Sports Betting Stats, Facts, and Figures

Source: ESPN Sports Betting After PASPA Overturned

A recently published Statista survey indicates that 50% of people 18+ years of age in the United States have bet on sports at least once in their lives. ESPN staff writer, David Purdum penned an op-ed detailing the growth of the sports betting industry in the United States. Once the Supreme Court overturned PASPA of 1992, this allowed individual states across the US to decide for themselves how to press forward with sports betting legislation. Now that Nevada no longer has a monopoly on legal sports betting – New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania have legalized sports betting. Increased liberalization in the sports betting industry has opened this market up to legal-age bettors across the spectrum. In the aftermath of the SCOTUS decision, bills were quickly signed legalizing sports betting in Washington DC, Iowa, Indiana, and Montana.

Such is the ubiquity of sports betting activity in the US, and across the Atlantic, that major leagues have been clamoring to sign on with sportsbook operators to announce partnerships. As cases in point, various NFL owners now have minimum stakes in a leading US sports book (fantasy playmaker-turned-sportsbook), alongside partnerships announced by the MLB, NBA, and NHL.

US Sports Betting Expected to Dominate Market

If the experts are to be believed, the US market will be the largest regulated sports betting market in the world. With a focus on amateur athletics and professional sports matches, it is entirely possible that hundreds of billions of dollars per annum will be wagered on sports all within a strictly-controlled interconnected framework of sports betting legislation. As it stands, sophisticated technology known as geolocation tracking and age verification protocols are guaranteeing the safety and security of sports betting at state level, and among states too.

Full-scale legalized sports betting is available in multiple states including: Nevada, New Mexico, Missouri, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Rhode Island. Recent bills have passed in Montana, Iowa, Arkansas, Indiana, New York, and Washington DC. The future of sports betting depends entirely on a series of factors. These include the political capital that exists to pass legislation in individual states, and with intrastate compacts.

Competing interests between Native American sports betting providers and commercial companies seeking to establish a strong presence are equally important. Then, there is the will of the electorate. Sports betting legalities are often determined by liberal or conservative opinions on the subject, with an eye to responsible gaming conduct. Then there is the issue of the integrity of sports. For these and many other reasons, a slow and methodical approach to regulated sports betting activity is taking place.

Sports Betting Operations

Source: 2019 NCAA Tournament

One of the most anticipated events on the sports betting calendar is March Madness. This showstopper-style basketball competition takes place over a period of three weeks, with the finest basketball teams competing for glory in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. March Madness Brackets are the talk of the town every year, when office betting pools routinely take bets on teams. Now that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 has been deemed null and void, NCAA sports betting has increased markedly. The American Gaming Association (AGA) estimates that legalized sports betting could plough $4.2 billion into the major sporting leagues in the US.

These include the NHL, MLB, NFL, and NBA. Although no concrete figures currently exist, it is estimated that American sports bettors wager as much as $150 billion annually with illegal sports books, or offshore sports betting sites. From a bettor’s perspective, it is always safer to opt for a licensed sports book which is subject to the rules and requirements of regulatory authorities. Bettors can access multiple tools and resources such as an odds calculator to input their bets, and determine the payout potential of individual bets, or multiple bets. While these tools certainly make it easier to determine potential profits, they do not give players a competitive edge in sports betting.

There was talk of an integrity fee being levied on sports betting operations to give the leagues a small percentage of every bet that is placed on sports betting. Initially, the proposed fee was 1%, but it was tapered down to 0.25%. Each of the leagues believes that sports betting should not take place unless the leagues are benefiting financially from it. The sports betting leagues are rightly concerned about the integrity of sports being negatively impacted by betting activity. Such incidents have taken place in the past, notably the Black Sox Scandal involving Pete Rose in 1989.

Live In-Play Sports Betting

Yet, despite calls for ‘protection’ in the form of a ‘cut of all bets’ placed on specific leagues, sports betting operators are none-too-impressed about these calls. They cite the low margins that sports betting providers operate on to begin with. These eponymous integrity fees as they are known will likely not come to pass given that it makes regulated sports betting operators less competitive vis-a-vis illegal or offshore sports books. Perhaps the largest sector of the sports betting industry is live in-play betting. This form of betting takes place while games or matches are live, with ever-changing odds.

Players are drawn to live in-play betting at leading online sports books, particularly on PGA Tour golf, MLB, NBA, NASCAR, soccer, tennis, and the like. Sports betting operators and leagues alike are seeking to plug the proverbial holes in the market that would otherwise compromise integrity-related issues. By ruling out the possibility of manipulation, the industry can operate with greater levels of confidence. Access to data is another issue that is an important component of sports betting. Bettors tend to look for up-to-the-minute information on players, teams, events, and odds.

The standardization of a database which serves that purpose is integral to the process. Overall, the technology exists to provide a top-tier sports betting experience in a safe and secure setting, provided the frameworks are functional, enforceable, and aligned with key stakeholders in the industry. Mobile sports betting is the fastest-growing sector of the market, as evidenced by the meteoric growth in regulated sports betting along the east coast in New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, et al. With active sports betting bills now pending in many different states across the US, the future of sports betting looks a lot more promising than it did a year ago.