As known from:
nytimes logousatoday logotheguardian logo
VA
Home > News > The US iGaming Report October – December 2023

The US iGaming Report October – December 2023

Publish Date:April 30, 2024
Fact checked by: Chris A
The US iGaming Report October - December 2023 (1)

The US iGaming Report October – December 2023

Welcome to Gambla.com, your ultimate destination for all things gambling-related. In our quest to keep you informed and up-to-date, we’re thrilled to present our latest feature: The US iGaming Report.

As the gambling landscape evolves, particularly in the United States, staying abreast of the latest trends, regulations, and innovations is crucial for both industry insiders and enthusiasts alike. With our finger on the pulse of the igaming industry, we’ve meticulously curated this report to bring you the most pertinent insights and developments from across the nation.

Bet365
4.7/5
Bet365 Review
First Bet Safety Net up to $1000 OR Bet $5 and Get $150
Bet now
At bet365 we don’t do ordinary, that’s why if you sign up now you’ll get the choice of two great New Customer Offers, the First Bet Safety Net up to $1000 or Bet $5 and Get $150 in Bonus Bets. Deposit required. Bonus Bets wager excluded from returns. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-Gambler 21+
BetMGM
4.7/5
BetMGM Review
Up To $1500 in Bonus Bets Paid Back if your First Bet Does Not Win
T&Cs apply, 21+
Bet now
FanDuel
4.6/5
FanDuel Review
Bet $5 Get $150 in Bonus Bets if your bet wins
T&Cs apply, 21+
Bet now

The potential revival of sports betting in Florida, once uncertain in September, has become increasingly complex a month later. A recent federal court ruling hinted at the possibility of the Seminole Tribe offering online sports betting soon. However, the path forward is cluttered with legal obstacles, putting the relaunch on hold indefinitely:

Plaintiffs in the case have escalated their appeal to the US Supreme Court following a decision by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

Additionally, these plaintiffs have initiated a new legal challenge based on violations of the state constitution.

This legal turmoil injects significant uncertainty into the situation, making the near-term revival of sports betting unlikely, though not entirely out of the question. The brief 2021 launch of the Hard Rock Sportsbook in Florida, followed by its quick suspension, suggests that any future attempts to restart sports betting will be approached with heightened caution.

November saw Florida once again becoming the most populous state to offer any form of sports betting, marking the second time it has achieved this milestone. The Hard Rock Bet app resumed accepting wagers, albeit on a limited scale. Access to the app is currently restricted to individuals who registered and placed bets in 2021 when the app briefly operated following the approval of the Seminole compact with the state, before a subsequent court case compelled its cessation.

Additionally, the Seminole tribe confirmed the launch of three sportsbooks at casinos in South Florida. However, the road to full-fledged sports betting in Florida is not without hurdles, and the decision by Hard Rock to expand further into the online market remains uncertain. With two ongoing court cases seeking to halt sports betting in the state, Hard Rock likely aims to avoid a repeat of the start-and-stop scenario experienced in 2021:

The ongoing federal court case is currently under appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, though there is no guarantee the nation’s highest court will hear the case. Despite initially granting a temporary stay, the court has already denied a stay of the lower court’s ruling.

The plaintiffs in the federal case have initiated a challenge in state court as well, seeking to suspend sports betting through this avenue.

The uncertainty stemming from these legal battles could impede or delay the full-scale rollout of online sports betting. However, faced with the protracted timeline of these legal proceedings, both Hard Rock and the Seminole tribe may be reluctant to wait indefinitely.

December marked Florida’s return to the sports betting scene late in the year. After navigating through a series of legal battles and court victories, the Seminole Tribe made the decision to fully relaunch Hard Rock Bet. Previously, in November, Hard Rock had allowed existing account holders to place bets. Additionally, six retail sportsbooks have now commenced operations; the legislation also permitted the inclusion of craps and roulette at physical casinos.

