When the national prohibition on sports betting was lifted in 2018, there was a rush to the market, with states like Iowa keen to jump right in.
Since then, a constant stream of other states has opened their doors to gambling companies, including Caesars and MGM. More than one-third of the population of the United States can now officially bet on sports without moving their seat. Another 50 M people merely need to get in their car and place an in-person wager – a requirement that Iowa used to have but has since been phased away.
In Iowa, which does not have its own professional sports club, the $2 B wagered on legalized sports gambling in 2021 greatly outstripped the $575 M wagered the previous year. Iowans established a record in November by betting an average of $9.6 M every day.
Nonetheless, sports betting is still in its infancy in the United States. Industry insiders predict that 2022 will be another banner year, with many of the country’s most populous states on the verge of legalizing. Even the crypto sports betting industry is also growing along with it.
Last week, New York became the first city to offer mobile betting. Bettors in three states, including Ohio, should be allowed to place bets in the following months, joining 29 other states that have legalized sports betting. While Florida works to iron out legal kinks, politicians in other states are working to do the same.
While Florida tries to iron out legal kinks, politicians in North Carolina, Georgia, and Massachusetts are anticipated to ramp up their efforts. California voters may be asked to vote on the issue by the year-end.
Although there has been a significant development, those states represent significant swings in the size of the legal US market, according to Christopher Halpin, the NFL’s executive VP and chief strategy and growth officer.
As soon as it became evident that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which made sports betting illegal everywhere except Nevada, was susceptible, leagues began preparing. Sports leagues in the United States have embraced sports betting as a financial benefit, and a means to interact with fans, particularly young ones, after initially being adamantly opposed to it.
Since the US Supreme Court overturned the restriction, around $87B has been lawfully spent on sports, according to the industry website LegalSportsReport.com, and more than 40 million Americans were expected to bet on the NFL regular season, which recently ended.
Although many expected the removal of the prohibition to simply provide existing gamblers with a legal channel to place wagers, early results indicate that many new bettors have been tempted to place wagers and that all gamblers are taking advantage of new, freely accessible betting opportunities.
The year-over-year increase continues in nearly every state. In November, New Jersey alone took in $1.26 billion in sports wagers, up more than 25% from the previous year. The National Council on Problem Gambling issued a survey in September showing that the number of Americans who bet on sports increased by 30% in 18 months, or 15.3 million gamblers.
According to Keith Whyte, executive director of the problem gambling council, they were still in the first round. It was too premature to evaluate the effect and harshness of gambling addiction. However, according to his organization’s study, the risk of compulsive gambling has risen since 2018 and is focused online among young male sports enthusiasts. He described the signs as quite concerning.