March Madness: When a Friendly Bracket Becomes an HR Problem

Next week marks the start of the first March Madness season since a landmark 2018 Supreme Court ruling gave states leeway to allow and regulate sports gambling. Many state legislatures are already jumping at what they consider an untapped revenue opportunity. For their part, manufacturers and other businesses owners are not all exactly jumping for joy—as they see a newly increased risk of overzealous participants and gamblers disrupting the workplace during March Madness.

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MLB office wants lineups before info made public

Major League Baseball is making changes to pregame protocol heading into the first season with expanded state-sponsored sports betting.

This year, clubs will be required to submit starting lineups to MLB's data operations department at least 15 minutes before they are made public in an effort by the league to reduce the value of inside information and add uniformity to how data is disseminated.

Starting lineups and umpire assignments -- two things valued by oddsmakers and bettors -- will be released first on MLB's official data feed.

In previous seasons, starting lineups were released randomly, sometimes by team social media accounts, other times by beat writers at the team clubhouses. Teams might continue to release lineups in their preferred manner, but only after submitting them to the league. When MLB confirms reception, teams may make their starting lineups public. They do not have to wait a full 15 minutes.

"We are updating a number of our procedures to reduce integrity risks associated with the expansion of sports betting in light of the Supreme Court's ruling last May," Major League Baseball said in a statement. "One new procedure is that we now ask Clubs to submit starting lineups in a uniform fashion in order to reduce the risk of confidential information being 'tipped.' This approach mirrors those of international sports leagues in more developed betting markets."

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New Ohio bill would allow sports betting in casinos, racinos and through their mobile apps

Nearly a year after the U.S. Supreme Court has legalized sports betting outside of Nevada, a bill in the Ohio General Assembly would legalize the wagers in casinos, racinos and other places with video lottery terminals.

Senate Bill 111 is sponsored by Sens. John Eklund, a Geauga County Republican, and Sean O’Brien, a Bazetta Democrat. The Northeast Ohio lawmakers sponsored a “placeholder” bill last year that lacked specifics but was intended to help the legislature amass information on the industry, which informed them on this year’s bill.

Several states have beaten Ohio, and have legalized sports wagers months ago. However, Eklund said Thursday he’s not in a rush. He wants to get the law right, he said.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re first or last,” he said. "The object is to be the best.”

Under SB 111, people must be 21 to bet.

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Racino in Northfield will celebrate becoming MGM Northfield Park

MGM on Tuesday will celebrate entering the Ohio gambling market with the grand opening of MGM Northfield Park, following the $1 billion purchase of the former Hard Rock Rocksino.

MGM will “reveal its iconic MGM Lion statue” during opening ceremonies at 1 p.m. Tuesday, the company announced. The switchover to MGM occurred earlier this week but the company said it was holding off until next week for its ceremonial celebration.

“Community leaders, guests, team members and MGM senior leadership will share this exciting milestone at Ohio’s award-winning, gaming, dining, and entertainment destination,” the announcement said.

MGM Growth Properties in July bought the Rocksino and then announced in September a deal for its related company, MGM Resorts International, to operate the facility.

The Rocksino, located between Akron and Cleveland in northern Summit County, has long been Ohio’s busiest casino or racino, though as a racino regulated by the Ohio Lottery Commission it is prohibited from offering table games and as wide a variety of slots machines as the casinos.

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Hard Rock takeover gives Jack Casino a new owner, new name. What about a hotel?

Hard Rock International is buying Jack Cincinnati Casino and Turfway Park. 

On Friday, Jack Entertainment announced that it has entered into contracts to sell Jack Casino in Downtown Cincinnati and Turfway Park in Florence to Hard Rock International and VICI Properties for $780 million, pending regulatory approval.

“We look forward to introducing our unique brand of casino entertainment to Cincinnati," said Jim Allen, CEO of Hard Rock International. 

Hard Rock officials were tightlipped about potential upgrades to the property.

Half their casinos have Hard Rock Cafes – including the Hardrock Rocksino (the old Northfield Park race track with slots gambling added) in suburban Cleveland, until it was sold to MGM late last year.

