4 Sports Betting Predictions and Trends to Watch in 2019

The industry reached a critical turning point over the last twelve months. Here’s what 2018 brought us:

1.The year the federal ban on sports betting was removed. PASPA was overturned in May, causing the floodgates to open in the  industry.

2. Mobile sports betting shines. Legalized in Delaware, NJ, WV, PA, on site in Mississippi, mobile sports wagering has emerged as a leading player in the increasingly popular market.

3. The first U.S based partnerships among professional sports teams and betting operators were established. Teams in 3 of the 4 major professional sports leagues have struck deals with betting companies such as MGM, William Hill and more.

4. Sports gambling content has hit the scene. Outlets such as Fox News and ESPN have developed programming and resources for sports bettors to gain valuable insights and knowledge.

5. “The Match,” featuring Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, brought us the first made-for-tv event where betting information was integrated throughout the broadcast and competition. We expect this model to continue into 2019, with the emergence of E-Sports as a potential outlet for this style of programming.

6. We needed more than just a PHD to keep track of the all the deals in the industry. 2018 was a major year for gaming companies (software suppliers, European operators, US land based-casinos, horse racing operators) to find suitors for their business face with difficulties connected. We had to up our game to monitor all of these new partnerships.

What can we expect in 2019? Even more hype around betting on sports, we guess. With the continued effects of the removal of PASPA, let’s just say 2019 is going to be one for the books!

Our Predictions for 2019:

1. 2019 US Sports Betting Handle will double 2018’s with online betting driving the growth

In 2018, Nevada and New Jersey made up over 90% of the U.S. handle. With our prediction that Nevada’s handle will continue to increase, and the continued efforts across the nation to promote betting on sports, you shouldn’t be surprised if the 2019 handle exceeds $12 billion.

US sports betting handle
Source: Legalsportsreport.com

2. A dozen new states legalize betting on sports

With seven states already legalized, and over fifteen states having introduced bills, it seems likely that 2019 is the year we see states in all regions of the U.S. joining the legal sports betting world. A few notables we expect to pass legislation include New York, California, Connecticut, Illinois, and and Michigan.

Sports gambling legislation tracker
 Source: https://www.sbnation.com/a/sports-betting-gambling-state-legislation-tracker

3. A state without land-based gambling sites will pass a bill, showing us that mobile-only sports wagering is an increasingly viable option

So far, the states with legal sports wagering all contain land-based casinos; however, this is not entirely necessary to create a successful sports gambling market. States such as Tennessee, which does not have land-based gaming establishments, will be working with mobile sports betting legislation in 2019.

Bill HB0001, which is also known as the Tennessee Sports Gaming Act, was formally filed in the first week of the 2019 legislative session. We’re hoping our home state will help our prediction become a reality.

Tennessee sports betting

4. A major South African sports betting operator acquires a large retail and online book

South African sports gambling GGR has increased by almost 120% over the last five years. With the continued growth and popularity of betting on sports, we expect at least one major operator to make the move to become the first to acquire a large retail and online book, stimulating even more growth in the market.

South Africa betting GGR
Source: Gambling outlook 2016 – 2020 – South Africa – PWC

A Look Back: Our Predictions for 2018

For what it’s worth, here’s what we predicted for 2018:

1. The US Supreme Court will fully repeal PASPA.

2. A European operator will make a $500M+ US acquisition.

3. The GGR for betting on sports in South Africa will grow 25%.

4. Nevada legal handle will grow 10%.

5. US live-in-play handle will double.

6. US operators will reverse the declining hold trend.

Looking back, we did a pretty good job. #1, #2, #4, #5 and #6 worked out pretty well, while number 3 was just off. The GGR for betting on sports in South Africa grew 21% in 2018, and has grown 117% over the past five years. Better luck to us next year!

Side note: Our 2017 prediction that one major professional sports team will sign a sponsorship with a sports wagering company was only one year off. Take a look at some of the deals these pro teams signed in 2018:

New York Jets (NFL) MGM Resorts, 888 Casino
Philadelphia 76ers (NBA) Caesars
Vegas Golden Knights (NHL) William Hill
New Jersey Devils (NHL) William Hill, Caesars, FanDuel
Dallas Cowboys (NFL) WinStar Casino
Baltimore Ravens (NFL) Horseshoe Baltimore (Caesars)

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