NFL Wagering Season Kicks Off
With a successful rookie season under its belt, US sports betting is ready to put on a show in 2019.
Bettors in 13 states are now cashing tickets (or licking wounds) following the long-awaited start of the NFL campaign. That’s up from just five states a year ago, with New Jersey beginning to establish itself as the new US leader.
You have to imagine it was a good weekend for NJ sports betting revenue too, considering the Eagles, Giants, and Jets all failed to cover.
We reviewed the big NFL picture last week, running down the full list of states with legal sports betting. Let’s take it a step further heading into Week 2, digging into some of the storylines still developing as the season begins.
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New York sports betting still limited
New York is among that group of 13, but its industry remains limited to a handful of upstate brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. For the second consecutive year, lawmakers failed to expand NY sports betting provisions to include mobile wagering in 2019.
Thanks to the addition of Resorts World Catskills last week, all four commercial casinos now have their sportsbooks up and running. Local retirees Santana Moss, Larry Johnson, and John Starks were on-site to place inaugural bets on Thursday.
Resorts World sits about 60 miles north of New York City, and its retail operation relies on the duo of IGT and Betgenius. The property also has a deal with bet365 for online sports betting, should that ever become legal in the Land of Lady Liberty.
Until that happens, crossing the Hudson to use NJ sports betting apps still represents the most convenient option for most NY residents.
The best the state legislature could manage this year was to commission a study on mobile sports betting — a study that has yet to begin. Four companies submitted bids before the Aug. 12 deadline, but regulators have still haven’t announced a winner almost a month later.
Iowa sports betting almost full
It’s been less than a month since Iowa sports betting began, and the market is already filling in nicely. Sportsbooks are open for business at 14 of the state’s 19 commercial casinos, alongside the first two online/mobile options.
William Hill was ready to go on day one, joined shortly thereafter by Elite Sportsbook on the Bet.Works platform. More are on the way in the coming weeks and months, including both DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook.
The law does require bettors to initially visit a casino to register and unlock statewide mobile betting on the corresponding app.
Considering its quick trigger and the local interest, expect IA sports betting to be a sneaky-big market this year. The Hawkeye State is the only one that managed to launch online/mobile betting in tandem with brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.
Regulators are also working to approve the first wave of daily fantasy sports operators with some urgency.
Official league data for sale
Sports leagues are scrambling to acquire customers amid the expansion of sports betting. A handful of third-party companies control the collection and sale of official league data, including for the purposes of betting.
The NFL is one of several sports leagues that uses Sportradar as its liaison to the betting world, forging their partnership just a few weeks ago. Sportradar is attempting to charge sportsbooks 1.5% of net NFL revenue for the use of that data.
Previous reports indicate the NBA and MLB use the total amount wagered (or handle) as the cost basis for their data ask.
The PGA Tour is looking to capitalize on the rush too. The golf governing body recently announced an expanded deal with its partner, IMG Arena, giving it exclusivity over the “delivery of live, shot-by-shot match and event data.” Thanks to ShotLink, golf offers perhaps the richest and most-granular dataset in all of sports.
Illinois and Tennessee are the only states with laws that require operators to buy official data for in-play betting.
Sports betting tidbits
The industry is abuzz as the betting season gets under way, yielding plenty of extra morsels to round out this recap.
- Foreign exchange betting?: European operator Smarkets struck a deal with Full House Resorts to bring its traditional and exchange betting products to the US. The partnership most immediately gives Smarkets access to Indiana and potentially Colorado, should voters there approve a referendum this fall.
- TheScore gets funded: Canadian media outlet theScore is leaping into gambling with both feet. The company secured $40 million in funding from Fengate Asset Management, providing a big influx of cash just as it begins its US operations.
- Lil Rhody goes mobile: Bettors in Rhode Island no longer need to visit a Twin River casino to place their wagers. The state’s mobile platform debuted last week, about four months after lawmakers made it possible and 48 hours before Antonio Brown became a New England Patriot.
- It’s the feds: Remember that federal sports betting bill that tried to surface last year? It’s back. According to some reports, Senators Chuck Schumer and Mitt Romney are working on a bipartisan draft.
We need to go do our research for Monday Night Football, so we’ll leave it right there for now. Have a good week, ladies and gents. Bet smart, get lucky, and take gambling advice from sports media personalities with all the salt.
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