NASCAR Plans to Implement Sports Betting Regulations in 2019

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According to Steve Phelps, the NASCAR president, the series plans to implement guidelines in the rulebook on sports wagering next year. This announcement came in the past weekend when Dover International Speedway opened its on-site sports betting kiosk during the past weekend thus becoming the only track that allowed sports gambling on its property.

As it stands, NASCAR even allows it drivers and team members to bet on the race, something that certainly represents an interesting dynamic but is likely to change in one way or the other when the sports betting regulations are implemented in 2019.

“I think for 2019, we’ll have some rules that we’ll put in place,” Phelps commented on Sunday at Dover. “For right now, there’ll be betting here. They have a kiosk here, you can bet inside. We’ll study and see how that goes, but I think we’ll have some rules in place for sponsorship, for what betting looks like, and continue to see what happens in the landscape overall.”

The on-site sports betting kiosk at Dover International Speedway opened at 9 a.m. with a modest line NASCAR and gambling fans forming to find out more about the new offering and to hopefully cash in – most of the questions that were raised were about the NASCAR prop bets. More specifically, many of the bettors wanted to know it the stage cautions count toward the total number of cautions. As it turns, they do not – only the crash and debris cautions will count.

So far, everything seems to have picked up quite well for NASCAR, the state of Delaware as well as sports betting and horse racing at Dover. In fact, according to the general manager and senior director horse racing and sports betting at Dover Downs, John Hensley, more prop bets were offered in the last weekend when compared to what had been recorded for the average race.

New Hope for NASCAR?

NASCAR is hoping to rejuvenate the sport in the wake of the May U.S. Supreme Court ruling that abolished PASPA and lifted the federal ban on sports betting. Promoters at a number of NASCAR tracks across the country are hopeful that with legal sports wagering, NASCAR will be able to keep its declining fan base by giving them more reason to stick around. The idea is also to attract new fans who will then be given a reason to invest both emotionally and financially (through such things as bets) in the budding careers of future NASCAR stars such as Bubba Wallace, Ryan Blaney, and Austin Dillon.

Chris Powell, the president of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, considers legal betting on NASCAR activities as “manna from heaven,”:

“It very well could be a shot in the arm to NASCAR, and other forms of motorsports, because it could add a new element of excitement – whether it’s wagering on who’s going to win, or who’ll win the first segment, or a one-on-one bet, just like in golf, where it might be Bubba Watson against Tiger Woods.”

As of now, a number of betting options, auto racing included, are being offered at Dover Downs and Dover International Speedway with the betting lines being supplied by renowned bookmaker William Hill.

Highlights of the Congressional Sports Betting Hearing

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Last Thursday, the US House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigation held the Post-PASPA: An Examination of Sports Betting in America hearing which was meant to ascertain whether there is the need for federal sports betting oversight since the existing regulations only require the oversight of individual states.

The hearing which is the very first of its kind since the US Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting, a move that gave the states the go-ahead to offer legal and regulated sports betting. Some of the attendees included:

  • Jocelyn Moore, Executive Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs of the NFL
  • Les Bernal, National Director of Stop Predatory Gambling
  • Sara Slane, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs of the American Gaming Association
  • Jon Bruning, Counselor for Coalition to Stop Online Gambling
  • Becky Harris, Chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board

As expected from most hearings involving lawmakers, the hearing turned out to be a fiasco especially because the lawmakers who were members of the committee were not well-informed about the sports betting industry or the gambling industry as a whole.

The NFL’s testimony, which was given by Jocelyn Moore, was one of the biggest highlights of the hearing particularly because it largely comprised of things that most of us have probably heard before. The league’s biggest concerns, as it turns out, was the integrity of the game and age restrictions, both of which are already being handled in one way or the other by the governments in the state where sports betting has been legalized.

While the awful Internet Gambling Act (2006) and the Wire Act (1961) were not very significant to the proceeding despite the fact the internet and mobile are important in sports betting regulation, the NFL and the Coalition to Stop Online Gambling made sure that everything revolved that topic.

Fortunately, the AGA’s Sara Slane stepped in to give the other side of the story saying:

“States and tribes have proven to be effective gaming regulators in the 26 years since Congress enacted PASPA. As Congress has refrained from regulating lotteries, slot machines, table games, and other gambling products, it should similarly refrain from engaging on sports wagering barring an identifiable problem that warrants federal attention.”

What Is Next?

Even though there is a consensus that a section of the members of the committee left thinking that there was something that had to be done at the federal level in as far as sports betting is concerned, the Thursday hearing was a purely informational one and there is no plan to create a federal framework for sports betting.

Moreover, there are currently no more meetings being planned so the NFL’s bet would probably be to follow in the footsteps of the NHL and NBA that are already inking partnership deals with sports betting and casino operators.


