There are big changes coming in the world of sports betting across the United States of America. In what will see the implementation of a multi-billion dollar betting industry, various states across the US have begun passing bills to legalise sports gambling within their territories.

Around one year ago, the US Supreme Court overturned a 1992 law which had prohibited and commercial sports betting in most states.

In light of this decision, the individual states have been voting on whether to make sports gambling legal in their own part of America.

Previously, sports betting fans had to go to Las Vegas or use an offshore online sportsbook account to make a bet (legally) on any sporting event. Now, that’s all changing.

Currently, the states who have full-scale legalised sports betting are Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. New York and Arkansas are both following closely behind with further progress expected before the end of 2019.

Utah seems to be the state furthest from any change with regards to gambling. Their anti-gambling stance is actually part of the state’s constitution and therefore, any change to their existing anti-gambling policy would be ground-breaking after many, many years of state opposition to gambling, including lottery tickets, table games and sports betting.

All of this points to a theoretically safer space for bettors to pursue their interests in. Recently, the American Gaming Association (a gambling trade group) put the market figure for illegal sports betting in the US at approximately $150 billion. There is no doubt that sports betting is already occurring across the country. Now, in a regulated market, there will be safeguards in place which should make it a more protected area of interest for sports fans.

From the government’s perspective, experts say that reducing illegal sports betting activity is certainly worthwhile even if states don’t experience a massive windfall in new taxes from this potential revenue stream.

However, one area which is likely to have a lasting stigma attached to it is sponsorship in sports betting. Yet, there have been many deals struck up since May 2018 and the Supreme Court’s decision.

MGM Resorts were quick off the mark, securing deals with Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL). They have also thrown their money behind the American Football team, the New York Jets.

Caesers is now the official gaming partner of the National Football League (NFL) as well as the Philadelphia 76ers NBA team.

Bookmaker William Hill has put its focus on the NHL, sponsoring the league while also linking up with two NHL teams, the Vegas Golden Knights and the New Jersey Devils.

Unlike the English Premier League, gambling sponsors were never allowed to become commonplace among sports teams and franchises in the USA.

At the moment, English football’s top tier has 10 teams who feature gambling operators on its kits this season. They are Bournemouth, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Everton, Fulham, Huddersfield Town, Newcastle United, Watford, West Ham United and Wolves. It may just be a matter of time before the major sports in the US follow suit.

NASCAR announced in January 2019 that it was now permitting racing teams to accept gambling sponsors. With it also now looking for an official gaming partner for the NASCAR organisation as well.

According to NASCAR, they are looking for a data deal to cover its events throughout the season. Their own marketing department is looking for opportunities within the sports betting space.

Regarding TV coverage, there are many red-tape issues to deal with when considering NASCAR sponsorships. NASCAR races are televised by NBC Sports and Fox Sports. Both networks have signalled willingness to provide coverage involving new gambling sponsors but with certain caveats.

The television networks do not want to bring any legal repercussions on themselves as a result of inappropriate advertising so there will be certain restrictions put in place by the networks.

NASCAR is not alone in embracing change. The NFL also voted to allow franchise (team) owners to sell sponsorship deals to casinos and betting operators.

As reported on SportsPro, As part of the two-way agreement, both teams and casinos will have the opportunity to use each other’s brand logos in any advertising. However, NFL franchises will not be permitted to take revenue shares for any business driven to casinos and gambling or betting sites. Under the terms of the new rules, stadia are now also able to accept casinos as naming rights partners.

Big changes indeed. With the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, NASCAR and more all taking advantage of 2018’s Supreme Court ruling, it seems that within five years time, illegal sports betting will be a thing of the past in the US.

The early birds can catch the extremely lucrative worms now regarding sports betting sponsorship deals. There will be many more such stories to report in this sector in the coming months.

The future of sports betting sponsorships will be discussed in greater detail by industry leaders at next week’s Betting on Sports America Conference at the Meadowlands Exposition Center.

Delegates will be treated to world class hospitality with plenty of business and networking opportunities in New Jersey (Meadowlands Racetrack) and New York (40/40 Club and Sky Room Rooftop Bar). For more information about the event, please visit the Betting on Sports America website.  

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