SportsHandle: the week that was in US sports betting

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

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

New York Times Wildly Misses The Mark On Sports Betting Story

Oh, those rapscallions at The New York Times, spending a year of their lives working on a giant sports betting investigation that reads like a treatment for a Martin Scorsese film starring Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci.

I mean, the headline alone on Sunday’s main story, “Cigars, Booze, Money: How a Lobbying Blitz Made Sports Betting Ubiquitous,” is ready for the marquee. (Seriously: You’re not going to fork over $14 for the matinee of Cigars, Booze, Money? Liar! Anyway …)

Listen: Sports betting ain’t tiddlywinks, we all know that, nothing to see here. We all know there are dangers and pitfalls, we all know big money is involved, we all know not everyone — or more likely, anyone — involved in the business is in it for altruistic purposes.

But to think the sportsbook operators are alone here, as the NYT investigation would lead you to believe, is laughable. This could’ve been an awesome takedown of the lobbying industry as a whole, but instead, it used the way lobbying is done in this country to sully the good (enough) name of sports betting.

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Live Blog: Regulated Mobile Sports Wagering Goes Live In Maryland

Marylanders’ long wait for mobile sports betting ended Wednesday morning, when sportsbook operators launched in the state beginning at 9 a.m. ET. Maryland voters legalized sports betting in November 2020, and retail sportsbooks went live in Maryland in December 2021. With the majority of bettors using mobile options, Wednesday is a monumental day in Maryland sports wagering history.

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Questions Remain As DraftKings Customers Recover Funds From Third-Party Breach

One day after reports surfaced that DraftKings customers lost thousands of dollars in an apparent third-party breach over the weekend, the prominent sports betting operator made efforts Tuesday to contain the fallout.

DraftKings confirmed Monday that numerous bettors had aspects of their customer accounts compromised by irregular activity on third-party sites on the internet. The online hacks led to the unauthorized withdrawal of thousands of dollars in customer funds over a short period.

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What Will FTX’s Crash Mean For Crypto In Sports Betting?

Is this the end of crypto?

The Economist published that headline in the wake of the recent collapse of FTX, one of the world’s largest and most highly publicized cryptocurrency exchanges.

“Never before has crypto looked so criminal, wasteful, and useless,” the magazine observed.

But looks can be deceiving.

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Entain Debuts Esports Mental Health Campaign For High-Schoolers

While esports has yet to live up to its billing as the next big thing in American sports betting, it is undeniably popular among the nation’s youth. And during the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the interactive gaming that esports offers provided a critical social lifeline to many kids whose face-to-face engagement with peers was severely limited.

Esports can also help kids improve their problem-solving and STEM skills. But there’s another side to this coin. As the Entain Foundation noted in a press release on Monday, “There has been an associated rise in gaming and mental health issues” among minors as esports has surged in popularity.

To address such negative byproducts, the Entain Foundation has teamed up with INTENTA to launch the #MindYourGame campaign in more than 450 high schools and esports clubs nationwide. The educational toolkit makes use of multimedia content to help student gamers prioritize their mental health, telling them how gaming can affect the brain, trumpeting the importance of finding a balance between gaming and other activities, and helping them manage in-game spending.

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Browns Venue Change Leaves Some Bettors Out In The Cold

It often pays to read the fine print. That was the lesson for sports bettors who got burned by last week’s change of venue in the Cleveland Browns’ game against the Buffalo Bills.

As a massive snowstorm bore down on the Buffalo region last week, bettors who tried to stay a step ahead of sportsbooks by playing amateur meteorologist kept hammering the under. The points total, which had opened at 47, was bet down to 41.5 within a couple of days, as sharp bettors wagered that the teams wouldn’t be able to move the ball in the snowy conditions. But on Thursday, the NFL pulled the rug out from under all those weather watchers, changing the venue to Detroit’s Ford Field, an indoor stadium.

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Philly Teams’ Success Helped Drive New Retail Betting Records

The 18 retail sportsbooks in Pennsylvania don’t get as much attention as the 14 online/mobile sites on which to place sports bets.

After all, the bets placed in person at 15 casinos and three off-track betting parlors represent only 8% of the overall wagering volume. These brick-and-mortar venues aren’t heavily promoted on television and social media the way the FanDuels and BetMGMs of the world are.

But the casino operators count on them to attract customers, create excitement within the property, and, yes, even raise a few dollars to help keep the bright lights on 24/7. The latest report from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board that showed record volume of $797.1 million in overall sports betting last month included $64.8 million in bets placed in person, generating $6.1 million in revenue for the casinos (compared to $65.1 million grossed by online sportsbooks).

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