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What You Need to Know: Betting in the US



Despite the popularity of sports betting in European markets, the US has been slow to open up for oddsmakers. Archaic gambling laws at both the federal and state level blocked companies from developing online or in-person betting.

In 2018, a Supreme Court ruling allowed states to begin legislating gambling laws at a local level. According to US law, gambling covers casino games, poker, and sports betting. Since the spread of daily fantasy providers, these have also been subsumed under sports betting laws.

In short, the journey to legalize and regulate sports betting has been a long time coming. Historically, only Las Vegas functioned as a legal haven for sportsbooks and punters alike. Since the 2018 ruling, 18 states have legalized sports betting and welcomed in companies.

In addition to these 18 states, five more have recently passed legislation and are now working to build regulatory bodies that will monitor sportsbooks. Another 24 states failed to pass bills that would allow sports betting, though further attempts are anticipated.

Despite great leaps in legalization, there aren’t too many options for punters at the moment. Some companies offer risk-free bets for US and international sports, though they’re only available online in states like Pennsylvania, Colorado, and New Jersey. But with the sports betting boom set to reach anywhere between $6 billion and $20 billion in the next few years, the list of options for punters will expand rapidly.

Inside the Stadium

When looking at the future of sports betting in the US, it’s worthwhile to compare in-person versus mobile options. In places like the UK, mobile platforms are gaining in popularity, while the number of sports betting shops is slowly declining.

The US is likely to see inverse movements within the betting sector. Previously, mobile and remote betting options were the only ones available for punters outside Las Vegas. However, now that major leagues like the NFL are expanding to include in-person betting lounges in certain stadiums, the trend is likely to stick.

Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas is the first to offer a betting lounge, while other franchises in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey are set to offer spectators live betting opportunities shortly.

Each franchise will choose a sponsored betting company. Strict guidelines will be provided by the NFL to meet state regulations and maintain integrity within the league. Additionally, major betting providers will be looking to offer live betting features for spectators attending a match.

Live betting features will be an exciting and informal way to enhance the fan experience at a game. Examples of live betting would include which player will catch the next touchdown (NFL), how fast the next pitch will be thrown (MLB), which players are likely to go fisticuffs next (NHL), and who’s stealing the ball next (NBA).

To ensure there’s enough bandwidth to account for tens of thousands of live updates via mobile apps, it’s likely that major service providers like Verizon will also get involved in the betting business.


Looking Forward

Going into the future, sports betting will adapt and evolve with other technological standards. At the moment, one major way the industry is likely to adapt is to begin offering cryptocurrency payouts and bets.

While some platforms already provide these services, they’re few and far between. Because cryptocurrency models rely on blockchain technology, this future is likely to be slow in the making. However, so long as star athletes are requesting payment in Bitcoin, sportsbooks aren’t likely to be far behind.

Another major facet of sports betting set to evolve is the realm of esports betting. Currently, franchises and individual players in leagues like the NBA and NFL are building esports teams and cashing in on big tournament winnings for first-person shooters, fantasy RPGs, and sports video games alike.

However, this sector will need to wait for further legislation. At the moment, concerns include vetting players for eligibility (which can be difficult given the anonymous nature of certain gamers), international standards for video game play, and recruitment and eligibility from a collegiate level.

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