Posts Tagged ‘Betting’

The Stars Group Buys Sky Betting & Gaming for $4.7 Billion

 The Stars Group Buys Sky Betting & Gaming for $4.7 Billion

The Stars Group announced over the weekend that it has acquired Sky Betting & Gaming (SBG) for $ 4.7 billion in combination cash and stock deal. According to The Stars Group in a press release, the addition of Sky will make the company the largest publicly traded online gambling company.

The Stars Group is clearly best known as an online poker company, as its name comes from its ownership of PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker room, but this purchase balances the company’s numbers quite nicely. The Stars Group says that if Sky, CrownBet and William Hill Australia (the latter two of which were also recently acquired) were counted in the 2017 financials, poker would make up just 37 percent of The Stars Group’s revenue. An almost equal number – 34 percent – would have come from sportsbook, while 26 percent would have been casino.

“The acquisition of Sky Betting & Gaming is a landmark moment in The Stars Group’s history,” said Rafi Ashkenazi, TSG’s Chief Executive Officer, in the press release. “SBG operates one of the world’s fastest growing sportsbooks and is one of the United Kingdom’s leading gaming providers. SBG’s premier sports betting product is the ideal complement to our industry-leading poker platform. The ability to offer two low-cost acquisition channels of this magnitude provides The Stars Group with great growth potential and will significantly increase our ability to create winning moments for our customers.”

“We are delighted to join forces with The Stars Group,” added Richard Flint, Sky Betting & Gaming’s Chief Executive Officer. “We have had a fantastic last few years and would like to thank CVC and Sky for supporting us in becoming a leading online operator in the UK. This transaction allows us to offer our best-in-class products to a truly global audience. We’re excited about our future together.”

The Stars Group outlined the benefits of the acquisition, the first of which we have touched upon:

• Greater revenue diversification and significantly enhanced exposure to sports betting, the world’s largest and fastest growing online gaming segment, as the majority of SBG’s revenues are generated by sports betting.
• An increased presence in regulated markets, particularly within the United Kingdom, the world’s largest regulated online gaming market.
• The development of sports betting as a second low-cost customer acquisition channel, complementing The Stars Group’s core poker business and enabling more effective cross-sell to players across multiple verticals.
• Improved products and technology as a result of the addition of SBG’s innovative casino and sports book offerings, and portfolio of popular mobile apps.
• Identified cost synergies of at least $ 70 million per year.

The Stars Group will pay CVC Capital Partners and Sky plc, the owners of Sky Betting & Gaming, $ 3.6 billion in cash. To make up the other $ 1.1 billion, The Stars Group will pay with 37.9 million newly issued common shares. The value is based on the closing price of The Stars Group stock (NASDAQ: TSG) on April 20th, which was $ 29.30.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year and has been unanimously approved by TSG’s Board of Directors.

The post The Stars Group Buys Sky Betting & Gaming for $ 4.7 Billion appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Still Wants Sports Betting Legalized in U.S.

 NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Still Wants Sports Betting Legalized in U.S.

As two Senators renew a quest to ban online gambling in the United States, another prominent figure is supporting the all-out national legalization of sports betting. On Monday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke with ESPN Radio’s Mike Golic and Trey Wingo on the aptly named “Golic and Wingo” show and addressed, in part, his desire to see sports betting finally legalized and regulated on the federal level.

Silver has been a proponent of legalized sports betting for a while now, first making his feelings known publicly in a November op-ed in The New York Times, just a few months after he took the helm of the NBA. His attitude is essentially that people like to bet on sports, so might as well let them do it in a relatively safe, regulated environment.

In the piece, he talked about how there was “an obvious appetite among sports fans for a safe and legal way to wager on professional sporting events” and how the publication of betting lines is commonplace.

“Outside of the United States,” he added, “sports betting and other forms of gambling are popular, widely legal and subject to regulation. In England, for example, a sports bet can be placed on a smartphone, at a stadium kiosk or even using a television remote control.”

He said he wanted the federal government to legalize and regulate sports betting, with operators required to have safeguards and technology in place to prevent abuse and monitor betting activity.

On Monday, he reiterated these same points with Mike Golic and Trey Wingo. He said he is not “pro” or “con” sports betting, but rather that he’s a pragmatist and that regulation just makes sense.

“It’s legal in most other jurisdictions in the world, particularly in Europe, where people bet on their smart phones throughout soccer games, it’s closely regulated, they can monitor if there’s an irregularity activity, something we cannot do right now because it’s largely all illegal,” he said.

