It is not a secret that once the federal ban on sports betting was lifted in 2018, everyone was keen to dive into the gambling industry. There was undoubtedly a rush to the market.
More than a third of Americans, approximately 112 million people, can now legally bet on sports from the comfort of their couches. To place a bet in person, another 50 million people merely need to get in their car.
Sports betting income reached $3.04 billion as of June 30 this year, breaking the previous record set the previous year. According to the study titled “US Sports Betting and Online Gambling Primer 3.0” released in May, Morgan Stanley estimates that revenue may surpass $7 billion by 2025. “It would represent a massive increase from $400 million in 2018 driven by widespread legalization.” Similar estimates from the industry range from $6 billion to $10 billion.
The gambling boom
In the same way, more and more unexpected industries are experiencing an explosion, as you can see in this Iowa sports betting guide, who legalized it in 2019. On the other hand, ESPN has entire shows devoted to betting and odds-making. Additionally, users on TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram continue to establish communities that are completely dedicated to both short-term and long-term sports wagers.
However, sports gambling is still in its early stages in the United States, and industry insiders anticipated 2022 to be yet another banner year as many of the most populous states move toward legalization.
In fact, mobile betting was introduced in New York in January this year. Three states, including Ohio, allowed sports betting this year, joining the other 29 states that already permitted it. While Florida continues to work out its legal kinks, Massachusetts, Georgia, and North Carolina lawmakers’ initiatives were anticipated to pick up steam. And even though, voters did not approve online sports betting on the November 2022 ballot in California, voters were finally asked to weigh in on the issue.
The true problem could be that there hasn’t been any legal action taken to safeguard gamblers or restrict the growth of sports betting as more states want to legalize it.
The main sportsbooks FanDuel, DraftKings, and Caesars Entertainment, combined for nearly $1 billion in sponsorship money for the NFL for the 2020–2021 season, when it appeared that rules would be established at a minimum, if at all. Along with BetMGM, the league also secured commercial agreements with Fox Bet, PointsBet, and WynnBet.
In the past, Federal law has somehow controlled gambling in general when it comes to betting. Today, states have some control over sports betting advertising, but there are no federal restrictions on it. For instance, Ohio has forbidden the use of the term “risk-free” unless the sportsbook can prove it.
Interestingly, the only rules established came from the league itself.
The future of sports gambling
There is only so much track this runaway train can go before the industry is forced to make a decision about its future.
According to experts, public health, the economy, technology, and American sporting culture are all inextricably linked to sports gambling’s future. This delicate junction of passion and power might have disastrous results if it is not curbed. Many even ask themselves if this is the beginning of a gambling addiction crisis.
After all, sports bettors typically start younger and develop addicted gambling behaviors much faster than players of other forms of gambling, such as slot machines or table games.
As a New York Times investigation found, “The states are not disinterested parties. They collect taxes on gambling, and the more people bet, the more governments get. They have required few protections for consumers, dedicated minimal funds to combating addiction, and often turned to the gambling industry to help shape regulations and police its own compliance with them….”
Nonetheless, many gambling industry executives and authorities have claimed that any level of monitoring is preferable to the absence of regulations in black market betting markets.
Additionally, industry representatives have used their voluntary funding of anti-addiction resources as evidence that businesses can be relied upon to function free from more onerous government regulations.
We’ll see what the future holds.