The Business of US Sports: How Legal Betting Has Changed the Game

Sport has been a multi-billion-dollar industry in the US for decades. From sponsorship deals and corporate partnerships to ticket sales and TV revenue, sports leagues, franchises, and athletes are all part of a hugely lucrative industry.

In fact, this is only scratching the surface. When you take into account the businesses that operate around sports, the tapestry becomes all the richer. For example, POD Active is aiming to capitalize on the market and revolutionize the way athletes protect their joints.

What’s interesting about this company is that its founder, Geoffrey Maloney, has a background in composite and polymers. He’s not from a professional sports background, Like all savvy entrepreneurs, he’s spotted a gap in the market and found a way to fill it with his skills. That’s a testament to his foresight, but also the allure of the sports industry. He recognized the value of the market and he seized an opportunity. That’s a reflection of how lucrative the industry is.

The Business of Betting and Sport

Another example of the industry’s business potential is evolving before our eyes. The business of sports betting is becoming a reality in more and more US states. Prior to 2018, only Nevada was able to offer a full selection of sports bets to consumers. Oregon, Delaware, and Montana were also allowed to offer sports pools but not traditional betting options.

Other than these exemptions, sports betting was illegal in every other US state due to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). However, following a lengthy legal challenge from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, PASPA was overturned in 2018.

Although Christie had been replaced by Phil Murphy by the time the Supreme Court ruled that PASPA contravened the Tenth Amendment, it was his efforts that led to it being struck down. With States’ Rights now allowed to take precedence over the federal law, states across the US were given the right to implement their own sports betting laws. New Jersey was one of the first states to regulate the industry and many more have followed. As of April 2021, the following states had legalized sports betting in all of its forms:

  • New Jersey
  • Nevada
  • Delaware
  • Pennsylvania
  • West Virginia
  • New Mexico
  • Mississippi
  • Rhode Island

  • New York
  • Arkansas
  • Indiana
  • Oregon
  • Iowa
  • New Hampshire
  • Michigan
  • Illinois

  • Washington DC
  • Colorado
  • Montana
  • North Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia

Of those US states that haven’t joined the revolution, many have either passed laws but not implemented them or they’re discussing how best to proceed. This rapid growth has seen revenue soar.

According to the American Gaming Association, the total amount of money legally wagered on sports every month is now more than $3 billion. That figure is only going to increase as more states legalize and implement their own sports betting laws.

A System of State-Based Regulations Define the Industry

System of state-based regulations define the industry

What’s somewhat unique about the US is that regulations are state based. That not only means that betting is legal in some states and not others, but it also means rules can vary from region to region. Therefore, when you look at the top-rated US sportsbooks, it’s important to consider what’s available and where. The leading review sites, such as SBO, will note the differences between states and, moreover, outline what is available in each region. This is important because someone in Virginia might not be able to access the same sportsbook as someone in Michigan.

The interesting thing to monitor in the coming years will be the development of liquidity sharing pacts and cross-state agreements. As it stands, New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada have an agreement that allows licensed poker operators with sites in each state to merge their player pools. For example, WSOP.com/888poker lets customers in New Jersey and Nevada play against each other.

Changes May Be on the Horizon

Given that sport is universal, it may be the case that states start linking their betting platforms. Or, potentially, it may get to the point where every US state has its own sports betting laws. At this point, it would be sensible to enact a federal sports betting law that, in turn, would remove the geolocation checks currently used by state-based operators.

Whichever way the market evolves, the point is that it’s evolving. Moreover, it’s already extremely lucrative. From virtually nothing, it’s taken less than three years for the industry to be turning over billions of dollars every month.

In fact, it’s got to the point where major sports leagues and franchises, including the NBA and NFL, have partnered with the likes of DraftKings, PokerStars, and FanDuel. These relationships have the power to make sport an even more lucrative industry than it already is. However, more importantly, it’s another example of how sport is big business in the US.

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