The future of sports betting has finally arrived, and believe it or not, it’s bigger and better than anyone could have expected.
Whereas sports handicappers once had to use sketchy offshore sites or local bookies in order to get some action on the board, sportsbooks have shown up in the palm of our hand with next-day payouts and offer nearly every bet imaginable. Oh, and we’re about to see sports betting show up in stadiums across America – something that was unthinkable a decade ago.
In this article I’ll go over everything you need to know about the status of sportsbooks in professional sports venues.
1 – They’re Already Here
It’s hard to believe that something which was federally illegal for so long has come to this point, but the nation’s capital – none other than Washington D.C., has become the first place to offer sports betting in a pro sports arena.
“This feels very natural to be in this building and to be able to walk into the arena and into a venue like this, to place bets, and I think you’re going to see this continue throughout the country.”
Personally, I think the phrase “very natural” feels like a bit of a stretch at this juncture. Perhaps he’s more forward-thinking than most of us.
Just three years after the U.S. Supreme Court took the necessary measures to overturn PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) which opened the door for gambling nationwide, leagues are warming to the idea that gambling could actually benefit the success of their leagues.
Caesars isn’t just stopping with the D.C. area either – they’ve already inked a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks to allow mobile betting within the stadium, and is in the final stages of becoming an “authorized gaming operator” with Major League Baseball. Oh, and they’re making the same moves with the NFL – the golden goose of sports betting in the U.S.
In terms of the financial success of the Capitol One Arena sportsbook, the only-temporary setup that started in August 2020 (it has since evolved into permanence) handled more than $12 million across more than 100,000 bets received in September alone.
2 – The Avalanche Is Coming
How cool would it be to make a live bet on the action that’s literally happening live, right in front of you? What has become reality in Washington is soon extending to additional leagues. As I touched on briefly in the previous section, sports betting companies are looking to expand into new markets – here’s the latest on what’s known today:
The Pittsburgh Penguins’ home area – PPG Arena – disclosed that it had reached a deal with BetRivers during summer 2020. Handicappers can expect to see these sportsbooks arrive during the 2021-22 hockey season.
One America’s most iconic sports franchises, the Chicago Cubs, have revealed that they are planning to open a DraftKings sportsbook right next to Wrigley Field in 2022.
The Capitals weren’t the only team in town opening a sportsbooks at their home – the Nationals and BetMGM have teamed up to open an onsite sportsbook. This will be the first one of its kind in an MLB stadium, but if the trend continues, it won’t be long until most stadiums have one of their own.
The NFL has been the biggest opponent of sports gambling for fear that the integrity of their game would be compromised. It’s somewhat ironic given that sports betting and NFL football are synonymous to most. Roger Goodell is slowly warming to the idea, undoubtedly at the behest of his team of commissioners who never miss an opportunity to grow the league’s revenue in any way possible.
In August 2021, the Arizona Cardinals released a statement that they had reached a deal with BetMGM to make the sportsbook the teams “official sportsbook partner.” Terms of the deal state the Cardinals, in 2022, will become the first franchise in league history to provide fans with a sportsbook in the stadium.
3 – DraftKings vs. FanDuel
DraftKings and FanDuel made their name in the world of daily fantasy sports, but after a few years of operating with that business model, they have been able to grow into household names for even the most casual sports gamblers.
Today, each platform still has a strong daily fantasy presence (in fact, they’re about the only two that are truly relevant in the space), but each company is looking to expand into a sportsbook-first model. With the name recognition they’ve established, it seems sportsbook supremacy may be theirs for the taking, at least among ‘casual’ bettors.
DraftKings has been working to find its way into stadiums, with some potential homes opening up in Atlanta, partnering with Truist Park, which is the home of the Atlanta Braves. There have also been talks about becoming the premier sportsbook for AT&T Stadium, home of the world’s most valuable sports franchise, the Dallas Cowboys. Finally, the DraftKings empire is in the process of making its way into Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox. One thing thig is certain: if they’re able to capture both Wrigley and Fenway, they have the historic-stadium advantage.
So… what does FanDuel have to say about the matter?
They’re certainly holding their own in the world of in-stadium sportsbook deals, and the rivalry is set to continue between the two giants.
For now, it seems like the whole state of Maryland has been claimed by FanDuel, as well as Pennsylvania, most notably Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Throw in D.C. (FanDuel has plans to open another in-stadium sportsbook at Audi Field – home of MLS team DC United), and it is clear that business is booming.
As the big players in the industry compete for their place in the modern world of sports betting, stadiums will undoubtedly leverage their position as a live sports hub. Expect to see some eye-popping numbers moving forward when it comes to these deals.
4 – Is a Sportsbook In Every Arena Inevitable? It’s Hard to Say
Thing are a little bit more black and white than they have been in years past when it comes to understanding the legality of sports betting in the U.S., but there are still plenty of questions.
First, some states have a hard-lined stance when it comes allowing gambling within their borders.
Utah is sticking to its track record of keeping vices at bay whenever possible. When it comes to legalized sports gambling, it’s probably not going to happen in the near future – and anything beyond that is still not something I’d bet on (no pun intended).
In Utah’s case, there isn’t a huge professional sports presence aside from the Jazz, so this might be the exception to the almost-uniform rule of legalized betting.
Even though Utah is likely to be the only one left out of the party entirely, it’s still going to take at least a decade before sportsbooks in stadiums become anything close to ubiquitous. If there’s one thing that is a safe bet, it’s that legislation changes slowly unless there are major financial incentives to speed it up. In some states there are these incentives, and in some states there are not.
If you’re a sports fan and a bettor, the future is exciting. Just how far away is the future though? At this point the only answers is to wait and see.
In today’s increasingly-digital world, stadiums need to offer incentives to get fans to the stadium. The TV product has simply become too outstanding in terms of actually seeing the action play out, so an increased emphasis on the ‘stadium experience’ has become a priority, and rightfully so.
Though it’s a shock to those who grew up with sports betting as an enemy of pro sports leagues, in-stadium betting will probably be around until there’s a reason to proceed otherwise. It’s too early to say how it will play out, but look for it to generate a lot of buzz in the coming years.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
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