The Rise and Future of Sports Gambling

By Runisan Natheeswaran, Staff Writer

Over the past couple of years, the sports betting industry has changed dramatically. Due to many countries ruling this activity illegal, labeling it as “sinful”, and the lack of places to place a wager, the industry struggled for a long period of time.

Fast forward to today, and the sports betting industry has experienced unprecedented growth. In 2021, the U.S sports betting market surpassed $52 billion dollars, doubled from the previous year. Americans also wagered a hefty $57.22 billion on various sports, a 165% increase from 2020. Even in recent events, 31.4 million Americans were projected to bet a staggering $7.6 billion dollars on the 2022 Super Bowl event. What has caused this massive spike of growth? 

All signs point towards the rise of the internet and online betting. With the internet, people no longer needed to travel or visit a betting site and could place bets anytime from anywhere, on all devices. Currently, the online segment in the sports betting market accounts is the largest driver of revenue share, and with the growing popularity of sports betting platforms such as Fanduel, Draftkings and Yahoo, this trend is likely to continue. In fact, investment banking company Goldman Sachs projects the online sports betting market to be worth nearly 40 billion dollars by 2033. 

Another major contributor to the rise of sports betting is the continued legalization of sports betting across the globe. After the U.S’ decision to overturn a law prohibiting betting on sports, legal sports betting went mainstream, with the legalization of gambling across many states allowing more than 100 million people to place a legal sports bet, with major states such as New Jersey accumulating $815 million in sports betting revenue. The President and CEO of the American Gaming Association, Bill Miller simply stated that “Americans have been betting on sports as long as they’ve been sports to bet on, they just haven’t had the legal opportunity to do it before.”

So what lies ahead for the sports betting industry? From an online betting perspective, many online sports betting platforms are continuing to invest in research and development to build a better and more innovative experience for users, and continue to expand their digital infrastructure to capture and gather as many people as possible. On the other hand, the continued push for state-by-state legalization will determine the growth of this sector. Will Hershey, co-founder and CEO of Roundhill Investments, believes that “We’re really just getting started. When we look at the opportunity here for U.S. markets [alone], we’re talking upwards of $20-$30 billion in terms of total addressable market for sports betting.” 

While there are still many factors at hand for the sports betting industry such as online services and legalization across the globe, one thing is for certain, this industry is well-positioned for explosive growth in the coming years.

Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash

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