SportsHandle: the week that was in US sports betting

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

Arizona Regulators Approve, Then Remove, Betting On 2024 Presidential Election

In what appeared to be a first for American sportsbooks, the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) approved wagering on the outcome of the 2024 United States presidential election, Max Hartgraves, a spokesperson for the ADG, confirmed to US Bets Wednesday morning.

And then an hour later, Hartgraves called back with some news.

“It was an error on our part adding that to the catalog,” Hartgraves said. “That is not a legal wager in the state and has actually been removed, and we’re working to make sure no wagers were accepted on the election.”

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Ontarians Wagered More Than $21 Billion (Canadian) On iGaming In 2022

Online gaming revenue soared in Ontario over the final three months of 2022, fueled by the first full quarter of regulated NFL single-game wagering involving the province’s commercial market.

During the third quarter of the 2022-23 fiscal year, Ontarians placed $11.5 billion (CAD) in iCasino, mobile sports betting, and online poker wagers, representing a 91% increase over the previous quarter. (As of Thursday afternoon, $1 CAD is equal to $0.75 USD.) Overall, Ontario bettors wagered more than $21.6 billion in the first nine months of legal online wagering in the province, a staggering figure for the calendar year. The handle does not include promotional wagers or bonuses, according to iGaming Ontario’s (iGO) Q3 Fiscal Year report released Thursday.

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New York Tribes Could Finally Get A Seat At The Mobile Sports Betting Table

Back in July of 2021, when New York leaders were hammering out the details of legalizing mobile sports betting in the country’s fourth-biggest state, a debate arose between pro-gambling legislators and then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The legislators, primarily state Sen. Joe Addabbo and Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow, chairmen of their bodies’ respective gaming committees, wanted the state to issue a large number of licenses to ensure the process would be fair and inclusive. Cuomo wanted to limit its scope, wary of opposition, while maintaining one of the highest tax rates on such activities in the nation to ensure a robust tax haul for the state.

Cuomo initially wanted to issue just four licenses, but the legislators were able to push the eventual number to nine, where it has stood since, along with a 51% tax on gross gaming revenue (GGR), highest in the nation.

One group that got left out when legal, regulated sports betting launched on Jan. 8, 2022, in New York: the state’s Native American tribes, which had been active in New York gambling for more than 25 years. Pretlow and Addabbo had a series of meetings with leaders of the Mohawk, Oneida, and Seneca tribes at the time, as there were concerns as the process moved along that they weren’t being given proper access to what could prove a golden goose.

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Can A Derivative Of Magic Mushrooms Help Cure Gambling Addiction?

They call it the “rat casino,” but in this case, it’s not a rundown gambling parlor in Atlantic City or some blighted corner of downtown Las Vegas.

It’s a perfectly respectable laboratory in the psychology department at Miami University in Ohio. The researchers there are working to develop a drug to treat gambling addiction. But how, exactly, do you get rats to simulate the behavior of a desperate gambler pushing the button over and over again on a slot machine?

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MGC Approves Last Batch Of Rules Ahead Of Tuesday Retail Launch

With big smiles and plenty of enthusiastic words, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Thursday morning approved the final set of rules needed for three casino sportsbooks to launch retail wagering next Tuesday.

Brick-and-mortar sportsbooks at Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park all previously received initial approval to become the first entities to take wagers in the Bay State, and all have plans to take bets Tuesday.

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Suing BetMGM From Prison? In Eddie Antar’s Family, That’s Not Crazy

Sam A. Antar is a gambling addict. This is not especially unusual in America, nor is it particularly uncommon for the most extreme of these gamblers to resort to stealing from loved ones, casual acquaintances, or business associates to feed their addictions.

Nearly 10 years ago, Antar was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for taking $225,000 from an investor and using it to gamble. A stint in the slammer did not curb his appetite for risk, however. In 2019, Antar was charged with theft by deception in New Jersey for another fraudulent investment scheme, one in which he stole nearly $800,000 to fuel his gambling habit and pay for various personal expenses. His behavior in this instance prompted a companion civil complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

While the civil complaint has yet to be resolved, Antar eventually pled guilty to one of the 2019 criminal charges. As he awaited sentencing, he continued to gamble, doing much of his wagering through BetMGM’s online casino. According to court records, Antar claims to have wagered at least $29 million between May 2019 and January 2020, feverishly placing at least 100,000 online bets at up to $5,000 per bet, as well as visiting Atlantic City’s Borgata casino more than 30 times to gamble in person during that months-long span.

This experience led to Antar filing a civil suit of his own against BetMGM and Borgata, among other defendants, accusing them of fraud, negligence, breach of contract, violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, and numerous violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Specific to BetMGM, Antar — described in his own lawsuit as “a compulsive and vulnerable gambler” — claims the online casino would disconnect him “every 15 to 30 minutes” when he would get a favorable hand in blackjack or other games, thus nullifying any potential winnings.

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Pro Poker Player Gets 12 Months Probation For Running Illegal Poker Room

Professional poker player Joshua Thatcher was recently sentenced to 12 months probation following his guilty plea to a felony for his role in operating an illegal poker room in 2021.

As part of Thatcher’s plea deal admitting involvement in gambling operations, the 42-year-old forfeited all seized items to the state of Michigan, including $13,050 in cash, six poker tables, and money held in bank accounts connected to 906 Poker Social, which was located in Marquette.

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New Jersey Sports Bettor Warns Others: Stay Away From Sportsbooks Unless They Change

Sportsbooks limiting winning — and, sometimes, losing — bettors is a topic that has been discussed plenty in New Jersey and the rest of the legal sports betting world.

But as with most things in this industry, it has remained a mostly insular issue. 

That may be changing, however, as evidenced by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission discussing the topic — one the commissioners admit they know little about, but are interested in learning.

Another place where this may be changing is in mainstream media. And look no further than Plainsboro’s Aaron Ernst for proof.

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