A new frontier and legitimacy for sports betting


Toby Oddy, CEO, Digital Fuel Marketing.

On 14 June 2018, Gov. Phil Murphy visited the new sportsbook at Monmouth Park and placed a $20 bet on the New Jersey Devils to win the Stanley Cup. It might sound like an innocuous event, but it marked the end of a bitter nine-year legal battle with the pro sports leagues and ushered in a brave new era for the USA.

The Supreme Court’s decision to side with New Jersey and axe PASPA – the ban that prevented all states apart from Nevada from permitting sports betting – was monumental. Since then legal sportsbooks have sprung up in New Jersey, Delaware, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and New Mexico, and more than $9 billion has been wagered.

Murphy’s 35/1 punt on the Devils always looked like a long shot, and so it proved, as they finished rock bottom of the Metropolitan Division. Yet New Jersey has emerged as the clear winner in the nascent US sports betting sector. The Garden State reported a handle of $319 million in May 2019 and the total wagered on sports has broken through the $3 billion barrier over the past year. It has dwarfed the revenues seen in other states and New Jersey is tipped to dethrone Nevada as the leading sports betting market in the country before the year is out.

Lawmakers across the nation have taken notice, and this year the movement has spread like wildfire. Montana, Iowa, Indiana, Tennessee, Colorado, Illinois, New Hampshire and Maine are all in advanced stages of opening up to regulated sports wagering, with 38 of the 50 states currently having bills on file. FanDuel and DraftKings have dominated the burgeoning New Jersey market to date due to the strength of their online offerings and existing user bases, and there are plenty of reasons for both brands to be excited about the potential for growth across the country. 

Within the next few years, the US sports betting industry is tipped to overtake Italy and then the UK to become the second largest in the world. Some experts believe it could even challenge China as the world leader by 2030. These are heady, exciting times for operators, and it feels like a gold rush for the wider industry with many ambitious companies jostling for position while attempting to navigate a complex set of legislative frameworks.

Digital Fuel Marketing have long recognised the vast potential of the US sports betting market and ensured first mover advantage by setting up an office on Broadway in New York, alongside an operation based out of Las Vegas, ensuring coverage of both East and West timezones. As a digital agency that specialises in the igaming sector the firm demonstrate a solid track record of helping operators increase traffic, improve conversion rates and develop new markets. 

With first-hand experience of just how competitive the US sports betting industry is already, as leading European operators pile in and local firms scramble to seize market share, the Digital Fuel Marketing team have a wealth of experience within mature sports betting markets like the UK and Australia which can be harnessed to help operators stand out from the crowd and carve out a larger piece of the pie. 

Digital Fuel Marketing have already gained licence approvals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which look set to emerge as the top two markets in the country. With both states among the largest in terms of population and GDP, the fact they’re also packed full of enthusiastic sports fans and incredibly popular and successful local teams in the major leagues only adds to their immense potential. The agency offer US clients marketing strategy, content optimisation, media buying and customer lifetime management services, as well as affiliate marketing solutions, putting them in a unique position as being able to service wagering operators both new and old.

More than 85% of legal sports wagers are placed online in New Jersey, according to the state’s gaming division. It shows that the majority of sports fans enjoy betting from the comfort of their own homes or while on the go. It is a lot quicker and more convenient than heading to bricks and mortar sportsbooks such as those found in casinos. Online sports betting is legal in almost all the states that have so far permitted sports betting in the wake of PASPA’s demise, and digital sportsbooks are certain to drive the growth of sports betting in the US.

British bookmaker William Hill is already well established in the US, Flutter Entertainment has made great inroads with the FanDuel brand and the likes of 888 Sport, Bet365 and GVC will be significantly ramping up their presence Stateside in the coming months. DraftKings have teamed up with Caesars to expand across the country, while heavyweight operators like MGM, Rush Street Gaming and BetStars are displaying plenty of ambition. New and existing sports betting sites will need to pull out all the stops in order to attract new customers and this is why Digital Fuel Marketing’s industry expertise is in such high demand. 

Having served as a trusted partner to many of the world’s leading sports betting providers, from Ladbrokes and Coral to Tabcorp, 888 and 32 Red, Digital Fuel Marketing are now ready to collaborate with operators hoping to flourish within the competitive online space of the burgeoning US market. 

Global reach allows the Digital Fuel Marketing team to be on call for clients night and day, able to leverage insights from markets around the world to help partners stay ahead of the curve. With a deep understanding of the US market and how to react to its growing demands, the potential for the industry is truly mind-blowing right now and Digital Fuel Marketing are proud to be at the forefront of it.