What’s On Tap: The Week Ahead In Sports Betting: Australian Open, Daytona 500, And MGM Resorts Earnings

Each Monday, our “What’s On Tap,” series will preview the week ahead in the world of sports betting. Come here for a summary of upcoming financial happenings, legislative and regulatory meetings, industry conferences, top games scheduled for the week, and much more. Also, check out our weekly review Get A Grip and Wide World of Gambling at US Bets for a look back at last week’s relevant news.

Monday, February 8

Djokovic installed as overwhelming favorite at Aussie Open

Five months after a stunning disqualification from the U.S. Open, Novak Djokovic will receive his next chance for his 18th career grand slam. Djokovic, an eight-time Australian Open champion, has won the title three times in the last five years, including in 2020 when he outlasted Dominic Thiem in a five-set final. The year’s first major begins Monday morning in Melbourne. At FanDuel, Djokovic is a heavy +130 favorite to win the title. Bookmakers largely expect Djokovic to sail through the draw. Daniil Medvedev, the tournament’s second choice, has odds of +440 to win the Open, just ahead of Thiem, the third choice at +550. Hampered by a stiff back, 2009 champion Rafael Nadal is the fourth choice at 6/1. On the women’s side, Aussie native Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka are the co-favorites at 6/1. No. 13 Garbine Muguruza is the sole third choice at 11/1, followed by Simona Halep and seven-time champion Serena Williams at 12/1. With a title down under, Williams would tie Margaret Court for the all-time record in Grand Slam career victories with 24.

Tuesday, February 9

Arizona House hears bill on sports betting

A pair of sports betting bills will be heard this week in Arizona, beginning on Tuesday at a hearing in the House Commerce Committee. A bill sponsored by Rep. Jeff Weninger, HB 2772, calls for the issuance of up to 30 licenses — 10 to pro sports franchises/venues, 10 for tribal gaming casinos, and 10 retail-only “limited” licenses at thoroughbred racetracks. Weninger, a Republican, describes the opportunity as the best chance to legalize sports betting in Arizona in a “very long time.” A separate bill sponsored by Sen. T.J. Shope will be heard Wednesday at a Senate Commerce Committee meeting.

Wednesday, February 10

MGM Resorts scheduled to report quarterly, yearly earnings

Investors are expected to learn more about BetMGM‘s sports betting expansion plans on Wednesday when MGM Resorts reports earnings for the fourth quarter of 2020. MGM is expected to report a fourth-quarter loss of 96 cents per share, compared with earnings of 8 cents per share in the same period a year earlier, according to Zack’s Consensus Estimates. In October, MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle expressed optimism with the company’s sports betting and iGaming growth, as volumes ramped up and new states legalized the activities. A month earlier, MGM estimated that it attained an iGaming and sports betting market share of around 18% in the states it operated in. Investors may also receive details on the future of the company’s joint venture with Entain PLC. Last month, a proposed merger between MGM and Entain collapsed when MGM abandoned a proposed £8bn all-share takeover bid. The acquisition of Entain would have given MGM full control of BetMGM.

Thursday, February 11

Washington State may roll out proposed rules

A set of proposed sports wagering regulations could be rolled out on Thursday when the Washington State Gambling Commission holds its February meeting. Ahead of the meeting, Maverick Gaming, a Nevada-based company, advocated for the expansion of sports betting outside the state’s tribal casinos. A Washington bill, SB 5212, calls for a 10% tax on gross gaming revenues, along with a $100,000 site licensing fee.

Sabres scheduled for return to ice

On Thursday night, the Buffalo Sabres are set to return to action after a 10-day break. The Sabres haven’t played since Jan. 31 after two players were added to the team’s COVID-19 protocol list. The NHL schedule has been marred by a bevy of delays due to the pandemic. This week alone, four games, including Monday’s Sabres-Boston Bruins tilt, have been delayed because of COVID-19 implications. As of Feb. 6, the pandemic has forced the NHL to postpone 24 games on the 2021 schedule.

Sunday, February 14

Hamlin seeks third consecutive Daytona 500

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin is in pursuit of his third consecutive victory and fourth overall at Sunday’s season-opening Daytona 500. Hamlin, who finished fourth in the NASCAR Cup Series standings in 2020, is the 8/1 favorite at FanDuel. Defending Cup Series champion Chase Elliott is the second choice at +950, followed by Brad Keselowski (+1200), Joey Logano (+1200), Ryan Blaney (+1200), and Kevin Harvick (+1300). Last August, NASCAR unveiled a multi-year sports betting deal with BetMGM. Starting on Sunday, the sportsbook will offer live, in-game betting for NASCAR races for the first time, through a partnership with Genius Sports. BetMGM also secured a partnership with Richard Childress Racing last week, becoming the first sportsbook operator to partner with a NASCAR team.

Have a good week, everyone!

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