The Rise of Sports Betting in the US

Sports betting has always been popular in the US – as it has been around the world. But for a long time, it was illegal for many people in America to place bets on their favorite sports players and teams. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t – just that they didn’t do it legally.


But everything changed in 2018 with a Supreme Court decision. Now citizens in almost half the states in the country can legally visit online sports betting sites such as BetOnline and make their selections. But what changed? And what does the future hold for sports betting in this country?


What Happened to Sports Betting?


In 1992, Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) that banned all single-event sports betting in the US outside of Nevada. Delaware, Montana, Oregon were also exempt thanks to pre-existing lotteries and betting frameworks.


But in 2018 the Supreme Court reversed the decision, effectively allowing individual states to decide for themselves whether or not they will allow sports betting. Referendums have already taken place in a majority of states and now half the states in the country have passed new legislation covering online sports betting. Others already allow other formats of betting, if not online.


Big Money Amounts


One of the advantages put forward by proponents of sports betting is the huge amount of money it can bring in to the states in taxes. Although this is not an overwhelming case for some, there is no doubt that the money involved is an incredible amount.


By October 2020 Americans had legally spent around $3 billion in a single month on sports betting. This was at a time when the global pandemic had severely affected the sports calendar. With most states also allowing mobile betting, the totals have only grown, with 80% of betting now coming from that format.


Sponsorship and Advertising


Although many Americans needed absolutely no convincing when it came to sports betting, there has also been a spike in the amount of money spent on sponsorship and advertising by betting firms. Leagues and individual teams have entered into multi-year agreements with betting sites in the hundreds of millions.


That brand visibility is priceless for the sportsbooks, as well as providing an exclusive opportunity for fans to bet using their products. But that is only one aspect of the way the betting firms advertise their products. As in other regions of the world, the reporting and televising of sport is awash with betting advertising now.


Football Rules


One sport that has been at the forefront of the rise in the popularity of betting is football. The NFL and the Super Bowl were always something that Americans loved betting on. But before the decision in 2018, most people were forced to do that illegally. Now that is not so much of a problem.


Many of the states that were still holding referendums to change legislation concerning sports betting were desperate to have everything in place for the start of the NFL season – or the playoffs at the very least. The Super Bowl has now become one of the most popular sports betting occasions in the world.


The Future of Online Sports Betting


The one thing we know for sure is that online sports betting in the US is only set to get bigger. There has been something of a stampede across the country since 2018 as betting firms and states raced to get to the same level that we see in most European countries.


But there is likely to be some kind of leveling off – in new boundaries, if not the amount actually wagered. Betting integrity will be key, but there is going to be a point when the overwhelming majority of people in the US will be able to legally place a bet. It will be interesting to see if the number of betting options increases to match the rest of the world.