Silver does not believe, though, that states should come up with their own regulations, like they currently do for gambling. Instead, Silver told Golic and Wingo, “….I think there should be federal policy, it should be consistent from state to state, I think states should be able to elect whether they want to be in or out, if a state doesn’t want to have legalized sports betting they shouldn’t be forced to do it, so I agree it should be a state decision.”

He added that he is surprised that things have advanced so quickly in the three years since his op-ed, as the New Jersey sports betting case is expected to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court next week.

“And I think even if the Supreme Court leaves in place the existing federal law, there seems to be a lot of interest in Congress in favor of addressing the issue. And I think in part because states see that this exists, and they figure they might as well regulate it and collect tax money on it, frankly.”

The post NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Still Wants Sports Betting Legalized in U.S. appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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Sports Betting Bill Takes First Step in Pennsylvania

 Sports Betting Bill Takes First Step in Pennsylvania

When it comes to legal news, the gambling world (or at least the gambling U.S.) has been focused on Pennsylvania this year, as it is expected that online gambling will be legalized in the Commonwealth before the year is up. Sneakily, though, a small move is being made to legalize and regulate sports betting in Pennsylvania, as well. On Tuesday, HB 519, a bill which would do just that, passed the House Gaming Oversight committee by a 13-1 vote.

That’s great news, but at the same time, it is a little bit misleading. Even if the bill goes all the way through the House and the Senate and then is signed by the Governor to become law, casinos in Pennsylvania won’t all of a sudden be opening sports books. This excerpt from page 10 of the bill should give a hint as to why:

The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall, when Federal law is enacted or repealed or a Federal court
decision is filed that affirms the authority of a state to regulate sports wagering, publish a notice in the
Pennsylvania Bulletin certifying the enactment or repeal or the filing of the decision.

Sports betting is currently illegal in most of the country, outlawed by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). At the time that law was passed, states that had licensed casino gaming for the previous ten years could have opted to be grandfathered into sports betting, but only Nevada, Oregon, Montana, and Delaware chose to do so. Nevada is the only one of the four that has true sports betting – the others have oddball sports lotteries. Thus, Pennsylvania can’t just up and start doling out sports book licenses.

HB 519 would essentially get Pennsylvania ready to launch a sports gambling industry if the federal government or court says that states are allowed. It might not be quite as simple as dropping the green flag and yelling, “GO,” but the competitors would at least be at the starting line.

As such, Pennsylvania will be closely watching New Jersey, which has been battling the federal government, claiming that it has the right to regulate sports betting in the state. The Garden State has gotten its butt kicked on the matter so far, but its case is now headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. As Pennsylvania is in the same Third Circuit Court of Appeals as New Jersey, it would make no sense for Pennsylvania to take up its own legal fight, as it would clearly lose.

Pennsylvania Rep. Robert Matzie, the lead sponsor of the bill, mentioned New Jersey’s efforts in a House Co-Sponsorship Memorandum he wrote in January:

As you may know, the State of New Jersey has tried, several times, to legalize sports betting. Although their initial attempts were denied, their final appeal was scheduled to be heard by the US Supreme Court on January 17. The Court, however, announced that it would wait until a US Solicitor General was confirmed to weigh in on the issue. This is encouraging, given that President Trump has addressed his stance on the sports betting industry – and his support for legalization – on at least two occasions.

He added:

Our Commonwealth is uniquely positioned to oversee sports betting in all its forms, and should be ready to act should the federal ban be lifted. As evidenced by yet another record setting year of gaming revenues, our licensed facilities are thriving. Legalizing sports betting will simply enable Pennsylvania to regulate a multimillion dollar industry that already exists.

The next step for HB 519 is to go to the full House, but as we have discussed, even if it keeps going, sports betting in the state is far from a guarantee.

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U.S. Appeals Court Strikes Down New Jersey Effort to Legalize Sports Betting

 U.S. Appeals Court Strikes Down New Jersey Effort to Legalize Sports Betting

The state of New Jersey was dealt a harsh blow in its quest to be able to launch a legal sports betting industry on Tuesday when the twelve judges of the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia made their en banc ruling that the state’s efforts to legalize sports betting violated federal law.

The federal law in question is the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), which makes sports betting illegal in all but four states: Nevada, Montana, Oregon, and Delaware. That seems like an odd collection of states, to be sure; the four were grandfathered in, as they had some sort of legal gambling for at least ten years before the bill was passed. New Jersey had the option to be grandfathered in as well, but declined, a decision it is now regretting. Of the four states, Nevada is the only one with full-fledged sports betting, the reason many of you probably didn’t even realize that sports betting was legal in the other three states.

