Who will win the US sportsbook race?
The face of gambling in the United States changed following the Supreme Court ruling in 2018 to overturn the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act passed in 1992. Online gambling has remained a somewhat cloudy issue but individual states are now in a position to legalize sports betting.
The changes in the regulations saw several companies race to become the leading online sportsbook in the United States. However, with some states being quick to act in terms of legalizing online gambling and others moving slowly, it is not easy to determine who will win the US sportsbook race.
For example, the Android app from BetRivers is available to people residing in the states of Indiana, Colorado, Illinoi, and Pennsylvania. It is licensed and regulated by the IGC and Colorado Division of Gaming plus the application is PGCB approved. For punters living in Pennsylvania, BetRivers was not the first online sportsbook to become available in the state and followed in the footsteps of DraftKings, Unibet, and FanDuel. However, for people in Indiana, BetRivers is one of the first brands to offer online sports betting and already has a big following in this region of the US.
If you go back to 2018, you can find evidence of the operators who were serious about dominating the market in the United States. William Hill is a good example and this British bookmaker appeared at a huge number of gaming conferences throughout the US, with CEO Joe Asher at the forefront of the company. The brand made a large investment at Monmouth Park racetrack in New Jersey and as soon as the necessary legislation was passed, William Hill opened at that venue. Now available as a mobile app in New Jersey, Colorado, Illinois, West Virginia, Nevada, and Indiana, there is no doubt William Hill are at the top of the pile in terms of US sportsbooks.
One of the significant differences between the William Hill mobile sports betting app and those from competitors including Bet365 and 888Sport, is the location in which they can legally operate. At the time of writing, Bet365 and 888Sport are available in New Jersey but that is the only state where punters can legally bet on sport online using these companies.
The same applies to the Borgata Sportsbook, which has grown to become one of the most popular online sports betting operators for New Jersey bettors. Borgata was the first casino in Atlantic City to open a live mobile sportsbook and it launched in May 2019 but they are focused on the NJ market, whereas William Hill seem keen to expand their offering throughout the United States.
DraftKings and FanDuel perhaps have an advantage in the fact fantasy sports has been legal in the US for longer than online sports betting. Both brands have developed a sportsbook on the back of their fantasy sports success but they have only been in a position to offer these for the same period of time as the other brands highlighted above.
It will be interesting to follow the development of the US sportsbook race to see which operators come out on top.