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Sports Betting in the U.S.: Around the Horn

November 4, 2021

After looking at the news wires, it was an incredible week within the U.S. sports betting industry. The big news came in from California, Florida, Virginia, and Illinois. Let's get right to it.

What's Going on in California

Given the size of the population and the exposable wealth in California, major U.S. sports betting operators are licking their chops for a chance to provide sports betting services to Californians. The problem is no one can say for sure whether or not sports betting will see the light of day in the "Golden" state.

While talks have been ongoing for close to three years now, California's Indian Tribes are pushing back against the prospect of commercial sports and online casino gambling in the state. That's a problem for other gambling interests because of the hammer the Tribes wield within the state.

As of now, both sides of this issue are scrambling to get signatures for an initiative on the November 2022 ballot. On one side, commercial gambling interests are trying to grab some of the gambling power away from the Tribes by asking voters to say yes to an open approach to online gambling.

On the other side, the state's top Tribes have issued their own initiative that would give the Tribes exclusive rights to offering sports gambling to CA residents.

Things are Heating Up in Florida and Seminole Tribe Takes First Sports Bets

Based on approved legislation and a new Tribal compact signed with the state through Governor Ron Desantis, The Seminoles could have legally started taking sports bets in their casinos on October 15, 2021.

As other gambling interests throughout the state, including sports betting operators DraftKings and Fanduel, filed lawsuits against the Tribe's exclusive right to sports gambling in the state, it was thought the Tribe delayed taking bets because of the pending legislation. That is clearly not the case as the Seminoles quietly started taking bets this week through its Hard Rock Sportsbook app.

As is the case in California, both sides of this issue are scrambling to get initiatives on next year's election ballot. The Tribe wants to protect its current exclusive rights while agreeing to pay the state at least $2.5 billion over the next five years.

On the other side, sports betting interests want an open-door policy that would allow for retail and online sports betting through the state's professional sports venues and pari-mutuel facilities with open access to online sports betting.

Each side has until Feb 1, 2022, to get 891,000+ signatures to get a ballot initiative. Stay tuned.

Virginia Adds Five More Top U.S. Bookmakers

Between January and October of 2021, Virginia sports betting operators reported over $2 billion in sports betting handle. That's a big number. Now, Virginia sports bettors will get a chance to bet through five to six more major bookmakers in the very near future.

In Illinois, sports bettors will no longer be required to for betting accounts in-person after March 5, 2022. The state legislature also approved wagering on in-state college teams.


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