The largest sports wagering market could one day be in the United States, according to a financial report.
A recent study by analyst GamblingCompliance—titled U.S. Sports Betting – Sizing the Post-PASPA Opportunity—projected the newborn US sports betting market in 2023 to generate a gross gaming revenue (GGR) of US$3.1 billion. This was after the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in May struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a decades-old act prohibiting all states but one—Nevada—from legalizing sports betting.
GamblingCompliance estimated the country’s sports betting market to earn a paltry amount of just above US$500 million in GGR, one year after the removal of the sports wager prohibition. However, it predicts that the revenue will increase twofold by 2020, and will continue to rise by more or less US$500 million per year, before reaching the report’s 2023 estimate.
In five years, the study sees the US challenging other countries in the gambling scene and becoming the largest regulated sports betting market in terms of GGR. The US$3.1 billion estimate is only three percent higher than United Kingdom’s reported current GGR of US$3 billion, the second largest in 2017. The study also stated that, if legislation processes go unexpectedly smooth, the US earn as much as US$5.2 billion and surpass number one China’s estimated US$3.9 billion GGR. For comparison, the markets behind the UK barely reached half of the British country’s GGR. Meanwhile, Hong Kong and Italy have posted a combined GGR of US$2.9 billion, while France earned US$1 billion.
The report noted that its numbers are larger than the analyst’s figures in September 2017. Back then, GamblingCompliance calculated a US$2 billion GGR for the US come 2023. The study attributed the rise to the “increased confidence in the rollout of online and mobile betting at the state level.”
State Sports Betting Renaissance
Legislators from different states across the country have proposed several bills that will legalize sports betting after the act that bans sports wagering was declared unconstitutional. The highest court in the United States, voting 6-3, ruled that power to legalize and ban sports betting within the individual state governments, and not the federal government in the capital.
Justice Samuel Amlito, delivering the Opinion of the Court, wrote:
“The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make. Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own… Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with Constitution. PASPA is not.”
With that legal hurdle out of the way, states quickly moved to enact sports betting legislation. Currently, three out of 51 states can offer legal sports wagers. The state of Nevada—home of casino haven Las Vegas—was exempted from the restrictions placed by PASPA. Meanwhile, the state of Delaware recently legalized sports betting in June, with Gov. John Carney making the state’s first wager. At the same month, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law his state’s own sports betting bill.
Gov. Murphy, in a tweet, wrote:
“[We’re] finally making the dream of legalized sports betting a reality for New Jersey. This is the right move for our state and will strengthen our economy.”
Sports news site ESPN reported that the states of Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia are edging very close to legalizing their own laws on sports wagers. Meanwhile, the GamblingCompliance report predicts New York to overtake Nevada to become the largest sports betting state by 2023. In contrast, California, Florida, and Texas are projected to be left behind because of lobbying and legal obstacles present in those states.