THIS WEEK IN SPORTS BETTING

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August 20th, 2021 Weekly Report

This week in legal sports bettingNorth Carolina’s Senate passed their sports betting bill on to the House for consideration, Connecticut and Maryland won’t go live with betting by the NFL season, and Betway continues their expansion both in the US and Canada.

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CONTENTS

NORTH CAROLINA SENATE ADVANCES SPORTS BETTING BILL

North Carolina is having an easier time advancing their sports betting bill than many predicted.

After making it through two committees (a hard push for many sports betting bills), North Carolina’s SB 688 is on its way to the House for approval. This was surprising to some, who expected the conservative state to push back on a so-called ‘“vice” bill. However, NC historically has a passion for sports, and the forward movement of SB 688 is another good indicator that the legislature is ready to pass some form of legal sports betting package.

Whether or not that will happen this year is unclear, but as we’re already halfway to September, it’s likely that a passed bill will still take some time to regulate.

Typically, once a bill is passed and approved by the governor, the next step is for the state’s gaming commission to establish rules and, finally, offer licenses to interested and eligible applicants. As the NC General Assembly technically adjourned in July and is now in special session, it’s more likely than not that the package will not move forward much further.

Even if the House does agree on the bill and move it to the governor’s desk, it will still be up to the gaming commission to set rules and start offering licenses. Again, it’s a bit late in the year to do that, but hopefully NC can put pedal to the metal and finalize licenses to issue them in time for the NFL season.

CONNECTICUT, MARYLAND TO MISS EXPECTED LAUNCH DATE OF SPORTS BETTING

Two states that seemed to have good momentum with launching live and legal sports betting will not actually accomplish that goal this year. Diving into the specifics:

Connecticut seemed to be moving forward at a good pace with their sports betting bill, and expected to be able to offer bets by the 2021 NFL season. However, the approval from the US Department of the Interior is still pending, which means that offering in-person sports betting by the time NFL season rolls around will be next to impossible.

When a state has to amend its tribal compacts, those changes must be approved by the federal government (US Dept. of the Interior - Bureau of Indian Affairs) before passing into law. Essentially, states will file the amendments with the DOI, and if approved, those amendments will be published in the so-called “Federal Register”, making them official.

That still hasn’t happened in Connecticut, and the start of the NFL season is less than 3 weeks away. Therefore, we’re not likely to see these changes happen in time. Another complicating factor is that the state government itself has not approved online sports betting yet. Online betting is the real moneymaker; solely offering in-person bets has proven to not be as lucrative as a full, competitive online market.

Maryland is experiencing a similar problem. Their optimistic, minority- and women-focused bill would be one of the most competitive in the country. However, they’re not going to get off the ground with their sports betting package this year.

Governor Hogan signed off on Maryland’s sports betting package in May of 2021 after one of the most discussed and ambitious bills we’ve seen was pushed through the legislature. That momentum, however, has been stalled, and the governor himself has stated in no uncertain terms that Maryland is unlikely to see sports betting go live by fall of 2021. To quote Governor Larry Hogan:

”I pressed (the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency) pretty hard about making sure we get it done at least by the end of football season when all the betting takes place, really- in the playoffs and the Super Bowl (...) they said it’s just impossible to get it done by the start of football season.”

Things remain uncertain, but we’re hoping to see established operators and the MLGCA get a move on to start offering bets sometime during the NFL season. However, a cautious realism is important here: if the MLGCA is able to offer licenses to entities already named in Maryland’s Sport Wagering Law soon, then we might see bets go live, but perhaps it’s best not to hold your breath hoping to bet on early-season NFL games in Maryland this year.

BETWAY CONTINUES US, CANADA EXPANSION

Betway is a well-known commodity in sports betting across the pond, as the service has been offered in some form since 2006. It continues to be one of the UK’s favorite apps for betting on horse racing, sports, and more.

Now, Betway is on the warpath, having recently expanded in South Africa, Tanzania, and France. The service is also extending partnerships with German footballers VfB Stuttgart, and most importantly, establishing itself in states with legal betting here in the US. The company boasts its presence in over 23 jurisdictions and has a strong user base contributing to their over $40 billion dollar handle.

Since June 2021, Betway has been expanding its services to several states, including New JerseyColoradoIndiana, and Pennsylvania. New Jersey in particular started the process of soft launching this week, offering sports betting for a few limited hours on select days before going for their full open.

Betway also expects to release their platform in Iowa pretty soon- they’ve already listed it as a pending state on their website. In a recent merger with Sports Entertainment Acquisition Corporation, Betway’s parent company Super Group is making all the effort to corner as many thriving sports betting markets in the US as they can. As Betway moves its way through the Americas, it’s certain that they’re going to make an impact: they’re already one of the larger and more diverse sports betting companies in the world.

Written by Chris Altman, our US Sports Betting Industry expert. You can learn more about our author’s expertise here.

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