in New York

Due in large part to the economic effects of Covid-19, the state of New York has seen a marked drop in income tax revenues. In addition, gas, sales, and just about every other business and personal tax base have slipped as well. Online sports betting may be the solution the state is looking for to increase revenue in light of the current economic climate.

Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, Democrat from Westchester County and lead sponsor in the Assembly for an online sports betting bill stated, “it’s going to happen.” And he is not alone. Supporters of an online wagering bill in New York say that this is the moment to push for legalization after years of effort. As lawmakers return to session in the hopes of balancing the 2020 budget, proponents look forward to a move towards legalization of online sports betting.

However, the issue is far from settled. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has been firm in his belief that such a move towards legalization cannot simply be passed by the state’s lawmakers. Rather, legalization would require ratification through a multiyear constitutional amendment process; including a statewide referendum by New York residents. State lawmakers also share concerns that the proposed revenue sharing plan allows gambling institutions to make too much profit at the expense of funds that could otherwise be used towards the state budget. Others are concerned that the state already holds too many opportunities for gambling. “How many times have we heard that gambling is going to be good for state revenues? We OK’d casinos and then they ran deficits,” said a state lawmaker on the condition of anonymity.

How They Plan to Make it Happen

Revenue-raisers or tax hikes have been the subject of talks to reconvene lawmakers in an attempt to reduce the state’s roughly $13 billion budget deficit. Those talks include the possibility of raising taxes on the wealthy and some state corporations. The alternative would be to cut funding towards public schools, healthcare services, and nonprofits which provide critical state services.

The decision will turn in large part on the outcome of talks at the federal level as to how much unrestricted money will be released to states like New York. If Republicans and Democrats in Washington, along with President Trump, can find a way to provide more federal money to states, New York may not be forced to turn to other revenue enhancements such as new taxes or cut spending.

While sports betting is legal at brick and mortar locations in New York, all, except for Native American casinos, are currently closed under the state’s response to Covid-19 public health concerns. Here lies the advantage in permitting online sports gambling. Even with the limited MLB and a an altered NBA season, online sports betting has the potential to generate huge revenues on everything from cricket and soccer, to darts.
Both the state Assembly and the Senate held sessions last week but did not decide on the online sports betting issue. There are three potential outcomes that residents could expect.

First, state lawmakers could decide to vote on the issue this year under the guidelines of a constitutional amendment. If passed, the decision would need to be reaffirmed in 2021 and then voted on by the state’s residents in November of 2021. However, the deadline for such a move was early August and no plans have been made to reconvene the Legislature for this year. So, the earliest that residents would likely see a ballot question would be November of 2023.

Second, lawmakers could pass a revenue enhancement bill in the coming months which includes legalization of online sports betting. A similar move was seen last year when Senate Democrats issued a nonbinding political message approving mobile sports betting. State Senator Joseph Addabbo, a Democrat from Queens, took this as a good sign and favored the decision not to take the route of constitutional amendment. Both Sen. Addabbo and Assemblyman Pretlow see the amendment process as unnecessary and costly as opposed to a bill’s legal efficiency. They are comfortable accepting the constitutional amendment process as a strong second option should Governor Cuomo decide to veto a bill from the Legislature.

Third, lawmakers could simply pass on the issue altogether. Many in the state’s Assembly see other revenue building plans as more comfortable and less of a moral quandary.

In the coming weeks and months, as the revenue gap widens, lawmakers in New York will see more pressure to act and get the deficit under control.

Wisconsin Weighing the Options for Sports Betting

The start of the NFL season has brought with it a new interest throughout the United States due to the fact that many residents can legally place wagers on their favorite teams for the first time. With an increase in sportsbooks at casinos throughout the Midwest, as well as the establishment of popular sports betting sites in neighboring states, the state of Wisconsin is feeling the pressure to follow suit.

At the start of the NFL season this past weekend, residents of Wisconsin were able to cross the Mississippi River into Dubuque, Iowa to place their wagers on the Packers, as well as other NFL teams. After the Supreme Court’s decision in 2018 to give states the right to legalize gambling, 13 states have legalized sports betting and 35 states could push for legalization in the next five years, as reported by the Madison State Journal.

Sports Betting Throughout the Midwest

Iowa’s Diamond Jo Casino, located just outside of Dubuque, is one of the many casinos throughout the country that now offers a sportsbook for those interested in placing wagers on NFL games, as well as other sports. Bettors previously had to fly to Las Vegas or place their bets through a bookie or offshore sportsbook, now they just need $5 and transportation to the Diamond Jo Casino, whose sportsbook is run by popular daily fantasy sports provider FanDuel.

