The meteoric rise of the legal sports betting industry in the US has caught the eyes of a broad spectrum of the business sectors, politicians, pop-culture icons, and everyday citizens in the US. Proof of its widespread appeal is only being further proven by a host of recognizable faces getting in on the action.
The latest high-profile American to show interest in entering the legal sports betting space is NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal who has filed for a trademark for SHAQPOT and is planning to launch his own sports betting website under that moniker. Shaq is no stranger to business ventures – a sports betting site is apparently on his radar as he expands his portfolio.
SHAQPOT is a brand that filed a request for the trademark on October 22 with the US Patent and Trademark Office in conjunction with Authentic Brands Group (ABG), a brand management company that signed on with O’Neal five years ago to manage his various business ventures. And there are a lot of them.
According to the documents filed, SHAQPOT will be “a website featuring online betting, gaming, gambling, and wagering services related to sporting events.” Not unlike other companies in the space such as MGM, Shaq’s site would offer a reward program once up and running and try to bring something unique to the increasingly crowded industry.
So Where Will It Launch?
The application does not state where the site would operate but as of now, there is no shortage of markets to launch. 25 states plus the District of Columbia either have or are in the process of taking legal sports bets with more to come in the future. The trick may just be carving out a niche in a market that may already have established names.
The trademark was filed in New York which currently hosts an antiquated, retail-only sports betting platform, all in upstate New York. As the platform exists, it is hard to believe that New York is a possibility unless sports betting there evolves to include mobile wagers. Maybe Shaq can be the catalyst for New York to finally adopt a mobile betting platform that, according to the American Gaming Association, has been responsible for over 80% of the national sports betting handle.
There is no indication yet what if any operators he will partner with and eventually use once his site is fully developed and ready to go. But it is understood that Shaq and Authentic Brands Group will have to align with a current sports betting operator. Any site would require serious backing and the industry likely won’t support a stand-alone Company entering its space.
The Shaq Reach
There is plenty of experienced, well-backed, and all-encompassing competition in the legal sports betting industry making Shaquille O’Neal’s foray into the space a bit of a gamble. Legal gambling has become and will continue to be an incredibly competitive industry to infiltrate.
But Shaq is an icon in the US sports scene and a brand unto himself. Along with his partnership with Authentic Brands Group, it is expected that O’Neal will bring immediate exposure to the yet-to-be-developed brand.
At present, he has 150 car washes, 40 24-hr fitness gyms, and 17 Auntie Anne’s, and a host of other businesses across the US, but he’s hoping to enter an industry he clearly loves. Anyone that knows Shaq, or has viewed his social media posts and TV appearances, knows that he is an avid bettor.
There is still a ton of work to be done for Shaquille O’Neal and ABG, but all signs point to SHAQPOT being a serious venture. Whether or not the partnership can make a go of it remains to be seen, but it will certainly be interesting to watch it try