Get A Grip: The Week In Sports Betting: Connecticut, Georgia, Much More

It’s information overload everywhere, and there’s not time enough to sleep and eat and stay fully apprised of what’s happening on this crazy blue dot of ours (two out of three ain’t bad). Here’s the weekend (or fashionably late) Sports Handle item, “Get a Grip,” recapping the week’s top US sports betting stories, highlighting some fresh news, and rounding up key stories. Also check out this week’s Wild World of Gambling at US Bets.

More conversation, possible action in Connecticut

The push to legalize sports betting in Connecticut continued this week — as did the inability for the state and its two tribes to come to an agreement. During a three-plus hour hearing on Tuesday, the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes reiterated their position that they have the exclusive rights to sports wagering, and that the system created by a pact dating to the 1990s works just fine, thank you.

“This is a government-to-government discussion between the two tribes and your governor in a process, quite frankly, that you set up,” Mohegan Chief of Staff Chuck Bunnell said, according to the Connecticut Times. “We are pretty clear that no one new should come into this market. It’s an excellent arrangement that’s working and we should protect the relationship that employs thousands of people.”

Bunnell’s Mashantucket Pequot counterpart Rodney Butler said negotiations with Gov. Ned Lamont’s office are “at the one-yard line, and we just have to punch it in.”

Lawmakers say negotiations with the tribes are moving in a positive direction, and Lamont offered up this vignette, according to the CT Times, “The tribes have been great partners for the state of Connecticut going back 25-plus years. I have no doubt we’re going to get this deal done. … Knock on wood.”

The question all along has been when.

Georgia lawmakers going hard for gaming

Senator Ron Stephens this week filed the second in what is expected to be a trio of gaming bills, this one sending the decision about whether or not to allow brick-and-mortar casinos to the voters. Stephens’ latest offering follows SB 86, which would legalize sports betting. That bill has been sent to the House Economic Development and Tourism committee. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, while the casino bill would require voter approval, legal sports wagering would not. Stephens is also expected to file a referendum bill that would legalize horse racing. The Georgia legislature remains in session until April 2.

Mobile in Mississippi?

Lawmakers have filed a trio of bills that would expand Mississippi sports betting to allow for statewide mobile. Similar legislation was introduced last year, but didn’t advance. All three bills allow for one “skin” per casino and require the platforms to be tethered to existing casinos. Rep. Jay McKnight’s HB 1402 and Sen. Philip Moran’s SB 2732 both allow for remote registration, meaning patrons can open and fund accounts via mobile device or computer. A third bill was filed by Sen. Scott Delano. SB 2396 is a slimmer version of the other two, though it does not appear to allow for remote registration.

Mississippi was the third state to go live with sports betting after PASPA fell in 2018, and the only one to limit wagering to brick-and-mortar locations. In 2020, Mississippi’s northern neighbor, Tennessee became the first state go live with mobile platforms, but without and retail or physical locations. The Mississippi legislature is in session until April 4. All three bills have been sent to the gaming committees in their respective chambers.

Next up in Tennessee

Churchill Downs (TwinSpires), William Hill, and WynnBET were all approved for sports wagering in Tennessee Friday morning, during a Sports Wagering Committee meeting. It appears that none of the approved operators will be able to launch ahead of the Super Bowl, due to outside issues, including the Christmas bombing in Nashville.

Four operators — BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Tennessee Action 24/7 all launched on Nov. 1, 2020, and remain active in the state. The committee also approved 10 vendors and suppliers, some that work with the approved operators. Also in Tennessee this week, the Lottery released its December sports betting numbers, and bettors wagered $180.9 million, for a year-to-date total of about $312 million in wagers.

Even more legislative happenings

And three revenue reports released

More important, interesting stories this week

NOW LIVE IN VIRGINIA: DraftKings, BetMGM, BetRivers follow FanDuel. [Sports Handle]

NOW PLAYING: Google announces policy shift, will allow real-money wagering app downloads in Play Store beginning March 1. [US Bets]

WOLVES OF WALL STREET: Jeff Edelstein on the GameStop fiasco. [Sports Handle]

BIG DONATION: CEO scores big on GameStop bet, then donates to Barstool Fund. [Newsweek]

PRIMATES IN MANY STATES: Bally’s to buy DFS player Monkey Knife Fight. [US Bets]

FUNDING ROUND: DFS company PrizePicks announces new capital. [WFMZ]

INTO THE WILD: The Athletic has partnered up with BetMGM in sports betting [Athletic]

ABOUT FACE: New CEO says Sands considering sports betting, iGaming. [CDCGaming]

TOP ROPE: Ex-NBA ref Tim Donaghy debuts on Major League Wrestling. [SI]

WHERE’D THEY GO? Stories of NFL players who opted out. [ESPN]

COOL PROPS: Indiana approves bevy of Super Bowl prop bets. [HSB]

HERE WE GO AGAIN: Another MLB labor fight coming? [WSJ]

EDUCATION: Epic, Entain partner to help NCAA athletes deal with sports betting pressure. [Sportico]

Have a good weekend, all!

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