As an increasing number of states move toward legal online sports betting and online casino games, American perspectives on the pastimes are becoming more and more positive.
When the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) this spring, some opponents were wary. Sports betting had been illegal in almost every state for almost 26 years. But as the media, academic research and state governments have started to report positive figures, peoples’ opinions are turning around, too. Employment and tax revenue is rising, and both ancillary private industries and local communities are finding innovative ways to utilize the windfall from sports betting and online gaming.
This brief round-up of news items indicates a sea change in U.S. public opinion when it comes to legal online sports betting, casino games, and other online gaming.
Sports betting is a recreational activity for adults, but the income it generates can be used to drive public resources for everybody in the state. On a September panel titled “Future of Sports Betting: Reimagining its Public Value,” experts will evaluate the possibility of using the revenue that comes from taxing sports betting to benefit families and communities. Confirmed speakers at this Washington, D.C. event include Morgan Sword, senior vice president of league economics and operations for Major League Baseball.
Advertising and marketing of online sports books stand to gain significantly in this new market. Variety predicted in May before the Supreme Court decision that there would be a billion-dollar windfall for media companies, with possible profits from online ads on Facebook and Google contributing as much as 7% and 4% of annual revenue, respectively.
Now media giants like CBS are embracing this new industry: apparently, the network’s Philadelphia station is already starting to see a boost. “And with DraftKings and FanDuel among those gearing to offer sports gambling, expect both companies to reach out to the TV networks to tap into armchair gamblers.”
An opinion piece in the Denver Post encourages states in the U.S. to emulate Norway, where sports betting is legal and bettors may direct 7% of the take of the company with whom they are betting to an approved local arts, sports or humanitarian organization. In 2017, the “Grassroots Share” generated $58 million for such organizations. Why not earmark a portion of the revenue from sports betting to benefit a public good like sporting facilities for young people?
Furthermore, “Don’t force bettors to drive to casinos or race tracks to place wagers. Allow it on mobile devices so those who are inclined to bet …can do so from sports bars and living rooms. The more revenue derived, the greater chance states have to build healthier communities through sports.”
Sports betting is driving new life into the Mississippi gaming space. WLOX Mississippi News Now covered the first day of legal sports betting in Mississippi, quoting the executive director of the state’s gaming commission, Allen Godfrey, who promised that, if done correctly, sports betting could have a positive effect on business and tourism on the coast.
“’So that’s investment in property, that’s additional jobs. I think it’s going to drive revenue. How much revenue is dependent on the operators, it’s their job to promote it,’ Godfrey said…. ‘If it drives additional foot traffic, and that foot traffic spends money, (it) ultimately ends up in taxes that come to the state of Mississippi.’”
Numbers don’t lie. PlayUSA points out that the New Jersey online gaming industry reaped a record $26 million income in July. The article posits that because of this proven income potential, online gaming should be taken just as seriously—if not more so—than sports betting. Politicians and businesses may be especially excited to take advantage of legal sports betting, but this article shows that there’s even more opportunity in online gaming.