Category Archives: Sports Betting

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Daily Briefing: AFL and DraftKings Fantasy Game, 1,200 Fortnite Accounts Banned

Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2019 – A roundup of some of the key sports technology stories you need to know, including SportTechie’s own content and stories from around the web.

DraftKings and the Arena Football League Launch new Fantasy Game: DraftKings and the AFL have created a new daily fantasy sports game for the 2019 Arena Football League season, which begins Friday. Users can construct lineups of six AFL players, but are restricted to a $50,000 salary cap. As part of the partnership, fans in New Jersey and Mississippi can also place bets on AFL games throughout the season via the DraftKings’ sportsbook.

Epic Games Bans 1,200 Accounts for Cheating in Fortnite World Cup: Last week, Fornite developer Epic Games banned more than 1,200 online accounts for cheating during the Fortnite World Cup. A total of 1,163 accounts received a two-week ban for bypassing regional restrictions, while other users were punished for account sharing, teaming, and using cheat software. More than 200 users caught cheating will have to forfeit prize money they had won during the competition. The Fortnite World Cup finals will take place at the U.S. Open’s Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, N.Y. from Jul. 26 to 28, with $30 million available in prize winnings.

National Lacrosse League to Stream Games Outside North America on Fanseat: Viewers outside of North America will be able to watch NLL games streamed via Fanseat for the remainder of the current season and playoffs. The regular season ends Apr. 27, and the postseason begins the first week of May. The Fanseat service costs $8.99 per month and also provides live streaming access to various ice hockey and basketball leagues throughout Europe. “Lacrosse has grown internationally over the past decade at a rapid rate and there is global interest in our sport and League now more than ever before,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz, in a press release.

Meadowlands Hosts Betting on Sports America Conference This Week:  The Sports Betting Community will host the Betting on Sports America conference from Apr. 23 through Apr. 25 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in New Jersey. The event will feature 175 speakers across 40 panels, 60 exhibitors demoing new sports betting-related products, and a keynote talk from New Jersey governor Phil Murphy. Discussion topics will include the usage of betting data, a panel on AI and innovation, and sport-specific panels on how the NBA and NFL are approaching sports betting legalization.

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Daily Briefing: Andrea Kremer and Hannah Storm Win 2019 Gracie, Nets-76ers Features Betting Broadcast

Friday, Apr. 19, 2019 – A roundup of some of the key sports technology stories you need to know, including SportTechie’s own content and stories from around the web.

Sportscasters Andrea Kremer and Hannah Storm Win 2019 Gracie Award: Amazon Prime Video’s Andrea Kremer and Hannah Storm were picked for a 2019 Gracie Award by The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation. Kremer and Storm won the Ceiling Breakers Award for sports on-air talent. They will be honored at the 44th annual Gracie Awards on May 21 in Los Angeles. Kremer and Storm made history this past NFL season as the duo commentated Thursday Night Football games on Amazon Prime, becoming the first all-female broadcast duo to call an NFL game.

Nets-76ers Game 4 Will Feature NBC Sports Philadelphia Betting Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia will provide an alternative betting-themed telecast this Saturday for Game 4 of the Brooklyn Nets-Philadelphia 76ers NBA playoffs first-round series. The telecast will air on overflow channel NBC Sports Philadelphia+ and will feature real-time betting commentary, analysis, and on-screen graphics displaying betting data. NBC Sports Philadelphia debuted its alternate sports betting broadcast during a 76ers game earlier this month, while NBC Sports’ Washington, D.C. affiliate began producing betting-themed broadcasts in January.

England’s PFA Goes Silent in Protest Against Abusive Social Media: The Professional Footballers Association announced that it is encouraging its players not to use any form of social media for the next 24 hours as a protest against racism. Many EPL players are supporting the campaign, which calls for social media networks and soccer organizations to better respond to racist abuse. “Throughout my career I have developed a thick skin against verbal abuse, justifying it as just ‘part of the game’ but the time has come for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to consider regulating their channels,” said Manchester United defender Chris Smalling, in a press release from the PFA.

