Weekly News – Weekly Roundup 5/27/2022

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Massachusetts Continues to Play Tug-of-War with Sports Betting Bills

There are a few opposing voices in the MA legislature, but all of them seem to want the same thing: legal online sportsbooks in the Bay State. However, caveats abound, and three main issues seem to be at play:

  • Should betting on college sports be legal? The House's H 3993 says yes.
  • What should the tax rate be for mobile betting? The Senate says 30%, with the House proposing half that figure: 15%.
  • The Senate wants to impose heavy restrictions on advertising, similar to Ontario but with bans not yet seen in the US sports betting industry.

The legislative session in Massachusetts lasts a bit longer than that of other states. For example, Texas' legislature meets every other year, while a state like Delaware will meet to agree upon laws from January to June.

MA meets every year and provides for extra sessions from January to December, which influences its position as a typical first-in-the-nation when it comes to passing laws, for example Goodridge v. Department of Public Health which allowed the first same-sex marriages in the US. Though there's still a lot of room for Massachusetts lawmakers to "meet in the middle", pundits are still hopeful that the state will be able to smooth out the finer points of a proposed bill to finally be voted into law.

After all, Governor Charlie Baker has said in no uncertain terms that he'd get behind online sportsbooks, so it's only a matter of time.

UK's IMG ARENA Enters into Betting Partnership with Canada's National Basketball League

IMG ARENA is a sports data technology provider based in the UK, and NBL is the National Basketball League of Canada. There you go, that's the headline- but what is exciting about this partnership is that it's just another way to legitimize and popularize legal, safe single event wagering in Canada.

We're seeing it all across the industry: sports betting data providers are partnering with online sportsbooks, athletic leagues, and even specific teams. The governments of Canada, the US, and many other countries are all seeing the loss of capital that comes with trying to police and shut down illegal betting websites, so they (Ontario in particular) are extending a sort of olive branch, offering the chance for betting providers to go legit. That way, they can rein in revenues that might be lost to offshore betting sites, revenues which are desperately needed from the Yukon to the Yucatan.

This partnership between IMG ARENA and the NBL mirrors similar partnerships in the Canada sports betting industry, namely the NHL's partnership with FanDuel & BetMGM, PointsBet partnering with MLSE, and more.

The Minneapolis Sound This Week? Silence

If you're not familiar, the Minneapolis Sound refers to a subgenre of funk mashed with synth-pop and new wave just for good measure, and is perhaps exemplified by the virtuosic sound of the tiny hurricane that was formerly known as Prince. However, this week, the sound in Minnesota, particularly in the chambers of the state legislature, was very un-Prince-like: stagnating to near silence.

Minnesota has been making a push for legal, online sports betting for the better part of this year, and unfortunately for certain lawmakers, those efforts weren't enough to get any meaningful bills off the ground. Bill HF 778 would have legalized online sportsbooks through the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA), but a last ditch effort to make the bill more bipartisan seemed to shatter the bill's chances at advancing.

In a Hail Mary, State Senator John Marty proposed redirecting the bill to the State Government Finance and Policy Elections Committee to save the bill's chances in chamber. This motion failed 6 to 4, and now that the legislative session is coming to a close, Minnesota remains without a law allowing for online bets. It's such a shame the possibility of legal sports betting in Minnesota had to end for now, but as with many states, better luck next year.

(By the way, that was a reference to the seminal Prince track Purple Rain; often touted as the greatest Super Bowl Halftime performance of all time.)

News That Wouldn't Fit Anywhere Else

? 61 year old WSOP bracelet winner from 2012 Cory Zeidman is going to be wearing a different kind of bracelet this week: he's just been booked on $25 million fraud charges for claiming to have a perfect system for placing winning bets on sports. Guess what- that's not a thing.

? Make no mistake, problem gambling remains a serious issue all over the world, and Canada continues to examine the efficacy of responsible gambling programs amidst the NHL playoffs and the numerous ads touting legal bets. Remember, people: you can be smart about betting, but it's never going to be a good idea to bet money you aren't 1000% willing to lose.

Written by Chris Altman, our US sports betting industry expert. Opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinion of VegasInsider.