Despite Florida becoming the most populous state to offer sports betting, surpassing New York, the exclusive operation by Hard Rock might not fully capitalize on customer acquisition and revenue potential. The entrance of other sports betting brands into Florida could happen through agreements with the Seminoles. However, ongoing legal uncertainties cast a shadow over the future of sports betting in the state.

The saga of sports betting in Florida reads like a legal thriller, with more twists and turns than a high-stakes poker game. The plot thickened when a federal court hinted the Seminole Tribe might join the betting table, but legal roadblocks have pressed the pause button on the action. Appeals are flying faster than cards in a blackjack shuffle, with the Supreme Court now holding the deck. Florida got a taste of sports betting in November, but it’s been more of a tease than a full course, thanks to a maze of legal hurdles. The state tried to up the ante in December, but with Hard Rock holding the only chips, it’s a bit like betting on a three-legged horse. As the courtroom drama unfolds, the future of Florida’s sports betting hangs in the balance.

In November 2022, a ballot measure advocating for the legalization of online sports betting in California faced a resounding defeat, signaling a setback for the legalization movement. The measure, supported by sportsbooks, was heavily opposed by the tribes running California’s casinos, leading to predictions of significant delays in future legalization attempts.

However, by October, a glimmer of hope emerges on the horizon. The Pala Band of Mission Indians, a longstanding player in the online gambling industry through Pala Interactive, is gearing up to introduce its own initiative for 2024. This move represents a significant step forward, albeit with uncertain prospects.

The success of such an initiative hinges on gaining the support of various gaming tribes, particularly influential ones like the Pechanga Band. Tribal support is crucial for legalizing sports betting in California, making it a pivotal aspect of the initiative’s viability. However, without detailed language on the ballot measure and a clear response from tribes, its chances appear slim at this stage.

In November, hopes for California sports betting seem dimmer, with the recent ballot initiative facing significant challenges. Initial responses from the state’s tribes indicate skepticism towards the proposal, which appears underdeveloped.

The initiative aims to facilitate the transition of offshore sportsbooks into regulated entities under tribal ownership within the state. However, this ambitious goal poses considerable execution challenges, even if offshore entities express interest.

Considering these factors, the prospect of California legalizing sports betting in 2024 remains a long shot. The most likely scenario involves the gradual legalization of retail sportsbooks at tribal casinos, with tribe-operated sports betting apps a more distant possibility. A fully open sports betting market independent of tribal control seems improbable in the current landscape, reflecting the complex dynamics at play.

California’s quest to legalize sports betting has been more twisty than a Hollywood thriller, complete with a 2022 ballot measure flop that had the drama of a blockbuster flop. Thanks to opposition from tribal casinos, it’s been a bumpy ride with more delays than LA traffic. But wait—there’s a plot twist! The Pala Band of Mission Indians is stepping up with a 2024 initiative, turning the page for what could be an epic saga or another cliffhanger.

For this initiative to go from script to screen, it needs the backing of the gaming tribes’ A-listers, especially the Pechanga Band. It’s like trying to get all the major movie studios to agree on a joint release; tribal support is the ticket to premiere night. Yet, without a detailed script (aka ballot measure language) and a nod from the tribes, this sequel might not make it to production.

The plan? To turn offshore sportsbooks into the next blockbuster under tribal management, but the path is littered with production challenges. Attracting offshore interests is like trying to sign an A-list actor for an indie film budget. So, the odds of California rolling out the red carpet for sports betting in 2024 are looking as likely as a snowstorm in San Francisco. The smart money’s on a slow rollout at tribal casinos, with tribe-run betting apps as the potential sleeper hit. A fully open sports betting market not under tribal direction? That’s as likely as winning an Oscar on your first acting gig—a long shot in this complex plot.

Regulatory pushback for daily fantasy sports pick’em games

October proved to be a challenging month for certain daily fantasy sports (DFS) companies, particularly those offering player proposition parlays or “pick’em” games:

  • In Florida, gaming authorities sent cease-and-desist notices to PrizePicks, Underdog Fantasy, and Betr for “engaging in or accepting bets or wagers from state residents.” As of this writing, these fantasy apps have not withdrawn from the Florida market.
  • Michigan’s regulators determined that fantasy pick’em games must cease starting in October, according to updated regulations.
  • New York’s regulatory body introduced a regulation specifying that fantasy contests cannot be based on proposition betting, nor resemble proposition betting in effect.

