Weekly News – 01/26/2021
THIS WEEK IN LEGAL SPORTS BETTING — SOUTH DAKOTA AND MASSACHUSETTS MAKE MOVES
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January 26th, 2021 Weekly Report
January is almost over and we are settling right into 2021. So, that means that the sports betting news in the United States has only just been ramping up. Keep reading to see all of the amazing online sports betting moves that happened this past week!
If you want to find our more on some major topics not covered in this article you can check out the rest of VegasInsider with our exclusive bet365 bonus code for example!
BALLY’S COMES OUT SWINGING
The company Bally’s has come up with a strategy to become vertically integrated in the United States online gambling marketplace. And, as a result, Bally’s had bought Monkey Knife Fight, a daily fantasy sports operator. The acquisition cost up to $90 million in stock.
The deal between Bally’s and Monkey Knife Fight is anticipated to be finalized during the first quarter of the year. At the time of this writing, Monkey Knife Fight is the third largest daily fantasy sports operator in North America. Currently, Monkey Knife Fight has 180,000 registered users as well as 80,000 depositing players.
The daily fantasy sports operation for Monkey Knife Fight is currently offered in thirty seven states. The acquisition by Bally’s means that the company will then have access to customers in states that do not yet have legal sports betting. And, that will give Bally’s greater access to this untapped pool of players as soon as those states allow legal sports betting.
This tactic, as demonstrated by other daily fantasy sports operators like DraftKings and FanDuels, gives the companies an edge when it comes to sports betting. At this time, FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook are two of the biggest names in legal online sports betting in the United States. When customers get to know operators through daily fantasy sports, it is only natural to trust the same operator when they are able to offer legal sports betting.
Bally’s is looking forward to acquiring a list of potential sports betting customers in Florida, California, and Texas — markets that could explode in the sports betting world. Once these states have legal sports betting options, they are expected to account for around 20-25% of the sports betting revenue in the United States. And, the acquisition will also help Bally’s get a foothold in Canada, which is another market expected to legal sports betting in the coming months.
An operator’s ability to offer daily fantasy sports on top of potential sports betting can make all the difference. Bally’s is hoping that will help them keep players who may have been tempted to jump ship for FanDuel or DraftKings in order to play fantasy. The recent acquisition makes Bally’s just the third sports betting operator to own a daily fantasy sports firm.
HOW IS SOUTH DAKOTA SPORTS BETTING SHAPING UP?
Last November, by referendum, the residents of South Dakota approved legal sports betting in Deadwood. However, the language that was approved also created a loophole when it comes to mobile sports betting.
Federal law does not dictate whether bets have to be placed on a device or on a server. And, South Dakota sports betting legally has to take place at a Deadwood casino. However, that technicality can be fixed by having the mobile betting servers housed at the physical casino.
The legislation SB 44, which was introduced by the South Dakota Committee on Commerce and Energy, has language that suggests exactly that route. However, the language and restrictions do not apply to the eleven tribal casinos in South Dakota. Under federal law, tribal casinos are able to offer any games that have been authorized by the specific state’s legislature on tribal land.
The language may hinder the growth of South Dakota sports betting before it's even begun. Sports betting enthusiasts in South Dakota were excited about the inclusion of mobile betting in the legislation. However, the bill also requires the sports bettor to register in-person in Deadwood, South Dakota at a casino. And, this inconvenience may cause bettors to look elsewhere for their sports wagering fix.
For reference, Sioux Falls, South Dakota is a five and a half hour car trip from Deadwood, South Dakota. However, Iowa, which has legal sports betting, is only twenty minutes away from Sioux Falls. And, perhaps coincidentally, in-person registration requirements for sports betting expired very recently in the state of Iowa.
In the South Dakota sports betting legislation, it would cost $2,000 annually for a sports betting license for an operator. The bill does not allow any betting on South Dakota college sports events. This restriction includes no prop bets that would focus on an individual college athlete’s performance.
Most excitingly of all, the in-person registration requirement could be altered after the passage of the bill. However, there is no expiration date included as it was with Iowa’s sports betting legislation.
The legislation does have one final issue that has come up. This is the definition that is provided for a professional sporting event. The definition listed is “a sporting event, other than a minor league sporting event, in which two or more persons participate and receive remuneration in excess of their out-of-pocket expenses for participating in the event.”
In the past, this type of definition has caused issues for certain sports and sporting events. For instance, there were some PGA Tour events that did not meet the language requirement for professional sporting events in the state of Illinois. As a result, these events were not available to bet on in the state.
ARE WE ABOUT TO SEE MASSACHUSETTS SPORTS BETTING?
Sports betting operators have long wondered when they would be able to break into the Massachusetts market. And, it appears that time may be coming sooner rather than later.
Massachusetts state Senator Brendan Crighton has finally filed the sports betting bill that has been promised. Senator Crighton hopes that this will be the start of legal Massachusetts sports betting. The legislation, SD 177, appears to be pretty straightforward, a result of modifications over the years to perfect the bill for passage.
SD 177 would require any gaming operator to pay an up-front fee of ten million dollars if they want to participate in Massachusetts sports betting. Sports betting revenue in the state would be taxed at a rate of 15%. And, SD 177 does not allow for betting on any in-state college sports or sporting events.
With neighboring states New Hampshire and Rhode Island establishing legal sports betting more than a year and a half ago, Massachusetts is late to the game. However, the state hopes to gain some ground and bring in some bettors who may have fled to those states for their needs.
SD 177 also outlines who would be able to get a license to offer Massachusetts sports betting. The two full-service casinos in Massachusetts, Encore Boston Harbor as well as MGM Springfield, plus the Plainridge Park racino operated by Penn National would all be in line. So, Barstool Sportsbook, WynnBET, as well as BetMGM would all be guaranteed licenses.
Horse racing tracks as well as off-track betting facilities would also be able to apply for licenses. Any new racetracks that hoped to receive a license would need to invest at least twenty five million dollars within a period of three years to qualify. Mobile-only sports betting operators are also encouraged and able to apply for licenses.
These licences would last for five years and have the offer to renew for a $1.25 million fee. As of this writing, there is no limit on licenses that can be issued through the state. Senator Crighton hopes the legislation could bring in seventy million dollars to the state even before a single bet is even wagered.
However a possible roadbump has arrived in the form of Representative Bradford Hill. Hill also has a sports betting proposal. And, this could impede the rollout of Massachusetts sports betting by a lot.
Hill’s proposal, HD 118 and HD 119, would create a special commission whose job it would be to thoroughly study online sports betting. This commission would consist of eight members, including appointees from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, leaders in the House and Senate in the state, and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.
This eight person commission would have to meet within thirty days of the passing of the bill. And, a recommendation from the commission on the sports betting legislation would need to be submitted within one hundred and twenty days of the passing of the bill.
Hill’s bill would also tax daily fantasy sports revenue at a rate of 15% in the state. And, it would require an application fee of 1.5% of the operator’s gross revenue from the year before or $100,000, whichever amounts to less. As of this writing, daily fantasy sports is legal in Massachusetts, however there is no tax structure currently in place.
We are not even a month in to the new year and already so much has happened on the legal sports betting front. So, even if your state does not currently have legal sports betting at this time, that could change by the end of the year. Make sure to come back next week to see the most exciting happenings in sports betting news from the week before!
Written by Allie Nelson, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert. You can learn more about our author's expertise.
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