Life is slowly working its way back to normal as MLB Opening Day approaches this week. COVID-19 vaccinations are happening throughout the country, and stadiums are welcoming fans into their gates. The Texas Rangers are accepting a full-capacity crowd for their home opener Monday, April 5.
The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch gauged some of the publication’s writers on their comfortability with covering games in person this season.
Of the seven writers, five ranged from “somewhat comfortable” to “very” comfortable covering games in stadiums. New York Yankees reporter Lindsey Adler cited stadium design as a reason for her confidence:
“Yankee Stadium is very large and airy, and the press box is open air. During spring training, I have been working from an auxiliary box in the stands. Honestly, I’d love to work from the stands for the rest of my career! Also, I will be fully vaccinated by Opening Day, which is the most important part to me.”
While some reporters like Adler are taking vaccinations into their own hands, Oakland A’s writer Alex Coffey still has some reservations about the requirements MLB and stadiums across the country are instituting.
“To be honest, I still don’t feel very comfortable,” Coffey said to Deitsch. “Media members don’t need to be vaccinated to cover games, and players don’t need to be vaccinated to play games.”
The 2021 MLB season gets rolling on Thursday, April 1. All 15 ballparks hosting Opening Day games will allow at least limited fan attendance.
North Carolina Lawmakers Expect Mobile Sports Betting By Football Season
“North Carolina’s neighbors, including Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, have already legalized mobile sports betting.”
It is already legal to place bets in North Carolina on sporting events. It is just incredibly difficult. Bets can only be made inside of 2 Cherokee casinos in the western part of the state. That could change before football season.
The State Senate, which is politically divided, passed SB 688 last year. If it makes it through the State House, it would become law and North Carolinians could then theoretically place bets online legally.
SB 88 was sponsored by Paul Lowe, a Democrat from Forsyth County. He told WRAL-TV in Raleigh that he is optimistic about what will happen in the House.
“We just want to make sure we have drummed up the votes, and I think we have,” he said. “I feel confident about it.”
North Carolina’s neighbors, including Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, have already legalized mobile sports betting.
Politically, North Carolina is considered a purple state. That is showing up in the effort to legalize mobile wagering. One of the bill’s biggest advocates in the House is Jason Saine, a Republican from Lincoln County.
“We’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll. I’ve not heard any new opposition,” he told WRAL. “I think we have a pretty smooth glide path once we do kind of start rolling into session.”
The state’s Lottery Commission would oversee sports gambling. If the SB 688 is passed, operators would pay $500,000 for a five-year license, which can be renewed for $100,000. They would also pay an 8% tax on adjusted gross revenue. Both of those numbers are low compared to other states.
“Once we pass this bill, there’s some tweaks we’re going to do,” Lowe said. “But right now we’re just trying to get it out of the chute.”
Lachlan Murdoch: ‘FOX Bet Has Been Disappointing’
“In a recent interview, he told Axios that the app has around 6.5 million users since its launch.”
FOX is the only network to have a stake in the sports betting industry. The network partnered with FanDuel to launch FOX Bet in 2019. So far, FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch has not been pleased with the results.
In a recent interview, he told Axios that the app has around 6.5 million users since its launch. He called the performance thus far “disappointing.”
Sports betting is a crowded marketplace. It is possible that players are watching games on FOX and seeing advertisements for the betting app, but are choosing to trust their experience to companies like FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, and other companies that are more commonly associated with gambling.
Murdoch believes that a dispute with FanDuel owner Flutter has set FOX Bet back. The two companies have been involved in a standoff over who owns which aspects of FOX Bet and what price FOX is obligated to pay in order to acquire an 18.6% stake in FanDuel. Murdoch says everything “should be resolved by the summer.”
In March, Bloomberg reported that the app is struggling to find new players. FOX Bet is one of the betting partners of the NFL and can advertise its services during games in the fall, but its potential is hindered by only being available to bettors in four states.
Online Sports Betting Not Happening In Maryland In 2022
“Some state regulators had expressed optimism at one point that online sports betting in Maryland would go live by the end of this year or in time for next year’s Super Bowl.”
Online sports betting in Maryland appears to have no shot of happening this year due mainly to the fact that the state’s oversight committee on sports wagering is hung up on how to bring women and minority-owned businesses into the fold.
The Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Committee (SWARC) is currently awaiting results of a disparity study by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.
Some state regulators had expressed optimism at one point that online sports betting in Maryland would go live by the end of this year or in time for next year’s Super Bowl. But given where SWARC is, the whole process is being held up to the point that it’ll likely be later in 2023 before residents can use their phones to place bets.
It’s been just over a year since Governor Larry Hogan signed legislation that legalized sports betting in the state. Since then, five casinos in the state have opened retail sportsbooks.
The casinos have handled more than $132 million in bets since December. $26.9 million in wagers were placed in April alone.