Detroit Pistons Partner With Cloud Communications Platform RingCentral: The Detroit Pistons have signed a multi-year business partnership with RingCentral. The cloud communications platform will be integrated into the team’s new sports medicine and rehabilitation facility, due to be completed in August. “Our partnership with RingCentral will enable us to bring best-in-class cloud communications technology to our front office and enable us to engage our fans through multiple integrated channels,” said Chris Pittenturf, the Pistons’ SVP of information technology and analytics, in a press release.

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Betting Market Regulator SWIMA Launches With 26 Industry Partners

The Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association has officially launched as a non-profit partner of industry stakeholders to identify and stop nefarious activity related to sports betting. SWIMA counts most of the major sports betting operators in the U.S. as founders. A key function of the organization will be a collaborative reporting system to track possible event manipulation and match-fixing.
MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment led the creation of SWIMA, which was originally announced in November. By the time it launched on Thursday, it had garnered support from 26 corporations, including bet365, DraftKings, FanDuel, Hard Rock, and William Hill.
SWIMA is modeled after ESSA, a European group dedicated to ensuring sports betting integrity. SWIMA is entirely funded by the betting operators and receives no government funding.
“We are eager and ready to assist all stakeholders involved in the sports betting market to ensure a safe and secure betting environment for consumers across the country,” said George Rover, SWIMA’s chief integrity officer, in a statement. Rover is a former assistant attorney general and deputy director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. “In partnership with gaming regulators and law enforcement officials, we are determined to help prevent fraudulent and manipulative behavior that could negatively affect the integrity of sporting event—something that does not occur with the widespread illegal sports betting market.”
SportTechie Takeaway
Cooperation across state lines will be paramount to ensuring a safe betting market, especially as even more states pass their own legislation. Companies like Sportradar and Genius Sports already power private integrity monitoring services, but having a non-profit like SWIMA to partner broadly within the market should complement their work.

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PointsBet Adds Ex-Jets Star Darrelle Revis for New Jersey Launch

Australian sportsbook PointsBet has tabbed former New York Jets superstar Darrelle Revis to be the face of its digital platform in the U.S. PointsBet announced in July that it would enter the U.S. market in New Jersey. That product is expected to launch soon.
Revis, a four-time first-team All-Pro cornerback, also played one season apiece with the Buccaneers, Patriots, and Chiefs but starred during his eight seasons with the Jets. He will write blogs and produce videos for PointsBet that offer insights into football and betting.
ESPN initially reported the news, and Revis’ portrait is already on the company’s U.S. website. Former NBA MVP Allen Iverson is also featured on the PointsBet’s parent site and has starred in a series of ads running in certain parts of the U.S.

PointsBet will offer traditional sports betting but stands out for its trademark points betting, which adds more risk and reward to a wager. If a bettor picks the over on an NFL game with an over/under of 50 points and the final score is 30-27 (i.e., 57 points), the person would receive seven times his or her wager. The multiplier works the other way, too. A final score of 30-17 (47 total points) means he or she would lose three times the initial bet.
SportTechie Takeaway
PointsBet CEO Sam Swanell told Legal Sports Report that the U.S. market was always its long-term goal. “It was all about America,” Swanell told the website. “Australia was very much proof-of-concept for us. We always had one eye on America.” Advertising in conjunction with established domestic superstars will help with name recognition—and open a new source of revenue for retired athletes.

