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

Inside Look At Three Referendums That Could Legalize Sports Betting In Maryland, Louisiana And South Dakota

On National Voter Registration Day and with the presidential election just six weeks away, it seems an apt time to take a look at legal sports betting referendums that will appear on the ballot in three states. It’s a potential windfall for sports betting, and somewhat unusual — previously, only two states had legalized sports betting via referendum — Colorado and Arkansas. Californians will have a chance to vote on sports betting, but not until 2022 via a referendum put forth by the state’s tribes.

On Nov. 3, voters in LouisianaMaryland and South Dakota will have a chance to vote “yes” or “no” to bringing legal sports betting to their states – in some capacity. Because of COVID-19-shortened legislative sessions, voters in Louisiana and Maryland will literally be voting only on whether or not to legalize — not according to a certain framework. Lawmakers in both states simplified their ballot initiatives in haste with the idea that if voters say “yes,” they would hammer out details during the 2021 session. In South Dakota, the decision will be more narrow, as voters will decide if sports betting can be added to the menu of gaming options in the tourist hub of Deadwood only.

Full story here.

Michigan Gaming Board holds public hearing, shares revisions on mobile betting draft rules

With five minutes left in a three-hour public hearing in which only two members of the public had spoken, Michigan Gaming Control Board Deputy Director David Murley, who was facilitating the mostly silent meeting, hadn’t lost his sense of humor.

“Still time to call in and say long-time listener, first-time caller, here’s what I think about the rules,” Murley chuckled into the void. Although much of Wednesday’s board hearing resembled the classroom scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, with Murley cast as the homeroom teacher droning “Bueller?” over and over again while taking attendance, the open call for public comment was a required step in the state government’s rulemaking process.

The gaming board provided notice of the hearing last month, offering Michigan residents an opportunity to suggest changes to the draft rules for the implementation of regulated mobile sports gambling and iGaming in the Wolverine State. The hearing was held remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with interested parties invited to comment via Microsoft Teams videoconference or by phone. Concerns could also be emailed to the board by 5 p.m. Wednesday, one hour after the hearing adjourned.

From here, the final rules will be reviewed and certified by the Michigan Legislative Council’s Joint Committee on Rules, a panel consisting of five state senators and five representatives, before the anticipated launch of online wagering by late November. Lawmakers passed twin laws in December 2019 to legalize sports betting and internet gambling.

Full story here.

Illinois Gaming Board Releases First Sports Betting Revenue Reports

The Illinois Gaming Board released its first set of sports betting revenue reports Tuesday since going live in March, and the biggest takeaway was the impact of Executive Order 2020-41 in which Gov. JB Pritzker suspended the legally mandated in-person registration provision required for mobile sports wagering in June.

According to the reports, the combined handles in Illinois for March, June, and July — there were no wagers placed in April and May due to COVID-19 restrictions during which all 10 casinos across the state were shuttered and no mobile sports betting was available — totaled nearly $60 million with only Rivers Casino in Des Plaines and Argosy Casino Alton accepting wagers in that time frame.

Full story here.


Early betting figures from Penn National Gaming’s new Barstool Sportsbook app show its potential for claiming sizable online market share in a state dominated by FanDuel and DraftKings.

In an SEC filing Thursday accompanying Penn National’s new offering of 14 million shares of common stock, the company reported an $11 million digital handle for its Barstool Sportsbook in the four days from its official public launch on Friday through Monday.

Penn National said the betting total came as a result of 30,000 downloads by bettors in Pennsylvania over those four days. Its filing stated that an additional 5,000 downloads took place during a three-day, invitation-only test period last week.

Full story here.


The Tennessee sports betting market is expected to begin next month, potentially with four online/mobile sportsbooks launching on the same dayTN Bets has learned that a fifth company has applied to be a sports gaming operator in the state.

BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Tennessee Action 24/7 have all completed applications and are currently being vetted for potential licensure in the coming weeks. The fifth sports betting company hasn’t been made public, as its application isn’t yet complete.

Full story here.

BetMGM Taps Jamie Foxx To Headline ‘The King Of Sportsbooks’ Campaign

BetMGM jumped for a big splash in promoting its sports betting and online gaming platform, turning to Oscar and GRAMMY Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx to be the face of its new advertising campaign.

Foxx and BetMGM are combining for “The King Of Sportsbooks” ad campaign in conjunction with creative agency 72andSunny New York. The campaign is highlighted by a 60-second video ad that features Foxx explaining the rush of sports betting, walking on the water in the Fountains of Bellagio while sports video clips are played among the fountains’ sprays.

Full story here.


With all of the hype surrounding the launch of Penn National Gaming’s Barstool Sportsbook betting app over the weekend, there was one thing missing.

TV ads.

Watching any NFL game Sunday or on Monday night, you were almost certain to see one or more commercials for DraftKings and FanDuel, and possibly others among the 10 online sportsbooks now legally operating in Pennsylvania.

But Barstool, which went into official, permanent operation with much fanfare Friday, after a three-day test period? Nada.

It’s part of a rare marketing strategy by Penn National at a time when the ad wars between DraftKings and FanDuel have been heating up once again in state after newly legalized state as well as nationally, similar to how their ubiquitous advertising for fantasy sports drew so much scrutiny — and criticism as excessive — in 2015.

Full story here.