WV Governor Still Pushing To Change Sports Betting Law; Meeting With Leagues Slated – Legal Sports Report


WV sports betting law change

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice appears to be determined to call a special session of the legislature in order to address the state’s recently passed sports betting law, in addition to other topics.

WV sports betting, the latest

Justice held a press conference on Friday. Near the end, he was asked about whether he intends to call a special on sports gambling and other issues.

The state already has a law –passed in March — on the books that would take effect if the federal ban is struck down in the US Supreme Court sports betting case.

But the NBA and Major League Baseball are unhappy with the WV sports betting law, as it gives them none of what they have been lobbying for across the country. That includes no “integrity fee” payable to the leagues.

Justice talks sports betting

Here’s the part of the presser on sports betting, when asked about whether the plan is to have a special session:

Justice: I think so, in fact, I know so, we’re trying to get some more information back on the sports betting, is that correct? Or we’re waiting on that, we’re going to have a meeting with the leagues and everything…

Aide: Yeah, there’s a meeting set up in about a week with all the stakeholders on that.

Justice And I think even the PGA is coming in, and maybe even the NCAA also is coming in. I think we’re just gathering a little bit more information, I really believe that we need to bring them under the umbrella for the amount of the fee that they wanted, or we negotiated.

They wanted a percent, we negotiated to a quarter of a percent and if we can get them to sign on for that and everything and bring them under the umbrella, I think that’s very very minimal cost to the casinos, and I think it would be a good thing.

You can watch the whole thing here.

Let’s break down what Justice said…

A lot of what he said seemed like stream-of-consciousness, so let’s look closer:

  • A special session to take another look at the law appears to be in the cards. That session would likely take place May 20-22. And when that happens, Justice wants the legislature to take up sports betting.
  • The leagues are coming back to West Virginia. A meeting between the leagues and the state’s casinos scheduled for April had been postponed, but appears to be on track for this week. Justice intimated that the PGA Tour — which sides with the NBA and MLB on sports betting — and the NCAA would be involved.
  • The “integrity fee” would be .25 percent of all wagers in the state. Leagues have been asking for a fee that is one percent of handle, or roughly 20 percent or revenue, in many states. A .25 percent tax on handle payable to the leagues may seem minimal, but giving that money to leagues does not seem to provide any tangible benefit to anyone (other than the leagues).w
  • “Negotiated?” It’s not clear what benefit Justice believes the state will realize from giving them a fee. And the idea that he negotiated the leagues down to a smaller percentage is bizarre, seeing as the state already has a law that gives them no fees whatsoever.

How likely is this to change WV sports betting?

The state already has a sports betting law, and revisiting it to give pro sports leagues — and not the state’s casinos or the state government — more money seems like a stretch.

The only groups with a real presence in the state are the PGA Tour — which holds an event at The Greenbrier — and the NCAA, with a pair of Division I schools in the state. (Justice owns The Greenbrier.) There are also minor league baseball teams in the state.

But the NBA and MLB have obviously lobbied their way to a position where the law could be put back into play. This week’s meetings might provide more insight.



Monmouth Park: As sports betting looms, more days or higher purses? – Asbury Park Press


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The horseman at Monmouth Park are readying their horses as they look towards the start of racing season this weekend.
Peter Ackerman

OCEANPORT – There was the requisite excitement associated with the 73rd opening day at Monmouth Park, with the decision to run the first live card of the 52-day meet on Kentucky Derby Day creating an additional layer of pomp and ceremony Saturday.

And while there’s no shortage of compelling storylines this season, it’s the specter of legalized sports wagering, and the positive impact it might have on the embattled racing industry in New Jersey, that continues to dominate the narrative.

Which brings us to the debate that has raged over the past decade, through the Elite Meet in 2010, when Monmouth had the nation’s highest purses during a 50-day meet, to the privatization of the state’s racing industry a year later and the subsequent declines in purse money and racing days.

If sports wagering does add a much-needed alternative revenue stream as anticipated, should Monmouth Park add more racing days or increase purses?

For trainers and owners who call New Jersey home, there’s no debate: more racing days is the priority.

“This is home,’’ said trainer Greg Sacco of Ocean Township, who ran three horses on opening day. “We’re the oldest racing family here, since 1946. My father, my uncles. My father was leading trainer here.

“I want more days with reasonable purses. We don’t have to have through-the-roof purses. New Jersey isn’t New York. But more racing days is important.’’

