We may have gotten a late start, but American sports betting will be the biggest market in the world by 2026. A new study by the Gambling Compliance group finds that the market was valued at $7.7 billion last year, but that number could triple by 2026.
The organization claims that American sports betting will be worth over $24 billion in another four years, making it the largest globally and double to size of the British market. Currently there are 36 states with legal sports betting, plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico. However, only 31 of those states are currently accepting bets, meaning there is still lots of room for growth.
That growth could accelerate even more if California passes legislation to regulate sports wagers this fall. FanDuel is lobbying heavily in the state, and they are currently the largest American sports betting provider with about 40% of the market. However, DraftKings is spending money they don’t have to catch up. And BetMGM and Caesars are also not too far behind.
There are many reasons for the explosive growth, according to Gambling Compliance. One surprising factor has been the pandemic, which helped push gambling companies toward online betting when they were forced to shut down land based operations. This despite the fact that, at first, all major sporting events were stopped.
Another factor has been the inclusion of professional sports leagues and Tribal Gaming. Some states have done better than others at making sure the leagues have “skin in the game”, so to speak. While others are making sure that Native America gaming has ownership of the activity.
One area of concern, however, is the level of competition for the largest piece possible of the American sports betting market. And in that competition, there are sure to be advertising campaigns like we’ve never seen before. A battle like that, which could rage across US television screens, magazine ads, and websites may not be a good thing for the industry. And there is the possibility of a backlash from the public or the government.