Athletes Push for Sports Betting in Connecticut Capitol

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With the United State Supreme Court ruling on sports betting looming, Connecticut is moving closer and closer to a legalized and regulated sports betting industry. It is now even more likely thanks to the backing that the efforts to legalize sports betting have received from professional sports leagues.

Case in point, on Tuesday, two big-time major professional league sports stars brought their star power to the Connecticut capital to push for the legalization of sports betting. Former New York Mets and New York Yankees star Al Leiter and Boston Celtics legend Cedric Maxwell met with the state’s lawmakers in a bid to sway them to support sports betting.

Cedric Maxwell argued that Connecticut has an upper hand when it comes to sports betting simply because the casinos are already there. This claim has been confirmed by Major League Baseball’s senior vice president Morgan Sword who pointed out that Connecticut’s legislature is way ahead of the curve when compared to other states as far as sports betting is concerned.

“We think Connecticut has a real chance to pass a state-of-the-art statute here that could act as a model for other states,’’ Sword commented. “We’ve been very impressed with the level of expertise that these guys have on this issue.’’

Both Leiter and Maxwell expressed confidence in their beliefs that sports betting will be beneficial to basketball, baseball, as well as other sports so long as it is regulated.

“Assuming that the Supreme Court makes sports betting legal everywhere outside of Las Vegas, there’s going to be potential issues,’’ Leiter said. “I don’t know how it’s actually going to play out — whether brick and mortar or existing casinos or online. The more you broaden that, there’s got to be some regulation and some people watching to make sure that everything is done properly and maintain the integrity of the respective sport. … There has to be some oversight.’’

But That’s Not All

Despite the input by the sports stars, the state’s politics will be the major influencer of the final decision. Last week, Joe Aresimowicz, the House Speaker said that it was very unlikely that the legislation would be passed before the current legislative period ends. According to the speaker, the casino expansion and sports betting issues in the state are complex issues that require comprehensive strategies before they are enacted.

“There are just so many moving parts,” Aresimowicz said at a briefing. “We need to figure out what’s best for Connecticut.”

Kansas Sports Betting Bill Calls for Integrity Fee

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Professional sports leagues might just get what they want after all with the introduction of a sports betting bill in the state of Kansas that called for the inclusion of an integrity fee. The bill which was brought forward by the Committee on Federal and State Affairs of Kansas is the third sports betting-related bill to be introduced in the state.

Introduced on March 22, the bill will allow the Kansas Lottery to sports betting to players over the age of 21. This will be limited to the lottery’s facilities and will be through contracted lottery retailers, its web platform and mobile platforms as well as through an interactive and dedicated sports betting platform. This still depends on how the United States Supreme Court will rule on the petition regarding the federal ban on betting.

S.B. 455, the bill, gives the Gaming Commission the final say on the types of wagers and game restrictions. Kansas lawmakers, however, will be expecting no less than a 6.75 percent cut from the sports betting operators. They went further to take note of sports betting legislative developments in New York and have thus decided to include the pro sports leagues’ integrity fee as one of the requirements of the bill. The sports betting right and integrity fee was set at 0.25 percent of the handle but the lawmakers capped it at 5 percent of the sports betting revenue.

“All revenues from sports wagering conducted by the Kansas lottery shall be remitted to the state treasurer and deposited in the lottery operating fund in according with K.S.A 7408711, and amendments thereto,” one of the S.B. 455 provisions read.

While many gambling operators are eagerly waiting for the Supreme Court ruling, a number of stakeholders and interested parties are anticipating that the federal ban on sports betting will be lifted. The professional sports leagues are by far the most vocal – the Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) have been lobbying for the inclusion of an integrity fee in state sports betting regulations. According to the leagues, this fee will serve as an insurance to the “risks”  that sports betting will bring to their brands.

March Madness Elevates Focus on Sports Betting in the U.S

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The 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, commonly referred to as “March Madness”, kicked off last week with 68 teams going against each other in a single-elimination tournament that is stretched over three weeks and will culminate in the crowning of 2018’s NCAA champion. As usual, this means brackets, office pools and, of course, lots of betting – both legal and illegal. In fact, according to the American Gaming Association, $10 billion will be wagered during the three-week tournament with most of it being illegal since sports betting is not yet legal in most of the United States.

March Madness has also been one of the annual events that attract extra attention towards the need for the legalization of sports betting in the United States – the numbers are so good that states want a piece of the pool so that they can tax it. Experts consider illegal gambling to be untapped revenue that the states are missing out on.

Fortunately, this year the context of the efforts to legalize sports betting has shifted thanks to a petition filed by the state of New Jersey seeking for the legalization of nation-wide sports betting. The final ruling is to be delivered by the United States Supreme Court and this could be as soon as April.