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MGM GVC Interactive Partners With Sportradar on Sports Betting Data

Sportradar will be the exclusive provider of sports betting data to MGM GVC Interactive for the half-dozen leagues and federations for which it is the official provider: the NBA, the NFL, the NHL, NASCAR, FIFA, and UEFA. MGM Resorts partnered with U.K.-based betting platform GVC Holdings this summer on a joint venture in the U.S. Sportradar will provide pre-match and live betting services as well as bet stimulation content such as live match trackers.
MGM Resorts has been an active player in the U.S. market in preparation for further state-by-state legalization of sports betting. The global entertainment and gaming company was the first to partner with a major sports league on data rights when MGM became the official gaming partner of the NBA this summer. Since then, MGM has announced a similar deal with the NHL. MGM GVC Interactive was launched in July with $100 million of seed money from both companies.
“MGM and GVC are leaders in the sports betting landscape, and we are proud to be their provider for U.S. sports data,” Neale Deeley, Sportradar’s VP of gaming sales, said in a statement. “We have been preparing for the opening of the U.S. market for some time now with an across the board ramp up of our U.S. sports betting offering and we are delighted with this endorsement from MGM and GVC that all the hard work is delivering what world class betting operators are looking for.”
SportTechie Takeaway
When MGM and the NBA announced their partnership at the end of July, basketball commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged that the data feed to MGM might come via a third party. That Sportradar would be that supplier is little surprise, given the company’s existing work with the NBA, but this deal will enable MGM GVC Interactive to have access to fast, reliable data feeds in several other sports, too. The NBA and NHL deals include some of each respective league’s proprietary advanced tracking data, but Sportradar’s analysis and engagement tools will now be added to those the data feeds.

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GameOn Launches Sports Betting Alternative for Casual Fans

Free sports gaming app GameOn recently launched in the U.S. to target casual fans by offering free-to-play games that are legal in all 50 states, but which still offer cash prizes. GameOn functions like a betting platform, only without a monetary stake from the user. Players are prompted to answer a few questions to predict the action and accumulate points, which can lead to prizes from $100 up to $100,000.
GameOn has support from Sportradar, investment from soon-to-launch Pacific Atlantic Ventures, and national campaigns with Burger King and Motorola. It also participated in last spring’s Next Gen Arena, a sports tech showcase hosted by TPG Sports Group. Sportradar has selected GameOn for its Acceleradar program and will allow the start-up to use its stats and score data.
GameOn app interface examples. (Courtesy of GameOn)
Matt Bailey, the founder and CEO of GameOn, reported that the beta version included more than 600 entries and 4,000 picks with one-third of the user base using the app to make picks daily. The company is emphasizing social play with built-in chat features.
“There’s a significant opportunity in the way GameOn enables brands to reach a massive unserved audience in sports and entertainment,” Pacific Atlantic Ventures’ Jock Percy said in a statement. “The app’s clean and intuitive interface makes it fun and simple for anyone to sign on, start playing, and bet on sports for free. It’s a compelling socially acceptable platform and perfectly coincides with Americans’ fast growing appetite for sports betting.”
SportTechie Takeaway
For as much hullabaloo as sports betting has generated in the U.S., wagering is still only legal in a few states and, in many cases, only in a few physical locations within those states. A casual gaming app with no financial risk could piggyback on the excitement of betting, but with wider appeal. GameOn’s early studies found that only nine percent of beta users reported that their favorite team was a factor in using the app, a fact that speaks well of its potential success.

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NHL Follows NBA in Adding MGM Resorts as Official Betting Partner

