PlayUSA Rewind: DraftKings, Nevada’s Record, & A New Tribal Sports Betting Bill

Posted on December 30, 2019 - Last Updated on February 19, 2020

We have hit the homestretch of 2019. A new year awaits.

It is a time to look ahead, to make resolutions, to leave the past in the past and move forward.

For some, however, simply putting 2019 in the rearview is not enough; they want to go out with a bang.

DraftKings’ merger makes waves

Turn back the clock to summer 2019, when Legal Sports Report caught wind of DraftKings standing on the threshold of a monumental deal.

Now, six months later, that deal has come to fruition.

The daily fantasy sports and sports betting power announced that it was entering into “a definitive business combination agreement” with betting technology provider SBTech and special purpose acquisition company Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp.

Diamond Eagle already operates as a publicly traded group. Under this deal, Diamond Eagle would take on the DraftKings’ name. As such, DraftKings will become a publicly traded company.

This merger creates the only vertically integrated sports betting and online gaming company in the United States. DraftKings Sportsbook is obviously a major player in the sports betting world with operations open in four states; SBTech has partnerships in five states. DraftKings currently leverages Kambi Group to develop its sports betting platform, but SBTech now provides the company with an in-house solution.

The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2020.

Nevada sports betting has a mammoth month

For those who thought the Nevada sports betting industry would take a hit because other states were coming online: Think again.

The Silver State took in $614.1 million in wagers during November. It was not only a state record for that specific month but also a state record for any month in Nevada and national legalized sports betting history.

In fact, in no other month prior has a state sports betting industry exceeded $600 million in handle. The previous best for Nevada was $596.8 million, set in March 2019.

This data shows that Nevada remains a heavy hitter amid the ever-expanding world of regulated sports betting. Boasting Las Vegas as a destination certainly helps, as does the existence of online wagering. That said, other states have instituted better and easier ways for users to sign up for betting apps.

That at least cracks the door open enough for New Jersey and Pennsylvania, each of which features an online market that accounts for more than 84% of their respective state handles.

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Congressman proposes tribal sports betting bill

As states continue to introduce and pass legislation legalizing sports betting, one Congressman has turned his focus toward Native American tribes.

Rep. Anthony Brindisi, from New York, has introduced bill HR 5502, which aims to “remove Federal barriers regarding the offering of mobile sports wagers on Indian lands when the applicable State and Indian Tribe have reached an agreement, and for other purposes.”

While not necessarily needed for tribes to offer online sports betting, it would help clear the air. For example, there is the belief that the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act mandates that mobile wagering could only occur via servers existing on tribal lands.

This new legislation, however, would help eliminate such confusion. Per the bill, a wager occurs entirely on tribal lands if:

  • The person placing the sports wager and the server or other computer equipment through which the sports wager is accepted is in the same state.
  • The applicable state and Indian tribe have entered into a tribal-state compact under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act authorizing the placing of sports wagers through interactive sports wagering platforms.

New York does not have online wagering available, although stakeholders remain persistent in correcting that; the state does feature retail sportsbooks run by tribes. Tribes also operate brick-and-mortars in OregonNew Mexico and Mississippi, and Michigan just legalized sports betting that would become available at 23 tribal casinos.

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Written by
Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf throughout his career.

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