It’s a sentiment echoed throughout the backstretch among those who fondly recall when there was a year-round circuit in New Jersey between Monmouth Park, Garden State Park, Atlantic City Race Course and the Meadowlands.

“It’s a no-brainer. For the local guys, the Jersey guys, bigger purses are nice down the road, but we need more days,’’ said trainer Chuck Spina from Monmouth Beach. “We went from racing year-round, to 140 days, 120, now to 52. So we definitely, to a man,  would rather have days. But I understand they have to increase the purses to draw some of the bigger outfits. I get it. But if you ask all the locals, we say we need more days.’’

It’s a fine line both management and horsemen hope they get to walk, as everyone waits for what they hope will be a favorable decision by the Supreme Court of the United States on New Jersey’s bid to legalize sports wagering in the state. A decision is expected no later than the end of June — one could be coming as early as May 13 — and Monmouth Park has indicated it will have a sports book up and running within two weeks.

An increase in the number of racing days gives trainers more opportunities to run their horses, without having to shift their entire operation to another track, or shut it down completely until Monmouth Park reopens.

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Bright Lights On Capitalist Woodstock, Tech Developers And Sports Betting – Seeking Alpha


Welcome to Seeking Alpha’s Stocks to Watch – a preview of key events scheduled for the next week. Follow this account and turn the e-mail alert on to receive this article in your inbox every Saturday morning.

Macro matters: Traders are back to focusing on economic reports after no major developments out of Beijing on trade and a solid jobs report for April. What happens when the unemployment rate falls below 4% Will the 10-year Treasury yield pushes back over 3%? Will crude oil dance over $70 with the US-Iran showdown looming? Next week sets up for a debate over some of these larger picture topics as the earnings season slows down. On the calendar, investors also have Capitalist Woodstock and several tech conferences to soak in.


Notable earnings reports: Zillow (NASDAQ:ZG) and Hertz Global (HTZX) on May 7; Disney (NYSE:DIS), Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) and Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:VRX) on May 8; Booking Holdings (NASDAQ:BKNG), Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) and Mylan (NASDAQ:MYL) on May 9; Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), Yelp (NYSE:YELP) and Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS) on May 10; Thomson Reuters (NYSE:TRI) on May 11. See Seeking Alpha’s Earnings Calendar for the complete list.

IPOs expected to price: Origin Bancorp and Evelo Biosciences (EVLO) on May 8; AXA Equitable (EQH) on May 9; Huya Broadcasting (HUYA) and Abpro (ABP) on May 10.

IPO lockup expirations: Four Seasons Education Cayman (NYSE:FEDU), Metropolitan Bank (NYSE:MCB), CBTX (NASDAQ:CBTX) and InflaRx (NASDAQ:IFRX) on May 7; Apellis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:APLS) and Sogou (NYSE:SOGO) on May 8.

Notable analyst/investor meetings: Citrix Systems (NASDAQ:CTXS), Fidelity National (NYSE:FIS), Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) on May 8; Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) on May 10; Evolent Health (NYSE:EVH), Teleflex (NYSE:TFX) and Ameren (NYSE:AEE) on May 11.

Upcoming stock splits: Stellar Biotechnologies (NASDAQ:SBOT) 1-for-7 on May 7; McDermott (NYSE:MDR) 1-for-3 on May 10.

Berkshire Hathaway: Berkshire (BRK.A, BRK.B) shareholders are in Omaha for the company’s annual meeting and to hear once again from Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. Expect to hear plenty on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), Wells Fargo (WFC) – as well as thoughts on cash deployment and succession. Keep track of the latest developments with Seeking Alpha’s news coverage here. Buffett is also due to talk to CNBC on Monday morning. In the past, Buffett’s appearances on CNBC have been known to stir up share prices.

Projected dividend hike announcements: Baxter (NYSE:BAX) to $0.195 from $0.16, Cohu (NASDAQ:COHU) to $0.07 from $0.06, Expeditors (NASDAQ:EXPD) to $0.45 from $0.42, Jack in the Box (NASDAQ:JACK) $0.45 from $0.40, KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY) to $0.12 from $.105, Leggett & Platt (NYSE:LEG) to $0.37 from $0.36, Lam Research (NASDAQ:LRCX) to $1.10 from $0.50, Microchip (NASDAQ:MCHP) to $0.3635 from $0.363, Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) to $0.79 from $0.70, Tractor Supply (NASDAQ:TSCO) to $0.31 from $0.27.

