Weekly Sports Betting News Roundup: California Sports Betting War Heats Up

MGM National Harbor. Shannon Finney/Getty Images for MGM National Harbor/AFP.

Last week the battle from opposing groups in California’s wagering battle shared their thoughts – one side is backing the tribal retail-only push. Still, one is against a digital ambition, and the other is against the tribal-only procedure.

A press release concerning the November voter referendum has been tipped as a confusing set of statements that has the potential to confuse voters. In addition, the only gaming initiative that has qualified for the ballot thus far is one put forward by the state’s tribes – one that would legalize retail wagering at tribal casinos.

In retaliation, seven well-known commercial operators gather signatures for their initiative. Led by the U.S. sports wagering powerhouses BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel, they have a deadline that is up in May.

Barstool Sportsbook, WynnBet, and Bally’s sports-gear merchandiser Fanatics also support the proposal, and a total of $100 million has been funded for the signature collection phase.

Ontario Battles with Black Market Operators

Since operators went legal with their sports wagering tenure in Ontario on April 4, some of these companies aren’t happy with the province’s continued support of those moving from a gray to the white area of the market.

It’s been highlighted that regulators aren’t observing those still accessing the market without the appropriate licenses.

“This is a black market now. If you do not have a license application ahead of April 4, and you don’t have AGCO aware of that, then you are now in a black market. There’s no more gray market in Ontario anymore,” said Amanda Brewer, Kindred Group’s country manager.

“Nobody has a clear understanding of how long the AGCO will let operators come into full compliance. AGCO had said it’s a 90-day turnaround [for the licensing process], so if that’s the case, and iGO is working alongside operators to get them ready to sign the operating agreement as soon as they get their registration, somewhere between 90-100 days should be the average timeline. But for big operators who aren’t yet licensed, that’s a lot of [taxable gross gaming revenue] not being paid,” Brewer continued, whose company (Unibet) established themselves in Ontario on April 4.

NHL Stays Silent on Russian Betting Activity

Following the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in February, the NHL publicly condemned the actions of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The league suspended its commercial deals and business relations with Russia.

While most significant sportsbooks refused to take action on Russian sports, data providers such as Sportradar continued to assist the market. Sportsradar is notably the NHL’s primary provider for sports betting data.

Carsten Koerl, Sportradar’s CEO, has been under fire for his investments with a holding company in Liga Stavok (a Russian sports betting operator). Although Sportradar planned to halt their investments, they failed to pull out.

As the NHL Playoffs approach, the NHL has remained silent on Sportradar’s Russian activities and Koerl’s participation in the Russian sportsbook.