Hard Rock was also mum on whether they were considering building a hotel on the property – 9 out of 11 of their casinos have hotels. Company officials said new property improvements will be announced later this year.

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JACK Entertainment to sell JACK Casino to Hard Rock International

 JACK Entertainment will sell JACK Cincinnati Casino and Turfway park for $780 million pending approval, the company announced Friday.

JACK Entertainment will sell to Hard Rock International and VICI Properties if the deal is approved.

Through the joint purchase, Hard Rock will acquire the operating assets of the casino, rebranding it Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati, while VICI will own the land and real estate assets.

“Hard Rock has been the number one operator in Ohio since opening in the greater Cleveland market in 2013,” said Jim Allen, chairman and CEO of Hard Rock International, in a prepared statement.

“And now, we look forward to introducing our unique brand of casino entertainment to Cincinnati. On behalf of the 40,000 Hard Rock team members worldwide, I am pleased to welcome the more than 1,000 JACK Cincinnati employees into the Hard Rock family.”

JACK Cleveland Casino and JACK Thistledown Racino are not impacted.

JACK Cincinnati opened in 2013 off Reading Road and Broadway Street in downtown Cincinnati.

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Should Gambling on Sports be Legal?

Sixty percent of Americans endorse legalized gambling on professional sports in their state, but only 42 percent approve of betting legally on college sports. Self-described sports fans are especially supportive of legalizing both professional and college sports gambling in their state. However, those who consider gambling a major problem in the United States are generally opposed to legalization. 

In May 2018, the Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law that banned commercial sports betting in most states. Since then, legislation in several states around the country has been enacted allowing legal sports betting.

Ten states have already legalized sports betting, while 30 states have introduced or recently passed legislation to legalize gambling on sports.[1] Across all states where sports betting is already legal, 71 percent of residents say gambling on professional sports should be legal, but only 47 percent favor the legalization of college sports. Where sports betting is not yet legal, 59 percent want to see gambling on professional sports legalized, but only 42 percent think betting on college sports should be legal.

While most Americans express little or no interest in betting on sports, there is slightly more appeal to gambling on sports in casinos, rather than online or at sports venues.

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Ohio Plans To Introduce Online Lottery Products

Ohio may join the club of US states that offer an online lottery.

The Ohio state lottery is planning to launch what they call “iLottery” through desktop and mobile applications for existing lottery games. Kentucky, Michigan, and Pennsylvania are amongst the eight other states that offer online lottery products in the US.

Pat McDonald, Ohio Lottery Director, said, “By allowing additional methods of purchasing existing content, the lottery can keep up with the way people have become accustomed to buying everything from music and books to their groceries.”

The state lottery officials are still in the process of drafting the details of the proposal. Comparing with how neighboring Michigan increased its tax revenue by offering online lottery products, the state lottery is eyeing at around $100 million in revenues with the new move.

However, the proposal has raised concerns amongst the local lottery merchants and dealers. Alex Boehnke, a lobbyist for the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, said, “There are certainly some concerns about moving toward a mobile application. However, we’ll have to dig down into the fine details of any proposal before we take a position.”

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Super Bowl: Gladys Knight’s national anthem a gambling nightmare

With apologies to now six-time champion Tom Brady and his Patriots, Gladys Knight’s rendition of the national anthem may have been the most intriguing aspect of Super Bowl LIII Sunday.

Knight’s performance was certainly the most controversial thing that happened in Atlanta for those gamblers who placed money on how long it would take her to sing it. By adding just a tad more soul to the end of the anthem, Knight saddled one sports betting company with a reported loss in the six figures.

The betting line was one minute and 50 seconds from start until finish (when the word “brave” is sung) for the seven-time Grammy winner, who seemed to complete the anthem at one minute, 49 seconds.

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New Jersey sportsbooks to offer betting on Oscars

And the Oscar goes to ... you'll be able to bet on it this year in New Jersey.

New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) informed the state's new licensed bookmakers this week that they will be permitted to offer bets on the Academy Awards, a first for legal sportsbooks in the United States.

