The Sports Betting “Scorecard”: Almost Everybody’s In
It was only last year that the Supreme Court acted to overturn a federal law that prohibited any form of sports betting unless it had already been legislated into existence (the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, also known as PASPA). And once they got the go-ahead to act on a state-by-state basis, the states sprung into action. When considering the red tape that often engulfs the legislative process, they have acted with lightning speed.
Which Seven States Don’t Allow Legal Sports Betting?
Currently there are only seven states in the country in which there not only is no legal sports betting, but no proposed legislation – Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming are six of them, and Nebraska is about to go the other way on that, because of the concern about business being lost to Iowa across the river.
The Location of The Casino Or Pari-Mutuel Establishment
The availability is on three different levels. First there is the actual physical location of the casino or pari-mutuel establishment that holds the license. Then there is the online access (via a website, for instance). There is also the increasingly popular platform of the mobile device. For the latter two, geo-tracking is in effect to ensure that the customer is situated inside the state that has authorized the activity.
While analysts ponder whether there is going to a saturation of the market, or perhaps more accurately, when the saturation will occur, it is important to note where the big gains are happening. And from that standpoint, it is clear that New Jersey has been the big winner. It may have been just a few years ago that the Boardwalk appeared to be taking on the appearance of a ghost town, but internet wagering, and now sports betting, have reversed those fortunes, to the point where the Garden State exceeds everyone in post-PASPA revenues of this kind.
Nevada, Oregon and Montana?
That is a notable accomplishment, considering that not far behind them is the neighboring state of Pennsylvania, which has a lot of room to grow its audience. Delaware, which is located close to both states, was one of the states (along with Nevada, Oregon and Montana) that was granted an exemption from the 1992 federal law, because they already had legalized sports betting in one form or another (in the case of Delaware, Oregon and Montana it was because of their legalized sports lottery).
One of the states that would seem to have the most potential is Florida since its greatest population centers aren’t faced with as much in the way of competition from neighboring states. So far no one has budged, but it is likely that the powerful Seminole tribe, which owns and operates the Hard Rock casinos, will force that issue sooner or later.
It’s actually hard to keep track of which states have sports betting implemented, because there are more opening their doors all the time, although Indiana was reportedly the 13th state to do so when its casinos started accepting wagers on September 1.
The American Gaming Association
According to figures produced by the American Gaming Association (AGA), the “handle” on legalized sports betting passed $10 billion in the month of July. And even though that figure represents just 7% of the illegal sports betting in the country, as per the estimates, that figure is liable to change in a hurry.
What is really going to propel the revenues on the part of the states is what happens outside of the physical sportsbooks. And no doubt they are looking at the example of New Jersey, where 85% of the money wagered is done outside of a brick-and-mortar location.
And if you follow sportsbook action at all, you know that there are ever-increasing ways to bet and stay involved in the action. One of the greatest innovations in the industry has been that of “in-game betting,” where the customer can continue to place bets even after the game kicks off, doing so through rather intricate software operating through an algorithm that calculates odds very quickly. You can imagine where this would apply, as patrons watch the games and can keep following along through bets on the contest that is in progress.
So the future is wide-open, although obviously, that looming possibility of saturation comes into play, as far as the commercial establishments are concerned. Will there be enough players in the end for everybody to be happy?