In addition to the sports betting options in Iowa, a number of other sports wagering opportunities have presented themselves in the Midwest. Just a week before the NFL season kicked off, Indiana opened its sportsbooks, and Illinois will be doing the same before the end of the year. Michigan and Minnesota legislators are also pushing to legalize sports gambling in their states as well.

Despite the rate at which sports betting is spreading throughout the country, the state of Wisconsin has yet to take definitive steps toward legalization. Throughout the United States, sports gambling has shown that it can be successful in bringing in significant amounts of money in the states where it has been legalized. Delaware has brought in over $7 million in taxes since legalization, while Pennsylvania and New Jersey have brought in $8 million and $28 million respectively. So, what’s the hold up in Wisconsin?

Obstacles and Timetable for Legalization

Representative Tyler Vorpagel believes that the legalization of sports betting in the state of Wisconsin could be beneficial for the state as a whole, as he told NBC Green Bay. Vorpagel was responsible for the introduction of the Daily Fantasy Sports bill, but the bill never reached an assembly vote. Despite Vorpagels efforts, there are still many who oppose the suggestion that Wisconsin should legalize sports betting. Organizations like Citizens Against Gambling believe that the legalization would come at the expense of residents, who may fall victim to large gambling companies who try to take advantage of addictive gambling behaviors.

A realistic timetable for the legalization of sports betting within the state of Wisconsin would suggest that the process could take years. The idea needs for first be approved by the Assembly and the Senate in two consecutive session, which would then lead to a referendum that would allow for an amendment to the state’s constitution. An alternative option for sports betting in the state of Wisconsin would be through tribal casinos, which are already operating under a gaming compact in the state.

If the state chose to take the longer route, the tribal nations that are currently operating 26 casinos within the state of Wisconsin could be affected and may push to renegotiate their existing compact to allow them to offer sports gambling anyway. There is some concern that the legalization of sports betting in the state would stop payments to the state from these tribes, due to the fact that they would no longer have the exclusive right to offer gambling in the state. This is concerning considering the state received $53 million from the tribes in the past year.

Lingering Concerns

To some, the benefits of legalizing sport betting in Wisconsin are clear. However, many of these benefits are still in question. While the taxation of legal sports betting will certainly bring money into the state, there is some concern over the projected revenue. Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia have all brought in half or less than half of what they expected from the legalization of sports betting.

Proponents of the push for legalization suggest that sports betting is already taking place illegally within the state of Wisconsin; the legalization and regulation of this betting would only benefit the state and its residents. The concern is that this legalization would make betting more available, making it dangerous for residents who may be suffering from gambling addiction. Although sports betting has been legalized in other areas of the country, there is still much debate about the rules and regulations of such an initiative.

For the time being, residents of Wisconsin will have to settle with crossing the Mississippi River or into neighboring states in order to place any wagers on their favorite NFL teams.

Concerns Over D.C. Lottery and Sports Gambling Contract

Intralot, a Greek company that offers a variety of gambling and sports betting services, received a $215 million contract to provide sports betting to the city of Washington D.C. last month. As reported by the Washington Post, the company will be responsible for half of the work needed to introduce sports gambling to the city, while maintaining the existing lottery system. The only problem: Intralot has given this responsibility to a firm that doesn’t have any employees.

Adhering to the Law?

The law within the nation’s capital requires companies with large public contracts to subcontract work to small local businesses. In doing so, large companies would help boost the local economy and create jobs for local residents. Intralot chose a company they partnered with on a previous deal that gave them the power to run the lottery within the capital, but this choice has been the source of speculation about whether or not local businesses and residents would be benefiting at all.

Earlier this summer Intralot confirmed that the firm Veterans Services Corp. would be responsible for providing all of the resources needed to fulfill the terms of the contract. The new deal was awarded without a traditional bidding process, which raised a few red flags for an agency that has no employees and has listed executives on their website who do not actually work there. Emamanuel Bailey leads Veterans Services Corp. and is a resident of Maryland, not Washington D.C. In order to adhere to the law, the company was registered at the home of his 75-year-old mother in D.C. Bailey’s mother is also a majority shareholder of the company.

