Featured in this article:
  • $125bn spent on sports betting in four years
  • Online sportsbooks make around $8bn profits from handling wagers
  • US sports betting industry expected to boom to 2025

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The spend on American sports betting has hit $380 per person since wagering was made legal

American gamblers have wagered an eye-watering $125 billion on sports bets since online wagering was legalized in 2018.

The figure, which boils down to $380 for every American in the country, showcases just how quickly sports bettors has taken to the new flexible ways to bet on sporting events across the US.

Research from the Guardian newspaper has found Americans spent almost as much on sports betting as they did food, supplies and veterinary care last year. The figure is more than the net income of US farmers.

The report goes into detail about America’s enthusiasm for sports betting, especially on the major leagues of NFL, NBA and baseball. Here, gambleonline looks at the core takeaways from the study…

A Ballooning Industry

It all started in 2018 when the Supreme Court overturned a federal law in New Jersey – the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which restricted states from licensed sports betting. Swiftly states began to legalize online and sports betting, and within four years the industry has ballooned in size.

Ray Lesniak filed the first lawsuit against the federal government. He wanted more money for states, greater protection for players and European gambling companies to provide their expertise in an expanding market.

The industry is now staggeringly huge, with experts predicting revenues will continue to grow up to $11bn by 2025. What happens after this remains to be seen. America is a big market but it is already becoming saturated.

The worry is that the “arms race” to capture as much of the market as possible will soon hit the bank balances of America’s biggest gambling firms.The balloon is unlikely to burst, but its rate of inflation may soon slow.

American sports betting

American sports betting is not just reserved for casino sportsbooks, with millions now also wagering online

Gambling Firms Raking Profits

Of the $125bn wagered in sports betting, the majority is paid back in winnings. Gambling firms in the US made $8.8bn in revenue last year. And while that figure will increase, it’s not expected to explode any time soon.

In fact, the growth of gambling firms has aided the investment in greater player protections, player safeguarding and problem gambling initiatives. The majority of gambling companies in the States are US-owned, while the likes of Caesars have bought UK companies like William Hill in order to muscle further into the market.

Unfortunately for sports betting sites, their stock prices haven’t caught up with revenues yet. A huge marketing war between the biggest players heading into the Super Bowl this year resulted in millions of dollars being spent on advertising – and little profit to show for it.

That has taken a knock on share prices across the industry. The stock is expected to recover, but fall 2021 to spring 2022 has proved a chastening lesson for companies.

Illegal Sports Betting Still Exists

Sadly, the introduction of licensed online betting firms has not killed off the illegal casinos and sportsbooks in the country. The Guardian reports that there are still unlicensed sports betting sites accessible via Facebook, and crooked bookmakers won’t always pay up.

However, it is hoped that in time legitimate sites will become the go-to option for the majority of players.

American sports betting

TV networks now regularly broadcast American sports betting shows

Child Welfare

The sheer volume of sports betting marketing material that was displayed ahead of the NFL playoffs in 2021 and 2022 caused concern for child welfare groups. While sports betting is now legal in two-thirds of states across the US, there is less stringent legislation around who sees marketing material.

It’s an issue bettors in the UK have also come to terms with. How to advertise a product that has an age restriction without it being seen by minors? The solution right now is seemingly to do nothing. Sports betting branding is everywhere on TV and online, and kids are seeing it.

Eventually legislation should catch up. Massachusetts lawmakers are already looking into it. But for now there is justifiable concern that kids are being over-exposed to gambling.

Joseph Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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