G2E panel: Where is legalized sports betting headed in the US?

October 18, 2023
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President of Sports Betting for IGT, Joe Asher, and President of North America for Sportradar, Andrew Bimson, covered the popularity, future possibilities and new operators of the US sports betting market at G2E.

With the pace of states legalizing sports betting slowing, Joe Asher, President of Sports Betting at IGT, and Andrew Bimson, President of North America for Sportradar, discussed at a recent G2E panel where sports betting in the US is headed now. 

Gaming America was in attendance at the panel, where Bimson said he believes “stagnation at the state expansion level” will lead to “innovation” in the states where sports betting is already legal. 

What could that look like? Many different things. 

Potential possibilities include: expanded sports betting offerings in non-core sports; upgrades to existing sports betting platforms, which in many cases were rolled out quickly to keep pace with the legalization boom; expanded in-game parlays; and microbetting. 

Asher said personalization is likely also on the menu. A Las Vegas local, Asher likes to bet the under on Vegas Golden Knights hockey games. He said he’d like to see online sports betting platforms send him a notification that the Knights are about to drop the puck, reminding him to place a bet if he hasn’t done so already. 

Asher and Bimson also said the kind of sports betting Americans engage in is likely to change as well. Globally, something like 70% of sports bets are placed in-game.

But not in the US, where 70% of sports bets are placed before play has begun. They suspected that would change as sports betting becomes more ingrained in the American psyche. 

And make no mistake, they said, it is becoming more and more ingrained every day. Discussion of sports betting on social media and on sports programming continually lends to the “social acceptability” of sports betting in the US. 

It also doesn’t hurt, Bimson said, that sports betting is perceived as “recreational spending”– and other forms of recreational spending, like going out to dinner, can carry a high price tag, especially in certain major metropolitan areas. 

As such, sports betting continues to be accepted in a country where once it was severely limited. With that being said, Asher also commented that the major American markets still remain major question marks. 

Asher said, “There’s no clear path to legalization in California.” Likewise, there’s a lot of uncertainty as to when, or if, sports betting will become legal in Texas — another market sports betters are drooling over. 

Sports betting in Florida, meanwhile, looks as though it will be controlled by the Seminole Tribe, meaning the Sunshine State isn’t likely to move the needle for operators either.

Legalizing sports betting in one of those three markets would mark a sea of change for America. But until that happens, sports betting expansion is not where the action will be. 

Rather, the action could be within the entries of new operators. Bimson, for his part, said he’s quite intrigued by what Fanatics and ESPN will do as new sportsbook operators. ESPN is “fascinating,” he said, because of its extremely well-known brand name. 

Fanatics, meanwhile, is interesting because it’s a sportsbook added onto a clothing retailer. Bimson is equally fascinated to see how that dynamic will play itself out. 

State-by-State

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