The Impact of Online Gambling on US Sports

Sports betting news have been making waves throughout the US. A landmark ruling last year saw more than 10 states announce their bids to allow online betting. But as exciting as this is for sports bettors, it has an impact on the sports industry.

The NBA, for example, has already made it clear it will demand a share of the profits made by sports betting companies. Buffalo Wild Wings, on the other hand, plans to include sports betting to its restaurant experience throughout the country. As more states legalize sports betting, here is how the industry is likely to impact sports in the US.

Economic Benefits 

The NBA’s decision to ask betting companies to pay them a share of their benefits looks ridiculous. And for many good reasons, it probably shouldn’t. Most sports leagues and teams will earn millions in advertising revenues as soon as betting is legalized countrywide.

Think of the English Premier League. Half of the 20 teams in the soccer league all have partnerships with bookmakers. The average club earns €10 million for partnerships with bookmaker companies. Westham earns $13 million from Betway. Everton earns $12 million from Sportspesa while Burnley earns over $3 million from Dafabet. 

US sports teams would likely earn much more than Premier League clubs if the US legalized sports betting. Americans spend more than $150 billion in illegal bets. Keep in mind most people bet on companies with no licenses.

With a legal betting system, bookmakers would spend millions of dollars on jersey sponsorships, increasing the value of sports teams immensely.

Nurturing Sports Talents

When bookmakers partner with sports leagues, they offer more than money. Some of the top companies sponsor sporting events to promote events at high schools to identify talents. They offer college sponsorships and host media events meant to nurture talented youngsters at the local levels.

The US is yet to benefit from the sports nurturing often sponsored by bookmakers but this may soon happen. UK bookmaker Williamhill already announced its intention of promoting sports in New Jersey when the state legalized betting last year. 

One big area bookmakers may help with once betting becomes legal is to make sports become more affordable for US kids. Unlike many countries, US sports are controlled by entities that are mainly profit minded. That makes most sports, including soccer and hockey expensive for poor family kids.

In the past, bookmakers have made an impact on expensive sports by offering sports equipment to talented players that can’t afford them. The companies impact both major leagues and grass root leagues, helping nurture talent countrywide. 

More Revenues to US Sports Media

In an age where sports media networks keep complaining about declining ad revenues, legalizing betting in the US will be of great news to the media. More people will tune to TV to watch games, helping the networks have more bargaining power when advertising ad spaces.

Of course, streaming channels and bonus sites like are the biggest benefits of bookmakers’ ad revenue these days, but traditional media channels won’t go out of business any time soon.  

In the UK where online betting is legal, media networks earned over $3 billion in ad revenues from sports betting related companies. Keep in mind Britain has a smaller sports landscape than the US. In a legalized betting environment, US media companies could make 10 to 20 times what Britain earns. 

States also stand to gain massively from gambling revenues. New Jersey, for instance, hopes to earn $13 million per year once it finalizes its efforts to legalize the industry. Most states are yet to legalize either online or land-based betting. Making both forms of betting legal will impact states hugely.

Popularizing US Sports 

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was one of the first people to recognize the impact betting will have on US sports last year. After the landmark ruling on legalizing betting early in 2018, Cuban noted that US sports franchises would become even more popular.

He cited betting as a major reason, noting it would help sports fans become more engaged as they watch the games and bet on them. The billionaire also noted that legalizing betting would lead to more technologies that encouraged fans to consume more US sports.

Cuban isn’t the only person who believes betting will popularize US sports worldwide. A 2015 study by the American Gaming Association showed that 25% of NFL fans watch games for betting related reasons. And unlike many fans, betting fans watched full games. With US betting headed for national legalization, the number of sports fans will likely increase dramatically. 

Sports punters also do more for US sports than watch them. They are more likely to engage in sports talks online than regular fans. They discuss referee decisions, in-game rules and most things that impact their bets. 

May Affect Sports Integrity

There is no denying that match-fixing and exposing gambling to kids is a big problem around the world. These two issues are also major reasons why some US states are reluctant in legalizing gambling. Fortunately, many countries with legalized betting industries have found ways of keeping the integrity of sports in check. Since the UK legalized online betting in 2005, there have been fewer than 10 cases of organized match-fixing in the league.

Throughout Europe, cases of match-fixing have also been low, except for a few leagues. The biggest challenge though regards problem betting and how sports approaches the issue. The UK, for instance, have multiple organizations meant to help protect vulnerable people from problematic gambling.

With proper mechanisms to regulate online betting, no challenge will be so big for US sports. Strict measures against misleading adverts. Hefty bans to match-fixing culprits and investments to promote sports integrity could ensure betting occurs while maintaining the integrity of sports.

To Conclude

The US is one of a few developed countries that lag behind in embracing online sports betting. That may soon change following a landmark rule last year that gave states the power to handle gambling. The US sports industry will benefit as a whole. From direct club revenues to sports promotions, legalizing online benefit will have numerous benefits to the sports industry.

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