These developments highlight the evolving regulatory landscape that DFS companies must navigate.

The initial spark of regulatory interest in the latest version of the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) industry soon evolved into a more pronounced focus. The games these fantasy companies offer mirror the player prop bet parlays available at regulated sportsbooks, with the primary distinction being the legal justification for the former. This justification leverages a combination of federal and state laws that address fantasy sports and games of skill.

A significant portion of the DFS industry, including contests provided by major players like DraftKings and FanDuel, hinges on a legal argument that categorizes them as “games of skill” across various states. Additionally, some states have enacted laws specifically addressing DFS, with approaches ranging from minimal regulation to more relaxed measures that affirm the legality of paid-entry fantasy contests. Notably, “pick’em” apps cater to audiences predominantly in states recognizing DFS as a “game of skill.” Importantly, they serve both California and Texas, the two largest states without legal sports betting, highlighting their significant market presence.

Florida presents a unique scenario with its absence of a specific DFS law, yet it harbors the potential for legalized sports betting through the Seminole compact. This situation could prompt a crackdown on pick’em games that replicate sports betting. After all, why would Florida permit competition for legal sports betting with a similar, yet unregulated product? An unfavorable opinion regarding paid-entry fantasy by the state’s attorney general has been on record since 1991. Despite this, DraftKings and FanDuel have been operating in the state for ten years. They have also made unsuccessful attempts to pass legislation that would confirm the legality of paid-entry fantasy sports.

NCAA taking betting more seriously

Five years after the legalization of sports betting expanded, the NCAA has significantly increased its engagement, spurred by several scandals, including notable incidents involving athletes from Iowa and Iowa State caught placing bets. In response, the NCAA has developed an e-learning module aimed at educating current and future college athletes about the intricacies of sports betting and the potential risks involved. Previously, educational efforts were insufficient and lacked consistency across the country. This initiative seeks to remedy that shortfall. Ideally, such educational measures should have been implemented with the onset of sports betting’s expansion, if not sooner, considering the long-standing presence of offshore sportsbooks and local bookmakers.

The NCAA is making commendable efforts to improve, deserving of recognition. It has declared its intention to approach state legislatures for new measures, aimed at safeguarding athletes from gambling-related harassment. As a former plaintiff in the landmark court case that led to the overturning of the federal sports betting prohibition in 2018, the NCAA’s initial attempts to navigate the subsequent surge in legalization were poorly executed, often advocating for prohibition over-regulation. However, the organization is now adopting a more pragmatic perspective towards sports betting, addressing the challenges faced by its member institutions and athletes, and adapting to the policy landscape five years on.

Athletes and gambling getting more attention

Recently, there has been a continuous flow of developments at the crossroads of gambling and athletic conduct. Key updates include:

  • Shane Pinto, an NHL player, received a 41-game suspension, though specifics remain scarce.
  • Charlie Baker, NCAA President, is advocating for a renewed examination of proposition bets involving college athletes.
  • The repercussions of gambling involvements with athletes from Iowa and Iowa State are ongoing, leading to season-long suspensions for some. The football coach at Iowa has expressed dissatisfaction with the situation.
  • Two professional golfers at the lower tiers were suspended due to gambling infractions.

The conversation surrounding the intersection of athletes and sports betting is multifaceted, encompassing several aspects:

  • Transparency Issues: The NHL and golf have faced criticism for the opacity surrounding their recent suspensions. The scant details released have led to widespread speculation about the nature of the infractions. Contrarily, the NFL has earned praise for its clear and open approach to disclosing suspension reasons.
  • The Tip of the Iceberg?: The gambling-related charges against over a dozen athletes at an Iowa college raise a significant question: is this an isolated incident, or just the visible part of a much larger issue? Considering these charges, it seems plausible that similar activities are happening in colleges nationwide. Moreover, the comparison between the relatively lower number of violations reported in professional baseball, basketball, and hockey compared to football, which has significantly larger team rosters, is becoming increasingly hard to justify.
  • Anticipating Stricter Regulations: The last year has seen tentative steps towards imposing stricter controls on the sports betting industry. Given the surge of incidents involving colleges and gambling, it’s reasonable to expect that lawmakers or regulators might reevaluate and potentially tighten the rules concerning bets on college teams and athletes in 2024 and beyond.

