Typically, you tread lightly when you’re the new kid on the block — whether in a classroom or at the workplace on an individual level.
That natural inclination to want to make a good first impression certainly applies from a business perspective as well. No second chance to make a first one and all that good stuff. And there’s value to be had in that line of thinking — many would-be customers say “sayonara” for good after a bad initial experience.
Yeah, well all that being said — recently, FanDuel Sportsbook has at times come off as if doesn’t seem to give a crap about such drivel. Not if the lines they first posted for the PGA’s 2018 WGC-Bridgestone — incidentally, not their first rodeo with wonky sports betting pricing despite the brief existence of their sportsbook — were to be taken at face value.
FanDuel’s PGA lines raising some eyebrows
Pro poker player Ryan Daut engaged in a very enlightening Twitter expose earlier Wednesday, posting a side-by-side comparison of FanDuel’s lines compared to those of offshore book Pinnacle. “Bad optics” is an understatement:
— Ryan Daut (@rcdaut) August 1, 2018
The glaring discrepancies — and not in the consumer’s favor, mind you — are potentially toxic. Maybe not in a vacuum, but there’s no such thing these days. Not with social media always at the ready to shine a glaring light on anything remotely negative. And that’s precisely what transpired today.
Wednesday afternoon, FanDuel Customer Support’s Twitter account issued the following “mea culpa” in response, albeit many hours after trouble began brewing:
We caught this too, resulting from a temporary issue with our pricing feed. No bets were taken and the pricing error has been corrected.
— FD Customer Support (@FanDuel_Support) August 1, 2018
“Growing pains” or disturbing pattern?
To compound things, it’s not the first such instance that the nascent FanDuel sports betting wing experiences some negative press. They also managed to raise the ire of more than a few bettors by not paying out some of last Tuesday’s winning tickets at their Meadowlands Racetrack location until the following day.
They were divergent perspectives in that situation — one bettor took to Twitter in that instance as well to say there hadn’t been enough cash on hand, which FanDuel pushed back on. The company issued a statement stating that the situation was brought about by a late-running MLB game that went past the closing time for their teller windows. Nevertheless, as with Wednesday’s golf lines, the damage, in terms of negative perception/publicity, was done.
And this isn’t even the first time there are legitimate “vig”-related grumblings, as the sportsbook also drew criticism for its steep MLB lines when it opened July 14.
When jumping into a brand new space, missteps are to be expected to an extent, and bound to happen. However, FD seems to be treading into more of “troublesome pattern” territory at this point, a far-from-ideal way to kick off an operation that has so many eyes on it.
The ease with which potential customers can make comparisons these days is creating a highly undesirable circumstance — it’s making FD’s odds of early success steeper than their own lines.
MGM Resorts International has been a busy beaver ahead of their quarterly earnings announcement on Thursday. By Monday of this week, they already announced the partnership with GVC, Mississippi sportsbook openings, and a partnership with Boyd Gaming. Now it’s time for another big sports betting announcement (or two).
On Tuesday the NBA announced that MGM Resorts would be the first official ‘gaming’ (not gambling) partnership. The deal allows MGM Resorts to use official NBA data and branding. However, this is a non-exclusive deal so expect the NBA to pimp this deal to other casino and sportsbook operators around the country.
Here are some highlights of the deal between the NBA and MGM Resorts:
- MGM Resorts becomes the Official Gaming Partner of the NBA and WNBA.
- MGM Resorts will use official NBA and WNBA data.
- MGM Resorts will use NBA and WNBA branding across land-based and digital sports betting offerings throughout the U.S.
- MGM Resorts shows their commitment to responsible gambling and protecting NBA game integrity.
- MGM Resorts and the NBA will collaborate to create a series of integrations across NBA platforms, including a special digital content series
Beyond the data use and “integrity” efforts, this is essentially a marketing deal. MGM Resorts created an easy-to-read presentation that mentions that MGM Resorts and the NBA will collaborate to create a series of integrations across NBA platforms, including a special digital content series.
Neither the NBA or MGM released financial details of this deal. However, Darren Rovell from ESPN tweeted that the deal is for three years and more than $25 million. Every other casino and sportsbook operator is probably cursing at MGM Resorts for putting a price on official data and branding.
