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State of the Union: A look back at the week that was in the US

| By Jill R. Dorson
Welcome to iGB's State of the Union, a look at the biggest sports betting stories we've covered over the week and briefs on others we found interesting.
louisiana lawmaker files RG bill

As the world of sports betting continues move at warp speed, we’re doing our best to keep up and keep you in the know.

Cavaliers coach: Gambler threatened me

Cleveland Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff told reporters on 20 March that a gambler had tracked down his phone number and sent “crazy messages about where I live, my kids and all that stuff”.

As reported by the Associated Press, Bickerstaff went on to say that he had shared the information with stadium security. The gambler was located and escorted out of Rocket Mortgage Field House. The coach did not press charges.

Last summer Ohio’s regulator was given increased powers to deal with bettors who threaten athletes when Governor Mike DeWine included language in his budget that would allow the Ohio Casino Control Commission to issue a lifetime ban to harassers. It was the first state to pass legislation tackling harassment in sports. Last month, the state made it illegal to offer or place prop bets on individual college athletes.

In January 2023, Dayton basketball coach Anthony Grant reported his players were threatened after giving up a 14-point halftime lead and losing a game. At that time, the OCCC threatened a lifetime ban.

MGC names new executive director

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission 20 March announced that Dean Serpa, a former aide to the former governor and current NCAA chair, Charlie Baker, will be its new executive director. On 18 March the commission voted unanimously to offer Serpa the position.

Serpa replaces Karen Wells, who resigned in July 2023 after 10 years in the position. MGC general counsel Todd Grossman was the interim director.

His hiring comes during an unusual time for the MGC, as commission chair Cathy Judd-Stein announced her retirement in February – her last day was 21 March. Governor Maura Healy’s office appointed Commissioner Jordan Maynard interim commission chair effective 22 March.

The MGC also formally announced Caitlin Monahan as its new Investigations Enforcement Bureau chief. Monahan has been the interim director since Loretta Lillios resigned last summer.

Changes coming to NY sports betting?

The latest proposed New York senate budget has legislation that would expand what markets are available for bettors in New York. On 21 March Spectrum News 1 reported that pre-game coin tosses, prop bets and awards, like the Major League Baseball’s Cy Young or the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, are included in the proposal.

Other new markets for the Super Bowl could be wagering on the length of the national anthem or what color Gatorade the winning Super Bowl coach gets doused in. 

Also proposed is the earmark of 1%, or a minimum of $6m per year, for problem and responsible gambling services. 

Louisiana lawmaker wants wagering ad ban

In the middle of Problem Gambling Awareness Month, Louisiana freshman Representative Shaun Mena filed a bill that would place limits around sports betting ads.

Mena, who represents New Orleans, home to the Caesars SuperDome and the biggest land-based casino in the state, told WDSU his goal is protect the “young men and women who are addicted to these products”.

Louisiana’s legislative session opened on 11 March and lawmakers have until 2 April to introduce bills. The crossover deadline is 31 May, three days ahead of adjournment. Louisianans legalised sports betting in 55 of 64 parishes on the November 2020 ballot and digital sports betting launched on 28 January 2022.

However, other Louisiana lawmakers don’t think the idea is business friendly and told the TV station they thought Mena would struggle to move it forward. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice.

Rebet the latest in “social sports betting”

Four Dartmouth University students launched a free-to-play social sportsbook on 18 March, one day after NCAA basketball conference tournaments ended and a day ahead of the First Four in Dayton.

The concept is to bring together sports fans and bettors into a community where they can share their love of sports, fandom and betting, according to multiple media reports.

Rebet does not charge customers for peer-to-peer wagering. Rather it makes money through a “coin system”, where users are allotted a set number of free coins per day, but can purchase more. The site has two kinds of currencies and offers free-to-play betting and live data on 60 pro sports leagues.

“Our focus is on what people think of the business itself – are these features that we believe are changing the industry?” Rebet CEO Carson Hubbard told Sports Handle. “Are these features that people care enough to use? And, are the features important enough to users where they’re actually going to switch from their traditional sportsbook to the Rebet platforms.”

Wisconsin’s Oneidas increase access to sports betting

The Oneida Nation, the first in Wisconsin to compact with the state to be able to offer sports betting, last week went live on its lands with the Oneida Casino Sportsbook digital app, according to Indian Gaming.

The launch means anyone on Oneida lands can bet on the platform via a mobile device, in addition to betting in person. Accounts must be funded in person at one of two casino locations and the reservation’s PreK-12 school and land are geofenced out.

“This strategic opportunity allows us to better meet the growing demands of legal sports wagering,” Louise Cornelius, Oneida Gaming’s general manager, told Indian Gaming.

Since the Oneidas in 2021 compacted with the state for sports betting, two other tribes have followed suit. Eleven tribes have gaming compacts with the state. As each compact comes up for renegotiation, it is expected that all tribes will add sports betting.

ICYMI from iGB

Defendant claims “character assassination” in DraftKings’ court case

Florida Supreme Court won’t hear Florida sports betting case

US Representative Tonko files bill that would require states to get federal permission for wagering

New Washington, DC bill seeks to open market, do away with lottery monopoly

Georgia’s sports betting bill isn’t going anywhere

Maryland online casino bill passes house and heads to senate

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