Nothing will clear a casino quite like a pandemic — tight groups of strangers, windowless rooms, and indoor smoking now seem like relics of the past. But, even through lockdown, gambling remained. In the spring, stuck in their homes without a roulette table to turn to, consumers bet on obscure sports like Ukrainian table tennis and Taiwanese baseball to hold them over. Then, as the NBA formed a bubble and baseball introduced a pocket-sized season, sports betting’s increasing popularity forced a long-awaited legal push.
While the pandemic has been devastating for most industries, a select few have seen unpredictable growth. Telehealth, cannabis, subscription services, and now sports betting.
Fan eagerness combined with plummeting state budget deficits expanded sports betting and online casino gambling exponentially. Speaking at the Betting On Sports America online conference earlier this month, gambling executives, analysts, and lawmakers agreed that new tax revenue could provide much-needed income to cash-strapped governments.
Maryland, Louisiana, and South Dakota all voted this year to legalize sports gambling. This brings the nationwide total to 21 states, with more to come. Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, and Oklahoma could see sports gambling legalized in 2021, too.
Media companies are getting in on the action, as well. Fox, Barstool Sports, and The Score all have or will soon launch branded sportsbooks. ESPN has a sports betting-focused partnership with Caesars Entertainment and CBS Sports has partnered with sportsbook operator William Hill U.S.
Though there are many advertisers in the game, DraftKings currently reigns supreme.
DraftKings reports a 42% increase in revenue in Q3 this year, clocking in with $133M. While only operating in 10 states, the company is growing quickly, doubling the number of states they are active in just this year and expanding corporate partnerships with ESPN, Turner Sports, the Chicago Cubs, the New York Giants, and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Next week, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation will make the brand the official sports betting partner for Foxwoods Resort Casino, just in time for the NFL playoffs and new NBA season.
The Motley Fool reports that DraftKings saw a 48% jump in stock price over just the past month, due in part to the favorable election results. With this added revenue, DraftKings has spent over $70M on television and $25M in digital spend this year, a big jump from the $6M and $4M spent at this point in 2019.
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