Dustin Gouker and the team at Legal Sports Report highlight some of the key US sports betting issues to look out for in the week ahead.
Sports betting in Ohio? The end of the year is usually a slow period for legislatures in the US. But one state where it’s not dead is Ohio, where lawmakers meet through the end of the year. That, in and of itself, doesn’t mean anything for a sports betting bill. But it is interesting to see a letter to the editor from a DraftKings executive calling on the state to take action. This could either mean 1. There’s some action behind the scenes or 2. DraftKings and others are trying to stir up some action. The last time we saw any movement was in the spring. Either way, Ohio has been a state that many believed would move on sports wagering this year, and there’s reason to believe it still could pass something before the calendar turns.
Will the NFL sign a US sports betting partner? The NFL is continuing to make noise in the gambling space. First, it signed a huge data deal with Sportradar. Then, it announced its first partnership with a bookmaker — albeit in Australia with TAB. It seems like it will tiptoe around the issue of having an “official” sports betting partner in the US. That’s despite the fact that it has already added Caesars Entertainment as an “official casino sponsor,” in a deal that Caesars likely hopes will help it sports betting brand in the US. While the NFL has certainly been progressive since the fall of the US sports wagering ban, don’t bank on a US sportsbook getting an official deal tomorrow. But someday — and with enough money involved — some sportsbook operator will gladly take that designation.
Good luck with that Congressional sports betting bill: Over at Legal Sports Report, we’re continually bearish on the prospects of Congress passing federal sports betting legislation, despite the insistence of some deep-pocketed sports leagues. Those prospects look even more immediately bleak when you learn that Mitt Romney appears to be one of the driving forces behind any draft legislation that is imminent. Why? Romney is one of the few Republicans taking any kind of stance against President Donald Trump, something that surfaced again following Romney’s comments on the Ukraine scandal. Threading the needle in Congress would be tough enough under the best of circumstances, but the Senate has not even taken up a bill that Trump won’t sign. Translation: Trump won’t sign a bill emanating from Romney’s office. The only real chance for Congress to act in the short term would be to dump sports betting into some sort of other must-pass legislation, but even that seems far-fetched at this point.