In this interview with CalvinAyre.com’s Becky Liggero, risk management analyst Jon Thompson gives his insights on the sports betting industry in the United States
Gambling operators are keeping a close watch on the developments on the New Jersey sports betting case, which may pave the way for the legalization of the industry in the United States.
The U.S. Supreme Court (SC) last month took cognizance of the petition of New Jersey to hear its appeal to allow legal sports betting in the state. At present, only Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana are sanctioned to allow sports betting, and only Nevada is allowed to offer single-game wagering.
While uncertainty remains on whether or not the SC will rule in favor of New Jersey’s petition, risk management analyst Jon Thompson pointed out that sports betting operators are in a wait-and-see mode in terms of expanding their business in the U.S.
“From the online operator’s perspective, especially the European operators that are looking to get involved, they are waiting to see some kind of signal for them to start to make applications, to inquire, to look inTO the possibility of having a US operation, and we haven’t quite seen those signs just yet,” he told CalvinAyre.com.
Unlike in the previous decades, Thompson pointed out that Americans are now more acceptable toward sports betting. He pointed out that the sports betting industry can always cater to the American culture of tailgating the NFL on a Sunday, huge Super Bowl parties, and the March madness in basketball.
The only roadblock that Thompson sees in the US industry – which he said continue to persist- is the issue of integrity. For bigger professional sports leagues, Thompson said that integrity will not be an issue because of the sheer turn of dollars.
Things, however, are different in leagues such as the NCAA which deals with younger people, according to the sports betting expert.
“I don’t think we should treat it as a roadblock because obviously we’ve got the four main sports in the US, baseball, American football, basketball, and hockey. Obviously, the NCAA is hugely represented there in American football and basketball, as well. We have to remember that we are dealing with colleges, we are dealing with younger people in life that could be a subject of integrity questionability,” he said. “While we don’t think that will be the case in the professional level because of the sheer amount of dollars that turn in that sport. But I think if we can get the integrity issue right, if a US gambling commission, so to speak, can get the US integrity right, then, it will be a step forward to licensing legislation and progress.”
To entice sports betting operators to do business in the United States, Thompson suggested that the government should create a single gambling commission that will review the applications.
“We’ve seen William Hill and Ladbrokes get involved in Las Vegas in Nevada over the last probably eight to 10 years. We haven’t seen some of the other major operators in Europe, the likes of PaddyPower, who are probably on the periphery of wanting to apply. One would imagine that they’ll have huge interest especially with the likes of New York, and Chicago, with the way they brand and how cleverly they operate from a marketing perspective. Bet365, obviously the biggest operator out there at the moment, will surely be showing interest.”