The Future of Sports Betting
How many of you have been sitting at home during the pandemic not being able to travel, go to a concert, or a sporting event asking, "Where am I going to get entertainment?" The COVID-19 pandemic forced all major U.S. sports leagues into shutdown in March of 2020 but as the year continued, leagues started up again in differing formats. The success of the leagues upon returning varied. Major League Baseball held a 60-game mini-season with no fans in the stands and lost more than $3 billion in revenue. The NBA lost $1.5 billion and Major League Soccer lost $1 billion in revenue with both leagues finishing their seasons in a bubble at Disney World with no fans.
Enter sports betting. With most fans stuck at home, and even live sports TV ratings dipping, the sports betting industry has quickly grown in popularity across America. It has even grown on Wall Street with stocks like DraftKings and Penn National Gaming rising almost 336% and 263% respectively in 2020. Recent lockdowns have provided an opportunity for these online sportsbooks to invest in technology that enables more betting opportunities.
In 2018, the supreme court struck down a federal ban on sports betting, which left the door open for states to legalize it. Currently there are at least 25 states have legalized some form of sports betting, and as of December 2020, more than $31 billion has been wagered on sports. The tax revenue opportunities are too much for the states to pass up, especially given the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be challenges such as lawsuits/litigation over losses from wagering websites, teams, casinos, etc. but it has certainly taken off. Industry observers and stakeholders are optimistic about the future of sports betting with projections to reach about $13.5 billion by 2025, according to an estimate from MGM Resorts International.
How many of you have decided to cut cord and move to streaming tv? FuboTV Inc. has confirmed plans to acquire an online sportsbook that it eventually plans to integrate into its TV platform. As sports fans increasingly desire interactive sports events, especially during the pandemic, sports betting is sure to become a key component of fan engagement. So, imagine you sit on the couch and turn on a game but before they show the game, they ask if you want to bet on it. Do all the competitors in this space end up doing the same thing? Can you imagine betting on drone races? What's next? We'll find out soon.