The sports gambling boom is happening much faster than many believed it would since the Supreme Court ruled in May that legalization would be up to individual states instead of being restricted on a federal level.
Things are already up and running in New Jersey, Delaware and Mississippi, and New Jersey was the first to roll out online sports betting. DraftKings, through a partnership with Resorts Casino Hotel, launched the first legal online sports betting platform outside of Nevada this week. All of the future online sites must be partnered with physical sports books within a state with legal gambling.
For people currently outside of states with legal sports betting thinking that they could somehow hack their way onto one of these sites, the early returns are that the sites are already very much secured.
“It’s creepy how well they can locate you,” said sports business and gaming analyst John Brennan, of USBets.com. “They can thank all the online poker and online casino people. All the experimentation with deposits and withdrawals – it’s paid off for them. If you’re say, driving in your car across the New Jersey border into Pennsylvania the [online betting website] will ping you and shut you down as soon as you cross state lines.”
Interestingly, Brennan believes that the rise of online sports betting will not spell doom for off-shore sports gambling web sites.
“The thing is, the odds are often much better on off-shore sites,” Brennan said. “Plus there are people who are used to playing the off-shore sites. The problem with a lot of these new sports books opening up are that the odds for winning are really poor. So, I don’t think the neighborhood bookie is going away.”
The NBA has been the first major pro sports league in the United States to fully embrace betting on games and last week it announced a deal with MGM, the first of its kind. MGM will pay the NBA for data to use in determining outcomes of certain bets and MGM will be an “official casino partner” for the league.
“That was one of the most unusual press conferences I’ve ever covered,” Brennan said of the announcement last week in Manhattan. “MGM is essentially paying for the right to use NBA logos. For instance in Las Vegas – when you bet you bet on Cleveland versus Detroit, it’s city versus city. Now you’ll see (Cavaliers versus Pistons). Honestly, I don’t know if that matters to the gambler.”
MGM has been at the forefront of expansion lately as it relates to sports gambling. It bought Empire City Casino and Yonkers Raceway in New York right after the Supreme Court ruling and
MGM Springfield (Massachusetts) is opening later this month. The anticipation is that sports betting will be legalized in the states of New York and Massachusetts by the end of 2019.
“There likely won’t be much movement in New York until next spring with all the political in-fighting right now. Plus they’re dealing with the Native American casinos,” Brennan said. “Massachusetts is not exactly a leader to get it right now but I think they will in 2019 or 2020 because of the acceptance of the casino culture. And in Pennsylvania the taxes are just really high. It will depend on how eager some operators will be to get into that market.”
The gaming board in Pennsylvania is expected to act on another package of sports betting regulations, including prop bets, on Aug. 15.