The last week in an incredible year for US sports betting brought an unexpected upset. Michigan lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to legalize online gambling and sports betting, but Governor Rick Snyder hit the big red veto button.
Bill sponsor Representative Brandt Iden looked on in horror as his online gaming bill was one of 40 bills that the Governor decided to kill.
Governor Snyder claimed that there was a lack of clarity about budget and revenue impacts. Since the only open question in this area is exactly how big the positive impact will be, we have to look for political reasons rather than Snyder’s statements to get to the real reason.
Here, the state lottery rears its ugly head. Michigan is one of the few states that allow online lottery ticket purchases. The Governor is not worried about the principle of online gaming. Rather, the fear stories put about by the lottery are that online gaming expansion will cannibalize their revenues.
A quick glance at New Jersey’s lottery shows that revenues actually increased after the state legalized online gaming.
As of Jan 1, 2019 Gretchen Whitmer takes the oath of office as new Michigan Governor. Her stance on online gaming is not known. Rep. Iden said that he will reintroduce his bill in 2019, but he will also have to educate some of the new state legislators on the issues. The likelihood is that there won’t be another vote on igaming or sports betting until later in the legislative agenda.
West Virginia launches mobile sports betting
Sports bettors anywhere in West Virginia can download the BetLucky.com software to desktop or mobile devices. No longer is a trip to the casino required to place a legal sports bet.
The app comes from tech company Mionmi, which launched the first Caesars mobile gaming app in Nevada.
Sports betting revenues are rising
Nevada sportsbooks took in $581 million in revenues in November, a new record for the state. They’ve been in the business a long time, so it is right and proper that they lead the market, but other states may soon catch up.
New Jersey November sports betting handle came in at $330 million, an incredible acceleration given the state only began legal sports betting in June.
Other states reporting revenues included:
All are in the early stages and those figures can expect to rise rapidly. Pennsylvania and Rhode Island won’t have a full month’s worth of figures available until next year, but initial indicators are optimistic.
Other sports betting news making headlines this week
Elsewhere around the Union:
- Three Virginia Lawmakers and Three Sports Betting Bills
- California Sports Betting Faces Tough But Not Impossible Road
- NBC Sports to launch sports gambling radio show hosted by Michael Jenkins and Tim Murray
What to watch for next week
Lawmakers on holiday means plenty of comment and tweets, but little actual action for next week.
Pennsylvania might surprise with the launch of its first online sports betting app. The SugarHouse Casino is definitely close to launch with the playSugarhouse.com app, but getting regulatory approval over the holidays might be too much of a stretch. Other casinos are readying their own online sports betting, so could beat SugarHouse to the start line, but don’t bet on it.
It’s never good to predict a quiet week in US sports betting—that’s normally when the wheels come off! Whatever the unexpected is, we’ll be here to cover it.
That’s it for this week, join us in the New Year for more sports betting news.