Over a dozen states, West Virginia and New York included, have proposed laws to legalize sports betting and the only obstacle to the new development is the 1992 law that confines sports betting mostly to Nevada. Keeping this in mind, the American Gaming Association issued its annual estimate regarding March Madness betting where it arrived at the $10 billion estimate. Of this entire amount, only $300 million or thereabouts is expected to come from legal sports betting in Nevada sports books. Evidently, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling will play a pivotal role in creating a revolutionized gambling atmosphere for all the interested parties. Luckily for everyone, the wait is almost over.

Pro Sports Leagues Prepare For Legal Betting Ahead of Ruling

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Across the states of Arizona and Florida, professional baseball teams are getting ready for the inevitable surprises of a 162-game season. Players and coaches often use spring training so as to limit unknown variables and this year Major League Baseball is following suit.

By mid-season, baseball fans in some states might finally be able to place legal bets on baseball games and as such, Major League Baseball (MLB) officials are well aware that they cannot afford to wait till then to get things planned out. The league’s preparations have already begun with players from each and every team being given “enhanced education” this spring on sports betting. The same goes for both coaches and umpires.

The United States Supreme Court is expected to deliver a ruling that will certainly have a huge impact on sports gambling in the country. The most anticipated culmination would be the abolishment of the 25-year old federal law that outlawed sports betting in all but one state, Nevada. The other states have always had the liberty of allowing or prohibiting fans from wagering on sports but – not many have legalized sports betting and this is what makes the prospects of legalized sports betting so exciting to fans.

“We’re realistic that sports betting in all likelihood is going to expand in the United States,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said on a conference call with reporters a week ago.

All the four major United States sport professional sports leagues have been buckling up in preparation for the ruling. In fact, some are even eager about what the new world could bring after the court’s decision. Furthermore, they have all been, to varying extents, offering their players some education that includes analytics that monitors betting data. In addition to this, the league have been working tirelessly towards researching the best possible partnerships and business opportunities that will definitely open up new revenue streams.

Leagues Push for a Cut of Sportsbetting Revenue May Deter It

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While sports betting in all other parts of the United States outside the state of Nevada is on the verge of being legalized, there are a couple of new developments that are likely to affect the process in a rather negative way.

According to Twitter’s vice president of Analytics, Jeff Ma, even as the major sports leagues like the National Football League and the National Basketball Association become aware of the multibillion-dollar opportunity that sports betting offers, their approach towards getting a piece of the will end up impeding the ability to lead gamblers away from illegal betting and offshore operators. Ma also said that the NBA, in particular, has proven to be “short-sighted” by requesting a 1 percent cut on all the bets placed on its games.

If you are unfamiliar with Jeff Ma you might be wondering what a Twitter VP has to do with online sports betting. Well, Ma was once one of the leaders of the infamous MIT blackjack team which inspired the movie 21 and a book titled Bringing Down the House. He is a renowned expert in the gambling industry and has an incredible understanding of how the professional sports leagues work or operate – he even once served as a consultant for the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and the NFL’s Francisco 49ers.

“Traditionally, a lot of the leagues are run by lawyers so they think about how do we protect our assets, they don’t think about how do we monetize our assets,” Ma said in an interview with CNBC during the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. “In this case, they are thinking protect and charge people money instead of focusing on the bigger opportunity down the road.”

In Ma’s opinion, a partnership between the professional sports leagues and the sports betting operators will definitely be a better alternative especially at the earlier stages of the industry’s growth after the ban on sports betting is lifted. He also pointed out that while the flat fee off the top that the leagues are advocating for could certainly be feasible in the long run, the market will need to grow significantly before that.

Iowa Sports Betting Bill Facing Opposition from NBA and MLB

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As it turns out, the state of Iowa has been preparing a House bill that is aimed at legalizing sports betting in case the U.S. Supreme Court lifts the nationwide ban on sportsbetting, but the Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Basketball League are not too happy about it. Both leagues have officially registered an opposing bill against the Iowa House bill.

However, it is more complicated than it seems – the leagues are not actually opposed to the state’s bid to legalize sports betting, per se. Apparently, the real problem is a provision of the bill that points to a proposed “integrity fee.” The integrity does not guarantee the leagues a piece of the profits that will be amassed from sports betting once it is legalized. According to the Iowa Gaming Association, while the leagues are not being forward about it, NBA and MLB are essentially demanding for major league sports fees.

Members of the Iowa casino industry have unanimously pointed out that the fees that the leagues are demanding is not only unrealistic but will also make sportsbooks unprofitable in the long run.

“It would kill sports betting in any state,” said Iowa Gaming Association president, Wes Ehrecke in an interview with a news outlet.

