Special: Future of Regulated US Online Sports BettingPublished May 9, 2015 by Amir G
What does the future hold for US online sports betting regulation? The NBA might provide some indication.
The regulation of online sports betting in the US is an always-relevant issue. While the big four leagues attract millions of people from all over the world who place wagers at online sports betting sites, Americans cannot legally place bets on their favorite and national sports. One of the main culprits is the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) from 1992 which prohibited professional sports betting in the US.
Winds of Change
Winds of change have started blowing late last year when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expressed his support for legalized sports betting in the US, with an emphasis on online sports betting. Silver understands the appeal of his league - the NBA playoffs taking place nowadays are one of the biggest online gambling events of the year on a global scale. Silver said that he believes legalized sports betting is inevitable and that Americans are already engaging with both local and offshore bookies despite the prohibition; the US treasury is missing on millions in revenues so long that the PASPA stands.
Rumored NBA-Operators Deal
Silver's words might have moved things at the top, as rumors of a potential deal between the NBA and online sports betting operators have started circling. While this doesn't mean Americans would be able to bet just yet, if true, such partnerships would be important for the future. Silver did not surprise the NBA top brass, as the league's vice president and assistant general counsel Dan Spillane confirmed that it was doing a lot of homework on the subject before Silver went public with his opinion.
Mobile on the Cross-hairs
Mobile betting is one of the strongest trends in the world of online gambling in the last few years, something that has not evaded the eyes of the NBA. In-play bets that change gradually as the game progresses have become an integral part of the online sports betting experience, allowing fans to bet from everywhere with live streams – or even at the arena itself while watching the game.
Loyalty program tests which have begun with fans of teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, Sacramento Kings and Brooklyn Nets can give a glimpse of possible future betting models in the US. These include point systems and rewards that work similarly to loyalty schemes at online casinos and sports betting sites; the Kings app includes fantasy games and game predictions.
A Matter of Time
Online gambling in the US has made a major stride with the November 2013 regulation in New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada. With many other states on the fence and despite the opposition of wealthy land-based gambling moguls and other forces, online gambling and specifically sports betting regulation in the US seems like just a matter of time.
However, with the US gearing up for the 2016 presidential elections it's unlikely that we will see major landmarks during the remainder of the Obama administration, but progress can be made regardless. It will also be interesting what role online gambling and sports betting regulation will play in the campaigns leading to the elections, as the questions reflect wider issues having to do with the rights of individual states.