The Supreme Court’s recent decision on sports betting opened the door for sports wagering in every state. Currently, twenty states and the District of Columbia have legalized sports betting. In addition to these states, five more have authorized the practice, but North Carolina and Washington are yet to launch their sports betting markets. While the majority of states are in the early stages of legalization, some are moving forward quickly and will likely open their sports betting markets soon.
Until recently, professional sports leagues fought against legalized sports betting. However, these leagues have come around to the idea, seeing the potential for revenue. It is also a great boon for the media industry. Companies like ESPN have been exploring licenses worth $3 billion or more. Legalizing sports betting also benefits state governments by generating tax revenue. This tax revenue is then used for programs aimed at combating gambling addiction.
As sports betting becomes more accepted and well-known, gambling will become a lucrative third revenue stream for the media industry. This could drive the price of media rights for sports and add value to smaller sports properties. For example, Las Vegas is adding a new arena for the Raiders, who are trying to become part of the Las Vegas experience. Sports betting will make any sport, no matter how small, valuable.
The legalization of sports betting has spread across the country faster than many experts predicted two years ago. However, this does not mean that sports betting is going to be legal everywhere. It will likely become more personalized and diverse, including more niche sports, like fantasy sports, and even smaller sports such as horse racing. In a recent panel discussion, industry executives discussed how to develop sports betting in the United States and looked to Hollywood and Silicon Valley for inspiration. The panel suggested that the use of entertainment franchises could help boost the industry’s mainstream adoption.