The NHL became the second major North American league to announce an official sports betting partner. As with the NBA, the NHL is teaming with MGM Resorts on a non-exclusive deal that includes official data.
MGM’s partnership with the NHL is wide-ranging and also includes designation as the league’s official resort destination, but the data component stands out as the most noteworthy component of the agreement. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said MGM will receive “access to advanced game data which is being developed as we speak,” referring to the league-wide tracking system scheduled to be installed for 2019-20 season.
“Data is the key,” said MGM Resorts chairman and CEO Jim Murren. “The more data a player has, the better. And that data has to be trusted. It has to be specific. It has to be endorsed. It has to be real-time. And we’ve seen the power of data outside the United States. You look at World Cup soccer, for example, in the UK or throughout Europe.”
Industry experts all believe the future of sports betting in the U.S. is on mobile devices, which facilitates in-play wagering. In New Jersey, for instance, mobile wagering is off to a fast start and had already eclipsed brick-and-mortar betting in the month of September. Such fast-paced oddsmaking requires the rapid, reliable dissemination of data.
“The stuff we’re creating, you can’t have and you can’t scrape in real-time,” Bettman said. “And you’re going to need it in real-time.”
When MGM and the NBA announced their deal in July, the two sides had not finalized what data would be included, but NBA commissioner Adam Silver indicated that “some” of the Second Spectrum tracking data eventually would be part of the arrangement, although not immediately.
The NHL will receive a set price from MGM as part of the deal that is not affixed to the amount wagered. The partnership is at the national level, and individual teams will still be free to form their own partnerships, such as the New Jersey Devils and Vegas Golden Knights have done recently with William Hill. MGM is part-owner of T-Mobile Arena, home of the Knights, and Murren is often credited for helping bring the NHL to Las Vegas.
While only MGM Resorts will be the official sports betting partner of the NHL, all sports books will be able to purchase access to the league’s data. Murren made a point of saying, “We do not support exclusive data. We want the data to be available to the world.” He added the public release of more data can help build “brand equity” of athletes by enhancing the connection with fans.
A Nielsen Sports report commissioned by the American Gaming Association recently predicated that the NHL could see an increase in $216 million of revenue via legalized sports betting, although Bettman downplayed that number.
“Based on our overall revenues, that’s not a be-all and end-all,” he said. “To the extent that it can create more fan connectivity, more fan engagement and even bring some new fans in, I think the impacts that we will see from sports betting are more indirect but all positive in that respect in terms of fan connectivity and fan-based growth.”
These unprecedented league-wide betting partnerships were made possible by the Supreme Court’s decision in May to strike down PASPA, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which prohibited gambling on sports. Bettman had advocated for that law and, as recently as a 2012 deposition, said “the atmosphere that we want people to feel part of, is inconsistent with sports betting.”
Asked what changed, Bettman said with a chuckle, “the Supreme Court, obviously.”
“And I think many of you know this, I was integrally involved in the passage of PASPA 25 plus years ago, but the fact of the matter is the world has changed,” he added. “The way people consume sports has changed, and frankly, whatever views anybody had a year ago have been changed by the fact that the Supreme Court ruled on PASPA, and sports betting, subject to state enactment, has found a new road and a new life.”

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How Analytics Is Shaping the 2018 World Series and Baseball’s Future

