Support builds around legalizing sports betting in Louisiana, but it's not a slam dunk – The Advocate

Bipartisan support is building around a plan to allow sports wagering in Louisiana casinos, but a host of issues have yet to be hashed out and it will likely be more than a year before the first bet is placed here.

Early childhood education advocates said Tuesday they were heartened to hear Gov. John Bel Edwards say he would be open to dedicating any reve…

Louisiana lawmakers are expected to take up sports betting legislation in the session that begins April 8. An attempt to allow voters to decide whether sports wagering should be legalized was unsuccessful last year.

“I feel certain that we will be debating it again this coming April,” said Sen. Ronnie Johns, R-Lake Charles, vice chairman of the Senate Judiciary B Committee where last year’s sports wagering bill received its only favorable vote.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in May that Congress’ 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was unconstitutional, after the law was challenged by New Jersey under then-Gov. Chris Christie. The law, commonly known as the Bradley Act, had effectively restricted states from allowing sports betting, with a few exceptions including Nevada.

The court’s ruling set off a wave of legalization in other states. At least seven states have passed measures to allow sports betting, including Mississippi and Arkansas, and more are expected to take up proposals this year.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said he’s worried that Louisiana casinos have been put at a disadvantage as Mississippi casinos embrace sports betting.

“I don’t think that’s in our best interest,” he said during a recent meeting of the Press Club of Baton Rouge.

Edwards, a Democrat who faces re-election this year, hasn’t offered specifics about what he would like to see from legislation.

“There are many different ways that sports betting can be undertaken,” he said. “We’re trying to figure out what works for Louisiana.”

A $1 million campaign to make online sports fantasy games for cash prizes legal in Louisiana paid huge dividends Tuesday night when 47 of the …

Likely not a major windfall

It’s unclear how much revenue Louisiana could expect to collect off the venture, though Edwards and Johns have both said they do not anticipate a “major windfall.”

The American Gaming Association has estimated that annual revenue from legal sports betting in Louisiana would be between $245 million and $288 million. At the state’s current taxing rate, that would translate to about $52.7 million to $62 million annually for the state’s coffers.

The actual economic impact could be larger, proponents claim. Mississippi casinos have seen an uptick in other revenue sources — hotel stays, restaurant and bar tabs and charges for other amenities — since legalized sports wagering began.

“I think it’s something that we need to do and not for the sake of expanding gaming in Louisiana. It’s basically to insulate our current businesses,” Johns said. “We know we are starting to lose business to Mississippi.”

Lawmakers from around the country gathered in New Orleans last week for a National Council of Gaming State Legislators meeting at Harrah’s that was largely focused on sports betting. Christie, representatives from professional leagues, gambling industry bigwigs and other interested parties all presented their views on the issue.

Can’t see video below? Click here.

Louisiana casinos are missing out on the busiest sports betting season — NFL playoffs up through NCAA basketball’s March Madness and the NBA playoffs in April.

“In talking to a number of the people who know a lot about it, the Super Bowl and March Madness are the two most active times of the year,” Johns said.

But unless the Louisiana Legislature decides to fast-track the legalization of sports wagering, the state likely will miss out on at least one more of those busy seasons next year, too.

State lawmakers are betting that they can successfully revive efforts to legalize sports wagering in Louisiana, as neighboring Mississippi rea…

Louisiana lawmakers in October were briefed on a report on the potential impact of sports wagering and advised that a voter referendum, as was proposed last year, would be the “cleanest way” to legalize sports betting here. 

‘Let the people vote’

Johns said he agrees with the statewide referendum approach — giving voters the ultimate say in whether the state moves forward with the new form of gaming.

“Let the people vote on it,” he said. “It’s going to give the citizens statewide an opportunity to have a say so.”

Voters in November agreed to legalize online fantasy sports betting in 47 out of 64 parishes, indicating there may be a willingness to support other types of sports-related gambling.

Johns said he’s heard from several people who thought they were voting in favor of the kind of in-person sports wagering that has been embraced by other states since the court ruling.

