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Volume 25 No. 26

Sports in Society

After signing sports betting legislation yesterday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy "plans to place the first bet Thursday morning at Monmouth Park," according to a front-page piece by David Danzis of the PRESS OF ATLANTIC CITY. Casinos and racetracks can "petition to operate a sports pool at a temporary facility during the construction" of such gambling lounges. Online sports betting "will be available in 30 days." In Atlantic City, there are "already signs that sports betting will be available to casino guests in the very near future." The Borgata is renaming its Racebook to the Race & Sports Book, and the Golden Nugget said that it "plans to offer sports betting at the casino and online by the start of the NFL season." Ocean Resort Casino will be "partnering with international sports book operator William Hill for a 7,500-square-foot lounge in the center of the casino floor." Meanwhile, Hard Rock Int'l Chair Jim Allen, whose company has a casino in Atlantic City, noted that Hard Rock's facility naming-rights deal for the Dolphins' venue contained “certain restrictions” related to sports betting (PRESS OF ATLANTIC CITY, 6/12).

READY FOR CASH INFLUX: In Philadelphia, Justine McDaniel notes Monmouth Park has "been ready to start betting for weeks," investing more than $1M in "outfitting the first floor with a sports-betting lounge." Other racetracks are "primed to open their books across the state, and Atlantic City officials have lauded the extra revenue it is expected to bring in at casinos" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/12). In New Jersey, Stephen Edelson notes Monmouth Park's piece of the sports betting pie "could be as much as" $20-24M annually (ASBURY PARK PRESS, 6/12). In Newark, Brent Johnson in a front-page piece notes sports betting is "expected to bolster the state's struggling casino and horse-racing industries and allow the state to reap millions annually in new tax revenue." The "one hurdle left" for the state is the New Jersey Racing Commission -- which grants sports betting licenses to tracks and is scheduled to meet tomorrow to "review emergency regulations." After that, Murphy "must ratify the decision and tracks can apply for a temporary waiver to begin accepting bets" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 6/12). 

NEXT UP: In N.Y., Glenn Blain notes state politicians sponsoring legislation that would "allow the state’s commercial casinos to offer expanded sports gaming -- including online platforms -- agreed to move forward with a unified bill." It "remained uncertain" whether the state legislature would "take up the measure before the Legislature ends its session for the year next week." Assembly Racing & Wagering Committee Chair Gary Pretlow said that a deal to move the legislation forward came after state Sen. John Bonancic "backed away from changes he was considering," which included a alteration of integrity fees paid to leagues. Bonacic previously said that he "wanted to lower the fee" from 0.25% of every bet made to 0.15% (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/12). Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, Richard Velotta notes the "most likely" states to pass sports betting legislation next are Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Oregon (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 6/12). 

FINDING NEW FRIENDS: In New York, Don Cazentre noted real estate developer Jeff Gural "will partner with Betfair US" for sports books at his two harness racing tracks -- Binghamton-based Tioga Downs and Meadowlands Racetrack in northern New Jersey. The sports books will "likely operate under the banner of FanDuel" (SYRACUSE.com, 6/11). Ireland-based Paddy Power Betfair, the parent company of Betfair US, is in discussions to combine its U.S. business with FanDuel (THE DAILY).

FOR THE GOOD OF THE GAME: NBCSN’s Mike Florio said, "New Jersey will not have an integrity fee for the professional sports leagues. They’re trying to get it. It’s free money, just a cut of the action, but you look at what happened with LeBron James in the NBA Finals. After Game Four, he shows up at the press conference with a cast on his hand and everybody’s like, ‘What’s up with LeBron James’ hand? We didn’t know he had an injured hand.’ That’s an example of the transparency that’s going to be critical if you want to believe there is truly integrity in these sports.” NBCSN’s Chris Simms said, “There’s no way that’s going to happen. Bill Belichick, I don’t care if you put a hot poker in front of him, he's not going to tell you who is injured on his team" (“PFT,” NBCSN, 6/12).