Questionable Political Ties

In addition to these concerns, other media outlets have suggested that Bailey’s political connections have played a hand in the awarding of the recent sports gambling contract. Councilmember Jack Evans originally pushed for sports betting within the nation’s capital and is now being investigated by the FBI for possible ethics violations. Other subcontractors linked to the Intralot deal have close ties with a number of other politicians. These connections motivated council members Robert C. White Jr. (D-At Large) and Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) to call for a close examination of Intralot and Veterans Services Corp.

Further Complications

In response to concerns surrounding Veterans Service Corp.’s ability to effectively handle the contract, Intralot officials said that the work could be completed by DC09, another company that was formed in a joint effort by Intralot and Veterans Services 10 years ago. The link between the companies only furthers the confusion surrounding the deal, as Veterans Services owns 51 percent of DC09, while Intralot funded the creation of DC09 and is in control of the company, as found by The Washington Post. It is also worth noting that Bailey’s compensation over the past five years has not come from Veterans Services Corps, but DC09.

DC09’s headquarters are legitimately based in Southeast Washington, but the confusion surrounding the connections between the companies and political figures seem to discredit this fact. Additionally, no formal mention of DC09 was made in the initial plan that Intralot submitted to district officials earlier this summer. Bailey’s comments to The Washington Post, referring to Veterans Services as “a case study” for the small-business program, hardly eases any of the concerns that have been raised thus far, and the deal must now stand up to the formal probe launched by council members in Washington D.C.

Illinois Sports Betting Expands to Convenience Stores

Within the year, residents of Illinois will be able to start placing sports bets at their local convenience stores. Gamblers throughout the state could have access to a new lottery sports wagering pilot program at 2,500 gas stations, convenience stores, and other retailers, with the option of adding an additional 2,500 retailers following suit in the second year.

Increased Access and Availability

The unique program follows the bill announced earlier this summer, which legalized sports betting within the state. Not only that, the landmark piece of legislation is widely regarded as being one of the most aggressive and expansive sports betting bills the US has seen since the overturning of PASPA by the US Supreme Court last year. 

Over the past few months the State has introduced sports betting at its casinos, while also announcing the establishment of six new casinos along an increase in availability of video gaming terminals throughout the state. The pilot program for a lottery sports betting system is the first of its kind within the United States.

Like other lottery programs throughout the country, gamblers aged 21 and older will be able to place their bets at electronic kiosks at retailers throughout the state. The new lottery sports program will give residents the opportunity to pick the outcome of multiple games as part of a single bet, otherwise known as a parlay. The bettor must select all of the correct outcomes in order to win. This type of parlay wager was not possible until the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision made last year to legalize sports betting throughout the country.

Timetable and Projected Costs

In wake of this monumental decision, a number of states have made the push to legalize and regulate sports betting within the past year. However, many states have chosen to implement sports betting through brick-and-mortar casino sportsbooks or online betting platforms rather than a lottery system. Delaware is the only state to have a comparable parlay-only lottery system, which brought in over $6 million last year. This system, however, requires a $2 minimum wager on parlay bets for only NFL and collegiate football. The new sports-betting system in Illinois has the opportunity to expand on this, in order to make a wide variety of parlay bets readily available.

The pilot program in Illinois is projected to cost nearly $20 million, a large portion of which stems from a steep licensing fee. Despite high initial costs officials estimate that the sports-betting industry within the state could generate $58 million to $128 million annually. The Chicago Sun Times reported that Illinois Lottery general counsel Cornell Wilson is turning to other states in order to research the most effective ways to implement and launch this new program. The plan is set to role out with little to no threat to business for large casinos and sportsbooks, who offer more variety and better odds for sports betting. Rules and regulations surrounding the parlay lottery kiosks still need to be established, and no concrete time table for the official launch of the program has been established.

In the end, Illinois is moving closer and closer to the full-scale mobile betting we see in states like Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New Jersey. This is nothing more than the state lottery’s attempt to get in on the action. Being that licensing fees for the parlay-only product are massive ($20 million), it goes without saying that one of the bigger sportsbook operators will lay first claim to it.

Sports Betting in DC May Not Be Here for NFL Season

Over the winter and spring that just passed, a number of American states and jurisdictions moved to legalize sports betting in a variety of different ways. The nation’s capital, Washington DC, was one of the jurisdictions that did this by way of a legislative process that seemed to take no time at all. When you consider that sports betting was officially legalized in DC last December, it might come as a shock to find out that, in all likelihood, sports betting will not be available in time for the start of the 2019/2020 NFL season, which is only a matter of weeks away.

