Inside Track

How Legalized Betting is Changing the Sports Landscape

As more and more states allow legal wagering on sporting events, we’re seeing bigger amounts of money legally waged on some of the nation’s biggest sporting events.

According to the American Gaming Association, there are 30 states and the District of Columbia where sports betting legislation has allowed for live and legal wagering through in-person retail operations and online digital sportsbooks, accessible through apps on smartphones and tablets.

Here at SportsTech, sports betting, daily fantasy, and in-game wagering are all aspects of sports technology that we’re following with great interest. Spectators who put “skin in the game” are much more dedicated fans for sports organizations and programmers, whether it be through betting, fantasy sports, or other gamification. NBC Sports in August 2021 launched a new division to focus on integrating betting with live games. PointsBet ran its BetCast platform during the March 7 NBC telecast of a game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Chicago Bulls featuring live odds on the screen showing moneyline, player props, and futures prices. Tech startups like nVenue leverage the power of machine learning to quickly generate probabilities for every outcome of a play. You can join one of our program alumna from nVenue as she makes an appearance in a panel this week to discuss the future of betting at the SportTechie State of the Industry conference.

Date: April 12th- 13th
Time: Wed, April 13, 11:35 AM – 12:10 PM
Title: How Sports Betting is Driving Fan Engagement

Panelists:

  • Kelly Pracht, co-founder, and CEO, nVenue
  • Mitesh Mehta, SVP Betting/Gaming & Strategic Partnerships at NBC Sports Next
  • Kyle Christensen, Chief Marketing Officer, PointsBet

Learn More Here

Betting Madness 

This year, more than 29 million Americans were legally able to wager on the annual NCAA March Madness Tournament than the previous year.

A survey from the American Gaming Association predicted that 17% of U.S. adults, around 45 million people, would wager $3.1 billion on the 2022 men’s March Madness Tournament — the largest number in the tournament’s history.

March Madness is almost a month-long event, and has big ramifications for betting apps in terms of bringing in new users and engaging them far beyond a huge event like the NCAA tournament. “From a recruitment perspective, March Madness is one of our tentpoles,”says Adam Greenblatt, CEO of sports gambling player BetMGM. “March Madness bettors have shown themselves to be high-quality bettors.”

What that means is that apps can expect to see these same March Madness bettors coming back year after year.

Super Bowl Recap 

Far and away, the Super Bowl is one of the biggest wagering events of the year. In fact, experts estimated that 31.4 million people would place $7.6 billion in wagers on the Rams versus Bengals NFL finale.

While all the data will be fully completed in April, here are a number of interesting stats from this year’s Game:

  • Nevada set new records for wagering with$179.8 million, up 13.4% from the previous record of $158.6 million set in 2018.
  • New Jersey’s handle was $143.7 million, up 22.4% from 2021.
  • Illinois sportsbooks saw a 32.7% jump to $60.5 million this year and accounted for 90.5% of all mobile bets.
  • New York has some interesting data insights on the sports betting marketplace.
  • New York state launched a sports betting app wagering in early January, a few weeks before the NFL playoffs started. Since that launch, bettors there have wagered $2.5 billion providing about $80 million to the state in tax revenue—making New York the nation’s largest market for digital sports betting in less than a month.

    Twelve states have reported $553.8 million in wagers against $45.6 million in revenue. Last year that handle was $486.5 million, with $43 million in revenue and 17 legal sports betting jurisdictions.

    “The results are clear: Americans have never been more interested in legal sports wagering,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller in a press release.

    Sports Betting Goes To Stadium 

    One of the more interesting trends in sports betting is the number of relationships that teams and stadiums are striking with sports betting companies.

    As teams seek new ways to rake in revenue, they’re capitalizing on this trend with sports betting enthusiasts and common fans alike.

    BetMGM opened their sportsbook at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. and the Chicago Cubs are working with Draft Kings to create a concept that includes a restaurant and sportsbook that will open in time for the 2023 baseball season. This comes as the city will allow the same at Guaranteed Rate Field (White Sox of the MLB), and the United Center (Bulls of the NBA, and the Blackhawks of the NHL).

    Betting on apps and digital devices is a gateway to experiencing sports wagering, but it is commonly done on the go. Combining the elements of betting with the sights and sounds of a live game-day experience takes the fan experience to new heights.

    “People still want to wager in person,”said Keith Wall, FanDuel’s vice president of retail operations. “You have sports betting operating right where the fans are.”

    Matt Prevost, BetMGM’s chief revenue officer, said retail outlets are designed as much for off-days as for game days. “We look at this as an opportunity to engage with fans not only on game days, but we’re also looking at people in the local neighborhood to engage with them,” he said. “Retail is a great opportunity to put a face to a brand. It’s a big part of our strategy.”

    This fits the contemporary strategy where stadiums are designed and built for engaging fan experiences. Now, they’re being developed around entire districts that entice visitors, fans, and tourists alike year-round to eat, drink, shop, celebrate, and enjoy, all in new ways.

    Leagues are Betting on Betting

    You don’t have to put down big bucks to bet, or even necessarily know the ins and outs of how betting works. Leagues are now partnering to bring the experience to consumers in new ways. As an example,  the PGA TOUR and NBC Sports launched a “Pick ‘Em Live” app that ties into the official PGA TOUR app. It’s a free game powered by PointsBet that adds a layer of entertainment to tour events.

    Players can enter into weekly tournaments and make picks on things like overall tournament winner, group winners, head-to-head winners, and a points system that is connected to changing live odds where fans can win up to $5,000.

    “Sports betting products in golf continue to experience tremendous growth so we’re excited to provide our fans with the option to experience exciting in-play games in a free-to-play environment,” said Norb Gambuzza, PGA TOUR Senior Vice President, Media and Gaming.

    NASCAR’s NextGEN car, which made its official debut on February 6 at the 2022 Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum in Los Angeles, will capture video and generate data that can be used for sports betting, said Craig Neeb, Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer at NASCAR. Neeb said NASCAR is looking forward to leveraging the NextGEN technology to bring new and exciting data to fans.

    Upcoming Big Betting Moments

    There are a number of high-profile events that are coming up that are expected to see significant handles from the states where digital bets are allowed. These include:

    • Kentucky Derby
    • NBA Playoffs and NBA Championship
    • Major League Baseball season and futures (who will win the World Series and player props like who will hit the most home runs)
    • World Cup 2022

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