The sports betting industry exceeded our expectations in 2017 for several reasons:
1. The US Supreme Court agreed to hear New Jersey’s appeal of PASPA in June, then heard preliminary arguments in December.
2. Global industry consolidation with a keen eye on the US. (And nicely summed up, in our humble opinions, by Openbet’s acquisition by NYX Gaming, which was then acquired by Scientific Games, but not without a bit of friction from William Hill along the way. Exciting times!)
3. Continued rapid growth and interest in African markets. We were honored to participate in several high-quality conferences in Africa over the course of 2017.
4. The first Sports Betting in the USA conference captured the industry’s intense excitement about prospects for regulation in the US.
What will 2018 bring? More excitement for global sports betting, we guess. Are we bullish on prospects for sports betting in the coming year? Absolutely. Overly so? Perhaps, but only time will tell.
Our predictions for 2018:
1. The US Supreme Court will fully repeal PASPA.
Our legal friends and advisors have, of course, helped inform this opinion. If and when SCOTUS does repeal PASPA…it’s gonna get messy as states start pushing forward.
It seems incredibly likely that there will be a legal (non-DFS) sports bet struck in a new ‘sports betting state’ in 2018. It’s about time.
2. A European operator will make a $500M+ US acquisition.
2017 saw significant industry M&A, and several European operators invested significantly in the US.
We expect to see a $500M+ deal as global operators across the Atlantic as global operators seek US licensing opportunities.
3. South African sports betting GGR will grow 25%.
The 2018 World Cup will drive growth that exceeds the expectations of PwC and other analysts. Mobile and strong retail will deliver 25%+ YOY market expansion.
4. Nevada legal handle will grow 10%.
With the 2018 World Cup, more live-in-play products and better marketing from sports books, we predict double-digit growth in Nevada handle this year.
5. US live-in-play handle will double.
Look for this number to grow dramatically in 2018 as US books offer more live products.
It’s the future of sports betting in the US as soon as we regulate and start catching up with the rest of the world.
Live-in-play also dramatically improves interminably long NFL games.
6. US operators will reverse the declining hold trend.
A Look Back: Our Predictions for 2017
For what it’s worth, here’s what we predicted for 2017.
Looking back: #1, #2, and #3 worked out pretty well. On #4, we were really hoping that the NHL would allow the Golden Knights to have a window inside T-Mobile Arena, but that turned out to be wishful thinking. #5 wasn’t really close. Better luck this year!
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