Get A Grip: The Week In Sports Betting: Next Up In Tennessee, NH Handle, More

It’s information overload everywhere, and there’s not time enough to sleep and eat and stay fully apprised of what’s happening on this crazy blue dot of ours (two out of three ain’t bad). Here’s the weekend (or fashionably late) Sports Handle item, “Get a Grip,” recapping the week’s top U.S. sports betting stories, highlighting some fresh news, and rounding up key stories. Also check out this week’s Wide World of Gambling at US Bets

Tennessee working on next three

Tennessee Education Lottery President and CEO Rebecca Hargrove on Tuesday said the lottery is hoping to approve and launch the next set of sports betting applicants — Churchill Downs, Inc. (BetAmerica), William Hill, and WynnBet. The lottery on Nov. 1 launched BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Tennessee Action 24/7, and in the first eight days, the group took in $27 million in handle, resulting in $509,000 for the state in tax revenue.

Tennessee regulators are working to sort out how to interpret violations and fines spelled out in the state’s sports betting law. The Sports Wagering Advisory Council on Monday decided to appoint a subcommittee to explore the issue, with the idea that it would bring recommendations to lottery staff at a December meeting. At issue is how many times a fine can be imposed for repeated violations, how to count repeated violations, and whether the $25,000 fine mandated by the law will be enough to encourage operators to adhere to the 90% payout cap.

In other legislative and regulatory news this week, Ohio lawmakers held a hearing, but didn’t advance sports betting, and a Massachusetts budget amendment that would have legalized sports betting got shot down.

New Hampshire sports betting revenue soaring

The New Hampshire Lottery could be on its way to bringing in close to $10 million in tax revenue for FY 2021, if the first quarter is any indication. According to lottery financial reports, state sportsbooks wrote about $80 million in bets and the state got $2.2 million in tax revenue — or revenue share, as it’s called in the Granite State under an agreement with DraftKings. That revenue is for the time period of July-September, and doesn’t include October, the key month when all U.S. professional sports were playing simultaneously.

If the tax revenue seems high for a state as small as New Hampshire (population: 1.36 million), that’s because it is. The lottery signed an outsized deal with DraftKings, the state’s exclusive sports betting partner, to get 51% of gross gaming revenue. The deal gives DraftKings a strong foothold in a region it hopes to dominate — the company is based in neighboring Massachusetts.

“While it is difficult to make projections given the overall circumstances, the New Hampshire Lottery is anticipating sports betting will generate about $10 million in total net profits for education in Fiscal Year 2021, assuming the sports world remains active and we avoid another shutdown,” Maura McCann, director of marketing for New Hampshire Lottery, told the Concord Monitor.

For comparison, Colorado, which launched operators on May 1, has received about $500,000 in tax revenue on a 10% tax rate. Sportsbooks recorded handle of about $394 million July-September 2020. At 5.76 million, Colorado’s population is more than four times that of New Hampshire.

DraftKings went live in New Hampshire in late December, and has since also opened two retail sportsbooks.

Golden Nugget coming to Illinois

The Golden Nugget entered an agreement with Wilmot Gaming Friday to gain access to the online Illinois sports betting market through Danville, one of six state-approved sites for expanded gaming in 2019. The sites gained approval through a capital bill Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law that legalized sports wagering. The agreement also includes iGaming should it be legalized in the Prairie State.

The joint venture, called Danville Development, will be the second group to apply for a license in Danville. In July, the Illinois Gaming Board unanimously voted to withdraw the application submitted by Haven Gaming to allow Danville to submit a new applicant.

– Chris Altruda

More important, interesting stories this week

TEXAS: Could pandemic be enough to get Lone Star State to embrace gaming? [TexasTribune]

STILL GOING: Messenger-betting investigation into DraftKings still in progress. [SportsHandle]

DON’T BLAME CASINOS: For COVID-19 outbreaks, says N.J. Gov. Murphy. [PressofAtlanticCity]

GREAT DIVIDE: The difference in gaming handle between NY and NJ remains stunning. [NJOG]

PUSH TO LEGALIZE: Pats, Red Sox, FanDuel join DraftKings in appeal to MA lawmakers. [BostonGlobe]

LESSONS LEARNED: A look back at two years of legal sports betting in Pennsylvania. [PostGazette]

RECORD BREAKING: Pennsylvania casinos broke all kinds of records in October. [PennBets]

SHAREHOLDER APPROVAL: Shareholders approve Caesars’ $3.7 billion takeover of William Hill. [SportsHandle]

HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE? NOT SO MUCH: Oddsmakers adapt to stadiums without fans. [WSJ]

BROKEN BARRIER: Marlins’ hiring of Kim Ng should not be understated. [SouthChinaMoringPost]

BIG MONEY: Will U.S. break $3 million barrier for sports betting handle in October? [USBets]

MOVING TARGET: Michigan lawmaker hoping for Christmas, but early 2021 launch likely. [MiBets]

BIG DEAL: Don’t underestimate Bally’s latest acquisitions. [SportsHandle]

CANO SUSPENDED: Future HOFer’s career becoming a footnote after second drug ban. [NYT]

NO BOOZE?: How Washington, D.C. residents are trying to keep Handle19 sportsbook out. [WTOP]

UNDERRATED?: Rush Street’s SPAC may be an underrated sports betting play. [Yahoo!Finance]

RULES CHANGE: A Montana court: Alcohol license not needed to offer sports betting. [BillingsGazette]

Have a good weekend, folks.

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