It is no secret the American public is in love with sports betting. With wagering now live and legal in 30 states + DC, more than 111 million adults in the US are now able to wager safely with regulated sportsbooks in their home states. But what’s more importantly, sports fans are turning this potential into effective betting, wagering record-setting figures in a wide variety of sporting events and teams.
Earlier this year, a study by the American Gaming Association predicted a record 45.2 million Americans would bet in the NFL 2021 season. Monthly figures presented throughout the year by state officials in all regulated markets seem to show this has been the case: New Jersey broke the national sports betting record at $1.3 billion in wagers in October, and several states -among them Iowa, Indiana and Pennsylvania- smashed previous all-time highs in statewide revenue and/or handle.
Given the growth opportunity the vertical has presented operators as of late, it’s no wonder big-name sports businesses are rushing to expand their presence in the country: by all accounts, the market seems like a safe bet.
Betfred Sportsbook at Wind Creek Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Among the companies seeking to expand their retail and digital operations in the US is Betfred. Through its American subsidiary Betfred USA Sports, the UK gaming giant has delivered a series of key landmarks throughout 2021, which position the sports business ready for further growth opportunities.
“2021 was an extremely successful year for Betfred USA in terms of market access deals announced and pending,” Stephen Crystal, Head of North America Development for Betfred, tells Yogonet. “By this time next year, we will have more than doubled our footprint to 9 or 10 live operations both retail and/or mobile.”
Among deals announced throughout the year, just in the fourth quarter, the business signed a series of major partnerships which open new opportunities for the company. Just last month, Betfred and the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation launched sports betting in the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort in Fort McDowell, Arizona, through eight self-service kiosks, in anticipation of a complete Betfred Sportsbook to open early next year.
WE ARE NOW LIVE! 8 Sports Betting Kiosks are available on the floor. pic.twitter.com/M9YGXbRKf3
— We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort (@WeKoPaCasino) November 23, 2021
This builds upon other US announcements, such as an expansion into Louisiana with Paragon Casino in October, through the addition of a Las Vegas-style sportsbook at The Draft Room, a “first of its kind” in the market – and all this just looking back at some of the most recent developments.
“That is quite an accomplishment considering that we started in the second or third wave of expansion activity in the USA,” Crystal reflects on the market expansion achieved in 2021. “In the end, Betfred will be in most places in the USA!”
But Betfred doesn’t plan to sit still and, instead, the sports betting operator has plans to further extend its influence within the U.S. market. Competition is at its highest level, and in order to stay ahead of the curve, reaching new audiences and constantly improving product offerings are a must.
Betfred Sportsbook at Paragon Casino Resort in Louisiana.
“Our focus in 2022 will be to finish our market access roadmap including states like Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oklahoma, California and Texas,” says the Betfred executive. “We also expect announcements in Indiana & Illinois – big states.”
However, reaching new markets is not all there is to a successful business strategy. As the American public grows used to sports betting, and new technologies are introduced, sports fans become more discerning, asking more about the products they use and engage with.
“From an operations standpoint, we will continue to grow our USA facing team and improve the product substantially,” explains Crystal. “Of course, attracting and retaining customers will be of paramount importance.”
Even though the long-lasting influence of the COVID-19 pandemic still affected the gaming industry in more than one way during 2021 -occasional restrictions and closures, a drop in in-person guests at some land-based venues, a general sense of uncertainty in several markets-, sports betting remained one of the fastest-growing verticals in the sector.
While no one knows what lies in store for 2022, the closing year of 2021 certainly raised the bar in terms of what to expect from the sports wagering industry. Will the record-setting pace of this profitable vertical keep up in the coming year? Or will things slow down to a more modest growth rate?
“In 2022 the story will be explosive growth,” predicts Stephen Crystal, “and with growth always comes growing pains and challenges in terms of staffing and cost of acquisition.“
Sports fans, however, can rest assured: the company is up to the task. “With 50 plus years of experience, Betfred knows how to compete,” says the Head of North America Development, “and will do so effectively.”