Weekly News – 07/02/2021
THIS WEEK IN SPORTS BETTING
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July 2nd, 2021 Weekly Report
This week in legal sports betting, New Jersey gives eSports the OK, Canada’s single wager bill gets Royal Assent, becoming law, Maine bill might become law without Governor Mills’ signature, and Ohio lawmakers insist on a September start date for sports betting.
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- New Jersey Now Has Legal eSports
- Canada’s Bill Gets Royal Assent
- Maine’s LD 1352 Can Pass Without Governor
- September Deadline for Sports Betting in Ohio
NEW JERSEY NOW HAS LEGAL ESPORTS
eSports is becoming increasingly popular worldwide, and New Jersey is going to be among the first states to formally and explicitly allow betting on these events. eSports, if you’re unfamiliar, involves players competing in video games, often for a live audience. This growing pastime is only becoming more popular in the US, and now, New Jersey bettors can officially wager on games like League of Legends, CS:GO, and more.
The passed bill, A637, essentially redefines “sporting event” in NJ’s sports betting law to include wagering on eSports. Previously and traditionally, live event wagering was restricted to horse racing and professional and collegiate sports, but with A637, New Jersey will allow limited real-money wagers on eSports. This bill has been waiting in the wings for over a year, but received unanimous support from the NJ Senate this week and will become law.
Permitted wagers will be restricted to teams that have a majority of players 18 and older. Additionally, there will be a wager cap: a $100 maximum bet and a payout up to $500. This isn’t very attractive to operators, whom often make their money on bigger spending.
However, this is a sort of trial run for eSports betting in the US, and it’s expected that NJ lawmakers will change this wagering cap if the early stages go well. It’s entirely possible that New Jersey’s eSports betting will serve as a model for the rest of the country, encouraging more states to explicitly allow the practice.
CANADA’S BILL GETS ROYAL ASSENT, IS NOW LAW
C-218, Canada’s single event wagering amendment, is now law. After receiving Royal Assent from the Governor General, the bill, which quickly passed through Canada’s Parliament, will take effect according to a “come into force” date set by Trudeau’s cabinet.
Before C-218’s passage, bettors in Canada had access to wagering on sports, but only parlay betting: bets on 2 or more events which only pay out if all “legs” of the prediction are correct. Much of Canada’s legal gambling requires the game to be a “test of skill”, which is why every lottery ticket issued in the country has a simple math problem on the back which must be solved in order to cash in a winning ticket.
However, now that C-218 has passed, bettors in Canada can bet on events the same way as in the US, allowing for single wagers on outcomes. This will open the Canadian market to operators already offering the full scope of betting in the US, and we’re likely to see an expansion of this market in the Great White North.
The internet had a field day with the livestreamed vote, in particular Prime Minister Trudeau’s wide, toothy smile as he agreed to the bill being passed. Chatter and laughter is heard in the background as a beaming Trudeau gives his formal, albeit mostly ceremonial, blessing to the single wagering bill in Canada. Look forward to a whole host of new betting providers with years of experience to head north to Canada and start offering bets soon.
MAINE’S LD 1352 CAN PASS WITHOUT GOVERNOR
An interesting quirk of Maine’s lawmaking process may allow LD 1352, the proposed sports betting bill, to pass without the governor’s signature. Governor Janet Mills is famously opposed to the practice in the Granite State. In the other corner we have Senator Louis Luchin, who was the main proponent of LD 1352, provided it would allow for an open and competitive marketplace.
Earlier this year, lawmakers in Maine amended the text of LD 1352 in a bid to make it more attractive to Gov. Mills, but added the provision that Luchini most hoped against: LD 1352 will now require mobile operators to tether to an in-person casino. Luchini argues that this tethering requirement will not allow for new operators to enter the market, making it less competitive and less lucrative for the state. He even tried to kill the bill midway through the 2021 session, but both sides of the aisle pushed the bill ahead.
Even if Governor Mills doesn’t get to the bill, it still may pass into law: Maine’s constitution requires a bill to spend no more than 10 days on the governor’s desk. If no action is taken within 10 days, the bill becomes law. The clock is ticking.
LAWMAKERS PROMISE A SEPTEMBER DEADLINE FOR SPORTS BETTING IN OHIO
Ohio’s sports betting bill was making progress through the Senate and was ready for House discussion before House Speaker Bob Cupp pressed the pause button. SB 176 and its House-amended companion, HB 29, won’t get any further consideration this session, but lawmakers promise that sports betting will be considered and passed in September.
Whether or not their promise will ring true remains to be seen, but Cupp is optimistic, saying:
“Over the summer, we’re going to be working on that to try to finalize it so when we come back in September, that’s one of the first things we do”, Cupp told reporters. The skepticism creeps in when looking back to 2018, where lawmakers made a similar promise. There’s still a lot of contention in the Ohio Legislature with regards to inclusivity, how many licenses to offer, and more, so passing Ohio’s sports betting law by the end of 2021 will truly be a feat.
Written by Chris Altman, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert.
Chris Altman is a traveling writer and content expert with almost a decade of experience. In his spare time, he enjoys gardening, tinkering, and occasionally writes short stories about dogs and space. On a good day, you’ll find him slung over a laptop keyboard in whatever establishment has the best chicken wings.
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