The NBA plans on shopping similar deals around to other casino and sportsbook operators. MGM Resorts hasn’t said if they will be making similar deals with other leagues.
MGM Resorts and NBA have a good thing going
This deal reflects the strong relationship that MGM Resorts and the NBA have formed over the past several years. MGM Resorts is a partner for the NBA Summer League. The casino operator also owns the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces.
MGM Resorts has been trying to get an NBA team to play in Las Vegas for years. MGM Resorts is co-owner of T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. This deal continues a good relationship that could one day include a team playing in Las Vegas.
But wait…there’s more
Towards the end of the press conference, MGM Resorts CEO, Jim Murren, announced that the company would begin taking mobile wagers in New Jersey by the end of the week. This is the first announcement on when any sportsbook operator in New Jersey will take mobile wagers. MGM Resorts owns Borgata. Expect more details on this later in the week.
Sports betting in Mississippi was supposed to launch this past weekend. July 21 was the reported target date. The Magnolia State was penciled in as the third state outside of Nevada — joining Delaware and New Jersey — to offer regulated wagering.
Instead, Mississippi slipped on a 2007 Tony Romo jersey, muffing the snap on a potential game-winning field goal late in a Wild Card playoff game. Early last week, state regulators told Legal Sports Report that there was “a lot of work still going on” to roll out Mississippi sports betting.
Understandable. Lawmakers certainly want a sturdy foundation to prevent any faulty infrastructure. That said, there is definitely a lot of work still to be done.
Notably when it comes to mobile wagering, with which Mississippi has transformed to 2012 Mark Sanchez.
Still waiting on wagering
In a recent interview with Reuters that was published July 20, state gaming commissioner Allen Godfrey said the casinos that would offer sports betting are “still carving out space in their businesses to build sports bars and working to meet other state requirements before they can be approved.”
“Right now, the ones wanting to get started are still in the renovation phase,” Godfrey said. He noted that it could be another two weeks before properties are approved to accept wagers.
Of the 28 riverboat and land-based casinos in Mississippi, 13 have made bids to house sportsbooks. It is expected that all 28 will eventually be approved. Yet there is one tidbit that, like the “still lives with parents” info in the state’s Tinder profile, was buried in the story. It concerns online sports betting regulations, which have been publicized already, but not focused on enough.
Just a town in Alabama
Mobile, Alabama, is just a short drive away from the southeastern border of Mississippi, which apparently wants to keep it that way. At least, outside of casino grounds.
Just over a dozen properties have applied to have sports betting operations on site. Of those, the equivalent of Rickie Fowler’s hope to ever win a major golf championship have applied to have mobile betting: none.
From regulations that were proposed in May:
(b) A book shall accept wagers only on its licensed premises, and only at betting stations or kiosks/terminals approved by the Executive Director or through an on-site computerized Wagering system that has been approved by the Executive Director.
(c) For the purposes of this provision, the approved facility shall include any area located within the property boundaries of the casino hotel facility that the Executive Director determines is legal for gaming. This shall not include parking garages or parking areas of a casino hotel facility.
(d) The Executive Director shall ascertain and ensure, pursuant to rules and regulations issued by the commission to implement mobile gaming pursuant to this provision, that mobile gaming shall not extend outside of the property boundaries of the casino hotel facility authorized for gaming.
But that’s not the story. Godfrey offered an aside to the future of mobile wagering, treating that side of the industry like the beer tent at a concert: Keep it inside.
Godfrey told Reuters that once casinos do submit bids to have online sports betting, it will be restricted to casino grounds.
And there’s your butt fumble. React.
Consider what Mississippi could cash in on. Including states that are nearing the finalization of regulated wagering, West Virginia is the closest, roughly 500 miles away.
The entire South is at Mississippi’s disposal, basically the heart of college football country. Limiting mobile sports betting to casino grounds would theoretically drive up visitation. But the cap for sports betting revenue is lowered.
The Mississippi Gaming Association estimates the casino industry results in $352 million in state and local taxes each year. Yeah, initial windfall from betting is not expected to be Powerball-worthy — anywhere, really.
Still, by restricting the online presence throughout the state to just a select few properties inhibits sports betting revenue even further. That would be like running a pizza delivery service, but only offering delivery within the confines of your parking lot.
Well done, Mississippi.