Weekly News – Weekly Roundup 4/29/2022
Just gonna go ahead and get this out of the way.
It will indeed be May, sports fans, and there's a ton of developments in the sports betting industry to take a look at. Let's get into it:
Kentucky's Shot at Legal Sports Betting Fails Right Before Derby
Woodford Reserve sponsors this year's Kentucky Derby, but Kentucky's "shot" (see what we did there?) at legal sports betting has come and gone. It would have been a satisfying pair; while you line up at Churchill's betting window, pop open your phone and place a bet on the NBA Playoffs while you wait.
While sports betting wouldn't have become a reality in time for this year's Derby, it would have been another feather in KY's cap and, if other states are any indication, a good way to capture revenues lost to neighbors (in this case, Indiana, Illinois, and Tennessee).
What happened to HB 606? Well, the same thing that happens to plenty of sports betting bills: it didn't make the deadline. Kentucky legislators end their session in May, and the bill just didn't have the momentum to break through one chamber and into another (House to Senate, in this case). This happens a lot in the world of US legislation: bills have to pass through committees and are bounced and assigned to different subgroups until enough folks can agree on the terms to bring the bill before their chamber as a whole.
Unfortunately for Kentucky-based bettors, it looks like better luck next year.
Mass. Ramps Up, At Least Two Bills Actively Considered in Legislature
Massachusetts is often at the forefront of nation-shaking laws (consider the 2004 ruling that made same-sex marriage legal in the Bay State before it became federally recognized in 2015), but when it comes to sports betting, they're still on the outside looking in.
Lawmakers aim to change that, and two competing bills (one House, one Senate) are each chugging their way across the desks of numerous members of the MA legislature. Take House Speaker Ron Mariano, for instance, who is pushing his preferred (House-sponsored) H3993, which allows for betting on collegiate sports. Senate counterpart, and seeming favorite of Senate President Karen Spilka, is bill S2844.
Any way you slice the Boston creme pie, we're looking at online sports betting becoming a reality in the next few years, if not becoming legalized in the next few months. There's clear indication that lawmakers consider online sports betting to be a "when, not if" scenario. However, the devil's advocate says that pro-betting Governor Charlie Baker is not making a re-election bid this year, so it's possible a new guv could squash MA's hopes at legal bets just in time for Thanksgiving.
Maryland's Online Sports Betting Plan Still Yet To Be Realized
Maryland's moniker is the Free State, and its ambitious sports betting law is perhaps one of the most forward-thinking and competitive in the country. No real cap on licenses means that the playing field is wide open in MD, and the law signed by Gov. Larry Hogan in April 2021 had the progressive caveat of favoring women- and minority-owned businesses. However, as the famous quote goes, "human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable", and we're seeing that first hand in Maryland.
A disparity study is as it sounds: a study on whether or not there could, or is, economic disparity in a given field, company, etc. Such disparity studies are a backbone of Maryland's progressive sports betting law, but they're also a reason why we're a year out from the governor's signature, and there still aren't any live online sports betting sites or apps in the state.
SWARC, the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission in MD, hasn't given much in the way of substantial comments about the delay, but industry reports are indicating that it could be at least football season before sportsbooks can go live in the Free State. Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin said this in an email to CNS Maryland:
We are hopeful that these steps can be completed in time for mobile sports wagering to launch during the 2022 football season (...) Mobile wagering is essential for the sports wagering program to produce the level of revenue that the state is expecting, and moreover, we know it’s something sports fans are waiting for.John Martin, Directory of Maryland Lottery and Gaming
?? Canada Sports Betting Industry Highlights
The Sports Network and FanDuel Enter Partnership
The Sports Network got in on the ground floor with one of the best names for a sports news and stats websites we've ever heard of, and now they're entering into a betting partnership with FanDuel in Canada.
As a part of legitimizing and popularizing legal online betting in Canada, which itself is an attempt to bring in revenues lost to offshore sportsbooks, numerous legal betting companies are partnering with big names in sports and sports entertainment. Dale Hooper, GM of FanDuel Canada, had this to say:
Bringing our industry leading sportsbook platform to Canada is a watershed moment for FanDuel. Partnering with Canada’s most iconic and trusted media company was integral to our strategy of delivering gaming content to passionate Canadian sports fans in the most entertaining and responsible way possible.
"Responsible" remains the key word for Canada, specifically in Ontario, which is the country's most populous province and also the first to roll out commercial sports betting licenses. These were made available to any eligible applicants earlier this year and went live on April 4th, 2022, just over three weeks ago. Part of that promotion of responsible gambling includes partnerships, stringent rules for promotion and advertising, and a ton of necessary oversight from Ontario's Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO).
The CFL season starts in June, so it's a great time for Canada-based users (and fans of The Sports Network) to start looking into this partnership and the FanDuel platform to see if they're a good fit.
DAZN Partner with Pragmatic, Sights Set on Sports Betting
DAZN is pronounced "da zone" but doesn't mean "The Zone", and that's about all we are going to try to suss out about the name. What's more important is that DAZN has recently entered into a partnership with Pragmatic, 2021 winner of Developer of the Year at SBC.
DAZN (no, we can't stop hearing it either) is looking at the Canada market, and it's becoming more and more of a reality that the sports news and stats network will offer a sports betting product there soon.
Written by Chris Altman, our US sports betting industry expert.
The featured image for this post was sourced on Getty Images.
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