Author Archives: Thomas Cooper

Place your bets: Delaware takes sports wagers, others close

DOVER, Del. (AP) — The market for legal sports gambling in the United States widened significantly on Tuesday with expanded betting in Delaware, putting legal wagering within driving distance of three major East Coast cities less than a month after the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for states to accept the bets

Instead of flying to Las Vegas or betting illegally, fans in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington can make a short drive to legally bet in Delaware on the NBA Finals, the Stanley Cup Final or the World Cup. More states are likely to join the action by the time the NFL starts its season in the fall.

“Giants and Yankees, all day, every day,” Manhattan native Karriem Keys said Tuesday after betting on the New York Giants to win the Super Bowl next year.

Keys, 53, who now lives in Dover, was one of a couple of dozen people laying down early wagers at Dover Downs as Delaware became the first state outside Nevada to offer legal gambling on individual sporting events.

Read the full article here

U.S. job growth surges, unemployment rate falls to 3.8 percent

Source: Thinkstock

By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. job growth accelerated in May and the unemployment rate dropped to an 18-year low of 3.8 percent, pointing to rapidly tightening labor market conditions, which could stir concerns about inflation.

The closely watched employment report released by the Labor Department on Friday also showed wages rising solidly, cementing expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this month and boosting the probability of two more hikes later in the year. It renewed fears about the economy overheating.

“The strength of the labor market supports our forecast for the Fed to raise rates three more times this year,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “The Fed is going to get antsy that the labor market will blow too far past full employment.”

Nonfarm payrolls surged by 223,000 jobs last month as warm weather bolstered hiring at construction sites. There were also big gains in retail and leisure and hospitality payrolls. The economy created 15,000 more jobs than previously reported in March and April.

Read the full article here.
 

Why the NFL Stopped Seeing Gambling as a Threat—and Started to See a Windfall

Even ahead of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the league had shifted its focus to how sports betting could help grow football in the NFL’s most coveted demographics

The arrival of legal gambling comes at a moment when the NFL’s grip on the American public is weakening. PHOTO: PAUL KURODA/ZUMA PRESS

By Andrew Beaton

For decades, the NFL’s high-level conversations about legalizing sports betting centered only on how problematic it would be. Now that the reality of legal wagering is here, the league is suddenly shifting its focus to how gambling can help stanch the erosion of its audience—and grow its sport to even greater heights.

The NFL was long resolute in its belief that legal sports gambling would be a threat to its integrity, even as the NBA and others warmed to the idea. Just last year, when NFL owners approved the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas, commissioner Roger Goodell made the league’s stance clear: “We still strongly oppose, in that room and otherwise, legalized sports gambling,” he said.

But when the owners met this March, the conversation had completely shifted. A future with legalized sports betting was on the horizon, whether they liked it or not. That future shifted into the present Monday when the Supreme Court struck down the law that prohibits the practice in most parts of the country.

Read the full article here

Jobless claims fall 12,000 to 215,000 and hit lowest level since 1973

Rapid hiring, low unemployment reflect strong labor market

America works: The U.S. unemployment rate is at a 17-year low and layoffs are near the lowest level in 50 years.

By Jeffry Bartash

The numbers: The rate of layoffs in the U.S. fell again in late March and dropped to the lowest level since 1973.

Initial U.S. jobless claims declined by 12,000 to 215,000 in the seven days ended March 24, the government said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast claims to total 230,000.

The more stable monthly average of claims dipped by 500 to 224,500.

The number of people already collecting unemployment benefits, known as continuing claims, rose by 35,000 to 1.87 million.

Read the full article here.

 

You Can Be Banned From Making Returns at Sephora

The beauty brand is using a service to track customer returns and behavior.

Photo: Jeff Greenberg / Getty Images

By Chavie Lieber

Do you love shopping at Sephora because of the company’s generous and convenient return policy? Well, those returns might not have been as carefree as you thought.

