SportsHandle and friends deliver another round-up of the week’s big developments in US sports betting.

Betting On The Bayou? Louisiana Lawmakers Move Sports Betting

Louisiana lawmakers have been down this road before. In 2018, lawmakers sent the decision to legalize daily fantasy sports to the voters. Eighteen months later, Louisianans still can’t play. And legal sports wagering may be headed in the same direction.

A Senate committee approved three amended sports betting bills, at least two of which will now go to the Finance Committee. But legal sports betting could, well, run into the same issue as daily fantasy — the bills call for a referendum and do not include a tax rate.

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Virginia Lottery Rolls Out Aggressive Sports Betting Timeline

When Virginia lawmakers drafted sports betting legislation, they included an aggressive deadline: Have regulations completed by Sept. 15. Two weeks after that legislation became law, the Virginia Lottery posted a timeline that could translate into wagering by the end of the year.

The new timeline calls for a public-comment period on proposed regulations in July-August, rules approved by Sept. 15, and operator applications made available by the end of September. The lottery then has 90 days to approve applications, meaning the first legal sports bet in the state could be placed in late December.

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At Least Five Brick-And-Mortar Casinos In U.S. Reopened As Of Wednesday

While online casinos are booming, their retail counterparts are starting to reopen.

As of Wednesday, five casinos nationwide will have resumed some form of gambling. The American Gaming Association has a website devoted to tracking the reopenings.

Some consider it a risky move amid the pandemic, but properties are taking precautions that include masks, extensive cleaning, six feet of separation, and even infrared temperature checks.

Whether the properties will close again in the near future is unfortunately unclear, as some reports indicate that the worst of the COVID-19 virus is yet to come. Time will tell.

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Coronavirus Pandemic Slams Brakes On Sports Betting M&A Activity, But Advisors Remain Confident In Long Game

The frenetic pace of dealmaking in the nascent U.S. legal sports betting market has predictably slowed during the spread of COVID-19, dampening the mergers-and-acquisitions environment across the industry as several proposed mega-mergers near completion.

As numerous pro sports leagues consider the resumption of their respective seasons, the topic generated a lively discussion April 30 during the SBC Digital Summit, one of the year’s largest online gaming conferences. Despite unprecedented challenges presented by coronavirus concerns, Flutter Entertainment plc completed a $12.2 billion merger with The Stars Group May 5, creating the largest online gaming company in the world. The business combination brings numerous sports betting companies together under the same roof, including FanDuel and FOX Bet on the U.S. side.

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The Sports Betting World Will Be Watching As UFC 249 Sets A Potential Blueprint

In the short term, the UFC’s pay-per-view event this Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla., acts as the proverbial Band-Aid on a gunshot wound for sports fans and sports bettors. For a few hours on a weekend evening, hardcore MMA fans, casual MMA fans, and anyone who likes to wager on sports involving athletes they’ve heard of will find comfort in the scratching of an itch — one that hasn’t been scratched in about eight weeks.

That will pass by the early morning hours on Sunday, after lightweights Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje have exited the Octagon.

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