The legalization of sports gambling across the United States has driven gambling and technology firms into a series of American deals, as they all fight for their share of a market that is potentially worth billions.
In May of last year, the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule the 1992 gambling legislation which had limited betting on a single sports event to just Nevada opened up the power for individual states to legalize sports betting, a move which has since seen the US sports betting market boom.
Companies across the world have since started making deals. Casinos are opening sportsbooks across the country, professional sports teams are making deals with gambling companies for sponsorship and exclusivity and tech companies are rolling out the availability of sports betting apps – which is where the market is really expected to explode.
The potential size of the sports betting market in the US is estimated to be $3–$5 billion within the next five years. The global sports betting market is already worth an estimated $40 billion and continues to expand.
March Madness has provided a great example of how the US sports betting market is already taking shape. For the first time in the event’s history, bettors could wager on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament from states outside Nevada, with Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Mississippi, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Pennsylvania all among those who have already permitted legal sports gambling.
It’s estimated that across the three week tournament more than $4.5 billion will have been wagered across 150 million brackets by over 40 million people. Smartphones are understandably where most of the activity is taking place, as iPhone and Android apps are now giving bettors access to a world of betting online at their fingertips.
Major gambling companies such as William Hill, Ladbrokes, bet365, Bwin, Paddy Power, Betfair, Unibet and many more are taking advantage of this, with an estimated 10% of smartphone and 5% of tablet users using their devices for gambling and approximately 250 million smartphone users across the US in 2019.
Last August the NBA became the first of America’s major sports leagues to team up with a gambling corporation when they signed a three year, $25m deal with gaming giant MGM to bring them on as an official gaming partner, a deal which subsequently became a catalyst for other leagues to follow suit.
The NHL announced their own deal with MGM in November and then in January, the NFL announced a three year, $90m ($30m a year) deal with Caesars Entertainment.
The American sports betting market is enjoying a gold rush right now and it seems every miner in town is after their share of the metal.