This is the last of a five-part series culminating today, May 14, 2023, the fifth anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s decision to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which allowed states to pass their own sports betting laws.
The US sports betting industry has come very far, very fast in just five years since the Supreme Court nullification of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.
How far can it go by 2028?
Consulting industry insiders and observers, Gaming Today projects pertinent storylines of 2028 when the American sports betting business enters those difficult tween years.
US Sports Betting Headlines, 2028
iCasino Takes Path Forged by Sports Betting
When CEOs in a given industry all begin using the jargon or spinning it into their own narrative, there’s group-think going on. The next evolution of the American gambling industry was well underway just a few years post-PASPA when Bally’s chairman Soo Kim espoused taking the skill out of sports bets by “gamifying” them with online slots or casino pairings.
But … it’s a sports bet, you say, considering that single-game parlay at +2000.
Wasn’t the whole thing about getting fans to watch more TV because they’re betting on the outcome?
No. Yes. Sort of.
The spread of legal sports betting in the United States was always going to be about clearing the path for the much more lucrative iCasino business. The execs didn’t hide this.
“Sports betting was always a Trojan Horse in my view. It was the way for states to get to know the business.”
Jason Ader, industry observer
Speaking before a group of politicians in Boston in July, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins pressed for online casino legislation while the details of Massachusetts sports betting legislation were still being hammered out.
In 2023, just seven states have it in some capacity, but that number figures to explode by 2028, given the energy that gambling companies and lobbyists will have applied to it.
Conservative States are Lone Holdouts
South Carolina and Utah, most likely, unless each state undergoes a dramatic demographic shift.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham vowed to bring legal sports betting to South Carolina if elected, but … Democrat.
Betting parlors on the Nevada border have proved popular for Utah residents with a taste for whatever gambling can survive some of the country’s oldest gambling laws back home. But the prospect of legislators owning up to a vice and legalizing still seems far-fetched.
Legalized gambling makes a ton of sense for a destination spot like Hawaii, so maybe sports betting will overcome its notoriously arduous legislative process by 2028. With sports betting routinely pushed as a budget-filler, other conservative southern states will likely have jumped on board in five years.
Florida’s sports betting odyssey will have finished its slow digestion in the court system, having either resulted in a Seminole Tribe of Florida win, or a loss that sent Hard Rock Digital’s owners back to hammer out a new compact with state leaders.
Is Sports Betting Still Top of Mind for Fans?
Lobbyists, legislators, and gaming companies will have spent a decade attempting to amass spaces on the great big map of sports betting. And it’ll be all but filled in by then.
So, what now? iCasino certainly will be a push, but what will sports betting look like?
Does the glow fade?
Does it become daily fantasy, an integral part of fandom for some but an afterthought for most?
It will be interesting to see how much money and tech remains invested in enthralling bettors or potential ones as this low-margin facet of the gambling industry finds out what constitutes normal.
Operators Consolidate as Sports Betting Market Matures
Big fish eat little fish in any business, and the big fish will be starting to get full in the gambling industry by 2028.
The question is how many major national brands will be left in ten years after the Amazon-ation of sports betting. Maybe some boutique regional brands will continue to thrive as the popular local cup of coffee, but that didn’t work for MaximBet.
With FanDuel owner Flutter set to go public some time in the next year, it will be interesting to see how the national market share leader presses rival DraftKings. Or, perhaps like in 2017, attempt a merger.
Is Fandom Still Fun Ten Years After Legalization of Sports Betting?
It used to be about a team, a dream, unabashed loyalty. Throw in some friends, some beer, and some regrettable pub grub on your favorite jersey, and the American fan experience was minted.
Those who wanted to bet had choices — albeit illegal and unregulated — before PASPA fell in 2018. In the subsequent years, wagering was pitched as a way for hardcore fans and dabblers alike to monetize their mania, win some cash, and take the sting out of the bar tab.
Here’s hoping that by 2028, fading that beloved team when it breaks hearts yet again hasn’t become a jaded offshoot of the spread of legal sports betting.
Except for Boston fans. That will be hilarious. And inevitable.