Industrials in focus: Companies presenting at the Oppenheimer Industrial Growth Conference from May 8-9 include Clean Harbors (NYSE:CLH), CTS (NYSE:CTS), Covanta (NYSE:CVA), EnerSys (NYSE:ENS), SPX FLow (NASDAQ:FLOW), Harsco (NYSE:HSC), Lincoln Electric (NASDAQ:LECO), Littelfuse (NASDAQ:LFUS), Matson (NYSE:MATX), McGrath RentCorp (NASDAQ:MGRC), MSA Safety (NYSE:MSA), EnPro Industries (NYSE:NPO), Stericycle (NASDAQ:SRCL), Wildan Group (NASDAQ:WLDN), US Ecology (NASDAQ:ECOL) and Lindsay (NYSE:LNN).

Google I/O: Developers get a crack at talking about new Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) platforms, open source projects and AI, AR, VR initiatives at the company. The keynote speech by CEO Sundar Pichai could include product announcements.

Microsoft Build Live: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) hosts a digital experience from May 7-9 on AI, machine learning, cloud computing, app development and other developer topics. CEO Satya Nadella and cloud/enterprise VP Scott Guthire are both scheduled to give keynote speeches.

Trump/60 Minutes: The Sunday news show is digging deep into the high cost of prescription drugs and the fight that the city of Rockford, Illinois is waging against the runaway costs. Leslie Stahl’s report is promised to “pull back the curtain” on the drug distribution chain. It isn’t clear if any drug companies will be called out by name, but heads up Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), Merck (NYSE:MRK), Allergan (NYSE:AGN), AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN), GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) and gang. The delayed speech by President Trump on drug prices is scheduled for May 8.

FDA watch: A FDA panel to discuss drug development for the treatment of children with achondroplasia is planned. Both BioMarin Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:BMRN) and Ascendis Pharma (NASDAQ:ASND) have related trials.

Auto lending shakeup: The House of Representatives is expected to overturn the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s indirect auto lending guidance next week after the Senate passed the bill last month. Height Capital Markets advises that overturning the indirect auto guidance is positive for indirect auto lenders such as Ally Financial (NYSE:ALLY), Capital One Financial (NYSE:COF), Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB), Wells Fargo (WFC), and Santander Consumer (NYSE:SC) for the reduced liability risk. The disapproval is also seen as a positive for auto dealers like Penske Automotive Group (NYSE:PAG), AutoNation (NYSE:AN), and Group 1 Automotive (NYSE:GPI) because it will permit them to continue use dealer mark-ups to balance vehicle pricing and financing options to complete sales.

Sales updates: Costco (NASDAQ:COST) on May 9; Buckle (NYSE:BKE), Cato (NYSE:CATO) and L Brands (NYSE:LB) on May 10.

Citi 2018 Car of the Future Symposium: Ford (NYSE:F) is sending Argo AI to the Citi-sponsored event on May 10 to discuss its effort to lead testing and development of a virtual driver system for integration into Ford’s purpose-built self-driving vehicle slated to begin production in 2021. Ford made an investment of $1B in Argo AI last year.

M&A watch: Orbital ATK(NYSE:OA) and Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) may hear from the Department of Defense and FTC on their planned merger. Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is expected to announce a deal to sell its retail packaged goods business to Nestle (OTCPK:NSRGY). A late Friday report on a key concession from Shari Redstone boosted the odds of a CBS (NYSE:CBS)-Viacom (NYSE:VIA) merger hitting the finish line.

Kentucky Derby: As today is the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby in Lousville, what better time to talk sports betting? The Supreme Court is very close to announcing a decision in the New Jersey case that paves the way for states to control authorized sports betting. Swing voter Justice Kennedy wrote on the issue, “so the citizens of the state of New Jersey are bound to obey a law that the state doesn’t want but that the federal government compels the state to have.” If the SCOTUS ruling is favorable, the six states ready to join Nevada immediately with legalized sports betting are Connecticut, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Connecting the dots, companies with an interest in the ruling include MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM), William Hill (OTCPK:WIMHY), Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR), Scientific Games (NASDAQ:SGMS), Boyd Gaming (NYSE:BYD) and The Stars Group (NASDAQ:TSG). And as for those latest odds on the Derby, the favorites are Justify (7-2), My Boy Jack (5-1), Mendelssohn (6-1), Good Magic (7-1), Audible (7-1) and Bold d’Oro (9-1).

