PlayUSA Rewind: Big Deal Signals The Beginning Of Florida Sports Betting

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on August 11, 2021 - Last Updated on December 20, 2021

What a weekend for Florida sports betting.

There is a lot to unpack in this week’s PlayUSA Rewind, so let’s dive right in.

This week, the Seminole Tribe wins big in Florida, Penn National makes a $2 billion purchase, and fixed-odds wagering is coming to New Jersey.

For even more coverage, be sure and follow @VisitPlayUSA | @reporternickg | @brantjames for all the latest insights.

On the rewind:

Is Florida sports betting a done deal?

The Department of the Interior chose to take no action on the new compact between Florida and the Seminole Tribe.

In a letter to the tribe Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Bryan Newland wrote:

“Should the Secretary take no action within the 45-day timeframe, the compact is “considered to have been approved” but only “to the extent that the compact is consistent with the provisions of IGRA.”

To put this in simpler terms, as of right now, FL sports betting has officially become a reality. But you cant start placing bets on the Miami Dolphins just yet.

Experts anticipate several lawsuits to begin popping up around the state from various parties left out of the sports betting compact. Right now, betting can only happen on tribal land and through technology associated with Hard Rock. This means companies like DraftKings and FanDuel are on the outside looking in.

The takeaway: This deal has massive implications both in Florida and elsewhere in the US. While other tribal casinos are making deals to share sports betting with other operators in their respective states, the Seminole Tribe, as of now, will not be sharing a penny.

Penn National buys Score Media for massive sum

Penn National Gaming reeled in a big whale last week with its acquisition of Score Media.

The deal values Score at roughly $2 billion, making this a monster of acquisition but an important one to note. Penn reported $2.3 billion in cash and equivalents as of June 30. Penn will use roughly $1 billion in cash from its balance sheet for the purchase, in addition to $1 billion worth of its own stock.

Jay Snowden, president and CEO of Penn, had this to say:

“We are thrilled to be acquiring theScore, which is the number one sports app in Canada and the third most popular sports app in all of North America.  theScore’s unique media platform and modern, state-of-the art technology is a powerful complement to the reach of Barstool Sports and its popular personalities and content.”

The deal is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2022.

The takeaway: This purchase is important for two reasons. The first, theScore Bet, is set to launch in Ontario when sports betting in Canada launches. This will allow Penn to see its big acquisition in action before its integration into the Penn network. Secondly, bringing tech in-house will save Penn about $90 million.

North Carolina sports betting still in the works

Last we heard, NC sports betting was taking a back seat. However, it appears the bill, SB 688, is alive and gaining steam.

The bill, which would legalize mobile sports betting, advanced through the Senate Finance Committee and now awaits a hearing in the Judiciary Committee.

Bill sponsor, Sen. Jim Perry, told Legal Sports Report, there is no deadline to pass the bill, and it could easily take till 2022.

To be clear, legal sports betting already exists in North Carolina. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians offers retail sports betting, which began in March 2021. 

The takeaway: This piece of legislation will create 10 mobile licenses and impose an 8% tax on betting revenue. It will also allow venues with a capacity of more than 17,000 to offer sports betting. This includes the homes of the Carolina Hurricanes, Charlotte Hornets, and Carolina Panthers. 

New Jersey to offer fixed-odds betting

Fixed-odds wagering on horse racing is coming to New Jersey after Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill authorizing the practice.

Monmouth Park signed a 10-year deal with BetMakers, an Australian firm, to run its new fixed-odds business. For those unaware, fixed odds are used in traditional sportsbooks. When a bettor locks in a bet at 5/1 odds, they are guaranteed that payout should the bet win.

Pari-mutuel wagering, on the other hand, allows odds to fluctuate up until the race ends.

The takeaway: This is a monumental shift for horse racing in New Jersey. The state was at the forefront of legalized sports betting, and now it aims to be the first to offer fixed-odds at racetracks in the US.

Market Teasers

Power moves are being made in this week’s Market Teasers segment. Both Penn National Gaming and DraftKings spent big money to increase their footprint in the gaming industry.

Penn National Gaming, Inc.

$PENN | $71.06 | -0.78% change

DraftKings Inc.

$DKNG | $51.63 | 0.13% change

  • DKNG notched a pair of wins this week. First, the company is one step closer to building a sportsbook at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Second, its recent acquisition of Golden Nugget Online Gaming catapults it to the top of the list of influential betting operators in the US.

** Market Teasers is not financial advice, nor am I a financial advisor. All figures were taken on August 9 at market close.

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Remember to follow @VisitPlayUSA | @reporternickg | @brantjames for even more insights.

Photo by Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago and Washington, D.C., writing about politics, financial markets, and sports betting. He graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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