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What does 2020 have in store for sports betting in New England? - The Boston Globe

26th December, 16:03

A Rhode Island Superior Court judge ruled this month that a complaint filed by Daniel Harrop that sports betting in Rhode Island is unconstitutional has standing and can proceed. There will be many more judicial hoops to jump through in 2020, but the case further slows Rhode Island's drive to capitalize on its first-in-the-region status with sports betting.

The state's departments of revenue and lotteries, plus the Twin River and Tiverton casinos are the defendants.

The plaintiff has contended that because Rhode Island voters did not approve sports betting in a referendum - the state's legislature did - and did not add the provision as a state amendment, sports betting was wrongfully implemented. Previous attempts failed, but when Harrop was allowed to amend his complaint to include the tidbit that he lost money on a Patriots bet he placed a year ago, the court saw fit for the case to proceed.

■ Tracking progress of the nine sports betting bills sitting on Beacon Hill remains an exercise of mindful contemplation and stillness, but the debate will pick up at some point in the first half of next year.

Meanwhile, the legalization of sports betting across the country continues to move forward in steady, though not brisk, fashion.

Sports betting is taking place in 13 states right now, with seven more, including New Hampshire and Washington, D.C., close to launch mode after signing sports betting legislation into law.

Twenty-four other states are dealing with sports betting legislation within their legislatures. Whether it's bills to be signed into laws or referendums to be decided by popular vote, there will be more, not less, sports betting taking place in 2020. That the country's three most populous states - California, Texas, and Florida - are addressing sports betting in 2020 is no small matter.

Massachusetts will likely claim to be impervious to peer pressure, especially as it surveys the middling results so far from Rhode Island against the boffo handles in New Jersey. Something's got to give in 2020.

■ The significance of the DraftKings merger with SBTech and Diamond Eagle Acquisition as a long-term play on sports betting in the United States can't be overstated. For starters, the move allows DraftKings to be a full-service operation with an in-house software platform (no longer out-sourced) and a presence in Europe as well. In an interview with Bloomberg, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said he expected DraftKings' revenue to reach $400 million next year, and $550 million in 2021.

The economic landscape for sports betting is still young and very much cluttered, with many moving parts, but DraftKings is even better positioned than before to be an industry kingpin as domestic sports betting grows.

Within the agreement reached by Major League Baseball and the Major League Umpires Association on a new collective bargaining agreement comes word of a significant development on the "electronic strike zone" front. The umpires agreed to cooperate, according to an industry source, with MLB on the continued development and testing of the technology.

Balls and strikes are determined by gizmos and relayed to the earpiece of the home plate umpire, who then announces the outcome. Umpires agreed to cooperate with the commissioner and owners if they decided to implement the technology at the major league level.

The technology was used in the Arizona Fall League and independent Atlantic League this year.

MLB might expand the testing into its own low minor leagues next season.