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NCAA now allows events in betting states; Paddy Power Betfair look to buy FanDuel

In the wake of the Supreme Court striking down PASPA (ending the national ban on sports betting), the NCAA has said it will now allow championships in states with legal betting.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association on Thursday suspended its policy not to hold championships in states where sports betting is legal, a sharp reversal for an organization that has taken a hard-line stance against sports wagering.

The move came three days after the Supreme Court struck down federal prohibitions on sports wagering, clearing the way for states other than Nevada to allow gambling on athletic events.

“Our highest priorities in any conversation about sports wagering are maintaining the integrity of competition and student-athlete well-being,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a news release.

The NCAA board of governors might consider permanent revisions of its sports-wagering policy in the future, according to the release. It also called for a “federal model addressing legalized gambling.”


Paddy Power Betfair is making a play to acquire FanDuel.

Multiple sources indicated to Legal Sports Report that sports betting and gaming company Paddy Power Betfair is close to acquiring daily fantasy sports site FanDuel.

By Tuesday, PPB had confirmed the talks in a statement:
Paddy Power Betfair plc (“the Group”) notes the media speculation, and confirms it is in discussions regarding a potential combination of the Group’s US business and FanDuel to create a combined business to target the prospective US sports betting market.

Discussions are ongoing and there is no certainty as to whether agreement will be reached, or as to the terms or timing of any transaction.

A further announcement will be made as appropriate.

The news comes as the US Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on single-game wagering on Monday in the New Jersey sports betting case. It’s possible that decision triggered an escalation in talks that were already underway.

 

Companies across the world are positioning themselves to take advantage of the sports betting landscape in the United States.

The anticipation of legal sports gambling throughout the United States has prompted a flurry of deals among gambling and technology firms who want a foothold in a market worth billions.

Casinos, race tracks, daily fantasy sports companies and others are itching to offer bets in person and online after the Supreme Court ruled Monday that states could begin allowing wagers. That’s led companies all over the world to seek ways to team up.

Some casinos need mobile apps or someone to set lines and run sports books that operate much differently than slot machines and table games. Many tech firms, daily fantasy sports companies and others need gambling licenses and experience with significant regulation. Other companies that handle data security and payment processing are also joining the fray.

The industry is preparing for most of the betting to happen on smartphones, just like in Europe. That would also be new for most U.S. states, as internet gambling has been limited to just three states in recent years.


The first legal bets on sports may not happen in New Jersey until June 7 — which is 10 days later than originally expected.

Monmouth Park officials said they are delaying the launch of sports betting at the request of state lawmakers, scuttling work to begin taking wagers on sports such as baseball and basketball on May 28.

Instead, the track will only conduct ceremonial wagering that day, with plans to have Gov. Phil Murphy and other politicians participating.

 Dennis Drazin, president and CEO of Darby Development LLC, which operates Monmouth Park, on Wednesday said the decision to delay opening sports betting to the public was made in consultation with Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester.

Sweeney asked for time to allow lawmakers to establish regulations for the new venture, Drazin said.

“I spoke to Sen. Sweeney and he asked me to wait,” Drazin said.  “We won’t take bets from the general public until the legislature says we can.


NJ.com published a feature article on Ray Lesniak — “the man behind N.J.’s sports betting win.”

There, Rudy Garcia, a former Union City mayor and state assemblyman, sat with a few friends, telling them he was about to drive to Monmouth County to see a bookie and bet on some games.

“He was going to his bookie’s place,” said Ray Lesniak, the former state senator who was the architect of New Jersey’s battle to legalize sports betting.

“Some of the guys there asked him to place some bets for them,” Lesniak said. “So, he took their money and went down. He had no idea what he was walking into.”

What Garcia walked into was a major bust of a sports betting ring that had made $35 million in the six months it was under police surveillance. Thirty-seven people were taken down, but Garcia was the biggest name in the bunch.

“He was in our law firm (Weiner Lesniak) at the time,” Lesniak said. “He was cleared by a grand jury but I felt horrible for the guy. He had his name all over the papers. He was embarrassed.”

And so when Ray Lesniak began his nine-year war for sports gambling in New Jersey, it wasn’t because of tax revenue, or saving the casino or horse racing industries. That all came later.


A New York Times article looks at how sports betting could save the sports media business.

Nearly everyone agrees the appetite for sports consumption both online and on traditional television will surely rise, as more fans might suddenly have a vested interest in tuning in to a Tuesday night matchup in June between the Cincinnati Reds and the Miami Marlins. History has shown that the ability to place a bet on a sporting event makes fans pay closer attention to the action, and watch more.

According to a Nielsen Sports study, commissioned by the American Gaming Association, sports bettors made up 25 percent of the N.F.L.’s television audience in 2015 but accounted for 47 percent of all minutes viewed. Sports bettors watch about twice as much sports coverage as non-bettors do. So it stands to reason that making it easier for people to become sports bettors will make them more likely to watch sports.

“Hands down, it’s a huge deal,” said Brad Humphreys, a sports economist at West Virginia University. “How huge it is depends upon how quickly states move and how many states move to legalize sports betting.”


NPR checked in around Las Vegas to see how the gambling industry and visitors are adjusting to the expansion of sports betting.

Yes, we’ve enjoyed a monopoly or a near monopoly on sports betting, but Las Vegas benefits when there there’s interest in our field, in our field of entertainment sports, sports betting, gambling in general,” said Jim Murren, the chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International. “It will promote activity, increase fan interest in the team, in the sport, in the league which we believe will in turn increase their interest in going to the sports mecca of sports betting and gambling: Las Vegas.”

Murren says people were also worried about Las Vegas when legal gambling went to other states and to Native American reservations.

“And yet Nevada has grown through that period of time,” he said.

 

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Each Friday, we’ll comb through as many articles, tweets and podcasts as we can find related to the world of sports betting and daily fantasy sports, and publish the good stuff here. 

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