ABOUT US SPORTS BETTING MARKET AGAIN

I wrote blog about US Sports Betting 7 months ago. I’m probably too short-tempered when I’m going to write about the same issue so short again, but I’ll do it. If you remember the previous US blog well, I would say that not so much has changed yet, but I have got some new information and ideas after that.

I start with the regulatory situation of US Sports Betting market. Now, or actually few weeks ago, there are 13 states which have already started Sports Betting. That’s some more than it was in spring 2019. There are also 6 states which have passed the legal process and where Sports Betting would be legal but where no one has started it yet. If I have understood it correctly, there are also something like 5 states where the legalization process is actively going on and where Sports Betting will probably be legal at the latest next year. So, it seems that Sports Betting will be legal in half of states quite soon. There are still some big states like California missing from that list.

How big is the unregulated US Sports Betting market now? I’m afraid that no one really knows, but I trust on H2GC research company. H2GC estimates that the handle of unregulated Sports Betting market is 196 billion $ and gross gaming revenue (GGR) of that is about 10 B$. So, we are talking about huge market and market potential for newly regulated companies. I don’t know how big share of that the regulated companies are supposed to get from that unregulated market, but I believe that it will be big share anyhow.

H2GC has also given estimates for the growth of regulated US Sports Betting. They are expecting it to reach the size of 9 B$ in next 10 years. That would mean almost 1 billion dollars growth every year because it’s now a little bit less than 1 B$. It seems that there will be 24 states which have legalized Sports Betting in 2020 and there will be more states which will do that later. According to estimates there will be 38 states where Sports Betting will be legal until 2024.

It’s obvious that US market is not working in the same way than European or Asian Sports Betting market. We have noticed that at least now when some big Europe based companies have entered to US market. US Sports Betting is based really much on US Sports and different bet types than we used to have here in Europe. The three main sports in US Sports Betting markets are basketball (about 29 %), baseball (26 %) and American football (18 %). The most popular bet types are “Las Vegas style” bets. As I already wrote in my previous US Sports Betting blog, I think that it will be hard and almost impossible to beat Las Vegas bookmakers in those sports and bet types. The new companies should introduce something else.

The share of digital channel(s) has been quite small, but I’m sure that it will increase a lot in the future. H2GC has estimated that after ten years from now the size (GGR) of online Sports Betting will be about 6 B$ and landbased about 3 B$. As you know it’s easier to utilize skills in data and customer areas in digital channels than in landbased business. At least until now the Las Vegas based Sports Betting operators have concentrated on business which they have used to run. That might be “weakness” where the new legal operators should try to hit?

I don’t have much new information about the Sports Betting plans of big media and technology companies. They actions might change the whole Sports Betting market, not only in US but also globally. It’s not sure at all that they are going to act as Sports Betting operators, but I believe that at least those media (TV) companies who have Sports TV-rights will utilize those rights somehow in Sports Betting business too. There is already one interesting example. Score is offering maybe the most popular live results service of sports events to tens millions of customers. They introduced own Sports Betting offering in New Jersey some months ago and business results of that seem to be good ones. I’m keen on seeing what will happen if even bigger media companies will do the same…

It’s not sure what the State Lotteries will do. There are just four lotteries (Delaware, Oregon, Rhode Island and West Virginia) which have started their own Sports Betting operations. Last week I heard from Patricia McQueen from NASPL that there are few more states where lotteries have already license to start Sports Betting, but which haven’t yet done that. As far as I understood right, Montana will be the fifth one quite soon and probably New Hampshire and District of Columbia will follow later. Tennessee will also start Sports Betting quite soon, but there lottery will act as a regulator which sounds to me really strange…

The business model of existing Sports Betting lotteries seems to be mainly based on casino model where they are offering Sports betting in casinos and/or at the racinos (race track casinos). Just Oregon lottery has introduced mobile based model and probably New Hampshire lottery will do the same. I’m not sure how well that casino-based business model could serve the potential customers? I’m afraid that lotteries won’t succeed in Sports Betting competition if they won’t develop more modern business models. They should concentrate on utilizing their wide customer base. It’s of course easy to say but I would be keen on doing that also in practice if there would be need for help…

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