As an economic downturn and increased competition from other states has hurt Atlantic City’s gambling industry, New Jersey lawmakers have tried to come up with ways to make sports betting legal, despite the existence of PASPA. The latest was the passage of an odd bill, S2460, that attempted to skirt PASPA not by explicitly legalizing sports betting, but rather by making it no longer illegal. It’s a subtle difference: the bill was to remove the illegality of sports betting while not actually saying, “It’s 100 percent legal now!” No licenses would be issued, but certain racetracks and casinos could start offering sports betting without the threat of prosecution.

The major U.S. sports leagues – MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and the NCAA – challenged the legislation and won in a 2-1 ruling by a three judge panel in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Court gave the state another chance, though, granting a hearing en banc, which meant that the state could present its case in front of all twelve judges. That hearing took place in February.

On Tuesday, the Court handed down its ruling, with ten of the twelve judges ruling against New Jersey, saying that the 2014 law violates PASPA. The judges that dissented were Julio Fuentes and Thomas I. Vanaskie.

In her majority opinion, judge Marjorie O. Rendell, wrote simply, “We now hold that the District Court correctly ruled that because PASPA, by its terms, prohibits states from authorizing by law sports gambling, and because the 2014 Law does exactly that, the 2014 Law violates federal law,” obviously not buying the workaround that was attempted in the bill.

The NCAA, for its part, is happy with the decision, telling ESPN:

We are pleased the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has denied New Jersey’s latest attempt to allow sports wagering in the state. As other courts have acknowledged, federal law does not permit New Jersey’s actions. The NCAA continues to believe that PASPA is an important law that appropriately protects the integrity of sport in America.

The NBA, though, took a more neutral stance. In November 2014, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, expressing his support for legalized sports betting. “There is an obvious appetite among sports fans for a safe and legal way to wager on professional sporting events. Mainstream media outlets regularly publish sports betting lines and point spreads,” he wrote.

Silver added, “Congress should adopt a federal framework that allows states to authorize betting on professional sports, subject to strict regulatory requirements and technological safeguards.”

Thus in a statement to ESPN, NBA spokesman Mike Bass said, “The Third Circuit reaffirmed that the appropriate path to legal sports betting is through Congress. We remain supportive of a federal legislative framework that would protect the integrity of the game and allow those who bet on sports to do so in a legal and safe manner.”

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Twelve Judges to Hear New Jersey Sports Betting Arguments Wednesday

 Twelve Judges to Hear New Jersey Sports Betting Arguments Wednesday

In August 2015, a three-judge appellate court panel ruled against the state of New Jersey in the state’s ongoing push to legalize sports betting. It was nothing new for the Garden State, which has been trying to join an exclusive club of states where sports gambling is actually allowed for several years, but it was disappointing nonetheless. On Wednesday, the state will get another shot at convincing judges in an en banc hearing in front of a twelve judge appellate panel.

For a state known for its casino gambling, it does sometimes seem weird that there is no sports betting in New Jersey, but that is the case thanks to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). That law made sports betting illegal in every state, except for the four that were grandfathered in: Nevada, Montana, Oregon, and Delaware. Nevada is the only one that has full-fledged sports gambling; the others have watered-down versions and are never thought of as being in the same company as Nevada. PASPA permitted states that had legal gambling for the ten years leading up to the bill’s passage to decide to allow sports betting, but New Jersey never opted-in.

With New Jersey’s gambling industry declining in recent years, there has been a renewed effort to try to get sports betting up and running. In 2011, state residents voted in favor of a referendum that would have done just that, but the NCAA, NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL sued to stop it, saying it violated PASPA. They have won every time this has come up and therefore New Jersey is still without sports betting.

In 2014, the state tried an end-around, passing S2460, which cancelled the state’s ban on sports betting. The trick here was that while sports betting wasn’t explicitly legal and no licenses would be issued, it was no longer illegal, so casinos and racetracks could launch sports books without fear of prosecution. The sports leagues once again challenged and won, with the aforementioned three-judge of the 3rd Circuit appellate court panel ruling against the state by a 2-1 vote.

The 3rd Circuit Court, though, granted New Jersey a rehearing en banc, which Google tells me means in front of all twelve Circuit judges. The hour-long hearing will take place Wednesday at 11:00am. If seven of the judges rule in New Jersey’s favor, saying its pro-sports betting law jives with PASPA, we could see sports betting rolled out at the state’s casinos in the near future. It could also pave the way for other states to join in the fun.

Word is that the decision will be close, so the arguments tomorrow morning are extremely important. In the case of a 6-6 tie, the ruling would go in New Jersey’s favor. We likely won’t hear anything from the judges for a few months, though.

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