Despite being one of the smallest areas to legalize sports betting, Washington DC is going to need more time to get things set in place so that betting can begin. There is still hope for NFL betting this year, but how far into the season it will be made available remains to be seen.

What is Going On in DC?

On its surface, the delays we are seeing in DC could easily be mistaken for some sort of bureaucratic dispute between lawmakers, but the explanation is actually much simpler than that. DC’s Office of Lottery and Gaming, which is tasked with overseeing all sports betting activities, has not yet begun accepting license applications, and may not be able to do so until sometime in September. The driving force behind this is the fact that the rules sportsbook operators must abide by in DC have not yet been established.

According to the Washington Post, some of the points of contention that still need to be worked out concern things such as advertising restrictions, requirements for licensure, and whether college sports bets will be restricted in any way. If you can recall, a few other states that have legalized sports betting have banned wagers involving colleges from the state in question.

What makes the sports betting situation in Washington DC so unique is that, unlike most other states that have legalized sports betting, there are no casinos where a sportsbook can quickly and easily be placed. Instead, sports betting in the nation’s capital will take place at restaurants and bars, sports arenas, and kiosks that are reportedly going to exist in convenience stores and other, similar locales. There will be mobile sports betting available as well, however the sole application will belong to the city government.

When and How Betting Can Be Expected

If all goes to plan applications will begin being accepted in September, with a turnaround of 30-45 days for provisional licenses to be granted. A provisional license will be granted to operators who have partnered with established entities in the gambling industry, such as DraftKings, for example. For brand new operators, the full licensure process may take up to a half year.

What this means for sports bettors is that, in all likelihood, they might see NFL betting in time for the second half of the regular season. Depending on what the rules surrounding college football betting end up being, there will still be plenty of NCAA action to take part in as well.

There is no official word on when the government-sponsored sports betting application will go live, but DC’s council did announce that a Greek company by the name of Intralot would be tasked with developing the app.

North Carolina Passes Tribal Sports Betting Bill

Since the 1992 PASPA ruling, which put a Federal ban on sports betting, was overturned during the middle of 2018, more than 10 states have passed legislation that made sports betting legal. North Carolina joined that growing number of states last week when Governor Roy Cooper signed SB154 into law. While this is a move that Carolina sports bettors will be happy about, it is worth noting that sports betting in North Carolina will look a good bit different from that which exists in states like Pennsylvania and Illinois.

The path to legalization did not have much in the way of roadblocks, but did have a sizeable gap that had some concerned that SB154 would die before it was approved. Back in April, the Senate’s bill passed by an overwhelming majority and many folks thought that it would sail into and subsequently through the House. Such was not the case, however, as more than two months passed before the bill was spoken of once more. Finally, earlier this month, the House passed the measure almost as easily as the Senate. While other state’s had to fight battles in order to see sports betting legislation passed, such was not the case in North Carolina. What made SB154 different, as well as what the bill actually entails, will be discussed in-depth below.

What Makes North Carolina Different?

First and foremost, the biggest differentiating factor between North Carolina and just about every other state that has passed sports betting legislation is the fact that North Carolina really didn’t legalize anything. Because gambling is already allowed in the state so long as it takes place on Native American lands, SB154 simply redefined what Class III entails. In the end, “sports wagering” was added to the list of approved gaming—alongside table games and slots—that is allowed to take place on Native American lands.

For this reason, SB154 is considerably shorter than most other pieces of sports betting legislation we have seen passed up to this point.

When Can You Begin Betting?

Another aspect of sports betting in North Carolina that is different from other states is that there seems to be no rush for the state’s two casinos to begin taking bets. Both Harrah’s properties—one of which is in Cherokee, the other is in Murphy—will likely offer sports betting “by late fall,” according to regional vice president Brian Saunooke. Though both casinos will not need to expand their footprint in order to offer a sportsbook, there are upgrades needed, including an addition 30+ employees at both sites. Even though sports betting might not exist in time for the beginning of the NFL and NCAA football seasons, it will likely be available before each league’s respective postseasons.

Finally, there will be no mobile sports betting allowed in North Carolina. Because the state already prohibits Native American casinos from offering mobile gaming, it follows that sports betting too will remain something that must be done at a brick and mortar betting location. Sports betting in North Carolina is only expected to bring in a little more than $1 million on an annual basis, but seeing as there are only two betting locations in the entire state, that sum is nothing to scoff at.