Barron’s mentions: ExxonMobile (NYSE:XOM) is called a bet of the future of oil. “Most major oil stocks are near their 52-week highs, while Exxon is close to its 52-week low,” notes Andrew Bary. “Investors can get a safe 4% dividend while they wait for the company to be re-energized,” he adds. There’s a warning on Wolverine Worldwide (NYSE:WWW) as the company faces high factory waste cleanup costs. With an eye on rising bond yields, the publication lists ONE Gas (NYSE:OGS), NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE), Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE) and Eversource Energy (NYSE:ES) as energy fortress stocks that might be able to withstand the interest rate pressure.

Sources: EDGAR, Bloomberg, CNBC and Nasdaq.com.

Editor’s Note: This article covers one or more stocks trading at less than $1 per share and/or with less than a $100 million market cap. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.



Michigan Online Casino, Sports Betting Bill Is Coming Out Of Hibernation – OnlinePokerReport.com


Michigan online casino bill

An online casino, poker and sports betting bill in Michigan is stirring to life.

What’s new with Michigan and online gambling?

Online Poker Report had been aware of possible movement on Michigan’s effort to legalize online gambling in recent weeks. But those rumors turned into reality on Thursday night, with this nugget from GamblingCompliance:

The bill from Rep. Brandt Iden is currently on the calendar for the Michigan House floor, where it’s been since December. It appears that the new draft will be amended on the floor before a potential vote, if things go as planned.

The bill — H 4926 — has not yet been amended online.

How we got here on the Michigan online casino bill

Legislation has moved about as fast as molasses through the legislative process to date. There had initially been hope for relatively quick moment, but that didn’t pan out.

An amended version of a bill introduced by Iden in September passed out of his committee at the tail end of 2017.

The three Detroit commercial casinos — MGM Grand Detroit, Greektown Casino and MotorCity Casino — had given their support for the bill. The Native American tribes had still been either opposed, neutral or non-committal on the bill at the time.

It’s not clear if the new version of the bill will win the support of Native American tribes in the state. But the National Indian Gaming Association recently said it generally supports the repeal of the federal sports wagering ban, and new regulation as long as it meets conditions with which the tribes concur.

Sports betting too?

The addition of sports betting to the mix in December was a bit of a surprise. At the time, Michigan was ahead of the curve, as states around the country have contemplated a wide variety of sports betting bills to start 2018. To date, only one state — West Virginia — has enacted a law.

States that pass laws now could be poised to offer sports betting quickly should the Supreme Court sports betting case strike down the federal ban. A decision is expected before the end of June in the case involving New Jersey sports betting.

It’s not clear if handling sports betting and online gambling in tandem will necessarily help the legislation progress. The commercial casinos certainly want to offer sports wagering if the bill is written the right way. MGM, for its part, has been bullish on the future of sports wagering.

We may find out soon if Michigan online casinos and Michigan sports betting have a path forward together in 2018.



Latest Sports Poll on Sports Betting and Attitudes on Baseball Featured by USA Today, MSN, ESPN, Star Ledger and … – Seton Hall University News & Events


Sports Polling at Seton HallThe most recent Sports Poll, which featured questions on attitudes about baseball and the prospect of widespread legalized sports betting was featured by ESPN, USA Today, MSN, Legal Sports Report and the Star Ledger.

The poll, which is sponsored by the Stillman School of Business and its Sharkey Institute, queried the public regarding these issues and found that by a nearly 2 to 1 margin Americans thought that recent rule changes in baseball that limit the number of visits to the pitching mound would make the game “feel faster.” However, 53% said they thought baseball games took too long, with just 40% disagreeing. USA Today featured these results and a quote from the poll’s director, Rick Gentile, in its “Notable Numbers” feature on the front page of the Sports section.

The poll also found that interest in baseball among millennials was down, with MSN and ESPN writing about that aspect of the poll.

MSN noted that:

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has been on a mission to change the game to gain the interest of young fans. However, it does not appear to be working.

According to a recent poll by Seton Hall University, 22.7 percent of 18-to-29 year-olds have become less interested in baseball. At the same time, only 5.4 percent became more interested in the MLB product.

Likewise, Darren Rovell of ESPN tweeted to his 2 million plus followers the results: The @HallSportsPoll asked 18- to 29-year-olds to describe their feeling towards MLB as compared to the past. 66.6% said it was the same 22.7% said they were less interested 5.4% said they were more interested 5.3% said they didn’t know.

