The growth of the US legal sports betting industry has been nothing short of incredible since the Supreme Court overturned its blanket ban on sports wagering in 2018.
Prior to last week, nearly half of US states had their own sports betting platforms, all of which have been successful and reliable contributors to their respective state tax programs.
Since September 1st there have been four more states welcomed into the US sports betting family – South Dakota, Arizona and Washington State launched Thursday. Wyoming went live on the first day of this month. Now more than half of US states allow for sports betting, with more likely to follow.
It is no coincidence about the timing of the rash of states that launched. The start of the bread-and-butter NFL season has been the target for as many as nine new jurisdictions to go live. Four have so far and a few others are on deck.
The state of Arizona was one of the big fish that providers in the US legal sports betting industry were looking forward to. On Thursday, the state made good on its commitment to have a sports wagering platform in place before the start of the NFL season.
Seven digital operators went live in Arizona on Thursday as well as two retail locations in what is one of the most anticipated sports betting destinations coming on board this September. BetMGM, Caesars, the two DFS behemoths-turned sports betting provider giants, WynnBET, Penn National Gaming/Barstool Sports and Unibet all officially took bets in Arizona for Week 1 of the NFL campaign.
Upon maturity, Arizona is expected to be a heavyweight state, consisting of all of the top betting providers in the country.
Washington State is another potentially huge market for the US legal sports betting industry. Lawmakers and regulators in that state, however, are limiting their potential by paving the way for a retail-only platform… for the time being.
Hopes are that a far-more lucrative mobile sports betting platform will be coming to the state. There are no plans are in the immediate future, however.
For now, Snoqualmie Casino is the first and only casino in Washington State to open a sportsbook thanks to a partnership with International Game Technology (IGT).
Four more suppliers and vendors have been licensed in Washington since the beginning of the month. Geocomply Solutions, Sportradar Solutions, Sports IQ Analytics, and U.S. Integrity have all been green-lighted, but it is unclear when they will launch or which tribe they will align with in order to open their sportsbook.
South Dakota is a small jurisdiction and is not expected to tip the scales all that much in the broader US legal sports betting scene. It kicked off a retail-only platform in Deadwood on Thursday. It was BetMGM at its Tin Lizzie Gaming Resort and Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort that took the first legal sports bets in the state.
For South Dakota residents, opportunities for legal sports betting will come in the Deadwood area only via betting windows, kiosks or on their mobile devices. Geofencing will limit those mobile opportunities to the Deadwood area only.
Wyoming won the race to become the first of nine possible jurisdictions to go live in September. They launched September 1st with two operators – BetMGM and one of the two DFS behemoths. Regulators have paved the way for three more operators to go live in the state.
Wyoming is the smallest market so far to launch in the US industry.
Betting providers will have to battle hard for their market share among the 600,000 residents, although some intriguing regulatory quirks such as cryptocurrency acceptance and the allowance for bettors 18 years and older will open up the market a bit.
Other Impending Launches
There are a host of other states whose bettors are waiting eagerly for regulators to finally kick off sports betting in their states. Louisiana and Maryland appear to be the closest. Each has already started to welcome sportsbook partnerships, and each has identified the end of 2021 as the latest for their sportsbook launch.
The expansion of the New York scene to finally include mobile sports wagering should come sometime during this NFL season as should a Wisconsin platform that will bring a rabid fanbase into the legal sports betting fold.