The U.S. Supreme Court’s monumental decision in May to strike down the long-standing federal law banning full-fledged sports wagering outside Nevada has opened up legal sports betting to states across the country.
Already New Jersey and Mississippi and its residents (and neighbors) have enjoyed the fruits of their new and growing markets, with other states in earlier stages or nearing a launch. Many more are expected to come on board in 2019.
As new sports wagering platforms are being developed and new kinds of partnerships explored, a wide range of industries are well-positioned to benefit greatly from the massive revenue potential in this marketplace.
1. Fantasy Sports
New opportunities abound in this sector. From opening proprietary sportsbooks and developing betting apps to entering into partnerships with casinos, sports bars, and media companies, fantasy sports enterprises are ready to meet the increasing demand resulting from expanded legalized betting. While there are two clear leaders in this space, DraftKings and FanDuel — which by the way blew out the competition in September in New Jersey — it’s likely that new or smaller players will emerge as the market expands.
2. Social Media
Sports betting and social media go hand-in-hand. With a smartphone in the pockets of practically everyone, an increasing number of people are likely to follow games on mobile. Also, many bettors will begin or already do follow sports reporters and “handicappers” on social media, meaning it will only grow as an essential tool in making an educated pregame and in-game wager. Additionally, a significant number of online sportsbooks and other companies are now using social media platforms as a marketing and advertising tool, thereby creating yet another revenue stream with the potential for massive expansion.
3. Media Companies and TV
After the Supreme Court decision was announced, billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he believed the value of professional sports franchises doubled as a result of the ruling. Although some may consider this hyperbole, there are others who think the statement was too low, with predictions that the amount of cash about to hit the sports gambling market is actually being underestimated. The related opportunities for media and television companies are enormous, as a 2016 Nielsen Sports study found that although sports betters composed just 25 percent of the NFL viewing audience, they accounted for 47 percent of the time spent watching games. If you have money riding on a game, you’re likely to watch more than twice as much as non-gamblers.
And the media industry is listening. ESPN+ is airing a gambling-focused show by The Action Network, “I’ll Take That Bet,” featuring personalities picking their top 10 bets. FS1 went a step further by launching a daily sports gambling show called “Lock It In” with known betting personalities. Another concept involves in-game micro-wagering, which is expected to grow exponentially as states adopt sports gambling. Current delays between the sites of live sporting events and transmission to viewers have curtailed play-by-play wagering on some sports. It’s expected that technology firms will quickly develop real-time picture-and-sound transmission to allow this revenue potential to be fully realized.
4. Sports Bars and Restaurants
And how about restaurants and bars? Eager to join the excitement, restaurant chain Buffalo Wild Wings entered into a partnership with DraftKings to develop a customized fantasy football game in every one of its 1,200+ locations as a method to solidify its place as the go-to destination for sports betting once it becomes legal across the country. Sports bars and restaurants hold the cards to a massive new revenue stream.
5. Construction and A/V Industry
Many people believe that sports betting will enable a rebirth of Atlantic City. A/V integrators will be a vital part of the technological solutions required to accommodate this expanding market. The need for installation of LEDs, suites, and lounge seating at existing casinos may grow quickly as sportsbooks open in new states. The industry also sees a strong correlation between a more engaging video and audio experience in stadiums and the future of sportsbooks, leading to a range of tech opportunities for this sector. Mobile wagering is likely to take over in-person wagering by volume, however consumer demand will still drive casinos to build sportsbooks to accommodate the betting public, and create an experience for guests.
Deals are being signed quickly through partnerships with casinos, as gaming brands scramble to lead the rising U.S. sports betting market. Kindred Group entered in an agreement in August with Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, while Canadian company The Stars Group and Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino Hotel extended their existing partnership to add online and mobile sports betting through European wagering brand BetStars. And the list goes on from there, as unprecedented deals continue to be solidified at a rapid pace.
7. Sports Leagues, Teams and Associations
In July, MGM Resorts International announced its agreement with the NBA to become the league’s first sports betting partner. The deal enables the casino chain to use teams’ official names, logos and data streams in connection with its sports betting products, at a price of $25 million, according to an ESPN report. Following suit, the NHL and two of its teams recently jumped into the fray with a flurry of deals: the Vegas Golden Knights in September became the league’s first team to announce a sports betting partnership, with William Hill. MGM last week also signed on with the NHL to become an official sports betting partner. And the New Jersey Devils now have sponsorship/marketing agreements with three casinos/sportsbook operators — William Hill, Caesars Entertainment and as of today, FanDuel.
FanDuel and the NHL announce a multi-year partnership making @FanDuel the exclusive official daily fantasy partner and an official sports betting partner of the NHL.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 5, 2018
Though NFL rules do not currently permit partnerships with sportsbooks, the Dallas Cowboys became the first team to announce a gambling partnership with WinStar World, a tribal casino. Also the New York Jets have partnered with MGM and elsewhere, Caesars has entered agreements with the to-be Las Vegas Raiders and the Baltimore Ravens.
8. Sports Venues
The Meadowlands Racetrack is located in the same complex where the New York Giants and New York Jets play. In addition to offering convenience, fan engagement with the games they watch is also expected to greatly increase as a result.
There you have it. As a growing number of industries seek their piece of the revenue pie, sports betting is on its way to being a central component of a fresh landscape, with innovators devising new monetization streams as we speak.
What are your thoughts about the creation or enhancement of other industries due to sports betting? Please share with Russell on Twitter.
Russell Karp leads strategic and business development at DataArt’s Media and Entertainment Practice. In his 20+ years of technology and business consulting, Russell has spent the majority of his career focusing on implementing feature-rich, complex media platforms. He specializes in strategy, solution architecture, managing large scale projects and client relationships, with a focus on media and entertainment. Russell is an avid sports fan and a regular media commentator on sports betting, sports technology and sports industry news.