If the Legislature agrees to put the legalization of sports betting on the ballot, it likely would go to the Oct. 12 election, when voters weigh in on statewide elections and legislative races. But there remains several specific issues that Louisiana legislators have never vetted.

The legislation proposed last year didn’t define a taxation rate or other regulatory issues that other states have addressed since the Supreme Court ruling.

Louisiana’s current 21.5 percent gaming tax rate is among the highest in the country and more than double that of Mississippi’s rate. 

“If the tax rate is too high, we can’t compete with the illegal market that doesn’t pay taxes,” said Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs for the American Gaming Association.

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The race to legalize sports betting is on now that the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed it in all 50 states, but will…

Lawmakers also didn’t delve deeply into the debate over “integrity fees” that some professional leagues have lobbied for that would give them a cut of the money off the venture. The NFL has not joined the “integrity fee” debate, instead pushing for lucrative partnerships and data sharing revenues.

Legislation in the coming year also could face scrutiny over where sports betting is allowed in Louisiana. The 2018 bill included all casinos, video poker operators and racinos.

And state lawmakers have yet to weigh in on whether mobile betting should be allowed on gambling facilities’ premises, as some states have allowed.

Unless a companion bill contingent on the referendum’s passage also makes it through the Legislature in the upcoming session, Johns agreed it could be 2020 before Louisiana lawmakers work through those issues and establish a system for collecting revenue from sports betting or more clearly defining how it will operate. The state Gaming Control Board would have regulatory oversight.

Leagues weigh in

Meanwhile, as Louisiana considers state-level legalization, the NFL, NBA, NCAA, MLB and NHL have argued that the practice should be regulated at the federal level. All fought New Jersey’s efforts to legalize sports betting.

Shortly after the Supreme Court ruling, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement urging Congress to “to enact uniform standards for states that choose to legalize sports betting” that factor in intellectual property and content, consumer protections, data access and enforcement against bad actors.

The gaming industry and most states have pushed back against the push for federal oversight, arguing that states are better equipped to regulate the industry on their own turf.

“We think it’s essentially a solution in search of a problem,” Slane said. “Our industry standpoint is this is best left to the states.”

David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, agreed that regulation is best left to the states.

“As a regulator, you love to have flexibility,” he said. “The greater flexibility you have in this area is good.”

Some of the professional sports leagues also have urged states to include language in their laws that require gaming establishments to pay them a portion of the revenue through “integrity fees.”

Dan Spillane, senior vice president and assistant general counsel for the NBA, made the “integrity fee” pitch to lawmakers who gathered at the recent conference in New Orleans. No state, to date, has agreed to the proposal, though several have faced aggressive lobbying from pro leagues to do so.

“There is no sports betting without sports,” Spillane said. “It makes sense and is fair for us to be compensated for that.”

In addition to getting a cut of the money, leagues also want access to data, Spillane said to monitor for abnormalities that could raise eyebrows because the leagues worry about what would happen if a major scandal were to break out due to rigged betting.

“We’re not going to have a business anymore,” he said.

He said he believes that the sports part of the equation is essential to legalized sports betting and deserving of some form of compensation.

“We don’t think this is an unreasonable ask,” Spillane said. “I don’t think it’s going to cripple the (gambling) industry.”

‘They don’t deserve it’

After a bitter, years-long battle with the leagues, Christie, the former New Jersey governor, doesn’t have many positive things to say about how the leagues should factor into states’ plans for adopting sports wagering laws.

“Now they want money,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense.”

Christie warned a packed banquet hall of legislators and industry types not to listen to their pleas.

“Given their conduct over the last seven years, they don’t deserve it,” he said. “If you do it, it’s rewarding bad behavior.”

He also advised that states should be much more concerned about input from their local gaming industries, rather than professional leagues that may not have a physical presence or compelling interest.

“(Gaming operators) are going to be creating jobs, generating tax revenue and being good corporate citizens of the state,” he said.

Louisiana is home to two major professional teams in New Orleans — the NFL’s Saints, who are still in the running to make it to the Super Bowl this year, and the NBA’s Pelicans.

