The NFL should see its annual revenue rise by a cool $2.3 billion as a result of regulated sports betting, according to new Nielsen Sports research. The firm surveyed 1,032 American adults and used the responses to model how consumption habits for avid, casual and non-bettors would change. The upshot was that greater fan engagement and viewer numbers would boost the NFL’s coffers by $1.75 billion. The study suggested that an additional $573 million would come from sportsbooks themselves in the form of advertising, while $92 million would be generated by sponsorship revenue and the final $30 million from data rights.
The American Gaming Association commissioned Nielsen to conduct the research, arguing that the league has nothing to gain by opposing sports wagering. “Legal, regulated sports betting will create huge new revenue opportunities for sports leagues, and the NFL could be the biggest winner of all,” said Sara Slane, the AGA’s senior vice president of public affairs. “Once legal sports betting expands across the country, the NFL could take in more than $2 billion a year, reinforcing how much sports leagues stand to gain from increased viewership and private partnerships with sports betting operators.”
First Sports Bets Placed in West Virginia
Regulated sports betting is spreading like wildfire across the US and West Virginia is the latest state to roll out legal sportsbooks, following Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi and of course Nevada. Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in the Mountain State flung open its doors on Saturday, just in time for the start of the college football season. The state’s lottery reported that $340,000 was wagered at the sportsbook on its first day, and lawmakers are looking forward to raking in tax revenues going forwards, as they can be reinvested in public services.
Charles Town is in the state’s eastern panhandle and sports fans from Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC and Pennsylvania are expected to travel there. Sports betting is still outlawed in those states, and it is the closest legal sportsbook to millions of people in the greater DC area. Analysts expect neighbouring states to following suit and permit sports betting soon, to prevent their residents taking their hard-earned cash and spending it elsewhere, or turning to illegal, offshore sites.
New York’s “Economic Opportunity”
New York is still mulling over the intricacies of introducing legal sports betting, and a new report from a non-profit civic organisation called the Citizens Budget Commission labels it “an economic opportunity”. It forecasts that New York’s gross gaming revenue could be anywhere between $155 million and $475 million, off a handle of between $2.8 billion to $8.7 billion. It urged state leaders to be conservative when estimating the revenue benefits of introducing sports betting. “Since sports betting has been illegal, it is difficult to predict how much of the illicit activity will transition to the legal market and how many new participants will engage,” it said.
The CBC also called for taxes to be designed thoughtfully, in a competitive marketplace. “Lower tax rates would arguably enable operators to spend more on marketing and customer service, invest more in technology, and potentially set odds that are more attractive to bettors,” said the report. “Conversely, setting higher gross gaming revenue tax rates may result in fewer operators willing to enter the local marketplace, less investment in infrastructure and marketing, and less attractive odds. Ultimately this may result in fewer people transitioning from illegal to legal sports gambling.” That sort of sentiment will be music to the ears of sportsbook operators, who have shunned Pennsylvania in response to the 36% cut the state is demanding on any revenues.
The CBC urged New York’s legislators to factor in sports betting’s potential impact on other gambling revenues. Finally, it said legislation should take into account the idea that gambling taxes are regressive, and that increased prevalence of gambling will impose social costs. “In addition to revenues from taxing sports betting, there are potential economic benefits from job creation, including additional income and payroll, and sales taxes,” it concluded. “The legalization and taxation of sports betting must be carefully considered. It is important that revenue estimates are prudent and account for market saturation and substitution from other forms of gambling. The tax structure should provide stability and the potential for continued economic growth. The state also needs to account for the harmful social impacts and costs that likely will ensue.”
Yet the onus is on New York to speed things up, as residents are happily heading over the state line into New Jersey to bet on sports. Industry heavyweights William Hill, FanDuel (owned by Paddy Power Betfair), DraftKings, SBTech, GVC, Boyd Gaming and Rush Street Gaming have all piled into the Garden State, linking up with land-based casinos in Atlantic City and Monmouth Park to launch physical sportsbooks.
William Hill launches sports betting app in New Jersey
The past month has also seen online and mobile sports betting platforms introduced in New Jersey. William Hill’s app went live on September 2, representing a major development for the firm and the state.
William Hill is one of the world’s biggest sports betting operators, and it can provide New Jersey residents with a sophisticated offering. It powers a number of sportsbooks across the US, but this is actually a William Hill branded app, replete with the British bookmaker’s traditional blue and gold colour scheme. It accepts pre-match and in-play wagers on everything from football and basketball to motorsport and boxing, and all this increased competition is great news for bettors in New Jersey.
William Hill is currently the only operator to have a presence in all five states in which sports betting is legal. It is making aggressive moves to outstrip its rivals in this lucrative, burgeoning market, and it has just announced a deal with Eldorado Resorts to bring regulated sports betting to 21 casinos across the country. The deal gives Eldorado a 20% stake in William Hill’s US arm, plus restricted stock, and in exchange the bookmaker will run sports betting at its casinos. Eldorado is worth $3.7 billion and operates casinos in Nevada, Mississippi and West Virginia. It also owns casinos in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Louisiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Ohio. The two firms are also planning to team up for online sports betting platforms. It follows a series of deals that William Hill announced with Penn National properties across the US. You can expect plenty more of this activity in the weeks and months ahead, as major players jostle for position behind the scenes in a bid to gain a foothold in this fascinating new market.
Kristian heads up the content and SEO team at Digital Fuel having worked in digital marketing for ten years. He’s as passionate about creative content as he is about Brighton & Hove Albion FC and when he’s not following football he’s writing about Brighton’s bustling pub scene