THE INC. LIFE

How a pro Sports Betting Supreme Court Opinion Could Open the Floodgates for Overseas Operators

Overseas entities are looking at how they can partner with casinos to provide their online and mobile product.

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BY Darren Heitner - 13 Apr 2018

How a pro Sports Betting Supreme Court Opinion Could Open the Floodgates for Overseas Operators

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

As everyone waits to see what the U.S. Supreme Court does about a 25 year old federal law that prohibits states other than Nevada from offering full-fledged sports betting, some are being proactive by getting themselves ready for a shift in what is and is not legal. For instance, a FanDuel investor has put in $1 million to discover possible opportunities in the space and DraftKings has hired a Head of Sportsbook as it prepares to possibly pivot into offering sports betting options.

But it is not just American-based companies and investors who are taking serious interest in the pending case that sits before the U.S. Supreme Court. Overseas entities that have deep ties to sports betting are gearing up for a whole new potential source of revenue throughout many of the states in the U.S.

For instance, it was recently reported that British-based betting exchange Smarkets is getting serious about planning infiltration into the U.S. should the federal sports betting prohibition be eradicated.

"In the short-term, what we're looking at is, how can we partner with casinos to provide their online and mobile product?," said Smarkets U.S. director of government relations and business development. "That's where the future of sports betting is going. In ten, five, three years from now, no one is going to walk into a casino and place a bet at a book. We want to provide that next step, that online and mobile product. Legislators desperately want to protect the interests of land-based casinos."

Smartkets is not alone in this thinking. Many online casinos are considering how and when they will be able to expand their offerings to the U.S., which is a market that will be ripe for the taking. A potential issue is that laws and regulations are being considered and adopted (even in advance of the U.S. Supreme Court decision) on a state-by-state basis, which will undoubtedly lead to variance among the states.

For instance, while online and mobile sports betting may be permitted in West Virginia, Louisiana is looking at a bill that does not allow for mobile or online sports wagering.

Ultimately, the dust will clear after the wait ends with regard to the U.S. Supreme Court providing its opinion (likely to be a split opinion) on the constitutionality of the federal sports betting ban. At a minimum, you can expect that it will not only be American-based entities fighting for a piece of the pie; overseas behemoths will be looking for a share of the action as well.