Today, The Wall Street Journal wrote about a service called The Retail Equation, or TRE, which tracks customer returns and gives stores the ability to ban shoppers from returning future items if their return patterns are deemed problematic. According to TRE’s website, over 34,000 stores, including department stores and footwear, jewelry, and fashion brands, use the service. And while it doesn’t list the full roster of clients, the Journal confirmed some of the stores that use the service include Best Buy, the Home Depot, Victoria’s Secret, J.C. Penney… and Sephora.

For years, there have been suspicions and rumors on beauty message boards that Sephora bans shoppers who return things too frequently. Officially, Sephora allows returns, both opened and unopened, within 60 days of purchase, and items without a receipt are accepted in exchange for store credit. But shoppers have recently been sharing on Reddit that they were banned from returning products at Sephora, with or without receipts, and the Journal’s report about Sephora’s official partnership with TRE confirms every shoppers’ worst fears. Sephora confirmed shoppers with egregious return habits could see consequences, issuing the following statement to Racked:

Sephora is dedicated to providing all of our customers with an excellent shopping experience. We make every effort to accommodate returns, but a small fraction of customers take advantage of our policy, in many cases returning more than twice as much merchandise as they purchase. This limits product selection and unfairly impacts other clients. When we identify excessive return patterns, we notify those customers that we may limit future returns or exchanges if no proof of purchase is provided.

Read the full article here

Keith Speers of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service tracked down a scammer who employed 300 phantom accomplices. RYAN GIBSON FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Source: Thinkstock

By Peter Rudegeair and AnnaMaria Andriotis

From a townhouse near a megachurch in Atlanta, Kelvin Lyles recruited about 300 accomplices to embark on a crime spree. His group scammed ATMs, internet retailers and credit-card companies, grabbing around $350,000, until late 2015, when federal agents closed in.

Mr. Lyles was the only one convicted. None of his accomplices existed.

In a twist on ID theft, criminals are deploying figments of their imaginations, in what is often called synthetic-identity fraud. It’s one of the fastest growing forms of identity crimes, the Justice Department says, and among the hardest to combat.

Because the person taking out cards or loans isn’t real, there are no consumer victims to alert lenders. When companies and law enforcement discover something amiss, they often wind up chasing ghosts. Mr. Lyles secured credit cards often using fictional names and numbers the Social Security Administration hadn’t yet assigned.

Read the full article here.

 

U.S. Jobless Claims Hit Lowest Level Since 1969

Initial claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., fell to 210,000 in the week ended Feb. 24

Job seekers filling out applications at a job fair in Meridian, Miss., on Feb. 8. PHOTO: PAULA MERRITT/ASSOCIATED PRESS

By Ben Leubsdorf

WASHINGTON—The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level since December 1969, offering fresh evidence of health in the labor market.

Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., declined by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 210,000 in the week ended Feb. 24, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was the lowest reading for initial claims since the week ended Dec. 6, 1969. “Claims remain historically low—indeed, they are still falling—consistent with the trend in employment growth remaining more than strong enough to keep the unemployment rate trending down,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, in a note to clients.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected 225,000 new claims last week.

Read the full article here.

New Digital Strategy For Golden State Warriors Pushes Revenue Up 300%

Kevin Durant is all smiles ahead of a game against the Phoenix Suns. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The Warriors are winning off the court as well, with a new digital strategy that has pushed digital revenue to the highest in the NBA—up 300% this season, compared to last year, according to the team. The Warriors are Silicon Valley’s team, but they were not always a leader in social and digital strategy.

Three years ago the Warriors ranked outside the NBA’s top five for digital revenue. They operated like most sports teams with an archaic approach where sponsors received a set number of posts across social media channels. But brands typically looked at digital in the opposite way where impressions and engagement were the critical factors.

The Warriors enlisted digital strategy agency Rebel Ventures to look at how the marketplace was buying and valuing certain content. The goal was to change the team’s business and content model. Rebel’s sports clients include Real Madrid, Boston Red Sox, Liverpool FC, San Francisco 49ers and more.

One of the biggest changes for the Warriors was switching to an impression-based model starting with the 2015-16 season. “It put skin in the game for us and our partners to really create engaging content,” says Mike Kitts, vice president of corporate partnerships for the Warriors.

Read the full article here.