“It is unfortunate there wouldn’t be a good partnership with all the leagues because they will benefit from people watching games and betting on games,” Ehrecke told the news outlet. “But there certainly doesn’t need to be an integrity fee.”

Ehrecke further pointed out that in case the leagues are allowed to have the 1 percent fee that they are asking for, they would be walking away with about 20 percent or more of what is left after pot money is paid out. In addition to this, he also based his reasoning on the fact that 95 percent of the money wagered would be returned to the gamblers, and the remaining 5 percent is divided among the state, overhead expenses, federal taxes and a small share of the profits for the casinos and community groups.

Iowa’s sports gambling legislation is scheduled for consideration today (Wednesday, 7th )and if passed will establish a framework to legalize sports betting on college and professional sports which would then be regulated by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

Texas: Sports Betting Still a Long Shot Even If Ban Lifts

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There has been a lot of buzz pertaining to the legalization of sports betting in the United States but Texans are unlikely to reap any benefits from the much-awaited lift of the federal ban. So, if you are a resident of Texas and you were looking forward to plunking down some Super Bowl or Final Four wagers with legal bookies within your Texan locality in the near future, you might have to put your dreams on hold.

Even though the federal ban could be overturned by the United States Supreme Court as early as spring, observers are convinced that it will be very unlikely that Texas’ Governor Greg Abbott or the state’s legislature will take the opportunity to support the legalization of sports betting in the state – this is even after putting into consideration the huge economic impact that it would bring. To elaborate on this, financial experts estimate that a legal and regulated sports gambling market in Texas has the potential of boosting its economy by about $1.7 billion annually while at the same time creating over 9,300 jobs.

Critics of the bill argue that the legalization of sports gambling through the abolishment of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act will come with some inevitable negatives. These include the need for more social services such as counseling for people who will eventually develop gambling-related problems. Also, there will be the need for more government bureaucracy to oversee and regulate the gambling industry.

“The biggest base of opposition (to the expansion of legal gambling in Texas) is a moral one and comes from political conservatives — and they are a powerful constituency in the state right now,” said Jim Henson, the director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas. “So you have to look at the chances being pretty slim at this point.”

Currently, Texas has very strict anti-gambling laws that only allow for legal gambling in the state’s lottery. These laws further limit legal gambling in the state to some pari-mutuel wagering on horse and dog racing as well as social gambling such as charity bingo. Texas legislators have not been very welcoming to the idea of expanding these existing forms of gambling that they already have control of.

“I think a pretty good chunk of the (Texas) Senate and the House would be against legalized betting on sporting events,” said JoAnn Fleming, executive director of Grassroots America-We the People, a tea party-aligned organization that is usually perceived to be pulling the strings of conservative Texas lawmakers. “It would face an uphill battle.”

Is Sports Betting on the Verge of Going Mainstream?

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With several legislations being pushed for at the Supreme Court, we should soon expect sportsbetting to explode nationwide the same way casino gambling quickly bloomed after it was officially legalized in Atlantic City in 1978. Now, the eagerly awaited Supreme Court ruling on New Jersey’s proposed legislation should be upon us within the next few months into 2018. This is even more exciting because the gaming expansion bill that was recently passed says that in case the Supreme Court rules in favor of New Jersey’s sportsbetting bill, the state of Pennsylvania will also move to have sportsbetting legalized.

D-Beaver County’s Representative Robert Matzie is the biggest champion of the legislation to legalize sportsbetting even though it is dependent on the Supreme Court decision to overturn the ban. Matzie has always been of the opinion that the growth of online fantasy sports has been a core propellant of sportsbetting – it is nearly mainstream at the moment. In a memo to the legislators, Martzie pointed out that:

“Sports betting in the United States totals an estimated $400 billion per year, with only 1 percent taking place in legal form. Fantasy sports betting draws in an estimated 57 million participants. The reality is that not only has the perception of sports betting changed over the years, but the ways in which to participate in some form of sports betting has greatly increased.”

In Nevada, about $5 billion was wagered on sports in 2016 and in October this year, sports bettors wagered a record-breaking $517 million. Compared to the amounts that are speculated to be wagered in offshore online betting joints, these numbers are rather minute – if sportsbetting is legalized then all that revenue will be channeled back to various states.

However, major sports leagues have been very open about their disapproval of the bill as evidenced by the huge role they played in opposing the attempt to lift the ban on sportsbetting in New Jersey. This is likely to shift with the new federal legislation that is being pushed for by NBA’s Adam Silver – this would be a logical move since it now seems to be inevitable that sportsbetting will be legalized and the only way to go about it is to find a way of profiting from it. Gamblers enjoy a plethora of options most of which are illegal and by passing this bill, the lawmakers are hoping that sportsbetting will gravitate towards legal market instead hopefully within the shortest time possible.