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Sports Betting Gets New Markets as States Loosen Restrictions

If you've seen how big sports betting is in the UK, you might have wondered why the landscape isn't the same in America. The truth is, legislators have often struggled with legal online gambling in the US. However, this looks set to change as individual states are now starting to allow online betting companies to operate within their borders thanks to the Supreme Court striking down a federal ban. While there are still restrictions in place in many states, things are slowly changing. Soon, you might be able to gamble where you live from the comfort of your own home, or while you're on the move via your smartphone.

Why have traditional casinos resisted change?

Traditional land-based casinos have often lobbied against the loosening of online gambling laws. That's because they want to protect their existing businesses and prevent people being able to bet online. But really, this is just protectionism and limits choice for the consumer. Traditional casinos are worried about the online welcome bonuses that look to entice new gamblers to their virtual homes, but these are only an extension of the idea of comped meals, hotel rooms and more than casinos have always offered.

Perhaps traditional casinos don't really have much to worry about. They offer a completely different experience to online gambling spots. Not only that, they're actually already best-placed to start capitalizing on increased gambling interest as more consumers enter the market. These established casinos already have big brands that people know, so they can tie in their land-based offerings by being some of the biggest players in the online market if they plan effectively.

New UK firms enter the market

The loosing of legislation in the States has also seen big online players from Europe enter the market, especially the UK, which is probably the home of western online gambling. The likes of Bet365 and William Hill have recently started ramping up efforts to take a big share of new State online betting laws.

Legislators will have to pay attention to how things progress and may be able to learn from the mistakes in the UK. In that country, gambling and sports betting are practically everywhere. That includes the high-street as well as sponsoring a range of sports teams and events. It's hard to avoid adverts for gambling, as well. Will American betting companies be allowed to advertise freely, or will this be curbed?

Why some sports might resist open gambling

It might be a while before we start seeing baseball teams sponsored by betting sites. That's because most American sports have had a troubled history with gambling and are not supportive of it, unlike in the UK where it has gone hand in hand for a long time. While sports venues might not allow bookies on-site, at least consumers will start to be able to place bets on their phone while they're at events and games.

Currently, 8 states have passed bills legalizing online sports betting, including Illinois and Tennessee. Could your state be next? It's going to be interesting to watch over the next few years as American online betting takes shape.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.

By Sheena Jordan
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