With regard to the prospect of more widespread legalized sports betting (the U.S. Supreme Court will soon render a decision that could make it legal) the poll found that people favored sports betting by 20 pts. (55% – 35%) and found that people favored control of the matter in states hands (as opposed to the federal government) by an even greater margin: 62% said sports gambling should be under state control, with 27% saying the federal government should control it.

Perhaps most surprising, however, was that despite the fact that people favored legalized sports betting, they also believed that it would impact the integrity of the games:

…by a margin of 48% – 42%, those same respondents feel that legalized betting would negatively impact the integrity of sporting events. Even among those favoring legalized gambling, one of three believes that it would have a negative impact.

“It’s outrageous when you think about it,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the poll, which is sponsored by the Sharkey Institute. “It comes close to saying ‘We don’t care about the legitimacy of the games, what matters is being able to bet on them. A majority favors gambling, and by a slimmer margin think the games might be fixed as a result.”

The Star Ledger, ESPN, Calvin Ayre, Legal Sports Report and Casino.org all wrote about the sports betting poll results.

Media

  • USA Today, “Notable Numbers”
  • MSN, “Poll Reveals Millennial Interest in MLB is Still Decreasing”
  • ESPN, Darren Rovell
  • Star Ledger, “What Americans think about legalizing sports betting as Jersey waits for it”
  • ESPN, David Payne Purdum
  • Legal Sports Report, “Poll: Majority Favors Legal Sports Betting, But Nearly Half Say Wagering Would Hurt Game Integrity”
  • Calvin Ayre, “Poll: Americans want states, not feds, to control sports betting”
  • Casino.org “Majority of Americans Favor Legal Sports Betting Despite Possible Integrity Issues, Says Poll”
  • Casino.org “New Jersey Sports Betting Bill Sets Regulatory Framework, Includes ‘Integrity Fee’”



Connecticut lawmakers, Indian tribes lock horns over sports betting control – CalvinAyre.com


Connecticut lawmakers and the tribal operators of Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun are at loggerheads over who will be in charge of sports betting operations once it is legalized in the state.

Connecticut lawmakers, Indian tribes lock horns over sports betting controlThe Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes argued that they have the exclusive right over the conduct of sports betting in the state as provided under the tribes’ current agreement with Connecticut, according to the Hartford Courant report.

They also reminded lawmakers of the legal opinion penned by Attorney General George Jepsen, which cautioned legislators to “carefully consider a number of factors before legalizing sports wagering.”

Jepsen opined that the tribes will argue “that a state law permitting sports wagering in Connecticut may violate the exclusivity provisions” of their tribal gaming compacts.

To be clear, both tribes are in favor of legal sports betting. What the tribes don’t approve of is allowing off-track betting operators to get a slice of the sports betting revenue pie. The Mashantucket Pequots insist that “sports betting is a commercial casino game” and therefore “falls within the exclusivity granted to the tribes under the current agreement.”

“If the legislature authorizes sports betting in a manner that constitutes a video facsimile or video game of chance, such an authorization would lift the moratorium under the tribal-state gaming compacts,” the Mashantucket Pequot letter stated, according to the news outlet.

The Mohegans were more level-headed, noting how both parties worked out their differences to come up with a win-win solution for the tribes and state.

However, Connecticut Lawmakers stood firm that they wouldn’t let the tribes take control of sports betting. House Majority Leader Matthew Ritter pointed out that the tribes couldn’t claim control over sports betting using the agreement since betting was never contemplated when the compact was signed.

It was clear that the agreement only provided that the tribes would be the sole operators of video slot machines, and not over other forms of gambling.

“Here we are 26 years later and they’re raising it for the first time,” Ritter said. “I’ve heard and read better legal arguments than that one.”

Rep. Vinnie Candelora said that the tribes were being “a bit disingenuous and probably going to far” when they insisted on their sole right to sports betting, while House Speaker Joseph Aresimowicz thumbed down the tribes’ planned monopoly.

“We can essentially walk down there and say slots are turned off, nobody wants to do that, the tribes will be a part of any gaming activity we do in the state of Connecticut,” Aresimowicz told Eyewitness News 3.

Like other states, Connecticut has been rushing to pass a bill that would allow sports betting in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court decides to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Professional Act of 1992.

Connecticut lawmakers hope to raise $40 to $80 million a year from betting to replenish the state coffers. A bill seeking to legalize sports betting in Connecticut has gained momentum since March after receiving support not only from the tribes but also from the Connecticut Lottery Corp.

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