Tag Archive : legal

Legal Online Sports Betting Now Live in Colorado

Colorado became on Friday the latest state in the US to be offering legal sports betting after the Supreme Court invalidated a long-standing federal ban on the practice nearly two years ago.

Wagering via retail and digital channels was authorized in the Centennial State last November when voters approved the legalization of the practice in a statewide referendum.

State regulators were tasked with licensing interested sports betting operators and readying the market for May 1 opening, a challenging task they said Friday they were relieved to have achieved.

Unlike other states, Colorado is getting into the US athletic gambling fold amid a very specific situation and at a time when the coronavirus has paused nearly all sports (and pretty much all contours of life as we know it).

With all of the state’s casinos being closed amid the global pandemic and residents being urged to stay home and practice social distancing, Colorado offers them the opportunity to place bets digitally.

Four online sportsbooks were launched in the state on Friday, the first day of legal sports betting, and more are expected to follow suit later this month.

The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission has issued nearly 20 licenses for the provision of online sports betting services, so the state is clearly poised to host a busy marketplace once the local betting sector matures and things get back to normal, or at least back to some relative normalcy.

Four Online Sportsbooks Now Active in Colorado

Colorado now has four operational online sportsbooks and more are expected to arrive soon. BetMGM and BetRivers were the first brands to go live with betting products in the newly opened market.

BetMGM is owned by ROAR Digital, the joint venture between Las Vegas casino giant MGM Resorts International and British gambling group GVC Holdings.

ROAR Digital announced Friday that it has signed an exclusive primary skin agreement with Midnight Rose Hotel and Casino in Cripple Creek. Sports betting operators must sign such skin agreements with local land-based casinos in order to be able to operate on the territory of Colorado.

Of their launch in the Centennial State, ROAR Digital CEO Adam Greenblatt said that they “look forward to offering Colorado sports fans the excitement and ease of betting with BetMGM and working alongside Midnight Rose Hotel and Casino to provide top class betting experiences in the state of Colorado.”

BetRivers, owned by Rush Street Interactive, the online gambling division of regional casino operator Rush Street Gaming, was too among the first entries in the new market. The betting brand has partnered Triple Crown Casino in Cripple Creek to offer wagering in Colorado.

Commenting on their debut in the state, Rush Street Interactive President Richard Schwartz said that they have achieved success in other regulated markets because they focus on offering “a high quality product with exciting sports betting options, knowledgeable customer service, and an overall friendly approach that treats every player with honesty and care.”

Arch-rivals DraftKings, which became a publicly traded company just a couple of days ago, and FanDuel also announced their launch in Colorado on Friday.

The Centennial State became DraftKings’ seventh market in which it offers sports betting services. The company’s Co-founder and President, Matt Kalish, said that they are “thrilled to introduce Colorado’s passionate sports fans to DraftKings Sportsbook” and that customers across the state “will always have a number of year-round, skin-in-the-game opportunities to engage with the premier sports betting experience DraftKings prides itself on.”

DraftKings has been able to enter Colorado through a partnership with Twin River Worldwide Holdings, which operates the Golden Gates, Golden Gulch, and Mardi Gras casinos in Black Hawk.

FanDuel, which too has teamed up with Twin River, was the fourth online sportsbooks to greet Colorado sports fans for the first time on Friday.

The gambling group’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mike Raffensperger, said in a statement that “Colorado is home to a passionate group of sports fans and we are incredibly excited to show them why FanDuel is the number one sportsbook in the country.”

Aside from its real-money gambling offering, FanDuel is also offering the ANYTHINGBOOK free-to-play game that tests sports fans’ knowledge in sports and pop culture.

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SBTech to Set Aside $30 Million for Cyber Attack Legal Settlements

Sports betting technology provider SBTech has been told to set aside $30 million in cash and stock that would be used to cover any legal expenses, should clients of the company institute legal action relating to a recent major cybersecurity incident.

On March 27, SBTech was hit by a sophisticated cyber attack that forced it to power down all its data centers around the globe. As a result, more than 50 sportsbooks powered by the provider’s technology went offline.

Most sportsbooks remained offline for an entire weekend, while others are yet to resume operations following the attempted hack. Churchill Downs’ BetAmerica sportsbooks in Indiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are among the operations that are still offline.

