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Volume 26 No. 65
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Delaware Launching Sports Betting; Will It Provide Financial Boost?

Sports betting could help Delaware's casino industry, which has struggled in recent years

Delaware this afternoon "intends to launch the country's first full-scale sports betting operation outside of Nevada," according to Karl Baker of the Wilmington NEWS JOURNAL. Sports betting could be a "lifeline to Delaware's casino industry, which has struggled in recent years" ( 6/4). However, Dover Motorsports President & CEO Denis McGlynn said that any "financial boost from single game bets in the state will be marginal." Baker in a front-page piece notes it is a question that members of the state legislature "will be considering in the upcoming weeks" after Delaware launches the state's new sports betting system at its three casinos -- Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway. McGlynn, whose company owns Dover Downs and Harrington, said that "single game sports betting will be a 'big deal' for gamblers," but it "won't materially boost his company's profits, just like it doesn't for casinos in Las Vegas." He added that it is a "recipe that could hamper already weak finances at Dover Downs." McGlynn: "People need to manage their expectations on this" (Wilmington NEWS JOURNAL, 6/5).

CLOSE TO THE FINISH LINE: In N.Y., Josh Kosman notes New Jersey politicians yesterday "moved forward with identical sports-betting bills" that are "expected to pass the full Legislature on Thursday." New Jersey Assemblyman Ralph Caputo said that Gov. Phil Murphy will then "likely sign the bill a day or two later." Monmouth Park is then "expected to almost immediately open up for sports betting" in time for at least one NBA Finals game. Changes made yesterday "before voting included deciding not to license mobile sports betting for 30 days after sports betting begins at casinos or racetracks." New Jersey politicians added an amendment yesterday that will "require regulators to consult with the pro sports leagues and listen to suggestions" (N.Y. POST, 6/5). In Newark, Brent Johnson wrote yesterday's legislative session showed New Jersey lawmakers are "unwilling to give any revenue to professional sports leagues -- despite passionate pleas" from league officials and former MLBer Al Leiter. The legislation "does not include the so-called 'integrity fee.'" Officials from the NBA, MLB and PGA Tour told lawmakers during yesterday's hearing in Trenton that this measure "does not give them 'the tools' they need to protect their games." But lawmakers "remain steadfastly opposed." Caputo said, "The tool you're looking for is money. And that's not gonna happen. You might as well face reality" (, 6/4).

NEW YORK STATE OF MIND: In Albany, David Lombardo noted MLB made the case yesterday for New York to "cut them in on any potential sports gambling revenue." The league, along with the PGA and NBA, "wants to collect an 'integrity fee'" of .25% on any "future betting on their sports." MLB Senior VP/League Economics & Operations Morgan Sword, who was joined by MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, argued that the prof leagues are "due royalties because gambling would be based on their properties, leagues are assuming additional risks and there would be increased costs to ensure the fairness of the games." New York Gaming Association President & Exec Dir Michael Kane said that the "argument from the MLB and professional sports leagues about an 'integrity' fee are disingenuous." He said, "It's a smoke screen" (TIMESUNION,com, 6/4). Torre: "I'm not trying to lobby one side or another. I just want you to take care of our game." The AP's Chris Carola noted Torre is the second ex-Yankees manger in the past week to visit Albany after Joe Girardi visited last Wednesday to "talk to lawmakers on behalf of MLB." Torre took a "more cautious approach and seemed somewhat uncomfortable talking about something that has been strictly prohibited in his nearly 60 years affiliated with the major leagues." Torre said, "The fans trust us in baseball and I'd hate to jeopardize that. That's too important" (AP, 6/4).

PRICE IS TO HIGH: In Philadelphia, Ed Barkowitz notes Pennsylvania late last week "opened the process to allow existing casinos to file for the right to establish sports books." Through the weekend, "nobody had jumped, which isn’t surprising given the logistics involved -- and what state lawmakers are charging." William Hill U.S. CEO Joe Asher said that the company is "not making any similar deals in the Keystone State" because the law calls for a 36% "tax on operators’ revenue plus a one-time fee" of $10M (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/5).