The US government has historically been adverse to allowing its citizens to bet on sports and gamble online.
But all of that looks to be changing as there appear to be changes set afoot for the federal gambling laws in the country.
For a long time, it has been felt that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 needs updating. With calls being made to make a more equal playing field between sports betting, fantasy sports and casino games, it is hoped that new measures can be implemented to create a safe and regulated online gambling scene in the US.
Whilst some American states like Nevada have historically enjoyed an exemption from the federal gambling laws that have helped places like Las Vegas become international gambling hotspots, it seems as though there is real momentum to facilitate legal gambling in many other states in the country.
This comes at a time when many states are starting to change their perceptions of gambling. Rather than being viewed as a negative force, many bodies have realised that if gambling was properly regulated, it could be a handy source of extra income. Although the NFL have remained a very vocal opponent of sports betting, it seems as though the NBA and NHL are starting to soften the tone of their voice in terms of allowing sports fans to legally place bets on the action.
We have already seen how many national US sports leagues have invested in fantasy sports sites, and the NFL and NBA have already made deals with European betting companies based in countries such as the UK where online gambling has been enjoying many year of legal activity.
As such, there are many industry experts who are predicting that some of the UK’s biggest sports betting companies could be especially well placed should the US government make the move to turn back the prohibitive laws on sports betting. A quick look at many of the companies featured at reveals no shortage of famous names would be willing to expand their operations to take part in what could be the world’s largest online gambling market.
The implementation of any new gambling laws in the US would be carried out on a state by state basis meaning that some states might only permit casino wagering, whilst others might prove to be more tolerant of more widespread betting opportunities. But it’s in the online domain where the biggest changes to betting in the US are expected to be felt most.
As such it is little surprise to find that legendary UK betting companies such as William Hill are already eyeing up the potentially lucrative US sports betting market. But there is also expected to be plenty of formidable competition in the form of large Nevada gambling brands such as MGM, as well as some of the popular fantasy sports sites like FanDuel and DraftKings that already have a good online betting infrastructure in place.
It’s also true that many big brand names outside of the world of gambling could also make moves to take a share of the action. Large multinational companies such as Sony, Microsoft and Reuters have already declared patents in the field of betting, and it’s easy to see how large data firms such as Google could also enter the fray.
Above all, it seems that data could hold the key to who will reign supreme should the US finally open its doors to online betting. A lot will depend on who the authorities decide to grant licenses to, but those UK companies like Betway and William Hill who already have plenty of experience in providing a regulated and safe betting environment are expected to be amongst the main contenders. As a result, it will be fascinating to see what happens next when it comes to sports betting in the USA.