Get a Grip — Sports Betting Week: Talking Brackets in School

There’s information overload everywhere, and there’s not enough time to sleep and eat and keep up with what’s happening on our crazy blue dot (two out of three isn’t bad). Here’s the weekend’s Sports Handle article, ‘Get a Grip’, which rounds up the week’s top US sports betting headlines, highlights some recent news and recaps the top stories.

Top stories about our network this week

The March Madness madness got a little crazier this week in a story involving the SuperBook and one of its (now former) collaborators, host/analyst Taylor Mathis — a victim of a different kind of brace-related bust.

As she explained to Sports Handle, Mathis recently attended her sister’s second grade class in Illinois, and her conversation with the young students concerned her sports-related career. It led to the explanation of the brackets used in the NCAA tournament as a kind of math lesson in terms of the numbers involved.

She said she never spoke to the class about gambling, but after posting about her visit to social media, her topic caused fury for some in the anti-gambling community. Her employer told her she had been accused of “grooming” children into gamers and despite apologizing online as required by the Superbook, he chose to fire her.

“I couldn’t believe I was being accused of grooming,” she said. “Math with second graders was fun.” Jeff Juwel of Sports Handle agreed, writing that Mathis “was sacrificed on the altar of responsible gambling.”

The story had an added twist when Gemstone then spoke to Harry Levant, a recovered compulsive gambler who is now one of the industry’s foremost critics. He admitted he was the one who reached out to the SuperBook and others in protest when he saw Mathis’ first tweet about the Bracketology session with the class. However, Levant said he did not attempt to fire her, merely indicating that he felt she had crossed a line as an industry representative.

“I would argue with you that using the NCAA tournament to teach math is a good thing,” he said. “This is not good. The more we normalize this for kids, the worse we are.”

The difference between Mathis’ point of view and Levant’s is part of a much broader debate going on in America today as legal sports betting and all the marketing that goes with it is popping up in more and more states. (A welcome footnote in the case of Mathis is that she was already planning to leave the SuperBook for another job.)

Coincidentally, the incident happened not only during March Madness, but during Problem Gambling Awareness Month. However, once the month of March draws to a close, debate will continue as to how this will affect new generations growing up with legalized gambling as part of everyday life. Sports Handle and its network of sites will continue to be at the forefront of this discussion, as with so many other aspects of the industry, as illustrated by our stories over the past week.

These don’t stack properly when together

Politicians, sports betting and responsible gambling: An unholy mix

Let the rest eat the crumbs

America’s online sports betting business is consolidating at the top, and fast

Missouri is on the move…maybe

Missouri House sends legal sports betting bill to Senate

Missouri House encourages legal betting

North Carolina is also playing catch-up

North Carolina mobile betting bill goes through House

North Carolina mobile betting bill begins journey through House

Is it more than big Texas talk?

The first hearing in Texas shows no consensus to take action against gambling in 2023

Lots of fence sitting in Georgia

Georgia senators hope to set up a betting study committee

A sleepy New England holdout awakens

For the first time ever, Vermont House hands over the sports betting bill

The tribes will have a say in Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s betting law, which would put tribes in power, passes House by

Tennessee’s 10% rule is always worthy of discussion

The Tennessee legislature is considering changing the 10% mandatory retention requirement

Maryland could make some quick changes

Maryland sports betting bills survive crossover day

Really, does anyone like all the ads?

The New Jersey legislature recently condemned the amount of competitive advertising

Massachusetts finds that a war is underway

Massachusetts: No bets on ‘neutral flag’ Russian, Belarusian athletes

The Pennsylvania survey had a few surprises

iGaming Pennsylvania Participation Survey: The game has plateaued, the problems are gone

A proud dad stands out at the NCAA tournament

Bill Murray has UConn in his group as son Luke tries to lead the Huskies to the Final Four

More sportsbooks are coming from Maryland

The Maryland Lottery on Thursday approved one mobile sportsbook applicant (Veteran Services Corp.), one sportsbook license applicant (Whitman Gaming) and one online sportsbook applicant (iGaming Cloud).

Veteran Services Corp. entered into a service agreement with Bee-Fee Limited, which will make its online sportsbook service available to Marylanders. Whitman Gaming will launch a FanDuel Sportsbook at the Sports & Social Bar in North Bethesda. The commission for examining applications for sports betting can officially grant licenses to the companies at its April 19 meeting.

iGaming Cloud will provide its online betting platform, Sportnco, to Crab Sports Maryland, which received a mobile betting license last month.

– Bennett Conlin

Another Ontario operator is closing shutters

Ontario operator CoolBet stopped accepting bets on Tuesday and plans to shut down its platforms entirely over the next month. The Europe-based company, which offered sports betting and iCasino, is the second company to exit the Ontario market since operators there went live last April.

According to Canada Sports Betting, the company stopped accepting deposits on Tuesday and the platforms were shut down on Wednesday. The platforms will become completely inaccessible on April 3rd, at which point all un-settled bets will be canceled and funds returned to customers. CollBet used to be a gray operator in Ontario, and its closure follows the closure of Nitro Casino on December 30th, although the province still has more than 75 platforms and apps available.

“I think it’s a symptom of the competitiveness of the Ontario market,” a Canadian iGaming executive told Canada Sports Betting. “A company that competes primarily with low sports betting vig is going to be in trouble. American companies are executing their strategy of spending so much that others choose not to play.”

— Jill R. Dorson

More of the most important, most interesting stories

Aha, the downside of the March madness: These are the real dangers of the sports betting boom for young men [Newsweek]

GENDER EQUALITY CAN GET A HOT THING: Montreal study shows more women took up online gambling during the pandemic [The Canadian Press]

YOU COULD TRAIN OTHER SCHOOLS ON: NCPG Agility Grants in Action: Talking Towson research with Keith Whyte [SBC Americas]

WHY SHOULD BOSTON HAVE ALL THE FUN? DraftKings opens new technology center in southwest Las Vegas Valley [KSNV]

We are home Vegas 🧡💚

Today we are incredibly excited to open our new state-of-the-art 90,000 square foot office space in Southwest Las Vegas. Thank you to everyone who made the new office opening so special. #draftkingslife #draftkings #draftkingslasvegas #lasvegas

— DraftKingsLife (@draftkingslife) March 22, 2023

THE SEC IS ALWAYS A HARD ADVERSARY TO BEAT: Jake Paul Reaches a Settlement with the SEC in the Crypto Ad Case []

ASHER CHANGE TO ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Sportsbook executive Joe Asher is named chairman of the Washington, DC think tank [CDC Gaming Reports]

NOBODY HAS GAMING PROBLEMS HERE, SIR: County rejects problem gambling funds [Powell Tribune]

DO YOU WANT THE GOOD NEWS OR THE BAD NEWS FIRST? Game report from Arkansas: Casinos up, sports betting down in February [KNWA]


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