The surge in sports wagering in 2022 can be credited to several factors. Since the beginning of the year, there has been a gradual increase in the number of licenses granted to sportsbooks in the USA and Canada.
According to experts, over 110 million Americans have gained entry to online sports betting applications since the federal prohibition was lifted in 2018. Additionally, 50 million Americans now have access to physical sportsbooks. In Canada, the sports betting market is also experiencing rapid growth after the prohibition on single-game sports betting was lifted in August 2021.
Exploring New Territory
One of the primary reasons for the rise in Canadian sports betting is the fact that it is still relatively unexplored territory. Ontario’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO) has already given approval for the applications of four major sportsbooks, and the legalization of online betting in the province is expected to occur in April 2022.
In the USA, sports betting is only legal in 29 states, leaving 31 states in the process of legalization. Recently, mobile sportsbook applications became accessible in New York, and Ohio is also expected to do the same soon. Governors in other states, like Florida, are expediting efforts to overcome legal barriers in order to tap into the lucrative sports betting market.
Support from Sports Leagues
Major sports leagues in the USA, including the NHL and NBA, see fantasy sports betting as a means to strengthen their connection with fans on both sides of the border. These leagues have official business partnerships with companies like MGM Resorts, FanDuel, William Hill, and Caesars Entertainment.
A Shift from Complex Bets
In Canada, prior to August 2021, betting options were limited to parlays and horse racing. However, recognizing the potential loss in revenue, local sportsbooks advocated for the legalization of single-game bets. As of February 2022, all provinces have legalized single-game bets, with Ontario and Alberta allowing third-party sportsbooks. An advertising campaign is also necessary, as less than 20% of Canadians are aware that they can bet on single games.
Pricy Primetime Commercials
Sportsbooks and online casinos in the United States pour millions of dollars into primetime commercials. However, concerns have been raised about the impact of these commercials on young sports enthusiasts. Complaints have been lodged with the federal telecommunications watchdog, leading to limitations on the number of commercials allowed during NFL games. As a result, the average cost of primetime gambling commercials has significantly risen.
Understanding the Audience
Sports media companies like Barstool Sports, Fox Bet, and ESPN operate multiple sportsbooks throughout the USA. However, they recognize that not all sports fans are interested in betting. According to a survey conducted by the NFL, only about 40% of their fans bet occasionally, while 20% are firmly opposed to gambling.
The NBA’s Approach
In response to these findings, the NBA has launched specialized media content for gamblers, such as the NBABet Stream. This approach ensures that non-gambling fans of the league are exposed to fewer gambling commercials during game breaks.