SBTech said that no data was compromised during the cyber attack, but it was still powerful enough to knock out the sportsbooks that it powers.

Changed Merger Terms

Following last month’s cyber attack, Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp., the special vehicle through which SBTech will merge with US sports betting and daily fantasy sports operator DraftKings, amended the tie-up agreement to require SBTech’s sellers to set aside $30 million to pay any potential settlements with affected clients.

According to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the amended agreement will see $10 million of the $600 million in cash consideration that is to be paid to SBTech’s sellers placed in escrow for two years following the deal’s closure.

Shares worth $20 million in the combined company will be subject to a two-year lock-up period.

The money would be used to cover any potential legal settlements with SBTech clients that were affected by the cyber attack. None of the betting technology provider’s operator partners have said they would instigate legal action yet.

According to the amended merger terms, if the $30 million in cash and stock fail to cover legal settlements, another $25 million in escrowed cash and $45 million in locked-up shares would be released for the purpose of reaching settlements.

If that money, too, fails to cover legal expenses, SBTech’s sellers, including founder and majority shareholder Shalom McKenzie, will have to pay for the settlements. The technology provider’s sellers have agreed to the amended terms.

Merger Still On Track Despite Incident

It also emerged that Diamond Eagle has pushed back the meeting during which the proposed combination of DraftKings and SBTech was to be voted on. The meeting was slated to take place on Thursday, April 9, but was rescheduled for April 23.

Diamond Eagle said that the merger remains “on track to close in April”, despite the challenging and dynamic business environment.

DraftKing’s merger with SBTech was announced last year. The combined entity would be valued at $3.3 billion and is estimated to have $500 million of unrestricted cash on hand as it seeks to expand and cement its position in the rapidly growing US sports betting field.

The merger will create the only “vertically-integrated sports betting and online gaming company based in the United States.”

The combined entity, which will assume the name DraftKings once the deal closes, will go public as Diamond Eagle is a publicly traded company.

Source: SBTech ordered to set aside $30m to settle hacking claims

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California passes $1 billion in cannabis tax revenue two years after launching legal market

California has raised $1 billion in cannabis tax revenue since the industry kicked into gear in January 2018, according to figures recently released by the state.

The bulk of that $1.03 billion in tax money, after covering regulatory costs, has been spent on programs such as child care for low income families, cannabis research, public safety grants and cleaning up public lands harmed by illegal marijuana grows.

While industry insiders and advocates are celebrating those numbers, they’re also raising a flag about stagnating revenues and ongoing layoffs. Those hurdles, many say, can be fixed if regulators make key changes, including a seemingly counter intuitive push to lower the state’s cannabis tax rate.

Read the rest of this story on ocregister.com.

In second year of legal weed, California’s cannabis industry still struggles

As year two of legal cannabis sales in California comes to a close, shoppers are still more likely to buy marijuana from illicit sellers than from state-sanctioned stores that pay taxes and test their products for safety.

California’s 7,000 licensed cannabis businesses — and the state’s tax revenue — are feeling the pinch.

Prominent cannabis companies that a year ago were growing aggressively have, in recent months, laid off hundreds of workers. They say hefty taxes, onerous regulations and competition from a thriving illicit market are forcing them to scale back operations.

Read the rest of this story on ocregister.com.

Legal weed didn’t stop illegal deals

It wasn’t so long ago that marijuana was illegal in Massachusetts. But even though cannabis sales and use have the green light in the Bay State, illicit deals haven’t disappeared — they’ve just been refined.

In Massachusetts, marijuana retailers are prohibited from knowingly selling more than one ounce of pot or its dry-weight equivalence to a customer within a single day. Illicit dealers get around that by visiting a licensed cannabis store several times in one day, buying the maximum allowed on each visit, aka “looping.” They also visit several shops to make buys on the same day, known as “smurfing.”

Armed with fresh supplies, they either sell across state lines, or to local customers.

Read the rest of this story on BostonHerald.com.

Need a legal pot shop in California? Grab your smartphone

By MICHAEL R. BLOOD | The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES  — Want to find a legal marijuana shop in California? Grab your smartphone.

In another step to curb the state’s flourishing illegal pot market, California regulators proposed rules Thursday that would require legal shops to post a unique black-and-white code in storefront windows to help consumers identify licensed businesses.