Thursday september 10,2015 : U.S. SPORTS BETTING IS BIG BUSINESS
AGA estimates that market is worth $95 billion…and almost all of it is bet in illegal channels.
The latest developments in New Jersey's fight to open up sports betting have again highlighted the enormous potential market that US sports betting represents, with widespread coverage in mainstream and industry media devoted to the topic this week.
Most reports quote American Gaming Association estimates that in the U.S. alone, $95 billion will be wagered on the National Football League and college football games throughout the course of this season…. but note that only 2 percent will be wagered through legal channels in the four states that are permitted to conduct sports betting in terms of the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).
The influential Forbes business publication suggests that the numbers indicate that PASPA has failed to stop Americans' passion for wagering on sports events, and has instead deprived states of potential tax revenues and weakened consumer protection.
Canadian publications have also commented on the situation, using Canadian Gaming Association estimates that more than Cdn$40 billion in illegal sports wagering has been carried out in person and online since 2012, and that Senate politicians erred in first delaying and then killing off bill C-290, a measure that would have made single-game sports wagering legal in Canada and boosted legal wagering and tax receipts (see previous InfoPowa reports).
“You need only look at the recent media headlines”, said Bill Rutsey, CEO of the Association to the Toronto Sun. “The only people profiting from illegal sports betting are criminals and offshore operators who are not licensed and regulated to do business in Canada.”
In related news this week the fast-growing eSports sector has also generated headlines, with Eilers Research experts suggesting that in 2015 2.3 million eSports viewers will wager $315 million on games to generate total industry revenues of $24 million…and by 2020 the sector will see 19.4 million viewers betting $23.5 billion to generate total industry revenues of $1.81 billion from eSportsbook and fantasy eSports.
The Eilers team identifies companies to watch in the sector as Unikrn, EGamingBets, VitalBet, Pinnacle and Betway, with the fantasy eSports sector dominated by Vulcun and AlphaDraft.
Underlining the importance with which the sector is perceived, the report notes that companies like Bet365, William Hill and Bodog have all added eSports products within the past year.
The massive size and potential of eSports audiences appeals to betting companies; as an example, the 2014 League of Legends finals drew an audience of 27 million, which exceeded the number of U.S. viewers for the 2014 World Cup.
The reports indicate that whilst Asia is currently the epicentre for this type of action, Europe and North America are gathering momentum.