Live streaming in sportsbook

A key challenge facing the US sports betting industry is the issue of live betting versus the latency in streaming sporting events. In an era where many are cutting cords, streams can lag significantly behind the live action, creating a frustrating experience for bettors eager to place in-game bets, unless there’s a pause in the play.

However, the integration of low-latency streams directly into sportsbooks presents a potential solution. Genius Sports’ BetVision, lagging only four to six seconds behind real-time, is making strides in mitigating NFL betting latency issues for platforms like Fanatics Sportsbook, Caesars, and BetRivers. For more insights on BetVision’s impact, Legal Sports Report provides further analysis.

  • There was a 40% surge in the number of bettors streaming Thursday Night Football from the first to the second week.
  • Nearly half (46%) of users who streamed the first week of TNF came back to stream the second week.
  • Bettors placed twice as many bets while streaming compared to those not streaming.
  • Over half (54%) of the bets placed by newcomers to streaming were in-game wagers.

In-game betting has gained significant popularity in the United States, a trend that is expected to continue as the friction caused by lag diminishes.

Two New Sportsbooks On The Block

In the dynamic landscape of the US sports betting industry, numerous brands have come and gone within its inaugural five years. However, 2023 marks a pivotal moment reminiscent of the industry’s nascent stages, introducing two formidable newcomers capable of contesting for top honors. ESPN Bet and Fanatics Sportsbook emerge as serious contenders, potentially challenging the dominance of industry giants FanDuel and DraftKings by making significant inroads into their market share.

ESPN Bet

Currently, ESPN Bet is generating significant buzz. This new venture from Penn Entertainment, which officially “launched” in November, is essentially a rebranding of Barstool Sportsbook.

The developments surrounding ESPN Bet represent one of the year’s most notable stories. With its 2020 acquisition of a minority stake in Barstool, Penn had pledged to vie for a leading position among sportsbooks. However, after struggling to secure a substantial market share for years, Penn shifted its strategy in 2023 by entering into a significant licensing agreement with ESPN. Following this deal, Penn acknowledged Barstool’s underperformance by writing it off as a loss and selling it back to its founder, Dave Portnoy, for a mere $1.

Despite Barstool’s market share peaking at under 5%, there’s a strong indication that ESPN Bet’s market presence will significantly surpass this threshold. Yet, whether it will achieve its ambitious goal of capturing 20% of the market share is still up for speculation.

What have we seen so far from ESPN Bet?

  • The initial download figures for ESPN Bet were notably high, securing the No. 1 spot in the App Store for a considerable period. However, this achievement deserves a nuanced view. The migration from Old Barstool Sportsbook required users to download the new app to transition to the updated platform and access a $200 bonus. Furthermore, the unprecedented launch of a single sports betting app across 17 states at once is noteworthy. This feat was significantly bolstered by comprehensive promotional support across ESPN’s broadcasting channels, website, app, and through its personalities. While the download numbers were impressive, setting the expectation for massive initial adoption was high; anything less would have been seen as a shortfall.
  • ESPN Bet launched in mid-November, and even in this brief period, we’ve observed increases in both handle and revenue in the states that have shared data. This uptick is likely due to both new and existing users benefiting from significant bonuses, in addition to any residual activity from early November during the Barstool period. Over the next few months, we’ll gain deeper insights into ESPN Bet’s endurance and growth potential.
  • The integration of ESPN Bet into ESPN’s app, site, and written content has been slow and limited, presenting a significant opportunity for growth once the initiative gains momentum. Currently, most of ESPN’s editorial content lacks calls to action, making it challenging to locate advertisements or links to the sportsbook app from within the main ESPN app. It’s important to highlight that this issue, or oversight, was similarly encountered with Barstool and Barstool Sportsbook.
  • .There exists an optimism, both from within and outside, that ESPN Bet could broaden the market rather than merely capturing market share from existing players. This belief is fueled by the potent ESPN brand coupled with the media entity’s vast presence in the sports industry.

