The U.S. Supreme Court’s monumental decision in May to strike down the long-standing federal law banning full-fledged sports wagering outside Nevada, has opened up legal sports betting to states across the country.
Already New Jersey and Mississippi and its residents (and neighbors) have enjoyed the fruits of their new and growing markets, with other states in earlier stages or nearing a launch. Many more are expected to come on board in 2019.
As new sports wagering platforms are being developed and new kinds of partnerships explored, a wide range of industries are well-positioned to benefit greatly from the massive revenue potential in this marketplace.
1. Fantasy Sports
New opportunities abound in this sector. From opening proprietary sportsbooks and developing betting apps to entering into partnerships with casinos, sports bars, and media companies, fantasy sports enterprises are ready to meet the increasing demand resulting from expanded legalized betting. While there are two clear leaders in this space, DraftKings and FanDuel — which by the way blew out the competition in September in New Jersey — it’s likely that new or smaller players will emerge as the market expands.
2. Social Media
Sports betting and social media go hand-in-hand. With a smartphone in the pockets of practically everyone, an increasing number of people are likely to follow games on mobile. Also many bettors will begin or already do follow sports reporters and “handicappers” on social media, meaning it will only grow as an essential tool in making an educated pregame and in-game wager. Additionally, a significant number of online sportsbooks and other companies are now using social media platforms as a marketing and advertising tool, thereby creating yet another revenue stream with the potential for massive expansion.
3. Media Companies and TV
After the Supreme Court decision was announced, billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he believed the value of professional sports franchises were doubled as a result of the ruling. Although some may consider this hyperbole, there are others who think the statement was too low, with predictions that the amount of cash about to hit the sports gambling market is actually being underestimated. The related opportunities for media and television companies are enormous, as a 2016 Nielsen Sports study found that although sports betters composed just 25% of the NFL viewing audience, they accounted for 47% of the time spent watching games. If you have money riding on a game, you’re likely to watch more than twice as much as non-gamblers.
And the media industry is listening. ESPN+ is airing a gambling-focused show by The Action Network, “I’ll Take That Bet,” featuring personalities picking their top 10 bets. FS1 went a step further by launching a daily sports gambling show called “Lock It In” with known betting personalities. Another concept involves in-game micro-wagering, which is expected to grow exponentially as states adopt sports gambling. Current delays between the sites of live sporting events and transmission to viewers have curtailed play-by-play wagering on some sports. It’s expected that technology firms will quickly develop real-time picture-and-sound transmission to allow this revenue potential to be fully realized.