Members of the burgeoning U.S. online sports betting and gaming industry came out in force recently at the Meadowlands Expo Center in New Jersey. The Betting on Sports America event (April 23rd-25th), hosted by SBC, featured talks from 175 influential figures from both business and sport as well as 60 different exhibitors and thousands of delegates from across the country.
The event was 10 months on from U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), preventing gambling on sports, was in violation of the Tenth Amendment.
Xtremepush was well represented at BOSA, with our Head of Business Development and Global Partnerships, Robbie Sexton, and Business Development Manager Victor Sevciuc in attendance for all three days. Here are some of the common topics they discussed with delegates.
States of play
The U.S. online betting industry is still very much in its infancy, with the final picture unlikely to take shape for another couple of years at the very least. The biggest question right now is which states will legalise it and when.
New Jersey was the first state to legalise online betting after PASPA, following years of dedicated political campaigning as well as support from then Governor Chris Christie. As things stand in that state, each casino and racetrack can grant three online licenses each. A number of partnerships between these brick and mortar locations and online sportsbooks have been formed already, with more in the pipeline (source).
Online sports betting is also legal in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Delaware, New Mexico and of course Nevada. You can find out more about what is currently permitted here. Recent bills have been passed in New York and Arkansas, with bills ready to be voted on in almost every other state within the next 12 months.
In terms of functionality and gameplay, the core feature that executives were looking for was the ability to facilitate in-play betting. Real-time capabilities are a must as the number of bets placed post-start continues to increase.
It was noted that the big US sports (basketball, football, baseball and ice hockey) lend themselves perfectly to in-play betting. The pacing of the action, in particular, allows for plenty of betting opportunities, not to mention a wide variety of regular scoring events and distinct plays. Elsewhere in the world, soccer is far and away the most popular sport for players to bet on. With soccer games typically seeing few scores, however, the idea of wagering on the number of corner kicks or yellow cards is not nearly as exciting as taking a gamble on how many three-pointers James Harden will sink in the 4th quarter.
This type of live action engagement is crucial to keeping online players interested, and adds rich drama and excitement to their gameplay. With a huge amount of experience already in the sports betting industry, the Xtremepush representatives at BOSA were well placed to answer questions about how sportsbooks could capitalise on this. We already work companies with like Paddy Power Betfair, Rush Street Interactive, Pollard Banknote and Sportpesa, empowering them to remarket and engage their audiences in real time with personalised messages that drive engagement.
The need to have up-to-the-second statistics, ahead of the inevitable time delay on tv broadcasts is a fascinating side-pot to all of this. From a sports betting perspective, the availability of this information is crucial for both the odd setters and players alike.
The sheer volume of stats available to dissect and discuss is another unique aspect of U.S. sports that fans simply love. RBIs, tackles made, steals per game, the list goes on and on.
And of course, it’s the leagues themselves that hold the power here. MGM Resorts has already licensed official data from the NBA, the NHL, and the MLB.
80% of the online sports bets placed so far in New Jersey were on mobile. Let that sink in. There’s no doubt that sportsbooks looking to make a splash need to be thinking mobile-first from the outset. From a customer’s perspective, it isn’t as intimidating as approaching a kiosk in person, especially for new and inexperienced players. The convenience is also clearly a significant factor. U.S. sportsbooks can certainly learn a lot about this channel from their European counterparts, who have been investing heavily in creating better mobile experiences for the best part of a decade.
The number of states legalising online sports betting will continue to grow steadily for the foreseeable future. The opportunity available to savvy vendors is a rare one. Those that manage to get a foothold in a few of the more lucrative states will see huge ROI in a short space of time. The key to long-term success for the first wave of sportsbooks will be the ability to retain players as more and more competitors inevitably emerge.
If you’re currently working with an online sportsbook, in the U.S. or elsewhere, get in touch with one of our industry experts today and discover how the Xtremepush platform can help you maximise your ROI on every channel.
You can also download our multichannel engagement playbook for the Sports Betting and Gaming industry.
Related reading: Our round-up of the biggest talking points at ICE London 2019