Weekly sports betting news roundup: From eSports to Arizona, progress continues

Jay Dieffenbach

No state outside of Nevada has more quickly embraced the sports-betting industry than New Jersey, and it’s continuing to find ways to expand revenue opportunities.

Twenty years ago, can you imagine wagering on someone else’s video game talents?

It’s commonplace now, with eSports championships filling arenas – not too mention the free time of millions.

Now, New Jersey is pioneering the progress in formally welcoming wagering on these events such as League of Legends, CS:GO (Counter Strike: Global Offensive) and more.

The legislation, bill A637, saw unanimous state Senate support last week and clarifies “sporting event” to bring aboard eSports on the betting menu. The Garden State now will provide for limited wagers on eSports.

Among restrictions:

  • The eSports teams have to roster their majority of players aged 18 and up.
  • Bets are capped at $100 and a payout of up to $500.

The specifics are easily adjusted depending on the success of this venture.

Canada: It’s officially official now. The puck soon drops on single-event sports betting

The long-awaited final approval for the country’s launch of sports betting is here.

Last Wednesday, the bill ending the federal ban on single-event sports betting in Canada received Royal Assent.

“I am pleased to welcome the Royal Assent of Private Member’s Bill C-218, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sports betting), which will bring the common practice of single event sport betting into a legal, regulated and safe environment, while strengthening our economy and supporting well-paying jobs for Canadians,” David Lametti, Canada’s attorney general, said in a statement.

Next up, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will designate a date officially implementing the betting amendment.

Lametti said the talks can now move forward with details including how to incorporate the First Nations indigenous tribes.

“The Government of Canada is currently engaging with provinces and territories and with Indigenous nations, communities and organizations that have expressed an interest in discussing how gambling is regulated in Canada to better understand and respond to calls for greater opportunities for Indigenous Peoples to participate in the conduct and regulation of gaming in Canada,” he said.

Several provinces have had plans in place anticipating the bill’s passage. Lottery sites could begin offering sports-betting on Trudeau’s effective date.

A closer look at Canada’s plans (via Legal Sports Report)

  • Ontario is planning a “competitive and regulated market,” that could launch by the end of the year, according to David Phillips, the COO of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
  • British Columbia Lottery Commission: Set to expand PlayNow.com on the effective date set by Trudeau, the British Columbia Lottery Corp. tweeted Wednesday.
  • Alberta: Adding to Play Alberta lottery site this year. A retail model with online component is possible as well, CGA President and CEO Paul Burns said.
  • Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority holds rights for online sports betting, according to Burns.

Wisconsin governor moves quickly to keep sports betting revenue within the state

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers can see the money from sports gambling as helping to lift surrounding states – as well as neighboring Canada – and is taking action to avoid being left out.

Evers last week signed a gaming deal with the Oneida Nation providing in-person-only retail sports betting at their tribal casinos.

“This is a historic day for our state and will serve as a major milestone for our state’s partnership with the Oneida nation for generations to come,” Evers told Action Network.

The governor likely doesn’t plan to stop there, however, and it would make sense for him to pursue statewide mobile wagering.

The Department of the Interior must sign off on the Oneida agreement, with a decision due to happen by the middle of August.

The agreements forbids wagering on in-state college teams such as the University of Wisconsin Badgers.

In addition to Canada legalizing single-game wagering, Michigan, Illinois and Iowa are outpacing the progress made in Wisconsin.

As much as Ohio wants sports gambling, the reality is that there are significant barriers in place

Cleveland’s Browns, Cavaliers and Indians; Cincinnati’s Bengals and Reds; and the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets await the next step in the sports-betting-legislation race.

Ohio’s lawmakers say that, despite hurdles that have temporarily stalled the momentum, sports betting will be back at the forefront and legislation will be passed this fall.

“Over the summer, we’re going to be working on that to try to finalize it so when we come back in September, that’s one of the first things we do,” Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp told reporters.

The sticky details including inclusivity, number of licenses to offer and revenue levels create an understandably skeptical outlook.

Arizona, on target for the start of NFL season, refining the rules and regulations

The cost of doing business in the Arizona sports-betting industry became more clear last week as the Arizona Department of Gaming decided that participating pro teams and tribes will need to write a check for $750,000 to secure a sportsbook license.

They also are due another $150,000 each year to maintain those licenses.

The Arizona Department of Gaming reported its most recent set of guidelines calls for sportsbooks to pay the state of Arizona 8 percent of their revenues from physical sportsbooks and 10 percent of revenues from mobile betting.

Industry estimates are for sports gambling in Arizona to attract $3 billion in wagers each year and $200 million in annual revenue.

Sports betting set to launch alongside NFL season kickoff

The new decisions are necessary as the final details are worked out in advance of a hoped-for Sept. 9 sports-betting launch in the Grand Canyon State.

The National Football League season kicks off that night.

The NBA’s Phoenix Suns and FanDuel have construction on their physical sportsbook within Phoenix Suns Arena; the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury announced a partnership with Bally’s Corporation last week that marked the first deal with a professional women's team; the PGA teamed with DraftKings for a future sportsbook at the TPC Scottsdale; and Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks joined forces with William Hill/Caesars for a sportsbook plan.

On Friday, WynnBet and the San Carlos Apache Tribe announced a partnership, with Arizona now WynnBet’s 16th U.S. state.

Wynn Resorts announced the partnership Friday morning. The access to the Arizona market is the 16th state in WynnBet‘s portfolio, though the deal remains contingent on the tribe receiving a license.

The tribe operates two casinos southeast of Phoenix: Apache Gold Casino and Apache Sky Casino.

The United Soccer League’s Phoenix Rising also is seeking information on its candidacy from the Department of Gaming.

Ten licenses go to pro sports teams and organizations; under discussion are 10 licenses to be split up among the more than Native American state tribes. According to the AGD, 15 tribes operate 24 casinos.

Six have slot-machine rights that they would be able to lease to casinos.

And, there are still 10 "limited" sportsbook licenses to be granted among horse tracks and off-track betting parlors.

The ADG is accepting comments through Wednesday.