Those are more likely to come from the acquisition and retention of higher value customers at lower costs and the innovation of the product. But Entain, the global gambling company that owns half of BetMGM, offered a hint of what's to come when it reported the site had a 76% gain in net gaming revenue in the first quarter. The Los Angeles Morning News has not only.... In-1. . In the process, it will not even have a few days to do. Today's indefinite suspension of three NFL players accused of betting on games sends a firm, cautionary message to players across sports. But if the goal is to preserve integrity, the process must be transparent. Leagues should release the findings of their investigations whenever they take action against a player, revealing who bet, when they bet, how much they bet and what they bet on. Policing and punishing are good starts. But they'll breed more trust if the facts are laid bare for all to see. Are we seeing early signs of sportsbook profitabiity? It looks like sportsbooks are starting to see a return on the seed money that they scattered to acquire customers over the last few years. The first 15 states to report results for March showed handles almost identical to the same month last year, combining to take $5. 45 billion in wagers, up 1% from 2022. But gross revenue reported in those states was $512 million, an increase of 49% over 2022. That's worth repeating: a 1% increase in betting yielded a 49% boost in revenue. I've been reluctant to put much stock in revenue listed in state filings because of the deductions that they allow sportsbooks to take, and the degree to which they report those deductions, will vary. Some only report gross revenue. For others, it's net revenue. Quarterly earnings reports can offer a clearer picture. But comparing year-over-year results, within individual states, should be a reliable indicator of a trend. In this case, that trend could be a move toward profitability -- a theme that you're likely to encounter frequently as the year progresses. Figures around 'hold' among good indicators for sportsbooks One gauge of whether a sportsbook is likely to be profitable is hold -- the percent of handle, or money wagered -- that it keeps after paying the winners. That number was 9% in March, up from 6% the previous March. Some states saw higher swings. Hold in Michigan was 11%, up from 5%. Tennessee also was at 11%, up from 65. D. C. rose from 6% to 13%. Rates rose three points or more in 11 of 15 states. The fact that this happened in March, during what was the wackiest NCAA Tournament ever, made me wonder whether this could all be chalked up to a spate of favorable results -- game after game falling their way. Over time, those will be equalized by periods of unfavorable results, when the bettors win more than they lose. Neither of those are likely to lead to long-term gains, or losses. Those are more likely to come from the acquisition and retention of higher value customers at lower costs and the innovation of the product. FanDuel got a head start toward profitability in part because it was first, and then best, at offering parlays that not only entertained casual bettors but also delivered higher returns than other bet types for the sportsbook. Those that have followed have seen similar results. If the sportsbooks had a big March because of a more profitable bet mix -- or because they cracked the code to get casual bettors to come back to the app more often during the first two weekends of the tournament -- those could be sustainable. If it was just a matter of the ball bouncing the house's way, with games going under the total far more often than expected and an Elite Eight made up of a No. 9 seed, a six, two fives, a four, two threes and a two. . .Not so much. Upcoming Q1 reports should provide clarity on profit sustainability The rub of taking profits through a higher hold is that, over time, it can erode a customer base. As bettors see their account balances dwindle, they may look to competitors offering better odds. Or they may stop betting on games entirely. The sportsbooks that boosted revenue during the football season thanks to an increase in parlay play said it did not lead to customers churning off their sites. Those gains may well be sustainable. But what about what happened in March? To get an indicator, I looked back at February in every state except Arizona, which still hasn't reported results from that month (I'm eagerly awaiting word on how much was bet during the month of the Super Bowl in the host city). February looked similar to March, with a hold of 8%, up from 5% last year. Pennsylvania was 10%, up from 4%. New Jersey was 6% (a figure that doubled). Indiana went from 4% to 8%; Tennessee from 5% to 12%. Illinois rose to 8%, up three points. Reported revenue from the 22 states and D. C. was $547. 8 million, up 58% from the prior February. That was on handle of $7. 