The news was first reported by

Nevada gaming regulations prohibit Las Vegas sportsbooks from taking wagers on the Oscars, but the awards show has been a very popular event to bet at offshore and international sportsbooks for years.

More than a dozen legal sportsbooks have opened in New Jersey since last May, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal statute that had restricted state-authorized sports betting to primarily Nevada. In their first months of operation, Garden State bookmakers said they routinely received requests from customers wanting betting odds on the Oscars. The DGE has granted their wish.

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Danish government introduces new social responsibility controls for gambling

The Danish government has proposed new social responsibility controls on licensed gambling companies, with a focus on improving player protection standards in the market.

The government issued draft executive order, which puts in place a number of new requirements on operators, such as mandatory deposit limits, and a requirement for problem gambling support resources to be prominently displayed.

The most notable controls are on sales promotions, bringing in limits on how operators can market offers to players, and restrictions on the sums that may be offered.

These constraints on sales promotions are clearly spelt out, with operators required to immediately award any money on offer to players when these conditions are met.

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Fortnite to stop selling controversial 'loot boxes' after claims they were like "gambling for children"

Fortnite will now show users the contents of paid loot boxes before they purchase them, following long-running comparisons to gambling. 

Loot boxes provided random virtual objects, such as weapons, in the Save The World version of the game, costing $9.99 (£7.99) of the game's V-bucks currency. 

The uncertainty of what may be in the boxes, known in Fortnite as V-Buck Llamas, caused some people to liken the practice to gambling, and led to a petition in 2017 being signed by more than 16,000 people demanding that such practices in video games that target children fall under gambling laws.

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Fixed Odds: Problem Gambling In America

Most states bring in more than $1 billion in casino and lottery revenue annually, while spending less than one-tenth of 1 percent of it on problem gambling services

Casinos and lotteries in 2016 generated $149 billion in revenue, or about $461 per person. States on average spent about 22 cents per person to treat and prevent problem gambling, according to a 2016 survey of problem gambling services in America.

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How President Trump Is Like A Terrible Poker Player

I was playing poker in Atlantic City this weekend, so I’ve had poker on the brain as I’ve been thinking about President Trump’s tactics during the partial government shutdown, which ended on Friday after Congress passed a three-week continuing resolution to fund the government. What will happen at the end of the next three weeks is very much up in the air. But the way Trump has played his hand so far on the shutdown has a lot in common with how bad poker players tend to cost themselves money.

If you read the headline of this post, you may have assumed that it refers to Trump’s getting outmaneuvered on the shutdown by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. I do think Trump was outmaneuvered by Pelosi, but the analogy to poker is a little different from that. It has more to do with Trump’s overall strategy toward the presidency.

In general, the strategic goal of poker is to put your opponent to tough decisions. If you see one of those hands on TV where one player is thinking for several minutes about whether to call or fold on the river, that usually means the other player has played his or her hand well, putting the opponent in a no-win position by leaving just the right amount of doubt about whether it’s a bluff or a real hand.

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Comptroller: New York has no idea what damage gambling has done

New York has seen an explosion of state-authorized gambling over the past 13 years, including new casinos in Buffalo and across upstate, new lottery betting, daily fantasy sports offerings and a new sports gambling effort.

But it has been more than a decade and three governors since the state government last conducted any comprehensive, statewide study examining gambling addiction problems in order to get a better understanding where and how to invest taxpayer money in treatment programs.

The concerns are raised in a new audit by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who says state-run gambling treatment has not been offered in large areas of the state, including those with new state-sanctioned gambling outlets, according to a copy of the audit obtained by The Buffalo News.

The Democratic comptroller’s auditors looked at the failure by the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services to gather the kinds of information such gambling “prevalence” studies have revealed in New York and other states over the years.

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How the Internet changed the gambling sector and our betting habits

Online gambling, i.e., gambling on the Internet, has changed how most people bet. The Internet has also transformed the gambling sector dramatically. Online gambling includes sports betting, lotteries, casinos, poker rooms, and dozens of other games of chance.