The state has 15 riverboat casinos positioned on waterways throughout the state and one land-based casino, Harrah’s New Orleans. Additionally there are four race track facilities that allow gaming.

Quincy Raven, executive director of business development at Scientific Games, a company that has been heavily involved in the sports betting industry, said states like Louisiana need no more than look to states that have already legalized sports betting. 

“From our perspective, it’s not necessarily the unknown. So many of these challenges have already been undertaken,” Raven said. “It’s here. It’s been understood. Will we have to work out wrinkles in the future? Of course, but that’s the nature of the business.”

Rebuck, the New Jersey enforcement chief, also agreed that states down the pipeline, like Louisiana, will have more knowledge from states that have already legalized sports wagering.

“I think there’s plenty of model legislation out there,” he told a room full of legislators at the gaming convention. “When you get into it new, you shouldn’t be fearful that you’d have to start from square one. You don’t. There are models out there right now that are time and true proven.”

Value in Azarenka at Australian Open After Her Odds Plummet? –

Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka returns to the Australian Open for the first time since 2016. By Christian Mesiano (Wiki Commons) [CC License]
  • The Australian Open runs from January 14-27 in Melbourne
  • Is there value in Victoria Azarenka winning her third Australian Open?
  • Which contenders have seen key line moves? 

The first slam of the season is nearly here with the Australian Open set to begin on Monday, January 14th.

With so many smaller tournaments taking place in the lead up, Women’s Singles Australian Open odds have already seen plenty of movement. While some player’s odds have shortened, others, like former world number one Victoria Azarenka, have seen their odds continue to plummet.

Women’s Singles Australian Open Odds

Player Odds at
Serena Williams +400
Angelique Kerber +750
Aryna Sabalenka +1100
Naomi Osaka +1200
Elina Svitolina +1400
Ashleigh Barty +1600
Karolina Pliskova +1600
Petra Kvitová +2000
Simona Halep +2000
Sloane Stephens +2000
Victoria Azarenka +4000

*For a full list please visit the link in the table; odds taken 1/12/19

Can Azarenka Regain Her Form?

Azarenka’s Australian Open odds have been on a steady decline this month. On January 2 her average odds were as short as +1200. However, that quickly dropped to +2900 on January 10.

The slide has continued, seeing them now drift out to +4000 at Bovada. At this price is there too much value to pass up?

The 29-year-old Belarusian is making her 12th appearance at the Australian, but first since 2016. Azarenka is a two-time winner of the tournament having won in back-to-back years in 2012 and 2013. Those years were the prime of her career.

2019 French Open Odds Tracker

She also reached the semis and finals at Wimbleton and the US Open in 2012, and the semis and finals of the French and US Open in 2013.

Azarenka is a two-time winner of the tournament having won in back-to-back years in 2012 and 2013.

Her form has since declined, having never finished higher than the quarter-finals in a major tournament. Last year her best performance in a Grand Slam event was the Round of 32 at the US Open.

That said, now the mother of a two-year-old, her priorities have changed these past couple seasons.

Azarenka enters this tournament with much to prove as she now ranks 52nd. Her warm up to the AO also didn’t get off to a great start, being eliminated from the Auckland Open in the Round of 32. Azarenka was defeated by Venus Williams 3-6, 6-1, 3-6.

Despite the juicy odds, Azarenka simply hasn’t won anything significant of late to warrant my money.

Look To the 3rd Quarter For Futures Value

While Azarenka may be reaching a little too far down the odds sheet there’s still some good plus-money out there.

Odds have moved on world number two Angelique Kerber since I picked her as a best bet last week. Kerber, the fourth favorite at the time with odds of +1000 is now the second favorite at +750.

The German, playing in the AO’s 4th Quarter, recently made it to the quarter-finals of the Sydney International falling in straight sets to Petra Kvitová.

I want to single out a few more women who’re emerging as contenders in the 3rd Quarter.

Australian native Ashleigh Barty was nowhere near the favorites conversation last week but today is the sixth favorite at +1600. The 15th ranked Barty played in the Sydney finals earlier this morning, also coming up short to Kvitová over three sets.

