Election season is in full swing.
And while the all-important race for the presidency obviously overshadows all else, several states could be in the home stretch of legalizing sports betting in November.
To boot, several others could work up some bill proposals to accomplish the same feat. It’s grind season for lawmakers in that regard.
First, though, we check in on a state that seemingly always leads headlines.
On to the Rewind:
Illinois extends online sports betting registration
The life of Illinois online sports betting registration has been extended by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
Toward the tail end of the week, Pritzker announced an extension of the mobile registration period, thus suspending the state’s requirement for an in-person visit to a casino to complete the sign-up process until at least Oct. 17.
Such a decision was somewhat expected, as Illinois continues to attempt to recoup gaming losses stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, the state’s five online sportsbooks continue to benefit.
Of course, this also helps Illinois as it attempts to curb rising COVID-19 cases. The state’s seven-day average of coronavirus-related deaths has increased month to month. Doing away with the in-person requirement, even if temporary, allows prospective bettors to avoid high-traffic areas and limit the spread.
Pritzker’s announcement also, in a way, reflects Illinois’ sports betting industry. In July, nearly 93% of the $51.4 million wagered came via mobile sportsbooks.
No doubt that percentage will increase, especially since Illinois has seen its list of online operators grow from just one sportsbook (BetRivers) to five platforms (adding DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, PointsBet and William Hill) during that time.
Ohio sports betting on the way?
Legalizing sports betting in Ohio appears to be on a fast(er) track.
As Sen. John Eklund told PlayOhio, lawmakers will not have enough time to pass legislation prior to the fall election. But he expects the legislature to convene during the lame-duck session in mid-November to broach the topic.
Eklund expressed optimism for bill H 194 to get referred to the committee prior to the election.
Key points in the proposal include naming the Casino Control Commission as the industry regulator as opposed to the Lottery Commission as suggested by the House. Sports betting would be taxed at an 8% rate, and the bill would allow each casino and racino to own up to three skins. Also, there is no mandate for official league data.
While all looks good, Eklund noted that this is simply a starting point for Senate discussion. Some of the details could certainly change.
Eklund emphasized that work still remains to reach the finish line, but there’s much agreement among lawmakers that a bill will pass soon.
ESPN dives headlong into sports betting waters
The Worldwide Leader is dipping its toes further into the sports betting world.
ESPN announced separate multiyear agreements with Caesars Entertainment and DraftKings. Each deal includes exclusive link integrations across ESPN’s digital platforms that would guide customers to DraftKings Sportsbook and Caesars Sportsbook.
Caesars already stood as the exclusive odds provider for ESPN, and DraftKings previously held the title of exclusive daily fantasy sports provider. These agreements will expand those relationships.
Mike Morrison, vice president of business development and innovation for ESPN, called these moves a collective milestone for the network “to diversify our exposure and deepen our commitment in the sports betting space.”
In addition, Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill will become a sponsor of ESPN’s fantasy games. DraftKings, meanwhile, “will power integrations across all ESPN content,” according to a press release, “beginning with daily fantasy sports segments on ESPN’s premier studio shows.”