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State of the Union: A look at the week that was in North America

| By Jill R. Dorson
Welcome to iGB's State of the Union, a look at the biggest North American sports betting stories we've covered over the week and briefs on others we found interesting.
Missouri Sports Betting

Missouri wagering initiative closer to ballot

Proponents of a Missouri wagering initiative announced they have collected 300,000 signatures with hopes of collecting 325,000 by the 5 May deadline. The group, “Winning for Missouri Education”, needs 180,000 verified signatures for the proposal to get on the November ballot. The initiative would allow for statewide mobile sports betting.

Backed by the state’s professional sports teams, the Missouri wagering initiative would circumvent the general assembly, which has been at a logjam about how to legalise online wagering for several years.

In 2020, it looked like Missouri would be a first mover in its region. However its general assembly has not yet reached a consensus, while its neighbours Kansas, Kentucky and Nebraska have legalised some form of wagering. In total, seven of Missouri’s eight border states offer sports betting.

NFL reinstates five players

On Thursday (18 April) the NFL reinstated five players it suspended last summer for violating the sport’s gambling rules. The Philadelphia Eagles’ Isaiah Rodgers was not among them.

The reinstatements came a day after the NBA banned its first player, Jontay Porter, who shared proprietary information with bettors and bet on the NBA.

According to NFL.com, the only active player reinstated was Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney. The league also reinstated former Lions wide receiver Quintez Cephus, safety CJ Moore, defensive lineman Demetrius Taylor and former Colts linebacker Rashod Berry.

Despite brief revival, Maine doesn’t legalise online gaming

The bill to give the Wabanaki Nation online gaming failed in the Maine house and senate last week, only to revive, gain passage in the house and then fail in the senate.

The bill was brought back from the brink when the assistant senate majority leader, Mattie Daughtry, requested it be revisited. The tactic is oft used in Maine, according to the Portland Press-Herald. In hopes that the vote count will change, legislators will vote with the winning side, even if they aren’t on it, so they can bring the bill back.

Maine’s legislative session closed on 17 April and bills from this session cannot be carried over.

DraftKings sued over “risk-free” language

On Thursday (17 April) DraftKings was sued in New York federal court in a class-action lawsuit over its use of the phrase “risk free”.

According to Bloomberg Law, bettors were promised that if they lost a “risk-free bet”, the amount of the bet would be returned to their account. However bettors claim that winning bets netted them a credit equal to less than half of what they would have won making a real-money bet.

Over the last year, many major operators have backed off using the terms “risk-free” and several US jurisdictions have banned the use of the phrase.

NY gaming commission lauds NCAA

Brian O’Dwyer, the chairman of the New York State Gaming Commission, sent a letter to the NCAA on 15 April supporting its call to ban college player prop bets nationwide. New York already prohibits such bets.

In his letter, O’Dwyer wrote that the reason New York initially adopted the ban was to “insulate student-athletes from potential harassment regarding their performance”.

About 15 US jurisdictions prohibit college player props. Louisiana was the most recent to adopt a ban.

Mississippi online sports betting bill heads to conference

HB 774, the bill that would allow for statewide mobile betting in Mississippi, is headed to conference committee.

Representatives Casey Eure, Jay McKnight and Henry Zuber III and senators David Blount, Mike Thompson and Chuck Younger will make up the committee, which plans to meet next week. With the session set to adjourn on 5 May, lawmakers have a little less than three weeks to reach a compromise.

The bill passed the house in February and the senate passed an amended version on 9 April. The amended bill is a “strike all”, that replaces the house proposal with existing state law.

The move was made to keep the conversation alive. The bill was sent back to the house for concurrence and the expected result is a conference committee that could hammer out a compromise.

In other news…

… On Thursday (18 April) New York’s city council approved zoning changes that would allow anyone who wins a bid for a downstate casino to get a wavier to build in high-density or commercial manufacturing districts.

… On Friday (19 April) Caesars Entertainment announced the debut of its NHL-branded blackjack game on its online gambling platforms in Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

… On Monday (15 April) Lottery Geeks broke the news that MegaMillions is poised to vote on a price increase from $2 to $5 per ticket.

… The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe announced plans to build a new casino in Texas.

… Virginia lawmakers approved legislation that could put the decision to build a Petersburg casino on the ballot in November.

… Alabama’s gambling bill, which started as a comprehensive expansion of gambling including digital sports betting, has been referred to a conference committee. The proposal has been significantly pared down and Senator Arthur Orr told a local radio station that he puts the odds of a consensus at 20%-30%.

Caesars entertainment introduced nhl-branded blackjack live-dealer tables.


Mess in Minnesota might mean no legal sports betting this year

North Carolina bettors wagered $659m in first three weeks

Ontario’s second year: $63bn in handle

Connecticut bill following trend in proposing stringent ad guidelines

FanDuel may be getting a two-year head start on DC competition

Ontario regulator halts betting on WBA

National self-exclusion list coming to US

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