Image: Denny Medley, USA Today Sports
Legal sports betting in the US is relatively new, and in many states, it’s still work in process. Still, the legal sportsbook marketplace in the country is red hot right now, with American licensed sportsbooks having the busiest four days ever since the new 2021 NFL season started this weekend.
Until not too long ago, the only way you could place a legal bet on sports in the US was to jump on a plane and fly to Nevada, which had a monopoly on sports betting. All that changed in 2018 when the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA (the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992) and declared it unconstitutional. This ended Nevada’s monopoly on sports betting, allowing each state to create its own rules and legalize sportsbooks within its borders.
For now, many states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia, Colorado, Michigan and others already legalized sportsbooks. In addition, many other states are now in the process of drafting and passing laws. With the NFL being the biggest sport in the US, it’s no wonder that football sports fans across America embrace legal and safe sports betting that provides an extra layer of excitement to the game.
A company named GeoComply, which provides US-licensed sportsbooks geolocation monitoring and management services, advertised that between this past Thursday and Sunday, more than 58.2 million online bets took place in Washington DC and another eighteen states where sports betting is legal. This figure shows an increase of 126% from the same opening period in the previous 2020 NFL season.
One of the most prominent betting states is New Jersey, which led the race in terms of transactions. The Garden State was then followed by Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona and Illinois. Arizona is another new state to the sports betting market, which debuted its first licensed sports betting operators on Thursday, right on time for the first game of the season, the Dallas Cowboys vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Grand Canyon State saw more than 271,000 new user accounts created on the state’s sportsbooks, with more than 6.1 million betting transactions within these four days.
GeoComplay’s Gaming MD, Lindsay Slader, said to the media: “The data tells us a pretty fascinating story about the growth of the [online legal betting] industry within a very short timeframe.” Legal sports betting operators are licensed and running in Washington DC and an additional twenty six states across the country. Many more states are in the advanced stages of launching their retail and online sports betting soon.
One of the most prominent legal sportsbook operators in many states is DraftKings Sportsbook, known initially for Daily Fantasy Sports across America. Its Sportsbook Directions, Johnny Avello, was interviewed on ESPN on Sunday, predicting that “It will probably be one of the biggest weeks in DraftKings history. All the numbers we see for now indicate a very positive trend.” Another large sportsbook that is licensed in many states is PointsBet, which also announced a massive increase in the number of bets placed and the money wagered on the NFL’s first gameday this past Sunday.
Although you would expect Nevada would be the loser out of the PASPA annulment, the growth of legal sports betting in other states didn’t actually hurt the Silver State. John Murray, Director at Las Vegas’s SuperBook Sportsbook based at the Westgate, said in an interview with ESPN that the betting handle in these NFL opening four days increased by more than 20% compared to the same days in the past the 2020 NFL season.
Murray added: “hearing the fans here at the retail sportsbook on a full NFL Sunday again is a great feeling. Online betting is the biggest thing during these times, but we were still thrilled to see so much retail sportsbook volume again at the SuperBook after the huge drop during the COVID pandemic and restrictions.”
BetMGM, the online sportsbook arm of MGM Resorts International, is also one of America’s biggest sportsbooks which is legal in many states. The Director of BetMGM’s NV Sportsbooks, Jeff Stoneback, told the media that it’s not only the NFL that’s seeing explosive growth. College football is also seeing a huge uptake, adding to BetMGM NV’s sportsbook 50% more bets on the pre-labor-day Saturday than this 2019 weekend.
Stoneback added: “I think it’s pretty amazing. The bets are just growing…and growing, and growing more. Legal betting is all across America now, and you can see a lot of commercials for sportsbooks. So sports fans are a lot more aware of it.”
Tom Gable, Sportsbook Director at Atlantic City’s Borgata, said that he couldn’t wish for a more beautiful day to kick off the NFL 2021 season.” We aren’t sure if Gable loved the weather, the betting volumes, or the fact that most betting operators reported huge profits on Sunday because most football underdogs went 11-4 against the spread with eight huge upsets. Like us and every other football fan in the country, Gable probably thought everything was beautiful about this weekend.
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Sugarhouse is owned by Rush Interactive, which is one of the most prominent providers of online sportsbook and casinos in the country. In 2016, SugarHouse launched it online casino in New Jersey, joined by its online sportsbook in 2018. Since then, it became a leading casino and sportsbook for Americans. Check out their fantastic bonuses, games and bets available, and see yourself why when it comes to casino and sports betting in the USA, Sugarhouse is a Powerhouse
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