It has not even been a year since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that individual states could legalize sports betting and for the most part, things are moving quickly across the country. There are currently eight states where sports betting is legal, two that have had bills pass, and 18 that have had bills introduced. That’s 28 states that are already betting or are getting close, over half the country.
“It’s so unpredictable because ultimately the decision to regulate sports betting is in the hands of each state’s legislature,” DraftKings CRO and co-founder Matt Kalish told MetroBet in an exclusive interview. “So these states have a lot of different priorities but [sports betting] is one of them. It’s really high on the list now. If you look at New Jersey, the results have been fantastic.”
Pennsylvania is right in the heart of the legal sports betting movement as it is physically surrounded by states that are legal or close to legal. New Jersey is there. West Virginia is there. D.C. has passed a bill to legalize. New York, Maryland and Ohio are close.
The fact that Pennsylvania is surrounded by so many sports betting friendly states – particularly New Jersey which was six months ahead of most – may be contributing to why Pennsylvania’s initial numbers may not be as gaudy as New Jersey’s.
Many people in Pennsylvania are also simply waiting for the online aspect to kick in. New Jersey mobile has been up and running for months and DraftKings is set to launch its online app in West Virginia any day now.
“We’re really optimistic [with new states emerging in 2019],” Kalish said. “We’ve been focusing on the education of it. Making sure regulators and legislators understand what the product is and that we’re protecting consumers. There are still a lot of people betting on the black market, which is totally unprotected right now, so we’re showing them that DraftKings is a much safer way to play.”