In many countries, Internet gambling is illegal. In the European Union, Canada, and several Caribbean Islands, it is legal.

In the United States each state can determine whether online gambling is legal in its area. Most states haven’t legalized online gambling yet, which means that in most US states online gambling is still illegal,

That’s why today only a few online casinos are active in the US. Even land based American casinos like the famous Winstar from Oklahoma don’t offer real money online casino in the US. Winstar, for example, recently launched the Winstar Real Money Casino on the internet but only for European players.

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Slot Machine Jingles Encourage Gamblers to Keep Gambling

The jingle is attractive, to say the least. Many gamblers feel that the jingle of the slot machines is the music of the casino. However, the flashing lights and the cheerful sounds may be the reason people lose money at the slots. Research indicates slot machine lights and sounds may make people think they are going to win big at any minute. The reality is they may be losing money.

Slot Machines—and Carnivals

Slot machines were invented in the late nineteenth century. At the time slot machines were created, many carnival and circuses wanted automatic machines to go into their midways. There were already automatic prize machines available. They were not popular because customers won small little cheap trinkets instead of prizes an adult would want. The first slot machine, the Liberty Bell, was invented in San Francisco. The first slot machine had three reels (or wheels) that had five possible symbols on them. Like all slot machines now, the winners were generated by random numbers. The first slot machine had a payout of twenty quarters on a nickel spin. Modern slot machines can have multi-million dollar payouts. Since the first slot machine was developed, they have been popular gaming machines, generating more money than any table game. Slot machines have had bright lights and music for over 100 years, which was intended to make the game more enjoyable.

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Sheriff allegedly stole drug money to fund gambling problem

Does a sheriff in Ohio have a “compulsive” gambling addiction? One nameless critic says you can bet on it.

Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader was accused in an anonymous complaint last month of stealing cash seized during drug prosecutions to feed his gambling problem, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

“He is a compulsive gambler and never has any money,” the complaint filed on Nov. 9 to the Ohio Auditor’s Office alleges.

The forfeited funds were kept in a safe inside Reader’s office that only he could access, according to the complaint, which also accused the sheriff of borrowing thousands of dollars from two deputies only to blow it on gambling.

“Reader just does whatever he wants and no one ever calls him on it,” the complaint continued. “We are scared to death of him.”

Reader did not immediately return a message seeking comment Tuesday. But his attorney, James Boulger, told the Columbus Dispatch that the “main focus” of an upcoming auditor’s probe will be whether Reader stole money confiscated during drug arrests.

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Dallas Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott Runs 21 Miles an Hour, But Who Owns That Data?

The longest rush of the NFL playoffs so far -- a 44-yard run by Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott -- was also the fastest. Elliott hit 21.27 miles per hour as he outran two defenders, his top speed as a ball carrier this season.

We only know that statistic because of a tiny chip inside Elliott’s shoulder pads -- a small piece of the National Football League’s aggressive push into advanced data and analytics. The NFL is using technology to track the game and its players like never before. For the first time, all 32 teams have access to chip data throughout the league, providing a snapshot of every player’s location 12 times per second.

And it’s not just the NFL. Every major sports league is counting on data to revolutionize how athletes train and recover -- and how coaches evaluate and prepare for games. But the analytics boom has also produced some thorny questions. Should a player’s privacy factor in? Should the data be used in contract negotiations? And who should share the spoils if broadcasters and sports-gambling companies pay for the information?

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Experts warning parents about new form of gambling

 It's been nearly a week that sports betting has been in our area, and at all five casinos across West Virginia. This popular form of gambling has experts warning parents to be careful.

While you can head out to the Mardi Gras Casino and place your sports bet, you also could do it in the comfort of your own home by using the Bet Lucky app. Gambling addiction advocates are warning people to be careful of this new type of gambling.

"The 'action better' is a different type of better," said 1-800-Gambler spokesperson, Shelia Moran. "It is someone who whether they are or are not, think its a skill-based activity and they are doing it to win money and bragging rights."

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