If you’ve been tracking the Women’s Singles odds for a few months, you’d also see that Aryna Sabalenka’s odds have been moving, and fast. At +3300 back in October, they were cut to +1400 the next month and are down to +1100 today.

The 2018 WTA Newcomer of the Year has a lot of hype around her this year. The 20-year-old made it to the Round of 16 in last year’s US Open and began 2019 with a tournament win at the Shenzhen Open and a Round of 32 loss to Kvitová at the Sydney International.

Another interesting bet you can make is quarters betting. Each of Sabalenka (+350), Barty (+450) and Kvitová (+500) lead as favorties to win the 3rd Quarter.

With the way the draw is set up it’s possible Barty could face either Kvitová or Sabalenka in the Quarter-Finals. With the longer odds I’ll bet both Barty at +1600 and Kvitová at +2000 to win outright and if either win the 3rd Quarter, I’ll be sitting on big odds with a semi-finalist.

Dover Downs: Sports betting profits welcome but marginal during NFL playoffs – The News Journal


Here are some of the top stories we’re following for today. 1/11/18
Damian Giletto/The News Journal

Last year, gamblers laid down about a half-million dollars at Delaware casinos to wager on the first week of the NFL playoffs, said Dover Downs Vice President Charles Lockhart.

That turned into a $19,000 return for the struggling, publicly traded casino.

Last week, Delaware bets on the first NFL playoff games surged to $3.6 million, Lockhart said, thanks to a new sports betting regime that allows single-game wagers, rather than just three-game parlay bets. 

But the cut of the profits for the casino in Delaware’s capital city actually dropped from a year ago, to about $10,000, he said.

Cash flowing through the state’s new-look sports betting business is dwarfing the amount wagered last year, yet it doesn’t mean that in any given week Delaware casinos are reaping bigger profits – even as the nearby Philadelphia Eagles appear to have recaptured some of last year’s playoff magic.

“That’s a question you can’t really answer because that depends on how successful the bettors are,” Lockhart said. “It’s not a windfall by any means.” 

Buy Photo

Single-game sports betting has begun at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover. Cash flowing through the state’s new-look sports betting business is dwarfing the amount wagered last year. (Photo: Jason Minto, The News Journal)

Last June, Delaware briefly was the darling of the betting world when it became the first state, outside of Nevada, to allow single-game wagers on sports. 

The new betting rules, made possible by a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, allow wagers on individual games and events in professional baseball, football, hockey, basketball, soccer, golf and auto racing.

Gov. John Carney said it would bring new visitors to the state. But it was unclear at the time how much it would buoy the Delaware casinos’ sagging profits as competition from other states increased. 

Lockhart said few of the new gamblers are sticking around the casino to purchase concessions or play table games or slot machines.

Delaware Park President Bill Fasy last year expressed doubts that the state’s cut of the sports betting business would match the previous amounts that came from with three-game parlay betting.

That’s because single-game wagering is easier to win than parlay betting, he said.

The last four months of 2017 and 2018 appeared to prove Fasy wrong as the state’s 50 percent share has grown considerably to about $3.4 million from $2.3 million.

A month after Delaware’s launch of the new sports betting rules, Dover Downs announced it would be purchased by a Rhode Island casino operator.

The merger announcement came a few weeks after the Delaware General Assembly approved a nearly $17 million per year tax break for the state’s three casinos. 

As of last month, the companies had not yet received all regulatory approvals for the deal, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  

Contact Karl Baker at or (302) 324-2329. Follow him on Twitter @kbaker6.


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Kyler Murray Now Favored to be Selected in 1st Round of 2019 NFL Draft –

Kyler Murray Oklahoma QB
The Oakland A’s now believe Kyler Murray will enter the 2019 NFL Draft. Photo courtesy @247Sports (Twitter)
  • Kyler Murray has a decision to make between baseball and football
  • The 2018 Heisman Trophy winner is receiving some first-round buzz in the 2019 NFL Draft
  • See the odds of which route Murray will take

There are bad problems and there are good problems. Deciding between being an MLB star or an NFL 1st round pick would fall into the second category, and that’s exactly where Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray finds himself.