Fanatics Sportsbook

Fanatics Sportsbook is also live, now in nine states, but has garnered far less buzz than ESPN in the back half of 2023.

Fanatics generated a lot of buzz earlier when it bought the U.S. assets of PointsBet, which had settled in as a mid-tier operator around the country. Fanatics still operates the PointsBet brand in some jurisdictions as well.

Instead of coming in with a giant splash, Fanatics looks like it will be content with a slow burn and trying to grow its business organically on top of the tech and users it acquired with PointsBet.

The initial thoughts on Fanatics:

  • We still only have a few months of data from the initial Fanatics Sportsbook launch in August, but those show signs of growth. It’s more likely we’ll see a big push from a more fleshed out Fanatics Sportsbook heading into the 2024 football season.
  • The most interesting thing about the sportsbook is its tie-in with Fanatics’ core business of selling licensed sports merchandise. Fanatics’ loyalty program can be used for bonus bets or apparel, a dynamic that the company believes will set it apart in the marketplace. FanCash allows Fanatics to achieve, in theory, a level of loyalty and retention that other sportsbooks cannot.
  • Fanatics was an early adopter of BetVision, a product that allows bettors to watch low-latency streams of NFL games right in the app.

Besides being a major highlight of 2023, the progress of these two sportsbooks into 2024 is set to be a significant narrative. Observers will keenly watch to determine if they are expanding the market or if they manage to outperform the third and fourth-ranked operators, BetMGM and Caesars.

2024 is setting the stage for the US sports betting scene to go big or go home! With ESPN Bet and Fanatics Sportsbook jumping into the game in 2023, it’s about to get as competitive as a final round in a sports championship. Operators are suiting up to battle for market share with all the fervor of a last-minute touchdown.

As for the rule book, states sitting on the sidelines might just lace up their sneakers, enticed by those sweet, sweet tax dollars and keen to whistle in some regulation on the wild west of betting.

Meanwhile, legal dramas in places like Florida and California are turning into full-blown soap operas, potentially reshaping the sports betting landscape quicker than a ref flipping a coin.

And let’s not forget the tech wizards, casting spells to make betting platforms as smooth and personalized as your favorite sports jersey. Expect data analytics, AI, and marketing mojo to transform the user experience, while cozying up with sports leagues and media turns watching the game into an “all bets are on” affair.

Buckle up, folks. The blend of sports, betting, and tech is hitting a home run, slam dunk, and hat trick all at once!

Top Headlines of 2023: Stories That Shaped the Year

Massachusetts, Kentucky and Maine launched legal sports betting.

North Carolina legalized sports betting with a 2024 launch expected; Vermont should go live in January.

Regulators have increasingly taken issue with pick’em fantasy companies, saying they run afoul of state laws in some instances. A potential negative outcome for the industry looms in California in 2024, depending on the finding of the state’s attorney general.

The widow of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson bought a majority interest in the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. Mirian Adelson likely made the deal with the hope that Las Vegas Sands could build a casino in Texas in the future.

Conclusion

The fourth quarter of 2023 has been an eventful and dynamic time in the world of sports betting. With the launch of major players like ESPN Bet and Fanatics Sportsbook, the market is becoming increasingly competitive. These new entrants bring with them their unique strategies and partnerships, such as ESPN’s integration into its media platform and Fanatics’ tie-in with licensed sports merchandise.

As the industry continues to grow and evolve, there are also significant legal and regulatory developments taking place. States such as Massachusetts, Kentucky, and Maine have all launched legal sports betting, while others like North Carolina and Vermont are expected to follow suit in the near future. However, potential challenges lie ahead for the fantasy sports industry as regulators scrutinize pick’em fantasy companies and potential negative outcomes loom in states like California.

