February 23rd, 2021 Weekly Report
In legal sports betting news this week, we have seen movement in many states to explore the sports betting market. Many states are looking to find new ways to bring in revenue without having to raise taxes on their constituents. So, legal sports betting could be the answer for many of these states looking for a boost to their economy.
States Looking to Make Moves: How Close is Georgia Sports Betting?
Georgia sports betting has long faced an uphill battle in the state due to the voices that speak out against it. State Senator Jeff Mullis has introduced legislation in the form of SB 142 that would make Georgia sports betting legal. It would be operated through the lottery if the bill were to pass.
However, considering that sports betting proposal SB 403 came and went without much support last year, the odds are not high for this new legislation. The committee did not come out strongly in favor or opposed to the bill. But, there are lots of impassioned opponents to legal gambling in Georgia.
The state of Georgia would need a constitutional amendment in order to allow for sports betting and the expansion necessary of casino gambling. So, there is debate as to the legality of SB 142 as well as a House bill that is similar. An amendment to the constitution for the state of Georgia would need to be approved by a voter referendum which would not be able to occur until the 2022 election.
So, it is not looking very likely that we will see Georgia sports betting any time soon. The state may need to garner more support over a period of a few years, perhaps as other states see a boon through their own programs.
Barstool Sportsbook Makes Moves in New York
Penn National had some exciting developments this week when it was announced it gained market access to the state of New York. A two-way deal with Rush Street Interactive (RSI) also gave BetRivers a direct line to four new states.
The deal that was announced a few days ago gives Penn National second-skin access to both the New York iGaming and New York sports betting market. But, that is in anticipation of the passage of mobile legalization, which is not yet a shoe in.
Rush Street Interactive now has access to Maryland, Missouri as well as Ohio. It has second skin agreements which will last 20 years. And, Rush Street Interactive also receives the right of first offer for any potential skin rights in the state of Texas through Penn National.
The Senior Vice President of Penn interactive gaming, Jon Kaplowitz commented on the development. He indicated that New York state had long been a priority for the company.
But, it is important to remember that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is a supporter of a market run through the state lottery with a limited number of operators. However, there are multiple open market sports betting pieces of legislation that have been introduced to the New York state legislature.
Rush Street Interactive wanted access to those three states because of their close location to established markets in Pennsylvania and Illinois. Rush Street Interactive is hoping for betting marketing for their BetRivers brand. And, that can help them have even more promotions for their customers, new and returning.
However, it is unclear when those three states will be ready for Rush Street Interactive to open legal online gambling sites. Last year, legislation failed to pass in Ohio to legalize sports betting. The hope is that Ohio will be able to legalize sports betting this year.
And, Maryland voters via referendum approved sports betting last year, all that is left is for legislators to figure out the finer details. In addition, the state of Missouri is also a state that is looking likely to pass sports betting this year. However, there is a bit of debate about whether in-person registration should be included.
Plus, the future of sports betting in Texas is less certain. As there is a vocal opposition to sports betting in the state, things may take longer for Texas sports betting. However there are plenty of supporters who stand to benefit from the passage of sports betting in the state who are hopeful for sports betting in 2022 or sooner.
Virginia Sports Betting Seeks to Expand
Many in the sports betting industry as surprised to see that the debate about Virginia sports betting is back in the news. Legislation SB 1254 presented by state Senator Jeremy McPike as well as HB 1847 from Del. Mark Sickles both have the same end game. And, this is to expand the amount of approved operators in Virginia and to add even more betting markets in the state.
However, the different chambers of the legislature have their own priorities when it comes to the legislation. The debate that is stalling the bills is over an amendment around minority ownership for potential sports betting operators. Both pieces of legislature passed the opposite chamber after they had received substitutions. Yet, the pieces managed to fail unanimously in their own chambers when it came time to approve the substitutions.
Both bills are set to be discussed in the next coming days and face final passage in these days. The exact same situation occurred last year when the chambers were unable to settle on certain aspects of the potential Virginia sports betting law. And, both pieces of legislature are different in their handling of sports betting in the state.
The bill supported by Sickles HB 1847 received an amendment in the House that required priority consideration be given to sports betting applications that focus on minority ownership. However, it is not yet clear how the amendment would impact the already licensed sportsbook operators in the state if it were to pass.
But, it is clear that neither proposal would take things away from the sports bettors who have already begun sports betting in the state. After the sudden launching of the FanDuel sportsbook on January 21st, 2021, other sportsbooks have slowly been joining. As of this writing, there are only five Virginia online sportsbooks that are both licensed and launched.
Two of those already launched sportsbooks have mobile-only licenses and they are DraftKings Sportsbook as well as BetMGM. Agreements with professional teams do not have to worry about any license cap. So, FanDuel’s partnership with the Washington Football Team has not been impacted as a result.
However, the licenses for both William Hill as well as BetRivers do count towards the 12 mobile only licenses, which is the current cap. The new proposal would give the state of Virginia up to seventeen mobile sportsbooks even before any team partnerships would be considered. This would be 12 mobile-only operates as well as five mobile operators that would be tied to a casino license.
Plus, sports betting fans in the state of Virginia would have even more sporting events to bet on should the proposal pass. The request by the operators to allow sports bets to be placed on Olympic events was denied by the Virginia Lottery last year. Both current proposals would allow for Virginians to place their bets on the Olympics in the state. Plus, other international sporting events that could be considered amateur sports would be open for betting as well.
The bills also give the executive director of the Virginia Lottery the ability to authorize sports betting markets in the state. And, many assume this is because the state government in Virginia does not want to have to keep looking into the issue and addressing problems. So, should these proposals pass, Virginia could see some substantial growth in their sports betting market.
So, as you can see, quite a few states have seen some motion in their sports betting journeys. And, even though some states saw setbacks, the tide can change very easily with the right support. Keep checking back each week to see what has been happening in sports betting news!
Written by Allie Nelson, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert. You can learn more about our author's expertise.