Ahead of Game 3 of the 2018 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers, SportTechie spoke to Vince Gennaro to get insight into this year’s Fall Classic matchup and the future of analytics in baseball. Gennaro is the president of the Society of American Baseball Research and associate dean and clinical associate professor of NYU’s Tisch Institute for Global Sport.
The Impact of Analytics on the 2018 World Series
“Both teams are very prepared in that both teams have studied the information available to them. What I do think though is that the Red Sox were constructed in a way that is really completely in step with today’s game. I think the Red Sox have done a terrific job—as have the Dodgers.”
“The teams that are most likely to reach the World Series, or certainly the ones that make the postseason, are the teams that are in the top third of the league in analytics, and then also are particularly good at blending that with the scouting side of the sport. The blending is an important aspect. Analytics will not give them all the answers, but it will be a great component of the decision process along with top scouting insights from expert individuals who have years and years of experience.”
Baseball’s Analytics Era
“There’s so much that can be unlocked in the experience of insights of the people who have been around the game for years who are observing specific attributes that we’re not measuring today. I don’t know that that will ever change, but it’s also because we’re really in the early stages of analytics. It’s taken a real leap forward in the last three or four years in the Statcast era, but that’s only the beginning of the explosion of Big Data. From 2005 to 2015, that 10 year window, we increased the volume of data of what goes on during a baseball game by 1.3 million times.”
“We’re on the cusp now of integrating beyond what goes on on the field of play. We’re now talking about integrating neuroscience information. We’re talking about integrating biometrics about health and wellness.”
Engaging Fans With Data
“Numbers—data, statistics—are deeply ingrained in the culture of baseball. While in another sport that might seem like almost intrusive on enjoying the sport, it is actually one of the ways that people have learned and enjoy the game of baseball. Either by looking at the back of the baseball card when they were a kid growing up or going to a ballgame with their mom or dad and scoring it on a scoresheet. Those parts are very culturally ingrained.”
“Now when you take it to the next level of getting into things like exit velocity and launch angle, that’s an acquired taste. That’s going to be something that some fans drive on and seek out, and other fans would perhaps consider that would interfere with the romance of the sport.”
Baseball and Sports Betting
“Baseball is ripe to see betting expand and part of it is that there are so many ways to analyze the game. And one of the reasons there’s so many ways to analyze it is the key component of the game is this discrete matchup, the confrontation between the pitcher and the batter. A lot of other sports are more continuous—flow sports—and they’re harder to assign value. They’re harder to isolate and measure.”
“This is the stuff that teams do all the time: They assess how their hitters respond to certain pitchers. Not by looking at the fact that they got six hits in 15 at bats, because that’s not significant enough, but rather how do they react to the pitcher that releases the ball from a certain point. How do they react to pitches that have downward movement. How do they react to a pitcher who pitches more to the inside part of the plate, to one who throws a changeup. All these different attributes of pitchers are meaningful in terms of how a hitter is expected to perform.”
“When you start clustering pitchers by similarity and seeing how hitters hit against those, you can start to make some real inferences. And when you rack all that up, when you look at a team’s roster and you say ‘Well you know what? This is not a great pitcher that they’re going to face, but they’re at a real disadvantage today because none of their hitters perform particularly well against this type of pitcher.’ That’s where the bettors will be attracted to inefficiencies like that in the market that may or may not be reflected in the odds.”

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The Value of Data for Players
“J.D. Martinez of the Red Sox has really optimized his talent with the use of analytics. He has crafted his swing, his swing mechanics, so that he gets maximum impact for the talent that he has. He becomes in many ways a model for other hitters … Here’s a guy who understands the dimensions of the ballpark. One of the wonderful great things about baseball is that the ballpark dimensions vary so much. He understands the dimensions of the ballpark that he plays in—Fenway Park in Boston—and has tailored his swing for that ballpark. I think he is a really textbook example of a player who has remade his career using information to his advantage.”
Talent Versus Intelligence
“It used to be talent trumped everything. But today because of the volume of information that exists, and how much we know about a player, how much a pitcher knows about a hitter, how much a hitter knows about a pitcher before they even face them, it’s the ability to continue along that chess match.”
“We know what the holes in this guy’s swing are, we’re going to exploit them. That used to take months or years to figure out with a certain hitter. Now you will know that probably before they take their first major league at bat.”
“I do think that if we could find a way, a good way to assess an athlete’s learning agility, his ability to incorporate new information into his game, then that will be another variable that will help select really great talent.”
“Just because someone performs well at the mid-level in the minors, it doesn’t mean he’s the best candidate for promotion to the next level of the minors, or that he projects necessarily to success at the major league level. It depends on what his skills are, and it also depends on obviously the quality of competition he’s facing. But it finally also depends on whether he’s adaptable enough, once people respond to him, to be able to make that next chess move.”
Home-Field Advantage in Los Angeles
“I would expect the Dodgers to put up a more formidable showing back in LA. That 40-degree difference of temperature is not a trivial thing. The Dodgers are not accustomed to playing in the weather that we saw in Boston, and the Red Sox are a little more accustomed to that, so I think that we’ll see a more even series.”
“Like most American League teams, the Red Sox are supremely built for the designated hitter. They will lose that when they go to the three games in LA now—Games 3, 4, and 5—and I think the pendulum will swing back to LA having an upper hand. Not just because you’re playing at home, but because they’re not as designed to employ the DH the way the Red Sox are, and the Red Sox are not designed to take one bat out of the lineup and have the pitcher hit. That they both hone their games appropriately to the leagues they play in will make the home-field advantage a pretty pronounced thing.”


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