It was another news-filled week in the world of gambling.
In this installment of a weekly roundup from US Bets, we’re giving you a rundown of some of the more interesting new nuggets from the world of sports betting and beyond.
Also be sure to check out Sports Handle for its weekly news recap, “Get a Grip.”
Soccer bettors score win in New Jersey
Regulators in the Garden State sided with gamblers who received erroneous and overly generous lines on June soccer matches. FanDuel originally held up payment on the winning wagers while the state looked into it. The sportsbook was on the hook for more than $200,000 in payouts, per ESPN.
New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has ruled in favor of bettors who combined to place dozens on soccer bets in mid-July with FanDuel. Dispute was centered on whether a palpable error had occurred on the odds offered. Bettors will get paid on the odds listed on the ticket.
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) August 13, 2020
It was a win for bettors, and the DGE decision was applauded by many, but is it an ominous development for the regulated sportsbooks? Could it set a precedent that’s bad for books in the long term? At least one industry insider believes an obvious error shouldn’t be held against a sportsbook.
Time to short US sports betting stocks I reckon. If you're forced to pay out 1.01 shots at 1.74 because of an obvious error you're going to have a bad time. https://t.co/gphhRuiVqZ
— Mug (@McChazzz) August 13, 2020
In contrast to New Jersey, Indiana allows sportsbooks to cancel wagers “in the event of obvious error, at the certificate holder’s or vendor’s discretion.” Clearly some states are regulating sports betting very differently from others.
Record gambling on political trading platform
The market for the Democratic nomination for vice president came to a close this week when former Vice President Joe Biden selected California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate.
Gambling on politics has never been bigger, at least at PredictIt, which is allowed to offer stock-market-style betting on politics under an exemption from the federal government. No regulated U.S. sportsbook is allowed to offer gambling on elections, but that could one day change.
For now, U.S. punters have few options, resulting in a new single-day record for PredictIt.
Yesterday, @PredictIt hit a new single-day record for total shares traded in a market!
The new record set on Aug. 11, 2020#BidenVP nom market – 8,427,156
— PredictIt (@PredictIt) August 12, 2020
DraftKings takes largest ever golf bet
One gambler on DraftKings felt Dustin Johnson had tons of value at +275 to win this past weekend’s PGA Championship. The book accepted a massive $350,000 bet. Fortunately for DraftKings, it didn’t cash.
Confirmed to @Covers by Johnny Avello: @DKSportsbook took wager of $350,000 today on Dustin Johnson +275 to win #PGAChamp. "It's the biggest golf wager we've ever taken." Would win $962,500 if DJ gets it done. @Covers
1st reported by @darrenrovell.
— Patrick Everson (@Covers_Vegas) August 9, 2020
Relationship between Trump, Adelson souring?
Leading up to the 2016 election some people thought Donald Trump, a former Atlantic City casino owner who sometimes ran prominent poker events, would be good for the online poker industry.
That obviously hasn’t panned out, as Las Vegas Sands founder Sheldon Adelson, a Trump/GOP megadonor, was able to sway the Trump Department of Justice to reverse a 2011 legal opinion on the Wire Act that was favorable to the regulated online gaming industry. That reversal has created some uncertainty, especially for states sharing online poker liquidity. State lotteries were also spooked and challenged the reversal in court.
Enforcement of that new legal interpretation that aligns with Adelson, long an opponent of online gambling, hasn’t come yet. Recently, reports have stated that Adelson and Trump are at odds these days. Could this reduce the chances of further meddling in regulated online gaming by a Trump Administration? Time will tell, but if Adelson is no longer in Trump’s good graces, it seems unlikely his DOJ would do him a solid.
billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson called Trump last week to talk about the coronavirus relief bill. Trump yelled at him for not donating more money to his re-election campaign.
— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) August 8, 2020
Controversial comments by BetMGM partner
Isle of Man-based online gambling firm GVC, which offers online gambling in the U.S. in tandem with MGM Resorts International, raised a lot of eyebrows this week with comments on the future of the industry.
According to GVC, competition among sportsbooks for the best odds (prices) won’t be a theme of the industry in the long run, prompting many industry insiders to recoil at the suggestion that sports bettors won’t be price sensitive. Don’t even recreational players like value?
GVC CEO Shay Segev on potential US pricing competition: "We don't see the US becoming some kind of price war. You want to aim for recreational players. There's only a small group of players actively looking for best price."
— Brad Allen (@BradAllenNFL) August 13, 2020
Many of the sports betting industry’s sharpest minds chimed in with criticism of GVC’s prognostication about the American sports bettor, a customer that is still evolving. It’s only been a little over two years since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a 1992 federal sports wagering prohibition, so the industry is very nascent.
Below is just one of the reactions.
While there's nothing immoral, or even unethical about wanting to mimic a 7-11 convenience store-style pricing model for running a sports book, it's also true that only weak CEO's with unskilled management try, and prefer, to make 4% smooth instead of 12% lumpy. https://t.co/8bcdSRGOKn
— Joe Peta (@MagicRatSF) August 13, 2020