4 Recent Sports Betting Headlines You Need to Know About

The decision on whether or not to legalize sports betting has been up to individual states since New Jersey’s Supreme Court victory in May 2018. Delaware became the first state other than Nevada to offer single-game betting options on June 5, 2018, and, nine days later, a William Hill sportsbook in New Jersey began accepting bets. As of February 2021, sports betting is legal in 25 states and Washington, D.C. Many other states have either recently passed or introduced sports betting bills.

Below are four recent headlines concerning the legal sports betting market.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Michigan passed sports betting legislation in 2020. However, the state didn’t begin accepting single-game bets made through online platforms until January 22, 2021, after receiving approval from the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

It was the second-largest state in terms of population to legalize sports betting, and this was reflected in the volume of wagers it accepted during the month. Michigan sportsbooks accepted $302 million worth of wagers in January, which is the highest opening month for any state with legalized online sports betting.

While there have been an influx of smaller companies attempting to enter the market, opening month results in Michigan indicate market dominance among four companies. FanDuel, which offers bonuses to new customers, garnered 29 percent of total online sports handle for the month. However, it lost $5.4 million after administering bonuses. BetMGM and DraftKings had a 25 and 24 percent share, respectively, while Barstool Sportsbook accepted 13 percent of handle. Only BetMGM recorded a profit. PointsBet ranked fifth among the 11 operators in Michigan with a 2 percent share of handle.

One of the sportsbooks attempting to make a dent in market share of the four aforementioned companies is BettHouse. The first non-legacy sportsbook to enter the US market was expected to officially launch in Iowa in April and expand to an additional four states by the end of the year. It announced a new funding round on March 9 in anticipation of its drastic expansion.

Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, BettHouse’s mobile app utilizes the micro-betting price engine used by Simplebet and Bet.Works to provide a range of betting opportunities on moments across all sporting events. The company expects to revolutionize sports betting and make it more accessible to the average fan who may not be aware of confusing lingo and the vast list of betting terms.

“From the moment a consumer opens our app they will see and feel the difference,” notes BettHouse CEO Steve Berman. “BettHouse is simple, fan-friendly, intuitive and positioned to speak to a sports fan first. By offering that instant gratification, we will appeal to everyday fans and traditional sports bettors.”

Simplebet is another company seeking to gain ground in the US’ legal sports betting sector. The company, which maintains a partnership with PointsBet and provides up-to-the minute betting data for the MLB’s Rally app, raised $15 million in its latest funding round. It has now secured $50 million from investors including former MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren.

Its proprietary software is used by FanDuel and allows users to receive instant results by betting on quick odds such as whether the next offensive play in a football game will be a pass or a rush. Funds from its recent financing round will go toward the roll out of Scripts, which will boost the amount of in-play wagers on live sports available to bettors.

Its micro-betting platform was used in FanDuel’s free-to-play model for the 2020 NFL season and accepted more than 8 million free-to-play NFL bets on PlayAction. CEO Chris Bevilacqua compared the platform to slot machines, noting its betting options and network infrastructure enables users to know their results within minutes or seconds.

While sports betting presents a new avenue for fan engagement among professional sports leagues and has ultimately created a new business sector, its legalization isn’t without concerns. According to the National Center for Responsible Gaming, 1 percent of adult Americans have a severe gambling problem, while additional research indicates between 6 to 9 percent of young adults experience gambling-related issues.

Recognizing a need for some form of consumer protection, FanDuel announced in March it was providing free blocking software via Gamban to users who identify as problem gamblers. March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month. The move is part of the next phase in the company’s comprehensive responsible gambling initiatives. The software proactively blocks access to gaming sites on up to 15 personal devices.

Earlier in the month, FanDuel became the first sportsbook to join the American Gaming Association’s “Have a Game Plan. Bet Responsibly” campaign. The sportsbook’s multi-million-dollar commitment to the campaign involves the promotion of responsible sports betting through its league and team partnerships, which includes the NBA, NHL, Denver Broncos, and Detroit Pistons.

Nick Palazzo — Developing Sports Businesses and Youth Sports