January 12th, 2021 Weekly Report
Well, this week has been one for the history books! So, you may be wondering, how has the legal sports betting market been impacted by the new year? And, what kind of moves have states made this early in the year towards legal sports betting? Keep reading to find out all of the latest online sports betting news!
States Looking to Make Moves: How Close is Kentucky Sports Betting?
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear affirmed his confidence in the idea that Kentucky sports betting will be coming to the state. Governor Beshear explained that he believes it is long since time that Kentucky passes legal sports betting. As many states that border Kentucky already have taken advantage of legal sports betting since 2018, he feels the state is behind. He believes the revenue that legal gambling could bring into the state could be very beneficial.
Governor Beshear hopes to see not only Kentucky sports betting but casino gaming in the state as well. By bringing in legal gambling, the state could see benefits to tourism as well as revenue. Plus, the state needs to make sure it remains in competition with the states that border it.
Five of the seven states that border Kentucky already have some form of legal sports betting. These states are: Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, as well as West Virginia. The other two states that border Kentucky are Missouri and Ohio. But, both Missouri and Ohio are hoping to push forward legalization efforts this year as well. Missouri has three pre-filed bills already. Ohio is planning to continue its negotiation on legislation that has dragged on for years.
However, it is most imperative for the Kentucky legal gambling market that they save historic horse racing in the state. The Kentucky State Supreme Court recently ruled that some of the systems that are used for their slot-like games do not fit the standards outlined by the law. And, historic horse racing is a huge part of the Kentucky economy.
Changes in Platforms: Say Goodby to BetAmerica
Sports betting and horse race betting fans may be surprised that a well-known brand has bit the dust. BetAmerica is facing a rebrand to try to bring some life to the floundering legal betting platform. Iconic name in horse racing Churchill Downs has made the announcement that the BetAmerica name will be dropped. Instead, Churchill Downs will be relaunching the online sportsbook under their TwinSpires brand name. Since the year 2007, TwinSpires has been the online horse betting brand for Churchill Downs’.
Churchill Downs is hoping to bring the brand recognition that comes with that kind of history to the platform. And, with it is that brand recognition that the operator hopes will make the platform more popular and profitable. In addition, having a single brand allows the operator to lessen their marketing costs. Plus, all efforts will now be able to be focused on the single platform rather than on multiple platforms at once.
The rebranding will begin pretty much immediately. It will be rolled out in the new Michigan online sports betting market as early as the end of this month. Then, this is to be followed by BetAmerica online sportsbooks and retail sportsbooks. They will be switching to TwinSpires during the first half of the year.
Tennessee Sports Betting Looks to Continue Its Strong Start
The state of Tennessee is looking to expand its legal sports betting operators prior to the Super Bowl. Now, a fifth operator has been approved to begin operations in the state. And, there could be even more approvals in anticipation of this year’s Super Bowl on Sunday, February 7th, 2021.
Churchill Downs has been approved by The Tennessee Education Lottery to launch in the state as long as it meets all requirements. While this approval was originally given to Churchill Downs’ brand BetAmerica, it was recently announced by the operator that BetAmerica would be rebranded to TwinSpires.
As of this writing, there are still three operators whose Tennessee sports betting applications are pending. These sports betting operators are: WynnBET sportsbook, William Hill sportsbook, as well as ZenSports. The state Lottery will be holding a special meeting later this month in order to go over the pending applications.
The hope is for all of the operators to be approved before the Super Bowl, but that is not a guarantee. One of the pending applications has more hope to be approved by the end of the month than the other two. But, it is unclear which one has the best odds. Twelve vendors were also approved by The Lottery in the state this past Wednesday.
How Close is New York Sports Betting?
There are two lawmakers in New York state who have been making the push for New York online gambling, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow and Senator Joe Addabbo Jr. And, the New York sports betting model that has been proposed by New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo is lacking support from both of these lawmakers. The two lawmakers have released their proposed online sports betting bill for New York state this past week. And, it is very similar to their previous bill.
The new bill is calling for two skins per licensee instead of just one. As of right now, the state has four commercial casinos as well as three tribes that would have the option to offer New York online sports betting. So, the state of New York already has some great foundations set in place to handle any new legislation.
However, projections for tax revenue in the state predict that the revenue may fall short of what the governor hopes to see from NY legal sports betting.
The proposed NY sports betting bill from Pretlow and Addabbo includes a one time twelve million dollar fee for any mobile sportsbook operators in the state of New York. Revenue gained through mobile sports betting would be taxed at a rate of 12%. And, 5% of that tax revenue would be set aside for problem gambling.
0.2% of handle would be paid to sports leagues as a royalty fee per the bill as well. Professional sports arenas and stadiums plus off-track betting facilities would be able to partner with a casino to operate kiosks on-site for betting. The summary in the bill estimates around seventy nine million dollars in annual revenue as part of conservative market estimates.
New York sports betting and mobile betting will not be enacted any time soon. However, the support from these lawmakers and from the governor do suggest that it will be seen eventually. The question is just how long that will take.
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Will We Be Seeing Massachusetts Sports Betting in 2021?
Last year, sports betting was set to legislate in the state of Massachusetts. However, it ended up being left out of the eventual economic development bill due to more pressing matters facing the people of Massachusetts. However, Senator Brendan Crighton feels that this year may be different.
Senator Crighton has been fighting to bring legal Massachusetts sports betting to the state for years. Now, he feels very confident in the bill that they have workshopped for the state. Due to hardships the state is facing, Massachusetts sports betting looks like an attractive avenue to bring revenue in.
Plus, considering that Massachusetts has neighboring states like New Hampshire and Rhode Island which already have legal sports betting, the state needs to keep up. And, another state neighbor, the state of Connecticut, is set to throw its hat into the legal sports betting arena this year as well. This may be enough to muster up the support that Massachusetts sports betting needs to pass in the state.
Written by Allie Nelson, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert. You can learn more about our author's expertise.