In addition, major moves in the sports world, such as Mirian Adelson’s purchase of a majority interest in the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, could have significant implications for the future of sports betting. With the possibility of Las Vegas Sands building a casino in Texas, it is clear that the intersection of sports, betting, and technology will continue to have a major impact on the industry in the coming years.

2023 has set the stage for even more exciting developments in the world of sports betting in 2024. As operators continue to compete for market share and technology continues to revolutionize the user experience, it is clear that this rapidly growing industry shows no signs of slowing down. So buckle up and get ready for an exhilarating ride in the world of sports betting.

 

Read Also
The US iGaming Report January – March 2024
Welcome to Gambla.com, your ultimate destination for all things gambling-related. In our ...
Stagnant Alabama Gambling Legislation Garners Attention Due to Lottery Jackpots
The staggering $1.9 billion combined jackpots of Mega Millions and Powerball are ...
BetMGM Promo
Massachusetts Lottery Director Pushes for Online Lottery Expansion
Mark Bracken, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Lottery, is appealing to ...
Maryland iGaming Halts for 2024 as Senate Drops House Proposal
Last month, the Maryland iGaming bill, which the state House of Delegates ...
Black Market Thriving Despite Legalization of Sports Betting
Since the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act ...
Top Betting Sites
Top Betting Bonuses
Bet365
Bet365
Bet365 Review
4.7/5
BetMGM
BetMGM
BetMGM Review
4.7/5
FanDuel
FanDuel
FanDuel Review
4.6/5
DraftKings
DraftKings
DraftKings Review
4.5/5
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com Review
4.5/5
Bet365
Bet365 Bonus
First Bet Safety Net up to $1000 OR Bet $5 and Get $150
T&Cs apply
4.7/5
At bet365 we don't do ordinary, that's why if you sign up now you'll get the choice of two great New Customer Offers, the First Bet Safety Net up to $1000 or Bet $5 and Get $150 in Bonus Bets. Deposit required. Bonus Bets wager excluded from returns. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-Gambler 21+
BetMGM
BetMGM Bonus
Up To $1500 in Bonus Bets Paid Back if your First Bet Does Not Win
T&Cs apply
4.7/5
FanDuel
FanDuel Bonus
Bet $5 Get $150 in Bonus Bets if your bet wins
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
DraftKings
DraftKings Bonus
20% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com Bonus
Second chance bet: Get up to $500 in Bonus Bets
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
Top Online Casinos
Top Casinos Bonuses
Stake.us
Stake.us
Stake.us Review
4.6/5
High5Casino
High5Casino
High5Casino Review
4.6/5
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas Review
4.5/5
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins Review
4.5/5
Pulsz.com
Pulsz.com
Pulsz.com Review
4.5/5
Stake.us
Stake.us Bonus
$55 Stake Cash + 260K Gold Coins + 5% Rakeback
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
High5Casino
High5Casino Bonus
5 Sweeps Coins + 250 Game Coins + 600 Diamonds
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas Bonus
1.75 million WOW Coins + 35 Free Sweepstake Coins
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins Bonus
Claim Your Free 650,000 Gold Coins & 1,400 Sweeps Coins
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
Pulsz.com
Pulsz.com Bonus
367,000 Gold Coins + FREE 32.3 Sweepstakes Coins
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
Our Team
Carl MJimmy FTim JKristoffer BChris A
Carl M
Carl M
Editor in Chief
Jimmy F
Jimmy F
Editor
Tim J
Tim J
Sports Editor
Kristoffer B
Kristoffer B
Editor
Chris A
Chris A
Developer/Data Analyst

21+ and present in VA. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.

This site is using Cloudflare and adheres to the Google Safe Browsing Program. We adapted Google's Privacy Guidelines to keep your data safe at all times.

×
Your Promo Code:
The bonus offer of was already opened in an additional window. If not, you can open it also by clicking the following link:
Play now