2 billion, down 3%. Less handle yielded more revenue. When you track back through hold rates in the states that have been doing this for a few years, you find ebbs and flows. Some are seasonal, others cyclical. Neither explains this sort of year-on-year swing. The Super Bowl has been in February since 2004. March Madness is in, well, March. Getting insight into what's actually going on here is tricky, because most sportsbooks are in the quiet period before announcing Q1 earnings during the first week of May. But Entain, the global gambling company that owns half of BetMGM, offered a hint of what's to come when it reported the site had a 76% gain in net gaming revenue in the first quarter. There may be more clarity on the why behind that sort of gain, and the likelihood of its sustainability, as MGM Resorts, DraftKings, Caesars, Penn National and others report earnings the week after next.Stay tuned. New Jersey joins push to police gambling ads Thursday's report from NorthJersey. com that New Jersey regulators will hire a responsible gambling manager to aid in setting new advertising standards for operators in the state came only one day after most of the leading U. S. sports properties and two major networks joined to form a coalition to work jointly on the same issue. The newly formed Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising includes the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, MLS, WNBA, Fox Sports and NBCUniversal. The initial series of ad policies the coalition will support largely mirrors those already adopted by American Gaming Association members and individual sportsbook operators, including the requirement that advertisers avoid glamourizing betting or using misleading language that makes it appear to be without risk. New Jersey also followed the trend of states banning the use of "risk free" and other deceptive terms from gambling advertising. Ohio regulators fined BetMGM, DraftKings and Caesars for violating its rules regarding that term during their respective launches in January. Massachusetts looking like a top-10 market The first month of results released from Massachusetts gaming regulators earlier this week put the state on pace to settle in as one of the nation's top-10 sports betting markets. Sportsbooks in the Bay State combined to produce $568 million in handle in March, putting the state ahead of Michigan ($421 million), which ranked 10th in February. It could climb as high as eighth after all states have reported. Not surprisingly, Boston-based DraftKings opened as the leader, with a 47% share of online handle. FanDuel was comfortably second at 33%. BetMGM had 8%, Barstool at 5% and Caesars and Wynn at 3% each. It was yet another example of handle share in a newly opened state looking much like those that came before it, with FanDuel and DraftKings dominating, BetMGM firmly in a distant third and all the others in a long, trailing tail. In their second month of online operation, Maryland sportsbooks took in $385. 9 million, with FanDuel handling 54% of that and DraftKings at 36%. BetMGM was at 12%, Caesars at 6% and Barstool at 3%. In February, the second month of betting in Ohio, FanDuel accounted for 37% of online handle, with DraftKings at 34%. BetMGM was at 7% and Caesars, Barstool and Bet365 were at 5% each. Seminole Hard Rock, Tipico, PointsBet and BetJack rounded out the field, in that order. Handle was $639. 7, which was more in line with expectations after a promotion-driven $1. 1 billion launch in January. Here's how March results are shaping up: March sports betting handles JURISDICTION HANDLE VS. FEB. 2023 VS. MARCH 2022 New York $1,792,885,345 22% 9% New Jersey $1,025,779,225 21% -8% Pennsylvania $723,545,806 21% 1% Massachusetts $568,091,232 N/A N/A Indiana $433,022,775 22% -9% Michigan $421,666,037 18% -12% Tennessee $392,667,304 20% 6% Maryland $385,967,195 14% N/A Iowa $232,614,150 20% 0% Kansas $206,287,094 6% N/A Connecticut $159,797,579 17% 14% New Hampshire $103,390,747 19% 31% Mississippi $46,689,391 17% -3% West Virginia $43,069,841 8% -17% Arkansas $37,474,412 27% 251% D. C. $17,668,253 23% -14% Wyoming $14,777,638 27% 16% Montana $5,784,045 32% 45% TOTALS $6,611,178,070 20% 1% NOTES: Percentage totals are in like states. Maryland and Kansas did not allow online wagering in Feb. 2022. Massachussets sportsbooks began taking bets online in March.Speed reads Fanatics' Michael Rubin at this week's CAA World Congress of Sports said that he expects his company to have sports betting operations live in 12-15 states by the start of football season and predicted more acquisitions in sports betting and iGaming over the next several years. "But we're not in a rush there," he said. Sportradar is bullish on the opportunities in-play betting presents as evolving tech facilitates more wager offerings around specific at-bats in baseball or a single possession in basketball, for example, notes my colleague David Rumsey. Basketball-playing social media stars Haley and Hanna Cavinder signed to promote the parent company of sports betting startup Betr in a deal that includes equity.amazon vine. In the process, it will not even have a few days to do. They are a lot easier to make and the peanut butter flavor lasts a long time. They taste like real peanut butter, but they are just right.
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