Connecticut Ushers in Brave New Era of Legal Sports Wagering
FanDuel and DraftKings made history by throwing open the doors to their shiny new retail sportsbooks in Connecticut on Thursday. Gov. Ned Lamont visited the FanDuel Sportsbook at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville to place the state’s first legal sports bet. He wagered $50 on WNBA team Connecticut Sun to cover the point spread against the Chicago Sky in a game taking place later that evening. Lamont then visited the Rainmaker Casino at Foxwoods to check out the new DraftKings Sportsbook that has launched there.
It came four months after Lamont signed HB6451 into law, setting the stage for legal sports betting and online casino gaming in Connecticut. The state issued three master licenses – one to the Mohegan Tribe; one to the Mashantucket Pequot, which runs Foxwoods; and the other to the state-run Connecticut Lottery. The Lottery will have 15 different retail sports betting outlets across the state, making it the predominant land-based player in Connecticut.
Each license holder is allowed to host one online sportsbook. The Mohegan tied up a deal with FanDuel and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation gave its skin to DraftKings. The Lottery invited bidders for its skin, and eventually opted for Rush Street Interactive (RSI) after it promised to hand over at least 50% of all net revenue to the Lottery. RSI controls the BetRivers brand, but it decided to go with PlaySugarHouse – which is a popular brand in New Jersey and Pennsylvania – for its Connecticut operations.
Online sports betting can begin on Friday, October 8. All three online sportsbooks are expected to go live on that date. No other online sportsbooks will be able to launch in Connecticut, so that trio will not face any competition from established players such as BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, PointsBet or Unibet. Online sports wagering is not permitted in neighboring states New York and Massachusetts, so the operators in Connecticut could benefit from people crossing the state lines and using their apps.
New Hampshire and Rhode Island Release August Revenue Figures
Connecticut has launched legal sports betting at an opportune moment, with the dog days of summer behind us. Fellow New England states New Hampshire and Rhode Island have just released their sports betting figures for August, and they do not paint a pretty picture. The sports betting handle in New Hampshire slumped to its lowest sum since August 2020, with just $36.3 million wagered on sports. It was 1.1% down compared to July, marking the fifth consecutive month in which the handle dropped. Revenue also decreased for the third straight month, slipping to $1.6 million. Most of it came from online sports betting, as retail books held a mere $95,892.
It was a similar story in Rhode Island, where sports betting revenue fell to its lowest monthly total in a year. It was the slowest month for the state’s sportsbooks since July 2020, with revenue of $1.1 million. The handle was $24 million, according to the state report, which is actually an 8.6% increase on the previous month. The NFL season is now underway, so the figures are likely to spike significantly when the next reports are released.
Colorado Sports Wagering Handle Increases
Baseball betting drove a 16.8% month-on-month handle increase in Colorado during August. The state’s sportsbooks took $211.9 million over the course of the month, according to the state report, up from $181.3 million in July. Revenue dipped by 3% to $15.2 million as bettors made savvier wagering decisions.
Baseball wagers reached $69.6 million, accounting for almost a third of all sports bets placed during the month. However, the hold was just 3.6%. Sportsbooks took just $13.6 million on pro football, but held 22.8%, highlighting the pitfalls of betting on preseason games. Tennis, soccer, basketball, table tennis and golf were the next most popular sports.
Louisiana Sports Betting Launch Pushed Back by Two Weeks
Louisiana is expected to be the next state to roll out its legal sports betting industry. The goal was to launch on October 1, but it had to be delayed by two weeks as a result of the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida. Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns said he is “moving quickly to get licenses approved”. “I’m not going to step out and give a time frame, because I don’t want to create a false expectation,” Johns added. “We really want to get this moving and operational as quickly as possible.”
The state will start by rolling out retail sportsbooks. Twenty sports wagering licenses will be handed out to Louisiana’s casinos and racetracks. They can each launch a retail book, and then host two online sportsbooks apiece at a later date. That means there could be a total of 40 online sportsbooks in the state. Johns said online sports wagering will not be rolled out for at least two months in Louisiana.
Endeavor Purchases Scientific Games’ Sports Betting Business
California-based Endeavor Group Holdings has purchased Scientific Games’ sports betting platform, OpenBet, for $1.2 billion. It will pay $1 billion in cash and issue $200 million worth of stock to Scientific Games’ shareholders to complete the deal. The OpenBet engine powers more than 470 sportsbooks across the globe, including FanDuel, BetMGM, DraftKings, Caesars Sportsbook, Betfred, Golden Nugget Sportsbook and WynnBET in the United States. Endeavor will also take on Scientific Games’ DonBest, SportCast and trading services operations. It has 1,000 team members around the world.
The transaction is expected to go through in Q2 2022. “OpenBet marks a strategic addition to our sports betting portfolio as we look to round out our technology and product offering for sportsbook operators and sports brands worldwide,” remarked Ariel Emanuel, chief executive of Endeavor, which owns WWE, UFC and IMG. “The combination of OpenBet and our IMG Arena business will enable us to expand our footprint across the entire sports betting value chain and further capitalize on the tremendous upside we see coming from this fast-growing global industry.”