Analysts put value of a legalized US sports betting market at nearly $6 billion

  • Optimistic report released ahead of sports bet conference
  • Event expected to add weight to arguments for a legalized industry that could be worth nearly $6 billion

Analysts at GamblingCompliance have put an estimated value of between $2 billion and $5.8 billion on a legal sports betting market in the US, ahead of a key conference which will test out the appetite for sports betting among industry insiders and officials.

The Supreme Court will hear the case for legalized sports betting in New Jersey
The Supreme Court will hear the case for legalized sports betting in New Jersey in December.

Clarion Gaming’s Sports Betting USA Conference takes place in New York between November 14-15, with crucial stakeholders from across the industry expected to attend. The conference will focus on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, and the merits of a nationwide repeal.

Potential for full PASPA repeal after New Jersey decision

The federal PASPA law of 1992 prohibits sports betting in all states except those with existing sports bet legislation, leaving Oregon, Delaware, Montana and Nevada immune from its restrictions.

Other states have argued that they should be allowed to regulate and license their own sports betting industries, but lawmakers and sports leagues have been resistant to any repeal in the past.

However, opinions are changing and even sports leagues are lowering their opposition to sports betting. In the past year, Las Vegas has announced it is gaining its own baseball, football and soccer teams which could drastically improve the value of its sports bet market, while Atlantic City’s state New Jersey is looking to overturn the federal law and take sports betting into its own hands.

The Supreme Court is set to hear New Jersey’s appeal against PASPA restrictions and consider whether to exempt the state from federal laws. Industry insiders, politicians and other state representatives have backed New Jersey’s appeal and if the state is successful, it is likely to set a legal precedent for other states which want to allow sports betting.

BELOW: As Gambling Compliance sees the legalization picture:

States that would allow sports betting if PASPA repealed

The future of sports betting

GamblingCompliance estimates that if 21 states allow legal betting through land-based casinos alone, the market could produce $2 billion in gross gaming revenue annually.

If 37 states introduce the legislation and if betting is extended to online and retail outlets and stadiums, that predicted value skyrockets to $5.8 billion. It adds that just five states could account for three quarters of this revenue: Nevada, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois and New Jersey.

The report notes that a legal market would still face restrictions, such as those set by the 1961 Wire Act. This would prohibit bets that cross state lines, so each state would be responsible for its own players, though betting information could be shared across states.

Conference to address appetite for sports betting

The Sports Betting USA Conference next month will test the market demand for a legal sports betting market, and discuss the potential merits of a full PASPA repeal. The event will focus on integrity in sport, which is PASPA’s key aim, and present opportunities for gaming growth against the harm currently being caused by the illegal betting market.

“This conference, the first of its type to be held in the United States, will hopefully be a guide for future forums and in the process achieve the legalization of sports betting across the USA,” said US Fantasy’s Vic Salerno. Salerno is one of the 50 ‘thought leader’ panelists who will speak at the event.

The event will also consider international sports betting and its impact on the integrity of professional sport. Former Premier League and Liverpool FC CEO Rick Parry will attend to discuss how English football and sports betting have developed a co-existing relationship that has improved spectator engagement with sporting events.

“There is ample evidence that Americans want to bet on sport and they do,” said Parry. “By legalising and regulating, it is possible to put in place measures that protect the integrity of sport, consumers and the vulnerable,” Salerno added.

“We have to educate the legislators and the regulatory authorities,” he said. “Betting on games legally will help keep the game honest by seeing where the money is being bet and tracking who’s betting.”

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