The news that the United States Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law that banned commercial sports betting in almost every state could have a major impact on the gambling industry there.
The ruling gives each individual state the opportunity to legalise gambling within its jurisdiction and many are expected to quickly take advantage.
Previously, only Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon had legalised sports betting and only Nevada allowed for single-game wagers.
It is expected that Delaware, Mississippi, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia will soon follow suit and at least nine other states are likely to jump on board in the future.
Sports betting currently brings in around $5 billion annually to Las Vegas, with an estimated $150 billion in sports betting done illegally every year.
Read on to find out more about the top three sports that will attract the most bettors.
In 2017/18, the principal sponsors of nine out of 20 clubs in the English Premier League clubs were gambling businesses. Their agreements often allows them exclusive access inside stadiums, where they can offer free bets and other promotions to fans.
An arrangement of that type in Major League Soccer (MLS) creates a huge window of opportunity for gambling operators and the clubs.
There is also the potential for increased broadcast revenue. Sky and BT Sport, the two major sports broadcasters in the UK, will pay $12.7m to the Premier League for each match they broadcast from the start of the 2019 season.
Many advertisements during commercial breaks are bookmaker-related – something that the MLS could benefit greatly from.
The revenue generated by sports betting directly helps to finance the huge salaries paid to players. This could have a knock on effect in the MLS that allows them to bring in higher quality players from abroad and therefore drive the standard of the game upwards.
At the moment the MLS tends to attract foreign players coming towards the end of their careers who are seeking one last big pay day. Increased revenue from gambling sponsorships could mean they will be able to compete for top class players still in their prime.
Mixed Martial Arts
The UFC is the biggest show in town when it comes to MMA, but they face a constant battle to get fans to purchase pay-per-view fights.
The ability to be able to gamble legally and have a monetary interest during UFC events has the potential to help drive up viewership numbers.
With Nevada no longer having a monopoly on legalised sports betting, there may be less incentive for fans to make a trip to see major events and this could have some impact on ticket sales there.
However, the UFC’s ability to offer marquee fights elsewhere that people can gamble on legally should boost ticket numbers and also increase their viewing figures in those regions.
It has been argued that legalised sports betting increases the potential for fight fixing, but reputable gambling operators tend to be extremely proficient at identifying unusual betting patters and this is unlikely to be an issue for the UFC.
While many people praised the Supreme Court’s decision, the NFL was far from pleased with the development.
The Supreme Court ruling theoretically means the league could make a lot of money from betting, but at the same time it will have to fight its belief that legalised gambling could lead to an increase in corruption.
However, according to figures compiled by the American Gaming Association, Americans illegally wagered around $150bn on the sport before the ruling, therefore corruption is unlikely to be a factor.
The league has said it will not “rush toward the biggest pot of dollars”, but history has shown that the NFL isn’t shy when it comes to taking advantage of money-making opportunities and gambling revenue is sure to have an impact on the sport sooner rather than later.
Once every state officially has a sports betting operation, the most bets placed will be probably be for NFL games on Sundays.
With bets going up, television and radio ratings rise as people will be anxious to see how their wager turned out. Ticket and merchandise sales could get a boost as well.
With the potential for sponsorships with sports gaming operations, the NFL’s anti-gambling stance will soon become a distant memory.