He won the 2018 Heisman Trophy as the best player in college football and was also taken 9th in the MLB Draft by the Oakland A’s.

Now he must decide whether or not to join the 2019 NFL Draft.

BetOnline and Bovada have released some interesting prop bets on Murray’s immediate future.  We’ll start with BetOnline.

Odds Murray is a 1st-Round Pick in 2019 NFL Draft

Kyler Murray Be 1st RD Pick In The 2019 NFL Draft Odds at
Yes -200
No +150

*All odds taken 1/10

These odds have come a long way from December 6th, when Bovada had NO listed at -400 for Murray just being drafted.

But now the Oakland A’s even believe Murray will enter the 2019 NFL Draft. That fact alone has Yes (-200) as a substantial favorite.

Odds on the Round Murray is Selected in the Draft

2019 Draft Round – Kyler Murray Odds at
Round 1 -105
Round 2 +200
Round 3 +175

Not accounting for trades there are currently no less than seven teams that will be definitely, or moderately interested, in taking a QB in the 1st round.

2019 Heisman Trophy Odds Tracker

The Giants, Jaguars, Broncos, Dolphins and Redskins are likely options, while the Patriots and Saints could potentially start looking to the future for when Tom Brady and Drew Brees won’t be around.

O/U Murray’s Draft Position

2019 NFL Draft Position – Kyler Murray Odds at Bovada
Over 28.5 -130
Under 28.5 EVEN

Murray is small at 5’10, but is entering the draft at the perfect time.

One year ago, an undersized Heisman-winning QB from Oklahoma entered the draft, went 1st-overall and will likely finish second in rookie voting behind Saquon Barkley.

Kyler Murray owes Baker Mayfield a big, big thank you.

Bovada is providing a pretty narrow window if you look at these props.

He’s favored to go in the 1st round (-105) but also to be picked Over 28.5 (-130) selections into the draft.

That puts him in Lamar Jackson territory. The Ravens QB was the last selection of the 1st round, after Baltimore made a deal with Philadelphia to get the pick.

How Many QBs Will be Taken Ahead of Murray?

How Many QBs Will Be Taken Before Kyler Murray In The 2019 NFL Draft? Odds at Bovada
Over 2.5 -125
Under 2.5 -105

Murray will have several opportunities to be taken either on the first go-around, or by a team who jumps back in to take him.

He’s likely behind Dwayne Haskins from Ohio State, Daniel Jones from Duke, and Drew Lock of Missouri on most boards, but that doesn’t exclude him from the 1st Round.

Name a good team in the NFL and I’ll name you a good QB. Teams know the need to hit home runs at that position and are willing to gamble to make it happen.

One other important thing to consider: a quarter of the league has new coaches this season. How many do you think would love to kick start their new job with a Heisman trophy winner under center?

Odds Murray Reports to Spring Training

Will Kyler Murray Report To A’s Spring Training Camp in 2019? Odds at Bovada
Yes -160
No +130

I believe Murray goes to A’s camp, but if playing major league baseball was his passion he would’ve made the decision already.

Odds Murray Plays Both Baseball and Football in 2019

Will Kyler Murray Play Professional Baseball And Football in 2019? Odds at Bovada
Yes +450
No -650

If he’s going to make it in the NFL, there is no offseason/time to play for A’s. NO is easy money here.

What Comes 1st for Murray: TD Pass or Home Run?

What Happens First For Kyler Murray Odds at
Throws A TD Pass In The NFL -200
Hits a HR In The MLB +150

This prop has also taken a major turn since early December, when Bovada had home run in MLB listed at -500.

The flirting will end with his selection early in the NFL Draft and ultimately with the realization that to be taken seriously in the NFL, he’ll need to focus on football and football only.

Oneida Nation releases renderings of new sports betting lounges at CNY casinos –

Rendering of sports betting lounge at Point Place Casino in Bridgeport (Photo provided by the Oneida Nation)

The Oneida Nation released renderings Tuesday of future sports betting lounges in its multiple casinos across central New York.

