The Future of Sports Betting

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By Betsy Ross

It’s been a little more than a year since the U.S. Supreme Court overruled the law allowing sports betting in only four states. Since then, state legislatures have been easing their way through the rules and regulations that could make sports betting legal in their states.

Is it something that is on the radar of those involved in the sports industry? In a recent survey commissioned by Sports ETA, a third of respondents said right now they are paying little or no attention to individual states’ efforts to add sports betting.

Specifically, nearly half of respondents are paying at least some attention to the legislation, nearly a quarter are aware but aren’t following the progress, one in ten say they are only vaguely familiar with sports betting and less than a fifth of those questioned are watching the legislation closely.

Right now, Oregon, Indiana, Iowa, Arkansas, Tennessee and Washington, D.C. have passed legislation to approve sports betting and are in the process of setting up the mechanics. Montana, Nevada (of course), Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Rhode Island, New Jersey (which started the lawsuit that ended up at the Supreme Court), Delaware, New Mexico and Mississippi have made sports betting legal. More than two dozen states have bills now in front of the state lawmakers.

What impact do respondents think that sports betting will have on the sports events and tourism industry? About 10 percent say it won’t change a thing, and about 10 percent say it will totally change the industry. Everyone else says either time will tell, or it may make a slight change to the industry.

Sports betting is a trend that will not go away—in fact, expect the number of states to actively start allowing betting to explode in the next year or two. It is something that individual sports events rights holders and location managers will need to keep an eye on as betting becomes less of a novelty and more of a reality.

"I think that sports betting will have a significant impact on sports events, in a similar fashion as fantasy sports when it first came out.  It is a hot and relevant topic to the extent that there is now a Journal on Gambling Studies," said Dr. John Miller, Sport Law Professor, University of Southern Mississippi.

How closely are sports events industry leaders watching sports betting legislation?

  • Nearly half of respondents are paying some attention to sports betting legislation

  • Nearly a quarter are aware, but have not engaged in following the legislation

  • 1 out of 10 are only vaguely familiar with this current trend

  • A dedicated few (less than 1/5) are watching very closely

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