August 1st was a historical day in the sports betting landscape as another state began accepting bets and legal online sports betting became available outside of Nevada for the first time.
The state of Mississippi became the fourth US state to accept sports bets when the doors opened at the Beau Rivage and Gold Strike. For some reason, Willis McGahee highlighted the event, and placed one of the first sports bets in state history.
According to Legalsportsreport.com, Mississippi law only permits gambling on land or in the water. The implications for this law mean that people will not be able to place legal online sports bets unless the law is revised.
On the other hand, bettors within New Jersey’s borders can now place bets online through daily fantasy sports operator Draftkings. Draftkings had a soft rollout of its online betting operation and has since opened it up to anyone who wants to wager.
Draftkings has drawn online criticism because of the lines they are currently using. Most games have what is known as a dimeline, or 10% of the bet that provides income to the house. As an example, if the Cowboys are playing the Packers and the Packers are a 6 point favorite, a bettor would bet $110 on Dallas to win $100 or $110 on Green Bay to win $100. If exactly the same amount of people bet on both teams, then the house will win 10% of betting action on that game.
Baseball betting is slightly more complicated in terms of the house’s income because it is not possible to make dimelines in almost every instance. However, the house will still set the betting lines in such a way that they are able to profit in roughly the same fashion. The reason Draftkings has been criticized is because they tipped the betting scales much more heavily in their favor than other land-based casinos do.
By way of another example, if the Twins play at Cleveland the obvious favorite would be the Indians. Therefore, someone might have to bet $200 to win $100. At the same time, if someone bet on Minnesota, their $100 bet might earn the bettor $170. The way that would be written is Cleveland -200 and Minnesota +170.
If Vegas casinos had those lines then Draftkings would make the odds something like -211 and +174. In doing so they accomplish two things. First, their total take is higher because they are charging 7% more in total rake. Secondly, while they make betting the underdog more appealing, it now costs more to take the favorite. Since the favorite is the favorite for a reason, Draftkings stands to benefit in both ways.
The good news for consumers is that competition is expected to reach New Jersey very shortly. MGM and Caesars have put forth plans to have online platforms in the near future for people inside of New Jersey.
New Jersey has seen a rise in its brick and mortar offerings within recent weeks. Resorts Casino and two Caesars properties now take bets in addition to the Borgata.
Pennsylvania may have a player. Parx is expected to pay the $10 million fee and the 36% of betting revenue to the state so it can operate a sportsbook. It is expected to also have an online component. No other PA casino has announced plans to offer sports wagering.
West Virginia still has hope for legalized sports betting by the start of the NFL season. The Washington Post, Legal Sports Report, and other news outlets reported earlier today that the new target date for the Charles Town casino is September 1st. WV has seen multiple delays, but today’s news is the greatest hope for optimism.
The NBA is still trying to get sportsbook operators to pay them, and they recently said the fees would go toward increasing the salary cap. New York is trying to decide if they want to pay the fee or not. To date, the other four states do not pay any sports leagues a fee.
Rhode Island is the most likely option for the fifth state to have legalized sports betting. The state passed a law in June legalizing in-person betting.
ESPN chalk has reported that 14 other states have proposed bills to legalize sports betting, but they have yet to pass. States with a large casino presence such as Louisiana, Connecticut, California, Oklahoma and Missouri are among the 14 states. It stands to reason that they will have sports betting fairly soon, but nothing appears imminent in any of those states.
For states without legislation pending, it will likely take at least 3-5 years before sports gambling is legalized. That is unless you live in Utah. Gambling in Utah is illegal in the state constitution and will probably never be legalized.
The legalization of marijuana provides a rough means for comparison to sports betting with several states pushing the change, a few quickly following, others gradually changing laws, and others standing opposed.