The Oneida Indian Nation announced last week that they’re partnering with Caesars Entertainment, which owns Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, to bring sports betting to Turning Stone, Yellow Brick Road Casino in Chittenango and Point Place Casino in Bridgeport in 2019.

The deal is pending approval by the National Indian Gaming Commission. If approved, gamblers in Upstate New York will be able to place bets on certain professional and collegiate sports at their local casinos. New York State will regulate which sports gamblers can bet on.

A Supreme Court ruling in May 2018 struck down a 1992 federal law that effectively banned commercial sports betting in most states, paving the way for casinos like Turning Stone to now offer sports betting.

The Oneida Nation said all-new sport betting venues will have LED terminals with high-definition resolution, state-of-the-art odds boards that constantly update and offer opportunities for in-game wagers.

Also available will be new full-service bars, ticket windows, ultra-comfortable seating, and VIP areas with their own dedicated TV screens.

Turning Stone Resort Casino

Turning Stone’s new sports lounge will feature a 48-by-9-foot curved screen, visible from three sides and to visitors entering from either the main entrance or the parking garage.

The venue will also offer twelve 65-inch screens and five 85-inch screens to put the viewers at the center of the sports action.

Point Place Casino

In the casino closest to Syracuse, there will be an expansion of the gaming floor to accommodate The Lounge with Caesars Sports. The primary video wall will feature a 24-by-6.75-foot screen, in addition to twenty-three 65-inch screens and eleven 85-inch screens.

Yellow Brick Road Casino

The Chittenango casino will undergo a total renovation, including the addition of the sports betting lounge, upgrades to the table games experience and other expansions to offer additional games and activities.

The addition to Yellow Brick Road Casino will come later as part of the project’s second phase, and include a total renovation, for which the Tin Woodman’s Flask will be closed to accommodate the updates.

Maryland Voters Warming To Legalized Sports Betting, Marijuana – WBAL Radio

Monday, January 7, 2019
Tyler Waldman, WBAL NewsRadio 1090 and FM 101.5

A plurality of Maryland voters support legalizing sports betting in Maryland, while more than half favor legalizing marijuana in the state.

That’s according to a new poll out Tuesday from Gonzales Research ahead of the General Assembly session, which begins Wednesday.

The poll found 49 percent of habitual general election voters favor legalizing sports betting, with 36 percent opposed. Of those in favor, 81 percent want a referendum on the subject, as do 90 percent of those who oppose it.

Pollster Patrick Gonzales talks to Robert Lang:

Under the constitutional amendment that legalized gambling in the state, any such move would need to be ratified by voters in 2020. Last year, the Supreme Court threw out a law that previously banned sports wagering. Since then, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia and the District of Columbia are among places where such gambling is legal.

Pollster Patrick Gonzales said it makes sense that, according to his polling, men are more in favor of legalizing sports betting than women.

“My two sons in law very much enjoy sports betting, they go over to Charlestown, [West Virginia] and my daughters are not really that interested,” pollster Patrick Gonzales said.

The poll found that 58 percent of those surveyed were in favor of legalizing marijuana, with 38 percent opposed. Gonzales said he didn’t foresee lawmakers tackling the issue in the coming legislative session, and said on both this and the gambling issue, the support was driven by younger voters.

Gonzales also asked about allowing news cameras to film sentencing hearings. Fifty-nine were in favor of such a change, while just under one-third were opposed.

Gov. Larry Hogan enters 2018 with the highest approval rating Gonzales’ polls have seen–77 percent of voters, including 70 percent of Democrats, approve of the job Hogan is doing as governor. Eighteen percent disapprove and the remainder had no opinion.

On the flip side, 63 percent of voters disapprove of the job President Donald Trump is doing, 58 percent strongly so, with 34 percent in approval. That’s also a record low for the poll. Half of voters polled would go further and support impeachment of Trump by the newly Democratic House. The poll did not ask whether they would support subsequent removal by the Senate, which remains in Republican hands.

The poll surveyed 809 regular general election voters via landline and cellphone from Dec. 28 through Jan. 3. It has a 3.5 percent margin of error.

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