March 2nd, 2021 Weekly Report
This week in legal sports betting, we have March Madness to look forward to in the very near future. And, we also have some states looking to ramp up legalization efforts in anticipation of March Madness betting. So, keep reading to see if your state had any legal sports betting news for the week!
States Looking to Make Moves: An Expansion to Virginia Sports Betting?
There are two bills on the way that could expand the recently launched VA sports betting market. And, these bills may need to make their way to the governor of the state in order to be enacted.
The two bills are HB 1847 as well as SB 1254 which eagle eyed VA sports bettors may recognize from earlier in the session. The two bills, one from Delegate Mark Sickles and one from State Senator Jeremy McPike seek to make the details more clear when enacting Virginia sports betting. It clarified things like which Virginia sports betting licences would count against a mobile-license limit as well as amateur sports betting in the state.
At the beginning of the session when the bills were introduced, the House ended up delaying the bills. It requested language that would promote minority participation in the process be added. After hearing from the Virginia Lotter, the Senate accepted the House version of the language in the bills, having previously rejected it.
On Friday, the House accepted the conference report for both pieces of legislation. The Senate accepted the conference report for both pieces on Saturday. Now, they both need signatures from the Senate President as well as the House Speaker before they head to Virginia state Governor Ralph Northam.
Both of the bills when enacted will create changes in Virginia sports betting. There is a cap currently in the state of Virginia of twelve mobile-only licenses. With the bills, mobile sports betting licenses for casinos will not count towards that cap.
The legislation that legalized Virginia sports betting last year did not make that language clear. It was also the intention for the legislation to allow for Olympic betting but that also was in contention due to the language. Now, it is being allowed by the Virginia Lottery. The new bills would also allow the Virginia Lottery the ability to approve new betting markets in the future so that new bills will not be needed again.
In addition for up to ten of the remaining mobile-only licenses currently available in Virginia, preferred consideration will be given to minority participation. This is due to the newly included language in the bills. The FanDuel Sportsbook was the first Virginia online sports betting site to launch legally in the state this year.
The official launch for legal sports betting in Virginia was January 21st, 2021. The DraftKings Sportsbook was the second online sports betting site to join the market not long after FanDuel.
On January 27th, 2021, BetRivers, William Hill, as well as BetMGM were all approved for sports betting in the state of Virginia. However, since that date, there has been no movement in the Virginia sports betting market. This is most likely due to the new bills needing to be addressed.
What’s Happening With DraftKings in Oregon?
DraftKings could be making moves to strengthen its hold in the Oregon sports betting market. On Friday, the Oregon Lottery heavily implied that the system currently in operation, the Oregon Scoreboard app, could be replaced by a system operated by DraftKings.
As things currently stand, there is already a connection between the Oregon Lottery and DraftKings. The Oregon Scoreboard app is currently run by the company SBtech, a company that was bought by DraftKings back in 2020. However, SBTech started its contract with the Oregon Lottery before being bought out by DraftKings.
DraftKings has indicated that it hopes to transfer its business to the SBTech platform. The Oregon Sportsbook app move could be a chance for DraftKings to test that transition in a single state to start. SBTech was not completely forthcoming about its deal with the state, however, leading to some criticism. As of right now, DraftKings currently runs a sports betting app in many other states where online sports betting is legal that has been tailored around that specific state.
Another criticism that has been launched by the Oregon sports betting community is the fact that the Oregon Lottery and DraftKings will virtually have a monopoly on sports betting in the state. However, in New Hampshire, which is a state that currently has a DraftKings state-sanction monopoly, sports betting has performed well. So, there could be less to be worried about in this instance.
A Possible Maryland Sports Betting Bill
There appears to be some positive momentum when it comes to legal Maryland sports betting this past week. However, the Maryland sports betting movement has not been without its criticisms. HB 940 has been presented by Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones to the Ways and Means Committee in the state’s government. The major goals of the legislation are to create a fair framework for legal sports betting, increase the funding for education, as well as to maximize the meaningful opportunities that would be presented for everyone.
This especially means minority-owned businesses, which has been praised for its push towards inclusivity. However, some local business owners are worried that they will be left out in the cold. In November, through a referendum, Maryland voters chose to approve Maryland sports betting. Now, the foundation for the launch needs to be laid.
Both gaming as well as non-gaming operators would be able to get retail licenses for Maryland sports betting according to HB 940. However, the way that mobile licenses would work would be different. As of now, there are thirteen retail licenses in all that are available in the state of Maryland.
There are eight Class A licenses that have been set aside for the six casinos and two racetrack operators in the state of Maryland. And, the remaining Class B licenses have been set aside for a bidding process set to take place in the state. However, when it comes to mobile licenses, there are only ten and they are all up for a bidding process.
The Maryland State Fair has been critical of the proposed framework as it has not been guaranteed a license in this process. In addition, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs minor league baseball team wants both a retail as well as a mobile sports betting license. However, this may be a hard feat given the limited number of licenses available.
Through HB 940, A Class A license in Maryland would cost casinos and tracks a $250,000 application fee. Plus, they would also have a $50,000 annual license fee. The Class B licenses in the state would cost a $50,000 application fee as well as a $10,000 fee annually for the license. Mobile operators would need to pay a $500,000 application fee as well as a $100,000 annual license fee in order to operate in the state.
In addition, every license recipient would have to pay a renewal fee for their license every five years. The fee is equal to 1% of each operator’s average annual total sports betting revenue for the last five years. The tax rate for retail and online sports betting revenue would be 15% and mobile operators would have an escalator. Additional revenue over $5 million for a mobile sportsbook would be taxed at a rate of 17.5%.
Colorado Sports Betting Hits a Record High
The state of Colorado has seen a new record high in the month of January in its sports betting market. This means it has been nine months in a row where Colorado sports betting has seen record gains. Colorado sports bettors placed $326.9 million worth of bets in the month of January in the state.
As a result, sports betting revenue in the state of Colorado rose to $23.1 million, another record number. 97% of the betting that took place in the state took place online, equal to over $319 million. There are only three locations for retail wagering in the state and they are located in the Rocky Mountains in remote towns, so the market in CO is mainly mobile.
That means that gross gaming revenue from the online handle was around $22.7 million. Even so, the retail sportsbook bets rose from December’s $4.1 million to $7.5 million in January.
Many may be surprised to find that $11.8 million of those bets were placed on table tennis. Table tennis bets managed to top hockey bets, even though the Colorado Avalanche had been favored to win the Stanley Cup. Basketball and NFL football betting managed to top table tennis betting however.
Table tennis trailed basketball and the NFL, and surpassed hockey despite the Colorado Avalanche being among the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Parlays brought in $53.3 million in bets.
Colorado sports betting launched in the state in May 2020. The state saw $1.2 billion in wagers placed last year in 2020. December 2020 was the most lucrative month in sports betting, reporting $284.5 in bets. So, it seems that Colorado sports betting could be set to top the amount of wagers placed in its first year before this year is out.
As you can see, many states are looking to expand their sports betting programs statewide. And, there are some states that are still looking to enact legal sports betting legislation. But, as time goes on, sports betting has become more of a viable option to bring in revenue to many states. Check back next week for more news about the legal sports betting market in the United States.
Written by Allie Nelson, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert. You can learn more about our author's expertise.