What can you tell us about Betting on Sports America 2019?
Well, I’m really excited to be able to work with SBC. Been following what they’ve been doing the last couple of years and they do things right. So, I think that the time is right for them to be able to really jump in and build something similar to what they’ve done here in the UK, in the US. It is really interesting times there after our May Supreme Court decision. So, there’s a lot of interest. There’s a lot of people that are both from legislative, regulatory side, operators, suppliers, there’s a real appetite to try to learn to see how they can make this work.
Why is Betting on Sports America such an important event?
Well, I think the interesting part about it is trying to be a big tent, as you might call it. Making sure that state lotteries are involved, that tribal gaming is involved, commercial gaming, regulators, policy makers, all of the people that make up that ecosystem, to be able to come together, have some discussions, look at some models of what’s worked and maybe, what hasn’t worked in other jurisdictions. To be able to come up with some really concrete plans.
What has surprised you about the development of US Sports Betting?
Well, one of the things that I found interesting is that we’ve had fantasy sports there for a while and I always thought that when sports betting was legalised that they would basically, sell off maybe, their player list and things like that. But actually, some of those companies are now partnering as operating partners for actual sports betting in addition to the fantasy sports. So, that surprised me a little bit and I think there’s going to be a shift. In the past, a lot of people in the US have been a little uncertain about mobile gaming and what that entails but I think there is a little bit more understanding that that’s going to have to be part of the equation. I think you’ll see more states that maybe haven’t adopted that for casino or poker will probably adopt it now for sports betting.
Why are partnerships so important for US Sports Betting?
Well, the way things are sorting out in the US for online gaming in particular but particularly for sports betting is it’s going to be land based operators that are going to be the ones that are going to be authorised to be licensed for that. They have no experience with it. So, for them to develop some partnerships with other companies that are knowledgeable, have the infrastructure. They’ll be a, for sure, marketing partner out to their players, the operators will but it’s important for them to partner because they really don’t have any experience in this area.
How do you see the US sports betting market evolving in 2019?
What’s interesting in the US, it is going to be a state by state rollout and we had, in 2018, during the legislative sessions, close to 20 states that basically said if this comes to pass, we want to be able to participate in that. So, we’ve only had, I think, five states so far. Five or six states that have authorised it so far. So, in January, when the legislative sessions cease and start up again, I think you’re going to see a range of many of those other states say, okay, let’s get serious about this and try to get something passed. So, I think there’s going to be a lot of activity between January and mid-year. We’ll have a better sense by next summer, how many players are actually going to be in there, from the various states that will have passed it.